Posts Tagged ‘civil rights’
It’s official: Illinois on Wednesday joined 15 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing same-sex marriage.
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, accompanied by state Rep. Greg Harris, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and several other dignitaries, signed into law a measure allowing gay couples to begin marrying on June 1. “It’s a triumph of democracy, a triumph of government by the people,” said the governor, shortly before signing. “We want to have a new birth of freedom across America, and love is not relegated to second-class citizen status.”
The historic nature of Wednesday’s ceremony was underscored by the desk Quinn used to sign the legislation, which once belonged to another Prairie State lawmaker: Abraham Lincoln. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Lincoln used the desk to pen his first inaugural address, delivered on March 4, 1861.
Thousands flooded the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum to watch the signing ceremony, which came two weeks after the legislature passed SB10, also known as the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. Quinn legalized civil union legislation in 2011 and announced his support for full marriage equality a year later.
Since January, the LGBT movement has seen unprecedented gains, including two U.S. Supreme Court rulings strengthening same-sex unions, a Senate vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and the addition of seven states (including Illinois) to the U.S.’s marriage equality column. Hawaii legalized same-sex marriage just last week…
One of the most special moments of the ceremony came when Jim Darby, a Korean War veteran, and his partner, Patrick Bova, shared a kiss on stage.
“We’ve been together for over 50 years,” said Bova to thunderous applause. “I can remember so many times when I was celebrating families’ and friends’ anniversaries, and thinking how wonderful it would be to celebrate my marriage to Jim. Finally, that day has come.”
Regardless of imprecations from leading True Believers, the Earth did not falter on its axis nor did Satan rise from the cleft soil of Illinois to strike humankind dead.
The anti-science, anti-civil rights coalition of religious true believers and right-wing organizers from around the country have failed. Their attempt to kickoff a shutdown battle against pro-choice women’s rights came down to failure by 10 percentage points. A spread that is at least as great as national averages – perhaps foreshadowing another step forward in the whole range of civil rights changes happening in the United States.
Nutballs from Operation Rescue moved to Albuquerque, setting up a field headquarters away from their bastion in Kansas here in New Mexico. Fortunately, though we have our own native crew of religious crazies, we also have a much larger number of religious folks, atheists, ordinary who-gives-a-damn citizens who resent attempts to shut down civil liberties in the name of superstition over science.
No need to refresh the realities of the issue. Just a chance to congratulate the citizens of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who turned out more voters in this special election than came out to re-elect a popular Republican mayor a few weeks ago.
With 49 of 50 polling places reporting, AGAINST 55% – 45% FOR limiting the right to choose an abortion.
Catholic Bishop leads conservative freak-out. Plans exorcism while Illinois governor signs law affirming same-sex civil rights
A Catholic bishop in Illinois said…he was planning prayers of “supplication and exorcism” to protest the state governor’s plan to sign same-sex marriage into law.
Next week, Illinois will become the 16th U.S. state to extend marriage rights to gay couples, following Hawaii, whose governor signed it into law on Wednesday. The Illinois law will take effect on June 1, 2014.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, the state’s capital, said that those who contract civil same-sex marriages are culpable of “serious sin.” He planned the service to coincide with the signing of the legislation by Governor Pat Quinn on Wednesday.
Without naming names, Paprocki criticized Catholic politicians for their support of the measure…
Both Quinn and powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan are Catholic Democrats. Speaking in support of the legislation in Springfield last week, Madigan quoted Pope Francis, who asked “Who am I to judge?” regarding gay clergy.
Quinn had no immediate comment on the planned exorcism, which will be held at Springfield’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Paprocki made news before the 2012 presidential election by warning his flock in a letter of the “intrinsic evils” of the Democratic platform’s support of abortion and same-sex marriage, and that to vote for someone who promotes such actions is to risk your soul.
The funniest thing is that many polls find Catholic voters tend to support gay marriage a wee bit more than other denominations. Maybe their lifetime of experience with leaders who are hypocrites better equip them to deal with the follies of our nation’s fear of progress.
We’re all witnessing campaigns around the United States from sects of conservative Catholics who are upset that the Pope is querying members of the church for their opinions on matters like equal rights for women, civil rights for LGBT folks, all that far-out democracy kind of stuff.
There actually are Tea Party nutballs who say – gasp – the Pope may be a Liberal.
Two gay men are getting married under Native American tribal law in Oklahoma, apparently circumventing a state law that does not allow same-sex unions.
Activists said the marriage advances the cause of gay rights in a state that has blocked federal benefits for same-sex military couples in the past.
Jason Pickel, 36, and Darren Black Bear, 45, who have been together for more than eight years, were planning a trip to Iowa to get married. But they changed their minds when the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes allowed them to pick up a marriage license on Friday in the tribes’ courthouse after the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down, Pickel told Al Jazeera.
“I proposed to Darren several years ago, and we were planning an elaborate wedding,” he said. “Now,” he added, “we decided the time was right. I’m so happy; it’s just amazing.”
Lisa Liebl, the tribes’ public relations officer, told Al Jazeera in an email, “This is the 3rd same-sex couple to be issued a marriage license by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.”
According to their legal code, the candidates should be married on sovereign land and one should be a member of the tribes, but a marriage license should not specify a couple’s gender. The code reflects the respect enshrined in some Native American communities for gay individuals, who are often believed to be endowed with special spiritual gifts…
All legally married same-sex couples will be recognized for federal tax purposes, regardless of whether the state where they live recognizes the marriage, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.
The federal rules change is one of many stemming from the landmark Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. That ruling found that same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits, but left open the question of how the federal government would actually administer those benefits.
As of the 2013 tax year, same-sex spouses cannot file federal tax returns as if they were single. Instead, they will have to opt for filing as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” The location of their marriage — as long as it is legal — or residence does not matter: a same-sex couple who marry in Albany and move to Alabama will be treated the same as a same-sex couple who marry and live in Massachusetts.
“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax-filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide,” Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said in a statement. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”
The important part about mundane is the government finally starting to treat same-sex couples like anyone else. They won’t stick out in the crowd of ordinary people assuming too much of our nation’s tax burden, anyway.
The ruling applies to all legal marriages made in the United States or foreign countries – it does not extend to civil unions, registered domestic partnerships or other legal relationships. So, that’s the copout handed to right-wing dorks who can’t stand civil rights being fully extended to a class of people their grandfather wouldn’t have approved of.
Just about this time – 50 years ago – I was sitting on the side of the steps leading into the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. A young Black preacher named Martin Luther King, Jr. was into his speech on the Mall on the theme of “I have a dream”.
I’d finished my tasks as part of the local amalgamation of civil rights groups centered in factory towns in southern New England. Our Freedom Train had made its assigned stops picking folks up. We made it to DC without incident. We found our way over to the Mall and settled into a day of protest for jobs and civil rights. Frankly, I was exhausted.
Among other needs, one that I almost always filled was security against every kind of creep who might attack our protest – whether they were creeps from the John Birch Society, precursor to the Tea Party, or agents planted by any one of the dozens of police from FBI to local coppers.
I sat and listened. And sitting with three other young women and men from my detail, we discussed and rejoiced over the explosion of talent and leadership reaching the national stage that day. All the speakers, all the musicians, and especially Dr. King and his wonderful speech to the world.
Congressman John Lewis – then, speaking on behalf of SNCC – and still at it. We’ll never relent.
Fifty years ago Wednesday, John Lewis was the youngest speaker to address the estimated quarter-million people at the March on Washington.
“Those who have said be patient and wait — we must say that we cannot be patient,” the 23-year-old chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) said that day. “We do not want our freedom gradually. But we want to be free now.”
Aug. 28, 1963, also was the day the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, and few are as thoughtful about the significance of the day as Lewis, now a Democratic congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon.
That summer, the nation had seen black children attacked by dogs and fire hoses in Birmingham, Ala., as well as the murder of NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers.
In his 1963 speech, Lewis thundered: “Where is the political party that would make it unnecessary to march on Washington?”
Lonnie Bunch, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, says Lewis originally planned to give a much angrier speech.
“[The vote] is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society,” Lewis told the crowd Saturday. “And we’ve got to use it.”
“Unlike all the other leaders there, John, coming out of the SNCC leadership, really experienced that violence,” says Bunch. “He experienced that violence as a Freedom Rider. He experienced that violence at the sit-ins. He found himself saying how crucial it was not to wait for freedom because waiting for freedom also meant that there would be years more violence.”
Lewis is still fighting, he told a crowd Saturday during a march to commemorate the original demonstration 50 years ago.
“There are forces — there are people who want to take us back,” he said. “We cannot go back. We’ve come too far. We want to go forward.”
Lewis said he never thought 50 years later that some of the same issues would be back on the table.
“I thought we had completed the fight for the right to vote, the right to participate in the democratic process. I thought we were in a process of reforming the justice system. But when I see something like what the Supreme Court did, or what happened to Trayvon Martin, it tells me over and over again that we’re not there yet. We have not finished.”
You’ll get to hear Dr. King’s speech beaucoup times, today. And then it will be put away till the next annual event on television. You’ll get to hear John Lewis on the floor of Congress any day, every day. Because the miserable cowards, the bigots and racists of America haven’t gone away.
We shall overcome – but, only if we count first of all on our own selves, our own feet to do the marching, our voices to lift up in song. Yes, and those of us with a place in the digital world have a responsibility to speak up there, as well. Being social doesn’t mean you slack off on changing society for the better.
Linda Siegle and Liz Stefanics got the first license – Liz is a County Commissioner
Recognized as the leading political journalist in New Mexico, Steve Terrell posted this at his blog. An updated version will appear in the SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN, Saturday.
The floodgates have opened. Same-sex marriage has begun in Santa Fe.
County Clerk Geraldine Salazar this afternoon began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples following an order from state District Judge Sarah Singleton that said Salazar should immediately start issuing the licenses or appear at a court hearing to show good cause why she shouldn’t.
There was almost a party atmosphere at the County Administration building as couples lined up to get marriage licenses — the first time in New Mexico in which the issuance of such licenses was backed up by a court order. Friends and loved ones hugged each other in the hallways while some of the couples decided to get married right away in the County Commission Chambers upstairs.
One person who wasn’t happy, however, was state Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, a long-time opponent of gay marriage. “This isn’t about marriage, it’s about who makes laws,” Sharer said in a telephone interview.
Shortly before 5 p.m. a staffer in the clerk’s office said 41 same-sex couples had been issued licenses. “And they’re still coming,” he said. The clerk’s office is staying open until 7 p.m. to handle the line of gay couples flocking in to get licenses…
The first couple to take advantage of the new licenses was County Commissioner Liz Stephanics and her partner of 23 years, Linda Siegle, who is a longtime lobbyist for gay rights as well as a member of the Santa Fe Community College board. They were married minutes later in the commission chambers by Santa Fe Probate Judge Mark Basham…
The next same-sex couple to receive a license were Alexander Hanna and Yon Hudson, a Santa Fe couple whose lawsuit prompted the order from Singleton. Both said they intend to wait on their wedding until family and friends from out of town can attend…
Another couple to get a license and get married Friday was Jen Roper and Angelique Neuman of Pojoaque. Earlier this week, Roper, who is suffering brain cancer, filed an emergency court request for a marriage license because of her deteriorating health. They got married at the Christus-St. Vincent Cancer Center, where Roper was being treated with chemo therapy…
Salazar said…“I am a fervent supporter of same-sex marriage in New Mexico and have always believed that the restrictive and antiquated statutes in our state must fall to principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution,” Salazar said in a statement.
“I have been frustrated recently wanting to issue licenses but being confronted with long standing statutes that do not permit it. Now that Judge Singleton has ordered me to issue a license to Messrs. Hanna and Hudson on constitutional grounds, I intend to do so and to issue a license to any same-sex couple who desires one and are otherwise qualified…
Watching local television coverage, we witnessed enough happiness today to wring tears from a heart of stone. Unfortunately, Tea Party/Republican bigots haven’t any hearts at all. So, everyone expects them to proceed with some kind of lawsuit. And Sunday morning should bring Catholic priests around the state declaring the AntiChrist is here to steal all the green chile in New Mexico.
It’s a pity that equal rights before the law scares the crap out of so many little people.
UPDATE: A judge in Bernalillo County joined decisions by county clerks and another judge in Santa Fe County and ruled that keeping same-sex couples from marrying was unconstitutional. Bernalillo County includes the population center for the state of New Mexico – Albuquerque – so, in addition to Santa Fe and Dona Ana County [which includes Las Cruces], the three counties comprising probably 95% of the state’s population have joined in validating civil rights for all for marriage.
A great day.
A same-sex couple in Kentucky have asked a judge to grant them the same protections given to heterosexual couples after a woman has been subpoenaed to testify against her wife.
Bobbie Jo Clary, 37, is accused of murdering a man in Louisville in October 2011 and could face the death penalty if convicted. The prosecution subpoenaed her partner, Geneva Case, 49, to testify against her.
The defense filed a motion to block the subpoena, citing spousal privilege, which protects married couples from having to testify against each other in most US jurisdictions. Clary and Case were joined in a civil union in Vermont in 2004, five years before the state legalised same-sex marriages.
The prosecution said it wants Case to testify because she allegedly heard Clary admit to the slaying and has other valuable information as a witness. Clary has admitted she was with the victim, George Murphy, 64, on the night of his death and says she used a hammer to defend herself after he sexually assaulted her.
Kentucky, a famously conservative state, though currently helmed by a Democratic governor, exempts spouses from testifying against each other in court. However, the state does not permit same-sex marriage and affirmed its opposition to the practice by amending the constitution in 2004 to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
“If they were a heterosexual married couple, there would be no question that Kentucky would acknowledge the privilege and not even have issued the subpoena,” said Case’s attorney Bryan Gatewood.
A ruling on the spousal privilege is expected by the end of the month. The murder trial is set to begin 30 August.
Dark Ages dwellers in Kentucky may or may not decide to act like folks who believe in democratic rights in this case. I don’t expect so. Most Americans who cling to bigotry and discrimination as holy writ tend to continue such practices as if the Constitution and Bill of Rights never existed.
Fortunately, this will make another sound case to bring before the Supreme Court that should bring one or another of the overtly Republican justices in line with American legal traditions.
Colima has become the latest Mexican state to allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions after a majority of local authorities passed a change in the state’s constitution.
Legalisation on same-sex unions falls under state legislation, and a number of states have divergent rules.
Mexico City and the southern state of Quintana Roo allow gay marriages, while Coahuila allows same-sex civil unions.
Congress in Yucatan on the other hand banned same-sex marriage in 2009.
Seven out of ten authorities in Colima approved the constitutional change, which had been passed by the state’s congress earlier this month.
Only two Congressmen voted against the change, arguing the state should legalise gay marriages rather than restricting same-sex couples to civil unions…
Gay marriage was legalised in Uruguay earlier this year, and in Argentina in 2010.
In Brazil, the Supreme Court in May voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married heterosexuals, effectively authorising gay marriage.
However, full legalisation of gay marriage in Brazil still depends on the passage of a law in Congress.
And then there’s the United States which still can’t find sufficient political courage in Congress to support constitutional legislation from decades ago – much less move forward towards civil rights for all citizens.
The Obama administration embarked on a new strategy on Thursday to challenge voting laws it says discriminate by race, an effort to counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month that freed states from the strictest federal oversight.
Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to start in Texas, a conservative stronghold where his Justice Department will ask a federal court for renewed power to block new election laws it says illegally discriminate against blacks and other minorities.
The Texas action was expected to be the first in a nationwide roll-out of cases to work around Shelby County v. Holder, the Alabama case in which the Supreme Court on June 25 invalidated a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
“This is the department’s first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last,” Holder said to a standing ovation in Philadelphia at the annual conference of the National Urban League…
Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican and possible presidential candidate in 2016, said the move demonstrated contempt by the Obama administration…
Poisonally I don’t believe bigots and racists deserve anything more than contempt…
The Justice Department was already tangling with Texas in federal courts, alleging that the state discriminated by race in two impermissible ways.
First, department lawyers objected to the drawing of congressional and state legislative district lines that they say leave too few places where a minority candidate can win.
Second, although the Justice Department has allowed voter ID requirements in some states, it said Texas failed to include measures to protect minority voters…
Holder also said Texas has a “history of pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities that the Supreme Court itself has recognized.”
RTFA for more detail and history. Though, if you need lots of convincing to be certain of Texas’ bigotry you need to get out and feed a little fresh air and information to your brain.
Joking with kin about this – a recovering Republican – he reminded me he still has a receipt squirreled away for paying a poll tax in Texas in the Bad Ol’ Days before civil rights law, voting rights law, became the law of the land.
Nope, there’s nothing new in Texas except the number of definitions of ethnicities, genders and ideologies some old-fashioned Texans fear are lurking under their bed at night.