Posts Tagged ‘gay marriage’
A leading critic of Gay Marriage reverses his position – becomes a supporter of civil rights, opponent of homophobia
Gay rights groups have welcomed a surprise embrace of same-sex marriage by one of its previously most staunch opponents.
David Blankenhorn, who had been seen as a leading voice in the campaign to keep marriage solely between a man and a woman, has stunned his supporters by penning a column in the New York Times in which he now says he supports gay marriage rights.
“As a marriage advocate, the time has come for me to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do,” Blankenhorn wrote in the column.
The move is remarkable given Blankenhorn’s high profile in the anti-gay marriage movement…
Not surprisingly the shock move – and the high-profile way in which it was announced – was welcomed by groups campaigning on behalf of gay marriage…
In his column Blankenhorn said that he now believed that extending marriage rights to gay couples could strengthen the overall institution of marriage within broader society, rather than weaken it…
He also expressed disappointment that much anti-gay marriage sentiment was based on prejudice against homosexuality, rather than any thoughts on the role of marriage within American cultural life…
Blankenhorn’s self-judgement reinforces what has been my position all along. I haven’t attacked those few Americans who felt there was a question about the institution of marriage which founded their opposition to gay marriage. I thought they were wrong. But, they were acting on a question of judgement – not bigotry.
Now that he’s turned against what he sees more clearly as an illegitimate point of social law, he also recognizes the necessity of opposing those who are fighting for a political act based on their homophobia, their bigotry.
Kudos to a man with an open mind – willing to learn to advance his own understanding.
Public opinion continues to shift in favor of same-sex marriage, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, which also finds initial signs that President Obama’s support for the idea may have changed a few minds.
Overall, 53 percent of Americans say gay marriage should be legal, hitting a high mark in support while showing a dramatic turnaround from just six years ago, when just 36 percent thought it should be legal. Thirty-nine percent, a new low, say gay marriage should be illegal.
The poll also finds that 59 percent of African Americans say they support same-sex marriage, up from an average of 41 percent in polls leading up to Obama’s announcement of his new position on the matter. Though statistically significant, it is a tentative result because of the relatively small sample of black voters in the poll.
The poll comes two weeks after Obama unexpectedly endorsed same-sex marriage after a year and a half of “evolving” on the subject. Gay rights groups predicted the president’s announcement would have a far-reaching impact on public opinion, in part because Obama described how he came to his own decision, referring to his gay friends and the influence of his young daughters, Sasha and Malia.
“By speaking in very personal terms about his own journey, the president has helped to build a larger and stronger majority in support of full equality for committed gay and lesbian couples,” said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group that supports Obama’s reelection.
Seventy-one percent of Americans have a friend, family member or acquaintance who is gay, according to the Post-ABC survey, compared with 63 percent in 2010 and 59 percent in 1998.
More than anything else, this poll result reflects what can be accomplished by our elected officials demonstrating a wee bit of leadership, offering a taste of education from the platform we gave them. Way too rare an event in our nation’s seat of political power.
America’s elected officials rely more and more on popularity contests and reality show gamesmanship to get elected. Perish the thought they offer a programmatic platform where we might tick off the boxes and say, “yes – you worked hard at getting that issue resolved”. Instead, monthly emails arrive with self-pats-on-the-back for supporting the lowest common denominator bills – and little or nothing about conflicts or how they were confronted.
I thank Obama for getting up on his hind legs – for a change. He does well on the road. He opens up to real people, working people, the salt of the Earth when he’s on the road. He might try it a bit in his dealings with Congress critters. Certainly in an instance like this one, confronting a question of civil rights, he struck a responsive chord among American voters.
Just hours after President Obama announced on Wednesday that he supported same-sex marriage, the Department of Veterans Affairs said it would not defend the constitutionality of two federal laws that define marriage as between a man and a woman.
The declaration was made in a Connecticut case in which a disabled Navy veteran is challenging the constitutionality of the two laws, one of which is the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The former sailor, Carmen Cardona of Norwich, is asserting that the government improperly denied her benefits.
Ms. Cardona says that after she married her partner in 2010, the V.A. regional office rejected her application for a spousal increase in her monthly disability compensation, citing federal statute defining a spouse as “a person of the opposite sex.”
Last year, President Obama ordered the Department of Justice to stop defending the constitutionality of DOMA. But Ms. Cardona filed her complaint before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, where cases are generally argued by lawyers from the Department of Veterans Affairs, not from the Justice Department.
Until Wednesday, it had been unclear whether the V.A. would continue to defend the law.
In a statement released through her lawyers at the veterans legal services clinic at Yale Law School, Ms. Cardona said: “I am proud that Secretary Shinseki has joined me, the Connecticut Attorney General, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America and so many others in recognizing that all veteran families deserve fair treatment.”
The Republican-controlled House has hired a private lawyer to handle the DOMA cases the Obama administration has decided not to defend.
Just in case you wondered who is committed to screwing over veterans who happen to be gay.
Obama became the first U.S. president to back the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry, a reversal from views expressed during the 2008 campaign, when he said he opposed same-sex marriage but favored civil unions as an alternative…
In making his announcement, Obama completes what he had described as an “evolution” in his views on this issue, hastened by growing fervor this week involving gay rights. The growing pressure was capped Tuesday by North Carolina voters’ approval of a constitutional amendment banning not only same-sex marriages, but civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, as well.
Obama’s shift not only speaks to a broad swath of the electorate, which has exhibited increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage in opinion polls, but also gay and lesbian voters who compose a core part of Obama’s base, and have been major fundraisers for his re-election…
Obama explained that he had hesitated in fully supporting same-sex marriage because he thought civil unions would be sufficient.
“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” he told ABC.
The president had found himself under increasing pressure this week to state his position unequivocally after Vice President Joe Biden voiced support for same-sex marriage.
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties,” Biden said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.”
While the White House emphasized that Biden’s position wasn’t representative of the entire administration, Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s pronouncement Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in support of same-sex marriage added to pressure on the president…
I was going to link to the original interview with Robin Roberts of ABC-TV; but – at least at this moment – ABC seems to have pulled it from public access. It appears and reappears, of course – there are hundreds of copies, edited and unedited – posted on YouTube and elsewhere. I imagine the full deal will be reposted sooner or later.
The nutballs on the religious right are going bonkers as you would expect. Here’s how I feel:
Many times over the course of our history as a nation, we have taken the lead before the rest of the world on one or another issue. Public education, world governance and respect for human rights, civil rights for citizens regardless of gender or color or religion. Then, we spend at least as much time battling back against the fearmongers who crap their drawers over questions of freedom for everyone, equal opportunities.
Frankly, I didn’t think Obama would have the courage to get off the fence on this one. Too many politicians afraid to lead – choose hiding in the middle as the best course when facing an election. If there are controversial questions, many will run and hide in the past, many sit in the middle of the road relying on old-fashioned sophistry to protect their gig.
I’m pleased to see him move. I’m pleased to see him stand up for civil rights for the whole population of the United States of America.
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ Admit impediments,” declared the bard of Stratford in his 116th sonnet. And at the Globe theatre in central London on Sunday – even as Catholics were being urged from thousands of pulpits across the country to oppose gay marriage – there was no shortage of same-sex couples ready to heed his encouragement.
At the Designer Civil Partnership show at Shakespeare’s erstwhile theatre, excited couples discussed the colour scheme of invitations, whether wedding “favours” were a necessary part of the big day – and the decision of the Catholic church to wage war against government plans for gay marriage.
“I think it’s disgusting. We are not second-class citizens and the idea that this archaic institution should dictate how we live our lives is appalling,” said Matt Turrell, 37, a photographer specialising in civil partnerships. “At the end of the day, the union of two people should be about love. Why should we be denied the right to express that publicly?”
On Sunday a letter from two senior Catholic archbishops was read in 2,500 parish churches during mass, arguing that a change to the law would reduce the significance of marriage…
At heart and root, the greater fear is the accelerating collapse of social and political power of the religious establishment.
With a string quartet playing in the entrance hall, intense discussions on whether ushers should wear matching cufflinks, and stalls displaying everything from chocolate macaroons to crystal-encrusted table centre pieces, this was a wedding fair much like any other.
But gay couples are still made to feel excluded because they cannot marry in the same way as heterosexual couples, according to Chris Ford, 30, and his fiance Andrew Ogilvie, 32. The couple, both nurses, were told they could have no religious element to their service and described it as the first barrier they had faced as gay men.
“I was gobsmacked,” said Ogilvie. “Automatically you feel second class, that your union is not valued in the same way. It’s not like we are all going to be marching into Catholic churches in bridal dresses, but you just want to have the option. Civil partnerships are good, but they are not perfect…”
Standing in the sunshine overlooking the Thames from a balcony at the Globe, Natasha Marshall, 31, and Debbie Cross, 38, tuck into the bubbles, chatting about the wedding rings they have just chosen for their civil partnership in September. The pair, who have been together for 13 years, would have liked the option of a civil wedding, but seem unconcerned about the fact that they will not yet be able to have a religious ceremony. “Church weddings are boring anyway,” said Cross. “We’re going to have a lot more fun than that.”
The headline suggests a question easy enough to answer with a smile. Which would you rather attend? A gay wedding fair or one more ceremony of 14th Century stink and sermon brimming with fear and hatred, telling us all which orders we are required to obey without question?
Civil rights, evenhanded for all is easy as pie. Just not for those who believe they are above the civil.
Folks in the state Senate gallery applauding passage of the bill
Washington appeared almost certain to become the seventh state to allow same-sex marriage after the State Senate voted late Wednesday for a measure that would allow gay and lesbian couples to marry beginning this summer.
Supporters had considered the Senate to be the more challenging chamber in which to pass the bill, but it was approved easily, by a vote of 28 to 21, after less than 90 minutes of debate. The measure now moves to the House, where it has wide support and could be voted on as soon as next week. Gov. Christine Gregoire has urged the bill’s approval. The governor is a Democrat, and both legislative chambers are controlled by Democrats.
“Regardless of how you vote on this bill, an invitation will be in the mail,” Senator Ed Murray of Seattle, the prime sponsor in the Senate, said in his final remarks before the vote. Mr. Murray, who is gay, has noted many times publicly that he and his longtime partner hope to marry in their home state.
The measure, echoing one passed in New York last June, includes language assuring religious groups that they would not be required to marry same-sex couples or allow them to marry in their facilities. Washington would join New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Iowa as states where same-sex couples can marry. Washington, D.C., also allows same-sex marriage…
The floor debate late Wednesday was civil and relatively succinct… A wonder in American politics.
A few Republicans joined Democrats in support of the bill.
In general, the reactionary wing of America’s artificial political division into two parties continues to come down against civil rights and civil liberties – our Constitution and Bill of Rights notwithstanding.
Predictable. I retain theoretical hope for true multiple-party electoral politics in this nation. One of these centuries.
Harper spends a lot of time in the dark
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
The government is abruptly arguing that the same-sex marriages of many foreigners who wed in Canada are not valid, a move that stunned the gay community and could affect thousands of couples.
In 2005, Canada became one of the first nations in the world to formally legalize gay marriage. Same-sex couples have been marrying in their thousands in Canada, and lenient rules on residency requirements for those seeking a marriage license mean many of them are from abroad.
Ottawa now says many, if not all, the unions involving foreign residents are invalid. It made the argument in a case where two women, one from England and the other from Florida, sought a divorce after their 2005 Canadian marriage…
“(This) is about to, if it hasn’t already, make us look like fools on the international stage,” said Martha McCarthy, a lawyer for the couple at the center of the furor…
“We’re the leaders of gay marriage … and the federal government is saying ‘Oh, yes, sorry, we forgot to mention that for the last nine years we’ve been marrying people that we didn’t think those were valid’,” she told Reuters on Thursday.
Critics blamed the right-of-center Conservative government, which they say wants to roll back social rights such as gay marriage and abortion…
Activists estimate that around 7,500 same-sex couples have married in Canada since 2003, when some provinces first allowed gay marriages. About 2,500 involved were foreigners, many from countries and U.S. states that do not recognize gay unions…
McCarthy said her clients’ message was: “We can’t get divorced in our own jurisdictions because they don’t recognize the validity of our marriage. You guys here in Canada married us so please give us a divorce because no one else will.”
RTFA to keep up on the latest folderol introduced by one more conservative who tries to back out of civil rights because his so-called morals can’t deal with them.
Unless you think Harper and his peers are only worried about convenient divorce.
Democrats introduce bill to repeal DOMA. Republicans stick with homophobia
More than half of Americans say it should be legal for gays and lesbians to marry, a first in nearly a decade of polls by ABC News and The Washington Post.
This milestone result caps a dramatic, long-term shift in public attitudes. From a low of 32 percent in a 2004 survey of registered voters, support for gay marriage has grown to 53 percent today. Forty-four percent are opposed, down 18 points from that 2004 survey.
The issue remains divisive; as many adults “strongly” oppose gay marriage as strongly support it, and opposition rises to more than 2-1 among Republicans and conservatives and 3-1 among evangelical white Protestants, a core conservative group. But opposition to gay marriage has weakened in these groups from its levels a few years ago, and support has grown sharply among others – notably, among Catholics, political moderates, people in their 30s and 40s and men.
The results reflect a changing albeit still polarized climate. Gay marriage has been legalized in five states and the District of Columbia, by court ruling or legislative action, since 2003, while many other states prohibit it. The Obama administration late last month said it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law banning federal recognition of gay marriages…
Adults 50 and older remain more skeptical, but even that’s seen change. Most notably, 33 percent of seniors now say gay marriage should be legal, up from 18 percent five years ago…
Support is up by a striking 23 points among white Catholics, often a swing group and one that’s been ready, in many cases, to disregard church positions on political or social issues. But they have company: Fifty-seven percent of non-evangelical white Protestants now also support gay marriage, up 16 points from its level five years ago. Evangelicals, as noted, remain very broadly opposed. But even in their ranks, support for gay marriage is up by a double-digit margin.
That single word suffices – as it did for civil rights, for electoral enfranchisement for women, for Blacks. Equal opportunity for all citizens of the United States is promised by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It requires the truly bigoted to work at rationales for opposition.
Yes, they can make it seem like a well-reasoned historic choice – when they hammer down on differences used to condemn any minority to one or another inequity. The fact remains that religious or cultural excuses for limiting the opportunities of any portion of our society who enjoy the full rights of citizenship – is an historic crime. And should be treated as such.
An ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church USA who once worked in Minneapolis has been acquitted by a church panel of charges that he violated the church constitution when he legally married his gay partner in California in 2008.
The case of the Rev. Erwin Barron, who was associate pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in the 1990s, is likely to be appealed. It is the first time the divided church, which sidestepped the issue of gay marriage at its national convention last summer in Minneapolis, has dealt with the possible discipline of a gay pastor who legally married a same-sex partner.
Barron, a college professor in San Francisco…faced a 2 1/2-hour trial before a presbytery panel of six at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington. After almost three hours of closed deliberations, the panel split 3-3. A two-thirds vote was required for conviction, which lawyers said could have led to defrockment.
“I’m relieved,” Barron said. “I wish it was more definitive. … The decision is not clear for the church.”
The Rev. Neil Craigan, a White Bear Lake pastor who was on the prosecuting committee, said his group will consider an appeal. The case could rise to the synod level and possibly to the national church for final disposition.
“I think there is a high probability that we will appeal to get more clarity on the issues that we face as a denomination,” Craigan said. “We’ve never had a trial of this kind before.”
But of course churches often have had trials like this one.
RTFA for all the gory details, rationales over why a church should aid in homophobia and diminishing the civil rights of Americans.
Getty Images used by permission
Ken Mehlman, President Bush’s campaign manager in 2004 and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, has told family and associates that he is gay.
Mehlman [he says] arrived at this conclusion about his identity fairly recently, he said in an interview. He agreed to answer a reporter’s questions, he said, because, now in private life, he wants to become an advocate for gay marriage and anticipated that questions would arise about his participation in a late-September fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group that supported the legal challenge to California’s ballot initiative against gay marriage, Proposition 8…
“Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey, and for me, over the past few months, I’ve told my family, friends, former colleagues, and current colleagues, and they’ve been wonderful and supportive. The process has been something that’s made me a happier and better person. It’s something I wish I had done years ago.”
Privately, in off-the-record conversations with this reporter over the years, Mehlman voiced support for civil unions and told of how, in private discussions with senior Republican officials, he beat back efforts to attack same-sex marriage. He insisted, too, that President Bush “was no homophobe…”
Mehlman acknowledges that if he had publicly declared his sexuality sooner, he might have played a role in keeping the party from pushing an anti-gay agenda.
“It’s a legitimate question and one I understand,” Mehlman said. “I can’t change the fact that I wasn’t in this place personally when I was in politics, and I genuinely regret that. It was very hard, personally.” He asks of those who doubt his sincerity: “If they can’t offer support, at least offer understanding…”
Mehlman is aware that his attempts to justify his past silence will not be adequate for many people. He and his friends say that he is aware that he will no longer control the story about his identity — which will simultaneously expose old wounds, invite Schadenfruede, and legitimize anger among gay rights activists in both parties who did not hide their sexual orientations…
RTFA. There is a great deal of soul-searching in the interview with Mehlman. As much as anyone concerned with the ethics of hypocrites – whether they are conservatives or Christians, politicians or pundits – I can’t waste any time on forgiveness over the simple act of finally telling the truth.
There can be military, security reasons for lying – in some few contexts. Platforms vying to represent the political will of the American people are often as likely an opportunity for lying – and wholly unjustifiable. The best I can say about Ken Mehlman is I’m pleased to hear he can look himself in the mirror, now, and know he’s willing to face the world – and himself – as an honest man.