Posts Tagged ‘gay rights’
Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.
The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter: Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does, that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”
…The list of signers includes a string of Republican officials and influential thinkers — 75 as of Monday evening — who are not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their previous positions…But the presence of so many well-known former officials — including Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, and William Weld and Jane Swift, both former governors of Massachusetts — suggests that once Republicans are out of public life they feel freer to speak out against the party’s official platform, which calls for amending the Constitution to define marriage as “the union of one man and one woman…”
In making an expansive argument that same-sex marriage bans are discriminatory, the brief’s signatories are at odds with the House Republican leadership, which has authorized the expenditure of tax dollars to defend the 1996 marriage law. The law defines marriage in the eyes of the federal government as the union of a man and a woman.
Congressional Republicans still have no qualms about spending taxpayer dollars to support a baseless law. One, in fact, that doesn’t represent the advancing position of the whole nation. That’s criminal compared to moderates who have decided to support a libertarian position on marriage now that they don’t have to run for re-election.
Mind – it’s not that I don’t think progressive Americans should deny their support. Hey, I wouldn’t even mind a Cardinal or two disagreeing with Rome about something as sensible as contraception. It’s just worth a chuckle at the hindsight that seems to appear when the pressure of appeasing the most ignorant and backwards members of a political party is removed.
Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, has ruled homosexuals should be able to adopt children.
The court Friday rejected a claim by a Muslim man in Brescia that his child was being damaged because his former partner is now living with a woman, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. The court called the belief that being brought up by a gay couple is damaging to children “mere prejudice.”
Flavio Romani, president of the group Arcigay, called it a “historic ruling” and said it will allow future governments to enact laws allowing same-sex marriage.
“The Cassation Court today reaffirmed what we’ve been saying for a long time,” Romani said. “Love is what makes children grow, and not the sexual orientation of their parents…”
Politicians across a broad swath from Left to Rightwing [but interested in re-election] said the same.
The Rev. Domenico Sigalini, a Catholic priest speaking for the Italian Episcopal Conference, said courts should not decide on family matters.
Sigalini, of course, is only centuries out of date.
I don’t think anyone interviewed the Pope.
The Supreme Court has seized center stage in a historic social policy debate over same-sex marriage by agreeing to review the validity under the Constitution of a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
In an order, the court also announced that it would consider a challenge to California’s ban on gay marriage, known as Proposition 8, which voters narrowly approved in 2008.
Same-sex marriage is a hot-button issue in a country where 31 of the 50 states have passed constitutional amendments banning it while Washington, D.C., and nine states have legalized it, three of them on Election Day last month.
Yet even where it is legal, married same-sex couples do not qualify for a host of federal benefits because the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, passed by Congress, only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman.
Gays and lesbians married under state laws have filed suits challenging their denial of such benefits as Social Security survivor payments and the right to file joint federal tax returns. They argue the provision, known as Section 3, violates equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
The court could follow the model of some lower courts and rule narrowly…or it could demonstrate the courage of previous courts and come down on the side of equal civil rights for all Americans, recognize a right to marriage equality.
My concerns are obvious, the same experienced by any American confronting the political theater our legal system has become. There is no shortage of bigots and fools who would apply the heart of constitutional freedoms only to a limited number of citizens. Egalitarian law applied to all citizens doesn’t occur to many who base their beliefs on superstition instead of science, privilege instead of equal opportunity.
I have more confidence in the legal flunkies of the Right who sit on the Supreme Court bench being more concerned – for once – with their image and reputation in future legal histories than with bending to the sound and fury of their class. It would be even more pleasing to see them stand up for the spirit of our constitution.
BTW – President Hollande and Valerie Trierweile aren’t married – they’re partners
French ministers grappled Wednesday with the issue of same-sex marriage and adoption rights as the Cabinet approved a draft bill in the face of fierce resistance from the Roman Catholic Church and social conservatives.
Extending the right to marry and adopt to same-sex couples was one of President Francois Hollande’s electoral pledges in campaigning this year.
The bill is expected to go before the National Assembly and Senate in January, and is likely to be voted on in February or March. If passed, it would mark the biggest step forward for French gay rights advocates in more than a decade…
An opinion poll released Wednesday by polling group Ifop and Le Monde newspaper found 65% of those surveyed support equal marriage rights for same-sex couples — a clear majority of the population…
Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, voiced his opposition to the proposed legislation at a meeting of French bishops in Lourdes over the weekend…
Golly gee! There’s a surprise.
Other religious groups in France, including Muslims, Jews and Buddhists, have also expressed their concern over the draft bill, and more than 100 lawmakers are against the legislation…
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has said the proposed changes are a matter of justice and equality that reflect the evolving nature of society…
A law legalizing civil unions was introduced in 1999 in France under a previous Socialist government.
Known in France as the PACS (pacte civil de solidarite), the civil union agreement can be entered into by gay or straight couples and confers many but not all of the rights of marriage.
Something the religious conservatives hate to admit is that civil unions are already more popular than marriage. Among other reasons, there is no need for religion to validate anything.
Please – watch the video all the way through to the end. The good Reverend makes a point about parallel questions in the history of civil rights.
The Scottish government is to introduce new powers to legalise same-sex marriages in churches and in civil ceremonies, despite vigorous and bitter opposition from church leaders.
A draft bill that will enable gay and lesbian couples to marry with the same legal rights as heterosexual couples will be published later this year and is expected to be enacted next year, after Scottish ministers resisted intense pressure from the Catholic church to drop the proposals.
The legislation will include significant new protections and “conscience clauses” for churches and individual clergy who object to gay marriage on religious grounds, said Nicola Sturgeon, the deputy first minister.
She added that opposition to the bill – which included 64% of the 62,000 responses from within Scotland to the Scottish government’s consultation – had not persuaded her to drop or dilute the measures.
“We believe that in a country that aspires to be an equal and tolerant society, as we do in Scotland, then this is the right thing to do,” Sturgeon said…
Sturgeon said she was confident it would be passed comfortably: all the party leaders at Holyrood supported the measure, and a majority of Scottish National party backbenchers did so. The SNP will give their 67 MSPs a free vote.
The Roman Catholic church, backed by senior Muslim organisations and evangelical and presbyterian churches, organised a huge postcard and internet petition campaign against the proposals.
But Sturgeon said detailed responses using the Scottish government’s own online consultation document showed a majority in favour of gay marriage: by 65% to 35% against. Major public opinion polls also showed that most Scottish voters supported same-sex marriage, with about two-thirds of Scots in favour.
A proud day for Scotland indeed. And an object lesson from a government not especially known as being more progressive than conservative – still willing to lead rather than to diddle around with populist opportunism.
May we someday be subject to such bravery in Washington.
A federal judge has boosted the campaign for gay marriage by overturning a law which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples.
Claudia Wilken, a district court judge for the northern district of California, ruled on Thursday that congress acted unconstitutionally in discriminating against gay couples in the 1996 Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA)…
Gay rights campaigners welcomed the ruling. “This adds to the momentum for overturning this radical and discriminatory law,” said Evan Wolfson, of Freedom to Marry, an advocacy group.
Wilken, a Clinton-era appointee based in Oakland, a liberal bastion, was the third federal judge to find Doma unconstitutional following a ruling by judge Joseph Tauro in Massachusetts in 2010 and one by judge Jeffrey White in California earlier this year…
DOMA, which was championed by opponents of gay marriage, defines marriage as “a legal union of a one man and one woman as husband and wife”. It withholds multiple federal benefits, including joint tax filing and immigration sponsorship, from gay couples legally married under state law.
Wilken said gays and lesbians were constitutionally protected from “burdensome legislation that is the product of sheer antigay animus and devoid of any legitimate governmental purpose“…
Wilken also overturned another 1996 law withholding federal tax benefits to long-term health insurance plans for state employees if they included domestic partners.
That, like Doma, was based on “moral condemnation and social disapprobation of same-sex couples,” she said. The judge cited congressional debate transcripts that same-sex domestic partnership was “an attack on the family” and would “undermine the traditional moral values that are the bedrock of this nation”.
Overdue. Of course.
The sort of bigots stuck into denying civil rights to Americans couldn’t care less about the history or value of our Constitution. All that is important to their narrow minds is retaining the sense of privilege their superstition values. Whether they feel “chosen” or “forgiven” is unimportant. All that counts in their petty lives is feeling somehow superior to some other American.
Their peers may choose color or religion or ethnic background as their target. This particular crowd relies on homophobia to justify their fear and hatred. They are all equally invalid and unconstitutional.
Is your mayor in the picture?
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Mayors of about 80 U.S. cities from New York to Los Angeles to Houston are backing a campaign to remove legal barriers to same-sex marriage nationwide.
“The more support we build in our cities and states, the stronger case we can make for extending the freedom to marry to loving couples no matter where they live,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles said…at a news briefing on the issue. Same-sex marriage is illegal under California law.
Legislators in Washington, New Jersey and Maryland are pushing measures to permit the practice, while voters in North Carolina and Minnesota will face ballot questions this year on banning it. Federal law doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, which are legal in New York, Iowa, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.
“Law-abiding, tax-paying families and their children deserve the same opportunities, the same rights and the same responsibilities afforded to every other family,” said Villaraigosa, a Democrat, at the briefing in Washington, where the U.S. Conference of Mayors is meeting. He spoke in support of Freedom to Marry, a New York-based advocacy group that says bans discriminate against homosexuals and infringe on their rights…
“On average in New York City, 700 gay and lesbian couples are now getting married at the city clerk’s offices” each month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “That means every month, hundreds of more parents and children are gaining the economic stability and protections that come with being a formal family unit.”
The mayor added that the change has been an economic boon for the largest U.S. city. He has said that the new law helps companies attract top talent and draws same-sex couples as tourists, including some who intend to marry while in New York…
Efforts to make the practice legal gained momentum in 2003, when the top Massachusetts court ruled 4-3 that a ban was unconstitutional. In 2004, the city of San Francisco initiated a court battle by letting gay couples wed. Massachusetts became the first state to permit same-sex marriage in May of that year.
Like so many civil rights struggles, though religious fundamentalists form the bastion of reactionary opposition, the issue of marriage equality encourages many more people to rethink the bigotry that props up the intellectual dishonesty and fear that denies equal opportunities to all citizens of this nation.
Catholic Charities refused Rick Wade and Tim Kee when the couple tried to adopt 3 years ago
Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois have shuttered most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in the state rather than comply with a new requirement that says they must consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care and adoptive parents if they want to receive state money. The charities have served for more than 40 years as a major link in the state’s social service network for poor and neglected children.
The bishops have followed colleagues in Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts who had jettisoned their adoption services rather than comply with nondiscrimination laws.
So much for dedication to the needs of the people.
For the nation’s Catholic bishops, the Illinois requirement is a prime example of what they see as an escalating campaign by the government to trample on their religious freedom while expanding the rights of gay people. The idea that religious Americans are the victims of government-backed persecution is now a frequent theme not just for Catholic bishops, but also for Republican presidential candidates and conservative evangelicals…
The Illinois experience indicates that the bishops face formidable opponents who also claim to have justice and the Constitution on their side. They include not only gay rights advocates, but also many religious believers and churches that support gay equality (some Catholic legislators among them). They frame the issue as a matter of civil rights, saying that Catholic Charities was using taxpayer money to discriminate against same-sex couples…
If you are to be a responsible citizen of a country you function within the law that governs that nation. Yes, you may challenge laws within legitimate political means and methods. Picking up your marbles and running home is not responsible behavior.
An ultra-liberal party that surged from nowhere to third place in Poland’s election plans to shake up the political system with demands for the repeal of restrictions on individual freedoms and an end to the Catholic Church’s privileges.
Janusz Palikot, a wealthy former vodka tycoon, has stormed into parliament with 10 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election at the head of a motley crew of political novices that includes Poland’s first transsexual lawmaker, Anna Grodzka.
A tired but jubilant Palikot, a former member of Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s ruling centre-right Civic Platform that has won re-election, said on Monday Poland was ripe for change. “We’re fighting a culture of delegalisation. In Poland, you go to jail for insulting the President, for a word, for insulting religious feelings, insulting an official,” the 46-year-old divorcee and father of four told reporters.
“You go to jail for drinking beer and then walking with your bike. You go to jail for smoking a joint. For abortion. This is a nihilist policy which hurts people.”
Palikot’s Movement, as the party is known, has tapped into a rich vein of disaffection, especially among young people, by supporting gay rights, abortion, public funding for in vitro fertilisation and legalisation of soft drugs…
Palikot has scandalised conservative Poles with stunts such as waving a dildo and a toy gun at a news conference to publicise a rape case against a policeman, and with his outspoken call for an end to the Catholic Church’s privileges…
But Palikot wants to end tax exemptions for priests and public funding for religion classes in state schools.
I haven’t visited Poland in decades; but, it sounds like life is getting exciting. Challenging the Catholic Church not only demands sound analysis and forethought – it also sounds like the time is coming ripe for secular freedom for Polish culture.