Tagged: same-sex marriage

Religious groups evenly split over same-sex marriage

The opposition to same-sex marriage is often characterized as religious in nature, but major religious groups are close to evenly split on the issue.

The following chart, based on the Pew Research Center’s own table, breaks down the split:

There are Christian and Jewish groups on both sides. Quakers are supportive, while Mormons aren’t. And two major religions — Hinduism and Buddhism — don’t have stances that are clear enough for Pew to interpret.

A church’s stance on the issue also doesn’t necessarily reflect the population that actually follows the faith. While the Vatican takes a very clear stance against LGBT rights, most American Catholics don’t view homosexuality as morally unacceptable. Most American Catholics don’t even view homosexuality as a sin, Pew found.

Still, some groups with religious roots are definitely among the most ardent opponents of same-sex marriage rights. As LGBT advocacy group HRC points out, the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage rights, has ties to the Mormon Church and Catholic Church. But Pew’s findings show the connection doesn’t necessarily reflect on all religions or even worshipers within those sects.

RTFA for the details and digressions. For the life of me I do not comprehend those religions and their leaders who are less than forthcoming in a public way about their support for civil rights. It didn’t used to be so. Early days, when I woke in jail on a Sunday or Monday morning it was no surprise to be sharing that cell with a Buddhist monk or a Catholic priest.

Days since, there has been no special repression of religious advocates for peace or equal rights. But, religious voices in favor of progress are dim and drowned out by anti-abortion bible-thumping, chickenhawks ready to spill Muslim blood on a foreign land – like Tennessee, Protestants who protest lawful rights for gay or lesbian couples. Where did they go this 50% of Believers?

There are people we elect to provide leadership in law and economy. There are people we choose, generally because our parents chose before us in some tired regression, to provide leadership in social well-being and morality. And neither of those classes have the courage or inclination to perform to their job description.

We’re left with the reactionary herd and disciples – elected or God’s minions – and frankly I’m pleased to see the nation in general and especially the generations new and about to be new eager to press on ahead of their papier-mache leaders.

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Court rules states can’t ban gay marriage


Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, winning plaintiffs — their dog’s name is Goji

A federal appeals court has ruled…that states must allow gay couples to marry, finding the Constitution protects same-sex relationships and putting a remarkable legal winning streak across the country one step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The three-judge panel in Denver ruled 2-1 that states cannot deprive people of the fundamental right to marry simply because they want to be wedded to someone of the same sex.

The judges added they don’t want to brand as intolerant those who oppose gay marriage, but they said there is no reasonable objection to the practice.

“It is wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of love and commitment of same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples,” the judges wrote, addressing arguments that the ruling could undermine traditional marriage.

The decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a lower court ruling that struck down Utah’s gay marriage ban. It becomes law in the six states covered by the court: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. However, gay marriages won’t be happening in the near future because the panel immediately put its ruling on hold pending an appeal…

And everyone knows we can count upon the intolerant and bigoted to appeal this decision.

The decision gives increased momentum to a legal cause that already has compiled an impressive record in the lower courts after the Supreme Court last year struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Since then, 16 federal judges have issued rulings siding with gay marriage advocates…

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said blah, blah, blah, blah.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement on its website blah, blah, blah, blah.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert in a statement said blah, blah, blah, blah.

Now same-sex marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Recent polls show a majority of Americans support it.

Concepts advanced in times of ignorance need to be reexamined in the context of society, science and knowledge growing over time. Only fools accept textbooks as unchanging and fixed. Yet, the weakest among our species, the least educated and those who profit from fear would keep this nation and the world in darkness centuries old.

Oh yeah, you can count Indiana, now, too. :)

Pic of the Day

gay-marriage-pennsylvania
Click to enlargeReutersDelma and Peg Welch

A federal district judge has struck down a ban on same-sex marriages in Pennsylvania, giving American gay rights campaigners their third judiciary victory in just a week.

“We hold that Pennsylvania’s marriage laws violate both the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14h Amendment to the United States Constitution,” said Judge John Jones in a 39-page ruling.

Overdue. Welcome.

A little more civil rights comes to Arkansas


Kristin Seaton (L) and Jennifer Rambo first out with a marriage license

Gay marriage arrived in the Bible Belt on Saturday, beginning with two women who had traveled overnight to ensure they’d be first in line.

“Thank God,” Jennifer Rambo said after Carroll County Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn issued a marriage license to her and Kristin Seaton, a former volleyball player at the University of Arkansas. The Fort Smith couple wed moments later on a sidewalk near the courthouse; the officiant wore a rainbow-colored dress…

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza paved the way Friday with a ruling that removed a 10-year-old barrier, saying a constitutional amendment overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2004 banning gay marriage was “an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality.” Piazza’s ruling also overturned a 1997 state law banning gay marriage.

But because Piazza didn’t issue a stay, Arkansas’ 75 county clerks were left to decide for themselves whether to grant marriage licenses.

Rambo, 26, and Seaton, 27, were the first gay couple to be legally married. They arrived about 2 a.m., slept in a Ford Focus and awoke every half-hour to make sure no one else would take a spot at the head of the line.

As dawn came, no one was certain any clerk would issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. Initially, deputy clerk Lana Gordon said she wasn’t sure she had the authority and shooed people from her office.

“We just walked out of here crying,” Rambo said.

When Osborn intervened, other same-sex couples let Rambo and Seaton return to their place in line.

Piazza’s lack of a stay caused confusion among county clerks, Association of Arkansas Counties executive director Chris Villines said.

“Confusion” is journalistic politeness for behaving like the bigots who have ruled grassroots Bible Belt politics for decades. When we dealt with the first similar ruling in New Mexico county clerks rushed to be among the first to issue marriage licenses. There wasn’t even a need to poll clerks statewide till the wave of freedom hit the Texas side of the state. And after the state body of county clerks voted resoundingly to go ahead there were only a couple of backwards clerks who said their god wouldn’t let them participate – and resigned.

Never did hear who paid for the phone call from their “personal god” – but, the earth did not rend asunder nor did any firstborn children end up struck dead except by the usual means in New Mexico.

RTFA for more anecdotal tales of happiness in spite of intransigent homophobia.

UKIP suspends councillor who blames floods on gay marriage

bigots

UKIP has suspended an Oxfordshire councillor after he blamed recent flooding on the government’s decision to legalise gay marriage.

In a letter to his local paper, David Silvester said he had warned the PM the legislation would result in “disaster”.

He said David Cameron had acted “arrogantly against the Gospel”…

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he was entitled to his “strong Baptist view of the world”, but had defied a request not to do further media interviews.

Mr Farage said: “So we suspended him, quite rightly.”

“He’s not a spokesman for the party,” Mr Farage continued, adding: “I’ve never even met him.”

Conservative Business Minister Michael Fallon said UKIP was “the only big protest party at the moment” and still counted “one or two fruitcakes” among its members…

Mr Silvester, from Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, defected to UKIP from the Conservatives in protest at David Cameron’s support for same-sex unions.

In the letter to the Henley Standard he wrote: “The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war.”

He added: “I wrote to David Cameron in April 2012 to warn him that disasters would accompany the passage of his same-sex marriage bill.

Mr. Silvester should probably emigrate to the Confederate wing of the former colonies where he could join the range of nutballs that infest the Republican Party under the Tea Party umbrella. The family values hypocrites, the constitutionalist hypocrites, libertarian hypocrites or straight-up bigot hypocrites would welcome him with open arms.

US recognizes Utah gay marriages despite official state bigotry


Utah tried civil rights for a week or two – and turned their backs on love

The Obama administration on Friday made the latest contribution to a fast moving legal battle over same-sex marriage rights, as the Justice Department said that the federal government would recognize as lawful the marriages of some 1,300 same-sex couples in Utah even though the state government is largely refusing to do so…

“I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages,” said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in an unusual video announcement on the Justice Department website. “These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds…”

On Wednesday, Gov. Gary R. Herbert announced that the ban, an amendment to the Utah Constitution, was back in legal force while the litigation continued, something that could take years. During that time, he said, the state would not recognize or confer new marital benefits to those same-sex couples who had married.

But with Friday’s announcement, same-sex couples in Utah who married will be able to file joint federal income tax returns and will be eligible for other spousal benefits, like health insurance for the families of federal employees and the ability to sponsor a noncitizen spouse for a family visa…

In Utah, gay couples and supporters of same-sex marriage cheered the federal government’s move. Many were disappointed and angered by the state’s decision not to recognize their new marriages, and have argued that, despite the continuing legal battle, their nuptials are just as valid as any other in Utah.

“It feels like a little victory after the last couple days with our governor,” said Austin Vance, who married his partner last month at the Salt Lake County clerk’s office, with hundreds of other gay couples. “It definitely raises spirits a little bit. It was disturbing that our governor would make those assertions that we wouldn’t be recognized.”

“We’re going to continue to file and act as if we’re married,” he added. “Some people have said that’s an act of civil disobedience. If it is, so be it…”

Sooner or later, Utah – like other backward states – will have to move into the 21st Century. They may not wish to recognize science trumping superstition, reality taking precedence over bigots and know-nothings. But, so far, our Constitution is still recognized as giving superior rule by law for our federal Union over States Rights and the hypocrites that invoke them whenever convenient to their need to have some Americans declared second-class citizens.

Same-sex marriage ruled constitutional by the NM Supreme Court

“We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law” – Justice Chavez, New Mexico Supreme Court, December 19, 2013

This news just broke: The New Mexico Supreme Court affirms that our state constitution affirms the right to marry for same-sex couples!

Every progressive organization in New Mexico, everyone who fights for constitutional protection, economic freedom and protections under the law for every citizen in New Mexico is out on the streets celebrating. My emailbox is filled with folks who worked to press this case. The chimes of freedom ring throughout New Mexico even if the churches of official New Mexico are silent.

Folks who support freedom in New Mexico are fortunate in that many of our elected officials supported this struggle. With the exception of the sole Republican in New Mexico’s delegation to Congress support has been solid. Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, Ben Ray Lujan and Michelle Lujan Grisham will be at celebrations throughout the state tonight. They’re posting congratulations at various social media sites and I for one will be spending a bit of time, this afternoon, wending my way through to “liking” each one of them.

Here’s a link to the official proclamation from the State Supreme Court.

Same-sex weddings in the UK begin in March

The first same-sex weddings in England and Wales will be able to take place from 29 March 2014, Equalities Minister Maria Miller says.

Initially it was thought the first marriages would not take place until next summer…

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaderships all backed the proposals. [Try that one in Congress]

MPs approved the principle of same-sex marriage despite opposition from many Conservatives, which caused tensions in the party. Most Lib Dem and Labour MPs supported the move…

Ms Miller said: “Marriage is one of our most important institutions, and from 29 March 2014 it will be open to everyone, irrespective of whether they fall in love with someone of the same sex or opposite sex.”

She said it was “just another step in the evolution of marriage“.

And she said she was “working hard” to ensure that couples who wanted to convert civil partnerships into marriages – and married people wanting to change their legal gender while remaining married – would be able to do so before the end of next year.

From June, people will also be able to take part in same-sex weddings in some British consulates and armed forces bases overseas or in military chapels.

Going to be lots of happy couples in the UK starting with the end of March. No, that doesn’t include the opposition who, of course, don’t believe in everyone having a right to fall in love and enjoy the rights of citizenship.

So what? On sum, I’m confident the increase in happy folks outweighs unhappy homophobes.

Gay teacher fired from Catholic school — Did you think the new pope changed old bigots?


Vincent Giannetto and his partner Michael Griffin

A gay teacher says he was fired from his job at a suburban Philadelphia Catholic school after applying for a marriage license with his partner.

Officials at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem said Michael Griffin, who taught Spanish and French at the private all-boys school until he was fired Friday, had violated his contract when he applied for a marriage license with his same-sex partner in New Jersey.

Today I applied for a marriage license since NJ now has marriage equality,” Griffin posted on his Facebook page. “After 12 years together I was excited to finally be able to marry my partner. Because of that, I was fired from Holy Ghost Preparatory School today. I am an alumnus of the school and have taught there for 12 years. I feel hurt, saddened, betrayed and except for this post, am at a loss for words.”

Griffin said he had sent an email to school administrators informing them of his intentions, not expecting to be terminated given that his relationship had not been a secret among school faculty and staff, WCAU-TV, Philadelphia, reported.

“I’ve been with my partner for more than 12 years, the entire time I’ve been teaching at the school,” Griffin told the TV station. “He’s been to numerous school functions with me…”

The Rev.James McCloskey, the school’s headmaster, confirmed in a statement that Griffin was fired over his application for a same-sex marriage license…”…this decision contradicts the terms of his teaching contract at our school, which requires all faculty and staff to follow the teachings of the church as a condition of their employment.

Of course, if state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court, had the courage to follow our Constitution, they would support the rule that contracts that violate state and federal law aren’t legal and binding.

The crap “tradition” defense is as useless as any other line of bull from bigots. Cripes, I recall passage of the Civil Rights Law freeing up the trade union I belonged to at the time. The national union constitution only allowed the president to be white and male.

Republicans on the Supreme Court are as beholden to the “higher power” of bigotry as today’s Roman Catholic church. Mail me a penny postcard when justice unexpectedly breaks out.

Illinois is Sweet 16

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.