Posts Tagged ‘Same Sex Marriage’

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What Do Canada and Mexico Have that the United States Doesn’t? Equality

08.13.10

For being the self-proclaimed “land of the free,” the United States sure has gone out of its way to deny freedoms to a minority group of Americans with so many states pushing legislation to ban same sex marriages.

I understand that a lot of that comes from traditional values associated with religious beliefs; but, being founded on religious freedom and purposefully not having any state-endorsed faith, it seems that of the countries legalizing gay marriage, the U.S. would be one of those few.

Quite the contrary.  And much of the reason that we’re not comes from those religious beliefs being favored over civil freedoms — see the Mormon Church spending millions to help pass Prop 8.

The reality is that religious belief and civil marriage equality can co-exist.  One doesn’t negate the other.  Case in point:

Our neighbor to the south: Mexico legalized gay marriage.

Mexico? Really?  A country whose population is over three quarters Roman Catholic — a faith whose leader has assailed against gay marriage as even being a threat to creation.  A country that has more Catholics than any other country in the world, except for Brazil?  That’s fascinating.

So how did this happen?  Opponents can’t argue that it was purely judicial activism — it was legalized in Mexico City by the legislature.  Only this week did the Supreme Court uphold the law and also required all states to recognize the marriages that are only currently performed in the capital city. And the vote wasn’t even close, either : 9 – 2, in favor.

So, what’s our excuse?

Sure we’re not so liberal as Canada, who also has legalized marriage equality.  But we’re also not so homogeneous in our beliefs as Mexico, either.  (Although if all you do is listen to the current vitriol from the conservative groups, one might forget that America has no official religion.)  Why have we instead gone the completely opposite direction in creating laws that ban same sex marriage?

If Mexico, with it’s overwhelming number of Roman Catholics can elect a legislature that rules in favor of equality, then why in the world can’t we?

Photo courtesy of Sydney Lea Steele

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Supporting Gay Marriage: It’s Not About the Children. Seriously.

08.05.10

Equal Rights is an American ValueCalifornia’s Proposition 8 has just been overturned.

While a huge victory for marriage equality, with many in favor of equality rejoicing in this, the opponents of gay marriage continue their failed arguments that make sense to their personal beliefs but don’t reconcile with the Constitution.

Even after logic, reason, and the law showed that their arguments held no legal water, gay marriage opponents continue with the same tired rationale:

Most people think of marriage as an institution which indicates the strong feelings which two people have for one another. But the state doesn’t have any interest in privileging strong feelings. Rather, the state is interested in the perpetuation of society, which — to again state the obvious — requires procreation.

So what about sterile couples who want to marry?  Should they be banned as well?  Or how about elderly couples who already have kids and don’t plan on (or are too old) to have any more?

But the bigger issue I have for this argument is: since when does the state have any business in my procreative inclinations? Where in the California or U.S. Constitution does it say anything about requiring married couples to have children?  I would like to see some evidence to this strong claim that our government has a vested, legal interest in whether or not its citizens procreate and that this interest is directly tied to the civil institution of marriage.

I believe this blogger at The American Catholic, along with many others who oppose gay marriage rights, is confusing state with church.  When it comes to secular law, (no, we are not a Catholic nation) the Constitution trumps any religious text.

The American Catholic continues:

The ease with which they [gay marriage supporters] threw out bromides (“finally, equality!”) bothered me, primarily because it revealed two things: 1. a group of intelligent people couldn’t grasp that there might be real objections to same sex “marriage”, and 2. as I’ve noted previously, too many (probably most) Americans simply don’t understand the essential nature of marriage.

1. I question just how real those objections are when the person making them lacks the intellectual honesty to avoid snark by putting quotes around the word “marriage” in order to marginalize it and make it seem that its inferior or not even worthy of the word, making it hard to even have an honest discussion on a logical, rational level and not an emotional-only argument.  And when that person raises objections, offers no legal support for said claims (see above re: marriage being a device of the state to insure the procreation of its citizens.)

2. Given that Americans are a group of widely diverse people with all sorts of beliefs, heritages, and customs, to lump them all together as if there’s some universal consensus on something as personal and varied as marriage shows a very closed-minded, narrow, and narcissistic worldview that believes that one’s own views on marriage are the right way and the only way to think.

The reality is that there are religious rules and there are secular laws.  They don’t always match up because we live in a society that allows for the practicing of all faiths.  But our laws are based on equality and fairness.

Change is difficult. Fighting for equal rights that are guaranteed in the Constitution is extremely tough to secure.  But the fight is worthwhile.

Equality will prevail. This is just another step forward.

Photo courtesy of stevebott’s Flickr photostream

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Same-Sex Marriages Recognized in Maryland

02.24.10

Gansler: Effective immediately Md. recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere

UPDATE 2:50 P.M.: Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) says effective immediately the state recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and state agencies should begin giving gay couples the rights they were awarded elsewhere.

UPDATE 10:25 a.m.: Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery), who requested the opinion from Gansler, said in a brief interview that he was unsure whether there would be any immediate ramifications.

“It’s reaffirmation of what we thought, that Maryland can recognize gay marriage,” Madaleno said.

He said that changes in state policy could result from a court ruling, legislation or administrative action.

Original Post: A long-awaited opinion by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) out Wednesday morning concludes that the state’s highest court is likely to rule at some point that same-sex marriages performed in other states are valid in Maryland.

The policy implications of the opinion are not immediately clear, and Gansler says in a one-page summary that his conclusion “is not free from doubt.”

Gansler’s opinion concludes “that the Court of Appeals, when it ultimately rules on this question in a particular case, will likely apply the principle that a marriage that is valid in the place of celebration is valid in Maryland. The opinion reaches this conclusion in light of the evolving state policy, reflected in anti-discrimination laws, domestic partner laws and other legislation, that respects and supports committed intimate same-sex relationships.”

Maryland law currently limits marriages performed in the state to opposite-sex couples.

By John Wagner  |  February 24, 2010; 9:06 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner

This is great news. Now any couple legally married in any of the other five states that have legalized gay marriage will be recognized as a married couple in Maryland. This is an interested step forward – could more states go this route than actually pushing forward with legalizing themselves?

Posted via web from Agree to Disagree

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A Simple Case for Humanity

01.30.10

Too often the case against gay marriage toes the religious or revisionist-history lines, people arguing that marriage has always been between one man and one woman since the beginning of time and that homosexuality is a sin.  People reduce gay marriage to terms of grotesque creatures, not loving human beings and breaking nature’s law.  People argue against it with broad strokes, sweeping generalizations, they point to old texts and hide behind their prejudices, their fears, their ignorance.  It’s much easier this way.  All too often the reality of the effects of the gay marriage ban get ignored.

This is the reality, in real terms, happening to real people, dealing with the greatest of human trials: grave illness.

Bryan Dickenson has been with his partner, Bill Sugg, for 30 years.  But their union is not recognized in any shape or form by any government entity because they live in Texas, where even civil unions and domestic partnerships are illegal.  This means that when Sugg had a stroke and has been in the hospital undergoing extensive rehabilitation since, Dickenson was not allowed sick leave to care for his partner by his employer AT&T, who would extend those benefits to a married, heterosexual couple.  Instead, Dickenson has to use his vacation time in order to go care for his companion, his lover, his spouse in the hospital and is worried that once he runs out, if he continues to ask for time off work to be with Sugg, he would be fired.

This is wrong.  Plain and simple.  Not that AT&T is necessarily to blame – the law is the law, and Dickenson and Sugg have no union to speak of as far as the state of Texas or the United States of America are concerned.  Legally, they’re merely roommates, friends at best.

But they aren’t just roommates or friends.  They are family.  If Texas legalized gay marriage, this wouldn’t be an issue.  As it stands, AT&T has no legal reason to allow Dickenson to use his sick leave.  This type of cruelty must stop.

I know that I haven’t written much about the trial against Prop 8 here in California – not having any legal education, I would merely be reposting what others already are saying in a much more informed way – so I am eagerly awaiting the potential ramifications if Prop 8 is indeed found to be unconstitutional and discriminatory.  I hope that it is, and that the case is eventually brought to the Supreme Court, whose ruling would apply to all gay marriage bans across the country, including this one in Texas.

Of course, by that time, it may be too late for Dickenson and Sugg, and the countless more gay couples with stories like theirs.  Banning gay marriage does nothing to help heterosexual marriage; it only seeks to harm homosexuals.  It’s cruel, it’s inhumane, and it’s heartless.

Here’s hoping Bill Suggs has a speedy recovery and that Bryan Dickenson can be there every step of the way.

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Sarah Palin Tells You How To Live, But Doesn’t

01.14.10

Sarah Palin on Fox News 2010:

“There is nothing more important in my life than my relationship with God and my faith and in this past year especially — past year and a half — I have been so driven to my knees to pray for His guidance, for His wisdom, for His grace and for His Strength. And I’m never going to tell anybody else how to live, I’m never going to preach to anybody else and tell them you must do that.

Sarah Palin in 2008 during the presidential campaign:

I’m not going to be out there judging individuals, sitting in a seat of judgment telling what they can and can’t do, should and should not do, but I certainly can express my own opinion here and take actions that I believe would be best for traditional marriage and that’s casting my votes and speaking up for traditional marriage that, that instrument that it’s the foundation of our society is that strong family and that’s based on that traditional definition of marriage, so I do support that.”

My emphasis.

Clearly, Palin has no idea what it means to judge people and tell anyone else how to live because pushing for a constitutional amendment that would ban a certain, targeted group of Americans – homosexuals – from participating in the institution of marriage is exactly telling someone else how to live and judging who they are as people.

Palin’s words are hollow and meaningless.  She contradicts herself within same sentences.  She is an affront to logic and reason.  And yet millions of Americans adore her.  This baffles and frightens me.

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D.C. Catholic Church Backs Down

12.18.09

The Washington, D.C. Archdiocese has its bluff called.

When will opponents to same sex marriage finally realize that it affects no one other than those couples who wish to bind their love just like some heterosexuals choose to do?  It doesn’t impede upon religion or cause some slippery slope into depraved pedophilia or other nonsense that some will have you believe.

It’s about love and equality.  That’s all.  Plain and simple.

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D.C. Takes Big Step Forward in Same Sex Marriage Battle

12.15.09

gay marriage

The D.C. Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that will legalize same sex marriages.  It next will go to Mayor Adrian Fenty who is expected to sign the bill by the end of next week.

This is a big step forward in the marriage equality movement and I applaud the 11 members of the D.C. Council who voted in favor of this bill.  I must say it will be a very odd contradiction having America’s Capital allowing same sex marriages while Washington still outlaws them.

Slowly but surely, state by state, district by district, the rational viewpoint will prevail and equality will trump discrimination.  Way to set a solid example, D.C.

(Photo courtesy of Steve Bott)

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The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

12.02.09

From the New York Senate, where the legislature just voted against marriage quality:

“When I walk through these doors, my Bible stays out.” – Sen. Eric Adams, D-Brooklyn

“That’s the wrong statement. You should carry your Bible all the time.” – Sen. Ruben Diaz, R-The Bronx

How is this total breach of church and state allowed?  Again, the Republicans show how they’ve become a church.  It’s much more a religious movement than anything resembling a political party of any credibility.

UPDATE: Sen. Diaz is NOT a Republican.  He is a Democrat.  Please see my subsequent apology and correction.

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Huckabee: Broken Record on Same Sex Marriage

11.26.09

Leave it to potential GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to repeat old rhetoric in his battle against same-sex marriage.

Huckabee panders to the Christian Right and alienates everyone else with his flawed slippery-slope argument that if same-sex marriage were legalized, that just about any form of union would end up being permitted.  Namely, that polygamy should then be allowed.

He argues that:

“You know, I hear people say, ‘Well, what would be wrong?’ What would be wrong, then, with a man having two or three or six or seven wives? Or a woman having six or seven husbands all at the same time? Other than the financial challenge of doing that.”

What a flawed argument, but one that can be very convincing to people who don’t take the time to actually think about it.  The issue here isn’t polygamy.  It’s about homosexuality.  And this is just Huckabee’s way to divert the attention away from the real reason that he’s against it: his fundamentalist Christian views.  He thinks that he’s masking his religious reasons for desiring a secular ban on one type of marriage simply based on the demographic of people being married, which is a prime example of institutional discrimination, by using the tired and patently false historical argument – that marriage has always meant one man and one woman – and equating homosexuals with polygamists.  Classic fear-mongering rhetoric that holds no water whatsoever.

Huckabee:

“Marriage doesn’t mean any and everything we want it to mean.  In all the recorded years of human history it has only meant one thing. It has meant a man and a woman relationship, that not only created the next generation, but that trained the next generation to be their replacements. It’s not just the matter of the biological reproduction, however. It’s the context in which children are able to grow up understanding the role models that both the male and the female provide.”

There are so many things wrong with his argument.  First off:

1) Marriage hasn’t only meant one thing in all the recorded years of human history.  Perhaps it’s meant the same thing in all the recorded years of The Huckabee Family History but you need not look further than his own admission of polygamy to realize that there are other forms of marriage that are perfectly valid for those groups of people (I assume they’re humans, thus in the realm of human history).  See also, arranged marriages, polyandry, and a whole slew of different unions in many societies.  Even if fringe or practiced amongst a small group of people, it disproves Huckabee’s statement that marriage has always meant one singular thing.

2) Being married doesn’t mean you have to be parents.  There are all kinds of circumstances where married couples don’t end up training “the next generation to be their replacements,” such as, infertile couples or those who just don’t want to have children.  I’ve never been married, but I’ve been to a number of weddings, and none of the requirements that I heard during the ceremonies involved procreation and the training of said offspring.

Huckabee uses that falsity to lead to yet another one.

3) Children can learn the ins and outs of being a human being without having both a man and woman guiding them.  I’m getting tired of reading my own print right now because it feels like Huckabee is making me sound like a broken record.  Again, all it takes is actually stopping and spending a brief moment thinking about this to realize that Huckabee is full of total crap and that nothing in his argument holds true.  With his rationale, he should be fighting to outlaw childless married couples, single-parent families, and foster parents (to take a page out of his own slippery slope book).

It doesn’t take a historian to know that marriage – like many cultural customs – has changed and varied over time across cultures as they evolve and change.  Huckabee bases his argument on his own personal beliefs that fall under those of Christianity, which is fine, were he arguing to make changes to his church’s rules, not secular American laws.  But he’s not.

This is a man who fashions himself a presidential candidate in 2012 yet bases his arguments for and against secular laws on his own religious beliefs over the rights granted by the U.S. Constitution.  The Republican Party really is no longer a political entity anymore so much as it has become a church.  And that has no place whatsoever in American politics.

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D.C. Board: No Right To Vote On Same-Sex Marriage

11.19.09

From California to Iowa to Arkansas to New Hampshire, the debate over the legalization of same-sex marriage has crossed the country.  Recently, Washington, D.C. passed a bill recognizing the union of same-sex couples married legally in one of the handful of states where it’s allowed.

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics put a stop to a ballot initiative that would’ve put the matter up to a vote, effectively clearing the way for the bill to be signed into law.  However, Bishop Harry Jackson sued in an effort to reverse the decision by the Board.

Let’s take a look at this current debate, shall we?

The Board’s reasoning:

The board ruled Tuesday that the proposed initiative on whether to define marriage as being between a man and a woman violates the city’s Human Rights Act because it would be discriminatory toward gay men and lesbians.

The opposition:

“The people of D.C. have a right to vote on the definition of marriage,” said Austin R. Nimocks, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, the conservative legal group representing Jackson. “The D.C. Charter guarantees the people the right to vote, and the council cannot amend the charter for any reason, much less to deny citizens the right to vote.”

Without knowing the law I’m not really the best person to weigh in on this topic, and I’m clearly biased in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.  Perhaps there’s something to look at in a government entity denying the right to vote to the people, but the Board is an elected group, so they’re representing the people.  Also, there is this:

[D.C] city code prohibits a public vote on a matter protected under the Human Rights Act.

Which makes perfect sense.  I don’t know where people got this sense of entitlement that made them think that they have the right to vote on the definition of marriage.  We live in a republic, not a true democracy; people don’t get to vote on every single issue.  Most importantly, no one should have the right to vote to deny a specifically targeted group of citizens rights that others have.

Here’s hoping Jackson’s lawsuit gets dismissed by the Supreme Court, that D.C. passes this bill into law, and that legally married same-sex couples from across the country will at least be recognized in our nation’s capital.

It’ll be another step closer to equality.