Posts filed under ‘Marriage equality’

A Quick Roundup of #10thCircuit Hearing

After originally planning to attend the hearings, I was unable to make the trip. But I’m excited to write a little bit about the oral argument from afar. As we are awaiting the audio and transcripts of the argument, the re are a few quick resources that you may grab your interest.

First, RestoreOurHumanity had the livestream of the immediate response after the hearing completed. The audio feed gave me a few problems, but you will find some other interesting content in addition to the stored livestream. Hopefully that video will be corrected soon. Salt Lake’s Fox13 is also now live streaming their newscast with information from the argument.

The best place for instantaneous reaction from the oral argument was unsurprisingly twitter. I’ve been following the #10thCircuit hashtag, and it is certainly worth a few refresh cycles today. Reporter Ben Winslow, of Fox 13 tweeted that he thought the judges were leaning 2-1 in favor of marriage equality.

Winslow also has some comments in his feed from the plaintiffs, with Derek Kitchen stating that he is “humbled and proud” at the performance of his attorneys and the serious consideration that the three judges provided. For his part, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes says that he apologized to the plaintiffs for their pain, but that it was his duty to defend the law.

April 10, 2014 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

Should we Push for Marriage or Compromise on Civil Unions? May 9th Marriage News Watch

By Matt Baume

Disagreement over marriage versus civil unions could drive Rhode Island’s LGBT activists against each other. Meanwhile, an unknown source is funneling millions of dollars to anti-gay groups in fifteen states. We’ll talk about Target’s role in Minnesota’s proposed double-ban on marriage, and share some good news from Brazil, Scotland, and Taiwan.

The fight for marriage grew even more heated this week in Rhode Island with the introduction of a civil unions bill. One week earlier, sponsors of a marriage bill decided to pull their legislation due to what they felt was a lack of votes. But now, this civil unions compromise, introduced by Representative Peter Petrarca, is coming under fire from groups like Marriage Equality Rhode Island and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.

GLAD criticized House Speaker Gordon Fox for giving up on the marriage bill, and Rhode Island Marriage Equality began formulating plans to vote out anti-marriage legislators in 2012. That’s likely to include Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed, a Democrat who opposes marriage.

But in order for that effort to be successful, Marriage Equality Rhode Island still needs the House to vote on marriage to determine out who exactly needs to be voted out. Marriage bill sponsor Arthur Handy may be able to force a House vote by attaching an amendment to the civil unions bill, which would also endanger its chances of passage.

Meanwhile, around the country, we’re starting to see a mysterious surge in spending on anti-gay campaigns through a program called Ignite an Enduring Cultural Transformation. The cash is flowing to Family Research Councils in 15 states, which have created 3-year plans to oppose marriage, as well as anti-discrimination and abortion legislation.

The source of the money is unclear, but it adds up to millions more than has been spent in past years. It includes anti-gay initiatives in Idaho, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Arizona, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kansas, Louisiana, Florida, Indiana, and Massachusetts.

The biggest spending is in Virginia, where an anti-gay group is getting $1.2 million; New Jersey, which is getting $1.3 million; Pennsylvania with $1.5 million, and Minnesota, with $4.7 million.

Pennsylvania and Minnesota are of particular importance, because they’re both facing Constitutional amendments to ban marriage. Pennsylvania’s was introduced this week by Republican Representative Daryl Metcalfe. Minnesota’s, which would duplicate a ban that already exists, has been working its way through the legislature for several weeks.

That’s thanks, in part, to Target. You’ll remember several months ago when it came to light that the retailer was pouring huge amounts of cash into the campaigns of anti-gay candidates. And now two of those politicians, Representatives Doug Magnus and Kurt Zellers, are likely to play a role in passing Minnesota’s double marriage ban. To this day, Target still won’t pledge to stop funneling money to anti-gay politicians.

But there’s some good news in Illinois, where civil unions will begin on June 2nd. Lawmakers and LGBT couples will mark the occasion with a ceremony at 10am at Wrigley Square, where Governor Pat Quinn will oversee the civil unioning of thirty couples. Click over here to watch our interview with Phil Reese about exactly how Illinois activists were able to make civil unions a reality.

And in New York, both sides continue to lay foundations for an upcoming marriage fight. Bill Clinton released a statement this week endorsing marriage, which is better late than never, and Chelsea was photographed phonebanking for our side.

Also this week, a coalition of civil rights groups released a very soft TV commercial for marriage, and are gearing up for a day of lobbying on May 9th in Albany.

But anti-gay groups are pushing back hard. They’ve pledged to spend $1 million to unseat any Republican who supports marriage, and they’re planning an anti-marriage rally on May 15th. The same day as New York’s annual AIDS Walk.

There was also big news this week in immigration, with Attorney General Eric Holder taking the extraordinary move of personally intervening to stop the deportation of Paul Wilson Dorman. The Board of Immigration Appeals had previously ruled that Dorman should be deported, despite having a civil union with an American citizen.

In his ruling, Holder ordered the BIA to re-examine whether couples with civil unions can be considered spouses, and whether their finding would have been different in the absence of DOMA. While it’s unclear how this changes the playing field, it’s a sign that Holder could be exploring legal justifications for ending the long-standing practice of deporting gay spouses.

And the move had immediate ramifications for Henry and Josh, the bi-national couple in New Jersey who faced a deportation hearing on Friday. At that hearing, the judge decided to put Henry’s removal on hold for another six months, due to the uncertainty around DOMA’s application. Courage Campaign’s joint petition with AllOut.org is here.

Click here to watch our interview with Josh about how he and Henry met, and what it would mean if the government ordered them to be separated.

Let’s take a quick look at some other major headlines this week. At the GOP debate in South Carolina, nobody had anything nice to say about LGBTs, with Ron Paul expressing support for DOMA because, he says, it protects states. It’s great that Ron Paul is more concerned about the welfare of the state than of the people who actually live in it.

Representative Pete Stark introduced the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act,” which seeks to end adoption bias. Despite 100,000 children awaiting adoptive families in this country and 2 million LGBT adults willing to adopt, one third of adoption agencies reject parents simply because they’re gay. Stark’s law would divert adoption funding to states that practice inclusive adoptions, and could save the country $3 to $6 billion.

And one the many legal cases against DOMA could move forward on Monday with a judge potentially setting a schedule for arguments in Windsor versus United States, in which Edie Windsor was charged a $350,000 gay death tax when her spouse of 44 years passed away.

Turning to international news, the Supreme Federal Court in the heavily Catholic country of Brazil voted in favor of civil unions this week by a margin 10-0, joining Argentina and Uruguay in offering protections to same-sex couples.

The Scottish National Party won a majority in Parliament, and is expected to open talks on marriage equality.

And Taiwan is moving ahead with plans to implement age-appropriate lessons in elementary schools about LGBT issues.

Those are the headlines, join us over at MarriageNewsWatch.com for more on all of these stories and more. Remember to check us out at Facebook.com/MarriageNewsWatch and follow mnwatch on Twitter. Click here to subscribe to us on YouTube, and over to the right to get caught up on previous episodes, including last week’s news about the turmoil on DOMA’s legal defense team and more background on the fight for immigration equality.

We’ll see you next week.

May 9, 2011 at 9:00 am 6 comments

An odd choice, but an ultimately worthy spokesperson for equality

By Adam Bink

Perusing through my morning reading, which included catching up on last night’s NBA and hockey action (the Red Wings stayed alive, and the Lakers got smashed, and unfortunately took it in bad form), I came across this (note the third bullet under NHL HEADLINES):

For those of you who aren’t hockey fans, Sean Avery of the NY Rangers was actually voted Most Hated Player in the league (I still harbor grudges against him for his behavior in the 2oo7 Eastern Conference Semifinals against by Sabres), so it’s odd to see him trotted out with this video:

At least, that was my general opinion when I saw the video for the first time last night. But seeing this on ESPN.com — and perhaps it’s being played on SportsCenter this morning as I type — just strikes such a chord. The audience reach is so tremendous. A quick Google search tells me it’s also up at Yahoo! Sports, Bleacherreport, NYTimes, and Forbes.com. So while I think there are probably some fans who may actually be more likely to oppose same-sex marriage just to piss off Sean Avery, just having people watch the video and think about the issue, I think, is tremendous enough to outweigh the costs.

There are, as of this post, 476 comments on the ESPN news item, some of them as follows:

adam_harrison_nashvegas (5/7/2011 at 4:55 PM)

Constitutional rights exist to protect the rights of life. So underlying, yes, constitutional rights have something to do with biology. But more importantly, constitutional rights have to do with morals. The “rights” you speak of are God-given, the only objective rights that logically can exist. And that’s really the greater argument against homosexuality, and gay marriage as well. Homosexuality is not just detrimental to life on a biological level, it is much more harmful on a moral level. It redefines what a word (marriage) means and is. It’d be akin to me legalizing heroin by rewording it to “bread” or “water”. We’ll just call this thing something it’s not to not discriminate against the heroin users. Don’t you see how ridiculous and wrong that is? Gay marriage is a lie. It’s a contradiction in terms. It’s immoral. It’s unnatural. And it’s harmful to society. No, I don’t support “gay marriage”. Considering it doesn’t and can’t truly exist, I can’t defend its’ constitutional rights.

On the other hand, there are also some comments such as this:

spride (5/8/2011 at 5:33 PM)

I’ve always hated Avery as a hockey player (How could you not?) But I have much more respect for him today than I did yesterday. Maybe it will help other professional athletes cross the stupid machismo line and support equality as well.

I wrote:

Adam Bink (5/9/2011 at 7:27 AM)
Good for Sean. I am a gay man and diehard hockey fan who wants nothing more than what my peers have: the freedom to marry the person I love and am committed to supporting. Civil unions cannot provide the federal rights nor preserve dignity when one day my niece asks me why I’m not married like her mommy and daddy if I love my partner just the same.
You can leave a comment on the piece here. People actually do read them, as there is an debate in the comments over morals the nature of homosexuality and all that.

May 9, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

A Mother’s Day gift of marriage

By Adam Bink

A well-done op-ed published in today’s NY Daily News (h/t Towleroad):

For Mother’s Day, I want marriage equality: Give my son and his partner the right to marry

It was quite a Mother’s Day gift. At long last, just as his older brother, Michael, had years earlier, my younger son, Jonathan, had found “the one.” From the moment he enthusiastically introduced my husband and me to the new person in his life, I knew this was it. For months after, I witnessed their relationship blossom – watched as his eyes lit up, listened as his “I’s” gave way to “We’s.” And like any mother, I was elated to see my son so in love and so happy.

After all, since Jonathan had never been a bar-frequenter, it had been my gentle coaxing that had convinced him that the best way to meet people in a new town was through community service. I was right.

With my encouragement, Jonathan eventually joined a volunteer group for active gay singles. Soon after, he met Eric.

Fast-forward 11 years. Jonathan and Eric are as much devoted to each other as ever.

They have a wonderful life together, complete with a lovely suburban home and an adorable dog. In 2001, they launched their own volunteer group, which, over the years, has become one of the nation’s largest service organizations for LGBT volunteers. They’re as devoted to their community as they are to their relationship, and I could not be more proud.

It’s a joy and a relief that both of my sons have entered that special, slightly mysterious realm that spouses share. That deep, abiding love and commitment. That bedrock knowledge that even if everyone else does not, that one person will remain true to the end. The simple pleasure of sleeping better at night, warm and snug in the knowledge that you are not alone in this world.

Every mother wants that for her children, to know that even when we parents are long gone, they will still be loved with every bit of fervor that we’ve loved them with from the moment they were born. It is a human condition, at the most basic level.

[…]

Michael’s marriage to Teri was a given and politics never entered the equation — of course they could marry! They were in love and had chosen each other, till death do them part. Jonathan’s relationship, on the other hand, requires a lot of explanation and even more paperwork. He is denied the rights and protections civil marriage provides.

Even children understand that this is unfair. Michael and Teri’s two sons, both years away from voting age, have written to their state senators for help – they want to see Uncle Jonathan and Uncle Eric get married, here in our home state of New York and in front of their friends and family. And so do I.

Because what matters — the only thing that matters — is love. And that is universal. It’s time that marriage was universal, too.

This Mother’s Day, I don’t want another scarf. I don’t want any flowers. My dear son can’t give me the gift I want now — he’s done all he can do. Who would have thought that the best gift this mother could ever receive would come from the New York Legislature?

It’s time to pass marriage equality legislation. I’ve got a wedding to plan.

Blumenthal is a mother from Syosset, L. I..

Any Mother’s Day thoughts or plans for you all? Anyone talking to their mom about marriage or equality?

May 8, 2011 at 10:29 am 20 comments

Irrational Prop 8 Demands Get Their Day in Court

Congrats to Matt on the new website and name for the show, but same great content -Adam

By Matt Baume

What really prompted a prominent law firm to give up its defense of DOMA, and lose a key lawyer in the process? The date’s been set for a showdown over the secret Prop 8 trial tapes, and over Judge Walker’s personal life. Rhode Island legislators give up on marriage in favor of civil unions, and New York keeps ratcheting up the pressure with a massive lobbying effort slated for next week.

There was a surprise twist to the Defense of Marriage Act this week. The law firm King & Spalding had initially signed on to defend the anti-gay law, but then abruptly ended their representation on Monday. Paul Clement, the lawyer in the case, responded by resigning from King & Spalding so that he could continue DOMA’s defense with another firm.

So, why did King & Spalding drop the case? They said that it just wasn’t vetted properly, but there’s a lot of speculation that they were heavily pressured by clients and colleagues to get out of the business of hurting gay families.

Now, a few people — including Attorney General Eric Holder — have come to Paul Clement’s defense, saying that our legal system has a duty to secure representation for even the most unpopular clients, because defending unpopular clients is necessary for protecting larger fundamental freedoms.

For example, if we want to protect the freedom of expression, that includes defending racist or violent speech, because there’s a larger freedom at stake.

But that’s not really the case here. What’s the larger freedom at stake with DOMA? There isn’t one. DOMA limits freedoms. Standing up for a cause can be noble. But not if your cause is denying health care, deporting husbands and wives, and forcing widows out of their homes.

There’s simply no justification for Paul Clement’s continued defense of this harmful law, which has even been renounced by the people who wrote it.

The good news is that more Senators have signed on to DOMA’s repeal, and we now have the 10 votes needed to pass it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The next step is to pressure Patrick Leahy, the committee chair, to hold hearings on the Respect for Marriage Act. So Vermonters, you know what to do: go to leahy.senate.gov and tell him it’s time to hold hearings on the Respect for Marriage Act.

In the mean time, we can all mark our calendars for June 13. That’s going to be a big day in the Prop 8 case, as we’ll be hearing arguments on two separate controversial issues.

The first is whether the public should be allowed to see videotapes of the Prop 8 trial from last year. The answer, obviously, is yes, because we do not live in a country that makes a habit of holding secret trials. But the anti-marriage folks don’t want anyone to see how badly they lost, so they’re making the public jump through all these hoops in order to see our own justice system at work.

The second question is even more unbelievable. They’re saying that Judge Walker’s ruling on marriage should be thrown out because he might want to get married someday. Not that he said he would get married, not that he tried once before, just might. Hypothetically. Maybe. Or not. Who knows?

If that sounds crazy to you, you’re not alone. Just about every legal analyst in the country is shocked that they’re trying to make an issue out of Judge Walker’s marital plans.

It just doesn’t make sense — not even to their own people. Here’s what Maggie Gallagher had to say a few months ago about whether it was relevant that Judge Walker was rumored to have a partner.

MAGGIE GALLAGHER: First of all, it’s relevant. It could be relevant. It’s not irrelevant. If he had upheld Prop 8, I think it would be even more relevant. I don’t believe that it’s totally irrelevant. I’m not sure it is relevant, in the sense that I do know a small number of people who supported Prop 8 who were gay. So it’s not necessarily relevant.

Maybe they’ll get their story straight by June.

There was a big disappointment in Rhode Island this week, with House Speaker Gordon Fox deciding that they didn’t have enough votes to pass a marriage law this year. As a result, they’ll be introducing a civil unions bill on Tuesday of this week.

It’s a big letdown, especially since polls in Rhode Island showed that voters supported the marriage bill and nobody’s satisfied with the civil unions compromise. Civil rights groups say that it doesn’t go far enough, while the Catholic Diocese said this week that it doesn’t want gay families to have any protections.

Things are even worse in Minnesota, where lawmakers are moving towards implementing a second marriage on top of an already existing prohibition. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the Senate Judiciary 8 to 4 on party lines, and is expected to pass the House and Senate later this year, which would put it before voters in 2012.

There’s a bit more cause for optimism in New York, where marriage currently has 26 of the 32 votes needed to pass the Senate. Several lawmakers have yet to take a stand, including Democrats Joe Addabbo and Shirley Huntley of Queens, and Republicans James Alesi of Fairport, Greg Ball of Brewster, and Joseph Griffo of Utica. Empire State Pride Agenda will hold a lobbying day for marriage in Albany on May 9, but a week later NOM and its allies will hold an anti-marriage rally on May 15.

Meanwhile, Equality Ohio founder Lynne Bowman will serve as interim Executive Director of Equality Maryland while that organization searches for a permanent leader. Morgan Meneses-Sheets was abruptly fired last week after a disappointing legislative session. Her replacement will be expected to revive attempts to pass marriage and anti-discrimination laws in 2012.

And Poland announced this week that the country would soon allow its citizens living abroad to get married, although Poland itself still wouldn’t recognize those marriages.

Those are the headlines. Visit MarriageNewsWatch.com for more on all of these stories, and head over to Facebook.com/MarriageNewsWatch and click “Like” to get news alerts and headlines right on your wall. Click over here to subscribe to weekly updates, or over to the right to watch some of our previous episodes, such as our interview with Josh Vandiver about how DOMA could separate him from his husband, and our interview with Friendfactor’s Brian Elliot about moving New York legislators closer to marriage.

We’ll see you next week.

May 2, 2011 at 6:27 am 30 comments

FRC’s unwitting admission: Prop 8’s public school fear-mongering was bunk nonsense

Cross-posted at Good As You

By Jeremy Hooper

With the following three lines, Family Research Council staffers intend to slight the recently-passed bill that will work to enshrine the historical contributions of LGBT Americans in state’s textbooks, as well as drum up fears that link marriage equality to inclusive teaching. But in reality, they discredit the Prop 8 proponents’ primary point:

Interestingly enough, this issue of how children are educated about sexuality is exactly what turned the tide in Proposition 8’s favor. Most parents wouldn’t dream of injecting these conversations into a public school setting. But they can expect more assaults like this one as homosexuals continue to advance their agenda in the military and other strongholds. [FRC]

Why do we say they discredit? Well because think about it: The Prop 8 fear-mongering to which this FRC writer refers revolved entirely around the argument that same-sex marriages would lead impressionable young students to learn about gay people (quelle horreur!). But groups like FRC succeeded (as it were) in stopping marriage equality in California, and yet inclusive school policies still go on. Legislation like Mark Leno’s FAIR Education Act still passes. Public schools still implement measures to encourage open minds and reduce harassment. Because as we always say when the anti-LGBT forces base their marriage campaigns around public school fears: That regardless of where one stands when it comes teaching children to understand and embrace the full spectrum of the world’s normalcy, the scary storm clouds that the “pro-family” forecasters predict are wholly independent of civil marriage recognition itself.

FRC is now all but admitting it: The school-based ads that we see around every marriage referendum are complete and utter hogwash. So next time one of these campaigns rolls around (and it most surely will), the opposition forces owe it to all of us, pro- and anti-equality, to stop with the crap propaganda and actually own the facts of their discrimination. The one and only way to stop inclusive public schooling is to stop LGBT people from existing. If the one and only way the “pro-family” crowd knows to stop gay people’s marriages is to resort to these asides that are so demonstrably disconnected, then that raises several questions about both their merits and their goals.

April 30, 2011 at 5:36 am 22 comments

Marc Mutty all like, ‘No — by ‘dangerous’ and ‘hyperbole’ and ‘not completely accurate’ I meant ‘AWESOME!”

Like I wrote last week, it’s difficult to determine whether Ken Mehlman or Marc Mutty has more for which to atone. Marc keeps himself in the running with this -Adam

Cross-posted at Good As You

By Jeremy Hooper

Remember those clips from the forthcoming Question 1 documentary wherein Marc Mutty, the director of Maine’s “Yes on One” campaign, pretty much admitted that his side’s ads were disingenuous, at best? Yea, well: Mutty has now broken his silence. But rather than actually explain what he meant or take some sense of responsibility for what he admitted were hyperbole-filled ads, Marc’s playing the “out of context” card. Oh, and the victim card, too.

This from the Portland Press Herald, some snippets and link to Mutty’s full “explanation”:

PPH• First and foremost, let me say directly that I fully support the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

• Second, this campaign was a long, painful process, made all the more difficult by the fact that the campaign staff and I were harassed and threatened repeatedly, to the point that I was concerned for the safety of my staff and our families.

Our computers were hacked, our campaign office was vandalized, death threats were made and our family members were shunned and verbally attacked.

It was with this in mind that I said I would never do such a campaign again, knowing the toll it would take on my personal health, and on the well-being of my staff given the degree of antagonism that our position generated from some gay activists and their supporters.

• Third, the Nemitz column extracted video clips out of context and made it appear that I did not believe the truth of our claims that homosexual marriage would be taught to children in the schools.

This is again a misrepresentation; I firmly believe that children should be taught to respect the dignity of all people.

However, legalizing same-sex marriage will redefine our core understanding of marriage as we know it, and have known it since the beginning of time, forever.

• And finally, this campaign was personally and professionally painful and difficult.”

Maine Voices: Yes on 1 campaign worthwhile [PPH]

Simply unreal. This is a man who chose, by how own volition, to step up and take — TO TAKE BACK! — a legislatively-granted civil right via a crude campaign filled with rhetoric that he himself now calls “dangerous.” And yet *HE* is the victim here?!

This writer worked very closely with Maine’s pro-equality campaign and all involved. Were computers hacked? Offices vandalized? Death threats waged? Well, all we can do is take Mr. Mutty on his word on that. But if these incidents did happen, then they (a) went unreported, and (b) were not anywhere close to representative of the intensely positive campaign that “No on One” ran. And if any incidents like this did happen (and Mr. Mutty isn’t planning on years later admitting that these claims are also hyperbolic misrepresentations) then they are born out of the ugly tone of this highly-charged situation — a tone that is set not by the very human idea of people who want to be treated with dignity and respect by the country they love but rather those who do attempt to limit the spectrum of normalcy and its associated rights/protections/benefits!

We would repudiate such incidents, nonetheless. But that doesn’t change that fact that Mr. Mutty’s “professionally painful and difficult” was more of a personal insult to LGBT people and their allies then he could ever possibly know. It’s a shame to see that he’s still campaigning.

April 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm 31 comments

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