Arizona group to put marriage back on ballot
June 19th, 2013
Should the Supreme Court of the United States fail to make a broad ruling on marriage equality (and few think they will) a group in Arizona is getting ready to put the issue back on the 2014 ballot. (AZ Central)
If that happens, a new political group, Equal Marriage Arizona, will jump into action.
The group filed paperwork Monday with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office to begin gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to redefine marriage as “a union of two persons.” The initiative also includes a clause stating that religious organizations or individuals cannot be required to officiate a marriage if they have religious objections.
The group’s co-chairs, Phoenix Libertarian businessman Warren Meyer and retired Tucson attorney Erin Ogletree Simpson, chairwoman of the Log Cabin Republicans of Arizona, said they will begin collecting the required 259,213 signatures as soon as the Supreme Court rules. They have until July 3, 2014.
The initiative has the support of former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee in 2012 and the leaders claim that they have commitments for funding. They are currently looking for a Democratic co-chair.
A sad example of internalized homophobia
June 11th, 2013
(Vote for a Republican? Internalized homophobia! Disapprove of some gay person’s extreme behavior? Internalized homophobia! Refuse to be in an open relationship? Internalized homophobia! Enjoy country music, refuse to watch Partners, go to the gym, avoid the gym, think Rachel Maddow actually does look ‘mannish’, love RuPaul, hate RuPaul, not know who RuPaul is, pretty much anything anyone can think of, and you’re just oozing internalized homophobia!)
But sometimes the description is accurate. Sometimes a person who has a homosexual orientation also has such a so gut-level, knee jerk response, negative about every aspect of gay people and/or their lives that it can only be seen as homophobia.
I’ve mostly tried to avoid discussing the small handful of same-sex attracted people who have captured a moment in the spotlight due to their opposition to civil equality in marriage. There are a good many people, straight and gay, who are not comfortable with the idea of gay marriage not out of malice but due to reasons that are based on their beliefs about marriage and children or even just a lack of good data.
So while it may seem as though by now all such reasons should be transparent to gay people, I still allow that some do not think that marriage is the appropriate venue for same-sex relationships. And I see little value in speculating about their motivations.
I’ve not called Doug Mainwaring names or demeaned Robert Oscar Lopez. Both claim to be gay men and to have some notion of the nature of gay men and use this as a basis for high-profile declarations about the dangers of allowing same-sex couples to be recognized in law. But while I find their choices and their rhetoric to be dishonorable, until now I’ve not assailed their character.
However in the latest piece written for the Witherspoon Institute about what he learned from French opposition to equality, Lopez reveals his own valuation of his character. It isn’t very high.
The French resistance to same-sex marriage has demonstrated that an ostensibly progressive nation that had little issue with homosexuality as a moral question can change its mind, not based on ignorance of reality, but based on knowing more about what same-sex marriage really means.
The drop in support for same-sex marriage came with education and broader public debate. As the French knew more gay people individually and learned more about the ramifications of their legalized marriage on the community at large—especially children and poor communities overseas targeted for adoption and surrogacy—they liked the idea of same-sex marriage less and less.
Lopez’ basic assumption in this piece is that the more you get to know gay people, the more you hate them.
I suggest that Lopez does not speak for me or any gay people I know. I’m sure that Lopez would insist that it is the disreputable homosexual activists about which he speaks, but sadly, I think he speaks for himself.
This looks to me like a recurrence of a once-common phenomenon, the gay person who so hates who they are that they overlay their own perceived flaws – their own self-imposed shame – on a gay community populated only by their own imagination.
Yes, I believe that this is a real and all too sad example of internalized homophobia.
Discredited researcher claims that equality will “change” marriage
June 10th, 2013
Mark Regnerus first came to attention when he published what was described as a study of children of same sex couples based on a national probability sampled population. After review and some careful sleuthing it was discovered that Regnerus’ study was anything but scientific. It was paid for by an advocacy group, released for political impact, “peer reviewed” by people who helped structure the study, and constructed to give a pre-determined outcome.
It claimed to report on a group of people (same-sex couples raising children) based on what turned out to be a sample of three children. It was pretty much the antithesis of research.
But just in case there was any question as to whether Regnerus was motivated by anti-gay political advocacy goals, he has cleared that up by writing an article for the Witherspoon Institute titled “Yes, Marriage Will Change–and Here’s How“.
I won’t bother quoting it, but if you read it you’ll quickly see his intent. He delights that old page out of the anti-gay playbook: quote a gay person as though any gay speaks for all gays. Find any position pondered by a theorist and breathlessly say, “See! See! And it was one of The Gays who said it so don’t blame me.”
Its mostly wild stereotypes about what men are like, what women are like, and how allowing The Gays to marry will lead to open heterosexual marriages. And he knows this because heterosexuals engage in anal sex.
Those who support anti-gay positions will lap it up. But anyone else will likely shrug and say, “This guy doesn’t know much about men, women, or marriage, does he?”
Marriage equality unlike Roe
June 10th, 2013
Some anti-gay activists have warned that a broad decision on marriage equality would have the same sort of cultural division and long-term social protest that has been the result of the decision on Roe v. Wade. James Richardson, a GOP “conservative communications strategist”, writes in the Christian Science Monitor on why that is not so.
The evolution of public opinion concerning the right to marry for gays and lesbians, too, follows a divergent track from abortion. Whereas the public sentiment on abortion has remained largely static since the Roe ruling 40 years ago, an uncommonly decisive shift in attitudes in recent years concerning gay marriage has radically reorganized the political landscape.
The support for same-sex marriage recently reached a record high, at 58 percent in a March survey by ABC News and The Washington Post. That number represents a 26-percentage-point growth over the span of just nine years. And in those 12 states where same-sex marriage is already legal, the support trend line is even more pronounced. In the few months since the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on gay marriage, three states changed their laws to afford equal rights and protections for gay marriage.
As icebergs begin to melt
June 7th, 2013
We are winning. Sometimes we see huge signs and hear fanfare and know that we’ve accomplished another victory. And sometimes the signs of our success are small and subtle and even a bit amusing.
Consider, for example Susana Martinez, Governor of New Mexico.
Martinez, a Republican, has pretty consistently stated that she supports “one man, one woman” marriage. She has expressed support for a constitutional amendment banning equality and has done nothing in her state for same-sex couples.
But yesterday Attorney General Gary King held a press conference in which he stated that while the state law does not allow same-sex marriage, it was likely an unconstitutional law. He did not issue a formal opinion. (Albuquerque Journal)
King said he did not issue a formal legal opinion on same-sex marriage to prevent conflict with the pending lawsuits. Instead, he advised county clerks around the state to continue to restrict marriage licenses only to opposite-sex couples until a court overturns New Mexico law or the Legislature weighs in.
Today Martinez said something sort of odd. (kob)
Gov. Susana Martinez says Attorney General Gary King was right in not issuing a formal opinion on whether same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico and her office will not get involved in any challenges.
Martinez told the Associated Press on Friday that she also believed the courts decide if same-sex marriage is legal in the state.
This is not an endorsement. This is not exactly a positive statement. But it is a far cry from a call for constitutional bans. It’s stating that when the Attorney General goes before the court to say that he does not believe the law to be constitutional, her office will not contradict him.
It’s a drip. Just a drip. But that’s how icebergs melt.
Lord Jenkin’s theology
June 6th, 2013
Sometimes you read something that simply must be shared.
Patrick Jenkin is a rather accomplished man from a distinguished family. He served in several positions in the Thatcher Cabinet and has been Baron Jenkin of Roding since 1987.
In the debate in the House of Lords over marriage equality, Lord Jenkin said the following: (PinkNews)
Finally, I return to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Leicester. I hope that he will not feel it is unfair if I call him my “old friend”, as indeed he is. I have come to the firm conclusion that there is nothing to fear in gay marriage and that, indeed, it will be a positive good not just for same-gender unions but for the institution of marriage generally. The effect will be to put right at the centre of marriage the concept of a stable, loving relationship. As a practising Christian, perhaps I may make the point to the Bishops’ Benches, including to the most reverend Primate, that there is every reason why, in time, the Anglican Church should come to accept that, although I recognise that it may take some time. The character of love which marriage reflects—that it is faithful, stable, tough, unselfish and unconditional—is the same character that most Christians see in the love of God. Marriage is therefore holy, not because it is ordained by God, but because it reflects that most important central truth of our religion: the love of God for all of us.
This is a very compelling argument for those who value their faith as something more than a mask for their prejudices.
Inevitably, NOM will whine
June 6th, 2013
If there is one thing that annoys the National Organization for (not your) Marriage more than any other, it’s the notion that they are one the losing side of history, that marriage equality is inevitable. No one wants to think of their efforts as pointless, and especially not an organization that has hefty salaries to pay.
For example, in their amusingly titled blog post “The Tide Has Turned! Victory in Illinois” in response to the failure of the Illinois House of Representative to vote on equality, Brian Brown begins his declaration thusly:
Dear Marriage Supporter,
The myth of gay marriage inevitability died last night in Illinois! [emphasis in the original
So it must have been a bitter feeling that crept into his soul when he saw the results of a Pew Poll:
Yes, 59% of those who support NOM’s position recognize that equality is inevitable and that any money thrown in NOM’s direction could be better spent on reinforcing their own marriage (or, for that matter, on booze and hookers).
Marriage advances in House of Lords
June 4th, 2013
By jove, they did it! (telegraph)
After two days of intense debate, peers supported gay marriage by a margin of more than two to one.
There will now be a series of other votes but the clear signal from the proceedings was that the legislation will now pass into law.
The Lords, however, were still a bit concerned.
In a bid to appease religious leaders critical of the Bill, Baroness Stowell, the deputy Tory chief whip in the House of Lords, said that ministers will now consider changes to the legislation to offer churches further protection if they refuse to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies.
It would appear that the quadruple lock is deemed insufficient. Therefore Stowell is contriving and quintuple lock. Should anyone dare even suggest that a church which has not opted in be frowned at for refusing to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies, they will be sent directly to Azkaban.
Illinois looks to be on the verge of voting
May 31st, 2013
Today is the last day for the Illinois House to vote for marriage equality. If you would like to watch to see it happen (or not, God forbid) here’s a link to the live website:
We are watching for Senate Bill 10
Nevada House votes to reverse marriage ban
May 23rd, 2013
In 2002, the voters of Nevada voted by a two-thirds majority to amend their constitution to limit marriage to heterosexuals. But attitudes shifted and in 2009 – amidst heavy lobbying from the casinos – the legislature passed an all-but-the-name domestic partnership bill.
Last month, the state Senate became the first legislative body to vote for the repeal of an anti-gay marriage amendment when Republican Senator Ben Kieckhefer (R – Carson City) joined eleven Democrats to support Senate Joint Resolution 13. Today the House followed suit. (LVRJ)
Senate Joint Resolution 13 passed the Assembly on a 27-14 vote, bringing the process to get it to the ballot in 2016 to an end for this year. All the no votes were Republicans.
It must pass again in identical form in the 2015 legislative session before it could go to the ballot. Gov. Brian Sandoval’s signature is not required.
The proposal would remove Nevada’s current prohibition on same-gender marriage from the state constitution, and add new language recognizing same-gender marriage.
It also includes a provision to guarantee that religious organizations do not have to perform such unions.
Rep. Michele Fiore (R – Las Vegas) joined 26 Democrats in finalizing the first step of the repeal process.
Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, spoke in support of the measure.
“When we started this floor session, I introduced my mother to this body, proudly,” she said. “What is currently in our constitution does not allow her to get married. You see, my mom is gay. I love my mom with all my heart, and I am who I am today because of her guidance, influence and how she raised me.”
With the rapid pace of change in popular opinion, a 2016 vote seems almost certainly to favor equality.
A poll conducted by the Retail Association of Nevada earlier this year found that 54 percent of voters want the state constitutional ban on gay marriage repealed, while 43 percent want it to stay in place.
House of Commons officially passes marriage equality
May 21st, 2013
The House of Commons has now passed the third reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill by a vote of 366 to 161.
Altogether 133 Tories opposed the bill, along with 15 Labour MPs, four Lib Dems, eight Democratic Unionists and an independent.
So even after all the hand-wringing and fury about Prime Minister Cameron “betraying” the Conservative Party, less than half of the Tories voted in opposition to the bill.
Now it moves to the House of Lords. Expect some rather wacky statements.
SYTYCD supports equality
May 16th, 2013
Kudos to the judges of So You Think You Can Dance for supporting Jessie Tyler Ferguson’s Tie The Knot charity, which either supports marriage equality or the wearing of bow ties (it’s kinda hard to tell, but I think it’s both).
It’s probably not a huge risk, as the audience for SYTYCD is probably pretty supportive, but it’s appreciated anyway. And as equality becomes ever more stylish and status quo, the easier it is to point out how treating each other with dignity and respect benefits us all, and how barriers and discrimination eventually leave us outside in bitterness wondering why the world rejected our pretenses of superiority.
(Oh, and Brian Brown, I did NOT call you a bigot. That was the voice inside your head)
Brazilian Council declares nationwide marriage equality
May 14th, 2013
The National Council of Justice, which oversees the Brazilian judicial system and is headed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, said government offices that issue marriage licenses had no standing to reject gay couples.
The Supreme Court “affirmed that the expression of homosexuality and homosexual affection cannot serve as a basis for discriminatory treatment, which has no support in the Constitution,” said Chief Justice Joaquim Barbosa on the council’s website, referring to a 2011 ruling by the top court.
Barbosa also said there was no reason for the government’s marriage licensing offices to wait for the Brazilian Congress to pass a law authorising same-sex marriage.
Currently a same-sex couple can create a union in any state in the nation. They then can have a judge rule that union to be a marriage. In 14 of Brazil’s 27 jurisdictions, a marriage license can be provided directly, without the two step process. This appears to resolve the remaining jurisdictions and allow same-sex couples in any state to marry without an extra burden.
The decision can be appealed to the Supreme Court. But as the Supreme Court’s chief justice announced the ruling, I am not clear as to whether such an appeal would be made or has any likelihood of success. So it may be that Brazil is the 15th country to offer nationwide offer marriage equality.
The countries which currently provide marriage equality are:
South Africa (2006)
New Zealand (2013)
And Delaware Makes Eleven
May 7th, 2013
The Delaware Senate voted for marriage equality today. While it was predicted to be a squeaker, the final vote of the 21 member body was 12 to 9. Governor Markell has pledged to sign the bill, so Delaware makes eleven:
2010 New Hampshire
2011 New York
2013 Rhode Island
2010 District of Columbia
And now over 50 Million Americans live in a state that has full equality.
Update: Gov. Jack Markell signed the bill this evening. Marriage equality goes into effect on July 1.
Minnesota House vote on marriage this Thursday
May 7th, 2013
From the Pioneer Press
A bill that would legalize gay marriage will get a vote on the Minnesota House floor Thursday, signaling supporters have the votes to pass the legislation.
As House Speaker Paul Thissen has said that he won’t schedule a vote until he is sure of success, this bodes well. The Senate also seems to be a sure thing.
In anticipation of the response I predict Brian Brown of National Organization for (limiting) Marriage will say:
“Minnesota is not a trend. It’s just a blue state. That doesn’t mean anything, I still have Alabama!! I’m going to win. I am. I am. I am. My Cardinal told me so!”
Minnesota DFL representative Rev. Tim Faust cites religious freedom for his position on marriage bill
May 6th, 2013
Rev. Tim Faust is the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in rural Minnesota. Faust is also the local representative to the Minnesota House. And he’s been one of the DFL (Democratic) reps from a conservative district about which there has been uncertainty as to how he will vote on marriage. His district supported the (failed) anti-gay marriage amendment last year by about 60%.
Now Faust has decided that it is important to consider religious freedom in the upcoming bill: (SeattlePI)
“We have churches that want to bless legal gay marriages. The only way to give them that option is to pass this bill,” Faust said.
So Faust will be siding with religious freedom and supporting equality. I don’t know if Faust’s church will be one that blesses legal gay marriages, but he is affiliated with Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and ELCA gives its member churches that choice.
Movement in Minnesota’s marriage bill
May 6th, 2013
There’s movement today on the Minnesota marriage bill, but it may be movement sideways. The StarTribune is reporting an impromptu committee hearing:
The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to review the legislation Monday. That’s after a state analysis showed a small impact on Minnesota’s general fund.
The analysis by Minnesota’s budget office predicts that if gay marriage becomes legal, 114 state employees would enroll in state benefits for their married partners. That would cost the state about $688,000 a year. But it would be partly offset by about $190,000 from same-sex couples buying marriage licenses.
Minnesota lawmaker chooses integrity
May 3rd, 2013
From CBS Minnesota:
A freshman Democratic state representative from a socially conservative district said Friday that he’d support the bill to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota, a key pickup for supporters as votes on the issue get closer at the Capitol.
Rep. Joe Radinovich, of Crosby, had been undecided. He said he decided more than a decade ago that he personally supports letting same-sex couples legally marry, but was conflicted knowing that many residents of his Brainerd-area district are more skeptical.
“This was not an easy decision, but at the end of the day I’d rather protect my integrity than my job,” Radinovich told The Associated Press. The 27-year-old lawmaker won his seat by just 323 votes last fall.
I believe that by the time he runs again, this vote will likely not cost him. However, we can’t know that so he’s showing courage today. And regardless of the outcome, he gets to hold his head high.
Civil Unions come to Colorado
May 1st, 2013
At Midnight, Anna Sher and Fran Simon became the first couple in Colorado to become civil unioned (civilly unioned?). They were one couple of many that have been waiting for a long time to have the state recognize their relationship and it is a joyous day. Mazel Tov!
April 30th, 2013
In the map above, the dark green nations offer marriage equality. The light green nations are either those which offer civil unions or some variation of partner recognition or those in which some but not all portions of the nation offer marriage or civil unions.