Illinois GOP Chair Resists Calls To Resign Over Marriage Support
January 10th, 2013
The head of Illinois’ beleaguered Republican Party is staring down a revolt from some state party bosses after he bucked the official GOP line last week and urged state lawmakers to approve same-sex marriage.
State GOP Chairman Pat Brady faces growing calls for his resignation, at a time when some Illinois Republicans are rethinking the party’s image and stance on social issues, following a dismal showing in November’s elections.
Brady told WBEZ that he hadn’t spoken to party members before speaking out in support of a proposed marriage quality bill. Brady calls the ban on marriage quality the “last condoned discrimination” in Illinois. It is unclear whether there are enough votes in the party’s state committee to force his ouster. Brady isn’t backing down from the threat:
“If people want to throw me out because I took a stand on an issue of discrimination [as] the chairman of the Republican Party, the party founded by Abraham Lincoln, then that’s – that’s up to them and they’re free to do it,” Brady said. “But I’m not backing down.”
RI Gov. Chafee wants marriage
January 10th, 2013
In July 2011, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee (formerly R, currently I) signed a less-than-ideal civil unions bill. At that time he promised to work towards marriage. In May of last year he issued an executive order instructing state departments to recognize out-of-state marriages. Now he has called on the legislature to give him a marriage bill. (NBC 10)
Rhode Island’s governor says he wants lawmakers to pass same-sex marriage legislation and that he’d be inclined to veto any attempt to place it on a ballot as a referendum.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee told reporters Thursday that lawmakers owe it to voters to decide themselves.
A marriage bill was introduced last Thursday (AP)
Last Thursday, Democratic Rep. Art Handy of Cranston introduced a marriage equality bill in the House. Senator Donna Nesselbush, an openly gay Democrat from Pawtucket, introduced her version moments later.
Handy’s bill includes more than enough co-sponsors to assure passage in the House. In the Senate, which is led by President Teresa Paiva Weed, an opponent of marriage equality, support is not quite as robust. Nesselbush’s measure has 11 sponsors in the 38-member Senate.
The largest concern is about Paiva Weed’s committee appointments, which might doom the bill in the Senate. But Gordon Fox, the House Speaker (who is himself gay) is committed to passing the bill in the House and expects a vote on Tuesday.
In prior years there seems to have been a gentlemen’s agreement not to embarrass Paiva Weed, and a vote was never held on marriage for the state. But it appears to me that her defacto veto is no longer going to be allowed to thwart the goals of the governor or the significant and growing number of supporters of equality. And even if we fail to win a majority in the Senate, gay couples deserve to know who stands in their way.
Have Evangelicals stepped out of the marriage battle?
January 2nd, 2013
Google news for “Catholic” and “gay marriage” in just the past week you will have hundreds of unique articles. Google “Southern Baptist” and “gay marriage” over the same period and you will get:
1 article about the Metropolitan Community Church (132 hits)
3 articles recapping top stories from 2012
1 article about gay athletes
1 article about abortion
In response to legislation which will likely result in two more equality states this month, the Southern Baptists have no comment. Sure, Rhode Island and Illinois are not SBC strongholds, but still… nothing?
And this is not a fluke.
Over the last year or so I’ve noticed that while the debate over marriage equality has intensified and while the news surrounding marriage equality has been non-stop, one voice has been increasingly silent. The conservative evangelical Christian community has been nearly mum on the subject. Baptists, Missouri Synod Lutherans, Pentecostals, conservative Methodists and Presbyterians, and the dozens of Reformed, Brethren, Campbellites, and other denominations barely muttered a peep. Even in battle states, evangelicals have – at most – stood in the background while Catholic Bishops have become the voice and face of anti-gay efforts.
This is not to suggest that they have changed their theology, though I do think it has softened. Nor does it suggest that Alabama is going to willingly reverse their Constitutional ban. But it is a fascinating phenomenon which gives me a great deal of hope for change in the near future.
It could be that we are beginning to convince evangelical lay people that allowing gay people to marry at the courthouse or at some other church does not threaten their right to believe and live as they choose. This would explain the shift in support. Evangelicals, being grass-roots driven, are more susceptible to changes in the perceptions and beliefs of their congregants while Catholics, being hierarchal, can hold to positions that are shared by few in the pews but appeal to a handful of old men in Rome.
Pat Brady lobbies for marriage equality
January 2nd, 2013
Though you probably haven’t heard of Brady, he has a rolodex to envy. It’s not from his years with high power law and accounting firms, nor his work with the state attorney’s office or the Department of Justice.
No, Pat Brady has the ear of a number of legislators in the state for another reason. He’s the Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party. (Daily Herald)
Brady said he was making the calls as a citizen, outside of his official role with the Illinois Republican Party.
“I think it’s time for people to support this,” Brady said.
2013 is already turning out to be very interesting.
UPDATE: Brady’s efforts are extremely important, as vote count by conservative site Illinois Review suggest that the bill cannot pass without some Republican support. The sponsor of the bill, Senator Heather Steans, says she has the votes, “if everyone shows up”.
Illinois may vote on marriage this week
January 1st, 2013
According to Windy City
The Senate will be in session Wednesday afternoon, and LGBT leaders say that a vote on a bill seeking gay marriage is likely to come sooner rather than later.
Sen. Heather Steans tells Windy City Times that she wants to see a vote on Thursday.
Looks to be a very exciting January.
Rhode Island to introduce marriage bill
January 1st, 2013
Legislation allowing gay couples to marry in Rhode Island will be introduced on Thursday, the bill’s longtime sponsor, state Rep. Arthur Handy, said Tuesday, the opening day of the 2013 General Assembly session.
Midnight Maine Merriment
December 28th, 2012
December 29th is the day scheduled for the first same-sex marriage licenses to be issued in Maine. So starting at 12.01 the Portland city Clark’s office will open to allow marriages to begin.
This is a symbolic gesture of support from the city in celebration of a historic moment. It should be a joyous time.
But it also has a very pragmatic aspect. There are but a few days left in this year and it may well be that by marrying in 2012 they can take advantage of tax laws that benefit married couples. This is certain for state returns and I think likely to be the case for federal takes after SCOTUS rules on the Windsor DOMA3 case.
It’s not very romantic, but tax consequences are something that many straight couples must consider when picking a wedding date. So too must Maine’s gay couples (with much delight and a heart full of love) consider the mundane.
As for the rest of us, we will celebrate with Mainers of all stripes who now live in a freer, more equal, state.
Taiwan marriage case kicked up to Supreme Court
December 23rd, 2012
From China Post
The Taipei High Administrative Court (台北高等行政法院) was expected to rule yesterday on a landmark case of two Taiwanese men, Nelson Chen (陳敬學) and Kao Chih-wei (高治瑋), who are seeking a legal marriage.
The High Court announced yesterday that it has not reached a verdict, but that the case could be handed to the Council of Grand Justices, a 15-justice body that serves as Taiwan’s constitutional court.
Brazil’s largest state gets marriage equality
December 23rd, 2012
In May 2011, Brazil’s Supreme Court determined that the nation’s constitution guaranteed equal rights for Brazilian gay couples. However, they stopped short of marriage, opting for a civil unions structure instead.
In June 2011, a judge in Sao Paulo State, the nation’s largest and wealthies state, ruled that a civil union could be converted into marriage with judicial approval. Since that time, two Brazilian states, Alagoas and Bahia, have allowed couples to convert to marriage without judicial approval.
The new standard was published in the Electronic Journal of Justice and enters into force in 60 days.
With the measure, the gay couple no longer need to register before ordering stable marriage. Now, just as the couple go to the court and ask the wedding registry.
Also no longer need to go to court to ask for marriage or conversion of a stable union.
“but, but, but we didn’t mean that we wanted you to BAN us from conducting gay weddings”
December 14th, 2012
Oh what a funny funny state the world is in.
For example, over in the UK, marriage is on the table. And the Anglican Church was wrought up about the sanctity of penis and vagina or some such thing. And how dare, how very dare the government to hint that anything other than penis and vagina could be linked in holy hoohaw.
So the government came of with the perfect solution. They would protect the Anglican Churches with a lock, no a double, scratch that, the government would protect the Anglicans with a “quadruple lock”. They would say that while other churches could opt-in and offer marriage if they so wanted, Anglican churches can’t. Even if William and Kate’s little bundle of joy grows up to be a charming young man who trots off to St. Andrews and falls in love with the Earl of Pudding.
So now they are all in a dither. You see, they didn’t want restrictions on themselves so much. They really just wanted the government to tell the Quakers and Jews what not to do. (Scotsman)
Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan said that the move to outlaw gay marriage in the Church of England and Church in Wales came as a “total shock” when it was announced by equalities minister Maria Miller on Tuesday as part of a “quadruple lock” to protect them from legal challenge.
Dr Morgan said that his church did not want the protection, which has put it in an “enormously difficult position”.
Scotland’s legislature unveils draft marriage bill
December 13th, 2012
Scotland has introduced marriage legislation: (GayStarNews)
The Scottish government launched the ‘Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill’, which will introduce marriage equality, yesterday (12 December) alongside a 14-week consultation on its implementation.
The draft legislation will allow same-sex marriage in Scotland and give all religious and belief bodies (for example Humanist) the right to conduct same-sex marriages, if they wish to do so.
The timeline suggests that weddings may begin in about a year.
Following the close of the public consultation on 20 March, the Scottish government will make any changes to the bill that are considered necessary, then introduce the bill for a vote into the Scottish parliament.
It generally takes at least 6 months for a bill to go through parliament, so if the bill is introduced by May or June, it might be passed by around the end of 2013.
Depending on unforeseen changes to the timetable the first same-sex marriages in Scotland should take place in 2014.
In a month jam packed with international (and local) marriage news, this story uniquely appeals to me in an emotional way.
In gradeschool, there was a class – weekly, I believe – on music; kids played recorders and other instruments (poorly, probably) and sang songs. The song I recall as being the most interesting to me was about a bonnie prince fleeing for his life to an island called Skye.
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that’s born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.
Scotland seemed such a mythical place. The men wore plaid skirts and played bagpipes and there were craggy cliffs and deep lakes and even a sea monster. Where else would a pretty prince sail off into the sky?
In college, a class on immigration and emigration sparked an interest in knowing my family background. Over time I discovered that the romance of the bonnie boat had a reality that played it’s role in the game of chance and genetic continuation that led to me.
In 1745 and 1746, the Highland Scots fought their last effort to remove George II, a German Hanoverian, from the throne of England and Scotland and restore the Scottish house of Stuart. The Kincaids were a Lowland family, but near the Highland border and with a long history of political intrigue and loyalty to the Stuarts. So although his father had political connections to King George, Samuel Kincaid and three of his brothers served in the rear guard supporting Charles Stuart (bonnie Prince Charlie) until their capture/surrender in April or May of that year.
Perhaps not surprising, they promptly “escaped” and fled to Glasgow where they boarded the ship where their wives and children were waiting and sailed off to America. And eight generations of Kincaids later, me.
So while I’m no more “Scottish” than I am the ethnic product of any of the other 254 people who contributed their genes eight generations back, I share the surname of that ancestor. And to the extent that any non-American place can be (my roots go far far further back here), Scotland is the land of my ancestors.
Uruguay deputies overwhelmingly support equality
December 12th, 2012
Uruguay has moved closer to legalising gay marriage after the lower house of Congress approved a law making all marriages equal.
The measure, which was passed by a wide margin, now goes to the Senate where it is expected to be approved.
It would make Uruguay the second Latin American country after Argentina to allow gay marriages.
Well, maybe it would. The bill goes to the Senate some time next year and will wind its way through the process by the end of 2013. Mexico may or may not rocket-propel its constitutional marriage process and have nation-wide marriage rights sooner.
Or, as History has a whimsical streak, the courts in, say, Paraguay or the legislators in Chile may just unexpectedly – as a matter of simple quiet justice – step ahead of both of them.
Some things change, some things stay the same
December 11th, 2012
In an article in the Guardian about the proposed marriage bill in Britain, I see the inevitable here. Give it a decade and this will be common:
Richard and Mary Smith, an elderly couple wrapped up tightly against the bitter wind, were happy to pause on their way to have coffee to bemoan the state of school discipline, and speak of their fears about crime and poor parenting. But “as far as gay couples living together and getting married, that’s their choice”, Richard said.
Which will be followed by “but those lesbians don’t raise their kids right anymore! They used to be polite, but now they run all over my lawn!”
Uruguay votes on marriage today
December 11th, 2012
The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Uruguay’s legislature, is slated to vote on marriage equality today. The bill is expected to pass and we’ll notify you when we know more.
Jan 29: France votes
December 10th, 2012
The French legislature is scheduled to vote on the marriage bill on January 29th. Of course they’ve had previous schedules so we’ll see how that goes. But, in any case, let’s keep this date as a possible day of interest.
December 6th, 2012
Larry Duncan, 56, and Randy Shepherd, 48, have been together for eleven years. Photographer Meryl Schenker took this photo as they applied for a marriage license in the King County Administration Building at about 1:30 a.m. More of Schenker’s photos here.
December 6th, 2012
Sometimes two sentences is all it takes to make you cry.
The couple who received the very first marriage license, though, was Jane Abbott Lighty, 77, and Pete-e Peterson, 85, who have been together over 35 years. They met on a blind date in 1977 and believed they would die before they could legally wed.
Colombian Senate committee advances marriage equality bill
December 6th, 2012
A bill legalizing gay marriage past the first of four votes amid criticism from conservative groups.
The bill was was approved on Tuesday (4 November) by 10 votes against five senators of the first committee of the Senate responsible for constitutional matters
Passage is not exactly optional. The country’s Supreme Court has ruled that if Congress does not pass by mid-year 2013, then same-sex couples earn the right to civil marriage automatically (which, if there is no companion law change, would likely to an administrative nightmare).
Uruguay votes on marriage on Tuesday
December 6th, 2012
The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Uruguay’s legislature, is slated to vote on marriage equality on Tuesday, December 11. Activists report that the vote count predicts a clear victory. The Senate (upper house) is expected to take up the matter next summer.
Uruguay currently offers civil unions to same-sex couples.
Making sense of the Mexico decision
December 6th, 2012
Unlike the United States’ judiciary procedures, in Mexico judicial decisions have more of a cumulative or consensus impact. While the exact details are still murky (to me) it seems that court decisions apply only to the case at hand. However, if five cases (amparos) of a similar nature have five identical conclusions (without any differing conclusions) then this becomes the law.
In the Oaxaca decision, there were three cases which reached identical conclusion. Which means that if two more cases are pursued and the same conclusion is reached (as is likely), then all state laws excluding same-sex marriages are invalidated.
And, also unlike the US court decisions, this process can be quite a swift one; the cases decided yesterday were filed in August 2011.
But it is also possible that the three cases may prove, in practice, to be sufficient. As the intention of the court is pretty clear (unanimous decisions can give that impression), local officials may wish to avoid the hassle of upholding a law that they know has no high-court support and thus will simply issue marriage licenses.
And states may wish to avoid the hassle and cost of fighting a losing battle and will change their state laws to match what is clearly the new national standard. In fact, as I write this Oaxaca’s legislature is in the process of changing their laws.
Also interesting is that this was not the result of gay-rights groups making a strategic decision based on timing and friendly lower courts and bringing their best and most experienced legal team. These suits were brought by a law student, Alex Alí Méndez Díaz, who bucked the advice of the established LGBT groups and found in the Mexico City ruling language that encouraged him to pursue the cases.
However, the greatest boost to the cases probably came from outside Mexico. (Salon)
Méndez got an unexpected boost on Feb. 24, 2012, while the cases were in process: a landmark ruling from the Inter-American Court that the American Convention on Human Rights “prohibits … any rule, act, or discriminatory practice based on sexual orientation.” It came in a case brought by a Chilean lesbian who was denied custody of her children because of her sexual orientation, Karen Atala Riffo y Niñas v. Chile.
Mexico gives weight to international court rulings.
All of this is to say that Mexico has not become the twelfth country to offer nation-wide marriage equality, but it certainly has taken a large step in that direction. As I see it (though with this issue you can always be surprised) the other major likely contenders for that position are Colombia, Uruguay, New Zealand, and the various UK countries.
UPDATE: Michael Levers, writing at the Washington Blade, has an article that helps explain the case. Meanwhile, additional couples are pursuing marriage in Toluca, in an effort that will set the ball rolling for additional amparos.