Monday, December 27, 2010

How Do Your Parents Feel?

    So I was sitting in the local Starbucks today reading Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville (excellent book I might add) when a elderly lady sat down on the bench next to me and struck up a conversation. Pretty soon, after about a half of an hr talking, she noticed that I had a wedding ring on and asked whether or not I was married, I of course answered affirmatively - since the Canadian government DID legalize same-sex marriage back in 2005 contrary to what some people in Ontario think (long story about that comment) - and she then proceeded to ask me where "she" was. Me, not being ashamed that I am married to a man, answered that he was at work at the moment. She was rather taken aback by this revelation and asked me how I could do that to my parents. I answered that it really doesn't matter what my parents thought about the subject and that I was gay, so of course I would not marry a woman. That part of the conversation ended, though we did continue talking for about another hour.

    This concept though was rather troubling to me, and one that I thought I would discuss on here, for I notice that many people in the gay community are asked very similar questions. How do your parents feel about that? Did you ever think how this would impact them? etc. To be quite blunt, the answer is actually very simple. We are adults and it really does not matter at all what they think. Yes they are our parents and we should "respect" them in their positions in our lives, but no longer are they an authority over us. We are our own responsibilities, and as such we need to act like it.

     Though I do value my parents and enjoy their company (they are in fact coming to Toronto for a visit in two days), I no longer view their feelings as binding upon my own. I will do many things that hurt my parents, and they will make choices that hurt me, but does that mean that they are doing such things to directly hurt me or that I am doing things to directly hurt them? Not at all, we are just living our lives making the choices that we view are the best ones for us. We can take advice, we can engage in debate on the subject, yet in the end we must live with the consequences of our own actions.

    Now it must be said that our actions do have consequences for other people. For example, yes my decision to marry my husband does have a consequence for my parents. They had to decide to welcome him into the family or reject him. Thankfully they have opted for the former, but there are many people in the world whose family has opted for the latter. But our actions should not be based upon the reactions that we might receive from others. For too long I was one who desired the approval and acceptance of the people around me. After I became so emotionally exhausted by doing that, I just said to myself, "You know, am I living the life that I am supposed to live, or am I living the life that others want me to live?" By letting our lives be a direct response to how others may feel about things, we have eliminated the person within us. Instead of having our own spirit, our own likes and dislikes, we become enslaved to the priorities of others.

    So to Mary Jane - the woman at Starbucks - no I do not care what my parents think. For if I did, then I would not be my own adult, I would show my incapability to make my own decisions, and I would once again be starving for the approval of others. That is not emotionally healthy view of life, and instead  it leads many people to unfulfilled and unproductive lives.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Religion and Equality Butt Head Again In Australia

Once again, there is a conflict between religious organizations and equality rights (in the form of non-discrimination laws) in Australia. The question today is whether a religious organization that receives government funding is allowed to openly discriminate against a homosexual couple because of the organizations religious beliefs. The Herald Sun has the details...

Church groups are free to discriminate against homosexuals after a landmark judgment in which a tribunal ruled religious charities are allowed to ban gay foster parents.
The ruling, made in the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal, has been hailed by the Catholic Church but has outraged civil libertarians, who are demanding religions no longer be exempt from anti-discrimination laws if they receive public money, reported The Daily Telegraph.
The Council of Civil Liberties suggested more children might end up in orphanages because church-based service providers could now knock back couples who did not conform to their beliefs.
Even the tribunal itself, whose judgment came down in favour of the ban, said it was effectively bound to reach the decision because of the very broad exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination Act relating to religious groups.
The decision marks the end of a seven-year legal battle for a gay couple who attempted to become foster carers through Wesley Mission Australia but were knocked back because their lifestyle was not in keeping with the beliefs and values of Wesleyanism, a Methodist order of the Uniting Church.And, it went as far as suggesting that Parliament may wish to revise those laws.
The ADT initially awarded the couple $10,000 and ordered the charity to change its practices so it did not discriminate but an appeals panel set aside that decision and ordered the tribunal to reconsider the matter.
The tribunal then said it had little choice but to find that the discrimination was "in conformity" with the church's doctrine because the test in the law "is singularly undemanding".

Council of Civil Liberties president Cameron Murphy said churches who received taxpayers money to provide services for the state -as was increasingly the case -should no longer be exempt from discrimination laws.
"It's outrageous," he said. "If a non-religious organisation tried to do this they would be in breach of the law.
"If they want to run a foster care agency they ought to be looking after the best interests of the child, not trying to push their religion on the community.
     Many times, we as the gay community are called out by the religious community as people who are demanding "special rights". Though there is much dispute over this accusation by the religious communities, they cannot make any claim that that is bad, since they themselves are granted "special rights" under the guise of religious freedom to bypass the law.

      I take issue with the concept that a government funded organization is able to discriminate against a significant portion of the population. By doing so, even when there are anti-discrimination laws, government is putting its stamp of approval upon discrimination.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Alberta Still Lists Homosexuality as a Mental Disorder

     Thanks to my friend Sheila from Calgary for pointing this out to me, but in yesterdays issue of the Vancouver Sun a story was run detailing how the Alberta government still has homosexuality listed as a mental disorder (alongside pedophilia and bestiality). As the article states,

Alberta continues to list homosexuality as a “mental disorder” along with bestiality and pedophilia, and doctors used the diagnostic code to bill the province for treating gays and lesbians more than 1,750 times between 1995 and 2004, government records show. 
The province has known about the classification for more than a decade and the Conservative government first promised to change it in 1998. On Tuesday, Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky repeated that promise. 
“It has no place in Alberta,” Zwozdesky said, adding he has called for a review of the entire 300-page diagnostic code. “It is simply an incorrect and unacceptable classification and I’ve ordered it to be removed immediately.” 
The diagnostic code is used by doctors when they bill the province for services provided to Albertans. 
The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973, followed by the Canadian Psychiatric Association in 1982. Eight years later, in 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the 10th version of the International Classification of Diseases, known as the ICD-10. 
In 1998, then-health minister Halvar Jonson said the province was in the process of changing the codes. 
“A new coding structure has been developed which Alberta Health is considering,” Halvard wrote in a letter to then-Liberal health critic Gary Dickson. “This new coding will address the concerns regarding the classification of the diagnostic code for homosexuality.” 
Alberta’s current diagnostic codes were last updated in 2005, the same year that British Columbia removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders and four years after China did so.
      Overall, I'm not surprised that Alberta listed homosexuality as a disorder still, though they are promising a change, and no doubt one will happen. My friends, remember this is the same government that refused - until told by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Vriend decision -  to put sexual orientation in its Human Rights code. This is the same government that allows parents to remove their children from classrooms if the oh so taboo subject of sexual orientation is discussed. And this is the same government that threatened to use the Notwithstanding Clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when marriage equality was legalized by the Federal Parliament in 2005.

Edit: In another article that I read on this subject from the Globe and Mail, they are saying that it HAS officially been "scrubbed" from the provinces mental disorder list.

Irish Civil Partnerships Bill is Signed into Law

     Here is some awesome news from Ireland. Though the law was passed this past April, the Justice Minister, Dermot Aherm, officially signed the new law. It goes into effect on January the 1st. Though civil partnerships are "separate but equal" in my opinion, they are a good stepping stone to full marriage equality.

From the Irish Examiner,

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern today signed the Commencement Orders for the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights of Cohabitants Act 2010.

Enacted in July, the Act establishes a civil partnership registration scheme for same-sex couples together with a range of rights, obligations and protections including maintenance obligations, protection of a shared home, pension rights and succession.

The Commencement Orders mean that from January 1 same-sex couples will be able to apply to the Civil Registrar to enter into a civil partnership, although due to a three-month notice period the first civil partnership ceremonies are likely to occur in April.

On registration of a civil partnership, the civil partners will be treated in the same way as spouses under the tax and social welfare codes. The changes required to introduce civil partnership into the tax and social welfare codes also come into effect from January 1.

“I am particularly pleased to bring this Act into operation," Minister Ahern said today.

"The new legal regime reflects the many forms of relationships in modern Irish society," he added.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Let Us Not Play the Victim

     This past year has been one of growth and thought for me. I have transformed from a guy who "took on proudly the role of victim" to one that has taken a more "stable", as I will put it, outlook. Let me explain...

     Every day I scour news sites for articles pertaining to gay rights and gay marriage issues, and I am astounded by the level of hatred and lack of compassion by commenter's on these sites. They assert that gay people are depraved, sick in the head, forcing our agenda on an unwilling audience, wanting "special rights", disgusting etc. They have no qualms in their hatred of our community. Yet, though I frequent these news sites, I also frequent LGBT blogs and such. From a community that I expect to be the ones who are not hating and belittling others, I see the exact opposite. I see a group of people who are JUST AS hate filled and angry. They call those who oppose equal rights for LGBT people as bigots and haters (yet those are more flowery interpretations for their words).

     Are we any better than those opposite us? Yes, I grant that we are discriminated against every day (I myself am a testament to that), I grant that these people are seeking to put us back in the closet, and I grant that these people are blatantly speaking falsehoods about our community. These things cannot be denied. But at the same time, are we losing our own credibility when we respond in the same way. You see, the LGBT community and our opponents are fighting a battle over control of the American peoples ideas and views. Are we attracting this community with honey or are we repelling them with the same vinegar that our opponents emit?

    My husband has been working on me over these ideas, and he has made a great impact on my thinking with one phrase. He says, "Instead of focusing too much on the hatred and the negativity,  just show the world that you are successful, that you are not what these people say that you are, but that you are open and proud of who you are at the same time." You see my friends, that is the key. No longer are we some fringe minority group that is yearning for acceptance, but we ARE going into the mainstream. Thus, we have to act in a way that is fitting of this new role. Instead of being the bitchy and angry victims that we have been for years, we must now show the world our families and our lives, that we are normal, and are not trying to "impose ourselves" on the American people. If we don't, I fear that we might be our own undoing.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rights In Conflict: Religious Freedom and Gay Rights

 With the recent repeal in the Senate of DADT, the freedom of religion of chaplains and soldiers has become an extreme concern by the Religious Right. In fact, just today, OneNewsNow has an article citing the Alliance Defense Fund of the danger of this repeal and its implications on religious liberty. They state,

The conservative legal group, Alliance Defense Fund, issued a statement after the vote saying "The Senate's cave-in to pressure from activists to impose homosexual behavior on our military will place our troops' religious liberties in unprecedented jeopardy. Indeed, the first official casualty of this hurried vote may well be the religious freedom of chaplains and Service members."  ADF Litigation Counsel, Daniel Blomberg, went on to say " no Americans, and especially not our troops, should be forced to abandon their religious beliefs."

The ADF says it stands ready to defend Service members if they are ever unconstitutionally required to choose between "serving their country or obeying their God as a result of this damaging policy decision."
    Why are these groups flipping out? I propose that there is so much concern about this "religious liberty" issue because LGBT issues are becoming just as important in American society as Christianity. You see, for centuries, Christianity and the "religious freedom" that goes along with it, has been the primary concern in America. Now that they are losing this "special status" in favor of a more equitable treatment of everyone, they are complaining that their liberties are under threat.

    In a nutshell, yes their "special liberties" are under threat. When one persons right to be him or herself is just as important as an expression of religion, then there has to be a balance between these two interests, instead of a free pass for one of them. With the repeal of DADT, and the eventual ability for gay and lesbian soldiers to be open about who they are, Conservative Christians will be required to moderate there tone.

    This my friends, is why the Religious Right is so upset. Instead of being allowed to say anything that they want about gay and lesbian people, they now have to be private about their prejudice.  Now that the military is removing institutionalized discrimination about who an individual is, those who choose to hold certain beliefs cannot assert those beliefs without consequences. For the Religious Right this is unacceptable, for in this they see that their power is lessening. The same thing happened with women and African-Americans. Religious personal beliefs about these groups' inferiority (beliefs which do persist to this day) had to go into the "closet" of private life, instead of being able to be broadcast publicly through institutionalized laws.

       Overall, there is a difference between holding a belief and being able to manifest said belief; something that I think the American people have been coming around and realizing. We all have the right to have a belief (even if I may disagree with the ADF's beliefs on gay people, I will defend their rights to have it), but when those beliefs conflict with individuals rights then beliefs must be tempered. This is why I don't give these groups that much power, for their beliefs are slowly moving back into the private sphere - where they should be.

New Hampshire and Gay Marriage: The Evolving Story

The New Hampshire House and Senate, after overwhelmingly moving to control by the Republicans last election, is poised next session to repeal the marriage equality bill that it enacted last year. Certain Republicans, believing that they have the votes to override a governor veto, are intent on rolling back the protections that gay and lesbian citizens in the state are afforded. As seacoastonline reports,

Rep. Leo Pepino, R-Manchester, already has four other co-sponsors to his LSR and he's convinced that the law will be repealed this session.
At 298 House Republicans, “I think we have more than we need to override a veto,” he said.
Pepino is a Catholic who said he feels strongly about the issue.

“When I was a kid, we were all led to believe that the first couple was Adam and Eve, not two Adams and two Eves. To me, it's not normal” for gays and lesbians to marry.
He fought staunchly against the marriage equality bill filed in 2009 by then-Rep. Jim Splaine of Portsmouth, and Pepino said he's already spoken with House leadership about the repeal effort.
“I told them, ‘You are involved in the budget right now, and that's what you should be doing,'” he said.

He said he told leaders that those who are leading the repeal effort “will work on that this session and keep you posted. It'll give us something to do.”
Kevin Smith, of the pro-repeal Cornerstone Research Group, said his organization has surveyed the incoming Legislature and found most of the delegates favor repeal. Having said that, he indicated some want concessions such as language that allows civil unions. “And there are a handful, most who lean toward Libertarian, who are on the fence.”
He said he's “cautiously optimistic, but not wildly optimistic. You never know until the vote is taken in the House,” he said.
But do not doubt for a moment that those who want to uphold the law will be vocal, Splaine said. Splaine looked at the numbers and said, if those who support marriage equality can find 50 or 60 Republicans “who will join the Democrats in upholding any veto,” he believes they will succeed.
Without a two-thirds affirmative vote in both the House and the Senate, the veto will be upheld. And that's key, said Splaine, as those who support the law work to find enough legislators to sustain the veto in the House.
      In my opinion, the New Hampshire House and Senate will be in a very dangerous position if they repeal the law. First, I do not doubt that one of the 3,000 couples that have been married in New Hampshire since the law was passed will take the repeal to the Courts. As has been shown in the Proposition 8 case, there is a very very large difference between a group not having a right, and the group already having it and then taking it away. The Supreme Court has even addressed this in Romer v. Evans, saying that it was unconstitutional for the people and the government to take away rights when they were directed at a specific group and having no rational cause in doing so. I for one, cannot see how the Republicans in N.H. can claim that they have a rational basis in "protecting marriage" when it can be seen in the evidence that gay and lesbian couples have not hurt the institution over the past year.

     In fact, if the "compromise" on civil unions is reached, then there will definitely be a Court challenge, for there is clearly no rational in still giving gays and lesbians all the rights of marriage yet withholding the name of the institution. By doing that, there is clearly no rational basis, for its only a "word".

     I for one, hope that common sense prevails in New Hampshire, and the State does not join the ranks of states like Maine and California...States that will forever go down in history as States which allowed the people to change the equality rights of others.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

DADT Vote Already Having Repercussions at Ivy League Universities

As many of you know, because of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, many Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Yale refused to have ROTC programs on their campuses. Now that that reason is on its way out, these universities are become more open to the prospect of allowing such programs.

From Politico,

The ROTC programs have been absent from a number of Ivy League and other leading campuses since the Vietnam War, and many schools subsequently linked programs' return to open service for gays and lesbians. The vote, said Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, provides "the opportunity for a new era in the relationship between universities and our military services."
"This is an historic development for a nation dedicated to fulfilling its core principle of equal rights. It also effectively ends what has been a vexing problem for higher education, including at Columbia -- given our desire to be open to our military, but not wanting to violate our own core principle against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation," he said in a statement through a spokesman.
Harvard University President Drew Faust today signaled that she would move to restore ROTC to the campus. 
"Because of today's action by the Senate, gay and lesbian Americans will now also have the right to pursue this honorable calling, and we as a nation will have the benefit of their service," she said in a statement through a spokesman. "I look forward to pursuing discussions with military officials and others to achieve Harvard's full and formal recognition of ROTC."
A spokesman for Yale University also suggested that change may be coming soon.
"We are aware of the vote and have plans in consideration," said Yale spokesman Thomas Mattia in an email. 
A Stanford official declined to comment for the record but noted that the school's Faculty Senate is already reviewing the restoration of ROTC, a process that began last "in part in anticipation of the 'Don't ask Don't tell' issue," and is due to consider a report and recommendation in the next few months.

DADT is History!! Final Vote: 65-31

Don't Ask Don't Tell is officially a thing of the past - at least legislatively. In a vote of 65-31, the Senate voted to repeal the law, giving the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff the ability to implement integration of openly gay servicemen and women into the armed forces. Congrats to all of my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in the military who are on the way to being able to serve with openness and honesty!!

Now all that is left is for the repeal bill, which has passed the House and the Senate, to be signed into law by the President!!

Vote Breakdown: Eight Republicans voting for repeal were: Murkowski (AK), Brown (MA), Voinovich (OH), Collins and Snowe (ME), Kirk (IL), Ensign (NV), Burr (NC). One Democrat - Manchin (WV) did not vote as he had to attend a holiday function. But he most likely would have not voted for the repeal as he has come out and said that he was against repeal.

DADT Final Repeal Vote Scheduled for 3pm Today!!

From CTV...
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate will take a final vote Saturday afternoon on legislation that would overturn the U.S. military's ban on openly gay troops. 
The vote on ending the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is set for 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) before senators turn to a nuclear arms treaty with Russia. Passage would send the military measure to the White House.
Normally, after a cloture vote, there is a 30hr waiting period before the bill can again be brought up before the full Senate for a vote. Only the minority party can waive this 30hr waiting period, which they have. Thus the historical vote will happen in less than 2 hrs!!

Because the procedural vote went my opinion there is no reason to worry that this final vote will not make DADT a thing of the past.

DADT repeal passes the Senate procedural vote!!! Breakdown of who voted!!

Just in...Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal just passed the Senates procedural vote. In a very very close vote of 63-33 (procedurally speaking of course) the repeal passed. All I can say is Wooohooo!!

Fifty Seven Democrats and six Republicans voted for cloture. On the Republican side it was Scott Brown (MA) Lisa Murkowski (AK) Olympia Snow (ME) Susan Collins (ME) Mark Kirk (IL) and George Voinovitch (OH).

If you live in any of their jurisdictions, make sure to call or write to them, thanking them for their votes!

Absent from the vote was Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (WV) - who opposed repeal - as well as Republicans Orrin Hatch (UT), Judd Gregg (NH), and Jim Bunning (KY).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Once the Judges go...the state descends into tyranny.

     Yikes, its been over a month since I have last posted - looking more like almost two, but there has been good reason. This semester kicked my butt, but no worries...I was able to pull it off with pretty good marks. Next semester I will have no excuse not to blog more (hopefully every day), and so this right here starts my "new era" of blogging.

    For the past few months I have been keeping a close eye on the situation that has been transpiring in Iowa. Because of one of the classes that I was taking - in rights protection and the judiciary - I was particularly interested in the ousting of three of the seven judges that legalized gay marriage in that State. Subsequently, there has been a lawsuit filed challenging judicial selection, a lawsuit challenging the retention vote (saying that it violated the Iowa Constitution), and a drive to begin articles of impeachment against the remaining judges who voted to approve gay marriage. The fact that the public is having this large of an impact in the judiciary is exciting, for it is showing that Iowans are more interested in politics, but at the same time, is leading down a dangerous road towards an erosion of our republican ideals.

    All of these issues show that the judiciary is by far the least known about and appreciated branch of American Government. The judiciary, as evolved to its present day form, is obligated to ensure that laws pass Constitutional muster, through a process known as Judicial Review. This concept, explained further here, was established by Chief Justice John Marshal in the case Marbury v. Madison. It was Judicial Review that the Iowa Supreme Court in its ruling on marriage equality was using to strike down the gendered marriage law in that State.

    Why do I bring this up? Why is this concept of Judicial Review so important? It is through Judicial Review that an act of the popularly elected Congress can be struck down as Unconstitutional. For the Courts to legitimately exercise this power, they must be kept secluded from the whims of the legislature - and by extrapolation the whims of the people that elect them. It is for this reason that the developments in Iowa are disturbing. For as the November election showed, an unpopular opinion can lead to judges losing their position on the bench. Thus, for fear of their jobs, judges may take the easy option out; just don't make any controversial judgments. This allows for the populous to ignore Constitutional principles in its drive to have majority rule.

     This leads me to my second main point. Many Americans foolishly think that we live in a society that is a democracy, and that the peoples vote matters. Though the peoples vote does matter, it is not absolute; in fact it may be limited when it comes against the other foundation of our republic; The Rule of Law. The rule of law ensures is what both the U.S. Government and the individuals that make up the United States are subject too. We find this Rule of Law in our Constitution, as well as in the Constitutions of the fifty states. The judiciary is in place to ensure that the people and the government obey this rule of law set out in our Constitutions. Thus, when the Iowa Supreme Court invalidated the gendered marriage law in the States, they did so because it violated the Rule of Law. The people, in their passion, on the other hand; foolishly believing that their votes make the laws, voted out those individuals who were only upholding the true Rule of Law. This is damning for the concept of a Judiciary whose job it is to uphold this Rule; since if their judgments are deemed "unacceptable" by the passionate and (in my opinion) uneducated populous, they can be eliminated.

In Iowa, it now must be asked, is the Rule of Law supreme, as it is supposed to be, or are the wild passions of an electorate and a legislature now in control?

For your benefit, below is the full text of the Iowa's Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. Note their reliance on the Constitution (the Rule of Law if you will).

Iowa Supreme Court Ruling legalizing gay marriage in Iowa

Monday, October 25, 2010

Federal Judge Nixes NOMs plans.

Pretty cool news out of New York...

From the Buffalo News

A federal judge Monday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a national group that opposes gay marriage and wants to sponsor advertisements supporting Republican Carl P. Paladino for governor.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara said the lawsuit filed by the National Organization for Marriage, which is based in Washington, was premature.
The group, which calls itself NOM in court papers, is involved in legal fights in several states, seeking to ban homosexual marriages.
NOM wants to run an advertising campaign in favor of Paladino, but the group said it does not want to conform to state election laws that would require it to register as a political committee. If it does register as a political committee in New York, the group would have to file financial reports with the state Board of Elections, listing its donors by name.
Last week, NOM asked Arcara to declare a portion of state election law unconstitutional, but the judge refused Monday.
The lawsuit is premature because, so far, NOM has not tried to run any of its ads in New York, and the state has not officially declared NOM to be a political committee, the judge wrote in a nine-page ruling.
There is "no evidence" that NOM ever discussed the situation with Board of Elections officials before filing its lawsuit, Arcara wrote.
The article then goes on to explain how NOM might be able to get around New Yorks Political committee rule, as it is not supporting any particular candidate...a claim which I think is tenuous at best. This lawsuit showed that NOM is not actually wanting to be transparent in regards to anything, and instead would like to participate in an election in which is by no means belongs. This Governors race my friends should be for New Yorkers and by New outside money on either side.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Obama Administration to Appeal DOMA ruling!!

The Obama Administration has decided to appeal the ruling this past summer in Massachusetts on the Defense of Marriage Act. As you may recall, the Defense of Marriage Act was ruled Unconstitutional by Judge Tauro on 10th Amendment grounds.

Reuters has more...

The Obama administration filed a notice of appeal with the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in support of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that barred gay marriages, even though President Barack Obama had previously opposed the law.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro in Boston ruled in July for several gay couples who had argued that the Defense of Marriage Act interfered with the rights of states to define marriage.
Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriages and had in a separate challenge argued that the law denied benefits to same-sex couples available to heterosexual married couples.
Tauro agreed with the challenge by the couples and the state, saying the law forces Massachusetts to discriminate against its own citizens and therefore was unconstitutional.
A Justice Department spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.
The appeal comes at a tough time for Obama, who has been trying to shore up his liberal base ahead of the contentious congressional elections when his fellow Democrats are expected to lose many seats to Republicans. Democrats could lose control of the House of Representatives.
A key concern has been whether those who have supported Obama in the past will show up to vote next month. He has opposed same-sex marriages but supported civil unions and extended some benefits to gay partners of federal employees.
Yep...shows just how much our President is on our interested to see how he will deal with the DADT injunction issued today...will he appeal that also?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gay Marriage is Super Disgusting

In the delightful Mexican city of Guadalajara...the place where, if you recall, there was the flap over the Catholic Bishops remarks about Mexico Cities gay marriage law...we have another wonderful politician...from the Associated Press. 

The governor of Mexico's Jalisco state says gay marriages disgust him.
Gov. Emilio Gonzalez says marriage should be between a man and a woman. He adds, in his words, "that other thing, as they say, still grosses me out."
Gonzalez spoke Friday at a forum on family in Guadalajara city.
Guadalajara has been a focal point of Mexico's debate over gay marriage, which sharpened after Mexico City enacted a law in December allowing same-sex couples to wed and adopt children.

The Gay Community Must Now "Attack" the Church.

Dang, its been way to long since I have blogged...but school has been hitting me hard the past few weeks. But I have not been under a rock, and have in fact been paying attention to what has been happening in the States over the past few weeks in regards to the increase in LGBT student suicides. As horrible as these suicides are, I believe that they will contribute to the greater good, as they force people to recognize the power of words and the resulting actions that flow from words.

For too long, Christianity has been given a free pass - under the guise of religious freedom - to spout incessant hatred and blatant untruths about LGBT people. Conservative Christianity has been allowed to demonize LGBT people in their attempt to accomplish the establishment of a "Christian state". Not recognizing that we were under serious threat from these factions of religion, the gay community focused instead on political equality, and civil equality. Instead of aiming directly at the vestiges of a hatred that supposedly has the "will of God" behind it, we had become content to instead grant that what church's do in private is acceptable, but that they just should not interfere with the civil realm. This overlooks the impact that conservative "anti-Christian" Christianity has on LGBT people and their emotional health.

Our attacks as a community,instead of only on civil inequality, must now be focused directly on the Church. Will the Christian Right complain? Yes they will. Will they say that we are trying to stifle their free speech and that they are being persecuted against? Yes they will. Should we care? HELL NO. As long as we allow "Christianity" to demonize us with such attitudes as "love the sinner, hate the sin" (an oxymoronic phrase at best when applied to LGBT people), or that our sexual orientation can be changed, or that our relationships are somehow inferior to other relationships, we will never win, and we will never be able to stop the persecution and hatred directed towards people who are different. Too long we have played nice with Religion; well that day is over. Finally the Religious Right is receiving the condemnation that is due to them. Because of the wave of recent suicides they have come under fire and as such have been put in defensive mode. They are on the edge of the cliff, we must now push them over it.

On October 20th wear purple in commemoration of those who have died because of the Church's blatant homophobia and as a symbol that anti-gay harassment is no longer acceptable in the United States.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Obama's Department of Justice Demands No Injunction of Enforcement of Dont Ask Dont Tell

This is in no way surprising, given President Obama's lack of leadership on repealing the policy. Though he technically has to defend the current law and appeal the judges ruling, we are seeing just how much he has used LGBT americans for political gains...

From the Advocate...

The Department of Justice asked a federal judge Thursday to continue enforcing the military's ban on gay and lesbian service members, despite a ruling earlier this month that struck down "don't ask, don't tell" as unconstitutional.

In a 14-page filing, Justice Department attorneys argued that an immediate, permanent injunction against enforcing the law —one supported by Log Cabin Republicans, which successfully challenged DADT in court and has argued for a halt to all discharges of gay service members — would be "untenable."

The text of the Department of Justices legal filing can be found here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Court Affirms that Florida's Gay Adoption Ban is Unconstitutional!!

Out of the great state of Florida, the 3rd District Court of Appeals - in a unanimous 3-0 decision - has ruled that the lower courts decision - that the gay adoption ban in Florida was unconstitutional - was correct.

From the Court Ruling, which can be found here..

According to the judgment, “Florida is the only remaining state to expressly ban all gay adoptions without exception.” Judge Cindy Lederman, after lengthy hearings, concluded that there is no rational basis for the statute. We agree and affirm the final judgment of adoption.
Excellent News out of Florida. Though this decision may be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, it can be hoped that Governor Christ - since he is for gay people adopting - will not attempt to appeal the ruling.  But the same can't be hoped for from current Attorney General Bill McCollum.

The Miami Herald also has an excellent piece on the history of the litigation here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Oh Senator McCain...You Are So Wise

The esteemed Senator from Arizona, on why bigotry is acceptable. Because obviously the military operates on what the soldiers want at all times. mmmmhhhmmmm....

Breaking News!! DADT vote is Blocked in the Senate!!

Today, just about half and hour ago, the Republicans in the United States Senate successfully blocked a vote on the military authorization bill, of which the "repeal" provisions of Don't Ask Don't Tell was a part. From the Keen News Service...

The Senate Tuesday afternoon rejected a motion to break a Republican-led filibuster against an annual defense spending bill that includes language aimed at ending the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law banning gays. The vote was 56 to 43.
The vote was uncertain all the way up to the vote, started at 2:30 Eastern Time, as Democratic leaders were reportedly trying to negotiate an agreement with one or two senators to reach the 60-vote count they needed to proceed. But Republican stood united in their contention that a procedural restriction placed on consideration of the annual defense spending bill was politically motivated to win the votes of LGBT people and Latinos for the mid-term elections in November.
This is a sad day in American Politics. Every one of the Republicans, as well as Senator Blanche Lincoln from Arkansas voted against the motion to break the filibuster. Susan Collins from Maine, a senator who does not believe the DADT policy is good for the United States Military voted with the Republicans because she believed that the republican amendments to the bill should have been looked at. In my opinion, she put party over the right thing to do, and her and Senator Lincoln are the true reasons that this bill failed.

All we can hope for now is that the judge in California issues an injunction stopping the enforcement of this unconstitutional policy. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Breaking News!! Wyoming Gay Marriage Lawsuit Dropped!!

This just in from the Casper Star Tribune!! The Lawsuit that was filed last month in Wyoming arguing for gay marriage has been dropped by the plaintiffs. The only thing I can say about this is THANK GOD!! As I said before, the plaintiffs were going at this all the wrong way, with no legal representative, sketchy personal histories, and a potentially illegitimate case at that. LGBT people in Wyoming can breath a sigh of relief that all their work to make inroads in the legislature is not hurt by some upstart young men trying to grab 15 minutes of fame.

Less than a month after filing the first legal challenge to Wyoming's gay marriage law, a Cheyenne couple has dropped its lawsuit.
Plaintiffs David Shupe-Roderick, 25, and Ryan W. Dupree, 21, withdrew the lawsuit in federal court on Friday.
The suit, filed Aug. 13, alleged that Wyoming's law defining marriage as being a contract solely "between a male and a female person" was unconstitutional.
However, the suit came under fire from some gay-rights activists who worried about the lawsuit's legal arguments and Shupe-Roderick's history of litigation and criminal activities.
Shupe-Roderick did not return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday.
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