As stealthily as it reared its ugly head, the power to harness prejudice against gay people to win national elections is shriveling up and dying a well-deserved death. Republicans see that, even if they won’t all say it out loud, and even if presidential hopefuls keep trying to get traction equating being gay with moral failure or disobedience to God.
“A lot of people I talk to understand if we don’t change our position, we won’t win elections,” said GOP political strategist David Kochel, Mitt Romney’s chief Iowa adviser in 2012. He said it at a sold-out Des Moines celebration Saturday marking five years of same-sex marriage in Iowa, an event that underscored how mainstream the issue has become. The U.S. vice president sent a letter of congratulations. A major insurance corporation in an industry that is by nature conservative placed an ad with a rainbow flag logo in the program book.
In the same state where, it was noted Saturday, an emcee once wouldn’t introduce the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus by name, it’s now common for a man to introduce another as his husband. With nearly 40 percent of Americans now living in states (17) that recognize marriage equality, and young people overwhelmingly considering it as a non-issue, it’s hard to imagine anyone who beats the drum against gay marriage winning the presidency. The parties won’t nominate one, unless they’re self-sabotaging or in denial about the massive shift in attitudes around the country. If they do, such a candidate won’t win.
Federico Podeschi and Darren Williams, one of the first same-sex couples to marry in the UK last month, filed an instanza (Initiative of the Council) in San Marino’s official government office on Sunday to have their marriage recognized. Podeschi is originally from San Marino. The istanza is now before the two Reggenti (Governors) of San Marino who have a month to approve or reject the initiative. If approved the initiative would be introduced in the Consiglio Grande e Generale (San Marino legislature) and then the istanza will face a vote. The mandate of the Reggenti lasts only 6 months so in October San Marino will elect another two governors (and then in April 2015). If the two Reggenti reject the istanza the citizenry of San Marino could file the same initiative the first Sunday after the October elections.
San Marino is a beautiful little country that is effectively part of Italy, although it maintains its own government. We visited there a couple years ago – it has three fairy-tale castles perched on a tall hill, overlooking the Italian countryside below. Will this tiny nation effectively leapfrog Italy on LGBT rights?
The Dallas Voice reports:
The Denver-based court will hear oral arguments Thursday in the Utah same-sex marriage case Herbert v. Kitchen. By order of the court, there will be no audio or video recording, broadcasting, photography, blogging, tweeting, emailing or any other broadcast mechanism or wireless communication anywhere in the courthouse during oral arguments. In that crowded courtroom, a three-judge panel will scrutinize the Dec. 2013 decision of U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby (an Obama appointee). Shelby ruled that the state constitution’s definition of marriage as being only between “a man and a woman” is not permissible under the U.S. Constitution. He said the law’s prohibition of same-sex couples marrying violates the due process and equal protection guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. He said the ban denies gay and lesbian citizens their “fundamental right to marry and, in doing so, demean[s] the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason.”
Countries Have the Right to Make Gays Criminals
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma basically threw Uganda’s gays under the buss, saying “South Africa respects the sovereign rights of other countries to adopt their own legislation” in regards to Uganda’s new anti-gay law. Because why should someone who lived under a system of apartheid for decades have any empathy for the oppression of others?
It’s a Hate Parade
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is encouraging other Bishops to support a “March for Marriage being planned by the National Organization for Marriage in DC on 6/19. Because nothing shows your Christlove like marching against the gays.
I Still Hate Gay Marriage
Just in case there were any doubts, Ohio Governor Jon Kasich reaffirmed his opposition to marriage equality: The people of the state, including me, voted years ago on a constitutional amendment to say that marriage is between a man and a woman. “(Black) has overruled that in some respects, and that’s what a federal judge can do. But it doesn’t change the fact of how people voted.” Yes, and because someone votes on something at one point in time, that thing should never be changed, ever, for the rest of time. Has Kasich looked at the marriage equality polls lately? He probably thinks they are “skewed”.
The Bible is On the Wrong Side of History, and So Am I
Standing by his opposition to marriage equality, Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said “When people say, ‘Why don’t you just kind of get on the right side of history?’ I said, ‘You’ve got to understand, this for me is not about the right side or the wrong side of history, this is the right side of the Bible”. because, obviously, his interpretation of the Bible is the only one that counts. I assume he advocates stoning adulterers and doesn’t eat shellfish, too?
The Gays Are Throwing Bricks at Me
Massively anti-gay Scott Lively says he is receiving the Pink Brick “award” from SF Pride. The Pink Brick is a symbol of the first brick hurled at the Stonewall Riots in 1969. This faux award is an opportunity to highlight an individual or organization that has done significant harm to the LGBT community. It is also an opportunity to educate the community and the Pink Brick recipient about relevant issues. But he also claims to have had an actual pink brick thrown at him in 2011, though many think this was a hoax to draw attention to himself and to paint himself as the “victim” of the “militant gays”.
Abnormal Gays Are Ramming it Down My Throat
UKIP candidate Douglas Denny sys “I just wish they would keep their homosexual nature and practices to themselves and stop trying to ram it down my throat telling me they are ‘normal’ when they are not.” What is it with these right-wing guys and their oral fixation?
It’s Now a Crime to Be a Christian in America
Yes, Bryan Fischer says that because the US Supreme Court declined to hear the case of a Photographer in New Mexico who refused to photograph a same sex wedding, being Christian is now a criminal act. Nevermind that the photographer in question was never “charged” or put in jail. And nevermind that in many countries, it actually is a crime simply to be gay, something you are born with, and is punishable by long prison terms and in some cases, death. Are there any countries where it’s actually a crime to be Christian (something you choose to be, BTW)? If there are, the US certainly isn’t one of them.
The Wisconsin Gazette reports:
Polling released today shows support for marriage equality in Wisconsin at 51 percent. The survey was conducted in March by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and released by Fair Wisconsin, the state’s largest LGBT civil rights group. “Just like the rest of the country, Wisconsinites support fairness and equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community much more than even just a few years ago,” said Katie Belanger, president and CEO of Fair Wisconsin, in a news release today (April 8).
State after state is crossing the 50% threshold, but we’d love to see it at two-thirds, like in Ireland.
Here’s our daily quick round-up of the marriage equality and LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we just didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!
Egypt: Four men have been sentenced to up to eight years in prison for the crime of homosexuality. full story
Europe: The European Parliament adopted a new resolution to ensure all member nations recognize the relationships of all European families, gay and straight. full story
Italy: A new “heterosexual pride” organisation has launched in Italy, and will hold its first gathering next month. full story
Netherlands: A court ruled in favor of adoption rights for lesbian mothers. full story
Russia: A gay couple in Sochi has married in Argentina and is now seeking asylum there. full story
UK: Tom Ford just married his long-term partner Richard Buckley in the UK. full story
UK, England: A Bristol newspaper editor says his sales dropped when he published a photo of a same sex wedding o the paper’s cover page. full story
USA: A transgender man’s widow has won her battle against a pension provider. full story
USA: The Social Security Administration has updated its policy regarding transgender citizens, making it easier for them to obtain benefits. full story
USA, Indiana: A federal judge has set a hearing date for April 10th in a marriage equality lawsuit. full story
USA: The “trans 100″ list of the top transgender advocates has been released. full story
USA, Kentucky: A survey was distributed to University of Kentucky students asking if they believe homosexuality is a sin, perversion, or mental illness. full story
USA, Mississippi: Tony Perkins attended the signing of the Right to Discriminate bill in Mississippi. full story
USA, Iowa: The state just celebrated the fifth anniversary of the marriage equality ruling there. full story
USA, Louisiana: Freshman Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA), who campaigned on family values and against marriage equality, was caught on camera making out with a female staffer. full story
USA, Nebraska: A bill that would prohibit discrimination in housing and employment has stalled in the state Senate after a conservative-led filibuster. full story
USA, Ohio: A state lawmaker has renewed his calls to seek impeachment of a judge who is ruling in favor of marriage equality. full story
USA, Utah: The hearing in the Utah marriage equality case will be a full hour, twice as long as usual. full story
USA, Virginia: 14 state attorneys general filed a brief in the marriage equality lawsuit essentially arguing that the protections of marriage should not apply to the children of same sex couples. full story
USA, Virginia: Anti-gay activist Mathew Staver submitted a brief supporting the state;s marriage equality ban, calling it “rational”. full story
USA, Wyoming: Wyofile looks at the Wyoming marriage equality lawsuit. full story
First off, former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson:
“Speaking as a conservative, a lifelong Republican, and a son of the West, Senator Simpson talks of his values of freedom and limited government and the joy of marriage,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. “The ad shows the bipartisan momentum for the freedom to marry. And recent rulings against marriage discrimination by nine out of nine federal district judges show the legal trajectory of our campaign: toward more freedom, more dignity, and more families enjoying equality under the law.”
And a former US President’s daughters think he would have been supportive.
The Advocate reports:
It’s impossible to say how the late president Lyndon B. Johnson would feel about marriage equality — but his daughters suspect he would be for it, they told Katie Couric in a recent interview for Yahoo! News.
“I think my father felt very strongly that when there was bigotry anywhere, prejudice anywhere, all of us lose out,” said Luci Baines Johnson. “Because it’s just one more expression of hate.”
Added her sister, Lynda Bird Johnson Robb: “It’s hard to project what Daddy would have thought about that because that wasn’t an issue that had come upon the States at that time. But I know he really wanted everybody to be able to live up to the best that God gave them.”
Two more steps toward full equality.
Pink News reports:
The Church of Norway has voted not to allow same-sex couples to be married by its priests in a close run vote. Proposals to introduce a marriage liturgy for gay couples were voted down at the start of the Church’s national synod on Tuesday morning, with 64 of 115 votes against and 51 in favour. “We are disappointed, but it’s OK to be disappointed sometimes, ” Bard Nylund, the leader of Norway’s national association for gay, bisexual and transgender people, told Norway’s VG newspaper. “We want to make it clear that we are happy that there is a struggle, and that so many in the Church are willing to stand up and be counted.”
It was a close vote, and times are changing quickly. Maybe the next time the Church will move forward.
Ian Millhiser at Think Progress has some insights:
If anything can be read into the Court’s decision not to hear the Elane Photography case, however, it is probably that the Court’s conservative wing was unwilling to take this bet. The Court’s four more liberal members had no reason to disturb the New Mexico Supreme Court’s decision — they probably agree with it — and the four most conservative justices may have decided to give this case a miss because they were worried that Kennedy would join the liberals if forced to decide Elane Photography… While Elane Photography is technically a free speech case and not a religious liberty case, it also presents the question of whether a religious business owner can ignore a business regulation. So if Kennedy was unwilling to decide Hobby Lobby in a way that would allow religious objections to trump anti-discrimination law, it is likely that he would have had the same concern in Elane Photography. That may have been enough to convince his fellow conservatives to avoid Elane Photography.
Lisa Keen at Keen News agrees:
The photographer had claimed that she had religious beliefs that compelled her to refuse accommodations to the lesbian couple, and the case was viewed as one of many disputes heading to the U.S. high court that pitted religious beliefs against non-discrimination laws. But the case was never pitched as a free exercise case and that may be why the Supreme Court didn’t take it, said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Jenny Pizer. Tobias Wolff, an attorney helping represent the lesbian couple, said, “No court in the United States has ever found that a business selling commercial services to the general public has a First Amendment right to turn away customers on a discriminatory basis.”
When the case began, the was no marriage equality in the state. Now, as it ends with a whimper, New Mexico has embraced the right of gays and lesbians to marry. Now we await the court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which could have profound effects on the religious liberty vs. gay rights arguments in the US.
The Advocate reports:
The ads are set to begin airing Tuesday, with one featuring a large Mormon family and another starring former TV news anchor Terry Wood. Wood says he’s happy to lend his voice to the movement, as it gives him an opportunity to show how his family is directly affected by the issue. His gay son Damien married his husband five years ago in California, but their marriage is not currently recognized in their home state of Utah. “Love is the reason people get married,” Wood said. “My son and his husband have the same love for each other that my wife and I have for each other.”
Ads like these are as important as lawsuits – while our day in court allows us to clear away all the clutter and lies, these ads speak directly to the people who we interact with every day, and can help sway public opinion in support of those court decisions.
Please mark your calendars now to join Marriage Equality USA and partners for a national COMMUNITY CALL to be held on the evening of April 10 to discuss the day’s events surrounding the Utah marriage equality case.
TIME: 9:30 PM ET/8:30 PM CT/7:30 PM MT/6:30 PM PT
Sign up now to receive the call in information!
On April 10, 2014, the 10th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the Utah marriage equality case, Kitchen v. Herbert. The hearing is the first federal appellate court hearing on the freedom to marry since last summer’s landmark Supreme Court decision overturning section 3 of DOMA.
You are invited to our Community Call to discuss what happened in the courtroom, hear community reaction, and to ask questions about where we go from here.
Participants on the call will include:
Longtime LGBT and marriage equality activists Colleen and Jolene Mewing, a married Utah couple who will be directly affected by the outcome of the case and who will be in the courtroom April 10;
John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA’s Legal and Public Policy Director and Kathleen Perrin, legal expert, who together will discuss the legal aspects of the case;
and Brian Silva, Marriage Equality USA’s Executive Director.
To receive the call in information, sign up at www.tinyurl.com/utah10. All attendees will receive the information on the morning of April 10.
On 10 April 2014, the 10th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the Utah marriage equality case, Kitchen v. Herbert. Marriage Equality USA will be sponsoring a Community Rally in Utah and a national Community Call open to the public that evening.
“This hearing is the first federal appellate court hearing on the freedom to marry since last summer’s landmark Supreme Court decision overturning section 3 of DOMA,” said MEUSA Executive Director Brian Silva. “All eyes will be on the 10th Circuit as unprecedented momentum for marriage equality continues nationwide.”
“Since the hearing will take place in Denver and many Utahns won’t be able to attend, Marriage Equality USA is hosting a local community rally in Salt Lake City that evening to keep the momentum going!” said MEUSA Utah Organizers Colleen and Jolene Mewing. “Over 1,000 Utah couples who are now legally married, just like us, are looking to the court to say ‘I Do’ to marriage so that all loving couples in Utah can once again exchange vows.”
EVENT: Community Rally in Support of Marriage Equality for Utah
WHEN: Thursday, 10 April 2014
TIME: 5:30-6:30pm MDT
WHERE: Salt Lake City and County Building, 451 S State Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84111. Meet on the north side of the Salt Lake City and County Building.
PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS: Utah Pride Center and Equality Utah
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The Irish Times reports:
Asked how they plan to vote in the referendum on the issue, promised by the Government next year, 67 per cent said they would vote Yes, 21 per cent No and 12 per cent were undecided. The corresponding figures in an Irish Times poll in November 2012 were 53 per cent Yes, 30 per cent No, and 17 per cent undecided… When the undecided are excluded from the current poll, the Yes figure is 76 per cent with 24 per cent No, compared to a figure of 64 per cent Yes and 36 per cent No in November 2012. The poll also shows voters are of the view that a traditional family of a father and mother is best suited to bringing up children by comparison with any other combination.
That’s an amazing level of support – if this passes next year, Northern Ireland will be the only part of the islands that doesn’t have marriage equality.
Here’s our daily quick round-up of the marriage equality and LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we just didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!
India: A Bollywood filmmaker, Onir, is leaving the Aam Aadmi Party because they won’t pledge to repeal the country’s anti-gay law. full story
Ireland: Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham is demanding that the Health Secretary explain why he wants to continue to ban gay men from donating blood. full story
Ireland: The band Le Galaxie will host a special concert for marriage equality on May 9th in Dublin. full story
New Zealand: Next week is the first anniversary of marriage equality in the country. full story
UK: Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith says calls to sack an MP who recently faced questions about her expenses are payback for her support of marriage equality. full story
USA, Georgia: Delta CEO Richard Anderson chastised Georgia for trying to pass a Right to Discriminate bill. full story
USA, Oklahoma: The Westboro Baptist Church was run out of Moore, Oklahoma, after coming to protest in the town where a tornado took 24 lives last year. full story
USA, Oregon: The owner of a new local non GMO grocery store faces a boycott for saying that marriage equality will lead to the acceptance of paedophilia and bigamy. full story
USA, Utah: Edge Boston profiles the same sex couple at the heart of the Utah marriage equality case. full story
Thank you for the hundreds and hundreds of emails about the Mozilla- Eich affair. My readers overwhelmingly disagree with me for a host of reasons. But I have to say that this time, the more I have mulled this over, the more convinced I am that my initial response to this is absolutely the right one. And not just the right one, but a vital one to defend at this juncture in the gay rights movement.
So let me concede all of the opposing arguments that have been deployed to defend the public shaming and resignation of Brendan Eich. To recap those points: This was not the “gay left” as such, but the “techie straight left” more broadly. Sure (I’ve been to San Francisco.) He wasn’t fired; he resigned. Undisputed. Mozilla is not your usual company. Obviously not. Being CEO is different than being just a regular employee and requires another standard. Sure. It doesn’t matter because we’re all marching toward victory anyway. Well, probably. This was a function of market forces and the First Amendment. You won’t get me to disagree about that.
So why am I more convinced that what just happened still matters, and matters a lot? I think it’s because these arguments avoid the core, ugly truth of what happened. Brendan Eich was regarded as someone whose political beliefs and activities rendered him unsuitable for his job. In California, if an employer had fired an employee for these reasons, he would be breaking the law:
1102. No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.
Now Eich was not in that precise position. He resigned as CEO under duress because of his political beliefs. The letter of the law was not broken. But what about the spirit of the law?
Editor’s note: I have to say, we’re conflicted over these types of cases – on the one hand sure, no one should be “punished” for what they believe. But on the other hand, I have to wonder if the outrage on Eich’s behalf would have been the same if he had donated to a referendum to strip marriage rights from mixed-race couples. Is it still ok, on some level, to show a public bias against gays and lesbians in a way that it’s not to openly show the same bias towards other races?
In any case, we believe that LGBT rights activists should try to be the adults in the room and show the other side a civility that’s often not accorded to us.
Equality on Trial reports:
The Court had considered the petition over several conferences, and this morning, they officially denied certiorari, meaning that the unanimous New Mexico Supreme Court decision against the business will remain in effect in the state. The challenge was brought by the photography business, Elane Photography, after they declined to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony (before same-sex marriage was legal in the state) and were cited under the state’s public accommodations law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, among other things.
Will this and the Mozilla flap rekindle the fire under those Right to Discriminate bills that were recently shot down in many states across the country?
Here’s the the latest in our ongoing series of some of the crazy things the anti-gay, anti-marriage equality folks are saying and doing around the world.
Gay Marriage Watch Flies the Nazi Flag
We posted Kos’s rebuttal of the whole Eich issue yesterday, and got this lovely reply via twitter from one of our opponents: “I have it on good authority @gaymarriagewatc has this flag hanging in their living room: pic.twitter.com/PVbiar5GaS”, a rainbow flag with a swastika in the middle. And we’re the intolerant ones? Seriously? Please, no hate tweets in response – let’s show that we can be the adults in the room.
The Gays Are the New Terrorists
Glenn Beck weighs in on the Brendan Eich flap, calling gay rights groups “terrorist organizations. Not having noticed, apparently, that none of the major LGBT rights groups called for Eich’s resignation, or even weighed in on it.
Gays Are the New Fascists
Newt Gingrich jumped on the Eich train too. “This is just the most open blatant example of their new fascism, which says ‘if you don’t agree with us 100 percent, we have the right to punish you.” Again, it wasn’t the major gay groups who pushed this, Mr. Gingrich – at least get your facts straight.
Drop Dead Nazi F@gs
And speaking of civility and tolerance, have you seen some of the bile unloaded at Firefox’s feedback page by the religious right? I’m sorry, but what happened to Eich was nothing compared to the nastiness revealed by this attack on Mozilla following his resignation.
Anti-gay groups are getting desperate, with one candidate for governor comparing marriage equality to murder. An Alabama scheme to slip a marriage ban into the US Constitution is moving forward but is pretty much guaranteed to fail.
A judge in Ohio rules that marriage equality isn’t only for dead people anymore. Plus, a major marriage victory in Utah gets put to the test on appeal this Thursday. We’ll have all the details.
I wrote this blog for Pridezillas but felt it was an important one to share with my gay marriage watch audience too. Click here to find out what married gay men think about the battle for Birkins and Balencia playing out in the media.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Weddings in Vieques, a full-service destination wedding planning company based on Vieques Island, seven miles off the coast of Puerto Rico. She is also the star of TLC’s reality wedding show “Wedding Island,” . Sandy and her team (including her husband Bill, a retired SWAT team commander) have planned and executed almost 400 weddings in the Spanish Virgin Islands. Sandy is a veteran event planner from Washington, DC, with years of experience planning large and small weddings, press conference, and corporate and political events. She has planned countless events on Vieques Island, beginning with her own wedding back in 2004. Since that time, her professional staff has executed large and small weddings of all styles, including elopements, vow renewals and fabulously posh events at multi-million dollar waterfront villas. She has also planned family reunions, destination baby showers, corporate retreats and a variety of other events for clients from all over the United States and Canada. Sandy is also the owner of Weddings in Culebra (wedding planning on Vieques’ little sister island), Flowers in Vieques (a full service floral and décor firm), and Boutique in Vieques (a clothing and home décor shop). Sandy has a regular column on the Huffington Post and has been rated “Five Rainbows” by her happy gay clients! Follow Sandy on Twitter @SandyMalone_ and @WeddingsinVQS and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SandyMaloneWIV.