We’ll start with the Senate Leader’s speech on marriage equality, given just before the final vote was taken, brought to us by Joe.My.God:
Joe.My.God also has a great quote from openly gay Senator Scott Dibble:
“Minnesotans, when given a chance, understand that the values that unite us are stronger and so much more important than those that divide us. I am proud to be a Minnesotan today. Today good hard-working Minnesotans playing by the rules, trying to live a good life, contributing in so many ways to their communities will be treated fairly. For thousands of families, life will be better. We will be removing the barriers that they have had to the full joys that life has to offer. In doing so, we strengthen ourselves and we strengthen our democracy. When this is over, we will have left Minnesota a better place. That is why we’re here.”
Over at Towleroad.com, they have a video of the celebration that erupted just after the vote:
A crappy cell phone camera may not be great at capturing images, but it is perfectly capable of transmitting joy.
Over at NOM, Brian Brown predicted the end of the Democratic majority in Minnesota because of the vote. Joe.My.God reports:
Make no mistake, this vote will bring the demise of the DFL majority and end the careers of wayward Republicans in the Legislature once voters have their say. The people of Minnesota did not vote for gay marriage in 2012. They voted to maintain traditional marriage by maintaining the status quo. Our opponents bought a victory by claiming that marriage was not under threat of redefinition, but in fact they always intended to redefine it at the soonest possible moment. Legislators who voted to redefine marriage were foolish to do so. They cast a terrible vote that damages society, tells children they don’t deserve a mother and a father, and brands supporters of traditional marriage as bigots. We predict that this vote will be career ending for many legislators in Minnesota.”
Of course, Brown basically predicted failure for the bills in Minnesota, Delaware, and Illinois a week and a half ago. Lets see if we can prove him wrong in all three states!
More victories as a marriage bill clears hurdles in Minnesota. And there’s progress appears likely in neighboring states as well. But soon, constitutional amendments in 30 states could delay any further success for years to come.
After months of speculation, the marriage equality bill just cleared the Minnesota Senate, after passing the House last week on a surprising 75-59 vote. Governor Mark Dayton, narrowly elected last November, has been pushing the bill, and has promised to sign it.
During the hearing, Senator Warren Limmer (R) complained that the bill offered little protection for individuals who disagreed with the bill, including teachers. “What about the YMCA’s, the YWCA’s, what about Northwestern College… they fail to have a denominational identity. They are not protected.”
Senator Ron Latz (R) responded to several of the GOP Senators’ complaints, pointing out that the bill was not about the religious definition of marriage, but the civil one. “Marriage is not a uniquely religious event.”
Senator Scott Dibble (D) made another important point. “Organizations that are religiously affilaited that are not taking public funds don’t have to serve anyone.” He pointed out that only religious institutions that did accept public funds would have to serve same sex couples and individuals, just like everyone else, and that it’s true already today under the state’s human rights laws. “We don’t exclude people in the public square.”
An amendment was put forward by Senator Paul Gazelka (R) to extend religious protections to non-church entities, which would have allowed anyone to discriminate against anyone based on any criteria, as long as it was based on religious beliefs. Not that, the amendment was written in such a way that it could potentially bring down the whole law if it was later found to be unconstitutional… basically a poison pill.
The amendment was defeated 41 to 26.
Another amendment, to explicitly retain the terms mother, father, husband and wife in state law, also failed.
During the final deliberations, Senator Jeff Hayden (D), cited his children as inspiration for voting yes, saying they had known same-sex couples their entire lives, and had themselves fought for marriage equality. Hayden, who is African American, also said that his wife is white, and talked about the Loving decision on bi-racial marriage and how it cleared the way for his family to exist. He said to marriage equality opponents “I think everything is going to be ok here in Minnesota.”
Senator Vicki Jensen (D) looked at the Iowa Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, and found it convincing in its argument that marriage equality was a constitutional right, and that any bill in the legislature should not contain a religious point of view or endorsement. She strongly supports the bill.
Senator Scott Reinert (D), a lutheran, had declined to say how he would vote previously, but he cited his lesbian sister, and his parents who taught him to accept others, as his inspiration. He compared this vote to decisions for women’s rights and in favor of bi-racial marriage. He said that every time we’ve faced this kind of decision, our country has come out on the right side. Reinhart, who is single but hopes to marry someday, said “I vote today to recognize for all the very same desires I have for myself. I vote today to recognize the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of public happiness.”
Senator Ron Latz (D) said “God made gays… who are we to quibble with God’s intentions?” He also pointed out that the bible includes descriptions of polygamous marriages, and that marriage has not always been the same.
Overall, the debate was respectful, even when the opponents spoke against the bill. The usual canards were brought up by the opponents – slippery slope; thousands of years of tradition, marriage is about having children, they’re redefining marriage, etc. In fact, most of these points were made in one speech by Senator Dan Hall (R). “We may be changing the course of freedom,” he said, using the standard playbook – if you don’t like something, say it’s taking away your freedom!
But in the end, none of that mattered, and marriage equality prevailed.
Under the new law, gays and lesbians will be able to marry in Minnesota starting on August 1st. Congratulations to Minnesota and the gay and lesbian couples there!
It’s quite a turn-around from two years ago, when the GOP began its effort to put a gay marriage ban on the ballot. The ban failed, part of a sweep for marriage equality advocates that included legalizing or confirming marriage equality in Maine, Maryland and Washington state.
In the last three weeks alone, three states have now passed marriage equality bills, and now all eyes turn to Illinois.
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The U.S. Supreme Court fight over California’s Proposition 8, viewed by gay-rights advocates as a historic opportunity to establish same-sex marriage nationwide, may not even settle the issue in the state.
The justices, who probably will rule next month, signaled during the March 26 argument that they might sidestep the underlying constitutional questions and decide that the defenders of the 2008 gay-marriage ban lacked “standing,” or legal eligibility, to bring the case. That could leave the status of gay marriage in California in doubt, spawn new litigation and perhaps even prompt another ballot initiative.
A standing ruling might mean “a quick death for Prop 8,” said Vikram Amar, a constitutional law professor at the University of California Davis School of Law. “But it’s also quite possible — maybe more likely — that it will take some time before we know which couples, beyond the two couples who sued, would be able to get their licenses.”
It took five years, but a transgender woman just won the right to marry her boyfriend in Hong Kong. Gay Star News reports:
In a landmark decision, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal has ruled that a transsexual woman can marry her boyfriend. A Hong-Kong-born transsexual woman in her mid-30s, known only as ‘W’ in court, has won a five year battle to win the right to marry the man she loves. Michael Vidler, a partner of the legal firm representing the case, called the judgment a ‘resounding victory’ and said he was ‘relieved’ and ‘happy’ with the judgement.
Congratulations to the happy couple… a rare moment when transgender rights advance before marriage equality rights.
As marriage equality comes to Delaware and Rhode Island, there’s an almost unbroken line of states along the Atlantic Coast that now recognizes gay marriage. Then there’s Jersey. Pam’s House Blend reports:
The New Jersey state legislature passed a marriage equality bill in February, 2012. Gov. Christie vetoed it immediately. Since the bill wasn’t passed by a veto-proof majority, the race is on to secure 12 additional votes in the House and 3 in the Senate before the legislative session ends in January, 2014. This may be possible if Gov. Christie, who is known for enforcing party discipline, allows Republican legislators to vote their conscience. It would be in his best interest to do so, because he’s giving himself and New Jersey a retrograde reputation.
It’s time to bring pressure to bear on Christie to allow marriage equality to go forward in New Jersey.
A group of conservatives is pushing to send the marriage equality bill to a public vote. The Guardian reports:
A group of Conservative MPs has proposed a referendum to allow the public to vote on gay marriage in one of several amendments aimed at watering down the bill to legitimise same-sex weddings. More than 100 MPs may support the call for a referendum, sources said. The amendments have gained more support among Tory MPs since the UK Independence party’s surge in support in the county council elections, which some MPs attribute in part to opposition among voters to the gay marriage bill. More proposals from backbenchers are expected to be laid before parliament this week.
The move comes as the House of Commons is set to give the bill a third reading next week.
A march for LGBT rights this weekend drew a huge crowd in Santiago over the weekend. The Washington Blade reports:
An LGBT rights march in the Chilean capital on Saturday drew more than 50,000 people. Chilean folk singer Camila Moreno; presidential candidates Andres Velasco, Tomas Jocelyn-Holt, Marco Enriquez-Ominami and Marcel Claude and Rafael Dochao, the European Union’s ambassador to Chile, took part in the Santiago event that also commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia. Former President Michelle Bachelet, who is also a candidate to succeed President Sebastian Pinera in this November’s presidential elections, endorsed the march in a letter.
Chile may soon consider a civil unions bill.
The final vote on Minnesota’s marriage equality bill is due today – if it passes, it will make Minnesota the third state in as many weeks to pass a gay marriage bill. KARE reports:
Minnesota’s Senate is scheduled to debate and vote Monday on a bill to add the state to the growing list of those that allow gay marriage. It’s the last step before Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who has promised to sign legislation. A look at how the bill works, who it could affect, what got the state got to this point, and where Minnesota falls in spread of gay marriage around the country and worldwide.
A Minneapolis restaurant wants to be the first to celebrate the new law. Towleroad.com reports:
Anticipating that within the next few days, same-sex marriage will finally be signed into Minnesota law, Hell’s Kitchen would like to congratulate our beloved GLBT community with a free wedding celebration for one same-sex couple wishing to marry on Thursday, August 1, the very first day it will finally be possible.
In St. Paul, Mayor Chris Coleman is dedicating a bridge to marriage equality. TPM reports:
With Minnesota poised to become the latest state to make gay nuptials legal, St. Paul, Minn. Mayor Chris Coleman (D) announced Monday that he will dedicate one of the city’s most prominent bridges to marriage equality. Coleman took to Twitter to announce that this week, the Wabasha Street Bridge will be known as the “Freedom to Marry Bridge.” The tweet included a photo of the bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River, adorned with gay pride flags.
On Top Magazine profiles Rep. Steve Simon, who gave an emotional speech on the house floor two years ago when a ban was being considered:
Two years earlier, as lawmakers debated a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union which was later rejected by voters, Simon asked ban supporters whether, if sexuality is a gift from God, “what does that mean to the moral force of your argument? How many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually wants them around?” he asked to a round of applause.
Towleroad.com will have a live feed of the debate and vote, starting at 10 AM PST.
Out French singer Mika is headlining a free concert in support of the marriage equality law in Paris on May 21st. Gay Star News reports:
British gay singer/songwriter Mika will headline a free Paris to celebrate marriage equality in France. According to French newspaper La Parisienne, Mika will headline the Long Live Equality concert to celebrate France’s gay marriage law that passed last month, and to reaffirm the importance of fighting homophobia. Originally scheduled to take place on 17 May, International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), the Long Live Equality concert was rescheduled to 21 May, five days before a national demonstration scheduled by opponents of the ‘Marriage for All’ law.
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The anti-gay group Christian Concern is organizing prayer meetings against the marriage equality bill later this month. Pink News reports:
The Adamantly homophobic group Christian Concern, has organised the intermittent prayer meetings to take place outside Parliament on the two days of the bills third reading. To coincide with the Bill’s third reading, Christian Concern is organising prayer meetings outside Parliament at 12:00 – 14:00 and 17:00 – 19:00 on 20 and 21 May. Amendments have been proposed to exempt religious schools from “promoting” equal marriage, and to grant conscientious objection on the grounds of refusal to conduct same-sex ceremonies. Another amendment proposes a referendum on the issue.
The real upcoming hurdle is the House of Lords.
This past week, there has been a massive media flurry about marriage equality, with both Delaware and Rhode Island both passing marriage equality laws and the Minnesota House voting to legalize same-sex marriage. News networks have been lauding the progress made by the LGBTQ movement, and to be fair, I was pretty excited myself. I mean, three states in one week isn’t too shabby. I was starting to think that, just maybe, LGBTQ equality could become a reality in the United States.
Then I saw this infographic.
According to the infographic jointly put out by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign, 1.7 million young Americans experience homelessness every year, and of those, 20-40% are LGBTQ-identified. Which means that at a minimum there are 340,000 LGBTQ youth who experience homeless on an annual basis, and there could be as many as 680,000 LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness this year alone.
Now I know that infographics can often be based on somewhat-questionable statistics, but still, how are there that many homeless LGBTQ kids?
The long fight over domestic partner benefits in El Paso took another turn yesterday, as voters approved it and sent the only mayoral candidate who supported the measure into a runoff. The Dallas Voice reports:
Elsewhere, El Paso voters approved Proposition 7, which adds gay employees to to the nondiscrimination policy in employment and provision of benefits, the El Paso Times reports. Among other things, Prop 7 will allow the city to continue offering DP benefits. Only one of the city’s seven mayoral candidates, Steve Ortega, publicly supported Prop 7. Ortega advanced to a runoff against Oscar Leeser.
You may remember the fight that ensued after the city council first passed the domestic partners ordinance in 2009 – a voter repeal that unintentionally took rights away from grandparents too, a court battle, and now this. For the full history, click here to see our past articles on the subject.
In 2004, Douglas created his website as a resource and outlet for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy. It features information on how to lobby effectively, how to write a letter to the editor (with email addresses for 27 newspapers), how to contact Delaware’s elected officials and more. It has drawn inquiries from across the country.
He and Corey were at the state’s first marriage equality rally in 2008 in front of Dover’s City Hall. For the most part, people reacted positively, waving, honking their horns. Some people pulled over to say they supported the cause.
The couple, members of All Saints’ Church in Rehoboth Beach, has volunteered at Pride festivals and held fundraisers for political campaigns. And they’ve lived their lives, taking everyday moments as opportunities to teach people, from friends to strangers.
Read the whole thing at the link above. We’re thrilled for the Marshall-Steeles, and for all of Delaware’s gay and lesbian couples.
Protesters gathered outside State Rep. Jim Durkin’s office in Western Springs yesterday, hoping to sway him to vote against the marriage equality bill. The Huffington Post reports:
A protest against the same-sex marriage bill awaiting a vote in the Illinois House stayed relatively peaceful Saturday afternoon, save for one physical confrontation outside State Rep. Jim Durkin’s Western Springs office. About 75 protesters from the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) gathered at 915 55th St. from 3-4 p.m. to oppose what they call a “fundamental change in our culture normalizing homosexual behavior.”
The Windy City Times reports on other anti-gay marriage demonstrations yesterday:
For the fourth week in a row, demonstrators yielding signs, banners and speakers faced off over SB 10, a bill that would bring equal marriage to Illinois. The day saw three different demonstrations, organized by anti-gay group the Illinois Family Institute (IF). Groups of pro-LGBT counter protesters confronted them at two of the rallies. In Aurora, demonstrators protested outside the office of Rep. Stephanie Kifowit. At the height of that protest, approximately 200 demonstrated against same-sex marriage, while 55 had come to show support for the bill. In Chicago Heights, approximately 60 came to show opposition for the bill, while about 15 demonstrated support for it. That group was targeting Democrat Anthony DeLuca.
It’s time for a vote.
Despite being urged by constituents, including a local mayor, to vote against gay marriage, Minnesota state Senator Vicki Jensen is sticking to her guns. The Owatonna Prople’s Press reports:
On Saturday morning, Owatonna Mayor Tom Kuntz asked Sen. Vicki Jensen if he and others could convince her to vote no on a gay marriage bill to be heard on Monday in the state Senate. Jensen told Kuntz that she wouldn’t change her mind and that she will vote for a bill that, if approved by the Senate and signed by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, will make Minnesota the 12th state in the U.S. to allow gay marriage.
The Senate votes Monday on the marriage equality bill – if successful, it will go to Governor Dayton for his signature.
As things get moving on the effort to repeal Ohio’s ban on gay marriage, lawmakers are considering another gay-friendly measure. On Top Magazine reports:
A bill which seeks to prohibit housing and workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was introduced in the Ohio House and Senate on Friday. The Equal Housing and Employment Act is sponsored in the Senate by Senators Frank LaRose, a Republican from Akron, and Michael Skindell, a Democrat from Lakewood. A companion bill in the Ohio House is sponsored by Representatives Ross McGregor, a Republican from Springfield, and Nickie Antonio, a Democrat from Lakewood. Antonio was first elected in 2010, making her the House’s first openly lesbian member.
79% of Ohio voters favor such protections for the LGBT community.
Let’s start in Delaware, where pro wrestler Jay Briscoe threatened violence to marriage equality supporters via twitter. Queerty reports:
“The Delaware Senate passed a bill yesterday that allows same sex couples to get married. If that makes you happy, then congratulations!!!!!! …try and teach my kids that there’s nothing wrong with that and I’ll fucking shoot you.” Briscoe’s comments definitely came out of nowhere and his account was quickly deactivated. Yet, they didn’t go unnoticed by sports writers.
“The claim of this bill to redefine marriage is in vain; marriage cannot be redefined, because its unique meaning lies in our very nature. It is also a serious injustice to the most vulnerable among us: children,” Cordileone, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said.
The Bishop conveniently ignores the wellbeing of children of gay and lesbian couples.
Towleroad.com reports on a family who wants the boy scouts to continue their discrimination against the gays. Their reasoning:
“It’s not fair. If we have one openly homosexual boy, where do we tent him? Who has to sleep in his tent? How do we handle his needs? Suddenly it’s becoming unfair to all the other boys to have to change. Says Katherine: “I’m not going to put my boys in that situation to have to deal with those decisions.”
Somehow, kids don’t seem to share this hang-up. It’s just the adults that project this kind of stuff onto them.
Finally, LGBTQ Nation reports on Washington State’s Pastor Ken Hutcherson, another regular on this circuit, chiming in again:
“Your defense of homosexuality is without merit because it has destroyed every civilization it has touched and that is shameful,” Hutcherson writes, “Like gambling, porn, alcohol and drug abuse, and sex addition, homosexuality destroys the family like nothing else, and eventually the soul that God turns over to a reprobate mind.”
Methinks she protests too much.