Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, and Dan Savage, writer of the Savage Love column, met at Savage’s home in Seattle for dinner and a debate over same-sex marriage and the Bible.
SO why are the Churches so petrified of gay marriage that they are demanding a referendum on it? Is it really such a threat to civilisation?
Some claim that because parenthood is fundamental to marriage and gays cannot conceive, it should not be allowed.
So what’s next — imposing divorce on heterosexual couples who cannot conceive?
Not so long ago the same Churches taught that slavery was an institution supported by God. They ignored all the things the Bible said about the equality of mankind.
‘Good’ Christians in favour of slavery used a handful of passages from the scriptures to justify slavery, and today some find verses to apply to gays, without acknowledging that they are based on a culture that is no longer relevant to us.
Of course other Christians quoted the same Bible in the battle to abolish slavery.
Churches once justified bans on interracial marriages citing religious beliefs, arguing it violated natural order and would lead to unhealthy, disabled children.
Today those arguing against gay marriages privately call gays unnatural, but publicly claim their concern is about the sanctity of marriage.
Which Biblical tradition of marriage are they defending? Is it the polygamy of the Old Testament prophets or sleeping with slaves if a wife is infertile?
Maybe church leaders should look at what Jesus did in his day, welcoming into his circle the whores, the tax collectors, the thieves, the sick, the lepers, the disabled and the unclean. He said “love thy neighbour” not “love your STRAIGHT neighbour”.
Gay couples can be and are good parents. Meanwhile, on a daily basis in the criminal courts I see the products of straight couples — often unplanned and unloved. The Church claims it’s best to have parents of both sexes, but it’s actually even better to have good parents.
Some claim 2,000 years of tradition cannot be wrong, but this ignores when the Church has been wrong — burning witches, stoning of bad children, astronomers tortured to death because they challenged the Christian view that the world was flat, or the shameful cover-up of child abuse.
Why is there a pick and mix attitude to the traditions of the Bible?
The Church has had to move with the times. It would no longer be acceptable to speak about blacks or women in the way the Church once did, so why gays?
And what about Muslims? Absolutely — just replace the above words Christian and Churches with Muslims and Mosques — and no it’s not the case that Churches/Mosques will be forced to carry out gay marriages.
Maybe Church leaders should go back to their Bible and consider the greatest human rights laws of all — “love thy neighbour, treat others as you would have them treat you”.
Read the original story at the Scottish Sun
Is the LGBT movement walking down the aisle to nowhere?
As LGBT pride month rang in this June, the gay rights movement seemed to have much to celebrate. President Obama’s announcement of support for same-sex marriage, though denounced by some as a contrived political move, was followed by the overturn of part of the Defense of Marriage Act by a federal appeals court. But these apparent wins haven’t resolved a longstanding debate within the LGBT community: Is winning the right to marry really a victory? Many queer activists argue that the narrow focus on marriage has eclipsed other issues and tamed a once-radical movement. In These Times discussed the direction of LGBT organizing with Kenyon Farrow, former director of Queers for Economic Justice; Josh Friedes, director of marriage equality at Equal Rights Washington; and Yasmin Nair, a Chicago writer with the radical queer collective, Against Equality, who also organizes youth with Gender JUST.
Same-sex marriage is on the ballot in four states this November. What’s the outlook for these initiatives, especially in light of statements of support from President Obama and other leaders?
JOSH: The statements from these leaders are huge. They provide a pathway for many people to evolve their positions, and we’re seeing public support for equality increasing. I am extremely optimistic that 2012 will be the year where we see the first marriage equality ballot initiative move positively through an electorate.
YASMIN: This may be true, but the notion that marriage is some kind of magic button that, when you press it, makes things better for LGBT people, is a dangerous one because it can be untrue in so many instances. The assumption that marrying will extend healthcare to the family members of LGBT people ignores the fact that many of us cannot access healthcare in the first place. The people who are going to benefit the most from gay marriage will be the ones who already have the resources.
KENYON: And plenty of people are willing to support marriage equality who may not support any other aspect of a progressive agenda. The LGBT equality movement is moving further and further to the right, and now we’re developing relationships and even Super PACs with Republican donors who, for personal reasons, are willing to fundraise for marriage equality.
Part of this question is about the nature of marriage itself. Does it benefit LGBT people to gain entry to an institution that many consider heteronormative?
JOSH: If you look at the arc of history—whether it is anti-miscegenation laws or those restricting the rights of Jews to marry—marriage is often used as a way of making people “the other.” If LGBT people are going to be seen as fully equal, we need to overcome this.
KENYON: There’s also an equally long history of the state compelling people to marry. The argument in the ’90s, that what poor women really needed was to get married, provided cover for the state to abandon large parts of its welfare and food stamp programs. We’re also seeing that in states with same-sex marriage, companies are now dumping their domestic partnership benefits, which sometimes were not just for gay couples, but also for unmarried straight couples or family members. So there’s actually a way in which marriage becomes not a civil right, but a civil demand from the state in order to get benefits.
JOSH: Freedom to marry includes the freedom to reject marriage. But I don’t believe in this notion of heteronormativity. I believe that an incredible number of people choose to form a lifelong bond with another person and have that recognized. If marriage had remained a very unequal institution, LGBT people would be working for domestic partnerships or some other status. But marriage has become an increasingly egalitarian institution, and therefore has become more appealing to gay and lesbian people.
YASMIN: The idea that marriage has transformed from a profoundly unequal institution into an equal one is untrue. It has shifted a bit, perhaps: You’re not allowed to beat your wife and get away with it these days. But what has definitely not shifted is the state’s role in marriage, in using marriage as a pivot to take away benefits. What marriage does is persuade us that it’s our sole, private responsibility to take care of our families, and that only through a marriage contract will we be granted lifesaving benefits. If marriage is truly a choice, then the unmarried should be able to receive the same benefits as the married.
And that’s not just an anti-assimilationist argument; you’re also implicating the push for marriage equality in privatization and austerity.
KENYON: Yes, politicians are often given a pass on other issues when they come out for marriage equality. People all over the country laud Mayor Bloomberg for his support of same-sex marriage. But in his recent budget, there was a 70 percent cut in homeless youth services, as many as half of whom identify as LGBT. And many of the LGBT equality organizations, after praising these politicians, don’t show up to the budget hearings to defend these services.
Do we have to juxtapose marriage rights and economic justice? Could marriage equality be a pathway to winning other rights?
JOSH: I think attacks on marriage equality are a bit of red herring. You can look at the budget cuts in New York and blame it on marriage. But you can also look at states without marriage equality and see how much less there is for LGBT people. In Washington state, the political power that has built around the marriage issue has resulted in transgender hate-crime and anti-bullying statutes.
YASMIN:It is probably true that hate crimes legislation and anti-bullying laws in Washington are connected to gay marriage—but that is exactly the problem. Marriage solidifies the idea that the “inclusion” of LGBT people is the solution, and it has been accompanied by a push for inclusion in the military and in hate crimes and anti-bullying legislation. But this ignores the fundamental inequality perpetuated by these institutions—marriage, the military, the criminal justice system. Hate crimes and anti-bullying legislation are punitive measures that will drive the prison-industrial complex and the school-to-prison pipeline.
So how did the push for inclusion in these institutions become so central to today’s LGBT movement?
KENYON: The queer movement was once very much a part of the Left. But as the AIDS epidemic began to impact gay men irrespective of economic or social class, it drew a lot of conservative, wealthy, white gays into the movement, and there was a real debate amongst radical and more conservative segments. As a result, we saw the movement gravitate toward issues involving white folks’ understanding of citizenship: marriage, military service and, to some extent, hate-crime legislation. This is not to say that people of color haven’t fought for those things, but certainly not as ends in and of themselves. AIDS organizations, meanwhile, have lost enormous amounts of funding to marriage equality.
JOSH: I don’t think the emergence of the marriage equality movement has been the outgrowth of political analysis as much as it has been driven by the passion of human couples wishing to marry. There is, fundamentally, a stigma in not having the ability to choose or not choose marriage.
YASMIN: But the gay marriage movement can’t have it both ways, arguing on one hand that there is this tremendous stigma, but on the other hand that people can just choose whether or not to marry. The gay marriage movement wants to pretend that marriage has somehow changed, but it also is invoking this very 1950s narrative that unmarried people are unworthy of respect.
How do you see this split over the marriage issue impacting the future direction of LGBT organizing?
KENYON: The marriage equality movement has increased the identification of white gays and lesbians as members of the suburban middle class and, particularly in urban environments, we’re seeing growing conflict over gentrification and other issues with black and brown LGBT youth.
JOSH: But especially for LGBT people who are white or middle class, the battle for marriage equality has opened their eyes to other forms of oppression. Those of us who work on marriage equality must remind everyone that this is not the ultimate goal of the LGBT movement. But it is an essential ingredient—we need to build political power, not destroy it with a circular firing squad. And we absolutely need to talk about healthcare, but I think we do a disservice when we suggest marriage equality is only about healthcare.
YASMIN: It is worth remembering, though, that the AIDS movement once argued for universal healthcare, and that argument has now dropped out of the picture. Looking into the future, I see gay marriage furthering the neoliberal state. The great irony is, I may see marriage equality in the next 20 years in the United States, but I will likely never see universal healthcare in my lifetime.
The Episcopal Church, which is already well-known as one of the most LGBT-inclusive denominations — the church confirmed its first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson in 2003 and has supported same-sex marriage since 2005 — is taking steps to codify LGBT equality into its liturgy at its General Convention this week.
The Episcopal Church’s triennial convention is meeting this week to discuss several resolutions to improve Episcopal doctrine and policy toward the LGBT community. Yesterday, both bodies of the church leadership overwhelmingly passed a resolution to add gender identity and expression to the church’s nondiscrimination clause. Additionally, a resolution to add same-sex marriage rites to the Episcopal liturgy passed the church’s Chamber of Bishops — the church’s more conservative body of leadership — and is expected to pass the House of Deputies later this week for final approval.
Episcopal clergy-member Susan Russell, a longtime advocate for LGBT equality, calls the resolution advancing same-sex rites a “profoundly important step” and explains that the implications of the nondiscrimination resolution are far-reaching:
Today the Episcopal Church “put the T in equality” by explicitly including transgender people in the work and witness of the Episcopal Church and as candidates to the ordained ministry…And it is not just a good day for transgender Episcopalians and their friends, families and allies. It is a good day for all of us who are part of a church willing to the risk to continue to draw the circle wider as we work to live out our call to make God’s inclusive love known to the whole human family.
As public support for marriage equality continues to increase, support for the LGBT community within religious bodies is also on the rise. In addition to Episcopalians, other Christian denominations that have embraced same-sex couples include Evangelical Lutherans,Presbyterians (U.S.A), members of the United Church of Christ, and Unitarian Universalists.
Read the original story at Think Progress
Google is launching a new campaign called “Legalize Love” with the intention of inspiring countries to legalize marriage for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people around the world.
The “Legalize Love” campaign officially launches in Poland and Singapore on Saturday, July 7th. Google intends to eventually expand the initiative to every country where the company has an office, and will focus on places with homophobic cultures, where anti-gay laws exist.
Google’s Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe outlined the initiative at a Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London earlier today. “We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office. It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work.
Their strategy involves developing partnerships between companies and organizations to support grass-roots campaigns.
On the decision to launch the initial phase in a country like Singapore, Palmer-Edgecumbe says, “Singapore wants to be a global financial center and world leader and we can push them on the fact that being a global center and a world leader means you have to treat all people the same, irrespective of their sexual orientation.”
At the end of the day, the “Legalize Love” campaign is also good for Google’s business. “We operate in many countries and have a very globally mobile workforce. We have had a number of instances where we have been trying to hire people into countries where there are these issues and have been unable to put the best person into a job in that country,” said Palmer-Edgecumbe.
Harry Gaskell, of professional services firm Ernst & Young who also spoke at the conference in London, backed the argument for combining initiatives between governments, organizations, and companies. “If you are trying to change something – governments can exert diplomatic power, NGOs can martial facts and arguments – but corporations martial economic power. That is something even the most passive of countries will listen to.”
Bob Amnnibale, an openly gay executive at Citi, also praised the initiative. “The fact that Google is so virtual and its appeal is very wide and young demographically means it can help spread messaging very, very quickly.”
Written by Anna Peirano
Read the original story at dot429
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Google is stepping up its activism on gay rights issues in nations with anti-homosexuality laws on the books, a company official announced Saturday as he kicked off Google’s new “Legalize Love” campaign.
The campaign will focus on countries like Singapore, where certain homosexual activities are illegal, and Poland, which has no legal recognition of same-sex couples.
“We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office,” Google executive Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe said at the Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London, according to a report on Dot429, a networking site for LGBT professionals. “It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work.”
Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) will focus on developing alliances with local companies and on supporting grassroots organizing efforts. Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) and Ernst & Young have already signed on as partners.
A U.S.-based Google spokesman cast the campaign as a framework for supporting the already-ongoing activism efforts of Google employees around the globe. Its focus will mostly be international, especially targeting parts of Europe and Asia, he said.
“‘Legalize Love’ is a campaign to promote safer conditions for gay and lesbian people inside and outside the office in countries with anti-gay laws on the books,” Google said in a written statement.
Google is frequently lauded by gay-rights groups for its workplace policies, which include full benefits for same-sex partners. It made this year’s “best places to work” list issued by the Human Rights Campaign.
Some news reports said the ‘Legalize Love’ campaign would push for worldwide legalization of same-sex marriage, but a Google spokesman called that inaccurate. The campaign’s focus is on human rights and employment discrimination, he said.
Google has spoken out before on same-sex marriage issues, most prominently when it came out in 2008 against California’s “Proposition 8″ ban on same-sex marriage.
“We see this fundamentally as an issue of equality,” Google cofounder Sergey Brin wrote on the company’s blog, denouncing the “chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees.” The ban narrowly passed, but was later ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.
Read the original story at CNN Money
Gay Dallas couple Mark Jiminez, Beau Chandler arrested after being denied marriage license at Clerk’s Office in Independence Day protest
Gay couple Mark “Major” Jiminez and Beau Chandler were arrested at the Dallas County Clerk’s Office on Thursday afternoon, July 5, after they were denied a marriage license and refused to leave.
The couple entered the County Records Building at about 3 p.m. with friends, TV crews and friendly police in tow.
“City police, county sheriffs and building security are all here,” Chandler said. “Nice to get their support.”
Although he was joking, most of the people the couple encountered in the building were supportive, even if they were unable to issue the license.
Sr. Cpl. Laura Martin, LGBT liaison officer for the Dallas Police Department, accompanied the group, even though she didn’t have direct jurisdiction since they were in a county building. Lt. Shelley Knight, LGBT liaison for the sheriff’s department, also followed the couple.
“I told them if they want to smoke, do it before going upstairs,” Martin said. “And have a full belly.”
Martin said the couple could be held overnight, depending upon how backed up the magistrate was.
“They’re the nicest couple,” Martin said of Chandler and Jiminez. “They’re the first guys after any protest to come up and thank the officers.”
It was unclear at press time what charge would be filed against the couple. Last week, a sheriff’s spokesman indicated the pair likely would be charged with criminal trespass, a class-B misdemeanor. The penalty for that is up to 180 days in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine.
Once in the license bureau on Thursday afternoon, Chandler and Jiminez filled out the paperwork. Chandler crossed out the word “bride” and wrote “not applicable.”
Before being called to the counter, the couple sat waiting next to a straight couple also applying for a license. Jiminez explained to them why they were there, and the couple wished them luck.
“God bless you,” Regina Johnson said to Jiminez and Chandler. “Good luck. You’re in our prayers.”
Clerk’s assistant Melinda Saavedra called Jiminez and Chandler and asked for their IDs. She checked to make sure one wasn’t there as a proxy.
“We pointed out subsection B that invalidates all marriages,” Chandler said. He was referring to the constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage in Texas. “She got teary-eyed when I said we love each other and want to get married.”
After being refused a license, the couple handcuffed themselves to each other and sat on the floor at the head of the line. Jiminez spoke on camera to TV news outlets explaining some of the more than 1,000 rights straight couples enjoy that are denied to gay and lesbian couples.
“This is about not being treated equal,” he said.
Jiminez said that the couple plans to get married on Sept. 13 and participate in Dallas’ gay Pride parade on Sept. 16.
He said their mothers and other family members would be attending their wedding and hoped they could stay to ride in a car in the parade with them.
The sign they plan to post on the car will read, “Just married, but not legal.”
Chandler said the idea for the protest came after the couple became engaged.
“He proposed the end of May,” Chandler said. “He made breakfast and I was eating pancakes and found a ring inside. He asked if I would be his husband.”
He said that the couple thought of going to another state to marry but decided there was no point if the marriage would just be void as soon as they got home.
“We spoke to our friend Daniel [Cates] with GetEQUAL, and he suggested we make a statement,” Chandler said. “And we decided it needed to be the day after Independence Day.”
At 4:30 p.m., the building was closed and everyone, including media, was instructed to leave.
The couple was not arrested until everyone else had left the office. When they came down the elevator, they were no longer handcuffed to each other but were handcuffed individually, each escorted by two sheriff’s deputies.
They were placed in separate squad cars and taken to Lew Sterrett for processing as their friends and supporters lined the sidewalk and applauded.
Martin Griffin came to the Records Building with his partner, Dillon Brown. He said they were doing this for every same-sex couple.
“We are all equal and should have the same rights,” Griffin said.
Activist Cd Kirven said, “This is the first time this has happened in Dallas. It’s historic.”
“You’re making history,” one friend shouted after the couple as the sheriff’s vehicles pulled away.
Written by David Taffet
Read the original story and see more photos at Dallas Voice
Lambda Legal represents Karen Golinski, an employee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals who seeks spousal health benefits for her wife.
Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Tara Borelli says:
This development highlights the desire by all, the government included, to resolve this issue quickly. It is clear to us, to the Solicitor General and to the Department of Justice that DOMA’s days are numbered. The last four courts to consider the question have all found Section 3 of DOMA—which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples’ valid marriages—to be unconstitutional. The Justice Department’s action may speed the day when the Supreme Court reaches the issue. Lambda Legal and Morrison & Foerster stand ready to argue for fair treatment for Karen Golinski and her spouse, Amy Cunninghis, in any court, at any time—and we welcome this opportunity to finally put DOMA out of its, and our, misery.
There are loving, married same-sex couples, and grieving lesbian and gay widows and widowers around the country who are being hurt by the government’s discriminatory actions—that’s why there are DOMA cases pending in several jurisdictions, brought on behalf of many plaintiffs. Every one of their stories demonstrates that DOMA is an unfair and discriminatory law that violates the Constitution. While it is up to the Supreme Court to decide whether or not to hear Golinski now, we are confident that DOMA will be found unconstitutional—and the sooner, the better.
The Justice Department also filed a petition today asking the Supreme Court to hear the Gill v. OPM case, a unanimous ruling by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in a DOMA challenge brought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).
Read the original story at Lambda Legal
Operating systems and tech services seem to be getting more LGBT friendly by the day. On the heels of Apple’s adding same-sex emoticons to its iOS 6 operating system, Facebook has added a same-sex marriage status.
Facebook Sunday evening rolled out a new feature, which allows users to indicate whether they have married someone of the same sex; users’ Timelines will now show a same-sex marriage icon.
The wedding announcement of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes was one of the first uses of the icon. More than 2,500 users have since “liked” the status, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook has consistently been recognized as an LGBT-friendly company and service. “This move is the latest in a series of measures Facebook has taken to support and include the LGBT community, which earned it the distinction of being the first social media company to receive a GLAAD Media Award earlier this year,” the media-monitoring organization said in a statement.
Read the original story at ABC News
Amber Hollibaugh, a long-time activist, told Laura Flaunders on Sunday that those with alternative sexualities were “nowhere near close” to being sexually liberated.
Despite the repeal on the military policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and growing acceptance of same sex marriage, Hollibaugh said the LGBT movement still had a long way to go in regards to sexual freedom.
“I’m not sorry that we can now enter the military and I’m not sorry that we can marry, but frankly I come from a moment in time and a radical vision in time that never made marriage or the military my criteria of success,” she explained. “I didn’t want us to have wars, I didn’t want us to have armies, and I didn’t want to register my relationship with the state.”
“So, are those victories? They are,” Hallibaugh added. “Were they discriminatory? They were. Were they my idea of what it was that we were trying to build as a liberation movement for queer people? No.”
She expressed her disappointment that the LGBT movement did not fight for “the importance of the erotic, of people actually getting to fulfill desire and not be punished because they have it.”
Hollibaugh is the Interim Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below:
Written by Eric W. Dolan
Read the original story at Raw Story