Congrats to Tshepo Modisane and Thoba Sithole, a gay Zulu couple, on their wedding in South Africa. Thanks to Melanie Nathan for sharing this beautiful video.
Congrats to Tshepo Modisane and Thoba Sithole, a gay Zulu couple, on their wedding in South Africa. Thanks to Melanie Nathan for sharing this beautiful video.
Thank you, Mr. Stewart.
I myself am in a long-term binational relationship, but my partner and I have complied with the law and so we do not have this problem. To say the least, the lack of federal recognition for our relationship is a great burden and injustice. We hope the upcoming SCOTUS ruling on DOMA will remedy this problem.
A sad reminder that there are hardened hearts and minds. Indeed, many of our most outspoken opponents have estranged gay family members.
Support for the freedom to marry appears to accelerate as Democratic U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Tom Carper (D-DE), and Republican Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), get on board. Now 50 U.S. senators support marriage equality. And Andrew Kaczynski tweets:
There are 52 Senators who want to repeal DOMA. Democratic Senators Nelson & Johnson don't support gay marriage but want to repeal DOMA.
Jack Montgomery and his husband Kelly Vielmo adopted three siblings from DC's foster care program. Jack has written and recorded an open letter to Justice Antonin Scalia and the other SCOTUS justices. God bless him for writing it. This powerfully and movingly illustrates what we have been fighting for all these years.
Scalia and the other far-right justices (Alito and Thomas) will almost certainly be unmoved by the letter. Ideological commitments have a way of doing that. And the marriages cases before the Court have been quite thoroughly briefed. But messages like Montgomery's, and the truth behind them embodied in those three wonderful children who have been kept together thanks to this gay couple, are why we are winning. This is a must-watch.
Here is an excerpt from Montogomery's letter (which he reads aloud in the video):
I do not want to go into too much detail of my childrens' history for the sake of their privacy. When our children arrived we welcomed a five-year-old who was not potty trained, a two-year-old who was withdrawn, and an almost two-year-old who never learned to walk. Please understand that there were no biological impediments to the development of these children. Their situation was entirely brought on by deleterious parenting. Since their arrival our children quickly graduated from the need of any additional services to include physical, speech, and play therapy. They are now happy and active members of their community.
I do not tell you these facts to paint ourselves as the saviors of these children. These children have done more for us than we have for them. Having the extraordinary privilege of watching these childrens' souls grow and thrive despite the obstacles placed before them has been the lesson of our lives. I tell this story to establish myself as an expert witness to the effects of deleterious parenting. As you prepare your response on Proposition 8 and DOMA you now have the opportunity to decide what further obstacles will face these children. What are the deleterious effects your decision will have on my children? What states within our nation can these children live in and still declare their family legal? Next year during tax season will their parents have to hire a CPA to determine who and how to list the children as dependents? When the first of their parents passes away will their family's assets and property be preserved and passed between parents as a married family or be treated as legal strangers?
(Hat tip: Andy Towle)
Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:
A new poll shows Virginians are essentially split on same-sex marriage, less than seven years after they easily passed an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
While 46 percent of Virginians oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally here, 45 percent support the idea, according to a new poll sponsored by the University of Mary Washington's Center for Leadership and Media Studies. The result is a marked shift from a 2006 Virginia vote in which 57 percent supported the ban and 43 percent opposed it.
More Christian love and understanding from Cardinal Timothy Dolan. I wrote this in 2011 about Dolan's unsuccessful efforts to block marriage equality in New York.
On Thursday, March 28 in federal court, U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola found Lt. Dan Choi guilty of failing to obey the order of a law enforcement agent in his protest at the White House fence three years ago, and ordered him to pay a fine of $100 (rather than the maximum penalty of $5,000 and five years in jail). Metro Weekly reports:
In court on Thursday, Choi represented himself, cross-examining witnesses and making a series of disjointed points in order to defend himself against the charge. But Choi seemed scattered throughout the exercise, at one point breaking down into tears as he showed the courtroom a video clip of "The Rachel Maddow Show," the show on which he initially came out by publicly stating he was gay.
Following his tears, Choi got up and loudly told Facciola that he was ready for closing arguments. Facciola called a recess and ordered the parties to come back for closing arguments later that afternoon. Choi then had what several friends and observers characterized as a "breakdown," during which deputies from the U.S. Marshals Service forced the audience to exit the courtroom.
According to Choi's fellow activist Staff Sgt. Miriam Ben-Shalom, who peered through the glass on the courtroom doors, Choi was on the floor of the courtroom during the episode. At one point, Choi was heard sobbing, "I don't want to do this any more!" before several marshals exited the courtroom, carrying Choi, by his arms, with his legs in the air as Choi cursed at them, even telling one of the deputies, "Fuck you, you're a coward."
"I think he's tired, he's been under pressure for so long," Ben-Shalom said of Choi's mental state.
After the sentencing, Dan said he refused to pay the fine. Judge Facciola said he had a right to appeal. And so the drama goes on.
What is the point of continuing this fight? One of the traditions of civil disobedience is embracing the punishment (like Dr. King in Birmingham jail). Dan is a wounded warrior who should be urged to pay the nominal fine and focus on healing--not be egged on like a man on a ledge being encouraged to jump. Our compassion should trump our need for a martyr.
Dan has PTSD. He has talked of suicide. His main publicity photo is of him in a crucifixion pose handcuffed to the White House fence. He is mentally ill. He needs and deserves healing, not enabling by people seeking not equality but an excuse to perpetuate their outrage. His breakdown in court on Thursday should be the last straw that prompts people to pull back and reconnect with reality. Dan played a part in the fight to end the gay military ban, but there were countless people who labored and held on in the struggle for years who deserve respect as well--not dismissed with contempt in service of the myth that Dan's media appearances were the key factor. The judge on Thursday showed great restraint, which was appropriate with a returned servicemember bearing the mental scars of his service. But at long last, enough. It is time, out of simple decency, to turn away from the public spectacle of a man's self-destruction.
Bob Summersgill commented on Facebook, "A $100 fine for civil disobedience is a win. Everyone else declared victory with the repeal of DADT, so now should Dan." Amen.
Time Magazine rolled out its two gay marriage covers on Thursday's "Morning Joe" on MSNBC. As to the "we won" meme sweeping across the new media in the past few days, I'd say that the fighting is not over but the ultimate outcome is no longer in doubt.
The latest howling illogic from Harry "Daddy Bear" Jackson attacking marriage equality. Wouldn't there have to be an organized pro-polygamy movement in order for it to "automatically sweep the land"?
An amusing person-on-the-street survey.
David Mariner reports:
Took the day off so that I could support Dan Choi at his trial. He was facing up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine for his act of civil disobedience in service to our community. I'm pleased to report that while he was found guilty, he received only a $100 fine.
I attended the 8 am rally for Dan at the federal courthouse Thursday, but could not stay for the trial. I am glad the penalty was light, though the conviction may prevent Dan's desired re-enlistment. I hope now that he takes the time to heal.
Civil rights veteran Rev. C.T. Vivian, who is 88, attended the rally to express solidarity with Choi. Dan is being prosecuted in connection with a protest he held outside the White House in 2010.
(Photos by Rick Rosendall. All rights reserved.)
Thanks to Walter Olson for this video of Cato's March 27 forum which he moderated on the above topic, featuring Ilya Shapiro, Ken Mehlman, and Evan Wolfson.
Dave Weigel reports on a softball question that Sean Hannity asked new right-wing darling Dr. Ben Carson, only to have him go quickly into Crazy Town:
HANNITY: All right, last question, we have the issue of the Supreme Court dealing with two issues involving gay marriage. I've asked you a lot of questions. I've never asked you that, what are your thoughts?
CARSON: Well, my thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It's a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality. It doesn't matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition. So he, it's not something that is against gays, it's against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society. It has significant ramifications.
As Evan Wolfson said at a Cato Institute forum on Wednesday, the slippery-slope, "what about polygamy/bestiality/incest/whatever" questions hurled at us by opponents of marriage equality are basically attempts to change the subject because they don't have a good argument against granting legal recognition to our relationships. As Andrew Sullivan says, we are only asking for the right to marry one person. And as I tell the students I advise, legislatures make choices all the time: they make one change but not any number of other possible changes. The notion that the law is eternal and unchanging, and that allowing one change will force you to make every conceivable change, is absurd. Are the people who make such arguments all alcoholics? Are they unable to say no to a second and third and fourth cocktail? There's a subtextual suggestion in some people's arguments that if you allow same-sex couples to marry, men will leave their wives en masse and "turn queer." Because being gay is just that irresistible. At what point do the same lame arguments get retired?
Texas Gov. Rick Perry says it's intolerant of gays to seek to end legal intolerance against our families. Yes, how arrogant of us to demand that the government stop discriminating against us. He says that gay people "insist on silencing the religious." I would like to see examples of that. He and others on the far right have this in common with the far left: a habit of treating any criticism as an attempt to silence them. In fact, my attitude is that fools like Gov. Perry should keep talking. I think that if anything it helps our cause.
The message "Marriage Equality Now" was projected last night on the front of the Supreme Court of the United States.
(Photo credit: @rachnyctalk)
Well how about that? Our friend Cathy Renna wrote on Facebook:
I would say I just saw a pig fly over my head but.....as someone who has met, fought, debated and called out O'Reilly, I think we can say he has "evolved"
or given up, either way.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 : email@example.com
Petition Demands Justice Scalia Recuse Himself from Court Deliberations on DOMA and Prop 8
WASHINGTON, DC - In a petition on MoveOn.org’s online petition platform, SignOn.org, thousands of Americans are joining Brandy Harris in demanding Justice Antonin Scalia recuse himself from Supreme Court deliberations on DOMA and Proposition 8 over personal bias and homophobia.
SIGN ON HERE: http://signon.org/sign/scalia-must-recuse-himself
“Judicial bias has no place in the highest court in the land,” said Brandy Harris. “Judge Antonin Scalia has expressed openly, time and again, his bias and contempt for GLBT issues. For this reason, he should recuse himself from any deliberations by the Supreme Court of the United States on issues involving DOMA, California's Prop 8, and any other gay-rights issues.”
In oral arguments on Proposition 8 today, Justice Scalia asserted the false claim that “there’s considerable disagreement among sociologists as to what the consequences of raising a child in a single-sex family, whether that is harmful to the child or not.”
Justice Scalia has a long record of expressing his own personal opinions on homosexuality. In December 2012, Justice Scalia equated the morality of sodomy and homosexuality with murder.
For more information, or for interviews with Brandy Harris, please contact Brett Abrams at 516-841-1105 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course Scalia will never recuse himself. But the complaint is legitimate.
It looks like some fence-sitting pols realize that it's now or never if they want to get credit for being on the right side of history.
The rally for marriage equality at the Supreme Court is set for 8:30 am on Tuesday, March 26 at First and East Capitol Streets. Click here to sign up.
The Contributor reports:
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will have some family cheering him on during Tuesday's landmark Supreme Court case on gay marriage. Jean Podrasky, a lesbian and Roberts' first cousin, will sit in a section of the courtroom reserved for relatives along with her partner as Roberts and his court examine the legality of California's Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in the state.
“I feel confident that John is wise enough to see that society is becoming more accepting of the humanity of same-sex couples and the simple truth that we deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and equality under the law,” Podrasky wrote in a column for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Walter will also moderate a panel discussion at Cato Institute at 1 pm on Wednesday, March 27 featuring Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute Center for Constitutional Studies; Ken Mehlman, Former Chair, Republican National Committee; and Evan Wolfson, Founder and Executive Director, Freedom to Marry. Click here to register for this free event. Note: lunch begins at 12:30 pm.
Update: NYT provides a primer here.
The Family Research Council has told its followers to do some praying to ensure that Ted Olson, David Boies and their colleagues arguing before the Supreme Court on March 26 and 27 make a big mess of it:
May God guide us in praying for each member of the Supreme Court: for Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Anthony Kennedy, Chief JusticeJohn Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Sonia Sotomayor, and Clarence Thomas. May each Justice be governed by the fear of God and fidelity to the moral law and Constitution (2 Sam 23:3; Ps 9:17; 111:10; Pr 1:7; 9:10; Is 5:20).
May the attorneys defending traditional marriage (see ADF Prayer Guide) be given anointing, clarity, effectiveness, conviction and persuasiveness in presenting their arguments. May traditional marriage prevail in the minds of a strong majority of the justices, and may traditional marriage be reaffirmed as the law of the land (Pr 16:1, 11; 25; 18:17; 21:3; Is 9:7; Mt 19:4-6; 2 Cor 5:11).
May those arguing on behalf of same-sex "marriage" present their arguments in an inept, confusing and unconvincing way. May they fail to gain traction in the minds of the Justices. May the right of Californians to amend their state constitution to protect marriage be confirmed by the Court, and may the Defense of Marriage Act be ruled constitutional (Lev 20:all; 1 Sam 2:8-10; 2 Chr 14:11; 20:12-27; Pr 22:28; 24:21; Is 8:18-20; Dan 7:25-27; 2 Cor 2:5).
I hate to quote the late Madalyn Murray O'Hair (who gave a bad name to atheism), but they haven't got a prayer.
Another example of the religious bullies' contempt for the American republic, our diverse population, and the rule of law.
(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)
A proud moment for American capitalism.
Activist Wayne Turner, the longtime leader of efforts to allow medical marijuana in the District, submitted testimony to the D.C. Council today opposing the latest ill-founded effort to restrict cultivation centers. Here is an excerpt:
It has been a long journey to be on the verge of fully implementing DC’s medical marijuana law. However, I am deeply concerned that this Council is going in the wrong direction, and is putting unfounded fears and misconceptions ahead of facts and the needs of patients across the District.
I strongly oppose the proposed legislation before you today and urge you to reconsider imposing undue and irresponsible restrictions on the District’s nascent medical marijuana program. Adding further restrictions on the location of dispensaries and cultivation centers is unnecessary and will ultimately harm seriously ill patients by limiting access to therapies that may ease their suffering.
GLAA applauds Wayne for his strong defense of a rational and fact-based approach to public health. Our policy statement on medical marijuana is here.
Welcome aboard, Hillary.
Zack Ford at ThinkProgress dismantles George F. Will's recent column titled "The shaky science behind same-sex marriage" in which Will cites a brief by Maggie Gallagher’s Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. Ford writes:
Will endorses two arguments here, both of which are unsupportable. The first is that any social science that supports a liberal position shouldn’t be trusted because social science already has a liberal bias. The second is that it’s reasonable to conclude that it’s impossible to measure anything that hasn’t been legalized, even if legalizing it is the only way to test it. Together, these form a tautological argument that social science is only valid and useful if it supports keeping things the way they already are, which is not only a very narrow dismissal of the work social scientists already do, but also a philosophy that inherently prevents change.
(I would embed this video, but no embed code is provided.)
As part of a documentary on gay rights Stephen Fry travelled to Russia this week to interview the author of St Petersburg's notorious anti-gay propaganda bill, who told him gay teenagers do not face bullying for their sexuality.
Stephen Fry arrived in Russia on Tuesday to film footage for "Out There", a two-part documentary on the life of gay people around the world.
Here are excerpts from his Twitter feed:
Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog reports.
Rachel Maddow shares new information reported by the Hartford Courant on Newtown, CT mass murderer Adam Lanza before tearing into Texas Senator Ted Cruz for his patronizing treatment of California Senator Dianne Feinstein. I confess I have trouble watching Rachel's show because she persists in repeating every important point three times, and it drives me up the wall; but here she shines.
Memo to Republicans: You might want to think twice before challenging Sen. Feinstein on the subject of guns. She will be happy to tell you about November 28, 1978, when she knelt over the body of Supervisor Harvey Milk, and, feeling for a pulse, found bullet holes.