Tag Archives: marriage equality

Rhetoric, shmetoric

It’s nice to have a president who can actually string two sentences together.  It’s nice when he says things like this:

While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

or

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Read the full proclamation here.

But what good are those words, when his Department of Justice writes things like this:

To deny federal recognition to same-sex marriages will thus preserve scarce government resources, surely a legitimate government purpose.

or

As a result, gay and lesbian individuals who unite in matrimony are denied no federal benefits to which they were entitled prior to their marriage; they remain eligible for every benefit they enjoyed beforehand. DOMA simply provides, in effect, that as a result of their same-sex marriage they will not become eligible for the set of benefits that Congress has reserved exclusively to those who are related by the bonds of heterosexual marriage.

or

DOMA does not discriminate against homosexuals in the provision of federal benefits. To the contrary, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited in federal employment and in a wide array of federal benefits programs by law, regulation, and Executive order…. Section 3 of DOMA does not distinguish among persons of different sexual orientations, but rather it limits federal benefits to those who have entered into the traditional form of marriage.

Read the full brief here.

Please join me in expressing disappointment about this brief.

Contact the President

Online.

via Twitter @barackobama or @whitehouse

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

Contact the Department of Justice, including Attorney General Eric Holder.

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

askdoj@usdoj.gov

Department of Justice Main Switchboard – 202-514-2000

Office of the Attorney General – 202-353-1555

Contact your legislators.

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Filed under homophobia, LGBT, Politics

Remembering Stonewall & Moving Forward

Washington State Senator Murray Op Ed – June 11, 2009

On June 28, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community celebrates an earlier generation who, one evening, finally had enough of being marginalized, drew a firm line in the sand, and fought back.

Forty years ago, at a little bar in the West Village called Stonewall, a group of LGBTQ people spontaneously staged an uprising by resisting police arrest, discrimination, persecution and public humiliation. Their show of courage – particularly that of the drag queens, who were the bravest on that night – launched the modern-day gay rights movement.

Forty years later, as we honor the anniversary of this historic occasion with Pride Parades around the country, I look at how far we’ve come and how much further we need to go. That seems to be what forty asks us to do: look back to measure our success and look forward to make sure we accomplish our goals.

As of 2009, five out of fifty states recognize the love, partnership and marriage of same sex couples – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Maine. Around the world, many countries have made huge advances accepting that love is equal.

And in Washington State we have made significant strides towards equality. In 1994, under the leadership of the late Sen. Cal Andersen, the state Legislature passed hate crime protections for gay and lesbian individuals. In 2002 the Legislature passed my bill to help ensure that our schools are safe places for gay and lesbian students. In 2006, the Legislature passed my civil rights bill to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment, housing, and financial transactions. For the past three years, I’ve sponsored legislation to extend domestic partnership benefits for same-sex couples, so that we are now treated the same as married couples under state law. And this year, under the leadership of Sen. Joe McDermott, the Legislature passed hate crime protections for transgender individuals.

We are standing together united as couples in love and as individuals, recognizing that our country was founded on the premise of equality and acknowledging that none of us are free until all of us are equal.

This last 40 years hasn’t been easy. We’ve made many strides, and we’ve suffered many disappointments. We have overcome and reversed discriminatory laws. And we have lost many fallen heroes along the way from Harvey Milk, to Matthew Shepard, to the too many victims from AIDS and the ones that remain unknown as they took their lives when rejected by family, friends and the only community they knew. As of 2006 studies showed that LGBTQ teens are four times as likely to take their lives then their heterosexual counterparts. Yet we are still here, as a minority and being joined by our heterosexual counterparts who understand the meaning of freedom and justice for all.

Let me be clear, this is not just a fight to legalize marriage equality for same sex couples. That is one of many battles that the LGBTQ community faces. Just as the patrons of Stonewall were not safe to express themselves openly and honestly in public, we as a community and as individuals are not always safe in our families of origin, our schools, places of worship, our workplace and our communities. We are fighting for safety. We are fighting for recognition. We are fighting for acceptance. We are fighting for equal rights under the law. And we are fighting to explain that we are all in this together, as human beings with the same needs for food, shelter, and love.

And with that I call on all citizens to join forces and unite to make sure that all people, LGBTQ people in particular, are safe and protected by law as individuals, couples, in business, schools and communities. We must stay engaged and turn our disappointments into positives. We can gently come out to the communities who don’t recognize our rights. If they know us, it will be easier for them to accept us. Be visible. Continue this fight and one day we will know longer need to have this conversation as we will be recognized as equals.

Every person around the state needs to be willing to work for equality. That is how they won Stonewall, and that is how we will win here.

Please join with me in the month of June to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall and continue in our fight for equality. The full calendar of events to raise awareness and funds for the equality movement can be found at http://www.celebratestonewall.org

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Filed under LGBT, Politics

Imagine

Imagine a 13-year-old girl gets married in New Hampshire.  That’s the only state where it’s legal to marry that young.  Now imagine she and her husband can’t file their federal taxes together because no other state allows 13 year olds to marry.  Imagine her husband gets injured on their vacation to Indiana, and she can’t visit him in the hospital because in Indiana you have to be 15 to get married.  Imagine the couple decides to move to North Carolina, and they have to pay for separate rental applications and credit checks because you have to be 14 to get married in North Carolina.  But this is just your imagination, this 13 year old and her husband will have the rights of marriage where ever they go.

You might be repulsed by the idea of such a young girl being married, but it’s legal.  And because it’s legal where they got married, the federal government recognizes their marriage and every other state recognizes their marriage.  Because they’re straight.

In 1996 our government passed the Defense of Marriage Act.  It ensured that the federal government and other states didn’t need to recognize same-sex marriages, even if they were legal in the state where they were performed.  Same-sex marriage is now legal in five states and more states are moving in that direction.  Gay and lesbian couples married in those states face the problems I described above.

Fifty-five years ago the Supreme Court decided in Brown v Board of Education that separate is “inherently unequal” and required the integration of schools.  Education is a state’s right, but when it came down to discrimination, the federal government took a stand.  Likewise, marriage is a state’s right, but the LGBT community needs fairness and equality.  DOMA must be repealed.

Please contact your elected officials and demand marriage equality.

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Filed under LGBT, Politics

Why do gays and their allies…

… find it so important to convince everyone that being gay is not a choice?

One of my (gay) friends asked me this last week.  He had a good point: Religion is a choice, yet it’s a protected status.  I also saw the question come up on Yahoo! Answers.

I’ve been pondering this amidst all the hoopla surrounding the Prop 8 decision.  Supporters of Prop 8 and opponents of marriage equality in other states make this argument about how the legalization of same-sex marriage will affect their children’s education.  Kids will be taught that it’s *gasp* okay to be gay and okay to want to marry someone of your own gender.  What these arguments say to me is that these people fear their children will become homosexual if they learn that being homosexual is okay.  So here’s where the “being gay isn’t a choice” argument comes in.  Don’t make some BS argument about protecting your kids from being “indoctrinated” and “turning gay.”  So, in my mind, that’s why it’s important for people to understand that you don’t just “turn gay” because you wanted to.

2-13% (research varies) of the population is gay.  Your kid might be one of them.  They might come out sooner and be happier about who they are because they learned that it’s not wrong to be gay, but learning about it didn’t make them be attracted to people of the same sex.  Straight people didn’t need to learn about traditional marriage to cause them to be attracted to people of the opposite sex.

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Filed under LGBT, Politics

“The Defenders”

I’m not interested in voting on who you can marry.  Why worry about who I might want to marry?

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Filed under LGBT, Life, Politics