Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Mexico Gets Marriage Equality

From the New Mexico Supreme Court (as reported by Think Progress): 

We conclude that although none of New Mexico’s marriage statutes specifically prohibit same-gender marriages, when read as a whole, the statutes have the effect of precluding same-gender couples from marrying and benefiting from the rights, protections, and responsibilities that flow from a civil marriage. Same-gender couples who wish to enter into a civil marriage with another person of their choice and to the exclusion of all others are similarly situated to opposite-gender couples who want to do the same, yet they are treated differently
Because same-gender couples (whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, hereinafter “LGBT”) are a discrete group which has been subjected to a history of discrimination and violence, and which has inadequate political power to protect itself from such treatment, the classification at issue must withstand intermediate scrutiny to be constitutional. Accordingly, New Mexico may neither constitutionally deny same-gender couples the right to marry nor deprive them of the rights, protections, and responsibilities of marriage laws, unless the proponents of the legislation—the opponents of same-gender marriage—prove that the discrimination caused by the legislation is “substantially related to an important government interest.”
Unlike most other states, New Mexico had no law specifically allowing or prohibiting marriage for same-sex couples.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

President Obama's Response to Russia's Olympic Homophobia

From ESPN:  

President Barack Obama sent Russia a clear message about its treatment of gays and lesbians with who he is – and isn’t – sending to represent the United States at the Sochi Olympics.

Billie Jean King will be one of two openly gay athletes in the U.S. delegation for the opening and closing ceremonies, Obama announced Tuesday. For the first time since 2000, however, the U.S. will not send a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Games.

Russia has come under fierce criticism for passing national laws banning “gay propaganda.” Though the White House did not specifically address the Russian laws in making its announcement, spokesman Shin Inouye said the delegation “represents the diversity that is the United States” and that Obama “knows they will showcase to the world the best of America – diversity, determination and teamwork...”

Also skipping the Sochi Games are the presidents of France and Germany. Even though the Obama administration has not specifically cited Russia's human rights violations, his French and German counterparts have been quite clear.

Marriage News Watch: December 16, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

Guess Who's Running For Governor!

This past Sunday, Scott Lively announced that he will be running for governor of Massachusetts. Given who Lively is, this may not actually be news worthy, but it is hilarious. Lively’s claim to fame is inspiring Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, a bill that would make it legal for that country to literally execute people for being gay. Lively’s involvement in Uganda has resulted in him facing a court challenge for crimes against humanity. He is an ardent conservative who is very vocally anti-gay, anti-abortion, and pro-gun, yet he is running to lead one of the country’s most liberal states. For some reason Lively thinks that the people of Massachusetts need him.

According to a press release from Lively, "The people of this state need a candidate who can clearly and unapologetically articulate Biblical values without fear or compromise. They need a candidate who will tell the simple truth that abortion is murder, and homosexuality is condemned by God (but that Jesus forgives and heals those who repent)." 

Let us compare this with what recently happened here in my home state: Virginia. Here, we had a very conservative Republican - Ken Cuccinelli - running on many of the same policy positions as Lively. As extreme as Cuccinelli was in those policies, he was not as extreme as Lively, nor is Virginia the liberal bastion that Massachusetts is. Cuccinelli still managed to lose. I have no idea how Lively thinks himself to be a viable candidate in Massachusetts of all places.

We’re living in a time when most people are more concerned about economic issues and health care while simultaneously, the tide on social issues - particularly those related to sexual orientation - is shifting demonstrably away from the conservative positions that Lively espouses so strongly. We have seen in the last few years that what were once winning issues for conservatives are now liabilities that have cost them numerous electoral contests. That is a lesson that Lively has yet to learn, though he is shaping up to be the latest political casualty of the right’s inability to learn lessons from past elections. He will just have to learn the hard way that he and those like him are no longer in touch with mainstream America.

Also, he thinks the Nazis were gay. Gubernatorial material indeed…

Judgment Day!!!

So, I have a little confession to make. When news “broke” that Dustin Lance Black (39) was the guy that Tom Daley (19) was seeing, I got a little…judgy. It wasn’t the 20 year age gap in and of itself, but more the fact that the younger of the pair was only 19. Part of me being concerned about this has to do with the stereotype we get from social conservatives that gay men are sexual predators and pedophiles. I was subconsciously worried about how this would make gay men look in public generally and I was worried about that this wouldn’t end well for Daley specifically. While I didn’t go around shouting about how wrong this was, I had some significant reservations.

Then I saw this interview Daley did with Jonathan Ross:

Other than a cheeky tweet when speculation of Black being Daley’s mystery man started, Black has not to my knowledge been publicly vocal about the relationship (in fact, neither of them have confirmed speculation of the relationship). Daley - in so far as he has talked about it - seems genuinely happy. Just listening to him and watching him, he is practically glowing in a way that he probably hasn’t since winning his Olympic medal. So you know what? Age be damned. Like Aaliyah said, it ain’t nothing but a number…so long as it’s above the age of consent of course. I’m happy for them.

Not that my judgment of this matters one way or another. I don’t know either of these men on a personal level, I have never met them, and I have no idea firsthand knowledge of what their relationship is like. My point in all of this is that we, the public, should not be looking down on their relationship. Instead, if they are happy together, then we should be happy for them.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gay Body Image & Eating Disorders

The Latest Election-Rigging Attempt by the GOP

Last winter, shortly after President Obama won his second term in office, many Republicans rallied behind a pair of election-rigging plans designed to make it virtually impossible for a Democrat to win White House again. Though the two plans differ in important ways, the crux of both plans is to rig the Electoral College by requiring blue states to award a significant portion of their electoral votes to Republican presidential candidates — all while ensuring that red states will award 100 percent of their electoral votes to the Republican as well. Though these election-rigging plans appeared dead after a wave of Republican officials came out against them, one of them has just returned to life in California.

On November 22, a man named Hal Nickle filed a proposed ballot initiative in California which would change the way that state allocates electoral votes to ensure that a large chunk of California’s 55 electors go to the GOP, even though Californians consistently prefer Democratic candidates to Republicans. Rather than allocating all of California’s electoral votes to the winner of the state as a whole, as nearly all states currently award their votes, the election-rigging initiative would allocate the states votes proportionally according to the percentage of votes won by each candidate. Thus, if this plan had been in effect in 2012, Mitt Romney would have received 37.12 percent of California’s electors — adding 20 to his overall total.

The trick behind this proposal is that if would only change the law in California, while leaving red states free to award all of their electors to the Republican...

Counter: perhaps Democrats should try this in Texas, Louisiana, and other reliably red states. it would be interesting to see the GOP try to wiggle their way around saying it is okay to do this in blue states but not red states (because you know they would try to rationalize that "logic").

The Actual Welfare Queens

Marriage News Watch: December 2, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Assault On Savings Accounts

From Huffington Post:

The Fed is desperately trying to find ways to dial back on its $85 billion per month in bond purchases, an extreme stimulus program known as "quantitative easing," while still supporting the economy. One possible approach would be to stop paying banks a tiny interest rate for money they store at the Fed for safekeeping. The idea being that banks would be more inclined to put money to work with lending and other stuff that helps the economy.

But according to banks, that tiny Fed interest payment is the only thing that helps banks break even on savings accounts and other deposit services they provide. In order to protect their multi-billion-dollar bonuses and bank profits -- which have bounced to record highs since that financial crisis the banks helped create, a crisis from which the Fed and the American taxpayer bailed them out -- banks will sadly have no choice but to punish their customers.

That's not all: The banks say that, without that interest payment, they might also be pushed to take ever-crazier risks with money that was once safely parked at the Fed, the FT reports. Stop us before we kill the economy again, the banks are saying. And by "stop us," they mean, "give us all of your money..."

Some of the information from this article comes from the Financial Times (subscription only).

Friday, November 22, 2013

Elizabeth Warren Targets Social Security

Wal-Mart Holds Food Drive For Its Own Employees

The Religious Wrong: RENOUNCE YOUR KIDS!!!

From Think Progress:

On Monday, the United Methodist Church convicted Rev. Frank Schaefer on two counts against the Church for officiating his son’s same-sex wedding. On Tuesday, the impaneled jury determined his sentence: Schaefer is suspended for 30 days, and if it at the end of that time he has not renounced his support for marriage equality, he will be defrocked.
Schaefer, however, was unapologetic, refusing the invitation to “repent of your actions”:

SCHAEFER: [The Church] needs to stop judging people based on their sexual orientation. We have to stop the hate speech. We have to stop treating them as second-class Christians. [...]
I will never be silent again. This is what I have to do. [...]
I have to minister to those who hurt and that’s what I’m doing.
Three of Schaefer’s four children identify as gay. values?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How Not to Be a Parent

Amy Dickinson, Advice Columnist
From The Daily Grind:

The parent writes:

Dear Amy:

I recently discovered that my son, who is 17, is a homosexual.
We are part of a church group and I fear that if people in that group find out they will make fun of me for having a gay child.
He won’t listen to reason, and he will not stop being gay. I feel as if he is doing this just to get back at me for forgetting his birthday for the past three years – I have a busy work schedule.
Please help him make the right choice in life by not being gay. He won’t listen to me, so maybe he will listen to you.
- Feeling Betrayed

Replied Amy:
Dear Betrayed:

You could teach your son an important lesson by changing your sexuality to show him how easy it is.
Try it for the next year or so: Stop being a heterosexual to demonstrate to your son that a person’s sexuality is a matter of choice – to be dictated by one’s parents, the parents’ church and social pressure.
I assume that my suggestion will evoke a reaction that your sexuality is at the core of who you are. The same is true for your son. He has a right to be accepted by his parents for being exactly who he is.
When you ‘forget’ a child’s birthday, you are basically negating him as a person. It is as if your saying that you have forgotten his presence in the world. How very sad for him.
Pressuring your son to change his sexuality is wrong.
If you cannot learn to accept him as he is, it might be safest for him to live elsewhere.
A group that could help you and your family figure out how to navigate this is This organization is founded for parents, families, friends and allies of LGBT people, and has helped countless families through this challenge. Please research and connect with a local chapter.
- Amy

Let me make sure I understand this. She forgot her son's birthday not once, not twice, but three times in a row, she is mostly concerned about being made fun of for having a gay child, and somehow, it's the child with the problem? I really hope this mother pulls her head from her rectum and realizes that as a parent, you put your kids first. Her son did not betray her, she betrayed him.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Openly Gay Teen Honoured by Vatican

From LGBTQ Nation:

Jack Andraka, a high school junior from Crownsville, Md., was awarded the International Giuseppe Sciacca Award for his work Saturday. The Vatican awards the prize to recognize youth who are positive role models and outstanding in their fields.
He told WBAL Radio he felt is was amazing to be recognized by the Vatican even though he is gay. He says it shows how much the world has grown to accept gay people.

Andraka developed the cancer test when he was 15 after the death of a family friend from pancreatic cancer.

Pro-ACA Republican Wins in Louisiana

From Think Progress:

Louisiana voters elected Republican Vance McAllister in a runoff to fill the state’s vacant Fifth District U.S. House seat on Saturday. McAllister, a businessman who embraced the expansion of Medicaid available to the state under the Affordable Care Act, defeated a Republican party favorite who called for full Obamacare repeal.

In a district won by Mitt Romney with 61 percent of the vote in 2012, two Republicans were the top vote-getters in a 14-candidate October primary. McAllister, who received nearly 60 percent of the vote in Saturday’s special election, criticized much of the Affordable Care Act, but also criticized Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) decision to dismantle charity hospitals in the state, and to reject its Medicaid expansion, which would expand the qualifications for Medicaid recipients and extend healthcare coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Louisianans. “Our governor and Sen. Riser right here have gutted [heath care] to the core and privatized it.”

McAllister’s top opponent, State Senator Neil Riser (R), received support from House Republican Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), three of the four other Louisiana Republican Congressmen, the National Rifle Association, FreedomWorks and, more tacitly, Gov. Jindal. Riser ran ads saying that he would go to Washington to balance the budget and stop Obamacare — not make friends — andslammed McAllister for ” attempting to redefine himself and stand with President Obama.”

Marriage News Watch: November 18, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dealing With Marriage Equality via Exorcism

From WUIS:  

Regarding the proposed redefinition of civil marriage in Argentina, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote on June 22, 2010: “The Argentine people must face, in the next few weeks, a situation whose result may gravely harm the family. It is the bill on matrimony of persons of the same sex. The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts. ... Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a ‘move’ of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Bishop Paprocki noted, “The pope’s reference to the ‘father of lies’ comes from the Gospel of John (8:44), where Jesus refers to the devil as ‘a liar and the father of lies.’ So Pope Francis is saying that same-sex ‘marriage’ comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.”

The prayers for “Supplication and Exorcism Which May Be Used in Particular Circumstances of the Church” are taken from the Appendices to the 2004 Latin edition of the Rite of Exorcism, the introduction to which explains, “The presence of the Devil and other demons appears and exists not only in the tempting or tormenting of persons, but also in the penetration of things and places in a certain manner by their activity, and in various forms of opposition to and persecution of the church. If the diocesan bishop, in particular situations, judges it appropriate to announce gatherings of the faithful for prayer, under the leadership and direction of a priest, elements for arranging a rite of supplication may be taken from [the texts provided in these appendices].”