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Posts Tagged ‘gay marriage’

More than 200 businesses on Wednesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a federal law that restricts the definition of marriage to heterosexual unions, in one of corporate America’s most prominent efforts to support same-sex marriage.

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Global rights advocates are hoping that Taiwan’s first same-sex Buddhist wedding sets an international precedent by helping the country become the first in Asia to legalize gay marriage in the future.

Fish Huang and her partner You Ya-ting, both 30 years old, wore traditional white gowns but opted to exchange prayer beads rather than wedding bands as they tied the knot in a monastery in northern Taiwan.

Noticeably absent from the wedding were the couple’s parents. Huang telling the AFP: “We understand that people have different acceptance of media exposure and we want to give them more space.”

A landmark bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Taiwan has been pending since 2003 . While no Asian nations have legalized marriage equality just yet, there have been signs of progress in Vietnam and Nepal, among others, the site notes.

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Barney Frank marries longtime partner Jim Ready

In a ceremony officiated by the governor of Massachusetts, US Representative ­Barney Frank and his longtime partner, Jim Ready, were married Saturday.

“As you might imagine, at the request of the congressman, this service will be short and to the point,” said Governor Deval Patrick.

Patrick then asked the couple whether they would love each other “under the Democrats or the Republicans, whether the slopes are powdery or icy, whether the book reviews are good or bad, for better or for worse, on MSNBC or on Fox.”

“I’m thrilled for him,” US Representative James P. McGovern, a Worcester Democrat, said outside the hotel. “Massachusetts has always led the way, but Barney has been out front on civil rights issues for a while.”

Frank, a 72-year-old Newton Democrat, has served in Congress since 1981 and was the first openly gay member of Congress. Before elected to Congress, he served eight years in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

He is the first sitting member of Congress to enter a same-sex marriage.

Ready, 42, lives in Ogunquit, Maine. He works as a photographer and runs a small business that does custom awnings, carpentry, painting, welding, and other services, according to a statement from Gural.

The pair met in November 2005 at a political fund-raiser in Ogunquit in support of gay rights and legislation promoting non-discrimination in the workplace for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens, Gural said.

In October 2010, Ready made headlines when he confronted Sean Bielat, a Norfolk Republican who was running against Frank for Congress.

After a debate between the candidates, Ready approached Bielat, who was speaking to report­ers, and began taking pictures of Bielat. When Bielat acknowledged Ready’s actions, Ready responded, “It’s a free country, isn’t it?” and “Get used to it, dude. If you want to be a congressman, this is nothing.”

Some guests said that they believe the wedding represents a benchmark for the country.

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“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told Roberts, in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.

“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president continued. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know,  believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”

Obama’s likely Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, opposes gay marriage, and fought his state’s highest court when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004, when Romney was governor. Romney said on the campaign trail Monday that he continues to oppose gay marriage.
“My view is that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” Romney said. “That’s the position I’ve had for some time, and I don’t intend to make any adjustments at this point. … Or ever, by the way.”

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RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday defining marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman, becoming the latest state to effectively slam the door shut on same-sex marriages.

With most of the precincts reporting Tuesday, unofficial returns showed the amendment passing with about 61 percent of the vote to 39 percent against.

North Carolina is the 30th state to adopt such a ban on gay marriage.

In the final days before the vote, members of President Barack Obama’s cabinet expressed support for gay marriage and former President Bill Clinton recorded phone messages urging voters to oppose the amendment.

North Carolina law already bans gay marriage, but an amendment effectively seals the door on same-sex marriages.

The amendment also goes beyond state law by voiding other types of domestic unions from carrying legal status, which opponents warn could disrupt protection orders for unmarried couples.

Six states – all in the Northeast except Iowa – and the District of Columbia allow same sex marriages. In addition,  two other states have laws that are not yet in effect and may be subject to referendums

The North Carolina amendment was placed on the ballot after Republicans took over control of the state Legislature after the 2010 elections, a role the GOP hadn’t enjoyed for 140 years.

Obama, who supports most gay rights, has stopped short of backing gay marriage. Without clarification, he’s said for the past year and a half that his personal views on the matter are “evolving.”

Later Tuesday, Obama’s campaign said he was “disappointed” with the amendment. Obama campaign spokesman Cameron French said in a Tuesday statement that the ban on same-sex unions is “divisive and discriminatory.” Same-sex couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples, French said.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan stated on Monday his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage, a day after Vice President Joe Biden said he is “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex married couples getting the same rights at heterosexual married couples.

One fault line that could determine the result is generational. Older voters, who tend to be more reliable voters, were expected to back the amendment.

State House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican from a Charlotte suburb, said earlier in the day that even if the amendment passed, it would be reversed as today’s young adults age – within 20 years.  “It’s a generational issue,” Tillis told a student group at North Carolina State University in March about the amendment he supports.

“Also, that amendment is against women, I believe, because also underneath the amendment, other laws are saying that people who aren’t married at all, they can’t file for domestic abuse cases, if they’re living with their significant other. Which is wrong,” Toanone said.

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Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill last Monday making Washington the  seventh state to legalize gay marriage. But on Friday in New Jersey, Gov. Chris  Christie vetoed a bill passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature that  would have made his state the eighth.

Instead, the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriage may soon be Maryland,  where former vice president Dick Cheney reportedly lobbied Republican state  legislators to help pass the bill Friday — a similar version of which passed  the state senate last year.

The ongoing debate on same-sex marriage cuts across religious and political  lines. Govs. Gregoire of Washington and Christie of New Jersey , for instance, are both Catholic, but Mr.  Cheney is Methodist; Ms. Gregoire is a Democrat, but the two men are  Republicans.

With allegiances on the matter often unpredictable and with 30 states having  passed constitutional amendments defining marriage as heterosexual only, plenty  of conflict is yet to come. If the nation is lucky, many citizens will soon  conclude that both sides in this particular conflict are wrong.

New Jersey already offers civil unions to same-sex couples, but a review  commission has found the law less than effective, and several couples have sued,  contending it does not deliver the “marriage equality” that the state Supreme  Court had mandated.   The point of a same-sex marriage bill is that no matter how carefully civil  unions are observed, a “separate but equal” approach to marriage is not, in the  end, equal at all.

But some jurisdictions that have passed same-sex marriage laws have created a  new group of second-class citizens — religious conservatives.

When the District of Columbia’s council took up a same-sex marriage bill in  2009, the American Civil Liberties Union joined others in urging the council to  provide a religious exemption, but the council refused, insisting their intent  was to require that “every third party” recognize same-sex marriage as  legitimate.

Although black Protestants had also prominently opposed the law, the  consequences are easiest to measure through the experience of the Catholic  Church. Catholic Charities had to end its 80-year-old foster care program rather  than be forced to violate its doctrine by placing children with gay couples, and  it discontinued health insurance for its employees rather than be required to  extend benefits to gay spouses

The way out of this irreconcilable conflict between individual liberty and the  free exercise of religion is for government to offer civil unions only, for all  citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation, and to leave “marriage” to the  church, temple, synagogue or mosque — where it has been administered for  millennia

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12051/1211393-152.stm?cmpid=bcpanel1#ixzz1mv7ZFq8v

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A group of high profile Democrats and Republicans who back legalizing gay marriage are calling on advocates to shift the focus on the issue from an argument about equal reights to promoting the value of commitment.

When asked why “couples like you” might want to marry, 58% saied to “publicly acknowledge their love and commitment to each other.  When asked why gays and lesbians may want to marry, the respondents split between “love and commitment” and “rights and benefits”.

We’re all searching for common ground and the way to have a conversation with those who would be inclined notto support marriage equality is to search for those common values that we share.

There is no question that when the Supreme Court makes a decision on an important social issue that one of the factors they look at is where the country is.   If we stick with a rights and benefits framework, we will ultimitly not be able to win over enough of the middle to  prevail.

 

To read the full article from USA Today: click here

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Governor Deval Patrick has declared today—the seventh anniversary of the first same-sex marriages in Massachusetts—to be Marriage Equality Day in the Commonwealth! We’ll be celebrating this evening in Cambridge—and you’re invited to join us!

We’ll recognize couples who applied for licenses in the Commonwealth on May 17, 2004, and we’ll celebrate with cupcakes, dancing and entertainment from The Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band a raucous, 15-piece stomp-your-foot-and-belt-out-the-choruses New Orleans-style street band.

We’ll also present D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk for Cambridge, with our inaugural Visionary Award. Seven years ago, Drury exemplified the true spirit of public service when she opened up the doors of Cambridge City Hall at 12:01 a.m. on May 17, 2004 so same-sex couples (some of whom had been waiting for decades) could apply for marriage licenses. Her unwavering support for marriage equality (at a time when then-Gov. Mitt Romney was ordering city and town clerks to post public notices about previously obscure state laws in order to discourage some same-sex couples from marrying) exemplifies the values MassEquality champions.

The Community Celebration goes from 7 to 10 pm at Club Oberon in the American Repertory Theater, 2 Arrow St., Cambridge! Individual tickets are $25 and sponsorships are $100 (includes 2 tickets) and $250 (includes 4 tickets). We will also host a VIP reception earlier in the evening at Upstairs on the Square, 91 Winthrop St., Cambridge, from 5:30 to 7 pm. Tickets are $500 (admission for 2 at both VIP Reception and Community Celebration), $1,000 (admission for 2 at VIP Reception and for 4 at Community Celebration) and $2500 (admission for 4 at both VIP Reception and Community Celebration). Click here to purchase tickets at all levels.

Please note that there will be FREE parking in the lot immediately adjacent to Old Cambridge Baptist Church at 1151 Mass. Ave., across the street from Club Oberon at 2 Arrow Street in Harvard Square—though it will be first-come, first-served. Ignore signs advising that your car will be towed. Your car will NOT be towed. Street parking at meters is also an option; most metered spaces run from 8am–6 pm, but pay attention to the signs because some metered spaces run from 8am–8 pm.

Sincerely,

Kara S. Suffredini, Esq.
Executive Director

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FL Appeals Court: Anti-Gay Adoption Law Violates Equal Protection
Great news!

By a unanimous decision, an appeals court has upheld a Miami judge who ruled that Florida’s anti-gay adoption ban is unconstitutional.

The Third District Court of Appeals three-judge panel agreed with Miami Judge Cindy Lederman who ruled in 2008 that there is “no rational basis to prohibit gay parents from adopting” and that the law violates equal protection rights for the children and their prospective gay parents.

The opinion reads in part:

“We affirm the judgment of adoption, which holds subsection 63.042(3), Florida Statutes, violates the equal protection provision found in article I, section 2, of the Florida Constitution.”

“Given a total ban on adoption by homosexual persons, one might expect that this reflected a legislative judgment that homosexual persons are, as a group, unfit to be parents,” the opinion states.

“No one in this case has made, or even hinted at, any such argument. To the contrary, the parties agree ‘that gay people and heterosexuals make equally good parents.'”

You can read the full decision here.

This is an historic day but the fight is not over yet. The case may now head to the Florida Supreme Court and anti-gay extremists are expected to seek a ballot measure putting this discrimination into the state Constitution. Equality Florida will continue working with our team across the state to be ready to defend this victory.

What a phenomenal day for Martin Gill and his family who have challenged this ban head on. A big congratulations to the legal team at the ACLU of Florida who worked so hard on this case. Thank you to all the Floridians who have helped to expose the bigotry of this ban.

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