Minnesota Debating Marriage Equality Today!

Here is a great video form Minnesota for All Families

From HuffPost Politics:

The Democratic-led state Legislature in Minnesota is expected to begin a final push on Thursday toward making it the 12th U.S. state to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples and the third this month after Delaware and Rhode Island.

Leaders in Minnesota’s state House of Representatives have scheduled a vote for Thursday to advance a bill recognizing same-sex marriage, which would be followed by a vote in the state Senate on Monday, party spokesmen have said.

Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has indicated that he supports making same-sex marriage legal in the state and has been pressing lawmakers for their backing.

Better Duck Asante Samuel – We’re Talking Gay

Asante Samuel - photo courtesy of ESPN

Asante Samuel – photo courtesy of ESPN

In a recent  interview, Atlanta Falcons corner back, Asante Samuel said the following in response to NBA player Jason Collins public announcement that he’s gay:

“Straight people are not announcing they’re straight, so why does everybody have to announce their sexuality or whatever? You know, what they prefer…So that’s just how I see it. That’s my opinion on things. All respect you know, I have nothing but respect for the people whoever decisions they make and whatever, but you know, you don’t have to show it and flaunt it like that. You know what I’m saying, we have kids out here, too.”

That paragraph is so loaded, I could write a book on the blanketed, homophobic garbage it contains, but for sake of time (and sanity) I’ll stick to one aspect:

“Straight people are not announcing they’re strait”.

As a gay man, this baffles me.   In our world, that is ALL that is happening.  Straight people discuss their sexuality continuously.  Walk into any workplace.  Pictures of boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives, children and grandchildren adorn every available surface including walls, desks and window sills – all like a flashing beacon saying “I’m straight”.  Know why I notice?  Because  if I had a picture of my husband and I at our wedding, it would be “shoving my sexuality down your throat.”

How about question we each get Monday morning…”How was your weekend?  What did you do?”  A straight person will answer, “The wife and I just hung around the house,” or “My boyfriend was out of town so I went to a movie with a friend”, or “My in-laws were in town… so glad THAT’S over!”  Know what a gay or lesbian who isn’t out gets to say?  ”Nothin’ much” or “Went to a move.”  If we answer, “My partner and I had friends over for dinner”, we’d be ‘flaunting our lifestyle’.

How about  tv?  Watch any weekly show or movie, and you’ll see heterosexual relationships in nearly 100%.  Guess how many shows feature gay characters?  Not many, and many of those feature comic stereotypes…  The snarky, well dressed gay best friend, the husky girls softball coach with a heart of gold.  We are starting to see a few gay families pop up, but so many of them are still caricatures.

And how about commercials?  I’ve heard, “Gays are so focused on sex”.  Have you seen a Go Daddy commercial?  How about one for Axe?  I wonder if the guys in the Budweiser commercial ogling the women in bikinis are straight?

Barney Frank, the outspoken and out former congressman said it best at last night’s Equality Forum:

“Let’s be clear. We don’t talk about our sexuality any more than straight people do. The difference is when we talk about sexuality, it’s called ‘coming out.’ When straight people discuss their sexuality it’s called ‘talking.’”

 

 

 

Watch: New Zealand MP on Marriage Equality

Last week, New Zealand became the 13th country to recognize same sex marriage.  Maurice Williamson, Member of Parliament, gave this wonderfully funny and spot on  speech.  Demonstrating how silly the opposition is is much more effective than arguing with them.

The main point of his speech is summed up here:

“So don’t make this into a big deal.  This is fantastic for people this affects,  but for the rest of us, life will go on.”

He also quoted Deuteronomy 1:29.  ”Be ye not afraid”

Watch: An Open Letter to SCOTUS from Same Sex Family

Watch/Read this beautifully written and moving letter from a gay dad to Justice Scalia and his fellow justices.  Powerful and moving.

Below is the text, but watch the video – what a beautiful family!

Published on Mar 30, 2013

Dear Justice Scalia as well as your distinguished peers serving on the Supreme Court,

First let me thank you for hearing the historic cases this week on California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). My husband, Kelly Vielmo, and I adopted three beautiful siblings from DC’s foster care system last year. Being an inter-racial, same-sex family we are used to being conspicuous and sometimes the center of attention on a local level depending on where we happen to be. With the cases being heard in the Supreme Court this week our family is now on debate at the national level. With that said I am following with interest your ruling on these cases. One comment that stuck with me was the speculation of potential “deleterious” effects of kids having same-sex parents. After I looked up deleterious (adj. causing harm or damage) I had to reflect on the harm and damage that has been done to my children. I know that you are listening to these cases from a nationally-scaled legal point of view, but the intent of this letter is to offer you the lens and point of view of one individual family your rulings will affect.

Children who are placed in the care of foster systems throughout this nation have suffered from either the neglect or the abuse of their biological families. For all intents and purposes, we will call this deleterious parenting. Sadly my children were born into these circumstances. They further had statistics against them. The adoption rates of both African American children and sibling pairs (not to mention trios) are greatly reduced. When my husband and I looked at our options for growing our family, DC’s Child and Family Services Administration seemed to be our natural choice. We knew we wanted siblings, had no racial preference for our children, and living in the District were able to help our local community at the same time.

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?

I am not naive enough to think that any verdict of your court will change the opinions or hearts of the individuals we encounter on a daily basis. I accept that the stares our family receives walking down the street on a daily basis elicits both judgment and inspiration. What I do not accept is that the United States of America is willing to devalue my childrens’ family more than others and have a separate grouping of laws and benefits. I pray that as you rule on these cases that you keep Cardel (6), Raine (4), and Ravyn (3) in your hearts and do all in your power to keep deleterious obstacles from their lives.

Respectfully Yours,

Jack Montgomery

 

Supreme Court Hears Both Sides on Same-Sex Marriage

Breaking News! CNN brings us the latest update as the Supreme Court hears both sides on same-sex marriage. An excerpt of the CNN article is below.

Washington (CNN) — As partisans argued pointedly over same-sex marriage outside the U.S. Supreme Court building, either hoping for or dreading a landmark decision, justices inside seemed reluctant Tuesday to extend a sweeping constitutional right for gays and lesbian to wed in all 50 states.

In the first of two days of hearings on cases that have the potential to fundamentally alter how American law treats marriage, Justice Anthony Kennedy — considered the likely deciding vote on the divided court — questioned whether justices should even be hearing the issue.

“This was a deeply divided Supreme Court, and a court that seemed almost to be groping for an answer here,” said CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who watched the arguments over California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage.

Voters approved the proposal 52% to 48% in November 2008, less than six months after the state Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a fundamental right that must be extended to same-sex couples.

The court will listen to arguments Wednesday on a separate challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which — like the California law — defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The overriding legal question in the California case is whether the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law prevents states from defining marriage as that state has.

Regarding allowing same-sex couples to marry, Justice Elena Kagan, a liberal member of the court, asked, “What harm is there to the institution of marriage?”

But more conservative members of the court took a go-slow approach. Justice Samuel Alito said the law on same-sex marriage is too new.

“There isn’t a lot of data on its effect” on children and the institution of marriage, he said.

While the justices were clearly torn on the larger constitutional questions, they may be poised to dismiss the appeal on jurisdictional grounds.

A key question is whether the private citizens who put Proposition 8 on California’s ballot have standing to defend it in court when the state’s governor and attorney general have refused to do so.

If the court dismisses the appeal on those grounds, it might mean lower federal court rulings declaring the proposition unconstitutional would stand.

But it wouldn’t allow for a broader, final rule outlining the power of states to say who can or can’t get married.
Kennedy admitted the law’s supporters are “not just any citizens.”

But he later raised concerns about whether the possibility of same-sex marriage was enough to establish they had suffered harm, a key jurisdictional hurdle allowing them to appeal in the first place.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said it is the state’s responsibility — through its elected leaders — to defend laws in court, and that private individuals could not establish “how their injury was separate from everyone else.”

Attorneys who represented the two couples seeking to overturn Proposition 8 said they couldn’t tell how the court would rule.

“We are confident where the American people are going with this,” said Theodore Olson. “We don’t know for sure what the United States Supreme Court is going to do, but we’re very, very grateful they listened, they heard, they asked hard questions, and there’s no denying where the right is.”

Andrew Pugno, general counsel for the Protect Marriage Coalition, the group defending Proposition 8, said their attorney had “credibly presented the winning case for marriage.”

“We think the hearing went very well,” he told reporters.

Two of the key plaintiffs are Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, a Burbank, California, couple who want to marry but can’t because of Proposition 8. They say the state is discriminating against them for their sexuality.
“It’s as simple as that,” Katami said after the hearing. “It’s our constitutional right and I cannot wait to start my family with Jeff.”

The court is unlikely to announce its decision until June.

Read the full article from CNN here.

Watch: Hillary Clinton for Marriage Equality

Hilary Clinton stands for Marriage Equality for LGBT Americans.

(from HRC)

Bill Clinton for Marriage Equality

In the most recent video, Bill Clinton for Marriage Equality, from Marriage News Watch, we learn that not only is the former president for gay rights but that in addition to forward movement for Colorado’s civil unions, there are several favorable polls for marriage equality in key political states.

See more videos from Marriage News Watch here.

Civil Unions Bill Passes in Colorado

Gay Rights CO

Civil Unions Bill Passes in Colorado and is Likely to Become Law

Today Colorado lawmakers took a historic vote on the approval of civil unions for gay couples. The Civil Unions Bill passed and will most likely become law within the state! Here is a full update from the recent article by Ivan Moreno on the Huffington Post.

DENVER — A measure allowing civil unions for gay couples has cleared the Colorado Legislature and is headed to the governor’s desk, where it’s expected to be signed.

The bill won final passage Tuesday on a 39-26 House vote, with two Republicans joining all Democrats to approve it.

Once the measure is signed, Colorado will join eight states that have civil unions or similar laws. Nine states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage.

The bill’s approval marks a significant political shift in a western state that traditionally has had deep conservative roots but has become more moderate over the past decade.

Colorado voters banned gay marriage seven years ago. That means civil unions are the only option for gay couples in the state, but a U.S. Supreme ruling on gay marriage laws could change that.

Click here for the full article.

UFC Fighter Supports Marriage Equality

Pro Football Players Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, and Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens signed a brief to the Supreme court last month supporting marriage equality for gays and lesbians.  This week, Outsports reports that a UFC fighter,  ”Suga” Rashad Evans has signed on as well.  This is big news.

The UFC is an ultra- macho organization that has been sited as homophobic in the past.  That seems to be changing.  In January, UFC President, who had previously been criticized for using anti gay slurs, said ”If you’re an athlete in the UFC and you are gay, I could care less. You will not be treated any different.”  Also, Liz Caramouche, a female rising star in the  UFC, came out as a lesbian last year.

And now Evans has added his support.  The light-heavyweight fighter told Outsports:

“I’ve never been a homophobe, never understood what that is all about. I knew some people who were gay and never cared about their sexuality. But at the same time, I didn’t fully understand the issues around gay people until my friend BA started telling me about his full public support for gay marriage. We talked about the issue and I decided its not enough to not be against a minority, if you want things to go better for them you have to speak up with them.

I’m a UFC fighter, a macho-type sport. I am a heterosexual guy in a tough macho sport, which is exactly the reason I feel a duty to say I support gay marriage and gay rights.

“I have nothing to gain personally from supporting this issue, and that’s the point. Society as a whole is better when there is equality, and I want to live in a country where everyone has the same rights because we all benefit from that.

“What people overlook is that is isn’t a sex issue, its a love issue. There’s no justifiable reason for trying to get in the way of two people who love each other.

“I have kids. I don’t want them growing up in a society where they, or their friends, could be second class citizens based on which person they fall in love with or who they want to be happy with.”

It seems macho-type athletes aren’t as concerned as they once were about supporting gay rights.  Let’s hope this amazing support from these men spurs others to step forward.

Read the full article here.

LGBT Percentage-Where does your state rank?

In 2012, Gallup examined the LGBT percentage by state, by a poll that asked the following: “Do you personally identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?”

Colorado came in with 3.2% identifying as LGBT, see a list of all of the states and their results here. You might be surprised!

LGBT Percentage

Here is a summary of the poll straight from Gallup.

The percentage of U.S. adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) ranges from 1.7% in North Dakota to 5.1% in Hawaii and 10% in the District of Columbia, according to Gallup surveys conducted from June-December 2012. Residents in the District of Columbia were most likely to identify as LGBT (10%). Among states, the highest percentage was in Hawaii (5.1%) and the lowest in North Dakota (1.7%), but all states are within two percentage points of the nationwide average of 3.5%…Overall, the results from this analysis of LGBT identity by state may run counter to some stereotypes that portray the LGBT community as heavily grouped in certain states of the union.

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