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Culture shift re: homosexuality, bisexuality, etc.

Events during 2009-APR illustrating
cultural shifts about sexual minorities

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See additional events during April concerning
homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, etc.

There have been more events impacting the LGBT community in the first third of April than in any comparable interval in recent memory:

bullet 2009-APR-02: Sweden legalizes same-sex marriage (SSM): Only one of seven political parties in Sweden -- the Christian Democrats -- voted against a bill recognizing SSM. The bill passed 261 to 22. Same-sex couples will be able to obtain marriage licenses on 2009-MAY-01. Sweden becomes the fifth country in Europe to permit SSM, and the seventh in the world. 1More details.
bullet 2009-APR-03: IA: Unanimous decision of the state supreme court legalizes SSM: In the case of Varnum vs. Brien, six same-sex couples challenged the 1998 Iowa marriage law which limits marriage to one man and one woman. The Iowa Supreme Court delivered a unanimous verdict, ruling that the 1998 law limiting marriage to one man and one woman conflicted with the equal protection clause in the state constitution that requires people to be treated equally. Since the constitution trumps a piece of legislation, they ruled that SSM is legal in the state. More details prior to the ruling and afterwards.

2009-APR-04: USA: Hate crimes legislation introduced in federal House: According to the Task Force Action Fund, a pro-gay advocacy group, hate crimes legislation that has been before Congress many times, has been reintroduced. It has consistently failed in the past. However, this time, with the Democrats in control, it might succeed. More information about past hate-crimes legislation.


2009-APR-06: USA: Pastor Rick Warren apologized for his support of Prop 8: Warren is one of best know evangelical leaders in the U.S.  Prop 8 passed with such a small margin that it might well have been rejected if Warren had actively campaigned against it. On CNN's Larry King Live program, he said the he had written "... to all my gay friends -- the leaders that I knew -- and actually apologized to them." More details.


2009-APR-07: MD: Inheritance rights for same-sex couples: As the laws now stand, when one spouse of a married couple dies, the surviving spouse automatically inherits the house without paying an inheritance tax. When one domestic partner of a same-sex couple dies, the surviving partner is considered a roommate for the purpose of taxation; she or he must pay inheritance tax. The Maryland Senate voted 28 to 19 today to pass SB 785, a bill which would eliminate the inheritance tax on jointly owned primary homes of same-sex domestic partners. Only one senator, Alex Mooney (R- Frederick County) spoke in opposition to the legislation. The corresponding House bill is HP 1215. 2


2009-APR-07: VT: Vermont becomes the fifth state to legalize SSM: The Vermont House and Senate comfortably passed a bill making SSM available. But Governor Jim Douglas, a Republican, vetoed the bill on APR-06. The Senate and House then voted to override the veto. There was no problem with a Senate override. However, the House vote on APR-07 was a squeaker: 100 to 49 in favor of a legislative override -- the absolute minimum required.

Vermont thus became the fifth state in the U.S. to make same-sex marriage available -- the others being California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa. (SSM in California has since been at least temporarily eliminated by Proposition 8). Vermont is the first state to do so by a legislative vote without pressure from a state court. More details.

bullet 2009-APR-16: NY: SSM bill: Governor David Paterson introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. 6More details.
bullet 2009-APR-17: TX: San Antonio newspaper refuses "Love Won Out" ads: The San Antonio News-Express refused to publish an advertisement for Focus on the Family's "Love Won Out" conference. The ad was rejected as being offensive. It describes the personal story of a employee of Focus who "used to struggle with same-sex attractions." Presumably he was a bisexual who simply decided to only pursue relationships with the opposite sex, or a homosexual who decided to remain celibate. Focus spokesperson Gary Schneeberger noted that they had scanned the ads over a three week interval in the magazine and found several ads for strip clubs, and ads for lingerie models in the classified. He did not explain the connection between strip clubs, lingerie models and homosexual orientation. 5
bullet 2009-APR-26: Presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (USA) vote on clergy discrimination: During the summer of 2008, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to remove a constitutional requirement that ministers, deacons and elders must live in "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness." This would allow gay, lesbian and bisexual candidates for these positions to live in a loving committed same-sex relationship.

As usual, the decision had to be ratified by a majority vote of the denomination's 173 presbyteries. By 2009-APR-26, a majority of 88 presbyteries had rejected the measure. This is not news; it has happened before. However, it appears that the margin is significantly smaller than in previous years. Both sides expect the issue to be addressed again in the near future. With the gradual increase in the acceptance of homosexuality and bisexuality nationwide, it appears inevitable that the constitutional requirement will eventually be dropped. More details.
bullet 2009-APR-27: CA: Britney Spears supports same-sex marriage: Spears wrote on her Twitter page: "Love is love! People should be able to do whatever makes them happy. I have lots of gay andlesbian friends and I want to see them get married. I'll do whatever it takes to make their dreams come true. Discrimination has no place in America." 7
bullet 2009-APR-27: IA: Same-sex marriage licenses sold: Hundreds of same-sex couples across the state of Iowa began obtaining marriage licenses in their county recorder offices. Some obtained judicial waiver of the normal three-day waiting period and were able to marry immediately. Iowa is now the third state to allow SSM, along with Massachusetts and Connecticut. Vermont will start issuing licenses in September. More info.

bullet 2009-APR-28: CT: SSM protest flops: Three members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS came to Hartford, CT to protest the state Supreme Court's 2008 ruling that legalized SSM. The Church has been included in the list of hate groups maintained by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Westboro Baptist church is well know for its God Hates Fags web site, and its picketing and disruptions at funerals of service men and women.

At the demonstration were three protestors from the Baptist Church, about a half-dozen counter-protestors who objected to the Church's message of hate, at least ten law enforcement officials, but no supporters. 8

bullet 2009-APR-29: NH: SSM passes legislature: The House approved a SSM bill in March. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass their version of the bill to the full Senate with the recommendation that it be voted down. However, the senate approved the bill with a vote of 13 to 11. Next, an attempt will be made to harmonize the two bills so that it can be sent to the Governor for a signature or veto. 9More info.
bullet 2009-APR-30: ME: SSM passes house: The state Senate in Maine passed LD 1020, a bill to legalize SSM in the state by a vote of 21 to 14, essentially on strict party lines. An amendment to delay implementation of the bill until a state-wide referendum can be held was voted down 22 to 12. 10

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today. 

  1. "Sweden allows same-sex marriage." BBC News, 2009-APR-02, at:
  2. "Urge Your State Delegates to Support Inheritance Rights for Same-Sex Couples," Equality Maryland news release, 2009-APR-07.
  3. Text of House bill 1215 is at: This is a PDF file.
  4. Information on House bill 1215 is at:
  5. Charlie Butts, "Homosexual minority carries weight in Alamo City," One News Now, 2009-APR-17, at:
  6. Laurie Segall, "New York governor to push same-sex marriage bill," CNN, 2009-APR-16, at:
  7. "Britney Spears Twitters support for gay marriage,", 2009-APR-23, at:
  8. Daniela Altimari, "Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church Protests Gay Marriage Law," The Harford Courant, 2009-APR-28, at:
  9. Kathleen Gilbert, "New Hampshire Senate approves same-sex marriage," lifeSiteNews, 2009-APR-29, at:
  10. Kevin Miller, "State Senate backs gay-marriage bill," Bangor Daily News, 2009-MAY-01, at:

Copyright 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initial posting: 2009-APR-03
Latest update: 2000-MAY-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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