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Culture shift re: homosexuality, bisexuality, etc.

Events during 2009-FEB illustrating
cultural shifts about sexual minorities

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

bullet2009-FEB-03: CA: California supreme court expedites hearing: The court has scheduled its hearing of oral arguments on the constitutionality of Prop. 8 for MAR-05. This is considerably earlier than expected. They are required to issue their ruling within 90 days of the arguments -- about MAY-04. 1

Prop. 8 eliminated equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. About 45 briefs promoting the unconstitutionality of Prop. 8 have been filed by municipalities, human rights agencies, liberal religious organizations, and gay positive groups.  A small number of conservative religious organizations have filed briefs supportingd Prop. 8's constitutionality and have asked the state to forcibly divorce about 18,000 married same-sex couples against their will.

bullet2009-FEB-05: HI: Hearings held on HB 444: The first of two hearings were held by the House Judiciary Committee on a bill  to create a system of same-sex unions in Hawaii with all of the rights privileges and obligations of opposite-sex marriages in the state. More details.
 
bullet

2009-FEB-06: WY: House defeats constitutional amendment: The Wyoming House overwhelmingly defeated a joint resolution that would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman in the state constitution. 3 More details
 

bullet

2009-FEB-06: NJ: Judge permits divorce of same-sex couple: Mary Jacobson, a New Jersey state judge ruled that the state recognizes same-sex marriages performed outside of the state for the purpose of divorce. A lesbian couple had married in Canada and sought a divorce in New Jersey. 4
 

bullet2009-FEB-08: USA: Trends in polls on same-sex marriage (SSM): I stumbled across a fascinating graph on the "swimming freestyle" weblog by Jay McDonough. It is titled "Gay marriage will be legal by 2012." The graph is too tiny to read, but its message is clear:

The vertical axis reads 0 to 100%. The horizontal axis ranges from to 1986 to 2006. The red line indicates opposition to SSM; the blue line shows support for SSM; the black line: don't know. In politics, momentum is everything. The dots are presumably from various polls of randomly selected American adults that did not give civil unions as an option. 2

bullet

2009-FEB-09: UT: Governor supports civil unions: Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah (R) announced that he is backing a proposal for civil unions in the state. He also backs the Common Ground Initiative -- two bills dealing with GLBT rights. Recent polls show 70% opposition among the public on civil unions. 9
 

bullet

2009-FEB-11: IA: Iowa Family Policy Center ACTION complains about Civil Rights Commission: The Iowa Family Policy Center promotes opposite-sex marriage, and denigrates same-sex marriage. They are concerned about two bills in the Legislature which would expand the enforcement powers of the Commission. They state that: "Instead of broadening 'civil rights,' these bills would further threaten to punish those who, for conscience's sake, don't agree with giving special 'rights' to individuals who engage in deviant sexual behavior." We suspect that they are referring to a bill that adds sexual orientation to the existing civil rights legislation, and thus would protect persons of all sexual orientations equally: whether they be heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual. 9
 

bullet

2009-FEB-16: North America: First lesbian wedding on a soap: ABC's "All my children" featured daytime soap's first same-sex wedding. Needless to say, a woman clergyperson officiated. She referred to the brides as establishing a new family. Bianca Montgomery (played by Eden Riegel) married Reese Williams (played by Tamara Braun).  Riegel said:

"When my character did first come out of the closet, there was a lot of negative reaction. ... I think that the beauty of the show is that we were able to reach people and get people sort of used to the idea."

Braun said:

"If you are brave enough to want to get married, especially with the divorce rate as high as it is, then you should have that right no matter what sex you are, who you love, what color you are, how many extra toes and feet you have ... equal rights for all people."

There was the usual reaction:
bulletGlenn Stanton of the fundamentalist Christian group Focus on the Family said: "I think it is really important to understand that there are a lot of things that people don't really want to see and don't want coming into their homes, and lesbian weddings are certainly one of them."

The video was the second most popular feature on CNN's web site on the day of the wedding.

Fortunately, every TV set has both a channel selector and an on/off button in case the viewer doesn't want to see what is on a particular channel.
 

bulletNeil Giuliano, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) said: "It's reality. So when we see a lesbian couple getting married on daytime drama, it simply reflects what's happening in the real world. So in that sense, of course it is a victory." 5

PLEASE don't click on the arrow below if you don't want images coming into your home of two women playing the roles of a loving committed couple getting married.

bullet2009-FEB-17: USA: Focus on the Family analyst complains about Hollywood: Caleb Price, research analyst at Focus on the Family, said some writers in Hollywood are attempting to desensitize the public to homosexuality and "transgenderism." He said:

"They will continue to push the boundaries of what is morally and culturally permissible until Americans stand up to the studio execs and advertisers that produce these programs and say, 'No more'." 

bullet2009-FEB-17: USA: Family Research Council's "Please send money" mailing: Tony Perkins sent an Email to their mailing list raising alarm at President Obama's "Agenda". Unfortunately, his description of the agenda is unclear in places:
bullet"Hate crimes laws that could lead to penalties for Christians who publicly criticize homosexual behavior." [Unfortunately he didn't mention that hate crime laws only kick in when a crime is committed -- like murder or aggravated assault].
bulletEmployment laws forcing businesses, even churches, to hire homosexuals (and indoctrinate employees) [A better way to look at it is that businesses would not be able to discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, gender identity and sexual orientation.]
bulletAbolish the federal Defense of Marriage Act and other laws against counterfeit marriage. {Another way of looking at this is that loving, committed couples -- at least in some states -- could marry and obtain federal rights and obligations for themselves and their children that were formerly reserved for only opposite-sex couples].
 
bullet2009-FEB-22: CA: "Milk" wins two Oscars: "Milk", the movie about the life and assassination of Harvey Milk, won two Oscars. According to the Reconciling Ministries Network: "Many of the stars wore white ribbons to the Oscars to advocate for marriage equality in the wake of Proposition 8."

Sean Penn won an Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role. During his acceptance speech he said:

"And finally, for those, two last finallies, for those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support."

Dustin Lance Black won an Oscar for Writing (Original Screenplay). During his acceptance speech, he said:

"When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life. It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and then maybe even I could even fall in love and one day get married."

"I wanna? I wanna thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he'd want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than [sic] by their churches, by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally, across this great nation of ours. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you, God, for giving us Harvey Milk." 8

bullet2009-FEB-25: ON: Ruling by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario: We stumbled across a ruling in a human rights case involving an evangelical group Christian Horizons (CH) and a former employee, Connie Heintz, a lesbian. CH operates a chain of homes for mentally disabled adults in Ontario, Canada. Their now discontinued  Lifestyle and Morality statement referred to homosexual behavior as "unnatural," "immoral," and "contrary to the Scriptures." Adjudicator Michael Gottheil ruled on 2008-APR-15 that the evangelical group had created a poisonous work environment that forced Connie to leave. In his ruling, Gottheil wrote a rather powerful statement:

"Christian Horizon's policy is discriminatory. While some elements of Canadian society may continue to debate whether gays and lesbians should be treated equally and entitled to equal rights and opportunity, from a legal perspective that debate has ended." 7

Site navigation:

Home>"Hot" topics>Homosexuality>Status>Acceptance>here

References used:

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

  1. "Breaking news! California Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments in Prop 8 Legal Challenge on March 5," Equality California, 2008-FEB-03.
  2. "Gay marriage will be legal by 2012," Swimming Freestyle blog, at: http://www.swimmingfreestyle.net/
  3. "Wyoming House Kills Anti?Gay Marriage Bill," The Advocate, 2009-FEB-09, at: http://www.advocate.com/
  4. Michael Foust, "Wyo. House defeats marriage amendment," Baptist Press, 2009-FEB-09. at: http://www.bpnews.net/
  5. "Soap features daytime TV's first lesbian wedding," CNN, 2009-FEB-16, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  6. Matthew Morgan, "ABC Features First Lesbian 'Wedding' on Daytime TV," CitizenLink article, 2009-FEB-17.
  7. Michael Gottheil, "Decision," Heintz v. Christian Horizons, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, 2008 HRTO 22, 2008-APR-15, at: http://www.canlii.org/
  8. "Flashnet... 2/25/2009," Reconciling Ministries Network," 2009-FEB-25, at: http://www.rmnetwork.org/
  9. "Gov. Huntsman of Utah backs civil unions," UPI, 2009-FEB-10, at: http://www.upi.com/

Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initial posting: 2009-FEB-03
Latest update: 2000-APR-19
Author: B.A. Robinson

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