Culture shift re:
homosexuality, bisexuality, etc.
Events during 2009-MAR illustrating
cultural shifts about sexual minorities
2009-MAR-01: CA: Lenten retreat concludes for lesbian and gay
Christians: Fr. Jim
Schexnayder, a retired priest of co-founder of the Catholic Association for
Lesbian & Gay Ministry (CALGM) lead a three-day Lenten retreat at the
Vallombrosa Center in Menlo Park, CA. The center is owned by the San Francisco
Roman Catholic archdiocese. 1
2009-MAR-01: MA: Enlarged mandate for MassEquality:
states that their mandate is:
"...to achieve full equality for the LGBT community. Our premise is
simple: we believe that every LGBT person deserves to be treated equally, to
be safe, and to be free from discrimination based on their sexual
orientation or gender identity and expression." 2
They have enlarged their mandate to include seeking marriage equality in all of the New England states:
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
They have only four states to go. They state:
"MassEquality is joining forces with Gay & Lesbian Advocates and
Defenders (GLAD) and state-wide organizations to secure marriage equality in
every New England state within the next five years."
"Marriage equality is protected in Massachusetts for the foreseeable future
- but that's not enough. It's time loving, same-sex couples in other states
had access to the same rights and protections of marriage that non-gay
couples enjoy. And it's time that Massachusetts no longer be the only state
in the nation with true equality in marriage."
"Working hand-in-hand with GLAD and our partner equality organizations in
each state, we're ready to win equality in New England." 3
2009-MAR-02: CA: Gay-positive play at
Roman Catholic preparatory school: Sacred Heart Preparatory
School in Atherton, CA describes itself as "a Roman Catholic,
independent, coed, college preparatory day school." They are rehearsing a
play "Be Still and Know" which was adapted from a 2007 novel by Alex
Sanchez called "The God Box." The novel won a Lambda Literary Award
from the Lambda Literary Foundation, which describes itself as "... the
country's leading organization for LGBT writers and readers." 4
2009-MAR-10: USA: Debate at LivingVote.org:
For some months now, LivingVote.org has been discussing a debate and vote on
same-sex marriage. Their specific question is whether California Prop. 8, that
changed the state constitution to forbid same-sex marriage, should stand or be
overturned. They have broken the question down into a tree of sub-arguments
and counter-arguments. As of this date, the vote is 54% for overturning Prop.
8 and 46% in favor of retaining it. 5
2009-MAR-19: World: The Game of Life™ has same-sex marriage option:
This game was created by Mr. Milton Bradley in
1860. A computerized version is available online at Hasbro's Shockwave
website. 6 It guides
players to design a hypothetical path through their future life. Their website provides a
free trial version. As originally written, the game included opposite-sex
marriage or singlehood as options. It has recently been modified to allow the
player to select a third option: same-sex marriage.
WorldNetDaily, an evangelical news source, posted a negative review titled: "Game
for 6-year-olds pushes same-sex marriage." 7 Customer reviewers rate the game
at 4.15 points out of five. The response of media reviewers is mixed.
Conservative religious outlets generally describe the game as "promoting"
same-sex marriage; other outlets tend to refer to providing same-sex marriage
as an "option."
2009-MAR-20: VT: Activity in Vermont legislature: On
2000-APR-26, Vermont legalized civil unions and thus became the first state in
the U.S. to formally recognize loving, committed same-sex couples as more than
A bill to legalize SSM unanimously
passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a vote of 5 to 0. Sen. Kevin
Mullin, (R-Rutland), the lone Republican on the committee may have committed
political suicide by voting in favor of the bill.
On 2009-MAR-25, the Senate passed the bill with a vote of 26 to 4. The House
is now considering similar legislation.
Also on 2009-MAR-25, Governor Jim
Douglas (R) said that he would veto the bill if it is passed by the House.
However, his veto could be overturned by the state legislature if there is a
2/3 majority in favor of the bill in both the House and Senate. 8
2009-MAR-27: Japan: Country facilitates SSM abroad: Japan does not allow its loving,
committed same-sex couples to marry. In the past, they have not even been
willing to issue a key document necessary for its citizens to marry in foreign
countries. These documents states that a person is single and of legal age to
marry. By withholding the documents, Japan prevented
its nationals from entering into same-sex marriages. And without being
married, it was impossible to obtain visas for the partners to live together.
A justice ministry official announced on MAR-27 that such documents
will now be issued. Taiga Ishikawa, leader of Peer Friends -- a gay support group in Japan
said: "This is one step forward. Gay Japanese have suffered a disadvantage.
... they should be able to marry in some countries overseas." 9
2009-MAR-27: USA: McCain strategist endorses
SSM: Steve Schmidt, a Republican, was John McCain's chief political
adviser during the 2008 presidential campaign. In an interview with the
Washington Blade, he expressed his support for marriage equality. He said:
"I am personally supportive of (marriage) equality for gay couples, and I
believe it will happen over time. I think that more and more Americans are
insistent that, at a minimum, gay couples should be treated with respect ...
when they see a political party trying to stigmatize a group of people who are
hardworking, who play by the rules, who raise decent families, they?re
troubled by it."
He believes that the Republican Party has been shrinking in recent years
because of its intolerance. He said:
"One of the most tragic things in the world (is) when people are closeted and
are denied their sexuality and this incredibly important part of their lives
and the destructive potential of that action. I?ve come to believe over time
that, as Dick Cheney said, freedom for everybody means freedom for everybody."
"I think the Republican Party should not be seen by a broad majority
of the electorate as focused with singularity on issues like gay marriage. The
attitudes of voters about gay marriage and about domestic partnership benefits
for gay couples are changing very rapidly and for voters under the age of 30,
they are completely disconnected from what has been Republican orthodoxy on
these issues." 11
A common thread running through the stories of
many supporters of gay rights is that they have a close gay friend or a
homosexual relative. In Schmidt's case, it is his lesbian sister that helped
mold his beliefs about same-sex marriage. Schmidt voted against Prop. 8 in
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Sexual orientation as intrinsic to their
identity: Jim Schexnayder will lead Lenten retreat for homosexuals offered at
San Francisco archdiocese?s Vallombrosa Center," California Catholic Daily,
"LGBT Equality in Massachusetts," MassEquality, at:
"Marriage equality in New England," MassEquality, at:
"Beautiful job of defending homosexuality," 2009-MAR-02, at:
"Same Sex Marriage (CA Prop 8)," at:
"The Game of Love," Shockwave, at:
Drew Zahn, "Game for 6-year-olds pushes same-sex marriage," WorldNetDaily,
Kathleen Gilbert, "Vermont Gov. Will Veto Same-Sex "Marriage" Bill Passed
in Senate," LifeSiteNews.com, 2009-MAR-25, at:
"Japan allows its citizens same-sex marriage abroad," AFP, 2009-MAR-27,
Holly Bailey, "Former McCain Adviser Endorses Same Sex Marriage,"
Newsweek, 2009-MAR-27, at:
Chris Johnson, "McCain strategist endorses same-sex marriage. Schmidt
urges GOP to be more welcoming of gays," The Washington Blade, 2009-MAR-25,
Copyright © 2009 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initial posting: 2009-MAR-03
Latest update: 2009-APR-19
Author: B.A. Robinson