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Religious Tolerance logo

Culture shift re: homosexuality, bisexuality, etc.

Events during 2009-MAR illustrating
cultural shifts about sexual minorities

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

bullet2009-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

bullet2009-MAR-01: MA: Enlarged mandate for MassEquality: 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

bullet2009-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

bullet2009-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

bullet2009-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."

bullet2009-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 roommates.

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


bullet2009-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."
bullet2009-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." 10

"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 California.

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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. "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, 2009-FEB-26, at: http://www.calcatholic.com/
  2. "LGBT Equality in Massachusetts," MassEquality, at: http://www.massequality.org/
  3. "Marriage equality in New England," MassEquality, at:  http://www.massequality.org/
  4. "Beautiful job of defending homosexuality," 2009-MAR-02, at: http://www.calcatholic.com/
  5. "Same Sex Marriage (CA Prop 8)," at: http://www.livingvote.org/
  6. "The Game of Love," Shockwave, at: http://www.shockwave.com/
  7. Drew Zahn, "Game for 6-year-olds pushes same-sex marriage," WorldNetDaily, 2009-MAR-12, at: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/
  8. Kathleen Gilbert, "Vermont Gov. Will Veto Same-Sex "Marriage" Bill Passed in Senate," LifeSiteNews.com, 2009-MAR-25, at: http://www.lifesitenews.com/
  9. "Japan allows its citizens same-sex marriage abroad," AFP, 2009-MAR-27, at: http://www.google.com/
  10. Holly Bailey, "Former McCain Adviser Endorses Same Sex Marriage," Newsweek, 2009-MAR-27, at: http://blog.newsweek.com/
  11. Chris Johnson, "McCain strategist endorses same-sex marriage. Schmidt urges GOP to be more welcoming of gays," The Washington Blade, 2009-MAR-25, at: http://www.washblade.com/

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

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