News re: gays, lesbians, bisexuals & transgender persons (LGBT)
2012-JANUARY: Accelerating steps toward
same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
We use the acronym "SSM" throughout this section to represent "same-sex marriage"
We use the acronym "LGBT" to refer to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. The acronym "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
See also the previous essay describing events during 2011-DEC
The Obama administration announced on 2011-FEB-23 that it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. They cited an earlier decision in a Massachusetts federal court that found multiple reasons why the federal DOMA legislation violates the U.S. Constitution and is thus invalid.
Some commentators predicted that this decision will generate a tipping point that will lead to a more rapid decline in discrimination against sexual minorities in the U.S.
This prediction may be coming true. We have noticed an increase in events -- some important, some minor, some merely symbolic -- that indicate a gradual evaporation of animosity and homophobia against sexual minorities.
Developments toward marital equality and a lessening of discrimination against sexual minorities:
2012-JAN-04: WA: Governor Gregoire calls for same-sex marriage bills: Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) called for a same-sex marriage bill to be introduced into the Washington State House and Senate in early January. The bills appear ready to pass in the House, but are currently a few votes short in the Senate.
There is reasonably strong public support for SSM. Nate Silver, statistician at the New York Times predicted in mid-2011 that if a referendum were held on election day 2012, the public in Washington State would defeat a SSM ban by a margin of 5.5% to 9.6%, depending upon the statistical model used. These values are approximately equal to his predictions for New York , Rhode Island and Oregon. 1,2 More details
- 2012-JAN-09: NJ: Democrats in the New Jersey legislature are planning to introduce legislation legalizing SSM on JAN-10, the first day of the new legislative session. A similar bill introduced in 2009 was defeated in 2010-JAN by a vote in the Senate of 20 to 14, with three abstentions. Democrats are hopeful that the bill will pass this time. Steven Goldstein, president of Garden State Equality,a pro-marriage equality group, suggests that the influence of Andrew Cuomo of New York will influence legislators in New Jersey. Goldstein said:
"You might call it the Andrew Cuomotization of legislators in New Jersey. Andrew Cuomo has set the stage for the legislature in New Jersey and in other states, by championing the cause or marriage equality not begrudgingly but with gusto. And that’s happening in New Jersey now." 3
- 2012-JAN-11: Joel Olsteen says LGBT people will get into heaven: Olsteen told Oprah Winfrey on the "Oprah's Next Chapter" program that he regards homosexual behavior as sinful, but that LGBT persons can still get to heaven. He said: "Sometimes we look at gay being a bigger sin than being proud or not telling the truth. I don't think God categorizes sins." This is a major development because essentially all fundamentalist and other evangelical Christian leaders have always maintained that persons who are sexually active with a person of the same gender will be tortured for all eternity in Hell. 4
- 2012-JAN-13: Canada: Federal government attacks same-sex marriage; rapidly retreats: A lesbian couple, one of whom came from England and one from Florida, were married in Canada during 2005 before settling in Florida. They have returned to Canada seeking a divorce -- the first same-sex married couple to have done so.
A government lawyer testified in court that because neither Florida nor England allows SSM, that the lesbian couple's marriage -- and about 5,000 similar same-sex marriages in Canada-- are not valid. This generated a firestorm of objections. Prime Minister Harper claimed ignorance of the action. The head of the Justice Department backtracked at full speed and said that the law would be changed to reinstate the legitimacy of the marriages through legislation. More details.
- 2012-JAN-20: More than 80 mayors support marriage equality: The "Mayors for the Freedom to Marry" coalition from over 80 mayors of U.S. cities endorsed the following statement:
"As mayors of great American cities, we proudly stand together in support of the freedom of same-sex couples to marry. We personally know many gay and lesbian people living in our cities who are in committed, loving relationships, who are active participants in the civic life of our communities, and who deserve to be able to marry the person with whom they share their life.
We are proud that at its 2009 annual meeting, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously approved a resolution stating that:
'The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports marriage equality for same-sex couples, and the recognition and extension of full equal rights to such unions, including family and medical leave, tax equity, and insurance and retirement benefits, and opposes the enshrinement of discrimination in the federal or state constitutions.'
Our cities derive great strength from their diversity, and gay and lesbian families are a crucial part. Studies have shown what we know through our hands-on experience—that cities that celebrate and cultivate diversity are the places where creativity and ideas thrive. They are the places where today’s entrepreneurs are most likely to choose to build the businesses of tomorrow. Allowing same-sex couples the right to marry enhances our ability to build this kind of environment, which is good for all of us.
We stand for the freedom to marry because it enhances the economic competitiveness of our communities, improves the lives of families that call our cities home, and is simply the right thing to do. We look forward to working to build an America where all people can share in the love and commitment of marriage with the person with whom they share their life." 5
From the Freedom to Marry's Twitter feed:
- Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York City: "The question is not if marriage equality will come to all 50 states, the question is when."
- Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles: "If we truly believe in family values, we should value all families."
- Jerry Sanders, mayor of San Diego, CA: "I didn't always support the freedom to marry, but my position has evolved." 5
- 2012-JAN-21: Just noticed: definition of marriage by Websters: The Merriam-Webster web site's main definition of marriage is:
"a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage <same-sex marriage>"
Many in the LGBT community prefer that the terms "gay marriage," homosexual marriage" and even "same-sex marriage" be replaced by "marriage." They are not generally seeking some special form of marriage; they are seeking simply the ability to marry.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Washington's Senate will be the battleground for legalizing gay marriage ," Crosscut.com, 2012-JAN-04, at: http://crosscut.com/
- Nate Silver,"The Future of Same-Sex Marriage Ballot Measures," FiveThirtyEight blog, 2011-JUN-29, at: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/
- "Advocates of N.J. legalization of gay marriage hope for better outcome with new bill," NJ.com, 2012-JAN-09, at: http://www.nj.com/
- " 'Oprah's Next Chapter': Pastor Joel Osteen Talks Homosexuality And Degrees Of Sin," Huffington Post, 2012-JAN-09, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- Scott Wooledge, "Over 80 mayors unite to support marriage equality," Daily KOS, 2012-JAN-20, at: http://www.dailykos.com/
How you got here:
Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2012-JAN-21
Author: B.A. Robinson