News re: gays, lesbians, bisexuals & transgender persons (LGBT)
2012-FEBRUARY: 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 2012-JAN
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-FEB-01: WA: The Washington State Senate approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Almost a dozen amendments were introduced including several that would strengthen legal protections for religious groups and organizations who wished to continue to discriminate against same-sex couples. One rejected amendment would have exempted wedding photographers, cake decorators, and other business owners selling services to marrying couples from obeying state anti-discrimination laws. Another amendment that was rejected would have required a referendum. 1,2 More details
- 2012-FEB-07: The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declares California's 2008-NOV Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional. More details
- 2012-FEB-13: NJ: The New Jersey Senate voted to legalize SSM in New Jersey. Governor Chris Christie (R) vetoed it.
- 2012-FEB-13: WA: Washington Governor Christine Gregoire (D) signed a SSM bill into law, one day before Valentine's Day.
- 2012-FEB-13: USA: Anti-LGBT campaign fails: JC Penney selected well known lesbian, Ellen DeGeneres as their official spokesperson. This alarmed the American Family Association, (AFA) a fundamentalist Christian group that has been referred to as a hate organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The AFA launched the "One Million Moms" campaign/boycott to force JC Penney to fire Ellen. It apparently backfired. They only collected support from about 40,000 "Moms" to support their campaign. GLAAD, one of the largest pro-LGBT equality groups, organized a "Stand up for Ellen" campaign.
Ron Johnson, the JC Penney CEO said: "[W]e stand squarely behind Ellen as our spokesperson, and that's a great thing. Because she shares the same values that we do in our company. Our company was founded 110 years ago on The Golden Rule, which is about treating people fair and square, just like you would like to be treated yourself." 3
Radio Host Howard Stern was "outraged" at the One Million Moms' boycott. He threatened a boycott of JC Penney if they fired Ellen. He asked, "What do you want these [gay] people to do? Do you really want Ellen to go away? Do you want her to die? You want a public flogging of this woman?"
By all accounts, the AFA boycott has flopped. 3 They deleted a posting on their Facebook page relating to the boycott after they received two thousand comments, mostly negative. 4 JC Penny's stock price has risen.
- 2012-FEB-16: NJ: The New Jersey Assembly passed a SSM bill that has already been passed by the Senate. Governor Christie (R) vetoed the bill and recommended a plebiscite be added to the ballot on election day in 2012-NOV. More details.
- 2012-FEB-17: USA: Obama Administration announces decision to no longer defend the constitutionality of some Title 38 clauses in court: Almost a year after the Obama Administration publicized their decision to no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court, the Administration decided that several provision of Title 38 in the U.S. Code -- clauses that define veterans benefits -- are also unconstitutional because they too violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Both the federal DOMA bill and Title 38 define a spouse as being "a person of the opposite sex who is a wife or husband." Thus they grant benefits to legally married opposite-sex couples but deny them to legally married same-sex couples.
According to Attorney General Eric Holder, some of the benefits being denied legally married same-sex couples are: "medical and dental benefits, basic housing allowances, travel and transportation allowances, family separation benefits, military identification cards, visitation rights in military hospitals, survivor benefits and the right to be buried together in military cemeteries." More details.
- 2012-FEB-23: MD: The Maryland Senate passed their SSM bill. Governor O'Malley is an enthusiastic supporter and is expected to sign the bill into law. More details.
- 2012- FEB-23: India: Additional Solicitor General P. P. Malhotra, a government lawyer, told the Supreme Court that same-gender sexual behavior is "...highly immoral and against social order and there is high chance of spreading of diseases through such acts." He concluded that it should be banned. Some media outlets speculate that the lawyer may have read an earlier government document that has since been reversed.
Within hours, the Home MInistry of the Government of India had repudiated the lawer's statement. They issued a statement stating that the Cabinet had decided to not challenge a 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that legalized same-gender sex, and that the ministry "... has not taken any position on homosexuality." More details.
- 2012-FEB-24: USA: Status of state recognition of same-sex relationships:
- Six states and the District of Columbia already issue licenses to loving, committed same-sex couples: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.
- Washington State has a new law legalizing SSM which has not yet become active.
- The New Jersey legislature approved a SSM bill, but Governor Chris Christie (R) vetoed it. The legislature has until 2014-JAN to overrule the veto.
- The Maryland legislature has approved a new bill to legalize SSM which is expected to be signed into law by the governor soon.
- A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that Proposition 8, which terminated same-sex marriages in California is unconstitutional. An appeal is expected.
- Lawsuits in at least 11 other states are underway to legalize SSM.
- Efforts are underway in Maine to place a plebiscite on the 2012-NOV ballot to reinstate a 2009 law to legalize SSM.
- A bill is before the Illinois legislature to legalize SSM.
- Meanwhile, five states allow loving, committed same-sex couples to enter into civil unions or registered partnerships with some or all of the state rights, privileges and obligations given to married opposite-sex couples. 5
- 2012-FEB-25: HI: A photo of Marine Brandon Morgan kissing his male partner in a passionate embrace has gone viral on Facebook. One was just returning from active duty. The photo received over 650 comments in 12 hours. Most were positive. Brandon posted a thank you message:
"To everyone who has responded in a positive way. My partner and I want to say thank you. Dalan, the giant in the photo, can't believe how many shares and likes we have gotten on this. We didn't do this to get famous, or something like that. We did this 'cause after 3 deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt.
As for the haters ... to quote Kat Williams, 'everyone needs haters, so let them hate.' We are the happiest we have ever been and as for the whole PDA and kissing /hugging in uniform...it was a homecoming. If the Sergeants Major, Captains, Majors, and Colonels around us didn't care...then why do you care what these random people have to say? In summation thank you for your love and support. I received a lot of friend requests off this. I don't just accept requests so if your request was because of this post message me and let me know. Goodnight all, and Semper Fi." 6
- 2012-FEB-29: CA: The Field Poll finds a surge in support for SSM in California: The poll shows a increase by registered voters from 51% to 59% in support for SSM between polls taken in 2010 and 2012. Disapproval dropped from 42% to 34%. The margin in favor of SSM is now 25 percentage points -- the highest we have seen for any state.
Some sub-groups showing support at 60% or more are:
- Democrats at 69%
- Independents at 67%
- Political liberals at 89%
- Politically middle-of-the-road at 64%
- Ages 18 to 39: 69%
- Females: 60%
- White: 64%
- Single and never married: 71%
- Non-Christian religions: 85%
- No religious affiliation: 80%.
Some sub-groups showing an increase in support by more than ten percentage points between 2010 and 2012 are:
- Republicans by 13 percentage points
- Independents by 15
- Politically conservative by 10
- Ages 40 to 64 by 13
- Males by 11
- Whites by 11
- Separated, divorced and widowed by 12
- Protestants by 11
- Non-Christian religions: 10% percentage points. 7
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Rachel LaCorte, "Key Washington state gay marriage vote Wednesday," Associated Press, 2012-JAN-31, at: http://www.seattlepi.com/
- "Washington state senate approves gay marriage," Associated Press, 2012-FEB-02, at: http://www.cbsnews.com/
- Scott Wooledge, "A Round of Applause for the 'Million Moms' and Their Anti-Gay Campaign... Seriously," Huffington Post, 2012-FEB-13, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- Mana Halkias, "One Million Moms deletes its Facebook post about battle with Penney and DeGeneres," Dallas Morning News, 2012-FEB-10, at: http://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com/
- Michael Pearson, "Maryland Senate approves same-sex marriage bill," CNN, 2012-FEB-23, at: http://www.cnn.com/
- "USMC Homecoming," Joe. My. God., 2012-FEB-26, at: http://joemygod.blogspot.com/
- Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field, "Big increase in California voters who favor allowing same-sex marriage," The Field Poll, 2012-FEB-29, at http://field.com/ This is another acurrsed PDF file.
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Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2012-MAR-01
Author: B.A. Robinson