Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
2012-MAY: 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-APR
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, animus, and homophobia against sexual minorities. The events of 20-12-MAY were particularly momentous.
Developments toward marital equality and a lessening of discrimination against sexual minorities:
- 2012-MAY-06: USA: Vice President Joe Biden, a practicing Roman Catholic, issued a positive same-sex marriage message on "Meet the Press." He gave his personal belief, saying in part:
I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that."
He said he "can’t speak for" the administration coming out in support of same-sex marriage, but said Obama has been a champion for gay rights. 1
- 2012-MAY-07: USA: Education Secretary Arne Duncan appeared on MSNBC's program "Morning Joe." When asked if same-sex couples should be able to marry, he said: "Yes, I do." He also commented that he didn't think that anyone had asked him that question in public before. 2
- 2012-MAY-08: USA: President Obama announced that he is also personally in favor of marriage equality: President Obama repeatedly stated during his campaign for the presidency that he favored civil unions for loving, committed same-sex couples. Since then, he had stated that his position on the topic was "evolving."
In a hastily arranged interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" with anchor Robin Roberts, he said:
"I've been going through an evolution on this issue. I've always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. At a certain point, I just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think that same sex couples should be able to get married. ... I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient. ... And I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word 'marriage' was something that invokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth. ... I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married." 3,4
This interview sent shock waves through the U.S. It produced many accusations of lying, deceit, accepting bribes from LGBT groups, etc. from religious and social conservatives. It simultaneously triggered many positive reactions from civil rights groups.
We have a large section that describes all aspects of this topic including videos.
- 2012-MAY-08: CA: Legislation has been proposed to ban "conversion" therapy for teens, and to require adults to sign a release before undergoing reparative therapy. The bill has passed its final Senate committee. The bill's author, Sen. Ted Lieu (D), said: "This therapy can be dangerous. ... [It can] cause extreme depression and guilt" that sometimes leads to suicide." 12
- 2012-MAY-12: USA: The National Organization for Marriage, whose main function is to prevent loving committed same-sex couples from bering able to marry, is attempting to raise $100,000 in their "Stand for Marriage America" campaign to fight marriage equality. It appears to be a failure. They raised only $28 thousand by 2012-MAY-18.
- 2012-MAY-14: USA: Gallup reported that, for the third year in a row, most American adults believe that "... gay or lesbian relations are morally acceptable." As is normal for many polling agencies when they deal with sexual or moral topics, the question is ambiguous. The term "relations" is open to interpretation. Most people probably would consider "relations" to refer to actual same-gender sexual activity, while others might consider a caring celibate relationship as qualifying. The question asked also raises the question: for whom are gay and lesbian relations acceptable? -- for the person answering the question, or only for persons with a homosexual orientation, or for persons with a bisexual or heterosexual orientation as well?
However people interpret the question, the percentage of positive answers have gone from 38% in 2002 to 56% in 2011 and to 54% in 2012. This is an average increase of 1.6 percentage points a year. This rate is typical for matters of major social change, like for inter-racial marriage in the late 20th century and same-sex marriage in the early 21st century.
- 2012-MAY-19: USA: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has opposed individual anti-same-sex marriage citizen initiatives around the U.S. in the past. However, on MAY-19 their national board passed a resolution in favor of marriage equality at the state and national level. The board voted 62 to 2 in favor of the following resolution:
"The NAACP Constitution affirmatively states our objective to ensure the 'political, educational, social and economic equality' of all people. Therefore, the NAACP has opposed and will continue to oppose any national, state, local policy or legislative initiative that seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the Constitutional rights of LGBT citizens. We support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Further, we strongly affirm the religious freedoms of all people as protected by the First Amendment." 7
The reference to the First Amendment supports the right of religious groups to exercise their freedom of religion by refusing to marry same-sex couples.
Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP, said: "Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law."
Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NAACP, said: "The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people. We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."
Cece Cox, executive director of Resource Center Dallas, said in an apparent contradiction to all of the public opinion polls that we have seen that it is a myth that African-Americans are not in favor of marriage equality. She said: "Those not in favor perpetrate that myth. This will help dispel it." 8
- 2012-MAY-25: National Association for the Deaf endorses same-sex marriage: The NAD issued a statement announcing that it supported SSM because it is: "consistent with the NAD mission to safeguard the civil, human and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing individuals – whose marriage rights have been suppressed throughout history."
President Bobbie Beth Scoggins said: "Our stance on marriage equality reflects the historic commitment of the NAD to protection of the rights of all deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Marriage equality, and the benefits that go with marriage, are a fundamental civil right that must be accorded to everyone, including GLBT members of our community who deserve no less." 11
- 2012-MAY-30: USA: The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have been asked once more to end its policies of discrimination against gay youth and scout leaders. Jennifer Tyrrell, 32, was a Boy Scouts den leader in Bridgeport OH until she was forced to leave her position in early April because she is a lesbian. On APR-17, she posted a petition on www.change.org to urge the BSA to end its discriminatory policies.
Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, 20, of Iowa City, IA
presented the 275,000 signatures collected by the end of MAY to the BSA at their board meeting in Orlando, FL. He said:
"I think it's a lot closer than people might expect. ... 'It's very clear that there's a lot of support even within the Boy Scouts of America... What we're trying to do is make sure we give them some real credence so they know that they have external support, that there are a lot people that have their back when it comes to actually changing this policy from a national perspective."
Deron Smith, director of public relations for the BSA issued a statement saying: '
"The Boy Scouts of America teaches its members to treat those with different opinions with courtesy and respect at all times.
Today, Scouting officials accepted signatures from an online petition and shared the purpose of its membership policy.
Scouting maintains that is youth development program is not the appropriate environment to introduce or discuss, in any way, same-sex attraction. Parents and caregivers should have the right to decide when and how to discuss the issue with their children."
Zach is known for having testified before the Iowa House in early 2011 about being part of a family led by two women. His testimony was placed on You Tube by IowaHouseDemocrats received 1,065,225 reads,15,382 likes, 271 dislikes, and 6,976 comments in the first three days. It was viewed 2.5 million times by 2012-JUN:
See events during 2012-JUN
These information sources were used to prepare & update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Video: Biden: "I am absolutely comfortable with gay marriage," The Steve Gill Show, 2012-MAY-06, at: http://gillreport.com/
- "Education Secretary Arne Duncan endorses gay marriage. Is Obama cornered?," The Christian Science Monitor, 2012-MAY-07, at: http://www.csmonitor.com/
- Col E. Lee, "Obama supports same-sex marriage," Wall Street Journal, 2012-MAY-09, at: http://online.wsj.com/
- Rick Klein, "Obama: ‘I Think Same-Sex Couples Should Be Able to Get Married’," ABC News, 2012-MAY-09, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
- Brad Norington, Video, extracted from "US Vice-President Joe Biden puts gay marriage on the election table," The Australian, 2012-MAY-08, at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/
- "Stand for Marriage America," National Organization for Marriage, as of 2012-MAY-18, at: http://actright.com/
- "NAACP passes resolution in support of marriage equality," NAACP, 2012-MAY, at: http://www.naacp.org/
- "NAACP marriage resolution delights local LGBT leaders," Dallas Voice, 2012-MAY-24, at: http://www.dallasvoice.com/
- "U.S. Acceptance of Gay/Lesbian Relations Is the New Normal," Gallup, 2012-MAY-14, at: http://www.gallup.com/
- "It's a dialogue that continues to be difficult': Eagle Scout, 20, challenges Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy as he personally delivers 275,000-signature petition - but organization STILL won't change," Mail Online, Daily Mail, 2012-MAY-30, at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
- Carlos Santoscoy, "National Association for the Deaf endorses gay marriage," On Top magazine, 2012-JUN-16, at: http://www.ontopmag.com/
- Hannah Dreier, "California may ban gay teen 'conversion' therapy," Associated Press, 2012-MAY-08, at: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/
How you got here:
Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2012-MAY-09
Latest update: 2012-JUN-19
Author: B.A. Robinson