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Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.

2012-SEP: Accelerating steps toward
same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.

Sponsored link.


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.

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See also the previous essay describing events during 2012-AUG

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Background:

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 2012-MAY were particularly momentous.

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Developments toward marital equality and a lessening of discrimination against sexual minorities:

  • 2012-SEP-04: Convention approved the marriage equality plank in its platform: Shortly after 6 PM, delegates to the Democratic Convention considered the recommendations of their platform committee concerning equal rights for the LGBT community. They approved the draft platform on same-sex marriage by a voice vote. More details.
  • Icon for the "New Normal" tv show 2012-SEP-09: New TV sitcom launched: The pilot episode of a new show, "The New Normal," will be repeated this evening on the NBC network. It is produced by the creators of Glee. The show focuses on two gay men and a surrogate mother who is willing to go through a pregnancy in exchange for money that will finance her university education.

  1

Numerous studies and surveys have shown that people lose much of their homophobia when they find out that a near relative or friend is gay or lesbian. They realize that LGBT individuals are normal people. Many of their prejudices dissolve. They realize that much of what they have been told about LGBTs is just plain wrong. However, there are still a large proportion of adults in North America who have never met a gay or lesbian. This program may well be as close as they will get in the near future to knowing a LGBT friend or relative.

We suspect that many religious and social conservatives will find the show title particularly offensive.

The series premiere was on SEP-11 at 9:30 PM (8:30 Central time). Future episodes will be shown on Tuesday evenings.

KSL, channel 5, the local NBC affiliate in Utah, claims that the show is too offensive to broadcast. Angela McCarthy of Salt Lake City UT has launched a petition on Change.org to get KSL to change cease their censorship. By SEP-22, the petition had been signed by 150,575 persons! 7

  • 2012-SEP-10: Ken Mehlman (R) supports SSM: Mehlman is a former Republican National Committee chairperson. He said that his support to defend Maryland's same-sex marriage law is personal. He said:

    "Having grown up in Baltimore and with family still living there and in Bethesda, I am pleased to support the effort to permit civil marriage in Maryland. This proposal enhances freedom and encourages fairness, while also safeguarding religious freedom. ... Republicans and conservatives should support this because it is consistent with our principles: more freedom, less government interference, family values like commitment and love, all while safeguarding religious freedom. If you want to stand up for freedom and family values, then you should support allowing adults the freedom to marry the person they love." 2

  • 2012-SEP-15: Review of upcoming plebiscites concerning same-sex marriage (SSM): It is about seven weeks until election day on NOV-06 when four plebiscites will determine the future of same-sex marriage in four states:

    • Maine: SSM was legalized by the legislature in 2009-MAY. But a subsequent civil initiative repealed the legislation by a very close vote. A new referendum will be held on 2012-NOV-06 which may repeal the repeal and create marriage equality in the state. Five polls in 2011 and 2012 have all indicated that most adults favor marriage equality and plan to vote against the referendum.  Further, each poll has  shown a increase in the margin of support for SSM over the previous poll. The most recent poll shows that voters plan to restore SSM by a vote of 57% to 36%, a margin of 21 percentage points. See a summary of polling data.

    • Maryland: A bill authorizing SSM was signed into law during 2012-MAR. The Maryland Marriage Alliance, whose main goal is to prevent loving, committed same-sex couples from marrying, successfully organized a citizen initiative that will be on the NOV-06 ballot. If passed, it would repeal the legislation. A poll in late 2012-JUL showed that voters planned to reject the initiative by a vote of 54% to 40%, a margin of 14 percentage points. However, the results from three polls in September show a wide variation. See a summary of polling data.

    • Minnesota: Minnesota only recognizes loving, committed same-sex couples as legal strangers -- as roommates without any of the protections that SSM, civil unions, or domestic partnerships could provide. Voters will be considering a plebiscite to amend the state constitution to ban SSM. If passed, it would prevent the legislature or state courts from legalizing SSM in the future. There have been many polls during the past two years, but they give inconsistent results, some indicating strong support and others indicating strong opposition to the amendment. Results are too close to call at this time. See a summary of Minnesota polling data for 2011 and for 2012.

    • Washington State: A bill authorizing SSM was signed into law during 2012-FEB. Preserve Marriage Washington, whose main goal is to prevent loving, committed same-sex couples from marrying, successfully organized a citizen initiative that will be on the NOV-06 ballot. If passed, it would repeal the legislation. During 2011 and 2012, a total of five polls have been taken. All five indicate that most adults favor marriage equality and plan to vote against the referendum.  Further, each poll has shown a successive increase in support for SSM by two or three percentage points when compared to the previous poll. The most recent poll shows that voters plan to reject the initiative by a vote of 56% to 38%, a margin of 18 percentage points. See a summary of polling data.

Webmaster's comment: The right to marry the person that you love and to whom you are willing to make a lifetime commitment is one of the most important freedoms granted by the U.S. Constitution. Even after almost a decade of reporting on same-sex marriage, I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that in the U.S., such a fundamental freedom can be denied by a 50% vote of the public.

  • 2012-SEP-18: Chick-fil-A reverses policy: Chick-fil-A, a fast-food chicken restaurant chain funds a non-profit foundation named WinShape. The Civil Rights Agenda claims that WinShape has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT organizations, including religiously based hate groups  in the past. After months of negotiations involving Chick-fil-A, Alderman Proco Moreno of Chicago, and The Civil Rights Agenda, Steve Robinson, executive vice president of Marketing for Chick-fil-A has issued a statement saying:

    "At Chick-fil-A, we have a genuine commitment to hospitality for all of our guests. We have no agenda, policy or position against anyone. The genuine, historical intent of our WinShape Foundation and corporate giving has been to support youth, family and educational programs. We value everyone and strive to treat all people with a caring spirit." 3

    However, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) who called for a national "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" because of the company's opposition for equal rights to LGBTs and opposition to same-sex marriage said that Chick-fil-A had not changed its policy. He said that he had talked to the company President, Dan Cathy, who gave Huckabeee the following statement:

    "There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been."

    Fred Sainz, Vice President of Communications for the Human Rights Campaign -- a pro-equality group -- is skeptical. He said:

    "Chick-fil-A can’t claim to be turning over a new leaf while simultaneously funneling thousands of dollars towards a group that does not acknowledge the dignity and respect of LGBT people. Chick-fil-A and the WinShape Foundation are at a turning point and face a fundamental question: will they continue actively using customer dollars to support groups that demonize LGBT people, or will they once and for all act like a responsible business and stop supporting discrimination?" 4

  • 2012-SEP-22: USA: Intel terminates donations to Boy Scouts of America (BSA): Intel, which was the largest corporate funding source for the Boy Scouts, has announced that they are no longer donating money to the BSA. In 2010, Intel gave more than $700,000 to local troops and councils. Intel issued a statement saying that:

    "Earlier this year we revisited our policies associated with the program, and applied new rigor that requires any organization to confirm that it adheres to Intel’s anti-discrimination policy in order to receive funding." 5

    However, Intel will continue to donate to those troops and councils that allow gay members in opposition to the BSA's official policies.

    Zach Wahls, the founder of Scouts for Equality, launched a petition on www.Change.org earlier in September asking Intel to stop its BSA funding. The petition was signed by more than 30,000 persons. 6 Wahls issued a press release, saying:

    "Intel made the right decision here, in order to live up to their corporate values of diversity, equality and individual liberty. Companies that support the LGBT community simply can’t be in the business of funding organizations that discriminate. Frankly, by sending this message, Intel is upholding the true spirit of Scouting better than the BSA is today." 5

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See events during 2012-OCT

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References used:

These information sources were used to prepare & update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "The New Normal," NBC network, at: http://www.nbc.com/
  2. Michae K. Lavers, "Mehlman: Md. same-sex marriage law 'enhances freedom'," Washington Blade, 2012-SEP-11, at: https://www.washingtonblade.com/
  3. Tony Merevick, "Chick-fil-A agrees to end anti-gay donations, mandates equal treatment of gays," Chicago Phoenix, 2012-SEP-18, at: http://chicagophoenix.com/
  4. Tony Merevick, "Mike Huckabee: Chick-fil-A changes ‘not true'." Chicago Phoenix, 2012-SEP-21, at: http://chicagophoenix.com/
  5. "Intel Halts Boy Scout Donations Over Anti-Gay Policy," Huffington Post, 2012-SEP-22, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  6. Zach Wahls, "Intel Corporation: Pull your financial support until the Boy Scouts pull their anti-gay policy," Change.org, Undated, at: http://www.change.org/
  7. Angela McCarthy, "KSL NBC: Don't Censor Gay Families! Show "The New Normal" on Your Channel," Change.org, at: http://www.change.org/

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How you got here:

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality> Same-sex marriage > SSM sub-menu > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality> Same-sex marriage > SSM sub-menu > Tipping point > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality> Agenda & news >LGBT News> here

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Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2012-SEP-09
Latest update: 2012-OCT-09
Author: B.A. Robinson
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