Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
2012-OCT: 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-SEP
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.
Developments toward marital equality and a lessening of discrimination against sexual minorities:
- 2012-OCT-04: Toronto, ON: The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is promoting a Gender-Based Violence Prevention 1program to make schools a "safe and positive space" for all students. They created a series of five posters that attempt to affirm and support students of "... all sexual identities, biological sexes, sexual orientations, gender expressions and gender identities." One poster in particular, shown above, has created considerable controversy.
Rev. Charles McVety, president of Toronto’s Canada Christian College, is one of the most dedicated religious conservatives who fought a losing battle against same-sex marriage in Canada back in 2000's. He expressed concern that the posters may result in children questioning their gender identity, and, be seen as an endorsement of polygamy. Notice the two men and one woman in the orange heart at the lower right corner of the poster and the two women plus one man in the purple heart at the top central.
TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird, however, explained the true intent of the posters is to support an individual’s right to choose whom they love, regardless of gender. He said:
"For example, the reason for depicting two women and one man was meant to show that a person can be attracted to more than one gender." 2 He added that the board does not endorse polygamy.
That is, the "threesomes" highlight persons with a bisexual orientation. However, it is possible that some people might interpret the symbols as referring to a loving relationship among three persons, or even a marriage among three persons.
Other posters in the series show boys dressed in female clothing or playing with dolls. One shows a school of fish saying "We're here, we're queer, we're in your school."
- 2012-OCT-05: USA: New directive from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concerning same-sex couples: The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) requires the federal government to recognize loving committed same-sex couples as "legal strangers" to each other even though they are legally married. They are to be considered simple roommates. In an apparent violation of DOMA, and in response to a letter from 84 House Democrats, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a directive that gay and lesbian bi-national relationships may “rise to the level of a ‘family relationship" if the couple:
- are each other’s sole domestic partner and intend to remain so indefinitely;
- are not in a marital or other domestic relationship with anyone else; and typically maintain a common residence
- and share financial obligations and assets.
This has long been a major goal of the LGBT community.
Lavi Soloway, an immigration attorney and co-founder of Stop the Deportations, 4 commended DHS for the guidance. He noted that it is the first time that theObama administration:
"... has put in writing a policy to protect gay and lesbian couples who are threatened with deportation. We are grateful that the Obama administration has finally issued written guidelines that we can take into court when we fight deportations. We continue to represent numerous same-sex couples in immigration courts around the country who are facing imminent deportation, and this document will help us finally resolve thsee cases so that no couple is torn apart." 5
- 2012-OCT-08: NY Sam Champion, the weather anchor on Good Morning America, announced his engagement to Rubem Robierb, a fine-arts photographer from Miami, FL. He said: "I have met the most wonderful, giving, loving, caring person. I am so, so lucky to have someone like this in my life." 6
Ben Affleck, who talked about his new movie “Argo” later on the program, said:
"I want to congratulate Sam. It’s to our shame that you can’t get married in every state in the union, but one day I hope you will be able to. It’s very exciting. I was very inspired. ... a moving, love story."
Fellow ABC notables including President Ben Sherwood, along with Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos, Dan Abrams, Bianna Golodryga and others offered tweets of congragulations.
The couple was married on DEC-21 in New York State.
State Senator Ed Murry (D-WA) commented:
"When I first began fighting in the legislature for marriage equality ... I would never have dared to dream that a president of the United States would one day step forward at this crucial moment, in the middle of his own close re-election campaign, to offer his support for our efforts." 2
- 2012-OCT-29: USA: The U.S. Supreme Court announced that on NOV-20, the justices will be discussing whether to hear the eight DOMA cases as well as the Proposition 8 case from California, and a case involving benefits for LGB employees in Arizona. However, their discussion has been postponed until NOV-30. Presumably they will announce in very early December which cases, if any, they will hear in the current session. The DOMA cases which may be heard include BLAG v. Gill, HHS v. Massachusetts and Massachusetts v. HHS, OPM v. Golinski, U.S. v. Windsor and Windsor v. U.S., Pederson v. OPM and OPM v. Pederson. 4
These information sources were used to prepare & update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Gender Based Violence Prevention (GBVP) Home Page," Toronto District School Board, at: http://www.tdsb.on.ca/
- Diana Swift, "Toronto school poster accused of supporting polygamy," Anglican Journal, 2012-OCT-04, at: http://www.anglicanjournal.com/
- Paul Stanley, "Obama Endorses Gay Marriage in Washington State, Maryland, Maine," Christian Post, 2012-OCT-26, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
- "Stop the Deportations' home page is at: http://stopthedeportations.blogspot.ca/
- Chris Johnson, "Obama administration issues written deportation guidelines," New Age of Activism, 2012-OCT-10, at: http://www.newageofactivism.com/
- "Sam Champion on Engagement to Rubem Robierb: 'I Am So, So Lucky'," ABC News, 2012-OCT-08, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
How you got here:
Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2012-OCT-05
Latest update: 2012-DEC-24
Author: B.A. Robinson