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

2013-APR-01 to 05: Accelerating steps towards
same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.

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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 late 2013-MAR

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Background:

The Obama administration announced on 2011-FEB-23 that it would no longer ethically defend the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. Some commentators predicted that this decision would generate a tipping point that will lead to a more rapid decline in discrimination against sexual minorities in the U.S.

One remarkable confirmation of this prediction occurred almost two years later on the evening of election day, 2012-NOV-06, when the results from four state referendums on same-sex marriage (SSM) became clear:

All four referendums resulted in SSM-positive decisions with a margin of about 5 to 6 percentage points. This compares to referendums which terminated SSM in California during 2008 and Maine during 2009 by about the same margin.

The momentum towards marriage equality continues, and has become a groundswell.

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Developments during 2013-APR:

  • 2013-APR-01: Netherlands: An important anniversary: Today marks the 12th anniversary of the date when loving, committed couples were first able to marry in the first country in the world to legalize SSM. Queen Beatrix signed the marriage bill into law on 2000-DEC-21 but it did not become effective until this date. An average of slightly more than one country per year has legalized SSM since that date. The pace is accelerating.

  • 2013-APR-01: U.S.: Dr. Phil tries to help a mother and daughter resolve differences: In an episode of the TV program "Dr. Phil," that is titled "Shocking Mom Revelations," the second half of the show dealt with a mother-daughter conflict over the daughter's sexual orientation.
    • The mother, "Diane" is opposed to her daughter's sexual orientation; to think of it makes her "sick to her stomach." She feels that everyone is born heterosexual, but that some choose to become homosexual. She likens it to drug addition or alcoholism.

    • The adult daughter "Doreen" is a lesbian, is engaged to be married to another woman, and appears to have internalized a great deal of homophobia. She believes that she was born with a homosexual orientation. She defines homosexuality as having sexual attraction only to members of the same gender; that is, by having a homosexual orientation. She is certain that her orientation is fixed. She feels ashamed about being a lesbian because of how it makes her mother feel, because of her religious upbringing, and because the Christian community rejects her. At one point in the program she said that she wished that her mother could have know that she would turn out to be a lesbian so that her mother could have aborted her before birth.

      Doreen blames herself for being gay. Dr. Phil asked:

      "What if blaming yourself for being gay is like blaming yourself for being tall?" More details.

  • 2013-APR-02: Uruguay appears about to legalize SSM: Their Chamber of Deputies (the lower House) passed a bill in 2012-DEC to allow same-sex couples to marry. The upper house, the Uruguayan Senate, passed a similar bill on APR-02. The two bills are slightly different, and so the Senate version will now go to the lower house to be voted on again. It is expected to be passed later in April. President José Mujica has said he intends to sign the bill. 1 More details.

  • 2013-APR-02: Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) issued a statement saying that civil marriage should be available to all couples -- same or opposite sex. He was elected to Congress in 2010, had a stroke, and returned to Congress in 2013-JAN. He said that he would:

    "... return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others. ... Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. Our time on this Earth is limited; I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back - government has no place in the middle." 2

    He is the second Republican senator in Congress to support SSM.

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  • 2013-APR-04: Senator Tom Carper(D-DE) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) become the latest in a mini-flood of Democratic senators who now support same-sex marriage.

Tom Carper (D-DE) wrote on his Facebook page:

"As our society has changed and evolved, so too has the public's opinion on gay marriage – and so has mine. I pray every day for God to grant me the wisdom to do what is right. Through my prayers and conversations with my family and countless friends and Delawareans, I've been reminded of the power of one of my core values: the Golden Rule. It calls on us to treat others as we want to be treated. That means, to me, that all Americans ultimately should be free to marry the people they love and intend to share their lives with, regardless of their sexual orientation, and that's why today, after a great deal of soul searching, I'm endorsing marriage equality." 3

Bill Nelson (D-FL) said that he had decided that his previous opposition to SSM was inconsistent with the beliefs embedded in the Declaration of Independence and in his religious faith. He said in a statement:

"If we are endowed by our creator with rights, then why shouldn't those be attainable by gays and lesbians? Simply put, if the Lord made homosexuals as well as heterosexuals, why should I discriminate against their civil marriage? I shouldn't, and I won't."

Other Democratic senators have endorsed SSM in the previous two weeks: Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO). 4 This leaves only six Democrats in the Senate have not yet endorsed SSM. With Nelson's decision, the number of senators in favor of SSM has reached 50. This includes 48 Democrats and 2 Republicans. 3

Steve Benen, reporter for MSNBC, said:

"Just a few years ago, the notion that a bipartisan majority of the Senate would be on record supporting marriage equality would have been very hard to predict. And yet, as of now, it's a reality."

This leaves only six of the 55 Democrats in the Senate who have not yet endorsed marriage equality. They are: Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. 5 They are all from "red" (conservative) states where to come out in favor of equality would be likely to make their current term their last term. So, even if they favored marriage equality, they might only feel free to endorse it if there was no possibility of running for re-election.

  • 2013-APR-05: Two more Democrat Senators now support SSM: During the previous 24 hours, Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) have announced their support for SSM:
    • Heitkamp said that the government:

      "... should no longer discriminate against people who want to make lifelong, loving commitments to each other or interfere in personal, private and intimate relationships. ... The ability of anyone to marry as a logical extension of this belief."

    • Donnelly said:

      "... I have concluded that the right thing to do is to support marriage equality for all. We are a stronger country when we draw on the strengths of all Americans."

    Both Heitkamp and Donnely represent states that the Democrats lost in the fall of 2012.

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More news for the rest of 2013-APR is in the next essay

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Uruguayan senators approve bill to legalize gay marriage." WireUpdate, 2013-APR-04, at: http://wireupdate.com/
  2. "Republican Senator Mark Kirk backs gay marriage," BBC News, 2013-APR-02, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/
  3. Senator Tom Carper, no title, Facebook, 2013-APR-02, at: https://www.facebook.com/tomcarper
  4. "Gay Marriage Rights: The 10 Democratic Senators Who Still Say No," Huffington Post, 2013-MAR-26, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  5. Steve Benen, "Florida's Nelson creates marriage-equality majority in Senate," MSNBC, 2013-APR-05, at: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/

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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 © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2013-APR-03
Latest update: 2013-MAY-01
Author: B.A. Robinson
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