Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
2013-APR-05 to 30: Accelerating steps towards
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 early 2013-APR
2013-APR-05: Reactions to the mini-flood of Democratic senators who now support same-sex marriage.
Michael Cole-Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, a pro-equality group, said
"This tidal wave of support for marriage equality in Congress reflects what we're seeing happening in the lives of everyday Americans around the country. People understand there's no reason to treat gay and lesbian couples differently than anyone else and it's crystal clear that the country is ready. ... The country is on an evolution on this issue as are all of our elected leaders. Over time, as people continue to think about this, and as public opinion continues to go in our favor, you're going to see members change."
Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry said:
"Red-state Democrats now see that this is not just a morally right place to be but a politically smart place to be."
That leaves four remaining Democratic senators still opposed to SSM: Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. In the Senate, 51 Democrats and two Republicans now support SSM. 1
2013-APR-07: Rhode Island: Senate vote expected before the end of April: The Rhode Island House has passed a SSM bill with very large majority: 51 to 19. It is expected to clear the Senate Judiciary Committee in late April and to be voted upon by the full Senate before the end of April. Governor Chafee (I) strongly supports the bill. More details.
2013-APR-08: Time magazine has two alternate covers this week. One shows lesbian couple kissing; the other shows a male gay couple kissing. Caption reads: "GAY MARRIAGE ALREADY WON. The Supreme Court hasn't made up its mind, but America has." The cover article is by David Von Drehle. He discusses many topics, ranging from:
A comment by Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage -- a group dedicated to preventing every loving, committed couple from ever marrying. He said that "... if the political process and democracy are allowed to run their course..." then same-sex marriage will be defeated everywhere in the U.S.
"Exit polls in [2012 -] November showed that 83% of voters believe that same-sex marriage will be legal nation-wide in the next five to 10 years..."
Webmaster's comment: Apparently, I am a member of the 17% minority. I personally doubt that SSM will be available throughout the U.S. within my lifetime. Of course, my life expectancy is only about 12 years according to actuarial tables.
2013-APR-08: Sen. Tim Johnson (D) of South Dakota backs same-sex marriage: Senator Johnson announced in March that he would not be seeking reelection. This might have made it possible for him to expresses his true feelings on controversial topics without having to worry about his political future as a Senator. He stated:
"After lengthy consideration, my views have evolved sufficiently to support marriage equality legislation. ... This position doesn‚t require any religious denomination to alter any of its tenets; it simply forbids government from discrimination regarding who can marry whom."
This means that 54 sitting Senators favor SSM: 52 Democrats and 2 Republicans. This leaves only three Senators: Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana still opposed to SSM. 2
One wonders how many of the three would announce their true views on SSM if they were not planning on running for reelection in the future. 2
2013-APR-09: France: Their Senate approved the main article in their SSM bill: The article defines marriage as the union of two persons, instead of the union of one woman and one man. It was approved by a vote of 179 to 157. The rest of the bill should be approved shortly, and the bill sent to the National Assembly for final approval. More details.
2013-APR-11: DE: A same-sex marriage bill has been introduced to the Delaware legislature: It has 24 Democratic and 1 Republican sponsors. It is expected to become law eventually, because the Democrats control both the House and Senate, and the Governor, an independent, is leaning towards the Democratic Party. More details.
2013-APR-12: France: The French Senate passed the the full SSM bill: It now goes to the National Assembly for the final vote. More details
2013-APR-17:New Zealand became 13th country in the world, the first country in the Asia-Pacific region, and the latest predominately English speaking country whose Parliament has legalized SSM. The bill is expected to be signed into law before the end of April. More details
2013-APR-19: The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) are experiencing difficulties. Their membership total, which is now about 2.7 million, is decreasing by 100,000 a year. They are under heavy pressure by the main sponsors of Boy Scout troops -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Roman Catholic Church -- to retain their policies of discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and non-theists. But many
of their funding agencies are cutting off donations because of the BSA's active discrimination policies. Most scouts now disapprove of these policies. The BSA seems to be suffering the same loss of membership as are conservative Christian churches. Older teens and young adults are reluctant to remain in organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. A future schism is possible.
The BSA has been considering a number of solutions to the conflict.
During 2012, the BSA Executive Committee decided to make no changes to their policies . They decided that it was in their best interest to retain the discriminatory policies of the past.
During 2013-JAN, they changed their mind. The Executive Committee suggested an end to the national policy against gays, and the transfer of membership criteria to the local level.
During 2013-APR, the BSA Executive Committee changed their mind again in response to a massive internal opinion poll. They decided to recommend opening scouting to gay and bisexual youth, while still excluding non-theists of all ages, and prohibiting adult scout leaders from the LGBT community. Presumably gay youth will be welcome, but once they reach their 18th birthday, they will be automatically expelled. That is an interesting message to deliver to young people: you are OK as a child but suddenly become a pariah when you reach adulthood. The BSA proposal appears to be based on the belief that adult gay males are much more likely to be abusive pedophiles than are adult heterosexual males. That belief has long been rejected by professional mental health associations, but is commonly believed by religious and social conservatives.
The committee's new policy will be voted upon by the 1,200 person Boy Scouts National Council at their National Annual Meeting in late MAY. This appears to be a lose-lose decision by the BSA. Most social and religious conservative individuals, denominations, and parachurch groups are outraged because of the proposed acceptance of young gays. Liberal and groups promoting equal rights for the LGBT community are outraged because gay adult leaders will continue to be expelled whenever found, and because of the message of rejection that the BSA is giving to its younger members. More details
2013-APR-14: John Paulk finally offered two apologies to people that he had harmed by promoting the ex-gay movement. The first was a partial apology during mid 2013-APR in PQ monthly when he said that his words were only "misconstrued." Later that month, on APR-14, he issued a full apology. More details
2013-APR-23: France: Parliament has passed the same-sex marriage bill. Its constitutionality will be challenged by the Constitutional Court, and then must be signed into law by the President. But these are expected to occur. Some expect same-sex marriages will begin during June. More details
2013-APR-23: Rhode Island: An event occurred that I had not expected would happen during this decade: All five of the Republicans in the Rhode Island Senate announced that they would support the SSM bill. At first, I thought that it was a hoax. But the report appeared in multiple reliable media sources.
There may be strength in numbers, because the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) -- the leading national group opposing the right of loving, committed same-sex couples to marry -- has largely given up the ideological and intellectual battle against marriage equality. They are now resorting to threatening any Republican lawmakers who vote for marriage equality with funds to torpedo their reelections. But NOM is usually promising to commit a fixed amount to be split among all Republicans in a given state who support SSM. So if multiple Republicans vote in favor of marriage equality in one state, the negative effect per legislator will be greatly reduced and will probably be easily compensated for by donations from the LGBT community and from other persons who support human rights.
2013-APR-23: Delaware: Bill HB 75 to legalize same-sex marriage has passed the House. More details
2013-APR-23:Rhode Island: Same-sex bill was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
2013-APR-24: Rhode Island: The Senate passed its version of the SSM bill. Different versions of the bill have passed by the House and Senate. They now return to the House for a procedural vote. It is expected to pass with a strong majority and to be on the Governor's desk in early MAY for signing. If it becomes law, then Rhode Island will be the tenth state to legalize SSM, along with the District of Columbia. More details
2013-APR-25: USA Today predicts that the next states to actively debate SSM will be Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Oregon. Oregon will take quite a while, because an amendment to the state Constitution must be repealed before the legislature can legalize SSM. 3
2013-APR-30: Rhode Island: The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the two SSM bills, 2013-H 5015B and 2013-S 0038A. They now proceed to the House for the final vote. More details
2013-APR-30:Jason Collins, a basketball player with the Washington Wizardsbecame the first active openly gay athlete among any of the four major U.S. professional team sports (Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Hockey). He has been in the NBA for 12 seasons. He wrote in a column which will appear in Sports Illustrated's the MAY-06 edition:
"I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different.' If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."
He said that the murder of three people at the Boston Marathon taught him that one's life can change in an instant, so why should he not live a more truthful life.
a day he had received what he referred to as an "incredible" level of support. George Stephanopolos interviewed him on ABC's "Good Morning America." Collins said:
"I think, I know, in my personal life, I'm ready, and I think the country is ready for supporting an openly gay basketball player ... I hope that every player makes a decision that leads to their own happiness, whatever happiness that is in life. I know that I, right now, am the happiest that I've ever been in my life."
Dozens of NBA players sent positive messages to Collins, many via social media. President Obama also phoned him to offer his support.
Collins may more accurately be referred to as having a bisexual orientation rather than as gay. In the past, he was in a relationship with -- and engaged --to Carolyn Moos for eight years. She is a former WNBA basketball player. 4,5
2013-APR-30: Rhode Island: The House Jdiciary Committee passed the SSM bill. It now goes to the House for a final vote.