Post(s) tagged with "marriage equality"

Washington State Set to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

YAY WASHINGTON

SEATTLE — Washington on Wednesday became the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage, with the State House giving final passage to the bill and Gov. Christine Gregoire having promised to sign it.

The measure easily passed the State Senate last week, 28 to 21, despite concerns that the vote would be close.

The developments in Washington parallel an appeals court decision in California on Tuesday in which a panel of judges ruled 2 to 1 to strike down that state’s ban on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8. The two deciding judges wrote that the ban violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

Washington is among more than 30 states that have passed laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman, but it has steadily expanded rights for gay couples since 2007. That year, the Democratically controlled Legislature approved domestic partnerships. In 2009, it passed an “everything but marriage” bill. Full marriage rights began speeding toward approval last month, when Ms. Gregoire, a Democrat, announced that she would support the bill to make same-sex marriage legal.

The governor had previously said that she did not believe the state was ready for same-sex marriage and that churches should play a decisive role on the issue. Ms. Gregoire’s marriage bill, modeled after one approved by New York last June, allows churches and religious groups to choose not to perform same-sex marriages and to deny same-sex couples access to their facilities for marriage services.

Source: http

Canadian Gov't Dissolves Thousands of Same-Sex Marriages ⇢

Thousands of LGBT couples across the world awoke this morning to learn that they are no longer married.

A Department of Justice lawyer under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party of Canada government has nullified all same-sex marriages performed in Canada in which the couples’ native country does not permit gays and lesbians to marry.

The reversal of federal policy is revealed in a document filed in a Toronto test case launched recently by a lesbian couple seeking a divorce. Wed in Toronto in 2005, the couple have been told they cannot divorce because they were never really married – a Department of Justice lawyer says their marriage is not legal in Canada since they could not have lawfully wed in Florida or England, where the two partners reside.

The two women – professionals in the their early 30s – cannot be identified under a court order. But Martha McCarthy, a prominent Toronto lawyer who represents them, said the government’s about-face is astonishing.

“It is scandalous,” she said in an interview. “It is offensive to their dignity and human rights to suggest they weren’t married or that they have something that is a nullity.”

Ms. McCarthy, who played an instrumental role in the fight to legalize same-sex marriage, said Ontario has tried to duck the volatile test case by deferring to the federal government.

“It is appalling and outrageous that two levels of government would be taking this position without ever having raised it before, telling anybody it was an issue or doing anything pro-active about it,” she said. “All the while, they were handing out licences to perform marriages across the country to non-resident people.”

Newspapers across the world are covered in headlines about this savage and unprecedented attack on LGBT people.

Dan Savage, who wed his husband (now boyfriend) in Vancouver in 2005, weighs in:

There will be lawsuits, time and money will be wasted, oceans of ink and pixels will be spilled, before this issue—the full civil equality of gays and lesbians—winds up before the Supreme Court of Canada. I’m confident that justice will prevail—God bless the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms—but the decision to reopen this issue is going to be one massive distraction for the Canadian government.

Gays and lesbians inside and outside of Canada are going to make sure of it.

Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go wake up my husband and tell him we got divorced last night.

Critics of this attack on LGBT people have noted both online and off that if gay marriages are now without legal standing in Canada if the couple’s homeland forbids them, are Middle Eastern women living in Canada now stripped of their rights to vote, drive a car, or even show their hair? Is being gay now punishable by death in Canada if you’re from Uganda? Is blogging or criticizing your government now illegal for Egyptians living in Canada?

We can hardly believe we are reporting this. Expect massive coverage in the coming days.

How would you feel to wake up divorced by a foreign government after years of marriage?

*so very very wrong*

Gay-marriage law assault perplexing ⇢

(via the Nashua Telegraph)

One of the more contentious battles confronting the New Hampshire Legislature when it returns to work in January will be the misguided effort to repeal the 2009 law legalizing same-sex marriages. Put on hold earlier this year so lawmakers could concentrate on more serious issues, such as the state budget, taxes and creating jobs, this pointless distraction is back on the legislative agenda for reasons that escape rational explanation.

New Hampshire is one of six states, along with the District of Columbia, that allow same-sex marriages. Another 13 states permit civil unions. Elsewhere in the country, same-sex marriages and/or civil unions are prohibited by either statute or constitutional amendment. The same-sex marriage repeal legislation up for review next month seeks to bring back civil unions, which were legalized in New Hampshire in 2007, and grandfather existing same-sex marriages. The state estimates 1,800 gay couples have been married here in the past two years.

Make no mistake, the only reason the anti-same-sex marriage legislation exists at all is because conservative Republicans were emboldened by their landslide victory in 2010. Huge majorities in the House and Senate created an irresistible opportunity to push mischievous, oppressive, veto-proof forays into statutory social engineering.

It would be one thing if there were evidence the current law has had negative repercussions for the state or its citizens. There isn’t. No jobs have been lost. No revenues have been compromised. No little children have been traumatized. If anything, the law has bolstered the state’s respected libertarian reputation.

More importantly, the law has broad public support. In April, the University of New Hampshire Survey Center reported 55 percent of state residents support same-sex marriages, while 39 percent opposed them. This followed an earlier poll that found Granite State residents oppose the GOP’s effort to repeal same-sex marriages by 62 to 29 percent.

These results are consistent with other polls. A Public Policy Polling survey in July found 51 percent of New Hampshire voters favor legal same-sex marriages while 38 percent oppose them. It also found 80 percent support some sort of legal recognition of same-sex couples, with marriage favored by 45 percent and civil unions by 35 percent. Only 19 percent of the respondents opposed any legal recognition of same-sex couples.

In total disregard for this overwhelming evidence of public support, Republicans are marching forward with their crusade. The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-6 in October to recommended the bill’s passage. The full House is expected to concur. Passage is expected in the Senate as well, The big question is whether the margins of victory will be large enough to sustain Gov. John Lynch’s promised veto.

Not much has changed from earlier this year when the same-sex marriage repeal effort was pushed aside in favor of more pressing issues. There are still big holes in the state budget, businesses are still struggling to survive and too many people are out of work. What Republicans considered a priority in January is unfinished business today.

The words of House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, ring as true now as they did 11 months ago when he described the same-sex repeal effort as a controversial “assault” on the GOP’s agenda that had the potential to deflect attention from “New Hampshire’s outstanding financial issues.”

North Carolina Voters Don't Know How Radical The Marriage Inequality Amendment Is ⇢

(via ThinkProgress)

A new Public Policy Polling poll shows that not only are North Carolina voters split on the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, but they also don’t understand the extent of its impact. According to the poll, 58 percent of North Carolina voters say they will vote for the amendment in May, with respondents from all political parties supporting the measure. However, 56 percent of voters simultaneously report that they favor same-sex marriage (27 percent) or civil unions (29 percent).

This clear contradiction reveals a severe lack of education about the actual effect of the amendment. The text of it reads:

Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.

This means that the state constitution would ban recognition of all of the following:

  • Same-sex marriages.
  • Same-sex civil unions.
  • Same-sex domestic partnerships.
  • Opposite-sex domestic partnerships.

In fact, because of how the amendment was rushed through the legislature without proper checks on the text, it may even prohibit private businesses from offering benefits to domestic partners, including opposite-sex couples.

There seems to be a significant movable middle that would oppose the discriminatory amendment if they actually understood how harmful it could be to North Carolina society. Unfortunately, there are only 152 days until the vote to correct people’s misconceptions.

Prop 8 Lawyer Admits: No Harm to Straight Couples (by AmericanEqualRights)

Here’s the Prop 8 proponents’ lead counsel, Charles Cooper, at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 8th, admitting that marriage equality wouldn’t harm any heterosexual marriages

The appellate court judges are not buying any of this.  Also… wow… they know how flimsy their arguments are and yet they keep making them. Fools.

Source: youtube.com

 George Clooney To Star in Marriage Equality Play | News
(via The Advocate)
George Clooney will star in8, a play by Dustin Lance Black adapted from transcripts of the historic trial for marriage equality in California, according toThe Hollywood Reporter.“It is astonishing that gay and lesbian Americans are still treated as second-class citizens,” Clooney says. “I am confident that, very soon, the laws of this nation will reflect the basic truth that gay and lesbian people — like all human beings — are born equal in dignity and rights.” Longtime equality advocate Rob Reiner will direct the one night only production March 3 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. Other cast members are expected to be announced soon. Like the recent production in New York which starred Reiner and an all-star cast, the L.A. reading will also serve as a benefit for the American Foundation for Equal Rights in its national fight for marriage equality."This play will continue to show Americans — one by one — that prejudice and fear cannot stand up to truth and justice,” says AFER Board president Chad Griffin. “Our Constitution neither knows nor tolerates the treatment of gays and lesbians as second-class citizens.”

 George Clooney To Star in Marriage Equality Play | News

(via The Advocate)

George Clooney will star in8, a play by Dustin Lance Black adapted from transcripts of the historic trial for marriage equality in California, according toThe Hollywood Reporter.

“It is astonishing that gay and lesbian Americans are still treated as second-class citizens,” Clooney says. “I am confident that, very soon, the laws of this nation will reflect the basic truth that gay and lesbian people — like all human beings — are born equal in dignity and rights.” 

Longtime equality advocate Rob Reiner will direct the one night only production March 3 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. Other cast members are expected to be announced soon. Like the recent production in New York which starred Reiner and an all-star cast, the L.A. reading will also serve as a benefit for the American Foundation for Equal Rights in its national fight for marriage equality.

"This play will continue to show Americans — one by one — that prejudice and fear cannot stand up to truth and justice,” says AFER Board president Chad Griffin. “Our Constitution neither knows nor tolerates the treatment of gays and lesbians as second-class citizens.”

Source: advocate.com

Gingrich Pledges Not To Commit Infidelity A Third Time, Reaffirms Opposition To Marriage Equality
(via ThinkProgress - article title was just too good and too true to not repost)
 
As Iowa’s FAMiLY Leader prepares to endorse a presidential candidate ahead of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich has issued a statement affirming the Leader’s pledge to oppose marriage equality for gays and lesbians, deny women access to abortion, and reduce the debt. Read his full responsehere and the marriage excerpt below:

Defending Marriage. As President, I will vigorously enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted under my leadership as Speaker of the House, and ensure compliance with its provisions, especially in the military. I will also aggressively defend the constitutionality of DOMA in federal and state courts. I will support sending a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification. I will also oppose any judicial, bureaucratic, or legislative effort to define marriage in any manner other than as between one man and one woman. I will support all efforts to reform promptly any uneconomic or anti-marriage aspects of welfare and tax policy. I also pledge to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others.

Vander Plaats welcomed Gingrich’s affirmation saying, “We are pleased that Speaker Gingrich has affirmed our pledge and are thankful we have on record his statements regarding DOMA, support of a federal marriage amendment, defending the unborn, pledging fidelity to his spouse, defending religious liberty and freedom, supporting sound pro-family economic issues, and defending the right of the people to rule themselves.”
In August, Gingrich said he wouldn’t sign the pledge unless the group adopted certain tweaks to their document, which had previously argued that African American children were better off during the period of slavery and called for a ban on pornography. Gingrich has long supported Vander Plaats and his efforts, however. Last year, he offered his vocal support for the Iowan’s successful campaign to oust three of the nine Iowa Supreme Court justices who had unanimously ruled in favor of marriage equality and his associates bankrolled more than one-third of the $850,000 campaign to remove the justices.

Gingrich Pledges Not To Commit Infidelity A Third Time, Reaffirms Opposition To Marriage Equality

(via ThinkProgress - article title was just too good and too true to not repost)

As Iowa’s FAMiLY Leader prepares to endorse a presidential candidate ahead of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich has issued a statement affirming the Leader’s pledge to oppose marriage equality for gays and lesbians, deny women access to abortion, and reduce the debt. Read his full responsehere and the marriage excerpt below:

Defending Marriage. As President, I will vigorously enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted under my leadership as Speaker of the House, and ensure compliance with its provisions, especially in the military. I will also aggressively defend the constitutionality of DOMA in federal and state courts. I will support sending a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification. I will also oppose any judicial, bureaucratic, or legislative effort to define marriage in any manner other than as between one man and one woman. I will support all efforts to reform promptly any uneconomic or anti-marriage aspects of welfare and tax policy. I also pledge to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others.

Vander Plaats welcomed Gingrich’s affirmation saying, “We are pleased that Speaker Gingrich has affirmed our pledge and are thankful we have on record his statements regarding DOMA, support of a federal marriage amendment, defending the unborn, pledging fidelity to his spouse, defending religious liberty and freedom, supporting sound pro-family economic issues, and defending the right of the people to rule themselves.”

In August, Gingrich said he wouldn’t sign the pledge unless the group adopted certain tweaks to their document, which had previously argued that African American children were better off during the period of slavery and called for a ban on pornography. Gingrich has long supported Vander Plaats and his efforts, however. Last year, he offered his vocal support for the Iowan’s successful campaign to oust three of the nine Iowa Supreme Court justices who had unanimously ruled in favor of marriage equality and his associates bankrolled more than one-third of the $850,000 campaign to remove the justices.

Source: thinkprogress.org

How To Explain Gay Rights To An Idiot
(via BuzzFeed)

How To Explain Gay Rights To An Idiot

(via BuzzFeed)

BuzzFeed

Gay Veteran Steals the Show at Romney Endorsement Event
(via ABC News)
MANCHESTER, N.H. - Mitt Romney had an uncomfortable exchange over same-sex marriage with a gay veteran having breakfast in New Hampshire this morning.
At an event that was meant to highlight the endorsement of Romney by Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, veteran Bob Garon of Ebson, N.H., asked the presidential candidate, who stopped by his breakfast table, whether he supports the repeal of the New Hampshire same-sex marriage law.
A Republican-controlled legislature has moved toward repealing the law, enacted in 2009 when Democrats controlled the legislature. A vote could come next month.
Romney told Garon, who was chowing down on his everyday staple of scrambled eggs and shaved ham at the restaurant Chez Vachon, that he supports a repeal of the same-sex marriage law, prompting an emotional exchange.
“I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman,” Romney said, joining Garon in the diner booth after shaking hands with several other patrons.
Garon responded, clarifying that what that meant was that if Romney is elected he would not support any legislation that would change the law so that gay servicemen would get the same benefits as heterosexual couples.
“I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” Romney said. “We apparently disagree on that.”
“It’s good to know how you feel, that you do not believe everyone is entitled to their constitutional rights,” the 63-year-old New Hampshire resident responded.
“No, actually I think at the time the Constitution was written it was pretty clear marriage was between a man and a woman,” Romney said, just as one of his campaign aides chimed in that they had “to get going” to another Fox interview.
“Oh, I guess the question was too hot,” Garon quipped to Romney and his aide.
“No, I gave you the answer, you said you had a yes or no answer and I gave you the answer,” Romney said, turning back to face Garon.
“You did and I appreciate your answer. And I learned something, New Hampshire is right, you have to look a man in the eye to get a good answer and you know what governor?” Garon said, pausing. “Good luck. You’re going to need it.”
Romney laughed and agreed with Garon that he’d need the luck, shaking his hand before leaving. Garon then held court with the media, voicing his anger of Romney’s answer while also saying that he had “got what he asked for” when he poised the yes or no question.
Asked by reporters after Romney left why he feels so strongly about the issue, Garon grew even more passionate.
“Because I’m gay, all right?” he said. “And I happen to love a man just like you probably love your wife.”
Garon was sitting in a booth with his husband, whom he said he married in June.
“I went and fought for my country and I think my spouse should be entitled to the same [benefits as they would] if I were married to a woman,” he said. “What the hell is the difference?”

Gay Veteran Steals the Show at Romney Endorsement Event

(via ABC News)

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Mitt Romney had an uncomfortable exchange over same-sex marriage with a gay veteran having breakfast in New Hampshire this morning.

At an event that was meant to highlight the endorsement of Romney by Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, veteran Bob Garon of Ebson, N.H., asked the presidential candidate, who stopped by his breakfast table, whether he supports the repeal of the New Hampshire same-sex marriage law.

A Republican-controlled legislature has moved toward repealing the law, enacted in 2009 when Democrats controlled the legislature. A vote could come next month.

Romney told Garon, who was chowing down on his everyday staple of scrambled eggs and shaved ham at the restaurant Chez Vachon, that he supports a repeal of the same-sex marriage law, prompting an emotional exchange.

“I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman,” Romney said, joining Garon in the diner booth after shaking hands with several other patrons.

Garon responded, clarifying that what that meant was that if Romney is elected he would not support any legislation that would change the law so that gay servicemen would get the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

“I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” Romney said. “We apparently disagree on that.”

“It’s good to know how you feel, that you do not believe everyone is entitled to their constitutional rights,” the 63-year-old New Hampshire resident responded.

“No, actually I think at the time the Constitution was written it was pretty clear marriage was between a man and a woman,” Romney said, just as one of his campaign aides chimed in that they had “to get going” to another Fox interview.

“Oh, I guess the question was too hot,” Garon quipped to Romney and his aide.

“No, I gave you the answer, you said you had a yes or no answer and I gave you the answer,” Romney said, turning back to face Garon.

“You did and I appreciate your answer. And I learned something, New Hampshire is right, you have to look a man in the eye to get a good answer and you know what governor?” Garon said, pausing. “Good luck. You’re going to need it.”

Romney laughed and agreed with Garon that he’d need the luck, shaking his hand before leaving. Garon then held court with the media, voicing his anger of Romney’s answer while also saying that he had “got what he asked for” when he poised the yes or no question.

Asked by reporters after Romney left why he feels so strongly about the issue, Garon grew even more passionate.

“Because I’m gay, all right?” he said. “And I happen to love a man just like you probably love your wife.”

Garon was sitting in a booth with his husband, whom he said he married in June.

“I went and fought for my country and I think my spouse should be entitled to the same [benefits as they would] if I were married to a woman,” he said. “What the hell is the difference?”

Source: abcnews.go.com

Without immigration rights, Utah gay couple seek new home abroad
(via The Salt Lake Tribune)
Benjamin Anderson, 55, and Mattia Lumaca, 41,  traveled from their Salt Lake City home this week to marry in New York  on their four-year anniversary as a couple. On Friday, they left for  Lumaca’s hometown near Parma, Italy, where they will spend Christmas  with Lumaca’s family.
But the honeymoon is bittersweet. They don’t  know if they will ever return together to the United States. After the  holidays, they will settle in Germany or another nation in the European  Union that recognizes same-sex unions (Italy does not).
Lumaca can offer Anderson rights as an  immigrant. But Anderson, a Coast Guard veteran, has no way to help his  husband stay in the United States after his student visa expires next  year.
“It took me a long time to find Mattia, and I  honestly believe God sent him to me. I’m not going to give him up,”  Anderson said in a phone interview from New York. “Of course, I would  stay here, but then I’d have to give up Mattia. Or I stay with Mattia,  but now I have to give up America? What kind of a horrible choice is  that? I love my country. I am a patriot.”
Even though six states and the District of  Columbia now allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, the Defense of  Marriage Act  (DOMA) prohibits the federal government from recognizing  same-sex marriages. Anderson cannot obtain legal residency and expedited  citizenship for his spouse as he could if he were married to a woman.  There are an estimated 28,500 binational same-sex couples in the United  States in a situation similar to Anderson and Lumaca’s, according to the  Williams Institute, a sexual orientation policy center at the  University of California, Los Angeles.
Earlier this year, the Obama administration  decided it would no longer defend DOMA in court challenges. And Sen.  Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is pushing to repeal the law, which she  views as “discriminatory” because it denies legally married same-sex  couples more than 1,100 federal benefits. Another proposed bill, the  Uniting American Families Act, would grant immigration rights to  long-term, same-sex partners without recognizing them as married.
Utah’s congressional delegation opposes same-sex marriage.
“Like most Americans, Senator [Orrin] Hatch  firmly believes that marriage is a sacred union between one man and one  woman,” said Hatch’s spokesman, Mark Eddington, via email. “Without  DOMA, the majority of states that affirm traditional marriage could be  forced by the courts to recognize same-sex marriages and to subsidize  federal same-sex rights and benefits. He also opposes the so-called  Uniting American Families Act, which would extend the same immigration  benefits now reserved for married couples to same-sex relationships.”
Utah’s lone Democrat, Rep. Jim Matheson, said  through a spokeswoman that he also opposes extending immigration  benefits to same-sex partners.
This year, national public opinion polls have  shown that Americans are evenly split or slightly in favor of legalizing  gay marriage. In a Gallup poll conducted in May, 53 percent supported  recognizing same-sex marriages — a jump of nine percentage points from  the previous year.
Fracturing a family
Anderson and Lumaca hope federal policy changes in the future so they can return.
“I want America to bring us home,” Anderson said. “Mattia loves America. I love America. And I think that America needs us.”
It was important to both of them that Lumaca  not remain in the country illegally. They have sought legal counsel from  New York-based Immigration Equality, which advocates for immigration  rights for same-sex couples.
The couple also are leaving a year before  Lumaca’s visa expires because he is not allowed to work and has spent  his life savings. Anderson, meanwhile, cannot afford to pay Lumaca’s  student tuition and their living expenses on his disability and  retirement benefits.
Anderson leaves behind a 33-year-old son and is  risking his health with the move. He retired early from the Coast Guard  following exposure to chemicals and the development of a severe heart  condition, which has led to four heart attacks. He also suffers from  diabetes and glaucoma. He relies on Veterans Affairs health centers for  medical care. In Munich, Germany, where the couple plan to try living  first, he can access some health care at a nearby U.S. military base but  says some of the services and drugs he receives at the VA hospital in  Salt Lake City are not available abroad.
“It’s kind of a scary situation,” Anderson  said. “I’ve been given enough medicine for three months and then after  that, I’m kind of on my own.”
In 2006, Anderson was recovering from surgery  that removed his thyroid — and temporarily left him unable to speak —  when he met Lumaca on an Italian travel website. Anderson was dreaming  of an European vacation. Lumaca, an avid skier, was planning a trip to  Salt Lake City. The two agreed to have dinner when Lumaca visited Utah.  They spent much of Lumaca’s trip together and quickly fell in love even  though Anderson was still in recovery.
“He was going through these horrible medical  issues when I met him. I saw how he was a real fighter. He was gentle,  he was lovable, he made me feel comfortable,” recalled Lumaca. “When I  returned to Italy, I felt I had to go back. I was telling myself, ‘I  left something there. I left a piece of me with Ben.’ ”
Three months later, Lumaca secured a student  visa and moved to Salt Lake City in 2007. The couple hoped they would be  able to find a long-term solution later. Lumaca studied English at a  language institute. He took over as Anderson’s caregiver, sorting the 20  pills he needs each day and driving him to doctors’ appointments.
Jared Anderson worries about how his father  will fare abroad. In recent years, with father and son both living in  the Salt Lake Valley for the first time in a decade,
Jared has relished spending more time with his  father, who divorced his mother when Jared was 13 years old. At age 15,  he says he became a “fervent supporter” of gay rights, penning a high  school play about his father.
Jared Anderson doubts he will be able to afford to visit his father in Europe.
“For me, it’s not really a gay rights issue, it’s a family issue,” Jared Anderson said. “Because of this, I’m losing my family.”

Without immigration rights, Utah gay couple seek new home abroad

(via The Salt Lake Tribune)

Benjamin Anderson, 55, and Mattia Lumaca, 41, traveled from their Salt Lake City home this week to marry in New York on their four-year anniversary as a couple. On Friday, they left for Lumaca’s hometown near Parma, Italy, where they will spend Christmas with Lumaca’s family.

But the honeymoon is bittersweet. They don’t know if they will ever return together to the United States. After the holidays, they will settle in Germany or another nation in the European Union that recognizes same-sex unions (Italy does not).

Lumaca can offer Anderson rights as an immigrant. But Anderson, a Coast Guard veteran, has no way to help his husband stay in the United States after his student visa expires next year.

“It took me a long time to find Mattia, and I honestly believe God sent him to me. I’m not going to give him up,” Anderson said in a phone interview from New York. “Of course, I would stay here, but then I’d have to give up Mattia. Or I stay with Mattia, but now I have to give up America? What kind of a horrible choice is that? I love my country. I am a patriot.”

Even though six states and the District of Columbia now allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Anderson cannot obtain legal residency and expedited citizenship for his spouse as he could if he were married to a woman. There are an estimated 28,500 binational same-sex couples in the United States in a situation similar to Anderson and Lumaca’s, according to the Williams Institute, a sexual orientation policy center at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration decided it would no longer defend DOMA in court challenges. And Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is pushing to repeal the law, which she views as “discriminatory” because it denies legally married same-sex couples more than 1,100 federal benefits. Another proposed bill, the Uniting American Families Act, would grant immigration rights to long-term, same-sex partners without recognizing them as married.

Utah’s congressional delegation opposes same-sex marriage.

“Like most Americans, Senator [Orrin] Hatch firmly believes that marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman,” said Hatch’s spokesman, Mark Eddington, via email. “Without DOMA, the majority of states that affirm traditional marriage could be forced by the courts to recognize same-sex marriages and to subsidize federal same-sex rights and benefits. He also opposes the so-called Uniting American Families Act, which would extend the same immigration benefits now reserved for married couples to same-sex relationships.”

Utah’s lone Democrat, Rep. Jim Matheson, said through a spokeswoman that he also opposes extending immigration benefits to same-sex partners.

This year, national public opinion polls have shown that Americans are evenly split or slightly in favor of legalizing gay marriage. In a Gallup poll conducted in May, 53 percent supported recognizing same-sex marriages — a jump of nine percentage points from the previous year.

Fracturing a family

Anderson and Lumaca hope federal policy changes in the future so they can return.

“I want America to bring us home,” Anderson said. “Mattia loves America. I love America. And I think that America needs us.”

It was important to both of them that Lumaca not remain in the country illegally. They have sought legal counsel from New York-based Immigration Equality, which advocates for immigration rights for same-sex couples.

The couple also are leaving a year before Lumaca’s visa expires because he is not allowed to work and has spent his life savings. Anderson, meanwhile, cannot afford to pay Lumaca’s student tuition and their living expenses on his disability and retirement benefits.

Anderson leaves behind a 33-year-old son and is risking his health with the move. He retired early from the Coast Guard following exposure to chemicals and the development of a severe heart condition, which has led to four heart attacks. He also suffers from diabetes and glaucoma. He relies on Veterans Affairs health centers for medical care. In Munich, Germany, where the couple plan to try living first, he can access some health care at a nearby U.S. military base but says some of the services and drugs he receives at the VA hospital in Salt Lake City are not available abroad.

“It’s kind of a scary situation,” Anderson said. “I’ve been given enough medicine for three months and then after that, I’m kind of on my own.”

In 2006, Anderson was recovering from surgery that removed his thyroid — and temporarily left him unable to speak — when he met Lumaca on an Italian travel website. Anderson was dreaming of an European vacation. Lumaca, an avid skier, was planning a trip to Salt Lake City. The two agreed to have dinner when Lumaca visited Utah. They spent much of Lumaca’s trip together and quickly fell in love even though Anderson was still in recovery.

“He was going through these horrible medical issues when I met him. I saw how he was a real fighter. He was gentle, he was lovable, he made me feel comfortable,” recalled Lumaca. “When I returned to Italy, I felt I had to go back. I was telling myself, ‘I left something there. I left a piece of me with Ben.’ ”

Three months later, Lumaca secured a student visa and moved to Salt Lake City in 2007. The couple hoped they would be able to find a long-term solution later. Lumaca studied English at a language institute. He took over as Anderson’s caregiver, sorting the 20 pills he needs each day and driving him to doctors’ appointments.

Jared Anderson worries about how his father will fare abroad. In recent years, with father and son both living in the Salt Lake Valley for the first time in a decade,

Jared has relished spending more time with his father, who divorced his mother when Jared was 13 years old. At age 15, he says he became a “fervent supporter” of gay rights, penning a high school play about his father.

Jared Anderson doubts he will be able to afford to visit his father in Europe.

“For me, it’s not really a gay rights issue, it’s a family issue,” Jared Anderson said. “Because of this, I’m losing my family.”

Source: sltrib.com

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks out for Marriage Equality

(video from MDers4MarriageEqual and story from On Top Magazine)

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is the latest politician to join the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign.

“I believe that all couples in Maryland, regardless of their sexual orientation, want their children protected under the law,” Rawlings-Blake says in her 50-second ad. “Just as a straight couple’s commitment to family is legally recognized, so too should a gay couple’s commitment be recognized by our state government.”

“It’s only fair. It’s only right. And our state must act to make it so,” she later adds. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, thanked the mayor for her support.

“The mayor has been a longtime supporter of committed gay and lesbian couples getting married and building strong families,” she said in a statement.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who has committed to shepherding a gay marriage bill through the Maryland Legislature during the upcoming legislative session, kicked off the video campaign in October.

In his ad, O’Malley argues that marriage equality and religious freedoms can coexist. Pressure from religious groups has been credited with ending last year’s effort, which failed in the House of Delegates after passage in the Senate.

Also joining the campaign are NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond, Precious star Mo’Nique and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo.

Source: youtube.com

Colorado: New Poll Says 47% Support Marriage Equality, 76% Support Legal Recognition for Gay Couples ⇢

Voters are moving towards favoring same-sex marriage across the country, and Colorado is no exception, as it has joined the ranks of states which now favor legal marriage rights for gay couples. 47% believe same-sex marriage should be legal, and 43% think it should remain illegal. When PPP last polled on the issue in Colorado in August, voters were split at 45%. Independents fall at a 51-39 spread, and both Democrats (from 64-29 in favor to 70-19) and Republicans (from 15-73 against to 20-72) have shifted more towards accepting marriage equality.

Colorado had already strongly favored legal equality for gay couples. 71% wanted them to have at least civil unions, and that has only grown to 76% now, with 42% still preferring full marriage and 34% civil unions. Only 23% want these relationships to have no legal recognition, down from 27%. 87% of Democrats (up nine points), 80% of independents (up four), and even 60% of Republicans (up three) want gay couples to have the same rights and privileges as married heterosexual couples.

Rick Perry never says anything bad about gays. He points out that the country is now open with peoples sexualities. They are able to be ‘out’ and serve in the military. He uses this giant step forward in thinking as a comparison to how people view Christians. Kids are judged when they openly pray in school. But all religions have been taken out of the equation(for fear of offending someone).I feel like there was a lot of focus on this mans usage of the word ‘gay’. and not on his campaign.

Nothing in Perry’s statements during this campaign or in the past would indicate that he is anything but anti-gay.

I’m very disturbed by the huge number of apologists that are saying this ad is being misinterpreted or that he was somehow lauding the end of DADT as progress. Perry’s rhetorical trick of linking the end of DADT to false statements about kids not being about to celebrate Christmas or pray in school is disingenuous at best and inviting a surge of anti-gay sentiment in this election (like those in the past) to distract voters from real issues.

A few of his anti-gay highlights below.

2003: Perry advocates for and signs into law a Texas DOMA claiming it to be part of his “ongoing efforts to prevent aggressive attempts to redefine marriage”

From Office of Governor websiteGov. Perry believes in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, regarding it as the linchpin of the family unit and, thus, society as a whole. In 2003, as part of his ongoing effort to prevent aggressive attempts to redefine marriage, Gov. Perry signed Senate Bill 6, the Defense of Marriage Act, specifying that Texas does not legally recognize a same-sex marriage or civil union. Two years later, Gov. Perry supported strengthening the law with a constitutional amendment, the Texas Marriage Amendment, defining marriage as the “union of one man and one woman.” (source)

July 2011: States outright that marriage equality is not ok.  He does seem to say that if a state passes a law that is their call, but then reverses that a few months later when advocating for other states to repeal equality laws.

"It’s fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue. Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn’t changed." (source)

August 2011: Signs the National Organization for Marriage pledge that states that, if elected, Perry will send a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification, and appoint U.S. Supreme Court and federal judges who will “reject the idea our Founding Fathers inserted a right to gay marriage into our Constitution.” (source)

October 2011: Perry advocated for the repeal of New Hampshire’s marriage equality, praising those in the state that were working towards repeal.

"As conservatives we believe in the sanctity of life. We believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage," Perry said at the annual banquet for Cornerstone Action, a conservative advocacy group. “And I applaud those legislators in New Hampshire who are working to defend marriage as an institution between one man and one woman, realizing that children need to be raised in a loving home by a mother and a father.”  (source)

Additional items at Top 5 Examples of Perry’s Anti-Gay Agenda

And if that is not enough from his own 2012 campaign website

"Perry strongly supports traditional marriage. He signed the state Defense of Marriage Act and supported a marriage amendment to the state constitution, and he would do the same as president."

so how is it that he has said nothing against gays again?




Small side note: I received 30+ messages from people expressing the same sentiments as tommygun13.  I’m actually shocked by that number and the 100s of similar messages that I have seen on reblogs. Instead of responding to all of them I have chosen to respond to this one message.  Why? Because tommygun13 did not write anonymously, something I really respect.  Any other apologists that want to write me feel free, but please read this in advance because I will likely just send you the permalink to this post with the understanding that if you do not agree with me we can be happy in the knowledge that we just regard this issue differently.
yes indeed! 

yes indeed! 

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