Md. referendum on legalizing same-sex marriage – baltimoresun.com

Eric Lee misses the point of Question 6 in his commentary on same-sex marriage (“Protecting marriage isn’t about hate,” Oct. 2). His analogy of the vegetarian restaurant is particularly off the mark. If his favorite vegetarian restaurant starts serving hamburgers, he is under no obligation to buy or eat them.

A more fit analogy for Question 6 would be a restaurant in 1960 allowing a black couple to sit at a table with white people. Or, 10 years ago, a restaurant moving your favorite table and adding a wheelchair ramp to allow a disabled person the same right to share a meal.

Question 6 is about allowing the citizens of Maryland to enjoy the legal, government-recognized institution of marriage. It has no effect on one’s God or religion and how they define a religious marriage.

One of the longest and most stable relationships in my extended family is a same-sex union. My cousin and her partner are raising three wonderful kids who benefit from a stable, committed relationship that has all the “special qualities” and “unique gifts” Mr. Lee mistakenly credits only to heterosexual couples. This great family is always welcome at my table.

via Md. referendum on legalizing same-sex marriage – baltimoresun.com.

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Twin Freedoms | Center for American Progress

Religious liberty—the ability to freely exercise one’s religious beliefs—is a cornerstone of American democracy. It is a right woven throughout the legal fabric of our nation, one that is espoused in state laws, state constitutions, and most importantly in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Unfortunately, however, conservative lawmakers have increasingly turned to misusing religious freedom as a political tool to obstruct policies they oppose. With regard to marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, for example, conservatives are charging (and misleadingly so) that laws and policies that level the playing field for same-sex couples threaten the free exercise of religion in the United States.

An increasing majority of Americans, including President Barack Obama, believe that we should afford the freedom to marry to all couples. And Americans from all faith backgrounds support the ability to practice one’s religion free from government interference. These twin freedoms—the freedom to worship and the freedom to marry—are both important American values, and they are wholly compatible with one another.

But opponents of marriage equality would like to think otherwise. They disingenuously argue that marriage equality will unduly require clergy to officiate weddings between same-sex couples even if doing so violates their religious beliefs. Opponents similarly claim that marriage equality laws violate the religious freedom of shopkeepers, restaurant owners, and private citizens by compelling them to provide goods and services to same-sex couples, even if they already must do so under existing nondiscrimination public accommodations laws.

We’ve seen much of this show before. Opponents of interracial marriage employed similar arguments and tactics as a way to gin up opposition to laws and court rulings that advanced equal marriage for couples of different races. Of course, following these laws and rulings, no religious leader has been forced to officiate a wedding ceremony that violated his or her faith, including ceremonies for interracial couples. The only thing that changed with the legalization of interracial marriage is that governments were no longer able to deny these couples a marriage license or the benefits that come with marriage. The state of religious liberty remained and continues to remain unchanged with respect to interracial marriage. The same rings true in those states that have legalized marriage equality for same-sex couples.

via Twin Freedoms | Center for American Progress.

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NFL’s Matt Birk: Let’s protect marriage — and speech | StarTribune.com

It should come as no surprise that the National Football League supports the right of its players to share their opinions on important public matters, nor should it come as a surprise that I personally support my colleagues’ rights to voice their opinions.

But the conversation during the last few weeks on the subject of same-sex marriage has told a different story — one that appears to be drawing a false connection between supporting true American values like free speech and the institution of marriage, our most fundamental and important social institution.

I think it is important to set the record straight about what the marriage debate is and is not about, and to clarify that not all NFL players think redefining marriage is a good thing.

The union of a man and a woman is privileged and recognized by society as “marriage” for a reason, and it’s not because the government has a vested interest in celebrating the love between two people. With good reason, government recognizes marriages and gives them certain legal benefits so they can provide a stable, nurturing environment for the next generation of citizens: our kids.

via NFL’s Matt Birk: Let’s protect marriage — and speech | StarTribune.com.

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Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz announces he’s gay – wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina |

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Describing himself as “a proud gay man,” Puerto Rican featherweight Orlando Cruz on Thursday became what is believed to be the first pro boxer to come out as openly homosexual while still competing.

Cruz told The Associated Press in an interview that he is relieved about his decision but had initial reservations.

“I developed physically and mentally to take such a big step in my life and in my profession, which is boxing, knowing that it would have pros and cons, highs and lows in this sport that is so macho,” he said. “I kept this hidden for many, many years.”

His announcement comes two weeks before the 31-year-old left-hander challenges Mexican boxer Jorge Pazos for the WBO Latino title. Cruz is ranked as the World Boxing Organization’s No. 4 featherweight fighter and is 18-2-1 with nine knockouts.

Cruz said he met with psychologists and others before making the announcement, adding he has the full support of his family, trainer and manager. He praised his mother and sister for their unconditional love and said his father has always backed him.

via Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz announces he’s gay – wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina |.

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Scalia says abortion, gay rights are easy cases – ABC6 – Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

WASHINGTON (AP) – Justice Antonin Scalia says his method of interpreting the Constitution makes some of the most hotly disputed issues that come before the Supreme Court among the easiest to resolve.

Scalia calls himself a “textualist” and, as he related to a few hundred people who came to buy his new book and hear him speak in Washington the other day, that means he applies the words in the Constitution as they were understood by the people who wrote and adopted them.

So Scalia parts company with former colleagues who have come to believe capital punishment is unconstitutional. The framers of the Constitution didn’t think so and neither does he.

“The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state,” Scalia said at the American Enterprise Institute.

via Scalia says abortion, gay rights are easy cases – ABC6 – Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather.

Boy Scouts Deny Gay Member Eagle Scout Rank – Poliglot

A Boy Scout just days away from his 18th birthday has been denied the organization’s highest award after revealing he is gay.

The Boy Scouts of America kicked Ryan Andresen, who has been involved in the Scouts for 12 years, out of the organization after he came out to his friends and family as gay. Andresen had met all the requirements for receiving the prestigious Eagle Award, but the scoutmaster of San Francisco-area Troop 212 refused to sign off on the paperwork designating Andresen an Eagle Scout because of his sexual orientation.

via Boy Scouts Deny Gay Member Eagle Scout Rank – Poliglot.

Jim Winsor’s Out & About: Your handy-dandy guide to Gay Days Anaheim | San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

Yep, it’s time once again for us to don our mouse ears and red shirts and head up the I-5 to Gay Days Anaheim, the unofficial day to be gay at Disneyland!

This is a fun, fun weekend I look forward to every October; if you’ve never been, you can check out my photos of previous GDA weekends HERE. I know many other San Diegans are planning to trek up there as well.

Jim Winsor’s Out & About: Your handy-dandy guide to Gay Days Anaheim | San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.

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Helping a Gay Child to Come Out – NYTimes.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 11, is National Coming-Out Day, an annual celebration of living openly for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Some people approach this particular square on the calendar with pride and courage, others with trepidation. Then there’s a third group, which gazes at the day with an uncomfortable blend of longing and impatience. These are parents who know, deep down inside, that a son or daughter is almost certainly gay, but hasn’t worked up the nerve to open up about it. And many of them want to scream, “Would you just come out, already?”

Parents aren’t blind, and the clues are often there. Some research suggests that sexual orientation can show itself even at 3 years old. In our family, by the time our youngest son came out at 13, my wife and I had long progressed from inkling to conviction. A toddler who wore a feather boa around the house and pleaded for pink light-up sneakers with rhinestones is probably telling you something, even if he doesn’t yet know what it is.

We’re not the only ones, said Ellen Kahn, the director of the Family Project for the Human Rights Campaign, a leading advocacy group for gay men and lesbians. Recalling that her own tomboy ways served as a signal, she said, “I was one of those kids, and my parents were those parents.”

Ms. Kahn added, “I’ve heard many parents who have said, ‘I knew my son was gay, I heard my daughter was a lesbian, and I just was waiting’ ” for what she called the “Mom, Dad: I have something to tell you” conversation.

In her home, and in too many others, she said, “Nobody wanted to talk about it.” (She initially told her mother that she thought she was bisexual, because she thought “it wasn’t going to crush her as much.”)

Whether the parents might embrace or reject a gay child, families naturally tend to avoid difficult subjects — and so a stalemate ensues, with many parents worrying that the act of concealment could be taking a psychic toll on their child.

Considering the growing support for gay rights, as well as the rise of openly gay public figures and sympathetic roles in television and movies, people might be forgiven for thinking that it’s no big deal to come out these days. But the process of announcing your sexual orientation to the world can still can be a minefield, said Ilan H. Meyer, a professor at the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the law school of the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Coming out and coming to terms with being gay is easier now, but it’s a matter of degree and not a complete reversal of the world,” Professor Meyer said. He studies what he refers to as “minority stress” and its effect on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Along with the fear of being rejected or attacked, he has said, such stresses include strain of concealing sexual orientation and inner fears of a second-class existence. “Gay kids do suffer consequences for being gay, and having to deal with social attitudes that are not accepting of them,” he said.

via Helping a Gay Child to Come Out – NYTimes.com.

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