WE DO Campaign: Local couples push for marriage equality | Hattiesburg American | hattiesburgamerican.com

In the hearts and minds of Petal residents Sara and Lynn Bell, May 11 will forever be their wedding anniversary.

Recognized in Connecticut as a legally married couple, Sara Bell, 31, and Lynn Bell, 43, say they are “legal strangers” in their home state of Mississippi.

For that reason, the two women found themselves standing in line Friday morning at the Forrest County Courthouse with five other same-sex couples and their friends and families. Each couple filed into the office to be denied a marriage license.

Supporters of the Campaign for Southern Equality’s WE DO Campaign, the Bells are working with equal rights activists across the South to tell their story and take steps toward marriage equality.

The WE DO Campaign brings together same-sex couples and their supporters to call for equal rights under federal law for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The campaign’s mission is to draw attention to “the harms created by states’ laws across the South that prohibit same-sex marriage.”

“We want couples to be able to tell their stories of why they are in loving and committed relationships,” said Aaron Sarber, Campaign for Southern Equality’scommunications director. “You have situations where parents are raising kids, and they don’t have legal rights to those kids.

“We recognize that there are folks across the South, including Mississippi, who don’t agree with same-sex marriage, and that’s fine. We want to remove this from being such a controversial political issue and talk about the couples and the realities of these families raising children.”

via WE DO Campaign: Local couples push for marriage equality | Hattiesburg American | hattiesburgamerican.com.

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Marriage Equality in Illinois: Hurry Up and Wait | WCHI News

In light of the passing of marriage equality laws in 12 states plus the District of Columbia, a microscope seems to be on Illinois to see if legislators and Governor Quinn will support their fellow Illinoisan, President Obama.  On May 29th, Obama raised the issue at a fundraising dinner in Chicago when he said of the pending marriage equality bill in the Illinois State House, “I just want to say for the record it’s something that I deeply respect.”

Obama reiterated his support in his speech last Thursday during an annual Gay Pride reception held at the White House, saying that it was time for marriage equality.  “(I)t’s clear we’re reaching a turning point. We’ve become not just more accepting; we’ve become more loving, as a country, and as a people.”

“I’ll continue to support marriage equality and states’ attempts to legalize it, including in my home state of Illinois. We’re not giving up on that,” he later added.

Many Illinois lawmakers remain undecided and certainly feel the pressure but refuse to make their intentions known.  Marriage equality supporters appear to have good cause for worry.

In the waning moments of the legislative session, Representative Greg Harris announced that the sixty votes needed to pass the bill simply weren’t there and that his colleagues needed more time to vote.  Harris is the sponsor of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.  Later, in an interview with Center Square Journal, the northside Chicagoan said, “at the eleventh hour, some members who had said they were inclined to vote yes became very nervous.” He added, “back in their district forces who oppose equality had been…saying the bill was going to attack religious freedom and take the rights away from churches – those kinds of things are not true.”

Pastors Larry Trotter and former State Senator Rev. James Meeks, from the African-American Clergy Association said that it was a victory…that the bill was not called for a vote for “the God-fearing Black Caucus members”.  Harris indicated that forces that “try to drive a wedge between the gay community and other progressives” cannot be allowed to succeed, citing the Black and Latino communities.

As it currently stands, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, having passed in the Illinois Senate in February, has been extended to August 31, with possible further extension into the veto seesion in late October and early November.  The good news for supporters is that Governor Quinn has agreed to sign the bill.

 

via Marriage Equality in Illinois: Hurry Up and Wait | WCHI News.

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Rep. Louie Gohmert links gay marriage to bestiality | Texas on the Potomac | a Chron.com blog

There he goes again.

Rep. Louie Gohmert is back in the news after a liberal watchdog group dug up a conference call in which the Tyler Republican connected gay marriage to bestiality. Somehow, Gohmert managed to do that while talking about guns.

Right Wing Watch, a self-proclaimed watchdog on the “right-wing agenda,” reported today on comments the congressman made in early February during a conference call for the organization Tea Party Unity.

The discussion turned to gun violence and the threat of gun control, when Gohmert recalled negotiations with Democrats and their attempt to reason that limiting the number of rounds in a magazine is a small aspect that both parties could reach an agreement on.

Gohmert continued:

“Well, once you make it ten, then why would you draw the line at ten? What’s wrong with nine? Or eleven? And the problem is once you draw that limit; it’s kind of like marriage when you say it’s not a man and a woman any more, then why not have three men and one woman, or four women and one man, or why not, somebody has a love for an animal?

There is no clear place to draw the line once you eliminate the traditional marriage and it’s the same once you start putting limits on what guns can be used, then it’s just really easy to have laws that make them all illegal.”

This isn’t the first time Gohmert drew this conclusion on LGBT issues. Gohmert previously disapproved of theMatthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Bill, saying it would legalize bestiality, necrophilia and pedophilia. He made the comments during a debate on repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum also has linked gay marriage to bestiality, although he later deniedmaking those comments

via Rep. Louie Gohmert links gay marriage to bestiality | Texas on the Potomac | a Chron.com blog.

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Mormons, religious groups file brief in support of Prop 8 | Gay News | Washington Blade – America’s Leading Gay News Source

The participation of the Church of Latter-Day Saints in a legal brief filed by religious groups in favor of California’s Proposition 8 is vexing an organization that advocates for LGBT Mormons.

In a 38-page friend-of-the-court brief, filed before the Supreme Court Jan. 29, religious groups — including the Mormon Church — emphasize that justices shouldn’t strike down Prop 8 on the basis of religious support for the anti-gay amendment. The brief is signed by Von Keech, a Utah-based private attorney who has previously assisted the Mormon Church, as well as other private attorneys with his firm Alexander Dushku, R. Shawn Gunnarson and Kirton McConkie.

“[O]ur members supported Proposition 8 based on sincere beliefs in the value of traditional marriage for children, families, society, and our republican form of government,” the brief states. “Only a demeaning view of religion and religious believers could dismiss our advocacy of Proposition 8 as ignorance, prejudice, or animus.”

In a statement on Monday, Affirmation, a national group for gay and lesbian Mormons, questioned why the Mormon Church would participate in a legal brief in favor of Prop 8 after backing off its support of anti-gay measures since the passage of the California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2008.

“I agree that churches should have the freedom to petition the government and that Proposition 8 should not be invalidated due to religious support of the initiative,” said Affirmation President Randall Thacker, who’s gay. “However, we believe Proposition 8 should be invalidated on the grounds that it denies protections to same-sex couples who have committed to care and provide for each other and their children, a grouping that is clearly defined as a family by the majority of society.”

Spencer Clark, who’s straight and president of Mormons for Marriage Equality, said he agrees the law should provide a foundation for strong families, but said Prop 8 harms children being raised by same-sex parents.

“Unfortunately, Proposition 8 provides no additional benefits to straight couples while denying substantial benefits and legitimacy to gay and lesbian couples who are also raising children,” Clark said. “The brief argues for a conception of marriage that blatantly ignores the hundreds of thousands of children in the United States being raised by same-sex couples, pretending that these loving families don’t exist.”

via Mormons, religious groups file brief in support of Prop 8 | Gay News | Washington Blade – America’s Leading Gay News Source.

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What Do Social Conservatives Want? | Cato @ Liberty

Social conservatives talk about real problems but offer irrelevant solutions. They act like the man who searched for his keys under the streetlight because the light was better there.

Social conservatives tend to talk about issues like abortion and gay rights, stem-cell research and the role of religion “in the public square”: “Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life, marriage and religious liberty have forgotten the lessons of history,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) at the Values Voter Summit.

But what is the case for social conservatism that they’ve been making at the summit and in recent interviews?

  • Mike Huckabee: “We need to understand there is a direct correlation between the stability of families and the stability of our economy…. The real reason we have poverty is we have a breakdown of the basic family structure.”
  • Jim DeMint: ”It’s impossible to be a fiscal conservative unless you’re a social conservative because of the high cost of a dysfunctional society.”
  • Rick Santorum: “We can have no economic freedom unless we have good, virtuous moral people inspired by their faith.”

Those are reasonable concerns, but they have little or no relationship to abortion or gay marriage. Abortion may be a moral crime, but it isn’t the cause of high government spending or intergenerational poverty. And gay people making the emotional and financial commitments of marriage is not the cause of family breakdown or welfare spending

via What Do Social Conservatives Want? | Cato @ Liberty.

Marriage equality and the golden rule – The Washington Post

opponents of marriage equality still miss the point: Marriage equality is not about “holy matrimony” or the religious sanction of a “lifestyle” (Question 6 would force no faith to recognize any marriage inconsistent with its religious traditions). It’s about civil marriage licenses and civil status under the law, which confers to people basic respect and dignity.

Moreover, marriage equality doesn’t undermine Judeo-Christian values. In fact, it advances one of the two most important teachings of the Bible: treating others the way you would want to be treated yourself. How I wish that commandment had opened people’s eyes to injustice long ago.

via Marriage equality and the golden rule – The Washington Post.

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Knights of Columbus gives $100K to Maine anti-gay-marriage campaign | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic charitable organization, has given $100,000 to Protect Marriage Maine, the group leading efforts to oppose same-sex marriage in Maine.

The money comes from the international offices of the group, according to a press release.

“I believe this gift will encourage many other Mainers to financially support our efforts to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” said Bob Emrich, chairman of Protect Marriage Maine. “We look forward to continued financial and grassroots support as the campaign gears up for its final phase of advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts prior to Nov. 6.”

Last week, the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group, released a report that stated that 60 percent of the funding for the four anti-gay-marriage campaigns across the country had come from the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Church, or the National Organization for Marriage. Until this $100,000 gift, the Knights had given only about $1,000 to the Maine campaign and NOM had given $252,000.

via Knights of Columbus gives $100K to Maine anti-gay-marriage campaign | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME.

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Anti-gay-marriage campaign: Launched with a false story – seattlepi.com

“Religious groups such as Catholic Charities, in Boston and Washington, D.C., have had to choose between fulfilling their social mission — based on their religious beliefs — or accepting this new definition of marriage. As a result, they had to close their adoption program.”

The message: The placing of children for adoption was threatened and curtailed by adoption of marriage equality in Massachusetts.

The truth is quite different. The man who, in 2005, was chairman of the board of directors for Catholic Charities of Boston, Peter Meade, has set out, in his words, to “set the record straight.” Meade writes:

“Opponents of the freedom to marry ignore the truth and distort history when they talk about Catholic Charities of Boston and its decision to shut down its adoption services. I’m shocked and amazed that so many years later, they are making the false claim that Catholic Charities’ decision had anything to do with allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to marry.”

As the Boston Globe has documented, Catholic Charities placed 13 children with gay couples BEFORE the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. The children were largely from difficult backgrounds and among those “harder to place,” in Meade’s words.

Taking up Meade’s narrative:

“We placed these children according to their needs and according to the love and stability they would receive in their adoptive homes. Most children — more than 700 — were, in fact, adopted by straight couples, but 13 over 17 years were placed in loving homes headed by gay or lesbian couples.”

Action by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, in legalizing same-sex marriage, did NOT force a halt to such adoptions. The orders came from above — and from across the Atlantic.

“In 2005, tragically and out of the blue, the Vatican ordered our diocese to cease using the single criteria of ‘best interest of the children,'” writes Meade. “They ordered us to stop facilitating adoptions to qualified gay and lesbian households.

“I objected strenuously for two reasons. First and foremost, the Church hierarchy was telling us to violate the best interests of the children who were in our care. It was an arbitrary edict that, to many of us, had nothing to do with what was best for these kids and undermined our moral priority of helping vulnerable children find loving homes.”

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/connelly/article/Anti-gay-marriage-campaign-gets-launched-with-a-3944449.php#ixzz29I40qEzh

via Anti-gay-marriage campaign: Launched with a false story – seattlepi.com.

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Wayne Besen: Gay Bashing by Churches Is Why a New Pew Poll Shows America Losing Its Religion

A new poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveals that a record number of Americans (19.3 percent) have abandoned faith and now consider themselves unaffiliated with any particular religion. According to USA Today:

If you want to understand the reasons behind this trend, take a moment to read a disturbing letter that Twin Cities Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt sent to the mother of a gay son. In it, the holy man told the mother that her “eternal salvation” might depend on whether or not she embraced the anti-gay teachings of the Catholic Church, thus rejecting her own child. Talk about family values!

Such a callous admonition might have worked in the past, when people had little education. It might have resonated in bygone eras, when gays and lesbians were invisible and easy to demonize as the “other.” It might have held sway had the Catholic Church’s credibility not been left in tatters after the church spent more than $2.5 billion to clean up the wreckage wrought by pedophile priests and their enablers.

via Wayne Besen: Gay Bashing by Churches Is Why a New Pew Poll Shows America Losing Its Religion.

Paul Ryan On DOMA: ‘Mitt And I’ Promise To ‘Protect Traditional Marriage’ In Court | The New Civil Rights Movement

Paul Ryan told Focus on the Family president Jim Daly that he and Mitt Romney will defend DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, in the courts, and attacked President Obama for not. Ryan promised Daly that he and the Romney administration will work hard to oppose any LGBT equality measures.

Just a week ago, while speaking to supporters at a town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, Paul Ryan said that preventing same-sex marriage was part of America’s “universal human values.”

via Paul Ryan On DOMA: ‘Mitt And I’ Promise To ‘Protect Traditional Marriage’ In Court | The New Civil Rights Movement.

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