Marriage Equality Round-Up – May 2nd

Written by scott on May 2nd, 2015

Gay WeddingHere’s our daily round-up of the marriage equality / LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!

Pop Culture: San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt urged his fellow Christians to let go of their hatred toward LGBT people, insisting on his blog that both the Church and its followers become “beacons of love.” full story

Australia, Tasmania: Tasmania’s anti-discrimination commissioner Robin Banks has in her final report recommended that the state implements a dedicated scheme to erase historical convictions for consensual sexual activity between adult men. full story

Ireland: Irish singer Róisín Murphy has predicted that Ireland’s upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage will be a victory for equality. full story

Ireland: The National Organization for Marriage is asking for money to fight marriage equality in the country. full story

Ireland: Proud Irish-American Chuck Feeney, who made an estimated $7.5 billion as the world’s king of duty-free shops, is giving huge financial support to marriage equality advocates in Ireland. full story

Ireland: Irish priest says ‘ordinary people’ being intimidated into voting for equal marriage full story

Serbia: An army major who transitioned and now lives openly as a woman is profiled. full story

USA: The Huffington Post looks at some of the recent polling on marriage equality. full story

USA: After being used by a number of anti-gay businesses to raise money, GoFundMe clarified its policy to explicitly ban campaigns to support those charged with “discriminatory acts.” full story

USA: Thursday’s episode of The Nightly Show spotlighted the Supreme Court’s gay marriage hearing from earlier this week, with host Larry Wilmore looking at the sexual discrimination argument as well as one of the more insane anti-gay arguments claiming marriage equality will directly lead to 900,000 new abortions. full story

Nightly Show

USA: In a blog post this week, the Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) endorsed nationwide marriage equality in support of thousands of youth in need of foster or adoptive parents. full story

USA: Alan Keyes says a “yes” ruling on marriage equality from the Supreme Court would be “just cause for war”. full story

USA: A newly formed right-wing group is doing its best to drum up outrage over an openly gay official at Catholic Relief Services. full story

USA: has collected seven of the craziest predictions about what could happen if the US Supreme Court legalizes marriage equality nationwide. full story

USA: Robert Oscar Lopez, the son of a same sex couple who has gone full anti-gay conservative, says the US Government will be forced to pay reparations to kids who grew up in same sex households one day. full story

USA: Scouts for Equality is offering the Boy Scouts $50k that it raised on a crowdfunding site to drop its ban on LGBT adults. full story

USA, Alaska: Mayoral candidate Amy Demboski insinuated that there might be some truth to allegations about her LGBT-friendly opponent Ethan Berkowitz supported the idea of incestuous marriages. full story

USA, California: Santa Monica Boulevard will host the “Love No Hate Rally” at 3 pm today at HOME, America’s first privately owned LGBTQ center located at 7990 Santa Monica Boulevard. full story

USA, Maryland: A transgender woman arrested during the anti-police riots in Baltimore was detained Wednesday in an all-male holding facility. She was released Friday. full story

USA, Oklahoma: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed into law a bill that allows ministers to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if such marriages conflict with their religious beliefs. full story

USA, Texas: A week after Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance finally took effect, a new survey shows 51% of residents in the nation’s largest solidly red metropolitan area now support marriage equality. full story

USA, West Virginia: The five citizens of Thurmond voted unanimously to ban anti-LGBT discrimination. full story


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. The crux of the issue is that, for our purposes, there are two completely separate “kinds” of marriage. There are actually four kinds of marriage, but the first two aren’t germane to this discussion… but here they are anyway because the definition of a religious marriage is predicated on the definition of one of the first two types.

    Type 1 – Emotional Marriage – The emotional bond that people feel for one another. This is the feeling of being “soul mates.” This is Romeo and Juliet… Because we believe in free will, this type is something that not even God gets a say in.

    Type 2 – Spiritual Marriage – (If you’re an atheist, you don’t buy into this one) Recognition by God that people are bonded. This is basically God saying, “You’re soul mates.”

    Type 3 – Religious Marriage – Public recognition by an organized establishment of religion that, according to its doctrines and dogma, a spiritual marriage has taken place.

    Type 4 – Legal Marriage – A civil contract between people that affords rights and requires responsibilities. This is the piece of paper that you file at the county clerks office that makes you a “spouse” in the eyes of the law.

    The whole reason that we have all the issues right now is that for the past 400 years or so (maybe more…), we’ve allowed religious officiants to perform both a Type 3 and a Type 4 marriage *at the same time.* Think about it. When you get married in a church (synagogue, temple, whatever), the priest (rabbi, minister, whatever) says, “By the power vested in me by the Roman Catholic Church (or whatever), *and* the State of (whatever state you’re in), I now pronounce you (something).”


    You saw that word, right?

    They’re two separate things. When you get married by a Justice of the Peace (or whatever secular officiant), all they say is “By the power vested in me by the State of (whatever state you’re in), I now pronounce you (something).”

    It’s easy to see. It’s simple. The reason it gets complicated is that there are a whole lot of people out there who feel that their power and control are being threatened… and there are bigots and haters out there… who are attempting to *willfully* misconstrue, confuse, and merge the Type 3 and Type 4 marriages so they can prevent *legal* status and rights for people with whom they disagree (or hate or whatever). The use of the phrase “Traditional Marriage” is exactly this sort of attempt to construe Type 3 and Type 4 marriages into a single thing thus trying to lay moral authority over a civil contract.

    The truth is that Type 3 and Type 4 are completely separate, they have *nothing* in common. And once you see truth of that, everything else can be made to make sense with no one at fault, no one to blame, no bad guys. We solve the whole mess by taking one, calm step backward, and just looking at the issue.

    Ok, so here’s the deal with gay marriage. There have been, in the USA, gay marriages for decades or more. Various churches have been performing gay marriages for a long time. Because they are Type 3 marriages, they carried no force under the law.

    Now with this marriage equality stuff going around, let’s consider what the courts can actually rule on. They can’t rule on a Type 1 marriage… nor a Type 2 for obvious free will, and “can’t tell God what to do” reasons. The 1st Amendment precludes the courts from ruling a Type 3 marriage with certain very particular exceptions that are covered by other other legal constructs.

    The only kind of marriage that the courts can consider is the Type 4 marriage, which is nothing but a civil contract that affords rights and requires responsibilities.

    Hear that. The whole gay marriage thing, as far as the US courts are concerned is a simple contracts case. A 1st year law student could look at gay marriage as the simple contracts case that it is and apply the 1st, 5th, and 14th Amendments, and Brown v Board of Education’s “separate is inherently unequal” and Loving v Virginia’s “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,'” to get to the inevitable, inescapable conclusion that gay marriage (of Type 4) is the right call.

    Please understand, there is absolutely no moral, ethical, emotional, spiritual, or any other kind of judgment on the merits of a Type 4 marriage. It’s a legal contract. That’s all it is. It’s nothing but a legal contract that affords rights and requires responsibilities. There is no moral component to a legal contract.

    That’s not to say that entering into a contract of marriage isn’t a solemn occasion. It is. It should be. But just because it’s loaded with gravitas, doesn’t give it a moral bent. And by that token, it also cannot, therefore, have an immoral component. There is nothing moral or immoral about a Type 4 marriage.

    Now, let’s talk about the “Slippery Slope” argument… because it’s important. Some folks will argue that if gay folks can legally get married, then a man can marry a little boy, or his dog, or a chicken, or, in the case of Mayor West on Family Guy, his left hand. My personal choice for this type of marriage is a life-sized, cardboard cutout of Katee Sackhoff. I’d marry that rigid piece of corrugated paper in a second. Yum. See, if you open it up to the Gays, where will it end?

    The proponents of gay marriage treat this question as an insult to their loving relationships because they feel it attempts to equate them with those other things and they don’t like it. Well gay marriage proponents, suck it up. Slippery Slope is an important principle in jurisprudence and it needs to be addressed.

    The good news for rational folks is that there is, in fact, a simple and well defined legal concept that acts as a perfect backstop to the Slippery Slope. It’s called “Consent.” A little boy can’t legally give consent… nor an animal of any kind… not even a piece of anatomy nor a cardboard cutout no matter how attractive. Consent is the backstop to the Slippery Slope.

    So let’s get to the contention that people will push to have churches forced to perform gay marriages against their doctrines and dogma…

    Let me give you an example from my own life that will illustrate my point about religious freedom regarding performing marriages using an example that is so normal and accepted and absolutely ubiquitous that once I share it everyone will say, “Oh… yeah… it is like that…”

    I’m Catholic. I know, I accept your condolences. When I was young, I met a great girl fell in love and got married. Seven years later, my wife and I split. We got a divorce. Lucky me, I met another really great girl, fell head-over-heels in love and wanted to get married…

    I’m Catholic. Did I mention that? According to the doctrines and dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, “until death us do part.” According to the beliefs of the Catholics, I’m still married to that woman back in Michigan, and I will be for quite a while, God willing.

    Here’s the question: What do you think the American Legal System would do if I sued the Catholic Church to force them to perform a marriage between this new (awesome) girl and me… to perform a Type 3 marriage that’s against their doctrines and dogma?

    Go on, you can say it. They’d laugh me out of the building. If I appealed? More giggles. Take it all the way to the California Supreme Court? Guffaws! Decide that this is a Constitutional issue and go to the US Supreme Court? They would tell me that according to the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution, the court can’t tell the Catholic Church what constitutes a marriage for the Catholic Church… and yet more laughing at me would be had by all.

    You can see that, right? It’s already incredibly well settled law that the courts can’t tell religious institutions what makes up a Type 3 marriage.

    So relax. Gays won’t be able to use the force of the Law to require organized establishments of religion to perform Type 3 marriages which are against their doctrines and dogma in exactly the same way I can’t force the Catholic Church to marry me and my new wife.

    Now let’s talk about something that the courts will be able to tell organized establishments of religion. Here’s another perfectly well established, no-one-complains-about-it-at-all, everyone-gets-it example, using me (but not an actual example, just hypothetical), that will show something “interesting.”

    Let’s say that I got a great job working as a janitor for the Catholic church across the street from me. It pays well and comes with awesome benefits… medical with no copay, including dental and eye care… for my whole family, my spouse and my kid.

    Ah Hah! If you’ve been reading, you know that according to the Catholics’ doctrines and dogma, my spouse lives in Michigan. According to the laws in the state of California (and the nation), my spouse lives across the street from the church with me.

    Here’s the question: To whom does the Church give the spousal benefits?

    You all know the answer… they don’t even blink as they put my legal spouse’s information all over the forms. It doesn’t hurt them, and they don’t protest or try to sue me. Everyone knows this. Nobody questions it. Nobody fights it. Why?

    The answer is so simple and clear that it’ll make your head spin. Oh, and by the way, this is also the answer to the whole religious exemptions for health care thing… ready for the answer?

    The reason my current wife gets the spousal benefits is that, when the Church is functioning as a *business*, it must comply with local, state and federal laws. When the Church is functioning as a religious organization, it follows its doctrines and dogma, protected by the 1st Amendment.

    This is true of *any* religious institution in the US. Everyone understands it, no one complains. It’s the way it is.

    It will continue to be that way with gay marriage. Here’s an example using my friends, Adam and Steven: Adam and Steven get married at the Hollywood United Methodist Church in 2013, perfectly legal, Type 3 and Type 4 marriages. In 2014, Adam gets a job as a janitor for a Catholic church in Los Angeles. It’s a great job that pays well and has great benefits… 401k, medical (including dental and eye care), for his spouse and kids. Great. The Church is required to consider Steven to be the spouse because, since it’s acting like a business instead of a religious institution with regard to its relationship with Adam, the Church must comply with California law. Adam and Steven have a Type 4 marriage which provides legal rights. One of those legal rights is the right to be considered each others “spouse” in all legal business conducted within the state.

    You can see that, right? Adam’s situation with the Catholic Church is exactly the same as mine. We both have legal marriages that the Church is required to recognize because the Church is functioning as a business, and we both have marriages that the Church is not at all required to recognize in any way socially.

    In conclusion, gay marriage is coming. It’s coming for the whole nation.

    The world will go on.

    You’re safe and unthreatened; be happy.

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