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Let’s Admit What Really Went Wrong in Houston

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Hayden MoraIt’s a dangerous myth that Houston was unexpected. National leadership of the LGBTQ movement has known or had very good reasons to suspect that our opponents — still reeling from their defeat around same-sex marriage — would seize on trans issues to energize their supporters, refill their treasuries, and create a new opportunity to gain traction with voters and the public at large.

But our funding has been so focused on marriage equality that we were left fighting for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance without the proper resources for political strategy, organizing, and effective, wide-scale public education. We were caught unprepared and that is inexcusable.

The voters’ decision on HERO comes at a pivotal time in our movement and raises key questions for all of us — especially our leaders — about what happened, why it happened, and where to go from here. How much and how quickly we learn from this loss depends on whether we, as a movement, engage in an unsparing and rigorous analysis not just of the Houston campaign, but also the ways in which we have and have not prioritized trans issues.

The reaction to the loss itself is telling. Many whose engagement is bounded by the victory of marriage equality and the goal of passing the Equality Act are left shocked. On the other extreme, for those who spend most of their lives working on the “margins” of our community — the undocumented, the young, people of color, trans folks, and those that hold multiple marginalized identities — Houston is like a distant rainstorm amid an ongoing level 5 hurricane of profound and pervasive violence and oppression. Identifying how and working toward bridging this divide is part of the crucial work that must occur in order for us to develop a stronger, smarter, and more holistic strategy of how to move forward.

By Hayden Mora – Full Story at The Advocate

Kim Davis – Let me show you what persecution looks like

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

KimDavisABClargeON US TV today (Sept. 22), the clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to ANY couple because she didn’t believe in same sex marriage has said what hurts her most about how she has been treated since she defied the Supreme Court ruling on marriage in June – being called ‘a hypocrite’.

Kim Davis of Rowan County, Kentucky, has been jailed, received a ‘Religious Liberty’ award for fighting ‘legal tyranny’, been called ‘the bravest woman in America‘ and compared to Abraham Lincoln by her lawyer. She has also been called a martyr and a victim of anti-Christian persecutionShe even admitted denying marriage licences to friends, and receiving death threats.

All because she believes in her Christian duty to break the oath she took as a US Government official to uphold the law, in a country whose constitution explicitly forbids the primacy of any religion. The First Amendment clearly states that the US government cannot make any law ‘respecting an establishment of religion.’ In the words of the Supreme Court, this generally means that the government can’t “pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another,” or otherwise become entangled in religious affairs.

Click to continue »

If I Must Accept the Hobby Lobby Decision, You Must Accept Marriage Equality

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

US Supreme Court Color

June 2014: the Supreme Court hands down its opinion in a controversial case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In a 5-4 vote, the court allows corporations to claim religious exemptions from federal laws. Opponents are angered but accept the court’s decision as the final word on the subject.

June 2015, the Supreme Court hands down its opinion in a controversial case, Obergefell v. Hodges. In a 5-4 vote, the court grants same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states. Opponents are angered and do not accept the court’s decision as the final word on the subject. With excessive pouting, they demand an end to the Supreme Court as we know it.

Texas senator Ted Cruz, self-appointed leader of the outraged, convened a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting titled, ‘With Prejudice: Supreme Court Activism and Possible Solutions.’ He spoke gravely with lots of heavy sighs and theatrical turns of phrase: “Much to my great disappointment, this past term, the court crossed a line. Continued its long descent into lawlessness. To a level that I believe demands action. [dramatic pause] The court today is not a body of jurists. It is not a body of judges following the law, but rather it has declared itself, in effect, a super-legislature.” A musical stab would have worked wonderfully here to punctuate his point. He continued in a supremely serious tone: “Five unelected judges declared that the marriage laws of all 50 states were now, somehow, transformed into being unconstitutional … That’s not law. That’s not judging. That’s policy-making.”

By Domenick Scudera – Full Story at the Huffington Post

‘Rainbow Profile Pictures for Sex Offenders’ – Homophobia NOT Satire

Sunday, July 12th, 2015
Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was one of 26 million people who used the rainbow filter on his profile picture. SOURCE: Facebook

IT’S LATE – my phone rings. It’s someone I haven’t heard from in a while. I answer.

His greeting is warm, but it sounds like he’s been drinking.

He chats about Facebook – he says he doesn’t use it much but he’s logged in and noticed the rainbow filter on my profile picture, the only one among his list of friends on the site.

He says he is concerned because he has just read an article claiming that sex offenders have been ordered to use rainbow profile pictures on social media so others can easily identify them as potential predators. Click to continue »

Marriage News Watch: Santorum Stands in the Way

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Matt BaumeWith the Supreme Court due to rule on marriage any day now, Presidential ‘candidate’ Rick Santorum says he would fight back against a pro-equality ruling.

He says that states allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry is a violation of his religious freedom, which is an argument a lot people made about interracial marriage in the 60s.

So do couples need to worry about the possibility that Rick Santorum could stop them?

Authored By Matt Baume – See the Full Story at AFER

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Anti-LGBT Bills Become Law in Michigan, North Carolina

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Two states enshrined anti-LGBT discrimination into law yesterday, legalizing dangerously broad “religious freedom” aka right to discriminate laws.

The first one was North Carolina, where the House rushed through a veto override with no time for discussion. The Washington Blade reports:

North Carolina Map

The North Carolina legislature has succeeded in overriding Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of controversial legislation that would enable magistrates to opt out of performing marriages to which they have religious objection, including a same-sex union. The override succeeded in the House on Thursday by a vote of 69-41, which is three votes more than the three-fifths vote needed for the legislative maneuver. The Senate already succeeded in overriding the veto last week by a vote of 32-16. The legislation, Senate Bill 2, would enable magistrates and registers of deeds to opt out of issuing marriage licenses for a period of at least six months to same-sex couples — or any couple — based on a religious objection.

Up north in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder wasted no time signing his own state’s bills. The Washington Blade reports:

Michigan

“Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law on late Thursday morning a package of religious freedom bills seen to enable anti-LGBT legislation in the state’s adoption agencies. Snyder announced he had signed the legislation — House Bills 4188, 4189, 4190 — just one day after the Michigan Senate approved the bills. The Michigan House already passed the bills in March. In a statement, Snyder said he signed the legislation as a means to ensure children without homes in Michigan have access to families to care for them. The new laws are set to go into effect in 90 days.”

Let’s be clear that the laws in both states allow someone to refuse service to anyone, not just gays and lesbians, based on their own personal religious beliefs.

Marriage News Watch: Alabama Could End Marriage Licenses for Everyone

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Matt BaumeAn NBC station in Tennessee is refusing to broadcast footage of a gay soldier who wants to get married.

The governor of North Carolina vetoed a bill that would let state officials turn gay couples away from marriage counters — but the bill’s not dead yet.

And Alabama is actually going through with a threat to stop issuing marriage licenses state-wide — but that might not have the effect they want.

By Matt Baume – Full Story at Marriage News Watch

The Birth of the Left-Wing Wedge Issue

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Gay Wedding

Here’s a little datum that may have slid by you: Gallup has just found that on social issues, the country is now equally split between liberals and conservatives. The question was: “Thinking about social issues, would you say your views are” very conservative, conservative, liberal, or very liberal?

And the answer came back: Grouping the first two into one category and the last two into another, it was a dead heat at 31 percent each. This is pretty close to seismic. Just five years ago, the conservative edge on social issues was 39 to 22 percent. Now it’s totally wiped out. The implications for our electoral politics are obvious and enormous, and I mean good-enormous.

I’m not sure when people started using the phrase “wedge issue.” But we’re all sure what wedge issues are: They’re cultural politics issues used in elections by the right–and always only the right–to drive a wedge into the liberal coalition. Nixon did it expertly, even though the phrase wasn’t in use back then. Reagan did it well, cleaving so many working-class white ethnics away from the Democratic Party. George H.W. Bush and Jim Baker did it–remember Willie Horton (race was the original wedge issue). And Bush the younger and Karl Rove expanded it out to include guns and gays.

Authored By Michael Tomasky – See the Full Story at The Daily Beast

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Marriage News Watch: Alabama’s Lesbian Marriage Penalty

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Matt Baume

Alabama has sent a minister to jail for 30 days for defying a local judge and marrying a lesbian couple.

Irish voters support marriage equality in a landslide, but marriage could still start in America before they start in Ireland.

And one more study shows support for equality on the rise.

Authored By Matt Baume – See the Full Story at AFER

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Matt Baume’s Marriage News Watch – That’s Not How Laws Work

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Matt BaumeTexas is setting itself up for a showdown with the Supreme Court.

A bill to defy the court’s rulings died in the House last week, but anti-gay politicians could find a sneaky way to revive it.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General of Texas refuses to say if he’ll obey the Supreme Court’s ruling in June.

Authored By Matt Baume – See the Full Story at AFER

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