Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Via Freedom to Marry:

Freedom to Marry header


I was brought up to believe in the Golden Rule: You should treat others as you want to be treated.

So you can imagine my shock when I heard that my Uncle Ron may have to give up the home he shared with my Uncle Tom, who died in March. Ron and Tom were together for 58 years and they married in California in 2008.

But because the Defense of Marriage Act denies gay spouses the Social Security survivor benefits that would be paid to heterosexual widows and widowers, Ron is not getting the Social Security survivor benefits his husband, Tom, earned.

Freedom to Marry has put together a video to highlight this heartbreaking story. Please take a moment to watch:

For as long as I can remember, Ron and Tom were together. It wasn't until I had gotten to be a bit older that I suddenly put two and two together and asked my father if Uncle Ron and Tom were gay. "Yes. Do you have any questions?" my father asked. "No," I responded. Looking back, I realize the exchange was remarkable in how unremarkable it was.

The conversation took place in the '70s, when there was very little access to information about same-sex couples. Only now do I realize that I had access to the best possible information -- my relationship with my two uncles.

They provided me with a real sense of love and commitment within my family. The marriage discrimination imposed by DOMA contradicts everything I was brought up to believe in.

You've already helped shed light on how DOMA harms same-sex couples and their families when you signed the petition asking Congress to end the "gay tax." Thank you. Now can you encourage others to do the same?


Through all the struggles of a committed relationship, my uncles' love for each other triumphed -- for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.

I only hope that, with your support, no other committed couple faces the same challenges as my Uncles Ron and Tom.

Thank you,

Shari Wallen Taylor

© 2003-2011 Freedom to Marry | http://freedomtomarry.org/unsubscribe

Via JMG: OHIO: Eight Horses Burned To Death In Anti-Gay Arson Attack

Eight horses were burned alive in their barn this weekend in an arson attack on a property owned by a gay man. The words "Fags are freaks" were found spray-painted on the side of the barn.
Seven adult horses and one foal died as a result of an arson fire at 874 West Richards Road in McConnelsville just after 11:30 p.m. on Sunday. Owner Brent Whitehouse said he woke to discover the barn engulfed in flames and immediately called 911, but it was too late. "I couldn't get the door open I could still hear the horses kicking and I tried as hard as I could to get them out and I just couldn't get them out in time," he said. Those who know Brent believe this was a hate crime, explicit words relating to his sexuality were spray painted in large white letters on the side of the barn before the fire was started. "They obviously don't know him very well, because he's a sweet-hearted person and how he lives his lifestyle is nobody's business but his own," said friend Bobbie Nelson.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: TN House Votes To Overturn Nashville's Gay-Friendly Business Ordinance

Earlier this month Nashville's city council approved a law banning the city from doing business with companies that discriminate against their LGBT employees. Yesterday the GOP-dominated state House voted to overturn that law.
The measure sponsored by Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of Franklin was approved 73-24 on Monday. The companion bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate State and Local Government Committee. The proposal would void a Nashville ordinance barring companies that discriminate against gays and lesbians from doing business with the city. Under state law it is illegal to discriminate against a person because of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age or national origin. The Nashville ordinance prohibits companies that discriminate because of sexual orientation or gender identity from receiving city contracts. It does not apply to local governments' hiring policies for their own workers.
(Tipped by JMG reader Tim)

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Church Sign Of The Day

The above message is being displayed on an electronic billboard in Toledo, Ohio. The church has issued the below statement in support of their campaign.
This simple statement is intended to be a gift to those who have experienced hurt and discrimination because of their real or perceived sexual orientation. The Church seeks nothing less than the healing of the world, and Central UMC wants to offer words and acts of healing to those hurt and marginalized. Also, declaring that being gay is a gift from God is a prophetic call to the Church to get out of the business of marginalizing gay and lesbian persons from the Church, and to welcome them as full members.
Refreshing and positive religious news! On JMG!

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Prop 8 Proponents Move To Vacate Judge Vaughn Walker's Ruling Because He's Gay

They've been talking about it for weeks and today Prop 8's backers officially filed to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling overturning the ban of same-sex marriage in California. Because a gay judge cannot possibly be impartial about gay issues.
The sponsors of California's same-sex marriage ban said Monday that the recent disclosure by the federal judge who struck down Proposition 8 that he is in a long-term relationship with another man has given them new grounds to have his historic ruling overturned. Lawyers for the ban's backers filed a motion in San Francisco's U.S. District Court, arguing that Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker should have removed himself from the case or at least disclosed his relationship status because his "impartiality might reasonably be questioned." "Only if Chief Judge Walker had unequivocally disavowed any interest in marrying his partner could the parties and the public be confident that he did not have a direct personal interest in the outcome of the case," attorneys for the coalition of religious and conservative groups that put Proposition 8 on the November 2008 ballot wrote.
Lambda Legal's Jon Davidson reacts:
To say that Judge Walker's should have disclosed his ten-year relationship with another man or that it made him unfit to rule on Proposition 8 is like saying that a married heterosexual judge deciding an issue in a divorce proceeding has to disclose if he or she is having marital problems and might someday be affected by legal rulings in the case. Or that any judge who professes any religious faith is unable to rule on any question of religious liberty or, at a minimum, must disclose what his faith teaches. Much like a suggestion that a female judge could not preside over a case involving sexual harassment or an African American judge could not preside over a case involving race discrimination, Proposition 8's supporters improperly are suggesting that a judge will rule in favor of any litigant with whom he shares a personal characteristic.
American Foundation for Equal Rights reacts:
"This motion is yet another in a string of desperate and absurd motions by Prop 8 Proponents who refuse to accept the fact that the freedom to marry is a constitutional right. They're attempting to keep secret the video of the public trial and they're attacking the judge because they disagree with his decision. Clearly, the Proponents are grasping at straws because they have
NCLR's Shannon Minter reacts:
"This is a desperate and ill-advised move that underscores their inability to defend Prop 8 on the merits. This is not likely to win them any points with the courts, who understandably do not appreciate having the integrity of judges called into question based on such outrageous grounds. This is part and parcel of the underhanded way the Prop 8 campaign itself was run-based on lies, insinuations, and unsupported innuendo."

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Openly Gay Former NBA Player John Amaechi On Kobe Bryant's Fine

Openly gay former NBA player John Amaechi feels Kobe Bryant's "fucking faggot" apology was insincere and that the NBA's fine was appropriate. Amaechi came out in 2007 after his retirement. He remains the only openly gay current or former NBA player.

reposted from Joe

Blog post of the Day:

"Nihilism equals Christianity because Jesus came into the world not to demonstrate what the "natural" order was but to demolish it in the name of charity. Loving one's enemies is not exactly what the natural order prescribes, and more than that, it isn't what naturally happens. so when the Church defends the natural order of the monogamous reproductive family against any act of charity whatever toward (naturally) gay persons or bars women from the priesthood (once again because women are supposed to have a different natural vocation), it shows its preference for the God of the natural order over the message of Jesus. It is no surprise that a church oriented that way is also "naturally" reactionary, always defending the (dis)order in place except when it fringes on the rights of the clergy...Gioacchino da Fiore was a true prophet when he taught in the Middle Ages that the history of salvation passes through moments and phases. Adapting his terminology, we could say that we are living in the age of the Spirit, which is much as to say that we are living in an epoch that through science and technology can dispense with metaphysics and a metaphysical God: a nihilist epoch. An epoch in which our religiosity can finally develop into the form of charity no longer dependent on truth. There is no longer any reason to say, "Plato a friend, but the truth a greater friend." In the past the Church (the Churches, rather) put a whole range of heretics to death for just the reason encapsulated in that phrase. There is not, an not ought to be, anything more than charity, a welcoming toward the other."
  - Gianni Vattimo, A Farewell to Truth, Columbia University Press, 2011  pp 59-60

thanks to BG for this insightful post.