Washington state legislators send a Valentine to gay and lesbian families

What better day to unveil a marriage equality bill (SB 5793) than Valentine’s Day?

OLYMPIA – Lawmakers have chosen today – the day that millions across the country celebrate the bonds of affection shared between two people in love – as the day to introduce major legislation that would no longer restrict gays and lesbians from their right to marry.

Today is not the first time the issue of marriage equality for gays and lesbians and the Valentine’s Day holiday have crossed paths.

In early February of 1998, in what has proven to be the darkest of Valentine’s for gay and lesbian families in our state, the Legislature enshrined discrimination as the law of the land in Washington by overriding the veto of then-Gov. Gary Locke to approve the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.”

This Valentine’s Day, Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, and Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said the night is darkest just before the dawn.

“Over the past several years, the Legislature and the public together have been steadily building a bridge to equality for gay and lesbian families,” said Moeller. He noted the passage of civil rights legislation in 2006 protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment, housing, and financial transactions, and then three successive years of securing broader and broader domestic partnership rights — which included successfully withstanding a hostile referendum challenge at the ballot in 2009.

“We’ve made tremendous progress since 1998,” Murray said. “Gay and lesbian families in Washington now enjoy the same state spousal rights that their married straight friends enjoy – except for the name ‘marriage’. The recognition that their loving, lifelong commitment is no different from the loving, lifelong commitment of straight couples is the final step to achieving full equality. I believe the Legislature and the public are both ready to take that final step.”

Please sign the Marriage Equality petition today and ask friends to do the same.
The pro-equality vote in Washington state has been rising steadily for the past five years.  With a concerted effort, we can put the numbers over the top in 2012.  Recall that in 2009 the Washington electorate was the first in the nation to ratify a same-sex relationship recognition law at the polls, 52.6% to 27.4%.

As Equal Rights Washington reminds us, “The most important thing you can do in support of marriage equality is to talk to your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers about why marriage equality matters to you and people you love. Nothing is more powerful than personal stories.  So let’s keep the conversation going.”

Another way to “get engaged” and help make marriage equality a reality in Washington state by participating in the Equality Day 2011 in Olympia on March 22, 2011.

Equality Day 2011 is your opportunity to engage with your legislators in person. On March 22 you can educate your legislators about your lives. Tell them how the decisions they make help you contribute fully as a member of the community, promote your freedom to love who you love, and live healthy productive lives.  We have many opportunities this year to support our families by creating protections for children and parents in the Uniform Parentage Act, creating a safe and supportive educational environment for our students, promoting awareness of HIV/AIDS and good public health, and making progress toward marriage equality.

Your legislators have their hands on the levers of power, but they need your help to know which way to pull them.

Help Spread the Word! Print and Post an Equality Day 2011 flyer on bulletin boards inside LGBT friendly establishments in your community.

Click here for more information on Equality Day 2011.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

Congressman Introduces Bill Against Gay Families

CongressmanRandyForbesx390 (US House) | Advocate.comA House Republican from Virginia has introduced a bill that would require federal agencies and contractors to describe parents as “mother” and “father” on official documents.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  David Taffet

New Hospital Visitation Regulations for LGBT Families Go into Effect Tuesday

On Tuesday, federal regulations regarding patients’ hospital visitation rights will go into effect.  These new regulations require all hospitals participating in Medicaid and Medicare programs – virtually every hospital in the country – to permit patients to designate visitors of their choosing and prohibit discrimination in visitation based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

Moved by the tragic story of an LGBT family – Janice Langbehn, Lisa Pond and their children – who were kept apart as Lisa lay dying in a Miami hospital, President Obama issued a presidential memorandum in April 2010 directing the Department of Health and Human Services to develop regulations protecting hospital visitation rights.

Visit our Hospital Visitation Guide for information about these regulations and the upcoming changes.

In addition to working with the Obama administration on the hospital visitation issue, our annual Healthcare Equality Index surveys healthcare policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and their families.  For more information about the HEI, as well as resources for hospitals and LGBT patients, visit to www.hrc.org/hei.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

NOM needs to stop peddling in fantasy and face reality about same-sex families

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage, published a Christmas message on the group's blog featuring a picture of him and his family:

Photobucket

Brown looks like he has a wonderful family and he has every right to be proud of them.

But something is bothering me. What's the difference Brown's family and these families:

Photobucket

  Photobucket

None of these families are any different except for the sexual orientation of the parents. Yet it is this one little thing which propels Brown, NOM, and other members of the religious right to oppose not only same-sex marriage, but also same-sex households.  I could cite many studies which easily demonstrate that there is nothing with same-sex households, but sometimes I just feel like I don't need to.

At what point do we recognize the fact that same-sex families having to always have to “prove” themselves is a basic insult?

The truth is we all know of same-sex households which include children and we all know that these children are happy and healthy.  We all know that these households provide children with the love, support, and structure they need to get through life.

To claim that same-sex households are harmful or even push the cynical talking point that same-sex households is an “untested experiment” is an insult to basic intelligence. 

The question that those on the right, Brown included, never seem to want to answer is what makes them the arbiters of what constitutes a “good family.” What gives them the right to create a caste system for families who doesn't fit their narrow idea of an “idealized situation?”

An “idealized situation” is not reality. It's a fantasy.  Reality is the fact that two-parent heterosexual families are not always the best place to raise children. Reality is that sometimes children thrives in single parents households or even same-sex households.

If Brown and company really cared about families or children, they would do something more about the reality rather than to manipulate the fantasy.

By writing this, I mean no disrespect to Brown and I certainly don't mean any disrespect to his family. But it is patently obscene to me that someone will show pride in his family while attempting to deny others the chance to have the same privilege simply because he does not agree with their sexual orientation.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Audio: Ya know, ‘normal’ families, like those where a hetero dad wages daily, unprovoked ‘culture war’ on his LGBT neighbors

6A00D8341C503453Ef013480E952A6970CGay soldiers painted as grenades lying in wait to destroy “normal” families? The word “so-called” used to denigrate loving couples? Monolithic rejection of an entire West Coast city’s values system?

Why it’s just another day at the office for Matt “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love’” Barber:

( click to play)

*AUDIO SOURCE: Rogue Band of Homosexual Activists Chain Themselves to White House Fence Yet Again [Liberty Counsel]

Uhm, “even proponents don’t cite benefits — they simply say it’s about equality“? Well that’s essentially like saying “even accountants don’t cite 2 + 2 — they simply say 4.” Because in both instances, it’s the summation of the parts that leads to the solution — a solution that can be represented in shorthand terms.

Now if you’ll excuse us, Rice-A-Roni executives needs us at the secret “San Francisco-style social experimentation” lab. You did know that company is a front for the homosexual agenda, right?




Good As You

—  admin

“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Hurts Families in Ohio

I am here in Ohio building renewed support for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  Last night in Columbus, family members of active duty personnel  and veterans who have served in the armed forces of the United States of America, sat down to write letters to Senator Voinovich, reminding him that this discriminatory law is one that not only hurts gay and lesbian families—preventing partners from learning of their loved one’s well-being or fate in the war zone—but also reminding him that active duty personnel already serve, without incident, alongside gay and lesbian troops from other countries that allow open service such as Great Britain, Australia, Canada and Israel.  In those nations, gay and lesbian troops, and their families, are treated with respect and dignity.  The same cannot be said for those who serve this country honorably.

Senator Voinovich, who is retiring at the end of the year, has the choice to act honorably himself by recognizing the fundamental discrimination that this law enforces upon the brave men and women who serve our county in uniform.  He can vote to pass the National Defense Authorization Act when it comes before the Senate that includes language to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

If you are a family member of a veteran or active duty service member from Ohio, please call Senator Vonovich’s district office today to ask him to put aside politics and pass the National Defense Authorization Act with language that repeals Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  Click here to find his office near you and make that call.  Time is short.  We need your help.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Florida Department of Children & Families Declines to Pursue Adoption Ban

Today, George Sheldon, Director of Florida’s Department of Children & Families (DCF) announced that the agencies will not appeal an intermediate court ruling that a 1977 prohibition on allowing gays and lesbians to adopt violates the state constitution.   DCF has determined that the ruling is applicable statewide, therefore sexual orientation will no longer be a factor in uniting children with parents.  Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement:

“Today is a victory for children in need of loving families throughout Florida.  Every child deserves a permanent, stable home and now gay and lesbian parents can provide for some of the thousands of children in foster care across the state.  Congratulations to the Gill family. Their tenacity, coupled with stellar representation from the ACLU, led to the end of a 33-year discriminatory ban.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Survey: Acceptance Growing for Gay Families

GAY DADS FATHERS FAMILY X390 (THINKSTOCK) | ADVOCATE.COMThe majority of Americans are widening their view of what it means to be
a family — and same-sex couples with kids fit the definition.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

‘ Gay families aren’t real families’ – a NOM supporter further sinks their phony guise of love

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

One thing that has been deliciously excellent about the National Organization for Marriages' failed marriage tour is it showed NOM supporters in their true homophobic light.

Yesterday, we saw the “state-sanctioned sodomy” guy. Today, its another NOM supporter in Harrisburg.

Watch the entire thing, especially his comparison of gay marriage to pedophilia. But keep a special eye out on his nasty words about gay families and single mother families.

So much for that phony NOM love.

Hat tip to Joe.My.God.

Related post: 
 
A little ' state-sanctioned sodomy' for your Sunday night

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Harry Jackson doesn’t like same-sex families

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

jackson It has been fun to watch members of the religious right spin themselves into oblivion as they try to deal with the Prop 8 decision handed down last week.

But once in a while, one of them says something which makes you angry. For me, it is this piece by Rev. Harry Jackson which appeared on CNN's webpage.

Jackson, probably the most prominent African-American in religious right circles (probably because he is one of a scant few African-Americans in those circles) is claiming that gay marriage will damage families and society.

Jackson repeats the same anti-gay nonsense channeled by the religious right – and dismissed in the Prop 8 decision. But then he says this:

. . .if same-sex marriage becomes legally recognized across the country, our kids will be told that gay marriage is a civil rights issue and that those who oppose it are akin to the racists of history who opposed interracial marriage and supported slavery.

We can teach our children at home that marriage is between a man and a woman, but our children's public schools will teach them that marriage includes same-sex couples. Both would be “equal marriages” under the law.

What might this look like? In Massachusetts, where a ruling legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, kids in public schools are reading books depicting same-sex families. At a California charter school in 2008, kindergartners' parents objected when a school newsletter alerted them to “National Coming Out Day;” a parent told a local ABC-TV affiliate that a teacher at the school screened a film to kindergartners the previous year showing gay families.

While I disagree with Jackson's assessment that those who oppose gay marriage will be thought of as bigots, he makes a good case of why this could happen.

Usually when religious right figures list anecdotes about incidents which happen when lgbts gain marriage rights, non-discrimination rights, etc, the incidents end (albeit not truthfully) with the implication being that if we gave lgbts rights, someone would be deprived of their rights, put in jail,  having to unfairly pay a fine, etc.

But not so in this case.

Jackson is saying that allowing gay marriage would make school acknowledge the presence of lgbt families.

 

What's wrong with that? Schools should be doing this all along because lgbt families exist and children who are in these households attend our nation's schools. Why should they have to be ashamed of their families just to suit the ignorance of others?

According to a report by Gary Gates, Lee M.V. Badgett, Jennifer Ehrle Macomber, Kate Chambers of the Urban Institute:

* More than one in three lesbians have given birth and one in six gay men have fathered or adopted a child.

* An estimated 65,500 adopted children are living with a lesbian or gay parent.

* More than 16,000 adopted children are living with lesbian and gay parents in California, the highest number among the states.

* Gay and lesbian parents are raising four percent of all adopted children in the United States.
.
* An estimated 14,100 foster children are living with lesbian or gay parents.

* Gay and lesbian parents are raising three percent of foster children in the United States.

But in Harry Jackson's world, simple acknowledgment of these families is akin to the war, famine, or plague; scourges that have wiped out past societies.

Sounds like bigotry to me.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright