President Obama issues memorandum on protecting LGBTs abroad

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Four days in advance of  Human Rights Day on Saturday, Dec. 10,  President Barack Obama today issued a presidential memorandum “to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” according to a statement just released by the White House press office.

The statement sent out by the White House includes these comments by the president:

“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights.  I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation.  That is why I declared before heads of state gathered at the United Nations, “no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”  Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.  Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.”

The memorandum from Obama directs agencies to combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad; engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination, and report on progress.

I give the president credit for issuing the memorandum at the same time he’s gearing up for what will likely be a tough re-election campaign during which opponents will no doubt use his stance and actions on LGBT issues against him. But I still have to point out that we as LGBT people still face discrimination and inequality right here in the good old U.S.-of-A:

• Our marriages are legally recognized at the federal level and they aren’t recognized in the VAST majority of state and local jurisdictions. We want the Defense of Marriage Act repealed and local and state ordinances and constitutional amendments prohibiting recognition of our relationships need to be overturned.

• There is still no federal protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/gender expression and gender identity. Congress needs to pass — the president needs to sign — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

• Even though there is now a federal hate crimes law that includes LGBT people, as well as similar laws at many state and local levels, those laws are not well enforced.

Anti-LGBT bullying remains a deadly problem in our schools and our workplaces and on the Internet. We’ve made progress in combating such bullying, but not nearly enough. Dedicate the resources necessary to address the issue effectively.

So let’s applaud our president for the steps he has — and is — taking. There’s no doubt Obama has been more open than any other president about addressing LGBT issues and we have seen great strides forward toward equality during his administration. But there’s a long way to go yet, and we need to make sure that the president — and all our elected officials — know they can’t just rest on their laurels.

—  admin

What’s Shakin’ – Siriano at Galleria, Voter turnout continues to lag

Christian Siriano

Christian Siriano

1. As previously reported by Houstini, Project Runway Season 5 winner Christian Siriano’s coming to the Houston Galleria Payless Shoe store today to show off his expanded Payless collection, including an assortment of shoes and handbags. Siriano will be available for photos with his “fierce” -ly loyal fans. The posing and pouting kick off at 5 pm at the Galleria, 5061 Westheimer Road.

2. Voter turnout continues to be paltry. So far 40,189 people have voted, only 71% of the 55,152 who had voted by this point during the 2009 municipal elections.  Early voting continues through November 4.  Election day is Nov 8. A list of all early voting locations and sample ballots  are available at harrisvotes.org.

3. Yesterday Rep. Todd Akin, R – MO, who successfully introduced an amendment to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act earlier this year which would prohibit same-sex marriages from being performed on U.S. military bases, delivered a letter to the Senate calling on them to pass similar legislation.  The letter was signed by 86 members of the 435 member House, including 7 Texans, all Republicans: Mike Conaway, Francisco Canseco, Louie Gohmert, Ralph Hall, Sam Johnson, Michael McCaul and Randy Nuegebauer.

—  admin

Wyoming GOP Plans To Block Recognition Of Gay Marriages From Other States

GOP lawmakers in Wyoming plan to introduce legislation banning the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states. Such a move failed in 2009, but the plan is to put the issue to voters.

State law defines marriage as a legal union between a man and woman, but Wyoming also recognizes marriages performed in other states. Rep. Owen Petersen of Mountain View says that raises questions about what happens when gay couples from other states move to Wyoming. Petersen and Sen. Curt Meier of LaGrange say they plan to co-sponsor a resolution that would let voters decide whether to amend the state constitution to clarify.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Illinois Family Institute: Civil Unions Will Lead To Polygamous Marriages

The Illinois Family Institute, a SLPC-certified hate group, says that if civil unions are approved in Illinois, polygamous marriages will be next.

Section 10 of this bill states that any partner in a civil union shall be legally considered a “spouse” and “family.” “This is same-sex marriage sans the name,” said David E. Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute. “That is simply something that American voters have rejected time and time again. Voters in 31 states have rejected redefining marriage and family at the ballot box. The people in Illinois are no different.”

Those who want to redefine marriage often insist that the only necessary qualification for marriage is “love.” Under that rationale, there can logically be no boundaries as to what constitutes marriage. Any combination or number of consenting individuals must ultimately gain the same legal and societal sanction as traditional marriage. While love is vital, it is not the definitive element of marriage, and love is certainly not the concern of government. We love many people we do not marry.

RELATED: Last week the Illinois Family Institute declared that Dan Savage promotes “anti-Christian evil” and therefore no public figure should associate themselves with the It Gets Better Project. The IFI also supports the repeal of any laws offering civil rights or hate crimes protections to LGBT Americans. From 2003-2006 the executive director of the IFI was Porno Pete LaBarbera.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Finnish Lutherans Approve Church Ceremonies For Gay Unions, So Long As Nobody Calls Them Marriages

Voting 73-30 on Friday to let churches hold prayer services for same-sex civil unions, the Synod of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church approved "blessing ceremonies" for The Gays, stopping short of letting anyone call these things marriages. "The decision accepts the human value of every person," says Archbishop Kari Mäkinen, who was glad to see the measure pass. "No type of insulting or denigrating attitude toward homosexual people is acceptable. But at the same time, this keeps marriage as a union between a man and a woman." (NB: In Finland, domestic partnerships have been legal since 2002, though Parliament is expected to take up gay marriage and adoption legislation next year.) But it was Wille Riekkinen, the bishop of Kuopio (pictured), who had the best commentary: "Let’s adjust our pacemakers, and show a bit of respect toward all people," he says, shooting down conservative opposition to recognizing gay marriages because the Bible supposedly says so. "Or should we not eat our Christmas ham this year? It is one of the things that are prohibited in the Fifth Book of Genesis."


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—  admin

Connecticut Civil Unions became Civil Marriages Today!

H/T Ron

Here is a happy note to end the week on: Today, October 1st, 2010, all civil unions already entered into in Connecticut automatically become marriages.  The state stopped accepting CU applications on September 30th, so so from now on its the gold standard of marriage for all couples in Connecticut.

This upgrade is the result of the April 23, 2009 passage of “An Act Implementing the Guarantee of Equal Protection Under the Constitution of the State for Same Sex Couples” (Public Act 09-13) by the Connecticut Legislature.  The new law was the natural follow-on to GLAD‘s successful win in the Kerrigan & Mock v. Connecticut Dept. of Public Health case where the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to full marriage equality.  With the passage of Public Act 09-13, Connecticut does away with the inherently discriminatory part of the former two-tiered system.  In other words, once the court ruled that every couple must have the freedom to marry, it was time to retire the civil unions system and put all couples on the level playing field of marriage.

I want to thank Ron, who alerted me to today’s historic event, for illustrating so beautifully on his blog the difference between civil unions and civil marriage with these pictures:

Rocco & Ron, Civil Union, October 1st, 2005 Rocco & Ron Marriage, October 1st, 2010

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Audio: First the gay marriages, then the pledge-ripping, gun-banning, homeschool closures

The audio version is even worse than the video:



Gabcast! Iowa for Freedom #1 – Send Them a Message

These folks really have to stop seeing the courts as partisan organizations with monolithic, anti-Christian conservative views! The reality is that gay unions affect guns about as much as a mountain affects a mole hill. Or actually less: The mountain might actually provide the moles with both a nice view and nice shade, whereas even shotgun gay marriages have no other intended scattershot.

Never has there ever been a better time or reason for Iowans to invest in satellite radio or an iPod.




Good As You

—  John Wright

Texas AG Gregory Abbott Prevails: State Won’t Recognize Gay Marriages Long Enough to Grant Divorces

texasmap

Homosexuals in Texas cannot marry, but for a nearly a year they had high hopes they could get divorced. Until today, when a federal appeals court in Dallas overturned October's ruling that said Jeffrey and Henry Buck's marriage of two years could be ended in a Texas court under the 14th Amendment.

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—  John Wright

Newt’s three marriages pose do pose problems besides the hypocrisy

Newt wants to be President. He’s been out there giving speeches and working the circuit. And, you remember, he was one of the first right-wingers to condemn the Prop. 8 decision, which was a blatant display of hypocrisy given his three marriages.

Newt seems to think that won’t matter according to one of his ex-wives, Marianne. She relayed to Esquire her conversation with Newt after she found out about his ongoing affair:

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He’d just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he’d given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, “How do you give that speech and do what you’re doing?”

“It doesn’t matter what I do,” he answered. “People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”

But, apparently, it does.

Over the weekend, GOP Senator Tom Coburn declared would he wouldn’t support Newt because of of marital history :

Gingrich “is a super-smart man, but he doesn’t know anything about commitment to marriage,” he said of the thrice-married former House speaker. “He’s the last person I’d vote for for president of the United States. His life indicates he does not have a commitment to the character traits necessary to be a great president.”

I don’t often agree with Tom Coburn, but I’d surely agree with him about Newt’s lack of character.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Presbyterian Church: Rev. Jane Adams Spahr Violated Constitution With Gay Marriages, But We Love Her Anyhow

The Rev. Jane Adams Spahr was totally out of line when she married 16 gay couples back when California legalized it for 12 seconds. So says the Presbyterian Church, which took Spahr to church court or whatever, concluding she violated the church's constitution in officiating the unions.

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