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:

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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:

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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.

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Facebook to Compensate Employees for Unfair Benefits Tax on Same-Sex Couples

Social media site Facebook announced last week that its United States-based employees who opt to cover their same-sex domestic partners under the company’s medical, dental or vision plans will be eligible for reimbursement to offset the additional federal tax liability incurred by receiving those benefits. 

With this announcement social media giant Facebook joins the small, but growing list of companies that reimburse LGBT employees for taxes on domestic partner health benefits.  Other companies – including Barclay’s, Google, Cisco Systems, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and law firm Morrison & Foerster – have also been following this trend.

The practice of reimbursing employees for taxes on domestic partner health benefits, called grossing up, is important because under current federal law, same-sex couples face the unfair burden of having their health benefits taxed while married opposite-sex couples do not.

HRC applauds Facebook for recognizing the challenges LGBT employees face and doing their part to address these inequities.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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No Same-Sex Couples For DWTS

The producers of Dancing With The Stars have decided that “America isn’t quite ready” to see a same-sex couple compete on the show. The decision comes after Portia de Rossi declined an invitation to be the show’s first contestant to dance in a same-sex pair.

“If Portia had agreed then this would have been a done deal,” an ABC insider tells me. “She was the only star that could have pulled this off without completely offending the program’s conservative viewers.” But since the ‘Arrested Development’ beauty has rejected their offer, producers have decided to wait a few years and “not rush into creating a same-sex dancing couple just to get attention and publicity.” The show has a soft spot for stunt casting — Kate Gosselin, Florence Henderson, Bristol Palin, anyone? — but isn’t yet ready to invite on a same-sex couple. The last time a contestant did anything remotely gay — Margaret Cho’s rainbow dress — she was promptly dumped by viewers.

Last week the same-sex couple on Israel’s version of the show was eliminated.

Joe. My. God.

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NCLR: Frequently Asked Questions About Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in California

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for Californians. This was updated on December 6, 2010. The FAQ is posted in full.


The Appeal – What’s Happening Now and What We Can Expect

On August 4, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker issued a decision in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger concluding that Proposition 8, the California constitutional amendment barring same-sex couples from marrying, violates the United States Constitution. Judge Walker wrote a 136-page decision that analyzed all the evidence submitted in the three-week trial. Thumbnail Link: NCLR's 'Frequently Asked Questions About Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in California'He ruled that Prop 8 violates the federal constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. The group that put Prop 8 on the ballot, known as the Prop 8 “proponents,” has appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard oral argument in the case on December 6, 2010.

1. My partner and I want to get married in California. Now that Judge Walker has ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, when/where/how can we do that?
Same-sex couples in California cannot yet marry because the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “stayed” Judge Walker’s ruling while the appeal is pending. That means that same-sex couples will not be able to get married in California until the appeals court has finished reviewing the case.

Same-sex couples can currently get married in five states in the U.S.: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as Washington, D.C. A number of other countries also allow same-sex couples to marry, including Canada.

Same-sex couples in California can also register as domestic partners, a status that provides most of the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage under state law.

[More below the fold.]

2. How long will the Ninth Circuit take to issue a decision?
The Ninth Circuit is not required to issue its decision within any particular time frame after oral argument, but when an appeal is expedited, the court tends to issue decisions more quickly. It will probably issue a decision within a few weeks or months.

Once the Ninth Circuit rules, the losing side can ask the United States Supreme Court to hear the case. The Supreme Court can choose whether to take the case or to let the Ninth Circuit’s decision stand.

If the Supreme Court takes the case, it could take anywhere from a few months to a year to issue a decision. If the Supreme Court were to get the case sometime in 2011, the soonest we could expect a decision would probably be the spring of 2012.

3. Why is the appeal being heard by a three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit? Will the whole Ninth Circuit ever hear the case?
It is typical for appeals to the Ninth Circuit to be heard by three-judge panels. That is the normal process. The three judges are randomly selected in each case.

After the three-judge panel rules, the losing party can request that a bigger panel of 11 judges review that decision. That is called “rehearing en banc.” All the active judges on the Ninth Circuit would then vote on that request, and rehearing en banc would only be granted if a majority of the Ninth Circuit judges approve it.

4. I’ve heard that there is a question about whether the Prop 8 proponents have “standing” to appeal Judge Walker’s decision. What does that mean and when will that question be decided?
“Standing” means whether a particular person or group has a legal right to appeal a court ruling. As a general rule, in order to have standing to appeal a decision, you must be able to show that you are harmed by it. In the Prop 8 case, Judge Walker said that the Prop 8 proponents may not have standing to appeal because they were not able to show that they would be personally harmed in any way if same-sex couples are permitted to marry.

The Ninth Circuit judges devoted half of the time at the December 6 oral argument to the issue of standing. If the panel decides that neither the Proponents of Prop 8 nor the County of Imperial, which unsuccessfully tried to intervene in the case, has standing to appeal, it will dismiss the appeal. In that event, Judge Walker’s ruling will stand and the State of California will be prohibited from enforcing Prop 8 anywhere in the state.

5. If the Ninth Circuit decides that the Prop 8 supporters don’t have standing to bring an appeal, would they be able to appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court? Or does the case stop there?
If the Ninth Circuit rules that the Prop 8 proponents don’t have standing to bring an appeal, the proponents could ask the Supreme Court to review that decision. The Supreme Court could choose to hear that appeal or to let the Ninth Circuit’s decision stand.

The Effect the Ruling Will Have on Marriage Laws Across the Country

6. I live in a state other than California. Does Judge Walker’s decision mean that same-sex couples can now get married in every state? If not, would that be the result of a decision from the Ninth Circuit, or the Supreme Court?
Judge Walker’s decision is just about California, but other courts could apply his language and logic to other discriminatory marriage laws across the country.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over all the states in the Ninth Circuit, which include Alaska, Washington, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii. If the Ninth Circuit decides that Prop 8 violates the federal constitution, it could issue a broad ruling that that applies to all of the states in the Ninth Circuit or it could issue a narrower ruling that only applies to California.

Similarly, if the Supreme Court decides that Prop 8 violates the federal constitution, it could strike down all state marriage bans across the country or it could focus only on Prop 8.

7. If Prop 8 is eventually struck down for good by the Ninth Circuit or the Supreme Court, and a same-sex couple gets married in California, will that marriage be recognized in other states or by the federal government?
A victory in the Prop 8 case will not automatically require other states or the federal government to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who marry in California. Right now, at least seven states and the District of Columbia recognize marriages between same-sex couples. Those states include the five states that permit same-sex couples to marry: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as Washington, D.C. In addition, New York and Maryland do not permit same-sex couples to marry within their borders, but they recognize marriages from other places. Unfortunately, many other states deny recognition to marriages between same-sex couples.

The federal government currently doesn’t recognize any marriages between same-sex couples due to the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Legal challenges to DOMA, brought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and the ACLU, are underway in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. In the Massachusetts case, a federal district court ruled in July 2010 that the part of DOMA prohibiting the federal government from recognizing valid marriages of same-sex couples is unconstitutional. That decision has been stayed (i.e., put on hold) pending an appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

8. If the Ninth Circuit or the Supreme Court ultimately rules that Prop 8 is constitutional, what will that mean for the fight for marriage equality in California? Will it be over for good?
The fight for marriage equality in California will still go on, even if Judge Walker’s decision is overturned on appeal. Prop 8 can always be repealed by another ballot initiative – and in fact, efforts in support of a repeal measure are currently underway. Contact Equality California to find out how you can get involved: www.EQCA.org.

9. What will be the effect on other states if the Supreme Court rules that Prop 8 is constitutional? Will that mean that same-sex couples can no longer marry in states like Massachusetts?
Prop 8 is blatantly unconstitutional, and the United States Supreme Court should affirm Judge Walker’s decision striking it down. But even if the Supreme Court reverses Judge Walker’s decision and says that Prop 8 is valid, that would not take away equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in any states where it’s currently legal. State courts would still be free to strike down marriage bans under their state constitutions, just like the state supreme courts in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa have already done. And state legislatures (and Congress) would still be free to repeal marriage bans.

Current Marriage and Domestic Partnership Rights in California

10. My partner and I are registered as domestic partners with the state of California, but we want to get married as soon as it’s allowed. Will we need to dissolve our domestic partnership in order to marry?
You do not need to dissolve your domestic partnership in order to marry your domestic partner. Under California law, an individual can be married and in a registered domestic partnership at the same time, as long as it’s with the same person. As a practical matter, it is a good idea to do both to get the maximum legal protection.

11. We got married in California between June 16, 2008 and November 5, 2008. Is our marriage still recognized in California?
Yes. In 2009, in the case of Strauss v. Horton, the California Supreme Court held that it would be unconstitutional to take away the marriages of same-sex couples who married in California before Prop 8 passed. If you married in California during that period, your marriage is completely valid and entitled to full recognition and respect.

12. If my partner and I got married in another state or country before Prop 8 passed, does California recognize our marriage? Should we remarry in California when we can?
California fully recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples who married outside of California before Prop 8 passed (Nov. 5, 2008). If you married in another state or country before Nov. 5, 2008, you are entitled to full recognition as married under California law. There is no need to remarry in California.

For more details about the current rights of same-sex couples who get married outside of California, please see www.NCLRights.org/SB54FAQ.

13. If my partner and I got married in another state or country after Prop 8 passed, will California recognize our marriage? Should we remarry in California when we can?
Same-sex couples who marry outside California after November 5th, 2008 currently have all of the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of marriage under California law except for the name “marriage.” That means the state of California will treat you as married, but it cannot officially recognize your marriage as a marriage.

If Judge Walker’s decision is upheld on appeal, same-sex couples who are already married will not need to remarry in California. Marriages between same-sex couples from other states or countries will be recognized as valid marriages in California, no matter when the couple got married.

For more details about the current rights of same-sex couples who get married outside of California, please see www.NCLRights.org/SB54FAQ

Winning Marriage Equality Across the Country

14. How can we help in the fight to win marriage equality in every state?
The only way we can ultimately win marriage equality across the entire country is to build public support for full inclusion and acceptance of our relationships and families. That will give legislators and courts the confidence they need to do the right thing and repeal or strike down discriminatory marriage laws. Polls show that around half of the public supports marriage equality, but we need to make that number higher. All of us can help make that happen by talking to everyone we know about why marriage equality is important to us.

To find out other ways you can get involved with the marriage equality fight in your state, contact your local LGBT-rights organization. You can find a listing of the statewide groups at www.EqualityFederation.org/template.aspx?id=502. For information about how to get involved in California, contact Equality California at www.EQCA.org.



For more information about your legal rights and how to protect your family, you can contact NCLR’s helpline anytime at www.NCLRights.org/GetHelp or call 415.392.6257 or toll-free 1.800.528.6257.

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Pew Poll: Support for Same-Sex Marriage Reaches New Milestone.

Yesterday, Back in October Pew Research announced that for the first time in 15 years of polling, fewer than half of those surveyed oppose same-sex marriage.

Do you strongly favor, favor, oppose, or strongly oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally?

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While a plurality still say they oppose same-sex marriage, no one can miss the historical trend.  Since 1996 the gap between those say they support same-sex marriage and those who do not has gone from 38% down to 6%, narrowing by a little more than 2% a year.  Since 2005, the gap has narrowed by 11%, just about 2% a year as well.  Past performance is no guarantee of the future, but if the trend holds we can expect that in a little less than 3 years the Pew polling will be showing plurality support for equal marriage rights.
The Pew Poll asks a two-way question: do you favor same-sex marriage or not?  There is a variant that other polls ask, a three-way question: traditional marriage only, civil unions, or marriage equality?

CBS has asked this three-way question for the past seven years now.  Here are the trendlines connecting CBS's first polling result in 2004 with their most recent in 2010:

Which comes closest to your view? Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry. OR, Gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry. OR, There should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship.”

marriage-equality

The CBS results are consistent with the Pew Poll. Somewhere around 40% of Americans now support marriage equality, even when given the choice of civil unions. Almost all of those opting for civil unions come from the pool of people against same-sex marriage, it seems. The CBS results are also consistent with recent polling in Illinois, which suggested that 67% of the voters supported the recently-enacted civil unions bill.  (The CBS results show that 70% currently support marriage equality or civil unions.)

Some other interesting results from the latest Pew Survey:

  • Only 53% of Democrats support same-sex marriage. That's a lot better than 24% of Republicans, but still leaves room for a huge increase in support.
  • Only 53% of younger voters (18-29) support same-sex marriage.  Again, much better than the 28% of those age 65 or older, but leaving a lot of room for improvement.
  • Atheists and agnostics supported equal marriage rights at a whopping 80%, followed by those of the Jewish faith at 76%.  White Evangelicals unsurpisingly came in lowest at 20%.

A few other polls have shown stronger support for equal marriage rights, but the questions have been worded very differently.  For example, an AP poll:

“Should the federal government give legal recognition to marriages between couples of the same sex, or not?”

Should: 52%  Should not: 45%

And a recent CNN poll:

“Do you think gays and lesbians should have a constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law as valid?”

Yes: 52%  No: 46%

What's the bottom line?  It is quite clear the support for equal marriage rights will soon reach a plurality of Americans if trends continue, and may be there already. It is unlikely that a majority as yet support same-sex marriage but, unless society makes a U-turn, that day is going to come sooner rather than later.  But majority support in and of itself is not enough, as has been amply demonstrated these past months in Congress. This is not a struggle that will be over soon…

Pew also asked about Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Americans support repeal of DADT by a 2:1 ratio, 60% – 30%.  These results are consistent with the average of other polls on the subject taken this year, and represents one of the most popular actions that Congress could take.

What I found particularly interesting about their DADT results is that of all 30 crosstab categories provided by Pew, only two groupings did not favor DADT repeal.  Can you guess which two?  I knew you could:

Conservative Republicans: 39% favor, 50% against.
White Evangelicals: 43% favor, 47% against.

And it's even pretty close — probably within the margin of error — for White Evangelicals! Every single other demographic grouping they listed favored repeal by a statistically significant amount.

Still, the President can't even get his Generals to support him on this.

Sigh.
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Israel Says Goodbye To Dancing With The Stars’ First Same-Sex Pairing

It was fun while it lasted: Israel's same-sex dancing partners Gili Shem Tov (the married lesbian sportscaster) and Dorit Milman (her professional partner) were voted off the country's Dancing With The Stars, thus becoming the first gay pairing of the TV franchise to appear, and disappear.


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Queerty

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 Hawaii Could Legalize Same-Sex Unions

HAWAII GAY TOURISM X300 | ADVOCATE.COMSame-sex civil unions in Hawaii could become state law next year, following the election victory of pro-gay rights Democratic Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie and the rejection of many church-backed candidates.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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Transcript of Q and A with the President about DADT and Same-sex marriage

This doesn’t happen every day, so I’m posting on both sites.

As John reported, I attended a question-and-answer session at the White House with President Obama today. There were five progressive bloggers, including Barbara Morrill from DailyKos, Duncan Black a.k.a. Atrios, Oliver Willis and John Amato from Crooks and Liars.

As you know, the President has not answered any questions from anyone in the LGBT media or blogosphere. And, our community has a lot of questions for the President. So, I decided to focus my questions on gay issues of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and same-sex marriage.

Here are the questions I asked. (I’m the “Q”:

Q I was glad to hear that you and your staff appreciate constructive feedback.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that’s something we enjoy. (Laughter.)

Q We’ve been more than willing to offer that. We’ve certainly been more than willing to offer than from AMERICAblog, particularly on issues related to the LGBT community, which, you know, there is a certain amount of disillusionment and disappointment in our community right now.

And one of the things I’d like to ask you — and I think it’s a simple yes or no question too — is do you think that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is unconstitutional?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s not a simple yes or no question, because I’m not sitting on the Supreme Court. And I’ve got to be careful, as President of the United States, to make sure that when I’m making pronouncements about laws that Congress passed I don’t do so just off the top of my head.

I think that — but here’s what I can say. I think “don’t ask, don’t tell” is wrong. I think it doesn’t serve our national security, which is why I want it overturned. I think that the best way to overturn it is for Congress to act. In theory, we should be able to get 60 votes out of the Senate. The House has already passed it. And I’ve gotten the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to say that they think this policy needs to be overturned — something that’s unprecedented.

And so my hope and expectation is, is that we get this law passed. It is not just harmful to the brave men and women who are serving, and in some cases have been discharged unjustly, but it doesn’t serve our interests — and I speak as Commander-in-Chief on that issue.

Let me go to the larger issue, though, Joe, about disillusionment and disappointment. I guess my attitude is that we have been as vocal, as supportive of the LGBT community as any President in history. I’ve appointed more openly gay people to more positions in this government than any President in history. We have moved forward on a whole range of issues that were directly under my control, including, for example, hospital visitation.

On “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I have been as systematic and methodical in trying to move that agenda forward as I could be given my legal constraints, given that Congress had explicitly passed a law designed to tie my hands on the issue.

And so, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think that the disillusionment is justified.

Now, I say that as somebody who appreciates that the LGBT community very legitimately feels these issues in very personal terms. So it’s not my place to counsel patience. One of my favorite pieces of literature is “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and Dr. King had to battle people counseling patience and time. And he rightly said that time is neutral. And things don’t automatically get better unless people push to try to get things better.

So I don’t begrudge the LGBT community pushing, but the flip side of it is that this notion somehow that this administration has been a source of disappointment to the LGBT community, as opposed to a stalwart ally of the LGBT community, I think is wrong.

And:

Q So I have another gay question. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: It’s okay, man. (Laughter.)

Q And this one is on the issue of marriage. Since you’ve become President, a lot has changed. More states have passed marriage equality laws. This summer a federal judge declared DOMA unconstitutional in two different cases. A judge in San Francisco declared Prop 8 was unconstitutional. And I know during the campaign you often said you thought marriage was the union between a man and a woman, and there — like I said, when you look at public opinion polling, it’s heading in the right direction. We’ve actually got Republicans like Ted Olson and even Ken Mehlman on our side now. So I just really want to know what is your position on same-sex marriage?

THE PRESIDENT: Joe, I do not intend to make big news sitting here with the five of you, as wonderful as you guys are. (Laughter.) But I’ll say this –

Q I just want to say, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you this question.

THE PRESIDENT: Of course.

Q People in our community are really desperate to know.

THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s a fair question to ask. I think that — I am a strong supporter of civil unions. As you say, I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage.

But I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents.

And I care about them deeply. And so while I’m not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it’s fair to say that it’s something that I think a lot about. That’s probably the best you’ll do out of me today. (Laughter.)

Q It is an important issue, and I think that –

THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s an entirely fair question to ask.

Q And part of it is that you can’t be equal in this country if the very core of who you are as a person and the love — the person you love is not — if that relationship isn’t the same as everybody else’s, then we’re not equal. And I think that a lot of — particularly in the wake of the California election on Prop 8, a lot of gay people realized we’re not equal. And I think that that’s — that’s been part of the change in the –

THE PRESIDENT: Prop 8, which I opposed.

Q Right. I remember you did. You sent the letter and that was great. I think that the level of intensity in the LGBT community changed after we lost rights in that election. And I think that’s a lot of where the community is right now.

THE PRESIDENT: The one thing I will say today is I think it’s pretty clear where the trendlines are going.

Q The arc of history.

THE PRESIDENT: The arc of history.

And:

Q Well, can I ask you just about “don’t ask, don’t tell,” just following up? (Laughter.) I just want to follow up. Because you mentioned it -

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, sure. Go ahead.

Q Is there a strategy for the lame-duck session to –

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q — and you’re going to be involved?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q Will Secretary Gates be involved?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not going to tip my hand now. But there is a strategy.

Q Okay.

THE PRESIDENT: And, look, as I said –

Q Can we call it a secret plan? (Laughter.) [Note: this wasn't me]

THE PRESIDENT: I was very deliberate in working with the Pentagon so that I’ve got the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs being very clear about the need to end this policy. That is part of a strategy that I have been pursuing since I came into office. And my hope is that will culminate in getting this thing overturned before the end of the year.

Now, as usual, I need 60 votes. So I think that, Joe, the folks that you need to be having a really good conversation with — and I had that conversation with them directly yesterday, but you may have more influence than I do — is making sure that all those Log Cabin Republicans who helped to finance this lawsuit and who feel about this issue so passionately are working the handful of Republicans that we need to get this thing done.

Q Yes, I don’t have that relationship with them. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: But, I mean, it’s just — I don’t understand the logic of it.

Q Nor do I.

THE PRESIDENT: You’re financing a very successful, very effective legal strategy, and yet the only really thing you need to do is make sure that we get two to five Republican votes in the Senate.

And I said directly to the Log Cabin Republican who was here yesterday, I said, that can’t be that hard. Get me those votes.

Because what I do anticipate is that John McCain and maybe some others will filibuster this issue, and we’re going to have to have a cloture vote. If we can get through that cloture vote, this is done.




AMERICAblog Gay

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LDS Apostle in sermon: Same-sex attraction can change; no unions other than traditional marriage

Here we go again…hardly breaking news, but just more reinforcement from the decrepit head of the LDS. Boyd K. Packer, president of the church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles:

“There are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature.”

I’m wondering why this lesson was worth repeating. Does the Mormon hierarchy feel under pressure?

Packer, speaking from his seat because of his frail health, addressed more than 20,000 members gathered in the LDS Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City and millions more watching the faith’s 180th Semiannual General Conference via satellite.

The senior apostle drew on the church’s 1995 declaration, “The Family: A Alluding to the Utah-based church’s support of laws such as California’s Proposition 8 that would define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman, Packer said, “Regardless of the opposition, we are determined to stay on course.”

Laura Compton, who directs Mormons4Marriage, a group of Latter-day Saints who opposed Proposition 8 and support marriage equality in California and elsewhere, was troubled by Packer’s sermon.

“So many Mormons have worked hard to increase understanding of what homosexuality is and what it means to be faithful,” Compton said in a phone interview from her California home. “Now we have this [anti-gay] message coming from the pulpit in General Conference by the president of the Quorum of the Twelve. It seems like hitting a brick wall. Hopefully, this won’t make people stop and say, ‘It wasn’t worth it.’

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Same-Sex Partners Included in Menendez Immigration Reform Bill

Yesterday, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced  a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill, which reports indicate includes the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).  UAFA allows United States citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for family-based immigration.

UAFA would provide lesbian and gay individuals the same opportunity as different-sex, married couples to sponsor their partner.  The United States lags behind 19 countries that recognize same-sex couples for immigration purposes: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

UAFA, as a standalone bill, was introduced in the 111th Congress by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in the Senate and by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in the House.  On June 3, 2009, the Senate Judiciary Committee held the first-ever congressional hearing on UAFA.  UAFA was also included in the outline of a CIR proposal (known as REPAIR) by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Robert Menendez that was released on April 29, 2010.

Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) included UAFA in the Reuniting Families Act introduced in the House in 2009.  Senator Menendez’s CIR bill marks the first time UAFA has been included in a CIR bill in the Senate.  HRC thanks Senator Menendez for his continued leadership in the Senate on this issue.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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