Tag Archives: United States

Another Red State Nail in the Coffin for Gay Marriage Bans

This doesn’t challenge the Kentucky ban directly, but it clearly prepare the way. In striking down the Kentucky prohibition on recognizing same – sex marriages from other states, the reasons given by Judge Heyburn could be also be used to challenge the ban itself:

  • The ban violates the US Constitution guarantee of equal protection
  • Tradition does not justify marriage statutes that violate individual liberties

Ky. ban on gay marriages from other states struck down

A federal judge Wednesday struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing valid same-sex marriages performed in other states, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II joined nine other federal and state courts in invalidating such bans.

Ruling in a suit brought by four gay and lesbian couples, Heyburn said that while “religious beliefs … are vital to the fabric of society … assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.”

Heyburn said “it is clear that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling throwing out the Defense of Marriage Act, Heyburn struck down the portion of Kentucky’s 2004 constitutional amendment that said “only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky.”

Heyburn did not rule that Kentucky must allow gay marriages to be performed in the state.

In a 23-page ruling, Heyburn said Kentucky’s sole justification for the the amendment was that was it was “rationally related to the legitimate government interest of preserving the state’s institution of traditional marriage.”

But Heyburn noted that over the past 40 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to allow mere tradition to justify marriage statutes that violate individual liberties, such as the ban on interracial marriages that was once the law in Virginia, Kentucky and other states.

via USA Today

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Rev. Chellew-Hodge’s New Year Advice: Keep Pressing “Play”

Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge has some sound New Year’s advice for LGBT Christians, taken from two principles stated by the instructor on an exercise workout CD: persevere, and do not be discouraged by setbacks.

The first of these is “keep hitting `play`”:

When we keep pressing play, we approach each new day as a brand new start, a clean slate. We can put yesterday’s failures, yesterday’s disappointments, yesterday’s disasters behind us and look forward. When we keep pressing play, we keep giving ourselves permission to hope, permission to look forward to what the new year — and every new day — holds. When we keep pressing play, we open ourselves to the Holy mystery that constantly occurs in, through and around us. Continue reading Rev. Chellew-Hodge’s New Year Advice: Keep Pressing “Play”

The Defense of Marriage Act is already losing in the court of public opinion as a case challenging its constitutionality is about to be heard by the US Supreme Court.

A new poll found that 59 percent of Americans are against DOMA after being informed that the law prohibits the federal government from offering benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married.
The percentage of those against DOMA is actually higher than the 52 percent of people in the poll who said they are in favor of gay marriage in general. Also, 62 percent of respondents – including some of those who are against gay marriage – agree that ‘it is discrimination for the federal government to deny marriage protections and benefits to legally married same-sex couples.’
‘The findings of this poll should provide significant headwinds to LGBT advocates and allies and demonstrate to the Court that the thinking behind DOMA is outdated and indefensible,’ said Winnie Stachelberg of the Center for American Progress and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders which commissioned the poll.
The results of the poll are based on a live interviewer telephone survey conducted January 23 – 27 among 802 registered voters in the US.
Federal appeals courts in New York and Boston ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional – rulings appealed to the Supreme Court by the Republicans.
The justices have agreed to hear the New York case which was filed by Edith Windsor who sued because she was required to pay a $350,000 federal estate tax bill. The government does not recognize her marriage to her late wife Thea Spyer.
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Poll: Gay Marriage Gaining Support, Especially Among Catholics

Roman Catholic voters are more accepting of gay marriage than other Americans, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

While same sex unions are approved by 48 percent to 46 percent overall, Catholics give them the thumbs-up by 49 percent to 43 percent, the survey from Quinnipiac University found.

“It seems pretty clear that attitudes toward same-sex marriage in American society are changing rapidly,” said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Connecitcut university’s polling institute.

“While the country remains split on the issue, supporters have come pretty far in the last four years.”

The poll found that men in particular have shifted their position. Four years ago they opposed gay marriage by 61 percent to 31 percent. That figure is now down to 50 percent opposition and 43 percent support. Women now back gay marriage by 52 percent to 42 percent.

The biggest opposition among any group is with white Protestants who oppose it 63 percent to 32 percent.

-more at  NewsMax.

Catholic Campaigns for Marriage Equality in Maine and Maryland Intensify

Seventeen days remain until voters in four states will cast ballots regarding marriage equality’s future in their respective states. In Maine and Maryland, Catholic leaders on each side of the ballot questions are intensifying their efforts to turn Catholics out.  New Ways Ministry had public roles in the campaigns in both states this week.

Governor John Baldacci (center) with New Ways Ministry’s Francis DeBernardo and Sister Jeannine Gramick.

In Maine, where a third of the population are Catholic, former Governor John Baldacci hosted a spaghetti dinner fundraiser in conjunction with Catholics for Marriage Equality to urge Mainers to vote Yes on Question One.

Governor John Baldacci (center) with New Ways Ministry’s Francis DeBernardo and Sister Jeannine Gramick.

Catholics for Marriage Equality, the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination, and Catholics United invited New Ways Ministry co-founder, Sr. Jeannine Gramick, and Executive Director, Francis DeBernardo, to speak at the dinner. The dinner also fundraised for a local homeless shelter defunded by the US bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development after the shelter came out in support for equality in 2009.

Sr. Gramick told those gathered:

“It is not just a vote for lesbian and gay couples and their right, because they do have the right to get married. It is a vote to support families. You can be a good Catholic and vote with your conscience and vote for marriage equality.”

You can watch a news video of the event, including interviews with Governor Baldacci and Sister Gramick by clicking here.

-more at  « Bondings 2.0.

 

U.S. Presbyterian Church at crossroads over gay marriage | Reuters

Midwestern minister Greg Smith is considering an act of ecclesiastical disobedience.

Deeply sympathetic to gay rights since his son, Matty, came out as gay a decade ago, the lifelong Presbyterian told his son he will officiate at his wedding, defying church policy.

“I believe that we’re doing more harm than good prolonging the inevitable,” said Smith, who at 64 is retired but still ministers in Des Moines, Iowa.

“On this issue, there is no mechanism for pastors to express conscientious objection without either defying church authority or demitting from one’s pastoral call. And that’s extremely stressful and distressing.”

Like many other denominations, the Presbyterian Church(U.S.A.), the 10th largest U.S. religion according to the National Council of Churches, is in the grips of a crisis over gay marriage.

The 2.7-million-strong church has lost about 500,000 members over the last decade, and church leaders fear that an endorsement of same-sex marriage could spur an exodus of Christians who view it as incompatible with biblical teachings.

But failing to act could mean the church is viewed as irrelevant and homophobic by young and progressive members.

Earlier this month at its General Assembly, a gathering held every two years, church leaders rejected a constitutional change, by a vote of 338-308, that would have defined marriage as between two people, rather than a man and a woman.

Some have said the church was moving too fast. Just two years ago, the church agreed to open the ranks of its clergy to homosexuals, prompting dozens of congregations to split off to join more conservative denominations or to form their own.

“The Assembly was trying to hold together a broken church with both hands, trying to honor people on both ends of the spectrum who feel pain around the issues of marriage,” said Reverend Aimee Moiso, who led the assembly’s committee on marriage.

“But we did manage something miraculous: In a polarized church and nation, we spent several days trying to figure out a way to stay together across our divisions,” she said.

– more at Reuters.

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(American Lesbian) Pauli Murray bound for sainthood

The late Rev. Pauli Murray, a woman of many accomplishments – civil rights activist, feminist, author, lawyer and the first female African American Episcopal priest – will likely be named in the next few days to The Episcopal Church’s book, “Holy Women, Holy Men.”

Her nomination is up for a vote at the Anglican denomination’s general convention, meeting in Indianapolis through Thursday.

If it passes, Murray will have her own date on the Church calendar, July 1. Later this month, St. Titus’ Episcopal Church, where Murray worshipped, will hold its annual service in celebration of her work. She was born in 1910 and died in 1985. Murray’s impact goes beyond just her racial and gender barrier breaking in the church.

“Pauli Murray’s significance to The Episcopal Church is as a pioneer, as an advocate for racial reconciliation, an agent for social justice, racial and gender equality both in the church and society,” said Rev. Brooks Graebner, rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Hillsborough and member of the steering committee of the Pauli Murray Project based at Duke.

“I would consider her a woman who in many ways anticipated major movements in the life of church and society,” Graebner said.

After being turned away from UNC Chapel Hill’s graduate school in 1938, Murray participated in civil rights protests in the early 1940s and graduated first in her class and the only woman from Howard Law School in 1944. In 1965, she was the first African American to receive a J.S.D. from Yale. A year later, she was a founding member of the National Organization for Women.

Among her law and other publications is the memoir “Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family,” regarded as her seminal work. In it, she talks about growing up multi-racial in Durham’s West End. She became a priest in 1977.

The Episcopal Church’s book of saints, “Holy Women, Holy Men,” is a major revision of “Lesser Feasts and Fasts,” a worship book that included biographies of those commemorated on the church calendar. In 2009, the last time The Episcopal Church General Convention was held, more than 100 women and men were named to the new book in trial usage. Murray is among a handful to be considered at this year’s convention.

Read more: The Herald-Sun 

(What is not stated in the Herald-Sun, but is clearly stated on Wikipedia, is that “She was a lesbian”).

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