Friday, November 9, 2012

". . . Are you gay?' I said, 'Nobody's perfect.'

Maizie Hirono, newly elected Senator from Hawaii:  
"I'm a woman. I'll be the first Asian woman ever to be elected to the U.S. Senate. I am an immigrant. I am a Buddhist.
"When I said this at one of my gatherings, they said, 'Yes, but are you gay?'
"I said, 'Nobody's perfect.'"

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Catholic Woman’s Loss Transforms into Struggle for Civil Marriage Equality"

Some in Maryland, such as the Maryland Catholic Conference, have stated that civil marriage equality is not needed because same-sex couples enjoy "many" of the legal protections that hetero-couples enjoy.

That would be like saying - as was said a half-century ago - that water fountains need not be de-segregated because there are plenty of water fountains that Black folks could use.

The argument was silly and hurtful then. It is silly and hurtful today.

Case in point:

Charlene Strong (pictured above) lives in Washington State. In 2006, she lost her spouse, Kate Fleming, to a torrential flood. 

In recent years, Strong has been talking about the hurtful mistreatment she received from hospital administrators, and a funeral director who refused to acknowledge her relationship with her deceased spouse. As Strong told the Washington Post:

“They were willing to take the word of someone on the phone, 300 miles away,’
"Who knew her allergies? I did. Who knew what her wishes were? I did."
Her poor treatment at the hands of ostensible care givers and service providers has prompted Strong to campaign to legalize marriage equality.

Strong has continued her commitment to the Catholic Church - despite the campaign against marriage equality, which the hierarchy has mounted. Why? As Strong has said:
‘The church kept me from going crazy after my wife died. They were there to help bury her with tremendous compassion . . ."
“When you leave the church you can’t fix the church. You can’t be part of the discussion.”

Strong speaks to Zags about gay marriage, the Catholic Church - Spokanefavs

Lesbian answers bishop’s call for dialogue on gay marriage - Washington Post

Special thanks to Bondings 2.0, for its report and for the photo (above) : Catholic Woman’s Loss Transforms into Struggle for Equality - Bondings 2.0

Friday, November 2, 2012


With appreciation to MARYLAND JUICE for passing this along to us:

JUICE #3: CATHOLICS FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY BALTIMORE SUN AD - Last Monday, Maryland Juice reported on a full-page ad that appeared in The Baltimore Sun, which made a specious argument asking "Christians" to oppose civil rights. Now a group called Catholics for Marriage Equality is countering the effort with their own full-page ad in The Sun:

Scare Tactics Will Not Work in Maryland: Vote FOR Question Six

The Maryland Catholic Conference has issued a misleading final appeal, urging people to vote against Question Six, which extends marriage equality to gay and lesbian Marylanders.

Here are the reasons the MCC advances against Marriage Equality - followed by their refutation:

MCC: “It is not necessary to redefine marriage in order to provide rights and benefits to other couples.”

Response:  The Marriage Equality law does not "redefine" marriage. When the public schools were opened to Black citizens, the schools were not "redefined" but were simply opened to all citizens. When public accommodations were opened to all, regardless of race, restaurants were not "redefined" but were merely ordered to serve everyone equally. When the Supreme Court told Virginia (and Maryland) that by-racial marriages were legal, marriage was not "redefined" but was merely made legal for marriage partners of all races.

MCC:“Many of the rights and benefits sought by those who want to redefine marriage are already available to domestic partners in Maryland.

Response: T
he MCC forgets to say that in the very recent past, the MCC has opposed civil unions. It is disingenuous in 2012 for the MCC to asset indirectly that some second tier legal status is now, suddenly good enough for gay Marylanders.

MCC: “. . . is not discrimination to believe that marriage is to be between a man and a woman.”

Response: Yes, it is discrimination to bar same-sex couples from going to the courthouse to get a marriage license. 

In the US, under existing laws, the government must have a compelling interest to justify forbidding some citizens from having all the rights enjoyed by other citizens. 

In the case of the right to obtain a marriage license, there is no good reason for the government to forbid a license to same-sex couples and permit it for heterosexual others.

MCC: “We all know and love family members, friends and colleagues who are gay, but reserving marriage for one man and one woman recognizes the uniqueness of that relationship above all other relationships.”

Response: the Church is free to ‘reserve’ its wedding regulations as the Church sees fit. But these ‘reservations’ cannot be made to apply to non-Catholics. 

It is disingenuous to claim to "love" someone while at the same time, campaigning against their civil rights.

MCC: Marriage between one man and one woman has been recognized by both government and religion throughout time and across cultures because it is the only relationship capable of bringing children into the world and providing them with the love of a mother and a father.

Response: Throughout ‘time,’ i.e., many different attitudes and practices have been “recognized” as the marriage norm. Many of these practices are forbidden under modern US law and are no longer followed. 

In the past and in some parts of today's world, multiple wives have been permitted for men. In some cultures, girls and women were (and are) considered chattel, to be bartered or sold into marriage, against their will. 

In colonial Maryland, white women were prosecuted and enslaved, together with their children, if they selected an African slave as a mate. 

Well into US history, wives were not permitted to inherit property. 

Going along with the times, the Catholic Church in Maryland made no objection to these unfair civil laws, which treated women as second class citizens. Like racial segregation, these unfair marriage rules were followed by the Church.

By ending racial segregation, the civil government took the lead and extened civil rights to those whom the Church treated as undeserving of full civic participation. 

Once again, today, the official leaders of the Catholic Church, sadly, are on the wrong side of a civil rights issue.

MCC: Don't be fooled into thinking we can redefine marriage and protect religious freedom. We've seen it too many times already - if marriage is redefined, churches, religiously affiliated institutions, private businesses and individuals will be exposed to lawsuits and harassment just for expressing their religious beliefs about marriage.

Response: These statements are scare tactics. These arguments are no more than a veiled justification for discrimination. 

In Maryland as in the US as a whole, no one can do business with the public and practice discrimination against certain members of the public.

Under existing law, no business or charity can offer services (i.e., adoption) to a heterosexual couple and deny those same services to a same-sex couple.

MCC: “And don't take the Question 6 ballot language at face value. What the new law redefining marriage pretends to offer as religious protections, it then takes away in language that has not been included in what you will read at the polls. According to the actual legislation, religious organizations that accept state or federal funds are excluded from certain religious liberty protections if they partner with the government to provide services to the community.

Response: More scary language, which is intended to justify backdoor discrimination. 

In Maryland, no agency or institution (i.e., Catholic Charities) can take tax money and then turn around and discriminate against taxpayers. 

Claiming the so-called right to practice unlawful discrimination is a very poor argument against the right of citizens to be able to go to the courthouse and obtain a civil marriage license.

Conclusion: using faulty logic and scare tactics, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Maryland - unlike a majority of the laity - is campaigning against the civil rights of gay and lesbian Marylanders. 

The Church is advocating against the civil rights of many Maryland Catholics, including couples and their children, who number in the thousands.

It would be poor public policy to create a two-tier approach to marriage. This is bad for couples, for families, for kids and bad for society.

Vote FOR Question Six in Maryland.

For the complete statement of the MCC, refuted above, click here.

"No one should face discrimination under the law" - Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore Sun Has Endorsed 
Marriage Equality - 
Vote FOR Question Six in Maryland

Maryland's marriage equality law protects religious institutions while affirming the principle that no one should face discrimination under the law
The case for Question 6, which would affirm Maryland's law authorizing same-sex marriage, is simple. It upholds the principle that the law should treat everyone the same. Marriage is both a religious and a civil institution. Churches, synagogues and mosques have always set their own rules about which marriages they recognize, and this law does not change that fact. What it does is to ensure that no Marylander faces discrimination under the law when it comes to one of the state's fundamental institutions.
Opponents of the measure have sought to confuse the issue by warning of unintended consequences of marriage equality. They claim that those who, for religious reasons, oppose same-sex unions will be persecuted. That children will be taught about same-sex marriage in school against their parents' will. That it will somehow rob children of the best possible upbringing.
Those are no more than scare tactics.
[. . . ]

Civil unions and domestic partnerships in some states have sought to afford gay families the same packages of rights and benefits as married couples — a difficult and usually incomplete task, given the number of laws that reference marriage in one way or another. But that approach creates two kinds of marriage — one for straight people and one for gay people — and that inevitably relegates same-sex couples to second-class citizenship.
Maryland's marriage equality law protects the rights of religious institutions to set their own doctrine and practices, but it also affirms the principle that the state's civil laws should not foster discrimination. Everyone deserves to be treated equally under the law, and for that reason, we urge voters to support Question 6.