Tuesday, April 8, 2014

QOTD: John Lewis on civil rights

Civil rights pioneer Rep John Lewis:
And today I think more than ever before, we have to speak up and speak out to end discrimination based on sexual orientation. Dr. King used to say when people talked about blacks and whites falling in love and getting married — you know one time in the state of Virginia, in my native state of Alabama, in Georgia and other parts of the South, blacks and whites could not fall in love and get married. And Dr. King took a simple argument and said races don’t fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married. It’s not the business of the federal government, it’s not the business of the state government to tell two individuals that they cannot fall in love and get married. And so I go back to what I said and wrote those lines a few years ago, that I fought too long and too hard against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up and fight and speak out against discrimination based on sexual orientation. 
And you hear people “defending marriage.” Gay marriage is not a threat to heterosexual marriage. It is time for us to put that argument behind us. 
You cannot separate the issue of civil rights. It is one of those absolute, immutable principles. You’ve got to have not just civil rights for some, but civil rights for all of us.
(H/T BoxTurtle Bulletin) 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Honeymaid responds to the hate (Video Sunday)

Lots of people didn't like Honeymaid's ad that featured a same sex couple. Showing corporate backbone, Honeymaid did this:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Congratulations, England and Wales!

Marriages start tonight.

Prime Minister David Cameron writes,
When people’s love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change. 
 The introduction of same-sex civil marriage says something about the sort of country we are. It says we are a country that will continue to honour its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth. It also sends a powerful message to young people growing up who are uncertain about their sexuality. It clearly says ‘you are equal’ whether straight or gay. That is so important in trying to create an environment where people are no longer bullied because of their sexuality – and where they can realise their potential, whether as a great mathematician like Alan Turing, a star of stage and screen like Sir Ian McKellen or a wonderful journalist and presenter like Clare Balding. 
 ... I hope we can also be a country that is growing stronger socially because we value love and commitment equally. Let us raise a toast to that – and all those getting married this weekend.
Would we could say the same.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Politically correct purges: JUST STOP IT

Does anyone remember Richard Grenell? He went to work for the Romney campaign and was hounded out when Evangelicals became outraged to discover he was gay. His being gay had nothing to do with the Romney campaign (after all, the anti-gay message is pretty strong in  Republican presidential campaigns) and nothing to do with his job. He was essentially not allowed to continue simply for being gay.

Cue the outrage: the man was hounded out of his job because he is gay.

Well, it's happening again.

Mozilla/Firefox has appointed Brendan Eich as its CEO: a man who supported Prop8 by giving a donation to the campaign. The company itself has a good diversity profile; there's no evidence that he's going to change that. In fact, he specifically that there won't be changes. But, based on a personal donation he made 6 years ago, some developers have called for a boycott of the browser. Simply because they disagree with the personal politics of the CEO.

Now, readers of this blog know that I was an ardent opponent of Prop8. As a gay, married Californian, I have a strong interest in this fight.

And I will tell you that boycotting Mozilla over the personal opinion of Brendan Eich against gay marriage is outrageous.

Look, we promote the idea that people who oppose marriage equality should live in peace in the secular sphere. It's the price of having a socially diverse civil polis. We promote tolerance. WE say we can live together even if we disagree.

Not if we're doing this sort of politically correct thought-policing, we can't.

This is no different than the firing of Richard Grenell. Or, to use another example from the news today, no different from the reversal of the World Vision charity which now says it will never, ever, hired a married gay person.

Indeed, it ties into the Hobby Lobby case currently before the Supreme Court, by saying a company has the right to control the personal behavior of its employees.

Their thoughts, if you will.

You will be assimilated, or you will be fired.

From the American Conservative: (my emphases!), an excellent piece on why we have to stop these purges:
Balkanized businesses, which only hire employees or leaders that are politically palatable to their donors and customers aren’t economically or socially efficient. Instead of creating weak-tie relationships across ideological divides, they segregate people who disagree, fostering a fear of contamination by association. This exclusionary approach raises the stakes of political conflict dangerously high. When the losing side of a debate is blacklisted, all disputes become wars of annihilation. 

When Eich donated to Proposition 8, his state was split on the issue; the measure passed by a 4.5 percent margin. If, less than a decade later, the losers of that fight are unemployable, the next group on the losing side of a historical shift has every reason to fight dirtier, while time is still on their side….

But neither side benefits from policing orthodoxy as tightly as these boycotts would do. World Vision made its policy shift in the service of this kind of neutrality; since some of the churches it worked with and the states it operated in recognize gay marriage, World Vision would respect, but not praise, their policies. That turned out to be unacceptable to its donors, who saw anything less than exclusion as tacit endorsement.

A healthy body politic requires that there be room to be wrong and still belong to normal society and commerce. A society that won’t live together can’t learn from each other.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Christian Charity will hire married gay people

Across the usual feeds this morning is the report that an Evangelical-founded Christian charity called World Vision will hire married LGBT people.
Based in Washington state and started by evangelicals, World Vision now has an international operating budget of nearly $1 billion and conducts economic development and emergency relief projects around the world. ... 
"I want to be clear that we have not endorsed same-sex marriage, but we have chosen to defer to the authority of local churches on this issue," Stearns said. 
World Vision requires employees to affirm, through the agency's statement of faith or the Apostle's Creed, that they follow Christ. Stearns said the agency will continue to follow that policy, including requiring employees to remain celibate outside of marriage. World Vision says it hires staff from dozens of denominations with different views of gay relationships.
Basically, they hire people who affirm their Christianity, and they require they be celibate or married.  So they are simply treating LGBT people by the same rules as straight people.  And that's all any of us want.

No surprise that the rabid opponents of equality are shrieking at this unGodly capitulation to the Devil.

And right after Chick-Fil-A COO Dan Cathy said he was stepping out of the culture wars, too -- because of how his anti-LGBT activities "alienated" market share.

And even Maggie Gallagher admits that we've won.

It's not over yet, but the direction is clear.



Monday, March 24, 2014

What do the RC Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Russia have in common?

In Vladimir Putin's Russia, it is officially illegal to support LGBT rights, because it is "gay propaganda". In the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, same thing holds.

Now, we know after a spate of recent firings across the US that out gay teachers in Catholic schools, and musicians in churches, aren't welcome if they get married. But now, even saying you believe in civil rights for gay folks is grounds for firing.

This codifies what happened to an Assistant Principal at a Catholic high school in Cincinnati, who wrote on his personal blog that he supported marriage. THere is no evidence that he brought that opinion to school, this was his own blog. "Recant!" he was told, but he wasn't going to lie, so out he goes. He wasn't even gay, but a married straight ally.

Now, the Archdiocese has made it explicit that merely supporting LGBT rights in grounds for termination. The HRC points out that this might mean simply receiving an HRC email may be grounds for termination.

Think about it.  Apparently if you are a teacher in a Catholic school, you aren't only supposed to be an exemplar in the classroom, you aren't allowed to have any personal views that differ.

When you realize that upwards of 60% of Catholics support marriage equality, you wonder how long this will last.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Michigan judge takes down Regnerus study

 A judge in Michigan just found the marriage amendment preventing same sex marriages there to be unconstitutional. What's delicious is that the opinion takes down the discredited study of Mark Regnerus as well. From the ruling: (my emphasis)

 The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration. The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that his 2012 “study” was hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder, which found it “essential that the necessary data be gathered to settle the question in the forum of public debate about what kinds of family arrangement are best for society” and which “was confident that the traditional understanding of marriage will be vindicated by this study.” See Pls.’ Motion in limine to Exclude Testimony of Mark Regnerus, Ex. 9. In the funder’s view, “the future of the institution of marriage at this moment is very uncertain” and “proper research” was needed to counter the many studies showing no differences in child outcomes. Id. The funder also stated that “this is a project where time is of the essence.” Id. Time was of the essence at the time of the funder’s comments in April 2011, and when Dr. Regnerus published the NFSS in 2012, because decisions such as Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F. Supp. 2d 921 (N.D. Cal. 2010), and Windsor v. United States. …  
While Regnerus maintained that the funding source did not affect his impartiality as a researcher, the Court finds this testimony unbelievable. The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged. Additionally, the NFSS is flawed on its face, as it purported to study “a large, random sample of American young adults (ages 18-39) who were raised in different types of family arrangements” (emphasis added), but in fact it did not study this at all, as Regnerus equated being raised by a same-sex couple with having ever lived with a parent who had a “romantic relationship with someone of the same sex” for any length of time. Whatever Regnerus may have found in this “study,” he certainly cannot purport to have undertaken a scholarly research effort to compare the outcomes of children raised by same-sex couples with those of children raised by heterosexual couples. It is no wonder that the NFSS has been widely and severely criticized by other scholars, and that Regnerus’s own sociology department at the University of Texas has distanced itself from the NFSS in particular and Dr. Regnerus’s views in general and reaffirmed the aforementioned APA position statement.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Increasing support for marriage equality from many mainstream Christians

From Pew Research:
The long-standing tension between religious beliefs and the idea of same-sex marriage has been a key factor at play behind recently proposed bills in several states, most visibly in Arizona, aimed at protecting business owners who have religious objections to same-sex marriage. At the same time, however, new Pew Research Center data from 2014 show that just within the past year, growing shares of some Christian groups favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Notable is increasing support from White Mainline Protestants and Catholics, who are both around 60% supportive.  Black Protestants are also increasing.  White evangelicals?  Not so much.  But why is our freedom to marry dictated by a minority religious group that accounts for maybe 20% of the US?  "Unaffiliated" is also around 20% of the US population.



Thursday, March 6, 2014

What the conservative Christians really fear (updated)

Some of the prominent conservative pundits like Ross Douthat and Rob Dreher are complaining that they've lost and we aren't treating them well.  A reader of Andrew Sullivan's blog responds,
Rod Dreher: American Christians are about to learn what it means to live in a country where being a faithful Christian is going to exact significant costs. It may not be persecution, but it’s still going to hurt, and in ways most Christians scarcely understand.
No. American Christians are about to learn what it means to live in a country whose culture and values and attitudes don’t fully replicate their own. That is all....Their outrage (or, in Dreher’s case, apprehension and sadness) is really a reaction to a loss of prestige, a loss of a sense of centrality, a loss of the sense that this is their country and they are the normal ones, and it’s only natural and correct that the culture and the law should reflect their values and their attitudes.
 And another, I think, puts ze's finger on the real problem they have
It’s like the doomsday cultists who predict the end of the world with absolute certainty and then find themselves utterly flummoxed when the predicted day comes and goes and nothing happens. ...
The larger issue at stake is the truth claims of Christianity, at least in the view of its most stringent interpreters. If the Bible can’t be trusted to be right about whether or not gay people are horrible monsters on par with murderers, swindlers, and slave dealers, what can we trust it for? ... But I’ve often wondered whether, as gays and gay marriage become more mainstream and, well, banal, many Christians won’t find themselves wondering why the apocalypse hasn’t come after all and what that says about Scriptural authority in a lot of other areas. That’s what’s not sitting well with a lot of Christian culture warriors right now.
See, the problem with biblical literalists is once you find something isn't accurate....well, the whole edifice starts to crumble. Because if one thing is wrong, what can you trust?   Episcopal priest Fr Matthew Moretz tackles this question in one of his engaging  "Father Matthew Presents" videos, posted below.  (Episcopalians do not do Biblical inerrancy, and are LGBT-friendly and pro-science.)

From the Washington Post
The religious divide that is growing on LGBT equality, as evidenced in the latest WaPo/ABC poll, which reports 59% of Americans support marriage. Greg Sargent notes,
Republicans are alone here: They oppose legal gay marriage by 54-40; and they don’t believe the “equal protection” clause guarantees the legal right to marry by 54-38. Majorities of independents and moderates are in the Yes camp on both.

Note the religious breakdown: White evangelical Protestants overwhelmingly oppose gay marriage, by 66-28. By contrast, white non-evangelical Protestants support it by 62-27, and white Catholics support it by 70-26.
And it's hard to keep claiming that Christians are persecuted on this issue, when so many Christian are LGBT supporters.



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

New poll: Record support for marriage equality

From Think Progress:
Half of Americans believe that the U.S. Constitution gives gays and lesbians the right to marry, according to a new poll....

Support for gay marriage has also risen to 59 percent, a record high for the survey, while opposition to gay marriage has fallen to 34 percent.

In addition, the poll found that a large majority of Americans -- 81 percent -- said businesses shouldn't be allowed to refuse service to gays. Sixty-five percent said they believe service still shouldn't be refused to gays even if homosexuality violates the business owners' religious beliefs.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Western Republicans come out in support of marriage equality

From the New York Times:
Evoking Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, a group of Western-state Republicans plans to enter the battle in favor of same-sex marriage on Tuesday, urging a federal appeals court to declare gay marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma unconstitutional.

The most prominent of the approximately 20 signers of the brief are former Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, a longtime supporter of gay rights, and former Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum of Kansas, who said last year that she had reconsidered her former opposition to same-sex marriage. The document says that “marriage is strengthened” and “the social stability of the family unit are promoted” by allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

The document is a friend-of-the-court brief, being filed to the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver. That court is hearing appeals from Utah and Oklahoma to reinstate their restrictive marriage laws.

The brief was the latest sign of widening cracks in Republican opposition to same-sex marriage, even deep in the country’s conservative heartland.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

"HEre's to all the lovers", video Sunday

This anthem to marriage equality was written by 95 year old actress Marsha Hunt


Thursday, February 27, 2014

A busy week in equality

Arizona's attempt to facilitate discrimination against LGBT people came perilously close to passing, before being vetoed last night by Gov. Brewer.  While many of the similarly-worded "okay to discriminate" laws have not made it, there are still a number in play.

Yesterday also saw another federal judge strike down an anti-marriage amendment, this time in Texas.  As is usual, there was an immediate stay pending appeal, so no one's getting married just yet, but this is the latest in a line of federal district courts applying the logic of the Windsor case.  So now, we've had rulings in Oklahoma, Virginia, Utah, and Texas.

The delicious thing about these cases is that Justice Antonin Scalia so often has provided the words.

From the HuffPo:
[Judge Garcia] chose to quote from Scalia's dissent in the landmark 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down the state's anti-sodomy law....
In explaining why tradition alone can't form a rational basis for a law, Garcia pointed to Scalia's argument in the 2003 dissent that the phrase "the traditional institution of marriage" is "just a kinder way of describing the State’s moral disapproval of same-sex couples." 
And in explaining why the biological ability of many opposite-sex couples to procreate doesn't justify denying equal rights to same-sex couples, Garcia cited Scalia, too. 
"[W]hat justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising 'the liberty protected by the Constitution'? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry," Scalia wrote at the time. 
Other judges have pointed at Scalia's words in his dissent to Windsor.
 Scalia wrote in that dissent that he believed the majority's logic would inevitably lead to other judges striking down same-sex marriage bans.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New survey: support for marriage equality >50%

From PRRI:
Currently, a majority (53%) of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to 41% who oppose.... 
.... Today, there are major religious groups on both sides of the issue. Religiously unaffiliated Americans (73%), white mainline Protestants (62%), white Catholics (58%), and Hispanic Catholics (56%) all favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. A majority (83%) of Jewish Americans also favor legalizing same-sex marriage. Hispanic Protestants are divided; 46% favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry and 49% oppose. By contrast, nearly 7-in-10 (69%) white evangelical Protestants and nearly 6-in-10 (59%) black Protestants oppose same-sex marriage. Only 27% of white evangelical Protestants and 35% of black Protestants support same-sex marriage. 
....Majorities of Americans perceive three religious groups to be unfriendly to LGBT people: the Catholic Church (58%), the Mormon church (53%), and evangelical Christian churches (51%). Perceptions of non-evangelical Protestant churches, African-American churches and the Jewish religion are notably less negative. 
„„At least two-thirds of LGBT Americans perceive both the Catholic Church (73%) and evangelical Christian churches (67%) as being unfriendly toward LGBT people.
Nearly 6-in-10 (58%) Americans agree that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental on gay and lesbian issues. ... 
Among Americans who left their childhood religion and are now religiously unaffiliated, about one-quarter say negative teachings about or treatment of gay and lesbian people was a somewhat important (14%) or very important (10%) factor in their decision to disaffiliate.