Saturday, June 28, 2008

Arizona Senate Breaks Own Rules To Pass Anti-Marriage Amendment

Box Turtle Bulletin » Arizona Senate Breaks Own Rules To Pass Anti-Marriage Amendment

Jim Burroway
June 28th, 2008
The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate late yesterday broke its own rules to shut down debate and force a vote to place a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage on the ballot.

According to Equality Arizona and the Arizona Daily Star, Sen Paula Aboud (D-Tucson) was engaged in a debate with Sen. Ken Cheuvront (D-Phoenix) on another tax bill in a move similar to a filibuster according to the Senate rules. During the debate, Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor (R-Gilbert) and Majority Whip John Huppenthal (R-Chandler), among others, devised a scheme with committee chairman Jack Harper (R- rural district 4) to violate the rules of the Senate and the rights of Senators Aboud and Cheuvront.

Barbara McCullough-Jones and Sam Holdren of Arizona Equality describe what happened next:

In the middle of their discussion, Senator Harper turned off the microphones of Senators Paula Aboud (D-28) and Ken Cheuvront (D-15) and called on the Majority Leader to make a motion. Then, when Senators Aboud and Cheuvront loudly called for a Point of Order several times, even walking to the front desk where Senator Harper sat, he deliberately ignored their calls. To add insult to injury, these people attempted to justify their actions, even after the Senate President and other Senators admonished them for deliberately breaking the rules. Tonight’s actions of these and other Senators have forever tainted that body, and it’s important that we all let the people of Arizona know how these individuals acted so unethically.

The chamber broke down into chaos for the next twenty minutes when]the matter was finally brought before Senate President Tim Bee (R-Tucson) for resolution. Bee, who had been trying to keep the proposed amendment off the calendar, lambasted the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), the right-wing lobbying group behind the marriage amendment, for what he described as their divisive tactics, hostility, coercion and threats. He then publicly buckled under the pressure and became the constitutionally-mandated sixteenth vote to placed the measure on the ballot.

Sens. Aboud and Cheuvront are the only two openly gay members of the Arizona Senate. After the shouting was over, Sen. Aboud spoke again to the Senate:

“I just don’t understand how my personal, private relationship between two people affects anyone else in this room?

“Get your love off my back,” Aboud said. “Is your relationship with your family so fragile that you’re threatened by me?”

Today was a shameful day in the Senate’s history under Bee’s weak leadership. Bee is running for Congress to try to replace Gabrielle Giffords (D-Tucson) in a congressional district which voted against the 2006 attempt to write discrimination into the constitution by a wider margin than did voters statewide (45.4% to 54.6% in CD8, versus 48.2% to 51.8% statewide). During his term in the Senate, Bee represented a district which also defeated Prop 107 a margin wider than the statewide tally (47.5% to 52.5%).

Yesterday may well have marked the end of Bee’s political career. And with his shameful display of cowardice under pressure, it is an end well deserved.

Presbyterians vote to end gay-clergy ban -- Queer Lesbian Gay News -- Gay.com

Presbyterians vote to end gay-clergy ban -- Queer Lesbian Gay News -- Gay.com

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), bitterly divided over sexuality and the Bible, set up another confrontation Friday over its ban on ordaining noncelibate gay men and lesbians.
The denomination's General Assembly, meeting in San Jose, Calif., voted 54 percent to 46 percent Friday to drop the requirement that would-be ministers, deacons and elders live in "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between and a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness."

The proposed change to the church constitution requires approval from a majority the nation's 173 presbyteries, or regional church bodies -- a yearlong process that has proven to be a barrier to similar efforts in the past.

Of equal importance to advocates on both side of the debate, the assembly also voted to allow gay and lesbian candidates for ordination to conscientiously object to the existing standard. Local presbyteries and church councils that approve ordinations would consider such requests on a case-by-case basis.

That vote was an "authoritative interpretation" of the church constitution rather than a change to it, so it goes into effect immediately. The interpretation supersedes a ruling from the church's high court, issued in February, that said there were no exceptions to the so-called "fidelity and chastity" requirement.

Both votes could put further strain on the 2.2-million member church, which like other mainline Protestant denominations has seen some conservative churches leave after losing battles over the place of gays and lesbians in the church and what the Bible says about gay relationships.

"My biggest concern is, 'How does the church move forward?'" said the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the General Assembly. "There's great disappointment in some folks and great joy in others, but it really does go back to how do we as a church model for the world a way to live together amid great diversity of opinion?"

Jon Walton, co-moderator of the San Francisco-based Covenant Network of Presbyterians, which advocates a broader role for gays and lesbians, hailed both votes Friday, calling it "a day we've been waiting almost 30 years to see happen." He also expressed hope church members can move forward together.

The denomination adopted the "chastity and fidelity" clause in 1978, replacing language that had the same effect -- prohibiting non-celibate gays and lesbians from ministry.

The proposed new language would demand candidates "pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions."

By agreeing to that, "they declare their fidelity to the standards of the Church." A presbytery or church council could decide that a gay or lesbian person does not meet that standard.

"This week the General Assembly voted from faith rather than fear," Lisa Larges, minister coordinator of the advocacy group That All May Freely Serve, said in a statement. "They voted for a vibrant future of our church."

More conservative Presbyterians can take comfort in the fact that twice before -- in 1997 and 2001 -- the nation's presbyteries overwhelmingly rejected efforts to rescind the gay-ordination ban.

Ministers and lay people who vote at the church's General Assembly meetings generally are more liberal, and in the next step small conservative presbyteries have an equal vote as those of larger liberal ones.

Paul Detterman, executive director of Louisville, Ky.-based Presbyterians for Renewal, which opposes changing the ordination standards, said the debate is not about homosexuality but following the Bible.

For much of Christian history, denominations have interpreted Scripture as prohibiting gay sex.

"From the evangelical perspective this is a lovers' quarrel," Detterman said. "We are so passionate about people understanding and knowing the love of God for them. If there's a situation where we were simply against gays, there are a lot of easier places to be than the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)"

Later on Friday, the General Assembly is scheduled to vote on a proposal to change the denomination's definition of marriage from between "a man and a woman" to "two people." (Eric Gorski, AP)

The Associated Press: Arizona puts gay marriage ban on ballot - again

The Associated Press: Arizona puts gay marriage ban on ballot - again

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona voters will decide again in November whether to change the state's constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

A 16-4 vote by the state Senate on Friday night sends the gay marriage ban to the ballot. It had previously been approved by the House.

Arizona voters rejected a similar state constitutional amendment in 2006. That measure would have also stopped the state from recognizing civil unions of same-sex couples.

Arizona law already prohibits same-sex marriages. Supporters say this proposal would protect the sanctity of families by preventing judges from overturning the 1996 state law.

Sen. Paula Aboud of Tucson, who is openly gay, accused the amendment's supporters of being "afraid of me and my relationship

village voice > blogs > Runnin' Scared > Michelle Obama Woos Gay Democrats in Midtown

village voice > blogs > Runnin' Scared > Michelle Obama Woos Gay Democrats in Midtown

Posted by Julie Bolcer at 12:41 PM, June 27, 2008
As presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama romanced major donors of Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C. on Thursday evening, potential first lady Michelle Obama appeared in New York City to facilitate post-primary healing among members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and to appeal for their financial support. On the verge of the weekend’s massive Gay Pride celebrations, she was the keynote speaker at the annual gala for the Democratic National Committee’s Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council, the group that aims to advance LGBT priorities within the party.

Preceded by warm remarks from Michelle Paterson, the First Lady of New York, and followed by DNC Chairman Howard Dean, Obama received a standing ovation from the overwhelmingly white, and presumably well-heeled, gay male crowd of approximately 175 people in the Starlight Room on the eighteenth floor of the Waldorf Astoria in East Midtown. A brief report on WNYC-FM this morning said the DNC estimates the event raised $1.3 million.

Fresh off an appearance last week on ABC’s "The View" and newly assigned with her own chief of staff, Obama delivered a solid, 17-minute speech that concentrated on her husband’s record on LGBT issues, and his vision for the community’s place in America, should he be elected president. She mentioned that June 26 was the fifth anniversary of Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark Supreme Court decision that struck down the state’s anti-sodomy law, and she used the phrase, “from Selma to Stonewall,” to connect the gay and civil rights movements.

“Barack is not new to the cause of the LGBT community,” Obama said. “It has been a conviction of his career since he was first elected to public office.” She listed gay-positive credentials like his work as a state senator to amend the Illinois Human Rights Act to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in areas like housing and employment, which passed in 2004, and his call as a U.S. Senator for a complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages and relieves states of any obligation to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

If elected, Obama said that her husband would reverse laws such as DOMA, end the prohibition against gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, advance stalled legislation to protect the LGBT community against hate crimes and workplace discrimination, and work to achieve equal rights for gay and lesbian families.

“Barack has made crystal clear his commitment to ensuring full equality for LGBT couples,” she said. “That’s why he supports robust civil unions. That is why he has said that the federal government should not stand in the way of the states that want to decide for themselves how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples, whether that means domestic partnerships, civil unions or civil marriage.” She noted his opposition to the November ballot initiative in California that would overturn the recent court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

That Michelle Obama, currently in the midst of a much-hyped “makeover,” would address a high-profile gay crowd is evidence not only of the political progress of the LGBT community in recent years, but also of the importance that Democratic candidates attach to this group of donors and voters. Although they did not receive the kind of attention showered on women, African Americans and the working class during the primary season, savvy politicians acknowledge the high levels of political involvement among self-identified LGBT people, a predominantly Democratic segment that, like many others, found itself torn between support for Obama and Clinton.

Last November, a Hunter College Poll on the political behavior of lesbians, gays and bisexuals found that the group is more likely than the general population to be interested in and participate in politics and hold liberal views, and that nearly two-thirds of gay voters in the Democratic primary favored Clinton. That percentage seemed to decrease over the subsequent months as more LGBT voters became familiar with Barack Obama, as indicated by this Super Tuesday exit poll from New York, which shows support for the two candidates among gay voters as statistically indistinguishable from that of all voters.

“Given that LGBs are such loyal Democrats,” e-mailed Patrick Egan, an assistant professor of politics at New York University and one of the authors of the Hunter College Poll, “we therefore have reason to expect LGBs to play a role in Democratic Party fundraising and organization that is larger than their share of Democratic voters. Smart candidates need to figure out how to reach this population.”

On Thursday night, Howard Dean, chairman of the DNC and a frequent target for critics of his party's primary process, directly confronted any lingering grievances from Clinton supporters in his address that followed Obama.

“I particularly want to say thank you to the people here who supported Hillary Clinton,” said Dean, himself an unsuccessful former presidential candidate, to applause. He continued, “It is a special effort for those of you who are supporters of Senator Clinton, or have been supporters of Senator Clinton, to come tonight, so that you can contribute to the campaign of the person who beat Senator Clinton, and I recognize that, and I deeply appreciate your willingness to put your country up front and put aside your own understandable, deep emotional feelings about the campaign.”

Seconds later, however, Dean dispensed with the niceties and provided an indication of how acrimonious the general election campaign could become. He portrayed the presumptive Republican opponent, Senator John McCain of Arizona, as a formerly independent thinker who now represents the possibility of a third term for George W. Bush.

“I frankly don’t believe that the John McCain of 2000 would even consider voting for the John McCain of 2008, I really don’t,” said Dean, listing reversals that McCain has undergone from his previous positions on tax cuts, immigration reform, and his one-time opposition to torture. He even ventured a shot a McCain’s reliance on military credentials as a qualification for the presidency.

“This is a guy who appears not to have principles,” said Dean, “and if you don’t have principles when you’re president, you shouldn’t be president. Wanting to be president and serving America honorably in the armed forces is not a good enough reason to be president if you don’t have a core set of beliefs that you’re willing to stand for.”

Democrats are hoping that, gay or not, everyone in their party can rally around that message this fall.

McCain backs Calif. gay marriage ban

McCain backs Calif. gay marriage ban

The sponsors of a ballot initiative that seeks to ban same-sex marriage in California say Republican presidential candidate John McCain has endorsed the measure.

The ProtectMarriage.com campaign says it received an e-mail from McCain Thursday in which the Arizona senator expressed his support for the group's efforts "to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman."

McCain has previously said that while he does not back banning same-sex marriage at the federal level, he thinks it is appropriate for states to do so.

In 2006, he came out in favor of a ballot measure, ultimately rejected by voters in his home state, that would have banned gay marriage and prohibited granting any spousal rights to unmarried couples in Arizona.

Labor Moves Behind Marriage Drive

GayCityNews - Labor Moves Behind Marriage Drive

By: DUNCAN OSBORNE
06/26/2008

Speaking by phone from the nation's capital, Hans Johnson was just back from a fundraiser in California.

"The one in Hollywood was a way of recognizing the heroic efforts of the LGBT and allied leaders who stood up to Briggs in 1978," Johnson said.

The Briggs initiative, named for State Senator John Briggs, would have banned gay and lesbian teachers in California's public schools. It was defeated, in part, by opposition from California teachers unions and an alliance made two years earlier between the gay community and 22 union locals that included the Teamsters, the Building and Trades Council, and the International Longshoremen.

"It was a crucible of the modern gay rights movement," Johnson said. "It was also a teachable moment for labor about its mutual interests with the LGBT community."

Roughly 120 people attended the Hollywood event including Dolores Huerta, a co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers, Sal Rosselli, the openly gay president of the 130,000-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) United Healthcare Workers-West, and Reverend Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, a gay denomination.


They raised $20,000 to aid Honor PAC, a gay Latino political group, in its work to defeat a California ballot initiative that would amend that state's constitution to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman and perhaps also nullify any same-sex marriages entered into in that state between June 16 and the November vote.

The fundraiser was sponsored by the 340,000-member California Teachers Association, which officially opposed the marriage initiative on June 7, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, SEIU 721, a public employee local in southern California, and Rosselli's union.

Thirty years after Briggs, organized labor is stepping up to aid the gay and lesbian community in battling another onerous initiative.

"It reflects the insult to union members in having a small cadre of religious right activists dictate what can and cannot be bargained for, and to undo hard-won family recognition policies," said Johnson, an officer of Pride at Work, an LGBT labor group affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

The Hollywood fundraiser was the second event that Johnson has produced. The first, done with the National Council of La Raza, a Latino group, benefited the Task Force California Committee, an anti-initiative effort and run by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. He will produce three other gay-labor fundraisers over the next three months.

While organized labor has a decades-long record of support for gay and lesbian causes, it has only slowly supported the push for same-sex marriage.

When California voters passed a law barring same-sex marriage in 2000 by a margin of 61 to 39 percent - California's highest court struck it down in a May ruling - labor was less engaged.

A "handful" of labor groups in California's 58 counties took a stand on the 2000 initiative on the slate cards that show the union position on candidates and ballot proposals, according to Johnson. The slate cards are given to union members before they vote.

Since then, dozens of union locals across the country and national organizations have supported same sex marriage. In 2006, the California Labor Federation, an umbrella group that represents more than 1,200 union locals and 2.1 million union members, passed a resolution that supported the "rights of all California workers to access the full and equal rights of civil marriage."

Sensing that they can defeat the November 4 California initiative, gay trade unionists and groups are pressing labor harder this year to take a position against the initiative. "I would expect that we will have far more than a handful of county federations," Johnson said.

Steve Smith, a principal at the Dewey Square Group and the campaign manager of Equality for All, the coalition that opposes the marriage amendment, agreed.

"I think most of organized labor with be with our side of the campaign," he said.

In July, at the labor federation's biennial conference, gay and lesbian union members will seek a resolution that "will call on all labor unions and central councils to oppose the amendment," said Jeremy Bishop, executive director of Pride at Work. "This would encourage all unions to get involved in the fight."

They will also ask labor leaders to speak out against the initiative and support same-sex marriage, as well as place pro-same-sex marriage messages in labor newsletters. These are not insignificant.

In 2004 exit polls, 28 percent of California voters said they had a union member in their household and 17 percent said they belonged to a union. Getting those people to convince friends and family members to oppose the amendment is one of the most effective ways to win votes.

"Labor has come out really vocally against the amendment," said Sandra Telep, program director for Pride At Work. "We're trying to get that to translate into action."

New York Senate Shakeup Might Help Move Marriage Equality  | News | Advocate.com

New York Senate Shakeup Might Help Move Marriage Equality  | News | Advocate.com


New York’s senate majority leader, Joseph Bruno, a 32-year institution in the state senate, announced his retirement Tuesday just as the GOP and Democrats gird for an election season that will determine the fate of the chamber and, potentially, New York’s gay marriage bill.

Democrats need to pick up two seats this November in order to gain control of the senate -- something most LGBT activists wager would hasten the process of getting a same-sex marriage bill to the desk of Gov. David Paterson, who has supported marriage equality since the mid '90s. Asked if he would sign the bill if it landed on his desk, Gov. Paterson told The Advocate, "Absolutely!" The New York assembly is Democrat-controlled and passed a marriage bill last year.

Democratic strategists said Bruno’s exit raises questions about how effectively the GOP can raise money in his absence and whether they can hold certain constituencies together.

“One of the key pillars of Bruno’s support and support for the Republican senate majority has been the labor unions, including progressive unions that you wouldn’t think would be helping to keep a Republican majority in Albany,” said Ethan Geto, an LGBT activist and Democratic political consultant. “His stepping down doesn’t mean that on a wholesale basis all the unions who have been supporting the Republican majority will abandon them, but I think a number of them will.”

Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, a statewide LGBT equality organization, also questioned whether other senators of his era might also decide to call it quits -- Bruno is 79, and more than half of the GOP’s 32 senators are 65 or older.

“Some of them might decide they don’t want to run for reelection this November. So I think today that there are a lot more questions than there are answers,” said Van Capelle, adding that the next few weeks would provide a clearer picture. “That said, I think that we were in very good shape before any of this happened. Our prospects for winning a pro-LGBT leadership in the senate were extraordinarily good, and I’m even more hopeful now.”

The senate Democrats have been eyeing a handful of seats, some of which represent the suburbs surrounding New York City, where, Van Capelle noted, constituents have tended to poll very well on LGBT issues in general and same-sex marriage in particular. “Our polling shows that Long Island, for instance, is more supportive than New York City is to a large extent, and the suburbs north and east of the city are enormously supportive on issues such as marriage equality and transgender civil rights,” he said. The Pride Agenda’s 2006 poll found that 53% of the state’s voters supported marriage equality, while samplings in Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk counties yielded 57% and 58% support, respectively.

Long Island also happens to be the home of the newly elected majority leader, Sen. Dean Skelos, who until Tuesday was number 2 in command of the senate behind Bruno. Van Capelle also credits Skelos with using same-sex marriage as a scare tactic to get Republican voters to the polls during a special election in 2007. Craig Johnson, the Democratic candidate, had gone on record supporting gay marriage, and on election day the Conservative Party released a flier that read: “Craig Johnson and gay marriage. A match made in heaven. Your vote is the only thing that can stop Craig Johnson and the gay community from legalizing gay marriage in New York State. Staying home on election day is a vote for gay marriage." It backfired; Johnson won the seat.

“Dean Skelos ran that campaign, essentially,” said Van Capelle, “and he certainly did not hesitate to use marriage equality as a wedge issue in that campaign, and it failed miserably.”

A Republican strategist acknowledges that Skelos does not have a sunny record on LGBT issues but adds that Bruno was no knight in pink armor either before he became majority leader. Although Bruno has consistently stood against legalizing same-sex marriage, he did allow votes on bills such as the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act for employment and Hate Crimes, both of which were passed and signed into law. Skelos voted in favor of Hate Crimes but against SONDA.

The GOP strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that although Skelos does not always vote pro-gay, “he has been number 2 in command as the senate has moved those bills. That means he is very familiar with why the Republicans made those determinations as a majority.” Most strategists believe that the Republican caucus has allowed its members to vote more liberal on some social issues in order to keep from being voted out of office.

Nonetheless, the GOP strategist agrees with Van Capelle that Skelos’s real test will be whether he can hold the Republican majority this fall.

“In these coming weeks, those early important things like keeping everyone together and keeping everyone running for office -- that’s going to give you a sense of how unified the Republicans are going to be,” he said. “I don’t think you can write the obituary, but it’s another factor of adding difficulty.” (Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate)

Kmart exec resigns to join California marriage fight - Washington Blade

Kmart exec resigns to join California marriage fight - Washington Blade


Full story click link

Leaves behind six-figure salary to take volunteer position
By CHRIS JOHNSON, Washington Blade | Jun 25, 1:12 PM

The openly gay chief marketing officer for Kmart is about to embark on a new role that will drastically change his standard of living.


Bill Stewart recently resigned from his executive position at Sears Holdings, where he earned a six-figure salary and had stock options and opportunities for bonuses. He is also giving up his vintage apartment in Chicago worth $1 million to live in an efficiency apartment in San Francisco.


Stewart jokes that the change means he’s “going to fall off the good customer list at Louis Vuitton and Gucci.”


What’s his reason for making this transition?


Stewart has signed on to work as an unpaid volunteer with the Equality for All campaign to help defeat a state constitutional amendment on the California ballot this November that would ban same-sex marriage. If voters approve this measure, same-sex weddings would no longer be performed in California and marriages that have already occurred would be in legal jeopardy.


Stewart, 45, told the Blade in a Tuesday interview that he took on his new role to ensure that the recent California Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage remains in effect.


“I think it’s incredibly important for the equal rights movement for gays and lesbians that California send a message to the rest of the country that we ought to be allowed to marry,” he said.


Stewart made the decision to change careers after attending a Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) national board meeting in Los Angeles earlier this month. He realized “somebody’s going to be making history” one way or another with the November amendment and he decided to devote his efforts to making sure that history decides in favor of same-sex marriage.

Court Blasts Immigrant Verdict

GayCityNews - Court Blasts Immigrant Verdict

Full story click link

Court Blasts Immigrant Verdict
By: ARTHUR S. LEONARD
06/26/2008
Email to a friendPost a CommentPrinter-friendlyIn unusually direct language, a three-judge panel of the New York-based 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals criticized federal Immigration Judge (IJ) Alan Vomacka for his handling of a Guyanese man's appeal that he not be deported for fear that his life would be endangered if he did.


The man, who will be identified in this reporting only as Ali given the potential harm he faces, made his appeal under the international Convention Against Torture (CAT), one of the legal avenues available for immigrants aiming to stay in the US.

"In light of the inappropriate remarks by Vomacka - which included gratuitous comments on the petitioner's sexuality, as well as unfounded speculations about homosexuals in general - we believe the appropriate course is to grant the petition for review, vacate the [Board of Immigration Appeals, or BIA] decision, and remand this case for a rehearing before a new IJ," wrote Circuit Judge Guido Calabresi for the court in Ali v. Mukasey, decided on June 18.

Ali, it appears, is no angel - he "established a long arrest record and was convicted of nine theft-related crimes" from the time of his US entry with other family members as a teenager in 1980. He was twice previously deported to Guyana, but managed both times to escape from security forces there and find his way back into the US.

Ali recounted that after his first deportation he was immediately placed in police custody in Guyana and subjected to harsh treatment including outrageous physical and sexual abuse. When it seemed the same thing was going to happen on his second deportation, he immediately took steps to evade his captors and return to the US.

Apparently Ali did not resolve his own issues about his sexual orientation until late in this process - he did not raise it as a ground for seeking CAT relief until the third removal proceedings were already underway. That raised credibility issues for Vomacka, the immigration judge.

One other complication was that it was a different immigration judge, in Maryland, who earlier found credible Ali's testimony that he had been mistreated upon his earlier deportations. Vomacka complained that he found it difficult to listen to those tape-recorded proceedings that had not been transcribed.

Judge Calabresi noted that Vomacka also stated that it was difficult "to understand why a respondent would be willing to disclose forcible rape by jail guards, but not willing to discuss his own sexual orientations [sic] as a homosexual." The immigration judge speculated that the issue of homosexuality might be a red herring raised by Ali to delay his deportation.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2015Place.com: Video: Gay Marriage 2008 II

2015Place.com: Video: Gay Marriage 2008 II

Thanks to Tom at 2015Place for this video compilaton of Happy Married couples.

New York Senate Shakeup Might Help Move Marriage Equality  | News | Advocate.com

New York Senate Shakeup Might Help Move Marriage Equality  | News | Advocate.com

New York’s senate majority leader, Joseph Bruno, a 32-year institution in the state senate, announced his retirement Tuesday just as the GOP and Democrats gird for an election season that will determine the fate of the chamber and, potentially, New York’s gay marriage bill.

Democrats need to pick up two seats this November in order to gain control of the senate -- something most LGBT activists wager would hasten the process of getting a same-sex marriage bill to the desk of Gov. David Paterson, who has supported marriage equality since the mid '90s. Asked if he would sign the bill if it landed on his desk, Gov. Paterson told The Advocate, "Absolutely!" The New York assembly is Democrat-controlled and passed a marriage bill last year.

Democratic strategists said Bruno’s exit raises questions about how effectively the GOP can raise money in his absence and whether they can hold certain constituencies together.

“One of the key pillars of Bruno’s support and support for the Republican senate majority has been the labor unions, including progressive unions that you wouldn’t think would be helping to keep a Republican majority in Albany,” said Ethan Geto, an LGBT activist and Democratic political consultant. “His stepping down doesn’t mean that on a wholesale basis all the unions who have been supporting the Republican majority will abandon them, but I think a number of them will.”

Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, a statewide LGBT equality organization, also questioned whether other senators of his era might also decide to call it quits -- Bruno is 79, and more than half of the GOP’s 32 senators are 65 or older.

“Some of them might decide they don’t want to run for reelection this November. So I think today that there are a lot more questions than there are answers,” said Van Capelle, adding that the next few weeks would provide a clearer picture. “That said, I think that we were in very good shape before any of this happened. Our prospects for winning a pro-LGBT leadership in the senate were extraordinarily good, and I’m even more hopeful now.”

The senate Democrats have been eyeing a handful of seats, some of which represent the suburbs surrounding New York City, where, Van Capelle noted, constituents have tended to poll very well on LGBT issues in general and same-sex marriage in particular. “Our polling shows that Long Island, for instance, is more supportive than New York City is to a large extent, and the suburbs north and east of the city are enormously supportive on issues such as marriage equality and transgender civil rights,” he said. The Pride Agenda’s 2006 poll found that 53% of the state’s voters supported marriage equality, while samplings in Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk counties yielded 57% and 58% support, respectively.

Long Island also happens to be the home of the newly elected majority leader, Sen. Dean Skelos, who until Tuesday was number 2 in command of the senate behind Bruno. Van Capelle also credits Skelos with using same-sex marriage as a scare tactic to get Republican voters to the polls during a special election in 2007. Craig Johnson, the Democratic candidate, had gone on record supporting gay marriage, and on election day the Conservative Party released a flier that read: “Craig Johnson and gay marriage. A match made in heaven. Your vote is the only thing that can stop Craig Johnson and the gay community from legalizing gay marriage in New York State. Staying home on election day is a vote for gay marriage." It backfired; Johnson won the seat.

“Dean Skelos ran that campaign, essentially,” said Van Capelle, “and he certainly did not hesitate to use marriage equality as a wedge issue in that campaign, and it failed miserably.”

A Republican strategist acknowledges that Skelos does not have a sunny record on LGBT issues but adds that Bruno was no knight in pink armor either before he became majority leader. Although Bruno has consistently stood against legalizing same-sex marriage, he did allow votes on bills such as the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act for employment and Hate Crimes, both of which were passed and signed into law. Skelos voted in favor of Hate Crimes but against SONDA.

The GOP strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that although Skelos does not always vote pro-gay, “he has been number 2 in command as the senate has moved those bills. That means he is very familiar with why the Republicans made those determinations as a majority.” Most strategists believe that the Republican caucus has allowed its members to vote more liberal on some social issues in order to keep from being voted out of office.

Nonetheless, the GOP strategist agrees with Van Capelle that Skelos’s real test will be whether he can hold the Republican majority this fall.

“In these coming weeks, those early important things like keeping everyone together and keeping everyone running for office -- that’s going to give you a sense of how unified the Republicans are going to be,” he said. “I don’t think you can write the obituary, but it’s another factor of adding difficulty.” (Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New York's Same-Sex Marriage Policy Back In Court

Oral arguments were held today in the Second Dept op the Apellate Court. We are optimistic that we will prevail.



wcbstv.com - New York's Same-Sex Marriage Policy Back In Court New York's Same-Sex Marriage Policy Back In Court Reporting Kristine Johnson NEW YORK (CBS) ― The issue of same-sex marriage in New York was back in court on Monday. A panel of judges heard arguments on whether the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries. The case is putting Governor Paterson's policy to honor those unions to the test. Michael Sabatino and Robert Voorhies were legally married in Toronto in 2003, and now the couple live in Yonkers, where according to Paterson they should have the same rights and respect as any other couple who married out of state, regardless of their same-sex status. "We are a family and we deserve to be honored and recognized as such," said Voorhies, adding, "it also affects our tax liability, and our inheritance rights and all of those things that are so important." But a lawyer for an Arizona based Christian legal group challenging gay marriage recognition across the country argued against the governor's proposal in a Brooklyn courthouse on Monday. "The marriage recognition rule that started over 100 years ago never contemplated a marriage between anyone other than a man and a woman. So to just apply it wholesale as in this situation is not legitimate," said lawyer Brian Raum of Alliance Defense Fund. Lambda Legal says if out of state "straight" marriages are recognized by New York State, so should those of same-sex couples married in Massachusetts, California and Canada. "All the county executive is doing is following state law. The rulings of lots of courts now all of which consistently hold out of state marriages of same-sex couples are subject to respect," said Susan Sommer of Lambda Legal. For Michael Sabatino and Robert Voorhies, they're still pondering one question: "I have not gotten a person to answer the question how our marriage affects anybody elses marriage negatively. Nobody can answer that question," said Sabatino. Regardless of the ruling, the case is expected to be appealed to the state's highest court. (© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Gay marriage backers want ban issue off ballot

Gay marriage backers want ban issue off ballot


Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Saturday, June 21, 2008


(06-20) 18:32 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Gay-rights advocates asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to remove a proposed state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage from the November ballot, saying it would destroy fundamental rights that cannot be legally altered by a voter initiative.

The suit was filed by organizations representing gay and lesbian couples in the case that led to the court's May 15 ruling striking down the state law that excluded them from marriage - a ruling the Nov. 4 initiative would reverse.

Like one of the laws that the court overturned, the initiative declares that "only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

In papers filed four days after the legalized same-sex weddings began around the state, advocacy groups argued that the measure would change the state's Constitution so profoundly that it would amount to a revision. Under the law, the Constitution cannot be revised by initiative alone - a two-thirds legislative approval is also needed before the measure goes to the voters.

"If enacted, (the November initiative) would eviscerate the principle of equal citizenship for gay and lesbian people and strip the courts of their authority to enforce basic constitutional guarantees," said Stephen Bomse, lawyer for the groups.

He said the measure would "destabilize our Constitution and our basic government plan ... by establishing that any group may be deprived of equal protection and fundamental rights through a simple majority vote."

The lawsuit also contends that the initiative petitions circulated to voters before the court ruling were misleading because they declared that the measure would make no change in the marriage laws and would have no fiscal impact.

The advocacy groups, led by Equality California, asked the court to declare the initiative unconstitutional and strike it from the ballot, an action the justices seldom take before an election. Backers of the measure quickly denounced the suit.

"Equality California and its allies are desperate to evade democracy," said attorney Glen Lavy of the Alliance Defense Fund, which represented the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund. Prop. 22 was the 2000 ballot measure, approved by 61 percent of the voters, that declared same-sex marriages illegal, reaffirming a statute passed by the Legislature in 1977.

"First, they used the courts to erase the votes of nearly 5 million Californians who voted to protect marriage," Lavy said, referring to the balloting on Prop. 22. "Now they are trying to silence the people's voice forever. This is just another attempt to force a radical political agenda upon the people of California."

Gay Marriage Is Good for America - WSJ.com

Gay Marriage Is Good for America - WSJ.com

By JONATHAN RAUCH
June 21, 2008; Page A9

By order of its state Supreme Court, California began legally marrying same-sex couples this week. The first to be wed in San Francisco were Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, pioneering gay-rights activists who have been a couple for more than 50 years.

More ceremonies will follow, at least until November, when gay marriage will go before California's voters. They should choose to keep it. To understand why, imagine your life without marriage. Meaning, not merely your life if you didn't happen to get married. What I am asking you to imagine is life without even the possibility of marriage.

Re-enter your childhood, but imagine your first crush, first kiss, first date and first sexual encounter, all bereft of any hope of marriage as a destination for your feelings. Re-enter your first serious relationship, but think about it knowing that marrying the person is out of the question.

Imagine that in the law's eyes you and your soul mate will never be more than acquaintances. And now add even more strangeness. Imagine coming of age into a whole community, a whole culture, without marriage and the bonds of mutuality and kinship that go with it.

What is this weird world like? It has more sex and less commitment than a world with marriage. It is a world of fragile families living on the shadowy outskirts of the law; a world marked by heightened fear of loneliness or abandonment in crisis or old age; a world in some respects not even civilized, because marriage is the foundation of civilization.

This was the world I grew up in. The AIDS quilt is its monument.

Few heterosexuals can imagine living in such an upside-down world, where love separates you from marriage instead of connecting you with it. Many don't bother to try. Instead, they say same-sex couples can get the equivalent of a marriage by going to a lawyer and drawing up paperwork – as if heterosexual couples would settle for anything of the sort.

Even a moment's reflection shows the fatuousness of "Let them eat contracts." No private transaction excuses you from testifying in court against your partner, or entitles you to Social Security survivor benefits, or authorizes joint tax filing, or secures U.S. residency for your partner if he or she is a foreigner. I could go on and on.

Marriage, remember, is not just a contract between two people. It is a contract that two people make, as a couple, with their community – which is why there is always a witness. Two people can't go into a room by themselves and come out legally married. The partners agree to take care of each other so the community doesn't have to. In exchange, the community deems them a family, binding them to each other and to society with a host of legal and social ties.

This is a fantastically fruitful bargain. Marriage makes you, on average, healthier, happier and wealthier. If you are a couple raising kids, marrying is likely to make them healthier, happier and wealthier, too. Marriage is our first and best line of defense against financial, medical and emotional meltdown. It provides domesticity and a safe harbor for sex. It stabilizes communities by formalizing responsibilities and creating kin networks. And its absence can be calamitous, whether in inner cities or gay ghettos.

In 2008, denying gay Americans the opportunity to marry is not only inhumane, it is unsustainable. History has turned a corner: Gay couples – including gay parents – live openly and for the most part comfortably in mainstream life. This will not change, ever.

Because parents want happy children, communities want responsible neighbors, employers want productive workers, and governments want smaller welfare caseloads, society has a powerful interest in recognizing and supporting same-sex couples. It will either fold them into marriage or create alternatives to marriage, such as publicly recognized and subsidized cohabitation. Conservatives often say same-sex marriage should be prohibited because it does not exemplify the ideal form of family. They should consider how much less ideal an example gay couples will set by building families and raising children out of wedlock.

Nowadays, even opponents of same-sex marriage generally concede it would be good for gay people. What they worry about are the possible secondary effects it could have as it ramifies through law and society. What if gay marriage becomes a vehicle for polygamists who want to marry multiple partners, egalitarians who want to radically rewrite family law, or secularists who want to suppress religious objections to homosexuality?

Space doesn't permit me to treat those and other objections in detail, beyond noting that same-sex marriage no more leads logically to polygamy than giving women one vote leads to giving men two; that gay marriage requires only few and modest changes to existing family law; and that the Constitution provides robust protections for religious freedom.

I'll also note, in passing, that these arguments conscript homosexuals into marriagelessness in order to stop heterosexuals from making bad decisions, a deal to which we gay folks say, "Thanks, but no thanks." We wonder how many heterosexuals would give up their own marriage, or for that matter their own divorce, to discourage other people from making poor policy choices. Any volunteers?

Honest advocacy requires acknowledging that same-sex marriage is a significant social change and, as such, is not risk-free. I believe the risks are modest, manageable, and likely to be outweighed by the benefits. Still, it's wise to guard against unintended consequences by trying gay marriage in one or two states and seeing what happens, which is exactly what the country is doing.

By the same token, however, honest opposition requires acknowledging that there are risks and unforeseen consequences on both sides of the equation. Some of the unforeseen consequences of allowing same-sex marriage will be good, not bad. And barring gay marriage is risky in its own right.

America needs more marriages, not fewer, and the best way to encourage marriage is to encourage marriage, which is what society does by bringing gay couples inside the tent. A good way to discourage marriage, on the other hand, is to tarnish it as discriminatory in the minds of millions of young Americans. Conservatives who object to redefining marriage risk redefining it themselves, as a civil-rights violation.

There are two ways to see the legal marriage of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. One is as the start of something radical: an experiment that jeopardizes millennia of accumulated social patrimony. The other is as the end of something radical: an experiment in which gay people were told that they could have all the sex and love they could find, but they could not even think about marriage. If I take the second view, it is on conservative – in fact, traditional – grounds that gay souls and straight society are healthiest when sex, love and marriage all walk in step.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ministers in Albany to protest Paterson's gay marriage stance | PoughkeepsieJournal.com | Poughkeepsie Journal

Ministers in Albany to protest Paterson's gay marriage stance | PoughkeepsieJournal.com | Poughkeepsie Journal

By Jay Gallagher • Journal Albany Bureau • June 19, 2008

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ALBANY -- More than 250 evangelical Christian ministers from around the state came to the Capitol today to blast Gov. David Paterson for requiring state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages and to back the Senate for its opposition to legalizing the same-sex unions.

"We're here to take a stand for the righteous,'' said the Rev. Tom Stiles of Rochester. "This is just the beginning of what we're calling a revival.''

Rev. Jason McGuire of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, the evangelical churches' lobbying arm, said today's demonstration was organized after Paterson's decision to have state agencies recognize the unions was disclosed on May 28.

Same-sex marriages are banned in New York, but are now legal in Massachusetts, California, Canada and some European countries.

Paterson's directive affects same-sex couples married elsewhere who have moved to New York. It was spurred by a court decision in Monroe County that found a gay couple had the right to equal benefits from the county. He said he would be violating state law if he didn't extend the benefits to others.

The directive could affect more than 1,000 laws and regulations, ranging from pensions, child custody, income-tax filings and the transfer of licenses. State agencies are due by the end of the month to tell Paterson what specific policies will be affected.

A national group, the National Alliance Defense Fund, has sued to get Paterson's decision overturned. Several state lawmakers have joined the suit, which is pending in state Supreme Court.

The Democratic-controlled state Assembly earlier this year passed a bill to allow gay marriages to be performed in the state - a measure Paterson supports - but it has not been voted on in the Republican-run Senate.

"We should say 'thank you' to every senator for not taking up the homosexual bill,'' the Rev. Duane Motley of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms told the group of clergy. "We're standing up for the Lord Jesus Christ. No legislative body, not even the New York State Legislature, has the power to change the definition of marriage.''

"Marriage is more than a secular contract,'' said Sen. Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn. "It is a holy union between a man and a woman.''

The recent disclosure that the state Office of Children and Family Services to allows boys who believe they are girls to wear female underwear and makeup in the 30 detention facilities it runs also caused a stir among the ministers and lawmakers.

The children "shouldn't be allowed to exercise choice about which gender they are,'' Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, D-Bronx, said to loud cheers from the ministers.

"We're beginning to see the erosion and decline of American civilization,'' he said at another point.

Republican senators Thomas Libous of Binghamton, Mary Lou Rath of Erie County, George Maziarz of Niagara County, Thomas Morahan of Rockland County and James Seward of Otsego County were among the lawmakers at the clergy rally.

Conservatives wrong to fight gay marriage | ajc.com

now this conservative has the right perspective BRAVO!



Conservatives wrong to fight gay marriage | ajc.com


By Terry L. Garlock
For the Journal-Constitution

Published on: 06/20/08

Conservatives in California are working furiously to stop the avalanche of same-sex marriages following the recent state Supreme Court ruling.

Personally, I am repulsed by public displays of romantic affection between two men, or two women. Those who would call me names like homophobe, as if I fear homosexuality, diminish themselves in my eyes. It's just that same-sex pairs are instinctively unnatural to me. The mental image of a wedding ceremony joining two men who seal the bargain with a deep kiss makes me squirm.

But here's where I think my fellow conservatives have it wrong.

That wedding ceremony wouldn't be about me or my personal discomfort. It would be about those two people who love each other and decided to publicly announce their permanent mutual commitment. Should my personal attitudes prevent them from doing that? Should my religious beliefs keep them legally unrelated even if they remain committed to each other for life?

While I am free to have my personal disquiet about homosexuality, am I also free to interfere with their desire to be recognized as a family unit? If they are a permanent couple, should my aversion withhold from a lifelong pair the same rights as family for hospital visitation, for consultation with doctors when one is ill and maybe even dying?

Is it right that we tell a committed lesbian couple they cannot marry, and at the same time tell them they cannot inherit from each other tax-free at the first death, like a married couple, because they are not married, that they must pay estate taxes that quickly climb to 50 percent and cannot take spousal advantage of income tax, Social Security and other benefits of a married couple?

I appreciate strong religious beliefs against same-sex marriage, and a church has every right to prohibit the practice for its members. Marriage is a legal status to which we are free to choose to add religious covenants, but those religious covenants should not govern the legal status of marriage, especially since we are free to choose our religion and even free to reject religion entirely. We shouldn't codify religious beliefs into law.

What about the extremes of the gay and lesbian lifestyle, in-your-face promiscuity, unsavory public displays of drag queens and preying on the young and vulnerable? I don't want my kids or yours exposed to any of that. But I don't want them exposed to extremes on the heterosexual side either, like pedophiles, strip bars, sex clubs or just promiscuous people.

I object to extreme or public sexual behavior, whether homosexual or heterosexual. Is it right to penalize a same-sex couple because we somehow presume them to be extreme and inappropriate in their public behavior when we make no such presumption about straight couples?

Would a married gay couple moving next door create some discomfort for me as I explain it to my children? Darn right it would. I would undoubtedly squirm in that discussion. But life doesn't guarantee my comfort, and whether they keep their yard looking nice is my business, whereas their personal relationship is not.

I've given this a lot of thought, and I think my prior stand against same-sex marriage was based on my personal thoughts about homosexuality rather than individual liberty. Those are two separate issues. My uneasiness may never go away, no matter how many names the enlightened ones call me, but the freedom of same-sex couples does not depend on my endorsement of their lifestyle.

As a conservative, I believe the state should stay out of the business of judging which unrelated adults may and may not make a marriage commitment to each other, that when a same-sex couple chooses to marry, we conservatives should value their liberty far more than any personal or religious disagreement with homosexuality. Conservatives should welcome the contribution of same-sex marriage to the virtues of commitment and family stability we hold so dear.

Please don't think me a liberal for these ideas. I can't help but think Democrats are out of their mind. I'll vote for Sen. John McCain because, unlike Sen. Barack Obama, he is only half out of his mind.

But I do believe my Republican Party is dead wrong on same-sex marriage and should re-examine it deeply and seriously through the lens of individual liberty and freedom rather than disagreement with homosexuality.

We citizens should judge each other on how we behave, not who we love.

> Terry L. Garlock lives in Peachtree City.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Maine group drops anti-gay rights push - Boston.com

Maine group drops anti-gay rights push - Boston.com


By Glenn Adams
Associated Press Writer / June 19, 2008
AUGUSTA, Maine—An initiative campaign to repeal Maine's gay rights law and put in place roadblocks to gay marriages and adoptions is being abandoned, leaders of the campaign said Thursday.

"We're pulling the plug," said Michael Heath, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine. Heath said the evangelical group failed to attract voter, volunteer and financial support it needed to continue its campaign.

The group collected only a third of the 15,000 voters' signatures it had set as a goal for primary election day June 10, said Heath. He added said that potential volunteers "don't want to be aligned with bigotry and homophobia and hatred," tags their opponents had applied to the initiative backers.

EqualityMaine, which had placed volunteers at the polls June 10 to discourage voters to sign the initiative ballots, welcomed Thursday's decision.

"This was a really broad attack on gays and lesbians and their families," said Betsy Smith, executive director of EqualityMaine. "Mainers are generally fair-minded and I think they sent a strong message on primary day."

The civic league would have needed at least 55,087 valid voter signatures by next January to send their proposal to the Legislature next year. With the Legislature's likely rejection of the proposal, the question would have gone to Maine's voters no sooner than November 2009.

The proposed law had several components, including repealing Maine's law protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation, credit and education. It would have barred the use of state funds by the attorney general's office for its civil rights teams and civil rights programs in public schools.

It would have reaffirmed Maine's existing law that restricts marriages to one man and one woman, and ensured that only one unmarried person or one married couple jointly could adopt a person.

It would have prohibited clerks from issuing marriage licenses to persons of the same sex, and prohibited municipalities from licensing civil unions.

Two separate and unrelated efforts to prevent newly enacted state laws from taking effect are still in progress, with a July 17 deadline to collect signatures approaching. The targeted laws include one raising taxes on beer, wine, soda and insurance premiums to finance the state's Dirigo Health insurance program, and one to undo driver's license security measures.

Virginia Supreme Court affirms custody case ruling favoring lesbian mother | ProudParenting.com

Virginia Supreme Court affirms custody case ruling favoring lesbian mother | ProudParenting.com



The Virginia Supreme Court affirmed a prior ruling by the Virginia Court of Appeals that said that the state must honor the Vermont Supreme Court's order of visitation between Janet Jenkins and her daughter.

Janet Jenkins (formerly Miller-Jenkins) and Lisa Miller (formerly Miller-Jenkins) were joined in a civil union in Vermont and thereafter had a child. After the women ended their relationship, Miller moved to Virginia with the women's daughter, and asked a Vermont court to dissolve the couple's civil union and sort out custody of the child. When the Vermont court ordered visitation for Jenkins, Miller filed a new lawsuit in a Virginia court, using that state's antigay marriage law to have herself declared the child's sole legal parent.

The conflicting court orders - one from Vermont ordering regular visitation for Jenkins, and the other from a lower court in Virginia naming Miller as the sole parent - led to a decision by the Virginia Court of Appeals that the lower court in Virginia was wrong to contradict the Vermont court order granting Janet Jenkins visitation rights. A few months later, the Virginia Court of Appeals, based on its earlier decision, reiterated that Virginia must enforce the Vermont court order. Lisa Miller appealed that decision to the Virginia Supreme Court resulting in today's decision.

"I'm relieved that this tug of war with my daughter is over," said Janet Jenkins. "This has been a very long four years. My daughter and I need some time to be together - she needs her other mom."

Jenkins' legal team argued that the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act and Virginia's Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act make it clear that the Vermont court alone has jurisdiction in the matter and cannot be interfered with. Furthermore, the federal kidnapping law (PKPA) requires that the Vermont order be enforced in Virginia.

Greg Nevins, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Southern Regional Office in Atlanta is handling the case along with co-counsel Rebecca Glendberg of the ACLU of Virginia and Joseph Price of the law firm Arent Fox LLP who argued the case on behalf of Jenkins.

Article adapted by ProudParenting.com from original press release.

The Associated Press: Hundreds of gay couples wed across California

The Associated Press: Hundreds of gay couples wed across California


By LISA LEFF – 1 day ago

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Wearing everything from T-shirts to tuxedos and lavish gowns, hundreds of same-sex couples rushed to county clerks' offices throughout California to obtain marriage licenses and exchange vows as last-minute legal challenges to gay marriage failed.

All 58 counties began issuing licenses Tuesday following an order from the state's highest court.

San Diego County, typically a Republican stronghold, added four walk-up windows and assigned 78 employees to issue marriage licenses, up from the usual 19. It issued 230 licenses on Tuesday, breaking its previous single-day record of 176 on Valentine's Day 2005.

At the West Hollywood City Hall, George Takei — who played Sulu on the original "Star Trek" — beamed as he and his partner of 21 years, Brad Altman, obtained one of the new gender-neutral marriage licenses — with the words "Party A" and "Party B" instead of "bride" and "groom." They are planning a September wedding.

"I see before me people who personify love and commitment," a grinning Takei told the crowd. He flashed the Vulcan hand salute from "Star Trek" and, in a twist on the Vulcan greeting from the TV series, said: "May equality live long and prosper."

There were scattered demonstrations outside some offices and courthouses, and courts in Sacramento and San Francisco rejected separate bids by groups seeking to halt same-sex marriage.

"It's something to just pray about. It's not a time to be joyful," 16-year-old demonstrator Juliya Lyubezhanina said as she watched dozens of balloon- and rainbow flag-carrying couples.

One conservative activist said an effort to pass a constitutional amendment in the fall that would outlaw gay marriage again in California could fail if opponents came on too strong.

"The major media would love to see us engage in fierce protests and hostile demonstrations of outrage against the licensing of same-sex `marriages,'" said Ronald Prentice, chairman of the ProtectMarriage.com coalition. "Our battle is not against the same-sex couples who are pursuing the opportunity to `marry' granted them by the activist judges on the California Supreme Court."

Some couples came from out of state. Unlike Massachusetts, the only other state to legalize gay marriage, California has no residency requirement for a marriage license. Many gay activists are likening the moment to the 1967 Summer of Love, when young people from across the country converged on California in what came to be regarded as the birth of the counterculture.

In a shady plaza in Bakersfield, where the county clerk stopped officiating at marriages altogether rather than preside over same-sex ceremonies, newlyweds wearing Cinderella-style gowns and matching tuxedos were showered with rose petals while a photographer who set up on a park bench offered to snap wedding portraits.

Although some couples said they preferred to wait until after the election because they feared their marriages would nullified at the ballot box, others said they wanted to make history, especially if the opportunity to get married could be lost.

"There's a window, and we want to take advantage of that window, because who knows what's going to happen in November," said Jay Mendes, 40, as he and his partner of three years, Vantha Sao, 22, waited to obtain a marriage license in West Hollywood.

A recent Field Poll showed that Californians favor granting gays the right to marry 51 percent to 42 percent. It was the first time in 30 years of California polling that the scales tipped in that direction.

In a sign of the growing political support for same-sex marriage, the Los Angeles City Council president, the mayor of Sacramento and at least two state lawmakers agreed to officiate at the weddings of staff members and friends.

On the steps of San Francisco City Hall, a gay men's chorus sang while supporters handed out cupcakes. Inside, Helen Zia, 55, and Lia Shigemura, 50, of Oakland, sang "The Chapel of Love," their voices echoing through the marble halls. They wore orchid leis from Shigemura's home state of Hawaii.

"This is the most meaningful day of my life. I've always wanted to get married," Shigemura said. "I just never thought it'd be possible."

Associated Press writers Elliott Spagat in San Diego, Gillian Flaccus in Santa Ana, Laura E. Davis in West Hollywood, Garance Burke in Bakersfield, Malia Wollan in Martinez, Don Thompson in Sacramento, and Juliana Barbassa and Evelyn Nieves in San Francisco contributed to this report

The Associated Press: Both sides in marriage fight aim for mainstream

The Associated Press: Both sides in marriage fight aim for mainstream


By LISA LEFF and AMANDA FEHD – 14 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — When gay and lesbian couples started getting married in California this week, one set of voices was quiet among the choruses of "Here Come the Brides" — those of the conservative activists who put a same-sex marriage ban on the November ballot.

Instead of appearing in front of the television cameras that recorded joyful couples applying for marriage licenses, the sponsors of the California Marriage Protection Act remained on the sidelines and cautioned their supporters against disrupting weddings.

"We wish these same-sex couples well, our beef is not with them, but with the judges who have the arrogance to rule that California's marriage laws the voters approved are somehow akin to racial discrimination," Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage-California, said in a statement.

The low-key tactics show that opponents of same-sex marriage are concentrating on politically moderate voters as they try to add California to the list of 26 other states with constitutional amendments outlawing gay nuptials.

At least one recent poll showed registered voters leaning against the ballot measure — though results have been mixed — and people involved in the campaign said the effort could be doomed if gay-marriage opponents come off as mean-spirited.

"This campaign represents the broad majority of Californians who support marriage, but are also very decent and tolerant people. Decent and tolerant people don't show up to harass and intimidate anyone," said Andrew Pugno, legal adviser to ProtectMarriage.com, a coalition of religious and social conservative groups that sponsored the initiative.

For their part, gay-rights activists urged same-sex couples and their supporters to afford the occasion the dignity it deserved. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who officiated the wedding of two lesbian activists in their 80s, dissuaded couples, for instance, from scheduling group weddings or wearing elaborate costumes.

"Everybody is saying to their supporters on both sides, 'Tamp it down, don't be outrageous in your conduct because it will turn people off,'" said Bob Stern, president of the Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies, an independent nonpartisan think tank. "No outrageous displays of affection and no outrageous displays of hatred, because everybody is appealing to the middle."

As part of their strategy, gay-rights groups are attempting to characterize the amendment's backers as extremists who are out of touch with attitudes in California. They point to the full-page advertisements Washington-based Family Research Council took out in the Orange County Register and the Sacramento Bee on Sunday, saying the start of legal same-sex marriage would lead to the term "father" being removed from birth certificates.

"If you look at what the other side has been talking about recently, they are not talking about lesbian and gay couples," said Geoffrey Kors, executive director of Equality California, the state's largest gay-rights group. "They want to raise all kind of other issues because the way they feel they can have success is through fear.

"But fear won't work now because the public now sees lesbian and gay couples getting married, and there is nothing to be concerned about," Kors said.

Pugno said it was too soon to say how the amendment's backers would use images from the week of weddings in their campaign. While so far their message has focused on the actions of the Supreme Court majority that struck down the state's one-man one-woman marriage laws, pictures of two brides and two grooms could be used to convince voters that the definition of marriage is in their hands.

"In many ways, the images are a daily reminder that this major social change did not come through the democratic process, but from a 4-to-3 vote of the Supreme Court, and that will keep it fresh in the voters' minds," he said.

Maggie Linden, a public relations executive who is working on the campaign to defeat the referendum, said the extensive media coverage of couples standing in front of clergy with their parents and children at their sides will help make the case for, not against, same-sex marriage.

"Californians fundamentally, time and time again, vote in a way that says we believe in equality and we don't want people treated differently," Linden said. "The images of yesterday and the day before are exactly those images — they are living and committed lesbian and gay couples who are exercising their fundamental rights like everyone else."

Kors said same-sex-marriage supporters will be recruiting volunteers and campaign donations not only at gay pride parades, but at county fairs and other events.

"The support for freedom to marry is broad and widespread, and the opposition is really limited to right-wing organizations," he said.

The ballot initiative would amend the state constitution to "provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Its language was taken directly from a gay marriage ban enacted by voters in 2000, one of two the state Supreme Court found unconstitutional and struck down on May 15.

Opponents and supporters of the November marriage amendment say they could together spend $30 million campaigning. If their predictions prove true, that would be more than the nearly $27 million that was spent combined in the 24 states where such measures have been put to voters since 2004, according to figures compiled by the National Organization on Money in State Politics.

Donations from organizations and individuals outside California are expected to play a large role in financing the referendum fight. Focus on the Family, a Christian conservative group based in Colorado, and the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign, a national gay-rights organization, already have invested heavily in the campaign.

Associated Press writer Steve Lawrence in Sacramento contributed to this story.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NY Catholic Bishops Unite to Oppose Gay Marriage Edict :: EDGE Boston

NY Catholic Bishops Unite to Oppose Gay Marriage Edict :: EDGE Boston

by Kilian Melloy
EDGE Contributor
Tuesday Jun 17, 2008




The recognition of marriage granted in other legal districts is a threat to marriage in the State of New York, according to a statement written and released by a group of NY bishops.

The statement, co-signed by eight new York bishops, including the Archbishop of New York, Edward Cardinal Egan, condemned Gov. David Paterson’s recent instruction to state bureaus to implement a New York court’s finding that same-sex marriages granted elsewhere must be recognized in New York state, despite the fact that New York does not, at present, offer marriage equality.

The state assembly last year approved legislation that would make marriage equality a matter of law and no longer restrict marriage as a special right exclusive to heterosexual couples; the state Senate, however, has yet to allow a vote on the bill.

In their statement, the bishops declare that "The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ himself raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament," and refer to heterosexual unions as "holy" and "consistent with biology and natural law," calling heterosexual marriage "a mutual personal gift... that serves the individual couple in many ways, allowing them to grow in love and, through that love, to bring forth children."

The bishops further assert that, "Numerous theological and religious arguments could be advanced as to why same-sex unions should be rejected. However, this is not simply a matter of theology, and religious values are not the sole source of opposition to this plan."

The bishops then point to rising divorce rates and single-parent homes as a danger to society, at one point commenting that, "Common sense and empirical evidence tell us that children’s welfare is best served in most cases by their being reared in a stable home with their mother and father."

The bishops declare, "Encouraging marriage between a man and a woman, therefore, serves the state’s interests, as well-reared children who live with their mother and father are much more likely to grow to be good citizens, thereby, creating wealth, stability and security for the members of the society."

The bishops continue, "On the other hand, there is no compelling state interest in granting legal recognition to same-sex relationships."

Add the bishops in the course of their statement, "Recognizing same sex unions will only serve to devalue marriage even more than what has already occurred in recent years," before going on to equate marriage equality with "our nation’s growing rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births over the last four decades."

As for the question of civil rights and the concern that granting marriage as a special right to be enjoyed only by heterosexual couples constitutes a civil injury to gay and lesbian families, the bishops write that, "marriage by definition is a union of physically and emotionally complementary male and female partners."

Addressing anti-gay prejudice, the authors note, "it is true that homosexual persons sometimes face unjust discrimination in certain areas. This is wrong and must be opposed by everyone.

"But the state need not ignore the realities of natural law or discard thousands of years of human tradition to address such issues," the bishops continue.

The position of the Catholic church, while not explicitly addressed in the statement, is that God intends gays and lesbians to lead celibate lives--the implication being that they should be deprived of family connections.

That thought is seemingly present in the sentence in which the bishops declare that, "in truth, the movement for ’same-sex marriage’ is less about such benefits as it is about societal acceptance and approval of homosexual relationships."

Add the authors, "But it is not the business of the state to attempt to legislate such approval."

The Website of the New York State Catholic Conference offers further details on the views promulgated by the state’s bishops.

Comments by Richard E. Barnes, the executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, appear at the site, including Barnes’ declaration that the "unilateral move without legislative input" undertaken by the governor "is not in keeping with Mr. Paterson’s promises upon taking office of a collaborative and bipartisan governing style"--though it is in keeping with the court’s ruling, a fact that the site does not mention.

Barnes refers to "biblical ancestors," but ignores virtually all reputable scientific evidence on issues of sexuality and the need, present also in gays and lesbians, to engage in family structure, with the subsequent statement that marriage "should not be treated as simply one more lifestyle choice, equal to any other, because it is not."

Barnes goes on to say that, "[the state] can not declare a same-sex union to be a ’marriage,’" despite the advent, in 2004, of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and this week’s commencement of marriage equality in California.

As reported last week at EDGE, Bishop William Murphy, writing in a Catholic newspaper, dismissed Gov. Paterson’s directive for state offices to comply with the court ruling as "just plain wrong," and declared that, "Sexual intimacy between persons of the same sex does not pass muster."

Further, legal unions between people attracted to members of their own gender "do not serve the common good," Murphy wrote, because, he said, such attractions "contradict biological teleology and the natural law."

Murphy wrote, "No matter how much some may wish to apply the term ’marriage’ [to gay or lesbian commitment], it does not fit because it fails the test of truth and authenticity."


Kilian Melloy reviews media, conducts interviews, and writes commentary for EDGEBoston, where he also serves as Assistant Arts Editor.

Gay Marriages Begin in California - NYTimes.com

Gay Marriages Begin in California - NYTimes.com

Gay Marriages Begin in California
By JESSE McKINLEY
SAN FRANCISCO — With a series of simple “I dos,” gay and lesbian couples across California inaugurated the state’s court-sanctioned and potentially short-lived experiment with same-sex marriage on Monday, the first of what are expected to be a crush of such unions in coming weeks.

The weddings began in a handful of locations around the state at exactly 5:01 p.m. Pacific time, the first minute allowed by last month’s decision by the California Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage. Many more ceremonies will be held on Tuesday when all 58 counties around the state will be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In San Francisco, Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 84, were the first and only couple to be wed here, saying their vows in the office of Mayor Gavin Newsom, before emerging to a throng of media and screaming well-wishers.

The gray-haired Ms. Martin and Ms. Lyon, who have been together for more than 50 years, seemed touched by, if a little tired of, all the attention.

“When we first got together, we weren’t thinking about getting married,” said Ms. Lyon, before cutting a wedding cake. “I think it’s a wonderful day.”

Outside City Hall, several hundred supporters and protesters chanted, cheered and jeered in equal measure, giving an unruly carnival feel to the scene, complete with a marching band playing wedding songs and signs reading “Homo Sex Is Sin.”

Officials in Alameda County, across the bay from San Francisco, said they expected two dozen or more same-sex weddings to take place on Monday evening, and as 5 p.m. approached, several couples waited anxiously in the hallway in front of the county clerk’s office in downtown Oakland.

In Sonoma County, the wine-rich region north of here, 18 couples are scheduled to be wed on Monday evening, including Chris Lechman, 37, and Mark Gren, 42, who called to book their nuptials shortly after the court’s decision.

“We’ve been on pins and needles,” said Mr. Lechman, who celebrated the 15th anniversary of meeting Mr. Gren on Monday. “We are thrilled to be part of history.”

Janice Atkinson, the Sonoma County clerk, said her office was planning to stay open late for the rest of the month to accommodate what she expected would be a heavy load of same-sex weddings. On Sunday, Ms. Atkinson and staff members attended a gay pride celebration in Sonoma to hand out applications for marriage licenses to prospective newlyweds.

“We’re expecting some very happy couples,” she said. “And a lot of media.”

The selection of Ms. Martin and Ms. Lyon as San Francisco’s first same-sex couple was symbolic; the couple was wed here in 2004, when the city broke state law by issuing more than 4,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples and conducting weddings in City Hall. Those marriages were later invalidated by the state Supreme Court.

On May 15, however, the same court struck down the two California laws that prohibited such unions, opening the door for California to becomes the second, and largest, American state to legalize same-sex marriage. Massachusetts did so in 2004, and more than 10,500 couples have wed there.

Same-sex marriage has been hotly contested nationwide and state by state in the courts and at the ballot box, and California is no exception. Voters here will decide whether to approve a ballot measure in November that would effectively overturn the court’s decision by defining marriage as “between a man and a woman.”

Forty-four states already have some sort of legal barrier — either a law or constitutional amendment — barring such unions. In 2004 alone, 13 states passed ballot measures banning same-sex marriage.

This year, however, supporters have found encouragement in both the California Supreme Court decision and in a subsequent order by Gov. David A. Paterson of New York to force his state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. The California court has also rebuffed several challenges to its May 15 decision made by two conservative legal groups and a collection of Republican attorneys general who fear that the marriages will lead to legal challenges to be brought in their own states.

One legal challenge was filed last week by the Liberty Counsel, a group based in Florida that wants the California Court of Appeal to halt the weddings to allow the State Legislature time to work out discrepancies in marriage law created by the state Supreme Court’s decision.

Mathew D. Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said Monday’s ceremonies “make a mockery of marriage.”

“Marriage has traditionally been known, across continents and all geographical regions, as between a man and a woman,” said Mr. Staver, who is 51 and married. “Marriage between the same sex may be some sort of union, but it’s certainly not marriage.”

There has also been some local opposition to the ceremonies. In rural Kern County, north of Los Angeles, the county clerk has canceled all weddings performed by her office, a position she took after consulting with the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona legal group that argues against marriage for gay men and lesbians. Weddings at the county clerk’s office — long an affordable, no-frills option for couples — have also been called off in Butte County, north of Sacramento, the state capital.

In more liberal parts of the state, however, the weddings are being warmly embraced.

In Beverly Hills, Robin Tyler and Diane Olson also tied the knot, saying their vows on the steps of the city’s courthouse. Ms. Tyler cried throughout the ceremony, held by Ms. Olson, and solemnized by a rabbi, Denise Eger.

“Great floods cannot dampen your love,” Rabbi Eger said. “Your courage brought you here today”

Carolyn Marshal contributed reporting.

Lesbian couple of 55 years ready to 'I do' it - San Jose Mercury News

Lesbian couple of 55 years ready to 'I do' it - San Jose Mercury News: "g"


Lesbian couple of 55 years ready to 'I do' it
By LISA LEFF Associated Press Writer
Article Launched: 06/15/2008 04:51:23 PM PDT


SAN FRANCISCO—When Phyllis Lyon met Del Martin, a woman who wore slacks instead of a skirt attracted stares, if not doubts about her sexuality.
Martin carried a briefcase anyway.

In 1950, "gay" was a code word members of an all but invisible society used to find each other outside the pages of lurid pulp fiction. A real lesbian could get arrested, fired and committed for electroshock treatment if caught dancing with another woman at a bar.

Lyon and Martin fell in love anyway.

On Monday, more than 55 years after they set up house together and pronounced themselves as committed as two people could be, they plan to become one of the first same-sex couples to legally exchange marriage vows in California. It's a right for which they worked, but never waited.

"It was something you wanted to know, 'Is it really going to happen?' And now it's happened, and maybe it can continue to happen," Lyon says.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will officiate the private ceremony in his City Hall office before 50 invited guests. He picked Martin, 87, and Lyon, 84, for the front of the line in recognition of their long relationship and their status as pioneers of the gay rights movement.

Along with six other women, they founded a San Francisco social club for lesbians in 1955 called the Daughters of Bilitis. Under their leadership, DOB, as it became known. evolved into the nation's first lesbian advocacy organization. Lyon and Martin have the


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FBI files to prove it.
The small group's purpose initially "was strictly to have a safe place where lesbians could come together and dance without being hassled by the cops," Lyon recalls. Growing the membership proved painstaking, since there was no way to reach out to people without putting themselves at risk.

"Being a lesbian wasn't something you flashed up on a sign board, 'Hi, I just found my love,'" Lyon says.

She and Martin met while working as editors of construction trade publications in Seattle. They decided to publish a newsletter with event listings, articles on topics like what to do if you were arrested in a bar raid and reviews of studies on homosexuality. All the contributors to "The Ladder" used pseudonyms for the inaugural issue, which had a mimeograph run of 165 copies.

"We began to find out a whole lot more about what was going on and what needed to be done and taken care of," Lyon says. "And guess what? It just grew and grew and grew."

—————

In February 2004, San Francisco's new mayor decided to challenge California's marriage laws by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. His advisers and gay rights activists knew right away which couple would put the most compelling human face on the issue.

Martin and Lyon were set to celebrate their 51st anniversary as live-in lovers on Valentine's Day. Because of their work with the Daughters, they also were icons in the gay community.

"Four years ago, when they agreed to be married, it was in equal parts to support the mayor and to support the idea that lesbians and gay people formed committed relationships and should have those relationships respected," says Kate Kendell, a close friend and executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Lyon and Martin vividly recall the excitement of being secretly swept into the clerk's office, saying "I do" in front of a tiny group of city staff members and friends, and then being rushed out of the building. There were no corsages, no bottles of champagne. Afterward they went to lunch, just the two of them, at a restaurant run as a job training program for participants in a substance abuse program.

"Of course, nobody down there knew, so we were left to be by ourselves like we wanted to be," said Martin, the less gregarious of the two. "Then we came home."

"And watched TV," adds Lyon.

The privacy was short-lived. Their wedding portrait, showing the couple cradling each other in pastel-colored pantsuits with their foreheads tenderly touching, drew worldwide attention. Same-sex marriage would become legal in Massachusetts in another three months, but San Francisco's calculated act of civil disobedience drove the debate.

In the month that followed, more than 4,000 other couples followed Martin and Lyon down the aisle before a judge acting on petitions brought by gay marriage opponents halted the city's spree.

The state Supreme Court ultimately voided the unions, but the women were among the two dozen couples who served as plaintiffs in the lawsuits that led the same court last month to overturn California's ban on gay marriage.

————

Agreeing to be the poster girls for the gay marriage cause was easy for Lyon and Martin, although they are first to admit that saying "I do" never topped their "to do" list.

From early in their careers as activists, the two New Deal-style Democrats resented the label of sexual deviancy that forced gay men and lesbians to hide in shame. They weren't waiting for society's permission to love each other. So they set out to persuade other lesbians the only approval they needed was their own.

In 1960, six years before the National Organization for Women was founded and 13 years before the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its diagnostic manual of mental disorders, they and other DOB members in San Francisco organized the first national convention for lesbians. About 200 women registered for the event.

For the rest of the decade, Lyon and Martin worked with the system to change it, seeking to convince California lawmakers to introduce antidiscrimination bills. Working with gay activists, they had success in getting the police to stop raiding the bars.

Still, it wouldn't be until 1992 that California would become the first state to outlaw job and housing discrimination against gay men and lesbians.

"We didn't give a damn about getting married. We wanted to get a law that said you can't fire us just because we are gay," Lyon says.

—————

Before the state Supreme Court ruled on May 15 that denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples was unjustifiable discrimination, Martin did not think the justices would rule in their favor. A midlevel appeals court already hadn't, and six of the seven justices on the high court were appointed by Republican governors.

They were having their morning coffee when Lyon heard the news on the radio. She rushed across the house to embrace Martin. Not long after, Newsom called to offer congratulations and to ask if they would be willing to be at the forefront yet again. "Sure," was the answer they gave.

The couple, who live in the same San Francisco house they bought in 1956, do not get out much now. Martin needs a wheelchair to get around. Although they plan to briefly greet well-wishers at City Hall after the ceremony, they are having a private reception for friends and family, including Lyon's sister and Martin's daughter from her first marriage.

"It's so endearing because they do seem excited and a little bit nervous," Kendell says. "It's like the classic feelings anyone has as their wedding day approaches."

Because a few other clerk's offices agreed to stay open until the court's decision becomes final at 5 p.m., other couples planning late afternoon weddings may already have tied the knot before the mayor pronounces Lyon and Martin "spouses for life." They don't mind. They know they already are.

"We didn't try to move away, that's how we stayed together," Lyon says, explaining the secret to their longevity as a couple. "You never agree wholeheartedly with everything, but we agreed pretty much with everything. We get along well. And we love each other." Lyon says.

"I love you, too," Martin says.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stance on Same-Sex Marriage Brings Surprises for Paterson - NYTimes.com

The Empire Zone - Stance on Same-Sex Marriage Brings Surprises for Paterson - NYTimes.com

By JEREMY W. PETERS
ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson’s decision to direct state agencies to recognize marriages of same-sex couples elevated his status in the eyes of many gays and lesbians to something of a celebrity.

But Mr. Paterson, below, has unexpectedly discovered that some of the people who are most grateful to him for issuing the order are, in fact, parents with a gay son or a lesbian daughter.

The governor said in an interview last week that he had been approached by several people who expressed their gratitude. “What struck me were the straight people who came up to me,” he said. “This has happened four or five times since. They’ll say: ‘We’re so glad you did this. Our daughter is gay or our son is gay.’ I found that to be so very touching.”

One evening two weeks ago, while he was having dinner with his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, at a restaurant at 105th Street and Broadway, the governor said, a man and a woman approached him, introduced themselves, and then each hugged him. Their son was gay, they told Mr. Paterson, and they wanted to let the governor know how thankful they were about his policy.

By and large, Mr. Paterson said, the response to his order, which he issued to all state agencies on May 14 through his legal counsel, David Nocenti, had been fairly tame. He said he had not noticed much of an outpouring of reaction from either supporters or opponents of same-sex marriage.

“Rosie didn’t call. I was a little hurt by that,” Mr. Paterson joked, referring to the actress and former talk show host Rosie O’Donnell. Ms. O’Donnell is a native New Yorker who has four children with her partner, Kelli Carpenter, and is the sister of Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell, an openly gay lawmaker who has been a champion of same-sex marriage.

“I was kind of thinking that she would,” Mr. Paterson added with a chuckle.

Not that his order to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside New York has gone unnoticed. The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based Christian group that has fought efforts to legalize same-sex marriages across the country, filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court in the Bronx this month seeking to block the governor’s directive.

The one memorable phone call that Mr. Paterson said he received shortly after his order became widely publicized was from the Rev. Al Sharpton, a supporter of civil rights for gay people. Mr. Paterson said Mr. Sharpton called to offer thanks, but also to take a friendly jab at the governor for disclosing that he became comfortable around gay people at a young age because two close Paterson family friends were gay.

“He was calling on behalf of Uncle Stanley and Uncle Ronald, saying I’d be in trouble for outing them,” Mr. Paterson said, referring to a gay couple who often took care of him and his brother, Daniel.