Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Polls change on prop 8

Bloomberg.com: U.S.

By William Selway

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- A California ballot measure that would halt same-sex marriages in the most-populous U.S. state is trailing among those expected to cast ballots in November, a poll found.

The proposed ban, known as Proposition 8, is opposed by 52 percent of those likely to vote, with 44 percent in favor, according to a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California. The ban is opposed by two-thirds of Democrats in a state where Senator Barack Obama holds a lead of 23 percentage points over Republican Challenger John McCain, the poll found.

``A big turnout for the top-of-the-ticket presidential race could have a significant impact on the rest of the ballot,'' Mark Baldassare, the president of the San Francisco-based research group, said in a statement.

California this year became the second state after Massachusetts to allow same-sex couples to marry, following a ruling by its Supreme Court that a 2000 ban passed by the voters violated the constitutional rights of homosexuals. Opponents of gay nuptials moved to overturn that verdict by asking state voters to amend the constitution to prohibit the practice.

The results of the Public Policy Institute poll are based on interviews with 1,186 likely voters from Oct. 12 to Oct. 19, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Selway in San Francisco at wselway@bloomberg.net

Political Radar: Palin Differs With McCain on Federal Marriage Amendment

catching up on my blogging today

Political Radar: Palin Differs With McCain on Federal Marriage Amendment

ABC News' Imtiyaz Delawala Reports: Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin has signaled support for a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman – a position inconsistent with Sen. John McCain, who has opposed such a measure, as well as with her own previously stated position of letting states decide on such issues.

In an interview to air tomorrow on The 700 Club, Christian Broadcasting News senior correspondent David Brody asked Palin, "On constitutional marriage amendment, are, are you for something like that?"

"I am, in my own, state, I have voted along with the vast majority of Alaskans who had the opportunity to vote to amend our Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman," Palin said, citing the 1998 initiative that banned gay marriage in her home state.

"I wish on a federal level that that's where we would go because I don't support gay marriage," Palin added, taking a position at odds with McCain, who voted against efforts for a proposed Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006. Earlier this month, McCain told the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper, that he continues to oppose such an amendment today because he thinks the definition of marriage should be a state matter and not one for the federal government "as long as no state is forced to adopt some other state's standard."

While Palin's position differs from McCain's, it is also seemingly at odds with statements she has made calling herself a "federalist" who supports letting individual states decide on such matters.

When asked last month by CBS' Katie Couric why she considered Roe v. Wade a bad decision, Palin said she believed states and not the federal government should decide the legality of the issue.

"I think it should be a states' issue not a federal government-mandated, mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I'm, in that sense, a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas," Palin said. "And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that."

McCain, who often calls himself a "federalist," has tied together his opposition to Roe v. Wade as well as a Federal Marriage Amendment as consistent with the position of letting states make such decisions.

"I'm a federalist. Just as I believe that the issue of gay marriage should be decided by the states, so do I believe that we would be better off by having Roe v. Wade return to the states," McCain said in an interview on This Week with George Stephanopoulos in November 2006. "And I don't believe the Supreme Court should be legislating in the way that they did on Roe v. Wade."

As she has said in previous interviews, Palin told CBN’s Brody that she would not "judge" gay individuals, but said that she will continue "casting my votes and speaking up for traditional marriage."

"I'm not going to be out there judging individuals, sitting in a seat of judgment telling what they can and can't do, should and should not do," Palin told Brody. "But I certainly can express my own opinion here and take actions that I believe would be best for traditional marriage, and that's casting my votes and speaking up for traditional marriage that, that instrument that it's the foundation of our society is that strong family and that's based on that traditional definition of marriage, so I do support that."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gay marriage opponents issue threats to Calif. businesses | 365 Gay News

the opposition is stooping to the lowest. Extortion like tactics. Isn't this so christian though. They deserve to lose.

Gay marriage opponents issue threats to Calif. businesses | 365 Gay News

By The Associated Press
10.24.2008 10:27am EDT

(San Francisco, California) Leaders of the campaign to outlaw same-sex marriage in California made an offer to businesses that have given money to the state’s largest gay-rights group: Give us money or we’ll publicly identify you as opponents of traditional unions.

Supporters of same-sex marriage called the tactic “an attempt to extort people” and “a bit Mafioso.”

ProtectMarriage.com, the umbrella group behind a ballot initiative that would overturn this year’s California Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, targeted about 35 companies in the appeal, spokeswoman Sonya Eddings Brown said.

She called the letter “a frustrated response” to the intimidation felt by Proposition 8 supporters, who have had their lawn signs stolen and property vandalized in the closing days of the increasingly heated campaign.

Certified letters from the group this week asked companies to withdraw their support of Equality California, a nonprofit organization that is helping lead the campaign against Proposition 8.

“Make a donation of a like amount to ProtectMarriage.com which will help us correct this error,” reads the letter. “Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in opposition to traditional marriage. … The names of any companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to ProtectMarriage.com but have given to Equality California will be published.”

The letter was signed by four members of the group’s executive committee: campaign chairman Ron Prentice; Edward Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference; Mark Jansson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Andrew Pugno, a lawyer for ProtectMarriage.com.

A donation form was attached. The letter did not say where the names would be published.

San Diego businessman Jim Abbott, who owns a real estate company and is a member of Equality California’s board of directors, received one of the letters late Wednesday afternoon. His adult son called Abbott to read it to him.

“He characterized it as a bit Mafioso,” Abbott said. “It was a little distressing, but it’s consistent with how the ‘yes’ side of this campaign has been run, which is a bit over the top.”

Abbott, who married his same-sex partner at the end of August, estimated that over the last decade he has given $50,000 to Equality California, including a recent $10,000 gift to underwrite a San Diego event that raised money to defeat Proposition 8.

When asked whether ProtectMarriage.com planned to name businesses that have supported the No on 8 campaign, Prentice initially said he was unaware of any such effort.

“I’m not familiar of any organized attack against organizations that have given to No on 8,” he said Thursday.

But when asked about the letter to Equality California donors, Prentice confirmed they were authentic and said the ProtectMarriage.com campaign was asking businesses backing the other side “to reconsider taking a position on a moral issue in California.”

Prentice said it was his understanding that the letter was intended for large corporations such as cable operators Time Warner and Comcast instead of small business owners like Abbott. Time Warner and Comcast are listed on Equality California’s Web site as corporate sponsors that gave $50,000 each to the group.

Companies that have contributed directly to one of the campaign committees collecting cash to fight Proposition 8, including one set up by Equality California, also were recipients of the letter, Prentice said. That list includes companies such as Pacific Gas & Electric, Levi Strauss and AT&T.

“I think the IDing of, or outing of, any company is very secondary to the question of why especially a public corporation would choose to take a side knowing it would splinter its own clientele,” he said.

Equality California executive director Geoffrey Kors said Thursday he has heard from two other business owners besides Abbott.

“It’s truly an outrageous attempt to extort people,” Kors said.

While an anti-Proposition 8 group called Californians Against Hate has posted lists of gay marriage ban donors on the Internet and even launched boycotts of selected businesses, Kors said that work has been independent of the official No on 8 campaign.

“They are going after our long-term funding and trying to intimidate Equality California donors from giving any more to the No on 8 campaign and from giving to Equality California ever again, which would impact our work for seniors, youth and other people in need,” Kors said.

GayCityNews - Promising to 'Persevere'

GayCityNews - Promising to 'Persevere'

Promising to 'Persevere'
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Governor David A. Paterson addresses October 20 Empire State Pride Agenda Dinner.

Amidst growing reports of his stepped-up efforts to help the Democratic Party win control of the State Senate on November 4, Governor David Paterson made a triumphal appearance at the annual fall dinner of the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA) and chronicled the recent dramatic advances toward marriage equality in New York State.

The governor, in his remarks before a sold-old ballroom crowd at the Sheraton New York on October 20, held off on any specific prediction about when the Senate would take action to pass the marriage bill adopted last year by the Democratic-controlled Assembly, but he used a joke to drive home his point that control of that chamber is key to how the issue will play out.

Referring to his May memorandum to state agencies directing them to comply with a recent appellate court ruling that New York must recognize legal same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, Paterson quipped, "I knew that some of the opponents would take court action and I pleaded with them not to waste their money, but now I'm glad they did because they can't spend it on the upcoming election."

In early June, five Republican state senators filed suit in Bronx Supreme Court challenging the governor's authority in issuing the directive, despite the fact that the court ruling Paterson relied on is a binding statewide precedent.

At issue on the November ballot is the razor thin two-seat majority the Republicans hold after decades of unfettered control of the Senate. Though the GOP has on some occasions, even if only after years of delay, allowed progress on gay rights initiative - most prominently, the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, or SONDA, in late 2002 - marriage equality and transgender rights legislation have not been matters its leadership has been willing to consider. Last month, at a Log Cabin Republican reception in Manhattan, Dean Skelos, the Long Island Republican who replaced Joe Bruno as the Senate majority leader, signaled that he was not prepared to change course on marriage equality, meaning it would continue to be denied a floor vote.

In the immediate aftermath of his sudden ascension to the governor's office in March, there were widespread press reports that Paterson, eager to get state government moving after the scandal that destroyed Eliot Spitzer's career, had brokered a truce with Bruno, then the Senate leader, effectively sidelining himself from the legislative election campaign. At the time, Democratic Party officials insisted that the governor was merely respecting the difference between the governing season and the politicking season - a distinction several observers noted had been lost on Spitzer.

That argument was borne out in early October when the New York Times reported that Paterson was aggressively courting political donors and taking the lead in an effort to raise $2 million to help Democrats win the two-plus seats they need to control the Senate.

Still, if the governor is adopting a more partisan focus in the weeks leading up to the election, it is still one whose edge is softened by both his humor and his recognition that even though a change in leadership might be necessary, bipartisanship may yet play a critical role in carrying the ball across the goal line.

After telling the dinner crowd, "We don't know what time it will be that the Senate will address this issue... hopefully as soon as possibly," Paterson, in remarks to reporters outside the banquet hall, said, "But I think really in New York there are enough senators in the Senate as it's comprised right now to pass this legislation."

Paterson is a man of the Senate, having served as minority leader there before Spitzer tapped him as his running mate in 2006. Yet, by ESPA's best count, six of the 30 Democrats in the Senate have stated in one way or the other their opposition to the marriage equality bill. Paterson might judge some of those opponents movable on the issue, but several - most notably, Reverend Ruben Diaz of the Bronx - will not be shaken, so the governor must have contemplated some number of Republicans willing to stand with the gay community, as three of their Assembly colleagues did last year. That is, if the Senate had leadership that would allow a vote.

Asked directly if he saw marriage equality as doable only with a bipartisan vote, Paterson offered something of a finesse, saying, "As with SONDA, if the bill ever passes in the Senate it would have bipartisan support, regardless of who is in the majority."

In what was presumably also a nod of his head to bipartisanship, the governor said that the progress that can be made during a floor debate itself was the reason "why I've always been in favor of meaningful legislation getting to the floor of the House and the Senate even if it loses, and I don't think it should take a majority vote in committee for some pieces of legislation to get there, even some that I would vote against."

Control of what bills get out of committee and to the floor for debate has always been the prerogative of the majority party in Albany; Paterson seemed clearly to be suggesting that Bruno and now Skelos have blocked movement by their own members toward more gay-friendly positions.

But he was also making the point that, even among Democrats, a tally taken today is likely not indicative of what may be possible even as early as next year.

"I think that about two weeks before the Assembly vote, had the vote been held it would have lost by five or six votes and yet it won by 24 votes," Paterson told reporters. "I think it's that moment when people really have to engage whether or not they want to deny people who really care about each other the right to... to formalize it in terms of an official wedding... You saw a number of assemblymembers who didn't even realize they would vote for the bill two weeks before voting aye."

In talking during the dinner about the Assembly vote last year, Paterson as he has done on other occasions, though using different examples, likened the struggle for LGBT equality to his experiences as an African American.

"When I was ten years old, I saw the vicious beating of 600 people at the Edmund Pettus Bridge right outside Selma, Alabama," the governor said. "Unfortunately my daughter, when she was ten years old, saw the film clips of a gay man who was beaten with the barrel of a gun and left on a fence to die in Laramie, Wyoming."

A moment later, Paterson pivoted to the responsibility that people of color have for standing with LGBT Americans in finding common cause.

"I am most pleased that a number of African-American and Hispanic legislators who at first were unable to see the congruence connection between the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people and our own struggles waged throughout the century were able to see it that night and voted for the legislation," he said of the evening the marriage bill cleared the Assembly.

Paterson concluded his dinner remarks in this vein, pointing to the need for coalition among a broad range of progressive groups active in Democratic Party politics.

"We're going to persevere," he pledged, "and we're going to do it with a new sheriff who's going to sign the marriage equality act."

Same-sex marriage supporters aid Mesi in Senate race : Home: The Buffalo News

Same-sex marriage supporters aid Mesi in Senate race : Home: The Buffalo News

Same-sex marriage supporters aid Mesi in Senate race
State Senate shift to Democrats is goal
By Tom Precious
ALBANY — Ronald Ansin has never met Joe Mesi, has never been to the Buffalo area and readily admits he knows nothing of the ins and outs of Mesi’s State Senate campaign.

But that didn’t stop the Massachusetts shoe company heir from donating $4,000 to Mesi’s bid to become a state senator representing the northeastern suburbs of Buffalo. And Ansin didn’t pause when he recently wrote another $19,000 in checks to five other Democratic Senate campaigns around the state.

What was the driving reason to send his money to New York’s State Senate battlegrounds?

“A realization that there’s an opportunity to secure for the people of New York the same rights with respect to same-sex marriage that we have here in Massachusetts,” said Ansin, who lives outside Boston. A Buffalo News analysis shows at least $510,000 has been pumped into Democratic efforts to take control of the State Senate from groups and individuals who support same-sex marriage laws. Much of the money has come in during the past six weeks, and a large part of it is flowing from out of state.

During a nine-day period last month, Mesi received about $37,000 from individuals or groups who in one way or another have ties to organizations that support same-sex marriage rights. In June, during an interview on WBEN radio, Mesi said he opposed same-sex marriage.

Earlier this week, on the same radio station, he said he supports the right.

Efforts have intensified in recent years to permit same-sex marriage in New York — now legal in California, Massachusetts and, most recently, Connecticut. The Assembly last year passed a same-sex marriage bill, and Gov. David A. Paterson has indicated he supports the right.

But the Senate, dominated by Republicans for seven decades, has declined to bring the measure to the floor for a vote.

Now, supporters of same-sex marriage see opportunity, if Democrats can erase the slim GOP majority in the Senate — now at 31-29 with two vacancies — and win just a couple of the half-dozen seats in play during the upcoming election.

“I’d like to see the Senate flip. I would like to see marriage equality in New York and everywhere else,” said Andrew Tobias, an author from Miami who is also treasurer of the Democratic National Committee. He recently gave $4,000 to New York Senate Democratic candidates.

“It’s kind of crazy that New York would be dominated by Republicans for so long,” Tobias added.

The donations are flowing mostly to six Democratic candidates — from Long Island and Queens to Rochester and the 61st Senate District in the Buffalo area.

The money is also heading to the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, the chief fundraising arm for the party’s efforts to retake the Senate.

Donors were identified either through public statements made on the issue or through those close to organizations that promote same-sex rights. The donations also were checked against similar donations to committees in California pushing to stop a ballot initiative that would make same-sex marriage illegal.

The biggest single donor in recent months has been Tim Gill, a software entrepreneur and philanthropist from Denver who is a major benefactor of gay marriage efforts. He donated $109,000 to Democratic Senate candidates and the state party in recent months, along with $50,000 to Empire State Pride Agenda, a leading organization pushing for marriage-equality laws in New York. Gill did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment.

The Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D. C., gay rights group, has donated $73,000 — most of it late last month — to Senate Democratic causes, including $9,400 to Mesi. Officials of that organization did not return calls seeking comment.

Opponents of gay marriage rights say the money flow is providing an unfair advantage to Democratic candidates.

“We can see the writing on the wall if the Democrats take that house,” said Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference, the official voice of the church’s bishops in the state.

“We have a governor who supports same-sex marriage very strongly, and we have an Assembly that has already passed the bill. It’s hard to see a scenario where that bill doesn’t become law right off the bat,” he added.

Conservatives are already upset with Paterson for directing state agencies to recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere. And Poust said he sees the out-of-state donations as especially worrisome.

“It may be perfectly legal, but it doesn’t seem right. This argument ought to be debated on its merits without the influence of big money from out of the state,” he said.

Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat who is gay and was a leading advocate of the 2007 same-sex marriage bill that passed the Assembly, said not all Senate Democrats support the measure so it is not certain the initiative would be approved swiftly if the GOP loses control.

In a statement, the Mesi campaign — without addressing the candidate’s change on the issue — said it doesn’t ask “whether our contributors are gay or straight . . . We accept contributions from people who believe we need change in Albany,” the campaign said.

In his own statement, Mesi said donors agree with his positions “and trust in my independent leadership.”

Other donors include David Bohnett, a Beverly Hills, Calif., entrepreneur and founder of the Internet company GeoCities, who pumped in $1 million opposing a gay marriage ban in California and donated $10,000 to New York Democrats; David Dechman, a Manhattan investment executive, who donated $20,000, including $4,000 to Mesi’s campaign; Weston Milliken, who runs a California consulting business; Ted Snowden, a Manhattan theatrical producer; Henry Van Ameringen, a New York philanthropist and International Flavors & Fragrances heir; and Esmond Harmsworth, a Boston literary agent.

They did not return calls seeking comment.

Why would a Massachusetts resident care about New York politics?

“I’m also a resident of the United States,” Ansin said. “. . . Where there’s an opportunity to advance the constitutional rights of Americans, I’m for it.”


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Questions raised over Yes on Prop. 8 ads - San Jose Mercury News

Questions raised over Yes on Prop. 8 ads - San Jose Mercury News

By Mike Swift
Mercury News

Article Launched: 10/18/2008 06:46:00 PM PDT

Widely distributed television and radio ads warn California voters of two dramatic consequences if they don't approve a ban on same-sex marriage in November: "Churches could lose their tax exemption," and "gay marriage taught in public schools."

Not exactly true, say legal experts and state education officials.

A second, more recent ad by the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign shows a young girl rushing to tell her mother that she learned in school that she could marry another girl. "When Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, schools began teaching second graders that boys can marry boys," law professor Richard Peterson warns in the second ad. A "Yes" vote on Proposition 8 would short-circuit those threats, the two ads say.

"It's unnecessarily and irresponsibly alarmist," Hilary McLean, press secretary for Jack O'Connell, California's state schools chief, said of the ads. While local school boards could add marriage classes to their curriculums, there would be no statewide mandate to do so. Legal experts also say the ads are misleading in their warnings to religious organizations.

"No church is at any risk of losing its tax-exempt status if it refuses to perform same-sex weddings," said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California-Irvine.

Many of the examples the Yes on 8 campaign cites to support its charges happened in states where same-sex marriage is not legal, or invoke cases that involve sexual



orientation, but have nothing to do with marriage.

To support its claim that churches' tax-exempt status could be at risk, the Yes on 8 campaign cited a New Jersey case where same-sex couples who wanted to have a commitment ceremony were denied use of a beach pavilion owned by a Methodist-affiliated organization. The state, saying the pavilion was not open to the public on an equal basis, revoked the tax-exempt status of the pavilion — but not the organization, nor the rest of its property.

The manager of the Yes on 8 campaign, Frank Schubert, acknowledged that constitutional protections for religious practice protect a church's tax-exempt status.

"A church would be very likely permitted to refuse to perform a gay wedding in the church with no risk to their tax exemption," Schubert said in a written statement. "But if the church rents out property to the public for use as a wedding site, they could not prohibit a gay couple from renting that property for the wedding."

A Massachusetts case is the basis of the campaign's allegation that same-sex marriage will be taught to young children unless Prop. 8 passes. The TV ad is based on a Lexington, Mass., case in which an elementary school teacher read the book "King & King", a children's book that describes a prince who marries another prince.

David and Tonia Parker were one of two couples who sued the school system after their kindergarten-aged son brought home a book from school titled, "Who's In a Family?" It shows families that include two women with children, saying such families are "just fine."

A federal judge ruled against the Parkers and the other couple in 2007, but Parker said parents — not educators — should make moral judgments for young child.

"It would be like me coming into an elementary school and saying, 'I have a Christian family, now we have to talk about Jesus Christ,' " he said. "Gay marriage is being used as a battering ram against parental rights."

The No on 8 campaign ads have generally focused on the general theme that marriage should be equally available to everyone, both gay and straight, avoiding specific legal claims.

The issue of whether children would be forced to learn about same-sex marriage came up as the two sides in Prop. 8 battled in state court this summer about ballot arguments that the Secretary of State distributed to voters.

"Current state law does not require school districts to teach anything about marriage or same-sex marriage at any grade level," wrote Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley. However, Frawley noted a school district could choose to include such instruction.

In California, public schools do not have formal instruction on marriage until high school. McLean also said California has a stronger "opt-out" provision, which allows parents to withdraw their children from any school instruction, than Massachusetts. Children's books such as "Who's In a Family?" could not be used in a class without the approval of a local school board, she said.

Legal experts said that whatever voters decide with Prop. 8, that there is broad emerging battle ahead between religious liberty and gay rights, a conflict wider than same-sex marriage which could spill into parochial schools, church-related human service organizations, and other areas where religious organizations interact with secular society.

"There will certainly be major clashes," said Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Congress.

Contact Mike Swift at (408) 271-3648 or mswift@mercurynews.com.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Psychoanalysts Laud Connecticut's Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage

Psychoanalysts Laud Connecticut's Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage

CT Supreme Court moved debate from an 'equal protection' argument to one about social justice

NEW YORK, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On October 10, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that same sex couples have the right to marry, making Connecticut the third state to have legalized same-sex marriage. The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), which was a contributor and co-signer of the amici brief submitted for this case along with other national, as well as Connecticut-based, mental health and child welfare organizations, lauds the Court's historic decision -- a decision that is especially significant as it moved the same-sex marriage debate from an "equal protection" argument to one about social justice.

"Research data submitted by APsaA and other mental health organizations was pivotal to the winning legal argument. We are now able to demonstrate, scientifically, that the idea that gay couples are unfit as parents is nonsense. And we can demonstrate that children of gay parents do just as well as children of opposite sex parents. The Court's decision is good for children and families," commented APsaA President Prudence Gourguechon, M.D.

The amici brief filed for the Connecticut Supreme Court case emphasized that it is the quality of parenting that predicts children's psychological and social adjustment, not the parents' sexual orientation or gender. If their parents are allowed to marry, the children of same-sex couples will benefit from the legal stability and other familial benefits that marriage provides, as well as from elimination of state-sponsored stigmatization of their families.

In keeping with its overall support of social justice, APsaA issued a position statement earlier this year supporting the legal recognition of same-sex civil marriage while opposing discrimination against same-sex couples. For the full text of the APsaA Marriage Resolution, please visit: http://www.apsa.org/ABOUTAPSAA/POSITIONSTATEMENTS/MARRIAGERESOLUTION/ tabid/470/Default.aspx.

APsaA's Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues reviewed extensive research on homosexual relationships and gay and lesbian parents and their children prior to issuing this statement. Some relevant statistics and research results are:

The Kaiser Family Foundation Survey of 2001 found that 68 percent of lesbians and gays considered lesbian and gay marriage to be very important and 25 percent considered it to be somewhat important.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 34 percent of cohabitating female couples and 22 percent of male couples were raising children under the age of 18.

In a 2006 paper, Charlotte Patterson, Ph.D., renowned researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, concluded, "Results of the research (of various population samples of lesbian and gay families) suggest that qualities of family relationships are more tightly linked with child (development) outcomes than is parental sexual orientation."

In addition, APsaA's Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues is currently developing a proposed position statement on the United States' military policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The American Psychoanalytic Association is a professional organization of psychoanalysts throughout the United States and is comprised of approximately 3,300 members. Visit www.apsa.org for more information.

SOURCE American Psychoanalytic Association

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lez Get Real: Ten Ways to Respond to Anti-Gay Remarks

Lez Get Real: Ten Ways to Respond to Anti-Gay Remarks

Ten Ways to Respond
to Anti-Gay Remarks

The Bible says being gay is a sin.

The Bible says a lot of things.

Being gay is not natural. It goes against the design for humanity.

It may not be natural for YOU. Were you there when humanity was designed?

Gay people are sexual deviants, sex is for pro-creation.

Following this line of thinking would mean that married straight couples who can't or don't want to have children are sexual deviants also, and should have their marriage rights taken away too.

Marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman.

It is between a man and a woman right now, but same sex couples are human beings too. If these couples are willing to take on the same responsibilities of marriage as a straight couple, they should have equal rights and protection under the law.

Being gay is a choice and you shouldn't choose to be gay.

Does it make sense that I would choose to live as a second class citizen, with no rights, begging for my dignity? I am who I am. Asking a gay person to choose to be straight is like asking a Zebra to lose it's stripes and be a Pony.

Being gay is unacceptable behavior, you should have more chastity.

You don't own me. I don't tell you how to live your life, and I don't think it would be fair to stomp on your rights just because I don't agree with how you live.

If gay marriage is legal people will want to marry their pets, and schools will teach children that gay marriage is OK.

Straight people have been getting married (and divorced!) for thousands of years, yet still they aren't marrying their pets. Plus, teachers are already teaching children of gay parents that straight marriage is OK.

Marriage has always been between a man and woman. We shouldn't change that just because a small group of people complain.

Society has evolved to include all groups, no matter how under-represented they might be. It wasn't that long ago when blacks couldn't marry whites, and we couldn't marry out of our own class. Times have changed and so should the marriage laws.

Supporting gay marriage will cause more people to be gay.

Gay marriage will allow more people to be who they are without the fear of being persecuted.

God hates gays.

God made me, YOU hate gays. That's your hang up.

Connecticut Gay Marriage Win "Safe"

GayCityNews - Connecticut Gay Marriage Win "Safe": "'I'm scared,' Marino-Thomas said. 'If you've never given a dollar to the fight for marriage equality, now is the time to give money to the fight in California"

Connecticut Gay Marriage Win "Safe"

In the wake of Friday's marriage equality ruling from the Connecticut Supreme Court, advocates and legislative leaders are voicing confidence that the ruling is in little danger of being overturned by referendum, despite the fact that voters already face a November 4 ballot question whether the state legislature should call a constitutional convention next year.

"I definitely agree that we have a marriage equality majority in the legislature," said Michael P. Lawlor, an out gay Democratic member of the State House of Representatives from East Haven and the chair of the Judiciary Committee.

If voters approve the constitutional convention call, the legislature, known in Connecticut as the General Assembly, has a year to call one. It is within the General Assembly's sole prerogative to set terms by which they select delegates, and then those delegates have autonomy in terms of what matters they take up.

Democrats are close to having the two-thirds majority in both houses needed for the selection of delegates, but in any event marriage equality, Lawlor said, has significant bipartisan support.

Republican Governor Jodi Rell is opposed to marriage equality, but has no legal role in calling the constitutional convention.

"If there is a constitutional convention, it is much more likely to take up matters such as whether the right to healthcare should be incorporated into the state Constitution, or whether Roe v. Wade should become part of the Constitution," Lawlor said.

Anne Stanback, a spokeswoman for Love Makes A Family, the LGBT rights group in Connecticut, said that her group expects that the marriage equality majority in the General Assembly will grow as the result of the November 4 elections.

Lawlor, however, said that no matter what happens in November - and a reversal of Democrats' fortunes is certainly not expected - the marriage ruling should safe.

"If such a referendum were held in Connecticut," he said, referring to an anti-marriage ballot question, something not possible until after a constitutional convention, "voters would vote it down."

Lawlor pointed to a recent Quinnipiac College poll that found that about 20 percent of voters in the state oppose any legal recognition for lesbian and gay couples, but that the remainder support either civil unions or full marriage recognition, in about equal percentages. "Once you get past the issue of accepting homosexuality, it's pretty hard to argue against marriage for same-sex couples," he said.

Lawlor noted that Republican Congressman Chris Shays, a moderate who represents southwestern Connecticut and is in a battle for his politic life with Democrat Jim Himes, supports same-sex marriage; in fact, he said, the two candidates argue about which one is stronger on the issue.

Stanback acknowledged that the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization headquartered in New Haven, was identified this week as the largest institutional contributor to the effort to defeat marriage equality at the polls in California next month, ponying up $1.25 million. The group several years ago circulated anti-marriage petitions in parishes across Connecticut, but "many Catholics refused to sign," she said.

Lawlor said the high court's ruling caps a nine-year debate in Connecticut over same-sex partnership recognition and that the process the General Assembly has gone through has been helpful in educating legislators and voters and in building support for full marriage equality. In 2005, Connecticut became the first state to adopt civil unions without pressure from a court ruling. That law was signed by Rell, the Republican governor.

In 2007, Lawlor's Judiciary Committee, which includes about a quarter of the total House membership, approved a bill that would have upgraded civil unions to full marriage by a vote of 27-15. The full General Assembly never voted on the measure, but Lawlor said the votes were clearly there in the Senate and almost there in the House. Some of his colleagues told him they would come around on the marriage equality issue, but wanted civil unions to be in place a bit longer before making the move. Since that time, he said, a number of members, Democrats and Republicans, have told him they are prepared to take the next step.

Lawlor said that vote will still have to be made, since there must be a legal mechanism for couples in civil unions to have their status converted to marriage without their having to start over.

House Speaker James A. Amann, of Milford, and Senate President Pro Tempore Donald E. Williams, of Brooklyn - both Democrats - are marriage equality supporters.

Still, Stanback said Love Makes A Family is not complacent about protecting the new victory.

"We are taking nothing for granted and will work very hard between now and the opening of the new legislative session in January," she said. "With continued work, this decision should stand."

The October 10 victory came in a lawsuit filed in August 2004 by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, a public interest law firm located in Boston, on behalf of eight gay and lesbian couples who had been denied marriage licenses in Madison, Connecticut. Each of the couples had been together for between ten and 30 years, many of them raising children. The defendants were the state Department of Public Health, which supervises marriage registration, and the Madison town registrar of vital statistics.

In June 2006, Judge Patty Jenkins Pittman found that excluding same-sex couples from marriage did not violate the Connecticut Constitution. GLAD appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court and, on May 14, 2007, the group's Ben Klein argued the case before the high court. The state attorney general represented the Department of Public Health.

It took the Supreme Court 17 months to render its decision.

"In an historic decision, Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled today that gay and lesbian couples in the Constitution State deserve marriage," GLAD said in a written statement. " Not domestic partnerships or civil unions, but full and equal marriage and the respect and security that only marriage provides."

"Today's victory fulfills the hopes and dreams of gay and lesbian families to live as full and equal citizens in Connecticut," Klein, the lead attorney, said. "Marriage is unparalleled in the dignity, respect, and protection it gives families."

Plaintiffs Beth Kerrigan and Jodie Mock, whose names are part of the case's title, said of the ruling, "We are overjoyed to tell our twin boys that we will be married, just like their friends' parents. We are profoundly grateful to live in a state which recognizes our equality."

In New York, the decision was immediately greeted with praise by gay marriage advocates.

"This is a huge win for marriage equality," said Cathy-Marion Thomas, executive director of Marriage Equality New York, a grassroots group. "It is a wonderful decision against civil unions."

Marino-Thomas said that the arguments made in the Connecticut majority opinion that civil unions are insufficient in delivering equality for gay and lesbian couples will strengthen the case in Vermont, New Jersey, and New Hampshire that the legal structures created there are inadequate and that full marriage rights must be substituted.

The increasing shift by New York State's neighbors toward marriage equality will also be helpful in Albany, she said, as the Senate next year, perhaps with a new Democratic majority, confronts the gay marriage bill already approved by the Assembly and supported by Governor David Paterson.

Marino-Thomas said that with California and additional states in the Northeast adopting marriage equality, there will soon be "a good base for a federal fight" over the Defense of Marriage Act, which precludes US government recognition of legal marriages in the states.

"Now New Yorkers can drive across the border to a second state, get a marriage license that will be recognized as legal and valid here at home, and have access to the vast majority of the 1,324 rights and responsibilities New York provides with it," said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York's gay rights lobby. "While we realize that some families will do this because they need the protections right now that come with a marriage license, we believe that our families should not have to leave our home state to get married."

A New York state appeals court in February ruled that legal gay marriages from other jurisdictions should be recognized here, and, in May, Paterson directed all executive branch agencies to develop procedures for complying with that ruling.

"The State Assembly, Governor Paterson, and a majority of New Yorkers agree it is time" to act, Van Capelle continued. "The State Senate needs to get the message and act now."

Marino-Thomas voiced concern that the Connecticut ruling might spur greater right-wing contributions to the effort to overturn the recent California marriage equality ruling in the November 4 referendum. Gay rights advocates this week warned that the anti-marriage forces have raised more than $25 million versus just under $16 million by those working to protect the court ruling, and that polling has recently swung against the marriage equality side.

"I'm scared," Marino-Thomas said. "If you've never given a dollar to the fight for marriage equality, now is the time to give money to the fight in California."

©GayCityNews 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How Same-Sex marriage Affects Gay Couples: A Tale of Two research studies :: EDGE Boston

How Same-Sex marriage Affects Gay Couples: A Tale of Two research studies :: EDGE Boston

A study conducted 13 months after same-sex marriage in Massachusetts became legal found that obtaining legal protections and making a public statement of commitment were the most often mentioned motivations for same-sex marriage.

It also found that lack of family approval and difficulties planning and paying for the wedding were the most noted obstacles to marriage. The study, "Attractions and Obstacles While Considering Legally Recognized Same-Sex Marriage," was conducted by Pamela J. Lannutti, PhD,
associate professor of communication at Boston College and was published in the Journal of GLBT Family Studies, Vol. 4(2), 2008.

"The arrival of same-sex marriage brings up many issues that often lurk in the background in families. It forces same-sex couples and their parents to confront their deepest feelings about same-sex love," said Robert-Jay Green, PhD, executive director of Rockway Institute, a national center for psychology research, education, and public policy on sexual orientation and gender issues.

For this study, Lannutti’s sample of 263 partners in same-sex couples had an average relationship duration of 7.5 years. Seventy-two percent had gotten legally married in the 13 months after same-sex marriage became legal in
Massachusetts, and 28 percent planned to marry within 16 months.
Attractions to marriage listed by the respondents included legal protections (24 percent), making a public statement of commitment (20 percent), feelings for partner (15 percent), means to acknowledgement from family (14
percent), legal protection for help in having children (13 percent), means to acknowledgement from friends (eight percent), political reasons (four percent) and religious reasons (two percent).

The couples’ comments converged around the theme that security was an important motivation for marriage. One person said "We thought we should get married so that we could take better care of each other as we got older;
or if someone got sick... nobody could take our right to provide for each other away."

Another concern was raising children. One man who had adopted a son with his partner said "It felt like maybe after that marriage, nobody could
threaten our family." Couples mentioned a desire to declare their commitment publicly. They also mentioned the need to make a public statement. "It seemed wrong to be a committed couple with the right (to marry) and not
use it," said one. Another said "we want our presence felt when they try to take marriage away from us in the future."

Obstacles to marriage included lack of family approval (41 percent), difficulties in funding and planning the ceremony and reception (27 percent), philosophical or political objections to marriage (14 percent), the legal
limitations of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts such as no federal recognition or benefits of marriage ( (10 percent), lack of approval from friends (four percent), or unresolved previous relationships (four percent). "Lack of family approval" usually meant parents’ approval, Lannutti reported.

"We almost didn’t get married because my parents were so angry and mean about it," said one female participant. "We almost changed our minds about getting married," said a male participant, "We thought our families were OK
with us as a couple, but when we wanted to send out wedding invitations, his parents freaked out."

Couples reported their most frequent strategy for overcoming these obstacles was to ignore them (58 percent). Other strategies included discussing the
obstacle with their partner (22 percent), discussing the obstacle with the person causing it (eight percent), or engaging in political action (12 percent),
such as demonstrating, donating money and volunteering in activist causes.

The above data gathered 13 months after same-sex marriage was legal in Massachusetts complemented earlier data Lannutti had gathered in 2003-2004, before same-sex marriage was legal. The earlier study titled "The
Influence of Same-Sex Marriage on the Understanding of Same-Sex Relationships" was published in the Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 53(3) 2007.

Jenner & Block's work weighs in Connecticut same-sex marriage ruling -- chicagotribune.com

Paul Smith a personal friend works diligently on LGBT issues thank Paul

Jenner & Block's work weighs in Connecticut same-sex marriage ruling -- chicagotribune.com

Court's opinion reflects some of brief's thinking
By Ameet Sachdev | Chicago Tribune reporter
October 14, 2008
Jenner & Block had a hand in Friday's groundbreaking decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage.

A team led by partners Paul Smith and William Hohengarten co-wrote a legal brief on behalf of the American Psychological Association and other organizations in support of eight same-sex couples who sued in 2004 after they were denied marriage licenses.

The document cites scientific research to strike at some of the conventional notions about gay parents not being as fit as heterosexual parents and children of same-sex couples struggling with sexual identity issues. These arguments have been used to support gay-marriage bans in several states.

"We come in and say, 'Look, none of this is true,' " Smith said. "Children do just as well when they have same-sex parents."

Smith took a measure of pride in the outcome because the court's opinion reflects some of the thinking in the brief.

In ruling that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry, the Connecticut court went beyond the constitutional principle of equal protection and into the sphere of social justice. It recalled past laws that banned interracial marriage and excluded blacks from some facilities.

"Like these once prevalent views, our conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection," Justice Richard Palmer wrote for the majority in a 4-3 decision.

This is the not first time Smith, 53, who works out of the law firm's Washington office, has weighed in on the same-sex marriage controversy. He has represented the American Psychological Association, a longtime client, in several state cases, including California, Massachusetts and Iowa. Connecticut became the third state, behind Massachusetts and California, to legalize gay marriages.

"The country is getting used to the idea of same-sex marriage," Smith said. "This is a process that will go on culturally and legally for a number of years."

His reputation as a legal advocate for gay rights goes beyond the issue of same-sex unions. In 2003, he delivered the oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court for two Texas men who had been charged with violating the state's anti-sodomy laws. The case invalidated not only the Texas law, but all anti-sodomy laws.

Briefly:Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal opened an office in Zurich, Switzerland, to expand its practice representing hotel owners and operators. … Seyfarth Shaw added nine real estate and corporate and finance lawyers in its Los Angeles office. All were previously with Sonnenschein.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Republican-American No residency requirement for same-sex couples to wed in Connecticut

The Republican-American No residency requirement for same-sex couples to wed in Connecticut

HARTFORD -- Same-sex couples won't have to live in Connecticut to wed once gay marriage becomes officially legal here. And they won't have to wait.

Spouses-to-be will need only to complete a marriage license application, provide identification and make a sworn statement that the information that they provide is true.

There is no residency requirement under the state's marriage laws, and Connecticut doesn't impose a waiting period, as two dozen other states do.

In a landmark decision, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay and lesbian couples have a legal right to marry. The only other states that allow same-sex marriage are Massachusetts and California.

"People are just so excited. We're getting lots of people talking about where they were when they heard the decision," said Anne Stanback, executive director of Love Makes A Family, a gay rights advocacy group that supports same-sex marriage.

Gay and lesbian couples are also inundating Love Makes A Family with questions about when the marriage ruling takes effect, she said.

Staff from Love Makes A Family and Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, GLAD, are working on the answers.

The gay marriage decision becomes official on Oct. 28. The trial court must then enter the Supreme Court's order before same-sex couples can marry here, however. This is expected to take 10 days or slightly longer.

Once this bit of legal housekeeping is wrapped up, same-sex couples won't have to wait longer than it takes to get a marriage license to wed here.

Depending on the town or city, a marriage license can often be obtained the same day.

Same-sex couples from out of state will have to apply for a marriage license in the town or city where they are going to marry. Couples from Connecticut may apply in the community where they reside.

A couple must appear individually or together in the municipal clerk's office to sign the marriage license. There is a $30 fee due at the time of application. A marriage license is valid for 65 days.

Most other states won't recognize same-sex marriages from Connecticut. The federal Defense of Marriage Act says states don't have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 41 states have enacted legislation prohibiting same-sex marriages or the recognition of same-sex marriages formed elsewhere.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Marriage Actually

important points in this article for fighting the logic of the right wing!!!

Marriage Actually

by Richard Just
What liberals could learn from the Connecticut Supreme Court's demolition of the anti-gay marriage position.
Post Date Monday, October 13, 2008

Over the weekend, I read the Connecticut Supreme Court's gay marriage decision. It's actually a rather moving document: a cogent defense of gay rights that efficiently demolishes the chief arguments against marriage equality, while offering what struck me as a reasonable defense of judicial intervention in the matter. If you have a free hour, I highly recommend reading it.

A few things popped out at me as I read the ruling:

First, the decision lays bare the absurd illogic at the heart of civil unions. In order to argue that Connecticut's civil union law did not discriminate against gays and lesbians, lawyers for the defendants were forced to contend that civil unions are basically the same as marriage. The majority opinion summarized their argument this way: "[T]hey asserted that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate that they have suffered any harm as a result of the statutory bar against same sex marriage because, under the civil union law, gay persons are entitled to all of the rights that married couples enjoy." Logic like this puts gay marriage opponents in the odd position of devaluing the institution of marriage. Marriage, they end up arguing, is nothing so special that it can't be replicated by a parallel institution--in this case, civil unions. Yet the entire point of creating civil unions is to preserve what is allegedly special about the institution of marriage. There is a pretty blatant contradiction here. Either there is something special about the label "marriage" or there isn't.

The majority in the Connecticut case rejected the claim that marriage can simply be replicated by a parallel institution. "In view of the exalted status of marriage in our society," the justices wrote, "it is hardly surprising that civil unions are perceived to be inferior to marriage. ... Although marriage and civil unions do embody the same legal rights under our law, they are by no means 'equal.' As we have explained, the former is an institution of transcendent historical, cultural and social significance, whereas the latter most surely is not." Doesn't it say something about the intellectual bankruptcy of the anti-gay-marriage movement that its lawyers find themselves on the other side of these statements--that they are basically forced to deny the distinctive nature of marriage in order to hold their own in court?

Second, the justices made a pretty lengthy foray into the question of whether gay marriage ought to be adjudicated by the courts or left to the legislative process--and, in doing so, they offered an extended historical analogy that contains a worthwhile political lesson for liberals.

How they get to that analogy requires some explaining: Laws that discriminate against "suspect classes"--such as racial minorities--or "quasi-suspect classes" are subject to heightened judicial scrutiny, meaning that courts demand higher standards of justification for the laws and are more likely to strike them down. In order to determine which level of judicial scrutiny to apply to Connecticut's civil unions law, the justices first had to determine whether gays qualify as a quasi-suspect class. They used four tests to reach their decision. The first three were relatively easy to answer: One, have gays faced a history of discrimination? (Clearly yes.) Two, does sexual orientation affect "a person's ability to participate in or contribute to society"? (Obviously not.) And, three, is sexual orientation an immutable trait? (On this question, the court hedged a bit, declining to say that sexuality is completely fixed. But it did state that, even if people could change their sexuality, it would be a severe injustice for the government to demand that they do so. In other words, on the immutability question, the court basically said: Close enough.)

But the most interesting test--and the one that the court expended far more words on than the others--was the fourth: Is the group in question "politically powerless"? That is, do courts need to provide heightened scrutiny in part because "there is a risk that [the] discrimination will not be rectified, sooner rather than later, merely by resort to the democratic process"? Essentially, the Connecticut justices were asking whether they could be reasonably sure that gays and lesbians, working through the state legislature, would win full marriage rights in the near future. And the court's answer was, more or less, no. Part of its rationale for this conclusion was rooted in the specifics of Connecticut politics, and part was rooted in a general discussion of the political obstacles facing gays. (In a satisfying piece of legal jujitsu, the justices used an anti-gay-marriage amicus brief submitted by a religious group as a data point to show that the forces arrayed against gay rights remain formidable--and that gays therefore lack substantial political power and are thus entitled to quasi-suspect status. Good work, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.) But the justices also made a substantial chunk of their argument on this point by way of an extended historical analogy to the women's rights movement in the 1970s. In 1973, when the Supreme Court ruled in a case called Frontiero v. Richardson that women should be treated as a suspect class, the Equal Rights Amendment--which would have granted women suspect-class status through more democratic means--appeared to be on the brink of ratification. Doesn't that mean the Supreme Court was wrong to act--that it was settling a matter judicially that might have been settled more democratically? Here is what the Connecticut justices write:

We also note that, despite the likelihood of ratification when Frontiero was decided in 1973, the equal rights amendment ultimately did not muster enough support among the states, and it therefore never was adopted. ... Thus, one of the lessons to be learned from Frontiero and its treatment of the equal rights amendment--an initiative that seemed far more likely to succeed nationally than any current effort to enact a gay marriage law in this state--is that, because support for particular legislation may ebb or flow at any time, the adjudication of the rights of a disfavored minority cannot depend solely on such an eventuality.

The court's reasoning here contains what I think is an important cautionary note for liberals. It's tempting to assume that, because history is headed in our direction on gay marriage, there is no need for the courts to get involved. But there's a difference between knowing that history is headed in your direction and knowing how quickly history is headed in your direction. In the case of women's rights, history turned out to be moving a bit slower in the direction of full equality than it appeared to be moving during the heady days of 1973. In the case of Connecticut and gay marriage, it's conceivable that it might have taken the legislature just a year to enact marriage equality. But it's also entirely conceivable that it could have taken decades. Which is why I'm unconvinced when gay rights advocates (like John Cloud this week in Time) argue that the same-sex-marriage battle needs to be fought in legislatures not courts. The Connecticut Supreme Court makes a good case that it needs to be fought in both.

Of course, there is always the risk of backlash when courts act aggressively. And the Connecticut decision obviously comes in the shadow of what is taking place in California, where the latest polls suggest that voters are turning against gay marriage, and may override last spring's Supreme Court decision legalizing it when they cast ballots on November 4. If this happens, many will blame the court for provoking a backlash. But, if the court is to blame, why did the polls show support for gay marriage in the months following the decision--and only now show voters trending against it? A recent advertising blitz by anti-gay forces--not a months-old decision by the California Supreme Court--probably accounts for the swing. In any event, there are still three weeks to go; gay marriage is not dead in California yet.

Final observation: With the election and the financial meltdown dominating headlines, the Connecticut ruling didn't really get that much attention over the weekend--certainly nothing like the attention showered on the Massachusetts and California decisions when they were handed down. In fact, the entire episode felt oddly unremarkable. Maybe that is its own form of progress.

Richard Just is managing editor of The New Republic.

Lez Get Real: Yes on Prop. 8 Ads Target Gay and Lesbian Websites

Lez Get Real: Yes on Prop. 8 Ads Target Gay and Lesbian Websites

At first I thought it was a fluke.

I visited Lez Get Real to see what the other ladies have posted recently, and to my dismay there was a banner ad for Yes on Prop. 8 right there on the homepage, under our featured blog post.

All I could think was - YUCK. I immediately changed our Google Ad settings to avoid having these ads display on our blog, and changed our ad from a 'text/image' based ad space to a 'text only' ad space. I figured that this would eliminate the banner ad from displaying on our blog, and I was right.

However, it didn't stop the Yes on Prop. 8 campaign from running it's misleading ads on our site in 'text only' form.

They are running ads with the header "Gay Marriage" and "Support Marriage Rights", which suggest that visiting their website will give you information on supporting gay marriage. Of course when you click on these ads and visit the website, ProtectMarriage.com, they proceed to push the idea that marriage should "only be between a man and a woman".

I also checked out our blog's social network on Ning, because Ning displays Google Ads on our site there, and I found that there were once again misleading Yes on Prop. 8 campaign ads in favor of banning gay marriage showing on our very lesbian website.

From what I can see, the Yes on Prop. 8 campaign is targeting gay and lesbian websites, using keywords for it's ad campaigns that are relevant to the LGBT community. This leads me to believe that the Yes on Prop. 8 campaign is targeting closeted and questioning gays and lesbians, and appealing to them for their vote to ban gay marriage. Isn't it sick!?

Full story click link above

Posted by ~Julie Phineas~ at 6:30 PM

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ecuador grants marriage rights to same sex couples

GLT » World News Briefs

New Ecuadorean Constitution gives same-sex couples marriage rights
Sixty-five percent of Ecuadoreans approved a new constitution Sept. 28 that, among much else, grants all the rights of marriage to stable, monogamous same-sex couples who live together.
At the same time, the document bans gay adoption and says marriage is only between a man and a woman.
The constitution also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV status; imposes upon Ecuadoreans a duty to respect and learn about sexual-orientation and gender differences; and requires schools to teach about sexual rights.
President Rafael Correa has spoken forcefully in favor of equality for gay couples.
“Jesus of Nazareth never preached hatred, homophobia or segregation; instead he knew to say, ‘Love one another,’” Correa said in July.
“It is false that (the constitution) is recognizing as family the union of homosexuals. What we are doing is recognizing the dignity of all people without discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.”
“Let’s hope, now that there’s been so much talk about moral incompatibilities between the new constitution and the Gospel, sometimes utilizing falsehoods, that we also can talk with equal force about the profound incompatibility of the social situation – of that inequality, of that existing social injustice – with the Gospels,” Correa said.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gay Marriage Is Ruled Legal in Connecticut - NYTimes.com

Gay Marriage Is Ruled Legal in Connecticut - NYTimes.com


October 11, 2008
Gay Marriage Is Ruled Legal in Connecticut
A sharply divided Connecticut Supreme Court struck down the state’s civil union law on Friday and ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Connecticut thus joins Massachusetts and California as the only states to have legalized gay marriages.

The ruling, which cannot be appealed and is to take effect on Oct. 28, held that a state law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, and a civil union law intended to provide all the rights and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples, violated the constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law.

Striking at the heart of discriminatory traditions in America, the court — in language that often rose above the legal landscape into realms of social justice for a new century — recalled that laws in the not-so-distant past barred interracial marriages, excluded women from occupations and official duties, and relegated blacks to separate but supposedly equal public facilities.

“Like these once prevalent views, our conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection,” Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote for the majority in a 4-to-3 decision that explored the nature of homosexual identity, the history of societal views toward homosexuality and the limits of gay political power compared with that of blacks and women.

“Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same-sex partner of their choice,” Justice Palmer declared. “To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.”

The ruling was groundbreaking in various respects. In addition to establishing Connecticut as the third state to sanction same-sex marriage, it was the first state high court ruling to hold that civil union statutes specifically violated the equal protection clause of a state constitution. The Massachusetts high court held in 2004 that same-sex marriages were legal, while California’s court decision in May related to domestic partnerships and not the more broadly defined civil unions.

The Connecticut decision, which elicited strong dissenting opinions from three justices, also opened the door to marriage a bit wider for gay couples in New York, where state laws do not provide for same-sex marriages or civil unions, although Gov. David A. Paterson recently issued an executive order requiring government agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The opinion in Connecticut was hailed by jubilant gay couples and their advocates as a fulfillment of years of hopes and dreams. Hugs, kisses and cheers greeted eight same-sex couples as they entered the ballroom at the Hartford Hilton, where four years ago they had announced they would file a lawsuit seeking marriage licenses.

One of those couples, Joanne Mock, 53, and her partner, Elizabeth Kerrigan, 52, stood with their twin 6-year-old sons, choking back tears of joy and gratitude. Another plaintiff, Garret Stack, 59, introduced his partner, John Anderson, 63, and said: “For 28 years we have been engaged. We can now register at Home Depot and prepare for marriage.”

Religious and conservative groups called the ruling an outrage but not unexpected, and spoke of steps to enact a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, blamed “robed masters” and “philosopher kings” on the court. “This is about our right to govern ourselves,” he said. “It is bigger than gay marriage.”

But the state, a principal defendant in the lawsuit, appeared to be resigned to the outcome.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said that she disagreed with the decision, but would uphold it. “The Supreme Court has spoken,” she said. “I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision, either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution, will not meet with success.”

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said his office was reviewing the decision to determine whether laws and procedures will have to be revised — local officials will issue marriage licenses to gay couples without question, for example — but he offered no challenge and said it would soon be implemented.

The case was watched far beyond Hartford. Vermont, New Hampshire and New Jersey all have civil union statutes, while Maine, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii have domestic partnership laws that allow same-sex couples many of the same rights granted to those in civil unions. Advocates for same-sex couples have long argued that civil unions and domestic partnerships denied them the financial, social and emotional benefits accorded in a marriage.

The legal underpinnings for gay marriages, civil unions and statutory partnerships have all come in legislative actions and decisions in lawsuits. Next month, however, voters in California will decide whether the state Constitution should permit same-sex marriage.

The Connecticut case began in 2004 after the eight same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses by the town of Madison. Reflecting the contentiousness and wide interest in the case, a long list of state, national and international organizations on both sides filed friend-of-the-court briefs. The plaintiffs contended that the denial of marriage licenses deprived them of due process and equal protection under the law.

While the case was pending, the legislature in 2005 adopted a law establishing the right of same-sex partners to enter into civil unions that conferred all the rights and privileges of marriage. But, at the insistence of the governor, the law also defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Arguments in the case centered on whether civil unions and marriages conferred equal rights, and on whether same-sex couples should be treated as what the court called a “suspect class” or “quasi-suspect class” — a group, like blacks or women, that has experienced a history of discrimination and was thus entitled to increased scrutiny and protection by the state in the promulgation of its laws.

Among the criteria for inclusion as a suspect class, the court said, were whether gay people could “control” their sexual orientation, whether they were “politically powerless” and whether being gay had a bearing on one’s ability to contribute to society.

A lower-court judge, Patty Jenkins Pittman of Superior Court in New Haven, sided with the state, denying that gay men and lesbians were entitled to special consideration as a suspect class and concluding that the differences between civil unions and marriages amounted to no more than nomenclature. The Supreme Court reversed the lower-court ruling.

“Although marriage and civil unions do embody the same legal rights under our law, they are by no means equal,” Justice Palmer wrote in the majority opinion, joined by Justices Flemming L. Norcott Jr., Joette Katz and Lubbie Harper. “The former is an institution of transcendent historical, cultural and social significance, whereas the latter is not.”

The court said it was aware that many people held deep-seated religious, moral and ethical convictions about marriage and homosexuality, and that others believed gays should be treated no differently than heterosexuals. But it said such views did not bear on the questions before the court.

“There is no doubt that civil unions enjoy a lesser status in our society than marriage,” the court said. “Ultimately, the message of the civil unions law is that what same-sex couples have is not as important or as significant as real marriage.”

In one dissenting opinion, Justice David M. Bordon contended that there was no conclusive evidence that civil unions are inferior to marriages, and he argued that gay people have “unique and extraordinary” political power that does not warrant heightened constitutional protections.

Justice Peter T. Zarella, in another dissent, argued that the state marriage laws dealt with procreation, which was not a factor in gay relationships. “The ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry,” he wrote.

About 1,800 couples have obtained civil unions in Connecticut since the law was adopted three years ago, although gay-rights advocates say the demand has slowed. They cite complaints that the unions leave many people feeling not quite married but not quite single, facing forms that mischaracterize their status and questions at airports challenging their ties to their own children.

But marriage will soon be a possibility for gay couples like Janet Peck, 55, and Carol Conklin, 53, of West Hartford, who have been partners for 33 years. “I so look forward to the day when I can take this woman’s hand, look deeply into her eyes and pledge my deep love and support and commitment to her in marriage,” Ms. Peck said.

Sharon Otterman and Christine Stuart contributed reporting

Friday, October 10, 2008

- Anti Gay Marriage Proposition 8 Supporters Lie and Lie Again

Gayapolis News - Anti Gay Marriage Proposition 8 Supporters Lie and Lie Again

Just got an alert from Marriage Equality about a new SurveyUSA/CBS poll on Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative in California. If this new poll is to be believ
Advertisement:ed (and there is some doubt about the robocall methods SurveyUSA uses), opposition to Prop 8 has dropped from 54% last month to just 43% today, in large part because of the deceitful ads Proposition 8 supporters are running.

So let's take a look at the ad these Christian groups have put together (and since when has it been the Christian thing to do to lie? I don't remember that being one of the 10 Commandments, but maybe they've added some new ones). Thanks to the Sac Bee for much of this great info.

The ad says that "four judges ignored four million voters and imposed same sex marriage on California." It neatly sidesteps and ignores the fact that most of those judges were Republicans.

The ad also claims that people will now be sued over their personal beliefs, although California law prohibits discrimination against anyone on the basis of religion.

Then it claims churches will lose their tax exempt status, purposely ignoring language in the California Supreme Court ruling that stated that "no religion will be required to change its religious practices with regard to same sex marriage.

I've also read articles claiming that heterosexual couples are being victimized by forms (just changed yesterday, BTW) that no longer said "bride" and "groom". To my mind, that's just a taste of what gay and lesbian couples have endured for decades every time we had to fill out a government form and check the "single" box because the state wouldn't recognize our relationship.

So why are these Christian groups, who've raised an astonishing 25 million to ram this thing through so far, resorting to lying? Because it seems to work. Why let a few measly facts get in the way of your push to shove gay and lesbian couples back into the closet?

I mean, in the big picture, isn't it more important to be self righteous? Not to actually help your fellow man, but to make sure your interpretation of the world is shoved down everyone else's throat?

To these Christian groups, I ask this - how does my marriage to my partner affect you in *any* way? Does it make you want to cheat on your wife? Will it keep your kids from getting married to one another (assuming they're straight) when they grow up? In exactly what way have I as a gay man victimized you?

When you get right down to it, this has little or nothing to do with Protecting Marriage. Let's at least be honest about that - it has to do with the ick factor - the squeamishness of straight men when they think about gay sex.

Hey, I won't argue with you there - I don't want to think about you and your wife's love life either. But here's the difference. I'm not raising hell to keep the two of you from legal recognition of your marriage.

At the moment, supporters of Prop 8 have raised over $25 million - compared to just $15 million on the opposing side. If you know any gay couples, if you believe in basic fairness and decency, if it disturbs you when the conservatives lie and get away with it, please visit ECQA and make a donation.

Gay and lesbian couples all across the state are counting on you.

And if you're a gay or lesbian couple considering getting married in California, do it before November 4th - according to the Secretary of State's office, if Prop 8 passes, it will take effect the following day. Most legal sources are saying that prop 8 won't be retroactive, so now's the time to take this important step.

Let's not let deception win.

BREAKING NEWS :: Conn. high court rules same-sex couples can marry :: EDGE Boston

BREAKING NEWS :: Conn. high court rules same-sex couples can marry :: EDGE Boston

BREAKING NEWS :: Conn. high court rules same-sex couples can marry
Associated Press
Friday Oct 10, 2008

Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making the state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions.

The divided court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut’s civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

"I can’t believe it. We’re thrilled, we’re absolutely overjoyed. We’re finally going to be able, after 33 years, to get married," said Janet Peck of Colchester, who was a plaintiff with her partner, Carole Conklin.

"Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice," Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote in the majority opinion that overturned a lower court finding.

"To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others," Palmer wrote.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Friday that she disagreed, but will not fight the ruling.

"The Supreme Court has spoken," Rell said in a statement. "I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision - either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution - will not meet with success."

The lawsuit was brought in 2004 after eight same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses and sued, saying their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process were violated.

They said the state’s marriage law, if applied only to heterosexual couples, denied them of the financial, social and emotional benefits of marriage.

Peck said that as soon as the decision was announced, the couple started crying and hugging while juggling excited phone calls from her brother and other friends and family.

"We’ve always dreamed of being married," she said. "Even though we were lesbians and didn’t know if that would ever come true, we always dreamed of it."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dyer announces plans for same-sex benefits for city employees -- OrlandoSentinel.com

Dyer announces plans for same-sex benefits for city employees -- OrlandoSentinel.com

Dyer announces plans for same-sex benefits for city employees
Jeff Kunerth and Mark Schlueb

Sentinel Staff Writers

October 3, 2008

Mayor Buddy Dyer announced plans Thursday to offer domestic-partner benefits to gay city employees when the City Council approves changes to its employee health-care policy Monday.

Orlando will be the first government in Central Florida to do so. It joins about two dozen other cities in Florida that provide domestic-partner benefits to city employees.

"We've been looking at doing it for quite a while. I think it's the right thing to do," Dyer said.

Domestic partners will have to sign an affidavit declaring they are in a committed relationship.

But the domestic-partner benefits will apply only to same-sex couples, not unmarried straight couples.

"They have the option of marriage," Dyer said.

The change was cheered by gay community leaders as a major step forward in recognition of gay rights.

"The mayor and the City Council are saying that we are as equal as anyone and deserve the same benefits," said Michael Vance, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Community Center of Central Florida.

Dyer is scheduled to talk about the change in policy at the Oct. 12 Come Out With Pride 2008 at Lake Eola Park -- one of the largest gay-pride events in the state. Last year's event drew 30,000 people. This year organizers will hold a rally against Amendment 2, which would put a ban on gay marriage into the state constitution.

Dyer is expected to reiterate his opposition to the amendment as a potential threat to domestic partnerships in Florida.

"I think it exhibits great personal and political courage by the mayor to take steps that benefit the families of Orlando employees and propel Orlando forward as a major and progressive player, knowing that it will be viewed by some as controversial," said Mary Meek, spokeswoman for Come Out With Pride.

'Strategically timed'?

John Stemberger, whose Longwood-based Flo rida4Marriage.org raised the signatures to put Amendment 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot, characterized the mayor's announcement as politically calculated.

"It sounds like it is very strategically timed to interject himself into this amendment," Stemberger said.

He questioned whether the city can afford to provide the same health benefits to gay couples as it does to married employees. The city estimates it will cost about an additional $37,000 to the overall, one-year employee health-care premium of $33 million.

Stemberger added that providing such benefits to gay couples would not be affected by the passage of Amendment 2.

"I'm not sure it's the greatest public policy, but the amendment would not prohibit it," Stemberger said.

Opponents to Amendment 2 say the language of the law could jeopardize domestic partnerships under the clause that states: "No other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."

"It directs the state not to recognize anything that isn't marriage," said Derek Newton, campaign manager for Florida Red and Blue, a group that opposes the amendment.

Mat Staver, who wrote Amendment 2, said domestic partnerships are protected because they are not the "substantial equivalent" of marriage.

"Domestic partnerships have some of the benefits of marriage, but not nearly all of the rights, privileges and benefits of marriage," said Staver, head of the Maitland-based Liberty Counsel, which has filed lawsuits throughout the country challenging gay rights.

Orange, Osceola, Lake, Volusia and Seminole counties do not offer domestic-partner benefits for employees who are unmarried couples.

Kissimmee is looking into domestic-partner benefits for gay and straight employees, city officials said, but other Central Florida cities do not provide domestic-partnership benefits to city workers.

City looked at policies

Orlando made the decision to change its domestic-partnership policy for gay employees after reviewing similar policies of private companies in Central Florida, including Disney, Universal and the Orlando Sentinel. Orlando's only Fortune 500 company, Darden Restaurants, has offered same-sex domestic-partner benefits since 2000.

Commissioner Patty Sheehan, who is gay, pushed for the change for years.

"I'm glad to see that it's finally happening," she said. "We want to be able to attract quality employees."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Action News Exclusive | Priest's Shocking Revelation - 10/05/08 - Fresno News - abc30.com

Action News Exclusive | Priest's Shocking Revelation - 10/05/08 - Fresno News - abc30.com

Fr. Geoffrey Farrow (Full Homily Text): Priest Comes Out Twice on Holy Day… « orate fratres

This catholic priest in Fresno takes a courages step in bucking the establishment of the Roman Catholic church

Fr. Geoffrey Farrow (Full Homily Text): Priest Comes Out Twice on Holy Day… « orate fratres

Fr. Geoffrey Farrow 10.05.08 (Respect Life Sunday)

As most of you know, I was appointed pastor here at the Newman Center on April 15th of this year. When I arrived, I set out to address a series of various projects to repair our facilities. To date, most of these deferred maintenance items have been addressed. In the middle of dealing with contractors, the parish finance committee, the building department of the diocese, neighbors, etc., I received a FAX from the bishop’s office on the 30th of June. It was the bishop’s pastoral letter for the month of July.

This single FAX threw my whole summer, and in fact, my whole life into a turmoil. Recently, I was speaking with some of our parishioners who advocate for the ordination of women. In the course of our conversation, a question arose which has haunted me: “At what point do you cease to be an agent for healing and growth and become an accomplice of injustice?” By asking all of the pastors of the Diocese of Fresno to promote Catholics to vote “Yes” on Proposition 8, the bishop has placed me in a moral predicament.

In his “Pastoral,” the bishop states: “Marriage is much more than simply two persons loving each other. Marriage is naturally, socially, and biologically, directed to bringing forth life.”

Actually, there are TWO ends to marriage: 1) Unitive and 2) Procreative. The unitive end of marriage is simply a union of love and life. The Procreative end is, of course, to create new life. It is important to understand that the unitive end of marriage is sufficient for a valid marriage. The Church sanctions, and considers a sacrament, the marriage of elderly heterosexual couples who are biologically incapable of reproduction. So, if two people of different genders who are incapable of reproduction can enter into a valid marriage, then why is that two people of the same gender, who are incapable of reproduction, cannot enter into a valid marriage.

The objections which are raised at this point are taken from Sacred Scripture. Scripture scholars reveal the problematic nature of attempting to use passages from the Hebrew Scriptures as an argument against same gender relationships. Essentially, these scriptures are addressing the cultic practices in which sex with temple prostitutes was part of an act of worshiping Pagan gods. With regard to the Pauline epistles, John J. McNeill, in his book: “The Church and the Homosexual,” makes the following point: “The persons referred to in Romans 1:26 are probably not homosexuals that is, those who are psychologically inclined toward their own sex-since they are portrayed as ‘abandoning their natural customs.’” The Pauline epistles do not explicitly treat the question of homosexual activity between two persons who share a homosexual orientation, and as such cannot be read as explicitly condemning such behavior. Therefore, same gender sex by two individuals with same sex orientation is not “abandoning their natural custom.”

In 1973, as a result of a greater understanding of human psychology, the American Psychological Association declassified homosexuality as a mental illness. In 1975, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Church’s watchdog for orthodoxy) produced a document entitled: “Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics.” In this document, they made the most remarkable statement. They stated that there are “homosexuals who are such because of some kind of innate instinct.” While these statements are hardly glowing affirmations of gay and lesbian persons, they represent a watershed in human perception and understanding of gay and lesbian people.

These new insights have occurred as a result of the birth and development of the science of psychology and understanding of brain development in the 19th and 20th centuries. The California Supreme Court cited and quoted an amicus brief filed by the APA in the Court’s opinion issued on May 15, 2008 that struck down California’s ban on same sex marriage. Specifically, the court relied on the APA’s brief in concluding that the very nature of sexual orientation is related to the gender of partners to whom one is attracted, so that prohibiting same sex marriage discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, rather than just imposing disparate burdens on gay people.

In directing the faithful to vote “Yes” on Proposition 8, the California Bishops are not merely entering the political arena, they are ignoring the advances and insights of neurology, psychology and the very statements made by the Church itself that homosexuality is innate (i.e. orientation). In doing this, they are making a statement which has a direct, and damaging, effect on some of the people who may be sitting in the pews next to you today. The statement made by the bishop reaffirms the feelings of exclusion and alienation that are suffered by individuals and their loved ones who have left the Church over this very issue. Imagine what hearing such damaging words at Mass does to an adolescent who has just discovered that he/she is gay/lesbian? What is the hierarchy saying to him/her? What are they demanding from that individual? What would it have meant to you personally to hear from the pulpit at church that you could never date? Never fall in love, never kiss or hold hands with another person? Never be able to marry? How would you view yourself? How would others hearing those same words be directed to view you? How would you view your life and your future? How would you feel when you saw a car with a “Yes on 8″ bumper sticker? When you overheard someone in a public place use the word “faggot?”

I remember the first time I heard that word, faggot, I was hanging out with my cousins. They all played on the football team of the Catholic high school in our town. One of them spat out the word in the form of a curse. I was just a kid in the 5th grade, I’d never heard the word before, and so I asked: “What’s a faggot?” A faggot is a guy who likes other guys, was the curt reply. Now pause. Think. What would those words mean to someone in junior high school who discovers that he/she is attracted to people of their same gender? The greatest fear that he/she would have is that they would be rejected by the people they love the most-their family. So, their solution is to try to pass as straight, deceive, and in effect-lie. Of course, this leads ultimately to self loathing. It should come as little surprise that gay teenagers have elevated suicide rates. According to the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (1999), 33% of gay youth will attempt suicide.

The bishop states: “The Church has spoken out constantly that those with a homosexual orientation must be respected with the dignity of every child of God. Every individual is created in the image and likeness of God and should never be subjected to prejudice or hatred.” A pious thought uttered by a cleric, robbed of any substantive meaning, as the executioner begins his work. Only a few select people actually read those documents. What most Catholics hear about being gay or lesbian at their parish church is–silence. A numbing silence, which slowly and insidiously tells them, “You don’t belong here, this is not for you, and you are not welcome.” It is not the crude overt vulgarity of some churches. But rather, it is the coldness of a maitre d’ who simply won’t seat you, or the club which has put you on a waiting list with no intention of allowing you to join. And simply asks you to wait in polite almost, apologetic tones.

In effect, the bishops are asking gay and lesbian people to live their lives alone. Why? Who does this benefit? How exactly is society helped by singling out a minority and excluding them from the union of love and life, which is marriage? How is marriage protected by intimidating gay and lesbian people into loveless and lonely lives? What is accomplished by this? Worse still, is to intimidate a gay or lesbian person into a heterosexual marriage, which is doomed from its inception, and makes two victims instead of one by this hurtful “theology.” This “theology,” which is parroted by clerics in polished tones from pulpits, produces the very prejudice and hatred in our society which they claim to abhor.

When the hierarchy prohibited artificial birth control, most of the faithful in the United States, Canada and Europe scratched their heads in wonderment and proceeded to ignore them. There is an expression in theology: “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” If your son or daughter is gay/lesbian let them know that you love them unconditionally. Let them know that you are not ashamed or embarrassed by them. Guide them as you would your other children to finding true and abiding love. Let them know that marriage is a union of love and life and is possible for them too.

I do not presume to tell you how to vote but I do ask that you pray to the Creator of us all. Think and consider the effects of your vote on others, especially minorities in our society who are sitting next to you in church, and at work. The act of casting a vote takes you a few minutes but it can cause other human beings untold happiness or sorrow for a lifetime. It can grant them hope and acceptance, or it can cause them to lose civil rights. It can be a rebuff to bigotry and hatred, or it can encourage bigotry and hatred. Personally, I am morally compelled to vote “NO” on Proposition 8. It is my hope that the people of California will join with those others around the world such as Canada, Europe and South Africa who welcome their gay and lesbian family members fully into society by granting them the civil right to marry.

I know these words of truth will cost me dearly. But to withhold them, would be far more costly and I would become an accomplice to a moral evil that strips gay and lesbian people not only of their civil rights but of their human dignity as well. Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.” He didn’t promise that it would be easy or without personal cost to speak that truth.