Tag: Gay rights

RI Governor Chafee Signs Marriage Equality Bill into Law

We were there. Had to listen to some bloviating from some of the pols, even Speaker Gordon Fox got a little choked up and teary when he was speaking.

All I can say is I never thought it would happen in RI. I thought we’d have to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to finally give us our due. And it took far too long, 14+ years of long hours of testimony, of phone banking, of knocking on doors.

But alas, Rhode Island now becomes the tenth state with marriage equality.

Here’s Governor Lincoln Chafee talking about Marriage Equality. I did cut the video off when he started talking about economics of it. Sorry about that.

And here the Governor is signing the equality legislation into law. It’s over on the left hand side.

And the Providence Gay Men’s Chorus sings for the crowd.

And in my snarky mood – the bigots lost! Even Bishop Tobin is telling Catholics to avoid gay weddings. Really? Here’s mine, avoid Catholic churches.

Champions of Marriage Equality in the RI House

I’ve already put up the Rogues gallery but I thought it would be a good time to highlight the people who pushed the bill forward:

Speaker Gordon Fox

Judiciary Chair Edith Ajello

Representative Frank Ferri

Representative Christopher Blazejewski

Representative Art Handy

Representative Teresa Tanzi


U.S. Supreme Court to take up Prop 8 case

This is interesting news.

The article also mentions the federal DOMA is also being taken up but the court too! This is great news. It means that we gay people will finally be granted our full measure as citizens of the United States should the court rule in our favor once again. And I suspect that when looked at logically both Prop 8 and the DOMA law are blatantly unconstitutional.

I think the reason the courts took up these cases is due to the fact that overall support for marriage equality is rising rapidly. Plus you have, as NOM likes to issue their unctuous crow, 32 states that have state law or constitutional amendments that, again to paraphrase NOM “Unite only man and woman in marriage”.

That kind of thing never sits well with any court, let alone the United States Supreme Court. Courts get downright cranky when you start grouping people into distinct classes. It’s sort of why I say here in RI our right to marry is headed for the judiciary – as it stands there are three or more classes of people in RI now.

Here’s the release:

Supreme Court Order

I direct your attention to 12-144 and 12-307 – that former is the Prop 8 case, the latter the DOMA challenge.

This is a really exciting time to be alive!

This week in LGBT News

First and foremost, we have the final certification of the abolishing of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. About damned time if you ask me since most of the military groups of the Western world have started allowing openly gay soldiers, airmen, etc. to no detriment.

But what befuddles me is the 60 day wait until the act becomes official. What’s up with that? The military branches have already done all the training, etc. Is this just a move to allow the Christian Fascists time to re-enact the ban? What gives?

In other news it has been found that there is a strong correlation between gay marriage bans and an increase in rates of HIV infection.

The bigots out there would have us all believe that their words and actions aren’t in any way detrimental to LGBT people. But I’m happy to see science proving once again that the bigots are dead wrong.

By denigrating the LGBT community the bigots instill a sense of second class citizenship, a sense of severe limits on who we can profess our love of, and a sense of hopelessness that leads in some cases to promiscuity, the down low syndrome, etc. It’s no wonder that there is an uptick in HIV rates in states with marriage bans.

Brings up another thought. In states where their sex education was swapped with abstinence only education, they saw a sharp rise in all sexually transmitted diseases.

As one who believes that the next generation and those to come should be educated about sexuality at age appropriate levels. None of this pseudo-science, or religious claptrap. When you have a 13 year old with hormones running rampant, I’d much prefer to have them educated about sex than to be blindly ignorant and trying to adhere to a promise of abstinence.

But the education part, I’m glad that California law now requires acknowledging that some of our greatest thinkers, movers and politicians were LGBT people. Of course the bigots are foaming at the mouth over this because once again, it portrays LGBT people as a normal part of human existence. And the bigots simply cannot work this into their world view.

Finally we have President Obama himself coming on board for the Respect for Marriage bill. This would scrap that horribly unconstitutional law known as the Defense of Marriage Act. The Act should have never seen the light of day in 1996. It was a knee jerk reaction to the potential for marriage equality in Hawaii that propelled the Republicans to give us that awful law.

But I doubt the Act will get through the House. The Orange Goblin himself won’t let it happen. With letters to the editor like this one, is it any wonder? The letter accuses President Obama for violating his oath of office due to his support for the Respect for Marriage Act.

Gay Activism at its finest

This is what I’ve been waiting for all this time. It is what I’ve said we need to do, we need to be thorns in the side of our legislators. Simply writing letters, calling their office, etc. won’t do it. Direct action is necessary at this juncture.

Look at the whole DADT debacle. The leadership is hemming and hawing about studies, etc. but the reality is that a majority of the citizens of the U.S. support allowing gay people to serve openly in the military. In other major NATO countries that have rescinded the ban, they did at as follows: One a certain date, gay people could serve openly without penalty. Simple.

But today Lt. Dan Choi put a shot across the bow of HRC. He wasn’t asked to speak at the event in D.C. but Kathy Griffith invited him to the stage at which point he invited the crowd to march on the White House. Totally upstaged HRC and Joe Solomonese. In my opinion this is good, HRC needs to be reminded that the nice-nice politics don’t get us anywhere. ACT-UP knew this, and we’re just figuring it out again.

Lots more coverage on the event at Towleroad

Once they got to there Choi and Captain Jim Pietrangelo handcuffed themselves to the White House fence and were arrested.

And now word even says that there was an occupation of Speaker Pelosi’s offices in both D.C. and San Francisco. Excellent, so excellent. It almost sucks having supportive federal people in my state like U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, or even potential governors who have now publicly proclaimed that they will sign a marriage equality bill when the legislature brings it forward.

In fact every Democratic and Independent and even Moderate candidate has expressed their support, Caprio (D), Lynch (D), Chafee (I), and Giroux (I) and Block (M). That’s progress not to mention a very exciting gubernatorial race here in Rhode Island. Four candidates to choose from in the general election for Governor. Unprecedented. Of course both Republican candidates (Who if I’m asked don’t have a prayer in hell of the governors chair.) maintain the same asinine viewpoints of our current Asshole in Chief, Don Carcieri.

And on the 24th, Marriage Equality Rhode is having a Lobby Day at the Rhode Island State House. Sad thing is, if you can call it sad is my state Representative Steven Costantino and state Senator Paul Jabour are both supporters of marriage equality and I think Jabour has even moved into the co-sponsor column. Woot! But I won’t waste the opportunity, maybe I’ll go talk to Senate President M. Theresa Paiva-Weed.

Not only that AIDS Care RI is having a little welcome soiree for newly minted Speaker Gordon Fox. I’m going to do my best to make that one because I want to talk to Fox and tell him to grow some stones and lead equality through the house.

I’m absolutely giddy with excitement. Like I’ve always said, our politicians are people like us and accessible should we wish to do so.

Lets make ourselves seen, heard and let us get their undivided attention. We will not stop until we have a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, we will not rest until Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act are repealed. We will not rest until we have FULL equality.

An analysis of religious bigotry

And that is precisely what drives all of the opposition to GLBT people having full equality. The Southern Poverty Law Center does a nice job of showing the bigots for what they really are. By coaching it as special rights it devalues our cause. We cannot continue to let them get away with this. Expose them for what they really are Christians of a hypocritical nature. They cannot see the forest for the trees.

This paragraph grabbed me though:

Writing in support of DOMA, Bauer predicted that gay marriage would have dire consequences for Americans of faith: “If they succeed, all distinctions based on sex may fall, and the worst aspects of the rejected Equal Rights Amendment will be imposed. Homosexuals will gain the ‘right’ to adopt children; … churches will be pushed outside civil law; and government power will be wielded against anyone who holds the biblical view of homosexuality.”

I’d like to see Bauer’s explanation of the ‘worst aspects’ of the ERA. I think it’s just an anti-feminist attitude to be honest. The concept of women as equals is abhorrent to the religious bigots.

The use of single quotation marks shows Bauer’s attitude about what he things of civil rights equality. Because that’s what this fight is all about, that we are EQUAL to everyone else, not necessarily better than or lesser than but equal under the eyes of the law.

As to his claim of churches being pushed outside civil law, I’d welcome that. The churches had the better part of two millenia to get it right and they never did. So much so that Martin Luther tacked his 95 theses on the door of the church in Wittenburg. And of course in the U.S. you’ve got Methodists, Southern Baptists, Presbe…oh screw it you know many crazy ass sects are in the U.S. If even they can’t agree on basic doctrine what makes them think they can agree about equal rights?

I had to pin progress in civil right as starting in one era I’d say the industrial age is what propelled society. You can sort of see this going on in China right now as people flock to the cities where jobs are plentiful and money isn’t as short.

There was a poll on facebook about what was a better environment for kids to grow, city, suburbs or rural. I explained that the city was the best place. Cities mix it up. I made the same argument when the likes of Tucker Carlson moaned that people who complete a four year college are more liberal than others. Of course they are, you go to college and you meet people from other countries, states and cultures. You’re required to take what I term soft arts courses like sociology,l psychology. To charge those areas with a liberal bias is ridiculous, Studies of the humanities by their nature are liberal because they deal in truths about existence.

The same applies to social attitudes. I can remember when the area I live in was predominantly Italian. That only started to change in the late 1980’s. Now it’s Italian, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Lebanese etc. The signs on the church down the street and at the nearby supermarket are in English, Spanish and Italian.

But you mix it up. Granted we have a long way to go but it’s happening. It happened when my father of Italian descent married my mother who was predominantly Irish. And it happens today when my Irish descended friend’s brother marries a Puerto Rican girl. Over and over again. And that’s good. Good for the genome, good for society.

Enough of that. His reference to the biblical view is comical. If you’ve ever read the entire book you get a fairly schizophrenic read on the Bible. Contradictions galore. But the religious always say you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water. That’s an apples to oranges comparison. If the Bible is the inspired and literal word of God, don’t you think divorce is wrong? Or that people who eat shellfish are committing and abomination?

Of course not, the anti-homosexual bigots are taking things out of context in the Bible. The folks at the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible can only pull 38 quotes out of the entire Bible. Compare that to the 453 contradictions, or the 1,582 absurdities. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read the entire book but the folks at Skeptic’s have done a nice job assembling it all for easy reference.