Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- Today the Rhode Island state House passed marriage equality legislation, putting the Ocean State on track to become the tenth state in America where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry. The legislation, which passed with bipartisan support, will be signed into law by Gov. Lincoln Chafee later today in a historic signing ceremony on the steps of the Rhode Island State House.
Another veteran Vatican figure has signaled openness to civil recognition of same-sex unions in the wake of similar comments in early February from the Vatican's top official on the family. It's a position also once reportedly seen with favor by the future pope while he was still Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The latest expression of support for civil recognition as an alternative to gay marriage comes from Archbishop Piero Marini, who served for 18 years as Pope John Paul II's liturgical master of ceremonies.
"There are many couples that suffer because their civil rights aren't recognized," Marini said.
Marini, now 71, is currently the president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses. He spoke in an interview with the newspaper La Nación in Costa Rica, where the local church wrapped up a Eucharistic congress Sunday.
Though Marini has no responsibility to frame policy on matters of marriage, his comments may reopen questions about the Vatican's line in the wake of a similar position expressed in early February by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. [MORE]
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California lawmakers are considering taking some tax exemptions away from youth groups that do not accept gay, transgender or atheist members - a move intended to pressure the Boy Scouts of America to lift its ban on gay Scouts and troop leaders.
Some cities have withdrawn free rent and other subsidies from the Boy Scouts over the years, but legislation introduced by state Sen. Ricardo Lara would make California the first state to target the Scouts for its anti-gay policy.
The Long Beach Democrat's bill, SB 323, is scheduled for its first committee hearing on Wednesday.
"Our state values the important role that youth groups play in the empowerment of our next generation; this is demonstrated by rewarding organizations with tax exemptions supported financially by all Californians," Lara said. "SB 323 seeks to end the unfortunate discriminatory and outdated practices by certain youth groups." [MORE]
Janet Porter of Faith2Action says in her new video, “this battle isn’t about marriage, it’s about driving the homosexual flag into yet another segment of society and then using it as a club to silence all dissent — to label anyone who disagrees as a hater.”
Porter also falsely states that if you are a resident of any of the 41 states that have yet to legalize same-sex marriage, “they’re talking about you” as a hater.
For years, nationwide polls have repeatedly found the majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, and that is true in many states as well. It’s 100 percent false to claim that all residents of 41 states oppose marriage equality. [MORE]
Gary Kopycinski's insight:
Personally, this is the first I've heard of Janet Porter or Faith2Action.
Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- Today two more United States Senators publicly endorsed marriage rights for same-sex couples, following a groundswell of support in recent weeks. With announcements from Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) today, the total number of U.S. Senators backing marriage equality has reached 53, including 49 Democrats, 2 Independents and 2 Republicans. Following the Senators’ announcements today, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin released the following statement:
“The bipartisan tidal wave of support for marriage equality will only continue to swell as time progresses. Our leaders in Washington are finally catching up to the American people, who believe that committed and loving gay and lesbian couples deserve the right to marry. We thank Senators Donnelly and Heitkamp for planting themselves firmly on the right side of history today.” [MORE]
From Cook County Clerk David Orr via eNews Park Forest:
Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Lawyers for Cook County Clerk David Orr have filed a brief opposing the motion to dismiss a lawsuit to overturn Illinois' ban on gay marriage. The motion to dismiss had been filed by intervenors Webb and Hitzel, downstate county clerks who are opposed to same-sex marriage.
Despite being the original defendant in the suit, Darby v. Orr, in his brief Clerk Orr agrees with the plaintiffs that Illinois' marriage ban unconstitutionally denies to persons in same-sex relationships equal protection of the laws.
"We have had to deny this equal protection to thousands of committed couples in Cook County alone," said Orr. "My office has issued 2,897 civil union licenses to same-sex couples since June 2011. I think it's fair to say these couples would prefer marriage licenses and the legal rights they afford along with the equality they represent." [MORE]
Facebook has revealed that 2.7 million more users than normal changed their photo this Tuesday, doubling the average number of photo uploads. The catalyst? HRC’s equal sign. More data:http://abcn.ws/X29Sc2
Image: Facebook provided this map, where-in counties with bolder colors had more photo-switchers.
Argentina was on the verge of approving gay marriage, and theRoman Catholic Church was desperate to stop that from happening. It would lead tens of thousands of its followers in protest on the streets of Buenos Aires and publicly condemn the proposed law, a direct threat to church teaching, as the work of the devil.
But behind the scenes, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who led the public charge against the measure, spoke out in a heated meeting of bishops in 2010 and advocated a highly unorthodox solution: that the church in Argentina support the idea of civil unions for gay couples.
The concession inflamed the gathering — and offers a telling insight into the leadership style he may now bring to the papacy.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz continued to defend his company’s support for marriage equality at a shareholders meeting Wednesday, pointing out that “not every decision is an economic decision.” Shareholder Tom Strobhar suggested that the company’s stock dipped a bit when the National Organization for Marriage launched a “Dump Starbucks” boycott last year, but Schultz expressed no concern about the company’s viability moving forward:
STROBHAR: In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing.
SCHULTZ:If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much [MORE]
The other day, I posted on my Facebook page that in the wake of the Cardinal's recent false welcome, I stand at a crossroad in my faith journey; however, I realize now that it is not I who stands at this crossroad, but rather the Cardinal himself.
Here's what Kobe Byrant, Chris Kluwe, Bill Clinton, and other tweeps have to say about the NBA center's announcement that he's gay.
Gary Kopycinski's insight:
From Ian Gordon at Mother Jones:
In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, the NBA's Jason Collins became the first active player in any of the big four sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey) to announce he was gay. His opening sentence: "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."
Toward the end of his must-read story, Collins, a 7-foot, 255-pounder who has played for six teams in his 11-year pro career, ponders the fallout from his announcement:
I've been asked how other players will respond to my announcement. The simple answer is, I have no idea. I'm a pragmatist. I hope for the best, but plan for the worst. The biggest concern seems to be that gay players will behave unprofessionally in the locker room. Believe me, I've taken plenty of showers in 12 seasons. My behavior wasn't an issue before, and it won't be one now. My conduct won't change. I still abide by the adage, "What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room." I'm still a model of discretion.
Here's a look at what some people—some NBA players, some not—had to say about Collins on Monday...
Compelling. Elad Nehorai is a writer living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Five years ago, he became a religious Jew in the Chabad Hasidic community and has since written about his experience extensively, most recently in his blog Pop Chassid. You can find him on Twitter as @PopChassid andFacebook.
By Nicole Michels at the University of Notre Dame's student newspaper, The Observer:
The Gay & Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame & St. Mary’s (GALA-ND/SMC) gathered Saturday evening for the presentation of the Thomas A. Dooley Awards, which recognize outstanding work by individuals on behalf of lesbian and gay Americans.
The awards dinner was the highlight of a weekend of events which included a GALA-ND/SMC sponsored dance for LGBTQ students and allies, viewing of the film “Love Free or Die” and discussion. The weekend concluded with a morning prayer service at the Grotto yesterday.
The awards united many community activists who have worked for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBTQ) inclusion, student body president Alex Coccia said.
“A lot of the speakers touched on the roles that so many people in the audience had played in some form or another, fighting for inclusion and equal rights at various levels — whether in South Bend, nationally or internationally,” Coccia said. “It was a blessing to see how many people had been involved … for me it was a cool experience.” [MORE]
Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- As part of an ongoing effort in support of comprehensive immigration reform that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) immigrants and their families, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, released a statement of principles entitled Comprehensive & Inclusive Immigration Reform: Nine Problems Deserving Solutions.
There are an estimated 1 million LGBT adult immigrants, of which about two-thirds are documented and one-third are undocumented—and an estimated 32,300 LGBT binational couples are living in the U.S. today. With these dramatic numbers in mind, the document is organized by HRC’s four guiding principles in support of immigration reform: Keep LGBT Families Together, Create a Pathway to Citizenship, Improve the U.S. Asylum System for LGBT Applicants, and Protect the Health and Safety of LGBT Immigrants. Under each principle, key problems are highlighted that urgently requires legislative solutions.
“The immigration system is in desperate need of reform and that reform must include LGBT immigrants and families,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Comprehensive immigration reform is about protecting those who are vulnerable and living in the shadows.” [ENEWSPF]
Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised the decision of Texas A&M Student Body President John L. Claybrook to veto a bill that would have allowed discrimination against on-campus LGBT organizations. The proposal would have allowed students to opt-out of activity fees being directed toward the campus LGBT resource center. The move comes after an amendment was withdrawn in the Texas legislature that would have prohibited funding to universities to “support, promote, or encourage any behavior that would lead to high risk behavior for AIDS, HIV, Hepatitis B, or any sexually transmitted disease.” [MORE]
Beijing, China - When Xiao Yue decided in October 2010 to marry her boyfriend, she imagined a life full of love, happiness and laughter. She knew marriage was a bumpy road, but she never expected hers to end within a month, after discovering she had tied the knot with a closeted gay man.
"I remember the date perfectly, because I asked for divorce only 25 days after the wedding ceremony," said the 30-something from the front seat of her car, which she deemed the safest place to talk. Xiao Yue asked that her real name not be used, also out of concern for her safety.
Two years after her marriage collapsed, she still fears the exposure of her life as a former "tongqi" - a new Mandarin word coined to describe straight women trapped in loveless and miserable unions to gay men. The word comes from "tongzhi", or comrade, Chinese slang for "gay", and "qizi", which means "wife" in Mandarin.
This is neither a new phenomenon nor it is specific to China, but many say the one-child policy, which prohibits couples from having more than one offspring, has made the country unique in this regard. [MORE]
A proposed bill in Kansas is calling for people with HIV or AIDS to be quarantined.
Lawmakers are close to passing a new law discriminating against those who have HIV or AIDS, forcing them to be isolated or have their movements restricted.
Kansas House Bill 2183, which has passed in the Kansas Senate, will update the state’s public health statute by allowing quarantine of Kansans with ‘infectious diseases.’
Senator Marci Francisco attempted to restore an amendment providing an exclusion for people living with HIV/AIDS, saying the disease is not spread through casual contact and the bill could permit discrimination.
Aaron Jackson, a co-founder of environmental and humanitarian nonprofit Planting Peace, had ambitions to become more active in gay rights advocacy but didn't know the best way to do it. Turns out, real estate was the answer.
STOCKMAN: This is a truly bad bill. This is helping the liberals, this is horrible. Unbelievable. What really bothers — it’s called a women’s act, but then they have men dressed up as women, they count that. Change-gender, or whatever. How is that — how is that a woman?