Tagged: tipping point

RNC Unanimously Reaffirms GOP’s Commitment to Anti-Gay Bigotry

In its annual spring meeting in Hollywood, California, the Republican National Committee has just unanimously approved a resolution that reaffirms the party’s commitment to an anti-gay, exclusionary definition of marriage, CNN reports.

The text of the resolution reads, in part:

[T]he Republican National Committee affirms its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America; and be it further resolved, the Republican National Committee implores the U. S. Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The unsurprising vote came one day after hate group leader Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay Family Research Council, implored his members in an email to withhold donations to the GOP “until the RNC… [grows] a backbone and [starts] defending core principles” like marriage discrimination.

Even as the vast majority of the country — including many Republicans and conservatives — moves rapidly and decisively in the direction of marriage equality, the official Republican Party has chosen to plant its flag firmly on the wrong side of history.

So much for that whole “welcoming and inclusive” thing. I figured it wouldn’t last long, since it was so clearly lip service to begin with.

The GOP continues to dig its own grave on LGBT rights, and I’m more than happy to pull up a chair, grab the popcorn, and watch the fun!

Graphic by the amazing Scott Wooledge of Memeographs Studio. Click for their Facebook page.
Graphic by the amazing Scott Wooledge of Memeographs Studio. Click for their Facebook page.

First O’Reilly, Then Beck Concede Marriage Equality Will Win

bill_oreillyOn the issue of marriage equality, up is down and down is up in the right-wing media. At least that’s how it’s seemed these past two weeks, when first Bill O’Reilly and then Glenn Beck essentially conceded that opponents of equality are fighting a losing battle.

On the March 26 episode of The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly said that marriage equality supporters have “the compelling argument,” but the anti-gay side has been unable to mount a similarly solid case.

The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals,” O’Reilly said on Fox on Tuesday. “That’s where the compelling argument is. ‘We’re Americans. We just want to be treated like everybody else.’ That’s a compelling argument, and to deny that, you have got to have a very strong argument on the other side. The argument on the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.

Watch:

As if that wasn’t shocking enough, Glenn Beck admitted on his radio show yesterday that “the reason [marriage equality proponents] have won is because they’ve made it about freedom” and “the principle of it is right.”

Watch:

Despite such candid admissions by high-profile members of the right-wing media, we shouldn’t be fooled into thinking the Republican Party as a whole has evolved much further on the freedom to marry. Just yesterday, for example, former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum told the Des Moines Register that his party wouldn’t embrace equal marriage because doing so would be “suicidal:”

Asked what he thinks about the two Midwest senators who have recently backed gay marriage, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Santorum said some Republicans splintered off in the late 1960s and early 1970s to support abortion rights when the courts “started mucking around with pro-life statutes at the state level.”

“I’m sure you could go back and read stories, oh, you know, ‘The Republican party’s going to change. This is the future.’ Obviously that didn’t happen,” Santorum said. “I think you’re going to see the same stories written now and it’s not going to happen. The Republican party’s not going to change on this issue. In my opinion it would be suicidal if it did.”

Still, as part of the vast right-wing media echo chamber, O’Reilly’s and Beck’s concessions are significant. After all, I’m willing to bet more run-of-the-mill conservative Republicans take their cues from O’Reilly and Beck than from Rick Santorum. And I’m sure that makes hardcore anti-gay wingnuts like Santorum furious.

O’Reilly and Beck admitting that marriage equality supporters will win? Whoa. Has anyone seen pigs flying past their windows lately?

Poll: Most Americans Think U.S. Constitution, Not States, Should Decide Marriage Equality

marriage_equality_constitutionQuinnipiac University released a poll this week which showed, just as pretty much every recent poll has, that a majority of Americans believe same-sex couples should have the freedom to marry.

But even more significantly, the poll found that a large majority of Americans (56%-36%) also feel that marriage equality is a constitutional issue — that is, one that should be decided by the United States Constitution, not by a patchwork of individual state laws.

The poll also revealed that 65 percent of Americans — including 57 percent of respondents over 55 and 71 percent of those under 35 — say they have close friends or close relatives who they know to be gay or lesbian. As veteran LGBT activist David Mixner points out, this just goes to show that coming out of the closet remains the single most important action LGBT people can take in the fight for equality.

The Weight of History: Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court

There have been a few moments in my life — walking along the winding path down to Omaha Beach, standing in the soul-crushing silence of the gas chamber at Auschwitz, planting my feet on the spot where Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech – where I swear I could feel the weight of history pressing down upon my heart. In each of those moments, in each place, I’ve found myself suddenly overwhelmed by the magnitude of what happened there and the sheer number of lives that were forever changed as a result.

scotus_j_327_jerame_photoshopAs I stood yesterday in front of the building that houses the Supreme Court of the United States, just hours before it considers whether or not gays and lesbians should be able to marry the people they love, I had another one of those experiences — I again felt the weight of history.

As LGBT people, our history includes a great deal of pain and suffering. We’ve been persecuted by religions and governments, labeled mentally ill, imprisoned, castrated, lobotomized, queer-bashed, ‘correctively’ raped, forced into damaging ‘ex-gay’ therapy, interred in concentration camps, stoned, and hanged. As I stood on that sidewalk, I thought about the generations of courageous LGBTs and allies who came before us and braved a world more hostile than most of us can comprehend in order to help get us to where we are today. Some of their names we know — Harvey Milk, Alice B. Toklas, Oscar Wilde — but most have been forever lost to history.

I also remembered the thousands of couples across the nation who, like the plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case, can’t yet wed because their partner is the same gender that they are. I thought of the scores of spouses like Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer, together until death and reminded in death that in the eyes of the United States, their lifelong loving relationships mattered less. I reflected on parents like mine, who work tirelessly for justice in the hope that one day all of their children will be able to live and love equally. And I thought about how LGBT people and our allies change minds and hearts by sharing our personal stories. Talking with people people that day, I felt the weight of many stories — friends and strangers, the beautiful and the heartbreaking, the tragic and the jubilant — as I stood at the doorstep of the Supreme Court.

Then I thought about my own story: as a small-town Midwestern Catholic boy, I struggled with guilt, depression, and self-destructive thoughts because of what I perceived as an “unmentionable sin,” and I hit rock bottom after attempting to commit suicide because I was so ashamed that God couldn’t made me straight. It got better, though — I began to accept and eventually embrace the fullness of my identity as a gay man. Seven years ago this month I married my beloved husband Michael. In 2006, no U.S. state would marry us, but the marriage commitment was so important to us that we left the country in order to make it. We’ve fought for marriage equality ever since (nearly our entire adult lives). Seven years later, same-sex marriage is supported by nine states, the District of Columbia, the President, large swaths of the business, political, and faith communities, and the clear majority of the American people. But the fight for full equality continues, and it’s that fight — and my love for Michael — that brought me to that sidewalk on 1st Street where I stood yesterday, looking up at the imposing façade of the Supreme Court building with tears streaming down my face.

So many stories, so many lives. So much suffering, so much love.

But it is love that makes me optimistic, regardless of whether the Supreme Court decides to be act as a pothole (upholding an exclusionary definition of marriage), a speed bump (ducking the issue on a technicality), or a green light (delivering a pro-LGBT verdict) on the road to full marriage equality. In this movement, we’re fighting for love. Our opponents’ hatred for my marriage will never be stronger than my love for my husband Michael. Their disgust and disdain for our families can never surpass the depth of our commitment to our spouses and children. And the fact that a majority of Americans — including eight out of every ten people under the age of thirty — support the right of LGBT people to love and marry equally proves that the road to equality is a one-way street.

No one knows for certain how the arguments today or tomorrow will go, nor do we know how the Supreme Court will rule in June. But we do know that the day will soon come when LGBT individuals, couples, and families are equally protected under the law. We know it won’t be long until we are fully and wholly included in the lofty American ideals of liberty and justice for all. And we know that we will win this fight.

The full weight of our history has come to bear today, and I know it will ultimately tip the scales toward justice, toward love.

Our 7th Anniversary — How Far We’ve Come

Today is the day my beloved husband Michael and I said “I do” and began our marriage journey together.

long_hugThe photo to the left is a picture from our wedding on March 22, 2006 in Toronto, Ontario. One of our witnessess snapped it just after we were pronounced husband and husband. I had just turned 21 and Michael was only 19. As you can probably tell from Michael’s red face, we were so overcome with emotion — and gratitude for being able to and formally pledge our lives to one another — that we sobbed through pretty much the entire wedding ceremony.

Anniversaries are occasions for celebration and reflection, and I’ve been doing a lot of both today. It’s hard for me to believe that Michael and I have already been married for seven years. They really do fly by, don’t they? But it really has been that long, and we really have come a long way in our lives, in our marriage, and in the struggle for marriage equality.

It’s hard to imagine, but in 2006 — just seven years ago — the only U.S. state which allowed couples like us to legally marry was Massachusetts. But thanks to a certain Mitt Romney, who resurrected an old, previously-unenforced law barring nonresidents from getting married specifically in order to prevent the state from becoming what he called “the Las Vegas of gay marriage [sic],” we photoliterally had to leave the country in order to legally marry the person we love. And of course, our legal Canadian marriage was unrecognized when we returned to our then-home in Wisconsin; citizens of that state made doubly sure of that when they passed a constitutional marriage discrimination amendment less than eight months after we said “I do.” The newlywed glow had barely even worn off, and it felt like a punch in the stomach.

Fast forward to 2013, and same-sex couples can wed nine states (and counting) plus D.C. The President of the United States, one of our two major political parties, a number of brave Republicans, and many faith traditions, businesses and major corporations, medical and mental health organizations, groups working for civil rights for gender, racial, and religious minorities, labor unions, and a clear majority of the American people — including over 80% of my generation — believe all loving couples deserve the freedom to marry. And in just four days, for the first time in history, the Supreme Court will consider equal marriage.

certificate_croppedIt’s a great time to be alive and a thrilling time to be working for justice and equality. And while many courageous people had already joined that fight long before we were born, for Michael and me, our work began seven years ago, on this day, in this moment.

Michael, you inspire me in more ways than I can describe, and the love we share is the source of, the energy behind, and the reason why I fight for equality. Being married to you is the most fulfilling, happy, and profound journey of my entire life. That day, today, and every day, I love you most and best of all.

Happy anniversary, Michael. Here’s to the past seven years and the next seven times seven.

Marriage Equality Round-Up/Catch-Up: Pediatricians Endorse Equality, SCOTUS Audio

gay_wedding_cake_topperThe last couple days I’ve been preoccupied with the Michelle Shocked fiasco, so I haven’t had a chance to post a few stories about a topic far nearer and dearer to my heart: marriage equality. And there’s been some big news! So we’ll get right to it, short and sweet:

Supreme Court Audio Recordings: the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that it would release same-day audio recordings and transcripts from oral arguments in the challenges to DOMA and Prop 8. Generally, the court releases audio recordings at the end of each week; the New York Times reports that the last time same-day recordings were released was when it heard arguments about the Affordable Care Act last year.

For Hollingsworth v. Perry on Tuesday, the recording will be available on the Supreme Court website by 1 p.m. For United States v. Windsor on Wednesday, the recording will be available by 2 p.m.

American Academy of Pediatrics Endorses Marriage Equality: the professional organization for American pediatrics came out in support of the freedom to marry in a policy statement issued today. The statement, which says that allowing same-sex parents to marry is in the best interests of their children, comes after a four-year-long review of the scientific literature surrounding same-sex parenting. The New York Times reports:

The academy’s new policy statement says same-sex marriage helps guarantee rights, benefits and long-term security for children, while acknowledging that it does not now ensure access to federal benefits. When marriage is not an option, the academy said, children should not be deprived of foster care or adoption by single parents or couples, whatever their sexual orientation…

The academy cited research finding that a child’s well-being is much more affected by the strength of relationships among family members and a family’s social and economic resources than by the sexual orientation of the parents. “There is an emerging consensus, based on extensive review of the scientific literature, that children growing up in households headed by gay men or lesbians are not disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents,” the academy said.

A large body of evidence demonstrates that children raised by gay or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive and social functioning as peers raised by heterosexuals, the academy said.

Take that, Mark Regnerus!

I’ll close with a heartening quote from a USA Today article about yet another poll showing a “dramatic shift” in support for marriage equality:

While many polls have documented growing support as the Supreme Court prepares to hear two cases next week, the poll by the Pew Research Center survey shows why:

– Support among Millennials — young adults born since 1980 — has risen from 51% in 2003 to 70% today. No other age group tops 50%.

– Nearly one-third of gay marriage supporters, or 28%, say they have changed their minds — most often because they know someone who is gay. Nearly all those who oppose it have always done so.

As a result, Pew reported, “The rise in support for same-sex marriage over the past decade is among the largest changes in opinion on any policy issue over this time period.” [emphasis mine]

Smiling emoticon

New Poll Shows ‘Dramatic’ Rise in Support for Marriage Equality

On the eve of landmark oral arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of marriage equality, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll has just been released which shows that a “significant majority” of Americans — 58% — say gay and lesbian couples should have the right to legally marry.

But there’s even more good news. From the ABC News report:

Most Americans, moreover, say the U.S. Constitution should trump state laws on gay marriage, a question now before the U.S. Supreme Court. And – in another fundamental shift – just 24 percent now see homosexuality as a choice, down from 40 percent nearly 20 years ago. It’s a view that closely relates to opinions on the legality of same-sex marriage.

Intensity of sentiment about gay marriage also shows considerable change in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. In 2004, strong opponents outnumbered strong supporters by a broad 34 percentage points. Today strong supporters are ascendant, outnumbering strong opponents by 11 points.

The article notes that support for same-sex marriage has risen by an astounding 11% just in the last three years. 72% of Democrats, 62% of independents, and 34% of Republicans support legalized marriage equality. The GOP number may seem small — and don’t get me wrong, it is — but that number represents an 18% increase since 2004. 44% of seniors are in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry, an increase of over ten percentage points from just one year ago and more than 20 points higher than in 2004.

And this poll again confirms what I and many others have been saying for a long time: if one takes a generational view, marriage equality is a done deal. An astounding 81 percent of adults younger than 30 believe all loving and committed couples deserve the freedom to marry.

I can’t think of better, more encouraging news as the conscience of the nation once again turns to the question of whether or not gays and lesbians should be able to marry the person they love. Here’s hoping the justices of the Supreme Court choose to stand with the clear majority of Americans — and more importantly, on the right side of history — and vote to strike down the unconstitutional “Defense of Marriage Act” and California’s discriminatory Proposition 8.

Graphic by the amazingly talented Scott Wooledge.
Graphic by the amazingly talented Scott Wooledge.