SJR-7 Update

SJR-7, the bill to amend the Indiana Constitution to prevent equal marriage rights for gay people, was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and will soon be presented to the full Senate for voting – probably next week.

That’s pretty bad news, especially since two amendments to the legislation that were presented were struck down and it will be going to the Senate as is.

The supporting and opposition testimony at the hearing was heavily about that highly controversial and very ambiguous second sentence that I blogged about earlier. Let me refresh your memory:

DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL
Definition of marriage. Provides that marriage in Indiana consists only of the union of one man and one woman. Provides that Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Yeah, that’s the one. The guy who introduced the bill, Republican Senator Brandt Hershman, admitted under questioning that even he doesn’t know what “legal incidents of marriage” actually means from a legal standpoint, although he is for some reason confident that it won’t affect anyone but gay people, and that all the other consequences that I blogged about, and that constitutional scholars are sending up red flags about, will never, ever come to pass, gee fucking whiz. Not that he had any explanation about why that wouldn’t occur. We apparently should just trust him. Right.

Both amendments to the legislation that were struck down were about that second clause – one sought to alter it so that legislatures in the future could, when Hoosiers are no longer hate-filled bigots, alter the definition of marriage to be defined in whatever way future Indiana citizens see fit. That was struck down.

The other amendment sought to remove the second sentence altogether, so the ambiguity and potential future lawsuits and controversy that will inevitable arrive from it don’t occur. That, too was struck down.

The defeat of the amendments and the approval of the bill all got votes of 7-4.

Voting against this bill:
Sen. Anita Bowser (D-Michigan City), Sen. John Broden (D-South Bend), Sen. Sam Smith (D-East Chicago) and Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson).

and the bigots voting in favor:
Sen. Jeff Drozda (R-Westfield), Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford), Sen. Teresa Lubbers (R-Indianapolis), Sen. Joe Zakas (R-Granger), Sen. Richard Bray (R-Martinsville), Sen. David Ford (R-Hartford City) and Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette).

As I said, we’ll be marking it down on their permanent records.
What happens next with SJR-7?

I’m going to project a bit here, based on my experience following legislation in the past.

First it will go to the Senate – probably next week, between February 5-9. With any luck it will die there. But it probably won’t, ’cause our Senate is full of bigots who hate gay people. But you should be sending a slew of calls and email to your Senators, no matter what.

If it passes the Senate, it will go to a hearing before a House Committee, similar to today’s hearing. That would probably happen the week of February 12-16. Just in time for Valentines Day! How fracking lovely. If we are very lucky, it will die there. If we’re only sorta lucky, they’ll at least alter that second clause before approving it. (please Jesus, Buddha and Hanuman.) Again, contacting the people on the committee will be helpful critical.

If it doesn’t die there, it would be voted on in the full House, which would probably happen around February 20th or soon after. If it gets to this point – that’s VERY VERY BAD. Which means you better get your ass to the Statehouse, or if you or a family member is on your deathbed, send massive mail or phone calls. And ask your friends and family to do the same.

Continue ReadingSJR-7 Update

bilerico’s new policy

I read with excitement this piece on Bilerico.com:

Looking at last year’s news cycle, one option had a high degree of success at influencing voters’ behavior, setting back a large segment of the conservative movement, and generally providing a modicum of entertainment value for the masses. What was it? “Outing” the hypocrite.
Think Ted Haggard or Mark Foley.
I’m sick and tired of these hypocritical Hoosier legislators who think that my sex life or relationship status is any of their business. Do I intrude on who they’re sleeping with? I didn’t, but I’m going to start now. I think we need to shame them into doing the right thing and voting against discrimination. We need to show them that unnecessary intrusion into someone else’s sex life is not only unwelcome but unwarranted unless it involves children or animals. We need to burn their hand so they won’t touch the stove again.
Consider this a call to arms gossip. (We’re gay, we can do this tastefully and without violence! *grins*) I want to know the scoop. Tell me the stories that will embarrass those conservative bigots that are backing a constitutional ban on our formalized relationships. Send me gossip about who’s a philanderer, a kink fiend, a drug addict, a porn addict, or had a divorce, an abortion or even a stay in rehab. Ask your friends and family for the dirt. Look it up on the internet. Sniff out a lead and send it my way.
tips@bilerico.com
I specifically want to learn more about the alleged blowjob one of our married legislators got caught receiving in the Statehouse parking lot. I also want to know more about the single legislator (with the biggest “gay face” in the Statehouse!) who supposedly got all of his money after a rich non-related older man died and left it all to him. Rumor has it that there’s a northern Indiana legislator who’s in the closet and a female lawmaker who allegedly had an abortion or two but still ranks as a Super Christian with the Right to Life. I’ve heard that a couple out-of-town legislators have been spotted visiting the Unicorn Club and the gay baths and that several have a fondness for blow. Do you know who they are? Will you tell me?

I wish I had something juicy to share, but unfortunately, I’m too white bread to have good dirt on anyone. But I know that gay rumors have swirled for years about various Republican legislators, and about conservative bigot Eric Miller. I’m thrilled that bilerico is actively soliciting tips, and will gleefully reprint any good dirt they come up with. So if you know something, send it their way.

Continue Readingbilerico’s new policy

The Catholic Church Has a New Policy on Gay People

This happened earlier in the week, but I haven’t had time to address it before now. If you know me, you know I grew up Catholic and have had somethings to say in the past about the Catholic Church and their behavior towards gay people.

Catholic Bishops have officially approved new guidelines concerning ministry to gay people that basically say gays are sort of okay within the church, just as long as their sexual orientation is in no way sexual.

The guidelines state that while the Church teaches that homosexual acts are immoral, there is a distinction between engaging in homosexual acts and having a homosexual orientation. “While the former is always sinful, the latter is not.”

“It is crucially important to understand that saying a person has a particular inclination that is disordered is not to say that the person as a whole is disordered. Nor does it mean that one has been rejected by God or the Church.”

In other words, it’s okay if I’m gay, but I have to be celibate. And there are some other conditions, too:

  • Persons who experience same-sex attraction and yet are living in accord with Church teaching should be encouraged to take an active role in the life of the faith community. However, the Church has a right to deny roles of service to those whose behavior violates her teaching.
  • The Christian life is a progressive journey toward a deepening of one’s discipleship of Christ…Those who stumble along the way should be encouraged to remain in the community and to continue to strive for holiness. In this regard, frequent reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is of great importance.
  • The Church does not support so-called same-sex “marriages” or any semblance thereof, including civil unions that give the appearance of a marriage. Church ministers may not bless such unions or promote them in any way, directly or indirectly.
  • Similarly, the Church does not support the adoption of children by homosexual couples since homosexual unions are contrary to the divine plan. For this reason, Baptism of children adopted by such couples presents a pastoral concern. Nevertheless, the Church does not refuse the Sacrament of Baptism to these children, but there must be a well founded hope that the children will be brought up in the Catholic religion.

So I get to be a part of the church, but I have to be a sexless second class citizen within it. Oh lucky fucking me.

Yay! Here’s what I think about that:

let me laugh even harder.

Honey, no.

Continue ReadingThe Catholic Church Has a New Policy on Gay People

Marriage, children and equal rights

Good As You presents an especially apt point about the fallaciousness of the “reserving marriage for the nuturing of children” argument:

Hmm..you know why the judges “ignored is that marriage is not primarily about adults; marriage is about the nurturing and development of children?” Because marriage certificates don’t legalize unions with the caveat that those unions produce children! Marriage is one thing; reproduction is another!

Saying that this legal, civil arrangement is all about a non-required by-product of the coupling is kind of like saying that one’s obtaining of a driver’s license is all about the the car, not the legal right. In reality, the person may just want to be recognized as a legal driver, and they might want the license solely for ID purposes. In fact, this New Yorker has a legal license AND a car, but he hasn’t driven in four years. Doesn’t make my license any less legal! And while it may sound insensitive or callous to compare a car to a human child, the comparison in this instance is quite apt. You can’t deny one the ability to obtain any sort of civil permit or license simply because they don’t utilize the legality in the way that you see proper!

Continue ReadingMarriage, children and equal rights

Oh my god, Did Bauer just throw us under the bus?

Thanks to Bil for pointing out this jaw-dropping statement from Indiana Minority Leader Pat Bauer, D-South Bend:

“I just think that the only way for (Republicans) not to (continue to) demagogue it is to have a redundancy. It’s too bad it has to go in the constitution, but so be it,” Bauer said. “It’s not worth the time, the trouble, to point out that it’s not a problem (in Indiana), so it’s better just to have the vote and see how it goes.”

Under GOP leadership, both chambers of the General Assembly passed a same-sex marriage amendment last year. The measure must be approved by the newly elected Legislature next year or in 2008 before it could go on the statewide ballot for approval from voters.

That’s nice. Tell me again why I live in Indiana?

Continue ReadingOh my god, Did Bauer just throw us under the bus?

Schwarzenegger will veto equal marriage rights bill

Apparently, the will of the people won’t prevail after all. Governor Schwarzenegger is promising to veto the equal marriage rights bill that was just passed in the California legislature.

So let me get this straight… we can’t take our civil rights issues to court, because when the courts make a ruling, they’re called “activist judges” and we’re told that we have to refer to the legislatures to make the laws.

When we go through the legislatures to make the laws, we’re vetoed by activist governors who defy the will of the people.
So basically, there’s no civil rights justice for gay people in America, at all.

I was saying last night that I don’t want to live in America anymore. I don’t feel safe here, either from natural or man-made disaster, or anti-gay attack.

Continue ReadingSchwarzenegger will veto equal marriage rights bill

Statehouse Rally for Equal Marriage Rights – March 8

I will be attending this rally on March 8th, and I’m inviting you all to join me. I will be one of the crowd-control folks in a lovely orange vest. If you want to get together for a sign-making party, please let me know; this event is only a few short days away.

In response to the State Legislature’s current bill (SJR 7) seeking to limit equal marriage rights for same-sex couples by amending the constitution, gay rights advocates and their friends and families are planning a Rally/Silent protest at the east steps of the Indiana Statehouse on March 8 at 11 a.m. to protest this piece of legislation and several others that are currently under consideration. Organizers are expecting over 1,000 supporters to attend the rally.

This rally will also serve as a counter rally to the one taking place on the west side of the statehouse, held by the right-wing organization Advance America, founded by former political candidate and longtime lobbyist Eric Miller.

The Legislation
A number of bills have been introduced into into the Indiana State Legislature this season that will have an effect on the lives of gay and lesbian citizens of Indiana. Here is a synopsis of three of them:

SJR 7 – EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS: This bill seeks to amend the Indiana constitution to limit the possibility of marriage to a definition of one man and one woman, and additionally seeks to prevent any legal arrangements between same-sex couples that are intended to provide the same protections as marriage.

SJR 585 – ADOPTION/FOSTERING: This bill will prohibit gay people from being foster parents and adopting.

SJR 541 – DOMESTIC PARTNER BENEFITS: This bill will limit eligibility under a state university health plan to an employee of the university and to the spouse and dependant children of the employee.

The first legislation, SJR 7 has already passed in the senate and will move on to the house in this legislative session. If it passes the house (it is expected to) it will need to be passed again in a future legislative session, and with then be placed on a ballot referendum for Hoosiers to vote on.

Additional Rally Information
Organizers describe the rally as a silent protest intended to emphasize the attempts by the religious right to silence the gay and lesbian community. They also ask attendees to remember that they want no noise, rude behavior or disorderly conduct, and that rally supporters are asked to stay off the Statehouse grass, to avoid blocking entrances to the Statehouse and foot traffic on the sidewalks. 15 to 20 organizers of the event will be on hand to provide crowd control and to help attendees maintain order.

There will be several speakers, including the possibility of Senators who opposed the legislation.
Attendees of the Rally are encouraged to make signs. Organizers suggestions include: “SJR7 – The Hate Debate” or “SJR7 – Blatant Discrimination” or “Eric Miller -Conservative Approach; Extremist Agenda” or “Hate is Not a Family Value” or “It’s Our Constitution Too”

More information about the rally, including a map of the Statehouse, flyers that can be distributed, and parking information is available at [link deprecated: http://www.stopthebigots.org] Stopthebigots.org.

Parking for the Rally

Attendees of the rally are urged to carpool to the event due to downtown parking and traffic considerations. Parking at Circle Center Mall may provide the best location.

Continue ReadingStatehouse Rally for Equal Marriage Rights – March 8

Statehouse Rally for Equal Marriage Rights – March 8

In response to the State Legislature’s current bill (SJR 7) seeking to limit equal marriage rights for same-sex couples by amending the constitution, gay rights advocates and their friends and families are planning a Rally/Silent Protest at the east steps of the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday, March 8 at 11 a.m. to protest this piece of legislation and several others that are currently under consideration. Organizers are expecting over 1,000 supporters to attend the rally.

This rally will also serve as a counter rally to the one taking place on the west side of the statehouse, held by the right-wing organization Advance America, founded by former political candidate and longtime lobbyist Eric Miller. Miller is a supporter of amending the Indiana constitution to prevent equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

The Legislation

A number of bills have been introduced into into the Indiana State Legislature this season that will have an effect on the lives of gay and lesbian citizens of Indiana. Here is a synopsis of three of them:

SJR 7 – EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS: This bill seeks to amend the Indiana constitution to limit the possibility of marriage to a definition of one man and one woman, and additionally seeks to prevent any legal arrangements between same-sex couples that are intended to provide the same protections as marriage.

SJR 585 – ADOPTION/FOSTERING: This bill will prohibit gay people from being foster parents and adopting.

SJR 541 – DOMESTIC PARTNER BENEFITS: This bill will limit eligibility under a state university health plan to an employee of the university and to the spouse and dependant children of the employee.

The first legislation, SJR 7 has already passed in the senate and will move on to the house in this legislative session. In the House of Representatives, SJR 7 is expected to be assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, which will conduct a hearing on the resolution in mid-March. A proposed constitutional amendment must be passed by two separately-elected legislatures, and then approved by voters in a state-wide referendum. The earliest such a vote could take place is November 2008.

Senators who voted no on SJR 7 include:
Anita Bowser (D-Michigan City)
Billie Breaux (D-Indianapolis)
John Broden (D-South Bend)
Glenn Howard (D-Indianapolis)
Tim Lanane (D-Anderson)
Earline Rogers (D-Gary)
Vi Simpson (D-Bloomington)
Sam Smith (D-East Chicago)

Additional Rally Information

Organizers describe the rally as a silent protest intended to emphasize the attempts by the religious right to silence the gay and lesbian community. They also ask attendees to remember that they want no noise, rude behavior or disorderly conduct, and that rally supporters are asked to stay off the Statehouse grass, to avoid blocking entrances to the Statehouse and foot traffic on the sidewalks. 15 to 20 organizers of the event will be on hand to provide crowd control and to help attendees maintain order.

There will be several speakers, including the possibility of Senators who opposed the legislation speaking or making an appearance.
Attendees of the Rally are encouraged to make signs. Organizers suggestions include: “SJR7 – The Hate Debate” or “SJR7 – Blatant Discrimination” or “Eric Miller -Conservative Approach; Extremist Agenda” or “Hate is Not a Family Value” or “It’s Our Constitution Too”
More information about the rally, including a map of the Statehouse, flyers that can be distributed, and parking information is available at [link deprecated http://www.stopthebigots.org] Stopthebigots.org.

Rally organizer Pepper Partin explains the motivation for the rally: “We are being persecuted because of our sexual orientation, and sexual orientation is no more of a choice than our height or our eye color or anything else that is part of our pre-determined make-up. So we must make sure people understand that we are not a subculture and this is not a lifestyle, and that is a big reason we must stop people like Eric Miller and his organization from making people think we are nature’s mistakes deserving of only table scraps beneath the table of equality. Our constitution is for everyone – not just for those who feel they are superior in some sense.”

Parking for the Rally

Attendees of the rally are urged to carpool to the event due to downtown parking and traffic considerations. Parking at Circle Center Mall may provide the best location.

Continue ReadingStatehouse Rally for Equal Marriage Rights – March 8

New Bush Social Security Strategy: Attack the AARP

By now you probably know that the hugely powerful, hugely popular, non-partisan senior organization, the AARP, has done the math on the Social Security “Crisis” and realized that Bush’s plan will cost individuals huge money, while making a bundle for big businesses. So they are lobbying against Bush’s plan.

Here’s how Bush’s man Karl Rove is setting up the attack on the AARP: by creating a right-wing group called USANext, similar to the Swift Boat Veterans group, that will try to demonize the AARP as a “liberal” organization. Their opening salvo is ads placed on right wing websites like the American Spectator (see it in place in the right column, second position) — here’s the ad they created:

Bush Gay Marriage Attack Ad on AARP
Bush Gay Marriage Attack Ad on AARP

(source: original link, no longer active – http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2005_02_20.php#004857)

Now what this ad has to do with Social Security or the AARP is anyone’s guess, but this is what your pal George Bush is doing.

Considering that my grandparents are a part of the AARP, (and honestly, I think my dad might be, too) I’m guessing that this is one strategy that’s going to blow up in Karl Rove’s face.

UPDATE: They pulled the ad because of the controversy, but never fear, Josh Marshall has images of it in its original placement on the USANext website to prove it existed.

(source: original link, no longer active – http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2005_02_20.php#004865)

Continue ReadingNew Bush Social Security Strategy: Attack the AARP

Same-Sex Marriage – That Happy Golden Feeling

Just a reminder of what was going on last year at this time…

In S.F., debate on gay nuptials marked by joy
“Boston and San Francisco are often compared for their similarities. But of the two cities that bookended a historic week in the debate on gay marriage, I know which place I’d rather have been this holiday. I’d choose the city of joy. Infectious, unadulterated joy, sparked by this unprecedented five-day run of gay-marriage ceremonies that was part civil disobedience, part political statement, part Woodstock Nation. In San Francisco… volunteers smiled through the night Sunday, brought hot cocoa and food to couples and families who were wrapped around the block, braving cold and downpour to wait their turn to exchange vows. As word spread Friday the exultant crowds kept coming — by car, by taxi, by bus, by plane. People took photographs, flashed peace signs and knew they were at the heart of something historic. Children — toddlers, babes-in-arms, schoolchildren — were everywhere.”

The Joy of Gay Marriage
“Whatever their short-term legal fate, the San Francisco weddings mark a new high-water mark in one of the most fast-paced cultural tsunamis America has seen. As Evan Wolfson, the civil rights lawyer who founded Freedom to Marry, says, “An act as unremarkable as getting a wedding license” has been transformed by the people embracing it, much as the unremarkable act of sitting at a Formica lunch counter was transformed by an act of civil disobedience at a Woolworth’s in North Carolina 44 years ago this month.”

For Children of Gays, Marriage Brings Joy
“It was so cool,” said Gabriel, 13, who served as the ringbearer, after standing in line overnight with his parents. “I always accepted that ‘Yeah, they’re my moms,’ but they were actually getting married. I felt thick inside with happiness. Just thick.”

Speaking of his mothers’ marriage, Alex said: “It is something I always wanted. I’ve always been around people saying, ‘Oh, my parents anniversary is this week.’ It’s always been the sight of two parents, married, with rings. And knowing I’d probably never experience it ever.” That changed in the City Hall rotunda as his mothers exchanged vows. “The atmosphere was just springing with life,” Alex recalled. “I just couldn’t hold myself in. It was oh my god oh my god oh my god. I felt so happy I wanted to scream.”

Lesbian couple wedded at SF City Hall Women had been together for five decades
History was made at 11:06 a.m. today at San Francisco City Hall when Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon took their wedding vows, becoming the first same-sex couple to be officially married in the United States. About 20 people witnessed the ceremony; many of them were moved to tears as the couple, who have been together for five decades, were wed.

Photos of Phyllis and Del
More Wedding Photos
More Wedding Photos
More Wedding Photos
More Wedding Photos

Continue ReadingSame-Sex Marriage – That Happy Golden Feeling