Monday, August 31, 2009

All hope of striking down DOMA is with Massachusetts; Obama Administration plans to fight it

All hope of striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed in 1996 which prevents the federal government from recognizing marriages performed within states resides with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts says The National Law Journal, and the National Legal Scholars Council.

"If you're looking to effect legal change, you're looking for plaintiffs who have been harmed, a lawsuit reasonably well-funded, and the legal expertise to take it up [to] the appellate process," said Arthur Leonard of New York Law School, an expert on gay and lesbian legal issues.

Of the four current lawsuits against DOMA, the suit filed in July by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, is well-focused, well-financed, highly lawyered, and an infringement on the sovereignty of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (previous story)

The Obama administration decided to defend the law in court even as it has stated publicly its plans to seek repeal in Congress. What? Does this make any sense? What a waste of tax dollars!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Utah Governor Gary Herbert: No protected class for gay people

Does the Governor of Utah live in the 21st Century? Does he realize how much the Republican Party has suffered because of the type of statement he made today?

"Discriminating against gay people shouldn't be illegal, although he would prefer it if everyone were treated with respect. We don't have to have a rule for everybody to do the right thing. We ought to just do the right thing because it's the right thing to do and we don't have to have a law that punishes us if we don't." - Utah Governor Gary Herbert (For our International Readers: In the United States, the title "Governor" refers to the chief executive of each state, not directly subordinate to federal authorities, but the political and ceremonial head of the state)

How far from idealism the Republican Party has strayed since its founding in 1854 to end slavery, and ultimately crushed the Whig Party.

All of this is happening because Salt Lake City is considering passing an ordinance to protect gay and lesbian people, but the Utah Legislature is already considering passage of a state law that would trump it.

Governor Herbert is a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church), which lobbied hard to pass Prop 8 in California.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gay community morns the death of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy

The gay community has lost a valuable ally in the United States Senate, U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy. U.S. Senator Kennedy represented the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but was a very powerful and influential figure as the Chairman of key U.S. Senate Committees; he therefore represented the entire LGBTI community.

Though facing medical problems of his own, when I emailed Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer about the death of U.S. Senator Kennedy, he had the following to say:

"Senator Kennedy in the early years of his career was 'a man before his time' with his progressive thinking,' he had strength of character, unwavering perseverance, and his death is a loss not only for equality, but our entire nation."

For nearly 50 years, Kennedy served alongside 10 U.S. Presidents, his brother, John Fitzgerald Kennedy ("JKF") among them. Kennedy was best known for his impressive list of legislative achievements on health care, civil rights, education, and immigration. Though he disagreed with church leaders on the issues of abortion and gay rights, Kennedy was a devout Catholic who clung to his religion's belief in the potential for human redemption.

U.S. Senator Kennedy responded to Kentucky Equality Federation's disapproval and condemnation (story) of the University of Kentucky's Dr. James Holsinger (story) being nominated for U.S. Surgeon General (mainly a ceremonial post, but acts as the face of public for anti-gay U.S. Surgeon General.

U.S. Senator Kennedy Chaired the U.S. Senate Committee that refused to confirm him.

Kennedy fought for HIV/AIDS funding, was one of the few Senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, he helped the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act pass the Senate in 2009, and he also introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

“The promise of America will never be fulfilled as long as justice is denied to even one among us," Sen. Kennedy said when speaking about ENDA. "The Employment Non-Discrimination Act brings us closer to fulfilling that promise for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens.”

Kennedy had recently urged Massachusetts lawmakers to change current laws so the governor, if necessary, could quickly fill a U.S. Senate vacancy as the chamber debates the contentious healthcare issue.

Serving the people of Massachusetts in the United States Senate has been — and still is — the greatest honor of my public life. As I look ahead, I am convinced that enabling the Governor to fill a Senate vacancy through an interim appointment followed by a special election would best serve the people of our Commonwealth and country should a vacancy occur.

U.S. Senator Kennedy died Tuesday night at his home on Cape Cod after a year-long struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.

© Michael J. Thomas, Kentucky Equality Federation and Marriage Equality Kentucky Blogger

Monday, August 24, 2009

Religous Hate in Western Kentucky Borders on the Occult

Click here for the story from Hillbilly Report. Keep this in mind also:

"The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man: members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity." - Thomas Szasz

I am a Christian, but separation of church and state MUST be maintained. Also, NEVER forget THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT as stated by Jesus: "Love thy God and thy neighbor with all of your heart and soul."

“If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20).” This verse not only speak to your biological brother, but all of mankind, all humans; they same holds true.

People have always twisted religion and religious views to suit their own selfish needs; if you do believe in a higher power, he/she/? is certainly more evolved and intelligent to ever condone hating your neighbor or imposing your will on another.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ex-gay programs dropped for now.....NO MONEY!

Focus on the Family, the powerful evangelical Christian group founded by James Dobson, is being forced by budget problems to do away with its controversial “Love Won Out” ex-gay ministry conferences.

A “serious budget shortfall” at Focus on the Family has prompted the conservative Christian group to issue a special fundraising plea, and contributed to a decision to cede control of its contentious “Love Won Out” conferences about homosexuality to another religious organization, a spokesman said Tuesday…

Focus on the Family also announced Tuesday it would no longer stage “Love Won Out” conferences across the country. The events drew both participants and picketers for their promise to “help men and women dissatisfied with living homosexually understand that same-sex attractions can be overcome.”

The events will go on, instead staged by Florida-based Exodus International, a network of ministries whose core message is “Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ.”

Just last week, the American Psychological Association released a study that found that gay reversion therapy was both ineffective and psychologically damaging to many who attempt to change their sexual orientation.

Related Stories:

Love in Action (homosexual to heterosexual).

Love in Action's "Refuge" shutdown by the State.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Kentucky Pro-Gay Marriage Signs Destroyed

A motivated supporter of Kentucky Equality Federation and Marriage Equality Kentucky's Marriage Declaration (more) has posted signs around Harlan County in Southern Kentucky to raise awareness of the declaration.

Today however, the 25 year-old supporter contacted Kentucky Equality Federation and reported that his hand made signs (pictured) have been torn down on multiple occasions.

According to the supporter, the signs have been town down by a well known local person.

Is there no room in Harlan County for diversity, tolerance, or equality? Is vandalism, or the destruction of property that belongs to someone else not a crime in the Commonwealth of Kentucky?

To our supporter we leave you with two quotes from very distinguished people who changed our nation:

"The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just." - Abraham Lincoln
"Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation." - Coretta Scott King

To the person removing the signs (who we have also emailed), we leave you with these thoughts:

"The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man: members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity." - Thomas Szasz

Remember, a competent and self-confident person is incapable of homophobia. Homophobia is invariably a symptom of emotional insecurity with your own sexuality.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Equality California: 2012 before Prop 8 is repealed; others disagree

When Marc Solomon, the former executive director of Equality Massachusetts, and now the 'marriage director' of Equality California speaks, it is generally a good idea to listen closely to his advice.

Solomon was the head of Equality Massachusetts when the commonwealth legalized same-sex marriage, and later defeated a constitutional amendment to ban it again.

Solomon told California gay-rights organizations on a conference call yesterday that "Big donors are not ready to fund a new fight so soon after failure, and a door-to-door campaign will take time."

But smaller groups such as Courage Campaign, and Love Honor Cherish have said waiting will sap momentum among gays and their allies still smarting from the unexpected ballot results and have vowed to mount a 2010 challenge.

The biggest supporters for a 2010 push appear to be Courage Campaign, and the even smaller Love Honor Cherish group. California's Marriage Equality USA remains on the fence.

"We're in a movement era. The day after the California ban passed -- and after President Barack Obama was elected -- was a wake-up call for gay advocates. On the one hand they put an African American man in the White House when it was impossible. On the other hand they had their rights taken away. - Rick Jacobs, chair, Courage Campaign

Another defeat in 2010 could be disastrous and derail a 2012 repeal.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Gay marriage lawyers tell the City of San Francisco and others to stay out of it!

The attorneys that sued the State of California in federal court (many disagree, click here to find out why) asked a judge late Friday to bar the city of San Francisco and three other groups supportive of same-sex weddings from joining.

In court papers filed late Friday, attorneys David Boies and Theodore Olson told U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker that San Francisco and Our Family Coalition, Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or "PFLAG", have no legal rights to join the lawsuit.

Huh? San Francisco is a subdivision of the State of California; would their involvement not bring a more legitimate claim against the state? Worst case scenario for the city: The state disenfranchises the city, and removes their ability to limited, local city government.

Also, by keeping PFLAG out, a national organization, they are really missing out on a lot of national resources and money.

The move highlights the continuing disagreement among gay marriage supporters over how best to fight for same-sex weddings in the state.