Gay Marriage

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on marriage and specifically gay marriage. We suspect that even as gay marriage becomes legal across the country, there will be no end to the nuclear family -- nor the bickering car trips and in-law visits that go along with it. Being married is wonderful and hard, and more people should do it, not less.

Supreme Court effectively legalizes same-sex marriage in 11 more states
Obama Backs Gay Marriage
Tim Faust, Minnesota Democrat And Minister: What 'My Bible Says' Isn't Reason To Oppose Gay Marriage
Mitt Romney Reiterates Opposition To Gay Marriage And Civil Unions Before Obama Backs Gay Marriage
Let's Outlaw Marriage
Canada may be 3rd nation to OK gay marriage
Court Declines to Hear Gay Marriage Case
Gay Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional: California Judge Says 'No Rational Purpose Exists' for State's Ban
Political battles over gay marriage still spreading: 12 more states may vote on banning it in 2006
What Straight Divorce Has To Do With Gay Marriage
Voting Tallies: State Anti-gay Marriage Ballot Initiatives
Kordale And Kaleb, Gay Black Fathers, Respond To Twitter Outrage Over Instagram
Newsbytes

Related issues: Gay Fathers

Let's Outlaw Marriage


The best way to eliminate the high rate of divorce is to eliminate the main reason for divorce - marriage. Take it out of the legal system and return it to the religions that have foisted it upon the rest of us. By eliminating marriage, it would substantially reduce the tie-up in the legal system, would substantially reduce the false claims of child abuse (2 million of the 3 million claims each year), etc. The only contract between two people that should be reguired by the state is a contract between a birth mother and birth father to take responsibility for the children they create.

People who marry have long been given special priviliages and incentives by the government. This isn't fair to everyone else, just because we choose not to perform basically a religious act.

And while we're at it, let's get back to our roots from our founding fathers and get god out of the government. In God we trust" on our money. "Under God" in our pledge. These were pressured into law during the early 50's by the Knights of Columbus. They weren't part of our forefathers' plans. They were running from religious persecution..

And, gay marriages. God isn't a he or she, I'm told. So, God is androgynus. And, if this is true, it would seem that gays and lesbians are more God like than the rest of us. In many spiritual practrices from our beginnings 45,000+ years ago to the present, gays and lesbians have been seen as having special powers, living in between the worlds, being able to see both worlds at the same time. They held/hold positions of honor in their communities. The medical and psychiatric communites long ago saw that, for the vast majority, it isn't a chosen lifestyle. At its rawest form, it's the genetic variate between an XX and an XY. It's in the cells. So, why do we want to set laws to treat gays and lesbians differently. Is this love? Seems more hate than anything else.

"God said so" I'm told. It's in the Bible (which, by all accounts, was written by men, and current translations were written by men, and often reflect cultural changes or we would still be owning slaves ( ), would still require circumcision ( ), would still Leviticus. The distortions come from the individuals who originally scribed the information and from their translators. A revisit to the 23 Psalm is pause for a great shift in perception if ones starts back at the original Arimatic. Like telling a joke to a friend who tells a friend. Listen to the joke after the 10th person has told it and you probably won't recognize it. That's what's happened with the Bible. Interpretation. And current interpretation is being used to set laws to discriminate, to forge war against other religions, to hate. A quote from Pirates of the Caribbean should suffice "Use the Bible as "guidelines". And, let's honor to separation of church and state and get back to having people run their own lives, not directed by someone else's religion. Let's also free up God and stop asking for special favors. Start workshiping God, if you want. But don't limit my rights if I don't believe in your God.

We are one of the most sexually oppressed countries in the world. And, the results of this oppression are being played out every day, in greater and greater numbers. What was wrong with affection? What was wrong with love. When children are denied seeing a movie that might flash a woman's breast, but allowed to see incredible violence in Lord of the Rings, something's really out of balance.

It wasn't that many years ago that, basically the same kinds of people who are against gay marraiges were against interracial marriage and maintained laws to prevent such marrages.

Where has hate found a home within you?

The Myth of Monogomy. Some have tried to use the example of monogomy within some animals. Thank God for technology which helps explain what God had intended until the human's limited perception of the way things can be tried to use that limited knowledge to validate it's reasons for being. However, now with DNA research available, studies have not been able to varify one single grouping of animals as monogomous. It the power of science over the falable "observation" of animals that has made the difference. And it makes sense that observers can't observe animals 24/7/366. Those sneaky animals have folied the researchers again. Another "truth" dispelled. (Interesting how the word has "spell" in it as if that's what the world has been in for a few hundred centuries since Moses, who I understand didn't make it to heaven,

Assuming that marriage will continue to get special rights with the IRS, it's time for the federal goverment to eliminate special tax benefits to marrieds without children. I, in fact, if some states disallow gays and lesbian to marry and other states that do allow the marriage but do not allow people from states who don't allow such marriageds to marry in their state, then, unless the IRS allows the same benefits to "domestic partners" as it does to those who are given the privilage of marriage, then that is discrimination on a federal level.

And, on a final note, San Francisco. Consider this. If any city, county or state chooses not to recognize any marriage license issued in San Francisco, I suggest that the City of San Francisco refuses to recognize ANY marriage license from that city, county or state. Therein, no one will be getting special treatment.
Source: Gordon Clay, Editor

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Supreme Court effectively legalizes same-sex marriage in 11 more states


The Supreme Court effectively made same-sex marriage legal Monday (October 6, 2014) in 11 additional states.

The nation's highest court declined to review petitions from lower courts whose jurisdiction covers nearly a dozen states. The decision upheld court decisions striking down bans on same-sex unions in those states.

The decision was announced quietly, but the resulting shockwaves will be felt across the nation.

The court validated three federal appeals covering Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin, according to Bloomberg.

By declining to hear the petitions brought forth from the jurisdictions, the Supreme Court left intact appeals courts decisions to strike down same-sex marriage bans in the locales.

Couples in those states should soon be able to obtain marriage licenses and be legally wed.

The announcement led a large group of same-sex marriage supporters gathered outside the court to celebrate. They cheered, waved flags, hugged each other and embraced the landmark decision. Supreme Court and #SSM (a same-sex marriage hashtag) immediately shot to the top of trending topics in the United States on Twitter.

Supreme Court of the United States immediately became the most talked about topic on Facebook.

"Practically, today SCOTUS recognized a right to SSM," SCOTUS Blog, which covers the Supreme Court, said immediately after the decisions were made public.

The court unwillingness to wade into the gay marriage debate is noteworthy. It is highly unlikely the court would undo marriages in any future decision.

A case can only be reviewed it at least four of the nine sitting justices want to hear it. The justices also did not signal if they would be willing to hear a same-sex marriage case in the future.

No reason was given for the decision.

The court has previously showed support for gay marriage when it struck down a federal law last year denying benefits to same-sex married couples.

Further appeals are currently under review in San Francisco and Cincinnati, according to Bloomberg. Rulings on those cases could come at any moment.

Refusing to hear an appeals on lower court decisions to strike down same-sex marriage bans sets a precedent. The remaining 20 states banning gay marriage will likely also be bound to appeals courts decisions should their bans be overturned.

The unions are now legal in a total of 30 states, plus the District of Columbia.
Source: www.aol.com/article/2014/10/06/supreme-court-effectively-legalizes-same-sex-marriage-in-five-states-indiana-oklahoma-virginia-wisconsin-utah/20973180/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D541037

Tim Faust, Minnesota Democrat And Minister: What 'My Bible Says' Isn't Reason To Oppose Gay Marriage


Minnesota state Rep. Tim Faust (D) stood before his colleagues on Thursday and announced on the House floor that he would vote for a bill to legalize gay marriage in the state.

5:10
(Editor's note: This URL provides access to a moving
video of the Faust speech before his legislature.)

The decision wasn't simple for Faust, a Lutheran minister who represents a district that backed a failed amendment to ban gay marriage by a 60 percent vote last year. For months he'd been undecided, but after countless discussions, Faust explained that he could no longer oppose marriage equality.

“Well, I have to start by admitting that not too long ago, I probably would have voted 'no' on this bill, but in the past there have been a couple things that changed my mind on this,” Faust said. “The first one is, is in the last 10 years I’ve had conversations with hundreds -- and I guess now it's in the thousands -- of people about this issue, and in 99.9 percent of the time the people that are opposed to gay marriage, at some point in their discussion, they always say, 'My Bible says.'"

Faust continued: “And so if this is the reason or the rationale for being opposed to this or for why this law is currently in place, the question that keeps going through my mind over and over again, is do we as a society have the right to impose our religious beliefs on somebody else?”

Faust then went on to speak of his own recent marriage to a woman he "could not live without," saying that he'd taken his right to get married "for granted."

"There are people that feel that way about each other, that cannot live without that other person, that feel the same way they do about each other that I feel about my wife, and yet because of religious beliefs of other people, they do not have the right that I have taken for granted," he said, his voice welling with emotion. “Today we have the opportunity to give a part of our population, fellow brothers and sisters of God, the same rights."

Faust voted yes on the bill, along with 74 of his colleagues. It passed by a vote of 75 to 59 and now heads to the state Senate, which will consider the bill on Monday. Senate leaders expect it to pass there, too, and Gov. Mark Dayton (D) has pledged to sign it into law.
Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/10/tim-faust-minnesota-gay-marriage_n_3253049.html?1368200680&icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl35%7Csec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D311273

Obama Backs Gay Marriage



In a nod to a dramatic shift in public opinion, Barack Obama on Wednesday became the first sitting president to announce his support for same-sex marriage.

In a sit-down interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, Obama completed what has been a markedly long and oft-mocked evolution on the matter.

"I've always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally," Obama told Roberts, in an interview that will air in full on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday.

"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," he said.

The statement constitutes an act of political bravery on the president's behalf, as well as a major victory for the gay rights community, which has been pushing him to declare his support for marriage equality for several years. With the issue back in the news this week, the pressure intensified.

On Sunday, Vice President Joseph Biden told NBC's "Meet The Press" that he was personally comfortable with same-sex marriage, which was followed the next day by Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying the same.

The White House insisted that there was no daylight between the vice president's position and the president's, noting that Biden clarified his statement as being in reference to civil rights for gay couples. But the explanation was largely dismissed by both supporters and critics as a convenient way for the president to signal support for marriage equality without having to declare it himself.

On Tuesday evening, the state of North Carolina passed an amendment that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The president expressed his disappointment with the measure, but it remained difficult to square his opposition to a measure outlawing same-sex marriage with his opposition to same-sex marriage itself.

As the political pressure continued to mount, the president finally chose to speak out Wednesday, with the White House hastily scheduling a sit-down interview.

“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president said. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”

The president's support of same-sex marriage will have little political impact, from a practical standpoint, as much of the activity on the issue is currently occurring in the states and the courts. Already the Obama administration's Department of Justice has stopped defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. Legislation to overturn DOMA outright would likely be blocked by congressional Republicans.

The more promising path for same-sex marriage advocates remains a friendly hearing by the United States Supreme Court.

Still, the symbolism of Obama's remarks is hard to ignore. In becoming the first president to publicly support marriage equality, he sets the bar for its political acceptance. He also has the ability to shape public opinion further on the matter.

Of course, there may be drawbacks to such a strong expression of support. While recent polls show that popular support for marriage equality is gaining widespread acceptance, some pivotal swing states remain largely opposed to the concept. And one of them, North Carolina, remains a major target for the president's reelection campaign.

"The question is, is there a risk?" a prominent Democratic Party official who requested anonymity told The Huffington Post after Biden's remarks. "It is not nationwide [polling] we are talking about. We are talking about Virginia, North Carolina and other swing states. And we are talking about, would Karl Rove and his team stoop to using horribly grotesque and hateful tactics ... and would that peel off 10,000 votes?"

As of Wednesday, that question was hypothetical. Now, it's a critical component of the 2012 election.
Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/obama-gay-marriage_n_1503245.html?1336589752&icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D159286

Mitt Romney Reiterates Opposition To Gay Marriage And Civil Unions Before Obama Backs Gay Marriage


Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he is opposed to civil unions and gay marriage on the same day that President Barack Obama became the first president to support same-sex marriage.

"Well, when these issues were raised in my state of Massachusetts, I indicated my view, which is I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name," the former Massachusetts governor told Denver Fox affiliate KDVR-TV. "My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not."

Obama's support came following Tuesday's passage of a North Carolina constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships, and also Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan signaling support for gay marriage earlier this week.

"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," Obama told ABC's Robin Roberts Wednesday.

Romney supports a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, according to the National Organization for Marriage pledge he signed. (Though, as president, he wouldn't play any formal role in a constitutional amendment.)

He also pledged to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, in contrast to the Obama administration, which has stopped defending DOMA because it thinks the 1996 law banning federal recognition of gay marriage is unconstitutional.

But Romney told the Log Cabin Republicans in 1994, while running against Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.): "As a result of our discussions and other interactions with gay and lesbian voters across the state, I am more convinced than ever before that as we seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent."

After the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that gays had the right to marry in 2003, Romney initially said he would follow the ruling while seeking a constitutional amendment to overturn it, but he ultimately used a variety of tactics to try to block the ruling.
Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/mitt-romney-gay-marriage-civil-unions-obama_n_1503597.html?1336588480&icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl4%7Csec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D159286

Court Declines to Hear Gay Marriage Case


The Supreme Court on Monday sidestepped a dispute over gay marriages, rejecting a challenge to the nation's only law sanctioning such unions.

Justices had been asked by conservative groups to overturn the year-old decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage. They declined, without comment.

In the past year, at least 3,000 gay Massachusetts couples have wed, although voters may have a chance next year to change the state constitution to permit civil union benefits to same-sex couples, but not the institution of marriage.

Critics of the November 2003 ruling by the highest court in Massachusetts argue that it violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of a republican form of government in each state. They lost at the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

Their attorney, Mathew Staver, said in a Supreme Court filing that the Constitution should ''protect the citizens of Massachusetts from their own state supreme court's usurpation of power.''

Federal courts, he said, should defend people's right ''to live in a republican form of government free from tyranny, whether that comes at the barrel of a gun or by the decree of a court.''

Merita Hopkins, a city attorney in Boston, had told justices in court papers that the people who filed the suit have not shown they suffered an injury and could not bring a challenge to the Supreme Court. ''Deeply felt interest in the outcome of a case does not constitute an actual injury,'' she said.

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly told justices that voters can overrule the Supreme Court by adopting a constitutional amendment.

The lawsuit was filed by the Florida-based Liberty Counsel on behalf of Robert Largess, the vice president of the Catholic Action League, and 11 state lawmakers.

The conservative law group had persuaded the Supreme Court in October to consider another high profile issue, the constitutionality of Ten Commandments displays on government property. The court agreed to look at that church-state issue before Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

He is working from home while receiving chemotherapy and radiation and will miss court sessions for the next two weeks.

State legislators will decide whether to put the issue before Massachusetts voters in November 2006. Voters in 11 states approved constitutional amendments banning gay marriage in November elections. President Bush has promised to make a federal anti-gay marriage amendment a priority of his second term.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court narrowly ruled that gays and lesbians had a right under the state constitution to wed.

The nation's high court had stayed out of the Massachusetts fight on a previous occasion. Last May, justices refused to intervene and block clerks from issuing the first marriage licenses.

The case is Largess v. Supreme Judicial Court of the State of Massachusetts, 04-420.
Source: Gina Holland, aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20041129101009990006

Political battles over gay marriage still spreading: 12 more states may vote on banning it in 2006


Same-sex marriage may have been trounced in the recent elections. But it is far from dead as a political and legal issue.

Following this month's clean sweep in 11 states, amendments banning gay marriage are likely to be on the ballot in at least a dozen more states in 2006, advocates say.

But not without a fight. Some of the just-passed measures already are being challenged in court. Lawmakers in California are discussing same-sex marriage laws patterned after the controversial court decision in Massachusetts. Lawsuits in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Washington State seek the same result.

More broadly, the whole issue of same-sex couples, as well as the rights and definition of marriage, is coming under increased scrutiny as judges and state legislatures weigh in.

A Vermont family court just ruled that a lesbian couple that broke up their civil union must share custody of one woman's daughter. Michigan lawmakers are promoting premarital education. "Covenant marriages," meant to counter the ease of getting a "no fault" divorce, are spreading. Under pressure from conservatives, publishers of textbooks in Texas recently agreed to refer to marriage as a "lifelong union between a man and a woman."

Looking ahead to 2006, opponents of gay-marriage anticipate that 12 to 15 states will vote on the matter. And as was the case in nine of the 13 state amendments passed since August, most ballot measures are likely to target officially sanctioned civil unions and other nonmarriage forms of domestic partnership as well.

"We think marriage should be protected, not just in language but in full effect," says Shannon Royce, executive director of the Marriage Amendment Project.

Gay-rights activists are reeling from the vote, which saw 14 million people (67 percent of those presented with amendment measures this month) reject same-sex marriage.

"Let's not pretend it doesn't hurt," says Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "We need to step back, reflect, and process why the margins of loss in most of the states were depressingly large, where we should go from here, and how we are going to get there."

For one thing, Mr. Foreman told the group's annual conference in St. Louis just days after the election, gay-rights advocates failed to build sufficient grass-roots support before it began lobbying lawmakers and filing lawsuits - leaving the impression that marriage was the main issue for them.

"If the movement had been thinking clearly, we would have had a political and public education strategy that preceded the legal strategy," he said. "That obviously didn't happen."

At the federal level, White House political powerhouse Karl Rove says President Bush will push the controversial amendment to the US Constitution banning gay marriage. For one thing, they want to keep their base energized in order to expand GOP margins in House and Senate in 2006 - or at least to keep them from slipping, which is usually what happens in midterm elections.

Advocates of the amendment (which will be reintroduced in the new Congress) picked up support among newly elected senators and representatives - a sure majority in the House and a likely majority of the Senate, although both chambers have considerable distance to go before reaching the two-thirds majority necessary to amend the Constitution.

At the same time, some lawmakers apparently are feeling the heat of the state ballot measures. At least one member of Congress changed his position to support the amendment after voters in his state overwhelmingly approved such a ban on gay marriage in the state constitution.

"We will see more of that effect," predicts Ms. Royce of the Marriage Amendment Project, a coalition of some 50 conservative religious groups.

Still, it's a tricky issue.

Most Americans oppose gay marriage. But they're also against a US constitutional amendment. And most approve either legalizing same-sex marriage or officially sanctioning civil unions for such couples, according to exit polls in this month's election. Even Mr. Bush has spoken approvingly of state-established civil unions for gay couples.

At the local level, and despite the recent votes to ban gay marriage, indications are that Americans are changing their attitude about gay rights in a direction generally considered to be more tolerant, if not liberal.

Ten years after they forbade the Cincinnati city council from ever including homosexuals in the city's human rights laws, voters there just voted to overturn that law. The Topeka, Kan., city council recently approved an ordinance prohibiting bias in city hiring or employment based on sexual orientation. Voters in Idaho and North Carolina - not exactly bastions of liberalism - elected their first openly gay lawmakers, and voters in Dallas chose an openly gay Hispanic woman as county sheriff.

Meanwhile, what happens to the thousands of same-sex married couples in states like Oregon, which subsequently voted to ban such marriages?

For a time this year, officials in Multnomah County (the Portland, Ore., area) declared that gay marriages were legal. By the time a state judge stopped the practice pending a court case to determine its legality, 2,961 same-sex couples had been married. Given recent passage of the ballot measure banning gay marriages, the Oregon State Supreme Court has asked both sides whether the case is now moot.

Promoters of the just-passed ban on gay marriages say the case is moot, adding that those 2,961 same-sex marriages are illegal. Nor, they say, can the case simply be converted to one addressing civil unions. Acting on behalf of gay and lesbian couples, the American Civil Liberties Union argues the opposite position.

The ACLU also is representing gay couples seeking equal treatment under the law in Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Montana, and New Jersey.
Source: Brad Knickerbocker, The Christian Science Monitor, aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20041129074109990001

Canada may be 3rd nation to OK gay marriage


Canada is set to become the third country to legalize gay marriage, with Parliament likely to pass landmark legislation Tuesday despite strong opposition from Conservatives and religious leaders. Same-sex couples would be granted legal rights of heterosexual couples.

Although gay marriage already is legal in seven provinces, the bill would grant all same-sex couples in Canada the same legal rights as those in traditional heterosexual unions. The Netherlands and Belgium already allow gay marriage.

The legislation, drafted by Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority government, needs at least 155 members of the House of Commons to gain a majority of the 308-seat House. While some of his Liberal lawmakers have said they will not back the legislation, enough allies in other parties have indicated they would support the bill when it comes to a vote.

There are an estimated 34,000 gay and lesbian couples in Canada, according to government statistics.

"I think this is going to be a proud and exciting day to be a Canadian because we are, once again, affirming to the world that we are a country that is open, inclusive and welcoming," said Alex Munter, national coordinator of Canadians for Equal Marriage, a group that has led the debate for the legislation.

"This is a victory for Canadian values."

Martin, a Roman Catholic, has said that despite anyone's personal beliefs, all Canadians should be granted the same rights to marriage. "I rise in support of a Canada in which liberties are safeguarded, rights are protected and the people of this land are treated as equals under the law," Martin told the House of Commons.

Churches worried about same-sex ceremonies

Churches have expressed concern that their clergy would be compelled by law to perform same-sex ceremonies, with couples taking them to court or human rights tribunals if refused. The legislation, however, states that the bill only covers civil unions, not religious ones, and no clergy would be forced to perform same-sex ceremonies unless they choose to do so.

"The facts are plain: Religious leaders who preside over marriage ceremonies must and will be guided by what they believe," Martin said. "If they do not wish to celebrate marriages for same-sex couples, that is their right."

The Roman Catholic Church, the predominant Christian denomination in Canada, has vigorously opposed the legislation.

"The most overlooked and disenfranchised group in the current debate about marriage is that of children," Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry said in a recent statement.

"The issue is not whether traditional marriage, as it stands, is a perfect institution, but whether society and especially children are better off with it than without. Families with both mothers and fathers are generally better for children than those with only mothers or only fathers. Biological parents usually protect and provide for their children more effectively than non-biological ones."

Key Supreme Court ruling

The debate in Canada began in December, when the Supreme Court ruled that passage of same-sex legislation would not violate the constitution.

A roster of right-wing groups under the banner Defend Marriage Canada headed to Parliament Hill on Tuesday to lobby legislators against the bill.

"I fear radical social change thrust upon a nation that is not asking for it," Charles McVety, a spokesman for Defend Marriage Canada and president of Canada Christian College, told Canadian Press.

According to most polls, a majority of Canadians supports the right for gays and lesbians to marry. In the United States, gay marriage is opposed by a majority of Americans, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll taken in November, shortly after constitutional amendments in 11 states to ban same-sex marriage were approved.

Massachusetts is the only state that allows gay marriages, although Vermont and Connecticut have approved same-sex civil unions.

Source: Sean Kilpatrick, msnbc.msn.com/id/8391828

What Straight Divorce Has To Do With Gay Marriage


Public opinion polls show that the vast majority of Americans oppose legalizing same-sex marriage. Yet that same public seems unwilling to go to the mat over the issue. What accounts for this reticence? I believe that the issue of divorce lurking in the background of the debate.

Most Americans consider no-fault divorce a done-deal: feminists have effectively trashed the dreaded 1950's when divorce was considered a scandal. Few public opinion leaders are willing to link divorce to the arguments for heterosexual marriage. But we can't win the fight for heterosexual marriage without confronting the issue of divorce. Far from being a losing strategy, we can only win if we bring the divorce issue out of the closet.

Divorce is in the background of the gay marriage debate in at least three ways. First, gay marriage is the end of the trend that no-fault divorce began. The legal innovation of unilateral divorce began to reduce marriage to nothing but a temporary association of individuals. If marriage is merely a free association of individuals, there is no principled reason to exclude gay couples, or even larger groupings of sexual partners. The permanance of marriage was one of the key features that distinguished it from an ordinary contract.

Second, the high divorce rate and the resulting non-permanence of marriage made the institution of marriage more attractive to same-sex couples than it otherwise would be. If marriage still meant one to a customer for life, I seriously doubt that we'd be hearing about same-sex marriage today. Gay couples evidently have a more relaxed concept of both permanence and fidelity than do heterosexual couples. Gay activists would be much less likely to invest time and energy working for the right to marry, if divorce were available only for adultery or cruelty.

Most importantly, the high divorce rate has made it difficult to articulate opposition to gay marriage. People who have been divorced may feel hypocritical if they voice opposition to a system they felt they had to use. People who secretly fear they may need a divorce someday are reluctant to bad-mouth the easy availability of divorce. People who are not confident in their own ability to keep their marriage together for a lifetime, won't speak out against the culture of divorce. A significant subset of such people will be reluctant to voice their opposition to gay marriage. People who have lost confidence in marriage as an institution of exclusivity and permanence are simply not going to have the heart for a fight over gay marriage.

Gay activists instinctively know this. It is surprising how often the topic of straight divorce comes up in the discussion of gay marriage. The arguments go something like this: "No-fault divorce has cut the link between marriage and permance. Everyone accepts this. Easy divorce has also called into question to idea that marriage is an institution for the good of the kids. A society that accepts unilateral divorce is a society that is willing to sacrifice the welfare of children to the comfort and happiness of adults, at least to some extent. Since straight people are unwilling to give up no-fault divorce, you can't very well claim that heterosexual marriage is about permanence and children. So how can you justify excluding gays from marriage?"

This rhetorical move ends the argument. The opponent of gay marriage is cowed into silence, for fear of being viewed either as a hypocrite or a bigot. But we need not be shamed into silence on this point. It is just that the alternative response requires us to look the divorce issue squarely in the face.

Admit that unilateral divorce has undermined marriage. Agree that straight people have already done a lot of harm to marriage. The divorce rate is too high. Our attitude toward divorce is too casual. Current law often does reward irresponsible behavior, on the part of men and women alike.

We need to work to change all that. We don't have to accept unilateral divorce as a fixed feature of the universe. Divorce, even when people think it is the only way, is painful and difficult for men, women and children. Current divorce law allows people to divorce for any reason or no reason, so lots of marriages dissolve against the wishes of one person. Many divorced people in our country could be described as reluctantly divorced.

When people have gone through a divorce, their response is not, "hey that was fun. Let's do that again." No one aspires to have their children get divorced when they grow up. People would certainly prefer to learn how to avoid divorce. Figuring out how to live more comfortably with the person you married; figuring out how to keep love more actively alive; making a wiser choice of partner in the first place: all these areas need work. Individuals and institutions, laws and customs, all have room for constructive change. And society needs to reform itself in all these ways, regardless of what gay people do or don't do, regardless of what the law says or doesn't say about gay marriage.

Of course, there is much more to be said about gay marriage, and about divorce, too, for that matter. But let's not kid ourselves. The current demand for homosexual marriage and the sad prevalence of heterosexual divorce are part and parcel of the same trend toward reducing marriage to a loose association of sexual partners. All of us need for marriage to be more than that.

Source: This article originally appeared in the National Catholic Register. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., is the author of "101 Tips for a Happier Marriage," which you can find on her website, www.jointhemarriagerevolution.com Jennifer Roback Morse

Newsbytes

Daughter of George W. Bush Supports Same-Sex Marriage


Barbara Bush, one of the twin daughters of President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, is making public her support of gay marriage, a stand that is at odds with her father's position on gay marriage.

In a video released Monday, Barbara Bush says: "I am Barbara Bush, and I am a New Yorker for marriage equality. New York is about fairness and equality. And everyone should have the right to marry the person that they love."

The video was produced by an advocacy group called the Human Rights Campaign as part of the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign.

Like many conservatives, Barbara Bush's father has spoken out against gay marriage. In a presidential debate in 2004, George Bush said: "I think it's very important that we protect marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. I proposed a constitutional amendment. The reason I did so was because I was worried that activist judges are actually defining the definition of marriage. And the surest way to protect marriage between a man and woman is to amend the Constitution."

He has not indicated that his position has changed, but his wife said in an interview with Larry King in May, "When couples are committed to each other and love each other . . . they ought to have, I think, the same sort of rights that everyone has."

The New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign is releasing videos of celebrities making statements in support of same-sex marriage. Among those who have made videos are Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon, Fran Drescher, Moby, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Julianne Moore and Kenneth Cole.
Source: www.politicsdaily.com/2011/01/31/daughter-of-george-w-bush-supports-same-sex-marriage/

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America is such a hateful country and our dominant religions are one of the major reasons that we have all of these laws that restrict freedom. It's primarly because of their narrow view, totally unscientific, of life, sexuality and human goodness. So, faith-based hate flourishes. - Gordon Clay

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The dread of loneliness is greater than the fear of bondage, so we get married. - Cyril Connolly



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