LGBT An Interesting Thread

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by NOVAJock, May 19, 2004.

  1. NOVAJock

    NOVAJock Modded & Underrated

    Oct 31, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Nowhere in particular

    (1)"BOSTON (Reuters) - Same-sex couples will legally exchange vows on Monday when Massachusetts becomes the first U.S. state to allow gay marriage, an election-year milestone likely to fuel legal and political battles nationwide.

    Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples are expected to seek marriage licenses as of Monday from city and town clerks in Massachusetts, followed by the customary ringing of church bells and the cutting of wedding cakes -- many topped with the figures of two brides or two grooms.

    "May 17 is a historic day: It's the day that marks a new chapter of equality for gay and lesbian families," said gay rights activist Marty Rouse. "For the first time in U.S. history, we can receive the critical legal rights and protections that come only through marriage."

    Thousands of same-sex couples were married at San Francisco City Hall earlier this year but the marriages were not recognized by the state of California. A mayor in New York state is being prosecuted after performing gay marriages in February.

    The famously liberal city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has ordered its clerk to begin accepting applications at midnight, and the first weddings are expected later that morning.

    The issue has catapulted Massachusetts into the national spotlight, especially in an election year when its junior senator, Democrat John Kerry, is expected to face Republican President Bush in the race for the White House.

    Both candidates oppose gay marriage, with Bush backing a constitutional ban and Kerry favoring limited legal recognition for same-sex couples.

    Conservatives have blasted Massachusetts' top court, which ruled last year that a state ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional and allowed same-sex couples to wed legally.

    The final hurdle was cleared on Friday when the U.S. Supreme Court failed to block a last-minute legal challenge filed by conservative opponents of same-sex weddings.

    A federal appeals court has agreed to hear the case next month, but by that time clerks will probably have granted hundreds of marriage licenses to homosexual couples.

    Some may be given to out-of-state gay couples who come to Massachusetts in defiance of Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, who has told them to stay home amid fears his state could become "the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage."

    Citing a 1913 state law that prevents Massachusetts from marrying any couple if the marriage would be "void" in their home states, Romney's administration has warned clerks they can issue licenses to out-of-state couples only if they plan on settling in Massachusetts.

    Several clerks, noting the statute has not been applied to heterosexual couples for many years, plan on issuing licenses to all gay couples from out of state who request them. Gay rights advocates say they plan to challenge the law.

    It is expected some couples will take their marriage licenses back to states where they may not be not recognized, setting up legal test cases that courts around America will have to resolve.

    "The creation of a right to same-sex marriage in the end will not strengthen the institution of marriage within our society but only weaken it as marriage becomes only one lifestyle choice among many others," said Boston's Roman Catholic archbishop, Sean O'Malley.

    Tourism officials in Provincetown, the gay mecca on Cape Cod, say they expect at least $1 million in extra business from a wave of gay unions. Owners of a gay wedding registry, Rainbow Wedding Network, say thousands of couples from New England have signed up for gifts."


    (1)Yahoo Health - Wedding Bells for Gays in Massachusetts Monday
    Last edited: May 19, 2004
  2. CoCo

    CoCo a Queer Don!! OT Supporter

    Jan 14, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Maryland ; the land of Mary's...
    Dean on Vermont's lessons on gay marriage

    By Howard Dean | May 17, 2004

    IN THE SPRING of 2000, Vermont became the first state in the union not only to recognize same-sex partnerships, but to make sure that every single right outlined in the Vermont Constitution and Vermont laws applied equally to heterosexual and homosexual Vermonters. Every right but one. Gay and lesbian Vermonters do not have the right to call their unions marriage. The fallout was the least civil public debate in the state in over a century, since the "wets" and "dries" battled in the middle of the 1800s. Death threats were made, epithets were used, not only on the streets and in the general stores but on the floors of both the Senate and the House, as the bill was being debated. Otherwise respectable church leaders railed against homosexuals and not so respectable ones organized political action committees vowing to oust any legislator who voted for the bill. Five Republican members of the House lost their seats in primaries. In the general election, Democrats lost control of the House for the first time in 14 years, as the Republicans piled up nearly a 20-vote majority. My own race, for a sixth term, was the most difficult in my career.

    Four years later, we wonder what the fuss was all about. Civil unions were never an issue in Vermont in the 2002 election and will not be this fall. The intensity of anger and hate has disappeared, replaced by an understanding that equal rights for groups previously denied them has no negative effect on those of us who have always enjoyed those rights. My marriage has not become weaker.

    In fact, the gay and lesbian community has had to undergo a significant adjustment. Couples who have been together for many years have had to reexamine their commitments not only in the light of the full legal rights that married couples enjoy, but in light of the full legal responsibilities that also bind married couples. Same-sex couples in Vermont pay the marriage penalty when filing taxes, and are entitled to equal division of property under Vermont law if they split up. The state and other major employers no longer recognize domestic partnerships for health and other benefits since those benefits are available for those in civil unions or those in marriages, no longer for those of either sexual orientation who are simply living together. Although a majority of Vermonters opposed the bill when I signed it, that is no longer true today.

    Is there a lesson here for Massachusetts? Perhaps. The Commonwealth will not collapse today, and the prognosis, based on Vermont's experience, is good.

    Just as the civil rights movement and subsequent integration began the process of removing painful stereotypes held by whites about African-Americans, so does the open declaration and subsequent demand for equal rights begin to remove stereotypes about the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community. Here are some facts about gay and lesbian Americans. [​IMG] Like straight Americans, gay and lesbian Americans are far more concerned about family matters such as jobs, education, and health care than they are about sexual matters.

    [​IMG] Gay Americans are patriotic, serve in the armed forces, and die in the service of their country. One of the most extraordinary people I met when I was running for President was an 80-year-old gay veteran who had served on the beach in Normandy during D-day.

    [​IMG] From a medical point of view, there is a strong genetic component to being gay or lesbian. Despite the protestations of the right wing, there is virtually no scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed, although we know that throughout history, sexuality both gay and straight can be repressed, often with disastrous results.

    While it is true that the Bible (largely the Old Testament) condemns homosexuality in a few places, it equally condemns eating shellfish. Jesus never mentions homosexuality. The bottom line is this: America is grappling with the discarding of old stereotypes about a group of people who have been part of our country since America has been a country. This is a painful process. Massachusetts hopefully will not have as hard a time as Vermont did, but the struggle is a real one, and will be painful for institutions as well as individuals. All Americans are diminished when we allow stereotyping to dismiss the worth of fellow Americans. All Americans are stronger, and the nation is stronger, when we judge people by who they are, not what they are.

Share This Page