Tag Archives: marriage

Gay E-Marriage Annulled: Wedding Couple Disappointed and Fearful

 

dot429 EXCLUSIVE by Xiaolu Ning – Reprinted with permission

When Mark Reed and Dante Walkup celebrated their wedding in an e-marriage  ceremony on October 10, 2010, they thought they had uncovered a loophole in the laws that prohibit gay marriage. The ceremony, officiated by Washington, D.C. Reverend Sheila Alexander-Reid over Skype, took place in Texas and included over 80 guests.

Reed and Walkup had spent months researching the legality of an online marriage.  Last year, they discovered a D.C. law dictating that only the officiant—and not the wedding party—is required to be present in D.C. during the solemnization of the ceremony.  According to Reed, he and his partner filed for marriage and planned their wedding after they had verified this stipulation with D.C. court authorities.

The couple was shocked when they received a letter from a D.C. court last week informing them that while gay marriage is legal in D.C., their marriage was not because they had not been physically present in D.C. during the wedding.  “We were stunned because the court had annulled our marriage without contacting us or our officiant,” Reed says.  “There was a total lack of due process of law.”
Continue reading

Hate Kills: The Tragic Tale of Clay & Harold

What a country. Yes, the good old Yew-nited States is the land of the free, the home of the brave, the bastion of equality under law for all. Unless you’re gay, that is.

The story that follows is so outrageous and features such cruelty and evil that it literally made me retch.  Even while writing this, tears are streaming down my cheeks. But write I must: The level of man’s inhumanity to man and the assault on basic decency portrayed in this real-life nightmare is so overwhelmingly offensive that however disgusting it is, it must be told. People need to know the reality of 21st century life for LGBT people in the US — and folks, it isn’t pretty.

In case you didn’t watch the video, here’s the gist:

Clay, 77, and Harold, 88, were a devoted pair for more than 20 years. As we queers were warned to do in the 1990s, the couple attempted to protect their relationship and family from hateful hets. They spent thousands and thousands of dollars in government and legal fees to draft wills, powers of attorney, medical directives, etc., to ensure that no one could violate their union or dispute their family status. As time passed, the men aged, and Harold’s health began to deteriorate. And when Harold fell ill, those legal protections turned out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Despite the couple’s carefully prepared documentation, California’s Sonoma County methodically put Harold into a nursing home and forced Clay — who was healthy — into a different facility. Their rented home was seized, all their worldly possessions sold behind their backs. Clay was forbidden to see his longtime love (after all, according to the law, these men were strangers, and certainly not family). Harold ended up dying alone shortly thereafter.

Now, Clay is mourning by fighting: He is suing Sonoma County and other entities involved in taking away his home and goods and in keeping him away from his lifemate, his partner, his love — the person who would have been his husband, save for hate-filled, fearful, and  ignorant Californians.

My assignment to you: Tell everyone you know. Attention must be paid to the story of Clay and Harold. This sick, twisted tale illustrates quite clearly that marriage equality is a necessity, not tomorrow or next week or next year, but yesterday. It demonstrates exactly why “the people” cannot be trusted to make decisions about what rights other citizens are allowed to have. That we are still unequal under law in 2010 is unacceptable to any decent human.

Yes, I am saying flat out — if you don’t support equality under law, you are not a decent human being.

Don’t give me the religion crap: Being religious doesn’t mean one must agree to uphold or demand inequality in law. If your deity has a problem with queers, he, she, or it does not need your help or your government’s help to punish us. We are talking about civil law; your god has no power here.  At least, he or she or it should not. Don’t the religionists get juicy tax exemptions and a whole passel of governmental kissing-up: the pledge, the prayer breakfasts and invocations that communicate that good Americans are godly Americans, the money, etc.?  That isn’t enough? Apparently not, which means that these ignorant bigots have yet another sin for which to atone:  greed.

It’s time for all good people to come together in honor of Clay and Harold and all the people treated in such horrific fashion. How? By saying goodbye to complacency and apathy. By putting a stop to this injustice. By taking action.  How can you not? People are dying because of this hate!

Please, share the story of Clay and Harold with everyone you know, particularly lawmakers and the right-wing, antigay folks with whom you must deal. Our bigoted brethren must know the results of their hateful actions, philosophies and doctrines. They must be told:  Harold and Clay loved each other for more than 20 years. Now, Harold is dead and Clay is alone, all because they dared to love each other and the state of California just could not stand it.

Enough with the bigotry already: You’re making the American people look like hateful killers. Natalie Maines rightly was ashamed of being from the same state as the bigot and war criminal George Dubya Bush. I am ashamed to have been born on the same continent as those who had a hand in destroying Clay and Harold’s home, their family, and their lives. Contradicting David Bowie, this is America — a land of hate, a land that would rather gays be dead and alone than equal.

I’ll repeat that, because people need finally to get what I’ve been bitching about my entire adult life: The US is and chooses to be a land of hate, a land that would rather LGBT people be dead and alone than equal.

How sick is that?

Marriage Equality Debate Ignites Battles Within Churches

The fight over gay marriage may be far from over, but already some conservative Christian leaders are looking beyond the courtroom dramas and the legislative infighting. The trouble they see is not just an America where general support for gay marriage will have driven a wedge between churches and the world, but between churches themselves.

“More than anything else, these developments may signal the fact that those who, on biblical grounds, are led by conscience to reject same-sex marriage, really will be exposed as a moral minority,” the Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a staunch defender of traditional definition of marriage, told TIME recently. “If so, it will expose a great divide over the authority of the Bible among many Christian churches and denominations — perhaps in a way exceeding any other issue.”

via TIME:   Will Gay Marriage Pit Church Against Church?

Evan Wolfson: Cue the Attack on the Gays!

Be warned: Those new National Organization for Marriage anti-GLBT  “actor auditions” videos  are gone. NOM noticed that its evil ruse had been exposed and demanded that YouTube take them down. Even a clip of a recent MSNBC Rachel Maddow clip that included the audition tapes is gone. NOM’s reason:  copyright infringment.  

YouTube has to develop a bigger pair. The fact that a national organization is working to deny equality under law to millions of certain citizens makes the story newsworthy.  Showing at least excerpts is fair use — under law. 

Why are people so afraid of the anti-equality crowd? It is obvious that the organized fundies are the ones to fear. NOM was willing to lie, manipulate, and terrify the ignorant segment of the public, low-info types who can be compelled en masse to do what is right for their brand of Christianity, but wrong for anyone who really believes in basic American ideals. The tactic is cynical, selfish, immoral, and destructive. And it works: Remember Proposition 8?

At HuffPo, Lambda Legal’s Evan Wolfson provides a description  and refutes their vicious claims, so that at least some of those unable to view the outrage can see clearly the threat with which we are dealing. It’s a long excerpt, but it is an important one:

Consider what the actors in the NOM ad pretend to be:

A doctor who wants to discriminate against her patients, despite civil rights laws and medical ethics that the California Supreme Court upheld – in a case having nothing to do with marriage.

An officer of a New Jersey group that for years voluntarily operated a beachside pavilion with special tax-breaks that required it be open to the public – but then tried to turn down a lesbian couple. The case did not turn on marriage, since New Jersey doesn’t yet allow gay couples to marry, but, rather, basic civil rights laws about open access to public accommodations.

A Massachusetts parent who sought to dictate public school curriculum about the diverse families children will need to be aware of to thrive in a diverse world, and then wanted to remove her child from classes in a way that would have disrupted class and imposed unreasonable burdens on the school and other kids.

The law in California, as elsewhere, is that doctors can’t discriminatorily refuse to treat patients — Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, gay or non-gay; that has nothing to do with marriage, and yet NOM incites fear. The law in New Jersey, as elsewhere, says that organizations running public accommodations such as restaurants or rental halls cannot discriminatorily exclude people — African American, Latino, or Asian, gay or non-gay; that has nothing to do with marriage, and yet NOM says that the discriminators are somehow the victims. The law in Massachusetts, as elsewhere, of course allows parents to teach their kids whatever they want, and even to send them to private schools or do home-schooling. The law also rightly sets rules for determining public school curriculum without having every parent, or special interest with an agenda, coming in and imposing their views on everyone else’s kids — yours or mine, gay or non-gay.

I encourage you to read Wolfson’s entire piece — he has worked on the front lines of this fight and knows the terrain.  And he’s a lawyer.

National Organization for Marriage may believe that its copyright trumps our right to know the truth, but the group is wrong. Anyone with a thirst for a truly equal US will share descriptions of the ad — along with the truth about marriage equality and the fact that is is no threat to anyone, save those who need legal supremacy — with everyone they know. It is particularly urgent that we talk with those who question the need for civil-marriage equality. If we can’t trust YouTube to stand up to transmit the truth, we must do it.

Here is a debate between NOM’s Maggie Gallagher and Human Rights Campaign Joe Solmonese on CNN’s “Hardball,” where the HRC chief handily obliterates his opponent using truth and fact.

Equality for All – Well Worth the Price

Right-wing news site Republican American features a story called “Marriage, yes; benefits, no Ruling to cost state workers’ same-sex partners health coverage.” I suspect that the RA staff expects GLBT people to be upset about this news. No, we should be thrilled if we truly value equality under law.

Here is an excerpt:

Same-sex partners of state employees are losing pension and health benefits because gay marriage is now legal in Connecticut.

An arbitration award that established the benefits eight years ago was conditioned upon same-sex marriage remaining illegal here.

The state Supreme Court’s recent recognition of same-sex marriage means the state government no longer must provide this coverage to same-sex partners and their dependent children.

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman notified the heads of all state agencies on Friday that the benefits will cease Nov. 30, 2009, unless the partners marry or enter into a civil union.

… There was no immediate reaction from Love Makes A Family, a gay rights group that led the efforts to legalize same-sex marriages through the state courts and the legislature. Executive Director Anne Stanback didn’t return telephone calls seeking comment on Friday.

… It was unclear Friday how many same-sex partners and children stand to lose pension and health benefits.

I wonder if the reason there was little comment from pro-gay groups because they’re busy celebrating this further move toward real equality. GLBT people have no room for complaint here — unmarried couples regardless of orientation will be treated exactly the same under law. That is great news.

Seriously: Gays and lesbians have civil marriage in Connecticut, just as heterosexuals do. If unmarried heterosexuals cannot receive state employee pension and health  benefits, it would be unfair for GLBT workers to do so.  This phasing out of Jim Crow for queers is necessary and it’s a reason to cheer

Listen: No intelligent person will complain about receiving equal treatment. That’s all I want – equality. Separate-and-unequal designations such as partner benefits were only offered because gays couldn’t marry, and these kindnesses — and that’s what they were — are nothing more than the trappings of inequality. We should be happy to see them go in states forward enough to acknowledge the equality of GLBT citizens under law. If you work for the state and want your mate covered, you have a choice most queers don’t have: Get married or give up the perqs. Why should you have an advantage over your unmarried heterosexual coworkers?

As the system stands, hets don’t get bennies without getting married. If we want equality, we have to play by those rules. (And if you accepted partnership benefits without wanting marriage, shame on you for gaming the system.) It’s immoral for them to deny us a level field and it’s just as immoral for us to allow heterosexuals to be treated unequally. Equality is equality, and when we last checked, character still counts.

Let’s be happy for this step forward in Connecticut and for equality in Massachusetts. Then let’s get to workfighting California’s immoral Proposition 8 and having the equality we deserve recognized by the rest of the nation and the federal government.

Thanks to Connecticut for continuing to make their state a haven of equality for all.