tagged w/ Civil Unions
You know what ruins the sanctity of marriage? Government issued marriage licenses.
http://youtu.be/aQJcJAJSMxgYou know what ruins the sanctity of marriage? Government issued marriage licenses.... more
Two more states allow same-sex civil unions
By Josh Levs, CNN
updated 5:24 PM EST, Sun January 1, 2012
Gay couples first civil unions in Hawaii
Hawaii and Delaware began allowing same-sex civil unions Sunday
5 states recognize same-sex civil unions; 6 and DC recognize same-sex marriage
Opponents say civil unions are a springboard to redefining marriage
"It means that our state supports us," one member of a same-sex civil union says
(CNN) -- Several same-sex couples came together in the first minutes of New Year's Day in Honolulu to become the first in the state's history to enter into civil unions.
"We really don't want to wait any longer because we have been together for 33 years waiting for the opportunity and our rights and everything that goes with it," said Donna Gedge, who was with her partner Monica Montgomery, speaking to CNN affiliate KITV. "So why wait?"
The couple told CNN last week about their plans to stay up late for the ceremony.
With Hawaii and Delaware joining the list Sunday, five states now recognize same-sex civil unions, while six other states and Washington, D.C., allow same-sex marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island already recognize civil unions providing state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples, the NCSL says.
Marriage licenses are given to same-sex couples in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and the District of Columbia, the NCSL says.
California does not currently allow same-sex marriages to be performed.
In May 2008, the state's Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in California. Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, passed later that year.
In 2010, a federal district judge ruled that Proposition 8 violated the U.S. Constitution, but enforcement of that decision was stayed pending appeal.
Delaware said its new law became effective at 10 a.m. Sunday.
In Hawaii, online application for civil union licenses was made available beginning at midnight, despite the fact that government offices are closed until Tuesday, the state government said.
The union becomes valid after a ceremony performed by someone licensed by the Department of Health.
"It means that our state supports us, and that's a really good feeling after all this time," Montgomery said at the ceremony.
The laws in Delaware and Hawaii followed heated debates in both states.
In 2010, then-Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, vetoed a similar bill in Hawaii, saying the issue needed to be put to a referendum.
Some religious groups were among those pushing for the move. "We need you to mount a campaign to flood the governor's office with requests to veto the bill," Larry Silva, Catholic bishop of Honolulu, wrote on the Diocese of Honolulu's website at the time.
A group called the Hawaii Family Forum argued that "a vote for civil unions is a vote for same-sex marriage."
"Civil unions are a desperate and dishonest attempt to force same-sex 'marriage' on Hawaii," the group said. Despite the opposition, there was no referendum.
In both Hawaii and Delaware, the language of the law emphasizes that "it is not the legislature's intent to revise the definition or eligibility requirements of marriage."
Gedge and Montgomery told CNN last week they hope there will one day be federally recognized same-sex marriage.
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, signed the state's civil unions bill into law last February, calling it "a prime example of exercising civic courage. It is about doing what is right, no matter how difficult, no matter how much opposition."
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, signed his state's bill into law in May.
The Delaware Family Policy Council, which says its goal is to "educate, equip, unify and engage the citizens of Delaware in advocating for family values and preserving the integrity of the family as an institution," argued that civil unions "are a springboard to redefining marriage."
"You can't really talk about civil unions without talking about same-sex 'marriage' because there really isn't any difference," the group argued.
But Markell, at a signing ceremony last year, said, "This bill is about a new energy and excitement. It's about a moment in our history that came about because people came together to work for it, because it became clear that Delaware's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community is in fact part of every Delaware community. The greater good is served when we speak out and fight hard when we see that bias, prejudice or even outdated laws attempt to lessen any one of us."
Bonnie Limatoc, who was part of the midnight ceremony in Hawaii on Sunday, told KITV, "The historic part for me is to be one of the first to open that door so that the rest of them after us, there's others out there that want to do this. ... We can show them, "Hey, you love somebody, you have the right to be with them the rest of your life also.'"
"Our message is go for the gusto," her partner Lydia Pontin added. "Don't be ashamed."
CNN's Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.
Two more states allow same-sex civil unions
By Josh Levs, CNN
Paul Dombrowski and Joe Serio met in a bar, each dragged there by friends on a night when neither felt like going out. The two men had begun to give up hope of ever finding a soul mate — but that night, 15 years ago, changed everything.
As the years went by, the couple similarly lost hope in ever having their relationship recognized by the state of Illinois. That, too, will change June 2, the first day same-sex Illinois couples can enter into civil unions that will provide them with the same state-level rights as married couples.
Dombrowski and Serio will join 29 other couples in Millennium Park for a civil union ceremony that will be attended by friends, family and dignitaries like Gov. Pat Quinn, who signed the bill into law this year.
"This is something we never even were able to put in our dreams for our future," Dombrowski said. "We just kind of went with the fact that marriage or anything like it wasn't going to be a possibility. But now it's happening."
As of June 1, Illinois will be the sixth state that allows civil unions or their equivalent, and two other states — Hawaii and Delaware — have passed civil union laws that have not yet been enacted. Couples can get civil union licenses from county clerk offices on June 1 but, as with marriage licenses, must wait one day before holding a ceremony.
Cook County Clerk David Orr said he expects a large crowd June 1. "I think there are lots of people that plan to get their license the first day. I think a lot of people will be down there even if they aren't getting their license, just to be part of the fanfare."
Orr said licenses will be available at all five of the clerk's suburban offices as well as the downtown site, which will feature food, gifts and drawings.
"It's going to be a festive occasion," he said. "Hopefully the festivities will help in case there are long lines. We only have about 20 windows down there, so we're going to do our best to staff up."
The licenses will cost $35, the same as a marriage license. Straight couples who don't want to be married but do want the legal protections a civil union provides are also expected to take advantage of the law.
Advocates of gay and lesbian rights say the civil union law is a historic moment worthy of celebration, but they stress that it in no way marks the end of their work.
"I'm thrilled that this has become a reality in Illinois," said Rick Garcia, an activist who spent years fighting for the civil union law. "It is not marriage and it is not the same as marriage, even though opponents like to say it is. Nonetheless, real couples, real families need rights, and they need them now, so this is a good step."
Opponents of civil unions here and across the country have long said that such arrangements create a "slippery slope" that could lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage. And gay rights advocates do little to dispute that claim.
Camilla Taylor, an attorney with Lambda Legal in Chicago, a group that helped draft Illinois' civil union bill, said full marriage rights are the end goal, and she expects that having civil unions will highlight some of the problems of creating a separate, marriagelike classification.
"It's not sufficient to segregate same-sex couples into an inferior status," Taylor said. "One of the big problems with doing that is it invites private bias. It sends a message that the government considers these families inferior in some way."
The next step for advocates in Illinois will be deciding whether to pursue full marriage rights through a legislative process or a judicial one.
"'How do you get to marriage from here?' is a question that varies from state to state," Taylor said. "Approximately half the jurisdictions that enjoy marriage equality have done so by legislation, and the other half have achieved marriage through court action."
Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, said he believes opponents of same-sex marriage would prevail if the matter were put to a vote.
"If people have the chance to vote on this issue, I am confident that the people will choose that marriage is a union between one man and one woman," Gilligan said. "If it's left to the court, we're concerned. We've seen in other states that oftentimes when civil unions became same-sex marriage, it's done through the judicial process."
Gilligan said the civil union law has already raised questions over whether religious groups that handle adoptions could be sued if they turn away same-sex couples.
"Children are best in a home with a mother and a father, and that's the way we have operated since Catholic Charities began," he said. "The law is not in conformity with our practice, and that creates a problem."
But for couples like Melissa Bert and Melissa Salisbury, the law creates an opportunity they have never had before. Bert is pregnant and due in August. She and Salisbury hope to have a civil union ceremony in June, which will allow Salisbury's name to be on the child's birth certificate along with Bert's.
"It's our shotgun wedding," Bert joked. "But really, it means so much. In August, my partner can put her name on the birth certificate. It will show that we're the parents, that we're in this from day one together."
The couple have been together for six years and held a wedding ceremony in Wisconsin three years ago. That wedding carried emotional significance but wasn't recognized by either Wisconsin or Illinois, so the civil union here will be a way to get the rights they previously couldn't access.
"We look at it, at least from the emotional standpoint, that we made that commitment years ago," Bert said. "This is just validating it, at least in the eyes of the state."
The group The Civil Rights Agenda plans to host another cluster of civil union celebrations June 3 at the Chicago History Museum. Anthony Martinez, the group's executive director, said about 30 couples had signed up, reflecting the widespread enthusiasm he has seen in the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
"From what we see, there are some people who are now planning their ceremonies and are waiting until they can send out invitations and whatnot," Martinez said. "But a lot of people want to be there right away, as soon as they possibly can. We know couples who are very excited about and want to be part of this historic moment."
That's the case for Angelica Lopez and Claudia Mercado, who will be another couple at the Millennium Park civil union event, hosted by the city's Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. They've been together nearly 14 years, have a 2-year-old and are expecting another child in November, so they have nothing to prove to each other regarding the strength of their commitment.
"We know what our relationship is and what it means to us," Mercado said. "But this is a great opportunity for those that live in the state to be able to acknowledge that we do have a legitimate relationship and to be able to get recognition for the 13 1/2 years we've been together as a committed couple."
http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/news/local/ct-met-civil-union-ceremonies-20110523,0,7399954.storyPaul Dombrowski and Joe Serio met in a bar, each dragged there by friends on a night... more
Until a few days ago, Denise White was fighting two battles.
White, who has breast cancer and raises her four daughters with a same-sex partner in Glenview, worried about the guardianship of her daughters should she pass away.
Although White and her partner raise White's daughters jointly, her partner did not have the same rights to guardianship—or to make decisions regarding medical treatment— as a legally married couple.
That was before the Dec. 1 passage of the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act by state lawmakers, explained Barbara Schon-Lundberg, a local LGBT rights activist.
The bill—which passed 61-52 in the House of Representatives Tuesday and 32-24 in the state Senate Wednesday—now awaits Gov. Pat Quinn's signature.
The act is a step in the right direction, Schon-Lundberd said. The purpose of the law, which grants extended rights to both homosexual and heterosexual couples joined in civil unions, is to certify and register these unions and "provide persons entering into a civil union with the obligations, responsibilities, protections and benefits afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses," according to the law's text.
Schon-Lundberg is president of the PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois. PFLAG, which stands for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, has 26 members in Glenview, said Schon-Lundberg, who also lives in the village.
"It's something we've been waiting for," she added. "We want marriage equality, but this is a good step."
Schon-Lundberg has been involved in PFLAG for the past nine years, after she became active in the organization to support her gay brother. She has been editor of the organization's newsletter, Open Doors, and said she doesn't get much opposition to her work from village residents.
Her job is to advocate for and protect people like White and her partner, she said.
"...There's still a lot of work to be done [to legalize gay marriage] and it will take time, but the tide is turning. There is growing support all the time."Until a few days ago, Denise White was fighting two battles.
White, who has breast... more
Hawaii governor Linda Lingle, who vetoed her state’s civil union bill last week, said in a radio interview that the issue no more involves civil rights than the question of whether close relatives should be allowed to marry.
The Honolulu Civil Beat reports on the comments made in the Republican’s first radio interview since the Wednesday veto. She spoke Thursday morning on a show that airs on KHVH 830 AM.
"For those people who want to make this into a civil rights issue, and of course those in favor of the bill, they see it as a civil rights issue. And I understand them drawing that conclusion. But people on the other side would point out, well, we don’t allow other people to marry even — it’s not a civil right for them. First cousins couldn’t marry, or a brother and a sister and that sort of thing. So there are restrictions, not to put it in the exact same category. But the bottom line is, it really can’t be a civil right if we are restricting it in other cases, and it’s been found to be legal in those other cases, that the restrictions (are constitutional)."
A caller from Maryland who identified himself as a gay man reached the program to tell Lingle that first cousins can marry in Hawaii. The governor said she would need to confirm whether that was true.
According to the Honolulu Civil Beat, the Hawaii Department of Health says, "Cousins may marry. However, the blood relationship between the prospective bride and groom cannot be closer than first cousins."Hawaii governor Linda Lingle, who vetoed her state’s civil union bill last week,... more
Hawaii governor vetoes civil unions bill
Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle said Tuesday night that she has vetoed a civil unions bill that would give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. The state's House of Representatives passed the bill in April.
Hawaii governor vetoes civil unions bill, says voters should decide
By the CNN Wire Staff
July 6, 2010 11:19 p.m. EDT
Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a civil unions bill Tuesday night.
(CNN) -- Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a civil unions bill Tuesday that would have given same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, saying the issue needs to be put to a referendum.
"I am vetoing this bill because I have become convinced that this issue is of such significant societal importance that it deserves to be decided directly by all the people of Hawaii," Lingle said.
"The subject of this legislation has touched the hearts and minds of our citizens as no other social issue of our day. It would be a mistake to allow a decision of this magnitude to be made by one individual or a small group of elected officials."
Gay rights group decried Lingle's decision.
"Today was the first time a civil unions bill passed both Houses in Hawaii by solid margins and was on the Governor's desk for signing," Jo-Ann Adams, chair of the GLBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said in a statement. "With such broad support from the legislators, who are the elected officials closest to the public, and the consistent results of the professional polls showing broad support for civil unions as a civil rights issue, we are deeply disappointed that the Governor ignored the will of the people and vetoed the bill. "
Another group, Equality Hawaii, said the fight for equal rights will continue.
"Today is a sad day for the thousands of Hawaii families who remain second class citizens," said Alan Spector, legislative affairs co-chair for Equality Hawaii.
The governor said she understands why supporters of the bill are upset by her decision.
"This is a decision that should not be made by one person sitting in her office or by members of the Majority Party behind closed doors in a legislative caucus, but by all the people of Hawaii behind the curtain of the voting booth," Lingle said in a statement.
"And while some will disagree with my decision to veto this bill, I hope most will agree that the flawed process legislators used does not reflect the dignity this issue deserves, and that a vote by all the people of Hawaii is the best and fairest way to address an issue that elicits such deeply felt emotion by those both for and against."
When the bill passed in April, civil union supporters cheered in the Capitol rotunda. But Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona said at the time lawmakers shouldn't have approved the measure.
"If the legislature wanted to establish the equivalent of same-sex marriage, they should have put it on the ballot for the people to decide," he said then.
Some religious groups had urged the governor to veto the legislation.
"We need you to mount a campaign to flood the governor's office with requests to veto the bill," Larry Silva, Catholic bishop of Honolulu, wrote on the diocese of Honolulu's website at the time.
Five U.S. states and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hawaii would join New Jersey in allowing civil unions.
Three states -- Rhode Island, New York, and Maryland -- recognize same-sex marriages from other states, according to the conference.
California recognizes same-sex marriages performed during six months in 2008 after its Supreme Court granted same-sex couples the right to marry and before the passage of Proposition 8, which overturned the court's decision.Hawaii governor vetoes civil unions bill
Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle said Tuesday... more
"Meet Devin & Glenn--two gents who met, fell in love, got married, and then had to deal with the consequences of that decision. From obnoxious in-laws (Tom Arnold) to passive aggressive fights over dinner, Devin & Glenn have the same problems that most married couples deal with--and that's the point. The folks behind this video wanted to show that marriage is marriage regardless of the sexuality of its inhabitants. Their campaign, "Make Homosexuals Marry," was created to "keep the 'No on 8' debate active in hopes that, through humor, a dialogue continues," said writers/directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon. The small group behind this video worked entirely for free--everyone from actors to craft service donated their efforts." -- The Huffington Post
Is this effective? What do you think?
http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/40fc"Meet Devin & Glenn--two gents who met, fell in love, got married, and then... more
people who are legally together via civil union should have the ALL the rights and benefits provided to all couples. Its just rightpeople who are legally together via civil union should have the ALL the rights and... more
Despite the opposition of the Catholic church and conservative groups, Mexico City became the first in Latin America to legalize gay marriage, changing its definition of marriage to ""the free uniting of two people". The city already allowed gay civil unions, as do a few other places in Latin America.
A handful of cities in Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia permit gay unions.
Uruguay alone has legalised civil unions nationwide and allowed same-sex couples to adopt children.
Last month, an Argentinean court narrowly blocked what would been the continent's first gay marriage.
On Current, where the story was clipped by EthicalVegan opinion has mostly been in favor of the move by the city. User KSirys says: "Just Amazing Mexico City! Para todos los Latinos, VIVA SUR AMERICA!!"
Anybody out there from Mexico City? Can you tell us what opinion's like in the city? Leave your comment over here.
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on the issue of same sex marriage most religous constitutions and most books koran,bible, and torah all state marriage is between a man and a woman so basically same sex marriage
are just civil unions and the lgbt community can call it whatever it wants typically it still isnt marriage personally i think anyone whos in love is allowed to get married i think the human race kinda needs to start looking out of the box instead of inon the issue of same sex marriage most religous constitutions and most books... more
After 17 years together, Bill Slimback and Bob Sullivan couldn't wait another minute to get married. So they didn't.
With Vermont's new law allowing same-sex marriage only a minute old, they tied the knot in a midnight ceremony at a rustic lodge, becoming one of the first couples to legally wed under a law that took effect at midnight Monday.
Dressed in suits, saying their vows under a large wall-mounted moose head, the two Whitehall, N.Y., men promised their love, exchanged rings and held hands during a modest 17-minute ceremony. Moose Meadow Lodge co-owner Greg Trulson, who's also a Justice of the Peace, presided.
"It feels wonderful," said Slimback, 38, an out-of-work Teamster who is taking Sullivan's last name as his own. "It's a day I've been long waiting for, and a day I truly honestly thought would never come."
Slimback said he and Sullivan, 41, have long wanted to cement their relationship with a wedding, but since they couldn't legally marry in New York they chose to wed even before Vermont's gay marriage era officially dawned.
Vermont is one of five states that now allow same-sex couples to marry. Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa are the others. New Hampshire's law takes effect Jan. 1, 2010.
Vermont, which invented civil unions in 2000 after a same-sex couple challenged the inequality of state marriage statutes, was a mecca for gay couples who to that point had no way to officially recognize their relationships.
Since then, other states have allowed gay marriage, as did Vermont, which in April became the first state to legalize gay marriage through a legislative decree and not a court case.
Some couples - including many who obtained civil unions in Vermont - plan to return to the state to get married. But most are in no rush. City and town officials say only a handful of licenses had been issued to same-sex couples in anticipation of Tuesday's start.
"We've waited a long time to do this - basically, our whole lives," Slimback said Monday. "We've been waiting for a chance to actually solidify it," he said. He and Sullivan said they never wanted to obtain a civil union because they believe that's a kind of second-class recognition.After 17 years together, Bill Slimback and Bob Sullivan couldn't wait another... more
3 years ago
On Sunday (06-28-09) was the 36th Annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade.
The gay community gathered on a joyful march along Market Street in the spirit of its celebration theme: "In order to form a more perfect union…"
Mayor Gavin Newson e other local authorities participated on this event to show their support and commitment to preserve everyone's civil rights.
This event that usually attracts a joyful crowd this year seemed to have motivated everyone to come out. It felt like the rainbow was attracting everyone to show their support to marriage and family equality.
Prop. 8 gave the gay community a sense of union that is beyond the aspect of civil union. It made us realize that denying lawful recognition to longtime commitment among same gender couples affects the lives of their children as well.
The thought that children of same sex gender grew up by under the social stigma of their illegitimacy status, it's enough reason to recognize that Prop. 8 is extremely unfair!
Meanwhile, gays everywhere shall stand up and keep on shouting out loud: "homophobia got to go!"On Sunday (06-28-09) was the 36th Annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade.
The gay... more
CORDELE — Crisp County Board of Education has been asked to ban the presence of scholarship applications designated for gay students at the high school.
Superintendent Dr. Judy Bean received a complaint this week from a local minister regarding scholarships offered by an organization openly supportive of homosexuality. The applications are reportedly available in the guidance office of Crisp County High School.
Rev. Tony Register of Wenona Baptist Church went directly to Dr. Bean as soon as he received a copy of the flyer which he said was displayed on a table among other scholarship materials.
“It is nothing more than a solicitation for homosexuality,” said Register. “To me it openly offers the opportunity to be ‘paid’ by voluntarily coming forth and admitting homosexuality or your support of the homosexual agenda.
“I think it is an outrage and should not be allowed in our schools.”
The scholarship is offered by Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). According to the flyer, applications for scholarships for $5,000, $2,500, or $1,000 are available.
Before completing the form to apply for one of the scholarships, applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:
• Be a graduating senior entering higher education for the first time in 2009 (2008 graduates who take a year off are still eligible).
• Self identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) or as a straight ally.
• Demonstrate an interest in service to the LGBT community.
• Apply to an accredited higher education institution.
According to Dr. Bean, she and members of the board were unaware of the flyer’s presence in the school. In a phone interview, Dr. Bean revealed she had learned that this was not the first year the PFLAG scholarship flyer had been on display in the school.CORDELE — Crisp County Board of Education has been asked to ban the presence of... more
HONOLULU - An effort to force a vote on same-sex civil unions failed in the Hawaii Senate on Wednesday, essentially killing the measure.
Only six senators supported the legislative maneuver, short of the nine votes required for a full Senate vote.
Even though about 18 senators have indicated they support civil unions, they lacked the political willpower to go against Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who opposed the effort.
Hanabusa has supported civil unions but said she didn't want to override the normal lawmaking process by lifting the bill from its committee, where it had stalled following a 3-3 vote.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Brian Taniguchi says there's still hope that the bill could be amended and revived, but that probably wouldn't happen until next year.HONOLULU - An effort to force a vote on same-sex civil unions failed in the Hawaii... more
Illinois legislators took the first step this week toward legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples.
The bill squeaked through a legislative committee in Springfield Wednesday.
The measure would not legalize same-sex marriages, but it would grant gay couples many of the benefits of marriage. They would have the right to visit their partners in hospitals, make medical decisions and more.
HB2234 creates the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.
Rep. Deb Mell, who is gay, said 648 state laws -- on topics from inheritance to health care -- help married couples.
"I find it very strange that I can be elected to the General Assembly and vote on rules and laws, but these don't apply to me and my family," said Mell, D-Chicago. "We're not protected." (Good Point)
State Rep. Greg Harris, the chairperson of the committee and the sponsor of the measure, said in a statement published on the Windy City Media Web site that “this is legislation about fairness and establishing equal rights for everyone in our great state. At the heart of the debate over this bill is a fundamental question: Do the people that this bill applies to deserve the same rights as evreyone else? The answer is ‘absolutely.'”
Opponents argue that civil unions amount to gay marriage by another name.
The House Youth and Family Committee approved the bill by a 5-4 vote, according to the Associated Press. The Chicago Tribune reported the vote was 4-3.
It now heads to the House floor.Illinois legislators took the first step this week toward legalizing civil unions for... more
BOSTON (AP) - Mary Ritchie, a Massachusetts State Police trooper, has been married for almost five years and has two children. But when she files her federal income tax return, she's not allowed to check the "married filing jointly" box.
That's because Ritchie and her spouse, Kathleen Bush, are a gay couple, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act makes them ineligible to file joint tax returns.
Now Ritchie, Bush and more than a dozen others are suing the federal government, claiming the act discriminates against gay couples and is unconstitutional because it denies them access to federal benefits that other married couples receive, such as pensions and health insurance. Plaintiffs also include Dean Hara, the widower of former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds, the first openly gay member of the House of Representatives.
In Ritchie's case, she and her spouse say they have paid nearly $15,000 more in taxes than they would have if they had been able to file joint returns.
"It saddens us because we love our country," Ritchie said. "We are taxpayers. We live just like anyone else in our community. We do everything just like every other family, like every other married couple, and we are treated like less than that."
The lawsuit was being filed Tuesday in federal court in Boston by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the anti-discrimination group that brought a successful legal challenge leading to Massachusetts becoming the first state in the nation to legalize gay marriage in 2004.BOSTON (AP) - Mary Ritchie, a Massachusetts State Police trooper, has been married for... more
4 years ago
Even hate gets tired!
DENVER (AP) - The Associated Press has learned that James Dobson has resigned as chairman of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family.
Jim Daly, president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based ministry, said Friday that Dobson will continue to host the organization's flagship radio program and speak out on moral issues.
The departure of the 72-year-old Dobson as board chairman is part of a succession plan. He founded the group in 1977.Even hate gets tired!
DENVER (AP) - The Associated Press has learned that James... more
4 years ago
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii, the state that adopted the nation's first "defense of marriage" constitutional amendment a decade ago, has now become the latest battleground in the fight for same-sex civil unions.
It would become the fifth state to legalize the alternative to gay marriage if the Democrat-dominated Legislature and Republican governor approve a civil union law. The measure was passed by the state House this month but it now faces the Senate, where a divided committee is to vote Tuesday.
Republican Gov. Linda Lingle has declined to comment on the issue and it's unclear whether she would veto the bill.
Gay rights organizations argue that civil unions would promote basic equality in the nation's most ethnically diverse state, but opponents fear the erosion of an island culture that values conventional family ties.
"Society in general is becoming more accepting," said Suzanne King, a real estate office manager who is raising her 9-year-old daughter, Shylar Young, with her partner of nearly 28 years, Tambry Young. "It's not unusual to come upon a gay family. There isn't this fear that by giving us rights, it's going to reduce the traditional family."
King and Young said they want a civil union law so gay couples can more easily adopt children, share health benefits and gain hospital visitation rights. They plan to enter into a civil union if the measure becomes law.
Religious groups have been taking out newspaper ads, setting up Web sites and holding rallies urging lawmakers to preserve traditional marriage.
One anti-gay Web site includes photos of two men kissing each other and others apparently in gay pride parades. It warns of a bad influence on Hawaii "keiki," the Hawaiian word for children.
The Mormon church, which campaigned in California last year for a gay marriage ban, has not openly rallied opposition to civil unions in Hawaii this year. But some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been sharing e-mails urging people to calls their legislators opposing the bill.
"In Hawaii, people still believe in traditional marriage and the sanctity of marriage," said Dennis Arakaki, executive director of the Hawaii Family Forum, which also represents the Hawaii Catholic Conference. "There's no indication that values or perspectives have changed."
Only Massachusetts and Connecticut allow gay marriage, while Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey and New Hampshire allow civil unions. Californians voted in November to overturn a court ruling that allowed gay marriage, but the state still offers domestic partnerships that guarantee the same rights as marriage.
That means Hawaii could become the only Western state to give governmental blessing to same-sex unions.
"Our wedding industry would have a huge potential increase in business purely because there are people who would rather come to the islands rather than go to the East Coast to have a civil union performed," said the Rev. Mike John Hough of Kauai Island Weddings. "Some people say it's just marriage by another name, and that may be true. It's a perfect compromise."HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii, the state that adopted the nation's first "defense... more
4 years ago
My favorite quote from this article: "If anyone lives in a fantasy world, it is you, not us. ... It is not an illusion that people who are gay or transgender get fired from their jobs because they are gay or transgender," McCoy said. "The rest of us who live in the real world understand that these are real problems ... that affect real people, real families."
This debate is an important debate, but for someone who has been engaged in it for quite some time now, it is getting old dancing around with the religious right on these issues. How can we ever win their hearts and minds when they live in a fantasy land where they get to make up the rules? They debate form a place of mythology instead of reality. It's pure insanity! It's like trying to convince the schizophrenic that their toaster really isn't talking to them... And yet, we are forced to have these conversations if we will ever win the real battle, the battle for equal rights in this country. I just hope it happens sooner than later because this conversation is so damn old.My favorite quote from this article: "If anyone lives in a fantasy world, it is... more
In Utah, a debate is raging over civil unions. One group, America Forever, took out a full page add in Sunday's Salt Lake Tribune to show their feelings towards the matter.
The blog offers comment and provides links to pictures of the add.In Utah, a debate is raging over civil unions. One group, America Forever, took out a... more