From Joe My God:
On Wednesday the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee will begin hearings on a proposed civil unions bill.
Senate Bill 11 would “authorize any 2 unmarried adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil union.” Last year, the Colorado House failed to vote on a civil union bill before the end of a special session of the legislature. This legislative session, democrats control the majority in the House and Senate. House Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D – Denver) says he would like to have a civil unions bill on Governor Hickenlooper’s desk by Valentine’s Day but has acknowledge it may take more time to get the bill through both chambers.
Hot on the heels of Washington marriage equality, and with Wyoming considering marriage equality (and a civil unions bill), looks like the west may be getting more savvy.
From HRC Blog:
The number of contributors who gave in support of marriage for gay and lesbian couples was thirteen times greater – about 133,000 compared to an estimated 10,500 – than those giving financial resources to oppose marriage equality. That’s according to a new analysis HRC released today.
Polls consistently show – USA Today/Gallup and ABC News/Washington Post being the latest examples – that a majority of Americans support committed gay and lesbian couples getting a marriage license.
HRC obtained financial contribution data in each of the four states through the Maine Ethics Commission, Maryland Board of Elections, Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board and Washington Public Disclosure Commission. Supplemental data was obtained from each of the pro-marriage equality ballot committees to account for small donors not required to be itemized by law. Anti-marriage equality donor information was aggregated from currently available public reports and estimates of non-itemized contributions.
Pro-equality groups raised more than $34 million in the four states, mostly from small donors. Anti-marriage equality campaigns raised $12 million, of which nearly two-thirds ($8 million) came from just three sources: the National Organization for Marriage, the Catholic Church and its affiliate the Knights of Columbus.
NOM, the largest funder in all four states to defeat marriage equality, saw a one-third decline in contributions for 2011, with two donors providing 75 percent of its funding, according to tax returns obtained last month by HRC.
- Where are we going with marriage equality? (jaypinho.com)
- Again and Again, Statistics Tell a Positive Story About Catholics (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com)
By Adam Polaski
Dec 07, 2012 at 03:25 pm
Moments ago, the Supreme Court announced in an order that it has decided to hear the Proposition 8 case and a challenge to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. Now, the Court must schedule the cases for oral arguments, which are likely to be heard in the spring of 2013. We should hear final news on rulings in both cases by June of 2013.
Our founder and president Evan Wolfson reflected on the news that the Supreme Court will hear Windsor v. United States, one of the key challenges to DOMA:
By agreeing to hear a case against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the Court can now move swiftly to affirm what 10 federal rulings have already said: DOMA’s ’gay exception’ to how the federal government treats married couples violates the Constitution and must fall. When it comes to the whole federal safety net that comes with marriage – access to Social Security survivorship, health coverage, family leave, fair tax treatment, family immigration, and over 1000 other protections and responsibilities – couples who are legally married in the states should be treated by the federal government as what they are: married.
With the clock now ticking on a Supreme Court marriage decision in 2013, it is more urgent than ever that we make the same strong case for the freedom to marry in the court of public opinion that our advocates are making in the courts of law. With momentum from Election Day victories for the freedom to marry in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington, the way to maximize our chances of winning in court over the next several months is to win more states and win over more hearts and minds. We can show the justices that when they do the right thing, it will stand the test of time and be true to where the American people already are.
He also commented on the Court’s decision to hear the Proposition 8 case, Hollingworth v. Perry:
Gay and lesbian couples in California – and indeed, all over the country – now look to the Supreme Court to affirm that the Constitution does not permit states to strip something as important as the freedom to marry away from one group of Americans.
Windsor v. United States dates back to November 2010, when the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of Edie Windsor, the 83-year-old widowed lesbian from New York who sued the government for the $363,000 in estate taxes that she was forced to pay under DOMA following the death of her late partner Thea Spyer in 2010. Windsor and Spyer were together for more than 40 years and wed in Canada in 2007. Because of DOMA, their marriage was not respected by the federal government.
In June 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones sided with Windsor by ruling DOMA’s Section 3 – which explicitly restricts marriage to different-sex couples – unconstitutional. In October 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld that lower ruling, and the case was subsequently petitioned to be heard by the nation’s highest court.
The Proposition 8 case, Hollingworthy v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Brown) dates back to March 2009, when the American Foundation for Equal Rights filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 8. Prop 8, which passed in California on November 4, 2008, is a citizens’ initiative that repealed the freedom to marry in the state, overturning a May 2008 decision from the California Supreme Court legalizing marriage for same-sex couples across the state.
Yeah, I left the donation link in for a reason….
Help if you can.
- Supreme Court to Review Proposition 8 and Windsor DOMA Case (towleroad.com)
- BREAKING: Supreme Court To Hear Proposition 8 & Windsor DOMA Cases (joemygod.blogspot.com)
From Sean Chapin- a new song and video aimed at people voting about marriage equality in Minnesota, Maine, Washington and Maryland. From Sean:
“Next month, four states will be voting on marriage equality: Washington, Maine, Minnesota and Maryland. With this in mind, I’ve written an original song and produced a music video in hopes of helping change the hearts and mind of voters in these four states, and it is called “Marry Them”. Please feel free to share this video to those you know. “
And yeah, I teared up.
This is, I imagine, an all-to-common-scenario:
Two stories came across my computer screen this week, both first person accounts by Catholics, both of whom support marriage equality, but both who have different relationships with the church. While it would be irresponsible of me to speculate further about why each of these writers has a different approach to Catholicism, I did find the juxtaposition of their two stories interesting since they raised a lot of questions for me.
Not In Spite of Being Catholic, But Because of Being Catholic
Dan McGrath, a Minnesota Catholic, wrote onSojourners magazine’s blog that he is voting “no” to the state’s proposed constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality, and his essay explains his decision:
“When I was 10 my parents divorced. A couple years later my mom came out to my family as lesbian. By then she no longer felt welcome at church and stopped going to mass, though she has remained a deeply spiritual person. This one case of social exclusion is deeply meaningful to me, but is nothing compared to political decision by church leadership to spend millions of dollars to limit the freedom to marry in Minnesota. By doing so church leaders seek to permanently exclude gays and lesbians from the civil rights and benefits straight couples enjoy.”
Like many Catholics who support LGBT equality, McGrath is often quizzed as to how he can remain loyal to his church:
“Some have asked how I can embrace a faith whose leadership has taken such a hard line against gay and lesbian equality, and which is painfully quiet on the threat to limit voting rights. I understand why people ask this question. For me, my decision to vote no is not in spite of my Catholic faith, it’s because of it. . . .
“I’m a religious person because I need help figuring out how to apply the values I believe in to the real world. Prayer, reflection, the sacraments, and regular attendance at mass are important elements of the Catholic faith. But a great thing about being Catholic is that there are also countless examples of how others live faithful lives that one can look to for inspiration.”
McGrath attributes his faith and his commitment to social justice to his aunt, Sister Kathleen Ries, a long-time community organizer. Her example helped him to see faith as an integral part of life, and it is that sense of integrity which still motivates him today:
“My choice to vote no has everything to do with being Catholic. The marriage amendment says that gays and lesbians should not have equal access to the financial and social rights and benefits my wife and I enjoy. Nothing in my faith experience justifies this. The voter restriction amendment will set in place permanent barriers to the civic participation of all voters. The fact that it will quiet, if not silence, the voices of those who are poor, homeless, unemployed, in foreclosure, elderly, people of color, and students makes this amendment morally out of bounds.
“Another great thing about being Catholic is that by practicing our faith in community we help each other live the values of the gospel. This is why we Catholics can see how our lot in life – and the fate of our souls – is tied to the fate of others. This sense of purpose and interconnection is what I want for my daughter. I’m voting no because that’s what my faith – and my family – have taught me to do. I’m voting no for my faith and my family.”
A Spiritual Refugee
Tom Moran, a columnist for Newark’s Star-Ledger, is also a Catholic, and he also supports marriage equality, but his experience with church leaders has moved him in a different direction than McGrath.
In his column, Moran relates how his early faith formation from his father stressed faith as a way of serving the poor. Yet, he did not receive reinforcement for this aspect of faith from future church leaders:
“In the decades since, I have fled a million miles from the church, and have never found a new religious home. I am a spiritual refugee.
“One in three American adults was raised in a Catholic family, but fewer than one in four identify as Catholic today. No other church has shed so many followers, according to surveys by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
“So if I am a refugee, I am walking on a road that is crowded with others who feel the same way.”
Newark’s Archbishop John Myers’ recent statements against marriage equality re-fueled the sense of alienation that Moran feels toward Catholicism:
” [Myers] said, all Catholics must embrace his views. And those who refuse should not take Holy Communion.
“I’ve gone through stages when it comes to the church, bouncing between anger, estrangement and exasperation. It started when one of my six sisters, at age 10, wrote the Vatican a letter asking why she couldn’t be an altar girl. She never heard back. But the dinner discussions on that planted seeds of revolt in all of us.
“They flowered as I began to understand the church’s views on birth control and divorce, which put even my mother on the wrong side of the law, and taught us how Catholics cope with the hierarchy.”
Moran relates the story of his mother’s decision to stick with Catholicism, but he is not so optimistic that others will follow her example:
“In the meantime, though, men like Myers will drive millions more onto the refugee highway. He had his own small share of complicity in the sex abuse scandal, transferring a priest who had confessed to abuse to St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark without telling the staff. He refuses to release the names of priests who have been credibly accused, as some New Jersey dioceses do.
“But the fixation on same-sex marriage may do even more damage in the long run. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that 53 percent of Catholics support same-sex marriage, a number that rises to 72 percent among those between ages 18 and 34. Remember, they shouldn’t be taking Holy Communion.”
Moran criticizes Myers for discussing marriage, but never mentioning poverty, and he notes that other Catholics probably do not share the archbishop’s priorities:
“ ‘Catholic citizens must exercise their right to be heard in the public square by defending marriage,’ Myers wrote.
“I doubt most Catholics will see this election in such pinched terms. They know how to sidestep this land mine, too.
“Because if you visit any poor neighborhood in New Jersey, you can see a more vibrant Catholicism at work in schools, hospitals and food pantries.”
Do These Stories Tell Us Anything?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m not going to play “armchair spiritual counselor” and imagine why these two men have taken such different approaches to their Catholic heritage. Similarly, I don’t intend to judge either one as better or worse than the other. I presume that each has faced his life experience in the way that they found revealed the greatest integrity for them.
Both, it seems to me, have retained their Catholic sense of passion for justice and strong distaste for hypocrisy of leadership figures. In my life and travels, I have met many folks in situations that are similar to each of these men. Some find it is the right thing to stay, some find it is the right thing to leave. What I find interesting, though, is that what they share in common is their belief that the Catholicism they were taught as young people stressed love and justice, and that both think that church leaders are not heeding those messages when it comes to the question of marriage equality.
What do you see in these two stories?
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
- Bishops on the Offensive in Chicago, San Francisco, Newark, and Minnesota (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com)
- Moran: Raised Catholic, the church made me ‘a spiritual refugee’ (nj.com)
- New Jersey Archbishop Urges Same-Sex Marriage Supporters To Refrain From Taking Communion (thinkprogress.org)
- Swiss drifting away from religion (secularnewsdaily.com)
- Newark archbishop: Catholics should refrain from Communion if they disagree with church’s marriage stance (nj.com)
- Pope Benedict XVI Rebukes Obama: Bishop Letters Read To Every Diocese In The United States! (politicalvelcraft.org)
- German Catholic Church Threatens Those Leaving Church (lezgetreal.com)
Call the Bozeman Public Library for free tickets: 406.582.2426
Sanders Joins HRC and Freedom to Marry, Appeals to Conservative Values
- Log Cabin Republicans unhappy with ‘antigay marriage plank’ proposed for GOP convention (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry criticize GOP for draft anti-gay platform language (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- Log Cabin Republicans Still Standing Behind/Under GOP’s Exclusionary Platform (queerty.com)