Montana Congressional Delegation Statements About DOMA, Prop 8

In stark contrast, here are the statements issued by Montana’s Congressional delegation in light of the historic DOMA and Prop 8 rulings today:

Gay Rights in America

Gay Rights in America (Photo credit: Poldavo (Alex))

Daines “I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling today. Marriage, as the union of one man and one woman, matters for our children, and I remain a strong believer in defending the family.

While I do not agree with the Court’s ruling concerning the application of federal benefits, I am encouraged that the Court did not rule against states’ rights, ensuring that the voice of the people, not a ruling from a court, is the driving force behind marriage laws in Montana and the other states.”

Tester: “The Supreme Court today made the right decision.  The federal government has no place telling Americans who they can love and who they can marry.”

Tester affirmed his support for same-sex marriage earlier this year, saying “how Montanans define a family should be their business and their business alone.”

Baucus: “Today is a proud day in American history when we can say to all Montanans, Americans and their children: your love and your family are just as good as everyone else’s under the law.  For too long, same-sex couples and their children have been denied more than 1,000 federal rights and obligations that married couples enjoy. That was wrong. In the United States of America, no one should be treated as a second class citizen simply because of who they choose to love.

I believe each of us has a moral obligation to leave this place in better shape than we found it, and today’s decision puts our country on the right side of history. Now it’s time to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and guarantee all Montanans the same opportunity to succeed in the workplace.”

Pride Foundation Executive Director On SCOTUS Rulings

 Truly unbelievable—it’s hard to know where to begin, what to feel, how to put into words what this day represents for our community and for our country.
Equality, fairness, and love won. Twice.
Today, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) “as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment,” allowing same sex couples legally married in 13 states and the District of Columbia access to federal protection and benefits. The Court also ruled that proponents of Prop 8 did not have “standing” to appeal the federal court ruling that invalidated Prop. 8, reinstating the right of same sex couples to marry in California once again.
As the DOMA and Prop 8 challenges wound through various federal courts, we patiently and anxiously waited for this moment—the recognition that the U.S. Constitution guaranteed equal protection for all, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. We persisted as a community in spite of every obstacle faced along the way.
The legal implications of these rulings are significant and complex. Over the next few days and months to come, experts will translate the details of the decisions so that we can understand what the rulings mean long-term and how each will impact the day-to-day lives of LGBTQ people and our families—both for those same-sex couple who are legally married and for LGBTQ people who live in states that do not currently have relationship recognition laws.
If you’re not already connected to us on Facebook or Twitter, please do and we’ll be sure to keep you posted as we learn more along the way.
As we celebrate the enormity of this historic moment, let’s hold on to and remember what it took to reach this mountain top. We are here thanks to the courage and leadership of pioneers who toiled through the decades and carried us to this moment.
We have gained another victory to guide us as we strive for equality in all aspects of our lives and for all LGBTQ people, here in the Northwest and across the country. Because of our hard work as a community and the help of passionate allies, we are closer to that vision. Today represents a giant leap forward. It will take our ongoing commitment and continuous energy to keep crossing the mountains to full and lasting equality.
Congratulations to all of us—this celebration is for everyone. Thank you for all that you have done and will continue to do to bring full equality home to every person and every family.
With great Pride,
Kris Hermanns
Executive Director
http://www.pridefoundation.org | info@pridefoundation.org | 1.800.735.7287 | Headquarters Mailing Address: 1122 E Pike St PMB 1001 | Seattle, WA 98122 US

DOMA, Prop 8 DOWN

The Federal government will now recognize people who are legally married in any state. It’s unclear if they will recognize marriages if the participants move to a state where it is not legall recognized- like Montana. Would it mean that MT couples could go get married in WA and then file federal income taxes together?

 

Prop 8 is struck down- which means that it is legal for a CA clerk of court to give a marriage license to a same-sex couple- maybe a brave one will do that today…

 

The rainbow flag, sometimes called 'the freedo...

The rainbow flag, sometimes called ‘the freedom flag’, has been used as a symbol of gay and lesbian pride since the 1970s. The different colors symbolize diversity in the gay community, and the flag is often used as a symbol of gay pride in gay rights marches. It originated in the United States, but is now used around the world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Tonight: Montana PBS to Air Inlaws & Outlaws!

Some good news for Montana- Inlaws and Outlaws will be screened on Montana PBS tonight.

inlawsFrom the director, Drew Emery:

Montana friends!
Set your DVRs for Sunday night 6/9 10:30 pm: your local PBS station is airing our marriage documentary Inlaws & Outlaws — along with our story update: Just Marriage.

If you believe in love… and equality, please do pass on the word to friends & family!

Drew was in Montana last year, sharing the film with audiences in Helena and Bozeman. It’s an opportunity to see what love looks like up close.

Grab your peeps and watch this- it’s amazing.

Odawa Indian tribe hosts Michigan’s first legal same-sex marriage

In case you missed it:

Tim LaCroix, 53, of Boyne City, and his longtime partner Gene Barfield, 60, of Boyne City are married at the government headquarters complex of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians on Friday March 15, 2013 in Harbor Springs.
Tim LaCroix, 53, of Boyne City, and his longtime partner Gene Barfield, 60, of Boyne City are married at the government headquarters complex of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians on Friday March 15, 2013 in Harbor Springs. / Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press

ByJohn Carlisle

Detroit Free Press Columnist

The groom wore a black sweater. The other groom wore a red one.

Tim LaCroix, 53, and Gene Barfield, 60, were in the enrollment office this morning (March 15th) at the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians government facility.

The couple took turns filling out an application to get married, paid the $15 fee and received a marriage license. Both smiled nervously.

It was a historic day. Not just for them and not just for the tribe that LaCroix belongs to, but for Michigan too.

The two men were about to be the first same-sex couple to be legally married in this state.

Last year, the Odawa tribal council debated a resolution to recognize gay marriage, but the measure failed by one vote. When it was reintroduced, the language was changed to require at least one spouse to be a tribal citizen, and that swayed support. On March 2, it passed by a 5-4 vote.

All that was needed was the signature of tribal chairman Dexter McNamara, whose veto would have required a difficult 7-2 council majority to override.

McNamara not only signed it, but also asked to perform the wedding ceremony.

“I’ve always felt that either you believe in equal rights or you are prejudiced,” McNamara said. “We don’t have a dividing line in this tribe. Everyone deserves to live the lives of their choice.”

Out of 500 federally recognized tribes in the country, and a dozen in Michigan, the Odawa tribe became the first ever to legalize gay marriage in the state and only the third in the nation.

And because of tribal sovereignty, neither the state’s constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage nor the federal Defense of Marriage Act can stop them.

“This is their turf,” Barfield said, standing in the tribal offices. “They have their own government, they have their own police force, they have their own rules and regulations. They’re very big on respect, and for them to say to us ‘We respect your relationship and your prerogative to define it as you choose’ is really special.”

“I’m so proud of my tribe for doing this,” LaCroix added. “I just can’t say enough.”

The couple met in 1983 while both were on active duty in the Navy. They live in northern Michigan, where they garden, assemble model railroads and share two dogs and a cat.

“We’ve been partners for 30 years in the way people use the word ‘partner’ for a same sex couple,” Barfield said. “Now we’re not going to be partners anymore. We’re going to be spouses.”

They wanted to get married at the signing ceremony for the statute, which gave them barely two weeks to prepare.

They hastily ordered cupcakes for the impromptu reception to follow. They found a tribal member to perform a traditional ceremony, alongside the secular one. They made little pouches of tobacco to hand out in a nod to tribal custom. And they invited friends and family from this small-town region.

About three dozen guests filled the seats arranged in the lobby this morning. There were relatives from both sides, beefy tribal members, employees who work in the building and wanted to wish the couple well, and a contingent from the hardware store where LaCroix works.

“We’re just all giddy over it,” said Kathy Hughes, his longtime coworker. “They’re like family to us.”

Once McNamara signed the bill, tribe communications coordinator Annette VanDeCar acknowledged it was a controversial decision.

“I’ll be honest,” she told the crowd. “There are people in our community that aren’t supportive of what is happening today, but that’s OK. We as Indians are taught to respect people as individuals, and as individual people have the right to decide what is best for them.”

For this couple, a few tweaks were necessary in both the paperwork and the ceremony, like changing the word “wife” in the vows and on the license application to “spouse.” But it otherwise was a standard civil ceremony.

The chairman read the vows, and LaCroix went first in repeating them.

For better or for worse, to love and to cherish, from this day forward.

“I do,” he said.

Then came Barfield’s turn, and his composure melted a little. As he read the vows, his voice began to crack and his eyes grew moist. All the while, he looked at LaCroix with a beam of a smile.

“I do.”

They exchanged rings, and the chairman pronounced them married. They punctuated the ceremony with a brief kiss and a long, long hug.

Then they repeated it with a tribal ceremony using the sage, the feathers, the maple branch and the drum that were carefully laid out on a table.

There were no activist speeches, no protesters — only a crowd witnessing a wedding that was unlike any they’d ever seen, but was really no different than any other.

“We’re just so excited for them,” Hughes said. “They’ve been together 30 years. It’s longer than a lot of marriages have lasted.”

John Carlisle is a columnist and can be reached at jcarlisle@freepress.com or 313-222-6582.

Vatican Official Calls for Protections for Same-Gender Couples

by Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

Over the course of the past year or so, we’ve witnessed a slow evolution in Catholic hierarchical thinking on marriage for same-gender couples.  Recently in France and Great Britain, bishops’ groups  have spoken more positively about same-gender couples than they had before.  In Germany and Italy, individual bishops have made positive statements about same-gender couples.  Even here in the U.S., Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George made surprisingly positive statement about love between people of the same gender, even though he opposed Illinois’ marriage bill.

Archbishop Vincent Paglia

Archbishop Vincent Paglia

Today, the positive statement on same-gender relationships comes from the Vatican itself.  The National Catholic Reporter stated:

“A high-ranking Vatican official on Monday voiced support for giving unmarried couples some kind of legal protection even as he reaffirmed the Catholic church’s opposition to same-sex marriage.

“Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, also said the church should do more to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in countries where homosexuality is illegal.

“In his first Vatican press conference since his appointment as the Catholic church’s “minister” for family, Paglia conceded that there are several kinds of ‘cohabitation forms that do not constitute a family,’ and that their number is growing.

Paglia suggested that nations could find ‘private law solutions’ to help individuals who live in non-matrimonial relations, ‘to prevent injustice and make their life easier.’ “

Paglia also spoke forcefully opposing discrimination and criminalization of homosexuality:

“Responding to journalists’ questions, Paglia also strongly condemned discrimination against gay people, who he said ‘have the same dignity as all of God’s children’

” ‘In the world there are 20 or 25 countries where homosexuality is a crime,’ he said. ‘I would like the church to fight against all this.’ “

While these positive remarks are welcome, it must also be said that Paglia still strongly opposed marriage equality:

” ‘The church must defend the truth, and the truth is that a marriage is only between a man and a woman,’ he said. Other kinds of ‘affections’ cannot be the foundation for a ‘public structure’ such as marriage.

” ‘We cannot surrender to a sick egalitarianism that abolishes every difference,’ he warned, and run the risk of society becoming a new ‘Babel.’ “

Despite the continued intransigence on marriage equality,  I think it is important to note that the archbishop’s comments represent a giant step forward in terms of Vatican recognition of same-gender couples.  Even just a month ago, when the pope made harsh statements against same-gender relationships in his World Peace Day message, one could not have imagined a Vatican official making such positive comments as Paglia did.  His comments are a small change, but all change happens little by little.