The Human Rights Campaign wants to know- and I want Montana to be clearly and substantially represented. It took me 10 minutes. And you don’t have to be from Montana to take it- it’s nationwide.
Take the survey HERE.
Bishop Gene Robinson is a pioneer, and I’m really looking forward to meeting him- this is a big deal for Montana.
I’m also excited about Gregory Hinton’s play about the Missoula non-discrimination ordinance. It promises to be an informative, enlightening and inspirational weekend for everyone interested in equality. I will be in Billings Friday through Sunday- I hope to see you there!
On Friday morning, the House Judiciary Committee with hear HB 481. This bill adds “sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” to the Montana Human Rights Act.
Let me tell you a little bit about who I am and why this is important to me.
I am a 3rd generation Montanan, a business owner for 30 years, a taxpayer, a community volunteer and most importantly a mom. I am very much like a lot of Montanans, I suppose. There is one difference, however; I have a wonderful son who happens to be gay.
Like any parent, I want my son to have the same opportunities, protections and rights that his brother and his dad and I take for granted every single day. These rights are not something that we have to think about; they are always there and we know that. My son has a lot of the same opportunities as well. He goes to school, he works, and he pays taxes like the rest of us. Yet he can be denied housing, a job and other rights simply because of who he loves.
It really is that simple.
When I hear people criticize this bill, they often do so citing their religious beliefs. I respect peoples’ rights to practice whatever religion they choose, just as my family does. What I don’t understand, however, is how my son’s rights to equal treatment under the law can be seen as less important to a society than the religious beliefs of some of that society’s members. Where in the bible does it say that we should treat some of our own as second-class citizens because of who they are? And why should anyone else’s interpretation of the bible be more valuable than my own? Our country was founded on the idea of religious freedom. That does not mean the freedom for me to practice your beliefs but instead to follow my own.
This bill is about peoples’ basic human rights and what allows them to be safe, giving, productive citizens of this great state. Sometimes it is pretty easy to be against something that doesn’t really affect you personally. I ask you to please think about that carefully . Equal rights are not special rights and special rights are not equal rights. I hope the House will consider this important bill and not be led by unjustified fear. As we move forward in Montana with couples recognition and city non-discrimination ordinances, I hope that all Montanans will educate themselves and advocate for fairness for all people.
Thank you for hearing this Montana Mom out.
- Montana Non Discrimination Bill Hearing Tomorrow (dgsmith.org)
- MT Legislature: Actively Working To Shame Gay People (dgsmith.org)
- Montana NDAA Nullification Bill Passes House Committee, 20-0 (tenthamendmentcenter.com)
- Senate moves to strike anti-gay language in law (billingsgazette.com)
The recitals of the proposed Helena, Montana LGBT non-discrimination ordinance state that “it is the intent of the City of Helena that no person shall be denied his or her civil rights or be discriminated against based upon his or her sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.” It is a wonderful statement, really, one that even a few years ago would have been unimaginable, coming from any Montana governmental subdivision, state or local. Yet, here it is.
And I have been dubious for so long, even though I know in my soul that equality is a social inevitability, rather than a mere possibility. It is here, and it is now. But, do we have the will, collectively, as a community to make it happen. The Helena City Commission is out there, and though we have not always appreciated some of their steps or the way in which they took them, passing this ordinance will be a bold step forward. I for one appreciate the resolve and energy it has taken to come even this far. They have done their part.
The advocates too, the Montana Human Rights Network, the ACLU, other organizations, and many individuals who work, live, play and pray here have done their part too. They have stepped up and spoken out on behalf of a marginalized group that for too long has lived in fear and been denied equality. They are not asking for something more, or something special, but just the opportunity to live as the majority do – without fear or denial of security in employment, to participate in social and recreational activities with their friends, family and neighbors, schoolmates and fellow churchgoers, etc., and to be able to access all accommodations for basic needs including food, health, shelter, etc.. We owe these dedicated, courageous volunteers a great debt of gratitude for their willingness to fight the good fight, regardless of the outcome.
There have been the nay sayers too. They have stood up and said what they believe. And though we may disagree, we do not judge or condemn. In fact, we very much support their right to hold their beliefs and to practice them and voice them as they do. These rights are fundamental and vital to the life of this democracy. We propose. We discuss and dissent. We resolve and we move on – together.
Then, there are the rest of us, the citizens of the Helena valley, the community and the people.
We too have a stake in this. We have the opportunity to shape a community which truly reflects our values, one that can shine as a beacon of humanity for all of Montana, as the capital city should. We enjoy diversity, for otherwise life would be boring. We embrace the idea of a free society, for it is our heritage. We love justice, as even the prophets proclaimed that we should. Most of all, we thrive on patience, tolerance, kindness and love. And the greatest of these is love. The great ones proclaimed it, as even the wise and the holy ones have lived it. The singers sing about it, as the preachers preach about it. And it is all true, in the end. We must love one another even as we have been loved – not some frothy and emotional, sappy appeal, but the kind of action that elevates others need and dignity above our own. It is the kind of action which tolerates differences in deference to commonality and our shared struggle.
And so I ask – do we have it? We talk, preach and pray about notions like peace, justice, and fairness, and I believe that we intend them and desire them. But, do we do them? If I have evoked even a moment of pause to consider this question, we need not be too hard on ourselves. For in this action now before us we have the opportunity to redeem our lack of fidelity to our best of intentions. I am asking you, the people of this community to come out and join me in supporting the Helena Non-discrimination ordinance which will be coming on for final hearing and approval by the Helena City Commission at 6:00 on Monday, December 17th, not just because it is of vital importance to so many, or because it is the right thing to do, but because it says so much fundamentally about who we are as a community, as a society, about being the change we wish to see in the world. It is not enough to have good intentions, to talk, preach and pray about the world that we want to live in, that we want for our children. We have to get out and build it.
- The State Of The Ordinance (dgsmith.org)
- Boise Approves Transgender-inclusive Non-Discrimination Ordinance (dgsmith.org)
- Help! Helena Non-discrimination Poll Freeped By Haters (bilerico.com)
Boise just did something Helena was terrified to do – made discrimination against anyone because of sexuality and gender identity illegal.
The Boise City Council unanimously approved a nondiscrimination ordinance for the city of Boise Tuesday evening.
“… Big win for equality in Boise,” the city tweeted Tuesday.
The ordinance, proposed by Council President Maryanne Jordan and Council member Lauren McLean, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in employment, housing and places of public accommodation in the city.
There are exceptions for religious corporations, associations, education institutions and societies. The U.S. Government and state of Idaho and any of their departments or agencies except the city of Boise are also exempt.
During a packed public hearing on the ordinance in November, the Council heard from 60 people (who) supported it and 12 opposed.
The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.
Read the full ordinance here.
It includes perceived sexuality and gender identity. Which is amazing for any city.
I just can’t believe Boise beat Helena to the punch…. Or maybe I can.
New research by the Pew Forum on religion and public life has confirmed once again that the tide of opinion is moving inexorably in favour of gay marriage. In 2oo4, supporters were outnumbered by opponents, by almost two to one (30% to 61%), but supporters now outnumber opponents, by 48% to 44%. The age split confirms that support will continue to grow: the only groups still opposed are those over 50, and the youngest is in favour by 63% to 32%. All this is familiar.
What is new in this poll, is its focus on the impact of President Obama’s declared support last May for the principle of marriage equality. Overall, Pew reports that there has been very little change in support since before the announcement – but that it has strengthened support in his Democratic base, and hardened opposition among his Republican opponents. This shift among Democratic voters (especially liberal Democrats) could have a beneficial impact on the gay marriage ballots this November in the Democratic and Democratic leaning states of Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota, and has been widely reported on in the major news media (see for instance,Huffington Post, SF Gate at the San Francisco Chronicle, or Seattle Post PI).
The strength of the Pew Forum research organization, as its name implies, is in its focus on religion and religious attitudes, and the extensive historical database of strictly comparable results, which is what I want to focus on here.
Catholics strongly support gay marriage.
First, note that Catholic overwhelmingly support gay marriage, by 58% to 33% – a margin of 25%, and identical for both White and Hispanic Catholic groups. This degree of support is greater than that shown by any other Christian grouping (Jews and other faiths are not identified), it is substantially higher than that for the population as a whole).
This degree of support by Catholics, exceeding that for other groups, has now been well – established in numerous polls. It has also been previously noted that the growth in Catholic support has exceeded that in other groups. Just how dramatic that growth has been, can be seen by comparing the latest results with those from August / September 2010. Then, Catholic support for gay marriage was at 46% – a plurality over opposition of just 4%. That plurality has now grown from 4% to 25%, in less than two years.
- Pew poll shows rising support for gay marriage – Washington Post (blog) (washingtonpost.com)
- Democratic Party to Officially Support Gay Marriage [Marriage Equality] (gawker.com)
- Marriage Equality is in the 2012 Democratic Party platform! (bluedownstate.wordpress.com)
The President is making good on his promise to finally repeal the Defense Of Marriage Act- an act designed to smugify people who can get married (and have- some of them four or five times) and alienate those who can’t (like this couple, who have been together for 48 years). From the Atlantic Wire:
The Department of Justice is asking the Supreme Court to hear appeals for two different cases to finally decide whether or not DOMA is constitutional.
Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner reports David Verelli filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court asking them to review the law’s controversial Section 3 to see if it “violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State.” The question is connected to the Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management case. In a ruling in February, a U.S. District Judge ruling on the case said that DOMA was unconstitutional. It’s currently slated to be heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but now it’ll be presented to the Supreme Court before the Ninth Circuit can even make a ruling.
The other case the DOJ asked SCOTUS to look at is Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services. A judge from the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled against DOMA in the case in May. Another judge from the First Circuit Appeals Court ruled that DOMA was unconstitutional at the beginning of June.
The Associated Press reports the “earliest the justices might decide to hear the case is in late September.” Arguments would be made over the winter, with a final decision coming in late June. So basically, DOMA is the new blackAffordable Care Act.
This administration is taking the dignity of LGBT persons to an all-time high, politically speaking. We are closer to being equal citizens than we have ever been, and today- despite the miles left to go- I’d like to celebrate that.
Click here for an exhaustive list of the Obama administration (and Congress’) accomplishments.