Massachusetts

Brian Camenker Blames Gay Marriage for Spike in Domestic Violence

MassResistance has updated its report, “What same-sex ‘marriage’ has done to Massachusetts,” and the group’s head Brian Camenker appeared on VCY America’s Crosstalk to go down the list of all of the so-called negative impacts of marriage equality.

Anyone who thinks that same-sex "marriage" is a benign eccentricity which won't affect the average person should consider what it has done to Massachusetts since 2004. It's become a hammer to force the acceptance and normalization of homosexuality on everyone. The slippery slope is real. New radical demands never cease. What has happened in the last several years is truly frightening.

Camenker rehashed the typical claims about how gay rights is leading to anti-Christian persecution, but also told host Vice Eliason that marriage equality is responsible for an uptick in the state’s domestic violence cases. Experts say that domestic violence has increased nationwide, likely connected to economic stress, Massachusetts included.

But Camenker says gay couples are responsible for the increase, arguing that “the rates of domestic violence among homosexual couples is many, many times that of heterosexual couples,” which he alleges is a manifestation of “the dysfunctional nature of homosexual relationships.”

However, Jane Doe Inc. The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence writes, “Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals are abused at approximately the same levels as heterosexual couples, but the abuse may be exacerbated by social isolation caused by societal oppression and discrimination.” The Center for American Progress also notes that “studies have found that domestic violence occurs among same-sex couples at comparable rates to straight couples,” not “many, many times that of heterosexual couples” as Camenker claims.

Eliason: Domestic violence, what’s happening in that field dealing with this new lifestyle?

Camenker: Well it’s well known that the rates of domestic violence among homosexual couples is many, many times that of heterosexual couples for all kinds of reasons. What’s happened in Massachusetts is that it has gotten so high that the legislature is having to budget more and more money, millions of dollars now, toward dealing with this problem up from a hundred thousand dollars just a few years go.



Camenker: It’s interesting at homosexual related events, you know gay pride events and all this stuff, they’re handing out all this gay domestic violence, partner violence literature, which is funded by the state. Apparently this has become a big problem; it’s even being passed out at high school gay clubs and all of this stuff. You know, the dysfunctional nature of homosexual relationships, which nobody wants to talk about, is being manifest more and more we’re seeing.

New Young Elected Progressives Endorsees

Today we are unveiling three more new endorsees of People For the American Way’s Young Elected Progressives program: Sean Garballey (MA), Carl Sciortino (MA), and Luz Robles (UT). These three, young individuals, under the age of 35, have been great progressive leaders in their respective states.

Sean Garballey (MA)

Sean Garballey is running for reelection to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He has been a member since 2008, representing Arlington, MA. Garballey has established himself as a leader of the Massachusetts progressives and currently serves on four committees, including as Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws. Prior to serving in the House, Garballey was an Arlington Town Meeting Member for 5 years. He has been a proven progressive champion in the Massachusetts legislature, sponsoring several bills to increase the funding of public education and grants for those seeking public higher education. Garballey also received the Public Service Award in 2011 from affiliate PFAW Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network. Visit his website here.

Carl Sciortino (MA)

Carl Sciortino is running for reelection to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He has been serving the Somerville and Medford areas in the House since 2005. Sciortino serves on the Public Health and Transportation Committees, among others, and has been a leader in the House for the past several terms. He was named "Best of the New" by Boston Globe Magazine and "Legislator of the Year" by the National Association of Social Workers and has been a great progressive leader in fighting for equal, social rights. Visit his website here.

Luz Robles (UT)

Luz Robles is running for reelection to the Utah Senate. She has represented Utah’s 1st district since 2008. Robles serves on the Senate Ethics Committee, the Health and Human Services Committee, and two others. Robles has fought hard for equal rights for all individuals and sponsored a bill which would give illegal immigrants an accountability card allowing them to gain work without changing their legal status. She was named the Fifth Most Influential Person in Utah by Deseret News and is a great progressive representative for the people of Utah. Visit her website here.

PFAW

Massachusetts working toward positive electoral reforms

Where other states have placed obstacles between voters and the ballot box, Massachusetts is working on making the process easier.
PFAW Foundation

No Reason for DOMA, Says Appeals Court

 A federal appeals court in Boston today upheld a lower court ruling that called the key section of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA bans the federal government from recognizing legal marriages between people of the same sex, meaning that it willfully discriminates against a set of married people when it comes to Social Security benefits, joint-filing tax breaks, military spousal benefits and immigration. When DOMA was passed in 1996 no states allowed gay and lesbian couple to marry – its provisions were purely theoretical. Today, marriage equality exists in six states and the District of Columbia, and DOMA actively harms thousands of married Americans – 100,000 couples, according to the court.

In its decision concluding that DOMA violates the Constitution, the unanimous First Circuit panel – two out of three of whom were nominated by Republican presidents – was cautious. The panel said that under First Circuit precedent DOMA doesn’t trigger “heightened scrutiny” – a tougher standard for the federal government to meet. It also declined to address any arguments based on the premise that lesbians and gays have a constitutional right to marry (as opposed to having their existing marriages recognized by the federal government).

But the court was clear that Section 3 of DOMA does not meet the “rational basis” test for upholding a federal law that denies equal protection to a group long subject to discrimination – in other words, there’s just no good reason for DOMA to do the harm that it does.

The court looked at several justificiations offered for the law by DOMA’s supporters and found that each comes up short. Supporters say DOMA will save the federal government money (reports say that it actually costs the government money…and saving money isn’t a good enough reason for legal discrimination in the first place); that allowing lesbians and gays to marry harms children (it doesn’t, and Section 3 of DOMA doesn’t affect these couples’ rights to raise children anyway); and just plain moral disapproval (Supreme Court precedent says this isn’t enough of a reason). And finally, the court takes on the constant argument of opponents of same-sex marriage: that somehow gay couples getting married will harm the institution of marriage for everyone else:

Although the House Report is filled with encomia to heterosexual marriage, DOMA does not increase benefits to opposite-sex couples--whose marriages may in any event be childless, unstable or both--or explain how denying benefits to same-sex couples will reinforce heterosexual marriage. Certainly, the denial will not affect the gender choices of those seeking marriage. This is not merely a matter of poor fit of remedy to perceived problem, but a lack of any demonstrated connection between DOMA's treatment of same-sex couples and its asserted goal of strengthening the bonds and benefits to society of heterosexual marriage.

This is the crux of any number of court decisions that have struck down barriers to marriage equality. The main reason given for many laws that seek to deny marriage rights to gays and lesbians is that same-sex marriage will somehow weaken marriage for everybody else. It’s a claim that just doesn’t hold water.

The First Circuit panel did, however, go out of its way to defend DOMA’s supporters even while rejecting the law.

The District Court judge whose ruling the appeals court upheld declared that DOMA was motivated by “irrational prejudice” toward gays and lesbians. The First Circuit explicitly refuses to go there, instead stating that while that may have been true for some supporters, others were motivated instead by what it characterizes as the non-biased wish to “preserve the heritage of marriage as traditionally defined over centuries of Western civilization.” Under recent Supreme Court precedent, they write, the wish to uphold tradition isn’t a good enough one for denying equal protection. But the Supreme Court can change that if it wants:

In reaching our judgment, we do not rely upon the charge that DOMA's hidden but dominant purpose was hostility to homosexuality. The many legislators who supported DOMA acted from a variety of motives, one central and expressed aim being to preserve the heritage of marriage as traditionally defined over centuries of Western civilization. Preserving this institution is not the same as "mere moral disapproval of an excluded group," and that is singularly so in this case given the range of bipartisan support for the statute.

The opponents of section 3 point to selected comments from a few individual legislators; but the motives of a small group cannot taint a statute supported by large majorities in both Houses and signed by President Clinton. Traditions are the glue that holds society together, and many of our own traditions rest largely on belief and familiarity--not on benefits firmly provable in court. The desire to retain them is strong and can be honestly held. For 150 years, this desire to maintain tradition would alone have been justification enough for almost any statute. This judicial deference has a distinguished lineage, including such figures as Justice Holmes, the second Justice Harlan, and Judges Learned Hand and Henry Friendly. But Supreme Court decisions in the last fifty years call for closer scrutiny of government action touching upon minority group interests and of federal action in areas of traditional state concern.

Recognizing that the Supreme Court will likely review its reasoning, the court stayed the decision, so it will not go into effect yet.

PFAW Foundation

PFAW Foundation Applauds First Circuit DOMA Ruling

A unanimous three-judge panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a lower-court ruling which held that Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The panel included two Republican appointees.

Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way Foundation, issued the following statement:

“The First Circuit has reached the inevitable conclusion on DOMA: the arguments for such a discriminatory, hurtful law just don’t hold up. Over 16 years, DOMA has denied thousands of legally married Americans the protections and responsibilities granted to all other married couples under federal law. DOMA prevents married couples from providing for each other through Social Security; sponsoring each other for visas; helping each other with the tax benefits reserved for married couples; and prevents some service members and veterans from having their marriages recognized by the military. DOMA marginalizes a group of Americans, declares them inferior, and denies them rights granted to all others.

“ DOMA has caused real harm to Americans. A law that discriminates against a class of people just for the sake of discrimination is contrary to our principles and contrary to our laws.”

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Ending Discrimination against Same-Sex Couples: Marriage and Relationship Recognition in Federal Law

Although there are some actions that can and should be taken to expand benefits and protections for same-sex couples, only the full repeal of DOMA will allow federal and interstate recognition of their legal marriages and give those couples equal rights under the law.

Attend a Rally to Save the American Dream this Saturday!

Events have been organized in cities and state capitols across the nation to show solidarity with workers in Wisconsin. Find the event or events nearest you.

Federal Court Rules DOMA’s Section 3 Unconstitutional

A federal court in Massachusetts has ruled unconstitutional Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

Massachusetts Senators Introduce “Free Speech For People” Resolution

Today, a group of Massachusetts state senators introduced a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

Response to GOP Win In Massachusetts Should Be Renewed Focus on Values—Ours and Theirs

In Massachusetts last night, candidate Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley in the race to succeed Ted Kennedy in the United States Senate. In response, People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan called for progressives to respond with a renewed focus on shared values.

Massachusetts Sues U.S. over DOMA

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts yesterday filed suit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA.) The suit challenges Section 3 of the act, which prevents same-sex couples legally married in Massachusetts from accessing federal benefits and protections automatically granted to others couples.

Marriage Equality Opponents Blur Distinction Between Civil And Religious Marriage

Efforts to bring down discriminatory legal barriers to marriage equality have met with fierce resistance led by Religious Right organizations. Anti-equality leaders routinely blur the distinction between civil and religious marriage in order to portray legal marriage equality as a threat to their religious liberty. The truth can be a powerful weapon against that deception: when Americans understand that allowing same-sex couples to be legally wed would not require any church or congregation to bless or perform such weddings, support for legal equality jumps substantially.

Myths and Facts about Marriage Equality

As the fight for same-sex couples' right to marry continues, here's a debunking of some commonly held myths about marriage equality.
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