Marriage Equality

Marriage Equality Advances in Maryland

Last night the Maryland State Senate approved legislation ending the prohibition against marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. Governor Martin O’Malley has promised to sign the bill into law.
PFAW

Washington Anti-Gay Activist Likens Marriage Equality to Bloodletting

Joseph Backholm, the Executive Director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington and the leader of the Preserve Marriage Washington campaign to repeal Washington’s marriage equality law, appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday where he likened same-sex marriage to the medical practice of bloodletting. Just as bloodletting was once a common practice until it was abandoned for not working, Backholm claimed, so too marriage equality for gays and lesbians will eventually be rejected even in states where it is legal. He went on to argue that the movement for equal rights for gays and lesbians is not comparable to the civil rights movement because, according to Backholm, “today’s argument about the redefinition of marriage would be like the civil rights movement if the civil rights movement was an attempt to have black people be referred to as white people.” 

Backholm: Redefining marriage in this way, saying that there is no difference between men and women, that it’s not important for children to have both a mother and a father, that’s not just bad policy, it’s wrong in the eternal sense. So because it’s untrue, it will ultimately be proven as untrue and we will come around to recognize the error of our ways. We used to believe in bloodletting as good medical practice, culture has embraced a lot of things temporarily until they realized it’s based on things that are not true. This is one of those, it has to be temporary, not just because I want it to be temporary, but because it’s untrue in the eternal sense.

Mefferd: That’s a good way of saying it. They have through their propaganda and the means by which they talk about this issue in the media all the time, won a lot of people over to the cause who aren’t thinking very deeply about it, part of the way they’ve done this is talking about equality and civil rights, trying to equate it with the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. The problem is back in the 1960s when we’re talking about the mistreatment of African Americans, that was something that was wrong to do, in this case we’re talking about legitimizing immoral behavior and calling it marriage. I don’t know how you get around the immorality angle of it unless you just say it straight out, this is immoral behavior, we are not going to legitimize this as a nation.

Backholm: Sure, it’s a very fair argument and there are a lot of people within the church who are moved by that. But when we talk about the civil rights issue, the reason these are different, today’s argument about the redefinition of marriage would be like the civil rights movement if the civil rights movement was an attempt to have black people be referred to as white people.

FRC Furious with Cheney for Supporting Marriage Equality

Family Research Council senior fellow Robert Morrison yesterday chided former Vice President Dick Cheney for his support of marriage equality, particularly his role in garnering Republican support for the bill in Maryland. Morrison bragged that he didn’t respond to media inquiries at the 2000 GOP convention in Philadelphia to goad him into criticize Cheney, even though FRC president Tony Perkins attacked the Cheney family after Mary had a child with her partner. He also said that just because Cheney has an openly gay daughter, that is no reason he should support equal rights for gays and lesbians. He even called on Cheney to follow in the footsteps of Ben Franklin, who supported the American Revolution even though his son was a prominent loyalist who fled to Great Britain after the war. “In this great cultural clash,” Morrison lamented, “Dick Cheney has enlisted with the forces of dissolution”:

Consider this thought experiment. Twin brothers announced on a TV talk show that they were gay. Under the laws proposed, can they marry? If not, why not? They’ve certainly had a “committed relationship” since before they were born. What constitutional principle could you invoke to say these twins cannot marry each other? And if these twin brothers may marry, why not a twin brother and sister?

Dick Cheney probably never met Mae West. For younger readers unfamiliar with one of Hollywood’s original blond bombshells, I’ll simply say: sailors in World War II called their large life jackets Mae Wests. (This is a family blog, after all.)

Mae West famously said: “Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.” How strange that Mae West had a better understanding of civil marriage than a former Vice President of the United States, a man who was twice elected to national office by pro-family voters.



In 2000, Dick Cheney might have considered Philadelphia’s most famous son, Benjamin Franklin. Franklin’s own son was the royal Governor of New Jersey. It was a patronage job Ben had secured for him. When his son remained loyal to the Crown, Benjamin Franklin did not refuse to sign the Declaration of Independence citing a “personal situation.” That’s one of the many reasons why we remember Ben Franklin with admiration and respect.

Dick Cheney is said to be worth hundreds of millions. His family may not suffer the devastation that comes from the breakdown of marriage. But in his recent book, Coming Apart, Charles Murray shows how the loss of marriage for the white working class in America has already had catastrophic consequences. If we seek the reason behind the great disparities in wealth that the Occupy crowd is howling about, we need look no further than the collapse of marriage. In this great cultural clash, Dick Cheney has enlisted with the forces of dissolution.

FRC Warns Starbucks Could Wreck the Economy by Supporting Marriage Equality

Family Research Council vice president Rob Schwarzwalder yesterday called for a boycott of Starbucks and warned that the company may be endangering the country’s economic health by supporting marriage equality in Washington. “By supporting a movement that would further vitiate the already weakened family unit,” Schwarzwalder writes, “[Starbucks CEO Howard] Schultz is tacitly but actively advocating the continued erosion of the institution – the two-parent, heterosexual, traditional and complementary family unit – without which no economy or society generally can thrive.”

It’s difficult to see how ensuring that gays and lesbians have the right to marry would “vitiate the already weakened family unit” and consequently damage the economy, as studies show that marriage equality is actually a boon to the economy. Researchers have also found the legalizing same-sex marriage does not impact the divorce rate of married opposite-sex couples. But according to Schwarzwalder, marriage equality has “dangerous implications for individuals, families, and culture.”

My home state of Washington has produced some of America’s leading corporations and entrepreneurs: Microsoft and Bill Gates; the Nordstrom, Boeing and Weyerhaeuser families and their eponymously named companies; the Eddie Bauer sporting goods empire; and the nearly omnipresent Starbucks (almost 11,000 stores worldwide). Starbucks emerged in the 1970s at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. One of my sisters bought me a bag of cocoa powder from this location more than three decades ago; if I still had it, it likely would fetch a nice collector’s price.

For many years, I’ve enjoyed going to Starbucks, becoming acquainted with any number of “baristas” and drinking enough of its variously flavored beverages that “grande” characterizes my waistline as much as the size of a given drink. Even when traveling in the Middle East, the taste of a frappuccino has been a welcome reminder that one can go home again. And I’ve always been glad to go into a place that, in some ways, still reminds me of home (there’s a reason Starbucks’ interiors usually are muted; it’s a Pacific Northwest thing).

With Microsoft and several other major firms, Starbucks last month endorsed the effort of some of the Evergreen State’s leading politicians to enact homosexual “marriage.” Although this initiative passed in the state legislature and was signed into law by departing Gov. Christine Gregoire, it likely will be on the state ballot in November.

What is a bit maddening, given Starbucks’ strident advocacy for the redefinition of marriage, is CEO Howard Schultz’s claim that he is non-political. As he said just a few days ago, ”I have no interest in public office … I have only one interest, and that is I want the country to be on the right track.”



To Schultz’s credit, he authored a pledge, now signed by a fairly large group of CEOs, in which they promise, “I join my fellow concerned Americans in pledging to withhold any further campaign contributions to elected members of Congress and the President until a fair, bipartisan deal is reached that sets our nation on stronger long-term fiscal footing.”

This is admirable, and no doubt motivated by a patriotic desire to see the U.S. once again become the engine of economic growth that, for so many decades, it has been. Yet the key to a strong economy is a strong family – a family composed of a father, a mother, and children. The hard data prove it. By supporting a movement that would further vitiate the already weakened family unit, Schultz is tacitly but actively advocating the continued erosion of the institution – the two-parent, heterosexual, traditional and complementary family unit – without which no economy or society generally can thrive.

Additionally, Schultz’s decrying of divisiveness rings a bit hollow when he plunges his company feet-first into the culture wars. The effort to redefine marriage to include same-sex partners is a radical social innovation, one fraught with dangerous implications for individuals, families, and culture. Claiming to be post-political and then allowing one’s chief corporate spokesperson to say that same-sex “marriage” is “is core to who we are and what we value as a company” are assertions that don’t quite add up.

Marriage Equality in New Jersey: With or Without Chris Christie

Yesterday, the New Jersey Assembly joined with the State Senate and passed a bill endorsing same-sex marriage in a 42 to 33 vote. If marriage equality becomes law, New Jersey will become the eighth state to destroy what the Assembly speaker called one of the “last legalized barriers to equal rights.”

In a pivotal moment, New Jersey lawmakers did more than stand up for the institution of marriage; they chose to begin legally recognizing and protecting the civil rights of every resident of their state. They showed that no matter who one loves, the state should not limit the ability to fully commit to that person. As Newark Assemblywoman Cleopatra G. Tucker put it, “I came to the conclusion that the people sent me here from my district, here to protect what’s right…To protect the rights of everyone.”

Unfortunately, Governor Chris Christie has sworn to veto the new legislation, insisting that the legislature subject the basic civil rights of their fellow citizens to a referendum.

Proponents of marriage equality are not accepting this alternative, and are preparing to form even stronger coalitions to override Gov. Christie’s impending veto. Polls indicate growing support for same-sex marriage among voters, a trend that will likely continue over the next two years, providing the support the legislature needs to override the veto.

New Jersey’s legislature made history by passing a marriage equality bill. Governor Christie should do the same by signing it into law.

PFAW

Petition Drop at Lowe's HQ -- 42,000 PFAW Members Call on Company to Reject Bigotry

People For the American Way joined with a multifaith coalition to deliver petitions containing over 200,000 signatures to Lowe's Home Improvement's corporate headquarters. 42,000 members of People For the American Way joined together to call on CEO Robert Niblock to reject the bigotry of right-wing extremists and reinstate its ads on TLC's "All-American Muslim."

PFAW Applauds Committee Vote on Respect For Marriage Act

The Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee

Citizens United v. FEC Constitutional Remedies: List of local, state and federal resolution efforts

Here's a list of federal, state and local bills and resolutions which have been introduced or passed in support of amending the Constitution to undo the harm of Citizens United.

Dump DOMA

It’s time for some real change we can believe in. It’s time for the federal government to stop punishing loving same-sex couples. It’s time to repeal DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act).

PFAW Commends Movement on DOMA Repeal

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced today that he intends to bring the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), before his committee for a vote in November.

Who’s Who at the Values Voter Summit: A Guide to the Anti-Gay, Anti-Muslim, Anti-Mormon, Anti-Choice Activists Spending the Weekend with the GOP

This weekend, nearly every major GOP presidential candidate, along with the top two Republicans in the House of Representatives, will speak at the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of the leaders of the Religious Right movement to integrate fundamentalist Christianity and American politics.

Ledyard, New York Town Board Fails to Uphold NY Marriage Equality Act

After meeting Monday night, the Town Board of Ledyard, NY has failed to address the Ledyard Town Clerk’s refusal to fulfill her lawful obligations and sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples. The meeting was held after People For the American Way Foundation, working with the law firm Proskauer Rose, LLP, sent a letter to the town supervisor demanding that the town clerk be directed to certify the marriages of same-sex couples or to resign. Additionally, People For the American Way Foundation has launched a petition calling on the clerk to do her job according to the law or else resign.

PFAW Foundation Demands that NY Town Clerks End Marriage Discrimination

People For the American Way Foundation and Proskauer Rose, LLP, a global law firm, sent a letter this weekend to the Ledyard Town Board, demanding that the town’s clerk fulfill her legal duty to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples -- something she has yet refused to do.

Ending Discrimination against Same-Sex Couples: Relationship Recognition in Immigration Law

The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) is a meaningful step toward providing equality to same-sex couples and keeping their families together. It would allow many same-sex partners to begin the immigration process more quickly, efficiently, and with fewer limitations. For many, it could very well be the only avenue available to keep their families together in the US.

PFAW Applauds Senators' Push to End DOMA

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today on the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Senator Dianne Feinstein and Chairman Patrick Leahy are leading the push to end the discriminatory law, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples and has kept thousands of married couples from enjoying the full rights and responsibilities of marriage.

Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Protecting America and Its Principles

We need swift certification and effectuation of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

People For the American Way Applauds Marriage Equality in New York

In a welcome move for equality, the New York Senate passed a bill granting full marriage equality to all New Yorkers. The legislation makes New York the sixth and largest state where same-sex couples can marry.

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.

The Hypocrisy Hall of Fame: Schwarzenegger and Marriage Equality

In our latest Huffington Post, we discuss how Arnold Schwarzenegger has placed himself with the likes of John Ensign and Newt Gingrich on the long and growing list of GOP officials who accused gay people of ruining the institution of marriage while they themselves flouted their wedding vows.

RWW Video: Pat Robertson on Lesbians, Abortion, and Motherhood

Pat Robertson says liberals support reproductive choice in order to prevent married women from having babies and thereby make lesbians equal.
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