According to multiple sources, the iconic cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris was evacuated today after a far-right Catholic activist shot himself in the mouth in front of the altar in front of hundreds of tourists, in what appears to have been a protest against same-sex marriage.... Dominique Venner, age 78, was a well-known essayist and a former member of a paramilitary group known as the Secret Army Organization (OAS), which waged a bombing and assassination campaign in the early 1960s to protest France giving Algeria its independence. Mr. Venner was also close to the anti-marriage equality movement and an outspoken critic of France’s new marriage equality law, which President François Hollande signed on Saturday. He made no verbal statement before he shot himself, but a letter was found on his person. The contents of Mr. Venner’s letter have not yet been released.
The vote is supposed to come around 10 AM our time. The Minnesota state house has already approved the bill, and the state's Democratic governor has pledged to sign it. If the Minnesota senate approves the bill, Minnesota would become the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage—and the third since the Supreme Court heard arguments in cases challenging the federal "Defense of Marriage Act" and California's Proposition 8.
by Dan Savage
on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM
Conservatives complained about ads like the one above before Prop 8 passed in 2008, and they complained about protests outside Mormon temples after it passed. But those protests worked. Mother Jones:
It's remarkable what has happened in the marriage fight since the Mormons decided to abandon it. Consider that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the single biggest funder and organizer of the 2008 campaign to pass California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in one of America's most liberal states. The church is estimated to have directed at least $20 million to that effort, along with significant organizing clout. Documents unearthed by activist Fred Karger showed that the Mormons had 77 people working full time at the church's Salt Lake City headquarters to get Prop. 8 passed.
The church, in fact, had been a crucial (if not always visible) player since the 1990s, when it helped fend off efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii and California. As far back as 1996, high-ranking LDS officials were coordinating behind the scenes and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to orchestrate what became the first state-level vote to ban gay marriage in Hawaii. Top church officials were also heavily involved in the creation of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the primary player over the last decade in the fight to outlaw gay unions.
But after the Mormon involvement in Prop. 8 was fully exposed, the backlash was severe—and apparently unexpected. The church became a target for public protests, and lost a considerable number of members who were unhappy with its involvement in a political issue that had caused individual LDS families a lot of grief. In the campaign's aftermath, a top church leader even apologized to gay church members for the pain they'd suffered.
This is not to say that the Mormons have had a change of heart about gay marriage. The church is still adamantly opposed to it.
No one was asking the church—the Mormon church or the Catholic church or any other church—to change its doctrine and embrace gay marriage. (No one who isn't a member, perhaps I should say.) All non-Mormons want from the Mormon church is to be left alone. The Mormons and the Catholics and the Batshits are free to impose their own religious beliefs on their own members. They don't have a right to impose their beliefs on non-members. And Mormons and Catholics are not being oppressed—or persecuted for their faith—when their religious beliefs are not given the force of law. Married gay people don't oppress Mormons and Catholics anymore than divorced straight people do. (Via JoeMyGod.)
Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted in favor of the freedom to marry by a vote of 75-59! The bill will now be heard by the full Senate next week. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the marriage bill on Monday, May 13.
Minnesota voters went to the polls last November and rejected a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage, the first electorate in the nation to do so. In years past, Republicans placed anti-gay amendments on the ballot as a means of motivating their voters, but that tactic backfired in Minnesota in 2012. Not only was the Republican-backed amendment rejected 52.6% to 47.4%, but voters returned control of the state legislature to the DFL, Minnesota’s Democratic party.
Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor of Florida who is now a frontrunner for the "Democratic" nomination for governor, has come out... in support of same-sex marriage. "I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here," Christ wrote on his Facebook page.
Why does this matter? Because Crist is a notoriously calculating politician who is willing to do and say whatever it takes to win election. Back in 2006, when running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, Crist opposed marriage equality and touted his support for "traditional" marriage. But Crist has now apparently determined that supporting gay marriage is what he needs to do to win the Democratic nomination in 2014.
So this is less about Crist's evolution on the issue, and more about the evolution of the Florida electorate. And if gay marriage is becoming a winning issue in Florida, that's a pretty big deal.
Now that nearly one out of every four states has legalized gay marriage, and now that the Supreme Court is on the verge of releasing its decisions on Prop 8 and DOMA, US Catholic bishops are sending out an insert to drop in bulletins in Catholic churches nationwide, ThinkProgress reports. The insert reads, in part:
The Court is expected to rule on both cases by the end of June. A broad negative ruling could redefine marriage in the law throughout the entire country, becoming the “Roe v. Wade” of marriage. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined with many other organizations in urging the Supreme Court to uphold both DOMA and Proposition 8 and thereby to recognize the essential, irreplaceable contribution that husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, make to society, and especially to children.
The insert includes information about what Catholics can do to fight gay marriage, including "PRAY, FAST, SACRIFICE," and "ADVOCATE FOR MARRIAGE." The thing that strikes me about this insert is how helpless it sounds. The avenues for doing battle with gay marriage are quickly closing up, and all the fasting in the world isn't going to change anyone's mind on the matter.
Zach Ford at ThinkProgress sees this language as the Church preparing to take action against gay marriage the way it has done battle with abortion, by slowly stripping rights away, piece-by-piece. But I just don't think that's going to be possible with same-sex marriage. Once the world doesn't end in states that legalize gay marriage, and once more examples of happily married gay couples are seen in the media, this is going to be a dead issue for all but the wingnuttiest of Jesus freaks.
by Dan Savage
on Tue, May 7, 2013 at 2:16 PM
Both houses of the legislature in Delaware have now voted to legalize gay marriage. The governor of Delaware has already pledged to sign the bill into law. But don't be sad, Minnesota! You'll make it an even dozen!
UPDATE: The governor of Delaware is signing the bill right now:
by Dan Savage
on Tue, May 7, 2013 at 8:01 AM
Republican politicians in the Minnesota legislature who forced an anti-gay marriage amendment on to the 2012 ballot in that state—same-sex marriage was already illegal in Minnesota but it wasn't unconstitutional—thought it would be an easy victory. It was supposed to work the way all those 2004 anti-gay-marriage amendments worked: crank up the bigots, drive up the turnout, elect the GOP nominee(s). But the ground shifted between the summer of 2011, when the ballot measure was approved by the legislature, and November of 2012, when voters went to the polls. Minnesota voters rejected the amendment by a decisive five-point margin. Emboldened by this expression of support for marriage equality by a majority of voters in Minnesota, the legislature in that state is on the verge of legalizing gay marriage. Right now it's a race between Minnesota and Delaware to see who will be the eleventh state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Now that Rhode Island has become the 10th state to legalize gay marriage, the AP (by way of the Sacramento Bee) provides a useful look at the next same-sex marriage battleground states: Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Oregon. Who will be number 11*?
* Please remember that Slog polls are 100% scientifically accurate at all times, and because of that accuracy, you are not allowed to use Slog polls for wagering, as they will give you an unfair advantage in office pools and on InTrade.
Which Will Be the Next State to Legalize Gay Marriage?
As Joe My God explains, Rhode Island's Senate is expected to pass the law today, but the state's House and Senate bills will have to be reconciled, and then the whole thing will have to be signed by the state's gay-marriage-friendly governor. None of this is expected to be a problem, though, so this is the last major hurdle in Rhode Island's march to gay marriage.
In what Gay Star News calls "the most homoerotic anti-gay protest ever," young men are "stripping off their shirts, writing slogans on their chest and parading across France against gay marriage." Hallelujah:
by Dan Savage
on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 7:16 AM
It's been less than a week since Brian Brown at the National Organization for Marriage announced the formation of the International Organization for Marriage.... and New Zealand has legalized same-sex marriage. France, Colombia, and Ireland—Ireland—are likely to be next. Keep up the good work, NOM & IOM. (In the video above: a conservative member of parliament gives a hilarious speech addressing the fears—and the NOM-style fear-mongering—of opponents of equality. Watch.)
After the vote in New Zealand the entire parliament broke into song. "Seconds after the New Zealand Parliament passed marriage equality this morning, hundreds of spectators in the gallery—and even several MPs—burst into harmonious song," writes blogger John Becker. "The tune they sang is 'Pokarekare Ana,' a love song in the language of New Zealand’s indigenous Māori people." The song is New Zealand's unofficial national anthem. Watch:
The woman receiving all hugs and flowers is the bill's sponsor, Louisa Wall, a lesbian member of New Zealand's parliament.
The Republican National Committee voted unanimously Friday to reaffirm the party’s commitment to upholding the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, upending party efforts to grow support among younger voters.
A resolution introduced Wednesday by Michigan committeeman Dave Agema, who came under fire last month for posting an article describing gays as “filthy” on his Facebook page, passed the full RNC by a voice vote and without debate. A second resolution reaffirming “core values” of the party — including opposition to same-sex marriage — was also passed.
Think about that: Not one member of the Republican National Committee was willing to say a single word in favor of gay marriage. You can read the two (!) anti-gay-marriage resolutions over at Swampland.
A gay man was arrested at a hospital in Missouri this week when he refused to leave the bedside of his partner, and now a restraining order is preventing him from any type of visitation. Roger Gorley told WDAF that even though he has power of attorney to handle his partner’s affairs, a family member asked him to leave when he visited Research Medical Center in Kansas City on Tuesday. Gorley said he refused to leave his partner Allen’s bedside, and that’s when security put him in handcuffs and escorted him from the building.
The staff at the hospital refused to look at (or look into) the power-of-attorney agreements that the men had signed granting each other the right to make medical decisions. Unfortunately the incompetent reporters at WDAF didn't bother to verify an easily verifiable fact: do Gorley and his husband have power-of-attorney agreements? If so, Gorley should be able to produce them. And if Gorley can produce them, the hospital needs to be confronted with them—as does the family of Gorley's husband. Right now someone has a taken out a restraining order against Gorley—the hospital? his husband's family?—and Gorley is being prevented him from even visiting his husband. Which brings us to this:
In a 2010 memorandum, President Barack Obama ordered hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding to allow visitation rights for gay and lesbian partners.
The hospital says it doesn't discriminate against LGBT people and claims that Gorley was being "disruptive." If Terry's family tried to have me removed from his bedside during a medical crisis—not that they would—you can bet I would be disruptive. They would have to drag me from his room in handcuffs too. And if my family tried to have Terry removed from my side during a medical crisis—not that they would—I wouldn't be the only Savage who wound up being hospitalized that day.
This is what DOMA does, this is what state bans on same-sex marriage does. It's not about flowers and florists. It's about having your partner recognized as your next of kin during a medical emergency. Receptions and banquet halls are nice, and the fair enforcement of non-discrimination laws that protect everybody (not just gay people) is important. But the truly important rights of marriage kick in during emergencies and at what are often the worst moments of our lives.
The bill, which now heads to Gov. Bullock's desk, removes language in the state's deviate sexual conduct law that makes criminal homosexual acts between consenting adults and subjects those found guilty up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.... The vote was 65-34.
Thirteen other US states still have anti-gay sodomy laws on their books—laws that were declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court a decade ago.
Congress in Uruguay has voted overwhelmingly to legalise gay marriage, becoming the second country in Latin America to do so, after Argentina. The bill was approved by more than two-thirds of the lower chamber, despite opposition from the Catholic Church. The proposal has already been backed by the upper house. It is expected to be signed into law within two weeks. President Jose Mujica has been championing the bill. Despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church in Uruguay, 71 out of 92 deputies have voted in favour of the measure.
Uruguay is the 12th nation to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. France looks like it'll be next.
I think right now if we say we're only going to [have] a federally mandated one man, one woman marriage, we're going to lose that battle because the country is going the other way right now. If we're to say each state can decide, I think a good 25, 30 states still do believe in traditional marriage, and maybe we allow that debate to go on for another couple of decades and see if we can still win back the hearts and minds of people.
Good luck with that one, Rand. (I honestly don't think Paul even believes what he's saying here. This is an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network, and what he's doing is throwing some lip service their way to win their votes. This is as much of a sop as George W. Bush proposing an anti-gay-marriage amendment to win the 2004 elections and then forgetting all about that promise once he won office. Will Christian voters ever manage to realize they're being played by jokers like this?)
As Republican politicians wrestle with same-sex marriage, the daughter of a party icon — former President Ronald Reagan — said in an interview this week that she believes her father would have “been puzzled” by the political fuss and would have supported marriage for gay people.
I understand the need for kids to think the best of their parents, and she is basing this information on some anecdotal evidence—Reagan was friends with a lesbian couple, and he explained to Davis while watching a Rock Hudson movie that “some men are born wanting to love another man"—but I find it hard to believe that Davis really believes this. The president who refused to acknowledge the AIDS epidemic is going to be a gay marriage supporter? Come on. Reagan clearly was a believer in the common Republican sensibility that gay people are fine as long as they stay deep, deep in the closet and don't make any noise.
The Uruguay Senate, in approving a bill on April 2, 2013, to legalize same-sex marriage, has moved to guarantee marriage equality and diminish discrimination, Human Rights Watch said. The vote was 23 to 8. Uruguay would be the 12th country to approve same-sex marriage nationwide. The lower house of Uruguay’s legislature voted in December 2012 to legalize same-sex marriage. The Senate bill included some modifications, including a measure to raise the minimum age for marriage to 16 for everyone, instead of the present age 12 for girls and 14 for boys. Human Rights Watch urges all countries to eliminate child marriage and to adopt 18 as a minimum age for marriage for both sexes.
Reconciling Uruguay's Senate and House marriage equality bills is a formality. This is a done deal: marriage equality is coming to Uruguay.
When I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others. Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. Our time on this Earth is limited, I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back— government has no place in the middle.
Kirk is the second Republican Senator to back marriage equality. Somewhere Mike Huckabee is shitting himself.
Carper joins a list of Democratic Senators who have come out for marriage equality in the last week. Only seven remain who haven't declared their support. They are: Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Mark Pryor, (D-AR).
Hard to imagine any of the remaining Dem Senators coming around—but two days ago I would've said the same thing about Bob Casey. Here's hoping Casey pulls a similar 180 on abortion rights and comes out for a woman's right to choose.