Another State Added to the List: New York Votes for Marriage Equality

Tonight is another good night.  After a long week of expectations and delays, the New York Senate voted to approve same-sex marriage by a vote of 33-29.  In the Republican-controlled senate, four of those voting in favor of passage were of the majority party. 

After frequent internet checks all week, I started out the night checking tweets from various bloggers, but then went downstairs to try to find something on TV.  CNN was doing Piers Morgan re-runs, but when 8 o’clock hit, I switched of to see what Rachel Maddow was doing on MSNBC.  Of course, everyone is totally focused on the murder case in Florida, but after a bit, Rachel got off of that and started live coverage from Albany, New York.  At that point a couple of Republican senators who had previously not been committed either way gave speeches saying that they were going to vote in favor of the bill.  Then after a few delays in the procedures, the final votes were read and it was a done deal!

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who really pushed for marriage equality, will now need to sign the bill into law, after that, a 30-day wait, and the state of New York will begin executing same-sex marriage certificates.  Another good thing is that anyone can get married in New York, not just residents!

With New York now joining the states of Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, not to mention the District of Colombia, we are starting to see the old prejudices and discrimination starting to chip away.

Update:  Gov. Cuomo signed the bill into law before I had even finished my original post.  Congratulations to all those who worked so very hard to get this passed!

Tornadoes Ravage Six Southern States After Anti-Gay Actions Taken by Legislatures, Hate Groups, and Individuals from Those States

 All of this has happened in 2011:

    • Tennessee–State Senate panel advances law that would prohibit the discussion of homosexuality in schools.
    • Virginia–The State Attorney General says that state board does not have authority to allow gay adoptions.
    • Georgia–Atlanta Braves pitching coach is investigated for making anti-gay slurs and gestures.
    • Alabama–A lesbian was beaten and then arrested by a group outside a bar.
    • Kentucky–A member of the Masonic Lodge in Lexington was kicked out for being gay.
    • Mississippi–The designated hate group, American Family Association, started a boycott against Home Depot for making donation to a gay organization.

Then, over a 24-hour period on April 27 and 28, 2011, a devastating storm with major tornadoes wreaked its havoc on the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia.  Don’t see any cause-effect relationship here?  You mean you don’t think it was the wrath of God?  Nothing but a coincidence?

Then why does anyone give evangelists, such as Pat Robertson and John Hagee, any credence when they have blamed gay people for events such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Haiti Earthquake?

Manhattan, Kansas: First City in State To Add Gender Identity to Anti-Discrimination Laws, Also Adds Sexual Orientation

Not in any of the national, well-read LGBT blogs and other sites have I seen this mentioned today, but I think it’s pretty amazing because it’s happening in my old home state, and in the very town where I spent a couple of college years and also came out.  This is Kansas, mind you, old, forever Republican Kansas, which now has Sam Brownback, once part of DC’s C Street gang, as its new governor; Kansas, home to notorious religious clan, whose name I won’t mention because I don’t want them trying to mess with my blog; Kansas, with its conservative State Board of Education, which tried to get “creative” with science . . . . .

But today from the Manhattan (KS) Mercury, we find this good news: 

After months of research, discussion and debate, city commissioners passed the second and final reading of a proposed amendment to the city’s discrimination ordinance at Tuesday’s legislative meeting. The change adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes.

Tuesday’s vote makes Manhattan the first city in Kansas to recognize gender identity as a protected class. It also makes Manhattan the second city in the state, the other being Lawrence, to recognize sexual orientation as a protected class.

Even in a state as conservative as Kansas, changes are being made to prevent discrimination against LGBT people.

Portugal Becomes 6th European Country To Approve Same-sex Marriage

Kissing in celebration in front of the Portuguese Parliament Building

Pope Benedict will probably have to go out and buy another pair of Prada shoes to console himself because today one more of the old Catholic strongholds, Portugal, gave the approval to same-sex marriage.

According to Lisbon’s Diario de Noticias and Madrid’s abc.es (I needed the back-up of Spanish to translate), the Portuguese Parliament voted to give the go ahead for legalizing gay marriage.  Portugal now joins its Iberian neighbor Spain,  where same-sex weddings have been legal since 2005.  Four other European countries allow gay marriage: Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Said Prime Minister José Sócrates, “This is an historic moment for the Assembly of the Republic, and I am happy to have participated in it.”

It’s interesting to note that both Portugal and Spain were both governed by right-wing dictators well into the 1970s and a mere 30 some years later both have come this far in working to eliminate discrimination.

Yahoo!!! And Connecticut Makes Three–Another U.S. State Legalizes Gay Marriage

From msnbc.com: Hartford, Connecticut–Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making that state the third behind Massachusetts and California . . . .

The divided court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut’s civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

There will be those that cry out that this is the act of legislating judges, but those that do that have forgotten what they learned in civics and government classes: the constitution was not written to just favor the majority, but was also written to protect the rights of the minority. This has been the case in so many situations of civil rights discrimination. Where the minority has tried to vote in discrimination, courts have had to step in, in order to follow the constitution. This was what happened with “equal-but-separate” and the segregation of schools. Many of the civil rights laws of the 60s would never have been passed if judges first had not stepped in to follow the Constitution.

One thing that I still remember learning in Mr. McKain’s (different spelling and so cute back in those days) government class back at good ol’ DHS (Dorrance, Kansas–that was also when church people set about doing good in the community, rather than spewing out hatred) is that one person’s rights only go to the point where they do not step on another person’s rights. That means (for all of you who still need a lesson in American civics) that your religious rights only go up to the point where they meet a gay person’s right to get married or the right to serve in the military. In other words, you do not hold a trump card. You may think you do, “but it ain’t so.”

It won’t be long before more states follow Connecticut. “Times are a changin'” as they say. A lot of the old coots that hold on to this antiquated thinking are older than me and are going to be dying off in the not too distant future. There are people like Fred Phelps, who has brain-washed some of his children and grandchildren, but in tough times, these hate-mongers might find it more beneficial to use their funds to put food on the table than to travel long distances to spout out more of their vile.