Thursday, January 31, 2013
Chuck Hagel on Thursday pledged to “move forward expeditiously” on the issue of equal benefits for gay troops during his Senate confirmation hearing.
Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee considering his nomination for secretary of defense, Hagel reiterated his support for open service and extending equal benefits to the families of LGBT service members.
“As I've discussed with many of you in our meetings, I am fully committed to implementing the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and doing everything possible under current law to provide equal benefits to the families of all our service members,” said Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska and Vietnam veteran.
In a written response he added: “If confirmed, I will work closely with the Department of Defense civilian and military leadership to move forward expeditiously on the issue and will inform the appropriate Congressional committees of decisions as they are made.”
Allyson Robinson, executive director of OutServe-SLDN, which advocates on behalf of LGBT service members, applauded Hagel's remarks.
“After two years of equivocation and delay by Pentagon leadership, it is gratifying to see Senator Hagel show the kind of clear, unambiguous support for our service members and their families we saw today,” she said in a statement. “It is an historic day when issues critical to gay and lesbian service members and their families take center stage in a confirmation hearing for secretary of defense.
Hagel had been attacked as “anti-gay” in print and television ads paid for by the Log Cabin Republicans and an anonymous group. Both cited Hagel's poor voting record on gay rights in the Senate and comments he made in 1998 toward James Hormel, the openly gay former U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg.
Hagel recently apologized for calling Hormel a bad fit for the post of ambassador because he's “openly, aggressively gay.” And in a letter to California Senator Barbara Boxer, he endorsed repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” and committed to extending equal benefits to the families of LGBT troops.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has filed briefs in two Supreme Court cases related to gay marriage.
In both cases, the USCCB called on justices to rule against marriage equality.
In United States v. Windsor, which challenges the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), USCCB lawyers argued that “there is no fundamental right to marry a person of the same sex.” The brief also argues that being gay is not an orientation but merely conduct.
“In contrast to the classes for which this Court has applied heightened scrutiny, what lower courts have understood to be a homosexual 'orientation' is not a trait attributable from conception or birth. Rather, particularly as framed by Respondents here, it involves a species of conduct.”
In Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban, the USCCB urged the court to uphold the 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment.
“Given both the unique capacity for reproduction and unique value of homes with a mother and father, it is reasonable for a State to treat the union of one man and one woman as having a public value that is absent from other intimate interpersonal relationships.”
The brief added that “redefining marriage … would have widespread adverse impact on other constitutional rights, such as the freedoms of religion, conscience, speech and association.”
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in March and hand down a decision in June.
The church is right, there isn't a fundamental right to marry a person of the same sex, but, using their own argument, there isn't a fundamental right for opposite sex people to marry either. (not according to the constitution, which doesn't grant either, but neither does it oppose)
The church is majorly wrong about sexual orientation and by insisting they know better than every major psychological organization in the world only serves to prove they are a hate group and wish nothing more than to impose and suppress a minority with it's dated religious morals.
Lets not forget, not long ago catholic priest tortured, mutilated and killed people for daring to say the Earth wasn't the center of the universe and the sun didn't revolve around our planet.
Lets not forget they burned people for being witches and thought science was sorcery.
As for heterosexual marriage being *unique*...whites thought they were *unique* and had the innate right to enslave other races for their benefit and treat them in any manner they wished.
Personally, I see absolutely nothing *unique* about reproduction, quite the opposite, millions do it every day with out any special ability or training too achieve it.
Lastly, the Catholic church, by the mere fact they filed briefs to the Supreme Court prove that they are truly a political group and are using the body and entity of their constituency to push a political agenda and should most definitely have their tax exempt status removed.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Mainstream media outlets are echoing a report that the fast food giant Chick-fil-A has allegedly ceased its donations to anti-gay organizations and causes. In reality, the majority of the company's anti-gay donations remain unchanged.
In a January 28 Huffington Post article, Campus Pride executive director Shane Windmeyer reported that - according to the 2011 IRS 990 tax form he had seen - Chick-fil-A had ceased its practice of donating millions of dollars to anti-gay groups through its charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation. According to Windmeyer:
This past week Chick-fil-A shared with me the 2011 IRS Form 990, filed in November for the WinShape Foundation, along with 2012 financials. The IRS has not released the 990 to the public yet, but the financials affirm Chick-fil-A's values a year prior to the controversy this past July... The funding reflects Chick-fil-A's promised commitment not to engage in "political or social debates," and the most divisive, anti-LGBT groups are no longer listed.Mainstream news outlets quickly picked up on the story, including CNN, ABC, and the LA Times. On January 29, CNN reported that "Chick-fil-A had stopped donating money to anti-gay organizations"
But even if Windmeyer's claim that Chick-fil-A has stopped funding the most extreme anti-gay groups is true, the company would only have reduced its anti-gay donations by less than one percent.
As Equality Matters reported last year, Chick-fil-A donated $1.9 million to anti-gay groups in 2010 alone through WinShape Foundation. The majority of that money went to groups like the Marriage & Family Foundation, the Fellowship Of Christian Athletes, and the National Christian Foundation.
- Marriage & Family Foundation: $1,188,380
- Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
- National Christian Foundation: $247,500
- New Mexico Christian Foundation: $54,000
- Exodus International: $1,000
- Family Research Council: $1,000
- Georgia Family Council: $2,500
Windmeyer clarified in an interview with The Advocate that when he saw IRS tax forms last week, provided to him by Chick-fil-A officials, that several of the groups identified by Equality Matters are still indeed receiving donations.Chick-fil-A gave a total of $2,000 to Exodus International and Family Research Council in 2010, which accounts for less than one percent of its total anti-gay donations:
Those groups include the Marriage and Family Foundation, National Christian Foundation and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
What Chick-fil-A was attempting to highlight by showing Windmeyer the tax documents from 2011 is that it had stopped giving to what it considers more activist groups such as Exodus International, which had practiced so-called "conversion therapy," and the Family Research Council, which is labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "hate group."
As Think Progress' Zack Ford notes, the extremely minor reduction in Chick-fil-A's anti-gay donations does nothing to change the company's abysmal track record on LGBT issues:
Chick-fil-A is not ending the bulk of its anti-gay giving. Chick-fil-A is not implementing any LGBT-inclusive policies like nondiscrimination protections, of which it has none. And Dan Cathy is not apologizing for his vitriolic comments — in fact, he's making no public comments of his own whatsoever. In other words, the company is doing nothing to improve its atrocious record on LGBT issues. Cathy's opening mind for friendships with gay people is commendable, but does not justify Windmeyer's blessing of Chick-fil-A franchises on college campuses in the face of protests from LGBT student groups.
President Barack Obama's on Tuesday unveiled his plans for immigration reform. And unlike a Senate framework released Monday, Obama's plan includes gay and lesbian couples.
Under the current law, a gay or lesbian American citizen cannot sponsor an immigrant spouse for citizenship due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which prevents the federal government from recognizing their marriage.
Speaking Tuesday on CBS This Morning, Arizona Senator John McCain confirmed that the Senate's plan does not address the inequity.
The president laid out his objectives during a speech delivered in Las Vegas. Key principles include strengthening border security, cracking down on employers hiring undocumented workers, allowing undocumented immigrants to earn their citizenship and streamlining legal immigration.
Under that last principle, Obama included a “keep families together” proposal, which aims to eliminate backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system. One proposal is to allow gay and lesbian U.S. citizens the ability to seek a visa for a spouse “on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-same partner.”
It was not immediate clear what unions would qualify as a “permanent relationship” since only 9 states and the District of Columbia allow gay couples to marry.