Category: Articles

Breaking – First gay marriages in Utah as federal judge overturns ban -12/21/2013

 

Seeking only what is right is important because it is the only course that will bring lasting good when we are persistent and patient.  Mrs. Eddy writes, “Justice waits, and is used to waiting; and right wins the everlasting victory.”3

Not Who but What Is Right

NOLA AUSTIN COOK

From the April 15, 1972 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

 

 

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First gay marriages in Utah as federal judge overturns ban

US. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled Utah’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.  Republican governor blasted the ruling as going against the will of the people. Gay couples rushed to the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office en masse.

By Brady McCombs and Paul Foy, Associated Press / December 21, 2013

 

SALT LAKE CITY

Elisa Noel rushed to the county clerk’s office with her partner immediately after learning that a federal judge overturned Utah‘s ban on gay marriage. They waited in line for a wedding license and were married in an impromptu ceremony punctuated with Noel giving the officiant a high-five.

“I can’t believe this is Utah,” Noel said moments after a ceremony that took place about 3 miles from the headquarters of the Mormon church.

Others had a similar reaction after a ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby that declared Utah’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. The recent appointee by President Barack Obama said the ban violates the constitutional rights of gay couples and ruled Utah failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way.

The ruling prompted a frenzy of activity by lawyers and gay couples. The Republican governor blasted the ruling as going against the will of the people. Gay couples rushed to the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office en masse to secure marriage licenses, waiting in line by the dozens and getting married on the spot by the mayor and ministers.

It was a jubilant affair as cheers broke out after ceremonies were completed. A gay bar in Salt Lake quickly made plans for a Friday night party to mark the event. Some made plans to march on the capitol Monday.

“I am very disappointed an activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah. I am working with my legal counsel and the acting attorney general to determine the best course to defend traditional marriage within the borders of Utah,” Gov. Gary Herbert said.

Late Friday, the state filed both a notice of appeal of the ruling and a request for an emergency stay that would stop marriage licenses from being issued to same-sex couples. It’s unknown when the judge will make a decision on whether to grant the stay.

The ruling has thrust the judge into the national spotlight less than two years after Congress approved his nomination to the federal bench. Shelby was appointed by President Barack Obama after GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch recommended him in November 2011.

Shelby served in the Utah Army National Guard from 1988 to 1996 and was a combat engineer in Operation Desert Storm. He graduated from the University of Virginia law school in 1998 and clerked for the U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene in Utah, then spent about 12 years in private practice before he became a judge.

Many similar challenges to same-sex marriage bans are pending in other states, but the Utah case has been closely watched because of the state’s history of steadfast opposition to gay marriage as the home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The church said in a statement Friday that it stands by its support for “traditional marriage.”

“We continue to believe that voters in Utah did the right thing by providing clear direction in the state constitution that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and we are hopeful that this view will be validated by a higher court,” the church said.

Not all Mormons were disappointed. A group called Mormons for Equality applauded the ruling, saying it was particularly sweet coming in “the heartland of our faith.”

The group has been among the leaders of growing movement among Mormons to push the church to teach that homosexuality isn’t a sin.

The Mormon church’s stance has softened considerably since it was one of the leading forces behind California’s short-lived same-sex-marriage ban, Proposition 8, in 2008. A church website launched this year encourages more compassion toward gays, and church leaders backed the Boy Scouts’ recent policy allowing gay youth.

The Utah ruling comes the same week New Mexico’s highest court legalized gay marriage after declaring it unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A new law passed in Hawaii last month now allows gay couples to marry there.

If the ruling stands, Utah would become the 18th state to allow gay marriages, said Jon Davidson, director of Lambda Legal, which pursues litigation on LGBT issues nationwide. That’s up from six before the U.S. Supreme Court last summer struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The District of Columbia also allows same-sex marriage.

Deputy Salt Lake County Clerk Dahnelle Burton-Lee said the district attorney authorized her office to begin issuing the licenses but she couldn’t immediately say how many had been issued. But it was clear from the line at the clerk’s office that was several dozen.

“The momentum we are seeing is unprecedented in any human rights struggle,” Davidson said. “To have this fast a change in the law and in public opinion, is quite remarkable.”

State Sen. Jim Dabakis, chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, was one of the first to get married in Salt Lake City with his longtime partner, Stephen Justesen.

“Do you, Jim, take Steven, to be your lawfully wedded spouse?” the mayor asked.

But at the Utah County clerk’s office in Provo, same sex-couples were still denied marriage licenses.

Patsy Carter, 42, and her partner of eight years, 39-year-old Raylynn Marvel, said they went to the office immediately after hearing about the ruling but the clerk said they office was still reviewing the ruling and consulting with the county attorney.

Carter said the ruling was still a positive step and she believes Utah County, considered one of Utah’s most conservative, will eventually have to start granting the licenses.

“If my marriage licenses could say, ‘Provo, Utah,’ that’s probably the most epic contradiction ever,” she said.

Utah’s lawsuit was brought by three gay and lesbian couples, including one that was legally married in Iowa and just wants that license recognized in Utah.

During a nearly four-hour hearing on the case earlier this month, attorneys for the state argued that Utah’s law promotes the state’s interest in “responsible procreation” and the “optimal mode of child-rearing.” They also asserted it’s not the courts’ role to determine how a state defines marriage, and that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling doesn’t give same-sex couples the universal right to marry.

In the ruling, Shelby wrote that the right to marry is a fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution.

“These rights would be meaningless if the Constitution did not also prevent the government from interfering with the intensely personal choices an individual makes when that person decides to make a solemn commitment to another human being,” Shelby wrote.

 

 

A Lesson Before Dying – Special Edition – 12/07/2013

 

I’ve always admired Charles Blow of the NY Times, but for a non-CS (I assume), I find the last few paragraphs extraordinary. We Christian Scientists

 don’t have a monopoly on Truth and Love. Let us rejoice that good has infinite means of expression. 

Doug Finney

 

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OP-ED COLUMNIST

A Lesson Before Dying

By CHARLES M. BLOW

Published: December 6, 2013 96 Comments

* Photo – charles M. Blow -Damon Winter/The New York Times

 

One of the great lights of the world went dark on Thursday. Nelson Mandela left this world, having enormously altered it.

And yet, the extraordinary example that he set lives on and provides a lesson — a blueprint — for all of us who still labor for justice, equality and freedom.

Be convinced of your cause. Conviction, character and consistency are sorely lacking in our modern era of fame-chasing, poll-testing and comment-reading. The status quo has a way of lulling the masses into complacency and acceptance. It’s known and familiar. There are always those whose lives are comfortable and whose livelihoods are secure under it.

Upsetting the status quo — or upending it — is always a radical proposition and is often an unpopular one, sometimes even among those who suffer under the entrenched system. Your cause may be unpopular, but history has demonstrated again and again that it will look kindly on the just.

First, be a fighter. Time has a way of rendering history smooth and digestible, of polishing away the rough bits and sweetening the bitter. Mandela was not only a lovely, grandfatherly figure; he was also a freedom fighter, a man willing to commit his life to — or even sacrifice it for — what he believed in.

Mandela’s African National Congress was once deemed a terrorist organization by both his home country, South Africa, and by the United States. And America’s view of Mandela and of South Africa’s system of apartheid cannot be whitewashed, even as we now venerate Mandela in death.

As Noam Chomsky wrote in his 2010 book “Hopes and Prospects”:

“Through the 1980s, U.S. trade with South Africa increased despite the 1985 congressional sanctions (which Reagan evaded), and Reagan continued to back South African depredations in neighboring countries that led to an estimated 1.5 million deaths. As late as 1988 the administration condemned Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress as one of the world’s ‘more notorious terrorist groups.’”

Be brave. Courage is not required to execute that which is easy or convenient. As the Texas progressive author and agitator Jim Hightower once put it, “Even a dead fish can go with the flow.” Courage is drawing up your shoulder and pushing into the resistance. Courage is doing what is unpopular or dangerous or discomforting because, even if you must do it alone, it is the right thing to do.

As Mandela put it: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” We all feel fear. In fact, fear the person who claims that he or she does not. But fear withers under the heat of righteousness. It cannot spread when it is cornered by those of noble conviction.

Remember that no one can divest you of your basic humanity without your submission and allowance. Discrimination and injustice are insidious, virulent scourges that the world is working hard to remedy, but they remain stubbornly resistant to complete eradication. Even as we labor to be rid of them, let us all retain our resolve and rise up in our dignity.

I like to think of it the way Zora Neale Hurston once put it: “Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.” The person consumed by discrimination morally subjugates himself or herself, as a matter of principle, to the person free of it, leaving the person free of it with the moral high ground.

Never underestimate the power of grace. Mandela’s immeasurable grace and equanimity, his presidency and his efforts at reconciliation in South Africa will forever serve as an example to the world of the true possibilities and power of the human spirit. We so often think of power as force, but there is also enormous power in love, understanding and forgiveness. Demonstrating kindness to those who have treated you cruelly is an act of moral supremacy. It is the most powerful of human exercises, because in so doing, you conquer the self and diminish your enemy.

Finally, remember that all things are possible for those of strong will and unwavering perseverance. Those who can’t imagine change reveal the deficits of their imaginations, not the difficulty of change. As Mandela put it, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

I invite you to join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at chblow@nytimes.com.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/07/opinion/a-lesson-before-dying.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

 

World AIDS Day 2013 + Live Coverage (Dance Red & Save Lives) – Now Playing – 12/01/2013

 

Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals.  In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.

 Mary Baker Eddy

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (pps. 476-477).

 

It amazes me that our movement had not yet really handled this belief.  We as LGBT Christian Scientists demand a cure!  And we have it right at hand.  It should be simple.  So why the delay?  Are we all ( Gay and homophobe alike) too much handled by side issues like self righteousness, judgementalism, shame, belief we are sinners, belief in malpractice, and I’m sure, many others.

Member, Board of Directors – Emergence International – 12/01/2013

 

When AIDS is an uncomfortable and untouchable subject, the disease spreads.  But when we bring it to the fore, when we aren’t afraid to confront it, information spreads.  Compassion spreads.  The cure spreads.  Please, help me spread the cure.

It comes down to a simple equation, really.  If you give love out, you get love back.  If you take nothing else from the stories I’ve told here, please take that lesson to heart.  It is the only thing that matters.  It is why we need a global movement for love, and not just when it comes to AIDS.  We need to love the poor, we need to love the sick, and we need to love those who we perceive as different.  If love guides our actions, we can end AIDS.  If love drives our actions, we can build a better world.

Elton John

LOVE IS THE CURE ON LIFE, LOSS, AND THE END OF AIDS

http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/2012/0725/Elton-John-5-stories

 

One of the things about getting to the end of your life is that you become aware of what is important and what is not important. There’s a certain type of wisdom that enters into you when you have nothing left to lose.

Toward the end of that process, that’s when I sat at the piano. I played all day long, all these churchy chords, I just played and played. I knew that the music, whether the vibrations or the exertion of creation, had had a measurable physical effect on my body. I suddenly felt strong.

Steve Schalchlin, 59

YEAR OF DIAGNOSIS: 1993

 

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Let’s World AIDS Day 2013 be a day of reflection, remembrance, and awareness.   It is not that we are celebrating HIV/AIDS but that we celebrate victories won.

The theme for this year is “Getting to Zero” which means zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, zero babies born with HIV and zero deaths from AIDS related illnesses.

 

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http://www.red.org/worldaidsday (Click Here for Live Coverage) 

 

World AIDS Day 2013: Prayers, Poetry, Meditations For Hope And Healing

Posted: 12/01/2013 8:34 am EST

December 1, 2013

The Huffington Post – Religion

 

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“Hope” is the Thing with Feathers

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

 

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops – at all -

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard -slide_221266_882084_free

And sore must be the storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -

And on the strangest Sea -

Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.

by Emily Dickinson

 

*Photos –  Act Up’s 25th Anniversary Offers Chance To Reflect On AIDS Activism’s 

 

Prayer that From Suffering, Rejection, and Loss May Come Strength

God of mercy and creator of all: We pray for all those afflicted with AIDS, their loved ones, and all care-givers and researchers, that from suffering, rejection and loss may come strength, compassion and faith, and that we may be healed of fear and moved to give support to those in need. In the name of Jesus, the healer and friend of all, AMEN.

 

Salutation to the Dawn

Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth;
The glory of action;
The splendor of achievement;
For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision;
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

 

Prayer for Persons Living With HIV/AIDS

Almighty and immortal God, as you have promised to comfort, the sick, the lonely, and the despised, incline your ear to your people who live with AIDS and speedily defend and deliver them. Through Jesus Christ our savior, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. AMEN.

-Randolph Lloyd Frew, Praying with HIV/AIDS

 

The Maryknoll AIDS Task Force Prayer

God of all compassion, comfort your sons and daughters who live with HIV. Spread over us all your quilt of mercy, love and peace.

Open our eyes to your presence reflected in their faces. Open our ears to your truth echoing in their hearts.

Give us the strength to weep with the grieving, to walk with the lonely, to stand with the depressed.

May our love mirror your love for those who live in fear, who live under stress and who suffer rejection.

Mothering, fathering God grant rest to those who have died and hope to all who live with HIV.

God of life, help us to find the cure now and help us to build a world in which no one dies alone and where everyone lives accepted wanted and loved.

-Provided by the Maryknoll sisters of the San Salvador Diocesan HIV/AIDS program and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance

Pour Out Your Spirit Upon Person Living With AIDS

O God, whose heart burns with compassion and love for your whole creation, pour out your

Spirit upon persons living with AIDS, their families and loved ones, and grant hope and peace in our days. Through Jesus Christ our Savior. AMEN.

 

-Randolph Lloyd Frew, Praying with HIV/AIDS

 

For Times of Fear

Almighty God, the Refuge of all that are distressed, grant unto us that, in all trouble of this our mortal life, we may flee to the knowledge of Thy loving kindness and tender mercy; that so, sheltering ourselves therein, the storms of life may pass over us, and not shake the peace of God that is within us. Whatsoever this life may bring us, grant that it may never take from us the full faith that Thou art our Father. Grant us Thy light, that we may have life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-George Dawson

 

Prayer for Protection of Girls

We are gathered together to affirm the humanity of the girl child. We celebrate the fact that the girl child was created in the image of God and is loved by God. We claim responsibility to protect the girl child and give her the opportunity to grow without fear of being abused by anyone. We pray for a safe environment that is created by all for the safety of the girl child. Amen.

via: Churchworldservice.org and and are adapted from Dube, M., Africa Praying: A Handbook on HIV/AIDS

 

Rainbow Over Hope Road

And for just that instant

when from Hope Road

jrichards

 

we watched the rainbow cut

across the robust body

 

of the Blue Mountains

the way the sun seemed

 

filtered and the light clean

as peace; when the gleam

 

of quick color bounced

giddily off of the cars;

 

in that instant we breathed;

and I was glad we could

 

share this together-

this fleeting lasting thing.

via: Livehopelove.com

 

Prayers for Healing

Let us pray for the needs of all those living with HIV/AIDS (especially ____________), that God’s never-failing love may enfold them; that all who care for them may be strengthened in that ministry; and that the church may be to them a place of refuge where Christ is made known.

Let us pray for recovery from sickness, that God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of the suffering, may mercifully hear our prayers and grant to ______________ healing power, that in Christ their sickness may be turned to health and our sorrow to joy.

Let us pray for those who serve in the professions of healing, that God may guide physicians and nurses and all those called to practice the arts of healing. Strengthen them by your spirit so that the health of all people may be promoted and Christ glorified.

Let us pray for the ministry of family and friends. Give strength and gentleness, patience and faithfulness to family members and friends. Let their love be in you, and by their ministry of love let your love be made known.

Let us pray for all those who depend upon our prayers. Blessed Lord, we ask your loving care and protection for those who are sick in body, mind, or spirit and who desire our prayers. Take from them all fears and help them put their trust in you, that they may feel your strong arms around them.

 

Prayer for Those in Need

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.

From the end of the earth will I call unto Thee, when my heart fainteth; lead me to a rock that is too high for me.

For Thou hast been a refuge for me, a tower of strength in the face of the enemy.

I will dwell in Thy Tent for ever; I will take refuge in the covert of Thy wings. Selah

-Psalms 61: 2-5, Tanakh (Jewish Publication Society, 1917)

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving from Emergence International 2013.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving from Emergence International 2013.

 

We are on the right side of history and love is ever with us.

 

 

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Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost’s signature lineup of contributors

HOT ON THE BLOG

Christian Fuscarino

Founder and Operations Director, The Pride Network

Posted November 26, 2013 | 4:08 PM

 

As we gather around the table for a Thanksgiving dinner or volunteer at a local community center, let’s all take a second to be thankful for the victories that our community has seen recently. I stopped the list at 10, but I know there are plenty of reasons, and I’d love to hear them. Share why you’re thankful this Thanksgiving in the comments below.

 

10. President Obama awarding Bayard Rustin and Sally Ride with the Presidential Medal of Freedom: Tam O’Shaughnessy and Walter Naegle accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom on behalf of their deceased same-sex partners.

9. The U.S. Senate voting to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) for the first time in the legislation’s two-decade history: The final vote was 64-32, with 10 Republicans standing on the right side of history.

8. The National Organization for Marriage (an anti-gay-marriage group) ending the year with a $2 million deficit: Maybe they’ll get the message that it’s time to stop.

7. This “Ask Amy” column where Amy Dickinson gives a homophobic parent the best advice regarding a gay son: Get your tissues.

6. Fifty-four openly gay political candidates winning their elections: Fifty-four of the 85 candidates that the Victory Fund endorsed in 2013 won their respective elections.

5. The Social Security Administration modernizing its gender-change policy for trans people: It’s about time!

4. Celebrities and athletes coming out of the closet and being positive LGBT role models: Wentworth Miller, Raven-Symoné, Robbie Rogers, Jason Collins, Ben Whishaw and Darren Young, just to name a few…

3. The Supreme Court striking down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): It was a provision that President Obama had previously declared unconstitutional and refused to defend.

2. Having a strong LGBT presence at the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights March on Washington: Out LGBT speakers such as Sharon Lettman-Hicks from the National Black Justice Coalition; Eliza Byard from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Donna Payne from the Human Rights Campaign; Alan van Capelle from Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice; and many more advocated for LGBT equality on stage. They were also joined by dozens of straight allies.

1. Marriage equality victories this past year: Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Illinois!

Share in the comments below why you’re happy this Thanksgiving!

All images in this blog post are either used with permission or under creative commons, free to copy, distribute and transmit.

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Special Edition – csmonitor – As Illinois House approves gay marriage, speaker cites Pope Francis – 11/07/2013

 

New York World, December, 1900

Insufficient Freedom

To my sense, the most imminent dangers confronting the coming century are: the robbing of people of life and liberty under the warrant of the Scriptures; the claims of politics and of human power, industrial slavery, and insufficient freedom of honest competition; and ritual, creed, and trusts in place of the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

 (Mary Baker Eddy, reprinted in Miscellany 266: 3-9)

*Matthew 7: 12 (Golden Rule)

 

 

I didn’t choose to be gay.   Being gay was not a decision I made one day.   While being hateful may be a lifestyle choice, being gay is not.  Looking back, I don’t know why I was concerned with what I thought other people were thinking, instead of dwelling on what I knew was true about me.  People’s misapprehension, intolerance and moral superiority could not touch my true identity as the loved, perfect and complete child of God.  Today I don’t see diversity as perversity, but rather, a divine necessity as part of the “panoply of love” and the myriad expressions of Life.

Tom Taffel

 

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Macklemore Ryan Lewis Same Love Live MTV VMA 2013)

 

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As Illinois House approves gay marriage, speaker cites Pope Francis (+video)

The Illinois House had failed to pass a gay marriage bill twice, but comments by Pope Francis about homosexuality over the summer appear to have had an impact.

By Fabien TepperContributor / November 6, 2013

 

After months of false starts, the Illinois House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to legalize same-sex marriage, and reports suggest that Pope Francis’s recent comments about homosexuality may have played a small but significant role.

At least one Catholic lawmaker cited the pope’s statement as she explained her recent decision, and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, also a Catholic, used the pope’s words to articulate his own reasons for supporting the bill. Previously, he had been criticized for not pushing hard enough to rally support within his congressional chamber.

Other factors played into the shift that made passage through the House possible Tuesday, including two US Supreme Court decisions this summer in favor of gay marriage, according to observers. But with polls showing public opinion moving toward greater acceptance of gay marriage, the events in Illinois raise questions about whether opposition among Catholic lawmakers could be waning.

Pope Francis caused international ripples in July, when he warned that the Roman Catholic Church had become too focused on its opposition to homosexuality, asking, ”If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”

At that point, the Illinois bill had passed through the state Senate but was languishing in the House. The House convened in both January and May without voting on the bill, as its supporters struggled to assemble a majority amid a tide of organized opposition, with churches among the leading opponents.

But according to The Chicago Tribune, Pope Francis’ comments “sparked a wave of soul-searching by several Catholic lawmakers who had battled to reconcile their religious beliefs with their sworn duty to represent their constituents who were increasingly supportive of gay rights even as Cardinal Francis George remained opposed.”

State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D), who had spent much of the summer undecided, voted for the bill on Tuesday, telling the Tribune, ”As a Catholic follower of Jesus and the pope, Pope Francis, I am clear that our Catholic religious doctrine has at its core love, compassion, and justice for all people.”

And House Speaker Madigan (D) echoed the Pope’s words in the Tribune, adding a legal twist: ”For those that just happen to be gay – living in a very harmonious, productive relationship but illegal – who am I to judge that they should be illegal?”

Though he was an early supporter of the bill, his commitment to it had been question. But on Tuesday, advocates told the Tribune that he had been instrumental in rounding up the needed votes in recent weeks – and Madigan told the paper that he had personally helped persuade at least five legislators to support it.

The bill passed, 61 to 54, and Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has promised to sign it, making Illinois the 15th state to legalize gay marriage.

The Chicago Sun-Times noted how the statement had a neutralizing impact on the arguments of local Church leadership:

“Despite harsh rhetoric on the issue from Cardinal George and other [local] Catholic leaders, their positions against the bill were severely undercut by several statements from newly installed Pope Francis that were widely interpreted – as Madigan himself did Tuesday – as more welcoming to gay and lesbian couples.”

The Tribune also pegged the Supreme Court decisions this summer as instrumental. “Supporters said efforts to pick up votes were boosted by events that unfolded since May, the first being the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that struck down the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of receiving federal benefits,” writes the paper.

Local Catholic officials were dismayed by the House vote.

“We remain concerned about the very real threats to religious liberty that are at stake with the passage of this bill,” said the Catholic Conference of Illinois, in a statement released Tuesday. ”Today’s vote to redefine marriage in the State of Illinois is truly grievous,” said Bishop David Malloy, in a separate statement.

But according to a poll released Oct. 22 by Fako & Associates of Lisle, Ill., state voters who identify as Catholic support gay marriage by a 2-to-1 ratio. This is dramatically higher than the rate of approval among Illinoisans in general (52 percent), according to the same poll.

Once the new law is signed by Governor Quinn, gay civil unions, which have been legal in Illinois since 2011, can be converted into marriages.

As Illinois House approves gay marriage, speaker cites Pope Francis (+video) 

Breaking – Illinois Gay Marriage Bill Passes As State Poised To Become 15th To Legalize Same Sex Marriage – 11/05/2013

 

“Chicago is the wonder of the western hemisphere.”

Mary Baker Eddy

 

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Love is Love (Video) – VENSUN ft. Sylvia Tosun & David Vendetta

 

Illinois Gay Marriage Bill Passes As State Poised To Become 15th To Legalize Same Sex Marriage

The Huffington Post

Posted: 11/05/2013 4:09 pm EST  |  Updated: 11/05/2013 7:21 pm EST

 

Updated story

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois General Assembly passed a bill legalizing same sex marriage Tuesday, putting the Land of Lincoln on course to be the 15th state to legalize same sex marriage.

The House of Representatives narrowly passed the bill 61-54-2 shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday and the state senate concurred a little more than an hour later voting 32-29 in favor of SB10.

Gov. Pat Quinn has previously said he would sign the bill into law.

After enduring multiple delays along the way, the legislation received a jolt of support in recent days from the House Speaker, Mike Madigan, the Sun-Times reports.

According to the Tribune, the powerful Democrat was blasted by gay marriage advocates in recent months for being too soft in his support after the House failed to pass the bill before the regular session ended in May.

Gov. Pat Quinn, who has long supported legalizing gay marriage in the state, was planted in Springfield awaiting the vote.

Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — another powerful pol — was said to be making phone calls Tuesday to rustle up support for the bill.

BuzzFeed reports the bill’s chief House sponsor, Rep. Greg Harris, amended language to change the bill’s effective date early Tuesday.

As written, the bill needed just 60 votes instead of the “supermajority” of 71. With the lower number of votes required, the law would go into effect June 1, 2014.

Though Illinois already recognizes civil unions, supporters of gay marriage have faced fierce opposition from mostly downstate rural and urban black politicians, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

More from the Associated Press:

A historic vote Tuesday in the Illinois House positioned that state to become the largest in the heartland to legalize gay marriage, following months of arduous lobbying efforts by both sides in President Barack Obama’s home state.

Lawmakers voted 61-54 to send the measure back to the Senate to change the bill’s effective date, just a technical change since the chamber already approved the measure in February. The measure will then head to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has pledged to sign it into the law.

Fourteen states plus Washington D.C., allow same-sex marriage. Most recently, New Jersey, Minnesota and Rhode Island have allowed it.

The road to the vote was long with stalled attempts earlier this year, something that frustrated activists in the state where Democrats lead the House, Senate and governor’s office. Chicago Democratic Rep. Greg Harris, who is the sponsor of the bill, decided not to bring the bill for a vote in May because he said he simply didn’t have the support.

Then the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to strike down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, something he said resonated with lawmakers. Backers also launched a furious campaign, hiring a lobbyist from the state’s largest union, the former head of the Illinois Republican Party and field organizers spanning the state.

“To treat all our citizens equally in the eyes of the law we must change this,” Harris said on the floor. “Families have been kept apart.”

Polls show support for gay marriage has surged since 1996, when Gallup found that 27 percent of Americans backed it. Now Gallup finds the majority support giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

Opponents of the legislation — which included some of the most powerful religious leaders in the state — have said marriage should remain between a man and a woman. A group of Chicago areas pastors vowed to line up primary challengers against some Chicago area lawmakers who voted yes.

“This issue is not just about two adults and their emotional relational and financial commitment to another,” said Rep. Tom Morrison, a Palatine Republican. “Redefining marriage has far reaching implications in our society.”

The measure cleared the Senate on Valentine’s Day with the support of 33 Democrats and a single Republican. Backers had expressed confidence that the bill would be approved by the House in mid-March. But it took the supporters months to secure enough yes votes to win the House’s approval.

In September, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak even went to Chicago to encourage gay couples to hold their nuptials in his city if they were tired of waiting for Illinois lawmakers to act.

Although Illinois once appeared poised to become the first Midwestern state to approve gay marriage in the Legislature, Minnesota did it sooner and started holding its first same-sex weddings over the summer. Iowa allows gay marriages too because of a court ruling, not a legislative vote.

The issue caused internal conflict among Illinois Republicans as the party works to balance efforts to appeal more to younger voters, minorities and women with the more socially conservative positions of some party members.

For months, the leaders of several black mega-churches lobbied the districts of black House members with an aggressive robocall campaign against gay marriage, placing an uncomfortable spotlight on the mostly Democratic black caucus. Many remained undecided until the vote neared.

Illinois approved civil unions in 2011.

Illinois Gay Marriage Bill Passes As State Poised To Become 15th To Legaliz

Trick or Treat – Op-ed: Halloween, The Great Equalizer On Halloween, everyone’s a little different.

 

Happy Halloween from Emergence International 2013

 

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COMMENTARY

Op-ed: Halloween, The Great Equalizer

On Halloween, everyone’s a little different.

BY SHANE JORDAN

OCTOBER 31 2013 4:00 AM ET

 

Ever since Jack was young, he looked forward to Halloween, but not for the same reasons that other kids his age did. For him, Halloween was the great equalizer.

Jack is gay. He grew-up stereotypically gay looking in the conservative south. He was made fun of and called “sissy” as a child and worse as a teen. As an adult, he still mentally wears some of those labels, though almost everyone in his social circle these days is accepting of his sexuality or ignores what they can’t change.

Halloween is Jack’s favorite holiday and always has been. Of course, he liked the candy and the treats, and the parties and the horror movie marathon on the local television station.

But the best part of All Hallow’s Eve, for my friend, Jack, was the costumes. Every year he would plan his costume carefully. He went as Superman one year and as Dracula another. The costume didn’t really matter. It was the fact that he was, at least for one day, like everyone else.

The masks or make-up he wore every year hid his effeminate high cheek bones and perfect complexion. He could hide his small frame under a bulky fireman’s coat or wrap it up in 50 rolls of gauze bandages. One year he embraced his body and donned a dress and put on full glamor make-up. He also wore a wig that would have made Farrah Fawcett jealous.

When he wore these costumes, he knew the stares he got were because he looked amazing or because his costume was by far the best at the party. It had nothing to do with the fact that his voice squeaked when he tried to talk in class or because he forgot and crossed his legs instead of sitting with his knees apart like the other guys he knew. He got compliments from strangers instead of pointed fingers and hurtful names whispered under their breath.

One time, in college, he dressed-up like a biker. He wore a black leather jacket and even bought a pair of black leather boots that he couldn’t afford. He looked so convincing that he walked down the main street in town and no one looked at all. They had no idea he was in costume. Jack was just an average guy. A guy. Not a gay guy. Not a “homo.” Not a “girl.” He was a guy.

At first he liked it. He walked into a straight bar, sat down and wasn’t stared at. He ordered a beer and acted interested in the game on television. The guy next to him, a distinguished businessman, didn’t give him the evil eye or get up and leave. Instead, he started talking about football stats and motorcycles.

It was fun. It was refreshing. And it was totally fake.

As Jack told this story to me, I wondered how many straight men would be brave enough to dress as a gay man for Halloween. And what would that look like? Would they wave their hands in an effeminate way and wear a pink polo shirt? I can only imagine what would happen. The straight guy would suddenly become aware of the stares and the comments about him. Would it change the way he treated LGBT people afterward?

Though many straights and gays will be unable to walk in the shoes of the other, we should show tolerance and demonstrate love and understanding to others no matter their sexual orientation, race or religion. Look beyond the masks this Halloween, and every day, to see the person behind it and to embrace them for their talents, strengths and because they are really not all that different.

This year Jack is removing all the masks. He is taking off his capes and cloaks, the make-up and the wigs. This year he is going as Jack. Jack the talented chef who likes techno music, pepperoni pizza and going to the race track. Jack who can beat everyone he knows in PacMan and who secretly loves to watch Star Trek even though sometimes he pokes fun at his coworker who is a self-proclaimed Trekky.

He is Jack. A man. A Superman without the cape. A man who happens to be gay. A man who no longer feels the need to hide behind a mask or costume to feel normal. But someone who is normal and feels sorry for those who think otherwise. For the first Halloween in his life, Jack isn’t going to try to hide.

He’s going to live. He may steal candy from the neighbors or go to the horror film festival, but he plans on doing it with his boyfriend, Ryan, and with pride.

http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2013/10/31/op-ed-halloween-great-equalizer
SHANE JORDAN is a blogger and political advocate for LGBT rights.  Follow him on Twitter @ShaneJordan5

 

Same-sex couples head to the altar after New Jersey ruling on gay marriage + Sunday Show Tunes – Now Playing – 10/20/2013

 

Marriage should signify a union of hearts.

Mary Baker Eddy

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70s Disco Hits – A Video Compilation of Disco Music from the 70′s

 
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Same-sex couples head to the alter after New Jersey ruling on gay marriage

 

Following a state Supreme Court ruling, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and other officials will begin officiating at same-sex weddings Monday. The court rejected Governor Chris Christie’s request for a delay.

By Brad KnickerbockerStaff writer / October 19, 2013

 

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday morning, US Senator-elect and Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker (D) will do something he’s never done before: officiate at weddings.

“Mayor Booker has refused all requests to officiate New Jersey marriages because gay couples have been denied that equal right,” Mayor Booker’s office announced Friday. “After today’s wonderful news, Mayor Booker is excited to marry both straight and gay couples in City Hall on Monday morning.”

The “wonderful news” Booker spoke of was the unanimous ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court that such marriages can proceed without delay. Gov. Chris Christie (R) had sought a delay until the case can be heard on appeal, but New Jersey’s high court rejected that.

“The state has advanced a number of arguments, but none of them overcome this reality: Same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today,” the court said in an opinion by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. “The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative.”

If the lower court ruling in favor of gay marriage is upheld as expected (given the strong statement by the state’s Supreme Court justices in its ruling this week) New Jersey would become the 14th state plus the District of Columbia now allowing same-sex couples to marry.

RECOMMENDED: Gay marriage battlegrounds: 12 states to watch

The issue has put Gov. Christie in a tough political spot.

New Jersey State Sen. Barbara Buono who is running against Christie for governor and whose daughter is openly lesbian, accused Christie of delaying the inevitable for political gain, CBS New York reports.

“We have to stop treating our gay brothers and sisters as second-class citizens,” Sen. Buono said. “My daughter should not have to go into another state to marry the person she loves, and I personally am offended by his stance.”

Next door in Pennsylvania, meanwhile, the legal fight over gay marriage continues.

A state judge ruled last month that marriage licenses will no longer be given out to same-sex couples in the state, putting into limbo the legal status of more than 100 couples who married recently despite a long-standing ban on same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.

In recent weeks, at least eight county clerks in New Mexico have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples while state courts wrestle with the implications of the US Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had restricted the rights of gay couples. Officials in Oregon have just announced that the state will recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania and New Jersey illustrate similar situations happening across the country in the months since the US Supreme Court struck down parts of DOMA. Here’s a sampling of efforts in key states compiled by the Associated Press:

HAWAII: A special session of the Legislature to consider legalizing same-sex marriage is scheduled to begin Oct. 28. State Attorney General David Louie issued a legal opinion this week saying lawmakers may legalize gay marriages without amending the state constitution.

ILLINOIS: A bill to legalize gay marriage, supported by Gov. Pat Quinn, is in limbo after the state House failed to vote on it before the legislative session ended in May. A six-day fall session starts Tuesday, but it’s unclear whether the bill will come up.

MICHIGAN: A federal judge is considering a challenge to a 2004 constitutional amendment that recognizes marriage as being only between a man and a woman. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman says he won’t rule until he hears expert testimony Feb. 25.

NEVADA: Lawmakers this year gave an initial round of approval to the proposed repeal of a 2002 change in the state constitution that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. It requires a second legislative vote in two years. If it is approved again, voters will decide in 2016 whether to recognize marriages regardless of gender.

NEW MEXICO: Gay marriage was pushed to the front burner in August when Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and at least seven other county clerks have followed suit. State law does not explicitly authorize or prohibit gay marriage, and the state’s 33 counties and county clerks have asked the five-justice New Mexico Supreme Court to clarify their responsibilities. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

OHIO: A federal judge has ordered Ohio to recognize the marriages of two gay couples who sued to get their out-of-state marriages recognized on their spouses’ Ohio death certificates. The ruling was issued despite the state’s ban on gay marriage.

OREGON: State officials declared this week that Oregon will recognize same-sex marriages of couples who tied the knot in another state or country. Oregon voters changed the state constitution in 2004 to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, but an initiative to overturn that ban is a virtual lock on the 2014 ballot.

RECOMMENDED: Gay marriage battlegrounds: 12 states to watch

Related stories

Special Edition – Jersey Strong – Green Light for Gay marriage – 10/19/2013

 

“…if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”

Gamaliel

Bible (Acts 5: 29-39)

“Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God’s own way, and let human justice pattern the divine.”

Mary Baker Eddy

“The state has advanced a number of arguments, but none of them overcome this reality: Same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today,” the court said in an opinion by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. “The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative.”

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner

 

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The Washington Post

New Jersey Supreme Court greenlights gay marriage starting Monday

  1. BY AARON BLAKE AND JULIET EILPERIN
  2. October 18 at 3:13 pm

 

The New Jersey Supreme Court on Friday said gay marriages can begin taking place starting Monday, brushing aside a request from Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) administration for a delay as it appeals.

“We conclude that the State has not made the necessary showing to prevail … and that the public interest does not favor a stay,” the judges wrote. “We therefore deny the State’s motion for a stay.”

The court ruled that the state has ”not shown a reasonable probability it will succeed on the merits,” which will be argued in January.

“The Supreme Court has made its determination,” Drewniak  said. “While the Governor firmly believes that this determination should be made by all the people of the State of New Jersey, he has instructed the Department of Health to cooperate with all municipalities in effectuating the order of the Superior Court under the applicable law.”

Gay rights activists involved in the case rejoiced at Friday’s ruling.

“On Monday, New Jersey will begin to tear down its Berlin Wall separating straight people who have had total freedom, and LGBT people who have not,” said Steven Goldstein of Garden State Equality. “Gov. Christie, not even you have the power to resurrect that wall. 2016 may compel you to try, but the tide of history won’t let you succeed. It’s time to stop the charade of opposing the inevitable.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/10/18/new-jersey-supreme-court-greenlights-gay-marriage-starting-monday/

 

Special Edition – For Russia with Love – 09/26/2013

 

“Take Me To Church”:

…references the recent increase of [organized] attacks and torturing of homosexuals in Russia, which is subsequent to a long, hateful, and oppressive political campaign against the LGBT community. The song was always about humanity at its most natural, and how that is undermined ceaselessly by religious [organizations] and those who would have us believe they act in its interests.

 

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Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’ Echoes Russian LGBT Violence

The Huffington Post  |  By James Nichols

Posted: 09/26/2013 11:17 am EDT  |  Updated: 09/26/2013 2:40 pm EDT

 

Hozier, an Irish singer-songwriter whose debut EP “Take Me To Church” premiered in early July, just released the video for his track of the same name.

The video follows the relationship between two gay men and the violently homophobic backlash that ensues when the community learns of one of the man’s sexuality.

Ireland’s State noted that the video, directed by Brendan Canty, echoes the wave of violence currently plaguing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Russia. According to State, “Take Me To Church”:

…references the recent increase of [organized] attacks and torturing of homosexuals in Russia, which is subsequent to a long, hateful, and oppressive political campaign against the LGBT community. The song was always about humanity at its most natural, and how that is undermined ceaselessly by religious [organizations] and those who would have us believe they act in its interests.

For more information on Hoozier and his “Take Me To Church” EP, visit the artist’s website, Bandcamp or Twitter.