Posts Tagged ‘lgbt’

DOMA to be Repealed?

The Respect for Marriage Act was introduced in the House, which would repeal DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) which provides federal recognition for heterosexual married couples only.

As Kate Kendell at the NCLR explains:

The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal both sections 2 and 3 of DOMA. Section 2 creates an exception to the full faith and credit clause for married same-sex couples. The Respect for Marriage Act would eliminate that provision, but it would leave each state free to decide whether to recognize marriages of same-sex couples from other states. Section 3 excludes same-sex spouses from all federal benefits and protections, including Social Security survivor benefits, the right to file joint taxes, and the right to petition for permanent residence for a foreign spouse. The Respect for Marriage Act would require that the federal government treat all married couples equally.

Our friend and partner Jason Bartlett from the National Black Justice Coalition reminds us of what exactly DOMA has meant for our community. “DOMA is an egregious piece of legislation as it codifies discrimination into federal law. As African Americans, we know all too well the injustices that laws such as this impose on our communities and our families and we are sensitive to the federal government trying to define our families. Let us consign the mistakes of the past to history and move forward together. We call on Congress to pass the Respect to Marriage Act as we continue to fight for our civil rights.”

NCLR is proud to have worked in close cooperation with other groups and lead co-sponsors to help define the scope of the bill to repeal DOMA and to secure federal respect for the marriages of same-sex couples. We support the legislative repeal, as well as the legal overturn, of DOMA.
President Obama has made it clear that he, too, supports an end to DOMA. On June 17, 2009, President Barack Obama said, “I stand by my long-standing commitment to work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. It’s discriminatory, it interferes with states’ rights, and it’s time we overturned it.” The President most recently reiterated his support for the repeal of DOMA in an August 17, 2009 White House statement.

This may be a long shot, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. After all, with Obama in the White House, there’s really no excuse for keeping DOMA on the books. It will be a great year if the Respect for Marriage Act and ENDA both get passed.

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benandjerrysBen and Jerry’s has temporarily renamed “Chubby Hubby” ice cream to “Hubby Hubby” ice cream to celebrate the start of gay marriage in Vermont today. And there will be a wedding truck driving throughout the state handing out free ice cream.

News like this makes my day!

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Jezebel has a great post today on women in sports. The post discusses two recent articles published in the New York Times and The Daily Beast where the authors spend most of the articles talking about the beauty and maternity habits of female athletes. The post states:

Female athletes seem to serve as a never-ending well of material for those obsessed with both the female body and the importance of femininity. There seems to be a real difficulty marketing athletic women to the general public without resorting to these tricks, which continually reiterate that this is about a woman in sports, a female athlete, someone with two X chromosomes.

I think this is a fascinating issue, one which I am not very well-versed. But with my new internship at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), I have been exposed to some great information about women in sports thanks to Helen Carroll, a truly amazing woman. Other great sites to check out are: It Takes A Team and Pat Griffin’s blog.

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I saw “Bruno” on Friday, among throngs of adoring Sacha Baron Cohen fans.  Having been surprisingly delighted by “Borat,” I was actually looking forward to the movie, thinking that it would critique homophobia in the same way “Borat” critiqued racism. I was disappointed, however, not because there weren’t scenes in the movie that were genuinely funny and thought provoking, but because it just didn’t really seem to possess the same kind of important critique that “Borat” did.

Thanks to Anthony, over at Lying To Make Friends, I came upon this article, which suggests that the reason why “Bruno” didn’t live up to its potential is because it contained so many scenes that merely went for the “ick factor.”  With scene upon scene of crazy sexual practices (which I won’t describe here, but you can read more about it in A.O. Scott’s NY Times Review), “Bruno” reaffirms, rather than combats, the dangerous and demeaning stereotype that homosexual sex is gross. 

I am a great admirer of Sacha Baron Cohen, and not only for his brilliant performance in “Sweeney Todd.” I truly respect his attempts to use humor to challenge bigotry. I just worry that because “Bruno” falls short of the mark, it may push certain audiences to continue to believe that homophobic beliefs and behavior are acceptable.

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Just a quick follow up to my last post. Frank Rich wrote a great op-ed for the NY Times about Obama’s inaction when it comes to LGBT rights.  This piece says it all.

Just a snippet:

No president possesses that magic wand, but Obama’s inaction on gay civil rights is striking. So is his utterly uncharacteristic inarticulateness. The Justice Department brief defending DOMA has spoken louder for this president than any of his own words on the subject. Chrisler noted that he has given major speeches on race, on abortion and to the Muslim world. “People are waiting for that passionate speech from him on equal rights,” she said, “and the time is now.”

Action would be even better. It’s a press cliché that “gay supporters” are disappointed with Obama, but we should all be. Gay Americans aren’t just another political special interest group. They are Americans who are actively discriminated against by federal laws. If the president is to properly honor the memory of Stonewall, he should get up to speed on what happened there 40 years ago, when courageous kids who had nothing, not even a public acknowledgment of their existence, stood up to make history happen in the least likely of places.

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This weekend is Gay Pride in NYC. While it’s great to celebrate the progress we have made, I can’t help but feel some amount of sadness on how far we haven’t come.

Jaclyn Friedman at The American Prospect wrote a great piece about the real legacy of Stonewall.  She writes:

Then there’s our relationship with President Barack Obama. We cling to him like we’re his abused and co-dependent boyfriend, swooning over his Pride Proclamation and endlessly pre-excusing him (He’s just busy! He’s waiting for his moment!) for his total inaction on our behalf. And when he hits us with a Department of Justice document defending marriage discrimination and equating homosexuality with incest, we quickly crawl back into bed with him as soon as he apologizes with a bouquet of limited benefits for federal employees and the vague possibility of hate-crimes legislation.

I appreciate all that President Obama has done and is doing to try to get this country back on track after 8 horrific years, but that certainly doesn’t mean that we should merely lie back and assume he is going to do everything. Where is the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Why does he insist on keeping DOMA in place? Gay Pride month is great, but a simple proclamation is not going to do anything to diminish the hate, violence, and injustice that the gay community experiences on a daily basis.

I hope it won’t take another 40 years to see some real, tangible change.

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Jerry Brown, attorney general of California, supports overturning Prop 8.

At  least there’s one top politician in California who makes me proud to be there.

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