Gay Primary Source

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

US House of Representatives Passes Inclusive Hate Crimes Bill

"Throughout our history, this nation has sought to uphold the ideals of our founding – that all are created equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, with the passage of federal hate crimes legislation, we have affirmed these ideals and the inclusiveness that our nation stands for by extending the protection of its laws to all: ‘one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’

All Americans have a fundamental right to feel safe in their communities. This legislation will help protect Americans against violence based on sexual orientation, race, religion, gender, national origin, disability, or gender identity. Congress has been debating federal hate crimes legislation for 17 years. It was more than 10 years ago that Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered. The time for debate is long over. I am proud that today the House has acted and in so doing, honored this nation’s commitment to the ideals of justice, equality and opportunity."

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, on the House passage of H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, passed by a vote of 249 to 175, Wednesday April 29, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Actor Okay With Gay Rumors

“I’d be happy to go and deny it, because I’m not,” he says. “But by denying it, I’m saying there is something shameful about it, and there isn’t anything shameful. The questions about sexuality I find more here in America than anywhere else, because it’s a big hang-up and defines what people think about themselves and others. It’s not a big issue in Australia.” Actor Hugh Jackman, Parade Magazine interview, April 23, 2009, about gay rumours.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mayor of New York City Supports Governor's Same-Sex Marriage Bill

"I was pleased to join the Governor today in support of marriage equality. When it comes to recognizing civil rights, New York State has always been a leader. This is where Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony began the long struggle for women’s suffrage. This is where the NAACP was founded 100 years ago. And still today, New York is a major center for workers’ rights, for immigrant rights and for gay rights.

Our State has always stood up for individual freedoms. In keeping with that proud tradition, I believe New York should become the next state to permit same-sex marriages. As I’ve said before, I do not think that government should be in the business of telling us who we can and cannot marry.

It’s clear that the tide is turning and support is mounting. Many New Yorkers have been waiting a long time for the State to take up the issue of marriage equality. While we’ve been waiting, New York City has taken a number of important steps to support same-sex married couples. In 2005, we adopted a new policy to recognize equally all marriages and civil unions lawfully entered into in other jurisdictions like Massachusetts, Canada and other foreign nations, and now, Vermont and Iowa. We did so to ensure the same rights and benefits are available to all married couples in New York. We also convinced our pension systems and the City University of New York to adopt similar policies. Just last month, the City’s Board of Health voted unanimously to allow married lesbian couples to list both of their names on a birth certificate as soon as their children are born in New York City.

Despite the progress we’ve made, gay and lesbian couples are still denied many civil protections and benefits that married couples enjoy and that’s why marriage equality is so important. I share the Governor’s belief that marriage equality will happen - here in New York State, and throughout the nation."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, April 16, 2009

Governor of New York Introduces Same-Sex Marriage Bill

"...after the unfortunate accident of Proposition 8 that passed in California, it left a number of advocates in a place of complete confusion and stunned disbelief. Right here in New York at that time, we were musing about when marriage equality would pass in the Senate. Then we changed it to whether or not it could pass in the Senate. Then the discussion became whether or not political opposition could stop a bill from coming to the floor in the Senate. And now, that devolving of energy has moved to a place where we are actually debating whether or not the Governor should introduce a bill on marriage equality - when, in fact, the Governor introduced a bill on the same issue in 2007.

So what we have is not a crisis of issues. We have a crisis of leadership. We’re going to fill that vacuum today. I’m putting a stop to it. I’m introducing a bill to bring marriage equality to the state of New York. This is a civil rights issue. For too long, we have pretended that gay and lesbian New Yorkers have the same rights as their neighbors and their friends. For too long, we have allowed the perception that gay and lesbian New Yorkers have the same privileges as their own straight brothers and sisters or mothers and fathers. That is not the case. All have been the victims of what is a legal system that has systematically discriminated against all of them. And too many loving families right here in New York State have not received the legal recognition that they deserve.

We have all known the wrath of discrimination. We have all felt the pain and the insult of hatred. This is why we are all standing here today. We stand to tell the world that we want equality for everyone. We stand to tell the world that we want marriage equality in New York State.
Now I, honestly, I understand the trepidation and the anxiety that people are feeling right now. And I understand that there is always a risk in any action that you take. But what we have to really come out of this gathering today understanding is that rights should not be stifled by fear. What we should understand is that silence should not be a response to injustice, and that if we take no action we will surely lose; maybe we’ve already lost.

There is no gain without struggle. And there is no corner of this country or region of the world that, timelessly, has not been struggling to bring freedom to those who have never received it. And therefore, we struggle for that freedom for all people, even still here in the United States of America. And I am willing to help lead that struggle for marriage equality in New York.
And the reality is that for me, that this is the time to fulfill the dreams of our founding Constitution, which implored us to expand the rights of the Union. And our founding Constitution has been expanded to include African-Americans; the right of women to vote; the right of Americans to get citizenship here in this country, and we want to expand those rights to all people.

For too long, the gay and lesbian communities have been told that their rights and freedoms have to wait. For too long, New Yorkers have been told that a dysfunctional government is going to make them wait for openness and real transparency. This is real reform. The time has come to act. The time has come for leadership. The time has come to bring marriage equality to the State of New York."

New York State Governor David A. Paterson, April 16, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Supreme Court of Iowa Rules for Same-Sex Marriage

"Having examined each proffered governmental objective through the appropriate lens of intermediate scrutiny, we conclude the sexual-orientation-based classification under the marriage statute does not substantially further any of the objectives. While the objectives asserted may be important (and many undoubtedly are important), none are furthered in a substantial way by the exclusion of same-sex couples from civil marriage. Our equal protection clause requires more than has been offered to justify the continued existence of the same-sex marriage ban under the statute.

In the final analysis, we give respect to the views of all Iowans on the issue of same-sex marriage - religious or otherwise - by giving respect to our constitutional principles. These principles require that the state recognize both opposite-sex and same-sex civil marriage. Religious doctrine and views contrary to this principle of law are unaffected, and people can continue to associate with the religion that best reflects their views. A religious denomination can still define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and a marriage ceremony performed by a minister, priest, rabbi, or other person ordained or designated as a leader of the person’s religious faith does not lose its meaning as a sacrament or other religious institution. The sanctity of all religious marriages celebrated in the future will have the same meaning as those celebrated in the past. The only difference is civil marriage will now take on a new meaning that reflects a more complete understanding of equal protection of the law. This result is what our
constitution requires.

We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective. The legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification. There is no material fact, genuinely in dispute, that can affect this determination.

We have a constitutional duty to ensure equal protection of the law. Faithfulness to that duty requires us to hold Iowa’s marriage statute, Iowa Code section 595.2, violates the Iowa Constitution. To decide otherwise would be an abdication of our constitutional duty. If gay and lesbian people must submit to different treatment without an exceedingly persuasive justification, they are deprived of the benefits of the principle of equal protection upon which the rule of law is founded. Iowa Code section 595.2 denies gay and lesbian people the equal protection of the law promised by the Iowa Constitution.

Because our civil marriage statute fails to provide equal protection of the law under the Iowa Constitution, we must decide how to best remedy the constitutional violation. The sole remedy requested by plaintiffs is admission into the institution of civil marriage. The County does not suggest an alternative remedy. The high courts of other jurisdictions have remedied constitutionally invalid bans on same-sex marriage in two ways. Some courts have ordered gay and lesbian people to be allowed to access the institution of civil marriage. Other courts have allowed their state legislatures to create parallel civil institutions for same-sex couples.

Iowa Code section 595.2 is unconstitutional because the County has been unable to identify a constitutionally adequate justification for excluding plaintiffs from the institution of civil marriage. A new distinction based on sexual orientation would be equally suspect and difficult to square with the fundamental principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution. This record, our independent research, and the appropriate equal protection analysis do not suggest the existence of a justification for such a legislative classification that substantially furthers any governmental objective. Consequently, the language in Iowa Code section 595.2 limiting civil marriage to a man and a woman must be stricken from the statute, and the remaining statutory language must be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage.

The district court properly granted summary judgment to plaintiffs. Iowa Code section 595.2 violates the equal protection provision of the Iowa Constitution. Our decision becomes effective upon issuance of procedendo."

Supreme Court of Iowa - Affirmed - All justices concur. Thursday, April 3, 2008