numfar! do the dance of joy!

A day after deeply disappointing all sane Americans by effectively gutting the Voting Rights Act, the Supreme Court of the United States has sent down two key decisions helping along marriage equality: striking down DOMA and declining to uphold the bigoted Prop. 8, allowing same-sex marriages to resume in California.

It’s not surprising that SCOTUS chose to sidestep marriage equality on a Federal level, but after the huge backward step of Prop. 8, it’s another step in the right direction. And, truth be told, as heinous as Prop. 8 is, I firmly believe that the huge national media coverage it (and its out-of-state backers) received helped to move marriage equality forward in other states. It – and the subsequent lawsuits – brought marriage equality to the foreground in a way that nothing else had.

So today, my friends, I join Numfar in the Dance of Joy!

“It’s important not to hide anymore.”

Today marks a wonderful day in American history: the official repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

After eighteen years of forcing far too many of our best, brightest and bravest to lie about who they are and who they love, our LGBT servicemen and women are legally permitted to serve openly and honestly.

It’s about damned time.

This isn’t to say that things will be magically okay overnight. Janiece writes about the difficulty of sea change. But, as time goes by, this will be less of an issue for future generations who choose to defend the United States, no matter their orientation.

Even lovelier: the marriage of Navy Lt. Gary Ross and his partner Dan Swezy in Vermont at the stroke of midnight, the moment the repeal went into effect. So very fantastic. As Lt. Ross said, “We feel that it’s important that as soon as we’re allowed to commit to each other that we do. It’s important not to hide anymore.

Navy Lt. Gary Ross, right, and Dan Swezy marry at midnight in Vermont as Don't Ask, Don't Tell becomes history. (Toby Talbot / Associated Press / September 19, 2011)

sometimes barbarians need to be disciplined…

…and sometimes they need to flash mob dance outside a “mental health” clinic that takes Medicaid money – possibly to supplement their dangerous “ex-gay reparative therapy” – while the wife of the head “therapist” runs for President on a platform that bashes Medicaid spending:

A barbarian raises his paw in salute to "Marcus Bachmann's" conversion.
A barbarian raises his paw in salute to "Marcus Bachmann's" conversion.

Photo, video and caption courtesy of Columbus Go Home.

Say “I Do”…

Though I’m not much into religion, I can appreciate the beauty of a church. Especially one that is donated for the cause of civil rights.

On Saturday I found myself inside a lovely little church in West Hollywood. One that I had driven/walked past many times over the last twenty years:

What brought me into a church on a lovely Saturday afternoon? Shooting a PSA in support of marriage equality. A couple of weeks ago CuteFilmNerd worked as an extra on a television show. One of his fellow extras mentioned a project that a friend of hers was putting together and that she was working on and would he like to participate? He couldn’t, but he just happened to know someone with strong feelings on the subject (your humble blogger, of course).

And so there I was today for five and a half hours, in a dress and rarely worn heels, lending my talents as background actress. It was on a purely volunteer basis, but it’s for a cause I deeply believe in and I enjoyed myself, meeting new people, so that’s pretty good in my book.

BTW, the creators of Say “I DO” still need additional funding to get this PSA off the ground. They’ve got a fundraising page that will only be up for a little longer (it goes dark at midnight on Monday) and could use all the help they could get. If you could swing by and donate a little, I know it would be very appreciated.

(A few photos from the day are below. More can be found in my Picasa album.)

progress marches on…

A few days late to the party (as usual), but I just had to post this lovely photo:

After waiting 23 years, Phyllis Sifel, 76, and Connie Kopelov, 84, were the very first couple to be wed in New York City.
After waiting 23 years, Phyllis Sifel, 76, and Connie Kopelov, 84, were the very first couple to be wed in New York City.

As of Sunday, July 24, 2011, same-sex couples were allowed to exercise the civil right of marriage in the State of New York. And marry they did. Even a gay puppet couple from Avenue Q joined in on the celebrations.

It’s so nice to see that, in at least one avenue of life, progress is marching forward.

“Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men & lesbians.”

The above quote was taken from the ruling handed down by Judge Vaughn R. Walker in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, in which two same-sex couples sued the Republic of California, challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

The ruling found that the proposition is unconstitutional, striking down the contention that relegating an entire group of people to second-class citizenship is perfectly okay.

Needless to say, this makes me very happy. One might even say it makes me…gay.

Yes, the Prop. 8 bigots will file an appeal. Had the decision gone the other way, opponents of Prop. 8 would’ve done the same thing. Last night the lawyers for Prop. 8 filed a motion for a stay on the ruling, which Judge Walker has granted for an indefinite period (though one lucky couple managed to sneak in their marriage before the stay was issued). But inevitably the tide will continue turning, washing the detritus of hate and bigotry out to sea. It’s only a matter of time.

Equality will win out.

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. — Judge Vaughn R. Walker — August 4, 2010

six states…

…will burn in hell.

At least according to opponents of marriage equality.

Of course we all want to know where these bigoted opponents are going with their arguments before we enter into discussions with them. Thankfully Patrick Farley has created a helpful flow chart to give us a heads up on the genesis (and exodus) of the straightforward anti-marriage-equality “logic.” (Which doesn’t resemble Earth logic.)


(H/T to the newly West-Coasted bstewart.)

first step for full federal LGBTQ equal rights

During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama said that he supported the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and called for the repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).

Since becoming president, Obama and his administration has, for the most part, been curiously silent on the subject, saying little more than, “These things take time.A recent legal brief from this administration’s Department of Justice has merely fueled the fire of those criticizing Obama’s inaction on LGBT issues, especially since the Senior Legal Counsel on the brief received a Distinguished Service Award from Alberto Gonzalez for his work on the constitutional challenges to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

Today Obama signed a presidential memo granting same-sex partners of federal employees some federal benefits. Unfortunately, this memo does not go so far as to grant health or retirement benefits.

Critics of Obama’s LGBTQ inaction are likening it to a token thrown at the LGBTQ community, saying,“Tokens are not enough.”

These critics are correct. Tokens are not enough. While there is no way of knowing for certain, it is very likely that Obama would not have signed the memo had it not been for the recent outcry against his DOJ or the constant pressure from LGBTQ groups and individuals.

However, we also have to recognize that this is a positive first step towards full Federal rights for LGBTQ people. There is still a long way to go and a hell of lot of work to do. It’s unfortunate that Obama needs to be pushed to keep his campaign promises. Yes, he has a lot on his plate trying to fix the extraordinary mess left behind by Bush and Friends. But a simple executive order placing a moratorium on DADT until a full repeal can be implemented would go a long way towards showing that he really is a staunch advocate of full equality.

Still, we must keep the pressure up. Equality is a matter of time – there is no turning back. Obama will see that as well.

Crossposted from SoCal Grassroots: Keeping the Left Coast Blue

three classes of people = a-ok in california

Not surprisingly – but very disappointingly – the California Supreme Court has voted to uphold Proposition 8 on the grounds that “the voters were within their rights to approve a constitutional amendment redefining marriage to include only male-female couples.”

However, the court has upheld the right for the 18,000+ same-sex marriages performed between June and November 2008 to stand. Which means that California currently has three classes of people: those heterosexual couples who can get married at the drop of any hat; same-sex couples that were married during the short window of time that same-sex marriages were legal in California (and who will most likely be facing a fight against bigots who will work to invalidate their marriages); same-sex couples who, as it currently stands, can never get married in their state of residence.

This is untenable. There are marches and rallies planned all across the United States tonight. If you want to show your support for marriage equality for all American citizens, please attend one of these marches in your city. You can also get a free sticker or purchase some “I Do” or “Love Unites merchandise.

Civil rights always win out in the end. Let’s work to make it happen sooner than later.