Showing posts with label DOMA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DOMA. Show all posts

Monday, December 23, 2013

The MileHighGayGuy Year In Review: 2013 - The GAYEST Year in American History?

By Todd Craig

It occurs to me that now is as good a time as any to be gay. In fact this past year, 2013, has been anything but unlucky for us. History, when it looks back on this year, will have no choice but to view it through rainbow-colored glasses.

With that said, it’s time to crown 2013 as the GAYEST Year in American History.

Why? For decades it seemed that our progress and acceptance had been limited to certain areas: New England states, the genre of dance music, and Bea Arthur sitcoms to name a few primary ones. But 2013 has seen major changes in our LGBT favor in areas that haven’t traditionally changed very easily at all. Let’s review the good news, shall we?

1. Back in June, the Supreme Court took on DOMA and kicked its worthless, discriminatory ass out of the federal law books of our country. Sure, it wasn’t the wide-ranging decision that many activists had hoped for, but those sneaky Supremes made it abundantly clear what can and can’t happen in regards to marriage law, and in so doing gave attorneys everywhere a step-by-step plan for eviscerating every gay marriage ban in the country. Utah, New Mexico, Hawaii, Indiana, and New Jersey all began marrying same sex couples in the six months after the ruling. Of course, we here in Colorado aren’t quite so active, but at least we can appreciate the victories of others while we wait.

2. Second to the Supremes, we gays took a big leap forward when the newest Pope uttered the words, “If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” With that one phrase, Pope Francis hit a control-alt-delete on years’ worth of fear mongering, hatred, intolerance, and well, judgment from the Catholic 

hierarchy and their followers. Of course, he also added that homo-sex is still a sin, but whatever. Catholics, both old and young, have a new leader and a new perspective, which has given rise to such stories as this one from last week about students at a Catholic school protesting the forced resignation of their vice principal for marrying his husband.

3. Not only did the Catholic Church backpedal on their fight against all things gay, but so did the Mormon Church. Mormon history, when it came to us gays, is one filled with hideous examples of shunning and cruelty, a persecution ironically not unlike what many early Mormons went through. In their checkered past the Mormons have never been the most inclusive, only allowing African Americans into their flock in 1978, and their attitudes and actions towards LGBT folk certainly weren’t much better. The high point of Mormon involvement in gay hating came with the passage of Prop 8 in California, much of which was credited to the financial and vocal support of the Mormons. Yet, for winning the battle, they lost the war, as was brilliantly written on Mother Jones here. Consequently, the Mormon Church, like the Catholic Church, is preaching a new perspective based on inclusion and love. Sure, they and their members still have a ways to go as seen with whack-o sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card, but then again, every step forward is a step in the right direction.

4. The Boy Scouts of America also took a step into the 21st century with their decision to allow gay scouts to participate in their ranks. Their hardline stance against gays earned them nothing but bad press, dwindling participation, and lost donors. While the decision disappointed many who wanted acceptance of gay scout leaders, too, the pressure is still on the organization to continue expanding its inclusive ways. This has been seen in recent stories about aircraft giant LockheedMartin withdrawing their financial support as well as in smaller contexts as with this church in Cheyenne, WY who refused to allow its building as a meeting place over the continued banning of gay scout leaders.

5. When it comes to the music industry, we gays have both been loved and scorned – often times by artists on the same top 40 list. This year though, two artists made big splashes in genres where LGBT people aren’t usually celebrated, much less sung about. For the better part of the year, listeners couldn’t turn on their radios without hearing Macklemore’s Same Love while the video garnered over 100 million hits on YouTube alone. The rap song about inclusiveness and the love of queer folk would have been unheard of years ago, and yet in 2013 it’s a career-launcher. Similarly, no one’s ever started a country music career with a song about two boys falling in love while drinking around a campfire, but that’s exactly the trick Steve Grand pulled off this summer when his All-American Boy video went viral. 


So as 2013 draws to a close, it’s important to step back and appreciate our progress this year whether it be in the federal law books or on the R&B music charts. We may not have equality for all in 2013, but we’re a helluva lot closer than we were in 2012. Our federal laws have changed. Our biggest opponents have evolved in their attitudes and actions towards us. We have gay-proud faces and role models in communities where they have always remained hidden and silent.

And that progress is certainly history in the making and well worth celebrating.

Monday, July 15, 2013

After DOMA, Prop 8. Rulings: A Little Less Conversation; A Little More Action, Please

By Todd Craig

A few weeks have passed since the Supreme Court rulings against DOMA and Prop 8. In that time, states across the union have jumped at the opportunity to further the cause of marriage equality. Gay groups in Illinois, which has a civil unions law and a gay marriage ban, are legally challenging the second-class status such laws mandate.

In Pennsylvania, the A.C.L.U. has challenged the legality of that state’s gay marriage ban, using the Supreme Court’s rulings as the template to dismantle the discriminatory statute.

And in Colorado? Well, we’re apparently listening to the crickets chirping.

In a July 2 article published in OutFront, One Colorado director Brad Clark outlined the vision for Colorado’s main LGBT advocacy group’s path towards marriage equality: town hall meetings this fall “… aimed at discussing the path forward.”

Let me get this straight (pun intended): While other states already have lawsuits in motion fighting for marriage equality, our primary political lobbying group here in Colorado is planning meetings to discuss what to do?

Does anybody else feel let down by this?

Sure, One Colorado wants to be deliberate here. They know that we lost an election before, and they clearly don’t want to lose again. Although in retrospect, 2006 might as well have been 1956 for all of the change that has happened since, and the polls certainly would agree.

To be critical, it’s obvious that other states and their LGBT groups have already held their discussions and have decided that now is the time to act. In Colorado, I guess talking about acting is supposed to be as good as acting itself.

It’s not.

I realize that our gay marriage ban is written into the state constitution, and I get that no such ban has ever been overturned in the history of our country. It’s a big task; I get that. I really do.

But what I also realize is that the Colorado’s constitution has been changed over 150 times. From a legal standpoint, we have one of the most easily amendable constitutions in the country. On the day after the Supreme Court’s rulings, the Denver Post reported that a ballot measure to void the amendment in question could be easily held by gathering just more than 85,000 signatures statewide.

So yeah ... shouldn’t we get started on that?

I realize that elections are expensive and require man-power, money, and coordination in massive doses.

Elections may be expensive, but talk is cheap.

I realize you need to have political networks, savvy leadership, a vision for success, and the wherewithal to make it happen.

I thought that maybe we already had that in place based on the political victories extolled by One Colorado in the legislature and in last November’s elections. They certainly had no qualms celebrating the Supreme Court’s rulings by sending out a series of fundraising emails, one of which from Brad Clark featured the line: “But there’s something else we know – something that gives us incredible hope today. We know that in every corner of this state, Coloradans have shown they are ready for a conversation about why marriage matters to all couples – straight and gay alike. And in the coming weeks and months, we must come together as a community to ensure that conversation is carried out.”

Lovely prose, I suppose. But if Coloradoans are so ready to have the conversation about marriage equality to the point where we’re encouraged to donate our hard-earned dollars to the cause, why are we so not ready to have an election or to file a lawsuit? What have Pennsylvania and Illinois got, that Colorado doesn’t?

Besides quick and decisive action on the marriage equality front, that is?

Here in Colorado with nothing but talk on the horizon, we’re left to watch and wait and settle for second rate. Apparently, while other states have coordinated their efforts into action, all that we LGBT Coloradans can look forward to this fall is discussing a path forward.

Someone once said that talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand. In the more colorful parts of Colorado, talk is all we’re getting on marriage equality from our own LGBT political leadership, despite our low demand for it.

Perhaps then, when supplied something lesser, it’s time to demand better.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

MileHighGayGuys Discuss DOMA and Marriage Equality: StevieB

By StevieB

How did I spend this amazing day? Well, it started as my phone blew up with the texts and phone calls. Friends wanting to share the amazing news of DOMA being ruled unconstitutional along with California’s Proposition 8 being tossed out on its head.

It made me feel like this--------------------------->

Reading the tweets, texts, and Facebook updates was the best part, my favorite was Moby, from The Moby Files blog, speaking of his boss letting him go early due to his excitement. It’s like Christmas, the 4th of July, and everyone’s birthday all rolled into one great day.

For me, today finally persuaded me to give in and acquiesce to a long held desire of the other half. It’s true. I gave in and finally hung his cow horns and caved-in converting one of the bathrooms into cowboy themed. Yee-Haw.

This post originally appeared on Steven Bennet's website Nice to See StevieB. Republished with permission.

Monday, July 1, 2013

MileHighGayGuys Discuss DOMA and Marriage Equality: Sharon MaGoodies

"Not being one to want to immediately rush to the altar, I actually got a little teary eyed when they announced that DOMA had been declared unconstitutional. 

I feel it's a step in the right direction and the perfect time to change careers and become a wedding planner."

RuPaul's Drag Race Cast & Crew for Marriage Equality

You had to know that RuPaul and the cast and crew of Drag Race couldn't let an historic occasion like the DOMA decision go by without having something to say about it. Everybody say LOVE!

Friday, June 28, 2013

MileHighGayGuys Discuss DOMA and Marriage Equality: David Smith

"One of the more exciting things in our progress and march for equality has happened this week with the Supreme Court ruling DOMA unconstitutional and striking down the appeal for Prop 8. Of course with the excitement of marriage being more equal; people want to get married! The problem many people are facing is that they don’t have someone they can get married to.

One of the key things I have learned in my quest in exercise and fitness is how internal beauty is reflected on the outside. You will often hear the same old story, “I don’t judge people based on looks,” or “Beauty is on the inside.” While it is true that beauty is on the inside, that doesn’t mean that you necessarily have it. I have seen way too many people in the community who constantly seek a companion, like they can’t live without one. A relationship ends, and two days later, another one begins. A week later they are in love and a week after that the relationship ends. However, when I look at what these people do together and apart, it equates to nothing more than cuddling and going out to bars. To me, that’s just not enough, it’s boring and it lacks substance.

Quite the opposite can occur when one might be so fixated on looks and aesthetics that they spend all their time at the gym and eat a practically anorexic diet to have the perfect body, yet when you talk to them they have absolutely nothing to say. Again, no substance and the conversation ends up nowhere.

We are all human and we all judge. Despite what people might say, EVERYBODY will judge people based on their looks--some of it is positive, some of it is negative--and there’s nothing wrong with that. As they say, first impressions are most important, how you appear and how you initially speak. It helps us decide who we might be most compatible with and attracted to. If you don’t take care of yourself in a healthy way you will have a hard time attracting someone. How can you attract someone? By taking control of your physical and mental health, doing things you enjoy, training hard for your goals and having fun! People who exercise and enjoy what they’re doing tend to have higher self-esteem, confidence, and are overall happier people. This is easily seen in the way they walk, talk and carry on throughout their day. Attitudes are contagious! Those who are happy and confident tend to be surrounded by happy and confident people whereas those who are sad, depressed and expect pity parties tend to be surrounded similar people.

Your body is a reflection of your mind and soul. When you take care of yourself it shows in your posture, your facial expressions, the way you interact with people, and in the attitude you have throughout your day. In addition to how it can make the body look, consistent exercise can also increase strength and stamina, raise energy levels, elevate your mood, increase confidence, give you a better attitude, and most important, help foster a  positive self-image. Those are all potential side effects of pursuing a healthy lifestyle and people tend to be surrounded by people like themselves, in this case, happy, healthy, good-looking people. Oftentimes those who look down and judge are merely exhibiting a reflection of themselves, not of the person they’re talking about. I personally don’t want to be around people who are negative like that. Negativity is irrelevant, in the end what does it matter? I mean, who cares? Someone who lives life where the sun doesn’t shine has no effect on my life, regardless of what their opinion of me is I will keep doing what I love.

In the end it’s all about personal responsibility. If you think “Oh, it’s because of him," chances are it’s really because of you yourself. Be willing to step back and look at yourself from a critical perspective and realize that everybody, including yourself, makes mistakes. You don't want to end up like Taylor Swift, writing bitter songs about your hundreds of exes. None of us are perfect. I don’t want to be perfect. Perfect is what the gym bunny with the super ripped abs is trying to be. In the end all the negativity is irrelevant. You are who you are and that’s all that matters, let your true self shine and do the things you want to do. Go out and have fun, work hard and let yourself enjoy all that the world has to offer. When you do that,  all the “extra” stuff will just happen naturally and you’ll find yourself in the company of great people."

MileHighGayGuys Discuss DOMA and Marriage Equality: John Hill

"Less than three days after a majority of Supreme Court justices found a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act indefensible, I find myself in Canada. Talk about perspective. Marriage equality is old hat up here, whether you are in a metropolis like Vancouver or a small town like Strathmore where I will be for the next three days.

Humans are an adaptive bunch: they may bitch and moan and complain about their current circumstances, but they make it through. That's how we got from swinging between trees to sitting in traffic. No matter how some people complain about marriage equality, they will come around. We as the LGBT community need to live our lives publicly and proudly so those who want us unequal cannot continue to point to the shadows and worry about what we might do with equality. Only then will they realize that we are not the threat they think we are. 

My partner of four years and I know that we will eventually be married, but it remains to be seen where that will occur. As the number of states that allow same-sex marriage increase, Colorado risks becoming a dinosaur to the world. Now is the time for us to push for a new Amendment to our Constitution that is inclusive instead of exclusive when it comes to marriage. Momentum is on our side, and we should now utilize that energy to create a climate where progressive-minded people will look to Colorado as a desirable place to be instead of one to be avoided. That is our challenge, but it is one that is achievable. We owe future generations this effort so they will never be ostracized for who they love and want to spend their lives with."

MileHighGayGuys Discuss DOMA and Marriage Equality: Philip Doyle

"As a lad I was told how marriage worked. It was a romantic, Disneyesque, and daunting concept …

Somewhere, out there, in this big beautiful world, there is one person, just one, who is my perfect match. 

Well, holy smack!” I thought, “My mate is probably somewhere in Mexico or Indonesia or who knows where!?” Plus at that early age I knew I was gay, and since marriage was not legal for gays in the USA my husband most likely was hiding in some closet hundreds of miles away. Jose, Gustavo, or whatever his name is, will never come “salir del armario” and he will never travel to the States to wine and dine my Irish ass. Dayum!

Now things have changed. With the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor for equal rights, my quest for “the one” may be a little bit easier. And since I’m just a mouse-click away, I don’t have to trek the seven continents to hunt him down. Maybe he’s on Facebook, or maybe he reads MileHighGayGuy? Hmm…

What I do know is change is coming. It’s blowing in the wind and it is pissing off the fundamentalist right. Just like a bratty child being sent to time out, the Palins, Bachmens, Perrys, and guys named Jeb, will NOT go quietly. I expect their vitriolic, (and kind of embarrassing) rants will get even worse. 

At this moment, the wolves, or in this case the Fox’s, are prepping for a fight. We will hear their bigoted reinterpretations of the bible. We will avoid Rush Limbaugh’s bilious voice, decrying the fall of society, his fear-inducing pursed lips spewing icky acidic saliva, peppering the foam ball of his microphone with infectious hate.

But here is what the gay community has going for it: Ourselves.

We have Colorado State Senator Pat Steadman, who champions equality for the LGBT community, women’s rights, sex education, and HIV prevention.

Activists have given us a voice when we were dying. Peter Staley, Larry Kramer, and countless others have shown us how to ACT UP.  

Harvey Milk was killed for believing in us, and his nephew Stuart Milk continues to give us a voice.

In our ranks we have Dan Choi, a West Point graduate, American infantry officer, and gay rights activist, who put a face on the fight against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. 

Let’s not forget 84-year old Edie Windsor, the victorious plantiff in the Supreme Court case against the Defense of Marriage Act.

There are communities of bears, drag queens, daddies, twinks and twunks, cubs and pups. In every neighborhood there are pitchers, catchers, and power bottoms (who know how to take it). We have an army of butch lesbians and girly girls. There are members of the transgender community who have demonstrated heroic fortitude that far exceeds their non-trans counterparts. We even have some invisible people, numerous unseen men and women who are on the down-low, or choose to remain in the closet.

And finally, we have our secret weapon- Thousands upon thousands of little monsters who are growing not so little, and are eager to show their teeth.

So to my LGBT brothers and sisters, I love all of ya'll but lets not forget our history. Buckle up, dig in, and brace yourself. Our fight for equal rights has just begun."

MileHighGayGuys Discuss DOMA and Marriage Equality: Dan Hanley

"A divided US Supreme Court made public two decisions yesterday that will change our lives. Me and Mike's lives. And the lives of tens of thousands of other gay couples who are either already married or wish to be married.

Here in Colorado, there is a state constitutional amendment that defines government endorsed marriage as between a man and a woman. Recently civil unions became legal which offers Mike and I some state benefits.

We were married back in 2005. We did what many folks do: met, dated, fell in love, asked our pastor to marry us, he said yes, and then we joined 160 friends and family and got married.

We called our marriage ceremony "a loving act of civil disobedience" mainly because that amazing ceremony was not legal in any way.

We have held off getting a civil union. With the news from yesterday we are talking about getting legally married in California, probably not in July when we go for our summer vacation but maybe later in the year. We are still trying to figure out if getting married there will mean that we can still be federally recognized in Colorado.

So we would be legally married in the eyes of the feds and would still have to get a civil union for any Colorado recognition.

Meanwhile our lives continue. We’ll have dinner tonight, pool time tomorrow, helping a friend do some moving on Sunday. The normality of our non-legal marriage fits write alongside those who are legally married.

Our lives and our marriage go on. We are incredibly and lovingly grateful for all of our friends and family who have stood beside us and our cause. Sometimes we are blown away by the support.

In the days to come, there will be a lot of hate speech against the Supreme Court decision and against gay people in general. The vile hatred of religious extremists has already begun in full force. Please join us in continuing to speak out for marriage equality and against hate."

MileHighGayGuys Discuss DOMA and Marriage Equality: Todd Craig

"On the night after the big Supreme Court rulings against DOMA and refusing to hear Prop 8, while gays across our country celebrated, my husband stewed angrily.

'For most of us, nothing changed,' he said, livid at the celebrations going on around him on Facebook and otherwise.

There was no consoling him out of his mood.
And after some reflection on my part, it occurred to me he’s right.

While gays and lesbians in same sex marriages celebrated wildly, the rest of us were left to watch and wait and wish. Our turn will come someday.

Well, someday sucks.

No one, repeat no one, likes to watch someone else enjoy something you want but can’t have.

Here in Colorado, it has never been more apparent that civil unions aren’t civil; with no federal recognition, they’re separate and unequal and decidedly lesser.  The time for marriage equality is now.
What the Supreme Court ruled muddied the waters for those of us who live in states like ours. On the surface nothing changed, and beneath the surface lay a murky mess of unanswered questions and a bounty of legal loopholes and codified contradictions between the state and federal levels of government.

The Denver Post reported that Colorado’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman could be challenged with a ballot initiative, provided we gather a little over 85,000 signatures statewide.

Let’s get cracking.

This is the time when our political lobby has to step up, not back off. (One Colorado, I’m looking in your direction.) We need to have a ballot measure drafted. We need to start collecting signatures now.  The polling shows us that we have the support. Our governor backs us. Our legislature backs us. We have the momentum.

We need to strike while the iron is hot.

And while that’s going on, we need someone to file a lawsuit against the current amendment. The Supremes did us a solid by laying the groundwork for how to attack codified discrimination. It doesn’t stand the test of fairness, so it deserves a vigorous challenge. Legal precedent has now been established.

As individuals, we need to follow Minnesota’s lead. We need to talk with our friends, our families, and our neighbors about what marriage equality means. We need to talk about fairness and compassion.  We need to talk with everyone and campaign for everyone’s support. If it can work in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, it can work in Colorful Colorado, too.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. 

When we were kids, we brought cupcakes to school on our birthday. We made sure to note how many kids were in our class so that everyone could have one. Why? Because it was fair, and when you celebrate, you want to celebrate with everyone.

The Supreme Court rulings were nice, I suppose. And we’re a little bit closer to free, I suppose.  But it’s no fun watching other kids eating cupcakes when you don’t get one. 

So rather than wait for someone to hand us a cupcake, let’s grab some ingredients and get started.  We’ve got some work to do, Colorado.

The time is now. The support is there. The momentum is ours. The goal is worthy.  

Then we can truly celebrate."

MileHighGayGuys Discuss DOMA and Marriage Equality: Londell Jackson

"After all of the hubbub and fanfare leading up to the SCOTUS judgement about DOMA as well as their decision regarding Proposition 8, I must admit that this all somewhat feels anticlimactic.  Don't get me wrong, I am happy to hear our highest court identify the ways in which a 1990's legislative action has hurt countless U.S. citizens for bigoted and unnecessary reasons, and the same goes for Prop 8.

But, what bothers me most is that their actions, while significant to the LGBT movement for equality in the United States, were so narrow in focus and will now lead to dozens of additional lawsuits and struggles to overturn the many DOMAs or DOMA-like bills and amendments which exist in various states across the nation.  I know the case which brought this decision to the Supreme Court was particular focused on Section 3 of the national DOMA, but couldn't they have been a little more broad in their actions?

I realize my thoughts can be interpreted as ingratitude, and I can assure you that is not the case.  I'm just a little bewildered about why more didn't happen.  But I suppose this insatiable attitude is a product of my need for immediate gratification: I WANT MARRIAGE FOR ALL AND NOW!"

MileHighGayGuys Discuss DOMA and Marriage Equality: Simon O'Mahony

"Supreme Court strikes down DOMA because “... it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and their lives.”
June 26 was a day that my heart was filled with joy and pride. That joy and pride was not just for me, but for everyone in this country, my gay brothers and sisters, my straight allies, for every child in this country, and for every child born yesterday who will never live in a world with DOMA. I bow my head to those heroes who paved the way for us and had the courage to stand up for what they knew was right. I am even more inspired to stand up for what is right and encourage everyone to do the same.
I remembered Harvey Milk yesterday. “The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us'es, the us'es will give up”
I remembered Matthew Shepard yesterday. "There had been a news story about same-sex marriage and he was debating it with me. He asked me if I thought gay couples would ever be allowed to get married and he wasn't at all optimistic it would happen. He was in a mindset of, 'People are never going to accept us or understand us.'" I wish he'd been here to see it," she added. "This case warms my heart, to think that his dream is still coming true." Judy Shepard
I think that President Obama summed it up perfectly  "I don’t believe in discrimination of any sort. So my basic view is that regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, when it comes to how the law treats you, how the state treats you -- the benefits, the rights and the responsibilities under the law -- people should be treated equally."

As so many people have said, it is not a gay issue, it’s a Human Rights issue. We still have a lot of work to do, but for now, lets take a moment to celebrate."

#time4marriage #erasehate

MileHighGayGuys Discuss DOMA and Marriage Equality: Matt Kailey

"As we celebrate the SCOTUS ruling on DOMA – and celebration is definitely in order – I think that it's important to remember that trans people can still be fired in the majority of states just for being trans, that gay and lesbian people can be fired in the majority of states just for being gay or lesbian, that same-sex couples cannot be legally married in all but a handful of states, and that SCOTUS also took a giant leap back in time with its ruling on the Voting Rights Act. We are so far from across-the-board equality in this country that you can't even see it from here."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

LGBT Military Perspective on DOMA Decision

In a 5 to 4 decision, the United States Supreme Court today ruled in the case U.S. v. Windsor that part of the so­called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which became law in 1996, is unconstitutional because it is a deprivation of the equal protection of the law guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. Today’s ruling strikes down Section 3 of the law which allowed the federal government to recognize only marriages between a man and a woman.

“Today, we congratulate plaintiff Edie Windsor, her incredible legal team, and all those who have stood up for the freedom to marry in America. This victory is especially sweet for our nation’s lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members, who can now not only serve openly, but can serve knowing that their loving, committed, and legal marriages will be recognized by the military they serve and the nation they protect,” said Army veteran and OutServe­SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson.

Currently twelve states and the District of Columbia permit same­gender marriages. Robinson said today’s victory adds to the rapidly growing momentum for marriage in the U.S.

“This victory energizes our work moving forward and lays a new, strong foundation for ensuring marriage for all loving and committed couples in our country across all fifty states,” said Robinson.

Robinson thanked the plaintiffs in OutServe­SLDN’s landmark litigation, McLaughlin v. Panetta, which was filed in October 2011 on behalf of eight married gay and lesbian military couples seeking equal recognition, support, and benefits, for their part in bringing the stories of gay and lesbian military families to the fore. Despite today’s ruling, the McLaughlin case will move forward because the case challenges the constitutionality of other statutes in addition to DOMA.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the McLaughlin plaintiffs today, including the late Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan and her family, all of whom courageously stepped forward to do something very difficult: to file suit against their employer, the Department of Defense, as well the Department of Veterans Affairs. In doing so, they stood up not only for their own families, but for countless LGBT military families they will never know. Their stories have been, and will continue to be, a game­changer as the marriage fight marches forward,” said Robinson.

Robinson called on the Pentagon to act immediately and unequivocally to implement today’s ruling.“Secretary Hagel has already demonstrated his commitment to LGBT military families, just as he promised he would during his confirmation. Today the Court cleared the way for him to take the next step. We expect Secretary Hagel to act so that all families affected by today’s ruling gain access to full recognition, benefits, and support no later than sixty days from today. OutServe­SLDN will be working with the Pentagon and the VA to ensure that the greatest number of federal protections, responsibilities and programs are available to all military couples as soon as possible,” said Robinson.

One Colorado: Today's Supreme Court rulings - what comes next?

From Brad Clark, Executive Director of One Colorado:

This morning was one for the books – the history books, that is.

In an important step forward for loving, married same-sex couples and their families, today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional -- affirming that all loving, committed couples who marry deserve equal legal respect and treatment. The Court also dismissed the Proposition 8 case on lack of standing, restoring the freedom to marry in California. For thousands of married same-sex couples, these decisions mean that they can protect each other and their families.

But even as we recognize the progress made today, many questions remain for LGBT Coloradans and their families about what these rulings mean – and that’s why we are hosting a webinar tonight at 6:30 p.m. MT to discuss what happens next here in Colorado.

During this statewide discussion, we’ll have representatives from Freedom to Marry and the National Center for Lesbian Rights on hand to explain the Court’s decisions and their impact on Colorado – and to answer any other questions you may have.

Tonight’s webinar will also feature an update from One Colorado on where we go from here – as we begin an important conversation within our community about the pathway to marriage here in Colorado.

Whether you’ve expressed early interest on our webinar event page or this is the first time you’re learning about it, we want you to be a part of this evening’s discussion. Click here to register, and you’ll receive an email with instructions for dialing in at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

While so many of us are still processing this morning’s news and following the latest updates, we know one fact does remain clear: without the freedom to marry here in Colorado, gay and lesbian couples in a civil union still lack the full security and protections they need – critical federal protections like Social Security and military benefits to take care of their families.

But there’s something else we know – something that gives us incredible hope today. We know that in every corner of this state, Coloradans have shown they are ready for a conversation about why marriage matters to all couples – straight and gay alike. And in the coming weeks and months, we must come together as a community to ensure that conversation is carried out.

Tonight, we take a big step in that direction: laying out not only what today means, but the pathway forward to marriage in the days ahead. You won’t want to miss it – sign up here.

Proposition Love Jewelry to Give Away Wedding Rings in Honor of DOMA Decision

From Proposition Love jewelry:

Today's Supreme Court rulings on Prop 8 & DOMA are a huge step toward equality and an acknowledgment of LOVE for all.

We are thrilled that our marriage has now been validated by the Federal Government.
Proposition Love Jewelry is proud to continue supporting marriage equality and Gay rights until everyone has equality.

Proposition Love is offering 25% off everything on their website in honor of this historic moment (coupon code LOVEisLOVE) and will be giving away two EnGAYment rings or wedding bands through their Facebook page. Check it out and enter to win!

Reactions to DOMA Decision: Colorado Springs Pride Executive Director Charles Irwin

Statement by Charles Irwin, Executive Director Colorado Springs Pride, on the occasion of the historic DOMA decision, "Today's decisions by the United States Supreme Court are nothing short of historic, landmark, Civil Rights decisions. Colorado Springs Pride is elated that thousands of federal rights offered to married couples in the United States will now be offered to same-sex couples from 13 states and the District of Columbia, including many of our precious military families.

We have much work ahead in 37 states, including Colorado, where marriage equality is not offered or available... YET. is committed, more than ever, to advancing the civil rights of our LGBT citizens -- not more rights or less rights, but as the Constitution and now the United States Supreme Court define it, equal protection under the law.

"We" The People, will gather tonight at 5pm on the steps of City Hall (Nevada and Kiowa) for a celebration! There will be speakers, music, and a celebration fitting of this historic moment in US history. There will be a party at the Underground across the street from City Hall after the rally.

Please be there we have waited for this moment in America for over 200 years! This is an important day in American history!"

Statement by the President on the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act

Here's what President Obama had to say about today's DOMA decision, "I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.

So we welcome today’s decision, and I’ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.

On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.

The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free."

Reactions to DOMA Decision: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano

They just keep rolling in after today's historic decision!

Here's what Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano had to say, “I applaud today’s Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor holding that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. This discriminatory law denied thousands of legally married same-sex couples many important federal benefits, including immigration benefits. I am pleased the Court agreed with the Administration’s position that DOMA’s restrictions violate the Constitution. Working with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, we will implement today's decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws."

Monday, December 17, 2012

Defense of DOMA could cost House millions

The GOP-led legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act could cost up to $2 million after a new cap on litigation expenses was approved without Democratic input. The $500,000 increase in the spending cap drew condemnation from Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who accused her Republican counterparts of hiding the new contract. 

"Republicans should not be spending $2 million to defend discrimination in our country," Pelosi said.