Showing posts with label Same Sex Support. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Same Sex Support. Show all posts

November 7, 2016

An Open Letter from An Activist to the LGBT Voting Community







 





 
An Open Letter to the LGBT Community On the Eve of the 2016 Election
In a recent interview with the Washington Blade, Hillary Clinton described me as a “role model” and a “truly remarkable woman: smart, feisty and very brave.” While I am obviously so honored by her remarks, I actually think that the person those words best describe is Hillary herself.

Hillary has been a role model her whole life. From her earliest days as the first ever student Commencement Speaker at Wellesley College in 1969, to her time as our nation’s Secretary of State, Hillary was a natural leader, pushing her generation to make the kind of transformational change that today’s millennials are demanding. You can listen to her speech yourself on the internet. It’s incredible that someone so young could be so wise beyond her years. Hillary continues to serve as a role model today, including to all the kids with LGBT parents who come to see her at her rallies and the many LGBT persons on her campaign staff like her campaign manager, Robby Mook.

There certainly can be no question that Hillary is incredibly smart. At the three debates against Donald Trump, not only did she demonstrate a complete mastery of every issue, but she managed to do so with the utmost dignity, even in the face of constant taunting from Donald Trump. In those debates, Hillary made it very clear that she would only appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would understand and defend the equal dignity of LGBT people.

Feisty? Again, Hillary has demonstrated that quality hands down. When it comes to defending the interests of children, no one has been feistier or more determined. She has spoken out against the bullying of LGBT kids, will prohibit conversion therapy nationwide, and has worked to make it easier for LGBT couples to adopt.

Confronting injustice takes bravery, and Hillary has lots of that as well. In 1995, she had the courage to say in no uncertain terms that “Women’s rights are human rights.” In 2011, she declared that “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.” Hillary is a fighter who never gives up. As the first woman President of the United States, she will fight for the Equality Act, take on LGBT homelessness, and will implement a plan to move us closer to an AIDS-free generation.

If you haven’t already voted for Hillary, please, please, please do so — and encourage your friends and family to do the same. You can go to IWillVote.com to confirm your polling place and get all the information you need to vote in this important election. And if you’d like to do even more, go to HillaryClinton.com and sign up to volunteer.

In only a few days, this great nation — which allowed me to win my case before the United States Supreme Court — will elect it’s next President. We must defeat Trump and his homophobic vice presidential candidate, Mike Pence. To borrow Hillary’s own words from that 1969 commencement speech, we really don’t have time for fear. Not now. Now is the time for action. Now is the time to vote. Every single one of us. Now.

Very truly yours,
Edith S. Windsor
Hillary Clinton2016 ElectionPoliticsLGBTQ

 
Edie Windsor
LGBT activist. Computer operating systems pioneer. NYC resident.

October 15, 2016

Why it Matters to Have a Government Supporting Same Sex Rights




 Those dreams became a reality but realities can go back to dreams and nightmares.
Be careful how you vote if you believe in same sex Marriage. We need a congress, the executive branch with the Supreme Court that believe in it and is independent of religious rules.





THE ISSUE

Same-sex marriage is now the law of the land, but there are other battlegrounds related to civil rights and nondiscrimination protections for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. Two polarizing questions: What sort of access should transgender people have to public bathrooms? And are the advances for LGBT rights infringing on the religious freedom of some Americans?

WHERE THEY STAND

Hillary Clinton is a staunch supporter of LGBT rights; she has endorsed the Equality Act, a proposed federal law that would provide comprehensive protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Donald Trump says he would be a better president for gays than Clinton, yet major LGBT-rights groups strongly oppose him. Among the reasons: He has balked at endorsing same-sex marriage, his evangelical advisory board has included prominent opponents of advances in LGBT rights, and running mate Mike Pence, Indiana’s governor, last year signed a law that critics said would allow businesses to deny service to gay people for religious reasons.

WHY IT MATTERS

Whoever wins the presidency can only do so much to influence national LGBT-rights policies, unless, perhaps, if the winner’s party sweeps control of Congress. The proposed Equality Act is unlikely to advance through a Republican-controlled House, even if Clinton wins. And the nationwide legality of same-sex marriage is unlikely to be threatened, though some conservatives cling to hopes that a Supreme Court reconfigured by Trump appointees might reverse the 2015 ruling extending that right to all 50 states.

On some fronts, however, the outcome of the presidential race could have a major impact – for example, in how aggressively federal agencies work to expand LGBT rights. Clinton would probably maintain or intensify the Obama administration’s efforts to bolster transgender rights. This could mean pressure on school districts to let transgender students use school bathrooms based on their gender identity.

Some transgender students have become activists on this issue, saying they face harassment and discomfort if forced to use bathrooms on the basis of the sex on their birth certificate.

There’s also the matter of judicial appointments. Thus far, federal judges have generally been unsympathetic to arguments that certain types of anti-LGBT discrimination are permissible if in accordance with a person’s religious beliefs. Trump has told conservatives he’d place a high priority on religious liberty and would seek to protect Christians from having to violate their beliefs. Among the types of cases in question: Whether wedding photographers or bakers who oppose same-sex marriage should be penalized for refusing to provide services for a same-sex wedding.

At the state level, the election could have important repercussions for LGBT issues. In North Carolina, for example, the Democratic candidate for governor, Attorney General Roy Cooper, opposes a law curtailing LGBT rights that was signed by his election opponent, incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. That law – which includes restrictions on transgender people’s bathroom access – has been the target of an expansive protest campaign.

In Indiana, Pence’s decision to forgo a second term to run for vice president boosts Democratic hopes of winning the race for governor. The Democratic candidate, former House Speaker John Gregg, has vowed to push for full LGBT civil rights if elected; at present Indiana is one of 28 states with no statewide nondiscrimination protections for gays and lesbians.

In Kentucky, there’s an intriguing U.S. Senate race matching incumbent Republican Rand Paul, who failed in his presidential bid, against Democrat Jim Gray, the openly gay mayor of Lexington. Gray is an underdog in the race.

 DAVID CRARYASSOCIATED PRESS

Editor’s note: This story is part of an occasional Associated Press series examining the issues at stake in the presidential election between now and Election Day. Read more from “Why it matters.”

October 8, 2016

Top Evangelical College Will Fire People= Beliefs SSMarriage=Religious Freedom



                                                                             

One of the largest evangelical organizations on college campuses nationwide has told its 1,300 staff members they will be fired if they personally support gay marriage or otherwise disagree with its newly detailed positions on sexuality starting on Nov. 11.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA says it will start a process for “involuntary terminations” for any staffer who comes forward to disagree with its positions on human sexuality, which hold that any sexual activity outside of a husband and wife is immoral.

Staffers are not being required to sign a document agreeing with the group’s position, and supervisors are not proactively asking employees to verbally affirm it. Instead, staffers are being asked to come forward voluntarily if they disagree with the theological position. When they inform their supervisor of their disagreement, a two-week period is triggered, concluding in their last day. InterVarsity has offered to cover outplacement service costs for one month after employment ends to help dismissed staff with their résumés and job-search strategies.

“We internally categorize these as involuntary terminations due to misalignment with InterVarsity ministry principles, which is a category we use for people who leave for theological and philosophy of ministry disagreements,” Greg Jao, an InterVarsity vice president and director of campus engagement, told TIME in an email. “Our goal is not to go, ‘Oh we want you to do the dirty work of firing yourself.’ I think our thing is, if you are in disagreement, then we are going to ask you, with integrity, to identify that and leave,” he added in an interview.

InterVarsity has also said that staffers should only share views publicly that are consistent with its positions, though it’s unclear if that means someone could be fired for posting on Facebook, for example. Outlined in an internal 20-page paper, the positions include injunctions against divorce and sex before marriage, though critics say the biggest effect will be among younger staffers who support gay marriage — in essence, making it something of a theological purge.

Bianca Louie, 26, led the InterVarsity campus fellowship at Mills College, a women’s liberal-arts school in Oakland and her alma mater. When it became clear several months ago that the policy would go into effect, Louie realized she had to leave, after four years of working with the group. She is not sure what will happen to the outreach she and others worked to create at Mills. “I don’t know how InterVarsity can do ministry on campus with integrity anymore,” she says. “Mills is a women’s college with inclusive trans policies, and higher ed is overall making more efforts to be inclusive and safe for LGBTQ students … I could see us getting kicked off campus because of this.”

Louie and about 10 other InterVarsity staff formed an anonymous queer collective earlier this year to organize on behalf of staff, students and alumni who felt unsafe under the new policy. They compiled dozens of stories of individuals in InterVarsity programs and presented them to national leadership. “I think one of the hardest parts has been feeling really dismissed by InterVarsity,” she says. “The queer collective went through a very biblical, very spiritual process, with the Holy Spirit, to get to where we are. I think a lot of people think those who are affirming [same-sex marriage] reject the Bible, but we have landed where we have because of Scripture, which is what InterVarsity taught us to do.”

InterVarsity has more than 1,000 chapters on 667 college campuses around the country. More than 41,000 students and faculty were actively involved in the organization in the last school year, and donations topped $80 million last fiscal year. The group is focused on undergraduate outreach, but it also has specific programs for athletes, international students, nurses, sororities, fraternities and others. InterVarsity also hosts the Urbana conference, one of the largest student missionary conferences in the world.

Interim InterVarsity president Jim Lundgren and president-elect Tom Lin sent a letter to all staff in July to inform them of the employment policy. The decision is the outcome of a four-year internal review on what the Bible teaches about human sexuality. InterVarsity issued its conclusions in a 20-page internal position paper on human sexuality in March 2015, and then gave staff 18 months to study it and participate in a nine-part study exploring its conclusions.

In its description of sexual attraction, identity, and behavior, the paper states, “Scripture is very clear that God’s intention for sexual expression is to be between a husband and wife in marriage. Every other sexual practice is outside of God’s plan and therefore is a distortion of God’s loving design for humanity.”

The position paper also outlined theological positions against divorce, sex before marriage, pornography, cohabitation and sexual abuse, but the practical application of the study focused on implications for the LGBTQ community. The July letter states, “We expect that all staff will ‘believe and behave in a manner consonant with our “Theological Summary of Human Sexuality” paper,’ as described by the Code of Conduct. (To ‘believe and behave’ means we [1] agree with the substance and conclusions of the ‘Theological Summary of Human Sexuality,’ [2] will not engage in sexual immorality as defined in the paper, and [3] will not promote positions inconsistent with the ‘Theological Summary of Human Sexuality.’)”

Jao, the director of campus engagement, says the organization’s views are not new, but the new position paper was intended to clarify InterVarsity’s understanding of Scripture, especially in response to requests from students. “Because nothing has changed, I’m hoping universities continue to welcome InterVarsity in the way they have in the past, in the way they welcome Catholic campus ministries whose official teachings are the same and whose priests are required to be celibate,” he says.

LGBTQ individuals can remain on staff if they remain celibate and affirm the position paper. LGBTQ students, Jao says, remain welcome in the campus groups. The July letter also stated that InterVarsity is “developing training for staff so that we become a place which recognizes the dignity and personhood of LGBTQI staff and students.” Even still, Jao acknowledges some campus groups may be unhappy with the decision. “I think it is unfortunate in terms of the kind of environment we want to create on campus where there is diversity of thought and pluralistic engagement with one another, and I recognize the cost of teaching what we teach,” he says.

InterVarsity’s decision reaches beyond just its campus ministry. InterVarsity Press, a division of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, is a prominent evangelical publisher that has published best sellers like J.I. Packer’s Knowing God, John Stott’s Basic Christianity, and many theological commentaries and biblical reference books used at evangelical colleges. “InterVarsity employment policies are for all employees, including employees of InterVarsity Press,” Jeff Crosby, publisher of InterVarsity Press, told TIME in a statement. “Authors are not employees.”

The exact impact for authors that InterVarsity publishes is not clear. “Authors do not have to sign anything indicating support for IVP’s theological summary on human sexuality or doctrinal basis, but the books we publish do reflect — and always have reflected — our theological convictions as an extension of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA,” Crosby says, even though no one affected is required to sign an affirmation. “The theological summary on human sexuality has no new impact on what InterVarsity Press publishes.”

Evangelicals are increasingly divided over gay marriage, and support is rising, especially in the younger generations. One in four white evangelicals supports gay marriage, according to the Pew Research Center, more than double the support from 10 years ago, and nearly half of millennial evangelicals favor or strongly favor gay marriage. That is still the lowest support of major religious groups in the U.S. — nearly 60% of Catholics, by contrast, support same-sex marriage. InterVarsity defines itself as an interdenominational organization and has not ascribed to one denomination’s theological commitments. The new decision moves the organization toward a more specific type of evangelical biblical interpretation that does not affirm gay marriage.

The move is also another sign of a trend in evangelical circles for stricter orthodoxy. Earlier this year, Wheaton College parted ways with its only tenured black female professor, Larycia Hawkins, after she wore a hijab and wrote a Facebook post expressing solidarity with the Muslim community, saying, “As Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.” In 2014, the U.S. branch of World Vision, an evangelical humanitarian organization, announced it would permit the hiring of married gay individuals, but the board reversed its decision after it lost more than 10,000 child sponsorships in 48 hours.

For Ginny Prince, 32, the consequences of the new policy are very difficult to discuss. Until last week, she was an assistant area director near Oakland and had worked for InterVarsity for seven years. She is an LGBTQ ally — and she has a transgender child. Already, she says, her husband has walked away from the faith largely because of how the church has dealt with the LGBTQ community. She knew she had to tell her supervisor she did not support the new policy. “This was very painful for everybody,” Prince says. “I got fired … I sent an email and said, I cannot align, and I think that this policy is discriminatory, and I cannot align. That was it. We cried, we cried really hard my last day.”

Prince does not know what she will do next. But she knows two things. One: “I want the church to be a safe place for my child to grow up,” she says. And two, she will miss InterVarsity. “They have a unique understanding of and willingness to engage in hard issues like racial justice and women in ministry and things of that nature,” she explains. “I thought that they would be more able to contain difference in this area as well, difference of opinion. I think what they do is very important, and I am very sad to go.”
 

September 15, 2016

Bishop: You Can Support Same Sex and Follow the Bible






Christians who support same-sex marriage are not “abandoning the Bible” the Archbishop of Wales has insisted, as he told leading Anglicans that sex in a committed gay or lesbian relationship is perfectly “proper”.

Dr Barry Morgan used his final address to the governing body of the Church in Wales, ahead of his retirement, to urge members to rethink traditional beliefs about same-sex relationships as being sinful.

Even Biblical texts often cited as condemning homosexuality, such as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone, could be “interpreted in more than one way”, he said.

One cannot argue that there is one accepted traditional way of interpreting Scripture that is true and orthodox and all else is modern revisionism, culturally conditioned

Dr Barry Morgan
Read as a whole, it is not possible to argue that there is “one settled understanding of what the Bible says” on sexuality and a range of other topics, he claimed.

Dr Morgan, a prominent liberal figure in the church, is stepping down in early 2017 after 14 years as Archbishop, the longest serving primate in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

In his address he cites a string of examples from both the Old Testament and New Testament in which, he said, different passages effectively contradict each other on topics as diverse as the status of eunuchs in Jewish society to the use of violence in retribution.     

“What all this shows is that within the Scriptures themselves, there are radical shifts in understanding in what it means to discern the will of God,” he said.
 
“It absolutely will not do to quote texts from parts of the Bible in a simplistic way without reference to their contexts.”

Overall, he said, Christianity should welcome those “excluded, marginalized, and abandoned by society”.

In previous centuries, churches had shifted their position dramatically on issues such as slavery, he added.

People flourish best when ... a couple make a lifelong commitment within which sex properly belongs
'Amazing Love' - book of essays quoted by Dr Morgan
He said: “What all this amounts to is that one cannot argue that there is one accepted traditional way of interpreting scripture that is true and orthodox and all else is modern revisionism, culturally conditioned … so taking the Bible as a whole and taking what it says very seriously may lead us into a very different view of same-sex relationships than the one traditionally upheld by the church.”

He went on: “We are not thereby abandoning the Bible but trying to interpret it in a way that is consistent with the main thrust of the ministry of Jesus, who went out of His way to minister to those who were excluded, marginalised, and abandoned by his society because they were regarded as impure and unholy by the religious leaders of his day, either because of their gender, age, morality or sexuality.”

Some branches of Anglicanism, including the Church of England, have sought to sidestep the question of clergy in same-sex relationships by insisting they should claim to be celibate.
 
Last week the Bishop of Grantham, the Rt Rev Nicholas Chamberlain, disclosed that he is in a same sex relationship but made clear that he observes celibacy.

But Dr Morgan pointedly rejected the celibacy requirement, quoting a passage from a recent book of essays on the subject, entitled Amazing Love, which argues: “Christians have discovered that most people flourish best when this living for others finds its focus in a commitment to one other person: when a couple make a lifelong commitment within which sex properly belongs.”

He added: “Those of us who were or are married have found that to be the case.  Why would we want to deny such a possibility for those who are attracted to their own gender?”


September 26, 2015

Polls Show Kim Davies Have helped the Same Sex marriage Issue she fights



                                                                     


Acts of plain unfairness and undue harshness of actions to any cause makes no friends on either side of any argument. When people like the obese guy with a cigar on a radio show with the RamRod initials or a so called Doctor which she is not, nor people in congress expressing outlandish religious view points that sometimes they don’t believe themselves but are branded out for shock value and for the benefit of the more vocal but conservative side of their audience. Such actions makes no new friends and they loose the fair-minded people in the middle and make the case against them from the undecided people trying to weight the issue in a fair way more squeamish of their views. 

I truly believe these crazies on the right have been of help in giving us a broader audience of more fair-minded people. The same holds true of this publicity seeking town clerk  Kim Davies in not allowing new marriage licenses to be issue. She knew that this would not stop same sex couples from getting married else where in the state and not even on her own county. She weighted greedily the way the publicity was to be vast and the money would be forthcoming for her and her cause. The money part has come through but not in vast amounts for her on the other hand the publicity certainly came the way it was device to do. 

The problem for her is that if she meant to sway opinions to her cause the opposite has happened.  I don’t think Clerk Davies is sophisticated enough to think that this would irk many fair minded people and people that know the difference between taking an oath to do a job and refusing to accomplish it the way its supposed to but the oath is taken seriously in this country. Americans and their Oaths go way back since the time of the continental Congress and George Washington. As we know on those days your word of oath was as seriously as a video of an oath taker today. Sometimes paper and ink was not available so a shake of hands or your right hand up and left on your heart or the bible was as good as a signer on a document today with a notary present and a video rolling to record the transaction.

There are a couple of polls that would shead a brighter side on what I’m talking about. Mark Joseph Stern writes the following about these two polls on Slate:

Shortly after the Supreme Court brought marriage equality to every state, the AP released a troubling poll: 49 percent of respondents believed local officials with religious objections should be exempt from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, while just 47 percent thought they should be required to follow the law.

That, of course, was before the Kim Davis brouhaha. Over the last month, Davis’ refusal to issue marriage licenses—on account, she says, of her religious opposition to same-sex marriage—has dominated the news cycle. Davis appeared to be a terrible poster girl for the cause of anti-gay “religious liberty”: Even principled conservatives turned against her after she violated a federal court order and displayed brazen contempt for the rule of law. In early September, I hypothesized that Davis’ stand might be a gift for the gay rights movement, since she so insolently revealed the raw animus that lies beneath the cynically misleading “religious liberty” campaign. But others, like the Atlantic’s Emma Green, speculated that Davis might actually bolster the “religious liberty” movement by giving it a sympathetic martyr.

On Tuesday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll revealed the most significant post-Davis data point yet—and the results don’t look good for Davis and her admirers. An overwhelming 74 percent of respondents believed that when a conflict arises between religious beliefs and equal treatment under the law, equality should win out. Moreover, 63 percent of respondents said that Davis should be required to issue marriage licenses despite her sincerely held religious beliefs. (That tracks an earlier Rasmussen poll, which found that 66 percent of Americans think Davis should follow the law and issue licenses.)

Notably, a majority of only two groups thought Davis should be exempted from issuing licenses: evangelical white Protestants and self-identified “strong conservatives.” That view was also more common among Republicans, less well-educated people, and lower-income Americans. Democrats, well-educated people, and higher-income Americans widely believed Davis should not defy a federal court order and refuse to do her job.

July 27, 2015

Merkel Gets Lesbian Parody Published for Being Against Something the Public is for, Same Sex Marriage


Last Wednesday, the new German magazine Straight made a bold first impression on Twitter by releasing a steamy video depicting a woman, with sexy bedhead, lovingly caressing a look-alike of German chancellor Angela Merkel.
The video immediately achieved notoriety in Germany, partly because of the mildly controversial image of the straight Merkel being in a lesbian relationship, but mostly for the fact that it mocked Merkel’s stance on gay marriage. Despite the country’s overwhelming support of same-sex marriage—the radio playing in the background of the video says 62 percent favor it; other polls place that number higher—Merkel recently said that she did not believe in it. “For me, personally, marriage is a man and a woman living together,” she said in a recent interview, but quickly emphasized that she was against discrimination based on sexual orientation. “That is my concept, but I support civil partnerships."
Her behind-the-times comments also came right after she awkwardly made a teenage immigrant cry on TV by saying that Germany might deport her parents, making this a fantastic Merkel Month.



July 6, 2015

Surprising Events in Russia after Supremes Decision


                                                                                
                                                                           




At first, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling striking down all prohibitions against same-sex marriage last week inspired the predictable backlash of religiously infused recriminations that the world has come to expect from gay-propaganda-fearing Russia.
But the decision has also inspired some unlikely advocates to come forward and urge Russia toward a more tolerant stance – including one of the most influential conservatives in the very socially conservative country.
Dmitry Kiselyov, the irascible television host best known for warning that “Russia could turn the USA into radioactive ashes” while standing in front of images of a mushroom cloud, used his weekly program to call for legalizing civil unions in Russia in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling
“The LGBT community is a fact. And we can figure out how to make life easier for adults who want to take upon themselves – including on paper – the obligation to care for one another,” he said. “In the end, love works wonders. Who is against it?”
#LoveWins, Russian style?
It’s especially notable coming from Kiselyov, who as recently as 2012 said that gays should be prevented from donating blood and sperm, and prohibited from donating their organs to other human beings after deadly accidents. He defended the comments a year later.
Kiselyov isn’t the only Russian of rank calling for a more progressive view on gays.
Konstantin Dobrynin, a member of the Russian Federation Council and deputy head of its committee on constitutional law, wrote on the Web site of Russian news radio Ekho Mosky that “for Russia, it is important not to turn away from the realities of the time, and lapse into the same old battle against homosexuals, but to try to find a legal way to ensure public balance between the conservative part of society and the rest.”
It’s not as much of a turnaround for Dobrynin, who was reported to have said in 2013 that Russia had “to stop this parliamentary obsession with anti-gay lawmaking,” at a time when parliamentarians were considering a law to deny parental rights to homosexuals.
Since 2013, Russia has had a law on the books banning the spread of gay “propaganda” as a means of “protecting children from information advocating for a denial of traditional family values.” In the two years since, there has been little progress made toward creating a more inclusive, safe space for gays in Russia, and human rights organizations have repeatedly called out Russian authorities for not doing enough to prevent homosexuals from discrimination and violence.
Dobrynin and Kiselyov’s recommendations may also seem backward to an audience in the United States, where Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed years ago and where the nationwide legalization of gay marriage has effectively obviated any middle ground discussions about civil unions. (Kiselyov would not go so far as to advocate for gay “marriage,” and in fact stressed that homosexual unions should not be called marriages in Russia. “A civil union – that’s a different story, a different level,” he said.)
Still, in Russia, this is significant progress.
Yet it may take a while for it to catch on, in this country where religious institutions like the Russian Orthodox Church still act as moral barometer for much of the nation.
“Godless and sinful,” is how the Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin described the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to Russian news service Interfax.
Karoun Demirjian is a reporting fellow in The Post's Moscow bureau. She previously served as the Washington Correspondent for the Las Vegas Sun, and reported for the Associated Press in Jerusalem and the Chicago Tribune in Chicago.

September 23, 2014

New Pew Survey Suggests Gay Marriage Support is leveling off


                                                                         

A survey released Monday from the Pew Research Center indicates American support for same-sex marriage could be leveling off after several years of dramatic growth in acceptance of equal rights for gays and lesbians.
The study's authors caution it's too soon to draw any definitive conclusions. But the new poll released Monday found a 5 percentage point drop since February, from 54 percent to 49 percent, in Americans who want legal recognition for same-sex relationships. The percentage of those opposed increased during that same period, from 39 percent in February to 41 percent last month.
The poll of 2,002 adults, conducted Sept. 2-9, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
"Since we've seen this upward trend for so long, we're cautious because it's too early to say what this means for long-term trends," said Jessica Martinez, a researcher in Pew's Religion and Public Life Project. "As we continue to ask this question in other surveys, we'll keep an eye on where this moves."
The findings were part of a survey in which nearly three-quarters of Americans said religious influence in public life was waning and most saw that as a negative trend. About half of respondents said churches and houses of worship should speak out more on public issues.
Nearly half of all the respondents said businesses that provide services for weddings, such as florists, should be allowed to deny service to same-sex couples if the owners have religious objections. The Pew survey also found the percentage of people who consider gay relationships sinful had increased from 45 percent a year ago to 50 percent last month, although other surveys have found that people with religious objections don't always oppose legal recognition for gay relationships.
The campaign for recognition of gay marriage has grown to become a broad mass movement supported in recent years by a majority of Americans. A decade ago, only about 30 percent of Americans accepted same-sex marriage. Now, 19 states and the District of Columbia recognize gay marriage, while petitions for recognition in several other states are moving through the courts.
The Gallup organization said support for gay marriage first rose above the 50 percent mark in its surveys in 2011, and has remained above half since. Gallup's latest survey, this past May, found acceptance of gay marriage at a new high of 55 percent. But the group's researchers found support was increasing by smaller margins than it had during the era of fastest growth so far, between 2009 and 2011.
Martinez said the drop in support in the Pew poll was not driven by any particular religious or political group in the sample, but was a change across the board. Pew used similar groups of respondents in terms of political and religious views for both surveys, she said. The number of Americans who told Pew they were undecided on gay marriage increased from 7 percent in February to 10 percent last month.
Robert Jones, chief executive of Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit group that conducts surveys on religion and public life, said it's particularly challenging to interpret surveys on gay marriage because the numbers have changed so dramatically over a very short period. He noted that support has been driven by younger people, who tend to be far more accepting of same-sex relationships than their parents. He said polling by his organization over this past summer showed fluctuations in support, but backing remained between 56 percent and 51 percent.
"The fundamentals underneath the trend remain very solid — in the generational breaks that are driving this," Jones said. "The long-term curve on this trend doesn't show any retreat."
  http://www.pewforum.org

March 2, 2014

Majority of Michigan Residents Support Gay Marriage





A majority of Michigan residents support gay marriage a decade after voters approved a constitutional ban that is now on trial, according to the results of a new statewide survey, and those supporters appear to be growing more confident in their beliefs.
Results from Michigan State University's latest State of the State Survey, released Friday, suggest that 54 percent of residents favor "the right of gay and lesbian couples to be legally married," while 36 percent are opposed.
The survey of 1,008 residents, conducted via landline and cellphone over an eight-week period ending February 10, has a margin of error of 3.1 percent. Ten percent of respondents were undecided.
The new numbers are similar to State of the State findings from 2012, when 55 percent of respondents said they supported gay marriage and 39 percent opposed it, but they are significantly higher than in 2010, when a majority of respondents still said they opposed same-sex marriage.
While the overall numbers have not changed much in two years, more residents now say they "strongly" support -- as opposed to "somewhat" support -- gay marriage, according to MSU Economics Professor Charles Ballard.
"The support has sort of coalesced, or strengthened," said Ballard, who directs the survey. "It's the first time we've seen numbers this large. More than 35 percent say not just that they favor gay marriage, but that they strongly favor it."
Back in 2004, more than 58 percent of Michigan voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Backers say that gay marriage polls can be misleading because some respondents are uncomfortable expressing opinions they might act on in the voting booth.
Michigan's same-sex marriage ban is now on trial before a federal judge in Detroit, who is considering a challenge filed on behalf of two Hazel Park nurses alleging discrimination and seeking joint custody of their adopted children. They are not allowed to marry, but Michigan law only allows joint adoption by married couples.
The MSU survey did not make specific reference to joint adoption or the rights of heterosexual couples, but it did ask residents whether they favor allowing gay and lesbians to adopt children. Roughly 59 percent of respondents offered support, while 33 percent expressed opposition.
The survey showed a significant shift in gay marriage attitudes amongst black residents, with 47 percent of respondents offering support, up from just 31 percent in 2012.
Residents with some college education were more likely to favor same-sex marriage, with 56 percent expressing support compared to 49 percent of residents who had never been to college.
Gay marriage was supported by 86 percent of respondents who said they had no religious preference, 55 percent who identified themselves as Catholic and 42 percent of protestants.
There was also a notable difference amongst age groups, with 68 percent of respondents under the age of 30 expressing support for same-sex marriage, compared to 46.9 percent of those 65 and older.
“I'd say that there is definitely a generational component to it," said Ballard.

Jonathan Oosting | joosting@mlive.comBy Jonathan Oosting | joosting@mlive.com 
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Jonathan Oosting is a Capitol reporter for MLive Media Group. 

January 28, 2014

How Wide the Impact is of The Supreme Court Decision on Gay Marriage






The sweeping significance of the Supreme Court’s landmark gay-rights decision in United States v. Windsor, last June, has become even more evident in the past month, thanks to a series of important lower-court decisions that have interpreted it broadly. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Windsor invalidated the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but the Court stopped short of finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. In another decision, delivered on the same day in June, the Court restored marriage equality in California, though it did so on procedural grounds, dismissing a challenge to a lower-court ruling that overturned Proposition 8, the state’s gay-marriage ban, on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing.
Taken together, the decisions indicated that while the Supreme Court was willing to substantially advance the cause of same-sex marriage, it was not yet ready to find a constitutional right to marriage equality. Seven months later, it is now clear that gay-rights advocates and lower-court federal judges are not inclined to accept further delays—and, moreover, that the language of the Windsor decision may have been so powerful that the Court in fact accelerated a movement it sought to temporarily restrain.
After the Supreme Court’s decisions in June, four more states moved to legalize same-sex marriage. New Jersey was the first, in October, after Governor Chris Christie withdrew his appeal of a state court’s decision granting marriage equality. In November, state legislatures in Hawaii and Illinois passed long-stalled same-sex-marriage bills. And in December, the New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously ruled to affirm the right of same-sex couples to marry there, bringing the total number of states that allow same-sex marriages to seventeen.
It was not until last month, however, that a federal court expressly invoked the Windsor decision to rule that the Constitution required finding a right to same-sex marriage. That decision came just before Christmas, in the deeply red state of Utah. (In a sign that public opinion truly is changing, a statewide poll conducted by the Salt Lake City Tribune found respondents evenly split on the question of whether same-sex couples in Utah should be allowed to marry.) Utah officials were unable to halt same-sex weddings until their appeal travelled all the way up the judicial chain to the Supreme Court, which granted a highly unusual interim stay after some thirteen hundred gay weddings had already taken place.
On January 14th, another federal district court, in Oklahoma, reached a similar conclusion, finding that, in light of Windsor, the state’s constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage violated the U.S. Constitution. (The judge, however, stayed the effect of the ruling pending appeal, so there has been no rush by same-sex couples to marry in Oklahoma.)
Roberta Kaplan, the attorney who argued the Windsor case in the Supreme Court, explained how the ruling had led to results beyond what the Court may have intended originally. “It’s not the holding in Windsor that is so controlling right now,” she said. “It’s the logic and reasoning behind the Court’s decision—namely, that gay people deserve the same legal rights and protections as everyone else.” In both the Utah and Oklahoma cases, the courts addressed, and eventually rejected, the argument that Windsor holds only that marriage issues should be deferred to individual states. Windsor was not primarily about states’ rights; the district courts in Utah and Oklahoma rejected the idea that some states, like New York, could allow gay marriage, while others could decide differently. (Both the Utah and Oklahoma cases will be heard by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Denver, which is considered a moderate and evenly split court, making the outcome hard to predict.)
The expanding reach of Windsor was visible in another decision, last week, in an appellate-court case that seemed at first of interest only to lawyers. On January 21st, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prospective jurors could not be excluded on the basis of their sexual orientation. The court based its opinion on the Windsor decision, ruling that the Supreme Court had applied a new, heightened level of scrutiny for equal protection based on sexual orientation, even if it had not expressly articulated that new standard. The judges went on to argue that, under the standard applied in Windsor, the government could not treat people differently based on their sexual orientation. The decision made the Ninth Circuit, which covers the western United States, the first circuit court to grant “heightened scrutiny” to sexual orientation—making it far less likely that laws which discriminate on these grounds will survive constitutional challenges.
Nevada’s same-sex-marriage ban has already been challenged in the Ninth Circuit, in a case called Sevcik v. Sandoval, brought by Lambda Legal. The state of Nevada filed its briefs defending the ban on the same day as the circuit court’s ruling in the jury-selection case. Three days later, on January 24th, Nevada’s Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto, said that she would reconsider her defense of the ban, noting that the circuit-court decision had rendered Nevada’s argument “no longer tenable.” A ruling in favor of marriage equality from the Ninth Circuit in the Nevada case is therefore highly likely.
Last Thursday, the newly elected Attorney General of Virginia, Mark Herring, announcedthat he would not defend Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage in a case brought by the lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies, who were responsible for the successful litigation against Proposition 8 in California. A final hearing in that case is scheduled for Thursday, and many observers believe that without the state defending it, the Virginia ban will quickly be struck down.
What will happen next? Kevin Cathcart, the executive director of Lambda Legal, told me that by his estimate, there were “thirty-seven cases pending in nineteen non-marriage-equality states.” He said it would be impossible to predict which state will be the next to recognize same-sex marriage, because “there are too many cases in play.”
“The point is that now judges don’t have to write from scratch on this,” Arthur S. Leonard, a professor at New York Law School and an expert on gay-rights law, said. Assuming that the lower federal courts “will follow the precedents that have been piling up since June, they can do a quick paraphrase from the Utah and Oklahoma rulings, and it will be fine,” he told me. “There is no longer any need to be original.”
Richard Socarides is an attorney and longtime gay-rights advocate. He served in the White House during the Clinton Administration and has also been a political strategist. He now oversees public affairs at GLG. Opinions expressed here are only his own. Follow him on Twitter @Socarides.

September 13, 2013

Americans Underestimate The Great Support Same Sex Marriage Enjoys With Other Americans


Americans Underestimate How Many Other Americans Support Same-Sex Marriage

And conservatives are especially far off.

Paris Gay Pride parade to support gay rights, on June 26, 2010. (PHOTO: OLGA BESNARD/SHUTTERSTOCK)
Here’s an interesting wrinkle in the data on support for same-sex marriage. According to Gallup, 53 percent of Americans now favor such marriages, but we don’t necessarily think other people do. Overall, Americans, on average, think that 63 percent of their fellow citizens oppose same-sex marriage; in fact, 45 percent do. That’s an over-estimate of 18 percentage points.
marriage-poll-gallup
Interestingly, Americans of all stripes—Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative, old and young—underestimate support for same-sex marriage. Liberals come the closest, thinking that 48 percent approve; conservatives are the farthest off, thinking that only 16 percent do.
This data resonates with the recent finding that both Democratic and Republican politicians underestimate their constituents’ progressiveness. I suspect that these misconceptions may make politicians wary about pressing for progressive policies; I wonder how similar misconceptions among the voting public might shape the pace and trajectory of social change.

This post originally appeared on Sociological Images, a Pacific Standard 

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