Archive for June, 2010

Come to Marriage Presentation and Discussion

June 28, 2010

Come to a special presentation on the movement toward same-sex equality in Illinois at noon on Sunday, August 1 at Second Unitarian Church of Chicago, 656 W. Barry Ave. Get the latest information on efforts to pass a civil unions bill this year, as well as the longer-term strategy of moving toward achieving marriage equality both here in Illinois as well as nationally. Gregory Potts will also be leading a conversation about the next steps forward for the Illinois Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry. We are seeking the input of all stakeholders in this issue. Snacks will be provided.

Are Voters Immovable On Marriage Equality?

June 25, 2010

A new study from Patrick J. Egan, a New York University professor, suggests that campaigns are completely ineffective in swaying the outcomes of ballot initiatives votes for the rights of same-sex couples. His findings showed that the dueling campaigns do nothing to make people more like to vote either for or against civil unions or marriage. In other words, wherever voters start out in public opinion polls before they are bombarded by all the pro and con television ads is generally how they’ll vote.

One commenter pointed out the obvious conclusion: “All this does is reinforce what we already know: a campaign is no time to start to try to change hearts and minds.”

So the takeaway lesson is this… Even though the marriage equality isn’t even on the political map yet in Illinois, it is not to soon to start sharing our lives and our views with friends and family. In fact, that’s the only thing that will really make any difference. And what lesson could me more fitting for Pride weekend?

Share Your Pride Parade Pictures

June 25, 2010

If you take any great pictures at this weekend’s Chicago Pride Parade or any other Illinois Pride events this year, please e-mail them to to share them. I’ll post them on this blog. I’m especially interested in pictures of your congregation or other religious group.

President States Recommitment to LGBT Issues

June 23, 2010

The Obama Adminsitration today extended famaily medical leave protections to same-sex households. In a Pride reception, he also recommitted himself to the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and the military ban, as well as the passage of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. Watch the entire speech here:

Research Shows Tolerant Trend Among Religious

June 23, 2010

A study just released from the Public Religion Research Institute dispels many sterotypes about religious people’s views on social issues.  The study, called “Beyond the God Gap,” focused on four Christian groups that the researchers say make up 75 percent of the U.S. population: white evangelical Protestants, white mainline Protestants, African-American Protestants, and Roman Catholics. In all four groups, the researchers found that views on homosexuality and other topics were more progressive than commonly believed. An article by the authors in Huffington Post sums up some key findings.

Key findings in relation to homosexuality:

  • White Evangelical Christians: Although most White evangelicals hold negative views of homosexuality, they nonetheless 63% said they support protection from employment discrimination for gay and lesbian people and 67% believe that they should be able to serve in the military. They oppose legal recognition for same-sex couples, but the picture among young evanglical Christians is different A majority of 52% support either civil unions or legal marriage for same-sex couples.
  • White Mainline Protestants: Among this group, 86% support the right of gay and lesbian people to serve in the military and 78% support employment non-discrimination protections. On the issue of marriage, mainline Protestants are more supportive than other religious groups and the general population, but fall well short of majority support. More than one-third (34%) of mainline Protestants support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, and nearly the same number (36%) support civil unions for same-sex couples. Nearly half (48%) of young (age 18-34) mainline Protestants support marriage for same-sex couples.
  • African-American Protestants: More than 6-in-10 (63%) black Protestants support laws that would protect gay and lesbian people from job discrimination (Pew RLS 2007). However, a  majority (57%) oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children. And nearly half say they support either marriage (27%) or civil unions (20%), compared to a similar number (48%) who do not favor any legal recognition for same-sex couples.
  • Roman Catholics: Catholics are strong supporters of most policy issues concerning gay and lesbian people. Approximately three-quarters (77%) of Catholics support allowing gay and lesbian people to serve in the military, and laws that would protect gay and lesbian people from job discrimination (75%). A solid majority (55%) of Catholics believe that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children. On the issue of relationship recognition for same-sex couples, Catholic views largely mirror the general public. Approximately 6-in-10 Catholics support either marriage (30%) or civil unions (31%), compared to approximately one-third (32%) who say there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship.

Groups Hitting Midwest in Dueling Tours

June 23, 2010

The National Organization for Marriage, which opposes marriage equality, recently announced plans to tour the nation this summer with protest events. The tour will have no stops in Illinois, but is scheduled to hit three neighboring states: Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Freedom to Marry has announced its own tour in response and plans to hit all of the same destinations.

More details here.

Gay Rights Leaders to Speak to Jewish Group

June 23, 2010

The Upper Midwest regional office of the Anti-Defamation League will be hosting an event tonight in Chicago featuring speeches about “The State of Civil Unions and LGBT Equality in Illinois” by State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, and Bernard Cherkasov, executive director of Equality Illinois. The event will be at 6 p.m. at The Gage resataurant, 24 S. Michigan Ave. More information is available here. It is the league’s first event in cooperation with Equality Illinois.

Court Watchers, Get the Full Story

June 17, 2010

We are awaiting a ruling from the judge in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case that is challenging the constitutionality California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that took away the right to marry from same-sex couples. In the meantime, you can catch up on all the details of the case – including every legal filing and hearing transcript here.

This is of great interest well beyond the borders of our nation’s most populous state. This case is likely to go to the Supreme Court and will likely determine whether similar ballot initiatives will be allowed to take away marriage rights from couples in other states.

It’s Time to Abandon Muslim Stereotype

June 17, 2010

Ako Abdul-Samad

Ako Abdul-Samad, a pro-marriage equality candidate, recently won a primary election in a landslide against an anti-gay opponent, Clair Rudison, Jr., in a race to represent a Des Moines district in the Iowa legislature.

Samad, who is Muslim, advocated for protecting the right of same-sex couples to marry in the state. Rudison, who is a Christian minister, advocated a constitutional amendment to take away that right.

Jason Hazma van Boom commented on how the race teaches us a lesson about stereotypes, including the common belief that Muslims are uniformly opposed to lgbt rights. Muslims are not unanimous on any issue. Neither are Christians, Jews, or any other religious group.

On the other hand, I have not yet heard of any Muslims in Illinois speaking out on marriage equality or other LGBT issues. If you are out there reading this, please sign our civil unions petition.

HRC Supports Theologians Studying LGBT Issues

June 14, 2010

The Human Rights Campaign announced today that it has awarded 14 scholarships to doctoral level theological students whose work focuses on the intersections of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender concerns with theology. The recipients included three Chicago-area scholars.

Rev. Julianne Buenting is a doctoral student at Chicago Theological Seminary. Her work focuses on the intersection between queer studies and Christian practical theology, specifically worship and ritual practice.

Brandy Daniels will be beginning her PhD work in Theology, Ethics and Human Sciences at Chicago Theological Seminary this fall. She intends to study Christian theology, gender and sexuality.  

Barbara Schwartz will begin her doctoral studies this fall at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary pursuing a PhD in theology, ethics and history.

Recipients of the $15,000 awards will also be attending a five-day summer institute at the Vanderbilt University School of Divinity.