Archive for July, 2010

Conservative Religious Groups Soften Stances

July 29, 2010

Rabbi Asher Lopatin

Two recent news stories suggest that even conservative religious groups are re-examining their views on homosexuality.

First, a group of Orthodox rabbis, including Chicago’s Rabbi Asher Lopatin, signed a statement promoting compassion and inclusion for lesbian and gay people. The document does not reinterpret Jewish law. It maintains that same-sex conduct remains against the law, but says that there is a place for gay and lesbian people in the Orthodox community. Rabbi Lopatin is also a signatory on the civil unions petition.

Also, the NPR radio program Fresh Air recently featured an interview with Richard Cizik about his ouster as the chief lobbyist of the National Association of Evangelicals. Cizik lost his job in December 2008 in part because of his public statements in favor of civil unions for same-sex couples. Since then, he has founded The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, an evangelical group promoting social justice concerns.

Chicago Couple Marries on Toronto Parade Float

July 15, 2010

Kevin Tindell and William Hall, a Chicago couple, were married earlier this month in Canada on a parade float in the Toronto Pride Parade. The couple are featured on the cover of Gay Chicago Magazine. Read more here and here.

Freedom to Marry Comes to South America

July 15, 2010

Argentina today became the first South American nation to grant same-sex couples the right to marry. The decision followed a marathon senate debate and giant public demonstrations from both supporters and opponents of the bill.

Although the opposition was led by Catholic and Evangelical Christians, at least one Catholic priest has vowed to defy church policy and marry same-sex couples.

South America is now the fourth continent on which at least one nation now grants marriage equality. The other three are North America (Canada), Africa (South Africa), and Europe (seven nations). Dare I say this feels like momentum?

Tikkun Magazine Features Queer Issue

July 13, 2010

The July/August edition of Tikkun magazine has a series of articles on “Queer Spirituality and Politics” from many faith perspectives. Some of the articles directly address same-sex marriage. Tikkun is always worth a read, but this issue is especially helpful for those of us working on marriage equality.

Excerpts are available on the web site for free. The entire issue can be read online for $5. Or you can buy it on select newsstands. Better yet, subscribe.

Tikkun bills itself as “A Jewish Magazine, An Interfaith Movement.” I’m not Jewish myself and I can attest that it is written from an interfaith perspective that always feels relevant to me. Incidentally, the Hebrew word tikkun is translated as “to mend, repair, and transform the world.”

Catholic Theologian Supports Freedom to Wed

July 11, 2010

Mary Hunt

Mary Hunt, a feminist Catholic theologian, makes a case for the freedom of same-sex couples to marry in the latest edition of The National Catholic Reporter.

Tell Obama Not to Appeal DOMA Ruling

July 10, 2010

Please add your name to a new campaign telling Obama not to appeal Thursday’s pro-marriage equality ruling.

The Courage Campaign, the California organization arguing for equality in that state’s high-profile case, has set up an easy online tool to add your name to a letter to the president. He needs to hear that you do not want him to appeal the decision of a Massachusetts federal judge ruling that the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” is unconstitutional. Just click the link above.

Presbyterians Reject Marriage Equality

July 10, 2010

Despite a committee recommendation, the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly voted down a proposal to allow same-sex couples to marry. However, the assembly did vote to allow non-celibate lgbt people to be ordained. The ordination policy will only become effective once it has been voted on by regional Presbyteries throughout the United States.

Ruling Strikes Blow to Federal Ban

July 8, 2010

A ruling handed down by a federal judge in Massachusetts today declared unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act. That act, passed in 1996, barred the federal government from recognizing marriage licenses issued by states to same-sex couples.

Meanwhile, we are still awaiting a ruling on the Proposition 8 case from California. One observer said that same-sex marriage defenders are arguing the merits of the two cases on nearly opposite grounds – one based on a state’s rights argument and the other based on federally guaranteed equality protections.

Presbyterian Committee OKs Same-Sex Marriage

July 7, 2010

The Presbyterian Church (USA) could become the nation’s largest Christian denomination to approve of same-sex marriage. At the denomination’s General Assembly in Minneapolis, a committee put forth a recommendation in favor of allowing for same-sex marriage in the church. Another committee recommended ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians. Both measures would have to gain approval from regional presbyteries before going into effect.

The denomination currently has just over 2 million members – down from a peak of 4.25 million in 1965. The Chicago Presbytery includes 100 churches with a total of 40,000 members.

Since 2000, the denomination has allowed Presbyterian ministers and churches to bless same-sex relationships. The denomination also has officially endorsed state civil unions for same-sex couples since 2004.

Many Presbyterian clergy in Illinois have signed the faith petition to show their support for the civil unions bill. See a full list of signers here.

Whether you are Presbyterian or a member of any other religious denomination or tradition, please add your name here.

Hawaii Governor Vetoes Civil Unions Bill

July 6, 2010

Gov. Linda Lingle, Hawaii

After months of deliberation, Gov. Linda Lingle of Hawaii, has vetoed a bill that would have granted civil unions to same-sex couples in that state. The civil unions bill would have granted nearly all the state-recognized rights of marriage to same-sex couples.

The state will continue to grant a “reciprocal beneficiaries” arrangement to same-sex couples. The state first passed its reciprocal benficiary law in 1997. Reciprocal beneficiaries have access to a limited number of rights and benefits on the state level, including inheritance rights, workers compensation, the right to sue for wrongful death, health insurance and pension benefits for state employees, hospital visitation, and healthcare decisionmaking. Hawaii’s RBR status also offers partners the option to jointly own property.

Supporters of marriage equality in Hawaii have pledged to continue their struggle in the wake of this devastating defeat.

It is worth noting that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has pledged his support to sign a civil unions bill into law if it is  passed by the legislature.

Show your support for the civil unions bill by signing the Allied for Equality petition now.