Jim Obergefell and John Arthur had been together nearly two decades when John was stricken by terminal ALS. With their union unconstitutional in Ohio, the couple turned to friends and family to fund a medical flight to Maryland, where they wed, tearfully, on the tarmac [prev.]. After John's death, however, Jim found himself embroiled in an ugly legal battle with his native state over the right to survivor status on John's death certificate -- a fight he eventually took all the way to the Supreme Court. And that's how this morning -- two years after U.S. v. Windsor, a dozen after Lawrence v. Texas, and at the crest of an unprecedented wave of social change -- the heartbreaking case of Obergefell v. Hodges has at long last rendered same-sex marriage legal nationwide in a 5-4 decision lead by Justice Anthony Kennedy. [more inside]
Missouri state court judge Rex M. Burlison has ruled that Missouri cannot keep St. Louis officials from marrying same sex couples. [more inside]
Following the state Supreme Court's decision in Griego v. Oliver [pdf], New Mexico has become the 17th U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. [more inside]
Makers: Women Who Make America is a sweeping 3-hour documentary of the movement for women's equality in the last half of the twentieth century. Airing this month on US public television, it's accompanied by an online archive of videos of interviews with individual women in leadership across a variety of fields. Leaders and activists, celebrities and pioneers, and everyday women retell the story of their awakening, organizing, and world-changing efforts.
Beate Sirota Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89: a NYT obituary relates the fascinating story of a young woman who was just the right person in just the right place at just the right time and managed to strike a blow for gender equality. [more inside]
"A blue cloud of smoke wafted over the Famous Five statue that sits just east of the Senate doors. No one seemed to be going insane or looking like they were about to personally invade the United States. There were people of all colours in the crowd, but if any of them were members of The Ring, they hid it well. The peaceful demonstrators were, however, breaking the law, smoking a banned substance that could in theory have landed any one of them in prison." Emily Murphy’s legacy lives on in more ways than most care to remember.
Being gay was considered a mental disorder by psychiatry - until 1973 - when the battle lines were drawn. Reporter Alix Spiegel continues the gripping story that spurred a radical rethink. It's the story of a closeted cartel of powerful, gay psychiatrists; of confrontations with angry activists; a shrink dressed in a Nixon mask, and a pivotal encounter in a Hawaiian bar. [more inside]
Brazil's supreme court recognises same sex unions. The Brazilian Supreme Court voted 10-0 (one abstention) yesterday to recognise same-sex civil unions as of equal legal validity to marriage/ with "stable" same-sex couples now able to gain certificates that allow access to equal legal rights. "Discrimination generates hatred," said Justice Carlos Ayres Britto, who wrote the ruling. [more inside]
Yesterday, US President Obama signed a $680bn military policy bill, which cuts military spending, including $2bn in funding for new F-22 fighter jets. However, the bill also contained the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, and fulfilled an Obama campaign promise: acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have now been added to the list of federal hate crimes.
workplace protection--not as hotbutton as Marriage Equality or Don't Ask Don't Tell, but far more essential
ENDA House hearings start tomorrow --a record 94% of Fortune 500 companies now provide Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protection, and 89% of Americans polled believe Homosexuals should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities. Repeatedly introduced and then killed since 1994, the 2007 version--H.R. 2015--Employment Non-Discrimination Act (text of bill)--includes transgender protection for the very first time. The TVC is just one of many organizations fighting it. (there is a religious exemption, but groups like the TVC would be covered by it)
... add the phrase, “who are capable of having children with one another” to the legal definition of marriage...
Washington Initiative Requires Proof of Procreation From Married Couples -- in response to a ruling made by the Washington Supreme Court last year stating gay and lesbian couples could be prevented from marrying by the state because Washington has a legitimate interest in preserving marriage for couples who can procreate. It's been accepted by their Secy of State, and only needs signatures now to get on the ballot. Press release here, which adds: The time has come for these conservatives to be dosed with their own medicine. If same-sex couples should be barred from marriage because they can not have children together, it follows that all couples who can not or will not have children together should equally be barred from marriage.
The grooms wore khakis and leather boots. Two game rangers, Vernon Gibbs and Tony Halls, became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in South Africa on December 1, a day after President Thabo Mbeki's government authorised gay marriages. SA is the 5th country allowing fullly equal same-sex marriage rights--Worldwide timeline of advances here, from 1979 until now. (In other news: Israel just officially recognized full rights for marriages made abroad, and Mexico City just approved Civil Unions)
...his boyfriend Josh. --beautiful story, made all the more poignant at a time of more and more state constitutional amendments ensuring second-class citizenship, and a Democratic party urging us to just shut up already, but still give.
Laurel Hester, RIP --because she and her partner fought, New Jersey police and fire department employees can now name anyone--not just a spouse--as a beneficiary for pension rights, helping to protect those they love after they're gone. Just one person who made a difference.
Wedding Bells in NYC?? -- with a beautifully-written ruling, NY Supreme Ct. Justice Doris Ling-Cohan states that denying marriage to gay and lesbian New Yorkers is unconstitutional: ... There has been a steady evolution of the institution of marriage throughout history which belies the concept of a static traditional definition. Marriage, as it is understood today, is both a partnership of two loving equals who choose to commit themselves to each other and a State institution designed to promote stability for the couple and their children. The relationships of plaintiffs fit within this definition of marriage. Similar to opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples are entitled to the same fundamental right to follow their hearts and publicly commit to a lifetime partnership with the person of their choosing. The recognition that this fundamental right applies equally to same-sex couples cannot legitimately be said to harm anyone. ...
Only in 1967 did Loving v. Virginia overturn vigorously-enforced laws against interracial marriage in these 15 states--Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Only in 1964 did the Civil Rights Act overturn laws against equal access to voting, public accommodation, and public education. Only in 1963 did the Equal Pay Act mandate that men and women be paid the same wage for the same work at the same job. History isn't a superhighway, leading us in straight lines toward utopia. We fall back and we move forward, but over the past fifty years, the United States has become considerably more inclusive and equality of access to opportunity has widened. Take a look at this article from the Atlantic Monthly in 1956--1956!--if you don't believe me.