What Does SCOTUS Decision on DOMA Mean for Married Same-Sex Couples Living in States that Ban Gay Marriage?

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In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down DOMA declaring it “unconstitutional [and]…a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.”

What Does This Mean?

Well, it means that the American government must now recognize same-sex marriage on a federal level. Therefore, same-sex couples, who are legally married in states that recognize their marriage, are now eligible for federal benefits. They don’t have to pay inheritance tax. They get social security survivorship and federal income tax benefits just to name a few. For a list of the 1,138 federal rights of marriage, click here.

This is a huge win for married gay couples everywhere, and I can’t tell you how excited I am as well.

Close but more excited than that!

Close but I was more excited than that!

This is about right!

Yeah, that’s about right!

Still, I couldn’t help but wonder:

What Does the Decision Mean for Married Gay Couples who Don’t Live in a State that Recognizes Same-Sex Unions?

First of all, it means that my husband and I are still not married in Texas, which has defined a marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

I know, right?

I know, right?

This will hold true for similar couples living in the other 36 states that do not recognize same-sex unions.

However, on a federal level, married couples like my husband and me will be able enjoy the federal benefits that had been previously denied to us. So while our state doesn’t recognize my marriage, my country now does.

That’s definitely a step in the right direction.

The Gifted One is COMING SOON!!

I’m SO excited. The Gifted One has officially been listed on the Coming Soon page of the Dreamspinner site. It will be available April 5, 2013. If you’d like to take a look (and even pre-order the book if you’re so inclined), here’s the link.

Now, that the book is officially on the road to being released, I’m already planning my promotional campaign, which will include a free giveaway of The Gifted One. As details get finalized, I’ll let you know.

For now, here’s the official DSP book blurb and the book cover.

The Gifted One

Book Blurb

As his birthday approaches, Matthew Westlake fears more than just growing a year older. He fears never seeing another year at all. Each birthday brings a close call with death, leaving holes in his memory, recurring nightmares, and one more glimpse of his guardian angel. This birthday Matt must stand against ancient evils that have hounded him since birth, because he is a Gifted One—a seventh son of a seventh son.

 

Within Matt rests the unlocked potential of a force for good, but it also makes him a target. Being the Gifted One and dodging demonic attacks aren’t Matt’s only problems, though. He’s fallen in love with his protector, the Archangel Gabriel, and Heaven will condemn that love to save Matt’s soul. But Heaven doesn’t count on Gabriel loving Matt in return, defying divine law, and placing them in danger from demons and angels alike.

Stonewall Riots: 43rd Anniversary

43 years ago today on June 28, 1969, The Stonewall Riots occurred in New York City. Many people in the nation, including the younger gay generation, are ignorant to the significance of this day in our nation’s history. While June has become National Pride Month, celebrated by parades and parties nationwide, Stonewall is often overlooked.

We simply cannot let that happen. Why is that?

Because without the riots at the Stonewall Inn, caused by gays and lesbians who had grown tired of being persecuted, we would not have the Gay Rights Movement we have today. Without those pioneers for equal treatment under the law, gay pride wouldn’t exist. Neither would same sex marriage or a president that has come out in support of gay marriage.

The progress we made started on the streets of New York City at Stonewall Inn, when the persecuted minority rose up and found its voice, and it is that voice that has carried us as far as we have come and will continue to carry us to full equality. Those voices gave birth to the parades, parties, and clubs we now take for granted because prior to Stonewall, those gatherings were illegal.

That’s what I tell my friends who ask me: I support gay rights, but I don’t understand the “need to parade.” Why do gay people feel compelled to line up in streets in provocative costumes and make spectacles of themselves?

The answer is quite simple–because we now can. Many people have no clue what it’s like to live your life in the dark, but homosexuals do. Now that we are no longer forced inside the dark closet of shame, we “parade” to tell the world that we are here, we are not going anywhere, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that. Ever. Again.

So, to those brave men and women who fought back at Stonewall, I applaud you, but more importantly I respect how you helped shape the nation from what it was to what it now is. We still have a way to go, but with the strength and the voice you gave us, we will get there.

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In Nevada: Politicians Favor Brothel Over Marriage Equality

When I first saw this posted on ThinkProgress, I had to do a double take. According to a recent poll in Nevada, politicians in the “All For Our Country” State favor making brothels legal by a ratio of 3 to 1 over marriage equality.

Apparently, it’s good family values to pay for sex and cheat on your spouse. Well, better than two adults of the same gender committing to each other and raising a family. What does this tell us about our “family values” in this country?

For me, it reveals the true colors of many who oppose marriage equality. It’s okay for those people to screw up their own families with their own skewed version of “family values” because two men and two women are incapable of entering into a long-term, committed relationship and raise children.

Yeah, right. Tell that to your prostitute on your next visit, Nevada politicians

War on Religion? Give Me A Break!

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of hearing right wing extremists spouting that any effort for equality is a war on religion. Here are a two cases in point that drive me crazy. Texas State Representative Louie Gohmert believes that the Employee Non-Discrimination Act clearly proves Obama’s war on religion and opponents of The Affordable Care Act (AKA “Obamacare”) believe that forcing private organizations that use state funds to pay for employee birth control is another sign of Obama’s war on religion.

Let’s look at these for what they really are. The ENDA is a proposed bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. We currently have laws that prevent discrimination hiring practices against race, faith, gender, or physical handicap. What this shows is that this nation, over time, came to realize that discrimination in any form was unjust. In fact, 26 states currently have some form of state law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

To claim that the ENDA is proof of an attack against religion is absurd. The ENDA promises equal protection under law for every citizen in the nation. How could that goal possibly be connected to a war on religion? Isn’t religion, in theory anyway, supposed to come to the defense of those being mistreated? Not according to people like Representative Gohmert from Texas. But then again Gohmert isn’t really trying to defend his religious principles; he’s advocating bigotry against gay and transgendered people.

As for private organizations being forced to pay for employee birth control thanks to “Obamacare,” they too have it wrong. Churches are exempt from this, as they should be, but church sponsored organizations that utilize government money are not. Just like every other citizen and public organization that accepts money from the government, they too must follow the law. The government isn’t forcing people to use contraceptives, even though a majority of people including Catholics do. In fact, “28 states already impose such requirements,” which shows that this, once again, isn’t indicative of Obama’s war on religion.

There is a war in America, but it isn’t a war against religion. It’s a right wing extremist war against homosexuals and those who don’t prescribe to their views with hatred and prejudice at its very core. I just wish they would call it what it is. Though the Westboro Baptist Church is filled with a bunch of loons, at least they don’t hide their hatred. They are upfront about it. I can respect that more than politicians using the veil of religion to mask their bigotry.

If you want to hate me or someone else, then just hate. You’re free to do so in this country, but you’re not free to deny me or anyone else in this country equal protection under the law, and whether some people want to admit it or not, The Constitution of the United States of America proclaims we are all created equal.

In Washington State: Marriage Repeal on Ballot

In February, I posted about Washington State’s Governor Chris Gregoire signing the Marriage Equality Bill that crossed her desk. Well, unfortunately (but certainly expected), the law has officially gotten a referendum.

As reported by Queerty, “The number of names turned in far exceeds the required 120,577, though there have been some reports of fraud.”

Even with the signature tampering, a recent poll indicates “54% of Washington voters support marriage equality.”

In all, I remain hopeful. Though there are some people in Washington who remain prejudiced against gay rights, the majority supports true equality.

Catholic Priest in Minnesota Argues For Gay Marriage

This past Sunday, Father Bob Pierson spoke to Catholics in Minnesota about why Catholics could vote no to the state’s anti-gay marriage amendment.

Father Pierson eloquently debunks common ecclesiastical beliefs on gay marriage.

He points out that the Catholic Church does NOT recognize civil marriage at all. Catholics who enter into marriages outside the church do not exist according to canonical law, whether they are gay or straight unions. Therefore, the Catholic Church, and any other church, should have no say what civil marriages a government recognizes. He further points out that reliable studies, not those sanctioned by bias, disprove that children are negatively affected by gay marriage. According to Pierson, love is love, regardless if parents are of same or opposite sex. And, finally, Pierson acknowledges that if gay marriage is recognized by the government, then the Catholic Church will have to follow government mandates on social services laws, if government money is used for those services. Neither the Catholic Church nor any other church or organization has any right to be excluded from government laws when government money is used. As he astutely states, that would lead to discrimination everywhere.

Father Pierson even uses words spoken in 1967 from “young theologian” Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict. Pierson said, “Our holy father taught in 1967 that we must obey our own conscience, even if it puts us at odds with the Pope. I doubt that he knew that he was going to be Pope when he said that.”

To me, Father Pierson represents the kind of man the Catholic Church needs as a leader, someone who not only understands canonical law, but who doesn’t believe any religion has a right to “force its teachings on others outside the fold.”

Here’s the video if you’d like to watch it.

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(Story via Towleroad)

“Game On”: Rick Santorum Video

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I found this video courtesy of Towleroad, depicting one family’s music video endorsing Rick Santorum. After watching it, I knew I had to share it. Immediately.

With lyrical gems as “we’ve got a man who understands God gave the Bill of Rights” and “there is hope for our nation again; maybe the first time since Ronald Reagan,” who wouldn’t want to support Santorum as well as drink the cyanide laced punch provided at the video’s after party?

This video totally creeped me out. Anybody else?