New Jersey State Legislature Passes Marriage Equality Bill

The New Jersey State Legislature just passed a bill in favor of marriage equality by a vote of 41-33, as reported by the Human Rights Campaign.

As I posted previous, the same bill passed the State Senate a few days ago, and Gov. Chris Christie still promises to veto the bill and call instead for a voter referendum. Voting on civil rights, something I posted about as well is just plain ridiculous and Christie knows it, especially when “54 percent of New Jersey voters support marriage equality, an upswing of nearly ten points in two years.”

If the governor knew what was good for his political future, he wouldn’t waste tax payer time and just sign the bill into law.

The “Evil” Planned Parenthood Hooking Kids on Sex

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The American Life League, a pro-life group, created a video about the evils of Planned Parenthood. In the video, they compare Planned Parenthood to drug dealers getting children hooked, not on crack, but on sex! In what was supposed to be a serious video, the group instead created an unintentional parody.

While it’s true Planned Parenthood does teach about sex education and offers abortion as “one” of their services, they are not the evil entity the ALL makes them out to be. What they do is take a subject (sex) that for teens is often mysterious and, well, titillating and demystify it. Far too many teens have misinformation about sex learned from other uninformed teens because there are some parents who are uncomfortable broaching the subject. So instead of educating their children, those children are left to educate themselves and each other.

When I was young, I remember hearing stories about getting a girl pregnant by kissing her, or a girl friend (not a girlfriend) telling me that a girl gets pregnant when a boy pees on her. I was, like, gross!

Then there was the shame associated with masturbation and the myths of hairy palms and going blind. I remember constantly checking my hands for stubble and sighing with relief every time my ophthalmologist said I had 20/20 vision.

Planned Parenthood provides teens coming into sexual maturity with the facts about their bodies, sex, and contraceptives so that teens can make informed decisions regarding their own actions.

And while the ALL makes Planned Parenthood out to be evil, the information they lambast Planned Parenthood for providing is available on the Internet. Tech savvy teens have access to all this information–from porn sites to other sites with misinformation. What Planned Parenthood does, though, is organize the information for teens who are going to get it somehow. So why shouldn’t it be from an organization that simply wants to inform, not indoctrinate?

(story via Joemygod)

 

 

In Washington State: Marriage Equality Bill Signed Into Law

Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire signed the Marriage Equality Bill that crossed her desk. Washington State now joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa, New York, and Washington D.C. in legalizing same-sex marriage.

“Weddings will commence June 7, if opponents do not have 120,000 signatures to propose a November ballot referendum by June 6,” as reported by Queerty.

Regardless, this is a call for celebration. We are now 7 states down for marriage equality and 43 to go. While that might seem a daunting task (and it is!), we have to look at the progress we’ve made so far. Slowly but surely, we will have nationwide equality. It might take longer in the south (which is par for the course), but I have faith that it will happen.

NJ Senate Passes Marriage Equality Bill

The New Jersey Senate passed a marriage equality bill with a vote of 24-16 this morning, as reported by ThinkProgress. The measure will now head to the House, where it is expected to pass.

Once that happens, the bill will head to Governor Chris Christie who has promised to veto the bill. Even with his veto, proponents believe they can scrounge up the 27 votes necessary to override the governor.

 

 

Marriage Equality Bill Introduced in Illinois

On the heels of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declaring Prop 8 in California unconstitutional, Illinois Representative Greg Harris has introduced a marriage equality bill in his state, as reported by ThinkProgress.

Rep. Harris from Chicago brought forth the Religious Freedom and Marriage Freedom Act that would not only grant same-sex couples the right to marry, but it would also allow gay couples who currently have civil unions in the state to convert to marriage.

The Chicago Phoenix reports that Rep. Harris concedes that achieving marriage equality in Illinois will “not…happen quickly, [and] it’s not going to happen without a lot of hard work.” Still, Harris’ bill has garnered the support of two other out lawmakers Debra Mell and Kelly M. Cassidy.

I applaud the lawmakers in Illinois for attempting to advance gay rights in their state. I look forward to watching how this bill progresses and whether or not Illinois will be the next state to understand what true equality is.

FCKH8: Valentine’s Day for Homophobes

FCKH8 has released a new video in time for Valentine’s Day titled “Valentine’s Day for Homophobes,” which I’ve posted below. You may remember I posted about a previous video about the “Top 5 Reasons People Choose to be Gay.”

Well, the folks at FCKH8 are at it again. If you like, share, and/or tweet this video, they will donate up to $5,000 to fight gay discrimination and anti-bullying measures. So, watch the video and if you like it, share it and help donate to the cause.

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9th Circuit Court of Appeals: Prop 8 Is Unconstitutional

Earlier today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals released its ruling that California’s Proposition 8, which banned marriage equality, is unconstitutional, as reported by ThinkProgress.

Here are some snippets from the ruling as released from Judge Stephen Reinhardt:

– All Proposition 8 accomplished was to take away from same-sex couples the right to be granted marriage licenses and thus legally to use the designation of ‘marriage,’ which symbolizes state legitimation and social recognition of their committed relationships. Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for “laws of this sort.”

– The People may not employ the initiative power to single out a disfavored group for unequal treatment and strip them, without a legitimate justification, of a right as important as the right to marry.

– That designation [of marriage] is important because ‘marriage’ is the name that society gives to the relationship that matters most between two adults. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name of ‘registered domestic partnership’ does not.

– A law that has no practical effect except to stip one group of the right to use a state-authorized and socially meaningful designation is all the more “unprecedented” and “unusual” than a law that imposes broader changes, and raises an even stronger “interference that the disadvantage imposed is born of animosity toward the class of persons affected.”

Naturally, there’s already speculation that this case will make its way to the Supreme Court of the United States, which also means that the judges will likely not lift the stay on Walker’s ruling. This will prevent same sex marriage from continuing in the state until the matter is fully resolved.

Even so, I’m hopeful. I posted about this possibility back in November, where I talked about the likelihood of the Supreme Court ruling that banning gay marriage would be unconstitutional.

It’s small steps, people. But we are making progress.

Voting on Civil Rights?

As you’ve no doubt noticed in the news and in various blogs (including this one), the subject of marriage equality has become a hot topic. We currently have 6 states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont) and Washington D.C., where gay marriage is allowed. Gay marriage might also be in the immediate future for citizens in Washington and New Jersey (and perhaps even California, again, depending on tomorrow’s ruling by the Ninth District Court of Appeals).

Still, many people claim that gay marriage is something that should be decided by popular vote, not the government and not the courts. Luckily, Buzzfeed posted some interesting maps about previous civil rights issues.

Take a look at the maps posted below. If you are an African-American, a woman, in an interracial relationship, or know someone who fits one or all of those previous categories (and you most likely do), then you (or the people you know) would most likely still

  • be a slave
  • not have a voice in the government
  • be viewed as property
  • be unable to wed a person of a different race

Where would your civil rights be if they were put to a nation wide vote during the years the maps demonstrate below?

Unless you were a caucasian male, you would have none. What. So. Ever.

Map Depicting Slavery Laws Prior to Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

Map of Slavery in US

Map Depicting Woman’s Suffrage Laws Prior to 1920 Amendment

Woman's suffrage map

Map Depicting Segregation Laws Prior to Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

US Map showing segregation laws

Interracial Laws Prior to Anti-Miscegenation Laws Deemed Unconstitutional (1967)

US Map shown anti-miscegenational laws

Map showing Gay Marriage Rights (2012)

US map showing gay marriage rights

Prop 8 Constitutionality Ruling Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the Ninth District Court of Appeals will rule on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which banned marriage equality, in California. I posted about this in November and December of last year.

In a matter of hours, we will find out whether or not those in favor of banning same-sex marriage were able to convince the three judges on the panel that retired Judge Vaughn Walker should have recused himself from the case. Judge Walker, who struck down Prop 8 in California, is accused of bias since he is also gay.

Those following the case believe that the ruling will be in favor of Walker’s decision, which will uphold the ban on Proposition 8.

Naturally, I’ll post the results of their decision tomorrow.

 

(story via Towleroad)

Gay Marriage Bill Progresses in New Jersey

With Washington State a stone’s throw away from having marriage equality, New Jersey is the next state where homosexual couples might be able to legally wed. I posted a couple of weeks ago that politicians in New Jersey had advanced a bill that would bring about marriage equality to the state. Well, as reported on Queerty, the bill “is on its way to the legislative floor.”

Yesterday, “The Assembly Judiciary Committee approved the measure with a 5 to 2 party-line vote after hearing more than 6 hours of testimony from dozens of supporters and opponents,” as reported in On Top Magazine. The bill, which already passed the state Senate, will now go before the Assembly for a vote.

If the bill passes there, it will be presented to Governor Chris Christie, who is now promising to veto the bill. Instead, he wants the citizens to vote on the issue and is calling for a referendum to do just that.

According to Bloomberg, Christie knows that the state favors gay marriage based on the following comment he made: “The polls that I’ve seen show that if this goes to the ballot, I lose.”

If that’s the case, Christie could save the state and its citizens the trouble of having to go through such a referendum and simply sign the bill if it passes through the Assembly, who represent the will of the people in his state.

But that would mean actually governing for the people and not for himself, something Christie is apparently incapable of doing.