TN Principal Resigns After Gays Are “Going to Hell” Comment

Yesterday, I posted about Dorothy Bond, Principal of Haywood HS in Brownsville, Tennessee.

Today, according to ThinkProgress, I’ve learned that Dorothy Bond has resigned over her comments at the school assembly.

The school district released the following statement:

The Haywood County Board of Education acknowledges its student body’s right to free speech. Further, the Haywood County Board of Education strives to provide an atmosphere of tolerance and diversity while maintaining high academic standards.”

Now, that’s what I’m talking about! The school board recognizes that Bond went beyond her authority and are obviously not going to tolerate it. I consider this a victory for the students she attacked during the assembly.

Marriage Equality in Maryland

Last night, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed marriage equality into state law, as reported by ThinkProgress.

Gov. O’Malley made the following statement as he signed the bill:

“[This is] for a free and diverse people, for people of many faiths, for people committed to the principal of religious freedom, the way forward is always found through greater respect for human rights of all, through human dignity for all…We are one Maryland and all of us at the end of the day want the same thing for our children. We want them to live in a loving, caring and committed home that is protected equally under the law.”

O’Malley’s words acknowledge what many of us already know: equality is not something that is for a select few; it’s for everyone, whether we are of different races, genders, faiths, or sexual orientations. In the end, all that matters is our rights as humans.

And, with his signature, Maryland becomes the 8th state (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa, New York, Washington and Washington D.C.) to legalize same-sex marriage.

Opponents of marriage equality are gearing up for a voter referendum. If the required signature aren’t submitted prior to January 2013, same-sex marriage in Maryland becomes law.

Marriage Equality Bill Advances in Maryland

Earlier today, a marriage equality bill passed by a vote of 7-4 in the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, as reported by ThinkProgress. The measure now heads to the Senate floor, where it is expected to pass. Governor Martin O’Malley has promised to sign the bill into law if it makes it to his desk. This brings us yet another potential victory for marriage equality in the nation.

 

Marriage Equality: Where Are We At?

There has been a lot of movement in marriage equality recently that I felt it best to wrangle all the information together in one post.

We already know that marriage equality currently exists in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Iowa, and Washington D.C. Here’s where we stand in other states.

Washington State

Most recently, Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire signed a marriage equality bill just last week. The law will go into effect on June 7 if signatures for a voter referendum aren’t received by June 6. Marriage equality opponents are quickly exploring all their options in order to prevent homosexual couples from marrying in their state.

I see this as a tentative victory. If the voter referendum fails, then marriage equality will be good for Washington State.

New Jersey

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed the marriage equality bill, which was passed by both state houses, on Friday. Gov. Christie’s conditional veto included “the creation of a strong Ombudsman for Civil Unions to carry on New Jersey’s strong tradition of tolerance and fairness. The Ombudsman will be charged with increasing awareness of the law regarding civil unions, will provide a clear point of contact for those who have questions or concerns and will be required to report any evidence of the law being violated,” as reported by ThinkProgress.

This is an epic failure for Gov. Christie. Even though the people support marriage equality, Christie allowed his personal beliefs to cloud his responsibility to the people he serves.

Maryland

The Maryland House of Representatives passed a marriage equality bill on Friday. The measure heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and if it passes there, it will head to the full assembly.

This has the potential to be another victory for marriage equality.

California

With the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold Judge Walker’s ruling that declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional, marriage equality has the potential to return to the state after the Supreme Court of the United States decides to hear the case or not.

In my opinion, this is a victory-in-waiting. I firmly believe that if the SCotUS hears the case, they will decide marriage inequality as unconstitutional. After all, it has been the SCotUS that has brought civil rights to the land.

Illinois

A marriage equality bill titled the Religious Freedom and Marriage Freedom Act was introduced earlier this month. The success of the measure isn’t known even though it has the support of the governor.

I still see this as a success even though the outcome is unknown. With gubernatorial support, marriage equality in Illinois has potential.

Rhode Island

Last year, Rhode Island allowed civil unions for same-sex couples, but advocates in the state are calling for marriage equality, and a bill will “definitely” be introduced during this legislative session.

To me, this is another victory.

Overall, that’s a lot of progress in a relatively short span of time. Within the next year or two, we could have marriage equality in over 10 states, especially when you can recall Massachusetts being the first and only state where gay marriage was ever legal.

 

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.

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.

Marriage Equality Comes to Washington

Great news out of Washington State!

The Washington State House has voted (55-43) to pass marriage equality in the state, as reported by ThinkProgress. Governor Chris Gregoire has already promised to sign the bill into law. This will add Washington state to the six other states–New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa, as well as Washington D.C.–that currently allow gay marriage.

Opponents are still promising to challenge the bill with a voter referendum, but for now it is victory in Washington!

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.

Marriage Equality Bill Passes Washington State Senate

Last night, the Washington State Senate passed the marriage equality bill, which will legalize gay marriage in the state, by a vote of 28-21, as reported by ThinkProgress. The measure now heads to the state’s House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass. Once that’s done, Governor Christine Gregoire has promised to sign the bill into law.

According to ThinkProgress, the governor had this to say about the bill’s passage:

Tonight the Washington State Senate stood up for what is right and told all families in our state that they are equal and that the state cannot be in the business of discrimination. I believe that this decision should be made by our state Legislature, and I’m proud our elected leaders recognized that responsibility.

Tonight our families are better for this vote. Our kids have a brighter future for this bill. And our state is better for this bill. I encourage the House to approve this bill and get it to my desk for my signature. I look forward to the day when all Washington citizens have equal opportunity to marry the person they love.”

Though it is likely the bill will be made into law, opponents of marriage equality still plan to get the required signatures to bring the measure before the voters. Still, this looks to be another victory on the road to true equality for all!

NH Governor Will Veto GOP Attempt to Repeal Gay Marriage

John Lynch, Republican Governor of New Hampshire, announced during his State of the State address that he would veto any attempt by the state’s lawmakers to repeal gay marriage, as reported in Queerty.

You can listen to what Governor Lynch had to say below.

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Thankfully, in a state where Republicans have the majority, enough state Republicans share Governor Lynch’s sentiment, such as Republican Representative Steve Winter, who had this to say to the Concord Monitor:

I’m for liberty and freedom, leaving people alone so long as they don’t harm or defraud other people…I believe what people do with their lives, how they select their mates, is none of my business and none of the state’s business.”

It’s nice to know that there are politicians out there who listen to the wishes of their constituents. As I’ve posted before, most citizens in New Hampshire don’t want to repeal the marriage equality law and have even fought back with their own campaign.

It’s my hope that the politicians in New Hampshire continue to do the right thing and not let the ignorance and prejudice of some politicians to destroy equality in New Hampshire.