There’s an interesting new Gallup study out today that needs to be taken with a box of salt.
It seems they went around asking people if they “identify” as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The numbers are not surprising, but as anyone who lives in Washington D.C. will tell you, being gay and admitting you’re gay are two very different things. Having lived here almost two years now, I am completely convinced there are more closet gay people in this town than anywhere else in the U.S.. I’m not sure how we could find out via a Gallup study just how many there are, but one need only walk down K Street to figure out it’s a number greater than 1 in 10.
D.C. wins the contest with 10% of the population admitting to being gay. With North Dakota (a state I’m still not sure exists) coming in dead-last with a depressing 1.7%.
While it is indeed a good sign that this many people would come to terms with themselves enough to tell a stranger calling on the phone that they “identify” as LGBT, we really need not consider this study as an actual headcount of who is LGBT in our country.
–ILLIONOIS – Yesterday, the Illionois Senate approved marriage overwhelmingly with a vote of 34-21! Happy Valentine’s Day! Support is expected to be thinner but still winnable in the House and we don’t yet know when it will be taken up. Governor Pat Quinn has pledged to sign it into law should the House pass it. YAY!
–RHODE ISLAND – About 3 weeks ago, the RI House approved marriage even more overwhelmingly with a 51-19 vote. The Senate is a bit of an uphill battle but certainly not unwinnable. They are looking at a Spring vote and again the Governor is a huge supporter.
–OHIO – Currently collecting signatures for a pro-equality ballot measure in 2013
-ARIZONA, MICHIGAN & OREON – Currently collecting signatures for a pro-equality ballot measure in 2014
-MINNESOTA – Following the beatdown of an anti-gay marriage ballot measure in 2012, and a pwnership of the house, senate and the election of awesome pro-equality Governor Mark Dayton, advocates are pushing for a pro-equality bill in the next few months.
One of these states will most likely be state #10 to (not including the unstate of DC) to approve marriage equality.
SCOTUS! (Supreme Court of the United States) March 26th, SCOTUS will be hearing oral arguments on two marriage cases. The first is on CA’s Prop 8. (Perry)
Possible outcomes of Prop 8 decisions:
All gay marriage bans will be struck down: This is not a likely scenario, but would make me very happy. Our lawyers are arguing to make this happen by pointing out the unconstitutionality of anti-gay marriage bans and the creation of different classes of citizens federally.
Prop 8. will be overturned: This is what most pundits are thinking will happen. It will overturn the discriminatory law and once again allow gay and lesbian Californians to marry in that state only. CA is different from other states because the courts legalized marriage in May of 2008. From May through November (prior to Prop 8 passing), more than 30,000 gay and lesbian Californians were married. This means, there are three separate classes in CA. Heterosexuals who can legally marry, Gays and Lesbians who are legally married and Gays and Lesbians who are prohibited from marrying. This is a good basis for overturning the ban and some think this is the argument the court will use to do so.
Prop 8 will be upheld: Many think this is unlikely considering the proponents of Prop 8 have no legitimate argument outside of “this is how the people voted.” Every court thus far has overturned or upheld the decision of the previous ruling.
SCOTUS will punt: One of the questions presented by the court was whether or not those defending the anti-gay law had the right to defend it in court. The Brown administration and the one before him had both pulled out of defending Prop 8 because they found it to be discriminatory. After that, the anti-gay campaign began defending it in court. Some don’t believe that a biased campaign has the right to defend a state law in court. If SCOTUS punts, then two things could happen, the decisions of the earlier courts could be upheld or they could essentially issue a do-over.
On March 27th (the next day), SCOTUS will be hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). As many of you know, as a side note – Obama’s DoJ stopped defending DOMA a few years ago as on 8 separate occasions now, when the government was sued over DOMA, it has been found unconstitutional – so there’s a bit of precedent here. It’s also clearly a waste of money to defend a clearly unconstitutional law. Yet John Boehner has just increased to $2 million the amount of money they will spend towards lawyers to defend DOMA…yet they keep screaming that we spend too much on frivolous things.
But I digress…
The reason most courts have found DOMA to be unconstitutional is that it violates state’s rights. Legally married gay couples in states that recognize equality are not afforded more than 1100 rights and responsibilities given to heterosexual couples granted by the federal government. This includes everything from federal tax benefits, to citizenship. If I were to marry a man from Argentina – legally, let’s say in DC – they could still be deported because of DOMA. If I (a very gay man) were to marry a woman from Argentina, that marriage would give her the opportunity to apply (and win) US citizenship.
Possible outcomes of DOMA decisions:
DOMA is struck down: The court could decide that Section 3 of DOMA (that which defines marriage as being only between a man and a woman) violates state’s rights and the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection for all under the law.
DOMA is upheld: The court could uphold DOMA which would enshrine two classes of citizen where one class is treated differently under federal law than the other. Legally married gay couples would continue to not receive tax and social security survivor benefits. Another side note: 17 year – Congressman Gerry Studds, the first openly-gay member of Congress, was legally married to his partner of 16 years Dean Hara. When Studds died in 2006, Hara was not elegible to receive spousal survivor benefits and pension afforded every other Congressional spouse.
SCOTUS punts: Due to the aforementioned discrepancies with who is defending this law, the court could dismiss the case on procedural grounds. It would of course, find it’s way back to the Supreme Court eventually, but this would make it so they didn’t have to make a potentially unpopular opinion.
There are actions happening all over the country for you to get involved with. Everything from vigils to lobby days to house parties. Go find out what’s going on near you or plan something and let us know about it at Light to Justice or visit the March4Marriage Facebook page.
In the meantime, might I recommend the film Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (also available on Netflix). It’s a story about Edie Windsor and her wife, Thea. Edie is the lead plaintiff in the upcoming DOMA cases coming before the Supreme Court.
More and more, the Sci-fi, Comic, Gaming and Anime communities have come out overwhelmingly in favor of equality for their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender friends, superheroes and artists. While these communities remain fairly dominated by straight guys, it’s rare to see homophobic messages stated – and when they are, they’re frequently challenged by allies.
World of Warcraft fan and Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe has become a hero to the LGBT community following a tongue-lashing he gave to a Maryland lawmaker (let’s just say the term “lustful cockmonster” is now a part of our country’s vernacular because of him).
Star Wars: The Old Republic now allows players to select the sexuality of their characters. In fact dozens of games now feature gay characters including Dragon’s Age II, Guild Wars 2, Tekken, Mass Effect 1, 2 & 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Bully, and even a lesser-known PS2 game (which I happened to voice the lead character for) Shadow Hearts: From the New World features a gay relationship.
So this is why I was shocked to see that DC Comics had hired one of the most openly-homophobic science fiction writers out there to usher in the new Superman digital comic. Orson Scott Card, author of the soon-to-be-released blockbuster movie, Ender’s Game is not only anti-gay, but he is unapologetically so. In 2009, Card joined the board of one of the most virulently anti-gay organizations we know of, The National Organization for Marriage (NOM). While the name sounds innocuous enough, NOM has not only sunk millions into fights agains marriage equality, they’ve also fought against gay adoption, against safe schools for LGBT kids, and as recently reported, the gay “lifestyle” as a whole. And Card is a part of it all.
In 2000, Salon’s Donna Minkowitz outed Card as a “disgustingly outspoken homophobe” following a thorough and eye-opening interview. In his writing, he has equated homosexuality with pedophilia, and in a 2004 essay, Card stated:
“The dark secret of homosexual society—the one that dares not speak its name—is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally.”
A devout Mormon, Card frequently speaks about the “radical redefinition of marriage,” which is of course fairly hypocritical considering his own church went through their own “radical redefinition of marriage” not so long ago. In 1990, Card wrote a lengthy essay titled “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality.” Throughout, he roundly admonishes gay people as nothing more than people who are giving into sin. He even goes so far as to stating that anti-sodomy laws should remain on the books making homosexuality illegal in the U.S.. He points out of course in an epilogue that those were his old views before those laws were overturned. Now he only says non-inflammatory things like:
“There are no laws left standing that discriminate against gay couples. They can visit each other in the hospital. They can benefit from each other’s insurance.”
This was what he said last year when North Carolina was passing an anti-gay marriage amendment. He seems to ignore the fact that hospital visitation is not a law, it’s an Executive Order which can easily be overturned by the next President and his statement that we can benefit from each other’s insurance is a lie. This is completely dependent on the insurance company and the employer one has. Most companies in the U.S. still do not offer coverage for partners of LGBT employees. Finally, I’d like to point him to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (which gives heterosexual couples 1100+ rights which I don’t have), the lack of an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (meaning that in most states I can still be fired for being gay) and the 30 or so states I can be evicted from my home for being gay.
Card has gone even further though, threatening to overthrow any government who approves marriage equality:
“Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage.
Card has proven that not only is he virulently anti-gay, but he has no problem spreading lies to bring others to his wrong side of history.
All Out, an international LGBT rights organization has started a petition asking DC Comics to get rid of the anti-gay Orson Scott Card. I can’t seem to find any sort of formal boycott of his film “Ender’s Game” set for a March release, but considering 10% of his income is also tithed to the Mormon church, I’m fairly certain they won’t be seeing my $12.