Wednesday, June 15, 2005
First, let me just toss in an aside that these announcements of announcements make me nuts. They're not announcing it tomorrow - they announced it yesterday. They'll be providing more details tomorrow, both regarding the petition itself and the people and groups behind it. I know, I know - it's a strategy designed to ensure a large turnout at the "official" announcement tomorrow. It still bothers me.
But back to the initiative. While the legislative proposal has already passed the required simple majority votes at the Constitutional Convention last year, and if it passes again this year (the convention is expected this fall) will be presented to the state's voters at the 2006 elections, this ballot initiative will not be able to go to the voters until the 2008 elections. Before getting there, though, the initiative's backers must convince 66,500 registered voters to sign their petition to limit marriage and deny legal recognition of or protection to same sex couples by way of civil unions. These signatures must be gathered between September 21 and November 23. If they get these signatures (and enough of the signatures pass scrutiny), then 50 of the state's 200 legislators must approve the measure in two consecutive constitutional conventions before the measure could go to the voters. The earliest it could be on the ballot is in the fall of 2008, when it would need a simple majority in order to have the marriage limitation and civil union ban written into the constitution.
Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus co-chair Arline Isaacson (who spoke at NESL this spring) questions the group's strategy, as it will likely lead to defeat of the legislative proposal and delay the general vote for two years. Many who voted for the marriage limiting/civil union establishing compromise amendment oppose the idea of civil unions, but supported the measure as the one most likely to pass last year (which it did). If these legislators see an option more palatable to their desire to invalidate same sex relationships, they are likely to vote this one down at the constitutional convention this fall. At that point same sex couples could continue marrying until at least November 2008, giving the citizenry a total of 4.5 years to experience the world not ending while thousands more couples choose to enter into the legally binding committment of marriage.
Exactly who all the backers of this petition are isn't clear yet, but they include State Representative Emile J. Goguen, who last year led the effort to impeach the Supreme Judicial Court justices in the majority on Goodridge, and Ronald A. Crews, former head of the Massachusetts Family Institute. Crews lost his bid to become a state rep. in last fall's elections. The MFI is expected to back the petition, but it has not yet made a formal statement. If you're interested in keeping tab on what the MFI is keeping tab, you can check their weblog. Always good to know what the other side is talking about.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
The NJ trial and appellate courts held that the state legislature would have to amend the state's marriage laws before same sex couples could legally marry.
The appellate decision in Lewis v. Harris can be found here.
Friday, June 10, 2005
We've been assigned to Section E of the parade, directly behind the Ramrod float - so expect it to be raucus!!!!! We'll be assembling on Exeter Street, between Boylston St. and Blagden St. They request that all marchers be in place "on the left side of the street" by 11:00 am tomorrow (6/11). We are Group E2.
I have to hit the registration table for us between 9:30 and 10:00, so after that I'll be at our assembly area. Remember that we're a marching only group, so no motor vehicles.
Please come join us if you possibly can, and bring your friends and families!!! Wear NESL clothing/schwag if you have it. Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
"Texans made a decision about marriage and if there's a state that has more lenient views than Texas, then maybe that's a better place for them to live."
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby of Texas have issued statements calling for the governor to apologize to the estimated 66,000 gay and lesbian veterans residing in Texas.
Following up on the initial criticism against Bloch's recent statements before a Senate committee, HRC and Federal GLOBE (GLBT federal employees' association) have issued a joint statement and sent a letter to President Bush, calling for the administration to convince Bloch either to change his official position or to resign.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
"The various forms of the dissolution of matrimony today, like free unions, trial marriages and going up to pseudo-matrimonies by people of the same sex, are rather expressions of an anarchic freedom that wrongly passes for true freedom of man," he said.
He also condemned divorce and the use of contraception. Human Rights Campaign has issued a statement expressing concern at the Pope's blanket condemnation, citing a long church tradition of love and compassion, and reiterating that marriage equality legislation does not seek that any particular church perform or even recognize same sex marriages, but instead are concerned with governmental recognition.
"It is clear that sexual preferences do not in any way influence a person's ability to drive motor cars safely." The judges added that homosexuality "cannot be considered a true and proper psychiatric illness, being a mere personality disturbance."
The Italian GLBT community, and activists worldwide, are feeling personally disturbed over the judicial statement.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
For the next stage in her life, she applied for, was offered and accepted a job at the Library of Congress, as senior terrorism research analyst.
One catch - Schroer's military career and Library of Congress interview were as David Schroer, before she had completed her transition from male to female. Since her Army retirement she had been living as a man during work hours but as a woman on her own time. Prior to starting her new position at the Library of Congress, she met with her soon-to-be boss to discuss the situation, and to suggest that she be Diane from day one on the job. The next day, the no-longer-to-be boss called Schroer and rescinded the job offer, because it was "not a good fit."
The ACLU filed a discrimination suit against the Library of Congress today on behalf of Schroer. You can download a copy of the federal court complaint from this ACLU page.