Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
2012-JUL: Accelerating steps toward
same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
We use the acronym "SSM" throughout this section to represent "same-sex marriage"
We use the acronym "LGBT" to refer to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. The acronym "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
See also the previous essay describing events during 2012-JUN
The Obama administration announced on 2011-FEB-23 that it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. They cited an earlier decision in a Massachusetts federal court that found multiple reasons why the federal DOMA legislation violates the U.S. Constitution and is thus invalid.
Some commentators predicted that this decision will generate a tipping point that will lead to a more rapid decline in discrimination against sexual minorities in the U.S.
This prediction may be coming true. We have noticed an increase in events -- some important, some minor, some merely symbolic -- that indicate a gradual evaporation of animosity, animus, and homophobia against sexual minorities. The events of 20-12-MAY were particularly momentous.
Developments toward marital equality and a lessening of discrimination against sexual minorities:
- 2012-JUL-03: USA: Anderson Cooper comes out of the closet: Cooper, 45, is the anchor of Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN. During an interview on The Daily Beast, he said:
"The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."
In a statement on The Dish blog he said that he had not revealed his sexual orientation earlier, but had recently come to realize that he did not want to give:
"... the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something. ... There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand. ... I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don't think it's anyone else's business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. ... I do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter's shield of privacy." 1
- 2012-JUL-04: USA: Frank Ocean, 24, discussed his sexual orientation: Ocean is a R&B singer whose latest single is the critically acclaimed "Novacane." He announced on his web site that his first love was a man. He wrote that in 2008:
"4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide."
Chuck Creekmur, of the leading website allhiphop.com wrote that Ocean's revelation is:
"... a sign of the times. ... I think it’s definitely important and it really signifies that there is a changing of the face of hip-hop. ... I do think that we'll see a lot of support for him. ... I think that it's process. Just a few years ago, if this had happened, it could have marked the end of his career. This could mark the beginning of his career."
Associated Press reporter Nekesa Moody commented that his announcement:
"... is noteworthy because he inhabits the world of rap, where anti-gay sentiments have long been part of the regular vocabulary. Gay epithets are often used in lyrics -- one of Lil Wayne’s catch phrases is 'no homo'." 2
2012-JUL-06: NY: Appeals court rejects challenge to SSM law: By a 5 to 0 vote, the Fourth Department of the Appellate Division, a New York state appeals court in Rochester, NY, unanimously rejected a challenge to New York state's SSM law passed in mid-2011. They ruled that closed-door negotiations that included both Republican senators, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), and other SSM supporters did not violate any laws. Liberty Counsel and New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms subsequently appealed the decision. More details.
- 2012-JUL-07: World: Google launched "Legalize Love" campaign: At the Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London, Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe of Google announced a new worldwide campaign called: "Legalize Love." He said: "We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office. It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work." They have initially started the program in Singapore and Poland but plan to expand it to all countries where Google has an office. Currently, sexually active gays and lesbians can receive the death penalty in six predominately Muslim countries; Uganda's Parliament is considering a similar law. It is still a criminal offense in many other countries.
Google has hosted seminars on lesbian/gay topics, and sponsored local celebrations. They pay their LGB employees in same-sex relationships additional higher wages in order to compensate for their higher health care costs. 3
- 2012-JUL-16: USA: Target has begun to sell wedding cards for same-sex couples and gay pride t-shirts for general use. Patrice Sadd, a spokesperson for Carlton Cards said that her company and Target decided to offer "wedding cards relevant for everyone." Target has come a long way after it was the target of a boycott following a $150,000 donation to MN Forward, a political action group opposed to same-sex marriage. 4
- 2012-JUL-18: CA: Military servicemembers permitted to march in gay pride parade: According to the San Diego Union Tribune, some servicemembers have been given permission to march in a local gay pride parade while wearing service uniforms. This may be a violation of a Department of Defense regulation limiting the use of uniforms dating from 2005 in which the practice is forbidden:
"In connection with furthering political activities, private employment, or commercial interests, when an inference of official sponsorship of the activity or interest may be drawn."
The regulation further prohibits the wearing of uniforms at events:
"intended to, or which appears to endorse, selectively benefit, or favor any private individual, special interest group, business, religious, ideological movement, commercial venture, political candidate or organization." 5
- 2012-JUL-21: USA: Office Depot donates $1 million to "Born this way foundation:" Earlier this month, Office Depot donated $1 million to Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation. Bob Moore, Chief Marketing Officer for Office Depot, described the Foundation as "... an inspirational organization that has the power to make a difference in the lives of today’s youth." The foundation was founded in 2011-FEB. Office Depot will sell bravery bracelets and pencil cases, etc. with the Born This Way message. The Florida Family Association said that Office Depot is delivering an"
"... irresponsible message to many teens who would have eventually chosen to be straight. ... The one million dollar pledge from Office Depot to the Lady Gaga Born this Way Foundation will influence many teens to embrace homosexuality for their lifetime who may have otherwise worked through their crisis with straight results. Thousands of kids who might have otherwise worked through their pubescent sexual identity issues will be inspired to accept the wrong choice based upon this unscientific, emotionally charged propaganda. What’s brave or kind about telling thousands of sexually frustrated teens that they were Born This Way when a high percentage of them would have ended up taking the straight heterosexual path for life?" 6
This is an interesting belief, apparently based on the assumption that many youths who identify themselves as gay in spite of the emotional and physical dangers from their friends' and family's homophobia are merely confused about their sexual orientation, and that if the gay bashing and harassment is allowed to continue, that many gay youth will decide to become heterosexual. This ultimately has as its foundation the belief that sexual orientation is a choice. We have been unable to find any evidence that support this belief.
- 2012-JUL-23: Sally Ride dies: Sally Ride, (1951 - 2012) the first American woman in space, died after a 17 month battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 61. It is being widely discussed that she came out of the closet as a lesbian in her obituary which said that she is survived by "Tam O'Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years." However, she probably had a bisexual orientation rather than a homosexual orientation because she was married to fellow astronaut Steve Hawley for five years. 7,8
"Ride was a physicist, writer of five science books for children and president of her own company, which motivates youngsters to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. She had also been a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego." 8 She was an inductee of four Halls of Fame, author of seven science books for children, and recipient of at least six major awards. But because of discrimination against sexual minorities, she would not have been accepted by the Boy Scouts of America as a den mother of a cub scout group because of her sexual orientation.
- 2012-JUL-28: Democratic party considers supporting same-sex marriage (SSM): At a meeting in Minneapolis, MN, a group of Democratic Party officials unanimously approved in principle the advocacy of SSM in their party platform. Currently about 70% of registered Democrats favor marriage equality for all loving, committed couples. In early August, the full platform committee will meet in Detroit to confirm or reject this decision. If approved, it will be voted upon by the convention delegates in Charlotte, NC in early September.
The approved language also repeats the party's 2008 condemnation of the Defense of Marriage Act which prevents the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages solemnized in the District of Columbia and 6 states. It has recently been declared unconstitutional by multiple federal courts.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign -- a main group fighting for marriage equality -- said:
"Like Americans from all walks of life, the Democratic Party has recognized that committed and loving gay and lesbian couples deserve the right to have their relationships respected as equal under the law. I believe that one day very soon the platforms of both major parties will include similar language on this issue."
Peter S. Sprigg, senior fellow at the Family Research Council -- an organization designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group -- said:
"There are many places in the country where Democratic candidates will not want to be identified with the gay-marriage party. I think this is more politically correct than it is politically smart. 9
These information sources were used to prepare & update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- " 'The fact is, I'm gay': Anderson Cooper comes out," The Age (Australia), 2012-JUL-03, at: http://www.theage.com.au/
- Nekesa Mumbi Moody, "Frank Ocean reveals details about his sexuality," Associated Press, 2012-JUL-04, at: http://www.thestar.com/
- Rosa Golijan, "Google to fight homophobia with worldwide 'Legalize Love' campaign. MSNBC, 2012-JUL-09, at: http://www.gadgetbox.msnbc.msn.com/
- Carlos Santoscoy, "Target selling wedding cards for gay couples," On Top magazine, 2-12-JUL-16, at: http://www.ontopmag.com/
- Bob Unruh, "New in 'Gay' parade: U.S. troops in uniform," WND, 2013-JUL-18, at: http://www.wnd.com/
- James Park, "Florida Family Association: Office Depot helping Lady Gaga 'turn children gay'," Pink News, 2012-JUL-21, at: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/
- Michelangelo Signorile, "Sally Ride, American Hero: This Is What a Lesbian Looks Like," Huffington Post, 2012-JUL-24, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- "Sally Ride Dead: First American Woman In Space Dies At 61," Associated Press, 2012-JUL-24, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- J.W. Peters & M.D. Shear, "Democrats Draft Gay Marriage Platform," New York Times, 2012-JUL-30, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
How you got here:
Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2012-JUL-06
Latest update: 2012-AUG-05
Author: B.A. Robinson