Tag Archives: equality

Highlights from the Court’s decision in the Marriage Equality case

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While my first read of Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell is certainly not detached, it is truly an enjoyable opinion to read. Eloquent in its defense of liberty, thorough in its review of precedents involving privacy and marriage, and makes a persuasive argument. Truly Justice Kennedy’s shining moment.

Some highlights:

The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as welearn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.”

Choices about marriage shape an individual’s destiny. As the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has explained, because “it fulfils yearnings for security, safehaven, and connection that express our common human- ity, civil marriage is an esteemedinstitution, and thedecision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition….

The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, suchas expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation.”

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people be- come something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.”

I’ll leave the hypocrisy of the dissents for another post.

Religious freedom and compliance with the Court’s Same Sex Marriage Decision.

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Religious liberty does not mean your reliance on ancient texts taken out of context and translated using the state of the art tools of the early 17th century, permits you to deny full equal rights to others. There really is no religious freedom issue. Those opposed to same sex marriages do not have to enter into same sex marriages. Nor do their churches have to consecrate them. The Court spoke today, but the “religious freedom” lunacy will continue for some time.

And like after Brown v Board of Education, when southern states refused to implement the decision, we are already seeing plans to not comply in places like Texas and Alabama. In Texas, the Governor is issuing a statement prioritizing the “religious freedom” of Texans. In several counties in Alabama, their county clerks are no longer issuing any marriage licenses.

While it took a decade for the Civil Rights Act to finally force compliance, the Department of Justice has all the tools it needs today to nip this in the bud much more quickly today. The Court has said that marriage is a fundamental right. The DOJ can litigate to make sure that right is not deprived.

Why do children not deserve to be baptized? A letter to the pope

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A friend of mine Brian Tessier just wrote a letter to Pope Francis, that I think is worth sharing with all of you – and I encourage you to share it with others.

September 13, 2013

Dear Francis,

I never thought I would actually sit down to craft a letter to a person who is the Bishop or Rome, Head of the Catholic Church but more importantly a representation of the Christ Spirit that does exist on earth. Admittedly, I have watched since your taking office like many others in my position to see who you were going to be and more importantly how you were going to lead. I can say, while I never lost faith, you have restored hope.

I was raised in a devout Catholic family, attended church regularly, was an altar boy and attended and graduated from a Catholic College. I always held my faith in my heart but also explored and listened to those of other faiths and found that as long as someone was on a path toward goodness, then, there was an inherent worth and dignity due them, regardless of their status in life, their past or other distinctions as I saw everyone as a child of god. In fact, I do not think there is a faith in the world that does not hold children in the highest regard. Christ, spoke often of children and what they bring and their inherent spirit and innate faith. Even today, I consider myself as a child of God.

I grew to maturity, suffered hardship but never lost faith or hope. I was never one not to follow my dreams and passions and pursued one of those despite all odds to become the adoptive father to two children who I adopted from Foster Care. My sons were born into this world in less than perfect beginnings. One born addicted to drugs, the other who suffered at the hands of a man while he was in utero and while and infant and many other things. By the grace of God, they survived and through what I call divine providence, we were brought together as a family.

As both of my children are latin and were born Catholic, I felt it was their inherent birthright to be baptized in the church and raised to follow the footsteps of Jesus in all of the magical simplicity and love that he brought to the world. I asked about having my children baptized and was told “NO”. Through a prominent Bishop in the US, I had the inquiry go all the way to Rome and the answer was still “NO”. Ironic as I am a distant relative of the late Pope John Paul, as I am of Polish descent. While I maintained Faith, I lost hope.

The reason I was given was that because I am a Gay man, the church would not baptize them. So, for the purported sins of the father my children were and are denied their birthright. Ultimately, as I wanted my children raised in a faith tradition, I left the church and have been raising them in another faith where they and I were welcomed as a family without regard to anything but the love that binds us. 

I have also worked tirelessly to help adoptive parents become families and with the LGBT community to help children come from Foster Care to a forever home to be nurtured and loved. All the while I had faith, yet, when the church abruptly closed Catholic Charities across the United States over the issue of placing children in LGBT homes with loving parents, I was one of the people who saw 1000’s of children immediately displaced. Would Christ have done such a thing and turned his back on the children. Would John the Baptist have denied Jesus, baptism in the river Jordan based on some extrinsic quality?

So, as I watch you convene the world in prayers for peace, touch the young, the sick, the poor without regard for the external trappings, I simply ask why my children are not entitled to that grace and I am therefore not allowed a place in the house of worship I was raised in along with my sons that does not disparage who I love but recognizes the immense capacity I have for love?

Faithfully Yours,

Brian Tessier

On Twitter as: @NTtionalFather

Please reblog.  

A powerful post…defriended over a wedding, straight man gains perspective

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I saw this blog shared by a friend today.   It is powerful m and worth sharing here.


My younger brother is gay. Gay as laughter. Gay as the day is long. One of the finest moments in my life, and one of the greatest compliments anyone has ever paid me, was the day he felt safe to come out to me. He’s in his mid-30s now, but he’ll always be my little brother. And man, I love that kid. He’s brilliant, he’s funny, and he’s kind. And he just married a phenomenal man.

I was always predisposed to like his husband because, y’know, he’s my brother’s partner and therefore has automatic status in my heart. The wonderful bonus is that I really like him. He’s brilliant, he’s funny, and he’s kind. He’s a cool dude to hang out with. He also stood by my brother like a rock when my brother had a life-threatening cancer that cost him his left eye.

They married in May. It was a wonderful ceremony in which I was honored to stand by my brother, supporting him in his vows. My eyes teared up like they always do at weddings. I had the joy of watching two people commit to a lifetime together. It filled my heart.

Folks started posting photos from the wedding on Facebook, and I proudly reposted photos of the ceremony (with me looking awesome in my new suit, of course). Shortly after that, I received this message from a FB friend:

“Hey David, I am removing you from my friends list…sorry man, that latest post is way over the top! Homosexuals joining in “Holy” matrimony…I don’t think so??? The Holy Bible speaks out against homosexuality and speaks highly of Holy matrimony between a man and a woman. It’s nothing more than a slap in the face to those who choose God’s Word, for homosexuals to join in a Holy marriage. I’m only defriending you so I don’t have to look at your anti-God stuff anymore…nothing personal!”


Continue at the blog for more…

Politicalprof: Know Why the Boy Scouts Care if You’re Gay?

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Link: Politicalprof: Know Why the Boy Scouts Care if You’re Gay?

Well said.   I’d give another reason why they care if you are gay.  Their largest partners in terms of supporting troops:  The LDS Mormon Church, The Roman Catholic Church, and the Southern Baptist Convention.    Hmmm… all three… rabidly anti-homosexual.    


Well, it’s because the organization’s founder, Lt. Gen. Robert Baden-Powell, a British military officer who created the group in the early 1900s, was aggressively, passionately anti-gay, and wrote anti-gay principles into the group’s founding philosophy. The group has maintained these principles…

Enough of the “Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner”

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Over time I regularly hear the old standby line “Hate the Sin, love the sinner” defense to support discriminating against LGBTQ folk.    The Catholic Church has used this one for years to support its systematic discrimination against homosexuals.   And for years, it has annoyed me.  The events of the last week have brought it back with a fervor by evangelicals.  A couple thoughts on this — some mine, and some from two very powerful voices.    

First, mine.  As Christians, we are commanded to love our neighbor.  Jesus is not attributed to saying anything about HATE.   Indeed, a search of the NIV shows the word “love” appears 205 times in the New Testament, and the word “hate” a mere 15 time, and those are mostly in the context of love your enemies. How about we just stick with the “love.”   It certainly is the core element of Christian faith.   Love your neighbor.  All your neighbors.

But this issue deserves more – and there are other voices are far more powerful than mine that and worth listening to on this issue.  This morning I came across Matthew Paul Turner’s blog Five Ways the Church Failed Yesterday.  This piece speaks volumes.   I will quote one section – but READ THE WHOLE THING.

Trust me, I understand that most people who ate chicken sandwiches at CFA yesterday did not do that as an act of hate. I get that. And that’s cool and all, but did the act of going out of your way to CFA prove that to be true? Do you think that the GLBTQ communities believe you? Would you, if you were gay, believe you?

Now before you answer that, remember that yesterday’s CFA Love Day was just one action in a long line of many. Because let’s face it: Christians go WAY out of their way to “hate the sin”–i.e., by voting against gay marriage, voting against civil unions, voicing their angst about gay people adopting children (just to list a few). Is it possible that Christians lose the ability to truly “love the sinner” because they’re so busy “hating the sin”? Do Christians put anywhere near the energy into “loving the sinner” as they do “hating the sin”?

All I know is that the GLBTQ communities are becoming quite used to feeling unloved by Christians. And with good reason.

How many times do we hear Christians say something like, “I don’t hate gay people. I may not agree with their lifestyle. But I don’t hate them… ”

If you were gay, would you believe that? Think about it. Would you feel loved by somebody if they included rules, context, and/or explanations about your lifestyle every time they spoke about how much they don’t hate you? Only when talking about gay people do Christians feel the need to preface their “love” or “non-hate” with some variation of “I don’t agree with your lifestyle, but…” Christians don’t talk about any other group of people like that–only gay people. 

Turner’s post captures the core element.  The message is strengthened by the words of the Rev. Mark Sandlin, who writes as The “God Article.” Rev. Sandlin suggests that “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” is really hate by any other name.  He says this in “Clobbering Biblical Gay Bashing.”  (which should also be required reading):

Hate By Any Other Name

Oh sure, this time around we have “softened” our approach, saying things like “hate the sin, love the sinner,” but we fail to recognize that what we are calling a “sin” and the person we are calling a “sinner” are one and the same. A person whose sexual orientation is homosexual, or bi-sexual, or queer can no more separate themselves from their sexuality than a heterosexual person can. It’s like saying “hate the toppings, love the pizza.” It’s just not the pizza without the toppings. We just aren’t loving the person if we don’t love the whole person. 

I suspect the “softening” of the language we use has everything to do with making us feel better and very little with making LGBTQ folk feel better, because it certainly doesn’t make them feel any better. As a matter of fact, the love/hate (emphasis on hate) relationship that the Church continues to push on this group of people only serves to push them into closets and into even darker places, which sometimes leads to suicide. The Church and its approach to this issue are at fault for most of the hurt, anguish, self-doubt, abuse and death associated with being LGBTQ. Not very loving. Not very grace filled. But it certainly leaves us in need of forgiveness. 

Many Christians have lost their way in this twisty, turny maze of how to practice our faith. We would much rather reinforce the things we want to believe than believe the sometimes difficult teachings of Jesus. Who, on a side note, never said a word about homosexuality but did tell us to gouge out our lustful eyes. Which seems to me is more likely to leave us all blind than the “eye for and eye” thing. 

How about we just stick with the “love” and forget the hate.  

Peace out.  


Thank You Mr. President — for doing the right thing.

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President Obama has finally got off the fence, and come out of the White House closet in support of Gay Marriage.   As the New York Times reports:

President Obamadeclared for the first time on Wednesday that he supportssame-sex marriage, putting the moral power of his presidency behind a social issue that continues to divide the country.

“At a certain point,” Mr. Obama said in an interview in the Cabinet Room at the White House with ABC’s Robin Roberts, “I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

The president has framed the issue as a personal one for himself, as a christian.  He said

 you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.”

Yes, it is divisive.  Yes, it is risky.  But it is the right thing to do.  The time for “evolving” thoughts is over.   

The President’s hand may have been forced by the Vice-President’s comments on Sunday about gay marriage, but in light of the travesty of the North Carolina “Amendment 1” vote yesterday, it is important to put this issue out front, and tackle it head-on.  It will mobilize the base, it will win back some of the support from many progressives disappointed with the president over the past three plus years.   It will also mobilize his opponents, and send the religious right into a frenzy, but I am thinking that is ok too.    It is not like the right wing doesn’t hate him already.  

Equality now.  For all.  Thank you Mr. President.  

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