Monday, December 29, 2014

Gay Rights and the Challenge of 2015: The Price Gay Citizens Pay for Continued Foot-Dragging on Marriage Equality

Something else that matters to me as the turbulent year of 2014 ends and a new year begins: the challenge of combating deeply entrenched injustice against LGBT people in religious communities and the wider society. Here are some articles I've read in the past few days that strenghten my resolve to keep caring about this issue and struggling for justice along with others working to that end:

Massoud Hayoun on how, though the developed nations have made strides towards marriage equality, attitudes of many citizens about their fellow citizens who are gay remain stuck in the 1960s:

Today, as in the ’60s, there is a large discrepancy between America’s feelings on rights for gays and their more private feelings about homosexuality. 
Closing that gap will be a key priority for the gay rights movement in 2015 and for many years to come. Negative opinions about homosexuality are at the root of violence against LGBT communities, and despite progress on legal rights, physical assault and other orientation-based crimes against those communities persist.

Nicholas Watt on how the bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, indicts his own church (largely regarded as one of the more progressive of churches) vis-a-vis its treatment of LGBT folks:

The Church of England is still guilty of "serious institutional homophobia" and has yet to overcome "inertia and ignorance" towards same-sex couples, an Anglican bishop has claimed. 
Alan Wilson, the bishop of Buckingham, praised gay members of the clergy for showing "considerable courage and determination" as they fight deeply ingrained prejudices to marry.

Jean Ann Esselink on Chris Hayes's recent statement that the intent to persecute gay folks has now become "an indicator of moral depravity": 

A roundtable discussion on same-sex marriage caused MSNBC news host Chris Hayes to remark how being anti-gay has become an "indicator of moral depravity."

Chris Hayes, son of a former Jesuit, I remind myself as I read this comment . . . .

Jeffrey S. Trachtman on the very real damage done to same-sex couples and their families every day that the U.S. Supreme Court continues dragging its feet about the constitutional rights of LGBT citizens:

In the 15 states without the freedom to marry, families suffer concrete harm every day, deprived of literally hundreds of government benefits and protections as well as private benefits awarded based on marital status. . . .  
Exclusion from marriage also inflicts severe dignitary injury -- the impact of being treated as second-class citizens with second class relationships. These injuries can be quite tangible, particularly the psychological harm to children of being told by society that their families are less real and worthy of respect than those of different-sex parents. In Windsor, the Supreme Court recognized that failing to respect existing marriages "demeans" couples and "humiliates" their kids. Total exclusion from marriage is at least as demeaning and humiliating. 
Even couples deemed married in their home states are harmed by continuing marriage discrimination in other states. Every time they travel to a non-recognition state they risk being treated as unmarried in the event of a medical or other emergency. They need to obtain second parent adoptions or create living wills and powers of attorney to try to replicate the rights they would have automatically if their marriages were respected. Couples who fail to anticipate these problems may face grievous results, such as exclusion from the hospital bedside of a dying spouse
These harms happen every day and may be catastrophic -- robbing a surviving spouse of a lifetime of earned retirement benefits or leaving a child parentless when the biological or adoptive parent dies and the state does not recognize the surviving partner as a parent.  
There is simply no good reason to inflict these risks and harms on American families for another day, much less another year. The country is ready for full recognition of the freedom to marry. Let's hope the Supreme Court is as well.

Matt Baume on the foot-dragging going on right now in the state of Florida, and in my own state of Arkansas — foot dragging that has concrete negative effects on my life and that of my husband: 

A federal judge says that Florida's marriage ban is unconstitutional. Most of the state's clerks say they're going to enforce it anyway. . . . In other news, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel will appeal a federal ruling that his state's marriage ban is unconstitutional. He will almost certainly lose and waste tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And Jean Ann Esselink on who's fighting to keep LGBT citizens second-class citizens in Florida, and who's not doing so: 

On the Defense side: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals. On the Plaintiff side: Delta Airlines and Oracle.

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