Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rhode Island House of Representatives overwhelmingly pass marriage equality bill

From the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News:

The Rhode Island House of Representatives, led by openly gay Speaker Gordon Fox, today passed a bill that supports marriage equality. The House voted 51-19 to approve the measure.

 Rep. Joseph M. McNamara told a personal story of holding a lesbian couple's twin daughter, looking at the happy little girl, and saying that's when it dawned on him that marriage equality was also family equality. McNamara said the twins deserve the same equality of any straight family, and that by providing marriage equality was the right thing to do.

 Rep. Arthur J. Corvese, a Catholic Democrat who loudly and angrily railed against the bill and against gay activists and the ACLU, shouted out all the usual suspect arguments on why same-sex marriage will open Pandora's box for marriage. He said marriage isn't about gay rights, or civil rights, or about love, but about procreation. He also used the phrase, "the criminal media," leading one pundit to utter, "Is this man crazy?"

 Rep. James N. McLaughlin attempted to substitute an amendment to the bill to essentially gut it and keep marriage between a man and a woman. He gave a rambling and incoherent speech, then the parliamentarian ruled that his amendment was not germane and was out of order. Rep. Joseph Almeida, who is Cape Verdean American who was born in Providence, said the issue was a "civil rights struggle" and "don't divide us" to opponents of the bill.

Minority Leader Brian C. Newberry said he supported the bill and urged the Senate not to play politics with their vote on the measure, accusing the high chamber of drawing up a wish list to use a vote on the marriage bill as a bargaining chip.

Openly gay Rep. Frank Ferri, who said he and his "husband" have been together for 32 years, called today: "This is an exceptional moment, and it's taken a long time." He praised Speaker Fox for his patience since 1997 in getting to this moment in Rhode Island history.

The marriage bill now goes to the state Senate, where its President, Teresa Paiva Weed, a Democrat, opposes the measure. Weed, however, has agreed to allow a vote, which may take weeks or months before it clears the Senate Judiciary Committee.

'Stanford researchers create HIV-resistant cells' and other Thursday midday news briefs

HIV-Resistant Cells Created By Stanford Researchers Could Protect Patients From AIDS - This is really good news! 

Bryan Fischer is hijacking the civil rights movement (is what I would say if I adopted his own movement's tactics) - Dear Mr. Fischer, "Christian is not the new Black" That is all. One more thing - you dumb ass!

NOM – Rhode Island Insults The Very Legislators They’re Lobbying - NOM plays both sides of the coin in Rhode Island. 

Minnesota Columnist Claims LGBT Students Don’t Need Bullying Protections - First they said we have no need for marriage equality because we already have civil rights. Now they say our children don't need protection from bullies. I cringe to hear the next thing they will claim that we don't need.

Religious right - 'gays have bad health issues, so let's undermine attempts to discover why'

According to Think Progress, Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) had a very interesting exchange with a constituent about how a workshop which counsels lgbts with substance abuse problems and mental health issues is allegedly pushing the "homosexual agenda:"

CONSTITUENT: I want to know if you’re aware of the Substances and Mental Health Services Administration that has a book called the Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Individuals.


CONSTITUENT: They are going around the nation, they just did this here in Oklahoma, December 7th, and having conferences that are educational. [...] About 2 percent of the conference is dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues. 98 percent is doing indoctrination or pushing the homosexual agenda. This is what our president is doing. He has a federal agency doing it. Our state, the Oklahoma Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department, put this conference on and is indoctrinating our citizens who are totally against this. Is there any way you can look into this?

LANKFORD: Oh yes, sure. You know I can absolutely get a chance to take a look at it. We’ll start the process, try to see what we can do to identify it. Some of those things you have the power of humiliation where you can raise it and put in sunlight. They love functioning in the dark. You put some sunlight on it, that does help. But, we’ll see. I’m glad to take that on. 

It has not been confirmed whether or not the woman speaking was Sally Kern - although it does look like her. And those of us who are lgbt know Sally Kern very well. She is the Oklahoma legislator who once said that homosexuality is more dangerous than terrorism, causing a huge uproar and a boon for religious right organizations who anointed her as a victim "unfairly vilified"  for merely expressing an opinion.

I'm pretty sure we are going to be hearing more about this, but regardless of who this constituent was, the fact that she is attacking a program which would help lgbts fight substance abuse and mental health problems is something we should remember, especially in light of the fact that a huge argument used against the gay community by people like the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins is the idea that we are susceptible to substance abuse and mental health issues: 

And there you have an interesting conundrum which very few point out regarding the hypocrisy of the religious right and those who support their efforts to keep us under heel.

On one hand, you have them calling us "dangers to society" because we are supposedly more susceptible to substance abuse and negative mental health issues. And on the other, they object to any program which would help us conquer these negative behaviors, claiming that they are in actuality a plot to "indoctrinate" or push the alleged homosexual agenda.

They seem to be attacking us for negative health issues while undermining attempts to  create solutions to these issues.

And I have a hard time believing that this is not intentional.