[Image: Pew Research Center]
This morning, Washington United for Marriage announced a gift of “historic” proportions: $2.5 million from Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, of Amazon fame and fortune, to go toward efforts to pass Referendum 74, which would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington, where the online retailer is based. With that one gift, the Bezoses have joined the ranks of the top financial backers of gay marriage in the country.
Why the sudden large check? The New York Times reports that the gift came as the result of a request from one of Amazon’s earliest employees, Jennifer Cast, a volunteer for Washington United for Marriage and a mother of four children she is raising with her longtime partner.
Read more. [Image: AP]
The southwest Minneapolis suburbs of Minnetonka and Eden Prairie bring to mind Garrison Keillor’s tales from Lake Wobegon: They’re lined with well-maintained homes and tree-lined roundabouts, and home to residents of largely German and Scandinavian ancestry. But the ladies of these towns have quietly begun a revolt — one fought with rainbow flags and a Minnesota nice attitude.
The women, mostly in their 40s and 50s, come from different political parties, religious views, and backgrounds, but they’ve united to fight what many of them call an embarrassment to Minnesota: a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage that will appear on the ballot this November.
Read more. [Image: Benson Kua/Flickr]
On Tuesday, the 9th Circuit decided not to reconsider the decision that found California’s Proposition 8 gay-marriage ban unconstitutional — a victory for gay-marriage supporters that makes it likely the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the issue. And while the California decision was but one step in a long process for marriage-equality advocates, it was an important reminder: For all the attention given to the “evolution” of politicians and the public, same-sex marriage continues to make some of its most consequential gains through the judiciary.
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Twenty-two years ago, Reverend Oliver White founded Grace Community United Church of Christ in a low-income black neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota. It was a strong congregation with 320 members — until 2005, when White stood up at a synod of the United Church of Christ and voiced his support of gay marriage. Then he came home and told his congregation what he had done.
"I thought they were with me," he says, "but much to my chagrin, I immediately started losing members." Over the next few weeks, two thirds of his members left the congregation. […]
How did you become such a strong supporter of gay marriage?
You know, I’ve always felt this way. This is not something I’ve evolved into. I’ve always just felt that people are people. There are all kinds of different people — some are left handed, and others are right handed. Should we discriminate against people because they’re left handed?
That’s how I see it. Many of my friends happen to be gay, and some of my enemies, too. They all deserve the same rights I have in terms of being married, and the joys and benefits come along with that. I would not be inclined to be in relationship with another man, but it’s not for me to judge two men or women in a relationship. It’s about the freedom to love.
The people who left your congregation obviously believe that gay marriage is against the Christian religion. Which parts of scripture do they cite, and how do you read those same passages?
Most people who oppose homosexuality use biblical references found in Leviticus, which state that homosexuality is an abomination to God. Now, that’s a misinterpretation of that text. They really need to read further into it. In the same book of Leviticus, it states that if an unmarried woman is not a virgin, she can be put to death. We don’t put women to death for that reason nowadays.
The one law I quote frequently and try to conduct my ministry by is the one that Jesus gave: Love God first and then love your neighbor as yourself. And yet, we have laws in Minnesota in 2012 that say oral sex is a sin. You can go to jail for it. Come on people, wake up! Let’s get on with it!
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A Federal Appeals court in Massachusetts ruled Thursday that the Defense of Marriage Act violates the Constitution by denying federal benefits to same-sex couples and though it’s a narrow ruling, it’s still a victory for same-sex marriage advocates as the case makes its way ever-closer to the Supreme Court.
Read more at The Atlantic Wire. [Image: Reuters]
It’s always wild seeing rappers come out against homophobia. I’ve got more than my share of songs I can’t really enjoy like I once did.
But it’s good to see, and I can’t even say I live outside of it. I can remember coming out of Baltimore and viewing every interaction with someone who was gay with a kind of smug derision. It’s the closest I’ve come to a kind of deep, unstated pride in ignorance—not so much a violent hostility, but a meanness based almost entirely on not understanding. And frankly not even believing there was anything worth understanding.
When I write with some curiosity about the racist mind, this is really place I’m pulling from. I know how easy it is to believe that people have nothing to contribute, and to hold that belief not out of evidence of their lives, but out of ignorance of them. Still it’s one thing for people to tell you why that’s wrong—and that’s important. But it’s only philosophy. For the facts, I needed real world contact with actual people. I could not simply be told that “diversity is good.” I had to see it.
It was a really nice day in New York yesterday. I took my wife and son out for brunch, then roamed a bit with Kenyatta. We ended up in West Village and I was suddenly struck by how thankful I was to gay America. There is probably a more agile way to say that. But the fact is this. You can’t really do my job, and live where I have lived, and live how I lived and not deal with the LGBT world. I would go so far as to say that if you are a writer with aspiration, homophobia is bad for business.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is the only writer/editor that I specifically pay attention to these days.
He’s fantastic. Thanks for reading!
Too many people whose marriages are not up for debate have been griping that President Obama’s announcement was too little, too late. He’s endorsing federalism, argued Adam Serwer in Mother Jones. He’s championing state’s rights, complained left-of-center blogger Digby: “This is the essence of retrograde, reactionary politics and there’s a long history of these ‘sovereign’ states exercising their ‘rights’ to deny minorities their freedom.” Even House Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn was upset with the president’s approach. “I depart from the president on the state-by-state approach. If you consider this to be a civil right, and I do, I don’t think civil rights ought to be left up to a state-by-state approach,” he said Monday.
Such critics of Obama are wrong. They are wrong about what the administration has done and said, wrong on the politics of gay marriage, and — most important — they are wrong on the law.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]