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Gay Marriage

November 20, 2015 … 11 years

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11 years ago tonight, with family and friends present, we exchanged vows and spoke sacred words. Today, we continue to live into those words. Tonight, we had dinner at the fabulous FIRE GRILL, once again.

I have shared before that there are three restos, that are at the top of the budget when it comes to dining out …

  • Fire Grill
  • Rueben’s Smoked Meats
  • Baton Rouge

This short list is a foodies paradise of good eats.

I am grateful that I live in Canada. Due to recent events, in the world, people are at odds, and words are being spoken, that are totally, out of left field. I’m not sure most folks, politicians and leaders alike, know what they are saying.

My tight group of friends are at odds with each other, because of differing views of current events, and what each of them thinks, as to what we should do and how we should do it.

The ties of friendship are being tested. And if a second conversation that needs to take place, because the first one began and ended badly, doesn’t heal the rift, I am afraid that my circle will be broken over non-negotiable statements.

We are Canadian. And we, for the most part, share Canadian values, and for some, that is not good enough. Everybody has a right to their opinions, because of their origins, how they were educated, and how they each decide to live their lives.

No One Person has the definitive answer, because, let’s face it, we don’t. I don’t think a real, tangible, solid, workable answer is possible amid the heat of argument and prejudice.

Let us keep each other in our thoughts …

Notice I did not say “prayers…”

Religion has become a dirty word. People are choosing to incriminate all, due to the actions of “a few.” And that does not bode well, for an entire community of people, world wide.

One day we will see this for what it really is, and we will shake our heads and say to each other …”Was I really that stupid?”

Yes, we really are that stupid.

At least I can unfollow people. And I can turn the channel, and better yet, I can totally turn off my computer when it all gets to be too much of hateful overload.

More to come, stay tuned …

 


Supreme Court affirms right to gay marriage

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Supreme Court affirms right to gay marriage 

The Supreme Court has found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, striking down bans in 14 states and handing a historic victory to the gay rights movement that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago.

Anthony Kennedy, a conservative justice who has broken with his ideological colleagues to author several decisions expanding rights for LGBT people, again sided with the court’s four liberals to strike down the state bans. The 5-4 majority ruled that preventing same-sex people from marrying violated their constitutional right to due process under the 14th Amendment and that the states were unable to put forth a compelling reason to withhold that right from people.

“It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage,” Kennedy wrote of same-sex couples. “Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves.”

“They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law,” he continued. “The Constitution grants them that right.”

The United States is now just the 21st country in the world to allow same-sex marriage in every jurisdiction.

Chief Justice John Roberts read a stinging dissent from the bench, as Kennedy sat beside him, his hand on his chin. “Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law,” he wrote. “Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept.”

Roberts told same-sex couples they could “celebrate today’s decision,” even though he disagreed with it so strongly.

“Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits,” he wrote. “But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

Despite Roberts’ harsh words, people in the courtroom were all smiles as they poured out onto the steps after the decision. Some wiped tears from their eyes.

In oral arguments last April, Kennedy expressed reservations about changing the traditional definition of marriage to include LGBT people and seemed to suggest that the court should allow the American public to continue debating the relatively new concept.

“The word that keeps coming back to me in this case is millennia,” he said then, referencing the amount of time societies had considered marriage to be only between a man and a woman.

But Kennedy was swayed by the fact that hundreds of thousands of married same-sex couples already exist and that they — and their children — are being treated differently by the law when they move to a state that doesn’t recognize their union. The states in the case also had trouble articulating why they had a compelling reason to deny that recognition, saying only that it was in the interest of children to only allow couples of the opposite sex to marry.

The decision came just two years after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could no longer refuse to recognize married same-sex couples who lived in the handful of states that had legalized their unions. That decision, also written by Kennedy, caused a cascade of lower court decisions striking down state same-sex marriage bans, and now 36 states allow same-sex marriage. Public opinion on gay marriage has changed at lightning speed as well: 60 percent of Americans support it, compared with just 37 percent 10 years ago.

This transformative opinion will most likely continue the trend toward greater acceptance of LGBT people around the country, as the highest court of the land has ruled that same-sex unions are legitimate and lawful everywhere.

Even with the landmark decision, however, support for gay marriage has been almost nonexistent among elected Republican officials, whose positions on the issue likely will not change overnight. To date, no major Republican presidential candidate has endorsed marriage equality. Many 2016 GOP candidates even struggled with the question of whether or not they would attend a gay wedding.

Despite public opposition, many Republican operatives privately have suggested that court rulings favorable to gay marriage are a blessing in disguise for GOP politicians. With the judicial system expanding gay rights, the courts have eased the burden on the legislative and executive branches, removing pressure for them to act proactively on marriage equality policy.

The opinion is a big win for the Obama administration, which is already flying high after the Supreme Court batted down a potentially fatal challenge to the Affordable Care Act on Thursday. The president came out in favor of same-sex marriage in 2012.

Friday’s ruling also could have a big effect on religious institutions that have maintained their opposition to same-sex marriage. Religious schools that refuse to provide housing for same-sex couples could face lawsuits and lose their tax-exempt status, for example. (Religious clergy will not have to marry same-sex couples, however.) Some states will most likely respond to this ruling by attempting to pass legislation to exempt people who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds, such as the controversial Indiana law that passed in March.

The gay rights movement, meanwhile, will move on to employment discrimination. Activists want a federal law that forbids discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation.

Gay and lesbian couples will be able to marry immediately in the four states named in the case — Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan. There may be a delay of a few days or weeks for same-sex marriage to be legal in the remaining states with bans, since lower courts will have to apply the opinion to them.


‘A bold and joyful people’: Ireland backs gay marriage in landslide, talks about a revolution

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By: Shawn Pogatchnik, The Associated Press/The Canadian Press.

DUBLIN – Ireland’s citizens have voted in a landslide to legalize gay marriage, electoral officials announced Saturday — a stunningly lopsided result that illustrates what Catholic leaders and rights activists alike called a “social revolution.”

Friday’s referendum saw 62.1 per cent of Irish voters say “yes” to changing the nation’s constitution to define marriage as a union between two people regardless of their sex. Outside Dublin Castle, watching the results announcement in its cobblestoned courtyard, thousands of gay rights activists cheered, hugged and cried at the news.

“With today’s vote, we have disclosed who we are: a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny proclaimed as he welcomed the outcome. Beside him, Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton declared the victory “a magical moving moment, when the world’s beating heart is in Ireland.”

Ireland is the first country to approve gay marriage in a popular national vote. Nineteen other countries, including most U.S. states, have legalized the practice through their legislatures and courts.

The unexpectedly strong percentage of approval surprised both sides. More than 1.2 million Irish voters backed the “yes” side to less than 750,000 voting “no.” Only one of Ireland’s 43 constituencies recorded a narrow “no” majority, Roscommon-South Leitrim in the boggy midlands.

Analysts credited the “yes” side with adeptly employing social media to mobilize young, first-time voters, tens of thousands of whom voted for the first time Friday. The “yes” campaign also featured moving personal stories from prominent Irish people — either coming out as gays or describing their hopes for gay children — that helped convince wavering voters to back equal marriage rights.

Both Catholic Church leaders and gay rights advocates said the result signalled a social revolution in Ireland, where only a few decades ago the authority of Catholic teaching was reinforced by voters who massively backed bans on abortion and divorce in the 1980s.

Voters legalized divorce by a razor-thin margin in 1995 and now, by a firm majority, have dismissed the Catholic Church’s repeated calls to reject gay marriage. Abortion, still outlawed, looms as the country’s next great social policy fight.

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the “overwhelming vote” against church teaching on gay marriage meant that Catholic leaders in Ireland needed urgently to find a new message and voice for reaching Ireland’s young.

“It’s a social revolution. … The church needs to do a reality check right across the board,” said Martin, who suggested that some church figures who argued for gay marriage’s rejection came across as harsh, damning and unloving, the opposite of their intention.

“Have we drifted completely away from young people?” he asked. “Most of those people who voted ‘yes’ are products of our Catholic schools for 12 years.”

David Quinn, leader of the Catholic think-tank Iona Institute, said he was troubled by the fact that no political party and only a half-dozen politicians backed the “no” cause.

“The fact that no political party supported them must be a concern from a democratic point of view,” he said.

Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin, a Cork politician whose opposition party is traditionally closest to the Catholic Church, said he couldn’t in good conscience back the anti-gay marriage side.

“It’s simply wrong in the 21st century to oppress people because of their sexuality,” he said.

Some political leaders in Canada approved of the result. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is openly gay, and federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair both tweeted congratulations.

“Especially proud of my Irish roots today. A clear progressive message from voters & resounding victory for equality,” Mulcair tweeted.

After the result was announced, thousands of celebrants flooded into the Irish capital’s pubs and clubs — none more popular Saturday night than the city’s few gay venues.

At the George, Ireland’s oldest gay pub, drag queens danced and lip-synced to Queen and the founding father of Ireland’s gay rights campaign, Sen. David Norris, basked in the greatest accomplishment of the movement’s 40-year history.

“The people in this small island off the western coast of Europe have said to the rest of the world: This is what it is to be decent, to be civilized, and to be tolerant! And let the rest of the world catch up!” Norris, 70, shouted with jubilant zeal to the hundreds packing the disco ball-lit hall.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Norris waged an often lonely two-decade legal fight to force Ireland to quash its Victorian-era laws outlawing homosexual acts. Ireland finally complied in 1993, becoming the last European Union country to do so. This time, the gay community in Ireland managed to build a decisive base of support.

“People from the LGBT community in Ireland are a minority. But with our parents, our families, or friends and co-workers and colleagues, we’re a majority,” said Leo Varadkar, a 36-year-old Irish Cabinet minister who in January announced on national radio that he was gay. “For me it wasn’t just a referendum. It was more like a social revolution.”

Many gay couples took the moment to declare their intentions or renew their vows. One lesbian couple in Limerick proposed on bended knee at the vote count there, while one of Ireland’s most prominent advocates for gay marriage, American-born Sen. Katherine Zappone, asked her wife live on Irish TV: “Today in this new Ireland, Ann Louise Gilligan, will you marry me?”

The couple, who met at Boston College and already were married legally in Canada in 2003, sued Ireland unsuccessfully in 2006 to have their marriage recognized as valid. Once parliament passes enabling legislation by this summer, that Canadian wedding license will become legal in Ireland. But Zappone and Gilligan, a former nun, still plan an Irish ceremony.

“There’s nothing like an Irish wedding,” Zappone said.

The Dublin Castle crowds saved their greatest roars of approval for Panti Bliss, Ireland’s most famous drag queen, who strode gingerly into the castle’s central square in high heels and a body-hugging floral dress to conduct a joint live interview on Irish TV beside Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Sinn Fein party chief Gerry Adams.

“It feels like we asked the whole country to marry us and they just said yes,” said Panti, aka Rory O’Neill, who in a viral-internet speech last year inspired a national debate on the level of homophobia in Irish society.

“Today’s vote isn’t actually for 46-year-old aging drag queens like me. This vote is about all the young faces out there,” Panti said, gesturing to the square-full of mostly 20-something onlookers, some donning rainbow-colored feather boas and parasols. Panti said that within a few years going to a gay marriage “will become an ordinary, normal part of life — and that’s what changes hearts and minds.”

When asked whether she — Panti’s preferred gender of pronoun — intended to marry, the already surreal scene turned flirty. “Sure, why not, if I can find the right fella,” Panti said, slyly putting an arm around a beaming Adams. Laughter cascaded through the crowd.

Political analyst Sean Donnelly, who has covered Irish referendums for decades, said Saturday’s landslide marked a stunning generational shift. He noted that two decades ago in Ireland’s last tortuous vote challenging a benchmark Catholic teaching, voters barely approved divorce — but only because heavy rain deterred voters in the then-conservative west. More than half of Ireland’s constituencies recorded “no” majorities to divorce.

Not this time. Even far-flung Donegal in Ireland’s northwest corner, renowned for its reactionary record of voting against the national mood, voted “yes” to gay marriage.

“We’re in a new country,” Donnelly said. “When I was reared up, the church was all powerful and the word ‘gay’ wasn’t even in use in those days. How things have moved from my childhood to now.”

With files from The Canadian Press