Connecticut....and Coming Out Day

Kristin Teigen

Today in Connecticut, the state Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision that had ruled that civil unions were essentially the same as marriage. In doing so, the Court allowed Connecticut to become the third state in the nation to provide marriage benefits to its GLBT citizens. Justice Richard Palmer wrote,

"Segregation of heterosexual and homosexual couples into separate institutions constitutes a cognizable harm,” in light of “the history of pernicious discrimination faced by gay men and lesbians, and because the institution of marriage carries with it a status and significance that the newly created classification of civil unions does not embody.”

It's a powerful statement and a significant step towards a legal argument in favor of full marriage equality.

Only 47 more states to go.

Of course, no matter what Connecticut does, the federal Defense of Marriage Act will stand in the way of the provision of over a thousand benefits for GLBT couples. That is why it is so very important to vote for Barack Obama, who opposes DOMA, and other anti-DOMA Democratic candidates in this election season.

In a great twist of timing, tomorrow happens to be National Coming Out Day. Coming out as a GLBT individual, or proudly announcing that you are an ally, is just one more step towards fuller equality for all.

In honor of Coming Out Day, here's a video for you all to enjoy.

Comments

  • LiberalIncarnate (unverified)
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    This is good news. It is true that Obama does not support DOMA. However, it still does not excuse being used as a political football every election season. As a gay man, I get tired of being kicked down the road... by BOTH parties.

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    Kristin, Great post and I'll add my excitement as well. My celebratory video was Diana Ross...but yours is cool, too.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    The ice is breaking... I don't think I would have eve seen this day, nor the day that such a leader as Barack Obama would be our president.

    Just out, Obama up by 11 pts in Oregon- 54-43: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/oregon/election_2008_oregon_presidential_election

    Up nationally according to new Newsweek Poll by 11 pts- 52-41: http://www.newsweek.com/id/163339

    As goes Oregon, so goes the nation!

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    From the LA Times http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-samesex11-2008oct11,0,4772793.story

    "Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice," Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote in the majority opinion that overturned a lower court finding.

    "To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others," Palmer wrote.

    *** Never forget that here in Oregon, if you supported a Catholic church, a Mormon church, or the Albina Ministerial Alliance - YOU contributed financially to successful efforts to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons - and another to all others in our state.

    That "special set" of constitutional principles for gay persons successfully lobbied for by the Archdiocese of Portland, the Mormons, and many African-American churches is based on supernatural bullshit, instead of the American promise of equality guaranteed by our state and federal constitutions.

    Well, at least Connecticut's constitution. Oregon's was defaced, upon passage of Measure 36, by adding the un-American, and unfounded, religious prejudice of every contributing Catholic, Mormon, and evangelical Christian in this state.

    So, Blue Oregon Catholics, Mormons and Christians - what are you going to do about this? Are you going to fight for full equality for your gay and lesbian relatives, co-workers, neighbors, and friends?

    Or is Oregon's pathetic, two-tiered unconstitutional system what, deep down, you wanted all along..?

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    Kristin wrote: "Coming out as a GLBT individual, or proudly announcing that you are an ally, is just one more step towards fuller equality for all."

    Coming out is not just a step towards equality, it's the single most powerful political act any LGBT person can make. In most situations, straight people's views about LGBT people change rapidly towards supporting equality once they realize their previously ignorant views are hurting someone they personally know.

    Come on out folks. It's past time, and we need you.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    @ Oregon Bill

    So everyone, including gay persons, are supposed to quit their faith community because the organization it affiliates with doesn't support gay marriage. Now that is short sighted! There are many Christians and persons of other faiths who work within their religious communities to inform, educate, and change. Your position simply suggests that people should isolate themselves in order to remain pure in their ideology. And it serves to perpetuate the mistaken idea, I hope, that persons who support gay rights are bigoted against religion.

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    Good point, Leo....thanks!

  • Hal (unverified)
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    Just curious, but during the Palin-Biden debate Joe Biden said he and Obama were both opposed to gay marriage.

    At the time I was wondering what you all thought about that. And was he telling the truth?

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Reflecting on this business in Connecticut, we can see that the power to appoint judges is obviously an irrelevant function of the executive in the United States, and that as Kershner keeps telling us, Obama or McCain? No difference.

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    Yeah. scare tactic. just being said to scare us into voting for the corporate militarists. no affect whatsoever.

    And Hal, Biden and Obama are "opposed" to gay marriage (more political strategy, I think, than reality) but unlike McCain they say so often with a nudge and a wink, saying it's up to the states. And again, unlike McCain, Obama is opposed to DOMA.

  • Laura Calvo (unverified)
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    Hal-Just curious, but during the Palin-Biden debate Joe Biden said he and Obama were both opposed to gay marriage.

    At the time I was wondering what you all thought about that. And was he telling the truth?

    Please take a moment to read the transcript and watch the videofrom the debate.

    If you're looking for a nudge and wink, here's the money shot,

    "Absolutely. Do I support granting same-sex benefits? Absolutely positively. Look, in an Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple."

    The "non nuanced" answer by Biden:

    "Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that. That is basically the decision to be able to be able to be left to faiths and people who practice their faiths the determination what you call it."

    Now fold in the Connecticut Supreme Court decision which in essence affirms the inevitability of equal relationship recognition under the law.

    Currently domestic partnerships,civil unions, and marriages in California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut are not granted the federal benefits afforded heterosexual couples.

    Under an Obama/Biden administration where there is no constitutional or legal distinction between any relationship, a Califonia marriage or an Oregon Domestic Partnership would have full federal recognition.

    All of which would be another significant step in the inevitability of relationship equality and gives us a lot more ways to get there.

    Just my opinion. No GLBT person has demanded that all faiths, religions or churches be required to marry gay couples. It's a non issue. The issue has been equal rights, benefits, and equal recognition under the law and constitution.

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    The conflation of the religious institution of "marriage" and equal rights is a red herring used by the religious right to confuse the issue and, more importantly, raise tax-free money from the pews.

    I don't know of a single LGBT person who - when speaking seriously - wants the law to force us into churches where we're unwelcome (as if it could). Why would we want to be there anyhow? Do we look that stupid? There are plenty of true churches, synagogues, temples, circles, and such out there for the many of us into collective spiritual activity alongside people who actually practice the word of God, by whatever name s/he's known.

    Bigots and haters. Who needs 'em?

    What we want - and demand as U.S. Citizens - is full equality under the law for our committed relationships. Now. That's the only point here, and the legal system is finally starting to get it.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    So everyone, including gay persons, are supposed to quit their faith community because the organization it affiliates with doesn't support gay marriage.

    It would be a great start!

    Face it, Bill - a "gay Catholic," for example, is weird (unless you're talking about your average, miserable, and closeted priest) (who is weird). Why support an organization so clearly dedicated to reducing your basic legal worth and value? That's weird.

    And yes, if you belong to a "faith community" that actively worked to reduce my legal worth and value, then shame on you. Your financial contributions and general support for your church directly contributed to the limited, second class status my family now gets in Oregon. You totally suck. You and your faith community suck.

    And it's time someone said, pointedly, that your "faith" is a load of (as Hellboy, another fictional, but far more entertaining supernatural being might say) CRAP.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    And so many Blue Oregon Catholics, Mormons and evangelicals clearly wanted their gay and lesbian neighbors, relatives, and friends to suffer inequality, because so many of you actually voted to amend Oregon's constitution to establish our current unequal (and still unconstitutional, at least on the federal level) system.

    And so many more of you continue to blithely attend, and donate to Catholic, Mormon, and evangelical churches which demonize and legally diminish your gay and lesbian neighbors, relatives and friends - based on purely supernatural goofiness.

    So California, Massachusetts and now Connecticut have managed to preserve the guarantee of equality for all citizens - by keeping prejudiced Catholics, Mormons, and evangelical Christians, and their idiot, supernatural prejudices - at bay.

    The news from Connecticut is heartening - but also starkly underlines the disappointment of Oregon, with our constitution now marred by religious bigotry.

    Not that many Catholics, Mormons or Christians at Blue Oregon understand, or care.

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    I know many liberal Catholics who donate outside the normal church collections, specifically because of the bigotry and ignorance in some of the Papal stances. I was raised Catholic, and respect the faith which lives between the lines of church dogmas invented by men (only men) who've never married, never had loving sexual relationships, and never lived lives impacted by paychecks, payrolls, and bills.

    It's a harsh world out there, for all of us, straight or gay. And I respect and appreciate anyone who takes the message of Jesus - love thy neighbor as thyself - seriously as a path to finding meaning in life.

    It's easy for gay people to feel angry about the treatment we've received from so-called "Christians". I trust true Christians to understand this, and have some sympathy (and thick skin, when needed). And I trust gay people to grow through our anger, keep reaching out, and find our allies in both likely and unlikely places.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    It's a harsh world out there, for all of us, straight or gay.

    Leo -

    It's made significantly more harsh by blinkered religious goofballs who have "faith" that their supernatural Jesus hates gays and lesbians, and are moved to pass ballot measures restricting our basic civil rights...

    And focus here: if you attend a Catholic Church (or Mormon, or Mt. Olivet Baptist, etcetera), and if you put money in that collection plate, YOU personally are responsible for a constitutional amendment limiting the basic civil rights of your gay and lesbian neighbors, relatives and friends in Oregon.

    You personally are what makes Oregon a less equal, less welcoming, and harsher place than Connecticut, where religious assholes invoking their invisible Jesus, Mary, Holy Spirits, ghosts - whatever - have thus far been kept far away from that state's Enlightenment constitution.

    So you, Leo - and your fellow airy-fairy Catholics, Mormons and Christians - have a lot of gall celebrating Connecticut's achievement - after contributing so directly to Oregon's fall.

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