As Ireland’s Marriage Equality referendum vote approaches in May, a group of Irish Trinity students started the #Ringyourgranny campaign to garner support from older Irish people to vote for marriage equality. Although young people are most likely to support marriage equality, there is low voter turnout amongst youth compared with older people, making the older demographic a key component in bringing marriage equality to Ireland. The campaign features Trinity students calling their parents and grandparents to see what way they’ll be voting in the upcoming referendum, what their thoughts are regarding marriage equality and urge people to use the #Ringyourgranny hashtag to help spread the message. Watch the video, posted just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, AFTER THE JUMP…
Gay Marriage Hub
Three gay military couples allege that the Texas National Guard refused to process benefits for them last week.
However, a spokeswoman for Texas Military Forces, the official name for the state's National Guard, told Towleroad the organization's policy is to process benefits for all married couples. Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor said if the same-sex couples were turned away, it was a mistake.
Back in 2013, the Texas National Guard agreed to begin processing benefits for married same-sex couples, after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the military to treat all married couples equally, pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision striking down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act. Officials in Texas, Oklahoma and several other states had taken the position that processing the benefits applications from gay spouses would violate state laws prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages.
The states eventually backed down under pressure from the Department of Defense and LGBT groups including Lambda Legal, which represented Alicia Butler and 1st Lt. Judith Chedville, above. However, the American Military Partner Association reported today that three same-sex couples were unable to sign up for benefits last week:
On Friday, March 13, 2015, three same-sex military couples were denied assistance by the federal military identification card enrollment center at Camp Mabry, the headquarters of the Texas Military Forces, near Austin, Texas. All three couples were told by the center’s employee that they would not be provided service because their marriages were not recognized by the state of Texas, regardless of the fact they were seeking federal military benefits.
The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) strongly condemned the blatant discrimination in a letter to the Adjutant General of the Texas Military Forces, Major General Berry, outlining the situation that occurred and calling for an immediate investigation and clarification.
AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack issued the following statement today: “We are disappointed and outraged over the humiliating and discriminatory treatment these military families endured while simply trying to enroll in the federal benefits to which they are entitled. This issue was raised and, we thought, resolved over a year ago when the Secretary of Defense had to direct the Texas forces to comply with military policy. It’s also further evidence of why sexual orientation should be protected under the Department of Defense non-discrimination policy and equal opportunity program. No service member or military spouse should be treated this way.”
MacGregor, the National Guard spokeswoman, said officials received the group's letter this morning and were looking into the matter today.
"That is not our policy to not process," MacGregor said. "Clearly this has been a mistake that we're trying to clarify. If it happened, it was an error on our part. It was not intentional. That's what we're trying to get to the bottom of right now."
MacGregor said due to sequestration, the National Guard's benefits processing department has been reduced from six employees to one. The one remaining employee has had medical issues, so someone's been filling in for them.
"Right now because of the cutbacks in our ID section, it has created problems with a lot of folks, honestly, not just same-sex couples," MacGregor said.
Read the AMPA's full letter to General Berry, AFTER THE JUMP ...
O’Donovan explained that churches “have views, ideals and laws about the family, and they quite properly teach their members about those views… But when we become legislators, as we do when we vote in referendums, we legislate as citizens for all our fellow citizens.”
“It is possible to have deep and passionately-held convictions without seeking to have those convictions imposed by the state on fellow citizens who do not share them….Respect for the freedom of others who differ from us is part and parcel of the faith we profess. For these and for other reasons I will be voting Yes.”
The priest’s comments came the day after the homophobic Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran told broadcaster Chris O’Donoghue that gay couples with children “are not parents." In the same interview, Doran compared homosexuality with down syndrome and spina bifida.
Former Democratic Rep. Barney Frank appeared on Sunday's episode of Meet The Press and gave his viewpoint on changing attitudes toward LGBT people and Congress. Rep. Frank reasoned that the increasing visibility of LGBT people in everyday culture is because of LGBT people's refusal to stay in the closet, which is helping erase stereotypes and change perceptions.
As for Americans' views on Congress, Rep. Frank told host Chuck Todd that the anger directed toward Congress stems from peoples’ shattered beliefs in a system they truly believed to work.
Watch Rep. Frank elaborate on the two topics, along with how his fellow representatives reacted to his marriage to husband James Ready, AFTER THE JUMP…
Texas Anti-gay Activist Rails Against 'Counterfeit' Marriages for 'Militant Homosexuals' in Promo for Roy Moore's Visit: VIDEO
In a video promoting an upcoming rally featuring Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, anti-gay Texas activist Dr. Steve Hotze says same-sex marriage is "counterfeit," "fake" and "a lie" — and that state lawmakers are under attack from "militant homosexuals."
Peter LaBarbera at Americans For Truth About Homosexuality reposted the video from Houston's Hotze, president of Conservative Republicans of Texas, who is organizing the "Defense of the Texas Marriage Amendment Rally" at the Capitol on March 23.
In the video, Hotze says it's time to "draw a line in the sand" and "join our army to protect Biblical marriage":
"We have over 100 elected State Officials who are sponsoring this event. They are coming under attack by militant homosexuals. That is why Christians and conservatives must have a show of force to let these legislators know that we support them. ...
"A fierce battle for the soul of Texas has begun.The liberals and their pro-homosexual allies want to force Texans to redefine marriage and accept ‘homosexual mirage’ as morally right.
"The idea that homosexuals could be married is a ‘mirage.’ It is contrary to God’s moral order. It’s a counterfeit. It’s fake. It’s a lie. The homosexuals and their supporters are using the liberal federal judges to redefine marriage against the will of the people in Texas and across America, which will force Texans to grant public approval and acceptance of homosexual activity. This will lead to homosexual behavior being taught to school children."
Hotze has become well known for his recent lawsuit against Obamacare. But he also has a long history of anti-gay activism. In 1985, Hotze sponsored the "Straight Slate," a group of eight City Council candidates who ran on an anti-gay platform — including a mayoral candidate who wanted to "shoot the queers." In 2009, Hotze sent out mailers attacking then-mayoral candidate Annise Parker over her sexuality. In a Republican Party fundraising letter last year, Hotze referred to gays as "sodomites."
“Our Founding Fathers would be furious to find out that the Constitution was being interpreted to allow sodomites to marry,” he wrote.
“If the Texas Marriage Amendment is overturned permanently, then every Texas citizen, every church and business would be coerced and compelled to recognize and affirm homosexuality and other deviant sexual relationships as morally and legally equivalent to marriage. If this occurs then anyone who speaks out against homosexuality and deviant sexual relationships will be prosecuted for hate speech and hate crimes, violating the Constitutional rights of the majority to their freedom of speech and freedom of religion. ...
“Texas is the last bastion of Christian and conservative thought, power and action in the nation. If Texas were to fall, then America would be lost to the socialists and the secular humanists. We must shift the momentum in the battle for the heart of America and lead a Christian and conservative offensive that will spread across America and defeat Obama and his pro-homosexual, socialist allies.”
Next Monday's anti-gay rally will coincidentally take place on the same day as Equality Texas' Family Advocacy Day. However, Equality Texas representatives say no counterprotest is planned and they will instead host an ice cream social during the rally.
Watch Hotze's video promoting the rally, AFTER THE JUMP ...
Mat Staver: Obeying SCOTUS Marriage Equality Ruling Would Be Like Turning A Jew Over To Nazis: VIDEO
The Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver says obeying a nationwide marriage equality ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court would be the equivalent of turning a Jew over to the Nazis.
Staver made the comments while speaking to a tea party group in Orlando last week, according to Right Wing Watch:
"I know from the natural created order that God made male and female, a mom and dad, husbands and wives as the first foundation of family," he said. "And I don't care if it is a 9-0 decision, they can't change that and they won't change that. And if they come out with a decision that is contrary to God's natural created order, I personally will advocate disobedience to it ... and collectively, we cannot accept that as the rule of law.
"You also have to be ready to pay the consequences," Staver continued, "because the civil government wrath is going to be poured out on you. But as a believer, you cannot obey something that is contrary to God's law. And we would easily say, well, what would happen if the government forced you turn over a Jew in Nazi Germany? All of us would say we wouldn't do that, we wouldn't listen to that. Well, we're about ready to walk into the moment."
Interestingly, during the very same speech, Staver touted a Liberty Counsel event featuring an "ex-terrorist" who allegedly threw Jews off buildings.
Also last week, Staver called for a boycott of professional sports teams that back same-sex marriage, which he said is "the most serious assault on our family, faith and freedom that we've faced in American history.”
And referring to Supreme Court justices, Staver told OneNewsNow:
"I'm warning them," he says, "and I think the rest of the country is willing to come together and warn them, that they need to come back in line with their constitutional duty, and that is to interpret the law, not create brand new law and be our social engineers."
By "the rest of the country," Staver must mean the 33 percent of Americans who still oppose same-sex marriage.
Watch the clip of Staver vowing to defy a SCOTUS marriage equality ruling, AFTER THE JUMP ...