Matrimonio en Sur Africa / Freedom to Marry E-Update Issue #7
Bi-Monthly E-Update from Freedom to Marry, Issue #7
Si en Africa del Sur , que sólo hace 12 años eliminó su Apartheid, se pudo lograr la igualdad en la matrimonio para los gays y lesbianas… en Puerto Rico y en Estados Unidos también será posible… es cuestión de tiempo.
Aquí te envío el Nuevo E-update de Freedom to Marry – suscríbete y envíalo a tus contactos…
Pedro Julio Serrano
Communications Associate / Executive Assistant
Freedom to Marry
116 West 23rd Street, Suite 500, New York , NY 10011
t. 212.851.8418 x7 / f. 646.375.2069 / m. 787.602.5954
Court sets South Africa on course for gay marriage
Thu Dec 1, 2005 4:42 AM ET
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa 's high court on Thursday said it was unconstitutional to deny gay people the right to marry and instructed parliament to amend marriage laws to include same-sex unions within the year.
The Constitutional Court ruling put South Africa on course to become at least the world's fifth country to permit same-sex marriage and the first in Africa, where homosexuality remains largely taboo.
The court, ruling on a government appeal against a lower court order which opened the door to gay marriage, said parliament would have one year to change the current definition of marriage which holds that it is between a husband and wife.
Gay activists have argued that the official law should be changed to read "spouse" in order to include same-sex partners.
"The current definition of marriage is considered to be inconsistent with the constitution ... the declaration of validity (of the marriage definition) is extended for 12 months after this judgment to remedy the defect," the ruling said.
The court said that if parliament did not act the legal definition of marriage would be automatically changed to include same-sex unions. That would put South Africa alongside Belgium , the Netherlands , Spain and Canada in allowing gay marriages.
Only one of the court's 11 judges dissented from the ruling, arguing the court should have legalized gay marriage with immediate effect.
Post-apartheid South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world and the only one to specifically enshrine equal rights for gays and lesbians.
But the government has resisted efforts to broaden the official definition of marriage in the courts, arguing that only parliament should have the right to make the change.
Leading churches have argued against the move, saying it flouted public opinion in the mainly Christian country, and called for a referendum on the divisive issue.
Lawyers for gay rights groups said they were disappointed that the court did not act to make gay marriages legal immediately.
"It's a bit disappointing. It feels like it's one step forward and still another one step backwards," said Keketso Maema, a lawyer for the Lesbian and Gay Equality project.
"The good thing about this judgment is if parliament doesn't do anything in 12 months the word 'spouse' would be read into the marriage act. That gets us somewhere," she said.
The ruling puts South Africa out of step with much of Africa , where many countries outlaw homosexuality and publicly condemned it as "un-African."
© Reuters 2005
From: Freedom to Marry [mailto:e-update@...]
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 5:49 PM
To: Pedro Julio Serrano
Subject: Freedom to Marry E-Update Issue #7
Freedom to Marry E-Update
Issue # 7 | November 30, 2005
One year later: Ohio anti-gay amendment harms, while no positive effects seen
OPINION: Getting kids into a loving atmosphere should be the first priority
Massachusetts lawmakers urge Medicaid benefits for same-sex couples
SENIOR WEB PRODUCER:
Click here for more info.
DEBATE: Evan Wolfson and Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family at the University of Wisconsin , Madison .
Why Marriage Matters
America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry
· The Scary Work of Winning
· Write to friends and family and help them understand why
matters to you. [example]
· Sign the Marriage Resolution
· Sign the Religious Endorsement
If you received this E-Update from a friend or family member, sign-up and pass it on!
FREEDOM TO MARRY
A Note from Executive Director Evan Wolfson
Dear Pedro Julio --
Last week millions of Americans across the country came together with family and friends and gave thanks for the past year’s gifts and accomplishments. Lesbian and gay couples, and their kids, were among the millions with a lot for which to be thankful. Unfortunately, even as we embark on a season of love, commitment, family and fellowship, our opponents continue their attempts to further their anti-gay, anti-family agenda. They are distorting our lives, relationships, families and communities for hollow, divisive, political purposes.
At this time of year, when we travel far and near, each of us can take it upon ourselves to ensure that our families, friends and neighbors know better. Whether we’re single, partnered or married, with children or not, this season offers an opportunity to showcase the truth about the love and commitment which forms our relationships. Over Thanksgiving, many of us "talked turkey" with family and friends about our lives and need for allies -- as the Task Force recommended we do. With holidays coming up in December, we all have another opportunity for a round of conversations that can challenge and enlist those around us.
How do we do it?
Talk honestly about the importance of equal rights and equal opportunities and connect the dots to how the denial of marriage affects you and others. Whether you are gay or non-gay, make it personal, make it concrete, and make sure you hit home by explaining why this matters to you. If you choose to share a story about friends, discuss the partnership recognition needed to keep their home or insure their children are protected under the law and share the same rights as their peers. Speak from the heart, speak the truth, keep it simple, and use the facts to back it up. A young lesbian or gay person you know who feels more secure in coming out because the marriage equality movement has shown them that their lives are equal to every other American can only benefit from the spirit of storytelling. The Task Force has compiled a useful tip sheet to help in talking with friends and family about the importance of equal marriage rights. For additional ideas, read my book, Why Marriage Matters, and check out the Get Involved section of our website.
As we continue to offer our family, friends and neighbors the information they need to understand this important equal rights movement and the time to process that information, it is important that we also ask for their support and voices against discrimination and for fairness. Two basic rules to follow: Don't assume that just because someone loves you or likes you, or is generally tolerant or progressive, or is usually pro-gay (or even gay), they understand why marriage discrimination is unjust and wrong. We must connect the dots for them, using the words "gay" and "marriage" and making them both real. And rule 2: Don't assume that just because someone is not yet with us, they cannot be moved. We must push past people's discomfort, even as we give them room and time to digest what they're thinking and work it through.
Visit Freedom to Marry's Story Center, enter your own personal story, and become one of many voices available in this discussion as we collectively move it forward throughout the country, and individually engage the conversations in our own circles.
When our friends and families are given the truth about the injustice and unfairness of marriage discrimination, they are able to see past the false distractions and put a human face to the issue. Step forward and give them a face they know and love – your own.
On the Horizon
Dismissal of rights; why we are fighting for marriage
Cancer-stricken and terminally ill, Laura Hester’s dying wish is that her partner, Stacie Andree, receive her pension -- as she would automatically were they legally married. New Jersey does not yet permit same-sex couples to marry (though Lambda Legal's challenge to this discrimination is just reaching the New Jersey Supreme Court, which may cure this injustice in 2006).
One product of the work to end marriage discrimination in New Jersey was the legislature's 2004 passage of a "Domestic Partnership Act". The law recognizes that gay and lesbian couples and their kids are living in NJ and need legal protections like other families, but provides only a small slice of what comes through marriage itself. Some of its limited provisions are not mandatory, and thus, for example, do not require employers to provide health coverage or pensions to gay employees and their partner or dependents.
A dedicated investigator of 23 years, Hester once headed the Ocean County ’s narcotics division, risking her life while on duty. Tragically, Hester’s request was rejected by county officials. Not only does Andree stand to lose the one she loves, but without the help of Hester’s pension, she also faces losing the home they have built together. If Hester and Andree had been allowed to marry, this wouldn't even be a question.
The freedom to marry would allow this committed couple to care for each other in peace rather than spend their final days together in a courtroom. Limited, incremental alternatives, such as New Jersey ’s first-step partnership law, unfairly leave couples and their kids vulnerable and unprotected, and are no substitute for equality. “We’re seeing a real failure of the law,” said Steven Goldstein of Garden State Equality. “It represents why we are fighting for marriage.”
ReadStand up for our constitution, by Evan Wolfson (pdf)
Playing with fire for political gain
Despite the White House’s failed effort to move its unprecedented discriminatory constitutional amendment through Congress last year, right-wing Republicans are diverting their energies from burning national concerns to another round of gay-bashing and menace to the Constitution.
Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback (R) and others are again pushing the anti-gay amendment, misleadingly called the "Marriage Protection Amendment," though it would in fact deny the ability of all states and future generations to make their own decisions regarding marriage, civil union, or other family protections for same-sex or unmarried heterosexual couples. The discriminatory amendment narrowly passed a sub-committee, and now heads to the Judiciary Committee, which is currently dealing with more important issues such as Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Brett Lieberman from the Washington Bureau of The Patriot-News writes, “Pushing the issue now shows the disconnect between Republican leaders and middle America, where concerns about jobs, the economy and the war in Iraq dominate.”
The latest federal attack comes on top of the wave of state-by-state anti-gay measures launched by Karl Rove and Republican political operatives, in alliance with groups, such as Focus on the Family, in pursuit of their anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-separation of church and state agenda. As National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman eloquently put it in November, when constitutions are amended to fence out a group of Americans from participating in the political process, or having access to the courts to enforce the constitutional guarantees of equality, liberty, and justice for all, "this is not democracy, it is tyranny of the majority." No minority group, in this case gay and lesbian Americans, should be left to fight battle after battle to defend their right to be represented in the constitutions that are there to protect all of us.
Position Available: Senior Web Producer
The Senior Web Producer reports to the Communications Director and is responsible for updating web content on a regular basis including identifying, uploading and linking daily news articles, calendar items, and other web-based pieces related to the high-profile, fast-paced marriage equality movement.
The Senior Web Producer will also be responsible for quick turn-around with copywriting, design management and ongoing maintenance of the Freedom to Marry website. The Senior Web Producer will work, often on short deadline, to manage and adjust the look of the site from a functional perspective, paying close attention to common web organizational conventions and the needs of different users of the site for information.
The Senior Web Producer will maintain the organization's e-update system, including content development, and updating and maintaining mailing lists. Responsibilities will also include increasing the visibility, usability and dynamism of the Freedom to Marry website, as well as developing unique models and structures for data collection and usage, story generation and effective linkages with partner organizations and websites.
"These anti-gay marriage amendments are about much more than [denying marriage to same-sex couples]. They threaten all unmarried couples. Many of these propositions could eliminate domestic partnership and reciprocal beneficiary recognition, revoke some adoptions, and imperil joint home ownership between unmarried people."
- Julian Bond, NAACP chair, Keynote speech in support of the freedom to marry
at the Equality Maryland annual Jazz Brunch, 11/20/2005