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quote:
Originally posted by Kevin41:
Junebug is right.....do not try to mix any sexual preference issues with race issues...one is a matter of choice and one is not. It is very parasitic of gay rights types to do so....Since I did not see gay types marching in the 60's for civil rights, then do not expect civil rights/pro-black types to embrace the gay agenda. That is their thing, separate and apart.....


I'm curious why you believe that gays didn't march in the 60s. Since most gays were not out of the closet at that time, they would not have been visible, but I assume that they were there. (Keep in mind that the stonewall rebellion did not happen until 1969.)

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Well ricardo,

If they were there, they did not march as gays trying to help black folks overall, so since they did not openly identify with the plight of blacks as a whole, don't do so now in order to capitalize on the monentum of other issues that are non-related. Black people have enough issues with the broken family that we need to resolve before we address the voluntary deviant lifestyles of others.....I have nothing against gays...their agenda is a non-issue to me....period
quote:
Originally posted by ricardomath:

It appears to me that the person speaking is referring to the radical right as being out of touch, not everybody who might oppose gay marriages.




Ric, you're right that that's what they're LITERALLY saying, but what I think the quote strongly implies is that the position against same-sex marriage is a position driven by the "radical right," when in reality it's quite a mainstream position.
But on the other hand, most african americans know someone who is gay or lesbian, whether it's their hairdresser, choir director, cousin, or auntee... None of us wants them mistreated.

Are black gay people actively supporting the movement known as "gay rights"? Why do I see mostly white people marching, protesting, lobbying, and litigating this issue? I see only a smattering of blacks who are visible/vocal about this issue...
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
But on the other hand, most african americans know someone who is gay or lesbian, whether it's their hairdresser, choir director, cousin, or auntee... None of us wants them mistreated.

Are black gay people actively supporting the movement known as "gay rights"? Why do I see mostly white people marching, protesting, lobbying, and litigating this issue? I see only a smattering of blacks who are visible/vocal about this issue...


NS,

There have been two major gay rights cases this year. The first was Lawrence and Garner v Texas, where the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Lawrence and Garner, who were arrested and jailed under the Texas Sodomy Law, after being caught having sex in their bedroom.

In this case, it would appear from the picture that 50% (1 out of 2) of the two defendants were black.


quote:
Lawrence and Garner were arrested for having sex in 1998.
...
The case was brought by two Texas men, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner, who were caught having sex on private premises in 1998.
...
Mr Lawrence and Mr Garner were arrested after a neighbour falsely reported that a man with a gun was "going crazy" in Mr Lawrence's apartment.

The neighbour was convicted of filing a false report, but Mr Lawrence and Mr Garner were arrested, jailed overnight, and fined $200 each plus court costs.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3022026.stm

The other major case was the Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision striking down the state's ban on gay marriages. There were 14 individuals (7 lesbian and gay couples) involved a plaintiffs in this case.

In this case, it would appear from the pictures that 14.3% (2 out of 14) of the plaintiffs were black.


quote:
The plaintiff couples are David Wilson (age 58) and Robert Compton (53), Edward Balmelli (42) and Michael Horgan (43), Hillary (46) and Julie (45) Goodridge, all of Boston; Maureen Brodoff (50) and Ellen Wade (54) of Newton; Heidi Norton (38) and Gina Smith (38) of Northampton; Gloria Bailey (62) and Linda Davies (57) of Orleans; and Gary Chalmers (37) and Richard Linnell (39) of Whitinsville.


https://www.africanamerica.org/groupee/forums?a=tpc&s=60260642&f=79160213&m=83470599


I guess that means that for the two major cases that have thrust gay rights into the news this year, the percentage of black lesbians and gay men directly involved was 18.75% (3 out of 16), which is about what one would expect, I suppose, given the black population of the US.

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quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
But on the other hand, most african americans know someone who is gay or lesbian, whether it's their hairdresser, choir director, cousin, or auntee... None of us wants them mistreated.

Are black gay people actively supporting the movement known as "gay rights"? Why do I see mostly white people marching, protesting, lobbying, and litigating this issue? I see only a smattering of blacks who are visible/vocal about this issue...


Here's a profile of a black woman from my wife's country, Colombia, Piedad Córdoba, who is a senator and a human rights activist. She reciently survived an assassination attempt by the rightwing paramilitary death squads, and was kidnapped in 2000 by them for her human right efforts.

My wife used to frequently read in the newspaper about massacres of groups of gays in her city by rightwing paramilitary groups when she lived there. It was part of what they call their "social cleansing" campaign.

The gay partnership bill referred to in this article was widely expected to pass easily, but was shelved at the last minute after the Vatican's recient statement calling on Catholic politicians to oppose such laws. It was probably the first casuality of the Vatican statement.

A Colombian Senator's Crusade


Same-sex union drive led by feminist long targeted by the para-military right

By MICK MEENAN



Piedad Córdoba, a member of the Colombian Senate who recently survived an assassination attempt in Medellin, visited New York City last week to drum up support for a bill she has introduced in her nation's Congress to legalize same-sex unions.

The left-leaning legislator spoke to officials at the United Nations and met with representatives of Amnesty International in her lobbying efforts to gain passage of this landmark legislation. Entitled "Legal Initiative to Recognize the Unions of Same-sex Couples," the measure has already met virulent opposition from various groups within Colombia, including the Roman Catholic Church and right-wing paramilitary organizations.

Shortly after the bill's introduction in 2001, Córdoba was quoted in the Colombian press as stating, "We are looking for a way to recognize a different sexual orientation among Colombians without threatening the family unit. The goal is to guarantee the basic and civil rights of those who are not heterosexual, such as inheritance and social security benefits."

A recent editorial in the conservative newspaper El Nuevo Siglo described Córdoba as the "Defender of the Trash" for her advocacy of disenfranchised segments of Colombian society.

Córdoba spoke February 28 at a roundtable sponsored by COLEGA, a Colombian American gay and lesbian civil rights group based in New York. The Spanish acronym, translated as "colleague" in English, stands for Colombian Lesbian and Gay Association. Gay City News interviewed Córdoba at the Latino AIDS Commission's office on 25th Street in Manhattan.

The senator spoke in Spanish and indicated that the civil union bill has already survived a vote by the First Commission of the Senate and now must pass a majority vote of all 102 senators.

Córdoba recognizes that her bill has an uphill fight ahead of it.

"It is a difficult topic for many senators to handle. It is difficult to debate," she said. "It creates concern, particularly among religious groups. The Catholic archbishop of Bogota is exerting his influence."

Much like the legislative process in the United States, the bill faces an arduous path, next undergoing scrutiny by in the Colombian House of Representatives. Should the legislation pass both houses of the Congress, it will land on the desk of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe for final consideration.

The Colombian Constitution was revamped in 1990 following a national plebiscite. Córdoba argues that the wording of Article 13 in that rewritten constitution providing for "equal protection of all persons born free and equal before the law," should include specific mention of sexual orientation as a protected category of individuals. She believes that her bill has a "70 percent chance of passage."

If Córdoba's recent struggles are any indication, that prognosis is rosy indeed. Long an advocate for human rights, particularly for women and people of color, the senator was kidnapped in 2000 and held hostage for 15 days by members of a right wing paramilitary group, The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known in Spanish by its acronym, AUC. She holds Carlos Castaño, the leader of AUC, responsible for her abduction and says he ordered the kidnapping as political retribution for her efforts to advance human rights causes. Following her release, Córdoba fled into emergency exile in Canada, where her children still reside.

The senator exhibits a steely determination to travel freely throughout Colombia and usher the bill to its final passage.

"I have a very forthright posture on human rights. I have held strong positions throughout my life, as a person of color, of African descent, and as a feminist. I am against any form of oppression."

A member of the Liberal Party, Córdoba has long advocated for peace talks to settle the long raging civil strife that has racked her South American nation of 44 million inhabitants. Tens of thousands of Colombians have fallen victim to the fighting in the past several decades. Under Plan Colombia, an initiative authored by the United States, Colombia is now the world's third highest recipient of military aid from the United States.

While United States foreign policy aims to curb the production of narcotics grown in the Andean highlands and valleys of this republic, critics of Plan Colombia indicate that much of the American financial assistance winds up in the coffers of the right wing paramilitary organizations. Currently, the Colombian armed forces, in conjunction with United States military advisors, are concentrating on the eradication of insurgent left-wing guerrillas, primarily the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

When asked how much of the United States aid to Colombia is ill-spent, Córdoba emphasizes that "Clearly, the money should be spent otherwise than on military purposes alone," She mentioned the necessity of providing low-cost medications to AIDS patients in Colombia who now have limited or non-existent access to treatment.

Córdoba's gay rights legislation would legalize same sex unions, ensuring inheritance and social security benefits to partners in same sex couples.

"It is very hard for gay people in Colombia," Córdoba noted. "Few people come out of the closet because it has such a high cost on one's educational and work opportunities. Lesbians who come out risk being raped by their bosses."

Her outspoken position on liberal causes and her opposition to Uribe's administration may well have been the reason for the recent attempt on her life in Medellin this past January.

"Four men on two motorcycles shot at me and my party as we stepped out of my car," she said. "Fortunately, we were able to survive after my driver was able to run over one of the assassins."

Uribe released a statement following the assassination attempt in which he stated, "Public Security Forces must give Senator Piedad Córdoba full protection. An executive order to this effect will be signed."

Diana De La Pava, a lesbian and board member of Mano a Mano, an umbrella organization serving LGBT Latino groups in New York, voiced enthusiasm for the bill and Córdoba's efforts.

"I think all the work the senator is doing is very important because it will enable Colombian homosexuals to have the rights they should have had ages ago," she said.

Andres Duque, a Colombian native and director of Mano a Mano, is spearheading efforts to consolidate support for the civil union bill among the Colombian ex-patriate community in New York. He praised the senator's efforts to end discrimination against gays and lesbians in his native land.

"For working class people, being out of the closet can be fatal in terms of finding a job and supporting yourself," he said.

Raul Gonzalez, the president of COLEGA, underscored the tenuous employment opportunities in Colombia available to LGBT persons.

"There is a lot of homophobia and discrimination in hiring, especially with poor people," he said. "It is normal at an interview for them to ask you if you are married or single. If you say you are gay, you are not going to get the job. With rich people, it is not the same. Usually, they own the companies and don't face that discrimination."

Gonzalez, a law student in Colombia, has studied the civil union bill's proposed language. He wagered on the bill's chances and predicted that upon passage it will have a dramatic impact on Colombian society.

"We have two Colombias in terms of gay life," he said. "On the one hand, you have discrimination and poverty. But on the other hand, Colombia is very advanced. For example, in Bogota there are over 100 gay bars, a large gay neighborhood, and a pride parade. But there are powerful conservative groups, to which many senators belong and to be against some of these groups you truly risk being killed."

Several Colombian celebrities, including the Latin Grammy winner Juanes, have endorsed the bill.

Postponed for final consideration in the last legislative session, the bill is slated for a vote before the full Senate this month.

http://www.gaycitynews.com/gcn210/acolombian.html

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interesting article, Ricardo. However, I object to feminist activism being subverted by a lesbian agenda. I am genuinely interested in the improvement of women's lives around the world, including those who may be gay or transgendered. However, I view that as a separate issue from feminism, women's rights, and activism, although hollywood would have one believe that homosexuality and feminism are part and parcel.

Perhaps I can try to articulate a personal philosophy here: I believe in the human treatment, equal representation, equal access,and better quality of life for all opressed people. I am particularly concerned about African Americans, and Women, in that order. I oppose discrimination against gay people. If they happen to benefit from some advocacy I support, Kool. I am not moved by those who link sexual partner choice issues with an African American (civil rights/human rights) or Feminist agenda.
Perhaps there is an area where feminist activism and gay issues intersect. From now on I will encourage all women to insist on regular HIV testing and consistant condom use - even if married or heterosexual. Undercover gay men are infecting heterosexual black women- the fastest growing group of HIV+ folks. Good health and long lifespan are excellent goals for all my sistas - from all countries - whether married to black men or white men.
Well said Miss NegroSpiritual and excellent advise. My wife lost one of her best freinds bc of a DL boyfriend. We were so happy for her bc she met what seemed to be a great guy, handsome, professional, accomplished but he got real sick and dissappeared. She flew to Atlanta to speak with his mother and she did not tell her what was wrong and she eventually found out and later died a year later with 2 other women via the same man. This was before the cocktail meds were out. She left 2 kids and she was a really beautiful woman, strikingly fione.

Also, I know one other case of a DL husband and she divorced him before she caught anything that would kill her. But what tipped her off was she was getting strange infections and she figured out the germs were coming from him. So she started recording his phone calls at home, search his car and truck and checked whatever she could find out about his medical history and she discovered the horror tha he was DL. She found some toys too that freaked her out. Really scary stuff. He is still around and since the divorce he has at least 4 other girl friends I know of.

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

[This message was edited by JuneBug on December 19, 2003 at 08:58 AM.]
quote:
Originally posted by JuneBug:
Well said Miss NegroSpiritual and excellent advise. My wife lost one of her best freinds bc of a DL boyfriend. We were so happy for her bc she met what seemed to be a great guy, handsome, professional, accomplished but he got real sick and dissappeared. She flew to Atlanta to speak with his mother and she did not tell her what was wrong and she eventually found out and later died a year later with 2 other women via the same man. This was before the cocktail meds were out. She left 2 kids and she was a really beautiful woman, strikingly fione.

Gut wrenching very sad story. The bastard who did this should be hunted down and shot like a rabid dog that he is without mercy

_____________________________
Is it just talk or are you for solutions? If you are GENUINELY interested in solving black problems? Then join us at http://www.theguidedog.com/BlackNation.html

[This message was edited by henry38 on December 19, 2003 at 01:42 PM.]

US black civil rights leader backs same-sex marriage


Ben Townley, Gay.com UK
Tuesday 3 February, 2004 11:27

One of the leading voices for racial equality in the USA has pledged to support marriage rights for lesbian and gay couples, in what he sees as a "civil rights issue".

Julian Bond, the chairman of the USA's National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) and one of the pivotal figures in the 1960s fight for equality announced he was backing the campaign for marriage rights through a statement released today.

"I see this as a civil rights issue," he said, clarifying his statement by adding "that means I support gay civil marriage".

The statement has been applauded by the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), a group of black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered leaders from across the USA.

"We are very pleased that Julian Bond has spoken out affirmatively on this issue," said Keith Boykin, president of the board of the NBJC.

"His statement helps to clarify two important points. First, marriage is a basic human right, and second, outlawing discrimination in civil marriage does not change the rules for religious marriage."

His colleagues are now hoping that more African American leaders will back the campaign to "legalise" same-sex marriage, which is fast becoming the hot topic in light of the US presidential race.

President George W Bush is currently in talks to outline an amendment to the country's constitution, limiting marriage to "one man and one woman", although this has angered both gay rights activists and conservatives who are less keen to tamper with the constitution.

The move comes after the state of Massachusetts ruled in its Supreme Judicial Court that it was illegal to block same-sex couples from getting married, because it infringed their right to equality. This decision sparked protests from religious bodies who claimed lesbian and gay marriage would be destructive to society.

Bond's statement comes after a raft of popular civil rights leaders leapt to the defence of LGB activists and publicly stated their support for marriage equality. These include Coretta Scott King, Carol Moseley Braun, Al Sharpton, John Lewis, Henry Louis Gates and more leaders.

A key figure in the civil rights movement, Julian Bond was one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. He later served in the Georgia General Assembly. Bond is Distinguished Professor in Residence at American University in Washington and a Professor of History at the University of Virginia.

http://uk.gay.com/headlines/5753

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quote:
Originally posted by Faheem:

How is gay marriage a "human right" Ricardo? If gay marriage is a human right; why is it being fought on the "civil right" level. Gay marriage is a civil rights issue and far from being a human rights issue. Homosexuals do not want to get married just so they can say they are married, they want to get married so they can be afforded the rights and benefits that are afforded to married men and women, thus making it a civil issue.


quote:
Originally posted by Faheem:

You should re-evaluate your use of the term human right and get yourself a real world definition and not one that suits your ideas.


Non-Discrimination in Civil Marriage: Perspectives from International Human Rights Law and Practice


A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper



Many people take for granted that their government will acknowledge their relationships of love and care. Yet some relationships are arbitrarily denied that recognition. The results may be devastating. A partner may be denied the rights to

* make medical decisions on a partner's behalf when she is sick, or even visit the partner or the partner's child in hospital;

* take bereavement or sick leave to care or mourn for a partner, or a partner's child;

* share equal rights and equal responsibilities for children in their care;

* have their partner covered under their health or employment benefits;

* apply for immigration and residency if their partner is from another country;

* file joint tax returns and enjoy tax benefits for couples, obtain joint insurance policies, or even rent or own property together;

* obtain a protection order against domestic violence;

* get a fair settlement of property when the relationship ends;

* inherit from a deceased partner if he lacked a valid will;

* choose a partner's final resting place;

* obtain pension benefits if the partner dies.

In countries that deny same-sex partners access to marriage, such systemic inequalities are still routinely tolerated. In this briefing paper, Human Rights Watch looks at this inequality through the lens of international human rights law and practice.

The right to marry is a basic human right. Straightforward application of international protections against unequal treatment dictate that gay and lesbian couples, no less than heterosexual couples, should enjoy the right: there is no civil marriage "exception" to the reach of international anti-discrimination law. As the international examples summarized in this briefing show, moreover, the trend among nations is toward recognizing this right.

Many jurisdictions have responded to the call for equality in recognition of relationships by creating a parallel regime for regulating same-sex relationships. Laws on so-called "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships" have been adopted by many countries, and innumerable localities. Such steps have represented progress--but insufficient progress. Most such attempts to create a status resembling marriage retain significant differences. These may reflect residual prejudices regarding same-sex couples, or inherently unequal conceptions of what constitutes a "committed relationship."

Governments committed to equality cannot legitimately reserve certain areas of civil life as exempt zones where inequality is permitted. Human rights principles demand that governments end discrimination based on sexual orientation in civil marriage, and open the status of marriage to all.

I. Recognizing Relationships: International Law and Practice

In deciding who should enjoy the right to marry, and how, the strength of international protections against discrimination"”including protections based on both sex and sexual orientation--clearly are relevant.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)"”to which the United States is a party--bans discrimination based on sex.1 In the 1994 case of Nicholas Toonen v Australia, the U.N. Human Rights Committee, which monitors compliance with and adjudicates violations under the ICCPR, found that laws punishing consensual, adult homosexual conduct violate protections against discrimination in the ICCPR.2 Specifically, the Human Rights Committee held that "sexual orientation" was a status protected under the ICCPR from discrimination, finding that the reference to "sex" in articles 2 and 26 was to be taken to include sexual orientation.3 The same reasoning applies to civil marriage: excluding gay and lesbian people from the status of civil marriage is a form of discrimination based on sexual orientation.4

Ending discrimination in access to civil marriage has become an urgent issue in many countries. The legislatures of the Netherlands, in 2001, and Belgium, in 2003, extended full civil marriage to same-sex couples. Courts in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia opened marriage to same-sex couples in 2003; the Canadian parliament is likely to extend the possibility of same-sex marriage throughout the country within a year.

However, these are only the latest and most sweeping developments in a broad international movement to recognize same-sex relationships. In 1989, Denmark became the first country to offer registered partnerships to couples of the same sex. In the ensuing years, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland all followed suit, and in 1995, the Scandinavian countries signed a treaty to recognize each other's registered partnerships.

In 1995, Hungary extended the recognition of "common-law" marriages to partners of the same sex. Since then, on the European continent, Croatia, France, Germany, and Portugal have created forms of registration for same-sex relationships.

Nor is such recognition limited to Europe. South Africa's 1996 constitution explicitly bars discrimination based on sexual orientation. A number of important court decisions based on this provision have affirmed the rights of gay and lesbian couples to equality in spousal benefits, adoption and childcare, and immigration rights for foreign partners. The Constitutional Court of South Africa has held that "the family and family life with gays and lesbians are capable of establishing É are in all significant respects indistinguishable from those of spouses, and in human terms as important to gay and lesbian same-sex partners as they are to spouses."5 On September 1, 2003, the Law Reform Commission of South Africa released a report condemning the absence of formal legal recognition for same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.

At the national level, same-sex relationships are recognized for the purposes of at least some of the benefits of marriage in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Israel, and New Zealand, among others. At the local level, same-sex relationships are recognized in a number of jurisdictions within countries as diverse as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland--as well as the state of Vermont within the United States.

In all these countries, expanding access to the rights entailed in civil marriage has neither altered nor assaulted core moral and cultural values. Rather, it has asserted the importance of civic equality, while leaving undisturbed the freedom of individual opinion and belief. Most states, in past centuries, have created a realm of civil law governing both the entry into marriage and its dissolution. Lawmakers have sought to guarantee that marriage is entered only with free and full mutual consent; to assure that partners enjoy equal rights within marriage; and to protect the equitable distribution of property when a marriage ends. In so doing, state regulation of marriage has often diverged from religious precepts. Countries, for instance, have allowed both divorce and remarriage, although locally prevailing religions may condemn both. There is thus a clear precedent for civil marriage laws to recognize marriages that religious standards may not. Civil laws on marriage can be amended to end discrimination based on sexual orientation without violating the right of religions to retain their own laws and practices. However, so long as the state retains marriage as a marker of legal recognition of relationships, it should be governed by international protections for equality and against discrimination.

The United Nations has also shown latitude in endorsing evolving, rather than fixed, definitions of the family. The U.N. Human Rights Committee has noted that "the concept of the family may differ in some respects from state to state, and even from region to region within a state, and É it is therefore not possible to give the concept a standard definition."6 The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has stated that in "considering the family environment," it should reflects "different family structures arising from various cultural patterns and emerging family relationships."7

II. Civil Unions or Marriage?

Many jurisdictions have responded to the call for equality in recognition of relationships by creating a parallel regime for regulating same-sex relationships. Laws on so-called "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships" have been adopted by many countries, and innumerable localities. In some cases (as in France) these create a status accessible to both same-sex and heterosexual couples, while marriage remains exclusive to heterosexual couples. In other cases (as in Germany) the status is available only to same-sex couples, while marriage is the only option for official recognition of heterosexual relationships.

Such steps have represented progress--but insufficient progress. Most such attempts to create a status resembling marriage retain significant differences. These may reflect residual prejudices regarding same-sex couples, or inherently unequal conceptions of what constitutes a "committed relationship." In the U.S. state of New York, for example, domestic partners seeking official registration must prove that they have lived together for two consecutive years; however, a man and a woman seeking to marry can do so without intrusive questions concerning how long they have known each other or where they have resided. Same-sex couples face an unequal and discriminatory burden of proving that their relationship is "real." Similarly, some jurisdictions require that same-sex couples demonstrate that they share finances or represent themselves as a couple publicly. In situations where publicly affirming one's homosexuality can lead to discrimination or violence--where one may lose one's job or home without legal redress--the burden imposed is not only discriminatory, but dangerous.

Moreover, "civil unions" do not carry the same guarantee of recognition by other jurisdictions that marriage ordinarily implies. An international convention governs the recognition of marriages across international borders.8 Even for countries not party to it, however, the doctrine of comity--which has been defined in U.S. law as the "recognition which one nation allows within its territory to the legislative, executive or judicial acts of another nation, having due regard both to the international duty and convenience and to the rights of its own citizens who are under the protection of its laws"9--ordinarily leads countries to recognize marriages performed in other jurisdictions. The burden is on governments to justify the denial of recognition to foreign marriages. The burden is usually, and unfairly, on partners in "civil unions" to justify their recognition abroad. This can have serious, and painful, consequences when partners in a civil union travel to a jurisdiction that does not recognize them. Even a partner's right to custody over a child may be endangered.

Finally, the segregation of same-sex unions into a special legal status is a form of "separate but equal" acknowledgement. Separate is never equal: the experience of racial segregation in the United States testifies eloquently to how preserving discreteness only perpetuates discrimination. Even if the rights promised by civil unions on paper correspond exactly to those entailed in civil marriage, the insistence on a distinct nomenclature means that the stigma of second-class status will still cling to those relationships.

Governments committed to equality cannot legitimately reserve certain areas of civil life as exempt zones where inequality is permitted. Human rights principles demand that states end discrimination based on sexual orientation in civil marriage, and open the status of marriage to all.

References

1 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), G.A. res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into force Mar. 23, 1976. Article 26 of the ICCPR states:

All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

2 It also held that they violate protections for privacy in Article 17 of the ICCPR, which reads: "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation."

3 Nicholas Toonen v Australia, Human Rights Committee, Case no. 488/1992, UN Doc. CCPR/c/50/D/488/1992, at 8.7.

4 Prohibitions on same-sex marriage can also be understood as discrimination based on sex, since marriage would be open to those persons but for the sex of their chosen partner.

5 National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality et al. v Minister of Home Affairs e. al., Constitutional Court of South Africa, case no. 3988/98, at 53.

6 "General Comment 19: Protection of the family, the right to marriage and equality of the spouses," Human Rights Committee, UN Doc. HRI/GEN/1/Rev.2 (1990), at 2.

7 "Report on the Fifth Session," Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CREC/C/24, Annex V.

8 Hague Convention No. 26 on the Celebration and Recognition of the Validity of Marriages (1978).

9 Clubb v Clubb, 402 Ill. 390, 399-400, 84 N.E. 2d 366 (1949), citing Hilton v Guyot, 159 US 113, 164, 40 L. Ed. 95, 108, 16 S. Ct. 139, 143 (1895).

http://hrw.org/backgrounder/lgbt/civil-marriage.htm

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i think this is a good idea. Marriage in the legal/state law sense is a beneficial thing for anyone. Gays deserve that legal protection. For example, a gay couple can not file a tax form and get the benefit of being a couple that the gov't allows. Gays can't adopt kids as a couple and if the one gay person on the adoption legal form dies, the kid is an orphan again [compare that same situation to a married couple]. Gays can't have their 'partner' join in on health insurance policy [a few larger companies changed this recently, but that was only after years of debate]...and so on. The definitation of marriage needs to be clarified and separated from the same word used in religious ceremonies/institutions...separation of church and state. The church may reject gays marrying, but the state MUST allow the same rights/benefits to gays that 'straights' get. The crrent event of today, namely the Mass. High court approving gays unions will only add fuel to this fire...esp. since by law states must recognize marriages that take place in other states, i.e. people going to Vegas for a quick fast wedding. Very interesting angel

________________________________
To Sigma

Thy Scattered sons with lofty hopes and aims,
Achieving greatness which the world proclaims,
Regarding life with tenderness sublime,
And with design which knows no race or clime,
Appeals to selfish man to serve and love
God`s handiwork created from above;
PHI BETA SIGMA stands this test of years
Supremely over blight and cringing fears,
With unflinching will that cannot fail,
The sacred cause advances to prevail.
Give us the conscience staunch and spirit brave,
To master stormy sea and angry wave,
And as the curtain falls o`er this brief life,
We`ll march triumphant from this din and strife.


-Bro. Nnamdi Azikiwe-First President of Nigeria, G.O.M.A.B. 1914


How many of the 6 billion people on this planet came here via gay sex? There's a reason we only have so many allotted days of LIFE on this planet; it's because once we get LIFE, we don't know what to do with it once we have it. I guess that's why LIFE is so short and DEATH is forever.

***********
Africans have made no advancement in America without shedding their blood. Yet, they are so confused that they are the first to shed blood for the system which made them shed their blood. African soldiers knew nothing of Iraq or Kuwait, nothing of Zionism. All they knew was Saddam was a monster. Nevertheless, the African in America represents the most instinctively revolutionary group in the country because of the position they are in. It is time for us to get conscious.--Kwame Ture

State's black legislators do us proud



Cynthia Tucker
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/03/2004

I am frequently heartbroken by the casual bigotry displayed by some black Americans.

But not today. Members of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus have made me proud by resisting a knee-jerk antipathy toward gays and lesbians.

I am often disappointed by the raging homophobia of some black Americans -- a prejudice that keeps black gays in the closet and contributes to the rise of HIV infections.

But not today. Black members of the state House have given me hope that black homophobia can be defeated.

I am embarrassed by the unvarnished racism of such highly visible black politicians as U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), who lambasted Bush administration officials as a "bunch of white men." When Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega protested that he is Mexican-American, Brown responded, "You all look alike to me."

Some other time, I would have spent an entire column ripping Brown to shreds.

But not today. Courageous blacks in the Georgia House have reminded me that many black politicians are still fighting the good fight for tolerance and justice. So I write to honor them. I write to encourage them.

They will need to hold fast to their courage in the days to come. The fight over an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage is by no means over. Those legislators who resisted the constitutional amendment are being cajoled, badgered and threatened by conservatives who want them to change their minds.

Many black legislators are hearing from narrow-minded black deacons and ministers, who regularly denounce homosexuality as an "abomination." History will not record the fight over gay rights as one of the finest hours of the black church. Apparently, many black preachers have forgotten that the Bible was also used to defend slavery. (Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ. Ephesians 6:5.)

The selective use of Scripture to castigate gays and lesbians is outright hypocrisy. Leviticus calls homosexuality an "abomination," but it also demands the death penalty for adulterers. Yet, I haven't heard any black preachers taking up that cause. Could that be because too many pews -- and pulpits -- would be emptied?

And how about the many, many biblical passages that condemn fornication and divorce? If black ministers had spent half the time blasting fornication that they do lambasting homosexuality, perhaps the rate of illegitimate births in black America would not have reached 70 percent. But -- oops! -- you'd empty out entire megachurches if you preach against fornication and divorce.

(In several passages, by the way, Leviticus also forbids intercourse while a woman is menstruating. If a man lies with a woman having her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has laid bare her flow and she has laid bare her flow of blood; both of them shall be cut off from their people. Leviticus 20:18. I've never heard that mentioned from a pulpit, either.)

Those preachers might also remember that Georgia law already prohibits gay marriage, and state Supreme Court justices -- who have to stand for election -- are unlikely to overturn it. The only reason the state Republican Party is pushing the proposal is to whip up a large turnout of conservative voters in November, when the proposed amendment would appear on the ballot.

Last week, 30 of the 39 black members of the House, including Douglas Dean (D-Atlanta), voted against the amendment. Speaking from the well, Dean said: "I was raised just like most people were raised -- that was to look down on gays, not because they weren't good people, but because we disagreed with their lifestyles. But I thought we had changed."

Dean is seldom eloquent, and his words may not rank up there with Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. But his plea was imbued with a simple grace that made it good enough.

Well said, Doug. Stand your ground.

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/tucker/2004/030304.html
Here's the URL for the website of the National Black Justice Coalition: http://www.nbjcoalition.org/

Alicia Heath-Toby and Saundra Toby-Heath

Alicia, 41 years old and Saundra 50, have been a loving and committed couple for 15 years. They live in Newark, New Jersey and consider their church, Newark's Liberation In Truth Unity Fellowship Church, their extended family. Alicia is an ordained Minister and Saundra; an usher. In addition to attending services on Sunday afternoon, the couple participates in church cookouts, picnics, dances, and many other activities. They are the proud grandparents of 5. Saundra is a dispatcher for Fed Ex, was born in Newark, and has lived in New Jersey all her life. Alicia, born in the Bronx; a native of Spanish Harlem, but now a long-time New Jersey resident, is an outreach coordinator and HIV educator for their church's HIV prevention program.
quote:
We have been a loving and committed couple for 15 years. We live in Newark, New Jersey, and our church, Liberation In Truth Unity Fellowship Church, is a part of our extended family. We attend church services and participate in church events, and we are active in our community.

For us, marriage is not a political issue or an academic issue. This is a real issue about our lives. Our burdens are heavier and our expenses are greater simply because we can't get legally married. We can't get family health insurance, so we have to pay two deductibles instead of one. And in order to protect ourselves in case something happens to one of us, we have to go through the expense of hiring a lawyer to prepare legal documents. We have to go through all that just to get the same legal protection that most couples get when they say "I do."

Our relationship is just like many others. We take care of each other. We think about what the other needs. We work at our jobs, and we pay our taxes. But if something should happen to one of us, all that can mean nothing if the state, the hospital, the insurance company, or the employer doesn't recognize our rights. We pay first-class taxes, but were treated like second-class citizens.

We are your neighbors next door. We ride the bus and subway with you. We sit next to you at lunch. We work next to you. We have a home, two sons and 5 grandchildren. And we have a family.

If two complete strangers met each other last week and got legally married today, they would have more rights under the law than our relationship has after 15 years of being together. That's not fair, and that's why we're here today.



Alvin Williams and Nigel Simon

Dr. Alvin Williams and Nigel Simon have been in a committed, intimate relationship for the last six years. They held a commitment ceremony on July 15, 2000 in the presence of 300 family and friends. Al and Nigel successfully adopted a child and are raising their six-year-old son. Dr Williams, a South Carolina native, is a dentist in private practice. He served in the US Army as a general dental officer. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Us Helping Us, a Washington, DC community-based HIV/AIDS service organization committed to reducing HIV infection in the African-American community. Nigel Simon, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, is an environmental protection specialist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. He served in the U.S. Army National Guard as a military policeman. Nigel is also a member of the Board of Directors of Us Helping Us. The family attends worship services at Covenant Baptist Church, a predominantly African American inclusive congregation. They live in Prince Georges County, Maryland.
quote:
It is an honor to be here today to share with you why family is important to us.

The two of us have been in a committed, intimate relationship for the last six years. Three and a half years ago, we held a commitment ceremony with hundreds of family and friends.

Since that time, we have successfully adopted our son, and we are raising him in a loving family in our home in Prince Georges County, Maryland. He's now six years old.

We are very pleased that we are treated as a family by our own extended families, friends, and co-workers. We spend holidays, vacations, and special events together, and we are both active in the community.

We also feel it is very important to instill in our son the value of community service. We are active in our faith community. We attend worship services at Covenant Baptist Church. And we are active in our local community. And we both serve on the board of directors of Us Helping Us, a Washington, D.C. community-based HIV/AIDS service organization committed to reducing HIV infection in the African American community.

Although we are a family in every way imaginable, we are not fully protected as a family under the law. In 1997, the U.S. General Accounting Office compiled a list of 1,049 rights and benefits related to civil marriage. The list includes thirteen categories of rights and benefits, including Social Security and related programs, housing, veterans' benefits, taxation, federal civilian and military service benefits, employment benefits and related laws, immigration and naturalization, trade, commerce, and intellectual property, financial disclosure and conflict of interest.

In a family with one military veteran, one federal employee, one native of Trinidad and Tobago and with one child, marriage discrimination could deprive our family of veterans' benefits, civilian benefits and tax benefits. That could expose our son to enormous instability if something should happen to one of us.

As the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court wrote in its historic decision last month, "It cannot be rational under our laws, and indeed it is not permitted, to penalize children by depriving them of state benefits because the state disapproves of their parents' sexual orientation."

That's why we're here today. For our family.



Robin Dickerson and Khadijah Tribble

Robin Dickerson and Khadijah Tribble and their 4 sons are a family living together in Suitland, Maryland. The statement below was written by Khadijah Tribble.
quote:
When Robin and I first met, we didn't expect nor anticipate that we would be at the point where we are now in our relationship. Robin, a devoted mother of three, was working full time at a DC law firm while I was a working full time and being a single mom to my seven year old.

Fast forward a bit and here we are - Robin working full-time outside the home and me a full-time, stay-at-home mom to our collective 4 boys, ages 7, 11, 15, and 17. All of our boys are accepting of our not-so-traditional family structure.

On any normal day, we are just like any other family on our block. We rise with the sun getting ready for work and school. The kids haggle about who's next in the bathroom and procrastinate getting out of the door. During the day, I run errands for our family, including grocery shopping, stopping at the cleaners or returning books to the library. On occasion, when Robin's work schedule permits and our family demands allow, Robin and I get together for lunch to share a few minutes of "couple time" together.

Pretty routine huh?, except for a few things.

During the course of any given day, Robin and I are reminded of the rights we are denied as a couple unable to marry. We cannot get lower car insurance rates because we are single; my son and I cannot be covered under Robin's health insurance plan, so we are forced to pay for two separate plans; and we cannot file taxes as a joint family, thereby missing out on considerable tax breaks and savings. While both of our families love us and respect our relationship, neither one of us is sure that our family would remain in tact in the event of the other's death.

Not only do the current laws not protect our family, the laws do not even recognize us as a family. Should Robin, as the primary income earner of our family fall ill, I, as her partner, and my son, as her step-child, have no personal or financial recourse. If Robin's family or physician so choose, my son and I can even be barred from visiting her in the hospital, not to mention my being able to provide Robin with any tender loving care while she's hospitalized.

We, as a family, have no security as it stands right now because, again, our family is not considered a family in the eyes of the law.

What Robin and I seek is no different than any other couple who met and fell in love - the right to marry, raise a healthy, happy family and take care of one another without the interference of our families, friends and, of course, the government. We contemplate daily the extra burdens placed on our family, and how those burdens impede our ability to make very basic decisions for our family. We want the same tax breaks (and headaches) afforded couples like us who have the right to marry but happen to be male/female. We want the comfort of knowing that should either of us suffer an untimely death, our family's quality of life would not be diminished. And we also want the security of knowing that the government will not allow our families, friends and naysayers to tear apart the very family we've worked so hard to build, nurture and grow. Nothing more. Nothing less.

But those votes were not to favor homo marriage, those votes were to oppose the adminstration.

Some other time, I would have spent an entire column ripping Brown to shreds

This reporter is such a phony.



Strike another blow to the concept of strong black families in the community, where 'married' individuals together raise their children. Marriage will lose its very meaning when it gets redefined this way, which as you know is already a teetering concept in the black community now. This should be the death-knell.
quote:
Originally posted by DeltaJ:

Strike another blow to the concept of strong black families in the community, where 'married' individuals together raise their children. Marriage will lose its very meaning when it gets redefined this way, which as you know is already a teetering concept in the black community now. This should be the death-knell.


Sarge,

I just wanted to alert you to the fact that there is a post between the Cynthis Tucker Article and your response to it. Because we posted at nearly the same time, you may have missed it. (I'm guessing that we were editing our posts at the same time.)

In that post is a profile of three strong black families, with 7 children and 5 grandchildren between them. Their families, and many others, are under attack. If you truely care about the state of black families in this country, then you should support them in their efforts.

National Black Justice Coalition: http://www.nbjcoalition.org/
You mean, I should, 'according to you'.


Anyways, who said the following:

I have already said that human education is not simply a matter of schools; it is much more a matter of family and group life"”the training of one's home, of one's daily companions, of one's social class.

Lessening the meaning of marriage is doing nothing to further 'family' life and is impacting on the 'training' one receives in one's home. Du Bois was quite prophetic, in that schools and education are already suffering due to poor black family lives. We do not need more interference or confusion in this area.

Allowing the current definition of marriage to become meaningless is another blow against the concept of strong african american families, parenthood, and the morals that one's 'social class' reflect unto our children. And that is exactly the WRONG thing to be doing when education is atrocious and morality is being questioned for good reason.

There is a good reason why the human tradition of marriage has flourished for thousands of years. Du Bois was right, human education is not simply a matter of schools. Lets try and teach them well, and teach by example, and foremost in this teaching should be the concept on the importance of family and marriage.

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