Tag Archives: gay rights

A New Lillian Ladele

Lillian Ladele may be defeated, but she was never alone. In fact it turns out she wasn’t even alone at Islington Council:

Theresa Davies, a registrar for Islington Council, has claimed she was forced out of her post as registrar because of her religious beliefs against civil partnerships.

Davies, who had worked for Islington Council for 18 years, said she had asked to opt out of performing civil partnerships in 2006.

While her request was being considered, Davies took four months off work due to stress. On her return she was told that she would either be demoted or dismissed.

Instead of leaving the council, Davies chose to take on the offered position of receptionist, which she described as “humiliating”.

Last July, she was put back on the general rota. However, in January this year she failed to turn up to a ceremony she was supposed to be overseeing. Consequently, she was told that unless she presided over civil partnerships she would be demoted from her position.

“I know of other councils that have allowed Christian registrars to carry on by ensuring that colleagues are given civil partnerships,” said Davies. “But I was told this was not Islington’s policy.”

No, we know that Islington Council’s policy was, in the case of Lillian Ladele, to offer different work for the same pay, when she decided that she wanted to breach their policy of providing an equal service for all members of the community, rather than ones that she wanted to pick and choose. Davies may not have liked the ‘humiliating’ new work, but this has already been established not to be discrimination on the grounds of religion. The devoutly religious do not have the right under the law to behave as though they are a special case in who they provide services for. I look forward to her grievance failing equally badly.

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – Disaster!

We live in an age where the United States is rapidly embracing gay marriage (take note California State Supreme Court), yet despite Obama’s campaign pledge to abandon the divisive ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy, nothing seems to be happening:

This really is intolerable. If the Obama administration is supposed to be about the rule of law, then it’s an outrage that service people can still be dismissed merely for the fact of their sexual orientation; it’s bigotry.  How can a Commander-in-Chief who is black accept such discrimination under his watch for even a moment? As the report points out on a practical, business side it’s an unthinkable waste of training costs, it’s a waste of precious and vital resources, and is a ludicrous slap in the face to people who have chosen to serve their country, often with distinction. Other countries have had no problems when (in the UK’s case being forced to by the European Court of Human Rights) they have repealed their bans, so why is there still no change in the US?

The Wall Street Journal hints at an Obama long game, suggesting that current DADT legal battles are being waged in the knowledge they’ll be lost, thus eventually providing an overriding legal case with which to then justify the repeal of the gay ban. Others believe Obama could end the ban with a single executive order which he could issue with the stroke of a pen. What’s interesting is the way in which journalist Ana Marie Cox has this week drawn out the difference between what the Pentagon is saying and what the White House is saying, and force the latter into a concrete position. This administration has to stop hedging its bets on gay rights – when opinion polls show the public favours a repeal of the ban and straight service people themselves no longer advocate the ban on the grounds of morale, it has to go and should go now.

(via Towleroad)

A Gay Marriage Movement Arises

Protests are being coordinated across the United States and beyond, legislators in the California State Legislature and the Governator are speaking out against it, the president-elect has said he is against it – wow did the Mormon Church play this attack on the gay community wrong when they swung the tide financially in favour of Proposition 8! In my lifetime I’ve never seen anything like this, apart from the near-riot which resulted from the UK Parliament failing to vote for an equal age of consent in 1994. This really is comparable now to the Stonewall Riots of the late ’60s – an entire movement which now encompasses straight people too, has sprung up and it’s incredible to see.

This is my home town Portland, Oregon’s gay mayor-elect, speaking out against Proposition 8 (the state just voted in an out lesbian as Secretary of State too, how cool is that?):

(all photos via Towleroad apart from where mentioned)

(via Just Out)

Here are some other shots of demonstrations across the country. Firstly New York:

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(via starkyld on Flickr)

San Francisco:

See the Mormons for Marriage there? Proof that religious leaders really are not representing their flocks when they promote bigotry and discrimination! Here’s Hawaii, the home state of the president-elect:

The still-president’s home state of Texas:

Prop 8 was on the wrong side of history. I look forward to its being repealed by the California State Supreme Court, or at least passed down to the legislature to modify the constitution to enable it (which they would then almost certainly refuse to do). A country which has voted for change cannot allow this blatant bigotry to succeed. Some say the solution is to wait until 2010 and put a repeal on the ballot, but it’s increasingly clear to me that it cannot wait that long. If the ballot measure is unconstitutional it must be struck down by the state’s highest court, but it’s also highly illogical, not to say immoral, to allow mob rule when it comes to human rights. Forty per cent of people in the UK are against gay adoption – if voters were allowed a referendum on it, they might prevail – that wouldn’t make it right. If this campaign can continue to reach out to straight people and religious communities and encompass all races, then a remarkable and lasting result can be achieved.

Married Elton John Not For Gay Marriage

Sigh. Elton John has spoken out against gay marriage:

“We’re not married. Let’s get that right. We have a civil partnership. What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage. Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word marriage.”

“I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership,” John says. “The word ‘marriage,’ I think, puts a lot of people off.

Let me make a correction. He and David are married, and if marriage were uniformally available in the UK to straight and gay people alike, I don’t believe for a moment he’d have rejected one. After all he partook of a straight marriage (bizarre as it was) for years. There’s no doubt in my mind that much of his stance is based on a generational perspective on gay rights, but with Prop 8 he’s on the wrong side of history, particularly with this election having been so steeped in civil rights issues.

I’m also not sure what he means that ‘they went for marriage’. It was the Californian Supreme Court which legalised same-sex marriage, and it was the No on Prop 8 campaign which merely sought to retain the rights which the highest court in the state had already conferred on gay couples.

You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.”

Separate but equal was very much the gay rights perspective of the sixties and seventies, but the current generation simply wants to normalise their lives – ‘tolerance’ simply isn’t enough.

Vote No on Prop 8 for Your Kids!

It’s quite simple really, Californians. Vote No on Proposition 8 on Tuesday because teaching kids that discrimination is ok isn’t ok. It is the only responsible choice – for your kids, and everyone else’s.

No On Prop 8 in the Lead!

Good News.

The struggle over Proposition 8, which would ban same-sex marriage in California, has tightened dramatically in the past month, with opponents holding a slim 49 to 44 percent edge among likely voters, according to a new Field Poll.

“The ‘Yes’ campaign has raised some doubts and moved people over to their side,” said Mark DiCamillo, the poll’s director. “A relatively large segment of voters are in conflict over this measure.”

Catholics, who make up nearly a quarter of likely voters, also could make a difference, DiCamillo said. Catholics opposed Prop. 8 by a 48 to 44 percent margin, but that’s down from 55 to 36 percent a month ago.

Minority groups, expected to come out strongly for Democrat Barack Obama on Tuesday, could play a key role in the Prop. 8 vote. Latino voters are split almost evenly, 46 to 48 percent, on the measure, while black voters back the same-sex marriage ban, 49 to 43 percent.

In that case Andrew Sullivan’s demand that Obama speak out prominently and unequivocally against Prop 8 is entirely appropriate and clearly necessary. If the biggest factor which could guarantee Proposition 8’s failure is the turnout of Democrat voters on Tuesday, it is in my mind entirely right to expect the Democratic nominee for president to nail his colours to the wall and swing the vote against Prop 8.

The Right to Marry

To all/any of you Californians out there, it is imperative that you vote ‘NO’ on Proposition 8!

Donate here, whoever you are, wherever you are (if you can), to help ensure marriage equality remains in California from November 5th!