ABA Calls for Eliminating Legal Barriers to Same-Sex Civil Marriage

Idaho State Bar Association Executive Director, Diane Minnich, admitted to having wished she could have heard the debate over the American Bar Association resolution which urges, “state, territorial, and tribal governments to eliminated all of their Legal barriers to civil marriage between two person of the same sex who are otherwise eligible to marry.” The ABA is the nation’s leading legal organization. “The ABA is a voluntary organization, said Minnich, we as a mandatory organization are regulatory entity for the most part and don’t take a stand on any of those issues.” The Idaho Attorney General’s office said they have “no reaction to or position on” this morning’s resolution. The ABA said they will now use its lobbying staff and its overall position as the voice of the American legal profession to advance this policy. Minnich explained Idaho has two delegates, one appointed by the ISB who Minnich says is likely to vote the way they think Idaho Lawyers would vote. The other delegate is elected by the ABA votes as they feel appropriate. An ABA staffer confirmed with the House of Delegates Chair that the resolution was clearly passed on a voice vote so there is no official count. Idaho delegates Idaho Larry Hunter and Michelle Points were not available for comment on how they voted.

PROP 8 RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

CNN just reported U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled in today historic decision regarding the out come of the Proposition 8 trial Perry v. Schwarzenegger in favor of same-sex marriage. Proposition has been ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL and has been overturned. SEE ALL THE VIDEO EVIDENCE IN CASE: Prop 8 – Judge Walker’s Full Decision

“The Crisis No One Talks About”
Idaho Keynote Address by Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy

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Welton Gaddy Interfaith Alliance Boise IdahoImagine for a moment a tall, well dressed, gray haired man who is also a minister with a thick southern accent. You might already have some preconceived ideas of what this man is about. You might also be in for a big surprise.
“Support for same-gender marriage comes down not to a question of what it means to be a good Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, or Muslim, but what does it mean to be a good American.”
That is most certainly not the average southern Baptist minister, that is Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of the national Interfaith Alliance, a man that perhaps, on the outside, may seem to fit a number of stereotypes but as soon as he opens his mouth you will find a savvy and progressive political mind. And, with just a small peek behind the well tailored suit and crisp starched white shirt, is a heart big enough for the world. With his strong Louisiana southern drawl, Gaddy makes politics sound like poetry and the fight for religious freedom and civil rights the mandate our time and essential for saving our democracy.
“Early on the evening of this past October 28th at the White House, I shook President Obama’s hand,” says Gaddy, “We shared a smile as I thanked him for signing a meaningful piece of expansive hate crimes legislation. But it took so long, too long because prejudice biased untruths and mean spirited partisanship. As the President walked away, I held Judy Shepard, Mathew Shepard’s mother, in a long tearful embrace in which words were not necessary to lament how long it had taken to secure a comprehensive hate crimes bill how much hurt had lined the pilgrimage but how in perseverance across more than a decade we finally could celebrate reaching a goal that we had been striving for, for over a decade.”
Welton Gaddy Interfaith Alliance Boise IdahoAs a deeply religious man, Gaddy is on a relentless campaign for not only ensuring religious freedom; he is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity and founding intentions of our Constitution. A staunch advocate for the separation of Church and State, Gaddy believes we can have it all, and that includes same-gender marriage! Gaddy is a man who, above all, wants to maintain the integrity of religion and government. He is emphatic that in order to do that, we must keep them separated. This is a man who embodies the very balance we long for in this highly charged politically partisan and religiously divided time in our country. Gaddy just might be one of the most progressive influential role models of our time. He is certainly one of the greatest allies of LGBT civil rights. On November 17th Boise was graced with the sharp mind and quick wit of Rev. Dr. C. Gaddy as the keynote speaker for the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho’s annual meeting and dinner. Gaddy spoke to a very diverse gathering of about 80 at the Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, on the status of the National Interfaith Alliance and our nation.
“I’m an 88 year old Jew and I have never heard any Christian minister ever talk like you,” says Joe, a man in the audience. “Amen,” says another.
This is just a small hint of the impact Gaddy can have on a room. Listening to Gaddy’s address, “The Crisis No One Talks About,” I hope you can feel at least some of the inspiration and hope that filled the room that night. Gaddy is introduced by Interfaith Alliance Chair, Ed Keener. Rabbi Daniel Fink offers a blessing following Gaddy’s address after which there is a question and answer period with the audience. If you would like to hear more from Welton Gaddy about Religion and Politics and how that has affected LGBT issues then listen to my full hour interview with Dr. Gaddy.

A Conversation with Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy

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Interfaith Alliances Air America State of Belief Host Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy with Jody May-ChangThis morning I had the distinct honor and pleasure to sit down for an entire hour and talk with the president of the National Interfaith Alliance, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy. Dr. Gaddy is quite an accomplished religious and political leader. He has authored 20 books and just last year published the powerful and poignant paper, “Same-Gender Marriage & Religious Freedom, A Call to Quite Conversations And Public Debate” The reverend is an active practicing Baptist minister from Louisiana and the host of State of Belief, a weekly talk show on Air America Radio, and a frequent guest on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show.
“..the old cliche was, hate the sin love the sinner You’re not condemning homosexuality, you’re condemning a person!”
The reverend was called by the Obama transition team to advise the incoming president on issues related to religion and politics. Dr Gaddy played a key roll in working to get the Matthew Sheppard Hate Crimes bill passed and was in the oval office with Judy Sheppard when President Obama singed this historic legislation into law. Our conversation focuses on the collision of religion and politics and how that has affected the national conversation on same-gender marriage. We talk about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints involvement in anti-gay ballot initiatives across the country, and what needs to happen to achieve true equality. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did. I would like to thank my friend and colleague, Executive Director of the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho, Pam Baldwin for arranging this wonderful opportunity. Stay tuned for more from Dr. Gaddy! As I See It… will soon post his keynote address to the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho’s annual meeting and dinner.

Idaho AG’s Office, says “Family” not specifically defined by law – Marriage law is not a “Family” law

Jody May-Chang© February 22, 2009 PrideDEPOT.com When the Nampa Recreation Center (NRC) used Idaho’s marriage law for the basis of denying a same-sex couple and their 4-year-old son a “family” membership, they may find themselves at legal odds* with the State Attorney General’s Office. *Editor clarification: 02/24/09: The phrase “at legal odds” above is meant simply to illustrate a significant discrepancy. It is not intended to suggest legal action is, or will, be taken by the Idaho State Attorney General’s office against the Nampa Recreation Center or Mayor Tom Dale. This drama unfolded in early February when Amber Howard and Rachel Dovel where shown the door at the NRC and told that they did not constitute a family and would not be entitled to such membership privileges. The couple told PrideDEPOT.com that since they could not produce a marriage certificate, they could not be considered a family along with the rest of those who have obtained such privileges. They could, however, produce evidence of a domestic relationship since Howard is listed on Dovel’s workplace health insurance plan as a domestic partner. Nampa Mayor Tom Dale told several media outlets, including PrideDEPOT.com that family passes are issued “only to families as defined under Idaho law.” Dale also added that the city-managed center would “suffer financially” if couples like Howard and Dovel were awarded such memberships. Continue reading

We Have A Dream Too, The Final Frontier of the Civil Rights Movement

Jody May-Chang© November 11, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com There is little doubt that even President-elect Obama’s opponents understand the significance and importance of electing the first African-American to the Presidency of the United States. To witness a beautiful black family make it to the White House is moving beyond words and brought almost everyone I know to tears. Although it is naive to assume that Obama’s election is a panacea for curing all inequality, it is a monumental step forward. This election has elevated us all and serves as a powerful example to the world that character really does matter more than color. While the country and the world watched and celebrated this historic victory, LGBT citizens took another devastating blow with the passage of California’s Proposition 8. While the country was lifted up with Obama’s message, “Yes we can!” LGBT citizens were smacked down with “No you can’t!” This is a referendum on our humanity that has swept the country’s LGBT population with betrayal and yet another assault on our rights as American citizens and as human beings. Last July, gay couples in California began to marry after the State Supreme Court ruled that the States ban was unconstitutional. Now only four months later, and with 18,000 marriages hanging in the balance, the passage of Proposition 8 overruled the court. Although it is unclear what will happen with the 18,000 marriages, we do know that previously granted civil rights have been rescinded and discriminatory language will be added to the California State Constitution, disallowing equal protection to only LGBT citizens. While the Obama presidency is being characterized as “a new progressive era,” LGBT citizens are still forced to defend our very personhood and fight for our right to exist equally under the law, and live as families. This is as repugnant to us as it has been for African-Americans, Native-Americans, Latinos and women who have all faced similar battles. There is an anti-gay industry in America that consists of a large coordinated coalition of far right evangelical religious leaders, advocacy groups and right-wing politicians. Their major focus is to promote anti-gay legislation that restricts rights of LGBT American citizens. The anti-gay agenda is executed by people such as, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, The Catholic League, John Hagee, Pat Robertson, The LDS Church, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Micheal Savage, George W. Bush, Gen. Peter Pace and so many more. This anti-gay industry works hard to degrade and dehumanize us by perpetuating stereotypes, misinformation and lies about us for political and financial gain, all the while stirring up bigotry and hatred. One of their propaganda messages is that homosexuals are hijacking the civil rights movement. Such propaganda is designed for no other reason than to divide other minorities that have suffered similar injustices from identifying with the current struggles of LGBT people. This is the Rovian paradigm of divide and conquer in which the means justifies the end and where lies become truth no matter who gets hurt. It is undeniable that there are striking similarities in our fight for civil rights equality with our African American brethren, most notably the issue of interracial marriage. Interracial marriage was still illegal in some states until 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Loving v. Virginia case that banning interracial marriage was a violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. In the Loving case, Richard Loving, a white man and Mildred Jeter, a part African American and Native American woman were legally married in Washington DC in 1958. Upon their return to their home state of Virginia where interracial marriage was illegal, they were met in the privacy of their own bedroom one night by three police officers shining flashlights in their faces. Police demanded to know why Mr. Loving was in bed with “this lady.”? When a valid marriage license was presented, police told Mr. Loving “That’s no good here.”? The couple was arrested and convicted of a white person marrying a colored person but also for evading the state’s prohibition of the law on interracial marriage. LGBT relationships endured the same threat of police intrusion into our private bedrooms, just as the Lovings experienced, as late as 2003 for violating state sodomy laws. It was illegal for two consenting adults of the same sex to have private sexual relations in their own homes. Those who were caught were charged and often jailed for “deviant sexual behavior”? and forced to endure many indignities such as having to register as sex offenders. The anti-gay industry has re-packaged many of the long abandoned and rejected arguments of the 1950’s and 60’s that were used to oppose interracial marriage and applied them to same-sex marriage, and homosexuality in general. They contend that homosexuality is not natural, it will harm children, that the Bible says it is an abomination against God and same-sex marriage will destroy “traditional”? marriage. This brand of hatred and cruelty is based on nothing but fear, ignorance and the desire for power and control over others who they do not want, or care, to understand. To allow marriage, or other civil rights, would be to admit we are human beings just like everyone else. Our very equality threatens their power structure and revenue stream. The judge that convicted the Lovings in 1958 said, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows he did not intend for the races to mix.”? During that time others had said that it violated natural law and would lead to unhealthy children perhaps making them retarded or would create a mongrel breed. These outdated opinions, based on prejudicial religious beliefs, have been long discounted and rejected when it comes to race yet they are still allowed to be injected into law to discriminate against LGBT American citizens. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State says, “First Amendment protects religious freedom and the right of religious groups not to marry same-sex couples. State constitutional and US Constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage reflects a fundamental disregard for individual civil rights of one class of people and ignores the first amendment rights of religious tradition or freedom from religious beliefs of a particularly theology whether that be a belief system of the majority or not. It is therefore government’s responsibility to dedicate itself to protecting the rights of all citizens, which includes gay and lesbian people.”? In 1967 the United Supreme Court struck down bans on interracial marriage on the grounds that it violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution which reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In his deciding opinion Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren said, “While the state court is no doubt correct in asserting that marriage is a social relation subject to the State’s police power, the State does not contend in its argument before this Court that its powers to regulate marriage are unlimited notwithstanding the commands of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Warren went on to say that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal right essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.” Forty years later, Warren’s statements were echoed in the California Supreme Court decision just last May, where it was ruled that, “people have a fundamental ‘right to marry’ the person of their choice and that gender restrictions violate the state Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.”? After the Loving v. Virginia was decided, the couple was interviewed by Ebony magazine where Richard Loving said, “For the first time, I could put my arm around her publically and call her my wife.” Mildred said, “I feel free now.” Tell me how this is not the same struggle Today it is unthinkable to keep two people from marrying one another because they are of a different ethnicity. What if some religious group tried to get an anti-interracial marriage measure on the ballot in just one state? It would never be allowed to happen. Yet, it just happened to us!

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment: CA Prop. 8 & same-sex marriage

Idaho Hallmark shop owner will special order same-sex cards

H. Lukas Green & Jody May-Chang© August 26, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com Jordan's HallmarkAn Idaho anti-gay propagandist is crowing success on his non-profit political website about how his intervention with a local Hallmark card shop owner lead to a decision not to sell same-sex greeting cards. The head of the so-called Idaho Values Alliance was apparently set to call for a boycott of the seven Jordan Hallmark stores owned by Philip R. Johnson, until the man disclosed that he had no intention of selling the cards. However, he said he would special order them upon request. Johnson said his business decision was based on controversial news coverage and the cartoon-like drawing showing two tuxedos side-by-side that appear to be joined at the wrist. He said would not have stocked the cards simply based on the cartoon image and the related news coverage, regardless of being contacted by Bryan Fischer, IVA executive director. Hallmark Same-Sex Wedding Cards Hallmark’s new sedate non-issue same-sex partner greeting cards. Continue reading