Thursday, October 09, 2014

SC mayor teaches governor, attorney general how to treat same-sex couples

Mayor Steve Benjamin
While SC Governor Nikki Haley and Attorney General Alan Wilson succeeded in temporarily postponing the inevitable by getting the state Supreme Court to halt the issuing of same-sex marriage equality licences, they got upstaged by the generosity and progressive thinking of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.

He taught them a lesson about how to treat their lgbt constitutents:
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin wants to extend full family benefits to same-sex couples that work for the city who have a valid marriage license from any state in the country.

In a letter to city council, City Manager Teresa Wilson, and the city's human resources director, Benjamin said it was time to extend those benefits because of the "significant amount of recent movement regarding marriage equality" in South Carolina.

That letter was submitted hours after Charleston County probate judge Irvin Condon began accepting same-sex marriage applications.

Benjamin says he realizes new costs may come up as a result of his new benefits offer, but he expects them to be minor.

"Let me be clear," Benjamin said. "This is no longer a discussion of faith, politics, or even law. It is simply a matter of time. But we have an opportunity now to demonstrate leadership, foresight and the responsibility the of Columbia should expect from their city."

However, city officials say given Thursday's ruling by the State Supreme Court to halt all marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the matter is fully settled by a higher court, Benjamin's request has been put on hold.

'Another religious liberty case bites the dust' & other Thursday midday news briefs

Kentucky Human Rights Commission Dismantles Another Anti-Gay Religious Liberty Story - Another "religious liberty" piece of junk dismantled by that pesky thing called "basic fairness." 

Chair Eastman teases NOM's (hilarious) plan for a constitutional convention - NOM wants a federal amendment banning marriage equality. You may laugh now. 

 Kansas State Judge Orders That Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Be Issued - I simply HAVE to be corny here - Carry on my wayward son . . .  

Supreme Court Error Accidentally Halted Marriage in Nevada - Well now that this has been cleared up . . .  

Barber: SCOTUS Is 'Tempting The Wrath Of God' With Gay Marriage Decision - Oh yeah. Slavery, genocide, taking land away from Native Americans, segregation, lynching. Forget all of that. Allow gay and lesbians couples to get married. That will REALLY get God angry.

Throwback Thursday - Ex-gays launch national campaign in 1998

While the lgbt community is on the threshold of a HUGE victory regarding marriage equality, it's important that we don't forget where we came from in terms of struggles. The following commercial should remind you:

This is an actual commercial from a 1998 nationwide campaign called Truth In Love. Several anti-gay organizations united to create television ads, newspaper ads, and articles claiming that people can be "set free" from homosexuality.

It was huge, making the cover of Newsweek and featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

It was also a big flop. The commercial above carries a very nasty twinge. According to Wayne Besen, of Truth Wins Out:

In Aug. 2003, Truth Wins Out founder Wayne Besen received a call from Virginia attorney Michael Hamar. He had a client who believed he may have been infected with HIV from 'ex-gay' leader Michael Johnston.

Johnston was the founder of National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day. He was Rev. Jerry Falwell's personal ex-gay leader. Johnston also starred in a video for the American Family Association, "It's Not Gay, and an ad for Coral Ridge Ministries. Additionally, he partnered with anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera, who paraded Johnston around and hawked his tale of change.

In Aug. 2003, Besen took the train down to Norfolk, where Hamar introduced him to two men who claimed to have had unsafe sex with Johnston. Others have since been identified.

Atlanta's GLBT newspaper Southern Voice broke the story. In the article, a spokesperson for the American Family Association admitted that Johnston had what he called, a "moral fall." Johnston was shipped off to Pure Life Ministries, a sex addiction facility in rural Kentucky. He never left the facility and works there today.

So whenever you get overwhelmed by this fight over marriage equality,  always remember the fights we had to endure and what we have overcome.