Kevin And Don Respond To Being Self Loathing

Looking back at their journey from the Stonewall Democratic Club to Log Cabin Republicans, they claim it was one that was actually started by the democrats. After being told that marriage as not a priority on the agenda in 1995, they became disillusioned with the DEMS. For a decade they felt like they did not belong until they met the republicans of the Log Cabin Republican Club and discovered they too shared a dream of marriage equality. This blog is now a digital time capsule of their time as Republicans and moderated by a friend and supporter.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Congress Acted Quickly To Delay Our Dream of Marriage


Bill Would Avert Recognizing Same-Sex Rites
By Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Thursday, May 9, 1996
WASHINGTON – Saying they were concerned that Hawaii may soon sanction same-sex marriages, Sen. Don Nickles and Rep. Steve Largent announced Wednesday they were proposing legislation to prevent states from having to recognize those marriages.
The Oklahoma lawmakers and others sponsoring the legislation said they were not seeking to prevent states from allowing homosexual marriages. However, they said they were worried that a clause in the U.S. Constitution might require other states to give “full faith and credit” to other states’ interpretations of what constitutes marriage.
“This legislation outlaws nothing,” said Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga. “It does not outlaw same-sex marriages.”
Instead, Barr said, the bill says states don’t have to recognize another state’s law regarding a marriage between two people of the same sex.
Largent, R-Tulsa, said, “The Defense of Marriage Act is designed to defend the core of what families are – one man and one woman united in marriage. The institution of the family and the institution of marriage have been under frontal assault for years. Society pays the consequences when the family unit is weakened through divorce, illegitimacy, abuse, economic hardship or – in the case of the pending decision of the Hawaii court – redefinition.”
Nickles, R-Ponca City, said he introduced a similar bill in the Senate on Wednesday that was “simple, limited in scope and based on common sense.”
Gay rights groups attacked the legislation on Wednesday, saying it was the product of political extremists.
“This is a calculated national assault on the lives of lesbian and gay people,” said Elizabeth Birch, of the Human Rights Campaign.
Gay Nuptials Bill Sparks Stormy Capitol Debate
By Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Friday, July 12, 1996
WASHINGTON – The issue of same-sex marriages sparked verbal warfare Thursday between Oklahoma and Massachusetts lawmakers, first in a Senate committee and then on the House floor.
In the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Don Nickles had a heated exchange with Sen. Edward Kennedy over Nickles’ legislation to define marriage in federal law as the union of one man and one woman, making gay couples ineligible for certain federal tax, pension and health benefits. The bill would also give states the right not to recognize same-sex marriages sanctioned in other states.
Kennedy, D-Mass., said, “The bill before us is called the Defense of Marriage Act, but a more accurate title would be the Defense of Intolerance Act, or, even more accurately, the Defense of Endangered Republican Candidates Act.”
Kennedy said states aren’t required to recognize marriages from other states that are contrary to their own policy.
“What’s left of this bill is its real goal – it’s a mean-spirited form of legislative gay-bashing designed to inflame the public four months before the November election,” he said.
Nickles, R-Ponca City, said, “I don’t consider myself as mean-spirited or intolerant, and I’m somewhat offended by that language. The bill is not intolerant when it defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. I was raised to believe that.”
Nickles noted that President Clinton had pledged to sign the bill and said he didn’t consider Clinton to be intolerant.
“I take a little issue with the terminology you use,” Nickles told Kennedy. “I don’t think that’s helpful.”
Later, on the House floor, as lawmakers were considering the rules that will govern the debate today on a bill similar to Nickles’, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., one of three openly gay congressmen, also took issue with the title of the bill, the Defense of Marriage Act.
“How does the fact that I love another man … threaten you?” Frank said, looking at Rep. Steve Largent and other Republican lawmakers. “Are your relationships with your spouses of such fragility that the fact that I have a loving relationship with another man jeopardizes them? What is attacking you?”
Largent, R-Tulsa, said, “Mr. Frank’s commitment to another man doesn’t threaten my marriage. It threatens the institution of marriage.”
“That argument ought to be made by somebody who’s in an institution,” Frank said, adding that the Republican effort to pass the bill was a “desperate search for a political issue.”
Largent said lawmakers “need to step back from the trees and look at the forest and take a long view of the culture. No culture that embraced homosexuality has ever survived.”
Largent is a co-sponsor of the House version of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is expected to be voted on by the full House today. Supporters say the bill is necessary because of the possibility that a lawsuit in Hawaii could result in same-sex marriages being recognized in that state. If that happens, supporters say, the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution could require other states to recognize the Hawaiian marriages.
Nickles said the bill doesn’t prevent states from recognizing gay marriages if they so choose. Opponents say final action in the Hawaii case could be years away and that the only reason for considering the bill now is to score political points with anti-gay voters. Some also contend that exceptions to the Full Faith and Credit Clause have been carved out that give states the freedom not to recognize certain legal actions in other states.
Kennedy and some other senators are planning to offer an amendment to Nickles’ bill that would prohibit employers from firing workers because they were gay. During the Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday, Kennedy asked Nickles if he would support the amendment.
Nickles said he wouldn’t, and he called it a “killer amendment,” one that would lead to the defeat of his legislation. Nickles said he wouldn’t want to tell the Boy Scouts of America that they had to allow gays to be troop leaders.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the issue of employment discrimination wasn’t about the Boy Scouts, and she asked Nickles whether he would support legislation to prohibit housing discrimination against gays.
Nickles said that he wouldn’t want to require a landlord to lease apartments to gays if most of the other apartments already were leased to traditional families.
Other Democrats on the committee complained about spending time on the issue when other bills, including ones dealing with gangs and illegal drugs, were not being heard.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the chairman of the committee, said he considered the breakdown of the traditional family a high priority.
“I don’t consider protecting traditional marriage and family values as divisive,” Hatch said.
The committee, which did not vote on Nickles’ bill Thursday, also heard from a panel that included attorneys and the heads of religious and other organizations.
Gary Bauer, with the Family Research Council, testified for Nickles’ bill, saying “Ordinary people did not pick this fight. They are not the aggressors. They are merely defending the basic morality that has sustained the culture for a long, long time. Yet good men and women of varying beliefs have been subjected to a barrage of name-calling and abuse simply for saying that marriage ought to be the union of a man and a woman and that the law should protect this vital social norm.”
Mitzi Henderson, national president of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said she appreciated “honest attempts to strengthen the American family.”
Henderson, whose son is gay, said Nickles’ bill would “add another challenge to my job as a parent.”
“My marriage does not need to be defended,” she said. “What my family needs is a more tolerant America.”

11 YEARS AGO We Said We Wanted To Get Married And Might Have Accidentally Add Fuel To The DOMA Fire


Hawaii Justices Open Door to Legalizing Gay Marriages : Law: State high court calls ban unconstitutional and orders a trial. Ruling stirs debate across U.S.

March 26, 1995|BETTINA BOXALL | TIMES STAFF WRITER
Picture this: Two lesbians fly to Hawaii and return to the mainland a week later, tanned--and wedded, official spouses under island law.
A Hawaii court case has pitched that scenario into the realm of possibility, opening the door for Hawaii to become the first state to legalize same-sex marriages.
The mere prospect of such a fundamental change in the concept of marriage is already sending tremors across the Pacific, spawning legislation and talk of constitutional amendments to block recognition of gay matrimony.
For if gay men and women gain the right to marry, they will not only attain access to a host of privileges--from tax deductions to inheritance rights--now beyond their reach, they will win a hugely symbolic stamp of mainstream legitimacy as well.
"What we're talking about to a large degree is Newt Gingrich's worst nightmare, recognition of the family as being love and not an Ozzie and Harriet definition of what it is," said Robert Bray of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Precisely for those reasons, Bray and other gay activists expect a tsunami-size reaction if Hawaii officially sanctions same-sex unions.
Ironically, all this is unfolding around an issue that has never been a top priority in the gay rights movement; nor for that matter, have activists even uniformly agreed that it is worth pursuing.
But whether the nation is ready or not for Bobs and Bills and Kathys and Sues to say "I do," the Hawaii Supreme Court is whistling the wedding tune.
The court, in a stunning 1993 decision, revived a lawsuit filed by a gay male couple and two lesbian couples who were denied marriage licenses. Ruling that the denial amounted to sex discrimination--explicitly forbidden in Hawaii's state Constitution--the justices ordered the case back to the lower courts for trial, where "compelling state interests" will have to be proved to uphold the same-sex marriage ban.
Legal experts say that is one of the toughest legal standards, rarely met except in cases of national security or public safety. Whatever the trial outcome, the case is expected to return to the state Supreme Court for a final ruling within the next two years.
Citing the importance of procreation, the Hawaii Legislature weighed in last year with a law restricting marriage to a man and a woman ,but that does not bind the court. The legislation also created a commission to determine if at least some marriage rights and benefits should be extended to gay couples.
University of Hawaii law professor Jon Van Dyke said the only thing likely to stop the Hawaii Supreme Court from ultimately legalizing same-sex marriages would be the enactment of a comprehensive statewide domestic partnership law according gays substantial benefits similar to those granted married couples.
Either way, "It will be revolutionary by mainland standards," observed Dan Foley, the couples' attorney.
And the mainland is watching.
Sweethearts since their New Jersey high school days, Kevin Notre and Don Korotsky of West Hollywood have already informed their families that they will be hopping the plane to Hawaii if gay marriages become the law there.
"We've been together since 1978, and as friends and relatives have gotten married, we felt left out," Notre said. "They have a lot of benefits we don't and a lot of protections."
"The government says my love is valueless," he continued. "It's very frustrating. It doesn't exist (legally). And we do exist."
While Notre and his partner are planning their island honeymoon, opponents of gay marriages are already at work.
A bill forbidding recognition of same-sex marriages was whisked through the Utah Legislature earlier this month. Alaska legislators have introduced a proposal limiting marriage to male-female couples. In South Dakota, legislation banning gay marriages died in the Senate recently on a procedural vote after passing the House.
California has, since 1977, defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
Regardless of such legislative efforts, however, the pivotal battle will probably be a judicial one: The courts will be asked to decide whether other states are obliged to recognize Hawaii same-sex marriages under federal constitutional requirements that states observe one another's official acts.
Anticipating that court fight, the Rev. Louis Sheldon of the Anaheim-based Traditional Values Coalition said same-sex matrimony in Hawaii could prompt a drive to prevent its recognition by amending the U.S. Constitution. "We're looking at our legal options," said Sheldon, whose group is affiliated with 31,000 churches nationally. "This is a major issue with all our supporters."
Gay marriages, Sheldon said, are simply a political steppingstone for homosexuals. "What they really want is acceptance and that's something we can't give to them."
At the Washington-based Family Research Council, cultural studies director Robert Knight says that opening marriage to same-sex couples would strike at the heart of the institution.
"The very definition involves the union of two sexes. That's the whole point of marriage," said Knight, who is preparing an affidavit in the Hawaii case. "Equating a homosexual relationship with what Mom and Dad do devalues the whole concept of marriage."
However diminished by 50% divorce rates and prenuptial agreements, marriage occupies a central place in the American psyche. Of all the items on the gay rights list, same-sex marriages thus promise to be among the prickliest.
"This just isn't going to help gays," Knight said. "The idea of Joe and Bill up there kissing at the altar just does something to most people. . . ."
Some opinion polls have shown a majority of the public supports giving gay partners some of the benefits associated with marriage, such as health insurance and social security. Legally sanctioned gay marriages, nevertheless, are strongly opposed.
"You're hitting a chord," said James Brundage, a University of Kansas legal historian and expert on the legal regulation of sexuality. "(People) think of marriage as something sacred, at least in some sense."
For all its emotional and religious meanings, marriage in this country is basically a civil institution of legal obligations, rights and privileges that protect and support the family.
In Hawaii, married couples enjoy about 60 rights and benefits. They range from the trivial, such as discounts on hunting licenses, to such crucial matters as child custody, survival benefits and the right to sue over the wrongful death of a spouse.
Domestic partnership programs have been adopted in more than 30 cities (including Los Angeles, Laguna Beach and West Hollywood) and counties across the nation, as well as in the state of Vermont. But other than extending spousal insurance benefits to the partners of unmarried municipal--or in the case of Vermont, state--employees, such programs are largely symbolic in value.
Likewise, California legislation vetoed last year by Gov. Pete Wilson and reintroduced this session would allow unwed couples to register as domestic partners, but would have a very limited impact, affecting only such things as the assumption of conservatorships and hospital visitation.
"We use marriage as a gateway for so many benefits in our society that, by forbidding us the benefits that come with marriage, you are essentially discriminating economically against the whole community," said J Craig Fong, who until recently, headed the Los Angeles office of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a gay rights legal group that is helping Foley with the Hawaii case.
And, according to U.S. Supreme Court opinions, marriage is also a fundamental right.
"The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men," the court wrote in a landmark 1967 decision striking down state prohibitions on interracial marriage.
But with the exception of the Hawaii decision, lower courts have consistently dismissed legal challenges to same-sex wedding prohibitions, ruling that marriage is by definition and tradition a union between a man and a woman.
Citing the state Constitution's equal protection clause, the Hawaii Supreme Court found such reasoning "circular and unpersuasive."
As the courts have debated the matter, a different kind of discussion has taken place in the gay community.
Some lesbian feminists in particular have argued that gay men and women would be better off expanding the definition of family rather than embracing an institution that is, from their perspective, rooted in inequality.
"I would like us to move to an unhooking of a variety of benefits from the institution of marriage," said Nancy Polikoff, an American University law professor. "It's a flawed institution and there isn't any way that gay and lesbian couples can remedy that flaw."
Lorri L. Jean, executive director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, is in the same camp, but, she says, it's the minority view. "I think the vast majority of people in our community would love to be able to get married."
After all, Fong said: "Whether you are gay or straight . . . you grow up in America and are taught, from day one, that the ultimate thing is get a ring and get married."
By that measure, some maintain that gay marriages are actually a very conservative move, firmly planting homosexuals in traditional ground.
Over the long view of Western history, scholars say, government involvement in marriage is relatively recent, emerging with the rise of the modern state in the 1500s. Prior to that, marriages were either religious or simply private, domestic celebrations.
In a book published last year, the late Yale University historian John Boswell wrote that those religious ceremonies included blessings for same-sex couples in the early Catholic Church, a claim disputed by many church historians. USC anthropology professor Walter Williams also cites evidence of the historical acceptance of same-sex unions within Native American and non-Western cultures.
Existing in some form for thousands of years in every society, marriage "was fundamentally a way to protect property and children," said Andrew Cherlin, a public policy professor at Johns Hopkins University who has written extensively on marriage. "Marriage was a way that men . . . could ensure that no one else fathered children by their wives and it was the way men could control the labor of the children in the household."
The notion of marriage as a romantic partnership, sealed by love and companionship rather than economics, has taken hold only in the last century. At the same time, there has been a trend toward deregulation as laws dealing with adultery, interracial couples and contraception have fallen by the wayside in recent decades.
Viewed in that context, same-sex marriages are an extension of the evolving romantic ideal. "In a way, gay marriage is just taking up those themes that heterosexuals have been advancing about marriage for the last 50 years," Cherlin said.
Indeed, the idea of official same-sex unions has become ho-hum in Scandinavia. Since 1989, Denmark, Norway and Sweden have all enacted partnership laws allowing same-sex couples to formally register with the government and receive most of the legal benefits of marriage. The major exception bars them from adopting children.
Gay rights activists are anticipating a far different reaction in the United States, and some are worried that a favorable Hawaii decision may do their movement more harm than good.
"Now we're at a real tug of war stage" over gay rights, said Los Angeles attorney Thomas F. Coleman, a longtime advocate of domestic-partner rights. "This same-sex marriage thing is throwing gasoline into the fire and it's likely to explode."
Such qualms notwithstanding, gay groups are trying to ready themselves, hoping to avoid a repeat of the beating they took during fray over gays in the military.
"What concerns us now is what happens after we win," Fong said.
The central battle will concern whether other states must recognize Hawaii's same-sex marriages under the federal Constitution's full faith and credit clause, which requires states to honor one another's laws and official acts, including marriage.
The exception--if a state's acts violate important public policy of another--will surely be invoked by opponents, especially in states with anti-sodomy laws. The matter could ultimately wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Foley, the attorney for the Hawaii gay couples, acknowledges that a victory for his clients will produce a backlash. "So excuse me," he said. "We shouldn't ask for rights because someone may not like it?"