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Posts Tagged ‘Gay Rights’

While everyone is paying attention to Greece and Spain, Italy is teetering  on the brink.  Some pundits say that the real  fate of the Eurozone lies in Italy’s ability to weather the current economic winds. It occurred to me that I did not know whether the Vatican was part of the EU.  It is not, but, oddly, its currency is the Vatican Euro which is made in Rome.

With brand names like Prada, Ferrari, and Armani continuing to do well, Italy may come through just fine.  That is not why I raised the subject.  It is pretty clear to anyone who knows anything about the Vatican why that sovereign state would eschew EU membership.  Legendary accumulated wealth and perennially resurfacing Vatican Bank scandals hint at roiling financial and economic storms beneath the serene surface.  A two thousand year history of borderline incestuous relations with European royalty may have established much of the Vatican’s wealth, but a side effect might be the belief that the tiny city-state gets to dictate what happens politically in other countries.  When Vatican officials tried to bitch-slap American nuns recently, the nuns not only stood their ground, but, in an all-American huff, decided to take their message on the road.

Nuns, Rebuked by Rome, Plan Road Trip to Spotlight Social Issues

By
Published: June 5, 2012

In a spirited retort to the Vatican, a group of Roman Catholic nuns is planning a bus trip across nine states this month, stopping at homeless shelters, food pantries, schools and health care facilities run by nuns to highlight their work with the nation’s poor and disenfranchised.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Sister Simone Campbell is organizing a bus tour to draw attention to nuns’ work with the poor and to protest planned aid cuts.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

The bus’s decal.

The bus tour is a response to a blistering critique of American nuns released in April by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, which included the accusation that the nuns are outspoken on issues of social justice, but silent on other issues the church considers crucial: abortion and gay marriage.

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I am reminded of this incident.

5 Nuns in New Jersey Break Away Over Break With Tradition

By ROBERT HANLEY, Special to the New York Times
Published: October 08, 1988

Five cloistered nuns are protesting at their monastery here over the relaxation of rigid monastic lifestyles rooted in the 16th century.

Since Tuesday, the five have secluded themselves in the monastery’s second-floor infirmary, fearful they face eviction from the monastery because of their opposition to the recent introduction of a television, classical music and brighter lighting in the prayer chapel.

To the five sisters, these 20th-century society elements are distractions to their dedication to solitude, silence and daily contemplative prayer, and the abandonment of the reclusive principles of their order, the Discalced Carmelite Nuns, founded in 1562.

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A brilliant friend, mentor, and colleague of mine, a naturalized American able to see our culture through eyes more objective than our own and trained in anthropology,  and I were driving past that cloister a few years later.  “I wish I could have spoken to the Pope during that stand-off,” she said.  “He didn’t realize he was dealing with protestant nuns.”  Her larger thesis was that all Americans, regardless of the religious tradition in which we are raised, are essentially protestants.  It’s what we do.  We protest.  Our nation was born in protest and the founders enshrined that right in the very first amendment to our constitution.  That is the importance they lent to the role of protest in our infant culture.

Sister Simone Campbell and her bus mates along with Sister Margaret Farley (whom the Vatican officials appear to regard as a ring leader in all of this disruption to their traditional message of vilification for the practices of birth control and gay marital union) stand with the grand majority of Roman Catholic American nuns who have not missed the connections between these practices and the economic health of the greater society.  Gay marriage more than affords equal rights to gay couples.  It permits medical coverage,  pension and social security benefits to dependents of those marriages – benefits that parties to straight marriage accept without the blink of an eye – to which, in fact, they feel entitled.  Birth control permits reproductive responsibility in families that calculate their fiscal ability to support a family at $235,000 per child per year 0 – 17 years (not including post secondary education).

The nuns are very much part of the fabric of American life.  Their long tradition of working on the ground with children and families allows them insights that men isolated in Vatican enclaves cannot possibly appreciate.  The Nuns on the Bus are out to educate Americans – voting citizens (which Vatican officials are not) – as to the dangers inherent in the proposed Ryan budget.  Les eminences grises could learn a thing or two from them as well.  American nuns have been educating Americans for more than two hundred years.  We applaud this effort by our all-American protestant Catholic nuns.  Go Sisters!!!!!!

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A Quiet Death

Overnight,  silently at midnight, DADT expired.  There was no fanfare, and as far as I can see no protests either.  It simply slipped into history and was gone.  Imagine that!

I had two major problems with DADT (aside from the simple unfairness of it).

1.  Not everyone takes naturally to the military. We have a volunteer army, and I believe the military is a calling.  I know I would have been a terrible candidate for military service.  I am just naturally so insubordinate and argumentative.   So, if some young person is called and is willing to defend me and us, why should I care whether that person has blue, brown, or green eyes,  is right or left-handed, is straight or gay?    That never made any sense to me.

2. As a taxpayer, much of what I earn and pay in taxes goes to defense.  I  help pay for some very expensive specialized training.  I resent that 14,000 specialists that I paid to train were fired.

Can we have the Arabic translators back now?  How crazy was that?

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Just got an email from Robby Mook saying that my DCCC membership has expired and all I need to do to renew it is contribute.

With the Federal Election Commission (FEC) deadline just days away, there has never been a more critical time to show your support for President Obama’s agenda….

Really, Robby?  And what agenda would that be?  The one that has yet to advocate for full civil rights for gay Americans? The one that extended unemployment benefits for 13 months but the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans for two years?  The one that, instead of fighting for the single payer option simply allowed it to be excised from the health care bill?  The one that still does not firmly, once and for all say that LGBT rights are human rights, and human rights are LGBT rights?  That among those rights is the right to serve one’s country, and to die for it,  as openly gay?  As who you are?

That agenda?

Dear Robby,

When the Democratic Party listens to its membership, I will renew my membership.

The party refused to provide a fair and transparent roll call vote in Denver in 2008, and the RBC  reassigned Hillary Clinton delegates to Barack Obama in a move that, if not illegal, was at least unethical.

I, as a registered Democrat resent the way the party treated me and my 18 million pro-Hillary cohorts.  My contributions since 2008 have gone and until further notice will continue to go to Hillary Clinton.

What will it take for me to make future contributions?  Put Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket where she belongs.

Regards,

S4H (my real name here)

Happy Pride Day, everybody!

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Reminder to LGBT community of who is on your side.  This government official/public servant is.  Be glad and thankful.

UN General Assembly Action on Sexual Orientation

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 21, 2010

I am pleased by the UN General Assembly’s action today to include sexual orientation in a resolution condemning extrajudicial and summary executions. The United States introduced this language to send an unequivocal message in concert with our many international partners: No one should be killed for who they are.

Sadly, many people around the world continue to be targeted and killed because of their sexual orientation. These heinous crimes must be condemned and investigated wherever they occur. We look forward to continuing our work with others around the world to protect the human rights of those facing threats or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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This is cross-posted at  Still4Hill. I wanted to put it here also as a reminder to the LGBT community that Secretary Clinton fights for LGBT rights here and all over the world.

Pictured here with Secretary of Defense Gates, a fellow proponent of repeal of DADT, Secretary Clinton tonight released a concise statement in support of today’s  vote in the Senate to repeal  DADT.  Here is her statement. Short, sweet, and to the point.

Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 18, 2010

This is a historic step forward for all Americans, a step toward a more perfect union and a more perfect reflection of our core values. As the President and I have repeatedly said, we are committed to universal standards abroad and here at home. Our progress on equality here strengthens our advocacy for human dignity everywhere.

Related stories:

Senate Repeals Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Reid: Suspend DADT Discharges Now

Lieberman And Collins On DADT Repeal: This Is A Civil Rights Bill

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This WaPo article tells the story.

Judge in California rules on military’s ban on openly gay service members

By Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 10, 2010; 1:31 AM

A federal judge in California said Thursday that the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members violates the Constitution, the most recent in a string of court rulings overturning restrictions on the rights of the country’s gay men and lesbians.

U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips said the government’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is a violation of due process and First Amendment rights. Instead of being necessary for military readiness, she said, the policy has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the armed services.

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Suddenly? After all these years? Somebody figured out how/why DADT violates the U.S. Constitution? Really? How many dedicated, well-trained, talented service members have been discharged since DADT went into effect? How hard was it to figure this out? I just saw Dan Choi on MSNBC (with a huge smile) saying that DADT does violate First Amendment rights of some people in some instances. Three little words, he explained, like “I am gay,” or “I love you,” or “I love X” (or Y as the case may be) spoken in the presence of the wrong person are enough to get an otherwise able-bodied service member discharged. How long did it take to figure this out? Where is the Executive Order striking DADT down?

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So up into one of my news feeds pops this, which is a victory, don’t get me wrong,  but is a rather anti-climactic one.

Obama orders additional benefits for same-sex partners of executive branch employees

Seems rather staged to me, coming, as it does at the onset of Gay Pride Month.  Last year, when Secretary of State Clinton announced benefits for domestic partners, there was a transparency at work.  We knew of her meeting with an LGBT group from State early on in her tenure, and of her promise to study the situation.  Her announcement came at a propitious,  but also at a reasonable time, after her promised research and budgetary work could be completed.

This announcement, on the other hand,  has the appearance of  a time-release capsule scripted to occur at a specific time although it may well reflect benefits that were possible from every porrtal, much earlier than now.  I’m just sayin’….

So if you were not here last year, or even if you were, I thought now might be a good time to remind you of this post.

Sit! Stay! Under the porch!

Not completely unrelated, if you read that post, it is a good time to remind everyone that this is also Adopt-a–Shelter-Pet Month.   If you are looking for a pet,  please do!  If you are gay and looking for a pet,  please!   The  sweetest little Princesses and Tinkerbelles, or Spikes and Machomans can be found at shelters, and they are there just waiting for YOU!  Even if you only want Spot or Puff, take my word for it  – they are there!

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