Monday, December 14, 2009

UTF on Extended Hiatus

Dear UTF Readers,

Due to good but very time consuming developments in my life outside of UTF (yes, believe it or not, I have one, though it keeps interrupting!), I have decided that I need to give my focus where it's due, especially with the impending holidays providing even more of a distraction. Believe me, this took a lot of deliberation, but I will be taking an extended hiatus.

Currently, some marriage equality efforts are in the works, but news won't come until later. New Jersey won't be considering its marriage equality bill until after New Year's, and the Prop 8 federal trial won't begin until January 11. However, DC is expected to vote and pass marriage equality this week - Congress will have 30 days to intervene. Other stories may break, and I may post periodically.

I'll return January 4.

Happy Holidays to All!

Irony in New Hampshire: Two Repeal Proposals "Threaten" Marriage

So remember our great victory in New Hampshire back in June? After a tumultuous ride the state's marriage equality bill passed and the governor signed it into law. Starting January 1 the law will go into effect and same-sex couples will begin marrying in New Hampshire.

Back in November I reported that those who opposed the bill are not giving up and have introduced a repeal. On Friday the original sponsor of the marriage equality bill, Rep. Jim Splaine, posted on Blue Hampshire that the repeal has been given a number: House Bill 1590, "An Act Repealing Same Sex Marriage."

Rep. Splaine says, "It will be sent to the House Judiciary Committee, where after a public hearing HB 436 [marriage equality bill] had been reported out with 'no recommendation' after a 10-10 tie. Since then, however, we have picked up at least two members of that committee who now support marriage equality."

He goes on to say encouragingly, "We can beat this. We already have had some Legislative meetings to lay out our strategy, and we will be having more."

New Hampshire HB 1590 - An ACT Repealing Same-sex Marriage

You can check on the status of this bill here.

Here's where the irony comes in - two New Hampshire House representatives are introducing a repeal to the 200-year-old state law that makes adultery a crime. Punishments once included standing on the gallows for an hour with a noose around the neck, 39 lashes, a year in jail or a fine of 100 pounds - but these have been reduced to a $1,200 fine.

"We shouldn't be regulating people's sex lives and their love lives," state Rep. Timothy Horrigan and bill sponsor told the AP. "This is one area the state government should stay out of people's bedrooms."

I couldn't agree more. But then his colleagues are at the same time trying to do just that by introducing a repeal to a law that keeps government out of same-sex couples' bedrooms. In other words, his colleagues want government in people's bedrooms. Or at least, in gay and lesbian bedrooms. And they don't get the irony in that their actions threaten existing marriages. Yes, that's right - these people are threatening the institute of marriage!

I agree with the repeal of the law that punishes adultery - it should be left up to the civil courts to enforce divorce laws which protect the rights of married couples to separate. But isn't it rather embarrassing that within this same body of legislators some want to take these rights away from other citizens they represent? Because with the right to marry also comes the right to divorce.

I'm not too concerned about the marriage equality repeal - the sponsors have a reputation of leaning to the right just a tad, and they showed their true colors back in June when the marriage bill passed.

But you would think that this would put marriage equality opponents in a pickle. Kind of like in California, where a satirical divorce ban has been introduced to "protect traditional marriage." But you would be wrong.

Kevin Smith, executive director of the conservative Cornerstone Policy Research, said, "Even though this criminal law probably is not enforced right now and probably has not been enforced for some time, I think it's important to have a public policy statement that says generally or in all situations adultery is not a good thing. And I think, by repealing that statute, you're essentially diminishing the harmful effects of adultery."

Riiight. Because it's kept people from divorcing this whole time, protecting those traditional marriages.

Those who oppose marriage equality must really think New Hampshire is the den of iniquity, ripping to shreds traditional marriage. In one year they have legalized same-sex marriage which degrades what marriage is truly all about, and now they want to give "traiditional" couples an easy way out of those "til death to us part" vows! God forbid, what's next?! Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Makes your skin crawl, doesn't it?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

VIDEO: Houston Elects Openly Gay Annise Parker for Mayor; See Her Acceptance Speech

On Saturday, Houston made history by being the largest city in the U.S. to elect an openly gay mayor. Annise Parker has been with her partner Kathy Hubbard for 19 years and has adopted three children.

Here is her acceptance speech.

"This election has changed the world for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. Just as it is about transforming the lives of all Houstonians for the better. And that's what my administration will be about."

H/T Towleroad.