In 1983, the FDA put a policy in place that forbids any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 from donating blood. The policy, which still stands today, was implemented at the height of the AIDS epidemic. The LGBT community was devastated by the virus, and gay men were at a higher statistical risk of contracting it despite the fact that any person, no matter their orientation or gender, could become infected. There were no reliable methods for screening blood donations for what was then often called “gay-related immune deficiency” (ugh), so the FDA opted to prevent gay men from contributing to the national blood supply altogether. People were dying left and right with no solution in sight, and the decision seemingly came from a panicked need to take any kind of preventative action within health officials’ realm of control. Still, at the time, it was prejudiced and hit the LGBT community with yet another socially acceptable form of discrimination. Today, this policy is downright egregious. Keep reading »
Sandy Rios is both an American Family Association talk show host and a Fox News contributor, so naturally when she spoke with anti-gay Chicago pastor, Erwin Lutzer, some pretty offensive words were exchanged.
The two both oppose same-sex marriage and use the bogus argument that homosexuality is like pedophilia in that even though there is “love” in these relationships, the people involved should not be able to get married. According to Right Wing Watch, Lutzer said, “A pedophile I’m sure says that he loves children — as a matter of fact, he does — but you can see how destructive that love is.” That comparison is nothing new in the anti-gay argument, but Sandy Rios then went on to make a new and uniquely offensive comparison. Keep reading »
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill received royal assent this morning, thus legalizing gay marriage in both England and Wales. Royal assent in the United Kingdom takes place after both the House of Lords and the House of Commons have passed a bill. The Queen then agrees to make the bill an Act of Parliament, or law. Although royal assent is technically a formality these days, celebration is still in order! Keep reading »
The striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act is an enormous victory for same-sex marriage. Alas, there are always several assholes out there to remind us that ignorance and homophobia are still alive and well. On Wednesday, openly gay Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims, a Democrat from Philadelphia, was not permitted to speak about DOMA on the floor of the Pennsylvania House. Why? Because bigots wouldn’t let him. A procedural maneuver in the PA legislature requires just one legislator to shut down such impromptu remarks and Republican Rep. Daryl Metcalfe announced:
“I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God’s law,”
Yes, you read that correctly. Sims was not allowed to speak in a government building because he maybe was going to say something in violation of “God’s law.” Welcome to America! We have separation of church and state here, people. Later, Rep. Metcalfe told the AP, “For me to allow him to say things that I believe are open rebellion against God are for me to participate in his open rebellion. There’s no free speech on the floor.” Keep reading »
After three months of deliberation, the Supreme Court of the United States is due to give rulings on the cases of Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry this Thursday June 27. These two cases mean very different things for the fate of same-sex marriage in America.
Windsor v. United States is a case that challenges the constitutionality of The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. The case was brought forth after Edith Windsor of New York lost almost $400,000 in federal estate taxes just because she was married to a woman instead of a man. Windsor legally married her partner of 40 years, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007. When Spyer died a few years ago, Windsor inherited the entire estate, but that estate was subject to taxes that would not have applied to a heterosexual couple.
In lower courts, DOMA was deemed unconstitutional because it violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws with regard to same-sex couples married legally in states that allow same-sex marriage. Although Spyer and Windsor were married in Canada, New York is one of the 12 states in which same-sex marriage is legal.
Now in the Supreme Court, this case will decide how the federal government will treat legal same-sex marriages. DOMA could either be supported by the Supreme Court or overturned. If DOMA is overturned, same-sex couples already in civil unions will be afforded the same rights as married heterosexual couples in federal laws and programs such as Social Security benefits, income tax, estate tax, and immigration. These rights will also apply to future, legal, same-sex marriages.
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