All Articles Tagged "same-sex marriage"
Just a short while ago news broke that Barack Obama just made another heroic first as president: He became the first seated Commander-in-Chief of the country to openly support gay marriage. The announcement came via an interview President Obama did with ABC’s Robin Roberts in which he made a clear declaration that he believes homosexual Americans should have the same right to marry as heterosexuals. He stated:
“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
The president’s “I do” to gay marriage rattled through the Internet with several celebrities—both gay and straight—sending out resounding support and thanks to the president for taking such a bold stance. But regardless of President Obama’s seemingly altruistic goal of wanting to support same-sex couples and families, making the announcement was certainly a gamble, and a decision that definitely wasn’t made without thoroughly assessing the risk-benefit ratio.
The thing is gay marriage is nearly as polar an issue as capital punishment or abortion. You’re either starkly for it or against it and the ramifications can be great. The homosexual population has grown as a powerful entity in society and it makes sense that the president would want to openly align his candidacy with the belief gay couples should be allowed to marry, because although his position does nothing to affect state legislature regarding marriage laws, it does potentially boost his vote with the gay population. On the other hand, it could wreck his stance with those who do not have such liberal views on gay marriage. Already there have been comments on news and blog boards from past supporters of Obama saying he has now lost their vote. They hardly feel his declaration is bold, but rather a cowardly buckling to pressure from the homosexual community.
As far as conservatives go, there likely wasn’t much Obama could do to change their minds to vote for him anyway, and though some believe this issue will now be one of the main points of contention in the coming race, it wouldn’t be wise for Republicans to openly bash the president’s support of gay marriage knowing how many votes ride on that. Besides, the president believes this is no longer a bi-partisan issue but rather a generational one. He told Robin:
“You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”
President Obama has clearly laid his perspective out on the line and it will be a few months before we see the full ramifications of that choice. Beyond the gay-straight divide he’s crossed, many are curious as to how this open acceptance of same-sex couples will affect the president’s relationship with the black and Latino communities which across the board are thought to not be as on-board with gay marriage. Many have felt the president has the black vote in his back pocket but this could potentially change the game.
Do you think Obama just sealed his fate as the president for the next four years by supporting gay marriage or will he lose support for standing for this controversial right?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Today same-sex couples are now recognized in over 12 states. For the first time, most Americans are in favor of gay marriage. Even as acceptance grows, disparities show up in tax returns. A new study shows that same-sex couples may pay as much as an additional 6,000 a year in taxes.
Why? Although some state governments have legalized gay marriage, the federal government doesn’t recognize them, a CNNMoney analysis observes. The federal government is restrained by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. This act forces same sex couples to file separately with federal tax returns sent to the IRS.
As they cannot file their federal returns jointly, same sex couples are not able to benefit from tax benefits given to heterosexual couples. In some states, same-sex couples are also obligated to fill out up to four separate returns including a mock federal return.
CNN used H&R block to give an example: say a family consists of two adults and two children. One parent earns $100,000 while the other stays home to take care of the kids. The working parent then files as “head of household” while the stay-at-home parent is the “qualifying relative.” With no other income or deductions, the family is forced to pay $15,199 to the federal government. This amount is $4,543 higher than if the couple were heterosexual. This is because the “head of household” classification doesn’t provide the same tax deductions as “married filing jointly.”
The child tax credit is $1000 for each child for a heterosexual couple, but families using the “head of household,” tag are not able to receive this full amount. Altogether in this situation, the same-sex couple stands to lose $6,043 more to the federal government.
There is one exception. Same-sex spouses in the higher tax brackets with no children can file tax returns with a “single” status. This makes their liability lower than heterosexual couples.
Comedian Mo’Nique has partnered with the Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition in a campaign to fight for gay marriage rights in the state.
The coalition launched a web campaign featuring a video clip of the Academy Award-winning actress supporting equal marriage rights in her home state. In the message below she says, “I believe since we’ve all been given free will, let’s use our will to let others be free. Gay and lesbian couples believe in commitment, family, and love.”
Marylanders for Marriage Equality has vowed to continue the campaign until the legislature votes next year on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. What do you think of Monique joining the campaign?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Are N.C Republicans Using the Same-Sex Referendum to Prove a Point to Obama and the Democratic Party?
The North Carolina House voted Monday whether to allow a May referendum on the issue concerning adding a ban of gay marriage to the state’s constitution.
The amendment is worded to protect businesses in the state that may offer health and life insurance to domestic partners. Unfortunately the state and municipal government employees that have domestic spouses enjoying the same benefits will no longer be afforded the same privilege.
Bear in mind that while North Carolina has a law that defines marriage solely between a man and a woman; at the same time, there is no constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis told reporters that he is confident that the referendum will go to voters in May – a notion that is going against many critics, that believe that the Republican-dominated house was pushing for a November date.
Tillis also discussed that the May decision was not about politics, even though the date coincides with those of the Republican primary. Yet, with all the strong Republican candidates coming out adamantly against same-sex marriage – having the referendum vote in May would further cement the parties right-winged tilt, inching them one more step towards victory.
Although 61 percent of North Carolina citizens believe gay marriage should remain illegal, 55 percent would vote against a constitutional amendment, detailed a poll released by the Public Policy Polling, last week. However, Republican voters are split, with 47 percent saying amending the state constitution is going too far.
While, this poll is primarily being discussed on a state level, some have discussed how President Barack Obama’s reelection efforts in North Carolina may be affected by the possible May referendum date. Especially since Obama barely squeaked out of victory in 2008.
Since the 2012 Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, Obama’s campaign is making it no secret that he plans to win the state over again during this upcoming election.
The bill is now heading towards the Senate for approval but with the Republican majority already claiming victory – the outlook seems somewhat bleak. Even though, a September survey by the PPP found that 43% of North Carolinians approved of Obama’s job performance; even still the polling group puts the President’s chances at winning the state again at 50-50.
Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.
(AP) – A lot of business people are happy to see same-sex marriage legal in New York: lawyers, marriage counselors, insurance agents. The effect of New York becoming the sixth state to allow gay marriage is expected to ripple beyond the couples tying the knot to the professionals who offer marriage-related services, with some saying it could bring in a significant new stream of people looking to use what they offer. ”I’ve been practicing since 1988,” said matrimonial lawyer Lois Liberman. “I’ve never seen the kind of an influx of potential new clients like this.” Census figures put the number of same-sex couples in New York at more than 65,000. Hundreds of couples got married starting Sunday, in ceremonies all over the state.
(Wall Street Journal) — Hundreds of same-sex couples exchanged wedding vows in New York on Sunday, as the state became the sixth and largest to allow gay marriage. The festivities started at midnight, when mayors in Albany and Niagara Falls officiated at weddings. In Manhattan, soon-to-be-married couples started lining up outside the city clerk’s office on Worth Street before dawn. By the end of the day, 659 marriage licenses would be handed out in New York City. In the evening, Michael Bloomberg became the first city mayor to conduct a same-sex wedding. He presided over the nuptials of two aides at an outdoor ceremony at Gracie Mansion. “Two people who loved each other dearly came together and pledged their lives to each other,” he said. “I’m glad I asked to be a part of it.” At 7:30 a.m., Greg Schooler and his partner of 11 years arrived clutching cups of coffee. They found themselves in a line already more than 100 deep.
(New York Times) — On Sunday, New York becomes the sixth and largest state with legalized same-sex marriage. Over the ensuing weeks and months, gay and lesbian couples from around the state, and beyond, are expected to descend on city and town clerks’ offices seeking marriage licenses, with the legal recognition, and rights, that marriage brings. Here are the stories of three same-sex couples who now plan to marry in New York.
(Washington Post) — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is weighing whether to sponsor a same-sex marriage bill during next year’s legislative session and is likely to make a decision soon, a spokeswoman said Tuesday. Supporters of the measure, which fell short in this year’s session, have been pushing O’Malley (D) to play a more visible role next year in the wake of the passage of a gay-nuptials bill in New York, where Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) played an instrumental role. O’Malley has had recent discussions with lawmakers who would like him to make a bill part of his formal legislative package next year, spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said. “It’s definitely an option that’s on the table,” Guillory said. “We are in discussions as to what steps we might take next. . . . We’re looking at all options to ensure success.” During this year’s session, O’Malley expressed support for the bill, but his lobbying efforts were largely limited to private conversations with lawmakers. He made no mention of the legislation in his agenda-setting State of the State speech.
(ESPN) — Former Dallas Cowboys great Michael Irvin appears shirtless on the cover of this month’s gay men’s magazine Out and discusses his passion for equality issues. Irvin publicly acknowledges that the impetus for taking a stand comes from his relationship with his gay brother, Vaughn, who died of stomach cancer at age 49 in 2006. Irvin had not spoken publicly about his brother previously, according to the magazine. In the article, Irvin describes how his brother’s sexual orientation contributed to his own issues. He says that he found out his brother was gay in the late 1970s, when he found Vaughn wearing women’s clothing. Michael Irvin was rattled by the experience and has figured out since that it contributed to his own womanizing behavior. Working with a Dallas area bishop, T.D. Jakes, Irvin looked at the past.
(New York Times) — New York City, whose top elected officials strongly supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, will take the unusual step of opening city offices on a Sunday, July 24, so gay couples can marry on the day the law takes effect. The city clerk’s offices in all five boroughs will open that day, and judges will be on hand to officiate at the weddings after couples receive marriage licenses. The decision by city officials to expedite same-sex weddings comes as city and town clerks across the state are grappling with the fact that the law goes into effect on a day when municipal offices are usually closed. Officials in some cities and towns say they are expecting a surge in marriage applications from same-sex couples.