Posts tagged ‘marriage’

Pro-Gay Religious Voices Absent in Mainstream Media

(Source: Care2)

Pro-Gay Religious Voices Absent in Mainstream Media

A new study has found that religious contributors to the media are largely anti-gay, despite growing and often majority numbers among religious people favoring LGBT rights.

The Center on Religion & the Professions at University of Missouri, in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), studied three years of mainstream news media content.

They found that three out of four religious messages came from people whose religions have formal policies opposing LGBT equality — despite the fact that acceptance of LGBT people is growing across faith traditions. (more…)

Same-Sex Marriage: Seattle’s St. James Catholic Cathedral Opts Out Of Anti-Gay Marriage Petition Drive

(Source: Huffington Post)
St James Gay Marriage

If the referendum campaign to block Washington state’s recently passed law authorizing same-sex marriage makes the state’s November ballot, it will not be with any official help of the Seattle archdiocese’s cathedral parish, despite Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain’s outspoken support of Referendum 74 and his call for parishioners to bolster its campaign.

In a short, two-paragraph email sent to St. James Cathedral parishioners April 11, pastor Fr. Michael G. Ryan wrote, “After discussing the matter with the members of the Cathedral’s pastoral ministry team, I have decided that we will not participate in the collecting of signatures in our parish. Doing so would, I believe, prove hurtful and seriously divisive in our community.” (more…)

Captive Virgins, Polygamy, Sex Slaves: What Marriage Would Look Like if We Actually Followed the Bible

(Source: AlterNet)

Traditionally, Republicans tend to run on a platform of God, guns and gays. This time, it’s God, gyne-policy and gays – a set of urgent priorities straight from the mouths of conservative bishops and evangelists who call themselves Bible believers.

There’s no way to understand politics anywhere without understanding religion, but to an outsider American Christianity — and so American politics — can seem almost incomprehensible. Over the last 2,000 years, Christians have quarreled themselves into 30,000 different denominations. On top of that, American Christianity, like American culture more broadly, tends to flout hierarchy and authority, which means that a sizeable number of American Christians consider themselves “nondenominational.”

The ever faster splintering of denominations and non-denominations, from crystal cathedrals to house churches gives a particularly elevated status to the Bible, which is why, along with the Catholic bishops and charismatic preachers we find the Good Book in the middle of our public policy debates. “Bible-believing” Christians, also called “biblical literalists,” believe the Bible is the literally perfect word of God, essentially dictated by God to the writers. Thanks to the determined work of historical revisionists like David Barton, many of them also believe (very, very wrongly) that America’s Constitution and legal system also were founded on principles and laws drawn from the Bible.

Not all Christians share this view. Biblical literalists are at the opposite end of the theological spectrum from modernist Christians, who see the Bible as the record of our imperfect spiritual ancestors who struggled to understand what is good and what is God and how to live in moral community with each other.


The child brides of Butula

(Source: Capital News)


In Butula, a rural community in western Kenya, a local NGO deals with 12 child marriage cases a week.

Some of these cases involve young girls who are inherited and forced to marry by a tribal practice called siebo.

Millicent Atieno is six months pregnant with her seventh child. Ordinarily, these should be exciting times for the average rural Kenyan mother, but Millicent is no ordinary mother. When her older sister died in 2005, this 15-year-old orphan was inherited by her 38-year-old brother-in-law, through a Kenyan Luhya tribe cultural practice known as siebo. She dropped out of school and took on the care of the three children that her sister had left behind.


Millicent is now 21-years-old, and she has since given birth to three additional children of her own, one being physically disabled. She has to be up by 5am daily to get her children to school, and then be at the neighbours’ farm by 6am.

She tills land for seven hours in exchange for the equivalent of one euro, which she uses to feed and clothe her children.

Her husband, a construction worker, is presently unemployed and lives far from home. He absolves himself of all responsibility, claiming “I did not ask Millicent to marry me. It is the elders who gave Millicent to me to take care of her sister’s children. For women, there is no right age to get married. Millicent now has three children. If she was a child she could not have given birth.”

HIV and superstition

In this community of Butula in western Kenya, Mary Makokha is a local activist who is the director of a non-governmental organization, REEP (Rural Education and Economic Enhancement Programme) which handles child marriage cases. She says that the organisation handles an average of 12 such cases per week.

Besides cultural practices, Makokha also attributes HIV as one of the leading causes of child marriages in Butula. “Due to ignorance and cultural beliefs, there is a common belief that HIV infection is a curse and a bad omen. When people become ill, they sell off their property to pay oracles and witchdoctors, who they believe can cure them. Eventually they die, leaving behind a poverty-stricken homestead and vulnerable orphans, who will resort to either prostitution in exchange for food, or will get married just to survive.”

Abused orphan

Celestine Naiti is a 15-year-old orphan. After her parents died from AIDS, Celestine ended up being abused by her guardians. “My uncle would come home drunk everyday and beat me up. One day I went to get my hair shaved at the village centre, and my best friend introduced me to her 24-year-old brother-in-law. I went home with him that day and became his wife.”

Her husband, Geoffrey Wesonga, claims that he did not think that what he did was against the law because she came on her own accord. “I have seen other girls even younger than Celestine get married, so I thought it was fine. Celestine told me she was ready to stop school and marry me, because she was tired of the cruelty she was facing at her uncle’s home.” Celestine was rescued a week later and placed in an orphanage.

Children marrying children

There are also cases of children marrying children. These children attend school, and in the evenings they go back to the boy’s traditional hut. Miriam Mwachesa, a 16-year-old mother of two, recalls: “I had my firstborn child when my uncle raped me. Two years later I started a relationship with my classmate and I got a second baby with him.” Miriam has since dropped out of school to take up her mothering responsibilities.

With at least 12 child brides being rescued weekly in this community, Millicent Atieno’s children’s only fighting chance is perhaps the stable homestead that their mother currently provides, and staying in school. It may be too late for Millicent now she has resigned her life to motherhood and doing manual labour as a means of survival for her family. Perhaps she can live to see her dreams fulfilled by her children.

First published on Radio Netherlands Worldwide (

(Source: Capital News)

There is No Secular Case Against Gay Marriage

(Source: Squashed)

Adam Kolasinski, an MIT Doctoral student in financial economics, has written an article, “The Secular Case Against Gay Marriage.” (linked to robot-heart-politics, who generally has very good comments, and this guy, who generally doesn’t.)Unfortunately, Adam Kolasinski doesn’t make a very good case. (I thought his impressive academic pedigree would at least produce an insightful argument. I thought wrong.) He begins:

The debate over whether the state ought to recognize gay marriages has thus far focused on the issue as one of civil rights. Such a treatment is erroneous because state recognition of marriage is not a universal right. […] Homosexuals, therefore, are not the only people to be denied the right to marry the person of their choosing.

Talking about what is and is not a “universal right” is a bit of a red herring. Do we have a “universal right” to free speech? To bear arms? Are there any rights without exceptions? Of course not. And we could debate all day about whether certain rights are self-evident, where such rights came from, and how far they extend. And at the end of the day we wouldn’t agree on any of it. The claim that there is a “right” to same sex marriage need not be more radical than there being a right to relatively equal treatment by the law—and that any exceptions to that rule need to have a compelling government interest. Discussions of abstract rights frequently distract from the immediate and personal nature of injustice. This can be convenient—if you’re on the side pushing the injustice. When we talk about rights, make sure we don’t forget that that my friends in same-sex relationship may end up dying without the person they love most because of hospital visitation policies. And we should also keep in mind that another friend is gathering all kinds of benefits as her gay friend’s “domestic partner” because his actual domestic partner is ineligible.

So let’s not talk about “universal rights.” Instead, let’s talk about rights generally extended to most people in most circumstances that shouldn’t be denied from others without a damn good reason. And let’s talk about why there isn’t a good reason to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples.


Interracial Marriage In The U.S. Climbs To New High, Study Finds

(Source: Huffington Post)

Interracial Marriage

WASHINGTON — Interracial marriages in the U.S. have climbed to 4.8 million – a record 1 in 12 – as a steady flow of new Asian and Hispanic immigrants expands the pool of prospective spouses. Blacks are now substantially more likely than before to marry whites.

A Pew Research Center study, released Thursday, details a diversifying America where interracial unions and the mixed-race children they produce are challenging typical notions of race.


Why We Need Marriage Equality in New Jersey

(Source: Lamba Legal)

On October 10, 2010, Daniel Weiss got a phone call no one wants to get. His civil union partner, John Grant, with whom he lived in Asbury Park, New Jersey, had been hit by a car in New York City. John was at Bellevue Hospital and was hemorrhaging in his brain.

When Daniel arrived, doctors weren’t sure whether John would live or die. Daniel had a health care proxy for John. But it was the middle of the night; he had rushed to the hospital, and he didn’t have documents with him. When Daniel began to ask about John’s care, a nurse asked him who he and John were to each other and indicated that he needed to leave the room. A neurosurgeon on the scene, trying to defuse the tension, asked whether John and Daniel were married. Daniel  explained:  “I said that we had a civil union in New Jersey,” Daniel says. “And the neurosurgeon asked me, ‘What is that?’”


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