Tuesday, November 5, 2013

SO GOES THE LAND OF LINCOLN


Illinois Sends Bill Allowing Gay Marriage to Governor
By MONICA DAVEY and STEVEN YACCINO
Published: November 5, 2013 
NEW YORK TIMES

The Illinois House of Representatives voted Tuesday to allow same-sex couples to wed, ending months of delay over the issue in the Capitol and clearing the way for Illinois to become the 15th state, along with the District of Columbia, to permit gay couples to marry.

The vote was 61 to 54, mostly along partisan lines, with only three Republicans voting yes.

“In Illinois, we tried civil unions and that separate status has time and time again proved to fall short,” said State Representative Greg Harris, a sponsor of the bill, urging his House colleagues to approve the measure on Tuesday.

The measure passed the Illinois Senate in February, but for procedural reasons it had to be voted on there again. On Tuesday, the Senate quickly approved changes the House made to the bill, sending it to the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat who has said he will sign it. Illinois couples could begin marrying on June 1.

The outcome itself was perhaps less surprising than how long and difficult the debate had proved in a state with both legislative chambers controlled by Democrats and where President Obama, once a member of the State Senate, specifically voiced his support this year. Illinois already permits civil unions for same-sex couples, but even as a wave of state legislatures passed marriage provisions this year, the issue had stalled.

“We were aiming for this to happen a year ago,” said Bernard Cherkasov, the chief executive of Equality Illinois. In May, in the final hours of the State House’s regular session, a leading advocate of the bill reluctantly and tearfully announced that he would delay plans for a vote, suggesting that there were not yet enough votes to pass it.

“In many ways, it has taken longer than we expected,” Mr. Cherkasov said.

Despite Democratic control of both chambers, the issue had been particularly vexing for some Democrats in socially conservative districts outside Chicago and for some black Democrats in Chicago, where some clergy members have suggested that those supporting gay marriage should prepare for election challenges next year.

“We’re prepared to run and elect people who vote where the people’s minds are,” said Bishop Larry Trotter, senior pastor of the Sweet Holy Spirit Church in Chicago and an opponent of same-sex marriage. Mr. Trotter said he believed that most black residents agreed with him, even if it conflicts with the stance of Mr. Obama.

“We love him,” Mr. Trotter said of Mr. Obama. “We want him to be a great president. But on this issue we differ. It’s unfortunate that he is our hero, he is a hometown boy, but I think he needs to understand that when he speaks for this he’s not speaking for the majority of people.”

Jehan Gordon-Booth, a Democratic state representative from downstate Peoria who is black, had not announced how she would vote until this week. Deciding to vote in favor of same-sex marriage, she said in an interview, “took some guts.”

Ultimately, she said, she viewed the issue in light of work her mother had done in the Peoria community on civil rights. “Our history is about moving the dial toward justice, and I see this as another part of that,” she said.

Ms. Gordon-Booth, who was first elected in 2008, said that she intended to seek re-election next year and that she expected she might well now find competition. “Could I end up in a race? You better believe it. But I prayed on this. And I don’t worry about it anymore.”

Political analysts said it was uncertain how serious the political fallout would prove to be. Kent Redfield, an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Springfield, questioned whether Democratic leaders like Michael J. Madigan, the longtime speaker of the House, would have called a vote had they believed it would cause too many election risks for Democrats.

Much has changed in the months since backers of same-sex marriage began pressing lawmakers in Springfield to go a step beyond the civil unions that have been permitted since 2011. Last fall, voters approved marriage measures in Maryland, Maine and Washington, and lawmakers in Delaware, Rhode Island and Minnesota passed laws this year. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey withdrew his efforts to block same-sex marriage, and weddings began in that state last month.

Michael D. Shear contributed reporting.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

MARRIAGE IS MARRIAGE


Posted: 08/29/2013 from www.huffingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced Thursday that when it comes to taxes, it will recognize same-sex couples' marriages even if they live in a state that does not.

The decision, which was prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, marks the latest political progress for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Prior to this spring, the Internal Revenue Service did not recognize same-sex married couples pursuant to section 3 of DOMA. Once DOMA was overturned in June, the question became: What about same-sex married couples who moved to a state that didn’t recognize their marriage (a couple married in Massachusetts who moved to Arkansas, for example)?

Thursday’s ruling by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew provides a uniform policy for the IRS; the state of celebration -- where the wedding took place -- now trumps the state of residency when it comes to federal tax status for same-sex married couples.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” Lew said in a statement. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

The new policy, which was first shared by Lew in a conference call that included LGBT advocates, holds a bit of political significance. It was the burden of federal tax law on same-sex couples, after all, that prompted the legal challenge to DOMA in the first place.

Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the DOMA case, sued the government after being forced to pay estate taxes following the death of her wife, Thea Spyer. Had they been a heterosexual couple, Windsor's tax burden would have been zero. After DOMA was overturned, it was reported that the IRS owed Windsor $363,053.

Under the new Treasury policy, all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, employee benefits, IRA contributions, earned income, child tax credits, and income, gift and estate taxes, will apply to same sex couples regardless of where they live. On the flip side, gay couples also will now be subjected to the so-called marriage penalty, in which some (usually upper-middle class) joint filers incur a higher tax burden than they would if they filed as single people.

The policy only applies to married couples, and not those in domestic partnerships or same-sex unions.

“With today’s ruling, committed and loving gay and lesbian married couples will now be treated equally under our nation’s federal tax laws, regardless of what state they call home,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “These families finally have access to crucial tax benefits and protections previously denied to them under the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.”

The Treasury’s actions on Thursday are just the latest in a set of LGBT policies offered by agencies within the Obama administration following the DOMA ruling. The Federal Election Commission, and Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security, also extended federal benefits to gay couples in states that don’t recognize their marriages.

Friday, August 2, 2013

RAISING $ FOR MARRIAGE




Our Lucky 13th Marriage Equality bus leaves on Friday August 30th and we have another 12 couples along with their family and friends--heading toward Iowa to get legally married. When we return to St. Louis that evening, we will have transported a total of 700 people; marrying over 140+ same-sex couples to date.

Wow, now those are some lucky people!

What our couples pay for:
- $50 contribution toward their bus seats
- $35 Iowa State Marriage License
- food expenses

What your contribution pays for:
Your gift helps defray the costs of chartering a bus to Iowa City from St. Louis (rental is over $1600). Other expenses are donated by our friends in Iowa or from our community in St. Louis. For example, every Marriage Equality Bus has a professional wedding photographer who generously donates her services. We've also had wedding cakes, flowers and clergy members donate their typical wedding fees. It's estimated over $5,000 of in-kind services are donated for each bus.

LUCKY 13!



13 BUSES OF LOVE:
OUR THIRTEENTH MARRIAGE EQUALITY BUS LEAVES AUGUST 30.

Join Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender couples as they board the thirteenth "Show Me Marriage Equality Bus" bound for Iowa on Friday August 30, 2013.

The bus will depart from St. Louis around 5am and arrives in Iowa before lunch. Couples will obtain marriage licenses and move to a local opening and affirming church for the actual wedding ceremonies. A celebration and small reception takes place around 3pm in Iowa City.

The "Show Me Marriage Equality Bus" will depart from Iowa around 5pm, so that we can all return to St. Louis by 10pm.

Everyone is invited to see us depart in the morning and congratulate us when the bus returns home. (Maybe even throw some rice at the recent married couples or write "just married" on our car back windows.)

Because marriage equality should be affordable to everyone, we like to keep all of our costs low for the couples participating. Please consider making a contribution to help defray the cost of the bus to our couples.

Make a donation online here:
https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/5ZOCb?

You may email showmenohate@gmail.com for directions on how to make a contribution.

We could also use your help to find more couples. There are still seats available on this August love bus to Iowa.

If you know any that are in a committed loving relationship, please have them email us at ShowMeNoHate@gmail.com or drop us a message on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

JUST SAY NO!

Show Me No Hate has been hearing from our network of members across the state.  We're hearing that LGBTQ individuals are freely speaking to police officers when they are participating in rallies, marches, or other peaceful actions.  We recommend you never talk to police officers beyond seeking assistance or immediate care if you need that.

We also know many LGBTQ and straight allied first responders are often within earshot at any police, hospital or fire station.  But its essential if you suspect the police are homophobic, suspicious of your gender, or your physical expression - its critical you don't talk to the police until you have spoken with counsel. 

We'd like to suggest this video series to you:

Part I

Part II

If you don't believe us just watch THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE.