Cross-posted at Motley Moose.

A Chicago Gay and Lesbian newpaper, the Windy City Times, has unearthed a candidate issue survey written by then Illinois State Senate Candidate Barack Obama in 1996.  What is notable about this document is what has changed.  Take a look at number 6:


"6)  I favor legalizing same-sex marriages,and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."

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Episcopal Priest / Openly Gay - Inaugural

Rev. Gene Robinson, an Episcopal bishop in New Hampshire - and a pioneer of LGBT rights in the church , has been picked by the Obama team to deliver the invocation at the Sunday Inauguration kickoff event.

As a relative of someone who worked hard to have gay priests and men and women of the cloth - included and recognized in the modern church, I wanted to share my perspective.

First, I'm against so called gay marriage. Why? If I have helped to revolutionize the church  (in my own way) and I've contributed to the cause of gay people - why am I against gay marriage. The answer is simple: its because those who were leading the charge were working for social change with no real or tangible benefit to the vast majority of American citizens. And the people of America had other things on their minds - the activists  knew this. And ignored it. It was simply the wrong time.

The gay community is productive, creative, generally higher income and by and large a nice thing to happen to your neighborhood if you're lucky enough to have it happen to you.
I have friends who are orthodox catholic, liberal, conservative, and queer.  I recognize and respect each for who they are, and not whose shirt they wear. Social integration such as this, is inevitable.

That integration begins with men like the Rev. Gene Robinson, in the capable execution of his office,  showing that the church's recognition of gay men in the holy work of the church - has not been misplaced.  Marriage is a church matter, that the church alone must be free to decide without hindrance of the toxic combination of church and state that such proposals as proposition eight - in its drive to re-define what we as a society should see as a holy union of two individuals - actually tries to do.

Obama's surprising appointment of an openly gay Episcopal Priest has to me, all the beginnings of a strong tenure as a president who understands and shapes the forces of our (heterosexual, and homosexual - why separate them?) community. For in our community, Gay men and women will one day affirm their vows in the light of the Church - and society will acknowledge and affirm those bonds. We mate for life.

Politics, like empire. Is impermanent. Bush got elected governor of Texas with the help of Karl Rove spreading gay porno on the windshields of the church parking lot - scaring people into "condition red" dangers of having gay people around and basically playing on the brokeback mountain latent homosexual tendencies of white conservative males. And now Bush is out.
And already, the mists of time have absorbed that type of political strategy. Rove no longer understands the forces that shape the electorate. McCain's loss proves this.  Some would argue he never did. But none would argue his plan to revitalize the republican party, in this way - was an epic failure.
The GOP went from being the party of ideas to the party of ideology.

And now a new era dawns, and with it, recognition of a man of the cloth whose work persists beyond either the tactics of Proposition eight, or the similiarly failed policies of the Bush Republicans.

The schism in the Episcopal church - with all the so called "conservative" and "anglican" individuals will play out under the new social order - as it should - in the church and wholly without the need for expensive litigation in the supreme court or otherwise.  The Anglican communion, however, has been stern in their treatment of breakaway churches who attempted no different a form of activism in their refusal to recognize men like Robinson - by not recognizing them within the Episcopal church. Its humorous to hear them talk about it "We're an independent Church, we used to be an Episcopal church .. but we left because of certain disagreements... wink wink nod nod " and a firm hearty handshake. You're one of us. You're against them.

And oh by the way, I also happen to know you're just  big giant nonprofit organization. Wink wink. nod nod. How about you join the church again?

People tend to forget how hard the Episcopal church has been working to try to resolve this issue. It means alot to me, personally that not only the Episcopal church and the Anglican Communion (the worldwide organization) have recognized the work of men like Father Robinson, but also how irrelevant those factions of the church who chose to break away - in protest - actually are.  

One thing is certain: Obama chose the first invocation of the events leading to his inauguration, no so much  to be void of symbol as it was simple. I am not a priest.

I am simply someone in the congregation. I see my job as simply recognizing he is a good priest. Its ok if I quietly question  the conflict and division that seems to have been caused by his work - and to ask which loud and proud faction trumpets chaos - on either side.  

But gay marriage is first, a marriage. An eternal covenant. And one in which we must listen to our Priests and Ministers before Politicians and "Self Help" Authors and other operators of large community day care centers.

I say: score this one as something beautiful for God.

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The Bigots I Love

Cross-posted at Motley Moose.

I moved away from my small hometown in West Virginia more than seven years ago and vowed never to return for anything other than a visit. Less than two weeks ago, I made such a visit under very unpleasant circumstances--to say goodbye to a dying relative. At her funeral, I was reunited with family and old friends I hadn't seen in many years. Most of them were from the evangelical church I attended as a child. We hugged and kissed and prayed and through the tears, tried to catch up and pledged to keep in touch. I love those people and they love me. And most of them are bigots.

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Iowa Supreme Court considers marriage equality today

At 10 am central time this morning, the Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Varnum v Brien, a case in which six couples are challenging Iowa's law declaring that "Only a marriage between a male and female is valid." Polk County has appealed a district judge's ruling last year that the statute is unconstitutional. Last night jpmassar published a good overview of the legal issues underlying Judge Robert Hanson's ruling as well as the county's defense of the statute.

If you like, you can watch a livestream of the oral arguments at the Iowa Supreme Court's website as well as at several other media sites. You can download pdf files of the district court ruling and the briefs submitted to the Iowa Supreme Court on appeal here.

My focus in this diary is not the legal arguments, but the political case that will need to be made for marriage equality once the Supreme Court has ruled on Varnum v Brien several months from now. Follow me after the jump for more.

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Admirals, Generals Call for Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

I served in the IDF in a combat unit with a gay comrade, and knew of others.  There was minimal friction or discomfort on the part of some, but no notable disruption to the unit.  No one felt threatened in the showers.  No one questioned his commitment to the safety of his fellows or his ability to do his part.

Coming on the heels of Prop H8, this is very good news.  Historical precedent shows that racial integration of our armed forces helped prepare the way for the civil rights movement.  These commanders deserve an extra salute for taking this step.

The statement below via: http://palmcenter.org/press/dadt/release s/104Generals%2526Admirals-GayBanMustEnd .

We - the undersigned -- respectfully call for the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Those of us endorsing this letter have dedicated our lives to defending the rights of our citizens to believe whatever they wish. Scholarly data shows there are approximately one million gay and lesbian veterans in the United States today as well as 65,000 gays and lesbians currently serving in our armed forces. They have served our nation honorably. We support the recent comments of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General John Shalikashvili, who has concluded that repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy would not harm and would indeed help our armed forces. As is the case with Great Britain, Israel, and other nations that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, our service members are professionals who are able to work together effectively despite differences in race, gender, religion, and sexuality. Such collaboration reflects the strength and the best traditions of our democracy.

Former Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander
Admiral Charles Larson, USN (ret.)
Lieutenant General Quinn Becker, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Henry Emerson, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Robert Flowers, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Robert Gard, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Jerry Hilmes, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Donald Kerrick, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Ira Owens, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Thomas Rienzi, USA (ret.)
Vice Admiral Harold Koenig, USN (ret.)
Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, USN (ret.)
Vice Admiral James Zimble, USN (ret.)
Major General Anders Aadland, USA (ret.)
Major General Floyd Baker, USA (ret.)
Major General Harry Brooks Jr., USA (ret.)
Major General Leslie Burger, USA (ret.)
Major General Alexander Burgin, USANG (ret.)
Major General Rosetta Burke, AUS (ret.)
Major General William Burke, USA (ret.)
Major General Michael Conrad, USA (ret.)
Major General Eugene Cromartie, USA (ret.)
Major General James Delk, AUS (ret.)
Major General Oliver Dillard, USA (ret.)
Major General John Faith, USA (ret.)
Major General Jack Farris, USAF (ret.)
Major General Fred Forster, USANG (ret.)
Major General Robert Gamrath, AUS (ret.)
Major General Albert Genetti Jr., USA (ret.)
Major General Luis Gonzales-Vales, AUS (ret.)
Major General David Hale, USA (ret.)
Major General Randy Jayne, USANG (ret.)
Major General Lawrence Johnson, AUS (ret.)
Major General Dennis Laich, USA (ret.)
Major General Frederick Lawson, AUS (ret.)
Major General Thomas Lynch, USA (ret.)
Major General Dennis Malcor, USA (ret.)
Major General John Roth, AUS (ret.)
Major General Henry Rasmussen, USA (ret.)
Major General Alan Salisbury, USA (ret.)
Major General Michael Scotti Jr., USA (ret.)

Major General Harry Sieben, USANG (ret.)
Major General Paul Smith, USA (ret.)
Major General Robert B. Smith, USA (ret.)
Major General Charles Starr Jr., USA (ret.)
Major General Story Stevens, USA (ret.)
Major General Joseph E. Turner, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General John C. Adams, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Hugh Aitken, USMC (ret.)
Brigadier General John "Joe" Allen, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General Patricia Anderson, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Dale Barber, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General George Baxter, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Baxter, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General George Blysak, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Harold Bowman, USANG (ret.)
Brigadier General Douglas Bradley, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Jack Capps, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Richard Carter, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Steve Chapplis, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General BG David Cole, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General William Colvin, USANG (ret.)
Brigadier General Joseph Cutrona, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Tom Daniels, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General Von DeLoatch, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Dilworth, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General George Eggers Jr., USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Evelyn Foote, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Giffen, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Hardy Jr., USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Carlos Hayden, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Edwin Heffelfinger, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General James Hunt, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General John H. Johns, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General J.D Johnson, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Keith H. Kerr, CSMR (ret.)
Brigadier General Douglas Kinnard, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Dean Mann, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General James Martin, USAF (ret.)
Brigadier General William Meehan II, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Harold Miller, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Kenneth Newbold, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General I.R. Obenchain Jr., USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Phil Peay, USANG (ret.)
Brigadier General Dorothy Pocklington, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Poirot, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Philip Pushkin, USANG (ret.)
Brigadier General Virgil Richard, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General William Richter, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Kenneth Rieth, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Ernst Roberts, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Murray Sagsveen, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General Norman Salisbury, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Donald Schenk, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Bettye Simmons, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Theodore Vander Els, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Daniel Wardrop, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Robert Watling, AUS (ret.)
Brigadier General John Weinzettle, USA (ret.)
Rear Admiral James Barnett, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Robert Krasner, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Charles Rauch, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Alan Steinman, USPHS (ret.)

AUS is the Army of the United States.
**General Scotti passed away in September, 2007. His widow asked that his name remain on this statement.

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