it's not gay rights it's equal rights
i have a book called same sex unions in pre modern europe and the church approved of marraige between men up until the middle ages,it's by john boswell and was written in 94,it's a dry wordy tome but worth reading
The extension of legal rights to same-sex couples began in 1989 when Denmark
created "registered partnerships" that extended property and inheritance
rights to same-sex couples. This marked the first time a national government
guaranteed gay and lesbian households not only protection from harassment
but also some of the legal rights long held by heterosexual married couples.
Norway took similar action in 1993, followed by Sweden in 1995 and Iceland
in 1996; other European countries followed suit in subsequent years. Other
nations in Europe, South America and elsewhere expanded the rights of
same-sex couples by permitting legal statuses that granted the couples some
legal rights without using the term "marriage," such as civil unions, civil
partnerships or domestic partnerships.
The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. In
December 2000, the Dutch parliament passed legislation that gave same-sex
couples the right to marry, divorce and adopt children. On April 1, 2001,
the mayor of Amsterdam officiated at the ceremonies of the first four gay
couples to be married. In the ensuing eight years, Belgium (2003), Spain
(2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006) and Norway (2008) followed the
Netherlands' lead and legalized same-sex marriage. Sweden could be the next
country to allow gay marriage if its Parliament approves a new,
gender-neutral definition of marriage when they vote in 2009.
New legislation related to same-sex relationships is increasingly being
introduced worldwide. In 2002, Buenos Aires became the first city in Latin
America to allow civil unions for gay couples. In November 2006, Mexico City
followed suit, becoming the first of Mexico's regional governments to
recognize same-sex civil unions. That same month, Israel, which has offered
common law marriage to homosexuals since 1994, legally recognized same-sex
marriages performed in other countries as full marriages. In 2007, Colombia
extended the right to shared assets to gay couples who have lived together
for at least two years. And on Jan. 1, 2008, Uruguay became the first
country in Latin America to pass a nationwide law allowing civil unions for
same-sex couples who have lived together for at least five years.
Undoubtedly, these and other debates have been influenced by the countries
that have already given same-sex couples the right to marry. The following
is a short summary of the history and politics of same-sex marriage in the
six nations that currently allow the practice.
The Dutch parliament passed its landmark bill legalizing same-sex marriage
in 2000 by roughly a three-to-one margin. The legislation altered a single
sentence in the civil marriage statute, which now reads, "A marriage can be
contracted by two people of different or the same sex."
The only opposition in parliament came from the Christian Democratic Party,
which at the time was not part of the governing coalition. After the law
went into effect, the Protestant Church of the Netherlands, representing
about 12% of the country's population, announced that individual
congregations could decide whether to conduct same-sex ceremonies. Although
Muslim and conservative Christian groups continue to oppose the legislation,
as well as the practice of homosexuality itself, same-sex marriage is widely
accepted by the Dutch public.
More than 2,400 same-sex couples married in the Netherlands within nine
months of the marriage law going into effect, according to government
figures. Since then, the annual number of
same-sex marriages has declined from 1,838 in 2002 to 1,371 in 2007.
Beginning in 1998, the Belgian parliament offered limited rights to same-sex
couples by creating registered partnerships. Same-sex couples could register
with a city clerk and formally assume joint responsibility for a household.
Five years later, in January 2003, parliament legalized same-sex marriage,
giving gay and lesbian couples the same tax and inheritance rights as
Support for the law came from both the Flemish-speaking north and the
French-speaking south, and it generated surprisingly little controversy
across the country. The long-dominant Christian Democratic Party,
traditionally allied with the Roman Catholic Church, was out of power when
parliament passed the measure.
The original law allowed the marriages of Belgian same-sex couples and
couples from other countries where same-sex marriage was legal. Those
provisions were broadened in 2004, however, to allow any couple to marry as
long as one member of the couple had lived in Belgium for at least three
months. In 2006, parliament also granted same-sex partners the right to
Almost 2,500 same-sex couples had married in Belgium as of July 2005.
A closely divided parliament legalized same-sex marriage in 2005,
guaranteeing identical rights to all married couples regardless of sexual
orientation. The new measure added brief, relatively simple language to the
existing marriage statute: "Marriage will have the same requirements and
results when the two people entering into the contract are of the same sex
or of different sexes."
Vatican officials as well as the Spanish Bishops Conference strongly
criticized the law, and large, competing crowds demonstrated in Madrid for
and against the measure. After the law went into effect, the country's
constitutional court rejected challenges from two municipal court judges who
had refused marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The high court ruled that
the lower court judges lacked legal standing to bring suit.
According to a survey by Instituto Opina, a private polling organization,
one day before passage of the bill, approximately 62% of the public favored
the legislation. Nine months later, about the same number (61%) supported
More than 7,000 same-sex couples had married by the end of 2007
. The first same-sex divorce was granted in June
Same-sex couples gained most of the legal benefits of marriage in 1999 when
federal and provincial governments extended "common law" marriages to gay
and lesbian couples. Through a series of court cases beginning in 2003,
same-sex marriage gradually became legal in nine of the country's 13
provinces and territories. In 2005, Parliament passed legislation making
same-sex marriage legal nationwide. In 2006, lawmakers defeated an effort by
the ruling Conservative Party to reconsider the issue, leaving the law
A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation survey conducted three months before
Parliament acted in 2005 found that 52% of Canadians opposed the
legislation. But one month after passage of the law, 55% favored keeping it
on the books. That number stood at 58% in December 2006.
The South African parliament legalized same-sex marriage in November 2006,
one year after the country's highest court ruled that the existing, more
restrictive marriage laws violated the constitution's guarantee of equal
rights. The new measure passed by a margin of greater than five-to-one, with
support coming from both the governing African National Congress as well as
the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. The traditional monarch
of the Zulu people, who account for about one-fifth of the country's
population, maintains that homosexuality is morally wrong.
The law allows for religious institutions and civil officers to refuse to
conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies, a provision that critics claim
violates the rights of same-sex couples under the constitution.
As of Jan. 1, 2009, gay couples in Norway can legally marry, adopt children
and undergo artificial insemination. The new legislation, which replaces a
1993 law permitting civil unions, makes Norway the sixth country in the
world to legalize same-sex marriage. Despite resistance from members of the
Christian Democrats and the Progress Party, and a public controversy over
state funding for fertility treatments for lesbian couples, the bill passed
in the Norwegian parliament with the necessary two-thirds majority vote.
According to a poll
conducted by a
Norwegian newspaper two months prior to the enactment of the new law, a
majority of the public (58%) said they supported the proposed law to
legalize gay marriage; only 31% of the public opposed it. The largest
religious group in the country, the Lutheran Church of Norway, was split
over the issue of gay marriage. Following the passage of the new law, the
church's leaders voted to prohibit its pastors from conducting same-sex
This fact sheet was compiled by Hope Lozano-Bielat, Research Assistant;
David Masci, Senior Research Fellow; and Michelle Ralston, Research
trw you should use your influence to start a political action group and lobby for equal rights. I have the MJ thing covered but would support equal rights, for sure.
down here i'd get shot and my house would get burned
too many guys here like our good friend DL that are on the down low and they think it's jamaica and it's open season on fags
there are like 12 guys and 6 women here that are open and out but i know at least 50 guys here that will put out for drugs or money,those are the ones i worry about,the down low guys are the worst,they spread disease,they pass it too their women and are just basically ignorant
JOANNA L. GROSSMAN & EDWARD
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
There has been a whirlwind of activity on the same-sex marriage front in the
past few months. Most notably, the number of states that permit same-sex
couples to marry has tripled, from two to six.
This development capped off more than a decade of hard-fought wrangling over
same-sex marriage that produced significant victories and losses for both
advocates and opponents. The result is an odd patchwork of recognition and
non-recognition for same-sex relationships -- a critical mass of laws firmly
embracing legal recognition for same-sex couples juxtaposed with an even
greater number that strongly denounce such recognition.
For reasons we will explain in a subsequent column, we are unlikely to see
significant additional changes in the near term. It is thus a good time to
take stock of the current landscape, explain its origins, and offer
predictions about the future.
In this three-part series, we will deliver a "state of the nation" report on
the rights of same-sex couples in the United States. In this column, we
offer a brief history of the battle over the same-sex marriage -- from the
first wave of cases in the 1970s in which the idea of same-sex marriage was
broached and roundly rejected, through the most recent legislative and
judicial developments that have made same-sex marriage a legal reality.
In Part Two, we will describe the current legal landscape for same-sex
couples, which features a sliding scale of recognition rights in some
states, alongside statutory and constitutional bans on such rights in
others. Part Three will explore the state of the law regarding interstate
recognition of same-sex marriage, focusing on the widespread adoption of
anti-same-sex-marriage statutes and constitutional amendments at the state
level. It will also consider some special legal problems for same-sex
couples that are posed by this unique legal landscape.
The History of the Quest for Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships
On May 18, 1970, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell went to the Clerk of the
Court's office in Minneapolis, Minnesota to file an application for a
marriage license. At the time, Baker was finishing his first year of law
school at the University of Minnesota and was a leader of the university's
gay student group; McConnell, who had been romantically involved with Baker
for just under three years, had recently moved to the Twin Cities after
receiving an offer to work as a librarian for the university. Shortly after
they filed their application for a marriage license, it was denied.
Undeterred, Baker and McConnell sued, seeking the license.
A similar set of events unfolded in Jefferson County, Kentucky a few months
later. Marjorie Jones, a mother of three children, and Tracy Knight, her
partner, were in love and wanted to marry. They applied for a marriage
license, were refused, and filed suit. Also, in 1971, John Singer, a typist
at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Paul Barwick, a Vietnam
veteran and former state patrol dispatcher, applied for a marriage license
in King's County, Washington but were refused. Several months later, they
also filed a lawsuit challenging the state's refusal.
These three same-sex couples were rebels: They wanted to get married, they
thought it was unjust that they were prohibited from doing so, and they
filed lawsuits despite the social stigma associated with being gay and with
publicly taking a position against the legal institution of marriage as then
constituted. Some of these plaintiffs lost their jobs as a result. The
university refused to hire McConnell because of his gay activism, and Singer
was fired from his government job for speaking out on gay rights.
Despite the strongly-held convictions of these early plaintiffs, all three
early attempts to achieve same-sex marriage failed -- typically for four
First, courts looked to the standard definition of marriage as between one
man and one woman, citing dictionaries, custom, and the Bible, and invoking
related statutory language that referred to "bride and groom," "husband and
wife," and "the male" and "the female."
Second, courts justified the differential treatment of same-sex and
different-sex couples on the ground that sexual relations between the
latter, but not the former, had procreative potential. Relatedly, courts
also argued that the differential treatment of same-sex and different-sex
couples was justified because a heterosexual marriage provided a better
context for raising children.
Third, courts denied that the fundamental right to marry extends to same-sex
Fourth, in Singer's and Barwick's lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that the
prohibition of same-sex marriages was a form of sex discrimination because
women were prohibited from doing something that men could do -- that is,
marry women. However, the state responded that the prohibition of same-sex
marriage treated men and women equally because neither men nor women could
marry a person of the same sex.
In sum, none of the more than ten judges that considered challenges to
prohibitions on same-sex marriage in the 1970s decided in favor of the
same-sex couples. All of the plaintiffs' arguments were rejected.
Following the failed litigation of the 1970s, advocates of legal recognition
for same-sex relationships focused in the 1980s, with some success, on
alternative forms of recognition for relationships, and tried to get some
subset of the rights and benefits of marriage without actually getting
married. Several jurisdictions established domestic partnership registries
that allowed same-sex couples to register as partners and, in some
instances, get some limited benefits. Among the first such municipal
domestic partner policies was one adopted by Berkeley, California in 1984
that allowed a city employee to get health benefits for his or her
registered partner; several other municipalities followed over the next few
Additionally, through both litigation and legislation, same-sex couples
tried to get access to some of the same rights and benefits as married
couples. Such attempts often failed. Sometimes, however, such attempts
succeeded. In the 1989 decision by the New York Court of Appeals in Braschi
v. Stahl Associates Co., Miguel Braschi was threatened with eviction from a
rent-controlled apartment that was in his partner's name after his partner
died from complications due to AIDS. Braschi successfully argued that he
should be treated as a "family member" of his deceased same-sex partner
under housing law.
In the 1991 Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling in In re Guardianship of
Kowalski, Sharon Kowalski suffered severe brain injuries due to a car
accident; her partner, Karen Thompson, wanted to help with Sharon's physical
therapy and to help make medical decisions for her, but Sharon's father
tried to block Karen's involvement. The court held that the two women were a
"family of affinity" under the law of guardianship and allowed Karen to be
involved in the care and decision-making for Sharon.
The Beginning of the Backlash: Baehr v. Lewin and the Hawaii Problem
The next wave of couples' suing for same-sex marriage began in the early
1990s. Several same-sex couples in Hawaii sued the state for denying them
the opportunity to marry. The trial court rebuffed their arguments for the
same sorts of reasons prior courts considering same-sex marriage had:
Marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman; there is no
fundamental right to a same-sex marriage; prohibiting same-sex marriage
protects the institution of marriage; and a marriage between one man and one
woman provides a better environment for having and raising children than a
same-sex marriage would.
However, in 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court unexpectedly reversed the trial
court's decision, finding that prohibitions on same-sex marriage violated
the Equal Rights Amendment of the Hawaii Constitution, which protects
against discrimination on the basis of sex. In so doing, the Court accepted
the sex-discrimination argument that the plaintiffs had made only in a
footnote in their brief. The case was remanded for a trial on whether the
state could satisfy the very heavy burden of justifying the use of sex
classifications in Hawaii's marriage law.
Although the Hawaii Supreme Court did not actually decide whether the
prohibition on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, the decision in Baehr
was symbolic to both friends and foes of LGBT rights; it was a watershed in
the quest for same-sex marriage and a catalyst for a conservative backlash.
In the three-and-a-half years before the trial court rendered its opinion on
remand, fifteen states passed laws that would refuse recognition to valid
same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, and Congress passed the Defense
of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), which exempts states from having to give full
faith and credit to same-sex marriages from other states, and defines
marriage as between one man and one woman for purposes of federal law.
On remand, the Baehr trial court held that Hawaii's justifications for
prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying failed to satisfy the heavy
burden required of laws that make use of sex classifications. But before the
appellate process played out, the Hawaii constitution was amended to give
the legislature the power to limit marriage to relationships between one man
and one woman. Thereafter, the Hawaii Supreme Court held that this amendment
rendered Baehr's challenge to Hawaii's marriage law moot.
Vermont and the Advent of Civil Unions
This second-wave litigation produced its first full-fledged victory in
Vermont in 1999, when the state's highest court ruled, in Baker
v. State, that it was a violation of the Common Benefits Clause
of Vermont's Constitution to deny same-sex couples the right to marry or the
right to enter into a substantially comparable, and legally-recognized,
relationship. The court's decision gave the legislature a "reasonable"
period of time to "craft an appropriate means of addressing this
The Vermont legislature responded in 2000 by creating a novel legal status
called a "civil union," which is identical to marriage in every respect
other than name. Scores of same-sex couples, a majority from other states,
entered into Vermont civil unions in the ensuing years.
Massachusetts and the Beginning of Same-Sex Marriage in the U.S.
The next major development in the quest for same-sex marriage came more than
four years after the decision in Baker v. State. In November 2003, in
v. Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Supreme Court held that a
ban on same-sex marriages violates the state constitution's guarantees of
equality and due process.
Denial of the right to marry, the Court explained, "works a deep and
scarring hardship on a very real segment of the community for no rational
reason." Moreover, the harm to gays and lesbians, the Court said, is not
only the harm that comes from the denial of the benefits of marriage. It is
also the harm of being deemed "second-class citizens" in the process.
The Massachusetts court gave its legislature time to conform its statutes to
the ruling - just as the Vermont court had done - but, as explained in a
column, it refused to accept the legislature's subsequent attempt to provide
civil unions, rather than full marriage rights. The original Goodridge
opinion had plainly held that gays and lesbians have the right to equality
in marriage itself -- not to the "separate but equal" alternative of a
marriage-like status with the benefits of marriage, but a different name.
Thus, in May 2004, on the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's
landmark desegregation ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, same-sex
couples began to marry in Massachusetts, a truly dramatic development in
U.S. family law and civil rights law.
While Goodridge is a landmark opinion, it by no means represents the end of
the same-sex marriage war. As we will explain in the next part of this
series, there have been significant developments both in favor of, and
opposed to, same-sex marriage, leaving same-sex couples to navigate a
complicated legal terrain.
Joanna Grossman, a FindLaw columnist, is a professor of law at Hofstra
University. Her columns on family law, trusts and estates, and
discrimination, including sex discrimination and sexual harassment, may be
found in the archive of her
columns on this site.
Edward Stein is Acting Dean, Professor of Law, and Director, Program in
Family Law, Policy, and Bioethics at Cardozo Law School. His current
research focuses on issues at the intersection of family law and sexual
orientation, gender and the law.
here's a true whack job the religious right wing in minnesota keep re-electing to the us congress http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/michele-bachmann
Trw as far as I am concerned if someone wants to marry a duck or a household appliance, who does it hurt?
I am really tired of having my morality legislated.
same here Bombi,same here,you know i'm a pretty conservative guy,but jeez i know where to draw the line between conservatism and hate
TRW - Minnesota is where all the whack jobs go to get elected (Jessie Ventura and now Senator Al Franken - who would have ever thought that would happen?!!).
lol be nice,it's also the state of wellstone and humphrey,hell the state now has more somali immigrants than anywhere else in the nation and so now they're being overrun with somali gangs,too me it's one of the most beautiful states in the us and i'd still be there if it wasn't for winter,jesse was a fun one term gov because he pissed off everyone with his bigmouth,the most liberal district in the state(the 5th) sent a muslim to congress,a republican gov and 2 dem senators,sometimes i think my old state is schizofrenic (sp) and i've lived all over the state from small farm communities to the cities
I'm up here now visiting and there is nothing like MN in the summer - so beautiful. Jesse could have been really effective if he could keep his temper - too many years of wrestling - and he let everyone get under his skin then went off the deep end. I'd forgotten what it was like to be in a place with such a large and openly gay community and also lots of bi-racial couples too. I wish it was this open and accepting every place.
ah i forgot thats where you're from,way up nort right:-)
my birth father has a cabin up there on the canadian side of one of the lakes,rainy lake i think,i never been there but the family is all heading up there in a couple of days,it's on an island
I have watched this thread. I feel like saying something.
I am not gay. I don't care about what two consenting adults do with each other, in private. That is their business.
The point here, is that these two consenting adults should have the same legal rights as any other two consenting adults.
We are talking about a legal union, for LEGAL benefits that are regularly afforded to heterosexual couples. I am fully for this.
These are the most regularly cited "facts" about the corruption of the "sanctity" of marriage:
A. They will force religious services to recognize the union, and enact the union
B. Because of these unions, we will be forced to allow polygamous marriages
C. Because of these unions, we will be forced to allow people to marry children
D. Because of these unions, we will be forced to allow people to marry animals
I suppose I could add E. Because of these unions, we will be forced to allow people to marry plants, inanimate objects, God, whatever
It is all a bunch of stupidity. Not many sane people will agree with A through E, for any reason.
Homosexual people are people - their sexual orientation has nothing to do with their "morals" and to be quite truthful, they are just like the rest of humanity, as there are good and bad gay people.
I've seen videos of hanging gay men in Iran. There is not much of a chance of stopping it.
There is a reason why: it is called religion.
Watch this trw, it is very interesting:
THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES - a BBC documentary that is very interesting. It compares neo-cons to fundamentalist Islamics.
If anyone does not want to watch the three hours this goes on for, please just watch the last ten minutes of the third part.
Note that it has not been shown (except at three film festivals) in the USofA.
It is in three parts, here are the BBC descriptions of each part and a link to play each part:
THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES 1: THE RISE OF THE POLITICS OF FEAR
"The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear" consists of three one-hour films, consisting mostly of a montage of archive footage with Curtis's narration.
The films compare the rise of the American Neo-Conservative movement and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and suggesting a strong connection between the two. More controversially, it argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organized force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is in fact a myth perpetrated by politicians in many countries — and particularly American Neo-Conservatives — in an attempt to unite and inspire their people following the failure of earlier, more utopian ideologies.
"The Power of Nightmares" has been praised by film critics in both Britain and the United States and have also been the subject of various critiques and criticisms from conservatives and progressives. The first episode explains the origins of Islamism and Neo-Conservatism. It shows Egyptian civil servant Sayyid Qutb, the founder of Islamism, visiting America to learn about the education system, but becoming disgusted with what he saw as a corruption of morals and virtues in western society through individualism. At the same time in the United States, a group of disillusioned liberals, including Irving Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz, look to the political thinking of Leo Strauss after the general failure of President Johnson's "Great Society". They come to the conclusion that the emphasis on individual liberty was the undoing of the plan. They envisioned restructuring America by uniting the American people against a common evil, and set about creating a mythical enemy.
THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES 2: THE PHANTOM VICTORY
In the second episode, Islamist factions, rapidly falling under the more radical influence of Zawahiri and his rich Saudi acolyte Osama bin Laden, join the Neo-Conservative-influenced Reagan Administration to combat the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. They are successful in repulsing the Soviet armies and, when the Eastern Bloc begins to collapse in the late 1980s, both groups believe they were the primary architect of the "Evil Empire's" defeat and thus have the power to carry out their revolutions in their homelands. Curtis instead argues that the Soviets were on their last legs and were doomed to collapse without intervention.
Both factions' revolutions end in failure. The Neo-Conservatives' aspirations to use the United States Army's power for further destruction of evil are thrown off track by the ascent of George H. W. Bush to the American Presidency, followed by the 1992 election of Bill Clinton leaving them out of power. The Neo-Conservatives, with their conservative Christian allies, attempt to demonise Clinton throughout his presidency with various real and fabricated stories of corruption and immorality. To their disappointment, however, the American people do not acknowledge him as an enemy as they intended and remain indifferent to Clinton's alleged evils. The Islamist attempts at revolution end in massive bloodshed, leaving the Islamists without popular support. Zawahiri and bin Laden flee to the sufficiently safe Afghanistan and declare a new strategy; to fight Western-inspired moral decay they must deal a blow to its source: the United States.
THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES 3: THE SHADOWS IN THE CAVE
Curtis argues that the forces under the direct command of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are in fact very small and mainstream image of al-Qaeda is a myth.
The final episode addresses the actual rise of al-Qaeda. Curtis argues that after their failed revolutions, bin Laden and Zawahiri had little or no popular support, let alone a serious complex organization of terrorists, and were dependent upon independent operatives to carry out their new call for jihad. The film instead shows the United States government wanting to prosecute bin Laden in absentia for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, and needing to prove him to be the head of a criminal organization to do so. They find a former associate of bin Laden, Jamal al-Fadl, and pay him to testify that bin Laden was the head of a massive terrorist organization called "al-Qaeda". With the September 11th attacks, Neo-Conservatives in the new Republican government of George W. Bush use this created concept of an organization to justify another crusade against a new evil enemy, leading to the launch of the War on Terror.
After the American invasion of Afghanistan fails to uproot the alleged terrorist network, the Neo-Conservatives focus inwards, searching unsuccessfully for terrorist "sleeper cells" in America. They then extend the war on "terror" to a war against general perceived evils with the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The ideas and tactics also spread to the United Kingdom where Tony Blair uses the threat of terrorism to give him a new moral authority. The repercussions of the Neo-Conservative strategy are also explored with an investigation of indefinitely-detained terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay, many allegedly taken on the word of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance without actual investigation on the part of the United States military, and other forms of "preemption" against non-existent and unlikely threats made simply on the grounds that the parties involved could later become a threat. Curtis also makes a specific attempt to debunk fears of a dirty bomb attack, and concludes by reassuring viewers that politicians will eventually have to admit that their claims of threats are void of reality.
The title of this episode appears to refer to Plato's allegory of the cave, which is mentioned in the course of this part of the film, and to the belief in the complex in Tora Bora.
i have to wait to watch this,when my computor came back the sound drivers were gone and i can't find the disc so i have to wait for him to get back from vacation to help me with this
i have a great book about german camps and gays it's called men of the pink triangle,homos had to wear a pink triangle which is why i have one tatted on my shoulder,in honor of Chas
---- Duncan wrote:
> I was just going through some old stuff and thought there might be some in the
group with an interest...., if we have any WWII history buffs here, you may
enjoy this. Be warned, its lengthy.
> Homosexuals and the Holocaust
> Ben S. Austin
> With the coming of the Christian era in the first century A.D., homo-
sexuality was defined as an unnatural act and a violation of God's law. This
represented a significant departure from the status of homosexuality in ancient
times and in the classical Greek and Roman era. In their survey of the
literature on 76 preliterate societies, Ford and Beach, Patterns of Sexual
Behavior, found homosexuality accepted in about half the societies studied. The
one remarkable exception was in Hebrew culture; homosexuality was expressly
prohibited in the Law of Moses. The Mosaic prohibitions were retained by the New
Testament writers. Throughout the Medieval and early modern periods, these
definitions were retained and punishments for violators became increasingly
harsh, including the death penalty.
> Homosexuality During the Enlightenment
> Laws prescribing the death penalty existed in France up to the French
Revolution, in England until the early 1860's and in Scotland until the 1880's.
The Enlightenment brought about some liberalization, i.e., decriminalization, of
homosexuality in France and some of the German states, e.g., Bavaria. An
exception to this trend, however, was Prussia. In 1871, when the
Prussian-dominated German Empire (the Second Reich) was established, the Reich
Criminal Code expressly prohibited unnatural sex acts, including sex acts
"committed between persons of male sex or by humans with animals." Such
behaviors were "punishable by imprisonment; the loss of civil rights" might also
be imposed. Paragraph 175 of the Reich Criminal Code reads:
> 1.. A male who indulges in criminally indecent behavior with another male,
or who allows himself to participate in such activity, will be punished with
> 2.. If one of the participants is under the age of twenty-one, and if the
offense has not been grave, the court may dispense with the sentence of
> These prohibitions, strict by modern definitions, nonetheless represent
significant liberalization in comparison to Medieval standards. Throughout the
late 1800's homosexuals were subject to surveillance, arrest and imprisonment.
Existing laws made homosexuals particularly vulnerable to blackmail by threat of
public exposure. Despite the laws and the resulting harassment, an identifiable
homosexual community emerged in Germany, particularly in urban areas, which
afforded individuals with a subcultural framework in which they could express
their sexual preferences with some degree of anonymity and safety. Still, there
was a average of 500 arrests annually under Paragraph 175 in the decades prior
to World War I (cf Burleigh and Wippermann, The Racial State: Germany,
> The German Gay Rights Movement in the 1890's
> Around the turn of the century there was a fairly significant gay rights
movement in Germany under the leadership of Magnus Hirschfeld and his
organization, the Scientific Humanitarian Committee. The major goals of the
movement were to educate the public and to bring about the repeal of Paragraph
175. At the close of World War I, there was a somewhat more liberal climate in
Germany and the Weimar Republic, while it did not repeal the existing law, did
not enforce the law with the same zeal as the First Reich. There was a
proliferation of homosexual meeting places, books, articles and films and
homosexuality was considerably more open and more openly discussed.
> In the mid-1920's the government reacted to these developments by attempting
to enforce the laws more vigorously and to pass more restrictive legislation. In
1929, after a couple of years of debate and discussion, the attempt failed by a
narrow majority in the Reichstag. Homosexuals felt that a major victory had been
achieved. However, in all of the discussion, a clear voice was heard from the
Nazi deputies in the Assembly who voiced the conviction that it was the Jews who
were leading this movement in an attempt to undermine the morality of the German
people. The racial theme in their position also emerged in their argument that
homosexuality has a detrimental impact on desired Aryan family size and
population increase -- thus impacting German strength. Therefore, homosexuality
was incompatible with racial purity. This was later to be one of Himmler's major
arguments. That voice was to become very loud and clear when the Nazi Party
gained control in 1933.
> The Roehm Affair and Persecution of Homosexuals
> The leadership of the Nazi Party included at least one avowed homosexual,
Ernst Roehm. He was a member of Hirschfeld's League for Human Rights and openly
attended homosexual meeting places. Between 1933 and 1934, Roehm was the leader
of the SA (Stormtroopers) and, before the death of Hindenberg in 1934, he was a
potential challenger to Hitler's supremacy. With the Nazis' rise to power came
an attack from Germany's political left. Attempts were made to discredit Hitler
and the Nazis. One of their arguments was the charge of homosexuality in the
Nazi ranks. Hitler's old friend Roehm was one of their main targets.
> Interestingly, one of Roehm's principal defenders was Heinrich Himmler. He
articulated the belief that accusations against Roehm were the work of Jews who
feared the SS and were trying to discredit the movement. The mood of the party,
and of Himmler, changed, however, when Hitler decided in 1934 that Roehm was a
threat to his authority. Specifically, Hitler feared that Roehm was attempting
to turn the SA (at this time, over 2 million strong) into a militia and was
planning a military challenge to Hitler. While there is no evidence that such a
plan existed, Hitler ordered a purge. On June 30, 1934, Roehm, many of his
supporters, and over 1,000 of Hitler's political and personal enemies, were
murdered in the famous "Night of the Long Knives." While the purge was
politically motivated, the justification given for it was the homosexuality of
Roehm and several of his associates in the SS command.
> Himmler, who had once defended Roehm, assumed leadership of the SS and, in the
process, also assumed the role of ridding the movement and Germany of
homosexuals. In the wake of the Roehm execution, Hitler ordered the registration
of homosexuals and the Gestapo was charged with the responsibility of creating
dossiers on homosexuals and other "asocials" in the Third Reich.
> The following year, in 1935, the Reichstag amended Paragraph 175 of the
Criminal Code to close what were seen as loopholes in the current law. The new
law had three parts:
> Paragraph 175: A male who commits a sex offense with another male or allows
himself to be used by another male for a sex offense shall be punished with
> Where a party was not yet twenty-one years of age at the time of the act, the
court may in especially minor cases refrain from punishment.
> Paragraph 175a: Penal servitude up to 10 years or, where there are
mitigating circumstances, imprisonment of not less than three months shall apply
to: (1) a male who, with violence or the threat of violence to body and soul or
life, compels another male to commit a sex offense with him or to allow himself
to be abused for a sex offense; (2) a male who, by abusing a relationship of
dependence based upon service, employment or subordination, induces another male
to commit a sex offense with him or to allow himself to be abused for a sex
offense; (3) a male over 21 years of age who seduces a male person under
twenty-one years to commit a sex offense with him or to allow himself to be
abused for a sex offense; (4) a male who publicly commits a sex offense with
males or allows himself to be abused by males for a sex offense or offers
himself for the same.
> Paragraph 175b: An unnatural sex act committed by humans with animals is
punishable by imprisonment; the loss of civil rights might also be imposed.
> Paragraph 174 of the penal code forbad incest and other sexual offenses with
dependents, while paragraph 176 outlawed pedophilia. Persons convicted under
these laws also wore the pink triangle.
> The Nazi's passed other laws that targeted sex offenders. In 1933, they
enacted the Law Against Dangerous Habitual Criminals and Measures for Protection
and Recovery. This law gave German judges the power to order compulsory
castrations in cases involving rape, defilement, illicit sex acts with children
(Paragraph 176), coercion to commit sex offenses (paragraph 177), the committing
of indecent acts in public including homosexual acts (paragraph 183), murder or
manslaughter of a victim (paragraphs 223-226), if they were committed to arouse
or gratify the sex drive, or homosexual acts with boys under 14. The Amendment
to the Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases dated June
26, 1935, allowed castration indicated by reason of crime for men convicted
under paragraph 175 if the men consented. These new laws defined homosexuals as
"asocials" who were a threat to the Reich and the moral purity of Germany. The
punishment for "chronic homosexuals" was incarceration in a concentration camp.
A May 20, 1939 memo from Himmler allows concentration camp prisoners to be
blackmailed into castration.
> In effect, the definition of "public morality" was made a police matter. In
1936, Himmler created the Reich Central Office for the Combating of
Homosexuality and Abortion and appointed Joseph Meisinger to head up the office.
The results of these administrative changes is very apparent. According to
Burleigh and Wipperman (1991:192):
> ...While in 1934 766 males were convicted and imprisoned, in 1936 the figure
exceeded 4,000, and in 1938 8,000. Moreover, from 1937 onwards many of those
involved were sent to concentration camps after they had served their "regular"
> Himmler's Speech to the SS Group Commanders, February 18, 1937
> In a particularly convoluted piece of Nazi logic, Heinrich Himmler put
homosexuality under the ideology of racial theory and racial purity. Drawing
upon the fact that Germany had lost over 2 million men during WWI, thus creating
a serious imbalance in the reproductive sex ratio, he added an estimated 2
million homosexuals who had doubled the imbalance. Never mind the fact that they
were not going to procreate anyway, Himmler proceeded to use those facts as a
rationale for bringing homosexuality under Nazi racial policy. Portions of that
> If you further take into account the facts that I have not yet mentioned,
namely that with a static number of women, we have two million men too few on
account of those who fell in the war, then you can well imagine how this
imbalance of two million homosexuals and two million war dead, or in other words
a lack of about four million men capable of having sex, has upset the sexual
balance sheet of Germany, and will result in a catastrophe.
> I would like to develop a couple of ideas for you on the question of
homosexuality. There are those homosexuals who take the view: what I do is my
business, a purely private matter. However, all things which take place in the
sexual sphere are not the private affair of the individual, but signify the life
and death of the nation, signify world power...
> After likening the homosexual who was killed and thrown into a peat bog to the
weeding process in a garden, Himmler continued his tirade:
> ...In the SS, today, we still have about one case of homosexuality a month.
In a whole year, about eight to ten cases occur in the entire SS. I have now
decided upon the following: in each case, these people will naturally be
publicly degraded, expelled, and handed over to the courts. Following completion
of the punishment imposed by the court, they will be sent, by my order, to a
concentration camp, and they will be shot in the concentration camp, while
attempting to escape. I will make that known by order to the unit to which the
person so infected belonged. Thereby, I hope finally to have done with persons
of this type in the SS, and the increasingly healthy blood which we are
cultivating for Germany, will be kept pure.
> Over the next two years, an intricate network of informants was developed.
School children were encouraged to inform on teachers they suspected of
homosexuality, employers on employees and vice versa. Homosexuals who were
arrested were used to create lists of homosexuals or suspected homosexuals. The
clear intention was to identify every homosexual in Germany and move them to
> Himmler clearly recognized that these strategies would not solve the sexual
imbalance problem in Germany. Instead, the purpose of the plan was, in Himmler's
own words, to "identify" the homosexual and remove them from society. He still
needed a rationale for exterminating them. As in the case with the Gypsies ,
Himmler fell back on "medical science" as the solution to the homosexuality
> The Vaernet Cure
> Several suggested solutions to the problem were taken under advisement by the
Gestapo. One of the most attractive was that advanced by a Danish SS doctor,
Vaernet, who claimed to have developed a hormonal implant which would cure
homosexuality. The SS gave him a research position, necessary funds, laboratory
facilities and the concentration camp population as experimental subjects. The
testosterone implants were experimentally placed in homosexual inmates and their
progress monitored. Some of the reports suggest improvement; however, for many
others there was no significant change. We can only speculate as to the fate of
those who, by this process, were determined to be "chronic" and "incurable"
> The Extermination of Homosexuals in the Death Camps
> Precise figures on the number of homosexuals exterminated in Nazi Death camps
have never been established. Estimates range from 10,000 to 15,000. It does not
appear that the Nazis ever set it as their goal to completely eradicate all
homosexuals. Rather, it seems, the official policy was to either re-educate
those homosexuals who were "behaviorally" and only occasionally homosexual and
to block those who were "incurable" homosexuals through castration, extreme
intimidation, or both. For a fascinating empirical sociological examination of
this idea, the reader is referred to the work of Reudiger Lautmann. Nor does it
appear that their efforts extended beyond Germany itself to the occupied
> However, the numerous testimonies by homosexuals who survived the camp
experience suggest that the SS had a much less tolerant view. Those who wore the
pink triangle were brutally treated by camp guards and other categories of
inmates, particularly those who wore the green (criminals), red (political
criminals) and black (asocials) triangles. The following testimony by survivor,
Heinz Heger, provides a dramatic illustration:
> Extracted from: Heger, Heinz. The men with the Pink Triangles. Alyson
> "... Our block was only occupied by homosexuals, with about 250 men in each
wing. We could only sleep in our night-shirts, and had to keep our hands outside
the blankets, for: 'You queer arse-holes aren't going to start wanking here!'
> "The windows of had a centimetre of ice on them. Anyone found with his
underclothes on in bed, or his hand under his blanket -- there were checks
almost every night -- was taken outside and had serveral bowls of water poured
over him before being left standing outside for a good hour. Only a few people
survived this treatment. The least result was bronchitis, and it was rare for
any gay person taken into the sick-bay to come out alive. We who wore the pink
triangle were prioritised for medical experiments, and these generally ended in
death. For my part, therefore, I took every care I could not to offend against
> "Our block senior and his aides were 'greens', i.e. criminals. They look it,
and behaved like it too. Brutal and merciless towards us 'queers', and concerned
only with their own privelege and advantage, they were as much feared by us as
> "In Sachsenhausen, at least, a homosexual was never permitted to have any
position of responsibility. Nor could we even speak with prisoners from other
blocks, with a different coloured badge; we were told we might try to seduce
them. And yet, homosexuality was much more rife in the other blocks, where there
were no men with the pink triangle, than it was in our own.
> "We were also forbidden to approach nearer than five metres of the other
blocks. Anyone caught doing so was whipped on the 'horse', and was sure of at
least 15 to 20 strokes. Other categories of prisoner were similarly forbidden to
enter our block. We were to remain isolated as the damnedest of the damned, the
camp's 'shitty queers', condemned to liquidation and helpless prey to all
torments inflicted by the SS and Capos.
> "The day regularly began at 6 a.m., or 5 a.m. in the summer, and in just
half an hour we had to be washed, dressed and have our beds made up in military
style. If you still had time, you could have breakfast, which meant a hurried
slurping down the thin flour soup, hot or luke-warm, and eating your piece of
bread. Then we had to form up in eights on the parade-ground for morning
roll-call. Work followed, in winter from 7.30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and in summer from
7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a half hour break at the workplace. After work, straight
back to camp and immediate parade for evening roll-call.
> "Each block marched in formation to the parade-ground and had its permanent
position there. The morning parade was not so drawn-out as the much feared
evening roll-call, for only the block numbers were counted, which took about an
hour, and then the command was given for work detachments to form up.
> "At every parade, those that had just died had to be present, i.e. they were
laid out at the end of each block and counted as well. Only after the parade,
and having been tallied by the report officer, were they taken to the mortuary
and subsequently burned.
> "Disabled prisoners also had to be present for parade. Time and again we
helped or carried comrades to the parade-ground who had been beaten by the SS
only hours before. Or we had to bring along fellow-prisoners who were
half-frozen or feverish, so as to have our numbers complete. Any man missing
from our block meant many blows and thus many deaths.
> "We new arrivals were now assigned to our work, which was to keep the area
around the block clean. That, at least, was what we were told by the NCO in
charge. In reality, the purpose was to break the very last spark of independent
spirit that might possibly remain in the new prisoners, by senseless yet heavy
labour, and to destroy the little human dignity that we still retained. This
work continued til a new batch of pink-triangle prisoners were delivered to our
block and we were replaced.
> "Our work, then, was as follows. In the morning we had to cart the snow
outside our block from the left side of the road to the right side. In the
afternoon we had to cart the same snow back from the right side to the left. We
didn't have barrows and shovels to perform this work either, that would have
been far too simple for us 'queers'. No, our SS masters had thought up something
> "We had to put our coats with the buttoned side backward, and take the snow
away in the container this provided We had to shovel up the snow with our hands
-- our bare hands, as we didn't have any gloves. We worked in teams of two.
Twenty turns at shovelling up the snow with our hands, then twenty turns at
carrying it away. And so, right throught the evening, and all at the double!
> "This mental and bodily torment lasted six days, until at last new
pink-triangle prisoners were delivered to our block and took over for us. Our
hands were cracked all over and half frozen off, and we had become dumb and
indifferent slaves of the SS.
> "I learned from prisoners who had already been in our block a good while
that in summer similar work was done with earth and sand. "Above the gate of the
prison camp, however, the 'meaningful' Nazi slogan was written in big capitals:
'Freedom through work!'"
> Furthermore, homosexuals were at another important disadvantage. They lacked
the group support within the camp to maintain morale. As Lautmann observes:
> The prisoners with the pink triangle had certainly shown "precamp" qualities
of survival, but they did not get a chance to apply these qualities in the camp.
Because their subculture and organizations had been wantonly destroyed, no group
solidarity developed inside the camp...Since every contact outside was regarded
as suspicious, homosexuals did not even dare speak to one another inside (as
numerous survivors have reported in interviews).
> Death rates for homosexuals were much higher, perhaps three to four times
higher, than for other non-Jewish categories of prisoners. While their overall
numbers are small, their fate in the camps more nearly approximates that of Jews
than any of the other categories, except, perhaps, Gypsies. And, homosexuals did
not survive for very long. Of those who were exterminated, most were
exterminated within the first few months of the camp experience.
> One last issue deserves brief attention. The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, held
in 1945, did not address the plight of homosexuals with the same seriousness
accorded other victims of the Holocaust. Burleigh and Wipperman (1991:183)
suggest that this may reflect the fact that after the war homosexuality was
still a crime under German law and there still existed widespread homophobia. In
fact, the Reich laws against homosexuality (i.e., the Nazi interpretations oBf
Paragraph 175 of the Reich Criminal Code) were not repealed in Germany `xuntil
1969. As a consequence, homosexual survivors of the camp experience were still
reticent to press their case before the courts since they could still be
prosecuted under existing laws.
> However, the contemporary Gay Rights Movement, both in the United States and
in Europe, has led to a re-opening of the plight of homosexuals in Nazi Germany.
The unparalleled treatment of homosexuals under the Nazi regime raises the same
questions raised by the Holocaust itself: How could it happen? Can it happen
again? And, how can its recurrence be prevented?
> Burleigh, Michael and Wolfgang Wipperman. The Racial State: Germany,
1933-1945. New York: Cambridge, 1991.
> Ford and Beach. Patterns of Sexual Behavior, New York: Harper and Row, 1952.
> Heger, Heinz. The Men With the Pink Triangle. Boston: Alyson Publishing Co.,
> Laska, Vera. Women in the Resistance and in the Holocaust: The Voices of
Eyewitnesses. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1983.
> Lautmann, Reudiger. "Gay Prisoners in Concentration Camps Compared with
Jehovah's Witnesses and Political Criminals," in Licata and Peterson, eds.,
Historical Perspectives on Homosexuality. New Yorkthem
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Homophobia in Rural America
by Michael A. Jones
Remember Barack Obama's famous line from the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when he first burst onto the public stage? It went a little something like this:
"We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states."
And some of those gay friends in the red states (or at least the red parts of some blue states) have been busy putting together a documentary meant to shed light on the issue of LGBT rights and homophobia in rural America. That's the goal of a new film by two rural Western Pennsylvania residents, Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer, called "Out in the Silence."
What's the story of Wilson and Hamer? Well, the couple traveled to Canada a few years ago to tie the knot. Upon returning to the U.S., the couple placed their wedding announcement in two Western Pennsylvania newspaper, the Oil City Derrick and the News-Herald. (Turns out Western Pennsylvania was where one of the grooms grew up.)
Seeing two men list a wedding announcement in rural Pennsylvania papers was enough to send some rabid anti-LGBT folks over the edge. Hate mail ensued, including one local resident who used the wedding announcement as a call to arms for a federal marraige amendment.
"After seeing the direction that even our community might be going, I know how imperative it is for the Federal Marriage Amendment to be passed. All Christians need to stand up for what they know is right in God’s eyes, and stop this atrocity. The Bible was written as a set of rules for us to follow, not a set of general ideas for us to interpret however we want to fit our own lifestyles."
Homophobic diatribes like this one continued to pour in. But so did supportive letters, as well as letters asking Wilson and Hamer for help. One of those letters came from the parent of a gay teenager, who had been forced to drop out of school because of anti-LGBT bullying. It's this story which makes up the premise of "Out in the Silence."
Hamer and Wilson take their cameras and travel back to Western Pennsylvania, documenting the trials and tribulations that one family - a mother and her gay son - face in trying to combat homophobia both within their rural community and within the public school system.
The film is going to be telecast throughout Pennsylvania PBS stations in 2009, and will eventually hit TVs nationwide in 2010. The filmmakers are also touring the country right now, with stops coming up in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Below is a trailer for the film.
On a personal note, sometimes living in the bluest of blue states causes me to forget the struggles that queer people face in areas of the country where George W. Bush is a revered figure and where schools still close on the first day of hunting season. Concidentally, I grew up 45 minutes from where this film takes place, and can remember the controversy first stirred when local papers started covering same-sex weddings and started listing same-sex personal ads. Needless to say, the letters that poured into local papers were anything but tolerant.
That's why it's really special to see Hamer and Wilson take the homophobic sentiments that their wedding announcement stirred, and turn them into a film that has the power to change minds and hearts on the issue of LGBT rights. Bravo.
TRW - Please keep us posted on when this will air. I look forward to seeing it.