Tag Archives: Same-sex Marriage

ILD: The Incredible Story of Del and Phyllis

In 2008, after 55 years together, Del Martin, age 87, and Phyllis Lyon, age 84, were finally wed in San Francisco, but it was for the second time. Four years earlier, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state of California, during a large ceremony honoring their long-standing contributions to LGBTQ activism, they were the first of 90 gay couples to be married illegally by the city’s then-mayor Gavin Newsom.

When Martin and Phyllis made their initial vows as San Francisco’s first same-sex couple, the ceremony was conducted so that their union could potentially be included in a lawsuit to champion marriage equality in the United States. The director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Kate Kendell, invited them with this promise: “This will hopefully be the last thing the movement will ever ask you to do, but do you wanna get married?”

As lesbian history was unfolding in the 1950s, it was Del and Phyllis who gathered in the home of their friend Rose Bamberger and her partner Rosemary Sliepen and founded the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), the first lesbian organization in the country. Martin and Lyon would soon become co-editors of the Ladder, DOB’s publication, and grow the readership even amid an era of pervasive homophobia. The pair was also the first lesbian couple to join the National Organization for Women, as feminist causes also spurred their organizing work.

Over the next five decades, Martin and Lyon never stopped organizing, and gradually, thanks in no small part to their efforts, LGBTQ visibility shifted from secrecy to “out and proud” activism.

Continue reading: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/incredible-story-lesbian-activists-del-martin-and-phyllis-lyon-180978309/ (source)

U.S: Lesbian Reverend Says She Can No Longer Be An Ambassador For the United Methodist Church

On a morning about 10 years ago, the Rev. Amy DeLong woke up in disbelief that she was still a reverend. 

The day before — June 23, 2011 — she had stood trial at Peace United Methodist Church in Kaukauna on two charges. She had officiated a wedding between two women and she herself was in a lesbian relationship — or in the church’s language, was a “self-avowed, practicing homosexual.” 

LGBTQ clergy and same-sex weddings were, and continue to be, forbidden by the United Methodist Church, a body of over 12 million members globally that has in recent years threatened to split over its refusal to fully include LGBTQ people into the faith. 

Since DeLong’s church trial sat squarely on that debate, her case drew national scrutiny, including a story in Time Magazine. But she could barely pay attention to the uproar she had triggered, because she was certain she’d lose her pastoral rights and responsibilities as punishment. 

Instead, the jury of ministers gave her just a 20-day suspension and tasked her with writing a document about how clergy could resolve issues that harm the church or could lead to future trials. An event that could have been devastating ended up leaving her hopeful that the United Methodist Church was changing.  

Today, though, she’s lost that hope. 

After a decade of fighting for the inclusion of the LGBTQ community in the denomination she had chosen for herself and loved, DeLong said she watched things get only worse. 

She retired from her post as pastor at Spirit of Grace, a United Methodist Church in River Falls, on June 30. The robust advocacy organization she’d helped create quit the UMC denomination two days prior. 

Although she said it breaks her heart that her work came to an end without producing meaningful change, DeLong said she never questioned whether she was right to do it. 

“There’s nothing … that tells me that the love that I share — the adult, consensual, loving relationship I share with my partner — is anything but holy,” DeLong said. “I have always been hurt by the accusations, and I’ve certainly been hurt by the hatred that has been directed at me. But I never once thought I was wrong.” 

Even if the United Methodist Church had a rapid change of heart and opened its arms to the LGBTQ community, DeLong said, the institution is flawed. The way church leaders have conducted themselves is no longer resonating with people, she said.      

The decision to depart was an immensely tough one, she said, but necessary. She could no longer be an ambassador for the church, after all, if she no longer believed in the product. 

Continue Reading: https://www.postcrescent.com/story/news/2021/07/13/methodist-lgbtq-pastor-put-trial-lesbian-wedding-leaves-church/7811632002/ (source)

Bolivia: Lesbian Couple Denied Registration of Union

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

8 July 2021: Bolivia’s national civil registry (Registro de Servicio Cívico, SERECÍ) has discriminated against a lesbian couple by rejecting their application to register their relationship as a union, Human Rights Watch said today. All civil registries in the country should start legally recognizing same-sex relationships.

The lesbian couple, foreign citizens who legally reside in Bolivia, applied to La Paz civil registry in May 2021 to register a civil union, their lawyers told Human Rights Watch. In a June letter to those lawyers, the civil registry asserted that there is no current procedure to register same-sex unions in the country. The couple has begun administrative proceedings to appeal the decision. The letter ignores that the civil registry recognized the union of David Aruquipa and Guido Montaño, a gay couple, in December 2020, based on a court order. The civil registry claimed it needs to wait until Bolivia’s Plurinational Constitutional Court reviews the lower court ruling ordering Aruquipa and Montano’s registration.

“The national civil registry seems intent on doubling down on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “That only one same-sex couple in Bolivia has been able to register their union so far is unjust, and the civil registry should immediately give everyone the same opportunity to have their relationships legally recognized.”

Continue Reading: https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/07/08/bolivia-lesbian-couple-denied-registration-union (source)

U.S: Lesbian spouse fights government denial of death benefits

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For more than a decade, Patricia Rolfingsmeyer and Tina Sammons lived as a committed couple even when the states where they resided did not recognize their same-sex union. They wore matching diamond wedding bands, bought a house together and declared at a private ceremony, “It may not be legal out there, but it is in here.”

When the laws began to change around the country, the pair drove from their home in Pennsylvania to Maryland, where they were officially married in 2013. Less than three months later, Sammons, a U.S. Air Force veteran and longtime U.S. Postal Service employee, died of metastatic breast cancer.

The couple’s union, according to the federal government, did not last long enough for Rolfingsmeyer to meet the nine-month marriage requirement to claim an estimated six-figure dollar amount in survivor benefits.

Rolfingsmeyer, now 71, is challenging the federal government’s denial of employee death benefits because it was not legally or practically possible for her to obtain a marriage certificate in her home state in the nine months before the death of her partner of 16 years.

Continue reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/same-sex-government-death-benefits-/2021/03/18/ac8da2b0-873f-11eb-8a8b-5cf82c3dffe4_story.html (source)

Canada: Lesbian couple denied service from videographer who doesn’t film ‘homosexual weddings’

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As soon as Mallory Arthur and Kelly Roberts got engaged in January, they started planning their October 2021 wedding.

But this week’s excitement wasn’t what the Woodstock, Ont., couple, both 26 years old, were bargaining for. When they tried to book videographer Caramount Pictures, based in Brantford, Ont., for their wedding, the owner told them the business will not work with a same-sex couple.

The refusal came on Monday, 15 years to the day after Canada legalized same-sex marriage, on July 20, 2005.

“I say this with much care, because I know your union is incredibly important to you, but we do not film homosexual weddings,” Cara Hamstra, the business owner, wrote in an email.

U.S: Catholic diocese denies lesbian judge communion

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A church in Michigan denied Holy Communion to a state district court judge because she is married to a woman.

Judge Sara Smolenski, the chief judge of Michigan’s 63rd District Court, received a call from the priest at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, requesting she not attend communion.

Judge Sara Smolenski was told she could no longer receive communion at her Catholic Church because she is married to a woman.

“This is not about me against the priest, and it’s not really me against the church,” Smolenski told CNN. “This feels like selective discrimination. Why choose gay people, and why now?”

Smolenski, 62, said that the Rev. Scott Nolan, the priest at St. Stephen for approximately three years, called her on November 23 and told her, “‘It was good to see you in church on Sunday. Because you and Linda are married in the state of Michigan, I’d like you to respect the church and not come to communion.'”

Continue reading: https://edition.cnn.com/2019
/11/30/us/gay-michigan-judge-communion/index.html
(Source)

U.S: Lesbian Expelled From Christian College For Marrying Another Woman

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Joanna Maxon of Fort Worth, Texas was almost able to complete her degree from Fuller Theological Seminary last year. The 53-year-old was studying for a master of arts in theology, and she only needed a few more classes to finish her degree.

Then she was suddenly expelled for being in a same-sex marriage.

“I was approaching the end and looking forward to graduation and all that stuff,” Maxon told NBC OUT. “To have that taken away unexpectedly — I was a really good student — I was devastated by it.”

Maxon attempted to resolve the issue with the college directly. But since that was unsuccessful, she’s taking them to court. Her attorney filed a federal suit in California, where Fuller’s main campus is based, last week.

Continue reading: http://gomag.com/article/woman-expelled-from-christian-college-for-marrying-another-woman/ (source)