Editor’s Note: Rev. Mike Denton is a conference minister of the United Church of Christ working with congregations in Washington, Northern Idaho and Alaska. He supports gay marriage.
For an opposing view, click here.
On Wednesday afternoon, Washington's House passed a same-sex marriage bill, 53-43. The state Senate has already passed it, and Gov. Chris Gregoire has promised to sign it. Opponents of the bill are promising to put the issue on the ballot this November.
By. Rev. Mike Denton, Special to CNN
(CNN) - It was a little more than 15 years ago when two friends of mine - I’ll call them Amy and Christine - asked me to officiate at their wedding. Actually, at the time, I’m not sure we called it a “wedding.” Fifteen years ago, gay and lesbian folks were still stepping gingerly around the words “wedding” or “marriage.” It didn’t feel safe and just didn’t seem to be worth the fight so words like “union service” or “commitment service” were used instead.
Amy and Christine knew this would be a service that wouldn’t be recognized by the state and, although that was a bit of concern, it wasn’t why they wanted to marry, anyway. They loved each other. They wanted to tell the world. They wanted to ask for the support of those who loved them and they wanted to do it in a public way.
The service was held on a beautiful October Saturday. In a church filled with flowers, music, family and friends prayers were said, vows were shared, tears were shed and, of course, the couple was lovely. The only big difference was at the end of service when I said the words, “You may both kiss the bride.”
I know that not everyone who reads these words will read them with the same sense of joy that others will. In particular, some of my Christian sisters and brothers will read this while shaking their heads or with a tight, growing knot in their stomach. I understand that. There would have been a time I might have been there, too.
Editor’s Note: Reverend Kenneth Hutcherson is the senior pastor and founder of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Washington. He is also an author of four books, and a former middle linebacker in the National Football League. Hutcherson is a leading voice in the fight to uphold marriage between one man and one woman in Washington state. He blogs at hutchpost.org.
For an opposing view, click here.
By Rev. Kenneth Hutcherson, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Why do I stand so strong in support of traditional marriage? Because I am a pastor of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am a shepherd that is supposed to lead, feed and protect the flock. Anything the bible says is good for society, I stand on it and I will not compromise on it. What the bible says is good for society has always proven to be good. Anything the bible says is wrong for society has always proven to be wrong. There have never been any winners in a scenario where society went against what God said would be good.
The Israelites were told not to have any idols before God (Leviticus 26:1.) They did and were thrown into captivity under Nebuchadnezzar. Under Cyrus, the great leader of Persian Empire they were under captivity for 70 years because they disobeyed God.
When I read about Sodom and Gomorrah, I believe God is saying that the right thing to do is for a man and a woman to be in a relationship without sexual sin and if you stray from that, it is very detrimental to society. Sodom and Gomorrah practiced the rampant sexual sin of homosexuality and because of that God brought judgment on the cities and destroyed them with fire because of the sin of homosexuality acts (Genesis 19:1-29.)
Now do I think God brings judgment on a society that encourages homosexuality? I do. And since I am a pastor and God has commanded me to love everyone, I will do what it takes to love them. That does not mean I will accept that they stay the way they are. Unrepentant sin destroys you and will kill you. So if I believe the word of God, that He will bring judgment on a people, then I would be a very bad shepherd not to warn those people.
Editor’s Note: Jennifer C. Pizer is the legal director and the Arnold D. Kassoy Senior Scholar of Law at The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a national research center on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.
By Jennifer Pizer, Special to CNN
In California, same-sex couples again are celebrating in the streets. Some probably have started making wedding plans. The largest federal appeals court, the Ninth Circuit, has become the first to strike down a state’s exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.
Proposition 8, approved by California voters in November 2008, violates the federal equality rights of same-sex couples. It passed thanks to campaign messages designed to scare voters into taking away gay couples’ right to marry. And it serves no legitimate purpose. So concluded two of the three judges deciding the case, with reasoning that promises national impact whether or not this case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court. Writing for himself and Judge Michael Hawkins, and capturing what many Californians have come to believe since the 2008 vote, Judge Stephen Reinhardt said: “Proposition 8 works a meaningful harm to gays and lesbians, by denying to their committed lifelong relationships the societal status conveyed by the designation of ‘marriage.’”
The court has put its decision on hold to allow the Prop 8 side to seek review by more Ninth Circuit judges or the U.S. Supreme Court, so there will be no California marriage licenses for gay couples in the short term. Still, members of the LGBT community are feeling vindicated and confident.
What does Tuesday’s decision mean for same-sex couples who want to marry in California? For those in other states? Is it likely to be the last word in this case?
Editor's Note: Jeff Yang writes the column Tao Jones for the Wall Street Journal Online, is a regular contributor to WNYC radio, blogging for "The Brian Lehrer Show", and appears weekly on "The Takeaway". He formerly wrote the "Asian Pop" column for the San Francisco Chronicle and was founder and publisher of A magazine. He tweets @originalspin.
By Jeff Yang, Special to CNN
“Sir: I am a Chinaman, a republican, and a lover of free institutions; am much attached to the principles of the government of the United States ... The effect of your late message has been … to prejudice the public mind against my people, to enable those who wait the opportunity to hunt them down."
These were the opening lines of an open letter written by Chinese restaurant owner Norman Asing to California Governor John Bigler, who, in 1852, had demonstrated his intention to ride nativist sentiment to re-election by delivering a scabrous, xenophobic speech before the state legislature.
In his "special message," he called the Chinese a "peculiar people" who were stealing the nation's treasure and shipping it back to China, while taking jobs and livelihood away from white Americans, and demanded the legislature enact "extraordinary measures" to address their threat.
Fearing that the speech would tip anti-Chinese tensions over into violence, Asing, one of San Francisco Chinatown's most prominent leaders, sent his letter to The Daily Alta California newspaper, which published it without comment.
Bigler ignored it.
But Asing proved all too right: encouraged by the continued drumbeating of Governor Bigler and other nativists, the next two decades would see fear and anxiety over the "Asiatic hordes" rise to a deadly pitch, culminating in one of the most horrifying incidents of mass violence in California history. FULL POST
A woman trying to run for the San Luis, Arizona, City Council will not appear on the ballot after the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a ruling that her English was not good enough.
Alejandrina Cabrera has been locked in a political battle regarding her proficiency of the English language. But her story is more than a local election dispute, with possibly widespread implications in a country that prides itself as a melting pot.
In the border town of San Luis, 87% of residents speak a language other than English in their home, and 98.7% are of Hispanic origin, according to 2010 U.S. census data. Most of the people there, by all accounts, speak both English and Spanish.
“I think my English is good enough to hold public office in San Luis, Arizona,” Cabrera told CNN en Español in an interview conducted in Spanish.
“I am not going to help (at the White House). I will be helping here.”
Read full post on CNN's This Just In blog
By Alex P. Kellogg, Special to CNN
(CNN) - By just about every measure, life is significantly better for African-Americans and Latinos in small and medium-sized cities and towns in the South and West, according to a recently released report by Urban Institute.
The Washington, DC-based think tank found that the “opportunity gap” that separates African-Americans and Latinos from whites is the largest in the Midwest and Northeast and the smallest in the South and West.
Its study examined factors such as residential segregation, the quality of public schools, neighborhood home values, employment rates and rates of home ownership.
Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.
South Carolina state attorney sues U.S. Department of Justice for blocking voter ID law – Reuters
Study: Radicalized Muslim-Americans low threat; plots, arrests drop in last two years - UPI
Seventh grader suspended from basketball game after saying 'I love you' in native language - Native News Network
New York Knicks Jeremy Lin 'represents' for underdogs - The New York Times
With new programming line-up, BET aims to 're-establish a relationship with our audience' - The Los Angeles Times
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor settles Baby Bear v. Goldilocks - SesameStreet.org
Editor's note: See more images from "Green Card Stories" and an interview with photographer Ariana Lindquist at CNN Photos.
By Stephanie Siek, CNN
(CNN) – It fits in the palm of one’s hand, but the possibilities ahead of it and the stories behind it are innumerable and diverse. It is a U.S. permanent residence card, more popularly known as a Green Card, and it confers upon the holder the right to live and work in the United States for as long as they wish, usually renewable every ten years.
"Green Card Stories," with writing by Saundra Amrhein and photography by Ariana Lindquist, delves into the life stories behind those cards. The individuals profiled reflect the incredible diversity of the United States. They come from Japan, Colombia, Mexico, Kenya, Great Britain, Vietnam, Egypt, Russia and a host of other nations. They come as students, laborers, entrepreneurs, refugees, doctors and artists. Some entered the country legally, others illegally; some through an employer, others through a spouse or relative; some in a drawn-out process studded with hardships, others relatively quickly. Many have gone on to become citizens, and for each, gaining the green card marked a monumental change in their life.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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