A large, supportive crowd was on hand at Congress Park in downtown Saratoga attending a vigil being held for the victims of the Pulse LGBTQ nightculb shooting in Orlando this past weekend, on Tuesday June 14, 2016 Posted on June 14, 2016.
by Travis Clark, Saratogian
SARATOGA SPRINGS >> When one drives or walks down Broadway in Saratoga Springs, they may notice the Saratoga Pride flags waving up and down the street. They are more than a symbol of solidarity between the city and its local LGBT+ community; that would signify that those are two separate entities.
In reality, Saratoga Springs and its local LGBT+ individuals are one community and that was evident at Tuesday night’s vigil in Congress Park honoring those lost in the Orlando, Fla. mass shooting.
Saratoga Pride, an affiliate of the Pride Center of the Capitol Region in Albany, is a group dedicated to building a supportive environment for LGBT+ individuals within Saratoga Springs.
The vigil featured several speakers including Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yespen, who reminded the crowd that Tuesday was Flag Day and said she was proud of the Pride flag and American flag waving together.
Some good news on the question of protections from employment discrimination from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (article is at Buzzfeed): Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Barred By Existing Law, Federal Commission Rules (link to article).
from the article:
The ruling — approved by a 3-2 vote of the five-person commission — applies to federal employees’ claims directly, but it also applies to the entire EEOC, which includes its offices across the nation that take and investigate claims of discrimination in private employment.
While only the Supreme Court could issue a definitive ruling on the interpretation, EEOC decisions are given significant deference by federal courts.
Tico Almeida, the head of Freedom to Work, celebrated the decision — and urged LGBT groups to go to the courts to seek codification of the ruling.
“Freedom to Work applauds this historic decision by the EEOC, and we encourage gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals who face harassment or discrimination on the job to consult an attorney and file Title VII claims with the EEOC and eventually the federal courts,” he said. “Our LGBT movement should take this strongly reasoned legal victory and run with it by returning to the federal courts to win workplace protections in all fifty states.
The Human Rights Campaign’s president, Chad Griffin, pushed for legislative action to confirm the protections.
Today's Fresh Air (Was The Most Current Supreme Court Session 'A Liberal Term For The Ages'?, July 2, 2015) is an interview with Adam Liptak, New York Times Supreme Court correspondent, discussing the just concluded term and decisions, including Marriage Equality (Obergefell v. Hodges).
There's a good amount of material to read on the episode's webpage and Fresh Air, as usual, is a worthwhile listen (audio file at the link or listen via your favorite podcast app).
A few key parts of the interview are transcribed at the link. Here's one (brackets and bold text added):
[Marriage Equality] is a huge and important and transformative victory, but in some ways it's symbolic and partial, because much of the nation still doesn't have laws against discriminating against gay and lesbian people. So in much of the nation you can get married in the morning and fired in the afternoon from your job for being gay and then denied housing because you're gay. So the court decision only does so much and is limited to marriage, and unless legislatures act to impose general laws against sexual-orientation discrimination, the work of the gay-rights movement is not yet done. It's a funny thing that you get to marriage first and job discrimination later.
And this bit of inside baseball:
TG: A lot of law firms wouldn't touch the anti- marriage equality side. Why not?
AL: Among a large number of Americans, ...and certainly Americans who come from, call it, elite backgrounds, you know, from the fancy colleges and law schools, and certainly what Justice Scalia in a memorable phrase called, “lawyers who work in high rise buildings”, this issue is done; there's only one side to it and the other side is pure bigotry. So that told you something about where at least the legal culture, the mainstream legal culture was on this question.
And this about the “age” of the court with respect to the coming presidential election:
Much of the court is quite old, so the next president is very likely to have one, two, three appointments, so that aspect of the presidential campaign — about what it will do to the Supreme Court — is one that I imagine will play [a] fairly large role.
Terry Gross asks Liptak about Justice Kennedy's written opinion (which we quoted partially in our Gay marriage post below) around 6:40 in (about 7:45 in the podcast version).
Saratoga Pride’s Cindy Swadba and Kevin O'Brien are quoted in this article [login/subscription required] in Schenectady's Daily Gazette (June 26, 2015).
from the article:
It was 10 a.m. Friday. A man eating breakfast at Shirley’s Diner in Saratoga Springs checked his Twitter feed and screamed. It wasn’t intentional. It was a pure of-the-moment reaction. It was a scream of joy, of relief. Diners turned to look at Kevin O’Brien in confusion. Seeing everyone’s stares, he uttered just two words, loud enough for everyone to hear: “Marriage equality.” “And everybody just clapped,” he recalled later that day.
Another article at Hazlitt (see the earlier "Desert Hearts" post), by Toronto writer Chris Randle (The Globe and Mail, The Village Voice and others).
From the article:
As a recent Vulture article explained, Weinstein’s Miramax removed 40 minutes from 54 and then spliced in half an hour of reshoots, warping the film’s visual continuity. A tentative, searching kiss between Shane and his best friend Greg, played by Breckin Meyer, was out; the new cut bolted on a hetero romance with Neve Campbell’s soap-opera star Julie Black, originally no more than a fleeting presence. Weinstein’s 54 was a commercial failure anyway.
The director’s cut of 54 resembles a parable: The first and final shots are almost identical. Beyond that simple premise, Christopher’s film seldom devotes itself to narrative; instead we find ephemeral spectacle. Cherubs descend from the ceiling. Men painted gold sweat flecks onto each other. And with a few exceptions, the dialogue avoids conscious camp, what Sontag called “Being-as-Playing-a-Role.”
From the article:
Notable because it rejected tired, homophobic tropes in order to affirm a lesbian love affair, Desert Hearts also garnered several positive, high profile reviews from mainstream critics. (Roger Ebert called it a film of “undeniable power.”) Of watching the movie at a gay and lesbian film festival in 1995, Stacey wrote, “the audience was high on participation and frequently screamed with laughter and pleasure as the conventions of Hollywood romance, which had excluded them for so long, were being used in a lesbian context.
While filming the scene, there happened to be church bells ringing outside. Deitch got lucky.
from Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion for the majority:
The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.
Celebrate Marriage Equality!
We're celebrating Saturday, June 27, 6-8pm at 50 South Restaurant, Ballston Spa, just south of Saratoga Springs on Rt. 50. Read more here.
New York Times:
Gay Marriage Upheld by Supreme Court in Close Ruling
President Obama tweets (@POTUS):
Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins
Vice President Biden tweets (@VP):
All marriages at their root are about love. In America, our laws now recognize that simple truth. #LoveWins today & we couldn't be prouder.
The Boston Globe:
Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage in all 50 states
San Francisco Examiner:
Same-sex marriage legal across United States, Supreme Court rules