Sunday, June 28, 2015

We Now Have Marriage Equality, What's Next?

On June 26th, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) said marriage equality was enshrined in our Constitution.  Nationwide gays and lesbians are now able to enter into marriages with the person they love and have that marriage recognized in all 50 states as well in our various territories and protectorates.  It was a long, decades long struggle, but it is now accomplished.  The question is: What is next for the LGBT community?

Top of my list is a national Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would prohibit the firing of gays just for being gay.  In many states around the nation, it is perfectly legal to not hire or to fire someone for being gay.  In some of those states, such as Indiana, various jurisdictions have non-discrimination ordinances on the books, but can be overridden, as in Arkansas, by the states' legislatures.

There is one simple solution to this patchwork quilt of workplace protections: A national ENDA.  For years ENDA has languished in Congress, even when Democrats controlled both chambers.  We now need to devote our energies to passing ENDA (without "religious freedom" exemptions).  Once ENDA is passed and signed into law, we can move onto housing protections.  It may even be possible to do both at once.  Simply by adding sexual orientation to the national non-discrimination laws would protect us not only in the workplace but also in our homes.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Will This Truly Be The Month of Pride?

June is historically the month celebrated by the LGBT community as "Pride Month".  This celebration of the LGBT community goes back to the Stonewall Riots of 1969.  These celebrations of pride in our community have evolved into parades and all day events in towns and cities around the world.

This year, 2015, holds a special significance here in the United States as SCOTUS (The Supreme Court of the United States) has before it a number of cases out of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals dealing with marriage equality.  The Court has yet to hand down its ruling and is not expected to do so until late in the month on its closing day of the session.  This is normal for especially contentious issues before SCOTUS.

But as the decision lands in the month of June, the question in my mind is will this month be a truly pride full month with a decision that makes marriage equality the law of the land.  Or, will SCOTUS make this month one of sorrow?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Fucking Fantastic News!

A few weeks ago I informed you that I would not be able to get bariatric surgery due to my numerous mental issues.  I was crushed.  It took a few days for me to get over that rejection.

Today though, I have great news.  Yesterday I had an appeals hearing to see if I could Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  To say the least, the administrative law judge approved me for SSI!  I am so happy.  Not only do I have Medicaid to help cover the costs of my mental and physical health needs, I will now have SSI to help pay some of my bills.

SSI isn't a lot, but its more than enough to make things much more comfortable for me.  Its too bad that we have politicians who think that people like me are just playing and mooching off the system.  That we are deadbeats who deserve scorn and contempt, not compassion and help.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cautious Optimism - Marriage Equality: A Fundmental Right

As I write this, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is about to hear arguments on whether or not states have the ability to define marriage in such a way as to deny same sex couples the fundamental right of marriage.  SCOTUS will also hear arguments as whether or not states have the ability to deny recognition of same sex marriages performed in states where it is legal.

Trying to read the tea leaves, especially before oral arguments, is a fool's errand, but I have a feeling that in a 5 to 4 decision to come out this June, SCOTUS will finally bring marriage equality to all 50 states and the various territories/protectorates.  I think Justice Kennedy will write the majority opinion reaffirming the decision in Loving v Virginia which held that marriage is a "fundamental right" and that government has no business discriminating against same sex couples.

I am cautiously optimistic that marriage equality will become the law of the land.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Troubling News

As many of you know, I was excited about the prospect of having bariatric surgery to help with my morbid obesity.  I found out today, via the mail, that due to my psychological issues (of which there are many), they will not perform the surgery.  It has hit me really hard as I saw the surgery as my last real chance to be physically healthy again.