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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A Conservative, Christian Case for Gay Adoption.

The core element in this argument is familiar: adoption by same sex couples should be permitted, "because the best interests of the child" means the best parents available - not some theoretical, ideal myth. Sometimes the best available just happen to be gay or lesbian. What is different about this is that the argument comes from a declared conservative Christian, who makes no secret of her belief that homosexuality is a sin. But, she makes clear, as we are all sinners, her personal belief about the parents is no reason to act against the welfare of their children, to withhold standard courtesies and neighbourliness from the parents.

This argument needs to get through to all those (including too many Catholic bishops) who can see the issue of gay adoption only as a set of rules, and not as specific situations with real people. Fortunately though, this is happening. In the near future, I suspect, this response will be so mainstream as to be unremarkable.

From Blogher :

As a conservative Christian mom, I get looks whenever presumed "offensive" topics come into play. For instance, the "2 Gay Dad" issue. I like two shows with two gay dads and I also have a few gay friends who eventually will want to adopt. There's this assumption I will be outraged and come flying out with my Bible to protest. I assure you, I am not waiting in the shadows ready to pop out with my judgments. Quite the contrary.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do..... Even For Vultures

Same sex pair bonding is widespread, throughout the natural world. Zoos are not exactly the natural world. The animals live in unnaturally confined conditions, and are often maintained there for the specific purpose of boosting numbers, in formal breeding programs. Unless you have an objection in principle to the mere existence of zoos (I'm neutral on that one), it's difficult to get seriously dogmatic about the story Guido and Detlef, the male vultures of Munster zoo - but it does raise some questions:

The drama began in March when Guido and Detlef set up home together at the Allwetterzoo, in the British Army garrison town of Munster, northwest Germany.

The griffon vultures, Gyps fulvus, showed no interest in female company. They were happy in their own world, grooming one another with tender sweeps of their savage beaks between rearranging the sticks that made up their nest, although the other vultures kept stealing materials as if to spite their arrangement.

Dirk Wewers, the zoo's curator, said: "They always sat so closely together. They defended their nest from the other vultures. A suitable female was missing and in such a case vultures look for companionship from the next best thing, even if it is a male. Detlef looked for a bird of the opposite sex but settled with Guido."


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Fall of Rome, Reality Based History – and Gay Adoption

The vocal opponents of family equality are fond of making sweeping statements (in flagrant disregard of the evidence) about how marriage has "always" been between one man and on woman, how the proponents of equality are "redefining" evidence, quite ignoring the ways in marriage has been constantly redefined in the past - not least by the Christian churches. A variation on the theme has been that homosexuality has destroyed great civilizations, such as that of Rome. Illinois state Rep. Ronald Stephens has repeated this claim, blaming "open homosexuality" for the fall of Rome.

In a fun, sane response in the Chicago Sun-Times, Neill Steinberg dismisses the claim, basing his response on, well, historical fact, not what he calls Stephens' talking points. His most important observation is that the best known extensive study of the fall of Rome, Edward Gibbons "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", concluded that Roman civilization collapsed not because of homosexuality, but because of - guess what? Christianity.

Would that be a argument to ban Christianity today, for fear that it could cause the collapse of modern Western civilization?

The point I want to make is not that Gibbons was either right or wrong, but to heartily endorse Steinberg's larger point, that grand claims about the lessons of history really ought to be checked against the facts. This is certainly true in the secular sphere, but also in religious discourse. The often -repeated Vatican claims of Catholic "constant and unchanging tradition" are a smokescreen, often used to used to hide the importance of recently introduced changes, as Martin Pendergast noted recently, writing about gradualism in Benedict's theology.

But today, I do not want to explore this theme of the Church's constantly changing tradition. Let's just enjoy, instead, Steinberg's thoroughly delightful response to rep Stephens' ignorance. Here are some extracts:

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Gay Adoption, Gay Marriage as Moral Obligations: Two Jewish Views (and one Christian)

Here's a refreshing change: instead of the spurious, religious arguments against gay adoption and gay marriage, two more voices (this time, from Jewish perspectives)  speaking out on the positive faith-based reasons in favour of each.

In the first of these, at the Jerusalem Post, the orthodox Rabbi, television host and author of religious books on relationships Shmuley Boteach argues strongly in favour of gay adoption. Last month, he participated with Rosie O'Donnell in a New Jersey public discussion on the subject. In an article published before this event, he reflected on these issues, and especially on an aspect that I see as the most important of all. When a friend he spoke to expressed regret that Rosie's four adopted children would never have a father (the standard, theoretical argument against gay adoption), Rabbi Shmuley replied with the obvious and important, reality-based response:
that without Rosie they wouldn’t have a mother either.

Gay Couple with child

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Marriage Prospects Brighten in Maryland

Nationally, the picture for progress to LGBT equality which emerged on election night was gloomy. At state and local level, there were some bright spots. Maryland was one of them. In the state Senate, the Dems increased their majority, after replacing in the primaries some of their members opposed to gay marriage. In the lower house, they increased the number of openly gay or lesbian delegates. 

Richard  Madaleno, the only openly gay State Senator, is hopeful that the legislature will approve marriage equality legislation in the firs few months of 2011. If it does, Governor Martin O'Malley has promised to sign.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Connecticut, New York Challenge DOMA.

The road to full queer equality is a long and hard one, but is being navigated steadily, one step at a time. The recent mid-term elections may have placed obstacles in the way in some states, but may have eased a path in others. Meanwhile, a string of recent courtroom successes, challenging parts of the Defence of Marriage Act in Massachusetts, and Prop 8 and DADT in California, could be followed by others.

When the state of Massachusetts challenged DOMA in the courts, it was limited in scope. The verdict, when it came in July, was widely welcomed - but had limited direct relevance for other states. Indirectly, it has offered encouragement to other states. Connecticut and New York have now filed comparable challenges in their own state courts.

From AP:

2 lawsuits challenge US Defense of Marriage Act

NEW YORK (AP) — Gay civil rights groups trying to build momentum for a possible Supreme Court showdown filed two lawsuits Tuesday that seek to strike down portions of a 1996 law that denies married gay couples federal benefits.

The lawsuits were filed in federal courts in Connecticut and New York and come just months after a federal judge in Boston struck down a key component of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The legal actions seek judicial declarations that the law enacted by Congress in 1996, when it appeared Hawaii would soon legalize same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional because it prevents the federal government from affording pension and other benefits to same-sex couples. Since 2004, five states — Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts — and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage.

In July, U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro in Boston ruled in two separate lawsuits that the Defense of Marriage Act forces the state to discriminate against its own citizens to qualify for federal funding. He also said it violates the Constitution's equal protection clause.

The Justice Department said in a statement that it had no response to the lawsuits, except that the government "is defending the statute, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged."

The department said that, as a policy matter, President Obama has made clear that he believes the law is "discriminatory and should be repealed" and was working with Congress to do so.

The filing of multiple lawsuits will likely result in rulings in different federal court districts. That could increase the likelihood that the Supreme Court will eventually consider the issue.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Blessing Same Sex Unions in Toronto

There is no longer any doubt in my mind that widepread, formal recognition by Christian churches of same-sex unions, by liturgical rites in church, is on the way - one small step at a time.
One of these small steps is in the diocese of Toronto, where the local archbishop has given pastoral guidelines for blessing same sex unions. Technically, the impact will be only local, in his own archdiocese, and limited to a simple blessing, not full marriage. Effectively, though, this one of those small steps that makes subsequent strides that much easier. Civil marriage for same sex couples is already a well-established fact of life in Canada. Church blessings in Toronto will soon spread across the nation, just as civil marriage did after a purely local introduction. From country-wide blessing of civil unions, to blessing civil marriages, to full church weddings, will be easy steps. Sweden already has gay and lesbian church weddings in the Lutheran church, with which Anglicans and Episcopalians are in communion. Other Scandinavian churches will soon follow suit - as will Canadian Anglicans, just a little later.

Archbishop Johnson with Queen Elizabeth, 2010

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Gay Marriage, UK: The Legal Challenge Begins

Rev Sharon Ferguson is a pastor with the Metropolitan Community Church in Camden, North London, a parish, she notes, is "noted for its peace and justice work".  It is part of the Gospel requirement that as Christians we should be combating injustice, and standing up for the oppressed. Rev Ferguson and her partner, Franka Strietzel, have now taken the first steps in a campaign on her own behalf, and that of others in lesbian or gay committed relationships - the campaign for full marriage equality;
"My whole life is about campaigning for equality and justice as a pastor in a parish that is known for its social justice work," she added.
"It's part of my daily life to challenge discrimination, but with this campaign what is really nice is that it's about love."

Thursday, 28 October 2010

UK Queer Christians Support Marriage Equality Campaign.

The UK Civil Partnership legislation was widely described at the time of launch as being virtually equivalent to marriage, with almost equal treatment in the law: marriage in everything but the name - and a prohibition of any religious content or symbolism in the registry office proceedings.
Time has shown though, that words do matter. We have been promised some tinkering with the legislation to bring it ever closer to full marriage, but until we achieve full marriage equality, separate will never be equal. Political pressure is growing steadily. Now, the country's leading LGBT Christian group, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, has given its support to a newly launched campaign for full marriage rights, the "Equal Love" campaign.

From the "Pink Paper", (October 26th):

Gay Christian Movement support Equal Love campaign

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement has voiced its support for Outrage's Equal Love marriage campaign.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Australians Support Marriage Equality, Opposition Waning.

In common with other countries, support for legal recognition of same sex marriage in Australia is increasing. Support is now at 62%, up from 60% a year ago. The only age group which does not yet show majority support is the over 50's - but only just. Even this group has support at 46%. The youngest group of Australian adults polled are overwhelmingly in favour: 80% agree with the prospect. Politically, only the misnamed "Liberal" party are against, while 75% of Labour voters are in favour. Why Labour PM Julia Gillard continues with her resolute opposition is entirely beyond me: the indications are that this issue has already cost her votes in the last election, resulting in increased seats for the Greens and Independents. As the independent MP Andrew Wilkie has stated, she is clearly out of step with her own voters.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Findings from a new poll of 1050 respondents came as the independent MP Andrew Wilkie called on the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to move on the issue, saying she was ''out of step with the people''.

Mr Wilkie said the Prime Minister should allow a conscience vote, saying it was "beyond time for the Parliament to start representing the people".

The Galaxy poll showed support for same-sex marriage increased from 60 per cent of respondents in 2009 to 62 per cent this year.

The survey, which was conducted over two days earlier this month, showed uniform support for a conscience vote across party lines with 80 per cent of Labor and 75 per cent of Liberal voters agreeing to the idea.

While supporting a conscience vote, Liberal voters were much less likely to agree to allow same-sex couples to marry, with less than half supporting the change. Nearly three-quarters of Labor voters and four out of five Greens voters support same-sex marriage.

The survey also shows that younger Australians are more likely (80 per cent) to support same-sex marriage than those aged over 50 years (46 per cent).

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Friday, 1 October 2010

Historic Mormon Apology on Prop 8!

As the Minnesota bishops prepare for their determined campaign to prevent marriage equality in their state, they would do well to reflect on the experience of the Mormons in California over Prop 8. As is well known, the Mormons, like the institutional Catholic Church, were among the mainstay of the opposition to equality, donating substantial sums in cash and in kind to funding support for the ballot initiative.

Since the vote, there have been numerous indications that the Mormon leaders have begun to recognize the hurt their actions have caused to their own members. (I would be surprised if the Mormons were to make the same mistake again). In the clearest demonstration yet of this change of heart, a senior member of the Church  has apologised to lesbian and gay Mormons of California. In a move that Joanna Brooks at Religion Dispatches correctly describes as historic, the leader of the church in California invited Elder Marlin K Jensen to a meeting to hear the stories of pain and suffering the Church had caused to gay and lesbian Mormons, not just by the support for Prop 8, but by its entire approach to homosexuals and their place in the Church. At the conclusion of this testimony  - Elder Jensen apologized.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Gay Adoption: The Best Interests of Children, and the Question of Evidence (Again)

Last week's appeals court decision that threw out the Florida ban on gay adoption has once again highlighted the idiocy of attempting to promote the interests of children by arbitrarily declaring one entire class of people necessarily superior as parents to another entire class - without considering specific parents and and specific children.  The ban was rooted in simple prejudice:
Here is the basic problem with the law. The state of Florida does not want homosexuals to adopt kids because, well, just because they're homosexuals. They can be foster parents, just not adoptive parents.

If I could sum up the court's lengthy ruling in one word, it would be, "Huh?''

That's not surprising given the origin of the ban. It did not come from need or compelling evidence. It came from singer Anita Bryant, who in 1977 convinced lawmakers with this argument: "Since homosexuals cannot reproduce, they must recruit and freshen their ranks."

Anita Bryant, immediately after being pied at ...
A Fresh Pie in the Face For Anita Bryant's Prejudice

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Florida Court Confirms: Gay Adoption Ban Unconstitutional

Florida remains the only US state with a constitutional ban on gay adoption - a ban which is starting to meet substantial political resistance. The political support for the ban is becoming irrelevant, as a series of court decisions have confirmed: anti-gay discrimination is unconstitutional. Two California judges in recent months have found that bans on gay marriage and gay military service are discriminatory and so unconstitutional. This ruling from Florida confirms the pattern: discrimination is not acceptable.
Frank Martin Gill & Partner: Approved Gay Parents
The context for this decision is that four separate lower courts have already approved adoption by suitable gay parents in specific cases, and ruled in each case that the ban is unconstitutional. The present case is the first of the four to have reached the appeals process, in the Miami-Dade Appeals District. If the state appeals the present ruling, the case will reach the state Supreme Court - which is likely to find, as an ever-increasing sequence of courts have done, that discrimination is simply contrary to the American constitution.
This is from Just News:

An appeals court in Miami-Dade County has ruled that Florida's ban on gay adoption unconstitutional.

The Third District Court of Appeal in west Miami-Dade issued the unanimous 3-0 opinion Wednesday morning.

The ruling stems from a case involving a North Miami gay man, Frank Martin Gill, and his partner, who sued to adopt two boys whom they took in as foster children in 2004.

Last year, a trial court judge sided with Gill and his partner, saying the law was unconstitutional. The state challenged the ruling, but now the appeals court has sided with the lower court's decision, saying the law was unconstitutional.
If the state challenges the ruling, the case could end up before the state Supreme Court.

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The Real Mama Grizzlies: Lesbian Moms?

Sarah Palin's understanding of wildlife appears to be no better than her tenuous grasp of social history.  Mrs Palin has been very much in the news over her enthusiastic promotion of a band of crazies  thoughtful, conservative candidates who agree with her own views on education and "traditional family values".   The women in this band she likes to describe as "mamma grizzlies", most recntly Christina O'Donnell in Delaware.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Sarah Palin, With Bear"][/caption]

The problem with the conservative view of the "traditional" family and its values is that has little relation to history, and is in fact a relatively modern invention. The problem with her adoption of mamma grizzlies as her model is that they too scarcely embody the "family values" she claims to support.  Real life mamma grizzlies do not live or mate in the nuclear families she so admires. Rather, they mate in promiscuous, polygamous groups, then raise their young as single mothers - or in collaboration with other females, as family units headed by two women.  The closest human counterparts to real-life "mamma grizzlies" are lesbian couples, with kids - not exactly Christian O'Donnell.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

What Constitutes a “Family”? Empirical Study Finds A Wider View

Religious conservatives are regularly referring to the “traditional family” as a foundation for their beliefs, but there is no such thing. The conservative interpretation of the so-called traditional family is  a relatively modern invention, created to fit the conditions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Western Europe and North America. In earlier times, and other parts of the world. family structures varied enormously from  this particular model.

Family history, like all other history, is constantly changing to fit new circumstances, so it should be no surprise that conceptions of family in the twenty first century are continuing to evolve, to fit a world that is no longer what it was in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Some of these changes are obvious, but like so much that is familiar, can easily be “hidden in plain sight.” A new study by sociologist  Brian Powell brings this into plain view. (His study is specifically of American views, but with the emergence of a shared world culture, many of his findings will also have relevance across a much wider geographic region.)

The central finding is that people no longer define “family” as mom pop and kids, but also include   same-sex couples with children (Children seem to be central: childless couples, gay or straight, are not seen as “families”, but just as couples). However, there is an increasing movement towards acceptance. An important finding, familiar from previous studies on the subject, is that people who know gay people (more accurately, who recognize that people they know are gay), are more supportive than those who are not aware that family members or acquaintances are gay. This simply reinforces the necessity for the wider political struggle, that wherever possible, gay men and lesbians should come out openly, in as many contexts as possible. Coming out personally will improve acceptance in our circles of friends and family. Politicians and other public figures who come out   do so indirectly for the wider community.

I particularly liked an argument on gay adoption that I have been using regularly: framing arguments in terms of the “the best interests of the child” can work to our advantage, not those opposed to gay adoption. (In adoption considerations, the best interests of the child require placement with the best parents available. Sometimes, they will be gay).  Indeed, the claim made (but not elaborated on in the reports I have seen), is that the interests of children may well be a more effective argument than others in making the case for more general equality of same-sex couples.

A majority of Americans now say their definition of family includes same-sex couples with children, as well as married gay and lesbian couples.
At the same time, most Americans do not consider unmarried cohabiting couples, either heterosexual or same-sex, to be a family — unless they have children.
The findings — part of a survey conducted this year as well as in 2003 and 2006 by Brian Powell, a sociology professor at Indiana University, Bloomington — are reported in a new book, “Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and Americans’ Definitions of Family,” to be published on Wednesday by the Russell Sage Foundation. Since the surveys began, the proportion of people who reported having a gay friend or relative rose 10 percentage points, said Professor Powell, the book’s lead author.
“This is not because more people are gay now than in 2003,” he said. “This indicates a more open social environment in which individuals now feel more comfortable discussing and acknowledging sexuality. Ironically with all the antigay initiatives, all of a sudden people were saying the word ‘gay’ out loud. Just the discussion about it made people more comfortable.”
The book concludes that framing the equality of same-sex couples in terms of “the best interests of the child” might prove to be a more successful political argument than others.

Second Poll Confirms: US Majority Support Gay Marriage.

When a CNN poll last month showed for the first time that a majority of Americans supported gay marriage, I was a little cautious. A single poll can always be an aberration, the wording was unusual, and the small tiny (in a split sample, just 250 - half of a sample of 500). However, a new poll with more conventional wording and a more robust sample has produced an almost identical result: 52% support full marriage equality (and 46%
 against, with only 2% "don't know").

Monday, 20 September 2010

Israeli Gay adoption policy undergoes reform

The fundamental principle of "the best interests of the child" in adoption procedures demands that the child be placed with the best possible parents available. Israel is yet another country now recognising that the best available parents just might be a same-sex couple. Adoption regulations have already been modified to allow women to adopt the biological children of their female partners, so becoming recognized as co-parents. The regulations will now be modified further, to allow  men likewise to adopt the children of their male partners born to surrogate mothers.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Israeli Dads, with twins"][/caption]

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Gay Adoption Advances in Florida, Victoria

Gay adoption has achieved three notable gains recently in Argentina and New South Wales (advancing in both by legislative action, both in the face of strong opposition by the Catholic Church), and in Mexico City, where the Constitutional Court ruled that the city’s law on gay marriage also permitted adoption by same sex couples. Less high profile cases which you may ahve missed also illustrate how queer families are gaining legal acceptance in many parts of the world – even in states like Florida, which has a constitutional ban on gay adoption.  


Vanessa Alenier and Melanie Leon : Taking on the Florida Ban in Court

Whereas a few years ago, opposition to gay equality as demonstrated in the ban was exploited by some conservatives as a vote catcher, it is becoming obvious that this has now become something of an electoral liability.  Bill McCollum, the AG who has been responsible for fiercely defending it, became a laughing stock and saw his political career nosedive after reports that George Rekers, his extravagantly paid “expert adviser” had taken a rent boy on a European trip. McCollum lost his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Now, the current governor Charlie Crist says he is unlikely to defend the law in court. It is entirely plausible that after November, neither the new governor nor AG will support it. For that, we will have to wait and see.

Until the state supreme court rules, it is in any case a dead letter. Lower courts have now approved four gay adoptions in specific cases, regularly finding that the ban is unconstitutional.  As these appeals wind their way up the appeals process, other courts will approve adoptions for still more gay and lesbian parents. Then, if the state Supreme Court does in fact rule in favour of the ban, it will no doubt head to the federal courts. Given recent judgements on DOMA, DADT and Prop 8, I cannot see the ban surviving federal judicial scrutiny.

From the Miami Times:

Vanessa Alenier and Melanie Leon faced the Florida third district court of appeal Wednesday in an attempt to keep their adopted son, a relative of Alenier's.

"Wholesome environments is not a synonym for straight," attorney Alan Mishael said.

And From Proud Parenting:

Robert Lamarche became the fourth Floridian who is gay to publicly emerge as an adoptive parent. He is the first gay Floridian from north of Miami-Dade to publicly disclose an adoption. A judge approved the adoption last month, in a Broward County juvenile courtroom. In her decision, Judge Hope T. Bristol wrote that the adoption, "is in the minor's best interest." The state law, Bristol wrote, is unconstitutional - and the state is not objecting to the adoption. Lamarche is adopting a teenage boy he has fostered for about two years.

Victoria, Australia

New South Wales last month became the third Australian territory to legislate for gay adoption, following Western Australia and ACT. But in a move paralleling the process in Florida, a Victoria court has approved a gay adoption even in the absence of legislative sanction.

In an elaborate legal manoeuvre also used elsewhere, a male couple wanting to adopt a child they had already been fostering for several years designated one of them as a sole parent to get around a provision that gay couples may not adopt. The adoption was approved. 

The boy's adoptive father said it had felt like they were going on trial for their sexuality, and the possibility of losing their son had been ''hell''.

''It's been a nightmare … in this limbo state.''

He said it had been a strain on him and his partner to decide who would be the one to adopt, but the outcome was just: ''We feel as though we've done our bit to help pave the path for others.''

Opponents (such as the Catholic Church) regularly claim that they base their stance on “the best interests of the child”. What is important here is that courts, as in Florida, are finding that when it comes down to specific children not abstract principles, “the best interests of the child” frequently demand approval for adoption by gay parents.

The man's partner said he could understand why some people thought every child should have a mother and a father but many children had neither.

He said when they first fostered their son, they had thought he had a speech impediment but then realised he had trouble speaking only because he had been so neglected. He is now confident and articulate, and his dads say he is thriving.

Even if one concedes the debatable claim that children are somehow better off with one mother and one father (and I don’t), quite often this is just not an option.

Karen Field, chief executive of Drummond Street Relationship Centre, said many foster-care agencies actively marketed themselves to gay couples and the state was heavily reliant on the assistance of gay foster carers.

She said the double standard that did not allow gay couples to adopt was ridiculous.

''In worst-case scenarios, you could have someone who could end up not being able to access a child that they've raised for a number of years.''

United Kingdom

In the UK, the principle of gay adoption is established, enshrined in law, and well accepted. The challenge here has been to resist the claims of the Church for special treatment and dispensation from the equality provisions in the law.Earlier this year they appeared to have won their case when amendments to the legislation made provision for the possibility of such exemptions  - but the only Catholic charity which has not adapted to equality for gay couples lost its application to the charity commission for such an exemption.

Europe Wide 

Irrespective of the provisions of national legislation, EU human rights provisions are increasingly holding member states to a union –wide standard of equality.  In France, just such a referral to the EU could change the rules for adoption right across Europe.

A French gay couple who were denied the right to adopt a child will have their case heard by Europe's top rights court, in a case that has won support from rights and gay groups.

In 2006, Valerie Gas applied for an adoption order for the daughter of her long-term partner Nathalie Dubois.

Gas and Dubois had lived together since 1989, and Dubois had a daughter in 2000 from an anonymous donor.

French courts rejected the adoption request, saying it was not in the interests of the child and could deprive Dubois of her rights in respect of the child.

The couple complained to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2007 that the ruling was discriminatory, amd infringed their right to respect for their private life.

In its admissibility decision published on Wednesday, the court found that the case "raised serious issues of fact and law" that required examination.




Also see

Becoming a Parent in a State That's Outlawed Gay Adoption

Friday, 17 September 2010

Minnesota Catholics For, Against Gay Marriage

The Minnesota Independent is reporting that "Catholic bishops preparing anti-gay marriage campaign in Minnesota". The opposition of Catholic bishops to same-sex marriage is well-known and will surprise no-one. What is interesting here is that they see the need for a campaign, that there is a real prospect of marriage equality coming to Minnesota that they believe is a credible threat they need to guard against. They will not have it all their own way.

"Minnesota Catholics Supporting Equality - Twin Cities Pride, 2009"

Gay Adoption Advances in Florida, Victoria – Worldwide.

Gay adoption has achieved three notable gains recently in Argentina and New South Wales (advancing in both by legislative action, both in the face of strong opposition by the Catholic Church), and in Mexico City, where the Constitutional Court ruled that the city’s law on gay marriage also permitted adoption by same sex couples. Less high profile cases which you may have missed also illustrate how queer families are gaining legal acceptance in many parts of the world – even in states like Florida, which has a constitutional ban on gay adoption.
Vanessa Alenier and Melanie Leon : Taking on the Florida Ban in Court

Primary Elections Advance Marriage Equality

In Tuesday’s primary elections (just as in earlier primaries), some clear advances were recorded towards LGBT equality – notably in New York and Maryland, but also elsewhere. Why does this matter to me? I am not a New Yorker, or even American, but a South African now living in Europe.  These successes area important to the queer community everywhere, as part of a much broader pattern that will transform our political landscapes everywhere – the advancing global acceptance of a new understanding of family. This is a theme I will be expanding on for a broader post later today, but first I need to present the evidence – which I do by starting with the primaries in New York and Maryland

Monday, 13 September 2010

Out in Asia: Gay Equality, Nepal

Progress towards queer equality has been remarkable in recent decades, with gay marriage or civil unions now achieving legal recognition in a rapidly increasing number of countries, and protection from discrimination and hate crimes being written into many statute books. Few countries though, have seen a turnaround quite as dramatic as that in Nepal, which has gone from persecution to imminent constitutional protection in just ten years.

First Gay Pride in Nepal, 2010

Gay marriage has been promised, and legal provision for it will shortly be built into the new constitution which is currently being drafted – but even ahead of the legal formalities, same-sex marriages are being conducted. Much of the credit for the remarkable transformation should go to the Blue Diamond gay  rights group, as Thai Indian reports:

Gay rights movement celebrates decade in Nepal

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, Sep 12 (IANS) The only country in South Asia to recognise same sex marriages, Nepal Sunday celebrates a decade of the gay rights movement pioneered by a single group amid widespread persecution.
The Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal’s first gay rights organisation founded in 2001 by the country’s first openly homosexual MP Sunil Babu Pant, has been at the forefront of the sexual minorities’ right movement with such innovative campaigns as a tourism agency promising gay weddings and honeymoons in the lap of Mt Everest and an annual gay pride march in the capital.
On Sunday it celebrates its 10th birthday by holding, for the first time in the entire South Asia, the Mr Lesbian pageant as another remarkable way of spreading awareness about the diversity among the sexual minorities.
“People have this perception of homosexuals as effeminate men wearing women’s clothes,” says Pant, the recipient of several international gay rights awards. “We thought it is time to educate society about the diversity in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.”
Every year, Nepal hosts dozens of beauty pageants for women and now, there is a growing number of contests for men as well. About three years ago, BDS started the Miss Pink contest for transgenders - men who say they are women trapped in a male body - and the winner goes to the final leg of the contest in Thailand to represent Nepal.
“But there are also transgenders who were born female but consider themselves male,” says Pant.
“Male” transgenders started hitting the headlines from 2007 after a trainer in the Nepal Army, Bhakti Shah, was dismissed along with another woman recruit, for an alleged lesbian relationship.
BDS is helping Shah to fight her dismissal in court and get reinstated.
Like the Nepal Army, their arch foe, the opposition Maoist party has also been homophobic. Its People’s Liberation Army dismissed a combatant - now calling herself Manish - for the same reason.
This year, Ramina Hussain, a traffic constable, was suspended after her partner’s family brought a charge of kidnapping in a bid to separate the couple.
However, after intervention by BDS and the media, Hussain has been reinstated.

Yet Another Court Victory for Gay Marriage, Family Equality:

In barely a week, there have been four important court judgements in three American countries that represent important victories for gay marriage and family equality. Immediately after the celebrated judgement in California striking down Proposition 8, the Mexican court ruled that the legal provision for gay marriage in Mexico City was fully constitutional. Yesterday, that same court ruled that marriages in Mexico City must be recognized, and the associated benefits granted, right across all Mexican states. Also yesterday, the court in Costa Rica ruled that a proposed national referendum on civil unions, may not go ahead. There may well be another important advance coming within days: the Mexican court is due to pass judgement on a matter concerning gay adoptions, possibly as soon as tomorrow.

Superficially, the Costa Rican decision may appear the least significant of all three decisions, but I disagree. Although it concerns only civil unions, not full marriage, and the population numbers affected are relatively low, this decision was explicitly based on a fundamentally important matter of principle: the rights of a minority cannot be decided by a majority vote.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="269" caption="A Rainbow Future for Costa Rica"][/caption]
The Constitutional Court's 5-2 decision released Tuesday says such a referendum would put a minority at a disadvantage in a largely Roman Catholic country. It also says gay civil unions is a legislative issue and not an electoral one. The court says it considers homosexuals a group that is at a disadvantage and the target for discrimination, requiring government authorities to protect their rights.

It is still too early to say what is the future for gay marriage in Costa Rica. There may be no progress in the short term, or the legislature may feel emboldened by the progress in Argentina, coupled with this decision, to move ahead.

Whatever the Costa Rican politicians decide for now, one thing is clear: across Latin America, the momentum is now on the side of family equality. Sooner rather than later, same sex marriage and gay adoption will spread right across the continent - and the Catholic church will be no more able to prevent it than they were in Argentina. Then, faced with a fait accompli, the bishops in the region with more Catholics than any other, will have to work with the reality all around them.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Marriage Equality Inching Closer in Maryland, New York?

Just as “gay marriage” is receding as an electoral issue on the US right, it is becoming an issue on the left. Two stated where this of current importance are New York and Maryland.

In Maryland, two recent news reports suggest the signs are promising for a successful attempt at gay marriage  legislation next year. Governor O’Malley appears to have read the tea leaves which show steadily increasing public support for marriage equality. He has stated that if re-elected, even though he would personally prefer to see civil unions, he will sign a gay marriage bill if the legislature presents one.  In a tough year for Democrats, he is not exactly a shoo-in for re-election, but the authoritative Cook Political Report says the race is “leaning” that way. So, the next question is, will the legislature play ball?

Hovernor O’Malley – Gay Ally?

Here too the signs are promising. Attempts at marriage legislation have regularly been launched, and as regularly have stalled.  The prospects for next year though, may be brighter. There are more out LGBT candidates than ever before standing for election, and several have an excellent chance of electoral success. It is entirely possible that the new state legislature could have a stronger caucus of LGBT and gay –friendly legislators. Their success could also send a message to those previously neutral or mildly opposed. Expect a strong push for either full marriage equality, or for civil unions as a compromise, in Maryland next year.

Meanwhile in New York, where the legislative paralysis in the state senate last year was largely precipitated by the fierce opposition of some Democrat senators to the proposals for gay marriage, the backlash has been fierce. Several initiatives to “take back New York” have seen strong primary challenges against the Democrat senators who opposed equality, and especially against two of the ringleaders, Senators Espada and Ruben Diaz Snr, in SD’s 32 and 33.  The outcome of next week’s primaries should be watched closely. If at least one of these, and some other opponents, are booted out, expect a dramatic shift in the political mood, and a much more realistic legislative attempt to achieve marriage equality next year. If both survive, equality will not come to NY state by legislative means for a long while yet.  

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Gay Adoption Passes Final Hurdle in NSW

After the original narrow passage in the lower house of the New South Wales Parliament, it's been somewhat of a to and fro struggle, but the bill has now finally passed. New South Wales has joined ACT (Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia) in providing for adoption by same sex couples.

Typically, the difficulties concerned attempts to deal with religious objections. The original bill passed in the lower house only after an amendment to provide for some exemptions for religious bodies. In the Upper House, a conflicting amendment was passed to narrow the scope of those amendments, requiring that the bill return to the Lower House - then back to the upper house again.
A BILL giving same-sex couples the right to adopt has been passed by the NSW parliament, after the Legislative Council voted in support of a last-minute amendment to the legislation.
The bill passed its final hurdle in the upper house just after 6.30pm (AEST) today, after MPs backed the lower house amendment.
The amendment, made by Planning Minister Frank Sartor, frees up adoption agencies to act on the wishes of parents regarding where their children are adopted. It was made to temper changes made in the upper house on Wednesday night, which narrowed an exemption from the Anti-Discrimination Act for faith-based adoption agencies. MPs have been allowed a conscience vote on the historic legislation, leading to heated debate in both houses of the NSW parliament. NSW is now the third state or territory to allow same-sex adoption, after the ACT and Western Australia.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The "Impact" of Iowa Marriage Equality - Findings From Evidence.

One important feature of Judge Walker's verdict in the Prop 8 trial was his finding that the case against marriage equality rested on claims, of the "harm" done by same sex marriage and the supposed threat to children is based on no evidence whatsoever. The substantial evidence that does exist on gay parents, and the experience from Manhattan and the Netherlands where marriage is well established, is that there is indeed no demonstrable harm - to between sex marriages, or to the children of same-sex couples.

Now yet another independent survey, this one from  Iowa, shows the same finding. "Iowawatch" is an online news service for The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan news service. Their researchers conducted interviews with married couples and professional experts, and examined extensive published urnal articles, marriage statistics, census data, polls and court rulings.

The conclusion? There is no "harm" - at least no more than from the between sense marriages they so closely resemble. These are extracts from an extensive report at Press Citizen:

Although social conservatives in the 2010 election campaign depict gay marriage as a threat to married life as we know it, Iowa's 18-month experience with the newly legalized institution has revealed striking similarities to traditional marriage and no discernible harm to it, according to an IowaWatch study.
Thousands of same sex couples married during that period, and despite the controversy that has swirled around them, their marriages have endured.
The IowaWatch study found that similarities range from the way men and women often view marriage to the more mundane tasks of married life, such as doing yard work. Like people in traditional marriages, same-sex couples also talk about raising children and shielding them from the verbal slings of peers, the stability and unit-strength of a family and the value of loving relationships among parents and children, as well as legal necessities and financial security.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage was unanimous, but the opposition has persisted because it is fueled by fears that that the family, the bedrock of American society, is at stake.
"They shouldn't be allowed to marry," Maggie Gallagher, chairman for the National Organization for Marriage, said in an e-mail. "They shouldn't be allowed to redefine marriage to mean whatever relationship (they) choose."
In sharp contrast, married gays often depict a lifestyle and relationship that seems suburban stable, only now they have a marriage license like other couples."Not much has changed," said Ledon Sweeney of Iowa City, who married his partner of 12 years. "We live pretty boring lives. We go to work; we mow our lawn, we pay our mortgage, and we go on vacation if we can save enough money."

Read the full report at Press Citizen

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Defending Real Families.


The fatal flaw in the argument against gay marriage and gay adoption is that since children “need” a mom and a pop (a dubious proposition in itself), then all mixed  -sex couples make better parents than any same-sex couples. This flaw is tragically highlighted in an open letter to Pastor Joshua Beckley, posted by Derrick Matthis  at RENWL.

There is much in this articulate and thoughtful piece to applaud.  The scandalous part is the professional footballer he cites, Antonio Cromartie, who has eight children from  six different mothers – but struggles to even name them all.   On the other hand, Matthis writes movingly though from deep personal experience, describing his own family, in a graphic image, as a “village” – but also rejoices in the successes within his family, which patently means the world to him.

It is obvious that there are some irresponsible gay men who would make appalling parents – just as there are some straight men who fit the same description. There are many superb mixed couples who raise great families – just as my own parents did. And there are gay and lesbian couples who make excellent parents. Matthis does not make clear whether he is himself either partnered, a parent, or aspires to be either – but just consider the immense pride with which he writes of his siblings and their offspring: of one niece, he writes:

My baby sister's little girl. Thuglette, Bad Stuff, Little Monster, BeBe's kid, Rug Rat...the various nicknames I call her when we're together. Her name is Mya. And she is every beat of my heart.

This is a world away from Comartie , who is unable to name his own kids – yet in the argument against family equality, Comartie is presented as the model, and Matthis as inherently unsuitable to be a father (unless he denies his identity and marries a woman).

I can quote only extracts – so cross to the original, and read the full post, too.


From  RENWL  (Restore Equality Now~ West Adams/LA South Marriage Equality And Community Activists):

Open Letter to Pastor Beckley

Senior Pastor Joshua Beckely

Ecclesia Christian Fellowship

1314 Date Street

San Bernardino, CA 92404

Dear Pastor Beckley:

Based on your commitment to the continued and unchanged definition of marriage I thought since this latest effort didn’t quite work out, that perhaps I could interest you in some other very pressing issues that could use the input of a committed man of the cloth in the African American community. In doing a little background research you seem to be a man who cares deeply and takes every opportunity to give back.

You’re a father, a devoted husband, man of the cloth and community leader. We so need many more like you to help shape the direction of the black community . You must be aware of this already.

There’s a specific issue that hit me HARD in recent days. It came to me in the form of video in a news article. I’d like to share it with you. And please do not be concerned. There’s nothing offensive or unsavory about the contents. But it is very saddening. And its effects continue to rip through our community almost completely unchecked.

You may be aware of NY Jets player Antonio Cromartie. A week or so ago he he was asked about his family, specifically to name all of his children on camera. In the video, Cromartie is seen discussing being a father and when finally asked to name all EIGHT of his children—this is eight children from six different mothers spanned across several states. Cromartie could barely name all of his children.

A sportswriter called this one of the most shameful moments in NFL history. I beg to differ. I find it one of the most shameful recent moments in black American history. The fact that an issue hasn’t previously been made of this gives you an idea of how poorly the idea of the “Family” unit is regarded to a lot of people.

My baby sister, 22 years old. Workin' on that hair last Thanksgiving morning. She is also a single mother raising a child among the village called my family.

…….children born out of wedlock in the United States tend to have poorer health and educational outcomes than those born to married women, but that may be because unmarried mothers tend to share those problems.

Pastor Beckley I’m almost certain that you’re well aware of all of the above and please forgive me if I’m being redundant by reintroducing these statistics and facts to you. But the whole point behind my sharing this with you is that there is an obvious breakdown in terms of the family unit in the black community. The problem is so paramount that I have to be honest, when I see our black church leaders making themselves so visible in matters such as same-sex marriage, I sincerely wonder with deep frustration and sometimes a sense of hopelessness if their priorities are in tandem with the realities impacting the greater black community of this nation.

Pastor Beckley, I write this letter to you not to discourage you from your beliefs or your commitment to your beliefs. I write this letter to you asking you to re-examine all the wonderful truly abundant possibilities for the black community if we decided to focus on our community in a way that serves to strengthen it in every imaginable capacity.

That focus would be on the black family.

And what are the factors that lend to destroying the black family—TODAY. RIGHT NOW. Those things that are serving RIGHT NOW to deteriorate our families: joblessness, poverty, poor education, fatherlessness, high incarceration of our young men—HIV/AIDS infection exploding through the roof in our women and same gender loving men and no prevention funding from the government or state—-so many issues on the menu right now.

Can’t we all work together? Can’t we work to build an inclusive world for our children, all God’s children, to receive the love and nurturing all of them so righteously deserve, today? Can’t we work to create a unified vision as black people that serves to empower all of us?

Family means everything to me. I love my family so much—my siblings, nieces and nephews, my mother, my belated father, that deceased grandmother who worked in the cotton fields of Texas as a child—couldn’t go to school cause she had to help put food on the table. I miss that old lady. I miss her love for the Lord and her strength, and her vast all encompassing love for her children and grandchildren. Most of all I miss her abundant and bottomless love for me. When I told her at 19 years of age that I was gay, she told me, “you are my child. I will love you no matter what.”

I believe that was the day that I finally decided to believe in God, to truly accept God. Before that day I couldn’t. God seemed to belong to someone else. I was afraid and ashamed of who and what I was, the feelings I had. There was no place in God’s heart for me. But finally one day I broke down. And through tears told my NaNa everything. I did this because I trusted her and loved her so much. Throughout all my childhood she never made me feel bad about being me. I knew she wouldn’t turn her back on me if I told her my truth. So I shared with her the things I felt and my fear and shame. And then she said what she said. It was like a great weight was lifted from me. The way I saw it, if Nana loved me no matter what, then God had to feel the same.

And that’s because I learned everything I knew about about God through her. NaNa’s love was unquestionably God’s love as far as I was concerned. Nobody loves the way she did, live with such abundance, gratitude for life and not be a true child of the Lord. Now I’m not the churchy type. I’m not gonna lie. And yes Pastor Beckley, I do believe in the Lord. And his merciful love for all his children.


Again I hope this letter finds you well, Pastor Beckley. I look forward to receiving your thoughts.


Derrick Mathis


Thursday, 2 September 2010

Oz State Premier Stands Up To Cardinal Pell, Secures Gay Adoption for NSW.

Breaking news today is that the New South Wales state assembly has narrowly approved a bill to put LGBT and heterosexual couples on an equal footing for adoption procedures. There are still a few hurdles to clear before this becomes final, but (as far as I can tell), with this one, the biggest has now been cleared. This is big news for queer Catholics. The formidable Cardinal Pell made clear his strong opposition - but the equally strong support of the Catholic NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally, appears to have been decisive in providing just enough resistance.
Kristina Kenneally, Catholic and Advocate for Adoption Equality

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Insight from History into Orientation

The evidence from history, anthropology and the animal kingdom seems clear - it is not "homosexuality" that is unnatural, but exclusive heterosexuality. The trouble lies in that little qualifier "exclusive": if we apply it impartially, then the corollary also holds. Exclusive homosexuality is also "unnatural" - at least in the purely statistical sense, of being rare.

When we speak glibly of the acronym LGBT, we tend to think of the first two, and (sometimes) of the "G" - and overlook almost entirely the "B". This is odd, as the evidence, from human societies across history and from Kinsey's research, is that most people fit naturally along a scale of bisexuality, with relatively few people "naturally" places at either extreme. Yet in the modern (Western) world, the assumption too commonly is the reverse- that either we are "straight", or we are gay or lesbian.  Why should this be? The interpretation I that has been making sense to me, is that the medicalisation of "homosexuality" in the twentieth century led those who are are primarily heterosexual, developing a positive aversion to admitting (let alone expressing) any degree of same sex attraction at all. In reaction and as self- defence, those who are primarily "homosexual" then began to embrace the evidence, from science and from personal experience, that their same-sex attraction is inborn, not a mere lifestyle choice - and in embracing this, embrace also a gay "identity". Yet in earlier centuries, most people would have been puzzled by the very idea of a fixed, exclusive sexual "orientation".

This is a theme I have been wanting to explore and write about for some time, but do not yet have sufficient knowledge to present a reliable exposition. The following passage, which I came across in a review of the play "Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party ", provides a useful description of the historical facts - if not yet the historical explanation for the anomaly:

American culture has always had deep divisions regarding any open display of sexuality. For many right-wingers, the concept of gay equality sticks in the craw because it means admitting that gay people have a right to exist openly. Christians and Jews can find Biblical arguments against homosexuality, but they can't find any in the Constitution. A historical disparity is involved: Homosexual practices, found throughout nature, have probably been part of human life since it first evolved, but homosexuality, as we understand it, has existed for barely more than a century. Oscar Wilde, a married man with two children, who saw his attraction to younger men in part as continuing an ancient Platonic tradition of ideal love, probably did not think of himself as a homosexual—not, at least, until after his imprisonment. He may never even have heard the word, which only came into use in later decades. (And "gay," in Wilde's time, merely meant "loose" or "promiscuous.")

Homosexual identity, often viewed today as a central and absolute character trait, was seen through most of history as a quirk affecting very few. Men—like Lincoln and Joshua Speed—embraced each other, and slept together for warmth; men took sexual advantage of slaves they owned, boys they mentored, servants they employed; prisoners, soldiers, and sailors, apart from women, engaged in clandestine mutual pleasuring. But most of them assumed that, when conditions altered, they would engage with women and presumably produce children. Few, no matter which role they played in the act, would have assumed an exclusively homosexual preference; a great many might have been startled to know that people who thought themselves exclusively homosexual even existed.

Today life's different. Gay is an identity, and a highly politicized, assertive one at that—an inevitable reaction to the millennia during which homosexual acts were stigmatized, outlawed, and persecuted, often violently. Every concern that gays might confront, from coming out to one's parents to becoming parents, has taken on an absolutist mentality, apparently subscribed to by both its adherents and those who wish they would disappear. The secondary cultural traits through which gays in the clandestine era once signaled their shared interest have become a kind of instant public shorthand. Quarterbacks who enjoy showtunes are instantly suspect; 10-year-olds with a gift for classical music conceal their interest for fear of being bullied at school. Future generations may come to regard our time's extreme emphasis on sexual identity as nearly equal in absurdity to the frantic hostility and repugnance that kept same-sex attraction clandestine in preceding centuries.

- Full review at Village Voice

The Turning (Conservative) Tide for Family Equality

One of the tragedies of the struggle for marriage equality has been the way the rightwing opposition has been able to portray this as a contest between the supporters of "marriage", and those bent on destroying the institution. This is clearly not so - the advocates for marriage and family equality are not wanting to destroy it, but to enlarge and strengthen it by bringing more couples and families under its legal protections. The opponents, on the other hand, who have insisted on a narrow and rigid, relatively modern interpretation which they insist on terming "traditional" marriage in total contradiction of all historical evidence, who who have re-interpreted and distorted it - and largely destroyed it themselves, with high rates of divorce and teen pregnancy. (Both of these rates are highest in the states most strongly opposed to marriage and family equality.)

Times, however, are changing. For some time, there have been signs that opposition to gay marriage is no longer the magic GOP vote winner that it once was. Earlier this year, the NOM poured big money into Republican Iowa primary races in support of state level candidates who promised to overturn last year's court judgement in favour of marriage - and they lost heavily. (In the same primaries, tea party candidates who steered clear of the marriage issue did well). More recently, in the wake of Judge Walker's judgement overturning the Prop 8 win against marriage, it was notable how Republican politicians were carefully avoiding notable comment.

The stance of the tea party is instructive, as it highlights one of the reasons conservative voices are now starting to speak up in favour of same sex marriage (or, more accurately, against laws to prevent it.) This is the libertarian belief that good government is limited government - and one of the areas where government should be just about entirely absent, is in the privacy of our bedrooms and families, especially at a time when there are urgent matters of jobs and the economy requiring attention. This was explicitly the argument used by Glen Beck last month, when he said

Friday, 20 August 2010

Queer Gods: The Chinese Rabbit God

This tale concerns a young official of the Fujian province, who was very handsome and intelligent. His beauty captured the heart of a man called Wu Tien Bao, who followed the official wherever he went. Every time the official appeared for a court case, Wu attended. The official became aware of Wu's constant presence, but he did not know why he was following him.

One day, Wu was caught peeping at the official's ass through a toilet wall. After several rounds of beating with bamboo stakes, he confessed that he was attracted to the official. When the official knew the reason, he was so angry that he ordered more punishment and Wu died under heavy torture.
After Wu's death, he told his friend in a dream that "even though it was improper to peep at a man, it was done only because of love and should not have been punished with death. Now the court officials in the nether world have assigned me as Rabbit God to safeguard loving affairs between men, and you should build a temple for me."

The friend built the temple. When there were quarrels between gay couples or when someone suffered for gay love, they went to this temple to worship the Rabbit God, Wu Tien Bao, and they were usually aided by the Rabbit God in their quests.
This story may have inspired the construction of temples to the Rabbit God, though none have been precisely identified. There was, however, a temple in Southern China called "Double Flowers Temple," where a deceased gay couple was worshipped by the general public. The temple was destroyed by the Japanese army during the World War II and no longer exists.

(From glbtq encyclopedia of glbtq culture) 

The Wikipedia post on the Rabbit god states that a modern temple, designed to resuscitate worship of the deity by gay men, has been built in Taiwan.