Senator Elizabeth Warren Speech On Boston Marathon Bombings: ‘We Will Not Be Broken’ (VIDEO)

Mr. President, I rise today to give my first speech from the floor of the United States Senate.

I rise with a heart heavy with mourning, but I also rise with the gratitude of a fearless people – gratitude for the nation’s prayers, strength, and resolve.

Two days ago, there was a cowardly and despicable terrorist attack in the city of Boston. Two times, blasts from hidden bombs rocked the streets of Copley Square. Two times, courageous Bostonians ran toward danger to help their fellow citizens. Three were killed. More than one hundred and seventy were wounded. Many remain in critical condition.

Two days ago was Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts.

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On Terror, Tyranny and Cowardice

On Monday in Boston, we were assaulted by two bombings carried out by unknown assailants for unknown reasons. This stealth act of terrorism, perpetrated on unsuspecting, peaceful and innocent civilians needs to be called out for what it is: cowardice.

On Wednesday in the United States Senate, we were assaulted by the tyranny of the National Rifle Association when forty-five sycophant Senators voted against background checks for gun purchases and transfers for reasons that they can neither articulate nor defend without deceit or deflection.

Today, Thursday April 18, 2013, is the anniversary of the day when two hundred and thirty-eight years ago men of courage stood up against tyranny at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Two hundred and thirty-eight years ago today, a handful of determined farmers standing in for hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens fought against a tyrant who neither represented nor honored the interests of the people.

Yesterday, forty-five senators grossly dishonored the spirit of that first Patriot’s Day. Yesterday, forty-five senators buckled to the tyranny of the National Rifle Association, and refused to fight for the interests of the 90% of the American people who support background checks as a measure to guard against guns falling into the hands of criminals and terrorists. Yesterday, forty-five senators betrayed their duty to represent their constituents and chose instead to succumb to the tyranny of the NRA representing not the American people but gun manufacturers and arms dealers.

The “no” vote by these forty-five senators needs to be called out for what it is: cowardice.

As yet, we have no names or motive to attach to the cowards responsible for the carnage in Boston. But we do have the names of each and every one of the senators whose shameful votes yesterday will contribute to the continued carnage made possible by the unfettered sale and distribution of guns and assault weapons to individuals with no precautions legislated for background checks.

Should you chose to voice your outrage at their betrayal of the values of representative government for which American patriots have fought and sacrificed for two hundred and thirty-eight years, here are the twitter handles of those cowardly senators:

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) — @SenAlexander

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) — @KellyAyotte

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) — @SenJohnBarrasso

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) — @MaxBaucus

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) — @SenatorBegich

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) — @RoyBlunt

Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) — @JohnBoozeman

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) — @SenatorBurr

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) — @SaxbyChambliss

Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) — @SenDanCoats

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) — @TomCoburn

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) — @SenThadCochran

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) — @SenBobCorker

Sen. Jon Cornyn (R-Texas) — @JohnCornyn

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) — @MikeCrapo

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — @SenTedCruz

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) — @SenatorEnzi

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) — @SenatorFischer

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) — @JeffFlake

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — @GrahamBlog

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) — @ChuckGrassley

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) — @SenOrrinHatch

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) — @SenatorHeitkamp

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) — @SenDeanHeller

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) — @SenJohnHoeven

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) — @jiminhofe

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) — @SenatorIsakson

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) — @Mike_Johanns

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) — @SenRonJohnson

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) — @SenMikeLee

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — @McConnellPress

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) — @JerryMoran

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — @lisamurkowski

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — @SenRandPaul

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) — @robportman

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) — @SenMarkPryor

Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) — @SenatorRisch

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) — @SenPatRoberts

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — @marcorubio

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) — @SenatorTimScott

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) — @SenatorSessions

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) — @SenShelbyPress

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) — @SenJohnThune

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) — @DavidVitter

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) — @SenatorWicker

Related Readings:

“Shame On You!”: Senate Rejects Gun Background Check Compromise

WATCH: Obama Slams ‘Shameful Day For Washington’ After Senate Kills Gun Bill

Catholic bishops: Background check vote shows a ‘failure in moral leadership’

How the NRA Impeded the Boston Bomber Investigation

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No More: A Letter to Chief Justice John Roberts

Chief Justice John Roberts

Supreme Court of the United States

Dear Mr. Chief Justice:

How much more violation must gay men and women suffer before you decide No More?

This past week, Roger Gorley was beaten by police while being forced to leave the bedside of his domestic partner at the Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, despite a standing Presidential directive granting full visitation rights to gay and lesbian partners, despite having the necessary medical power of attorney, and despite the insistence of his partner, “I want him here.” None of this was to any avail. The hospital deferred instead to an estranged brother and sister of the patient because they claimed they were next of kin.

What will it take for you to rule that same-gender partners are next of kin. How much data — how much more human suffering — will it take to satisfy you that same-gender couples deserve the full privileges and equal protections of the law that you enjoy with your spouse, and that you would want your kids and their spouses to enjoy, whomever they marry.

This past week, New Mexico’s Governor Susana Martinez chose to veto legislation that would have helped same-gender spouses and domestic partners of gay military personnel obtain professional work licenses in New Mexico, while moments later she signed an identical bill that made the same help available to spouses in heterosexual military couples.

Your Honor, in your comments from the bench two weeks ago during the Court’s oral arguments on California’s Prop 8, you wondered out loud whether at the heart of the move for marriage equality, the real issue was just one of a “label” – whether the real issue was just one of wanting to use marriage to qualify the relationship between two men or two women, where civil union already carried the same legal weight (at least in California).

No Your Honor, we can use all that other language until we are blue in the face — civil union, domestic partner, even husband, wife and spouse if we come from a state that has legalized same-gender marriage — but there are 29 states where none of that carries any recognition much less any force of law.  There are 29 states that, either by statute or by constitutional amendment, ban any legal recognition of same-gender relationships and bar any familial rights to partners of a same-gender couple. Missouri is one of those states. As a result, we witness the self-righteous actions of the Kansas City medical center staff and the police. But, New Mexico is not one of those states. In fact in New Mexico, neither the constitution nor the marriage statute explicitly forbid same-gender marriage and neither explicitly define marriage as between a man and a woman. But the Governor, when given the choice, decided that same-gender military spouses should not enjoy the same legal benefits as do their heterosexual armed forces’ neighbors.

No Your Honor, the movement for marriage equality is not labor for a label. The movement for marriage equality is a struggle to be treated with equanimity. Same-gender couples are grossly discriminated against throughout the United States because states laws allow for it. The dignity of same-gender couples is violated every day by politicians and citizens alike living in 29 states because they can. And they do. And it is legal.

And it is unseemly.

Your Honor, I suspect that not often does a case appear before the Supreme Court that carries with it the capacity to clarify our character as an American people — all deserving of equal dignity before the law. So, again I ask: How much more indignation must same-gender spouses and domestic partners suffer before you can bring yourself to rule No More?

Respectfully,

Peter Alduino

 

Sources:

Gay Man Separated from Husband in Hospital was Beaten and Harassed

New Details Emerge About Roger Gorley’s Arrest for Refusing to Leave Sick, Gay Partner

Updates:

Hospitalized Missouri Man’s Arrested Husband, Straight Brother Speak Out

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What Ugly Looks Like

 

Earlier this week, in an ugly display of bigotry, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez vetoed legislation that would have helped same-gender spouses and domestic partners of gay military personnel obtain professional licenses in New Mexico, while moments later she signed an identical bill that made the same help available to spouses of heterosexual military couples.

The legislation expedites the licensing process for spouses of military personnel or recent veterans who relocate to New Mexico and who need to become licensed in order to work — such as teachers or counselors.  The expedited licensing process will allow them to quickly begin to work. State agencies will be required to issue a license to professionals related to military personnel “as soon as practicable,” if the applicant is already licensed in another state.

But related to military personnel does not include same-gender spouses or domestic partners in the legislation that is now law — a deliberate and exclusionary choice made by this governor. Salon reports, “red tape will still delay same-sex spouses of active duty and veteran service members looking for work in the state, creating a two-tiered system for gay and straight spouses.”

Let’s be clear. Gay service members extend themselves on behalf of the United States and the American people, including New Mexicans, every bit as much as straight members of the military. If, God forbid, they are injured or maimed, they too have to wait every minute of the over 270 days that it now takes on average to start a regular flow of benefits from the Veterans Administration. Yet Governor Martinez, given the choice, decided that she would saddle gay service members and their families with an additional burden as they struggle to provide for one another, just because she could. That is called animus — an usually prejudiced and often spiteful or malevolent ill will.

And then she had the brass to claim:

When military families and recent veterans move to New Mexico, we have to make it easier for them to support themselves and get to work. This legislation will end the burdensome process of requiring these already-licensed nurses, teachers, counselors, and other professionals to start over from the beginning when they are transferred to our state. I’m pleased that we are now removing this red tape and making it easier for our troops, veterans, and military spouses to get to work right away.

What she neglected to add was, unless you’re gay.

New Mexico’s constitution and marriage statute do not explicitly forbid same-gender marriage and do not explicitly define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Two years ago, the state’s attorney general issued an opinion that same-gender marriages performed in other states could be recognized in New Mexico, and while an opinion does not carry the force of law, there is no statute to the contrary.

Martinez’s choice to veto legislation that specifically included honorable gay members of the United States military and instead sign legislation that excludes them from the benefits enjoyed by their straight counterparts needs to be called out for what it is. It is bigotry. It is animus. It’s what ugly looks like.

Sources:

New Mexico governor vetoes bill to help families of gay soldiers (Salon)

N.M. Governor Vetoes Bill to Help Gay Military Families (Advocate)

Santa Fe Mayor Urges Allowing Same-Sex Marriage in New Mexico

NY Vets See Increase in Wait Time for Benefits

Disability-Compensation Claims for Veterans Lag as ‘VA Backlog’ Worsens

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I Just Wanted to Be Cool

I just wanted to be cool.

Now that I am approaching 58, perhaps as a result of my many years of psychotherapy or perhaps by grace of my living with someone who tells me every day he loves me very much, I feel about as cool as I need to be. Which is to say that I no longer really feel I need to be cool. And, I don’t think cool is the essence of what I was longing for – for decades. No. What I needed all along those decades of desperation (and depression), and what I indeed feel now, at long last, is a sense of connection. Today, above all, I feel a deepening and widening sense of connection with myself – or more accurately, with the parts of myself that I tried to bury or hide from for so long, because THEY were not cool. Rage, sadness, loneliness and shame.

Cool is in the eyes of the beholder – admirers, those who are envious. I was one of those who was envious. I wanted to be like one of the cool people, one of the A-list, one of the admired. And so I would imitate, or more like it, I would try to imitate – naturally without believing in myself in the process. What I believed instead was that I was a wanna-be, a fraud. While I really wanted to be a part of the crowd, in reality, I felt apart from the crowd, even if I was in their midst, and surrounded by them, and doing stuff with them, and dating them, and even sleeping with them. I felt apart. And in essence, I was apart, but not from them. I was apart from myself. I harbored a deep-seated feeling that I was not worthy, that I was not really particularly likeable, much less loveable.

At base, I did not love myself. I did not treat myself with dignity and respect. I thought of myself with contempt for not being everything I thought I needed to be in order to merit my own esteem. I was ashamed of myself for not being perfect – or rather, for being imperfect in too many ways.

The cool people weren’t perfect. But I discounted their flaws as inconsequential. They were still cool. I believed my flaws were too many, too overwhelming – and as a result, I didn’t feel at ease in their presence. I always felt out-of-place – pretending as if I were, when inside I was telling myself I wasn’t. Trying too hard to fit in while feeling inside that I just didn’t belong. And not being able to figure out why, but instead feeling badly about myself for feeling badly about myself. Ugh, it was quicksand.

Recommended Reading:

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

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Powerful Open Letter to the Supreme Court from a Gay Couple with Three Adopted Kids (VIDEO)

Written by Jack Montgomery. Published at www.dearscotus.com on Mar 27, 2013

Dear Justice Scalia as well as your distinguished peers serving on the Supreme Court,

First let me thank you for hearing the historic cases this week on California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). My husband, Kelly Vielmo, and I adopted three beautiful siblings from DC’s foster care system last year. Being an inter-racial, same-sex family we are used to being conspicuous and sometimes the center of attention on a local level depending on where we happen to be. With the cases being heard in the Supreme Court this week our family is now on debate at the national level. With that said I am following with interest your ruling on these cases. One comment that stuck with me was the speculation of potential “deleterious” effects of kids having same-sex parents. After I looked up deleterious (adj. causing harm or damage) I had to reflect on the harm and damage that has been done to my children. I know that you are listening to these cases from a nationally-scaled legal point of view, but the intent of this letter is to offer you the lens and point of view of one individual family your rulings will affect.

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Today, I Am Reborn a Non-Catholic

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To His Eminence: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York

Today is Easter Sunday, the day in the Catholic calendar most devoted to the celebration of rebirth. Today, in this 48th year since my Confirmation into the Catholic Church, I choose to be reborn a non-Catholic. I am renouncing both my Baptism and Confirmation into the Church. You will find my 1965 Remembrance of Confirmation, performed by Bishop Fearns at St. Ignatius Loyola on Park Avenue, returned with this letter. A record of my Baptism should be in the records of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament on West 71st Street. Please remove me from your roster of adherents.

Why?

Today, on national television, you offered that gay couples are entitled to friendship, but you added that in the eyes of the Catholic Church, they were precluded from the happiness that comes from a loving, long-lasting romantic relationship. Here are the exact words you used in your exchange with the host of the program:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): And you know, especially this week – because it’s been at the top of the news – for many gay and lesbian Americans –– gay and lesbian Catholics, they feel unwelcome –– in the Church. And what do you say as a minister, as a pastor – to a gay couple that comes to you and say, “We love God. We love the Church. But we also love each other, and we –– want to raise a family in faith. What do you say to them?

DOLAN: Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, “I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness. And – and we – we want your happiness. But – and you’re entitled to friendship.” But we also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that – especially when it comes to sexual love – that is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally. We gotta be – we gotta do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And I admit, we haven’t been too good at that.

And so once again, Your Eminence, you affirmed that the position of the Catholic Church is that marriage is intended only for a man and a woman. Fair enough. I would have expected nothing different, nothing less. But to add that gay couples are just entitled to friendship, and that anything more is precluded by God, Your Eminence, you are just wrong!

I am a gay man. I am in a 12-year relationship – a relationship that has endured much longer than 50% of the marriages in this country – a relationship which has seen its ups and downs, its fun and its frustrations, its honeymoon periods and its less than honeymoon periods. My honey, as I call my partner, and I have struggled to know one another, to appreciate and accept one another’s peculiarities, to talk candidly, to argue and to compromise with one another. We have learned to both embrace interdependence and safeguard independence. Along the way, where a lot of couples might have called it quits, we called a couples therapist and made weekly visits. And we are stronger for it. You better believe this is a friendship. And you better believe this is a whole lot more – regardless of whether you deny it. Regardless of whether you would deny us, and hundreds of thousands of couples like us, respectful inclusion in the institution that treats what we have together as a whole lot more than a friendship, it is. And it deserves to be honored as such. And Your Eminence, the happiness that you say was intended only for a man and women in marriage, God is granting that to us too.

There are other Churches that would welcome and honor what we have built together as more than a friendship. Even the new Pope Francis, while he was battling same-gender marriage laws in Argentina (a campaign he cast as a “war of God”), worked behind the scenes to start a conversation in favor of civil unions as an alternative – as a way to recognize that what loving, long-term gay couples have is more than friendship, and is entitled to be treated as more than friendship. You have never even hinted at such a generosity of spirit.

You are the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. That makes you the highest-ranking Catholic cleric in the country. I accept that your pronouncements reflect the position of the Church in the United States. Your Eminence, your words on this Easter morning, on this day of rebirth, have given me the final bit of inspiration I have needed to be reborn. I leave the Church with no ill will. I leave because I am ill at heart with each new Church pronouncement of the limitations of God’s desires for me, for my happiness, and for the fullness of my experience as a human being, born in His image, just because I am gay.

Today, I am reborn a non-Catholic.

Respectfully,

Peter Alduino

cc: His Holiness, Pope Francis

Response:

Response from Cardinal Dolan (April 9 2013)

Source:

Cardinal Dolan To Gay Couples: You’re Only ‘Entitled To Friendship’

Cardinal Dolan Interviewed by George Stephanopoulos (VIDEO)

On Gay Unions, a Pragmatist Before He Was a Pope

Related Readings:

If the Church is Serious About Welcoming Gays… (NYT, Op-ed)

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