September 11th:
Gay Victims And Heroes
-- And Victims
Michael Lombardi-Nash

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"[Gays and lesbians are] left out of my program to the extent that their own state doesn't include them. I cannot get into a position in this program, which has a one-and-a-half or two-year life start second-guessing what the state of New York or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the state of Virginia or New Jersey, how they treat same-sex partners, domestic live-ins, etc. I simply say this: What does your state law say about who is eligible? If your state law makes you eligible, I will honor state law. If it doesn't, I go with the state. Otherwise, Tim, I would find myself getting sued in every state by people claiming that I'm not following how the state distributes money. I can't get into that local battle. I've got to rely on state law."
-- Kenneth Feinberg on NBC's "Meet the Press," March 10, 2002.

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Michael Lombardi-Nash, Ph.D."
Subject: Re: September 11, 2001: Gay Victims & Heroes
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 22:14:22 -0800

I posted the Feinberg quip in Scary Quotes the very day he uttered it. Here it is. This link is permanent, and will always take you (ahem!) straight to the quote:
http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/feinbgframe.htm

In case you don't have Microsoft Internet Explorer (hold the mouse over the lower picture of him), the caption for the lower picture says,

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Kenneth Feinberg, indicating how much partners of 911 victims who have not undergone (or who, by law, cannot undergo) the religious ritual of marriage will receive from this ''Christian Nation.'' Kenneth Feinberg, indicating how much the partners of 911 victims who have not undergone (or who, by law, cannot undergo) the religious ritual of marriage will receive from this "Christian Nation."

 

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Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Six-and-one-half years of service
     to people with no reason to believe

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Unanimously
Carried by Senate

Mychal Judge Bill Killed
at Behest of White House
Sammi Ruth Fowler

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"Mychal Judge" bill, named for the gay firehouse chaplain who died on September 11, is yanked from a House vote. "The White House had a problem with it," a GOP aide says. The bill, which the Senate passed unanimously, would amend a 1976 law giving federal benefits to slain public-safety officers' families; it would extend benefits to Judge's sisters and to estates of nine other victims without spouses, children or parents. A Justice Department memo says the change is unneeded.

 

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Cliff Responds:

Please keep in mind that atheists are the least likely of any social class (besides homosexuals) to have undergone the particularly religious ritual known as "marriage," currently restricted, by law, to heterosexual couples.

Please see my write-up on this fact in my recent piece, "Atheists Come to Power."

By pointing out the vast differences in marriage rates between religious and nonreligious people, and by suggesting that marriage is, in fact, more of a religious rite than anything else, perhaps we can put the brakes on this move to define "marriage" as a union between a man and a woman, which would be fine except that the amendment takes the additional step of forbiding states from granting to unmarried people benefits that have traditionally been enjoyed by those who have "been to the altar," as they say.

Cliff Walker

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Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.