rainbow-fist

Why Only Three?

Why were there only 3 charged and “arrested” for the anti-gay bashing attack that took place in Center City Philadelphia when there were at least 10 to 12 suspects at the scene?

The two unidentified victims, 26 and 28 year old boyfriends, and several witnesses told NBC Philadelphia that at least two men and six women from the group called the victims “dirty fags” before launching a brutal physical attack on them.

Both victims, beat unconscious, received multiple facial fractures, one had severe bruising on his face and will be required to have his jaw wired shut for two months.

The only three charged, 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, 24-year-old Kathryn Knot, and 24-year-old Philip Williams, turned themselves in to Central Detectives Wednesday. They were arraigned and released on bail around 3:30 AM.

Knott was released on $50,000 bail, while Williams and Harrigan were released on $75,000 bail.

Some have questioned the Philadelphia Police Departments’ handling of the case. Why did it take 6 days to make an arrest after the attackers were identified by the public? One police source told Philly mag this week that police “don’t have time” to investigate “simple” crimes like these.

If this is the mindset of the cop on the beat, then our community has a problem with the police department as a whole. Yes we may have an LGBT police liaison committee but what good are they when cops on the beat believe such brutal hate attacks are “simple” crimes and that they “don’t have time?”

The police commanders seem to know what to say but if it is not being transferred down to men and women in the ranks then that leadership needs to be questioned. Imagine a racially biased attack, would the Philadelphia Police ranks not have time to investigate such a crime?

It should be noted that Knott’s father is the Police Chief in Chalfont, PA. The question arises, what “professional” courtesy was extended to her and the others charged because of this fact?

Why did the police not go to their homes, arrest them, and place them handcuffed in the back of a police car? Why was the courtesy extended to allow these three suspects to turn themselves in, two through a back door?

But the question still begs, why only three out of at least 10 noted suspects?

When Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams was questioned about this his office replied with the following statement:

Based on the evidence, statements from both victims and eyewitness accounts at the scene, the three defendants are the only ones who assaulted the victims in this case.

The defendants have been charged with serious state crimes carrying significant, potentially lengthy sentences.

But according to reports from the victims and witnesses there were at least two men and six women involved in the attack.

When asked if Williams would ask the federal government to pursue federal hate crime charges against the defendants the response was . . .

The availability of additional federal charges, if any, would be a matter of concurrent jurisdiction that would not in itself preclude prosecution in state court.

Is Williams, who is rumored to be running for mayor, playing to his LBGTQ audience for votes? Did he calculate that three persons charged should be enough to secure an LGBTQ voting block?

Are you really telling me that there were no other charges that can be applied to the other attackers? Or do you want us to believe that only three people did this attack while the others watched. Spectators that never called the police to report the attack and who knew who the attackers were and did not immediately come forward and identify them when they were being sought on charges.

Yesterday a rally was held by politicians in Love Park, the usual people came out calling for a Pennsylvania hate crimes bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. “We want it and we want it now” was the message.

Where have they been in their righteous indignation for the last 10 years? Why did it take a vicious homophobic attack to bring the need for an inclusive hate crime to reach critical mass?

I commend those who came out to support the rally, but rather than rallies we need protest, rather than speeches we need marches. There needs to be a massive protest march to get our point across.

Our righteous indignation must be heard. Three is not enough, nor is non-hate crimes charges. If ever there was a case for federal hate crime charges to be brought this is it. Anything else is a slap in the face the LGBTQ citizens in Philadelphia.

Rather than politicians telling us what they would like to happen, they should be using their positions in elected office to get the feds to get involved immediately.

Three is just not enough?

Philadelphia Gay Bashing Victim

The Hate Crime That Wasn’t

It happened on September 11 at 10:45 PM near the intersection of 16th and Chancellor Streets in Philadelphia’s toniest neighborhood, Rittenhouse Square, the hate crime that wasn’t.

After a night at a private party at La Viola West restaurant, a group of twentysomethings, apparently graduates of Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, came upon two men walking together. As the group of about 12 males and females approached the men they started to hurl anti-gay slurs to the pair. Someone in the group then asked the men is they were a couple and when they answered in the affirmative all hell broke loose.

The well dressed college age thugs, both male and female, allegedly attacked the couple, aged 26 and 28, punching and kicking them in the face, head and chest. Both men, 27 and 28, were later taken to Hahnemann Hospital, where one was treated for broken bones in his face and had to have his jaw wired shut, police said.

One of the victims also had his wallet and phone stolen by the preppy-looking crew.

On Tuesday the Philadelphia Police released a video of the suspects walking in the area of the attack. The video quickly went viral on social media. Then a Twitter user in San Francisco received from a friend of a friend a photo of a group of people in a restaurant who looked very similar to the suspects the police were looking for from the video.

After that a New Jersey man retweeted the picture and asked followers to help identify the restaurant.

Several users recognized it as La Viola West.

Caught like deer in the headlights, these suspects are already lawyering up and according to press reports are planning on turning themselves in shortly.

Many people in the community took to social media and blasted the suspects by threatening violence and vigilante justice. This knee jerk reaction, while wrong, was very understandable. But violence is not the answer. Nor is a foolish call for a boycott of La Viola. Such talk and energy is useless.

I am angry as anything that in the city that I love so very much this type of crime can happen to two innocent people just because they are gay.

Initially the Philadelphia Police stated that they were investigating this attack as a hate crime, but DA Seth Williams had to correct them on that. In Pennsylvania the hate crimes bill does not cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

This was a hate crime that really didn’t happen. That is where our anger and energy need to be directed. We must demand that the Pennsylvania legislature immediately pass a stand along bill that addresses this inequity; one that is all inclusive of our community.

If this does not happen we should be taking to the streets in solidarity for the gay couple bashed by the anti-gay thugs and protest the inaction of the legislature and the failure to offer us as a people basic hate crime protections. Enough is enough.

And the South Shall Rise

After so many victories on the marriage equality front and with same-sex marriage sailing towards the Supreme Court, LGBTQ civil rights groups are shifting their attention to the Deep South. With a focus on improving job protections, passing local non-discrimination ordinances, bolstering the rights of gay parents, reducing anti-gay bullying in schools and nudging change in places that have resisted it, these organizations are moving forward in creating change.

Take an unlikely local LGBTQ rights advocate for example, Rev. Rob Hill, a Methodist pastor in Natchez, Mississippi who is now promoting LGBTQ rights in his rural community.

In July Hill came out of the closet in a big way . . . during a news conference orchestrated by the Human Rights Campaign, which “is pouring $9.5 million into an effort to push the needle of public opinion in the Deep South,” according to the Washington Post.

Being open and demanding equal treatment is exactly what the HRC is hoping local LGBTQ people and others in the region eventually will do. HRC has set up permanent offices in Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama this summer in the hopes of swaying public opinion in a region that has been resisting the tide of LGBTQ rights.

The Washington Post reports that “there is reason for HRC to be optimistic. Over the past year, eight small towns across Mississippi have passed resolutions meant to create a welcoming atmosphere for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Most of them passed unanimously.”

It was around that time that the Human Rights Campaign began its work in Mississippi, and eventually the group asked him to head the project. His job would be to meet lots and lots of people. He would help shepherd local resolutions and cultivate relationships with religious leaders — friendly and not — and collaborate with a lobbyist in the capital to resist anti-gay legislation and push favorable bills.

Hill has quit the church and took a position with the HRC as head of their Mississippi initiative and is working with progressive members of the rural community in advancing local non-discrimination ordinances.

I am a child of the South. My mother and her family were from Georgia, have been for hundreds of years. My many southern relatives fought for the Confederacy. I love the south but it needs to change its views on LGBTQ equality, but I know that once again it will rise again with greater equality for all.

Yes the south is slowly changing, and after the Supreme Court affirms marriage equality for all it will be a big boost to overall equality. But there are many miles to go before we can rest. Stay informed about the news from the south by reading out weekly queerNEWS links from around the world.

toothache

Toothache

The discerning QUEERtimes reader, which are all of you, have figured out by now that Thom Cardwell and I are producing Philadelphia’s new LGBTQ film Festival, qFLIX Philadelphia. So I won’t hash on it in this column again. However, I would be amiss if I did not thank those people who have already purchased their ALL ACCESS badges. This was done with very little programming announced and is a real vote of confidence for Thom and myself and the new community festival. Again, thank you for your confidence. We will not let you down.

Now, as I write, I’m suffering from a fricking toothache from a recent dentist visit and they can’t fit me in until next Friday. Thank God I have a large bottle of Aleve.

Speaking of toothaches, or things that are a fricking pain, what the heck is wrong with Pennsylvania and their lack of a non-discrimination law that includes lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and queer citizens. I’ve been writing about this subject for seven years now and quite frankly I’m tired of doing it.

I go as far back as blaming Ed Rendell for failure to use his political power to push through an inclusive non-discrimination bill when he had the opportunity as Governor. Yes, I know he has been a great ally, but he messed up back then and he’s never owned up to it.

Sadly with our advances on the marriage equality front in Pennsylvania, we can still be fired in 70% of the state for being gay. We can be thrown out of our apartments and denied other protections afforded to heterosexual people just for being who we are.

But today we have new champions on the fore front of the battle for equality.

Brian Sims comes to mind.

As Sims sails through to Election Day, which by default he has already won, this bulwark of a leader in our fight for equality is a testament to those who went before him and those who will follow. He has brought national attention to Pennsylvania’s hypocrisy; marriage equality okay, work place equality not.

While Sims has his distractors, sadly within our own community, I believe that he has done more to help advance our equality than most others have as a person his age. He is a testament to the good will and leadership that exemplifies our community.

But Sims cannot do it alone, and he is not. There is Ted Martin of Equality PA who fights daily on the frontline of our Pennsylvania non-discrimination battle. He is a godsend to the fight and should be thanked roundly for his efforts on our behalf.

Then there are the political funders of races that are important for our advancement, people like community angel Mel Heifetz, the number one political donor in Pennsylvania. This man is an example of a giving heart; we could only hope to be as giving as this man has been to all the causes of in community.

Here’s to all the members of our community who lead, work and give to the advancement of our freedoms. With diligence, hard work, and discipline the sources of our long discomfort with fade away and we will finally be a free and equal people.

US Supreme Court Rainbow Flag

On the Way to the Supreme Court

According to reports by the AP, the defenders of the ban against marriage equality in Indiana and Wisconsin have had a hard time before a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago.

Attorneys general in both states asked the appellate court to permanently restore the bans, which were ruled unconstitutional in June.

“Often-blistering questions” were asked of the attorneys representing the two states, with “one Republican appointee judge comparing them to laws, now defunct, that once outlawed weddings between blacks and whites.”

The AP reports that, “Judge Richard A. Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, hit the backers of the ban the hardest. He balked when the Wisconsin assistant attorney general, Timothy C. Samuelson, repeatedly pointed to tradition as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage.”

Judge Posner said, “It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry — a tradition that got swept away.” Prohibition of same-sex marriage, he said, derives from “a tradition of hate” and “savage discrimination” of gays.

Think of those words from a conservative judge . . . derives from “a tradition of hate” and “savage discrimination” of gays. What clarity of the overall situation.

The AP writes that Posner ran “through a list of psychological strains that the children of unmarried same-sex couples could face, including having to struggle to grasp why their schoolmate’s parents were married and theirs were not.”

“What horrible stuff,” he said. What benefit to society in banning same-sex marriage, he asked, outweighs that kind of harm to children?”

Judge Posner questioned the state’s attorneys with such insight that one could only feel pride for the man.

By all accounts Posner shredded the attorneys representing Indiana and Wisconsin and he became the darling of our community, well, at least those of us who follow such things.

It appears that Posner will not restore the state bans as requested by the states on the grounds of equal protection and his arguments will only support our position as marriage equality now races to the Supreme Court.

The AP reports that the 10th Circuit, in Denver, declared same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma to be unconstitutional, and the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., overturned Virginia’s ban. In each case, application has been stayed pending appeals to the Supreme Court. The Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, has heard arguments on marriage restrictions as well, but it has not yet issued a decision.

The arguments put forth by states who are defending their bans on marriage equality will not withhold scrutiny, as Judge Posner proved that in his questioning. And for that we should be very grateful.

depressed

Depression – The Silent Killer

To remember Robin Williams is like remembering an old friend who has sadly passed for horrible reasons way before they should have.

I recently lost a dear friend to pancreatic cancer. She faced it bravely ‘til the end while my friends and I journeyed with her on her path to death. From diagnosis to death was less than a year. One last laugh I hoped for.

One last laugh that’s what I want from Robin Williams. But sadly that will not happen. Depth of depression and despair killed. Yes I say killed him, just like cancer killed my friend.

I know, some simply say that Mr. Williams committed suicide . . . he took his own life, he killed himself. But I don’t think it’s that simple. And unless you have been chased by the demons of depression you will never understand the despair that is often felt.

Mr. Williams once said, “Do I perform sometimes in a manic style? Yes. Am I manic all the time? No. Do I get sad? Oh yeah. Does it hit me hard? Oh yeah.”

He knew he was being chased, he knew what the thorn in his side was. And for many years he faced it bravely till the end where one can only imagine the depth of his pain and the despondency he must have been suffering.

This is not like cancer. It’s a different kind of killer. One that comes out of the darkness. Often dealt with in silence . . . never revealing the truth to others for one reason or another.

Depression is dangerous because it grabs hold of the mind and twists it into unrecognizable shadows. Haunting and taunting until it grabs on in such an insidious way that control is futile.

Sadly for far too many this leads to death.

Let Robin Williams death be a light reflecting on the shadows of an issue which we speak so little about. Depression is still spoken of in hushed tones when in fact we should and must be speaking more about it.

I know depression, I have suffered from it most of my life and thankfully for my meds I have the beast under control. But there was a day.

Yes, there was a day when depression almost killed me. I was about 23 or 24 years old and I was at the depths of the darkness of depression and planned my suicide. To make a long story short I met a person who talked to me just when I needed it. He showed me a glimmer of hope and without him know he walked be off the edge. Without him depression would have killed me that night.

It has not been an easy journey to suffer from depression and I appreciate what Mr. Williams must have gone through his last hours. I never really spoke about it but there you have it.

The more you know the better we are at helping others in their depression. It should neither be a mystery nor a burden one should live alone with.

Mayor Michael Nutter

A Second Look

QUEERtimes became a weekly newsletter with our endorsement of Michael Nutter as Mayor of Philadelphia. This was back in May 11, 2007 and we have grown up with Nutter as mayor for the last 7 years. Times have changed but I thought it would be interesting to see what I wrote of Nutter back then.

Here it is:

Since an empty stomach is a bad political advisor, we suggest you all grab a bite to eat before you read this endorsement.

Okay, everyone ready? Here we go!

It’s been said that Philadelphia is the next Greatest American City. If this is true (and we believe that it is), then we must chose a mayor who will provide strong leadership, character, intellect, and a vision of change and growth.

We have watched the debates, seen the campaign ads, reviewed the policies and have carefully considered who this next leader should be. Each time the answer has been the same–Michael Nutter.

Mr. Nutter is by far the strongest candidate to move Philadelphia forward and to provide leadership to change the way Philadelphia is governed. Throughout the debate, Mr. Nutter proved himself to be the most mayoral of all the candidates with strength of leadership that far surpasses the other candidates.

As a member of City Council, he expressed his straightforwardness with the people of Philadelphia and stood up against decades of old school politics that, most agree, has held Philadelphia back all these years.

Mr. Nutter clearly presents the best credentials and agenda to really make Philadelphia become “America’s Greatest City”. He simply is the person for whom the city of Philadelphia will be proud to have as its mayor. When was the last time you felt that way?

If we really want a change in the way Philadelphia is governed and to have a better, brighter future for the city, then we must all take a stand. That stand is definitely a vote for Michael Nutter for our Next Mayor.

Get out and let your queer vote count. Bring all your friends. The future of Philadelphia weighs in the balance.

Well was I right or wrong?

I must admit I’ve had my disappointments with Mayor Nutter and I’m not quite sure that he provided “strong leadership, character, intellect, and a vision of change and growth.”

I still have the foul taste in my mouth of how he cut funding to the arts and the way he mishandled the Boy Scout eviction and subsequent law suit.

Even today he continues to disappoint with his “delay” of signing the new City Council bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana while a disproportionate number of the city’s poor are being unjustly criminalized and sent to prisons. The bill would end mandatory custodial arrests for possessing small amounts of marijuana and relegate it to a fine.

This is a national trend and Major Nutter is far behind the curve…so far behind one wonders if he is just calling in his last year or so in office.

Nutter just thinks that people simply shouldn’t smoke pot. Well, that boat has already sailed.

Nutter is on the wrong side of history and today someone’s child or parent was hauled off to jail simply for smoking a joint. That is a travesty; our only hope is that this bill will become law automatically in September if Nutter remains inactive on it. Even If he vetoes it there are enough votes in Council to override it, so why not sign it now Mr. Nutter, and spare the hundreds of more citizens of your city jail time and court.

Not sure if I was right or wrong in that first issue of QUEERtimes but I know today I would most likely not support Nutter as I did then. But hindsight is 20/20 I’m told.

queerNEWS

queerNEWS

If you don’t know this about me, I love the news, everything about it. I can remember watching it with my “Pop,” my father’s father, at 6 pm whenever he was visiting us or us him. It grew up in the sixties, so my TV visions were of protests, war, assassinations, racial tensions and men walking on the moon. I guess I never realized how much I enjoy absorbing news, but then again I publish a queerNEWS section that has been referred to as the queer Drudge Report.

During the week I review well over 250 LGBTQ centric news items for our news section and often I’ll be inspired by one thing or another to write something for that week.

Recently two articles got my attention.

The first was an article by the Associated Press, as reported by ABC, about comments Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made in an interview with the AP. The 81-year-old Ginsburg stated that the high court would not duck the issue of same-sex marriage the next time it comes around to the court, and predicted that the justices would not delay ruling as they did on interracial marriage bans, which were not formally struck down until 1967.

She expects a case could be heard and decided by June 2016, and possibly a year earlier.

“I think the court will not do what they did in the old days when they continually ducked the issue of miscegenation,” Ginsburg said. “If a case is properly before the court, they will take it.”

Often talked about is the future of Ginsburg on the court, who told Yahoo News that “I’m still here and likely to remain for a while.” She predicting her retirement will come “when I feel myself slipping, when I can no longer think as sharply, write as quickly, that will be the time for me to leave the court.”

She asked AP, “So who do you think could be nominated now that would get through the Senate that you would rather see on the court than me?”

Great question! She is very politically astute.

Ginsburg knows that elections have consequences so who we vote for matters when it comes to our equality; Ginsburg’s replacement may not be as supportive of our equality as she. If it happens to not be Obama who makes that choice for our country and all of our futures, then who will select Ginsburg’s replacement? What will the Senate look like then?

Yes elections still matters when it comes to our equality.

The second article that caught my attention was one from last week from PennLive. It told of a ruling by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue where they accepted the argument that a widow and her same-sex partner were in a common law marriage and would have been married if not for the law. In the ruling the widow was for the purposes of inheritance tax, which is 15% in Pennsylvania, declared a spouse and therefore owes no inheritance tax and her $21,000 in taxes levied against the estate were waived.

Bravo to the Department of Revenue for doing the right thing. It’s now time to refund the monies to widows and widowers of same-sex partners who met the criteria for a common-law marriage in the state, who if not for the law would have been married.

So you see news is my passion that’s why QUEERtimes takes the time to put together the most comprehensive selection of global LGBTQ news anywhere. We are dedicated to sharing the global LGBTQ experience to as many people as we can, LGBTQ and our heterosexual allies alike. Knowledge is free . . . enjoy!

Homeless Youth

Homeless Queer Youth

A working group here in Philadelphia is seeking to find a solution to the LGBTQ youth homelessness problem. They recently received a briefing from the Attic Youth Center and the numbers and facts they presented are staggering and eye opening.

According to the briefing…

Nationally there is an estimated 1.6 million to 2.8 million homeless youth in the United States out of that 40% of these homeless youth identify as LGBTQ.

Locally we find that “during the Philadelphia school year, 1,688 LGBTQ children and youth experience homelessness. On any given school day, 720 LGBTQ children and youth are experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia.” And, “of the 2,500 Philadelphia youth ages 18 -20 who have been discharged from DHS (Department of Human Services), an estimated 1,000 are LGBTQ.”

Existing housing for homeless youth in Philadelphia is dismal. According to the Attic, “emergency youth shelters have a total of 18 beds available for youth who are not involved with DHS,” and “only one youth program exists in the city that offers crisis shelter for youth 18 -21 (they can accommodate up to 60 youth when using floor mats)” and “there are 91 beds available for the 2,500 youth ages 18 -20 who have been discharged from DHS.

As you can clearly see there is a housing crisis among our homeless youth, especially our LGBTQ younger brothers and sisters who disproportionately make up the youth homelessness crisis.

To help the working group understand LGBTQ homeless youth issues better, the Attic put together a focus group of 20 LGBTQ youth, whose average age was 19, “all of whom had some experience with homelessness and/or were currently homeless.” The average age of the first group of homeless youth was 16.8 years old.

The focus group was asked three questions:

  • How did you become homeless?
  • What was your experience after you became homeless?
  • What would your ideal housing program look like?

Nationally the top five reasons why LGBTQ youth are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless is that 46% ran away because the family rejected their sexual orientation or gender identity, 43% were forced out by parents because of sexual orientation or gender identity, 32% because of physical, emotional or sexual abuse at home, 17% because of aging out of the foster care system and 14% because of financial or emotional neglect from their families.

The experience of our homeless youth is a sad story for these brave LGBTQ persons.

“I stayed at 4-5 different shelters while trying to get into a youth housing program. I was living day by day and was assaulted regularly. I still wake up terrified each day,” reported one focus group member. Another said, “as a trans woman, staying at the shelter was as scary as it gets.” Another youth “stayed at a shelter and was sexually assaulted.”

Another added that “at the youth housing program, I was told that if I told my roommates I was gay they would hurt me or try to sleep with me. I was kicked out a month later after someone planted a knife in my locker.”

This is scandalous.

The needs in this city alone are so great and overwhelming that it is hard to know where to start first, but bravo to this working group for taking up the cause and helping to seek a solution to this problem.

In time your help will be needed to help fund the solution, as we cannot count on the government on this one. Until then do what you can do to help alleviate the suffering and misery of our homeless queer youth.

Brides

Marriage Now and Then

This has been a whirlwind week for me, as I was on Long Island preparing for and attending my niece’s wedding to her long term partner. Actually this was their second wedding . . . their first ceremony was a private wedding in Vermont last year, this was their public ceremony.

The families were all gathered with anticipated joy as the happy couple was walked to the gazebo, where the ceremony was held, by their mothers. Beautiful vows were exchanged and my brother-in-law, my niece’s father, shared beautiful words for the happy couple.

We eat, drank, danced and talked for eight and a half hours before the newlyweds left for their bridal suite where chilled champagne awaited them. As I kissed the brides good night I was walking on air with such happiness because my 86 year old father lived long enough to witness the marriage one of his lesbian granddaughters. And that my mother, who has always wanted to attend a same-sex marriage, perhaps a hint to me, finally got her wish.

Mazel tov to the couple and a long and happy life be theirs!

On another note the Associated Press is reporting that a “The Connecticut high court ruled unanimously Wednesday that a woman whose wife died amidst a medical malpractice case may sue a doctor over the loss of her wife’s companionship and income, even though that right to sue was limited to heterosexual married couples at the time.”

The issue it raises, the AP points out, is whether same-sex marriage rights should be “applied retroactively and qualify same-sex couples for rights and benefits for which they weren’t entitled before state laws allowed them to marry.”

“Although no states that allow gay marriage have made their laws retroactive, many same-sex partners believe they should have received Social Security survivor payments, tax breaks, inheritances and other benefits that were afforded only to heterosexual married couples before gay marriage laws were passed,” reports the AP.

Anti-same-sex marriage advocates believe this ruling could open the floodgates of “reparation” claims. But it really doesn’t. What is does is simply apply the law as if it had always existed. Same-sex marriage has always been a fundamental constitutional right, it has just been denied for far too long. Many couples have suffered from this discrimination. Fortunes were lost to state and federal governments in inheritance taxes alone. These monies correctly, by constitutional right, belong to the long term partners of the deceased.

No, this is not “reparations.” This is returning money that rightfully belongs to the partner of a same-sex couple, married if not for the law.