The Daily Agenda for Sunday, May 20
May 20th, 2012
Today is Emancipation Day in Florida, an unofficial commemoration of the day in which Major General Edward McCook read the Emancipation Proclamation from the steps of the Knott House in downtown Tallahassee on May 20, 1865. The Knott House, which served as temporary Union headquarters after the Civil War, is now a museum and hosts an annual re-enactment of the reading.
TODAY’S AGENDA (Ours):
AIDS Candellight Memorials: Various locations. The third Sunday in May is set aside each year for the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, coordingated by the Global Network of People Living with HIV. The memorial has been taking place each year since 1993, and it now led by a coalition of some 1,200 community organizations in 115 countries.
In North American, there are observances listed for: Altoona, PA; Austin, TX; Baton, Rouge, LA; Boulder, CO; Canton, OH; Edmonton, AB; Evansville, IN; Kingston, ON; Las Vegas, NV; Martinsburg, WV; Oshawa, ON; Ottawa, CA; Owensboro, KY; Potsdam, NY; Providence, RI; St. John, NB; St. Petersburg, FL; San Antonio, TX; San Francisco, CA; Santiago, CA; Tucson, AZ; Vancouver, BC; Wilton Manors, FL. Click here to information about a memorial event near you.
TODAY’S AGENDA (Theirs):
Family “Research” Council’s Values Voter Bus Tour: Kenosha WI. The Family “Research” Council, an SPLC-certified anti-gay hate group, will take its joint bus tour with the Heritage Foundation to Kenosha for a brief “Your Money, Your Values, Your Vote Rally” with the Wisconsin Tea Party Patriots. That meetup takes place at the parking lot of the Brat Stop (12304 75th St., Kenosha) from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
AIDS Virus Identified: 1983. In a paper published in the US journal Science, a team from France’s Pasteur Institute, led by Luc Montagnier, described a suspect virus which had been isolated in a patient who had died of AIDS. Montagnier’s groundbreaking work led to the determination by US researcher Robert Gallo in 1984 that the virus was indeed the cause of AIDS. Gallo named his virus HTLV-III, and promptly claimed credit for discovering the virus. But the rest of the world began calling it the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV. A three year acrimonious spat between Gallo and Montagnier ensued over who was the first to discover it. The dispute was finally settled after intensive negotiations resulting in both parties being awarded credit, and everyone lived happily ever after. As it were.
Romer v. Evans: 1996. On this date, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark decision striking down Colorado’s Amendment 2 to the state constitution which would have disenfranchised that state’s LGBT citizens from the right to petition their state and local governments for laws banning discrimination. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote:To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint.”
(Amendment 2) is at once too narrow and too broad. It identifies persons by a single trait and then denies them protection across the board. The resulting disqualification of a class of persons from the right to seek specific protection from the law is unprecedented in our jurisprudence.”
As for the argument that the constitutional ban on anti-discrimination laws was meant to deny LGBT people “special rights,” Kennedy wrote, “To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint.” Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer joined Kennedy in the majority opinion.
Dissenting justice Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas, considered Colorado’s attempt to disenfranchise an entire class of people “unimpeachable under any constitutional doctrine hitherto pronounced.” Pointing to the Bowers v Hardwick, the 1986 Supreme Court Decision which declared that sodomy laws were constitutional, Scalia wrote, “If it is rational to criminalize the conduct, surely it is rational to deny special favor and protection to those with a self-avowed tendency or desire to engage in the conduct.” Seven years later, the Court would correct that contradiction in Lawrence v Texas, which finally struck down anti-sodomy laws in the 13 states where such laws were still in effect.
Cher: 1946. She started out as one-half of the husband-and-wife singing duo Sonny & Cher with their 1965 hit, “I Got You Babe.” After a string of hits and a popular television series, their marriage ended and Cher’s solo singing career took off. She also became an Academy Award winning actress, winning a Best Actress award for her role in 1987′s Moonstruck. In 2002, Cher began her Farewell Tour, after which she said she would retire from show business. The tour lasted three years, and at some point she re-named it the “Never Can Say Goodbye” Tour. But in 2005, she finally retired the show and retired herself. Then she retired from retirement in February 2008 for a show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas which lasted until February 2011. A year later, she announced via Twitter that should she would embark on another tour beginning in September 2012. A recent single from the Burlesque soundtrack is fitting: “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me.”
If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).
And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?