The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, April 28

Jim Burroway

April 28th, 2015

People have been camping outside the Supreme Court since Saturday.

People have been camping outside the Supreme Court since Saturday.

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Marriage Cases: Washington, DC. No matter how things go, today will be a historic day. The U.S. Supreme Court today will hear arguments in four marriage cases from Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. In accepting the cases, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that they will hear arguments centering on just two questions:

1. Do bans against same-sex marriage violate the Constitution of the United States? (Michigan: DeBoer v. Snyder.)

2. Are states obligated under the U.S. Constitution to recognize a same-sex marriage that was lawfully obtained on other states? (Kentucky: Bourke v. Beshear; Ohio: Obergefell v. Hodges; Tennessee: Tanco v. Haslam)

All four cases were consolidated, but the Court will hear arguments in two parts, one for each question. Mary Bonauto, who successfully argued for same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in 2003, will present her case on the first question and argue against bans on same-sex marriage for about thirty minutes. This will be her first appearance before the Supreme Court. She will be followed by the Solicitor General of the U.S., Donald Verrilli, Jr., who will have fifteen minutes to present the Obama Administration’s position that the bans violate the equal protection clause. Then John Bursch, a former Michigan solicitor general with eight Supreme Court appearances under his belt, will have about forty-five minutes to argue on behalf of Michigan to keep the ban in place. Then Bonauto will have a few more minutes of rebuttal time.

Next, Douglas Hallward-Driemeier will have about a half hour to present his case on behalf of the challenges to the states’ bans on recognizing valid same-sex marriage licenses from other states. Hallward-Driemeier is a seasoned pro with the Supreme Court stuff, having argued 15 cases before the high court. The states will then be represented by Joseph WHalen, an associate solicitor general form Tennessee. This will be his first time before the high court, and like Hallward-Driemeier, he will also have thirty minutes.

The session gets underway at 10:00 a.m. E.D.T. While there will not be any live-streaming of audio or video, the court’s press office has announced that the posting of audio on the court’s web site will be expedited, perhaps as early as noon. A decision isn’t expected until late June.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From the Advocate, April 14, 1983, page 67.

Uncle Charlie’s began in two Manhattan locations in the mid 1970s: Uncle Charlie’s North was at 1049 Lexington Avenue near 75th street in the Upper East Side, and Uncle Charlie’s South was at 581 3rd Avenue at 38th Street in the Murray Hill neighborhood. The north location eventually closed (it is now a specialty stationary story), and South was joined by Uncle Charlie’s restaurant across the street and down a block at 542 3rd Avenue. Uncle Charlie’s Downtown opened on Greenwich Avenue at around 1980. I don’t know when Uncle Charlie’s South or the restaurant closed, but South today is home to a sushi bar, and the restaurant location became a Mediterranean bar and restaurant. Uncle Charlie’s Downtown closed in 1997 and became an Irish pub. Uncle Charlie’s is still around (although I’m not quite sure of its provenance) as a (still gay) piano bar.

Gay Bar Bombed in Greenwich Village: 1990. A home-made pipe bomb exploded shortly after midnight early Saturday morning at Uncle Charlie’s Downtown Bar, a popular video-bar in Greenwich Village. Damage to the building was described as minor, but at least three patrons were injured. Frizzell Green, said he was in the bar when the blast went off in a trash can, about five or six feet away from him. At first, police investigators told reporters that they didn’t consider the bombing to be bias-related. Gay community leaders disagreed, and they organized a march on Saturday evening. Three to five hundred people gathered at Uncle Charlie’s and walked the ten blocks to the Sixth Precinct, blocking traffic and chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Homophobia has got to go!”

The bombing went unsolved for five years, until February 1995 when Federal prosecutors charged El Sayyid A. Nosair with the attack. Nosair, one of the leaders of a fundamentalist Islamic terrorist group, was already serving a prison sentence for assault and possession of an illegal firearm in connection with the murder of radical Jewish Rabbi Meir Kahane. Bizarrely, the jury acquitted him of murder even though they found him guilty of the assault that led to Kahane’s death, leaving the judge in December 1991 to sentence Nosair to 7â…“ to 22 years in prison, the maximum allowed by law. So when Federal officials charged him again in 1995 for bombing the gay bar and conspiring to blow up other New York landmarks including the World Trade Center, he was found guilty of seditious conspiracy with other defendants, including the blind sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman, and sentenced to life imprisonment. At last report, Nosair was serving his sentence at the federal Supermax facility in Florence, Colorado.

Ryan Skipper: 1981-2007. Ryan would be celebrating his thirty-fourth birthday if Joseph Beardon and William Brown, Jr., hadn’t stabbed him more than 20 times, slit his throat, stole his car, left his body on a dark rural road in Wahneta, Florida, and bragged to friends that they killed him because he was “a faggot” on March 14, 2007. Jurors in Beardon and Brown’s trial were visibly shaken when they saw the autopsy photos. The coroner testified that it was the cut to the throat that killed him. The cut was 3.5 inches deep, tearing through skin, tissue, muscles and, more fatally, an artery. Ryan quickly bled to death within minutes. Bearden and Brown tried to clean the car so they could sell it. But it was too badly soaked with blood to be cleaned and they didn’t have a copy of the car’s title to sell it, so they abandoned it on a dock on Lake Pansy in Winter Haven and set it on fire. The flames only caused minor damage, and investigators were able to retrieve both of their fingerprints from the car.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for Bearden, but jurors found him guilty of second-degree murder instead of first-degree murder as charged. He was also found guilty of theft of a motor vehicle, accessory after the fact, tampering with evidence, and dealing in stolen property. He was sentenced to life in prison. A few months later, Brown was found guilty of first degree murder, robbery, arson, and tampering with evidence. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the first degree murder conviction, another life term for the armed robbery with a deadly weapon, fifteen years for arson, and a five for tampering with evidence.

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?


April 28th, 2015

In October, 2014, a priest in Bürglen, Switzerland, blessed a lesbian couple which led his bishop to call for his resignation. His parishioners fought back to keep their priest who’d been serving there for a dozen years.

Today, an agreement was announced that the priest will stay in his position but has agreed not to bless any same-sex couples either publicly or privately.

Details (Google Translate)
“The priest “regrets” that the blessing of a lesbian couple has “hurt a lot of people,” said the agreement between the two parties. “He also regrets the inconvenience caused to the Bishop of Chur, where he is the agent,” they add in the document to the media. The priest reaffirms his “loyalty to the Church and to his bishop and his doctrine.”

Based on this “promise” and “statement” Wendelin Bucheli, Bishop of Chur “waives asking him to resign his position as Bürglen priest.”

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