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Posts for September, 2015

Judge to clerk’s office: issue licenses or join Davis in jail

Timothy Kincaid

September 3rd, 2015

The circus isn’t over

ABC7

The judge also told all five of the clerk’s deputies, including her son, Nathan Davis, that they are free to issue licenses to all applicants while Davis is held in contempt, but would also face fines or jail if they refuse to comply. He told them to meet with lawyers briefly and consider their fates before returning to his courtroom later Thursday to reveal their decisions.

It appears that five of the six deputies said they are fine with issuing marriage licenses.

UPDATE:

After deputies indicated willingness to issue licenses, Judge Bunning called Davis back to court. She refused, but spoke through her counsel.

She refused to allow her deputies to perform their duties according to their own values and religious beliefs. Only Davis’ religious freedom matters, not that of her deputies.

Kim Davis jailed

Timothy Kincaid

September 3rd, 2015

Kim DavisNew York Times:

A federal judge here on Thursday ordered a Kentucky clerk jailed for contempt of court because of her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan County, was ordered incarcerated after a hearing here before Judge David L. Bunning of Federal District Court. The contempt finding was another legal defeat for Ms. Davis, who has argued that she should not be forced to issue licenses that conflict with her religious beliefs.

“The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” Judge Bunning said. “If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.”

Judge Bunning said Ms. Davis would be released once she agreed to comply with his order and issue the marriage licenses.

This is not the result I had hoped for. I was hoping for sanctions, but not jail.

Now Davis will sit in a cell while Mat Staver, her Liberty Counsel attorney, will declare her a martyr. A sizable section of the population will see this as an attack on their faith and the country will again be divided and angry. Politicians love this stuff – division gives power – but it’s not good for the nation’s morale.

Eventually as there is no longer daily news, Davis will fade from attention and will find herself sitting there for no reason whatsoever. And her counsel will be on to the next “victim”.

And in the meantime, still no marriage licenses.

About that liberal Judge who is persecuting poor Kim Davis

Timothy Kincaid

September 2nd, 2015

(not Harry Potter)

Kim Davis is finding that her personal beliefs make it physically impossible for her to perform the task of issuing marriage licenses. And she’s going to court tomorrow to tell Federal Judge David Bunning so.

What she might not be considering is that Judge Bunning also has strong personal beliefs and has already determined whether an individual can find within themself the ability to do things with which they may not fully agree.

Cininatti.com has a profile on Judge Bunning.

David Bunning is the youngest of nine children of Hall-of-Fame pitcher and former [uber-conservative, anti-gay, GOP] U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning and his wife, Mary Bunning. He grew up in Fort Thomas and was nominated by President George W. Bush for federal judge for the eastern district of Kentucky in 2001. The Senate confirmed the nomination in 2002.

Bunning Sr. was narrowly reelected in 2004 by attaching his campaign to Kentucky’s anti-gay marriage amendment. If any family is vested in opposition to same-sex marriage, it is the Bunning family.

But as for Judge Bunning,

“David is an honest person,” his mother Mary Bunning said. “He doesn’t agree with the Supreme Court but has to obey the law.”

Davis contempt defense: it’s impossible to comply

Timothy Kincaid

September 2nd, 2015

Kim Davis simply cannot comply with the orders of Federal Judge Bunning’s order to do her job. She just isn’t physically able to do so. It’s impossible, you see. (Response in Opposition)

Davis should not be held in contempt because she “is presently unable to comply with the court’s order” enjoining her to authorize SSM licenses bearing her name. See Elec. Workers Pension Trust Fund of Local Union #58 v. Gary’s Elec. Serv. Co., 340 F.3d 373, 379 (6th Cir. 2003) (emphasis in original); see also U.S. v. Rylander, 460 U.S. 752, 757 (1983) (“[w]here compliance is impossible, neither the moving party nor the court has any reason to proceed with the civil contempt action.”); Tate v. Frey, 673 F. Supp. 880, 883 (W.D. Ky. 1987) (“The court’s power to impose coercive civil contempt is limited by an individual’s ability to comply with the court’s coercive order. A party may defend against a contempt by showing that his compliance is factually impossible.”) (internal citation omitted). To prove the impossibility defense to contempt, a person “must show categorically and in detail why he or she is unable to comply with the court’s order.” Elec. Workers, 340 F.3d at 379 (citation omitted).

Impossible? How distressing! But what makes it impossible for Davis to comply with the court’s ruling?

Have all the pens run out of ink? Is there a shortage of documents? Did Kim Davis’ arms fall off?

No. Not that kind of “impossible”.

Davis and her legal team may have a different definition of “impossible” than do you, I, Judge Banning and all other rational people. By “impossible”, Davis means “it irreparably and irreversibly violates her conscience”.

She goes on to list several other reasons why she shouldn’t be held in contempt. I don’t find them very convincing. Maybe that’s because she started with an absurdity.

Mike Huckabee on Kim Davis

Timothy Kincaid

September 2nd, 2015

GOP Presidential pretender and Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee has called Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to offer her prayers and support. He’s also opined on the legality of the situation.

“Because Congress has made no law allowing for same sex marriage, Kim does not have the Constitutional authority to issue a marriage license to homosexual couples,” Mr. Huckabee said.

As they say on So You Think You Can Dance, sorry Mike but your lack of technical training is showing.

Why Kim Davis won’t resign

Timothy Kincaid

September 1st, 2015

Rowan County has about 24,000 residents in about 8,300 households. The median income per household (a blend of single-earner and double-earner) is $35,000. The median income for female workers is around $20,000. The average price of houses sold recently in Rowan County is $95,000.

Kim Davis makes almost $80,000.

Davis issues a statement

Timothy Kincaid

September 1st, 2015

Here is Kim Davis’ explanation as to why she is entitled to thwart the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Rowan County, Kentucky.

I have worked in the Rowan County Clerk’s office for 27 years as a Deputy Clerk and was honored to be elected as the Clerk in November 2014, and took office in January 2015. I love my job and the people of Rowan County. I have never lived any place other than Rowan County. Some people have said I should resign, but I have done my job well. This year we are on track to generate a surplus for the county of 1.5 million dollars.

In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me. Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish. There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God.

I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s Word. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our history is filled with accommodations for people’s religious freedom and conscience. I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned – that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position. I have received death threats from people who do not know me. I harbor nothing against them. I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.

You see, she has the religious liberty to cause the County to deny civil rights to gay couples. That’s all she’s asking. Why are you so unaccomodating?

After all, our Founders intended that civil servants use their own religion to deny services to those of other beliefs. That’s what the Second Amendment is all about: Congress cannot establish religion; that’s the role of County Clerks.

Kim Davis defies rule of law

Timothy Kincaid

September 1st, 2015

Kim DavisIt appears that at some point over the night, the Creator of the Universe took a few minutes for a very special meeting with Kim Davis, the Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky. And at that meeting God deputized Davis as Deputy Deity and gave her special duties and powers, among which is the right to determine whose marriage is recognized by the state of Kentucky.

Or so Davis seems to believe. Because this morning when two same-sex couples turned up to get their marriage licenses, they were again turned away. (WaPo)

When Davis emerged, she declared that she was not issuing any licenses.

“Under whose authority?” she was asked.

“Under God’s authority,” she said.

Now, I tend to question the faith of those who jump to claim the authority of God. Surely if you believe that an omnipotent deity sees all you do, you’d hesitate a bit before stepping into His shoes and using His authority to push your will on His other children. The consequences of being wrong are so great.

So too are the consequences of defying a federal judge. (NBC)

Couples who have sued the clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan County, quickly asked a federal judge to hold her in contempt. They sought a fine but not jail time.

The contempt request was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky on behalf of couples, both same-sex and opposite-sex, who sued Davis.

“Since Defendant Davis continues to collect compensation from the Commonwealth for duties she fails to perform,” lawyers wrote, “plaintiffs urge the Court to impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous to compel Davis’ immediate compliance without further delay.”

A hearing on the contempt case is set for Thursday. I think that Davis will discover there that “My God trumps your legal authority” is a position that judges view askance.

And I think that the request for fines and not jail is a smart one. The imagery of Davis being dragged to jail would feed her martyrdom narrative while levying her salary may serve to incentivize her just as well.

Decision point for Kim Davis

Timothy Kincaid

August 31st, 2015

Kim DavisRowan County Clerk Kim Davis is now out of stalling tactics.

Today the US Supreme Court denied Davis’ request for a stay on Judge Bunning’s ruling. Also today, the most liberal interpretation of Bunning’s stay runs out. Tomorrow Davis will have to decide whether to comply with the orders of the Federal judge or whether she will choose to be in contempt of court. (wkyt.com)

Mat Staver, a lawyer representing Davis, told the Associated Press “she’s going to have to think and pray about her decision overnight.”

Davis’ decision is complicated by a growing pressure on her from several sides. A couple who were denied a licence have requested Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins to prosecute Davis for official misconduct. Watkins referred the issue to Attorney General Jack Conway. (courier-journal.com)

The Kentucky attorney general is mulling whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether she violated the state official misconduct statute when her office refused to issue a license to a Rowan County gay couple.

Official misconduct is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 365 days in jail.

A public servant is guilty of it when, “with intent to deprive another person of a benefit,” he or she refrains “from performing a duty imposed upon by law or clearly inherent in the nature” of his office or “violates any statute or lawfully adopted rule or regulation” relating to it.

The couple has also filed a lawsuit against Davis. And it does not appear that she has the support of the Rowan County Government.

Amidst all of this, Davis continues to misstate her intent. She claims that she does not wish to be forced to issue marriage licenses that contravene her religious beliefs.

That is inaccurate. The task is one easily passed to an assistant.

In truth, Davis wishes to prohibit same-sex couples from receiving marriage licenses in Rowan County Kentucky, in effect forcing the citizens of the county to live how she deems appropriate. She is a petty bureaucrat heady on her own limited authority and determined to use her dollop of power to the greatest extent.

No, no, the rentboy raid didn’t target any specific population

Timothy Kincaid

August 27th, 2015

You will no doubt be delighted to learn that when the Federal Department of Homeland Security raided and shut down Rentboy.com it had nothing to do with it being a gay site. No, sirree. (NYTimes)

Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which participated in the investigation, said in an email that “any insinuation that a specific population was targeted is categorically false.”

Yes, it may be true that the last time anyone went after a straight escort site included charges of money laundering and child pornography, neither of which is cited in the Rentboy case. Merest coincidence.

And it may also be true that the complaint filed by special agent Susan Ruiz includes the following language:

A profile for “Brandon,” advertising services in Brooklyn, New York stated that he is “hairy handsome versatile & uninhibited.” The profile noted that he was willing to have Brooklyn incalls and had a “sling and rim chair.” Based on my investigation, I have learned that a sling, also known as a “sex sling,” is a device that allows two people to have sex while one is suspended and a rimchair is a seat resembling a raised toilet seat designed so that that anus is accessible while someone is sitting on the seat. I have also learned that “rimming” refers to the touching of the tongue to the anus.

But that isn’t included for any sort of titillating or shocking factor. And definitely not to suggest that Homosexual Acts Are Icky Icky Icky. Nope. That was necessary valuable information.

And in case all of this reminds you a bit of bar raids and police stings on gay people, please be assured that your government would never do that. No. Such an idea is categorically false.

Kentucky county clerk toys with contempt

Timothy Kincaid

August 27th, 2015

Kim DavisKim Davis should not be forced to give out marriage certificates to same-sex couples. Davis has a right to her beliefs, religious or otherwise, and a constitutionally protected freedom to live by the dictates of her conscience.

However, governmental entities do not have the right to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court of the United States has determined that to do so is a violation of constitutional protections of equality.

And Kim Davis is the County Clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky. Which might seem to set up a conundrum. Davis cannot be forced to violate her conscience, and yet the County cannot deny equality. Quite the paradox.

But not really. Because Kim Davis does not issue marriage licenses; the Rowan County Clerk issues marriage licenses. The marriage certificates bear the Seal of the State of Kentucky, not the Seal of Kim Davis.

Davis merely performs tasks as the physical representative of the county. Her official actions do not originate in Davis’ will nor are they performed for Davis’ benefit. What Davis believes is irrelevant and when she speaks on behalf of the county, “the relevant speaker is the government entity, not the individual”.

So said the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday when denying stay to Davis in her legal challenge to her obligation to perform the duties of the county.

Two weeks ago Federal Judge David Bunning ordered Davis, in her official capacity, to issue a marriage licenses, including to same-sex couples. He had stayed his ruling so that Davis could appeal to the Sixth Circuit. But the Court’s response leaves no ambiguity.

In light of the binding holding of Obergefell, it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court. There is thus little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.

Which means that Davis and other employees of Rowan County cannot thwart the County in performing its duties to its residents. The County Clerk must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples who request them without discrimination.

Yet the Clerk’s Office continues to refuse to do so. (Kentucky.com)

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis continued to withhold marriage licenses from local residents Thursday, a day after a federal appeals court upheld an order telling her to end her protest.

James Yates and William Smith Jr. were turned away by a deputy clerk in Davis’ office Thursday morning when they asked for a marriage license. The deputy told the men Davis thinks she can legally withhold marriage licenses until Monday, Aug. 31, under an order issued earlier this month by U.S. District Judge David Bunning.

August 31st is the deadline Judge Bunning gave for Davis to appeal to the Sixth Circuit. Obviously the temporary stay given by Bunning expired upon the Sixth Circuit response and this is all but a game. Kim Davis is opening herself up to charges of contempt (though I doubt that happen).

Nevertheless, in a few days time there may be a showdown. Davis will need to decide whether the County Clerk’s Office will fulfill its duties, whether she will defy the orders of the court, or whether she will resign.

I suspect that Davis will continue to obstruct the operations of the county. Davis and her attorney, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, are using this situation as a form of public activism against same-sex marriage. Their desire is twofold: to carve away at the rights of gay citizens and to rally public support for their ‘religious freedom’ political endeavors.

But, as is so often true, Liberty Counsel and other anti-gay activists appear to have selected the wrong case to rally around.

Kim Davis is a particularly unsympathetic “victim”, one with whom it is difficult to empathize. She lacks a groomed appearance and her manner appears abrupt and harsh.

But, more importantly, her cause is not one that appeals to anyone other than those who are fiercely opposed to equality for gay people. The great middle population, that to which a thoughtful appeal for religious liberty could be effective, will likely not find “I want to block the county business because of my personal beliefs” to be compelling.

This just sounds to many people like another self-important bureaucrat seeking to interfere in others’ lives. Most people find dealing with governmental entities to be annoying enough without having to worry whether the person responsible for issuing fishing licenses is a vegan or if the county planner is an old hippy that favors quonset huts or if the person issuing business licenses is a teetotaler. Davis’ religious quest to obstruct marriages because of her religion feels like more of the same sort of nonsense.

Personally (though I know many here disagree) I think that there is a valid argument to be made for the religious liberty of individuals to operate their personal business according the their conscience. And that is an argument that can appeal to a broad spectrum, left or right, gay or straight.

But Staver and crew may turn off the public with their defense of the indefensible that they poison the well for any other more legitimate claims.

UPDATE

Staver says that he is going to appeal to the Supreme Court tomorrow for a stay until the case can reach them. I am not anticipating that said stay will be issued.

Get your all new, even sleazier, Josh Duggar (with extra ick factor)

Timothy Kincaid

August 26th, 2015

danica dillonSo we know Josh Duggar (of 19 Kids and Counting fame), was recently discovered to have molested his sisters and their babysitter while in his teens. We also know that Duggar was executive director of FRC Action (a project of Family Research Council) where he railed against the imagined sexual immorality and threat to children that gay people pose, all while maintaining accounts on hook-up site OKCupid and cheating-spouse site Ashley Madison.

We now have our first accusation of actual infidelity. And it’s even sleazier than I expected.

It seems Duggar trolled strip-clubs and hired porn stars for rough sex. In Touch Magazine

After watching her show and “eyeballing me,” Danica says he bought $600 in private dances and then “asked me how would he be able to spend the evening with me.” She reveals to In Touch that Josh was violent with her when they had sex, he did not use protection and gave her thousands of dollars after their encounters.

Danica admits she “took the opportunity because Josh offered to gift [her] $1,500.” But soon after Josh arrived at her hotel room, things got rough.

“He was manhandling me, basically tossing me around like I was a rag doll,” Danica, whose real name is Ashley Lewis, and although the sex was consensual, “It was very traumatic. I’ve had rough sex before, but this was terrifying.”

In response, Duggar has checked himself into a faith-based recovery center for his sex addiction. Ya know, kinda like Lindsay Lohan did to recover from bad publicity her drug addiction.

Let’s hope, for the sake of his wife and kids, that he’s more sincere and successful than Lohan. But I wouldn’t bet a nickel on it.

Feds shut down Rentboy.com

Timothy Kincaid

August 25th, 2015

RentboyWhat a glorious day! The Federal Government has solved all major issues before it.

The kinks in the medical care delivery system are smoothed out. Funding has been found to provide social security to future generations. Environmental policy is now such that we can leave in a cleaner world and also compete economically. ISIS has disbanded, Iran has disclosed and dismantled its nuclear programs, and Israel and her neighbors have made peace. And a sustainable energy source has been discovered that neither places reliance on foreign nations nor mildly annoys the spotted titmouse.

Yes it’s a glorious day.

And how do I know that all these achievements have been accomplished? Because the US Federal Government expended time and effort into shutting down Rentboy.com, a website that allows escorts and their potential customers to meet each other, and arresting its employees.

And surely that has to be about the lowest possible priority that Homeland Security, or any governmental unit, could have.

Now I’m not going to pretend that Rentboy is anything other than what it is: a vehicle for prostitution. Although selling sex is forbidden by the site (in a wink and nod at legality) few participants on the site expect that their clients want them to accompany them to the opera (though some may want you to help them lift luggage in Europe).

No, it’s a hustler site. Which is fine with me.

My view of prostitution – or, at least, male prostitution – is based in pragmatism.

My life has shown me that there are those who have been given a great mind and an ability to succeed financially, but a who are unlikely to ever saunter down the street to the admiring gaze of all. And I have also met those who dazzle the eye with their natural beauty but find it beyond their abilities to make change or write a coherent sentence.

I suppose those who fall in neither camp could insist that the physically less fortunate should just drastically reduce his expectations. Surely he can find someone on his own level. But, sadly, even the ugly often don’t want to date the ugly. So for many of these men, the options can end up being hiring a prostitute or having no sex at all.

And I really can’t think of any option for the beautifully stupid other than to hope that someone with economic potential falls for them and is willing to pay their bills and put up with less than stellar conversation. It happens.

Of course not all johns are unappealing nor are all hustlers dumb. The reasons to exchange money for sex are multitudinous. Time constraints may hinder the building of relationships, small town attitudes may have social costs, emotional tendencies may cause one to not date well, loss of a partner might cause one not to want to seek a mate but still fulfill sexual needs. And these all seem valid reasons to me.

But, perhaps you disagree. Maybe you believe that prostitution is demeaning and abusive and lends itself to sex trafficking and sexual slavery. And in some cases it may.

And I grant you that it’s not a good long-term plan, especially for an aging call boy.

But even if you oppose prostitution in general, let’s be honest.

Prostitution is not going to stop by shutting down Rentboy. Lonely men who have no luck in bars or on hook-up sites are still going to hunt out desireable men to pay for sex. And men who need funds are still going to be willing to offer their body for cash. That isn’t going to stop, or even likely diminish.

However, now they will do so without the protection of a site that allows for feedback and has at least some knowledge of the identity of both the escort and the john.

Now that Rentboy is gone, we can expect to see an increase in extortion, faceless crime, and physical violence. It is no coincidence that they Craigslist murders were not Rentboy murders. And we will likely also find that those who once had some measure of control over their situation will now be under the control of pimps and abusers. This decision by Homeland Security has helped no one and likely endangered many.

Ah, but the Feds have shut down the homosexual prostitutes. And I’m sure they are giving themselves a pat on the back.

Josh Duggar’s statement

Timothy Kincaid

August 20th, 2015

AshleyDuggar

In response to revelations that he had accounts with affair hook-up site Ashley Madison and dating site OKCupid while working for Family Research Council, Josh Duggar (of the 19 Kids and Counting reality show) released the following statement:

Statement from Josh Duggar:

I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have been unfaithful to my wife.

I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.

I have brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions.

The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country I was hiding my own personal failures.

As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences. I deeply regret all the hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example.

I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Please pray for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time.

Josh Duggar

I expect that the next thing we will hear from the Duggars is a new TLC reality series about how to keep your marriage strong after one party strays. These people have no moral center. At all.

Why not add Gypsies to the Pride Parade?

Timothy Kincaid

July 23rd, 2015

Suppose that the Roma community (better known as “Gypsies”*) approached the organizers of Gay Pride parades and proposed that the events be changed to the Gay and Gypsies Pride events. Like the gay community, they explain, Gypsies have been excluded and discriminated against and treated with contempt. Even the name “Gypsy” has become a pejorative term thrown around at people who are not Romani so as to insult them.

After all, it’s not like gays still need to fight for marriage or military or family rights. And there are so many commonalities between the two communities that it just makes sense that the parades, demonstrations, and festivals advocating for gay inclusion should now focus on Gypsy inclusion. And since we’ve accomplished so much, it’s the Gypsies’ time.

Now many of us can empathize with the plight of the Roma people. Theirs has been a long tough row to hoe. But as for changing Gay Pride to be Gay and Gypsy Pride? I’m sure the answer would be a unanimous No. We have a sense of ownership and history and shared experiences and our remembrance of the Stonewall uprising has special meaning to us.

Nevertheless, many Roma people may feel that they are being rejected and disrespected and treated with contempt. Yet again, ugly anti-Gypsy animus has raised its head.

Now this is a very far-fetched scenario. The Roma are extremely unlikely to want to join up with the LGBT community and be equal partners at our festivals and parades.

But I propose this thought-exercise for a reason.

Currently before Congress is the Equality Act, which is designed to “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.” Specifically, it seeks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 thusly:

TITLE II–INJUNCTIVE RELIEF AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN PLACES OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION
SEC. 201. (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.

and

SEC. 202. All persons shall be entitled to be free, at any establishment or place, from discrimination or segregation of any kind on the ground of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin, if such discrimination or segregation is or purports to be required by any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, rule, or order of a State or any agency or political subdivision thereof.

The bill goes on to similarly revise Sections 301, 401, 410, 601, 701, 703, 704, 706, 717, and so on.

It would also add to the list of service providers prohibited from such discrimination:

(4) any establishment that provides a good, service, or program, including a store, shopping center, online retailer or service provider, salon, bank, gas station, food bank, service or care center, shelter, travel agency, or funeral parlor, or establishment that provides health care, accounting, or legal services;
(5) any train service, bus service, car service, taxi service, airline service, station, depot, or other place of or establishment that provides transportation service;

And clarifies that

A reference in this title to an establishment—
(1) shall be construed to include an individual whose operations affect commerce and who is a provider of a good, service, or program; and
(2) shall not be construed to be limited to a physical facility or place.

(In other words, this bill will specifically include unincorporated individuals who bake wedding cakes or arrange flowers from their home on a part-time basis.)

In addition to the above, the bill changes law relating to credit application and jury selection. But the primary provisions are the revision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This bill will be opposed. Under Congress’ current configuration, it has very little chance of passing.

Some will oppose the bill because they believe that homosexuality is a trait that should be discouraged and that anti-gay discrimination is advantageous to society. Some may oppose the bill out of unexamined discomfort, animus, bigotry, or prejudice. Some libertarian minded people may see this bill as a step too far, one which disregards the rights of the individual to autonomy and self-determination.

But I believe that there will be an opposition to this bill which will be – at least initially – misunderstood. I believe that a sizable portion of the African-American community will oppose this bill for reasons that may be mistaken as animus but which hold a different basis altogether.

For Black Americans, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a near-sacred document. It has context and history and is closely tied in the minds of African Americans to slavery, Jim Crow laws, oppression, and anti-Black bigotry. The African American community has an emotional ownership in this piece of legislation.

And it may feel as though something is being taken from them, lack of respect is being shown for their history, and that gays are ‘latching-on’ to the Black Civil Rights Movement. A group that has not shared their history and which does not experience their lives is now saying “us, too”.

This is going to sit poorly with some African American leaders. Perhaps many of them. I think it even possible (though unlikely) that the Congressional Black Caucus may oppose this proposed revision to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

And some in our community will be offended. They may be tempted to see it as yet another evidence of animus and anti-gay bigotry. Another “now that they got theirs” situation.

We should resist that temptation.

We should instead be respectful of the emotional ownership with which Black Americans hold this Act and the reasons behind it. Whether or not revision to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 may be the best method through which to deal with anti-gay discrimination, let’s be careful to approach this bill with a recognition of the feelings and history of others.

After all, opposition to this bill by black leaders may be similar, in many ways, to how opposition would be within our community to revising Gay Pride to be Gay and Gypsy Pride. Less animus than a sense of personal ownership.

(* use of the term Gypsy is not meant be offensive. Although some consider Gypsy to be a pejorative term, that is a term many Romi use for themselves and is used in law. In some ways it mirrors the word Gay and how it is used by society)

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