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Posts for April, 2014

Oregon to have hearing tomorrow without NOM

Timothy Kincaid

April 22nd, 2014

From Oregon United for Marriage:

Judge Michael McShane denied the National Organization for Marriage’s attempt to delay tomorrow’s scheduled oral arguments in federal lawsuit challenging Oregon’s marriage ban.

Previously, no party had stepped up to defend the ban. But this morning, the D.C.-based NOM filed a motion requesting to intervene in the case, simultaneously urging the judge to delay Wednesday’s oral arguments as he considers the last-minute motion.

With Judge McShane’s ruling today, oral arguments will proceed as scheduled tomorrow afternoon at the Federal Courthouse in Eugene. However, the judge will consider NOM’s motion to intervene in the case and has scheduled oral arguments on that issue for May 14th. If the motion to intervene is accepted, Judge McShane would then schedule a second briefing schedule on summary judgement or move the case to trial.

Sorry NOM, your delaying tactic didn’t work today.

Pennsylvania marriage ban may not get trial

Timothy Kincaid

April 22nd, 2014

The ACLU, which is challenging Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage, and Governor Tom Corbett (R), who is defending the ban, have both called on Judge John E. Jones III to not schedule a trial. (ACLU)

A trial became unnecessary after the commonwealth stated that it will not call any experts to counter the plaintiffs’ argument that there is no rational reason why lesbian and gay couples are excluded from marriage, nor does it plan to dispute the specific harms caused to the plaintiffs by the marriage ban. All legal papers in the case will be filed by May 12, meaning a ruling could come at any time after that date.

Both sides have presented written briefs and asked the judge for summary judgment.

Corbett’s defense of the ban has been tortured and troublesome.

On July 24, 2013, the county clerk in Montgomery County began issuing marriage licenses. And after the state Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) said that she was not defending the ban, Corbett took nearly a week before he announced that he would do so.

Then when his legal team filed a brief comparing same sex marriage to a union between 12 year olds, Corbett refuted the comparison and apologized. And then he provided a comparison of his own, marriage between siblings. And then found himself apologizing again.

Since that time, Corbett has tried to keep his defense of the ban mostly about “because it’s my job to defend the law” and has come out in support of a non-discrimination bill.

NOM wants to defend Oregon’s marriage ban

Timothy Kincaid

April 21st, 2014

It has finally come to the attention of the National Organization for Marriage (theirs, not yours) that no one is defending the anti-gay marriage ban in Oregon (maybe they read Box Turtle Bulletin).

And so, two days before the hearing begins, NOM has decided that they will step in and fill the void. (NOMBlog)

NOM’s lead legal counsel — its chairman John Eastman — will tell the federal court in the filing today that NOM’s members in Oregon include a county clerk who must perform marriages and certify them, professionals in the wedding industry, and voters who cannot defend their interests in upholding the law themselves due to legitimate fear of reprisal.

“It is precisely for this reason that federal law has a strong premise that organizations like NOM should be able to intervene to defend the interests of their members who cannot adequately defend those interests themselves,” said John Eastman, NOM’s Chairman and Director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at The Claremont Institute.

If our motion to intervene is granted, we intend to fully and aggressively defend the state constitutional amendment.

Now I suppose it is possible that Eastman missed that tiny little obscure Proposition 8 case in which the Supreme Court said that the organization that wrote the proposition, campaigned for it, and got it passed did not have standing to defend the state law. Or perhaps he thinks that anonymous members and county clerks in the state give NOM standing.

And wouldn’t it be funny as all hell seeing Eastman make a fool of himself and his organization and having his rather prodigious posterior handed to him on a platter.

But no, it’s likelier that Eastman is just being a blowhard and won’t even turn in a motion. He probably just wanted some way to say the following without looking like a completely bigoted purveyor of bullpoopery.

Eastman also said that news reports over the weekend that Judge Michael McShane is in a long-term relationship with another man and that the two are raising a child together raise serious ethical questions about whether the judge should continue to hear the case.

“These recent news reports suggest that Judge McShane is in the same position as the two gay men challenging the marriage amendment, raising troubling questions about his impartiality,” Eastman said.

He knows that the courts have already ruled that gay judges ruling on matters that impact gay people are not presumed to be partial. It’s just an appeal to the baser nature of NOM’s supporters.

LaBarbera heads back to Chicago

Timothy Kincaid

April 15th, 2014

The Gazette is reporting that Peter LaBarbera has been released from custody and, in agreement with Canadian border control, has decided to call his stay short and return to the States.

An American anti-gay and pro-life activist has decided to voluntarily cut his visit to Saskatchewan short following another run-in with the Canadian Border Services Agency.

Peter LaBarbera was questioned by CBSA Tuesday morning in relation to his arrest at the University of Regina on Monday.

The Regina Police Service held LaBarbera in custody overnight at CBSA’s request, said police spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich in an email Tuesday morning.

LaBarbera had been initially denied entry to Canada on April 10 under hate speech laws. He appealed and won, under the agreement he would leave the country by April 17.

It seems that he had scheduled to visit another university today, but decided that the martyr thing was more fun in theory than in practice.

And Then There’s Louisiana

Jim Burroway

April 15th, 2014

If you ever need proof that Louisiana is the Louisiana of the American South, the Louisiana House of Representatives will always be happy to oblige. Today, the House defeated a bill that would remove the state’s sodomy law from the books. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling that all such laws are unconstitutional and unenforceable, the Louisiana House voted 27-67 to keep the law anyway.

Three Republicans — Reps. Franklin Foil (Baton Rouge), Lowell Hazel (Pineville), Nancy Landry (Lafayette) — crossed party lines to support repealing the unconstitutional law. Eleven Dems — that’s almost a quarter of the Democratic caucus — joined much of the rest of the GOP Caucus to keep it. They were Reps. John “Andy” Anders (Vidalia), James Armes (Leeville), Michael Danahay (Sulpher), Jerry Gisclair (Larose), Mickey Guillory (Eunice), Dorothy Sue Hill (Dry Creek), Robert Johnson (Marksville), Sam Jones (Franklin), Bernard DeBas (Ville Blatte), Eugene Reynolds (Minden), and Harold Richie (Bogalusa). Independent Jerome Richard (Thibidaux) also voted to keep the ban. Three Republicans and eight Democrats ducked the vote altogether, which means that only 56% of Democrats supported the law’s repeal.

Last summer, the Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish engaged in a classic 1950′s-style entrapment campaign in which deputies propositioned men in a public park to go back to their homes for “some drinks and some fun.” Men who agreed to private, consensual sex were then arrested and charged with Louisiana’s unconstitutional “crimes against nature” law. None of the men arrested proposed sex in public places or any other illegal activity. Once the illegal entrapment campaign came to light, the sheriff’s office responded that they were merely enforcing the law that was still on Louisiana’s books, and claimed that they didn’t know that the law had been struck down in 2003.

Also, more proof: the same House is prepared to consider another bill that will make the Bible the official book of Louisiana.

Malta passes civil unions

Timothy Kincaid

April 15th, 2014


As anticipated, the legislature of the island nation of Malta has approved civil unions for same-sex couples. (Deutshe Welle)

The Maltese parliament legalized same-sex unions and gay adoption on Monday in a 37-0 vote, signaling a major change in social policy for a conservative country where Catholicism is the state religion.

“Malta is now more liberal and more European, and it has given equality to all its people,” Labour Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

The opposition Nationalist Party abstained from the vote, saying that although it supports civil unions, it has doubts about adoption rights for gay couples.

The bill now goes to the President for a formal approval at which time Malta will become the southernmost part of Europe to recognize same-sex relationships. From what I glean from their local press, they are rather proud of themselves for this move. As they should be.

UPDATE: The opposition party was anxious that their abstention was not seen as opposition to civil unions or even necessarily as an absolute opposition to adoption, but rather that they opposed that the issues were addressed together. They proposed a constitutional amendment to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which both parties supported.

Ohio’s Marriage Equality Push Inches Forward

Jim Burroway

April 15th, 2014

There have been two developments over the past twenty-four in the push for marriage equality in Ohio. Yesterday, Federal District Judge Timothy Black ruled that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages from other states. This ruling came two weeks after Judge Black announced his intentions to strike down this portion of Ohio’s same-sex marriage ban.

The case was brought by four same-sex couples who either adopted or are waiting to adopt children and are seeking to have both parents’ names appear on their children’s birth certificates. The scope of this ruling applies to all same-sex couples who were married in other states where same-sex marriage is legal. An earlier ruling in a separate case, also by Judge Black, applied only to the state’s handling of death certificates. Both rulings are stayed pending appeal.

In a second development, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has certified the language of a revision to a proposed constitutional amendment that would repeal and replace Ohio’s current state constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage. The revision exempts “houses of worship” from performing or recognizing same-sex marriages. Ohio’s current prohibition bans same-sex marriage in the state and prohibits the state from recognizing any other unions from outside the state. The proposed amendment next goes to bipartisan ballot board for review to ensure that the proposal does not address more than one issue. Assuming it passes that review, it will then go to the signature gathering phase for placement on the 2016 ballot.

Bring Out Your Pitchforks

Jim Burroway

April 8th, 2014

Mother Jones reports that OKCupid CEO Sam Yagen donated $500 an anti-gay Utah GOP Congressman’s election campaign:

OkCupid’s co-founder and CEO Sam Yagan once donated to an anti-gay candidate. (Yagan is also CEO of Match.com.) Specifically, Yagan donated $500 to Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) in 2004, reports Uncrunched. During his time as congressman from 1997 to 2009, Cannon voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, against a ban on sexual-orientation based job discrimination, and for prohibition of gay adoptions.

…Of course, it’s been a decade since Yagan’s donation to Cannon, and a decade or more since many of Cannon’s votes on gay rights. It’s possible that Cannon’s opinions have shifted, or maybe his votes were more politics than ideology; a tactic by the Mormon Rep. to satisfy his Utah constituency. It’s also quite possible that Yagan’s politics have changed since 2004: He donated to Barack Obama’s campaign in 2007 and 2008. Perhaps even Firefox’s Eich has rethought LGBT equality since his 2008 donation. But OkCupid didn’t include any such nuance in its take-down of Firefox. Combine that with the fact that the company helped force out one tech CEO for something its own CEO also did, and its action last week starts to look more like a PR stunt than an impassioned act of protest.

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects New Mexico Photographer’s Appeal

Jim Burroway

April 7th, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court today announced that it will not take up the the appeal by Elane Photography, a New Mexico photographer who was found to have violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to photograph a same-sex wedding.

In the Order Paper published online this morning (PDF: 93KB/8 pages), Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock is listed, without comment, as among cases in which certiorari was denied.

In 2006, Elaine Huguenin, who runs Elane Photography (the different spelling is intentional), refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony for a lesbian couple. The couple, Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth, hired another photographer and filed a complaint with the state’s Human Rights Division, which set up a commission to examine the complaint. In February 2008, the commission ruled that Elane Photography had violated  the state’s Human Rights Act by discriminating against the couple on the basis of sexual orientation. Huguenin turned to the courts, which have backed the state’s Human Rights Division ruling.

A Marine speaks out

Timothy Kincaid

April 4th, 2014

Go read this op-ed (NewsTribune)

I slept with a gay man for six months in Afghanistan.

No one asked. He did not tell.

In 2005, I and 200 Marines in my squadron deployed to Afghanistan to support the global war on terrorism. We were stationed at Bagram air base, a deep bowl surrounded by snowcapped mountains, where it rained and snowed while the sun beamed, prompting one Marine to remark, “Welcome to Afghanistan, the only place on Earth where you get all four seasons and a rocket in the same day.”

Judge: Ohio must recognize out-of-state marriages

Timothy Kincaid

April 4th, 2014

In December, Federal Judge Timothy Black ruled that if you were a resident of Ohio and if you were legally married to someone of the same sex by another state, the state had to recognize that marriage for purposes of death certificates. We noted at that time that this was a very narrow ruling.

Now the plaintiffs have gone back to Judge Black and requested that he expand his ruling to all state functions, and he has agreed. (ABC)

Judge Timothy Black announced his intentions in federal court in Cincinnati following final arguments in a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the marriage ban.

“I intend to issue a declaration that Ohio’s recognition bans, that have been relied upon to deny legal recognition to same-sex couples validly entered in other states where legal, violates the rights secured by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Black said. “(They’re) denied their fundamental right to marry a person of their choosing and the right to remain married.”

Black said he’ll issue the ruling April 14. The civil rights attorneys who filed the February lawsuit did not ask Black to order the state to perform gay marriages, and he did not say he would do so.

Ohio State Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has announced that he will appeal the ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Honey Maid responds

Timothy Kincaid

April 3rd, 2014

After Honey Maid’s delightful commercial about the wholesomeness of non-traditional families, they got some feedback.

Here is their response.

You will buy Honey Maid graham crackers after you see this. I don’t care if you hate graham crackers, you will find yourself at the grocery store with Honey Maid in your basket.

YouTube Preview Image

Civil unions are coming to Malta

Timothy Kincaid

April 2nd, 2014

Malta is tiny dot in the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily. Last September the legislature introduced a bill to provide civil unions which would have all the rights and responsibilities as marriage (including adoption). On February 25th the bill passed committee and now awaits the final third reading before becoming law.

The bill has been on hold since that time due to refusal by the President to sign the bill. (Times of Malta)

Times of Malta reported this morning that the government had postponed the final approval of the Civil Unions Bill as the President had informally told Dr Muscat that he was not willing to sign it into law.

The Bill has been awaiting third reading for five weeks. It would then need to be signed by the President before becoming law. The government is now waiting until President George Abela’s term of office ends on April 4.

Although the incoming President is among the roughly 98% of the half million population that is Catholic, she has no problem signing the bill.

Dr Abela will be succeeded by Family and Social Solidarity Minister Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca who, despite being a staunch Catholic and having opposed divorce, has made it clear she has no problem signing the Bill.

Soon after being nominated for the presidency, Ms Coleiro Preca said since this Bill was an electoral commitment made by the government before the last election she had no problem with it.

The deputy prime minister has promised that the bill will be given its final vote “soon”. To the best of my knowledge, no provision of falcons is required as a condition of the bill.

Regnerus claims judge had bias

Timothy Kincaid

April 2nd, 2014

There was, for a brief time, a period in which I was open to argument that Mark Regnerus was a principled researcher whose conclusions were misconstrued by others and whose intent was the advancement of knowledge in the area of family structures. Though he was religious and his research was funded by a conservative organization, that did not preclude him from credibility.

And, indeed, for a while he claimed that he didn’t assert the conclusions that anti-gay media attributed to his paper. Until it became clear that his “not asserting” was a technicality, a game he played so as to advance deception while holding to “but I didn’t personally say it”.

And, following the criticism of his employer and the denunciation by Judge Friedman, the world knows Regnerus to be a charlatan willing to sell his integrity in a futile attempt to forward his anti-gay agenda.

Take, as an illustration, his latest whine in his ongoing effort to portray his dishonesty as a badge of martyrdom. (Anti-gay Catholic website LifeSiteNews)

“I frankly don’t understand why the judge elected to pass on a discussion of some of the very real concerns our research raised,” Regnerus told LifeSiteNews in an e-mail. Regnerus says Friedman “chose to privilege certain scholars as well as research that leaned on self-selected samples.”

“it’s as if raising standard methodological issues on this subject is just unwelcome today, unless it’s clear that you are friendly to the political goals of the same-sex marriage movement.”

Yeah, that’s it. It’s not that your study of children of broken families had no relevance to a case about couples wishing to create intact families. No, it must be judicial bias.

Say bye-bye to your career, Mark. Bye-Bye.

Harvey Milk Stamp Unveiled

Jim Burroway

April 2nd, 2014

From Linn’s Stamp News:

A black-and-white photograph of Harvey Milk (1930-78) will be used for the central design of the forthcoming United States commemorative forever stamp honoring the San Francisco political figure and gay rights activist.

The stamp will be issued on Harvey Milk Day, May 22, in a location or locations yet to be determined. Both Washington, D.C., and San Francisco are potential first-day cities.

May 22 will be Milk’s 84th birthday.

New marriage poll

Timothy Kincaid

March 27th, 2014

From the Christian Science Monitor

The United States is in the midst of a broad and rapid change in attitudes about gay marriage, with 55 percent now favoring full recognition of same-sex marriage and 40 percent opposed, according to a national survey released on Thursday.

The poll, conducted for a gay rights organization, found that support for same-sex marriage is highest among young adults, with 75 percent approval among those ages 18 to 29. Among that group, 58 percent said they are strongly in favor, compared with 13 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds identified as strongly opposed.

The only age group with a majority opposed to such recognition is those 65 years and older. Among that group, 55 percent said they disagree with gay marriage.

The synopsis says that it has a 3.1% margin of error, but I have not yet found a link to the poll questions, so I don’t know the extent to which I can trust the poll’s accuracy.

But while the numbers are more aggressive than other media polling, they are not way outside what we’ve seen lately.

4 year old murdered by mother

Timothy Kincaid

March 27th, 2014

Some things are just too disgusting to even comment about: (The Oregonian)

Jessica Dutro believed her 4-year-old son, Zachary Dutro-Boggess was gay, prosecutors told the court Wednesday, and that was her motive for subjecting him to deadly beatings.

Dutro, charged with murder, murder by abuse and second-degree assault, is on trial in Washington County Circuit Court.

Emergency crews brought Zachary to a Portland hospital Aug. 14, 2012, where doctors determined he was dying from trauma to his abdomen that caused tears in his bowel. He was taken off life support two days later.

San Diego Mayor co-chairs marriage equality group

Timothy Kincaid

March 27th, 2014

From Freedom to Marry:

Today Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer of San Diego became a chair of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, joining fellow chairs Kasim Reed of Atlanta; Julián Castro of San Antonio; Michael Nutter of Philadelphia; Annise Parker of Houston; Greg Stanton of Phoenix; and Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles.

“I am a strong supporter of marriage equality,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “I came to my decision after speaking with my fellow San Diegans about the importance of ensuring that everyone in love has access to the respect, dignity and protections offered by marriage. I value freedom, family, and individual liberty, and I’m proud to join Mayors for the Freedom to Marry to continue making the case for marriage nationwide.”

The group has about 400 mayors from cities in 38 states.

Zimbabwe: it’s ok to stab gay people

Timothy Kincaid

March 26th, 2014

It’s beginning to look as if the entire population of the continent of Africa has lost its collective mind. Here’s the latest evidence.

In Zimbabwe, a man was acquitted of stabbing another man because he accused the victim of being gay. (DailyNews)

With regard to the nature of the case, [regional magistrate Sikhumbuzo] Nyathi also admitted that issues pertaining to homosexuality in Zimbabwe were controversial.

“In Zimbabwe, the issue of homosexuality is a controversial one to such extent that it has drawn into the fray, the highest office in the country. Some people are known to hold strong views on homosexuality,” he said.

As a result Nyathi, found Phiri not guilty.

Michigan Episcopalians on marriage

Timothy Kincaid

March 25th, 2014

What do you do if the Speakers for Jesus speak words that reflect the message of no Jesus that you know? If you are Episcopal Bishops in Michigan, you take to the papers. (Detroit Free Press)

As Christians, we cannot be silent as our state’s highest laws discriminate against segments of our society based on the personal biases of those in power, particularly when a majority of Michigan’s population now supports marriage equality. To remain silent is to be complicit in the decline of our society through demonizing unprotected minorities, segregation based on sexual preference, denial of benefits to selected groups, and fear-based prejudice. Our continued silence can lead only to further discrimination, bullying and other forms of physical, emotional and spiritual violence.

Amen

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