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Posts for June, 2014

Wisconsin Same-Sex Marriages Put On Hold

Jim Burroway

June 16th, 2014

Federal District Juidge Barbara Crabb, who earlier had ruled that Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriages violated the U.S. Constitution, has issued her injunction on Friday which also includes a stay.

Judge Crabb’s earlier ruling was unusual in that, unlike other rulings, hers did not include an injunction compelling the state to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Instead, Judge Crabb asked the parties to submit proposed language for an injunction that would follow in a couple of weeks. The original deadline for those proposals was today,but when Dane and Milwaukee Counties decided to begin issuing marriage licenses even in the absence of an injunction, Judge Crab accelerated her timetable. By the time she issued her injunction and stay on Friday, some five out of every six Wisconsin counties were issuing licenses. Judge Crabb’s injunction does order state and county officials to issue marriage licenses, but she also accompanied that order with a stay pending appeal:

After seeing the expressions of joy on the faces of so many newly wedded couples featured in media reports, I find it difficult to impose a stay on the event that is responsible for eliciting that emotion, even if the stay is only temporary. Same-sex couples have waited many years to receive equal treatment under the law, so it is understandable that they do not want to wait any longer. However, a federal district court is required to follow the guidance provided by the Supreme Court. Because I see no way to distinguish this case from Herbert, I conclude that I must stay any injunctive relief pending appeal.

The remaining question is whether the stay should include all relief, including the declaration, rather than just the injunction. Although I remain dubious that it is necessary to “stay” declaratory relief, I understand that there has been much confusion among county clerks regarding the legal effect of the declaration. To avoid further confusion among theclerks, I will issue a stay of all relief.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Compares Gays To Alcoholics

Jim Burroway

June 12th, 2014

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was in San Francisco, totally not running for President (wink, wink!) at the Commonwealth Club. He was asked about the Texas Republican Party’s endorsement of ex-gay therapy, which California has banned for minors. (That law is currently being challenged in Federal court.)

In response to an audience question about it Wednesday night, Perry said he did not know whether the therapy worked. Commonwealth Club interviewer Greg Dalton then asked him whether he believes homosexuality is a disorder.

“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry said. “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”

Brat v Cantor

Timothy Kincaid

June 11th, 2014

The election of Dave Brat as Virginia’s 7th District GOP candidate, a move that expels House Majority Leader from the House of Representatives, has shocked the political world.

Tea Party advocates are seeing this as an indication that the Tea Party Movement is live, well, powerful, and underestimated. And many in our community see anything Tea Party to be a threat to our community.

They may be correct. But that also may be too simplistic of an assumption.

The Tea Party movement incorporates a great many people who see Washington politicians as out of touch and beholding to moneyed special interests. Certainly some of those include those who see an increasingly anti-religious fervor in government to be a threat and for many of them gay issues are a weathervane.

But the movement also includes those who see ever increasing federal involvement in their lives as a violation of the GOP purported belief that the state that governs least governs best. And many others see the constant ‘kick the can down the road’ approach to fiscal policy to be a sell out of the nation’s children.

And it also includes the somewhat disenfranchised libertarian wing of the party. These are the folks who mock both the Right and the Left for their incessant claims of freedom and liberty while simultaneously seeking to remove the rights of those they perceive as enemies.

It may be that Dave Brat fits in the latter category. The Wall Street Journal has reviewed some of his writings including this

Can Christians force others to follow their ethical teachings on social issues? Note that consistency is lacking on all sides of this issue. The political Right likes to champion individual rights and individual liberty, but it has also worked to enforce morality in relation to abortion, gambling, and homosexuality. The Left likes to think of itself as the bulwark of progressive liberal individualism, and yet it seeks to progressively coerce others to fund every social program under the sun via majority rule. Houston, we have a problem. Coercion is on the rise. What is the root word for liberalism? (Answer: Liberty)

On the other hand, Brat is a fervent Christian, holds Divinity degree (along with an economics degree), and clearly sees a role for faith in governance. That seldom promises hope for pro-gay positions on legislation.

It will be interesting to see how his views play out in the coming campaign and (as this is a safe Republican district) in his votes. I simply don’t know enough about this out-of-nowhere politician and think it far too soon to predict.

Italian pasta commercial that will make you smile

Timothy Kincaid

June 10th, 2014

This may be Italy’s first pro-gay commercial (Time)

It does look delicious… though I’m troubled by any culture in which one isn’t mocked for saying, “It’s so good because of the microwave!”

Snyder calls for non-discrimination

Timothy Kincaid

June 4th, 2014

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) has been walking a careful line when it comes to gay issues.

When his state’s ban on marriage equality was found to be unconstitutional, he opted not to share his own views and left the appeal to the state’s attorney general. And when his office had to take a position on those marriages that occurred before a stay was issued, he found a legal medium; the marriages were legal (and thus could be recognized federally) but the state’s statutes (once the ruling was stayed) disallowed state recognition.

But now he has found a way to be supportive of the gay community, and do so at the behest of a Republican constituency. Speaking at the Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference on Mackinac Island, where a group of business leaders has endorsed adding LGBT rights to the civil rights law, he concurred. (Michigan radio)

Governor Rick Snyder says he’d like the Legislature to amend Michigan’s civil rights law to add protections for gays, lesbians and transgendered people.

“I don’t believe in discrimination and I think it would be great if they, the Legislature, looked at it later in the year,” said Snyder.

Lesbian heads super-secret spy agency

Timothy Kincaid

June 4th, 2014


From Stars and Stripes

A Dayton native and the first openly gay commander of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center took over the top leadership post of the secretive agency that provides intelligence reports to the White House, Congress and even ground troops in combat.

Col. Leah G. Lauderback, 42, became the leader of NASIC at a change of command ceremony Wednesday in front of about 700 people gathered at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. She replaces Col. Aaron M. Prupas, who leaves for a high-level defense intelligence post at the Pentagon.

A 21-year veteran specializing in cyberspace defense, Lauderback had been providing essential service to our nation, all while not-asking, not-telling. She married her partner a month ago.

(But you have to know that they knew all along, right?)

Dear commenter…

Timothy Kincaid

June 1st, 2014

Dear commenter who keeps posting to threads that are years old saying things like

discussion on the topic of this paragraph at this place at this blog, I
have read all that, so now me also commenting at
this place.|
I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet users, its really really pleasant post
on building up new blog.|
Wow, this paragraph is pleasant, my sister is analyzing such things, thus
I am going to tell her.|
Saved as a favorite, I love your blog!|
Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you

I have a sneaking suspicion that you are a computer. We don’t accepts comments from computers. And deleting the dozen or so that slip by our filtering software each day is a hassle and annoyance.

Just thought you should know.

Ignorance as a tool for persuasion

Rob Tisinai

May 30th, 2014

Now that the Equal Rights Amendment is back in the news, I’ve read two long articles from conservatives decrying how terrible it is. Neither article provided the amendment’s actual text, which is only THREE SENTENCES LONG! Take a clue, folks: If ignorance is your best tool for persuasion, you’re simply admitting you’re wrong.

Vancouver Hospital Shuts AIDS Ward

Jim Burroway

May 29th, 2014

Vancouver, with San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, was an early epicenter of the AIDS crisis in North America. At its height in 1997, about one person was dying per day in Vancouver, and ward 10C of St. Paul’s Hospital saw the lions share of those deaths. But no more:

St. Paul’s Hospital has shut down its dedicated AIDS ward, saying they no longer have enough patients — and the end of AIDS is in sight. …

“It was not that long ago that HIV/AIDS was a death sentence and those who came to this ward at St. Paul’s were here to die,” said Dr. Julio Montaner, director for the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. “Today, ward 10C will provide treatment, support and care for those living with HIV-related issues. We have worked hard to make this day happen and I commend everyone who has supported our efforts.”

 

Last Stop: North Dakota

Jim Burroway

May 27th, 2014

North Dakota is the only state in the union which bans same-sex marriage and doesn’t have a court challenge against at least a portion of the ban. Expect it to lose that distinction sometime in the next month or two:

“There will be a case filed challenging North Dakota’s same-sex marriage ban,” says Joshua Newville, a Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney who filed a suit Thursday against South Dakota’s ban on behalf of same-sex couples there.

Newville is in talks with advocates and attorneys in North Dakota and confirmed that either he or another attorney will bring a lawsuit against that state’s ban within six to eight weeks.

Oregon United drops ballot measure (updated)

Timothy Kincaid

May 23rd, 2014

In July 2013, Oregon United for Marriage began the process of collecting signatures to place a proposition on the ballot to reverse the state’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. With significant high-profile political support and large contributions from some of Oregon’s corporate giants like Nike, they reached their goal of 116,000 signatures with an extra 50,000 to allow for errors or duplicates.

Earlier this year, in a brief submitted to the court, Oregon United stated that if Judge McShane ruled the ban unconstitutional by May 23rd, they would drop their ballot effort. The judge ruled earlier this week and the state will not appeal his ruling. So today Oregon United announced that they are discontinuing the process.

Today is May 23—and following Judge Michael McShane’s ruling that extended the freedom to marry to all loving, committed couples in Oregon, a ballot campaign to address the same issue is no longer needed. “We are confident that the freedom to marry is secure in Oregon and that we do not need to move forward with the ballot measure,” said Oregon United for Marriage deputy campaign manager Amy Ruiz. “It is time to celebrate this victory for Oregon.

UPDATE

Oregon United had accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in anticipation of needing a media campaign for the proposition. Now they are giving it back. (Statesman Journal)

That money came in large part from donations from other organizations like Basic Rights Oregon, the ACLU of Oregon, SEIU Local 503, Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry, Gill Action Fund and the American Unity Fund.

And those groups will be getting some of that money back.

The marriage campaign’s executive committee has decided to return its remaining resources to its major donors in proportion to what they gave to the campaign.

Classy move.

Lawsuits Challenging Marriage Bans Filed in Montana, South Dakota

Jim Burroway

May 22nd, 2014

Yesterday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Great Falls, Montana on behalf of four couples challenging that state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The state’s Democratic governor, Steve Bullock, issued a statement supporting the lawsuit, saying, “Montanans cherish our freedom and recognize the individual dignity of every one of us. The time has come for our state to recognize and celebrate – not discriminate against – two people who love one another, are committed to each other and want to spend their lives together.” But Republican Attorney General Tim Fox’s office announced that he “will continue to defend Montana’s marriage amendment vigorously.”

And now today, Minneapolis attorney Josh Newville filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Sioux Fall, South Dakota on behalf of six South Dakota couples challenging that state’s ban on same-sex marriage. It also challenges Section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows states to refuse to recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states. That’s not the only interestnig twist in this lawsuit. It also claims three violations that are guaranteed in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: deprivation of equal protection, due process and right to travel, based on the fact that as soon as a married couple crosses state lines, all of the protections that their marriage provides can vanish. Attorney General Marty Jackley (R) had earlier announced that “It is the statutory responsibility of the attorney general to defend both our state constitution and statutory laws, which I intend to do if a lawsuit is filed.”

There have been so many lawsuits filed over the past year that it has become virtually impossible to keep up with them — at least for us here at BTB who all hold real full-time jobs. But I wanted to note these developments because with these two lawsuits, there is now only one state, North Dakota, with a same-sex marriage ban and no lawsuit to challenge it. That may not last long. Newville says he’s been contected by several North Dakota couples and is seriously considering their request for representation.

Poor sad delusional NOM

Timothy Kincaid

May 21st, 2014

The National Organization for Marriage (theirs, not yours) is all upset with Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett for choosing not to appeal federal Judge John Jones III’s ruling that the state’s same-sex marriage ban violates the US Constitution. Whatever.

But the part that is truly worth a giggle – especially after being slapped down this week by Oregon’s Judge McShane – is this:

Brown said that the National Organization for Marriage is itself evaluating whether it could intervene in this case on behalf of its Pennsylvania members. It is also looking into what other options might exist to work with people or groups in the state who have standing to mount the strong defense of marriage called for in this case.

Delusional.

Radical Militant Activist Judge Jones

Timothy Kincaid

May 20th, 2014


Anti-gay activists like to pretend that the only way marriage equality is obtained is through the machinations of radical militant activist judges who impose their leftist agenda against the will of the people. So it’s always nice to know a little about who these judges are and how they came to hold their position.

Judge John E. Jones III, whose ruling found that Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage (legislative, not a constitutional amendment) is in violation of the US Constitution, is a bit hard to sell as a radical militant activist with a leftist agenda. But he’s certainly had that accusation thrown at him before, when he found that intelligent design could not be part of a school curriculum.

Before Jones became a jurist, re ran for Congress for the Sixth Congressional District seat and then, when unsuccessful, was co-chair of the transition team for Governor-elect Tom Ridge. He considered a run for Governor in 2001. As a Republican.

Jones was appointed by President George W. Bush as federal judge on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in February 2002 and was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on July 30, 2002.

Judge Piazza will be re-elected tomorrow

Timothy Kincaid

May 19th, 2014

Tomorrow is election day in Arkansas and the judge who found the marriage ban to be unconstitutional will be on the ballot. But not to worry, he’s going to be reelected. (Houston Chronicle)

A Pulaski County circuit judge recently tossed out Arkansas’ 10-year-old ban on gay marriage, and the state Supreme Court subsequently put the judge’s ruling on hold, but there’s no way for voters to take out their frustrations at the polls this year. Circuit Judge Chris Piazza, who made the ruling, didn’t draw an opponent this year and will be re-elected to a 6-year term Tuesday.

The National Organization for Marriage is calling demanding “Governor Mike Beebe to call a special legislative session so that lawmakers can impeach Piazza and remove him from office”. Beebe has already dismissed that notion.

Ninth rejects NOM’s Oregon stay request

Timothy Kincaid

May 19th, 2014

Last week, Judge McShane denied the effort by the National Organization for Marriage to intervene in the trial over that state’s ban on same-sex marriage. They appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, along with a request for an emergency stay on Judge McShane’s decision, should it be that the ban is unconstitutional.

Today the Ninth gave their reply: “Appellant’s emergency motion to stay district court proceedings pending appeal is denied.”

This has not been NOM’s happy day.

Maine committee recommends fining NOM

Timothy Kincaid

May 19th, 2014

From the Bangor Daily News

Maine ethics investigators are recommending more than $50,000 in fines for a national anti-gay-marriage organization for failing to register and disclose its activities in Maine’s 2009 same-sex marriage referendum.

That year, an effort to legalize same-sex marriage — approved by the Legislature and signed by then-Gov. John Baldacci — was repealed at the ballot box with 53 percent of the vote.

National Organization for Marriage was the largest contributor to the ’09 anti-gay-marriage campaign, and dumped roughly $2 million into the state. That money was integral in defeating the fledgling marriage equality law.

The Ethics Commission will decide later this month whether to accept the recommendation of the reviewers and to assess the fine.

Arkansas Supreme Court Halts Marriages

Jim Burroway

May 16th, 2014

In a simple one-sentence order, the Arkansas State Supreme Court has brought same-sex marriages in the state to a halt:

State Defendants-Appelants’ petition for emergency stay and separate White, Washington, Lonoke and Conway County appellants’ expedited motion for stay are granted.

The Arkansas Time blog describes what lies ahead:

Piazza’s decision will now go through the appeal process. A record of the lower court case must be prepared. A briefing schedule must be set and probably oral arguments. The court takes a two-month recess each summer. Even with an expedited schedule, it’s uncertain if the case can be decided this calendar year, when two of the current justices — Cliff Hoofman and Donald Corbin — will be replaced by Rhonda Wood and the winner of a race between Judge Robin Wynne and Tim Cullen. Typical there’s about 2.5 months for briefing after a record and transcript is completed. Part of this record has already been completed and it’s not an extensive record.  It conceivably could be completed by fall.

In other words, this may kick things down the road to 2015 or so.

Ninth Circuit Temporarily Blocks Idaho Marriages

Jim Burroway

May 15th, 2014

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a temporary stay of a lower court’s ruling that found Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. The lower courts ruling was set to go into effect on Friday at 9:00 a.m., but Gov. Butch Otter filed an emergency request with the Ninth Circuit asking for a stay until the pending appeal is completed. The Ninth Circuit has partially granted that request:

In a one-sentence order, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, “The district court’s May 13, 2014 order is temporarily stayed pending this court’s disposition of appellants’ emergency motions for a stay pending appeal.”

In other words, the three-panel court (consisting of Judges Edward Leavy, Consuelo Callahan, and Andrew Hurwitz) have decided to issue a temporary stay to give them time to decide whether to keep the stay in place throughout the appeals process.

Arkansas marriages resume

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2014

Yesterday the Arkansas Supreme Court chose not to stay the decision by Judge Chris Piazza in which he found that the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was in contradiction with other provisions of the state constitution. However, then noted that his temporary order only addressed the amendment and not the legislator-passed state law.

Today Judge Piazza clarified that when he found anti-gay marriage bans unconstitutional, he really did mean all of them. (AP)

A day after the state Supreme Court effectively halted gay marriages in the state, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza expanded his ruling striking down a constitutional ban to also include the prohibition on clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Justices had ruled Wednesday that Piazza’s decision on the gay marriage ban did not change that license law.

Piazza also rejected a request to suspend his ruling, saying there’s no evidence the state would be harmed by allowing gay marriages to continue.

So marriages in certain counties in Arkansas will resume.

Of course, now that he has issued his final ruling, the state Supremes may decide to place a stay on the ruling until they consider the appeal. Frankly, I’ll be surprised if they don’t; but should they choose not to, it will basically mean that the marriage question is over in that state.

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