Arkansas marriages resume
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.
Judge Denies Idaho Gov’s Request for Marriage Ruling Stay
May 14th, 2014
U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale, who yesterday ruled that Idaho’s state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution, has denied a request by Gov. Butch Otter (stop that, you guys!) to stay the ruling pending a planned appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Gov. Otter are expected to file an emergency motion with the Ninth Circuit asking for a stay pending an appeal. Otter and Wasden are optimistic they can get a stay somewhere:
In the request to Dale, Otter’s attorneys said they were convinced that if the judge wouldn’t issue a stay, the 9th Circuit or Supreme Court would.
“That conviction is based on the fact that the Ninth Circuit granted such a stay in the California same-sex marriage’ case, the Sixth district did the same in the Michigan same-sex marriage case, and the United States Supreme Court did the same in the Utah same-sex marriage case,” Otter’s attorneys wrote.
If the Ninth Circuit denies their motion for a stay and the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t intervene, then same-sex marriages will become legal in Idaho at 9:00 a.m. Friday.
After the ruling, the Idaho Republican Party issued a statement reaffirming the organization’s stance against same-sex marriage, and contending that the Tenth Amendment gives states the power to regulate and define marriage.
“The disintegration of marriage will lead to the disintegration of our society,” Idaho GOP Chairman Barry Peterson said in a prepared statement.
May 13th, 2014
U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale has ruled Idaho’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
In her 57-page decision, Dale stated, “Idaho’s Marriage Laws withhold from them a profound and personal choice, one that most can take for granted. By doing so, Idaho’s Marriage Laws deny same-sex couples the economic, practical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of marriage, relegating each couple to a stigmatized, second-class status. Plaintiffs suffer these injuries not because they are unqualified to marry, start a family, or grow old together, but because of who they are and whom they love.”
And Idaho makes… ummm, I have no idea what number this one is.
Update: You can read some choice excerpts from Judge Dale’s smack-down opinion here.
Do they even listen to what they say?
May 13th, 2014
Today the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments for and against overturning Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen ruling that Virginia’s gay marriage ban was in violation of the US Constitution (the Olson-Boies case). There were, as expected, protesters on either side.
The anti-gay side made some interesting remarks.
Dean Nelson, chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, told the crowd, “Things have gotten so bad that even when you’re watching ESPN on Mother’s Day we have the kisses of homosexuals forced down our throats.”
Sometimes it’s just too easy.
Controversy for the coming generation
May 12th, 2014
Among the piles of press that surrounded the selection of Michael Sam during this past weekend’s NFL draft selection, I found this little gem regarding the decision of ESPN to air Sam’s reaction and his kiss with his boyfriend. (Sun Times)
When [ESPN Producer Seth] Markman’s wife explained to their 7-year-old son that dad was busy working on something that was controversial, Sam’s kiss on TV, the boy replied: “Is it because they’re not married?”
This Happened on ESPN
May 12th, 2014
Michael Sam celebrated his getting drafted by the St. Louis Rams by smashing some cake into his boyfriend’s face before going in for another kiss.
Message from StraightGrandmother
May 9th, 2014
StraightGrandmother posted an update on her condition as a comment to a thread, but as many of you might not see it, I’ll reprint it here:
I can’t find the sweet article where so many of you wished me well on my hip replacement. Your kind thoughts are appreciated.
I wish I could say it went well, but it didn’t. Today is day 10 and the first relatively pain free day. The surgeon was great, did a fine job. But the nursing and patient support staff not so much, shall we say. It’s all a horrid story I would at this point rather not share the details of. Well one, I stiff armed the nurses aid who insisted on rolling me over on my incision the day after surgery, the day which they gave me NO PAIN MEDICATION, the day after my surgery. Nurses aid now claiming workmanship comp, but I did NOT get rolled over. When I say “No” I really mean it.
Today is the BEST day, my primary care stepped in and prescribed me proper pain meds which I took this afternoon, so bottom line I’m better. And I hope every day better. I haven’t decided if I should take the Xanax the Primary care prescribed for me to take tonight. It was a completely traumatizing ordeal. But now, after 10 days, now I have hope and manageable pain.
We’re wishing you the best, SGM. Hope things continue to improve.
The Bigoted Benham Boys
May 7th, 2014
I was (and still am) disturbed by the pressure for Eich’s resignation and yet am thrilled that HGTV has decided not to air a show on flipping houses with the Benham twins.
I clearly do not have all the answers.
I’m tempted to write more on this. Few things are more intellectually stimulating than finding what looks to be a contradiction in your own thoughts and feelings — but that doesn’t mean other people will be as enthralled. And I don’t want to turn this blog into All-Eich-All-the-Time. Let me know if there’s interest and I’ll go there.
Virginia Photo Request
May 6th, 2014
The National Organization for Marriage is coming to Virginia to hold a rally. Well, I assume a few people will, though NOM rallies are mostly known for drawing embarrassingly small crowds.
So if there is anyone who will be in Richmond, VA, next Tuesday and has a moment to take a picture of their rally, please send us the pics.
Oh, and hey, now we know why the stick figures in their logo have their hands up. I always figured they were just playing the airplane game.
UMC approved married couple benefits
April 30th, 2014
A majority of United Methodist Churches in the United States have, for several years, attempted to be inclusive and supportive of gay Methodists and same-sex couples.
However, unlike most American denominations, the UMC is a global organization and representatives from Africa and Asia join local conservative churches to vote down progress on these issues. It is highly likely that this will soon lead to a division in the denomination and, indeed, this past year has seen an escalation of inclusive pastors defying the mandates of the Methodist Book of Discipline and publicly officiating at same-sex weddings.
A new move by the denomination may play a large role in schism (Religion News Service)
Same-sex partners can’t marry in a United Methodist Church. But if one of the spouses works at one of the denomination’s 13 general agencies, the couple can get benefits if state laws allow it.
The decision, made at last week’s meeting of the UMC’s Judicial Council in Little Rock, Ark., affirms one made in October by the church’s General Council on Finance and Administration, which expanded the definition of “spouse” to include same-sex spouses and partners.
Best Wishes for StraightGrandmother!
April 30th, 2014
As you may know, StraightGrandmother entered the hospital yesterday for a planned hip replacement today. The surgery is this afternoon, and I’m certain she’d love to come out of it to find a thread full of best wishes for a speedy recovery. Go to town!
AFA is “being trampled” in Mississippi
April 28th, 2014
You see, some people in the state are selling goods and services to gay people. Knowingly. And not even giving them a dirty look.
Oh the misery.
It all started when the state legislature passed a bill (much like the Arizona bill that was vetoed) which says that “Government should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification”. And while those words are probably not something I’d disagree with, the unspoken intention of the bill was to block any local ordinances that prohibit discrimination against gay people.
And as there are no such provisions anywhere is Mississippi, it was just the Mississippi Legislature reconfirming to the world that it’s comprised of a bunch of back-woods, redneck, gay-hating yahoos.
Well, this seemed a bit mean to some businesses, so they decided to come up with a way of telling gay customers that they were welcome in their stores. A couple of gay business owners and a “straight, white, Southern, Christian conservative male” Republican up the street designed a sticker that a shopkeeper could put in their window.
Which is all sorts of bullying and silencing of the rights of those who don’t want gay people to be able to buy goods and services. Or something. (AFA’s OneNewsNow)
Buddy Smith, executive vice president of Tupelo-based American Family Association, offers his take on the sticker campaign.
“It’s not really a buying campaign, but it’s a bully campaign,” he says, “and it’s being carried out by radical homosexual activists who intend to trample the freedom of Christians to live according to the dictates of scripture.
“They don’t want to hear that homosexuality is sinful behavior – and they wish to silence Christians and the church who dare to believe this truth.”
And what is one to do about those who break the Scriptural dictates prohibiting selling stuff to gay people?
Smith offers a word of caution for those who do business with facilities posting the decal supporting homosexual activism. “If you do that, you are agreeing with these businesses that Christians no longer have the freedom to live out the dictates of their Christian faith and conscience,” he tells OneNewsNow.
Kidding aside, this is hysterical in pretty much every meaning of the word. Please please, AFA, keep saying stuff like this.
Advocating for rights within the Utah GOP
April 28th, 2014
The former executive director of the Utah Republican Party was at the state party convention this weekend advocating for gay rights. (Salt Lake Tribune)
Along with his wife Megan, DuBois attended Saturday’s state GOP Convention wearing a big Equality Utah sticker. The couple, who were not delegates, were there to mingle with old friends, some of whom did a double take when DuBois urged them to support legislation to ban housing and workplace discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Such bills have received little traction in the conservative, Republican-dominated Utah Legislature.
His message was simple and blunt.
“I’m not scared of gay people,” said DuBois, who left his party post last year. “You can be a really good Republican and support people who don’t fit the same mold as you.”
Let’s hope they’re very persuasive.
UCC sues North Carolina over marriage freedom
April 28th, 2014
A strong component of the organized opposition to marriage equality lies in a desire to impose religious conformity. Although expressed as “religious freedom”, it’s quite the opposite. Opponents are not content with having the state stay out of their religious sacraments and ceremonies; rather, they desire that the state step in and declare that only their religious marriages are respected and those of other positions or faiths be denied.
Now the United Church of Christ is fighting back. (Charlotte Post)
The General Synod of the United Church of Christ filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, contending state law that defines marriage as a union between a man and woman restrict its ministers from performing their religious duties is unconstitutional.
North Carolina prohibits couples of the same gender from obtaining a marriage license and makes it a crime for ministers to officiate a marriage ceremony without determining whether a couple has a license. UCC attorneys say the law limits ministers’ choices, violates the principle of “free exercise of religion” and restricts the freedoms of religion and expressive association guaranteed in the First Amendment. The church seeks a preliminary injunction that would allow ministers the choice of performing a religious marriage.
Although UCC is taking the lead, other individual places of worship have added their name to the lawsuit. (Charlotte Observer)
The Charlotte-area clergy members who have joined them include Allison of Holy Covenant; Robin Tanner, pastor of Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church; Rabbi Jonathan Freirich of Temple Beth El; Nancy Kraft, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran, and Nathan King, senior pastor at Trinity Reformed UCC in Concord.
They are joined by Asheville ministers Joe Hoffman of First Congregational UCC and Mark Ward of the city’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation; along with Nancy Petty, pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist in Raleigh.
I commend the denomination for this latest step in their long history of supporting the gay community. And I think that this may effectively illustrate for some that their insistence at imposing their own religious creeds into state law impose a burden not just on gay people but also on communities of faith.
Alaska Supremes: tax discrimination against gay couples is unconstitutional
April 25th, 2014
Alaska is one of the three (and soon to be two) states in which there is not a current court challenge to anti-gay marriage bans. However, in a tax matter, the Alaska Supreme Court has just ruled that the state cannot discriminate against same-sex couples. (ACLU)
The Alaska Supreme Court ruled today that the state unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples by denying them equal access to a property tax exemption for senior citizens and disabled veterans.
The rules were challenged by the ACLU of Alaska, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP on behalf of three couples who were denied full access to a $150,000 property tax exemption that Alaska makes available to opposite-sex married couples. Because same-sex couples cannot legally marry in Alaska, the state treated them as roommates rather than as families and let them get the exemption for only half of the value of their homes.
In 1998 Alaska amended its state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. As it seems unlikely that the state Supreme Court invalidated that constitutional provision, it will be interesting to see how this ruling is administered. It would seem that, in application, the court ruled that same-sex couples must be treated as though married.
Oregon to have hearing tomorrow without NOM
April 22nd, 2014
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
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
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
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
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.