Sue Collins endorses marriage equality
June 25th, 2014
Senator Susan Collins (R – Maine) has announced that she supports marriage equality. (Bangor Daily News)
“A number of states, including my home state of Maine, have now legalized same-sex marriage, and I agree with that decision,” Collins said in response to a question from the BDN.
This shocks exactly no one. Collins has been a long-time ally of the community and was instrumental in overturning the ban on open service in the military.
She joins only three other GOP Senators in openly supporting marriage equality: Senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. It is, nevertheless, an important addition and a step in the long road of changing the position of the Republican Party.
It will be interesting to see the response. I suspect the usual loons in the anti-gay special interest groups will whine, but I’m betting that no one in the party leadership is in anyway critical of Sen. Collins.
We are winning. Today was a good day.
Boulder Colorado starts issuing marriage licenses
June 25th, 2014
Utah is not, of course, the only state impacted by the decisions of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Also in the Tenth Circuit are Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.
And the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder, Hillary Hill, has decided that this decision gives her the authority to act. (Fox 31)
“Because 10th Circuit decisions are binding in the State of Colorado, the precedent established by Kitchen v. Herbert is applicable to the same-sex marriage ban contained in the Colorado Constitution,” said a statement from the Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
“Couples across Colorado have been waiting a long time to have their right to marry the person they love recognized,” said Hall in a statement. “I want to act immediately to let them carry out that wish.”
The decision of the Tenth Circuit was stayed, and likely the move by Hall will be halted. But it will be fascinating legal drama in the meanwhile.
The First Indiana Same-Sex Wedding
June 25th, 2014
Craig Bowen and Jake Miller were the first couple to get their marriage license and be married in Indianapolis.
The ruling left other county clerks trying to figure out how to respond. The Hamilton County clerk decided not to immediately issue licenses, while the clerk in Monroe County went ahead.
Hamilton County encompases Indianapolis’s northern suburbs, while Monroe County includes Bloomington and the University of Indiana.
Add Indiana to the list
June 25th, 2014
U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled Wednesday that the state’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal-protection clause in a mixed ruling involving lawsuits from several gay couples.
Details are a bit sketchy so far, but the ruling is here.
Update: Here are the details.
Presbyterian Church (USA) votes to allow marriages
June 19th, 2014
With 2.8 million members, the Presbyterian Church (USA) is the eighth largest Protestant denomination in the United States. And as we reported yesterday, the denomination is meeting this week in Detroit, where its Marriage Committee passed recommendations that the denomination clarify their support for marriage equality. They have now done so.
The U.S. Presbyterian Church’s highest council Thursday voted to sanction same-sex marriage.
The assembly approved an amendment to the church constitution that would redefine marriage as between “two people” instead of “a man and a woman.” It also approved allowing its ministers to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples in states where same-sex marriages are legal.
The amendment to the Book of Order will require ratification by the presbyteries. But, for all practical effect, same-sex marriages may now be officiated and blessed within Presbyterian churches.
A liveblog of the proceedings is provided by More Light Presbyterians.
Michigan GOP former Speaker of House calls for equality
June 17th, 2014
A number of formerly prominent Republicans have signed a brief urging the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the ruling that Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage is in violation of the US Constitution. (ClickOnDetroit)
The Republicans include former House Speaker Rick Johnson and former House Majority Leader Chris Ward.
Former U.S. Rep. John “Joe” Schwartz has signed on, along with former state lawmakers Leon Drolet, Doug Hart, Dave Honigman and Susan Grimes Gilbert.
It seems to me that in some parts of the country we have now reached the stage in our quest for equality wherein former GOP leaders or power-players are beginning to champion our cause. And while most of those currently in power do not yet appear to be willing to be publicly supportive, many have elected to adopt language such as “let the judicial system decide” or even “it is inevitable, so we should focus on respecting each other”.
While Republicans are not speaking in harmony with not the fully supportive language of the Democrats, I think that these shifts in the political stance of Republicans leaders, both current and former, foretell a time not so distantly ahead in which civil equality is assured and not even terribly controversial.
Wisconsin Same-Sex Marriages Put On Hold
June 16th, 2014
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
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
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
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
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
June 4th, 2014
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?)
June 1st, 2014
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Ignorance as a tool for persuasion
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
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.”