My column this week looks at indecency. Here is an excerpt:
It is amazing what indecent things some people say and do in the name of decency.
If your Christian parents throw you out of the house for being gay, and they cite Scripture, it is probably St. Paul, specifically 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
Regarding the reference to homosexuality, Bible Gateway explains, "The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts." But let's not quibble over translations, nor scour the Bible Concordance for the precise connection between God's kingdom and kicking out children. The point is that some people really believe this crap, and it's causing harm, and it's time we stopped being shy about it.
After organizers of New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade decided to allow an NBC-affiliated LGBT group to march, the Catholic League's Bill Donohue envisioned gay marchers masturbating in the street. Father Charles Pope, blogging for the Archdiocese of Washington, called the parade an "anal sex" celebration. These gentlemen are quieter about the papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic fleeing to Rome to avoid justice for abusing shoeshine boys.
Mayor Gray has proclaimed September 29, 2014 "Robert 'Bob' King Day" in Washington, D.C.
We must object. Here are links to several stories and blog entries that detail King's efforts against marriage equality in the District.
Let us be clear: Bob King did NOT merely oppose marriage equality in D.C. He aggressively opposed us, stoked anti-gay bigotry, took money from anti-gay bigots for his efforts, and even asked the U.S. Congress to intervene in D.C. affairs because he didn't like what our own elected leaders had done. The latter is especially egregious.
As GLAA has stated:
The District has no business issuing official proclamations and ceremonial resolutions to honor people and organizations openly hostile to the LGBT community. Officials must put procedures in place to prevent such slip-ups. Good works in other areas do not excuse discrimination or bias.
Mayor Gray is a good friend who has done more than any other mayor for LGBT people in the District. But we cannot agree with his act to honor Bob King. Mr. King contacted me last year seeking to put the past behind us and work together for the sake of the District. I was interested in a reconciliation; but when he refused to express any regrets for his past anti-gay and anti-democratic actions, much less apologize for them, I declined to meet with him. We are not sore winners. But reconciliation requires a change of heart and mind. King merely said, "You won, and we lost." I was already aware of that. What I did not detect was any contrition, nor the slightest warmth in his voice. If you extend your hand to me in fellowship, I will reciprocate. If, on the other hand, you are merely a political operative who wants others to forget your transgressions without your having acknowledged them, it is another matter.
(Hat tip: Bob Summersgill)
No, Todd, they won't. Unlike Canada, which you cite, America has something called the First Amendment. And we at GLAA have defended our opponents' First Amendment rights time and again. Here is the latest example.
(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today praised federal court Judge Martin Feldman for ruling today that the US Constitution does not preclude the state of Louisiana from defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and that voters made a rational decision in doing so when they adopted the state's marriage amendment. Feldman becomes the third federal judge to have ruled that traditional marriage laws are not unconstitutional, and the first since the US Supreme Court issued their decision invalidating a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. A state judge in Tennessee has also ruled that the US constitution does not prohibit states from defining marriage a one man and one woman.
"Here we see the house of cards collapsing that supported the myth that redefining marriage is inevitable," said Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. "This decision by Judge Feldman in Louisiana is a great win for the cause of marriage, coming as it does on the heels of other pro-marriage court victories, that puts the lie to the claim that it is inevitable the US Supreme Court will redefine marriage. To the contrary, we believe they will leave this issue with the states."
Matt Baume of AFER gives an update on marriage equality cases.
Miranda Blue at Right Wing Watch reports:
A World Congress of Families event in Melbourne this week was supposed to feature speeches by three Australian government officials, including social services minister Kevin Andrews. Instead, all three have backed out in the face of criticism of the Illinois-based group’s promotion of harsh anti-gay and anti-choice laws around the world.
In addition, the Australian politicians had come under fire for the conference’s sponsorship by Catch the Fire ministries, a group run by far-right politician Danny Nalliah who has blamed wildfires on abortion rights and frequently lashes out against "multiculturalism." (Nalliah also happens to be an ally of bizarre birther WND columnist and RWW favorite Lord Monckton).
Andrews’ decision to back out of the WCF event is especially galling since the group had been planning to present him with its “Natural Family Man of the Year” award. In a somewhat confusing statement, Andrews criticized those asking him to back out of trying to “shut down debate” while agreeing with them that the WCF summit represented “intolerance.”
Richard Wolf at USA Today examines the pros and cons of various state marriage equality cases being chosen for review by the Supreme Court of the United States. My bet is on Utah.
Mark Joseph Stern at Slate has excerpted a string of audio clips from Tuesday's 7th Circuit hearing on the Indiana and Wisconsin gay marriage bans, in which conservative Judge Richard Posner quietly and brutally exposes the bankruptcy of the state governments' position.
Listening to the audio has a much more powerful impact than just reading Posner's words on the page. I think this is going to be a legendary moment when the history of this struggle is written. Judge Posner is devastating.
My advice is to stop seeking advice from Pat Robertson.
The Daily Mail reports on Tuesday's hearing before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the Indiana and Wisconsin gay marriage bans:
Richard Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, hit the backers of the ban the hardest. He balked when Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson repeatedly pointed to "tradition" as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage.
"It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry — a tradition that got swept away," the 75-year-old judge said. Prohibition of same-sex marriage, Posner said, derives from "a tradition of hate ... and savage discrimination" of homosexuals....
Posner, who has a reputation for making lawyers before him squirm, cut off Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher just moments into his presentation and frequently chided him to answer his questions.
At one point, Posner ran through a list of psychological strains the children of unmarried same-sex couples suffered, including having to struggle to grasp why their schoolmates' parents were married and theirs weren't.
"What horrible stuff," Posner said. What benefit to society in barring gay marriage, he asked, outweighs that kind of harm to children? ...
At one point, a visibly uncomfortable Samuelson struggled to offer a specific reason for how gay marriage bans benefit society. He then noted a yellow courtroom light was on signaling his allotted time was nearly up.
"It won't save you," Judge Ann Claire Williams, a Bill Clinton appointee, told him, prompting laughter in court.
(Photo of Judge Richard Posner courtesy University of Chicago Law School)
Video of Michael Brown's funeral service, held Monday at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. May he rest in peace.
Kyle Mantyla reports at Right Wing Watch on the latest lunacy from Bryan Fischer of AFA.
Anti-gay crackpot Eugene Delgaudio's latest cry against gay people taking away his religious liberty.
Florida AG Pam Bondi says y'all can just stay in limbo until SCOTUS rules.
I was looking around for something that would make you smile amid all the horrors going on in the world, and here it is in the form of an unorthodox marriage proposal. Be sure to watch to the end.
(Note: the title of this blog entry is a line spoken by Diana Muldaur in an episode of the original Star Trek. Extra points if you guess correctly to whom she said it. And no, I did not look it up, because I've had this silly stuff in my head for the past 46 years.)
Chris Johnson reports in the Blade. You can get the flavor from his tweets:
Daughtry skeptical about procreation argument. Responding to Qs, Tenn. lawyer refused to say why excluding gay couples advances procreation.— Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) August 6, 2014
Sutton said ban "does seem harder to justify even on rational basis grounds" through lens of changing perception of purpose of marriage.— Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) August 6, 2014
Marriage bans took a beating. 2 justices - Daughtry and Sutton - were skeptical of laws. Cook was quiet, but seemed to want to uphold them.— Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) August 6, 2014
On the Oklahoma case: AP reports:
The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage is constitutional.
The appeal was filed Wednesday by an organization representing Tulsa County Clerk Sally Howe Smith, who was sued after refusing to grant a marriage license to a same-sex couple several years ago.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the couple last month, upholding a federal judge's ruling that found the ban unconstitutional. However, those rulings are on hold as the case moves through the courts, meaning same-sex couples haven't been allowed to marry in Oklahoma.
Rachel Maddow reports. DREAMers Erika Andiola & Cesar Vargas confronted Rep. Steve King at a fundraiser in Okoboji, Iowa for trying to end President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Notice how Sen. Rand Paul flees as soon as Andiola mentions she is a DREAMer. An aide to Paul claimed he had to get to another event. Sure.
Steve King is wrong and disrespectful. Rand Paul is a weasel.
Justin Snow at Metro Weekly reports.
We have heard this endlessly, of course; but I've never been clear as to exactly how my right to marry the man I love could endanger all of Western civilization. Still waiting for that explanation.
Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch reports:
An anti-LGBT activist writing for Alan Keyes’s Renew America this weekend called gay adoption “a crime against humanity” that must be stopped.
“If, as a society, we claim to truly be against the abuse and harm of our children, then we have a moral responsibility to keep them out of the hands of gay couples, whether ‘married’ or not,” Tim Dunkin of Conservative Underground wrote. “Don't let perverts corrupt our kids while trying to live out an impossible fantasy.”
But he wasn’t done there. He went on to insist that “handing children over to gays to be raised” is actually “worse” than “locking them in hot cars for hours on end,” writing that no society should “allow gays to ‘recruit’ children into the constellation of ‘queer’ lifestyles.”
Miranda Blue at Right Wing Watch reports:
The anti-marriage-equality movement seems to have anointed Ryan T. Anderson as its next intellectual leader. Anderson, who is now a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, follows in the footsteps of his mentor Robert P. George and National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher in being able to talk about the marriage issue without spewing fire and brimstone or talking about how gay people make them want to vomit.
This kinder, gentler approach has endeared Anderson and his predecessors to a movement that’s trying to snatch its image away from the likes of Bryan Fischer and Pat Robertson.
But it also can obscure the fact that Anderson’s supposedly intellectual arguments against marriage equality can still be far out of the mainstream.
My latest column was painful to write. Its subhead is: "The taboo against criticizing Israel hurts both Israel and America." Here is a portion:
We are all implicated in what is done in our name. We must face our shared responsibility for American politics and its bloody consequences abroad. We war with our own values when we condone behavior by an ally that we would condemn back home.
Last week I told bereaved Jewish Iranian immigrant friends who had lost their mother, "May her memory be for a blessing." What would I say to relatives of children killed in Gaza? Sorry my taxes subsidized it? Sorry our politics makes it hazardous to talk about innocent Palestinians? There are no innocents? That last one would do Al Qaida proud. One friend said the deaths were regrettably necessary. Isn't that a line from Dr. Strangelove?
Speaking of cold-blooded analysis, demographic trends show that without a two-state solution, Israel must eventually choose between being a democracy and being a Jewish state. What will America do then? Israel's bunker mentality, and its posturing as a victim despite its power, blind it to its slow self-destruction. Assisted suicide is still suicide.
Our ubiquitous social media are a game changer: having seen pictures of dead boys on a beach, we cannot un-see them.
Ian Silverstone at Right Wing Watch reports:
As if their first video didn't quite hammer the point home, Religious Right advocacy group Truth in Action Ministries has returned with part two of "We the People: Under Attack," an exhausting indicment of the federal judiciary and its allegedly anti-Christian agenda.
In the spirit of defending the rights of the “majority,” Phyllis Schlafly paints a grim scenario of judicial tyranny usurping American values:
"We have judges who have created new rights, who have knocked down laws and practices that have been part of our heritage since the beginning, and you can call the roll of what they’ve done: tried to throw up traditional marriage between a man and a woman; throwing out the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag because it has the words ‘under God’ in it; creating new rights that are not in the Constitution, like the right to abortion, the right to sodomy, the right to same-sex marriage licenses, the right to have pornography even with taxpayer’s money. You know these are not in the Constitution, and it is an offense against the American people, against We the People, and against our whole form of government. And the result is that the First Amendment has been turned on its head."
The video above shows excerpts from the film.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a lower court ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages and on the recognition of such marriages from other jurisdictions is unconstitutional, Justin Snow reports in Metro Weekly:
A federal appeals court found Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in a ruling handed down Monday.
With a 2-1 decision, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling finding Virginia law prohibiting same-sex marriage and recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The ruling is here. The attorney general of North Carolin said after the ruling that he will no longer defend that state's same-sex marriage ban, as it will not hold up in court. Lyle Denniston discusses the ruling at SCOTUSblog. As he notes, the county clerks who defended the ban have a right to seek an en banc review by the full 4th Circuit; stay tuned on that.
Ari Ezra Waldman at Towleroad analyzes the lone dissent by Judge Paul V. Niemeyer, who during oral arguments kept calling gay relationships "new" and "different," echoing Justice Byron White's notorious opinion in the 1986 Bowers decision in which he framed the dispute over sodomy laws as whether the constitution guarantees a right to have gay anal sex. Of course the constitution lays out broad principles, and was never set up to be a list of permitted activities. Indeed, it specifies the powers of the three branches of the federal government, leaving all others to the states and the people. Conservative judges like Niemeyer were effectively rebuked in 2003 by Justice Anthony Kennedy's Lawrence decision, but they persist in their discredited, biased approach.
The celebrity superlawyer team of Boies and Olson, touted in NYT reporter Jo Becker's much-criticized book on the Prop 8 case, Forcing the Spring, were involved in the Virginia case. Be assured that they will be fighting like alley cats for the right to do the oral arguments if the Virginia case is taken up by SCOTUS.
The Catholic Bishops of Virginia slammed the 4th Circuit's decision, saying, "This action reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the intrinsic nature of marriage and is an injustice to Virginia voters." Their arguments, based on "natural law" and other doctrine dressed up in pseudoscientific drag, have been refuted many times -- as has their suggestion that voters should be able to deny a fundamental right like marriage to people they don't like. These bullies are losing, and the final blow at the Supreme Court, likely in the coming term, cannot come soon enough to suit me.
Marriage Equality USA interviews Edith Windsor on her historic victory last year against DOMA before the Supreme Court of the United States. Click here for the previous segments.
Freedom to Marry reports:
Tallahassee Mayor John Marks shares why he supports the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. "This is the right thing to do. Individuals have rights and freedoms, and we need to allow everybody to have those same rights and those same freedoms."
Meanwhile, in Mississippi, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports:
For the first time in [Mississippi's] history, a sitting mayor has publicly stated his support for same-sex marriage, an announcement preceded by a wave of Mississippi towns approving anti-discrimination resolutions for LGBT residents during the first half of 2014.
Waveland Mayor David Garcia added his name to the Freedom to Marry – and LGBT rights group – list of U.S. mayors who support same-sex marriage.
Steve Rothaus and David Smiley of The Miami Herald report:
A Florida Keys judge overturned the state’s 2008 constitutional gay-marriage ban on Thursday, and ordered that two Key West bartenders and other gay couples seeking to wed be allowed to marry.
Monroe County Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia — overjoying gay rights advocates and outraging opponents of same-sex marriage —ordered the Monroe County Clerk’s Office to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples Tuesday morning....
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi swiftly announced she would appeal Garcia’s ruling to the Third District Court of Appeal.
Dave Collins reports for AP:
A new Connecticut Supreme Court ruling is adding to the debate on whether gay marriage rights should be applied retroactively and qualify same-sex couples for rights and benefits for which they weren't entitled before state laws allowed them to marry.
Although no states that allow gay marriage have made their laws retroactive, many same-sex partners believe they should have received Social Security survivor payments, tax breaks, inheritances and other benefits that were afforded only to heterosexual married couples before gay marriage laws were passed.
The Connecticut high court ruled unanimously Wednesday that a woman whose wife died amid a medical malpractice case may sue a doctor over the loss of her wife's companionship and income, even though that right to sue was limited to heterosexual married couples at the time. Legal experts called the decision the first of its kind in the country.
AFER's Matt Baume provides an update on marriage equality developments across the country, including a surprise victory in Colorado.
Jeffrey Toobin blogs at The New Yorker on the controversy over a couple of celebrity super lawyers hogging credit for the work of a generation of marriage equality activists.
It's not the best piece on this subject. The flap over credit hogging is hard to separate from HRC's relentless star-fucking, which short-shrifts the thousands of us at the state and local level without million-dollar P.R. operations who were laying the groundwork years before Griffin, Olson, and Boies showed up. Plus those paying attention know that the Windsor case was far more important in its impact, since the Prop 8 case was thrown out for lack of standing, leaving the District Court ruling in place that only affected California.
Update: Andrew Sullivan responds to Toobin:
The issue is not between laborers and newcomers; it’s between laborers and a tiny number of newcomers who declared themselves indispensable saviors of a movement that had previously been allegedly “languishing in obscurity” – and then launched on a lucrative publicity tour to cement their place in history (something also that no one had ever done before). So no, Jeffrey, the correct historical analogy of Ted Olson is not to white freedom-riders in the South. They didn’t turn around and claim exclusive credit for the work of African Americans and then bill them over $6 million.
And no, Jeffrey, it isn’t just about the first paragraph. The framing of this lawsuit as “the legal battle to bring marriage equality to the nation” was the central message of the book, which is why Toobin used that exact phrase in his now-embarrassing blurb. It was neither of those things, as Toobin must now know. And as for the first paragraph, you know who doesn’t regret or retract a word of it, even when given several opportunities to do so? Jo Becker. There’s only so much the media establishment can do to keep a lie alive. And I guess Jeffrey just did his part.
The Denver Post reports:
Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson was beaming as she awaited the first couple to walk through the doors.
"It's so gratifying," she said. "I'm so excited. I was just talking with someone on the phone, and I said, 'I didn't think it would ever happen in my lifetime.' "
Johnson began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Thursday, just hours after Boulder District Court Judge Andrew Hartman rejected a request by the state to stop the Boulder clerk from continuing to do so. Hartman's ruling has potentially thrown open the doors as elected county clerks across the state consider whether they will begin issuing the licenses, despite the risk that they may later be declared invalid.
The ruling was the second defeat in two days in Colorado Attorney General John Suthers' effort to defend the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriage.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
Gov. Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on Thursday appealed a decision from last month that struck down Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage.
The two Republicans filed a two-page notice of appeal that will soon be followed up with a full brief explaining their legal arguments.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in June found the state's gay marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution, but she stayed her order so Van Hollen and Walker could pursue an appeal.
Thursday's filing puts the case before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. It comes amid a wave of court rulings across the nation striking down state bans on same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to ultimately determine whether gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry.
The 7th Circuit is already hearing an appeal of a decision striking down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage. The appeals court last week agreed to put that case on a fast track.
On Wednesday, Utah officials announced that they are appealing the 10th Circuit's ruling in their marriage case to the U.S. Supreme Court, making Utah's gay marriage ban the first to be appealed to SCOTUS since the Windsor ruling in June 2013. Which case, if any, the high court will hear in the coming term remains to be seen.
UCBComedy explains: "Ron Spiner is the only candidate brave enough to fight for your right to marry whoever you want, as long as they're a dog and not the same sex as you." Apparently they're parodying Dr. Keith Ablow, who is seen below on Fox News discussing his concerns about polygamous bestiality.
For students of depravity, I note that these guys don't go nearly as far as Madonna did in her sex book twenty years ago. But what's with the guy and the peanut butter? How insensitive toward people with peanut allergies.