1897 posts categorized "Families"

July 09, 2014

GLAA testifies on marriage dissolution amendment bill

Earlier today, I presented testimony for GLAA before the D.C. Council Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on Bill 20-793, the "Civil Marriage Dissolution Equality Clarification Amendment Act of 2014." I filled in for GLAA Secretary Saul Cruz, who was out sick. Below is my reading text. Official copy is here.

Good morning, Chairman Wells. I am Rick Rosendall, President of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, which was founded in 1971.

Bill 20-793, the "Civil Marriage Dissolution Equality Clarification Amendment Act of 2014," amends the D.C. Code to clarify that the mechanism for the dissolution of marriage includes divorce and legal separation. We thank Chairman Mendelson for introducing it. We support the bill with a recommended change.

We agree with Professor Nancy Polikoff that the bill should be amended to make it clear that the court can decide matters of property division and spousal support. As she explained in an email on May 7, "[F]or a same-sex couple married in DC but domiciled in a non-recognition state, there is no other place that will determine a division of property and an award of spousal support if appropriate because those laws apply only to married couples and the state of domicile does not consider them married."

If District judges think they cannot divide property or award spousal support in such cases, it is best to be explicit. We will leave the amendatory language to Professor Polikoff. We thank her for lending her expertise, which has been invaluable in helping the District navigate its journey to equality for same-sex couples and their families. The greatest challenge, as in this case, has stemmed from the confusion and gaps in legal protection caused by differences in family law from state to state. We cannot be governed by speculation as to when the U.S. Supreme Court may end all such confusion by establishing marriage equality nationwide. So let us clarify our law this year.

Thank you.

July 07, 2014

Marriage News Watch

An update from AFER's Matt Baume, who is in Pennsylvania this week.

George Takei: Why I love a country that once betrayed me

Gay actor George Takei tells of when soldiers with bayonets came to his Los Angeles home when he was 5 and sent his family to a Japanese-American internment camp on a presidential order, without due process. He then talks about his heroes, including the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most decorated unit in American military history. And he explains why he loves America and is committed to democracy.

July 02, 2014

Federal court strikes down Kentucky's gay marriage ban

Equality's march continues.

Tea Partiers block buses carrying undocumented immigrants

A crowd of irrational xenophobes blocks buses in which federal authorities were transferring undocumented immigrants who had been detained. Reuters reports:

As the buses neared their destination, some 150 protesters waiving American flags and shouting "Go home - we don't want you here," filled a street leading to the access road for the Border Patrol station, blocking the buses from reaching the facility.

The demonstrators disregarded orders from police to disperse, but officers did not attempt to intervene physically to break up the demonstration.

After about 25 minutes, the buses backed up, turned around and left. A board member of the union representing border patrol agents, Chris Harris, said the buses would likely be rerouted to one of six other Border Patrol stations in the San Diego sector.

June 28, 2014

Ben Carson: gay marriage is a Marxist plot to impose the 'New World Order'

Miranda Blue of RWW reports.

June 26, 2014

Catholic bishops react to Indiana marriage ruling

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Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Indianapolis, along with five other Indiana bishops, issued the following statement on yesterday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Young overturning Indiana's ban on same-sex marriages:

The dignity of the human person, rooted in his or her creation in the image and likeness of God, is a fundamental principle of Catholic social teaching. The Church upholds the dignity of every human person, including persons with same-sex attraction, whom we accept and love as our brothers and sisters.

At the same time, the Church upholds the dignity and sanctity of marriage as a natural union established by God between one man and one woman, intended towards the establishment of a family in which children are born, raised, and nurtured. This is not simply a matter of belief. It is at the very heart of the nature of marriage. Thus, it is not within the power of any institution, religious or secular, to redefine marriage since it is God who is its author.

Today’s decision by Richard L. Young, Chief Judge United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, to redefine the institution of marriage as an emotional partnership between two consenting adults regardless of gender ignores this fundamental and natural truth of marriage and opens its definition to the whims of public opinion.

With deep respect for all our brothers and sisters, we nevertheless see no basis in law or in nature for any definition of marriage that seeks to expand it beyond that of a covenant between one man and one woman. Our position on this matter seeks only the common good of all men and women as well as the health and well being of families.

As pastors, we will continue to preach and teach the truth of marriage as it is ordered by God, encouraging all people to embrace the fullness of that truth, while upholding the dignity of all persons. We will continue to work through the Indiana Catholic Conference to encourage our legislators and judges to uphold this truth as well. We urge all involved in this issue to conduct themselves with mutual respect and civility in public discourse.

Notice the utter blindness to church-state separation. As Frank Kameny would say, "Your God may say that. Mine does not." We are free to believe differently than His Excellency. In addition, his statements about nature are an attempt to dictate what nature is rather than observe it. That suggests unfamiliarity with, if not hostility toward, the scientific method.

Libertarians and Gay Marriage

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Our friend David Boaz at Cato Institute sends the following, which I publish with his permission:

In the moving HBO documentary “The Case against 8,” Chad Griffin jokes at one point that if the chairman of the Cato Institute supports marriage equality, maybe he should rethink his position. Of course he’s joking. But the implication is that it’s some sort of surprise to find a libertarian scholar supporting equality under the law, perhaps because of the mistaken impression that the Cato Institute is, or libertarians in general are, are “right-wing.” In fact, of course, libertarians were ahead of liberals on gay rights. The Libertarian Party Platform of 1972 called for an end to laws regulating voluntary sexual behavior, and the Party issued a pamphlet in 1976 that endorsed marriage equality. Cato’s amicus brief was cited in the Supreme Court’s Lawrence decision. Indeed, in this Cato video from 2011 John Podesta says you probably had to be a libertarian to have supported gay marriage 15 years earlier:

http://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-video/constitutional-case-marriage-equality

Here’s the Cato Institute chairman’s take on Griffin’s comment, along with a video clip:

http://www.cato.org/blog/case-against-8

David Boaz
Executive Vice President
Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202)842-0200
http://www.cato.org/people/boaz.html

Check out my blog: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/author/david-boaz/
and my books: Libertarianism: A Primer (the theory); The Libertarian Reader (the history); The Politics of Freedom (essays on politics, policy, and libertarianism); and The Libertarian Vote (ebook on libertarians in the electorate).

As it happens, I mentioned Cato's support for marriage equality in my latest column, "When Rights Collide." Those suffering from what philosopher Stephen Toulmin called "hardening of the categories" would do well to recall Hamlet: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

June 25, 2014

Judge overturns Indiana's gay marriage ban, no stay, weddings begin

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(Photo credit: Fox59)

IndyStar reports on the latest step in the march toward marriage equality.

Above is a photo of Craig Bowen and Jake Miller, the first same-sex couple granted a marriage license in Indianapolis. Marion County Clerk Beth White, with the most matter-of-fact statement, says it all (and sorry, but embedding is disabled for the video): "We're ready for people to come and exercise these rights that they now have."

10th Circuit Court upholds same-sex marriage

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(Keith Johnson | Tribune file photo)

SLTrib reports:

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that states outlawing same-sex marriage are in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

By upholding a Utah judge’s decision, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver became the first appeals court to rule on the issue, setting a historic precedent that voter-approved bans on same-sex marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment rights of same-sex couples to equal protection and due process.

But the court stayed the implementation of their decision, pending an anticipated appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court....

The split ruling affects all states in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

Read the ruling here.

June 19, 2014

Huelskamp: Real Men Oppose Gay Rights

RWW reports:

Tim Huelskamp, the chief sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, had a message for “every man in America” at today today’s March for Marriage: “Your woman, your wife, she needs you, it’s time you become a real man and stand up.”

Possibly under the impression that the legalization of same-sex marriage will break up opposite-sex unions, the Kansas Republican congressman emphasized that he loves his wife and believes that men who love their wives must join the fight to stop marriage equality.

The level of incoherence here can hardly be overstated. Perhaps President Obama should send a few drones to knock out the idiot factory, once we locate it.

As to the march: as usual with NOM's events, the crowd was paltry and its significance nil. I celebrated Juneteenth by staying home.

June 18, 2014

March for Marriage isn't antigay, Archbishop Cordileone says

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SFgate reports the unsurprising news that San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is doubling down on his plans to speak at Thursday's so-called March for Marriage in Washington.

Does Sal set off anyone else's gaydar?

Joe Jervis reports about a "secretive new anti-gay supergroup" that NOM has formed with Cordileone and others.

June 17, 2014

Archbishop Cordileone: Being gay = 'behaviors & lifestyles that so often end in self-destruction'

More intolerance and slanders wrapped in language of loving concern from San Francisco Archbishop Cordileone, who is to speak this Thursday at NOM's "March for Marriage."

Marriage News Watch

AFER's Matt Baume is on the road, and reports this week from Nevada.

June 12, 2014

Today in history - Loving v. Virginia

On this day in 1967, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Loving v Virginia that state anti- miscegenation laws were unconstitutional. Responding decades later to discrimination against gay couples, Mildred Loving expressed support for marriage equality. Here's to the memory of her and her husband, and those who helped them fight for equality.

June 07, 2014

Same-sex marriages begin in Wisconsin

AP reports:

When a federal judge struck down Wisconsin's gay marriage ban, pastor Andrew Warner was among those who headed to the courthouse to get a license so he could legally wed his longtime partner.

Then he turned to perform a wedding for two members of his Milwaukee church.

"I always felt like we were second-class citizens in not being able to get married," Warner said after marrying Jay Edmundson on Friday evening, despite confusion over the effect of a federal judge's ruling that declared Wisconsin's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. "And now I feel good about my state in a way I haven't before."

Clerks in Madison and Milwaukee began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples shortly after 5 p.m. Friday, a little over an hour after the judge released her ruling. More marriage licenses could be issued over the weekend, even though Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said the ruling did not clear the way for weddings to begin. Van Hollen has sought an emergency order in federal court to stop more marriage licenses from being issued.

June 05, 2014

Supreme Court Denies Attempt To Stop Oregon Same-Sex Marriages

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed reports:

The Supreme Court denied the National Organization for Marriage’s attempt to stop same-sex couples from marrying in Oregon.

NOM has appealed the trial judge’s decision not to let the group, which is opposed to same-sex couples’ marriage rights, to intervene in the lawsuit challenging Oregon’s ban on such marriages.

The appeal of the intervention denial now continues at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but same-sex couples will continue to be able to marry during the time that is happening.

The 9th Circuit, which is hearing that appeal, denied NOM’s request to stop the trial court decision striking down the ban from going into effect during the appeal. NOM then went to Justice Anthony Kennedy to ask him to stop the marriages while that appeal is pending before the 9th Circuit.

Kennedy, who hears procedural matters brought to the court from the 9th Circuit, referred the request to the full court, which denied the request without comment on Tuesday.

The momentum grows. I will spare you another pic of NOM's Brian Brown crying.

May 29, 2014

Picture Perfect

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I downloaded this book, Picture Perfect? by Kordale Lewis, to my Kindle app today and just finished it. A powerful and beautiful testimony of a young black gay man's journey through great obstacles to find happiness. Many have worked for decades to make this moment for our society possible. To see it materializing before us in flesh and blood, as exemplified in this family, is joyous beyond words.

HuffPost interviews the author.

Sen. Hatch concedes nationwide marriage equality is almost inevitable

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The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch says legal gay marriage is almost certain to become a reality throughout the United States.

"Let’s face it, anybody who does not believe that gay marriage is going to be the law of the land just hasn’t been observing what’s going on," Hatch said Wednesday on KSL Radio’s "Doug Wright Show." "There is a question whether [the courts] should be able to tell the states what they can or cannot do with something as important as marriage, but the trend right now in the courts is to permit gay marriage and anybody who doesn’t admit that just isn’t living in the real world."

The usual crazies will denounce him for saying the obvious. Somewhere Ted Kennedy is smiling.

De Niro talks about his gay father in HBO documentary

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New York Daily News reports on a documentary that actor Robert De Niro has made about his gay father, who was an artist and died 20 years ago from cancer:

The award-winning actor took a seat behind the scenes to produce a documentary about his late father, who was openly gay, called "Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr."

"I felt I had to. I felt obligated. It was my responsibility to make a documentary about him," he said in an interview with Out magazine about the film, which includes archival footage from the '70s, and was edited by Thelma Schoonmaker, a longtime editor for Martin Scorsese.

May 28, 2014

A wedge that won't be driven

Jeremy Hooper at Good As You reports:

The Coalition of African-American Pastors is intimately aligned with the National Organization For Marriage (CAAP head William Owens is listed as NOM's religious liaison) and is one of the co-sponsors of NOM's upcoming March For Marriage. Now look on as this organization helps NOM in its stated goal to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks" with a video that promotes the upcoming NOM march by directly comparing "the same-sex marriage agenda" with the KKK, segregation, slavery, racism, and the destruction of the black family. It is beyond disturbing and should disgust many.

Indeed. And it won't work, as LGBT-affirming clergy proved in D.C., and as others, including Rev. Delman Coates, proved in Maryland.

May 27, 2014

Harry Jackson: Lost but not leaving

Right Wing Watch shares the latest from Bishop Harry "Daddy Bear" Jackson *, the carpetbagging minister from P-Town Maryland who led the fight against marriage equality in DC:

In this video, Harry Jackson urges the pastors at the Family Research Council's Watchmen on the Wall to fight the "radical homosexual agenda" and teach lay leaders why "God didn't make anyone that way."

* I am just teasing with my reference to bears and P-Town. When I stand close to Bishop Jackson, his ministerial charisma momentarily envelops me in the healing grace of Jesus.

May 24, 2014

Franklin Graham: Pastors Need To Be Willing To 'Get Our Heads Chopped Off' For Opposing Gay Rights

Right Wing Watch describes this clip:

Franklin Graham tells the Watchmen on the Walls conference that pastors must be willing to to oppose gay rights even if it means losing their heads.

RWW's Kyle Mantyla writes:

Graham went on to assert that he loves gays "enough to care to warn them that if they want to continue living like this, it's the flames of hell for you" and he will continue to do so because he will one day have to answer to God and does not want to be found to have been a coward who refused to preach God's laws.

For Graham and his ilk, there is no Constitution and no secular laws that they need pay any respect. There is but one "rule book," as he says in the above video clip, and it's written by God. I am sorry, Reverend, but your God has no authority over me. As to getting your head chopped off, you are the one attacking people. Those of us fighting for LGBT equality are winning in courts of law and in public opinion. If you resort to violence in an effort to impose your crabbed, ignorant, and vicious version of Christianity on everyone else, don't put it on us.

D.C. adoption law draws lesbians from other states to give birth here

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(Photo by Melina Mara / The Washington Post)

WaPo reports.

Bob Summersgill comments:

This wasn't by accident. Thank Phil Mendelson for getting all the pieces in place. Tommy Wells is working on the surrogacy piece.

Yep. This legal option for lesbian couples is the result of efforts by legislators and activists. As Bob indicates, the legalization and regulation of surrogacy agreements is a big remaining piece of the puzzle that we hope to put in place this year.

A huge win for marriage equality

Ronan Farrow interviews Evan Wolfson and Richard Socarides on recent strides for marriage equality. Wolfson avoids commenting on Jo Becker's much-maligned book on the Prop 8 litigation, Forcing the Spring.

Iran’s Gay Underground Railroad

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Vocativ reports.

How can any society be threatened by people who go to such lengths to be together?

May 23, 2014

In switch, gay rights issue now favoring Democrats

Nicholas Riccardi of AP reports on the shifting electoral politics of gay equality.

South Dakota Couples Challenge Gay Marriage Ban

AP reports:

Six couples filed a federal lawsuit Thursday seeking to block South Dakota's gay marriage ban, leaving North Dakota as the only state in the country with an unchallenged law prohibiting same-sex weddings.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Sioux Falls, challenges a 1996 law passed by the Legislature and a voter-approved 2006 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which means such cases are now pending in 30 states with gay marriage bans. The lawsuit also challenges a U.S. provision allowing states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

The day gets closer and closer when marriage equality will extend from sea to shining sea.

May 21, 2014

1974 video: Kameny defends gay marriage on PBS

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Please follow this link to the "OpenVault" page at WGBH Boston, since I cannot embed the video.

Our friend Michael Bedwell brings to our attention an archival video of a televised debate from May 1974 on what we now call marriage equality. It was done in the form of a mock trial. The witnesses included Elaine Noble (for) and Dr. Charles Socarides (against). It is a bracing hour of debate from long before marriage equality was on the minds of many LGBT activists (though GLAA first testified on the subject before the D.C. Council the following year).

I told Frank that I had seen this back in the 1970s, and that he was brilliant, and it had had a great effect on me. He said he had no recollection of having done it. He forgot more accomplishments than other people had accomplishments.

May 20, 2014

Judge Overturns Pennsylvania Gay Marriage Ban

NYT reports:

Continuing a rush of rulings that have struck down marriage limits across the country, a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Tuesday declared the state’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional....

Pennsylvania is the last of the Northeast states with a ban on same-sex marriage, and if Tuesday’s ruling is not successfully challenged, it will become the 19th state to permit gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Judge Jones did not issue a stay.... Even as Gov. Tom Corbett said he was studying the decision and considering whether to appeal it, state officials began issuing marriage licenses on Tuesday afternoon to overjoyed gay couples.

Hooray.

Marriage News Watch

The latest (as of May 19) from Matt Baume of AFER. The summary:

The National Organization for Marriage screws up again in Oregon. Judges in Idaho and Arkansas rule that marriage bans violate the US Constitution. Following another round of hearings, rulings are due any day now in Virginia and Pennsylvania. And a new lawsuit in Alaska leaves just three states with an unchallenged marriage ban.

Court orders Utah to recognize in-state same-sex marriages

The Blade reports.

Next up (after 2 pm today): Pennsylvania!

Federal Judge Strikes Down Oregon's Gay Marriage Ban

AP reports (and I apologize for the delay caused by another Distributed Denial of Service attack against TypePad, our blog service):

A federal judge on Monday struck down Oregon's voter-approved ban on gay marriage, saying it is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane said the ban unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples and ordered the state not to enforce it. State officials earlier refused to defend the constitutional ban in court.

McShane joined judges in seven other states who have struck down gay marriage bans, though appeals are underway.

Oregon state officials have said they'd be prepared to carry out same-sex marriages almost immediately, and couples lined up outside the county clerk's office in Portland in anticipation of the McShane's decision.

May 15, 2014

NOM barred from intervening in Oregon marriage case

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(AP photo of Brian Brown)

The Blade reports:

The anti-gay group seeking to take part in a case challenging Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage was denied status Wednesday as an intervenor in the lawsuit, clearing the way for a final ruling on marriage equality in the state at any time.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane, who’s hearing the consolidated cases of Rummell vs. Kitzhaber and Geiger vs. Kitzhaber, ruled from the bench immediately following a hearing on the issue that the National Organization for Marriage couldn’t take part in the litigation....

In a first for any marriage equality case, no party in the lawsuit contended Oregon’s ban was constitutional. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced in February the law, Measure 36, was indefensible, and Multnomah County, also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, had pledged to hand out licenses to same-sex couples as soon as law is struck down.

May 14, 2014

Judge Strikes Down Idaho's Gay Marriage Ban

AP reports:

A federal judge has struck down Idaho's gay marriage ban and ordered the state to begin giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday.

May 12, 2014

Not My Mother's World: Ruby Corado

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Transgender activist Ruby Corado was interviewed in Sunday's Washington Post as part of a Mother's Day series that asks, "How is your life different than your mother's?" Here is an excerpt from Ruby on her mother, who died in 2001:

I think I have it harder [than my mother]. She didn’t have to deal with her identity being questioned. Oh, she is just a lovable Latina mother. Sometimes even though people like what I do, there is still a brick wall. The people I am serving come with so much stigma. I work with the immigrants, with the “lowest” of the LGBT, the gender non-conforming and the trans people. Sometimes my work, it gets seen as, “Oh, I’m also supposed to discard these people.” So I know it’s a little harder.

(Photo of Ruby Corado's mother)

May 11, 2014

Indelible moment

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There are certain public events that become indelible in our memory. One such is the moment when Pee Wee Reese stopped a baseball game during a road trip, walked over to his Dodgers teammate Jackie Robinson, and put his arm around his shoulder in silent rebuke to the racist fans who were screaming epithets at the brave man who broke the color line in baseball.

The moment captured in the above screen shot from ESPN, from 7 pm EDT on Saturday, May 10, 2014, is such a moment for me. As the headline writer at HuffPost (see below) perceived, it was a defining cultural moment. Collective expectations will change, including for sexual minority children and youth who will see themselves validated and affirmed by this natural expression of celebration and release.

Of course we will move on from this moment; but it will always remain as a milestone of our journey toward freedom and equality. Maybe it is easy to take for granted now, at least for those of us in liberal urban enclaves or college towns; but, as Sidney Poitier said as he accepted the Best Actor Oscar for Lilies of the Field from Anne Bancroft, "It is a long journey to this moment."

In our lives, the moment flies past us and is gone. In our memories, it is a bright flash that illuminates all around it, and sustains us in moments of setback and frustration and despair. Do not be intimidated or embarrassed or ashamed by the belittling and dismissive comments of those who find it necessary to treat this moment as nothing, who suggest that we are silly drama queens for making a big deal of it. It damn well is a big thing. Is it everything? Of course not. That moment between Reese and Robinson, or the one between Bancroft and Poitier, was a milestone, not the end of the journey. We need our milestones.

More pics of Sam and his boyfriend here.

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NOM claims it's winning

Steveningen at Daily Kos looks at Brian Brown's reality-challenged money beg.

Arkansas has its first same-sex weddings

HuffPo and AP report:

Carroll County Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn issued a license Saturday morning to Kristin Seaton, 27, and Jennifer Rambo, 26, of Fort Smith. They had slept in a Ford Focus after arriving in Eureka Springs at 2 a.m. Saturday and were the first of about 10 couples to line up outside of the courthouse before it opened.

When the license was issued, Rambo said, "Thank God." Seaton and Rambo, who have been together four years, then held a marriage ceremony on the courthouse steps. A woman in a rainbow dress officiated.

Congrats to the happy couples. The fight is not over, of course, but when marriage equality breaks out in Dixie, we know it's a changed world.

May 06, 2014

Tobias Wolff nails Forcing the Spring

In case you missed it: One of the smartest analyses I've seen on NYT reporter Jo Becker's book on the Prop 8 case is this Tobias Wolff piece in The New Republic. A taste:

Or there is the passage in which Becker describes the decision by lawyer Ted Olson to take on the case. Olson proclaims, “I will not just be some hired gun. I would be honored to be the voice for this cause,” only to explain three sentences later that the cost of this not-a-hired-gun honor will be a discounted fee of $2.9 million plus expenses. David Boies, too, agrees to sign on for the “deeply discounted fee” of $250,000 plus expenses. (Public records indicate that the totals ran north of $6 million.) Becker must be lampooning these rich mega-lawyers for their capitalist rendition of pro bono legal representation, and she is not gentle.