Matt Baume of AFER gives an update on marriage equality cases.
Matt Baume of AFER gives an update on marriage equality cases.
If Rams can discriminate against a homosexual because his behavior doesn't measure up, so can bakers and photographers.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) August 31, 2014
AFA's Bryan Fischer rather desperately misrepresents the Rams' football-based decision to cut Michael Sam in order to make an unrelated point. Meanwhile, Breitbart in its report completely ignores Sam's strong performance in pre-season games, going back instead several months to before he was drafted.
Lucas Grindley reports at Advocate.com on Sam's situation. As Cyd Zeigler at Outsports says, the Rams' decision was based on the fact that it already has a strong defensive line. The fact that Sam was overlooked by every other NFL team, including teams like the Bengals and Patriots that needed pass rushers like him, suggest that something other than his merits was at play. Shame on the NFL.
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.
My column this week discusses the police abuses and racial injustice exposed by a recent police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Here's an excerpt:
When civil disorder followed the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, it was fueled by police aggression that exacerbated existing community mistrust.
Ferguson police, overwhelmingly white in a community two-thirds black, offered a case study in how not to handle lawful protests. While failing to release a proper incident report and initially withholding Wilson’s name, they put out information to imply Brown deserved his fate. Never mind the double standard whereby (say) gun-waving white radicals like Cliven Bundy in Nevada are spared deadly force.
As police innovated daily escalations (infringing First Amendment freedoms, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at reporters and peaceful protesters), community leaders including Alderman Antonio French urged restraint, blocked looters, and transmitted events on social media. Capt. Ron Johnson of the state highway patrol showed maturity by replacing riot gear with respectful community engagement, though events (and some headstrong officers) outflanked him.
Live tweets and subsequent reports reveal belligerent officers with a history of abuse. While demonstrators chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot,” outsiders instigated violence that gave police an excuse to “drop the hammer,” as SiriusXM radio host Mark Thompson put it. A Missouri GOP official called on-scene voter registration efforts “disgusting.” So pointing guns at protesters is not a provocation, but registering voters is?
Read the whole thing at Metro Weekly.
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.
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)
Justin Snow reports at Metro Weekly:
More than three months after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the White House voiced support for a review of the military’s ban on transgender service, a new report finds the Pentagon could immediately open the armed services to transgender Americans in a way that is consistent with military readiness and core values.
Video of Michael Brown's funeral service, held Monday at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. May he rest in peace.
Beautiful New Yorker cover this week, by Eric Drooker. Hands up, don't shoot.
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.
Fayetteville, Arkansas mayor Lioneld Jordan strongly advocated an anti-discrimination ordinance in the early hours of August 20. It was then passed by the city council. Congrats to the people of Fayetteville and their elected leaders.
Florida AG Pam Bondi says y'all can just stay in limbo until SCOTUS rules.
Rep. John Lewis, renowned civil rights champion and veteran of the Freedom Rides and Bloody Sunday, marches in Atlanta to show solidarity with the peaceful protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.
Meanwhile in Ferguson, the protests are being infiltrated by violent outside agitators.
John Oliver nails it once again.
Save the Date: Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014 takes place Thursday, November 20th.
(Hat tip: David Mariner)
Jerry Markon, Wesley Lowery and DeNeen L. Brown report for The Washington Post.
Video of Ferguson, Missouri on August 11, taken by Alderman Antonio French.
Then another standoff. Myself and others tried to hold back the crowd. I pleaded for both sides to stand down. pic.twitter.com/0D8qOnxdxV— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 16, 2014
"We're better than this." St. Louis Alderman @AntonioFrench (L) urges calm in the streets of Ferguson. Many protesters spent Friday night protecting stores from looters. Below is a message from one of his young supporters urging people to help protect the neighborhood tonight. Here we see an inspiring example of citizen leadership.
This chilling video was one of the first taken on the scene after a police officer killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown a week ago in Ferguson, Missouri. Imagine this was your street. Can you? Solving the problem may depend on it.
(Hat tip: Antonio French)
Tell it, Martin. Words from 46 years ago that are as apt as when he spoke them, the day before he was taken from us.
My latest column is now up at Metro Weekly. It is subtitled, "Amid war and plague, right-wing Americans export religious intolerance." Here's an excerpt:
In Entebbe on August 9, more than one hundred LGBT Ugandans celebrated the first Pride Uganda since the Constitutional Court overturned the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) for being passed without a quorum. Entebbe is on Lake Victoria, and the paradise suggested by some of the photos would not make you think the revelers risked mob violence, unless you noticed the masks some wore.
A British name for an African lake is a relic of the same colonial legacy that keeps homosexuality illegal despite AHA being tossed out. African leaders are strangely selective in their outrage over Western influences. They embrace foreign laws, religions, and aid while treating sexual minorities who have always lived among them like hostile aliens. American evangelicals like Scott Lively incited the persecution with the slander that gays recruit and sexually abuse children. This pious vulture denies any responsibility for the consequences, including LGBT Ugandans being hunted like animals.
Today is International Youth Day. Here's an excerpt from a joint statement by ORAM and IGLYO on "the perils facing particularly vulnerable young people, including young LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees":
ORAM and IGLYO call on governments, inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, refugee professionals, LGBTQI activists, youth service providers, and youth leaders to:
1. Reinforce capacity building and LGBTQI training for service providers and refugee professionals, teaching them to utilize safe and non-discriminatory screening methods.
2. Create new networks and platforms of dialogue between youth groups, LGBTQI groups, refugee professionals and young LGBTQI refugees, enhancing experience-sharing and awareness-raising.
3. Create safe spaces for young LGBTQI refugees to express their fears and hopes, helping them embrace their identity and break the silence often accompanying internalized homophobia or transphobia.
4. Encourage states to adopt and enforce international human rights law applicable to sexual orientation and gender identity, such as, Principle 23 of the Yogyakarta Principles, to ensure that LGBTQI persons and youths are not extradited, removed, or expelled to any state where they may face persecution, degrading treatment or punishment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
NYT reports on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri following the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by police.
If you think that racial discrimination had nothing to do with it, check this out from the LA Times:
"Blacks make up 65% of Ferguson's population, yet they accounted for 93% of arrests after traffic stops, 92% of searches and 80% of traffic stops in the city last year, according to a racial profiling report by the Missouri attorney general.
"Blacks in Ferguson are twice as likely as whites to be stopped by police even though police find contraband for 34% of whites stopped, versus 22% of blacks, said Scott Decker, a criminologist on a team contracted by the attorney general's office to compile the data."
Some tweets from Frank Mugisha in Entebbe, Uganda, where more than 100 brave Ugandans celebrated Pride Uganda 2014.
Arrived at the Pride venue all looking good happy faces, had to stop by Entebbe police station for last check.— Dr. Frank Mugisha (@frankmugisha) August 9, 2014
Perhaps my best selfie ; Pride Uganda 2014 pic.twitter.com/hi5sDYBhvJ— Dr. Frank Mugisha (@frankmugisha) August 9, 2014
What an awesome display of courage and grace, to celebrate their lives amid religious persecution and threats of mob violence.
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.
In another excellent commentary, NYT columnist Charles M. Blow blows to smithereens the claim by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) that Democrats are waging a "war on whites." Blow notes the Republican Party's extensive history of racially divisive politics and policies, going back to Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy which was based on exploiting white voters' fears of and hostility toward blacks. Here's a portion:
The racial divisiveness ... continues as Republicans trade racial terms for culture-centric euphemisms. Newt Gingrich, in 2011: “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” although most poor people of working age work. Paul Ryan, earlier this year: “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.” And Bill O’Reilly said recently in a discussion about legalizing marijuana that the left’s position was that marijuana was harmless and “It’s blacks, you know, you get, you’re trapping the blacks because in certain ghetto neighborhoods it’s part of the culture.” ...
Whites are not under attack by Democrats; Republicans like Brooks are simply stoking racial fears to hide their history of racially regressive policies.
Talking about a "war on whites" is like calling marriage equality a threat to straight people. You might well call it a war on exclusivity, which is to say discrimination; but that is not what is being claimed. Those who practice this wedge politics are manipulating voters into voting against their own interests by exploiting fears. If we let cynical men divide us in this way, or if we become discouraged by partisan gridlock and withdraw from participating in elections, we hand over control to those who pick our pockets and line their own at the expense of the common good.
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.
KAL's cartoon, from The Economist.
Meanwhile, in NYT, a clear, sensible voice on Israeli colonialism that most Americans just don't want to hear.
President and Mrs. Obama greet Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the White House.
I could have sworn I read something about sanctions and travel restrictions.