The California Supreme Court refused Monday to order the state to immediately stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court denied a request made by backers of Proposition 8, a voter-approved ban on gay marriages, for an emergency order that would have required the state to keep enforcing it while they pursue a legal effort to preserve it. The United States Supreme Court in June dismissed the backers’ appeal of a ruling that found the ban unconstitutional, saying the backers lacked authority to defend Proposition 8 after the governor and attorney general refused to do so. The State Supreme Court will still consider whether the lower court ruling against the ban applied only in Los Angeles and Alameda Counties, where two couples who sued to strike down the ban live.
Pennsylvania’s attorney general, Kathleen Kane, said on Thursday that she would not defend the state against a lawsuit to overturn a ban on same-sex marriage.
Ms. Kane, a Democrat, traveled from Harrisburg, where the suit was filed in Federal District Court on Tuesday, to make her announcement at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. She quoted from Pennsylvania’s Constitution forbidding discrimination “against any person” and said that “disparate treatment” based on race, religion and ethnic origin were no longer tolerated, and “it is now the time here in Pennsylvania to end another wave of discrimination.”
The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union with 23 plaintiffs, including 10 gay and lesbian couples, two teenage children of one couple and a widow who lost her partner of 29 years, cites a ruling last month by the Supreme Court striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
It was the first of a wave of lawsuits that activists are planning to file to expand the number of states allowing same-sex marriage, including in Virginia and North Carolina.
Attorneys general in Illinois and California have previously declined to defend their states in similar cases. In Pennsylvania, the general counsel’s office of Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, was seen as likely to pick up the defense.
Ms. Kane, who was elected attorney general last year and has been mentioned as a possible future candidate for governor, struck a political note in her brief announcement to an audience that cheered and applauded her decision.
“I looked at it this way, the governor’s going to be O.K.,” she said. She wondered, she added, who would represent “the Daves and Robbies, who represents the Emilys and Amys?”
You’re a best-selling author. Your beloved sci-fi novel that’s been a fan favorite for decades is about to come to the silver screen. You can expect more fame, adulation, money, right? Wait just a second! You dared to speak out against gay marriage? Welcome to the new blacklist.
Orson Scott Card, author of the popular sci-fi fantasy “Ender’s Game,” which was just made into a film set to release this fall, is coming under fire from the left for his pro-traditional-marriage views. According to Huffington Post, an “online protest” broke out to blacklist the new movie based on Card’s book because of his conservative views and opposition to the gay agenda. As HuffPo reported, LGBT activists are taking aim at Card for his “controversial” “anti-gay stance.”
The LGBT group Geeks OUT is spearheading a boycott of the movie called “Skip Ender’s Game.” According to the official website the group wants to “send a clear and serious message to Card” because of his “anti-gay activism – whatever he’s selling, we’re not buying.”
“Do not buy a ticket at the theater,” urged the Geeks OUT group, “do not purchase the DVD, do not watch it on-demand. Ignore all merchandise and toys.” The site went on to insist that the “queer geek community” wants to keep its money away from Card because of his supposed “fear-mongering and religious bullying.”
Card previously ruffled liberal feathers because of his uncompromising stance on gay marriage, and this is certainly not the first time he’s come under fire for it. But despite backlash, Card remained a steadfast supporter of traditional marriage. He joined the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) in 2009 and frequently wrote articles opposing homosexual “marriage.” In response to the boycott, Card suggested that he’s interested to see whether “proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them.”
Alliance Defending Freedom and the Pacific Justice Institute have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court that asks the court to review the case of a University of Toledo employee fired simply because she wrote an opinion column in her own personal name with a viewpoint that university officials didn’t like.
The university fired Crystal Dixon, who works in the school’s Human Resources department, after she wrote a short op-ed responding to a local newspaper’s editorial that compared the efforts of homosexual activists to the black civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. As an African-American, Dixon respectfully disagreed with the paper’s editorial. She did not mention her job at the university.
“Universities should be the marketplace of ideas, not environments where officials dictate conformity to their own views even outside of the campus,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker. “Seventy years of legal precedent make it clear that government officials have no authority to rob public employees of their First Amendment freedom of speech outside of work on a non-work-related matter.”
“University officials cannot mandate that all employees, in their personal capacities, have the same opinion as they do. This much is extremely clear in First Amendment law,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot.
After the paper published Dixon’s column, the university wrote its own in opposition to Dixon’s point of view and then terminated her employment.
In 2006, the Supreme Court wrote, “It is well settled that ‘a State cannot condition public employment on a basis that infringes the employee’s constitutionally protected interest in freedom of expression.’” In a different case in 1995, the high court also wrote, “Even though respondents work for the Government, they have not relinquished ‘the First Amendment rights they would otherwise enjoy as citizens to comment on matters of public interest.’”
The brief filed with the Supreme Court in Dixon v. University of Toledo explains that the university “fired Dixon for writing the op-ed, because they deemed it not in ‘accord’ with the ‘values’ of the University of Toledo. They ignored that she wrote as a citizen and it was the university who publicly exposed her as an employee. In [the university’s] view, any public disagreement with the university’s values, even though those values were neither the subject of the original editorial nor Dixon’s op-ed, warranted Dixon’s dismissal from employment.”
When Dixon sued over her termination, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit rejected her First Amendment claim because she was a public employee.
“In doing so, the Sixth Circuit ignored seventy years of precedent establishing that if ‘there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein,’” states the brief, which was filed together with Kevin Snider, chief counsel of Pacific Justice Institute and one of nearly 2,300 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom.
Pre-marital and casual sex have, in many ways, become societal norms. When young people take abstinence pledges, they are seemingly in a minority. As unrestricted sex becomes more prominent or, at the least, more accepted, many argue that its effects are nothing to worry about.
“Times have changed” and “It’s no big deal” are familiar mantras. But a new study may call these dismissals into question, as it found that casual sex may lead to depression and anxiety among college students.
Published in “The Journal of Sex Research,” the study, entitled, “Risky Business: Is There an Association Between Casual Sex and Mental Health Among Emerging Adults?,” found that students who have had casual sex had higher levels of social and general anxiety and depression,reports Science Daily. It was led by Dr. Melina M. Bersamin of California State University, Sacramento.
For the purposes of the study, “casual sex” was defined as having sex with someone that a respondent had known for less than a week. The online survey included 3,907 heterosexual students, ages 18 to 25, from over 30 schools across the U.S. About 11 percent of students reported having such an encounter the month before the survey (and the majority were men).
“For emerging-adult college students, engaging in casual sex may elevate risk for negative psychological outcomes.” the abstract for the study proclaims.
While one research endeavor isn’t the end all, be all, Bersamin claims that the results show that “casual sex was negatively associated with well-being and positively associated with psychological distress.” There were no disparities in gender when it came to the impact of casual sex.
Considering that society continues to loosen up in this arena, the potential results and impact are essential to consider.
Some are angry, others are philosophical, but opponents of same-sex marriage agree on one thing: The battle against gay marriage just got tougher, after twin losses in the Supreme Court that have given pro-gay-marriage forces a burst of momentum.
But social conservatives are ready to press on in the states, in defense of a religiously based definition of marriage that has endured for millennia, even if they don’t expect much help from the Republican establishment.
“The mix of decisions magnifies the fact that people who believe in normal marriage need to fight like crazy at the state level to ensure that they keep the right to define what they want marriage to be in their state,” says Gary Bauer, leader of the group American Values and one-time Republican presidential candidate.
Keeping the traditional-marriage-only wing of the GOP from becoming demoralized will be part of the battle. But after Wednesday’s rulings – which struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and opened the door to a resumption of gay marriages in California – conservative leaders expressed hope that their supporters would be all the more motivated to keep fighting.
Some leaders took a glass-half-full approach to the decisions, applauding the justices for, at least, not establishing a national right to same-sex marriage as the high court did for abortion in the 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade. That, they say, gives them time to get organized and rally their troops, even if, by outward appearances, time is not on their side.
Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington, asserts that, in fact, time is not on the side of those seeking to create a right to same-sex marriage.
“As the American people are given time to experience the actual consequences of redefining marriage, the public debate and opposition to the redefinition of natural marriage will undoubtedly intensify,” Mr. Perkins says.
His ally Ralph Reed, head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, calls for pressure on Congress to pass legislation that will limit the impact of the DOMA ruling. And he goes back to a core focus of religious conservatives -- the selection of judges.
The Supreme Court’s decisions “underscore why people of faith must remain engaged and energetic in seeing genuine conservatives nominated and confirmed to the federal courts,” says Mr. Reed. That requires electing conservative senators who will make judicial confirmation battles a priority.
But especially alarming to some Christian conservative leaders is the culture war within the GOP that makes them feel that party leaders – both in Congress and at the Republican National Committee (RNC) – are abandoning them.
“I would say to Speaker Boehner and [Senate Republican leader] Mitch McConnell and the folks at the RNC, you better wake up soon, because if values voters decide that their investment in the GOP resulted in less than a zero return, the party will find itself without the only group that is saving it from political oblivion,” says Mr. Bauer.
Republican leaders need to spend as much time defending traditional marriage and other conservative values as much as they make the case for not raising taxes on billionaires and calling on Democrats to cut Social Security, Bauer continues, the anger rising in his voice.
“The idea that the Republican economic agenda is popular and is held back by the Republican social agenda is, like everything else in Washington, D.C., exactly upside down,” he says.
But judging by GOP leaders’ responses – or lack thereof -- to the Supreme Court’s gay marriage rulings, the schism between social and economic conservatives doesn’t look set to ease anytime soon. The Republican National Committee and its chairman, Reince Priebus, were silent on the decisions. Speaker Boehner said he was “disappointed” in the rulings, and hoped states would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman. Senator McConnell issued no comment.
They seemed to be following the playbook outlined in a recent report by an RNC task force that suggested opposition to gay marriage could harm a party trying to grow its appeal among demographic groups that went heavily Democratic last November.
“On messaging, we must change our tone – especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters,” the report read. “In every session with young voters, social issues were at the forefront of the discussion; many see them as the civil rights issues of our time. We must be a party that is welcoming and inclusive for all voters.”
Indeed, given the political standoff in Congress, any Republican efforts to strengthen DOMA are already dead on arrival (and ditto efforts by Democrats to eliminate DOMA altogether). So, by definition, the effort to defend traditional marriage goes to the states.
And in the wake of Wednesday’s rulings, the challenge is likely to get even more difficult in the court of public opinion.
Brian Powell, a sociology professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, cites his research, which shows that when a childless gay couple legally marries, the public is must more likely to view them as a family, compared with a childless gay couple that is only living together.
“What that means,” Mr. Powell says, “is the validation by the Supreme Court that enables more people to be legally married should result in greater acceptance of gay marriage.”
Now that gay couples in California will soon be allowed to marry again, per the instruction of Gov. Jerry Brown (D), following the Prop 8 ruling, more than one-third of Americans will live in jurisdictions with legal gay marriage.
President Bill Clinton released a statement, together with his wife Hillary Clinton, hailing the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, a bill he signed into law in 1996.
"By overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court recognized that discrimination towards any group holds us all back in our efforts to form a more perfect union. We are also encouraged that marriage equality may soon return to California. We applaud the hard work of the advocates who have fought so relentlessly for this day, and congratulate Edie Windsor on her historic victory," the Clintons' statement reads.
The statement makes no mention of their previous support for the law.
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – As the Supreme Court prepares to rule this week on the legality of federal and state bans on same-sex “marriage,” Justice Antonin Scalia has said there is no “right to homosexual conduct” granted by the United States Constitution.
Scalia, 77, told an audience of lawyers and judges at the North Carolina Bar Association Friday that matters of morality should be decided by the public, not unelected judges who set themselves up as “moral arbiters.”
According to Scalia, moral issues such as gay marriage have no “scientifically demonstrable right answer” and thus have no business being decided by the court. Instead, society must determine as a whole what they deem moral and acceptable and make laws that reflect that.
Scalia made his point with humor, joking that as a judge, “I accept for the sake of argument, for example, that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.” But, he quickly added, “Rather, I am questioning the propriety, the sanity of having a value-laden decision such as this made for the entire society by unelected judges.”
Scalia, a 1986 appointee of President Reagan and now the longest-sitting member of the high court, has long maintained a strictly originalist view of the Constitution, insisting that it must be interpreted through the lens of its authors’ intentions. He once told an audience at Southern Methodist University that far from being a “living document,” the Constitution is, “dead, dead, dead.” On Friday, he told the North Carolina lawyers that judges who find rights to “homosexual conduct” or abortion in the Constitution are in error.
“When the Constitution was adopted, all those acts were criminal throughout the United States and remained so for several centuries,” said Scalia. In particular, he cited “laws against private consensual sodomy … that existed in perfect conformity with the Constitution for over 200 years.”
He slammed the Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion as an egregious example of judicial moralizing he believes was rooted in a flawed vision of the Constitution as a living document.
He expressed a similar sentiment in a 2011 interview with California Lawyer, saying “You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law.”
“That’s what democracy is all about,” added Scalia. “It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.”
Monday, June 24, 2013
(CNSNews.com) - On Tuesday, June 25, the U.S. Defense Department will give special recognition to "gay, lesbian and bisexual servicemembers" -- as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civilian workers -- for their "dedicated service to our country."
And this year, "Pride Month" at the Defense Department comes with a poster:
The red, white and blue poster -- designed for the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute located at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida -- includes the followiong quotation from President Barack Obama:
"For more than two centuries, we have worked to extend America's promise to all our citizens. Armed Forces have been both a mirror and a catalyst of that progress, and our troops, including gays and lesbians, have given their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties that we cherish as Americans."
OutServe-SLDN, an advocacy group for LGBT military personnel, called it "appropriate and gratifying" that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is following the precedent set in 2012 when then-Secretary Leon Panetta hosted the Pentagon's first LGBT Pride Month.
But the group isn't happy that the DOD memorandum announcing Tuesday's Pride event for gays, lesbians and bisexuals did not mention transgenders in uniform:
"While acknowledging transgender civilian DOD employees, the memorandum notably omits any mention of the contributions of transgender people in uniform -– presumably because transgender people remain barred from service by outdated and obsolete medical regulations.
“Transgender people have served this nation with pride, honor, and distinction –- and continue to do so in the hundreds, if not thousands. It’s past time to honor them for their service and sacrifice, and past time to end the discredited and obsolete practice of forcing them to serve in silence and fear,” said Army veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson in a news release issued earlier this month.
LGBT Pride Month is celebrated each June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City that erupted after a police raid on a gay bar.
Tomorrow, the Defense Department will celebrate the December 22, 2010 repeal of the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Homosexuals have been allowed to openly serve in the U.S. military since September 20, 2011.