Gay Rights

Stay lifted in Prop. 8 decision

Yesterday, Judge Vaughn Walker, who issued the opinion finding California’s Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, lifted a stay on his decision allowing same-sex marriages to begin in the state on August 18th:

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who overturned the measure on Aug. 4, agreed to give its sponsors until Aug. 18 to appeal his ruling to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Walker said that same-sex marriages may resume at that time unless a higher court blocks them.

Walker said the sponsors of Proposition 8 do not have legal standing to appeal his order because they were not directly affected by it.

In addition, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s  and Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, the state’s highest officials and named defendants in the case, have told Walker that his ruling declaring the measure unconstitutional should be enforced immediately.

So, even though the stay was lifted, the proponents of Proposition 8 still have time to argue for a stay to be reinstated, which the Ninth Circuit court may decide to do until they’ve heard the case on appeal.

Tea Party Movement ‘Too Libertarian’ for Social Conservative Leaders

Social conservative leaders are worried that the Tea Party movement doesn’t care enough about abortion and gay marriage, Politico reports.

This appears to be a growing theme, ever since Mike Huckabee said that he skipped  CPAC this year because it was “too libertarian” for him. In his most recent book, Huckabee wrote of a growing movement of what he called “faux-cons;” people who hold free market views on the economy, but don’t think the government should use its coercive powers to promote a “family values” social agenda.

Now, more prominent social conservatives are repeating a similar line.  Here’s what some of them told Politico:

- “There’s a libertarian streak in the tea party movement that concerns me as a cultural conservative,” said Bryan Fischer, director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association. “The tea party movement needs to insist that candidates believe in the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.”

- “As far as I can tell [the tea party movement] has a politics that’s irreligious. I can’t see how some of my fellow conservatives identify with it,” said Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals.

There are probably good reasons why they’re so worried. The Tea Party movement has not based its activism on their top priorities, (do you see anything about gay marriage or abortion in their Contract From America?) and the social conservatives fear they are losing their grip on the center-right.

“Born This Way”? New Study Debunks LGBT Claims


Among the political left, it is an accepted fact (“settled science”, you might say) that homosexuals and transgendered people are “born that way”, that their sexual attractions or gender identities are not the product of choice, but a matter of genetics. A new report, instantly controversial, torpedoes that understanding of homosexuality and gender dysphoria (the medical term for transgenderism).

The report, entitled “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences” is co-authored by two of the most well respected experts on mental health and human sexuality; Dr. Paul McHugh, described as “arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half century”, is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and served for 25 years as Psychiatrist-in-Chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital; and Dr. Lawrence Mayer, Psychiatry Department scholar-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University, is a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University.

While, not surprisingly, many on the Left and in the LGBT community immediately raged against the report as anti-LGBT, it should be noted that Johns Hopkins University was the first medical facility in the U.S. to perform sex reassignment surgery, and did so for a period spanning decades until a growing body of peer-reviewed studies, including an analysis of how Hopkins’ own transgendered patients fared over time, led the hospital to end those types of surgeries. Furthermore, McHugh is no far right-wing ideologue or Bible-thumper, he is a self-described “politically liberal” Democrat.

Gay Marriage is Racist Since Only White People Support It (Not Really)


Usually when something becomes popular because mostly or exclusively white people enjoy it, the collective media/internet outrage machine works overtime to mock, discredit, and destroy that thing. Whether it be pumpkin spice lattes, Wes Anderson, or not vaccinating your children, Stuff White People Like is usually not good for anyone else. But what if only white people like a certain civil right?

A new poll of gay marriage support suggests that might be the case. Last week, YouGov polled nearly 1,000 online respondents and found that 48% of whites support “allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally”, but only 31% who identify as black and 39% as Hispanic do. In fact, they found that a majority of blacks oppose gay marriage.




But is it really? And is it even true? (Hint: No, and probably not.) Let’s find out!

The first red flag is the top-line number. This poll finds that only 45% of respondents support same-sex marriage. I say “only” because that’s about 10-15% lower than almost every other poll conducted on the issue in the last few years. If the overall support response is that far off, the demographic breakdowns are probably a bit off too.

Supreme Court defaults to liberty and federalism on marriage


In the 15 months since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in United States v. Windsor in June 2013, which invalidated the strict federal definition of marriage from the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, seven other cases were appealed to the Court, all of which last ruled at the Circuit-level that the state same-sex marriage bans in question were unconstitutional.

In a stunning decision Monday, the Court denied the appeals of all seven cases, meaning the Circuit decisions unanimously striking down those bans are upheld and same-sex couples will soon have equal marriage rights in all states under those Circuits’ jurisdiction.

Nearly everyone expected the Roberts court to grant certiori to the cases and bundle them together to issue a final sweeping ruling on the issue at the end of its next term in mid-2015, so the blanket denial shocked the legal and political communities. It only takes four of the nine justices to grant certiori, so in effect, this was at minimum a 6-3 default ruling in favor of marriage equality.

Mike Huckabee’s cultural reactionarism isn’t the solution for America, liberty is

Mike Huckabee has joined a group called World Congress of Families (are they Workers too?) in opposing “sexual radicals” who previously opposed their upcoming conference in Australia. Unclear if the group also opposes long-haired hippie music, flowers, and Woodstock.

The letter signed by Huckabee and dozens of other theocrats and social reactionaries, including former Texas Congressman and terrible dancer Tom DeLay, claims to support the “international pro-family movement”. They of course specifically define the “natural family” as “a man and women united by faith and tradition, raising their children in a loving environment.” They don’t say if the combination of singular “man” and plural “women” is an intentional endorsement of polygamy or an unintentional one, nor if non-religious or childless couples count as families. They would probably grudgingly admit they are, as long as the genders were of the approved variety.

The end of the letter illuminates the real problem with Huckabee & Co’s worldview (and subsequent politics):

Hillary Clinton has beclowned herself once again: She flip-flopped on another big issue in hilariously disastrous fashion

In 1996, Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allowed to states to do the same. The First Lady supported the policy at the time.

As recently as the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton is on the record saying marriage should be for opposite-sex couples, though others can have (separate but) equal rights in civil unions.

Then, just last year, one year after President Obama (who also famously “evolved” on the issue), she announced her full support for same-sex marriage. Seems pretty clear that she changed her mind on the issue, right?

HELL NO! And you are a terrible person for thinking so. At least according to an interview Secretary Clinton did with an NPR affiliate Thursday. Host Terry Gross questions Clinton for more than 7 minutes trying to get her to say if she changed her mind on the issue or just finally announced what her position had been all along. Neither one, apparently.

Several minutes into the process, Clinton actually scoffs and accuses Gross of attempting to entrap her into one of the two positions. Because NPR hosts are so fond of gotcha journalism, especially with Democrats, right?

The whole thing is a master class in political paranoia, cynicism, and double speak. It really is quite something.

The Tent can only be so big: An eviction notice to Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer

“We have a right…in various ways, to act upon our unfavourable opinion of any one, not to the oppression of his individuality, but in the exercise of ours. We are not bound, for example, to seek his society; we have a right to avoid it (though not to parade the avoidance), for we have a right to choose the society most acceptable to us. We have a right, and it may be our duty, to caution others against him, if we think his example or conversation likely to have a pernicious effect on those with whom he associates.” — John Stuart Mill

In varying degrees over the last few decades, conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans specifically, have been attempting to build and maintain a coalition of various interest groups and issue-focused individuals toward broader electoral victory. “The Big Tent,” it’s called. There are always differences of opinion between those groups, but it is almost always worth it to work through and look past them for the greater political good. Almost always.

There inevitably comes a time when a member of the coalition, even an influential, powerful member, says something so wrong, so disturbing, so vile, so repulsive, that, regardless of the good work he may do in other areas, it is no longer helpful to have him around. Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has been crossing that line for years. It’s time to kick him out of our Tent.

Fischer’s most repugnant statements and views are usually about homosexuality. Given Biblical text, it’s understandable to think homosexuality is a sin. It’s even at the very least arguable, though becoming increasingly defeatist, to oppose what you consider “special” rights for homosexuals. However, it is not acceptable to do this:

Obama has gotten one individual liberty issue right


Call it a case of the proverbial broken clock being right twice a day. President Obama has been terrible on most liberty issues, of course. He came into office promising a hands-off approach to medical marijuana states, but his DEA and FBI have kept the pace of the Bush administration on clinic raids. He has proposed and supported restrictive gun regulations, though his infamous “executive actions” didn’t end up amounting to all that much.

The myriad Obamacare mandates are egregious violations of individual and organizational liberty. But there’s one area where Obama has gotten it exactly right, or at least as well as can be expected from a modern President: individual rights for gay Americans.

Coming out and the prevalence of special interest days

CarbonNYC (CC)

In case you missed it, today was “National Coming Out Day” in the U.S. In the general scheme of things, it probably isn’t particularly meaningful to anyone that isn’t highly concerned with gay rights, or is in fact homsexual. Yes, there probably was a fair amount of lampooning of the day on social media, but other than that, there are far too many other issues weighing on Americans right now to worry about this one.

And that brings up an interesting thing to consider - do we really need all of these “special interest awareness” days? This is something that has been brought up about various national holidays (are they really anything more than an excuse for governmental workers and banks to take a long weekend?), and some obviously commercialized ones (who else thinks it’s insane that a dozen roses costs roughly four times more in the second week of February, versus the second week in January?) So, there’s an obvious capitalistic reason for most holidays at least, and merchants have taken advantage of the various “banker’s holidays” to get more customers in their doors. But these awareness days are a different beast entirely.

Yes, there is much love for days devoted to the various ribbon campaigns - the consensus is that cancer is bad, and it’s always good to increase the public’s awareness about warning signs for diseases. Stopping the abuse of children obviously needs some public attention. Then there are the fun ones that leave us with freebies - who doesn’t like a day when we can get a free cup of coffee, or a free donut? But, the whole National Coming Out Day thing? Well, that’s a horse of a different color. The whole point of it is to foster an environment where people can talk frankly about what they do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. Why?

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