Another red state has been told their marriage ban is unconstitutional. Yesterday, a federal judge said the ban is “an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit.”
Judge Terence C. Kern of United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma said the state’s amendment, is based on “moral disapproval” and does not advance the state’s asserted interests in promoting heterosexual marriage or the welfare of children.
First Utah, now Oklahoma? These are some of the most conservative states in the US. Those opposing marriage equality must be foaming at the mouth and I’m kind of loving it. You can read the NYT article here.
On Wednesday this week Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s office announced the state will not recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah since last month. In possibly the best F.U. I’ve seen in recent memory, today the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the United States federal government WILL recognize those marriages.
“I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Think elections don’t matter? I doubt a President Romney administration would have supported those LGBT couples.
Check Governor Herbert – now it is your turn and historians are recording your every move.
Apparently he didn’t get the black suit memo
One more example of why I watch PBS News Hour and have practically shunned all major news networks is their ‘reporting’ on Dennis Rodman’s visits to N. Korea. Major news networks and their cable news spinoffs pretend this is newsworthy, knowing there is no news value other than it feeds two monsters’ egos.
Nearly nobody on earth has any relations with Kim Jong Un of North Korea because of his (and his father’s) repressive regime. In a world of bad guys, his government is gunning for the gold. Yet, when a has-been NBA star craving the spotlight visits North Korea our news outlets feel compelled to report on his trips with a level of detail even our US Secretary of State, John Kerry, would envy.
What do you want to bet that Rodman’s relationship with North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jon Un, would end the minute nobody reported on his ‘diplomatic’ visit? This is a relationship based on two megalomaniacs. If the cameras stopped taping, this relationship would whither.
Stop giving both these jerks the attention they crave. The only people who would be upset if you stopped reporting on these fake diplomatic meetings would be the short, fat dictator of North Korea and this idiot former NBA player struggling to find relevance in a world that is tired of his antics.
Has conservative US representative, Aaron Schock, had his glass closet shattered? This weekend journalist Itay Hod’s Facebook post caused quite a stir when he wrote, “here’s a hypothetical: what if you know a certain GOP congressman, let’s just say from Illinois, is gay… and you know this because one of your friends, a journalist for a reputable network, told you in no uncertain terms that he caught that GOP congressman and his male roommate in the shower… together.” You can read more on Towleroad here.
Schock has made a career of repeatedly taking aim at the gay community but does he deserve being outed? If the accusations have merit, I say without reserve – absolutely.
Thanks to a lot of work on the part of the LGBT community and their allies it became a lot harder to pass or uphold homophobic legislation in 2013. The Human Rights Campaign has set up a rather inspiring page called Best of 2013.
I modified one HRC infographic and included it above because even though I am concerned about many issues that impact the LGBT community here in the US, marriage equality has been a rallying cry for our community ever since it was first made legal in Massachusetts in 2004. With the ten year anniversary of that landmark decision approaching this May and many other states contemplating legalizing same sex marriage no other LGBT issue will be more discussed this year.
When states like Utah start performing same sex marriages (as they did in December 2013), you know you’ve hit the tipping point. It should be interesting to see how other states with marriage bans fare in 2014 and what other strides and accomplishments will be made. I know I’m greatly encouraged by the progress, and I hope you are too. If this sort of thing is of interest to you, be certain to check out some of the other ‘accomplishments’ on the HRC page, Best of 2013.
Happy New Year
Generally, I reserve my blog for more lighthearted topics and areas of interest but from time to time, I’ve been known for the occasional political rant. After reading this weekend’s NY Times editorial, The Slow Demise of Capital Punishment, I knew I wanted to comment. The OpEd points out some interestinng stats. Did you know?
- In 2013 Maryland became the 6th state in 6 years to end capital punishment bringing the total of states to abolish the death penalty to 18 plus the District of Columbia.
- The death penalty is dormant in the federal system and the military.
- 30 states have had no executions in the last 5 years.
The NYT editorial wrote, “As it becomes less frequent, the death penalty also becomes more limited to an extremely small slice of the country, and therefore all the more arbitrary in its application.” This “arbitrary application” becomes all the more apparent when you realize that all 80 death sentences in 2013 came from 2% of counties, and of all 39 executions (more than half occurred in TX and FL) and took place in 1% of all counties.
I echo the editor’s thought and hope our country soon comes to realize that capital punishment is a 20th century experiment that has failed and needs to be made unconstitutional.
I recognize that our society is obsessed with all things pop culture. Exhibit A: Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty – Otherwise known as some hick from some backwater town who happens to have a show on a second tier cable channel garners more than his share of outrage from mainstream media and gay blogs for quoting the Bible and essentially saying he dislikes gays.
Perhaps we might want to stop obsessing over what quacks like Phil Robertson say and start focusing on countries identified as ‘allies’and demand they stop imprisoning, castrating and killing men and women because they happen to be gay. If even half the mainstream news and gay blogs focused on these stories I think we could say we are making progress and affecting change.
When we do that – then I’ll know America truly is energy independent. It is no coincidence that these OPEC nations Qatar, U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia are given a pass for such atrocious human rights violations while America blusters about some racist, homophobic hick.
Earlier today New Mexico’s State Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality advocates, making them the
17th 16th state (and the District of Columbia) in the US to recognize same sex marriage.
“Denying same-gender couples the right to marry and thus depriving them and their families of the rights, protections and responsibilities of civil marriage violates the equality demanded by the equal protection clause of the New Mexico Constitution.” - Justice Edward Chavez
Well done New Mexico. Doesn’t it feel great to be on the side of progress and equality. Which state do we think will be the next to join the 21st Century?
Thanks for sharing the quote Ruy!
Long time friend and resident of Charlestown, Chris Remmes, announced his intention to explore a campaign for the 2nd Suffolk State Representative seat held by Eugene O’Flaherty.
Chris Remmes, Charlestown Democratic Ward Chair and civic activist, to explore run for State Representative
I do not live in Charlestown or Chelsea (the district Chris seeks to represent), but I’ve known Chris for more than a decade. We first met at The AIDS Action Committee back in 2002 as regular volunteers. While I’m unfamiliar with the issues important to residents of Charlestown and Chelsea, I am familiar with is Chris’ excellent work ethic, his caring nature and great listening skills. He is a hard working, smart man of integrity and when he announced his intention to explore a run for State Representative I wanted to make sure I gave him a shout out on to let others know about Chris’ intentions.
If you live in Charlestown or Chelsea or if you would like to help Chris Remmes as he contemplates a run to unseat Eugene O’Flaherty, get involved / make a donation here.
Although Hawaiian governor, Neil Abercrombie, signed a bill legalizing gay marriage on November 13th, today is the first day same sex marriages can legally be performed in The Aloha State.
Marriage equality was never a question once Massachusetts drew a line in the sand legalizing it in 2004 (more about that here.) The only question was how long would we have to wait? With the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 2011, the US Supreme Court declaring DOMA unconstitutional in 2013 and public opinion now firmly on our side one can more confidently envision a wave of state legislatures and governors recognizing same sex marriage.
Fifty years ago today in Dallas, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The Kennedy family which calls Boston home is no longer the political dynasty it was in the previous century, but JFK remains one of America’s most admired Presidents. His words of wisdom may now be a half century old but they still ring true. Let’s hope that today we will pause, reflect and learn.
Dick of the Week: Lorenzo Garcia
Earlier this week Lorenzo Garcia – chair of the Young Conservatives of Texas – announced the game “Catch an Illegal Immigrant”.
The gist of this “game” is to encourage students to track down other illegal students and in exchange they will get a $25 gift card. The game was to take place tomorrow, Wednesday – November 20th, but the Texas University has stepped in. Not sure if this “game” will continue but the fact that Garcia felt comfortable enough to create such a vigilante-like game says a lot about the campus and student life at University of Texas.
“It made me think about illegal immigration in general and how much they put into the system and how much they take. I thought it would be a good way to spark the debate at UT by having an event such as this.” - Later Garcia
It makes me so angry when people characterize illegal immigrants like this. I know many people who fall into this category and all of them are hard working – giving more than they take; paying taxes, paying into social security (even though they will not receive these benefits), and often doing jobs many Americans have turned their nose up and refuse to do. These people come to the US for a better life not for handouts. The courage it takes to risk so much is a testament to their determination and drive; two characteristics that are incompatible with lazy individuals looking for a free ride.
This guy is such a dick. Full story here.
10 years ago today Massachusetts State Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a ban on gay marriage is discriminatory and unconstitutional. Opponents made doomsday predictions about how this would harm traditional marriage and lead to problems with children raised in same-sex households. History has proven those arguments were nothing more than barely concealed homophobic rantings.
I would imagine the fact that the very, very gay friendly state of Massachusetts having the lowest divorce rate per capita in the United States is a very inconvenient truth for those who continue to oppose same sex marriage on the basis that it harms the institution of marriage.
Want to read more about this topic? Check out The Boston Globe’s recent article, A decade after Mass. ruling, gay marriage gains.
Did you know that half of all Americans support a law banning job discrimination against gays and lesbians, according to a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll? Interestingly, that same poll also found that even more Americans falsely believe it is already illegal nationally to fire somebody for being gay. Sadly that isn’t true. Only 16 states (those in yellow above) make it illegal to fire someone because they are gay.
Today the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) came one step closer to becoming law when the US Senate voted 64 to 32 in its favor. House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner continue to oppose this legislation. Is it any wonder that LGBT voters disproportionately support Democrats? It is self-preservation.
This was an off year election for most people but there were two notable elections that took place in the United States yesterday. Neither election played out the way the Tea Party would have liked.
NJ: Incumbent Republican Governor Chris Christie was re-elected despite the fact he is loathed by the Tea Party because of his willingness to work with President Obama last year after Hurricane Sandy devastated the NJ coastline as well as a false perception (that’s my opinion) he is a moderate.
VA: The nasty gubernatorial race between (former Democratic Party Chair) Terry McAuliffe, and the Tea Party backed candidate, Ken Cuccinelli (Virginia’s current A.G.), has resulted in a McAuliffe win, meaning the Democratic Party has won back a Governor’s seat. Thank you Tea Party