Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Disastrous day in court cripples gay marriage opponents

Marriage equality opponents apparently had an awful day in court in their attempts to defend gay marriage bans in several states. According to the Washington Blade:

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday skewered state attorneys defending bans on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin and Indiana. The judges who heard the lawsuits — one seeking to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin, the other in Indiana — consisted of Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee; Ann Claire Williams, a Clinton appointee; and David Hamilton, an Obama appointee. Based on the skepticism these judges expressed regarding marriage bans in these states, the panel seems headed toward deciding 3-0 in favor of marriage equality. Posner was most aggressive in the questioning of attorneys defending bans on same-sex marriage.

  . . Posner asked why sterile opposite-sex couples should be allowed to wed. Posner was similarly frustrated with Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson when the lawyer couldn’t answer why allowing same-sex couples to wed might have a negative impact other than by observing the institution of no-fault divorce led to an increase in the dissolution of marriages. When Samuelson said he wasn’t prepared for the question and could respond later in a brief, Posner retorted, “How can you brief it, if you don’t know anything about it?”

Twice during the arguments, Posner cited a friend-of-the-court brief from the LGBT group known as the Family Equality Council, pointing out the harms faced by children with same-sex parents because their parents don’t have access to marriage. The judge brought up a statistic that between 200,000 and 250,000 children are without guardians and eligible for adoption. Speaking later of same-sex marriage during the arguments, Posner said, “We think, or at least I think, it’s good for the kids.” 

Chris Geidner of Buzzfeed called today's deliberations "the most lopsided arguments over marriage bans at a federal appeals court this year . . ."

He also said:

From the start of the arguments over Indiana’s ban at a little past 9:30 a.m. until the end of the arguments over Wisconsin’s ban at 11:11 a.m., 7th Circuit Judges Richard Posner, Ann Claire Williams, and David Hamilton pounded the two lawyers defending the bans with dismissive, incredulous questions about the basis and purpose for their respective states’ bans.

For the lawyers representing the same-sex couples, the judges almost assumed that the bans violate the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws. The only question in the hearing Tuesday was whether the bans also violated due-process guarantees because marriage is a fundamental right.

In other words, get ready for more weeping and whining about "activist judges" from the religious right. I can almost hear that lovely music now.

'Five religious right myths about sex' & other Tuesday midday news briefs

Pat Robertson: Teen Boy Might Be Gay Because He Lives With Single Mom - Why in gay hell would anyone, and I mean ANYONE, ask Pat Robertson's advice for anything?

 The One Political Moment From The Emmys - The Normal Heart won 'Outstanding Television Movie' last night at the Emmys and director Ryan Murphy took the time to encourage more activism. 

Klingenschmitt 'Apologizes' For Accusing Rep. Jared Polis Of Wanting To Join ISIS & Behead Christians - In which we learn that an apology from an anti-gay figure is almost as bad as the original offense. 

Health Care Fears Loom Large In Gay Marriage Cases - Excellent point!

Human Rights Campaign: Anti-gay group is exporting homophobia to foreign countries

The Human Rights Campaign has come out with an explosive report on the World Congress of Families, an anti-gay group which seems to be operating by exporting homophobia under all of our noses:

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today released a new report that exposes one of the most influential groups in America promoting and coordinating the exportation of anti-LGBT bigotry, ideology, and legislation abroad: The World Congress of Families.

Labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and active in several nations across five continents, the Rockford, IL-based World Congress of Families (WCF) has organized large international “pro-family” conventions that bring together the most fringe activists engaged in anti-LGBT extremism since 1997.  In July, WCF announced that its next annual international convention will take place in Salt Lake City, making it the first ever hosted on American soil.

“The World Congress of Families coordinates a dangerous group of activists spreading anti-LGBT rhetoric and promoting laws and policies that criminalize LGBT people and the speech of those who support them,” said Ty Cobb, HRC Foundation’s Director of Global Engagement.  “They praise Vladimir Putin as the standard-bearer for traditional ‘family values’ and honored a Nigerian activist who claims LGBT advocates conspire with the terrorist group Boko Haram with a “Woman of the Year” award.  Their advocacy abroad harms LGBT people from Russia to Nigeria and beyond.  Hate is not an American value, and we must expose and work to stop the World Congress of Families and their extremist allies.”

HRC Foundation’s report documents: WCF’s origins and founding members; a timeline of its major international events; affiliations with prominent American officials, political groups, and religious organizations; engagement and lobbying with leaders and lawmakers abroad; and the primary regions in which the group has been most active.

Uganda, Russia, and Nigeria have enacted horrific anti-LGBT laws within the past year, and LGBT people in those countries have suffered vicious and violent backlashes in their wake. This includes harassment, discrimination, prosecution, public beatings, and murder. WCF and its affiliates are connected to anti-LGBT advocacy in each of the three countries, among many others.

WCF affiliate Scott Lively traveled repeatedly to Uganda claiming that LGBT people are responsible for the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide and the spread of HIV/AIDS.  Some Ugandan officials credit Lively with the idea of introducing new legislation to further criminalize homosexuality in the country, and prominent Ugandan LGBT activists say the "bill is essentially his creation."  WCF also forcefully advocated for the draconian anti-LGBT Russian law, met with the law’s author in the Russian Duma, and released a public letter in support of the measure. WCF has also repeatedly hosted events in Nigeria with “pro-family” activists from Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa.