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01/29/2015

Alabama Probate Judges Org. Backs Down, Advises Members To Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses If Stay Is Lifted

Searcy

With Alabama poised to become the 37th state with marriage equality on Feb. 9, an association of probate judges announced Wednesday it will no longer stand in the way. 

The Alabama Probate Judges Association — whose 67 members issue marriage licenses — previously took the position that last week's federal court decision striking down the state's marriage ban applied only to plaintiffs Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand (above). However, after U.S. District Judge Callie V. S. Granade issued an order Wednesday clarifying that her ruling applies statewide, the association backed down. 

From AL.com

That means the final hope for opponents of same-sex marriage is that the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will agree to a request by the state to extend a "stay" Granade ordered delaying the ruling from taking effect until Feb. 9.

"It is the opinion of the Association, on the advice of legal counsel, that until the stay is lifted, probate judges cannot issue marriage licenses to same sex couples," Monroe County Probate Judge Greg Norris, the group's president, said in a prepared statement. "However, on the occasion that the stay is lifted, same sex couples may apply for marriage licenses."

The Washington Blade sheds light on the likely reasoning behind the group's decision to reverse course:  

Adam Romero, senior counsel and Arnold D. Kassoy scholar of law at the Williams Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, said the clarification makes clear the decision wasn’t specific to plaintiffs in the case.

“If and when that decision goes into effect, any Alabama official that enforces the state’s bans on same-sex marriage are in danger of not only being hauled into Judge Grande’s court and added to the pending lawsuit, but also getting hit with the costs of doing so,” Romero said.

Of course, it's still possible some probate judges will put their religious beliefs above the law or bow to pressure from Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who plans to send a letter advising them not to issue licenses. But depending on the outcome of Attorney General Luther Strange's appeal to the 11th Circuit, same-sex couples in Alabama could be in store for a very special Valentine's Day. 

Posted Jan. 29,2015 at 8:20 AM EST by in Alabama, Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, LGBT Rights, Roy Moore | Permalink | Comments (0)


Search for Survivors Ends as Malaysia Declares MH370's Disappearance an 'Accident' - VIDEO

Mh370

After nearly 11 months of searching, the Malaysian government has officially declared the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 an accident and has said that there were no survivors, CNN reports:

The formal declaration, read Thursday by civil aviation director Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, will allow the families of those presumed dead to continue the compensation process with the airline or with insurers.

"It is therefore, with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident in accordance with the Standards of Annexes 12 and 13 to the Chicago Convention and that all 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives," Azharuddin said.

MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 - triggering international search efforts and wall-to-wall coverage and speculation from cable news outlets (Don Lemon's "black hole" theory anyone?).

BBC News adds that officials have said the recovery operation for the wreckage will continue. Watch a portion of yesterday's announcement, AFTER THE JUMP... 

Continue reading "Search for Survivors Ends as Malaysia Declares MH370's Disappearance an 'Accident' - VIDEO"

Posted Jan. 29,2015 at 7:59 AM EST by | Permalink | Comments (0)


Ethics Complaint Filed Against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore Over Pledge to Defy Gay Marriage Ruling

Chief Justice Roy Moore

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore really, really dislikes gay marriage. We reported this week on how he's calling for the governor of Alabama to resist "judicial tyranny" and refuse to comply with a federal judge's ruling overturning the state's same-sex marriage ban. Well, that call for resistance has inspired the Southern Poverty Law Center to file an ethics complaint against Moore, with SPLC President Richard Cohen saying,

Moore is once again wrapping himself in the Bible and thumbing his nose at the federal courts and federal law. As a private citizen, Moore is entitled to his views. But as the chief justice of Alabama, he has a responsibility to recognize the supremacy of federal law and to conform his conduct to the canons of judicial ethics.

The SPLC article also points out that Moore is not a good student of history, not even his own, as ethics violations a decade ago stemming from his refusal to comply with a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building resulted in a lawsuit from the SPLC that culminated in Moore being removed from the bench. He was re-elected to his position in 2012 - because evidently Alabamans would rather have someone who panders to petty beliefs than is dedicated to doing the entirety of his job - but if Moore continues down this path he may once again find himself on the losing end of a lawsuit and once again removed from his job in even more disgrace.

He'd better hope he's not cheating on his wife while he's at it.

In related news, AL.com is reporting that certain campaign ads for Moore's 2012 campaign were created by video production company All Good Creatives - owned by none other than Cari Searcy, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that overturned the state's gay marriage ban. 

Posted Jan. 29,2015 at 7:30 AM EST by in Alabama, Gay Marriage, Law - Gay, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)


01/28/2015

AFA Spokeshater Bryan Fischer Fired: VIDEO

Fischer

Rachel Maddow is reporting tonight that Bryan Fischer, virulently anti-gay Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association, has been fired from his position.

MaddowMaddow reports that the firing was due to Israeli press reporting that Reince Preibus and the RNC are taking a trip to Israel which is being funded by the AFA (see headline below).

Meanwhile, Bryan Fischer spouts on his radio show nearly every week (as Towleroad readers know very well) that "Jews have no right to practice the faith of Judaism in the United States" and that gays are behind the Holocaust and Naziism.

He said this week that the gay agenda is driven by the "unvarnished energy of Satan."

Watch Maddow's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Haaretz

Continue reading "AFA Spokeshater Bryan Fischer Fired: VIDEO"

Posted Jan. 28,2015 at 9:54 PM EST by in Bryan Fischer, News, Rachel Maddow | Permalink | Comments (32)


ISS Astronaut Captures Stunning Time Lapse of East Coast, Blizzard of 2015: VIDEO

Storm
NASA Astronaut Terry Virts, currently aboard the International Space Station as part of the Expedition 42 crew, shot some incredible images of the U.S. east coast last night including a time-lapse video from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to the winter storm that wreaked havoc on New England over the past few days.

Check out the time lapse that goes up the entire east coast (might take a second to load), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "ISS Astronaut Captures Stunning Time Lapse of East Coast, Blizzard of 2015: VIDEO"

Posted Jan. 28,2015 at 9:36 PM EST by in News, Space, weather | Permalink | Comments (2)


NEWS: Tom Daley, Oklahoma, Zombie Cat, Syphilis

RoadDomino's 50 Shades of Grey-themed Superbowl commercial is turning some heads.

Daley RoadTom Daley goes for a shirtless run on the treadmill.

RoadMichelle Obama's decision not to wear a head scarf on trip to Saudi Arabia for King Abdullah's funeral draws strong reactions.

RoadIn case you're wondering, yesterday's announcement from the Mormon Church on LGBT rights was not a move towards a more inclusive, pro-LGBT church.

RoadBruce Jenner's "journey," like everything else in the Kardashian-Jenner world, will be documented on E!

RoadSwedish swimming pool offers gender neutral changing room: "Officials say the new changing room, which is designed for one person at the time, can also be used by people with disabilities or those who prefer to get changed in private because of their religious beliefs. In Sweden, where people tend to have relaxed attitudes about nudity, public swimming pools typically have communal changing rooms and showers without private stalls."

Mary_Fallin RoadOklahoma Governor Mary Fallin won't comment on whether she supports any of the 8 anti-gay bills currently being considered in Oklahoma: "Asked today if she thought a restaurant should be allowed to refuse service to a gay person, Fallin, as Metro Weekly reports, 'refused to directly answer whether or not she thought a business could refuse service to gay people on religious grounds.'...'I have a policy of not commenting on legislation that can change a lot of times,' the governor told reporters at an Associated Press annual legislative forum. Commenting that her priority is the 'budget process' and "things that hold Oklahoma back," Gov. Fallin added, 'I will tell you this. I have gone to restaurants with gay friends.'"

RoadRepublican Judge won't dismiss Rick Perry's corruption charges.

RoadDiana Ross is coming to Vegas for a mini-residency.

RoadInspiration of the day: cat hit by a car, buried, claws its way back to life.

RoadAlan Ball, Elton John and David Furnish creating HBO show about musical prodigies set in 18th-century Vienna.

RoadIn case you missed it, the sign-language interpreter in NYC Mayor de Blasio's weather briefing stole the show.

Burying-beetle RoadGender's not that important to burying beetles when it comes to sex partners: "The sexes of burying beetles is ambiguous – some females look and smell like males and vice versa. As a result, the male sometimes does not know if it is mating with a male or a female. Why they do this instead of waiting for a beetle that is clearly a female depends upon how many of the opposite sex are around. If there are not many, males are more likely to engage in same-sex sexual behaviour (SSB). "When recognition is not error-proof, the acceptance threshold used by males to recognise potential mating partners should be flexibly adjusted to maximise the fitness payoff between the costs of erroneously accepting males and the benefits of accepting females," the authors wrote."

RoadAmal Clooney goes to work at the European Court of Human Rights.

RoadRare type of syphilis strikes Washington state, infecting 6 and leaving 2 blind: "That’s an unusually high number of cases of ocular syphilis, which affects fewer than one in every million people in the general population each year, according to Dr. Russell Van Gelder, chair of the ophthalmology department at the University of Washington. Even among people with syphilis, ocular disease is detected in perhaps 10 percent of patients, he added."

Posted Jan. 28,2015 at 8:20 PM EST by in News | Permalink | Comments (5)


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