Over the past year we have seen progress in professional sports when it comes to discipline for public displays of homophobia and anti-gay language, ranging from a $100,000 fine for Kobe Bryant, who called a referee a "f**king fag" to a three-game suspension and salary donation to pro-LGBT groups for Toronto Blue Jay Yunel Escobar, who painted an anti-gay slur in his eyeblack during a game.
Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell was suspended for two weeks, fined, and ordered to undergo sensitivity training after he was seen heckling fans with homophobic language, and when Seattle Sounder Marc Burch mouthed "faggot" on a broadcast earlier this month, Major League Soccer acted swiftly with the same punishment.
This week, Cleveland Browns linebacker Tank Carder used the word "faggot" in an exchange on Twitter and then spewed a series of ugly follow-up tweets.
Said Carder, complaining about people angry at him for using the slur: "Yea, they all gettin butt hurt." He later added, "I don't agree with being gay or lesbian at all, but saying faggot doesn't make me a homophobe, it's just a word."
The Browns issued a statement: "These comments are certainly not reflective of the Cleveland Browns organization, nor do we condone them in any fashion. We have spoken with Tank and have made this very clear to him."
Apparently, that's enough for everyone, including the NFL.
The organization is taking no action, Outsports reports:
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Outsports via email:
We were in contact with the club and the club addressed it with the player. Divisive comments of that nature can only be hurtful to many fans and has no place in the NFL. The Browns made clear to the player that it was unacceptable and he issued a public apology.
UN Ambassador Susan Rice holds a stake in TransCanada, the company seeking an American permit to build the proposed the Keystone XL pipeline, the NYT reports:
According to financial disclosure documents filed in May, Ms. Rice owns from $300,000 to $600,000 worth of stock in the Canadian pipeline company. Because the State Department oversees transboundary pipelines, the Secretary of State is ultimately responsible for determining whether Keystone XL should go forward.
But her stock holdings in TransCanada, first reported by the Sunlight Foundation and Onearth.org, an environmental publication affiliated with the Natural Resources Defense Council, would surely complicate the issue.
According to the United States Office of Government Ethics, federal law requires executive branch employees to be recused from matters “if it would have a direct and predictable effect on the employee’s own financial interests or on certain financial interests that are treated as the employee’s own.”
Congressional Republicans are no doubt salivating.
The WaPo published a lengthy profile on Ms. Rice yesterday, noting that "every little thing about the 48-year-old Rice matters now that she’s the presumptive front-runner to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state."
In a ruling in Sevcik v. Sandoval made public late yesterday, Judge Robert C. Jones, a George W. Bush appointee, found Nevada's laws limiting marriage to two people of the opposite sex are Constitutional. Among Jones's reasons for the ruling are that gay people are not able to procreate, they are not a politically powerless class, and that gay people having the freedom to marry would actually scare straight couples from entering the institution.
Read the full ruling, AFTER THE JUMP...
Writes Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner:
Jones ruled that prior Supreme Court precedent—a 1972 case, Baker v. Nelson, that denied a same-sex couple's marriage claim as lacking any "substantial federal question"—controlled his decision. Even if not, he ruled that the "exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of civil marriage" was constitutional "[b]ecause the maintenance of the traditional institution of civil marriage as between one man and one woman is a legitimate state interest."
In reaching his decision, Jones found that a classification like Nevada's marriage law, which distinguishes between heterosexual and homosexual people (his analysis did not address bisexuality), should not be viewed with additional scrutiny, as are laws that distinguish based on sex or race. The analysis, made as part of challenges claiming a violation of the Constitution's equal protection guarantees, asks whether the group claiming discrimination under the law has experienced a history of discrimination and continues to face levels of political powerlessness.
Writes Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade:
Among the reasons why Jones, a Mormon who attended Brigham Young University, finds gay couples lack a constitutional right to marry is a rational basis for the government to preclude couples who can’t bear children from marrying:
“Human beings are created through the conjugation of one man and one woman. The percentage of human beings conceived through non-traditional methods is minuscule and adoption, the form of child-rearing in which same-sex couples may typically participate together, is not an alternative means of creating children, but rather a social backstop for when traditional biological families fail. The perpetuation of the human race depends upon traditional procreation between men and women. The institution developed in our society, its predecessor societies, and by nearly all societies on Earth throughout history to solidify, standardize, and legalize the relationship between a man, a woman, and their offspring, is civil marriage between one man and one woman.”
Moreover, Jones determines that straight couples may be disinclined to marry if same-sex couples were allowed to enter into the same institution, which would result in additional societal problems:
“Should that institution be expanded to include same-sex couples with the state’s imprimatur, it is conceivable that a meaningful percentage of heterosexual persons would cease to value the civil institution as highly as they previously had and hence enter into it less frequently, opting for purely private ceremonies, if any, whether religious or secular, but in any case without civil sanction, because they no longer wish to be associated with the civil institution as redefined, leading to an increased percentage of out-of-wedlock children, single-parent families, difficulties in property disputes after the dissolution of what amount to common law marriages in a state where such marriages are not recognized, or other unforeseen consequences.”
"This is not the end of this fight. We will appeal and continue to fight for these loving couples, who are harmed by Nevada's law barring marriage for same-sex couples. By forbidding same-sex couples' access to marriage, the State brands them and their children as second-class citizens. This entire decision rests on the ridiculous premise that a 'meaningful percentage of heterosexual persons' will decide not to get married if same-sex couples can. Not only is this not true, but it is settled law that the government is not allowed to cater to private biases -- which is all that imagining that 'some couples won't join this club if those people are admitted' amounts to. We are confident this ruling will be overturned on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals."
The lead plaintiffs in the case are Beverly Sevcik, 74, and Mary Baranovich, 76, of Carson City, who have been together for nearly 41 years, raising three children and now the proud grandmothers of four grandchildren. The other plaintiffs are: Antioco Carrillo and Theo Small of Las Vegas, who have been together since 2006; Fletcher Whitwell and Greg Flamer of Las Vegas, who have been together for 14 years and adopted a baby girl together; Karen Goody and Karen Vibe of Reno, who have been engaged since 2005; Mikyla and Katie Miller of Reno, parents of a newborn baby girl; Adele Terranova and Tara Newberry of Las Vegas, who are raising two children; Caren and Farrell Cafferata-Jenkins of Carson City, who have been together for 15 years and are raising two sons; and Megan Lanz and Sara Geiger of Las Vegas, who have been together since 2005 and have a daughter.
Read the full ruling, AFTER THE JUMP...Sevcik
Some welcome news from Maryland from Attorney General Doug Gansler, via the Washington Blade:
He wrote in a 19-page opinion that clerks can begin to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians as soon as Dec. 6, as long as they don’t take effect until the same-sex marriage law takes effect at the start of the new year. A 1999 law states a marriage license is not valid until 6 a.m. on the second calendar day after a clerk issues it.
Gansler concluded this requirement does not “expressly prohibit licenses becoming effective after that time.”
“Although there is a legal reason why same-sex couples cannot be licensed to marry before midnight on Jan. 1, 2013…, there is no such legal reason why they should not be licensed to marry at any time after the moment the law takes effect,” he wrote.
Said a spokesperson for Governor O'Malley:
“We think it is a thorough and well-reasoned opinion,” David Rocah, staff attorney for the ACLU of Maryland, said. “We expect that, in line with the opinion, county clerks throughout the state will quickly begin accepting applications for marriage licenses, and will start issuing the licenses after December 6, with a January 1 effective date. There are many people who have literally waited a lifetime to get married, and they should not have to wait any longer than necessary after Dec. 31 to do so.”
Conflicting Reports on Death Penalty Provision as Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill Nears Consideration
Some late updates on Uganda's so-called "kill the gays" bill.
According to a notice sent late yesterday from Uganda's Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights & Constitutional law:
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was upgraded to Item No. 1 on the Order of Business to Follow of the Ugandan Parliament which means it may be tabled in a matter of hours from now. The Coalition today requested and obtained the version of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which is going to be tabled as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2012. It is clear that none of the provisions have been changed from those of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009. It is still the “Kill the Gays Bill’! The report of the Legal & Parliamentary Affairs Committee has still not been released.
It is therefore the Coalition’s assessment that now is the time for all of us to be as loud as we can in our condemnation of the efforts to pass the Bill.
There are other reports from the AP that a new version of the proposed legislation doesn’t contain the death penalty:
Parliamentarian David Bahati said the bill, which is expected to be voted on next month, had “moved away from the death penalty after considering all the issues that have been raised.”
“There is no death penalty,” he told The Associated Press.
Bahati said the bill now focuses on protecting children from gay pornography, banning gay marriage, counseling gays, as well as punishing those who promote gay culture. Jail terms are prescribed for various offenses, he said, offering no details. The most recent version of the bill hasn’t been publicly released.
There may be more news on this today and will bring it to you as it develops...
As we noted yesterday, there is a protest today at noon in NYC at the Uganda House.