Kentucky Attorney General Clay Barkley has come out in favor of the state's same-sex marriage ban. Adopted in 2004, the ban contains language similar to other states' constitutional amendments: "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky." The ban also denies recognition of legal unions performed in other countries and states. Now, though, a couple married nine years ago in Canada is challenging the ban.
Michael De Leon and Gregory Bourke sued the state in July. They are seeking an injunction in order to fight the lack of recognition granted to same-sex couples married outside the state or country. Barkley filed an 18-page report to the federal court's District Judge John G. Heybrun II claiming that the lawsuit lacks standing. De Leon and Brouke's challenge marks the state's first since the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions were handed down this summer.
The Associated Press reports:
Much of the state’s filing is boilerplate legal language. But, Barkley said same-sex couples seeking to marry “are just as willing as opposite-sex couples to assume the obligations of marriage” and, if allowed to marry, would “benefit equally from the legal protections and social recognition afforded to married couples.”
While Kentucky judges have granted adoptions to same-sex couples, the state treats them differently than opposite-sex couples by not allowing both partners to be listed as parents, Barkley said. According to the 2010 Census, about 2,800 same-sex couples are raising children in Kentucky. De Leon is the father of an adopted 15-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl. Bourke has been designated a legal guardian for the children.
This challenge to state law follows similar ones in Arkansas, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. New Mexico has been handling things county by county and Arkansas has accepted language for a ballot measure in 2014. What will come of the Kentucky challenge? Do you think there will be a statewide rally behind De Leon and Bourke?
Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama paid a visit to Kennesaw State University for the school's final portion of its year long study of the Republic of Ghana. The Year of Ghana marked the 29th annual country study for the University; next year, Japan.
In his discussion with University president Dan Papp, Mahama was cagey regarding his opinions on same-sex marriage, opting to discuss the Ghanaian public's feelings on the matter. Earlier this year, however, Towleroad reported on his more staunchly anti-gay stance: "Homosexual conduct which is unnatural carnal knowledge of one person or another is criminal and punishable by the laws of Ghana."
The Marietta Daily Journal reports:
Mahama was asked on Monday whether he supported gay rights in Ghana, specifically gay marriage.
“Well, like you’re saying, even here the question is not settled,” Mahama said, referring to how some states in the U.S. allow gay marriage and some do not. “It’s controversial. And it’s the same, it’s controversial everywhere else, especially in Africa. It’s a difficult situation, but I guess it’s something that –– it’s very difficult to comment on because often it creates more problems. People have a certain cultural hostility towards it, but I believe that laws must prevail. For instance, people must not be beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, but in my country there is a strong cultural hostility towards it.”
Mahama laughed when asked if he would support gay marriage in Ghana in the future.
“It’s very difficult for me to ... I’d rather not comment on it,” he said.
Mahama's visit to the University marks the first time the school has hosted a current head of state.
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In a report released yesterday, Right Wing Watch revealed that National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown participated in a joint meeting with Russian legislators back in June to discuss changing the country's international adoption laws to exclude same-sex couples. Brown's trip to Russia, which was not publicly announced by NOM, culminated in a rousing speech given to the Duma's committee on foreign affairs and its committee on family, women and children - whose chair, Yelena Mizulina (right), authored the ban on gay "propaganda" and the anti-gay adoption bill that was signed into law in July.
"We are talking about violations of rights, we are talking about the rights and problems of children in their education. We should not shy away from this and should not forget about it and create an illusion for ourselves. A reconsideration of the definition and understanding of marriage is in fact a real threat to rights. Very soon after a law was passed that legalized same-sex marriage in the state of Massachusetts, we saw that religious organizations were closing down, religious organizations that dealt with adoptions and that did not support adoption by same-sex families. They were closing one after another.
We have actually seen that in some schools, they are talking to children about homosexuality, but in fact they don't have the right to learn about a lot of things until a certain age. [...]
I think that this visit, the invitation to visit Russia, will enable the development of this movement around the world. We will band together, we will defend our children and their normal civil rights. Every child should have the right to have normal parents: a father and a mother.
You can watch a Russian dubbed interview of Brown at the meeting, AFTER THE JUMP...
Meanwhile, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said the news of Brown's invovlement in Russia is proof of NOM's anti-gay animus knowing no boundaries.
"This goes well beyond marriage," said Griffin. "Apparently NOM is expanding its portfolio to include the international persecution of LGBT people. We knew that Brian Brown had it out for gay people in America, but it's now become clear that he's hell-bent on ruining the lives of gays and lesbians worldwide."
In a Facebook post this afternoon, Pennsylvania's gay Rep. Brian Sims reacted to Governor Tom Corbett's remarks on a radio show this morning in which he compared gay marriage to incest.
All day long I've been hearing about the Governor's comments earlier this morning comparing marriage equality to incest. In truth, I'm not giving him or his comments all that much thought and I encourage you to do the same.
No one, not even his own party, would argue that he’s an intellectual heavyweight or even a particularly thoughtful person. The larger issue is that despite the fact that the majority of Pennsylvanians disagree with him, he continues to be the heaviest hitter in Pennsylvania’s anti-equality crusade.
Our job isn’t just to be frustrated with the homophobia coming from the Governor’s Mansion, it’s to do everything we can to ensure that his chapter in Pennsylvania’s political history is as sad and short as his record on schools, economic development and civil rights.
Tom Corbett has been a disaster for Pennsylvania for so many reasons and I hope this fuels your resolve to vote him out of office.