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20+ Prominent Republicans From Western U.S. Sign Brief In Favor Of Same-Sex Marriage

TenthcircuitThe times they are a-changin', or so it seemed yesterday when it was announced that over twenty prominent Republican lawmakers would file a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of same-sex marriage for the 10th Circuit court (right). The court will hear appeals this April from both Oklahoma and Utah, states looking to reinstate same-sex marriage bans after federal courts struck them down this winter. 

The New York Times reports:

The most prominent of the approximately 20 signers of the brief are former Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, a longtime supporter of gay rights, and former Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum of Kansas, who said last year that she had reconsidered her former opposition to same-sex marriage. The document says that “marriage is strengthened” and “the social stability of the family unit are promoted” by allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

The Times noted that the brief is but one document in an on-going shift in the Republican party, which has seen much more support for same-sex marriage in the past couple of years.

Last month, a New York Times/CBS News poll found a rapid shift in Republican attitudes nationwide. Forty percent of Republicans said same-sex marriage should be legal, up from 33 percent last May and only 24 percent in September 2012.

Sean Gallagher, a lawyer and Republican Party activist in Denver who helped prepare the brief, said many Republicans were rethinking their positions. “The themes of liberty and freedom resonate especially well in the West,” said Mr. Gallagher, who was chief counsel in Colorado for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012.

Early last year, dozens of Republicans, including four former governors and former White House officials, joined in a similar legal brief to the Supreme Court, arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry. Neither Mr. Simpson nor Ms. Kassebaum signed that document.

If the 10th Circuit appeals court upholds the federal courts' decisions, we could see same-sex marriage legalized not only in Utah and Oklahoma, but also Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming. New Mexico, which already legalized same-sex marriage in December, is also a part of the 10th Circuit.


Anti-gay Colorado Baker Appeals Court Ruling Ordering Him to Serve Gays

Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips, with the help of conservative Christian legal defense organization, has appealed a recent court ruling against him for his refusal to serve a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs. The judge had ruled that the Lakewood bakery owner “unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake” back in July. The AP reports:

Alliance Defending Freedom filed an appeal Monday on behalf of Masterpiece Cakeshop. A judge last month ordered the shop to stop discriminating against gay couples.

[…]

ADF attorney Kristen Waggoner says “forcing Americans to promote ideas against their will undermines our constitutionally protected freedom of expression.”

Phillips has pledged to close his cake shop if forced to bake a gay wedding cake. 


Bryan Fischer: Anti-gay Colorado Bakery Owner is Victim of 'The Secular Inquisition' - VIDEO

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American Family Association spokeshater Bryan Fischer wasn't too happy when news broke last week that a Colorado judge had ruled against the Denver bakery owner who had refused service to a gay couple because of his religious beliefs.

PhillipsSaid Fischer:

"Our secular theocrats have found this man guilty of heresy, guilty of idolatry, guilty of blasphemy because he will not agree to the dogma of the secular theocrats. He is a heretic and he must be punished just like the Spanish Inquisition did for those that went astray from the dogma of the church in their day."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Colorado Judge Rules Against Bakery Owner Who Refused Gay Wedding Cake Because Of Jesus

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Yesterday we brought you up to speed on a court case out of Colorado that was essentially asking whether a cake-making shop can refuse service to same-sex couples because of the shop owner's religious beliefs. The answer, according to a Colorado judge, was a resounding "no."

The judge ruled that the Lakewood bakery in question "unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake."

David Mullins and Charlie Craig who in July 2012 went to Denver's Masterpiece Cake Shop, owned by Jack Phillips,  looking for a cake to celebrate the couple's upcoming nuptials. 

From the ACLU:

"Being denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop was offensive and dehumanizing especially in the midst of arranging what should be a joyful family celebration," said Mullins. "No one should fear being turned away from a public business because of who they are. We are grateful to have the support of our community and our state, and we hope that today's decision will help ensure that no one else will experience this kind of discrimination again in Colorado."

"While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one's religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers," said Amanda C. Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "No one is asking Masterpiece's owner to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple."

Phillips admitted he had turned away other same-sex couples as a matter of policy. The Colorado Civil Rights Division's [CCRD's] decision noted evidence in the record that Phillips had expressed willingness to take a cake order for the "marriage" of two dogs, but not for the commitment ceremony of two women, and that he would not make a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding celebration "just as he would not be willing to make a pedophile cake."

No word on whether Phillips will keep his pledge to close his cake shop if forced to bake a gay wedding cake. 


Bakery Owner Who Refused Gay Wedding Cake Because of Jesus Goes Before Court: VIDEO

Phillips

Back in the summer of 2012 we reported on Denver's Masterpiece Cake Shop and its refusal to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. The bakery's owner Jack Philips said he would close up shop rather than be forced to bake a gay wedding cake.

Phillips is being sued and the case is going before the court this week, KDVR reports:

A judge will decide if Jack Phillips violated discrimination laws—by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple last summer.

Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig couldn’t believe it when Phillips refused them service. They got angry. And they didn’t let it go. Now, they’re hoping to force Phillips to change what they say is a discriminatory policy.

“Being discriminated against is a form of personal invalidation. It’s being degraded and put on a lower level than other people in society,” says  Mullins about how humiliated he and Craig felt on July 19, 2012, when Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop told them his business doesn’t make cakes for gay weddings. He says Colorado doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages. And also that they’re (gay relationships) against his religious beliefs.

“I am a follower of Jesus Christ. So you could say it’s a religious belief. I believe the Bible teaches it’s not an OK thing,” is what Phillips told us last July.

Watch their new report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Denver

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State Champion Colorado High School Coach Micah Porter Tells Team: I'm Gay

Porter

Outsports has the story of Micah Porter, a four-time state champion high school track & field coach in Denver, Colorado who recently came out to his students, the culmination of a four-year journey in which he came out to his wife and two children, school administration officials, and had begun changing in a school bathroom for fear of accusations of impropriety from conservative parents.

Porter now finally appears to have taken the most important step of all:

Porter called his team together before practice a week ago and told them he had some news. He let them know that an article about him would be coming out this week, and that the article discussed him being gay and would talk about his partner, Brandan.

The news was met with the same silence that stared back at him when he came out to his wife four years earlier.

After a few seconds, one of the team leaders - who Porter says could end the season as a conference champion - stood up, shook his hand, told him it didn't matter to him, and asked what that day's practice had in store for them. The rest of the team laced up their shoes and followed suit.

Read the full story at Outsports.


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