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Politico: Evangelical Support For Gay Marriage On The Rise - VIDEO

Vines

In a lengthy profile published yesterday on Politico, reporter Jim Hinch looks at how evangelical Christians are changing their minds on gay marriage, supported by rather than in spite of the Bible: 

Over the past decade, evangelical support for gay marriage has more than doubled, according to polling by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute. About a quarter of evangelicals now support same-sex unions, the institute has found, with an equal number occupying what researchers at Baylor University last year called the “messy middle” of those who oppose gay marriage on moral grounds but no longer support efforts to outlaw it. The shift is especially visible among young evangelicals under age 35, a near majority of whom now support same-sex marriage. And gay student organizations have recently formed at Christian colleges across the country, including flagship evangelical campuses such as Wheaton College in Illinois and Baylor in Texas. […]

For a branch of Christianity devoted to scriptural interpretation, a debate about gay marriage was bound to contend with what the Bible says on the matter. Sure enough, as the politics of same-sex marriage have changed, a quiet movement to change evangelicals’ very interpretation of the Bible has gained momentum. 

One of the faces of this sea-change is 24 year old Matthew Vines, whose hour-long YouTube sermon on the intersection of Christianity and homosexuality posted in 2012 has since racked up more than 730,000 hits and spurred the creation of his Reformation Project which holds conferences to bring pro-gay rights evangelicals together who want to prove that the Bible does not necessitate a condemnation of gay relationships but actually supports them. 

The shift in attitudes towards gay marriage among evangelicals has also had major political ramifications: 

Just a decade ago, conservative Christians powered an electoral surge that outlawed gay unions in 11 states and, in the view of many political analysts, helped to ensure President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection. Barely one in 10 evangelicals supported gay marriage, and church leaders like Warren urged their followers to vote against same-sex unions. 

FischerToday, conservative Christian groups and Republican leaders have shied away from campaigning on gay marriage and have instead focused on topics such as “robust religious exemptions.” Anti-gay organizations, such as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), have also felt the financial sting of a waning interest in battling gay marriage from the Evangelical community. 

Still, despite the dramatic shift, the Evangelical community is still home to some of the country’s most anti-gay firebrands like Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischer. Said Fischer of the movement towards more pro-gay attitudes among Evangelicals,

“What we are seeing is the impact of this relentless brainwashing by the mainstream media, and it affects people that aren’t thinking clearly or aren’t grounded in a biblical worldview...There are some evangelical leaders who are sounding a very defeatist tone—the battle is over, and we lost and we have to get used to it. That kind of defeatism just has no place in the evangelical community.”

In case you missed it, watch Matthew Vines’s sermon on the Bible and homosexuality, AFTER THE JUMP…

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Nash Grier, Vine's Most-Followed User, Slammed for Homophobic Slur: VIDEO

Grier

Vlogger Tyler Oakley has joined the chorus of individuals outraged by a video posted by Vine's most followed user, Nash Grier. In a Vine that went out to the sixteen-year old's 8.7 million followers, Grier shows a clip of a commercial for OraQuick, an at home oral HIV test, in which two men say, "Testing for HIV, it's not a gay thing" to which Grier then responds, "Yes it is! FAG!" Oakley was quick to call Grier out on Twitter for his incendiary and defamatory remarks: "Call me and people like me, 'fag' all you want, but spreading false information about deadly diseases is next level."

Grier quickly deleted his video but it was captured by a Vine user and spread online thereafter. Grier has a history of making homophobic remarks on social media (and then deleting them), disparaging gay rights and gay marriage as Mashable points out

A petition was circulating on Change.org seeking an apology from Grier which Grier has since issued on Twitter, saying he was "young, ignorant, stupid and in a bad place" when he posted the video:

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Dr. Gary Blick, co-founder of HIV Equal said of Grier's remarks:

HIV is not just a gay thing. It’s a woman thing, it’s an African-American thing, it’s a Latino thing - it’s something that affects everyone in every community,” said Dr. Blick. “It’s time that our youth here in the U.S. wake up and realize that HIV doesn’t discriminate - and neither should they! Even though MSM (men who have sex with men) are the greatest at risk for contracting HIV, so are youth aged 13-23."

Watch Grier's repulsive Vine, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Tobias Wolff: ‘Hobby Lobby Decision Supports The Enforceability Of Anti-Discrimination Laws’

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As pointed out yesterday by Rachel Maddow, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby, religious groups have already begun seeking “religious freedom” exemptions from an executive order that bans federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people. While alarm bells have begun to ring for many gay rights advocates, University of Pennsylvania law professor and Obama legal adviser Tobias Wolff has issued a statement that may be intended to allay fears about any potential detrimental impact that Hobby Lobby could have on LGBT rights. Wolff argues that Hobby Lobby does not open the floodgates of state sanctioned anti-gay discrimination on the grounds of first amendment religious exceptionalism, but rather is more limited in scope and in fact upholds anti-discrimination protections.

Wolff writes,

It is important to understand that Hobby Lobby in fact rejects the argument that religious exercise can be an excuse for invidious discrimination. The following is the key passage of the decision, which the Court inserted specifically to respond to the suggestion that its ruling could authorize discrimination in the workplace:

"The principal dissent raises the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction. See post, at 32-33. Our decision today provides no such shield. The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.” […] 

- In this passage from Hobby Lobby, the Court…makes clear that laws and policies that prohibit discrimination in the workplace are "precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal". In other words, it is the act of discriminating itself -- which deprives the individual worker of "an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce" -- that inflicts the harm that the government has a compelling interest to eradicate. This passage strongly repudiates the argument that opponents sometimes make that there is no compelling interest in enforcing anti-discrimination laws if a person could find another job or patronize another business. Every act of private discrimination works a serious harm that the government has a compelling interest in eradicating.

In the days ahead, it is important that advocates and leaders strongly push out the message that the Hobby Lobby decision strongly supports the enforceability of anti-discrimination laws, even in the face of religious exemption arguments. Hobby Lobby represents a vindication of the principle that anti-discrimination protections should trump religious objections in the workplace.

You can read Wolff’s full statement, AFTER THE JUMP…

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Rachel Maddow On How The SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Ruling Is Already Being Used To Justify Anti-Gay Discrimination: VIDEO

Rachel

Last night Rachel Maddow took time to focus on the broad and dangerous impact of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, particularly, how the claim of “religious freedom" is already being used by religious groups to justify anti-gay discrimination:

"These groups want their religious beliefs to excuse them from having to follow the law on, not just contraception, not just health law rules, but on non-discrimination. They now, because of this ruling, want a religious exemption from laws that say you can't fire someone for being gay. They want to be able to fire people for being gay because they think God wants that."

Watch the segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

You can also read Ari Ezra Waldman's incisive analysis of the Hobby Lobby ruling HERE

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Seventh Circuit Court Of Appeals Says Indiana Must Recognize Terminally Ill Lesbian’s Marriage: READ

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511d7fd9b970c-800wiThe U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state of Indiana must recognize the marriage of a terminally ill lesbian, Niki Quasney, while the state appeals District Judge Richard L. Young’s earlier ruling that found Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. Nicki, who is married to wife Amy Sandler, is currently battling stage IV ovarian cancer. Lambda legal filed the emergency motion that resulted in the seventh circuit lifting its earlier stay of Judge Young’s decision: 

Paul D. Castillo, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal, said:

It is time for the State of Indiana to leave Niki and Amy in peace and not subject them and their marriage to any more stress and uncertainty as this case proceeds. We’re thrilled that the court ruled in favor of this family as Niki battles stage four ovarian cancer. We will continue to fight until no family in Indiana needs to worry about their marriage being stripped away from them and all Hoosiers have the freedom to marry.

In response to the emergency motion filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of Niki and Amy, the 7th Circuit also set an expedited briefing schedule in Baskin v. Bogan, with all briefs in the case due by August 5. Arguments in the case could come as early as the end of the summer. 

Read the court order, AFTER THE JUMP…

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Kentucky’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

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Federal Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled today that Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, stating that gays are a "disadvantaged class” deserving protections similar to those received by women in equal protections cases. The Courrier-Journal reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73d84b8b2970d-300wi"In America, even sincere and long-hold religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted," [Heyburn wrote]…

Heyburn rejected the only justification offered by lawyers for Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear — that traditional marriages contribute to a stable birth rate and the state's long-term economic stability. 

"These arguments are not those of serious people," he said.

Heyburn held that the ban on gay marriage within Kentucky violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law and that there is "no conceivable legitimate purpose for it."

He held that the state's 2004 constitutional amendment and a similar statute enacted in 1998 deny gay couples lower income and estate taxes; leave from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act, family insurance coverage; and the ability to adopt children as a couple. 

"Perhaps most importantly," he added, the Kentucky law denies same-sex couples the "intangible and and emotional benefits of civil marriage."

The case in question was brought before Heyburn by two couples, Timothy Love and Lawrence Ysunza, who have been together for thirty-three years, and Maurice Blanchard and Dominique James, who have been together for ten, after Heyburn ruled in a previous decision that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state. As in his previous ruling, Heyburn put a hold on his latest decision, preventing same-sex couples from being able to wed immediately. Heyburn wants the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to decide on the challenge to Kentucky’s marriage ben it is set to hear in August before his ruling would go into effect. 


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