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IDAHO: Lewiston City Councilors Speak Out on Why They Oppose LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance - VIDEO

Rj johnson Lewiston Idaho

City councilors in Lewiston, Idaho, have spoken out against a proposed non-discrimination ordinance that would make it illegal to discriminate in housing, employment and public accommodation based upon sexual orientation and gender identity, reports KLEWTV.

Lewiston City Council Mayor Pro Tem R.J. Johnson said that although all seven members of the council are against discrimination based on sexual orientation, ordinance 4614 would infringe “on our basic civil liberties."

According to Jesse Maldonado, the youngest person ever elected to the Lewiston City Council, it is currently “legal to discriminate in the workforce, hiring or firing, or refusing someone service or not giving someone housing if they are gay lesbian, or transgender and there's no ramifications for doing so. So basically what this ordinance would do would make it a misdemeanor to do that which could then be punishable by jail time or a fine."

However, councilor Clinton Daniels said that 4614 could lead to retailers being “put in jail for six months” with a fine of $1,000 for refusing to serve LGBT customers. In a statement, Daniels said:

"My strong belief in liberty compels me to oppose ordinances that do not respect private property, freedom of association, and voluntary contracts; even when the stated goal of such ordinances is something I support.

When you engage in commerce, whether it be for a personal sale or a commercial one, it is a form of a contract, and in a free society all contracts should be voluntary."

Maldonado has since asked supporters to attend the next of two further readings of the ordinance on September 22nd.

 

Watch a KLEW TV reports, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Ninth Circuit Panel Eviscerates What's Left of Anti-Equality Arguments: A Summary and Analysis

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

BerzonA soft-spoken attorney representing Idaho started his state's anti-marriage equality argument by suggesting that allowing gays to marry violates the "bonding right" of children that they will be raised by their biological mothers and fathers. It took Judge Marsha Berzon just 15 seconds to ask her first question: "What is that word you're using before 'right'"? Judge Berzon can hear just fine; it's just that she had never heard anyone make such a ridiculous claim before today. The rest of the hearing followed similarly.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter-appointee and liberal leader of the appellate courts, was joined by Judge Berzon, a sharp-minded progressive appointed by President Clinton, and Judge Robert Gould, another Clinton appointee, in a nearly two-hour long interrogation of attorneys from Idaho and Nevada that may not have been as bombastic as Judge Posner's treatment of attorneys from Wisconsin and Indiana in the Seventh Circuit, a hearing which resulted in a marvelous unanimous victory ("Go figure!"), but was every bit as damaging to the forces opposed to marriage equality.

It also brought marriage equality full circle. Judge Reinhardt was the judge that wrote the first decision from a federal appellate court on marriage equality, affirming District Judge Vaughn Walker's pioneering rejection of California's Prop 8. We all know how that case turned out.

And we know what's happened since: a Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and a long streak of pro-marriage equality decisions from the lower federal courts, including several appellate courts.

Yesterday's hearing reminded us how far we have really come. Some of the arguments and much of the tone were different this time around. The judges' questioning was direct and they expressed a similar, though less visible, frustration with the misdirection and misleading statements from the anti-equality attorneys as Judge Posner. The tone of the hearing suggested that marriage equality supporters are finally out of the closet, following a tidal wave of an emerging consensus of the legitimacy and morality of marriage freedom for all.

A summary and analysis follows AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ninth Circuit Panel Eviscerates What's Left of Anti-Equality Arguments: A Summary and Analysis" »


Watch LIVE: Ninth Circuit Oral Arguments in Idaho, Nevada, and Hawaii Gay Marriage Cases

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the Hawaii, Idaho and Nevada gay marriage cases today and will be live streaming the arguments from the courtroom in San Francisco.

The feeds will begin shortly before 1pm PT, with Idaho getting 30 minutes per side, Nevada getting 20 minutes, and Hawaii 10. 

Watch the feeds AFTER THE JUMP... 

Last week, we reported on the three judge panel that will hear the gay marriage cases - with Equality on Trial pointing out that the trio are considered "some of the most liberal appeals court judges in the country." 

MSNBC reports that sexual orientation also has "heightened scrutiny" in the Ninth Circuit, which bodes well for a pro-equality victory: 

With heightened scrutiny, defendants (such as state officials arguing on behalf of same-sex marriage bans) would have to show how a law that treats gay and lesbian people differently serves an important or compelling state interest, not just a legitimate one. Heightened scrutiny essentially shifts the burden of proof off of the plaintiffs, and makes laws that discriminate against same-sex couples more difficult to defend.

Continue reading "Watch LIVE: Ninth Circuit Oral Arguments in Idaho, Nevada, and Hawaii Gay Marriage Cases" »


9th Circuit Names 3 Judge Panel To Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has announced the 3 judge panel that will hear challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Idaho, Hawaii and Nevada: Judges Stephen Reinhardt, Ronald M. Gould and Marsha S. Berzon. All three were appointed by Democrats and, as Equality on Trial points out, are considered to be "some of the most liberal appeals court judges in the country":

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, nominated by President Carter, is a highly respected liberal judge, known for writing the opinion in the Prop 8 case when it came before the Ninth Circuit; Judge Reinhardt also wrote the opinion inSmithKline Beecham v. Abbott Labs, which held that a heightened level of judicial scrutiny is required for laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation, and that jurors can’t be discriminated against on that basis.

Judge Marsha Berzon, nominated by President Clinton, once clerked for Justice William Brennan, and is considered to be a solidly liberal judge. She joined Judge Reinhardt’s opinion in SmithKline as well.

The third judge on the panel is Judge Ronald Gould, also nominated by President Clinton. Judge Gould wrote the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in Witt v. Dept. of Air Force, challenging Major Margaret Witt’s discharge from the military on the basis of her sexual orientation under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That decision held that heightened scrutiny is required under the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, and it led to an eventual ruling that Witt’s discharge was unconstitutional.

The appeals court’s decisions in SmithKline and Witt had already ensured a more difficult path to victory in the cases for the state officials and groups defending the same-sex marriage bans. This panel makes it even less likely, though not impossible, the bans would be upheld.

The 9th Circuit assigns cases to judges on a random basis.

You'll recall that when the Prop. 8 case came before Judge Reinhardt, he denied a request that he recuse himself from the case because his wife, head of the Southern California chapter of the ACLU, was "an outspoken opponent of Proposition 8 and taken part in legal proceedings to overturn the voter-approved law."

The cases are set to be heard on Setpember 8th.


9th Circuit Denies Idaho Governor's Request For 'En Banc' Hearing Of Gay Marriage Ruling: READ

EMBLEMThe U.S. 9th Circuit Court of appeals yesterday denied a request by Idaho Governor C.L. 'Butch' Otter for an ‘en banc’ hearing of its appeal of U.S. District Magistrate Candy Dale’s decision from May of this year which struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban. 

The Idaho Statesman reports:

In an en banc hearing, the case would be heard before all 11 judges on the 9th Circuit instead of just three.

"I think that the governor thought that Idaho would realize a more favorable result before the limited en banc of 11 judges than a randomly drawn three-judge panel, so the denial may mean that Idaho is less likely to win," said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law in Richmond, Va., who has been monitoring gay marriage cases across the country.

Read the court's decision, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Idaho LGBT Activists Praised by Judge, Ordered To Pay Court Costs

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Twenty-three LGBT rights activists who were arrested earlier this year at the Idaho state capitol for blocking entrances to the statehouse have been sentenced, The AP reports:

Each protester was given a chance to offer a brief statement before being ordered to pay court costs based on how many times they were arrested.

At times, the courtroom became emotional after attorneys called two mothers who both had a child commit suicide after facing discrimination to speak…

Testifying for the state, Idaho State Police Major Steve Richardson said group's peaceful demeanor helped the arrests go smoothly, but they still put a burden on the state's limited staff and resources.

The demonstration was meant to persuade legislators to amend Idaho’s Human Rights Act to include protections for LGBT Idahoans. The protesters wore shirts that read, “Add the 4 words Idaho,” referring to the terms “gender identity" and "sexual orientation” they sought to be added to the human rights act.

The protest cost the Idaho State Police approximately $24,000 according to Major Richardson.  

The presiding judge respected the protesters for how they conducted themselves but also called upon them to accept the ‘consequences’ of their protest:

District Judge Michael Oths said he appreciated the group's approach in its multiple protests. He added, however, that America's history of civil disobedience has involved accepting consequences for breaking the law.

"You put your name on the line, and it's not easy to do that," Oths said. "I think people have been responsible in their approach."


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