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'Black Magic' Kentucky Sunday School Teacher Accused of Molesting Gay Teen In Attempt to 'Cure' Victim

MurphyRex Allen Murphy, a 30-year old Sunday School teacher from Kentucky has come forward and admitted to sexually abusing a teenage male student. According to Eubank Police Chief Colin Hatfield, Murphy is being charged with  sodomy, sexual assault, and use of a minor in a sexual performance.

Over the course of six months, Murphy allegedly coerced the student into compromising, sexual situations, threatening the boy with “black magic” were he to resist or attempt to tell anyone of the abuse.

"What the suspect told the victim is that if he touched his skin or shook his hand, he could tell the victim's sins from the past," Hatfield explained to the Daily News. "If the victim ever told anybody like his parents what was going on between the two, he would notify his parents of his past sins."

Leaders of the Poly Ann Church, where Murphy is said to have molested his victim on more than one occasion, have insisted that Murphy was never an actual youth pastor during his time with the church. The church is also investigating the incidents independently of the police.

Watch a WKYT news report on the developing story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "'Black Magic' Kentucky Sunday School Teacher Accused of Molesting Gay Teen In Attempt to 'Cure' Victim" »


Bryan Fischer: 'The Mark of The Beast Today Is The Rainbow Flag' - VIDEO

Fischer

Right-wing-nut and radio talk show host Bryan Fischer has a lot to say about a recent decision from the Kentucky Human Rights Commission which found that a Lexington-based printing company violated that city's fairness ordinance by refusing to print Pride t-shirts for a gay and lesbian group back in 2012. According to Fischer, this incident, along with others where Christians have been penalized or scrutinized for allowing their personally-held anti-gay views to spill over into their business practices, prove that "the Mark of the Beast today is the rainbow flag." From Right Wing Watch: 

TshirtBusinesses like [the t-shirt printers in Lexington] are now "not allowed to engage in commerce because they would not take the Mark of the Beast on their hands or on their foreheads," Fischer said. "They would not allow the Beast to dictate to them what they did with regard to the homosexual agenda, what they did or what they thought."

Saying that the owners of this company are literally being turned into slaves by not being allowed to discriminate against gay customers, Fischer declared that they have now been forced to "take the Mark of the Beast on their hand, they've got to make the t-shirts that they gay lobby says you have got to make, and they have to take the Mark of the Beast on their foreheads, even the way they think has to be realigned with what is politically correct."

Watch Fischer fume, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Bryan Fischer: 'The Mark of The Beast Today Is The Rainbow Flag' - VIDEO" »


Kentucky Human Rights Commission Says Printing Company Cannot Discriminate Against Gay Customers

T-shirt

A Lexington-based printing company has been found guilty of violating the city's fairness ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in its refusal to print the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization's Pride t-shirts back in 2012.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports:

[Hearing officer Greg Munson] wrote that the application of the Fairness Ordinance did not violate the T-shirt vendor's right to free speech and the free exercise of religion. [...]

Hands onIn the statement, Hands On Originals' co-counsel Bryan Beauman, with the Lexington firm of Sturgill, Turner, Barker and Moloney, said, "No one wants to live in that kind of America — a place where people who identify as homosexual are forced to promote the Westboro Baptists and where printers with sincere religious convictions are forced to promote the message of the GLSO. ... In America, we don't force people to express messages that are contrary to their convictions."

The ruling also stipulates that within the next year, Hands On employees must undergo diversity training to ensure future discrimination does not occur. 

Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian litigation group that defended Hands On Originals, released a video last month speaking out about the case. You can watch the video AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Kentucky Human Rights Commission Says Printing Company Cannot Discriminate Against Gay Customers" »


Southern Baptists Kick Out LGBT-Friendly California Church - VIDEO

Danny Cortez

The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has kicked out a pro-LGBT California church, claiming that minister Danny Cortez and the church are not in “cooperation” with the SBC’s stance on LGBT issues, reports Think Progress.

In August, New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California voted to welcome the LGBT community after Cortez gave a sermon announcing that his son Drew had come out as gay - and that he himself no longer agreed with the SBC’s teachings on homosexuality.

Speaking about his son’s decision to come out, Cortez said:

“My heart skipped a beat and I turned towards [my son] and we gave one another the biggest and longest hug as we cried. And all I could tell him was that I loved him so much and that I accepted him just as he is … If it wasn’t for this 15 year journey and my change in theology, I may have destroyed my son through reparative therapy.”

After Cortez’s sermon, members of the church had the option to remove him from the pulpit but voted to keep him as pastor and adopt a live-and-let-live approach “in the same way that our church holds different positions on the issue of divorce and remarriage.” 6a00d8341c730253ef01a73dd6d034970d-500wi

On Tuesday, the SBC voted unanimously to “disfellowship” New Heart because it “does not presently meet the definition of a cooperating church” as its constitution outlaws congregations that “act to affirm, approve or endorse homosexual behavior.”

Forgetting that “compassion” is a two-way street, Ronnie Floyd, SBC President and pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, said:

“[New Heart has] walked away from us as Southern Baptists. We have not walked away from them. So it is with compassion that I would appeal to them to reconsider their decision, mostly their position related to the Word of God on homosexuality.”

However, New Heart has stood firm in its decision to embrace diversity. In a letter to the SBC committee, church Deacons explained that their congregation holds a multiplicity of positions, but also acknowledges their pastor’s firmly pro-LGBT stance:

“Some ‘members in our church’ believe that same-sex marriage can be blessed by God, while other members in our church believe that marriage is reserved for one man and one woman. While ‘our church’ remains without an official stance on same-sex marriage, our preaching pastor has officiated a same-sex marriage.”

Watch Cortez's sermon "Why I Changed My Mind on Sexuality," as well as his son's coming out video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Southern Baptists Kick Out LGBT-Friendly California Church - VIDEO" »


Marriage Equality Hangs in the Balance at the Sixth Circuit

6th circuit

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Yesterday's marathon arguments before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reminds us that one judge can have a lot of power. A three-judge panel consisting of one Clinton appointee and two George W. Bush appointees could be the first federal appellate court to side against marriage equality in the post-Windsor era or they could join the chorus of colleagues tossing these discriminatory bans on the ash heep of history. Based solely on the questioning from oral argument, it may come down to one judge: a conservative named Jeffrey Sutton.

6Attorneys for Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee took turns arguing that the bans are justified because only opposite sex couples procreate naturally. Judge Martha Craig Daughtry questioned how it was possible that keeping gays out of the institution of marriage could in any way help or encourage heterosexuals to give birth to more kids. One attorney even cited the decreased birth rates in Europe and Russia as a reason for encouraging opposite sex couples to marry. But, as Judge Daughtrey, the most vocal judge, noted, it is unclear how discriminating against gays achieves that goal.

Judge Deborah Cook spoke the least. She has a history of anti-plaintiff, conservative decisions on discrimination. When she did speak, she seemed to suggest that states have broad power to regulate marriage and could maintain traditional institutions as they see fit.

Judge Sutton is a bit of a wild card. A conservative -- he wrote in the Harvard Law Review: "Count me as a skeptic when it comes to the idea that this day and age suffers from a shortage of constitutional rights" -- Judge Sutton voted in favor of the constitutionality of Obamacare and does not always follow a party line. His questioning was back and forth, balanced between the sides. A review of his questions and a cursory analysis of some of his writings and decisions suggest that he is primarily concerned with judicial modesty and restraint. He thinks that the federal courts have done too much, creating new rights and reading rights and regulations into the Constitution that do not belong.

It is unclear whether that preference for restraint means that he will deny that a right to marry exists for gay couples.

He wondered if his court could even make a decision or whether the judges were bound by a 1971 Supreme Court decision (Baker v. Nelson) that said that marriage lawsuits do not belong in the federal courts. Almost every other court to address marriage equality addressed and dismissed the Baker canard: gays had not recognized federal rights in 1971; today, after Windsor, after Lawrence, and after Romer, is a different time. Judge Sutton didn't seem too sure.

I Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 5.39.25 PMf he could get passed the Baker threshold, Judge Sutton still was holding his cards close to his chest. He was pretty clear that the states could not win if antigay discrimination merited some form of heightened scrutiny, but he did not hint that he was leaning in the heightened scrutiny direction.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Judge Sutton's questioning came later in the day when he wondered aloud if the plaintiffs in the cases really want the courts to get involved when the marriage equality movement seems to be gaining political steam and social esteem. Judge Sutton implied, true to his radical vision of judicial abdication of responsibilities, that political outcomes are somehow more legitimate than judicial ones.

It is hard to imagine that view as a legitimate basis for deciding against the marriage equality. Judge Sutton has written a lot about how federal judges do too much. He would prefer that judges take a back seat to the political process, an entirely conservative position given the greater access that money and majorities have to political votes. But just because he prefers judges abdicate their constitutional responsibilities should not absolve him of actually deciding the legal questions before him. The legal questions involve equality and fundamental rights, not some policy preference for more judicial modesty.

This is why marriage equality hangs in the balance. Judge Sutton was not clear where he stands. 

***

Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook. Check out my website at www.ariewaldman.com.

Ari Ezra Waldman is a professor of law and the Director of the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School and is concurrently pursuing his PhD at Columbia University in New York City. He is a 2002 graduate of Harvard College and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School. Ari writes weekly posts on law and various LGBT issues.


A Few Takes on Yesterday's Historic Gay Marriage Arguments at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

6th_circuit

Here are a few takes on yesterday's historic hearing of six separate gay marriage cases from Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee, at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Above, Judges Martha Daughtrey, Jeffrey Sutton, and Deborah Cook.

Our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman posted a preview of the arguments yesterday and will have some analysis coming up. For now, here are a few excerpts from various media reports.

Listen to audio from the proceedings HERE.

The Washington Blade:

Based on their line of questioning, two judges — U.S. Circuit Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey and U.S. Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton — seemed prepared to rule against bans on same-sex marriage. The remaining judge, U.S. Circuit Judge Deborah Cook, was relatively quiet, but appeared poised to rule in favor of the laws. Similar to other federal appeals courts, the panel seems headed to make a 2-1 decision in favor of marriage equality.

Although Sutton didn’t make an effort to telegraph how he’d rule, throughout his questioning he suggested he believes  prohibition on gay nuptials are unconstitutional. Ruminating on the changing societal perception of marriage, Sutton said a ban a same-sex marriage “seems to hard to justify even on rational basis grounds” if the institution is intended to express love and commitment.

That said, Sutton also had tough questions for attorneys seeking to overturn bans on same-sex marriage, posing the inquiry of why the LGBT rights movement would want to proceed through the judicial process — as opposed to legislative and ballot process — if the desired result was changing hearts and minds to achieve greater acceptance.

The NYT:

In three hours of back-and-forth questioning, it appeared that neither side could take victory for granted in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, where the cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee were heard by two judges appointed by President George W. Bush and one by President Bill Clinton.

Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, one of the Bush appointees and a likely swing vote among the three, repeatedly asked why gay rights advocates wanted to use the courts to hasten an outcome they were gradually winning through elections and changes in attitude.

“I’d have thought the best way to get respect and dignity is through the democratic process,” he said, expressing a view that, in practice, would most likely deliver a victory to the states seeking to keep bans on same-sex marriage.

The Washington Post:

It became clear after three hours of arguments that the panel could become the first roadblock for proponents of same-sex marriage who have had an extraordinary winning streak in knocking down state restrictions following a landmark decision by the Supreme Court in 2013.

That 5 to 4 ruling struck down the part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman.

But a panel of three randomly chosen judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit left questions about whether it would follow the lead of two other appeals courts. Those courts said the reasoning of the Supreme Court’s decision meant that states lacked the right to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples and to deny recognition of unions conducted elsewhere.

Al Jazeera:

Cook, also a Bush appointee, was largely silent throughout the afternoon, with the exception of a few questions that seemed intended to help anti-gay-marriage attorneys hone their arguments. She is so known for her conservatism that she was on the short-list to be appointed to the Supreme Court for the vacancy filled by Samuel Alito.

One concern for Sutton was the fact that the Supreme Court passed last year on a prime opportunity to assert a federal right to marriage. At the same time the high court considered the Windsor case, it also dealt with Hollingsworth v Perry, an appeal of a federal court in California’s decision to strike down a gay marriage ban put in place by voters in 2008 via Proposition 8. The court dismissed that case — and in the process let the California decision stand — on technical legal grounds unrelated to the question of gay rights.

“It does seem fair to say the Supreme Court’s trajectory favors” the pro-gay side, Sutton said. Citing cases that went in favor of gay rights, he then noted, “but they didn’t reach today’s issue in Hollingsworth.”

The 6th Circuit presents gay marriage foes with their best opportunity so far to halt an unbroken streak of more than 30 state and federal cases that have gone for pro-gay groups since Windsor. Sutton and Cook are both appointees of the Bush administration, which vetted federal judge candidates to ensure their conservative bona fides.

That’s a shift from the 4th and 10th circuit panels, which were dominated by more liberal or moderate appointees. In all, 15 of the 22 federal judges who have ruled on gay-marriage bans were Democratic appointees.

The AP:

Constitutional law professors and court observers say that the 6th Circuit could be the first to uphold statewide bans on gay marriage following an unbroken string of more than 20 rulings in the past eight months that have gone the other way.

They point to Sutton, the least predictable judge on the panel. In 2011, he shocked Republicans and may have derailed his own chances to advance to the U.S. Supreme Court when he became the deciding vote in a ruling that upheld President Barack Obama's health care law.

If the 6th Circuit decides against gay marriage, it would create a divide among federal appellate courts and put pressure on the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the issue in its 2015 session. The panel did not indicate when it would rule.


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