10/20/2014

President Obama Says There's A Constitutional Right to Nationwide Marriage Equality

Obama

In an interview published today over at The New Yorker, President Obama weighed in on the issues that have come to define his judicial legacy (health care, voting rights, gay marriage) as well as his belief the Constitution requires all states to permit same-sex marriage.

"Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states,” he said. “But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting."

Obama was also asked to name the best Supreme Court decision of his tenure and he answered with the high court's decision earlier this month to not take up gay marriage cases from 5 states:

“In some ways, the decision that was just handed down to not do anything about what states are doing on same-sex marriage may end up being as consequential—from my perspective, a positive sense—as anything that’s been done,” the President said. “Because I think it really signals that although the Court was not quite ready—it didn’t have sufficient votes to follow Loving v. Virginia and go ahead and indicate an equal-protection right across the board—it was a consequential and powerful signal of the changes that have taken place in society and that the law is having to catch up.” 

Head over to The New Yorker HERE to read the full interview, in which Obama also discusses his efforts to diversify judicial appointments in regards to nominees' race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. 

Posted Oct. 20,2014 at 11:30 AM EST by in Barack Obama, Gay Marriage, News, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (10)


Nancy Pelosi Comes Out In Support of a Trans-Inclusive U.S. Military

PelosiNancy Pelosi has officially come out in support of a trans-inclusive U.S. military. Currently transgender people are barred from enlisting in accordance with Instruction 6130.03, a DoD rule that lists “history of major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia, such as change of sex [and] hermaphroditism,” as justification to turn away able-bodied perspective soldiers.

“Leader Pelosi believes there is no place for discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces, including on the basis of gender identity," Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill stated to the Washington Blade.

While gays and lesbians have been able to serve openly in the wake of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” being repealed, transgender individuals are still constrained by a set of archaic provisions rooted in homophobia and trans-exclusion. Though the Obama Administration has expressed its support for an eventual review of the current DoD provisions, progress on the trans-issue has been non-existent.

"Leader Pelosi is correct of course,” agreed Executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality Mara Kiesling. “The outdated, discriminatory ban on open trans service is bad for trans people, bad for military readiness, and bad for America. We are 100 percent confident that open trans military service is as inevitable as the military bureaucracy that seems to have stalled progress once again.”

Posted Oct. 20,2014 at 11:05 AM EST by in Military, Nancy Pelosi, Transgender, TransMilitary | Permalink | Comments (6)


Texas AG Greg Abbott Doesn't Know If He Would've Defended Bans on Interracial Marriage 50 Years Ago

AbbottIn an interview with the San Antonio Express-News, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott failed to give a concrete answer when asked whether he would have defended a prohibition on interracial marriage had he been in office 50 years ago. 

Abbott, who is running for governor this year, filed a brief with the Fifth Circuit earlier this month asserting that his state's ban on same-sex marriage should remain in place because it reduces out-of-wedlock births

Lone Star Q reports:

“Right now, if there was a ban on interracial marriage, that’s already been ruled unconstitutional,” Abbott told the San Antonio Express-News editorial board.  “And all I can do is deal with the issues that are before me … The job of an attorney general is to represent and defend in court the laws of their client, which is the state Legislature, unless and until a court strikes it down.”

When Express-News’ Peggy Fikac told Abbott his answer was unclear, Abbott replied:

“Actually, the reason why you’re uncertain about it is because I didn’t answer the question. And I can’t go back and answer some hypothetical question like that.”

Back in February, Abbott's Democratic opponent, state senator Wendy Davis, told the paper she supported marriage equality and called on Abbott to stop defending the unconstitutional ban on gay marriage.  

Posted Oct. 20,2014 at 10:40 AM EST by in Gay Marriage, Greg Abbott, News, Texas | Permalink | Comments (28)


Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Marriage Equality: 'No Crying Need' for SCOTUS Yet

Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sat down with NPR's Nina Totenberg for a conversation at the 92nd Street Y which was streamed online.

NotoriousrbgGinsburg was asked about the Court's recent refusal to take up any of the marriage cases presented to it, setting in motion the legalization of same-sex marriage  in numerous states.

Ginsburg said that since all the appellate courts have so far been in agreement, there has been no need:

“Nina, as you know when there's no disagreement among the Courts of Appeals, we don't step in. The major job that the Court has is to keep the law of the United States more or less uniform, so when Courts of Appeals disagree about what the law of the United States is, then we are obligated to grant review. If there had been a court of Appeals on the other side, we probably would have taken that case, but up till now, all the Courts of Appeal agree, so there is no crying need for us to step in.”

When asked whether, with so many states having marriage equality, there is even a possibility that the country could reverse course on the issue, Ginsburg said:

"I can't give an opinion on that."

Ginsburg has said in prior remarks that the Circuit to watch would be the Sixth Circuit, whose marriage decision we're still waiting on.

Watch (marriage discussion starting at 4:20), AFTER THE JUMP...

Ginsburg also told Totenburg about the well-known "Notorious RBG" t-shirts.

The Justice said she has a large supply of them:

"I think a law clerk told me about this tumblr and also explained to me what Notorious RBG was a parody on. And now my grandchildren love it and I try to keep abreast of the latest that’s on the tumblr..."

And read our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman's column from earlier this month on why we may not even need the Supreme Court HERE.

Continue reading "Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Marriage Equality: 'No Crying Need' for SCOTUS Yet"

Posted Oct. 20,2014 at 10:15 AM EST by in Gay Marriage, News, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (7)


Megachurch Pastor Brian Houston Clarifies Remarks: Hillsong Church Does Not Support Gay Marriage

Brian Houston, the pastor of the Australian-based international Hillsong megachurch, made headlines over the weekend for remarks in which he said that the Church is "on the journey" with homosexuality, and needed to figure out "How do we not become a pariah?" in light of the changing landscape of marriage equality in the U.S.

B_houstonHouston's remarks inspired a large piece in the NYT and media reports elsewhere, which apparently sent out a message which Houston felt obliged to clarify in a statement via the church's website.

Wrote Houston:

Statement from Brian Houston - Senior Pastor, Hillsong Church
Re: recent media comments on homosexuality

I encourage people not to assume a media headline accurately represents what I said at a recent press conference.

Nowhere in my answer did I diminish biblical truth or suggest that I or Hillsong Church supported gay marriage. I challenge people to read what I actually said, rather than what was reported that I said. My personal view on the subject of homosexuality would line up with most traditionally held Christian views. I believe the writings of Paul are clear on this subject.

I was asked a question on how the church can stay relevant in the context of gay marriage being legal in the two states of the USA where we have campuses. My answer was simply an admission of reality – no more and no less. I explained that this struggle for relevance was vexing as we did not want to become ostracized by a world that needs Christ.

I made the point that public statements condemning people will place a barrier between the church and the world (and I note that Jesus came to save and not to condemn), which is why at Hillsong, we don’t want to reduce the real issues in people’s lives to a sound bite.

This – like many other issues, is a conversation the church needs to have and we are all on a journey as we grapple with the question of merging biblical truth with a changing world.

You can listen to Houston's original remarks HERE.

Posted Oct. 20,2014 at 9:50 AM EST by in Brian Houston, Evangelical Christians, Hillsong, News | Permalink | Comments (18)


'How to Get Away with Murder' Showrunner Shonda Rhimes Fires Back at Fan's Outrage Over Show's 'Gay Scenes'

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The steamy office sex scene between gay law student Connor Walsh and intern Paxton on Thursday's How to Get Away with Murder was apparently too hot to handle for one fan of the show - who took to Twitter over the weekend to voice her displeasure with showrunner Shonda Rhimes (who also heads Scandal)

Rhimes wasted no time shutting down the dissatisfied fan, firing back:

Snaps!

And if you somehow missed Thursday's way-hot-for-network-TV scene, check it out HERE

Posted Oct. 20,2014 at 9:25 AM EST by in How to Get Away with Murder, Shonda Rhimes | Permalink | Comments (36)


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