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Brigham Young University Pulls Hallmark Same-Sex Wedding Cards

CardSame-sex wedding greeting cards have been removed from the Brigham Young University (BYU) bookstore in Provo, Utah, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

BYU is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

The Hallmark cards reading "Mr. and Mr." and "Mrs. and Mrs." were removed when bookstore staff discovered them after photos surfaced online. According to BYU spokesperson Carri Jenkins, Hallmark stocked the shelves without realizing the school wouldn’t want to sell the cards celebrating same-sex marriages.

Explaining why the cards were removed, Jenkins cited BYU’s honor code which states "homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”

Although the university does not intend to end its contract with Hallmark, staff have asked the company to not leave similar cards in the bookshop in the future.

Last month we reported that John Dehlin, a Mormon advocate of LGBT rights, was facing excommunication from the church.


Utah Attorney General Asks For Extension In Same-Sex Benefits Case

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511f6856b970c-200wiUtah Attorney General Sean Reyes has asked the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for an extension in filing his appeal of a federal judge’s decision that the state must grant spousal benefits to the nearly 1,200 same-sex couples that were married after the state’s ban on gay marriage was struck down. If granted the extension, Reyes and his office would have until October 22 (instead of September 22) to file. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Attorney are asking for the extension due to the fact that the case is "factually and legally complex" and that the attorneys on the case already have a busy workload, according to the brief.

The state notes in its brief that he plaintiffs oppose their motion for an extension.

The suit was brought by four couples who were married in the immediate aftermath of the historic Dec. 20 decision by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby that overturned Utah’s voter-approved ban on same-sex unions.

After the U.S. Supreme court halted all same-sex weddings to allow Utah an opportunity to appeal the case, the state refused to extend spousal benefits to those gay and lesbian Utahns who had married, saying the stay ensured the state could continue to operate under its previously established "status quo."

Following SCOTUS' granting a stay, U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball ordered that same-sex couples that were wed in Utah must be granted the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts. However, the U.S. Supreme Court again intervened, staying Kimball's ruling pending the state's appeal. 


Facebook Donates $10,000 to Utah's Anti-gay Attorney General Sean Reyes

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes' re-election campaign got a healthy influx of cash from Facebook, Inc. back in May, according to disclosures filed with the Utah Lieutenant Governor's office.

ReyesThe company, which is usually a strong corporate backer of LGBT equality, donated $10,000 to the man who vowed late last year to 'spend whatever it takes' to prevent gay couples from obtaining marriage licenses in his state.

QSalt Lake reports:

When asked about the donation to the person who has arguably become the face of legal opposition to marriage equality in America, a Facebook spokesperson responded with:

“Facebook has a strong record on LGBT issues and that will not change, but we make decisions about which candidates to support based on the entire portfolio of issues important to our business, not just one. A contribution to a candidate does not mean that we agree with every policy or position that candidate takes. We made this donation for the same reason we’ve donated to Attorneys General on the opposite side of this issue – because they are committed to fostering innovation and an open Internet.”

LGBT supporters unsatisfied with Facebook's response have launched an online petition calling for the company to "publicly decry this bigotry and make an equal or greater contribution to the campaign of Charles Stormont who is also seeking the office of Utah Attorney General."

Earlier this month, we reported that Reyes had appealed a Tenth Circuit's decision striking down the state's gay marriage ban directly to the U.S. Supreme court 


Plaintiffs in Utah Gay Marriage Case Will Ask Supreme Court to Hear State's Appeal

Attorneys for three Utah gay couples challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage have announced their plans to join the state in asking the Supreme Court to take up a 10th Circuit decision striking down the ban.

ScotusOn Tuesday, Utah became the first state to appeal a ruling striking down a state ban on gay marriage to the Supreme Court.  

The AP reports:

It is vital that justices weigh in about whether state same-sex marriage bans violate the Constitution to settle the matter for a nation that needs an answer, said Kate Kendell, executive director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The group is representing the couples alongside private attorneys in Utah.

"Because we understand the tremendous importance of this issue, and that the ultimate question can only be finally resolved at the Supreme Court, we agree with attorneys for the state of Utah that the court should take the case and provide a final resolution," Kendell said.

The New York Times adds:

Neal Katyal, a former acting United States solicitor general who also represents the Utah couples, said the importance of the issue warranted an unusual approach.

“This is the defining issue for the Supreme Court in our lifetime,” he said. “The notion that the government could deny life’s greatest partnership on the basis of orientation is capricious and strikes at everything this country is about.”

He said the couples would file a brief in the coming weeks joining Utah’s request that the Supreme Court hear the case. Such a filing would come in time for the justices to consider the case at their first private conference when they return from their summer break. Should the justices agree to hear the case, they could schedule arguments in the winter and issue a decision by June.


Utah Appeals Gay Marriage Ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court

Utah has become the first state to appeal a ruling striking down a state ban on gay marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

SupremesUtah announced last month its intent to appeal the 10th Circuit’s decision to the nation’s high court. The Supreme Court is on break until the fall, at which point the justices will review Utah’s petition and decide whether to hear the case — known as granting certiorari.

Should the court decline to hear the case and deny Utah’s request, the 10th Circuit’s decision would stand — effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in all of the states in that circuit: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

The question presented to the court, according to the state’s petition, is "whether the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits a state from defining or recognizing marriage only as the legal union between a man and a woman."

The plaintiffs in Kitchen v. Herbert are represented by Peggy Tomsic of the Salt Lake City law firm of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C., and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Said Tomsic in a press release:

"We respect the State’s right to seek review of its own law in the highest Court in the land, but we also respectfully, and vehemently, disagree with the notion that States can deny one of the most foundational rights to the millions of same-sex couples living across this great land. We look forward to reviewing the Petition filed by Utah’s excellent lawyers, and to responding to it in due course."

Added NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter:

“We respectfully disagree with the State of Utah’s lawyers. Utah’s same-sex couples and their children are continually harmed by the enforcement of measures that deny them equal dignity, security and protection. We will carefully review the State’s petition to determine the response that will best advance our goal of winning for all Utahns the freedom to marry the person they love, and to have their marriages treated the same as other couples’ marriages.”

The Utah petition below:

Herbert v Kitchen Petition and Appendix by Equality Case Files

Wednesday will be another big day for legal marriage challenges in the U.S. as the Sixth Circuit hears six separate marriage equality cases from Kentucky (two cases), Michigan, Ohio (two cases), and Tennessee.

NCLR is involved tomorrow as well. Al Jazeera reports:

“This is the most marriage equality cases ever heard in one court at one time, but the underlying situation is kind of incredible as well,” said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is a plaintiff in the case challenging Tennessee’s same-sex-marriage ban. “It just so happened they had six cases that affected every state in the circuit in the same time frame. It does make sense to assign them to the same judging panel, since they all present either identical or closely related issues.”


Utah ESL Blogger Fired for 'Promoting a Gay Agenda' With Post About Homophones

TorkildsonTim Torkildson, a social media manager for a Utah English school for ESL students, has been fired for blogging like homophones after his employer Clarke Woodger expressed concern that students might misinterpret the word as a reference to gay sex. Homophones, words that sound the same but mean different things.

“I didn't know what the hell you were talking about.” Torkildson recounted Woodger telling him. “We don't teach this kind of advanced stuff to our students, and it's extremely inappropriate. Can you have your desk cleaned out by eleven this morning? I'll have your check ready."

Woodger corroborated Torkildson’s account of the conversation to the Salt Lake Tribune, insisting that "People at this level of English may see the 'homo' side and think it has something to do with gay sex."

Homophones are often thought to be one of the more challenging aspects of the English language for those new to it. Torkildson is of the school of thought that the class of words are  crucial and “one of the first subjects tackled when teaching ESL” because the language is rife with them.

London-based filmmaking duo Brian Fairbairn and Karl Eccleston’s short film Skwerl about what English sounds like to non-English speakers highlights Torkildson’s point perfectly. Check it out AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Utah ESL Blogger Fired for 'Promoting a Gay Agenda' With Post About Homophones" »


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