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Kentucky Governor Offers Ridiculous Argument To SCOTUS On Gay Marriage Ban: VIDEO

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear argued in a brief filed last week before the U.S. Supreme Court that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is not discriminatory because both gay and straight people are banned from marrying people of the same gender, reports the Courier-Journal.

6a00d8341c730253ef017c3806bbd9970b-200wiThe governor’s argument mirrors that offered by the state of Virginia nearly fifty years ago when it defended laws barring interracial marriage arguing they weren't discriminatory because whites were barred from marrying blacks just as blacks were barred from marrying whites.

In 1967, the Supreme Court rejected that argument in the historic case of Loving v. Virginia, in which a white man and a black woman were charged with a crime for marrying.

According to Dan Canon, a lawyer for six gay couples challenging the state’s same-sex marriage ban in a case to be argued at the Supreme Court on April 28, Beshear's argument is "especially absurd" as applied to same-sex marriage:

"Kentucky is in essence saying that our clients are precluded from marriage entirely, unless they change their sexual orientation (or simply marry someone to whom they are not attracted). It's akin to passing a law banning all Catholic churches within city limits, and then saying it's not discriminatory because you can still go to a Baptist church.”

Arguing that Beshear’s defense of marriage inequality “has really hit a new low,” Sam Marcosson, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Louisville's Brandeis School of Law, added:

"I wonder what Governor Beshear and his lawyers would say if the shoe was on the other foot, and if the only option for marriage was of the same-sex variety. Whatever his reasons, the governor has set Kentucky on a course of fighting to preserve invidious discrimination, and he has waged that fight in a deeply embarrassing way. The taint to his legacy will be difficult for history to ignore."

Although Beshear has refused to comment, Mat Staver of listed hate group Liberty Counsel said that same-sex couples are not "similarly situated" to opposite-sex couples and therefore are not entitled to equal protection under the law.

Watch American Foundation for Equal Rights lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies discuss how Loving v. Virginia sets an important precedence for marriage equality, AFTER THE JUMP...

In 2013, Beshear vetoed a bill which would allow religious individuals to claim an exemption from any law or policy that prohibits discrimination.

Continue reading "Kentucky Governor Offers Ridiculous Argument To SCOTUS On Gay Marriage Ban: VIDEO" »


Failed Virginia Lt. Governor E. W. Jackson Warns Of Divine Punishment For Gay Marriage: AUDIO

JacksonFailed Virginia Lt. Governor candidate Bishop E.W. Jackson has long since abandoned all pretense of not hating the gays, and is now prognosticating doom from the almighty upon the U.S. if gay marriage isn't stopped. Appearing on the radio show Trunews this last Wednesday, Jackson told host Rick Wiles:

Because of our absolute rebellion against God in this issue [of gay marriage], which is exactly what is happening, because of our absolute rebellion against God, the judgment of God will fall on my beloved country in a way that I don’t desire to see and no American should as a result of the fact that we are literally shaking our fist at God.

While Jackson evidently has no understanding of the definition of "literally", he has a keen understanding of how to set himself up as a soothsayer: predict that some unnamed, unspecified calamity will happen at some point in the future; say that said calamity will be divine punishment for an issue one already takes personal umbrage with; when something terrible does eventually happen - an inevitability as wonderful and terrible things happen all of the time - act as if this were the exact thing you foretold and blame the prepared scapegoat, abandoning all sense of rationality.

God's punishment of the gays has been attributed to virtually everything, from autism to ebola to Hurricane Katrina. Though if things like the survival of the French Quarter during Katrina is any indication, one more prediction can be made: god's wrath has terrible aim.

You can listen to Jackson speak for himself AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Failed Virginia Lt. Governor E. W. Jackson Warns Of Divine Punishment For Gay Marriage: AUDIO" »


Virginia House Subcommittee Kills Anti-gay 'License to Discriminate' Bill

A bill that would have allowed religious-based discrimination against gays failed to pass a Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee Thursday, the Washington Blade reports:

MarshallHouse Bill 1414, which state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County) introduced last month, specifically cited “same-sex ‘marriage’ or homosexual behavior.”

“Equality Virginia applauds the subcommittee for voting against this discriminatory and destructive bill,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, a statewide LGBT advocacy group. “This bill would have hurt too many people, damaged our business climate, and highlighted Virginia as a hostile and unwelcoming place to live and work. The majority of Virginians agree that discrimination against LGBT people is wrong, and thankfully today’s vote reflects that opinion.”

Marshall (pictured) is the same anti-gay wingnut who last year sought to impeach Virginia's attorney general Mark Herring for refusing to defend the state's same-sex marriage ban in court. He has also spoken at length about his belief that “sodomy is not a civil right.”


Virginia Bill Allowing Unmarried Gays To Adopt Defeated

Howell"Two steps forward, two steps back" continues to be the best way of escribing Virginia's path towards LGBT equality.  Virginia state senator Janet Howell’s bill that would have allowed unmarried gay couples to adopt children has been shot down by Virginia Republicans.

Howell’s bill, which was backed by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, was built around the idea that regardless of marital status, children fare better having two parents in their lives. The conservative opposition countered Howell’s bill arguing that unmarried parents made for unstable homes.


Virginia Bill Banning Conversion Therapy for Minors Dies in Senate Committee

Shurka
(screenshot)

Sad news out of Virginia today as a bill that would have banned harmful conversion therapy to minors in the state was killed by a Senate committee, the Washington Blade reports:

Members of the Senate Education and Health Committee by a 7-8 vote margin tabled Senate Bill 988 that state Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) introduced on Jan. 12.

“It is extremely disappointing that our lawmakers cannot come together in support of a bill that would protect Virginia’s LGBT youth,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, in a statement. “We cannot continue to allow our youth to be put through this so-called ‘treatment’ that can cause depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior. At best, allowing this harmful treatment on our youth is irresponsible, and at worse, it could contribute to the unthinkable.”

The House Health, Welfare and Institutions Subcommittee earlier in the day heard testimony for and against House Bill 1385, an identical measure that state Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington County) introduced last month.

“Homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder,” said Parrish. “Prohibiting any health care provider from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with any person under 18 years of age is necessary to protect our youth as they come to terms with who they are.”

Mathew Shurka, who underwent “conversion therapy” in Virginia and three other states for five years, testified in support of HB 1385 and SB 988.

“This is about protecting children,” Shurka told the Washington Blade.

Shurka said some members of the commitee appeared uncomfortable with his testimony, rolling their eyes and giving him no acknowledgment during his speech. 


Virginia Introduces Bill Banning Conversion Therapy For Minors

Conversion Therapy protest

Conversion therapy has been proven time and again to not only be ineffectual in changing an individual's sexual orientation from gay to straight, a sentiment even endorsed by former "ex-gay" leaders, but is instead likely to be harmful, particularly to minors. As this truth has permeated through society, state after state has begun introducing bans on the quackery, forbidding it to be administered to minors. Legislators in Virginia are joining the movement with the introduction of a bill today that - much like in New Jersey, Illinois, and California - forbids enrolling minors in conversion therapy.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights issued a statement on the proposed bill:

“Today, more than ever, it is clear that state legislatures need to step up to the plate to protect LGBT youth from the dangerous and discredited practices of conversion therapy,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Staff Attorney and #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator Samantha Ames. “We commend Delegate Hope and Senator Lucas, as well all the local organizers who have worked tirelessly to get this bill introduced and ensure all Virginian children are able to grow up in communities and families where they are loved for exactly who they are.”

A similar bill failed to pass in the state House last year, so Delegate Patrick Hope and Senator Louise Lucas may have a fight ahead of them to get this one through.


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