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Virginia House of Delegates Approves Resolution Hiring Lawyers to Defend State's Gay Marriage Ban

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Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution Thursday that would authorize the chamber to hire legal counsel to defend the sate's gay marriage ban. 

In January, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced he would not be defending the state's discriminatory ban in court. 

GayRVA reports:

HerringHR 566 started as a move to allow the branch to hire a lawyer to “represent the House of Delegates to halt any attempt by the Governor to expand the Medicaid program without the explicit approval of the General Assembly.”

But in language added in a reprinting of the bill today, a clause was added which would allow the republican dominated house to hire private council to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Specifically, it would allow the Speaker of the House, William J. Howell R-53 to hire counsel to represent the legislative body in state courts and gain the power to remove the AG for his “improper role in challenging Virginia’s marriage laws.”

The employed counsel would then be able to “represent the position of the Commonwealth in pending litigation involving the challenge to the constitutionality of Virginia’s marriage laws”

Responded Herring's Director of Communication Michael Kelly:

“Every court that has reviewed Virginia’s marriage ban has agreed with Attorney General Herring’s analysis and the author of Virginia’s modern constitution has said the Attorney General acted within his authority and duty. This is just an anti-equality measure wrapped up in the guise of the law."


Virginia Students Show Homophobic Preacher The True Meaning Of Christianity - VIDEO

Ross jackson

Reminding the world that not all Christians are focused solely on hatred for their fellow man, a homophobic preacher who appeared on the campus of James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia earlier this week had his hateful speech drowned out by students with a Christian message of peace and love, reports Huffington Post.

According to witnesses, Ross Jackson, who is the founder of Revival Mission Ministries, launched into sermons condemning a variety of "sinful acts," including homosexuality, drinking alcohol and listening to country music.

He is also reported to have yelled “all homos are going to hell” at a crowd gathered at one of the talks.

However, students at the university were not willing to allow Jackson to get away with his hate-speech. Student-journalist Lauren Hunt live-tweeted the preacher’s appearances, noting his arrogant approach to student opinions.  Other attendees brought rainbow-colored flags and protest signs, while one group of students stood in full view of Jackson to sing Christian hymns about love, drowning out his words.

According to Hunt, Jackson called the singers and guitar player a "pervert leader and his band of followers." However, Hunt tweeted “the students' singing has overpowered the voice of the preacher.”

According to the university’s newspaper, Jackson was forced to leave the college campus Wednesday after he was issued a police summons for assault and battery, as well as a no trespass notice.

Watch James Madison University show their understanding of the true meaning of Christianity, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Virginia Students Show Homophobic Preacher The True Meaning Of Christianity - VIDEO" »


24,000 Transgender People May Be Ineligible To Vote In November Due to Voter ID- VIDEO

Voting laws transgender people

Strict voter ID laws in ten states could create barriers to voting and lead to possible disenfranchisement for more than 24,000 transgender voters this November, reports LGBTQ Nation.

MapAccording to the study “The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2014 General Election,” about 84,000 transgender people across the ten strict photo ID states are estimated to be eligible to vote. The 24,000 transgender voters who may face barriers to voting reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

In order for these 24,000 voting-eligible transgender people to obtain the updated photo IDs required to vote in the November 2014 general election, they must comply with the requirements for updating their state-issued or federally-issued IDs.

The study’s author Jody L. Herman, Ph.D, said:

“Some voters may not have the means or the ability to present the required voter identification for a variety of reasons, such as poverty, disability, or religious objection.

Transgender people have unique barriers to obtaining accurate IDs needed to vote.

As these ten states begin planning for their fall elections, educating poll workers is crucial in order to ensure that transgender voters in their states have fair access to the ballot.”

Watch the 2012 National Center for Transgender Equality's "Voting While Trans" campaign video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "24,000 Transgender People May Be Ineligible To Vote In November Due to Voter ID- VIDEO" »


SCOTUS To Consider Hearing Gay Marriage Cases From 5 States on Sept. 29

SUPREMEThe Supreme Court has announced it will consider seven petitions from five states--Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsinon--on whether those states' same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. The Court, currently on hiatus, will discuss the cases in a private meeting on September 29, its first conference of the year. Same-sex couples along with representatives of the states barring them from marrying have been petitioning the Court to review their cases and provide legal clarity on the question of marriage equality. USA Today reports:

By scheduling all for consideration simultaneously, the justices gave equal footing to the Indiana and Wisconsin cases just decided last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. The 10th and 4th Circuits previously ruled in the other cases.

The court could agree to hear one or more cases this winter; deny them all, or delay its decision for a while.

In all five states, federal district and appellate judges have agreed that state bans on same-sex marriage should be struck down as unconstitutional. But those decisions are on hold pending the Supreme Court's review.

As The Wall Street Journal points out, the Supreme Court could have more cases headed its way very soon. Many are focsued on 4 pending cases before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, a court some legal analysts suspect is more likely than others to uphold marriage bans: "If that happens, it’s a virtual certainty that the Supreme Court would step in and resolve the disagreement."


Former VA Governor Bob McDonnell Convicted on Corruption Charges in Federal Court: VIDEO

Mcdonnell

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was convicted Thursday on 11 of 14 corruption charges while his wife was convicted of eight, the NYT reports:

The 7-man, 5-woman jury returned its findings on its third day of deliberations in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The McDonnells were acquitted of lesser charges of making false statements on loan applications. Ms. McDonnell was convicted on a charge she alone faced, of obstructing a grand jury investigation by trying to make a gift of $20,000 worth of designer dresses and shoes appear to have been a loan. .

The McDonnells were indicted on 14 counts of conspiracy, bribery, extortion and related charges stemming from what prosecutors said was a scheme to sell the office of governor, which Mr. McDonnell occupied through January this year, for $177,000 in gifts and cash from a dietary supplements executive.

Sentencing is set for January. The couple could face decades in jail.

Rachel Maddow detailed the charges in January and how the indictments all went down. Check out her segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Former VA Governor Bob McDonnell Convicted on Corruption Charges in Federal Court: VIDEO" »


Plaintiffs in Oklahoma and Virginia Gay Marriage Cases Ask Supreme Court to Weigh In

Earlier this week, we reported that  plaintiffs in the case challenging Utah's ban on same-sex marriage have filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to finally weigh in on the question of whether all citizens have a fundamental right to marry. 

ScotusNow, the plaintiffs challenging gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Virginia have similarly followed suit and asked the highest court in the land to review their cases as well, The Advocate reports:

When the justices return from vacation in late September, they'll likely find unanimous agreement from all parties that they should consider a marriage equality case. But which cases the court will pick remains in question.

It's worth noting that the cases would have reached the Supreme Court even if the plaintiffs hadn't filed their petitions. The defendants in the cases — attorneys representing the states — have filed petitions as well.

Previously, the same-sex couples serving as plaintiffs in all three states won major victories at the district court and appellate level. UtahOklahoma, and Virginia all enjoyed an unbroken string of victories for the freedom to marry. Ordinarily, the victorious side would oppose a rehearing, as it runs the risk of overturning the decision. But the motivation behind the plaintiffs' briefs boils down to their desire to expand their victories nationwide.

The court has the option of taking up one case, multiple cases, or none at all and could defer a decision until next June. 


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