Thursday, December 26, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Thursday, December 19, 2013
From the New Mexico Supreme Court (as reported by Think Progress):
We conclude that although none of New Mexico’s marriage statutes specifically prohibit same-gender marriages, when read as a whole, the statutes have the effect of precluding same-gender couples from marrying and benefiting from the rights, protections, and responsibilities that flow from a civil marriage. Same-gender couples who wish to enter into a civil marriage with another person of their choice and to the exclusion of all others are similarly situated to opposite-gender couples who want to do the same, yet they are treated differently.
Because same-gender couples (whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, hereinafter “LGBT”) are a discrete group which has been subjected to a history of discrimination and violence, and which has inadequate political power to protect itself from such treatment, the classification at issue must withstand intermediate scrutiny to be constitutional. Accordingly, New Mexico may neither constitutionally deny same-gender couples the right to marry nor deprive them of the rights, protections, and responsibilities of marriage laws, unless the proponents of the legislation—the opponents of same-gender marriage—prove that the discrimination caused by the legislation is “substantially related to an important government interest.”
Unlike most other states, New Mexico had no law specifically allowing or prohibiting marriage for same-sex couples.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
President Barack Obama sent Russia a clear message about its treatment of gays and lesbians with who he is – and isn’ – sending to represent the United States at the Olympics.
Billie Jean King will be one of two openly gay athletes in the U.S. delegation for the opening and closing ceremonies, Obama announced Tuesday. For the first time since 2000, however, the U.S. will not send a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Games.
Russia has come under fierce criticism for passing national laws banning “gay propaganda.” Though the White House did not specifically address the Russian laws in making its announcement, spokesman Shin Inouye said the delegation “represents the diversity that is the United States” and that Obama “knows they will showcase to the world the best of America – diversity, determination and teamwork...”
Also skipping the Sochi Games are the presidents of France and Germany. Even though the Obama administration has not specifically cited Russia's human rights violations, his French and German counterparts have been quite clear.
Monday, December 16, 2013
This past Sunday, Scott Lively announced that he will be running for governor of Massachusetts. Given who Lively is, this may not actually be news worthy, but it is hilarious. Lively’s claim to fame is inspiring Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, a bill that would make it legal for that country to literally execute people for being gay. Lively’s involvement in Uganda has resulted in him facing a court challenge for crimes against humanity. He is an ardent conservative who is very vocally anti-gay, anti-abortion, and pro-gun, yet he is running to lead one of the country’s most liberal states. For some reason Lively thinks that the people of Massachusetts need him.
According to a press release from Lively, "The people of this state need a candidate who can clearly and unapologetically articulate Biblical values without fear or compromise. They need a candidate who will tell the simple truth that abortion is murder, and homosexuality is condemned by God (but that Jesus forgives and heals those who repent)."
Let us compare this with what recently happened here in my home state: Virginia. Here, we had a very conservative Republican - Ken Cuccinelli - running on many of the same policy positions as Lively. As extreme as Cuccinelli was in those policies, he was not as extreme as Lively, nor is Virginia the liberal bastion that Massachusetts is. Cuccinelli still managed to lose. I have no idea how Lively thinks himself to be a viable candidate in Massachusetts of all places.
We’re living in a time when most people are more concerned about economic issues and health care while simultaneously, the tide on social issues - particularly those related to sexual orientation - is shifting demonstrably away from the conservative positions that Lively espouses so strongly. We have seen in the last few years that what were once winning issues for conservatives are now liabilities that have cost them numerous electoral contests. That is a lesson that Lively has yet to learn, though he is shaping up to be the latest political casualty of the right’s inability to learn lessons from past elections. He will just have to learn the hard way that he and those like him are no longer in touch with mainstream America.
Also, he thinks the Nazis were gay. Gubernatorial material indeed…
So, I have a little confession to make. When news “broke” that Dustin Lance Black (39) was the guy that Tom Daley (19) was seeing, I got a little…judgy. It wasn’t the 20 year age gap in and of itself, but more the fact that the younger of the pair was only 19. Part of me being concerned about this has to do with the stereotype we get from social conservatives that gay men are sexual predators and pedophiles. I was subconsciously worried about how this would make gay men look in public generally and I was worried about that this wouldn’t end well for Daley specifically. While I didn’t go around shouting about how wrong this was, I had some significant reservations.
Then I saw this interview Daley did with Jonathan Ross:
Other than a cheeky tweet when speculation of Black being Daley’s mystery man started, Black has not to my knowledge been publicly vocal about the relationship (in fact, neither of them have confirmed speculation of the relationship). Daley - in so far as he has talked about it - seems genuinely happy. Just listening to him and watching him, he is practically glowing in a way that he probably hasn’t since winning his Olympic medal. So you know what? Age be damned. Like Aaliyah said, it ain’t nothing but a number…so long as it’s above the age of consent of course. I’m happy for them.
Not that my judgment of this matters one way or another. I don’t know either of these men on a personal level, I have never met them, and I have no idea firsthand knowledge of what their relationship is like. My point in all of this is that we, the public, should not be looking down on their relationship. Instead, if they are happy together, then we should be happy for them.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
From Think Progress:
Last winter, shortly after President Obama won his second term in office, many Republicans rallied behind a pair of election-rigging plans designed to make it virtually impossible for a Democrat to win White House again. Though the two plans differ in important ways, the crux of both plans is to rig the Electoral College by requiring blue states to award a significant portion of their electoral votes to Republican presidential candidates — all while ensuring that red states will award 100 percent of their electoral votes to the Republican as well. Though these election-rigging plans appeared dead after a wave of Republican officials came out against them, one of them has just returned to life in California.
On November 22, a man named Hal Nickle filed a proposed ballot initiative in California which would change the way that state allocates electoral votes to ensure that a large chunk of California’s 55 electors go to the GOP, even though Californians consistently prefer Democratic candidates to Republicans. Rather than allocating all of California’s electoral votes to the winner of the state as a whole, as nearly all states currently award their votes, the election-rigging initiative would allocate the states votes proportionally according to the percentage of votes won by each candidate. Thus, if this plan had been in effect in 2012, Mitt Romney would have received 37.12 percent of California’s electors — adding 20 to his overall total.
The trick behind this proposal is that if would only change the law in California, while leaving red states free to award all of their electors to the Republican...