During the past 48 hours, we have learned that the Uganda legislature has passed what is one of the most draconian anti-civil rights bills targeting sexual minorities in the world – bookended between announcements that two more US states – New Mexico and Utah – are constitutionally prohibited from excluding same gender couples from civil marriage.
A federal judge in Utah Friday struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.
“The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby. “Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”
Meanwhile, Bryan Fischer, spokesperson for the American Family Association, was tweeting this about the situation in Uganda. I don’t know that we could have had a more timely and chilling reminder of the fact that as LGBTI people in the US move closer to attaining full civil rights, anti-gay activists who are rapidly losing ground here are focusing more of their lethal attention on our sisters and brothers in other countries.
Henry David Thoreau said he heartily agreed with that Jeffersonian remark, “that government is best which governs least.”
He said, however, he’d go one better, believing “That government is best which governs not at all.”
Henry was, in truth and fact, a non-violent anarchist.
Some might think our current brand of green tea anarchists from mostly red states draw wisdom from Henry when enthusiastically shutting down the government – invoking the Affordable Care Act (ACA)(or Obamacare) as their pretext for what they’ve wanted to do ever since they’ve dominated the House Republican Caucus in the U.S. Congress and dictated what the Speaker may move to the floor for a vote.
But Henry’s no-government anarchism presumed a precondition, that would be satisfied “when men are prepared for it, [and then] that will be the kind of government which they will have.” Continue reading →
John Flannery and Former Nixon White House Counsel, John Dean
On 9-11, I was rounding the Lincoln Memorial and had a clear view across the Potomac to the Virginia side where I saw a mushroom cloud that rose to the sky composed of dirt and debris.
I worked in the Cannon House Office Building at the time and called my staff to discover that the twin towers in New York had been attacked by terrorists, as had the Pentagon in Virginia – and the plane that crashed into the Pentagon was that great dirt cloud I watched rise up high into the air.
By October, a bi-partisan U.S. Congress approved the so-called USA Patriot Act. It was a bitter event because we missed an opportunity to do better. The House Judiciary Committee had cobbled together a unanimous bi-partisan compromise under Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner but at the 11th hour, just before the floor vote, then Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert replaced Sensenbrenner’s Judiciary Committee compromise bill on the House floor with a wide-ranging wrong-headed substitute.
You really should read the bill as most members of Congress never did; there were only two copies of the bill available at the time of the vote. Continue reading →
[The lawsuit] boils down to nothing more than an attempt to define my Biblical views against homosexuality as a crime..
..Clearly, this lawsuit is intended not only to silence me as an effective voice of opposition to the ‘gay’ agenda, it is also to intimidate everyone else who would dare to follow my example.
Now, who does that sound like? A certain disgraced and censured Sterling supervisor who fills his bank account by running a hate group at Loudoun taxpayers’ expense? And some of his shameless apologists?
Yes, but it’s actually another hate group director, Scott Lively. Mr. Lively is currently facing a federal lawsuit for his role in creating a deadly climate for the LGBTI community in Uganda. Readers may remember him also as the man who hired a known child rapist to run his fake “ministry” out of a coffeehouse designed to attract teenagers. But that was okay, because the predator had “accepted the salvation of Christ” (and of course, the children he preferred were female).
Mr. Lively has tried to have the lawsuit against him dismissed on First Amendment grounds. But it turns out that there are limits even to free expression when that expression is an integral part of criminal activity, and the criminal activity of which Mr. Lively is accused is aiding and abetting in the commission of a crime against humanity.
Have you all noticed that there is very little complaining on the anti-gay fringe about the ongoing avalanche of changes to public policy in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA? The Department of Defense now extends full military benefits to same sex spouses, the Department of State is issuing immigrant visas to same sex spouses, and a multitude of other federal benefits of marriage will now be enjoyed by LGBT families previously denied them. But the anti-gay fringe is largely silent about these events that are actually happening, preferring to talk instead about a hypothetical event that is not only not happening, but is impossible due to our First Amendment protections. What they are talking about – and talking about incessantly in that hysterical, strident tone they favor – is the impending loss of religious liberty for churches “forced to perform homosexual weddings.” Really. It’s bound to happen any day now.
Fear not, fearful mongers of fear: Churches can (still!) refuse to marry any couple, for any reason. The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs in Mississippi, for instance, just told an African American couple that they would have to be married in a different church, because, according to the pastor, “This was, had not, had never been done here before so it was setting a new (precedent) and there were those who reacted to that.”
Frank Wolf trains Eugene Delgaudio (Sterlingfest, 2006)
Box Turtle Bulletin reports that Frank Wolf is co-sponsoring Rep Tim Huelskamp’s (R – KS) Federal Marriage [sic] Amendment. The language is:
Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.
And that language runs afoul of the recent Supreme Court DOMA ruling. Here are excerpts from Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion:
The history of DOMA’s enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, a dignity conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power, was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute. It was its essence.
…The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.
We Dems expected President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to offend our civil liberties.
We didn’t expect President Barack Obama, the constitutional law professor, to go back on his campaign promise to make a course correction to cure the over-reaching of the Bush Administration.
We were foolish to expect better.
Without regard to partisan coloration, our public officials and our government just can’t stop poking their noses into our private papers and communications.
The Fourth Amendment, by which we are purportedly protected, guaranteed we’d be secure” in our “persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
This guarantee has been rendered almost meaningless by the actions of our government from the federal to the county level. Applications to search and seize are routinely approved by magistrates and judges. The basis for the government’s searches are often kept secret. Continue reading →
Confederate soldier statue in front of the historic Leesburg Court House
Take that confederate soldier statue down that stands in front of the historic Leesburg Court House!
It’s a symbol of disunion and slavery. If it’s to stand anywhere, let it be in a museum but not at the front of a court of law on public grounds.
Our forebears could have placed a less offensive symbol in front of the court house in 1908. But they didn’t. They intended to make a statement – an unacceptable statement – and it’s high time we rejected that offensive statement.
Years ago, in the 1980s, there were stocks and whipping posts in front of this same court house.
I made reference at a sentencing in the court house once, how it was “unfortunate” that such dehumanizing and tortuous methods of punishment stood directly in front of a court house when we were considering punishment in a criminal case. Continue reading →
Heartless psychopaths planted two home-made pressure cooker bombs loaded jam packed with tiny nails and ball bearings at the finish line at the Boston Marathon last Monday.
27,000 runners from 96 countries converged on Boston to run a race repeated every year since 1897.
When the container ripped apart from the exploding powders within, projecting shrapnel from the torn cooker, hurling nails and ball bearings indiscriminately, it cut legs, maimed, and even killed three innocents including an eight year old boy who had just congratulated his Dad on finishing the long race.
Unaware of any danger, distracted, celebrating a world-renowned athletic event convened on Patriots Day, runners, family, and friends were enjoying a grand race on a day that honors our revolutionary spirit, when our forbears resisted British rule at the battles of Lexington and Concord. Continue reading →
Many students and parents are rightly upset that school principals, administrators and counselors conspire and combine with police assigned to the schools (called “resource officers”) to make schools more like prisons.
Police are assigned to almost every school with one principal function being to criminalize what used to be student discipline, to stigmatize young students, to compromise their futures – what schools they may attend and what jobs they may aspire to have.
Nor is this some informal arrangement between the school and the police. It’s the law. Virginia Code Annotated Section 22.1-279.3:1 spells out how student discipline at the school transmogrifies into a crime.
This offensive pincer movement, by which the state combines a school disciplinary action with a criminal prosecution has prompted righteous fury among students and parents for the students have been denied the basic protections any adult would enjoy in his defense. Continue reading →