Over the next several months, the Supreme Court will decide whether state restrictions on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. As the court considers that momentous question, the Department of Justice will make clear that our answer is an unequivocal “yes.”
This week, the Justice Department will file a brief setting forth our position that state bans on same-sex marriage violate the fundamental constitutional guarantee of “equal protection of the laws.” It is clear that the time has come to recognize that gay and lesbian people deserve robust protection from discrimination.
Nothing justifies excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage. Denying them the right to marry serves only to demean them and their children, to degrade the dignity of their families and to deny them the full, free and equal participation in American life to which every citizen is entitled.
In 2000, the state became the last to officially remove its interracial marriage ban from the books. The law was supposed to be unenforceable by then, thanks to the Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia. But some of Alabama’s probate judges still reportedly refused to grant marriage licenses to interracial couples in 1999, and nearly 41 percent of the state’s voters voted to keep the ban.
In 2006, roughly 81 percent of the state’s voters voted for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a “unique relationship between a man and a woman.” Moore cited the overwhelming consensus in his CNN interview as evidence his state doesn’t want to legalize same-sex marriage. (A 2014 Public Religion Research Institute survey found 59 percent of Alabamians still opposed marriage equality.)
Maybe same-sex marriage isn’t popular in Alabama today. Maybe interracial marriage wasn’t popular there in 1990. To the courts, that’s not supposed to matter: if a law violates the 14th Amendment, it’s unconstitutional and must be struck down.
Today, Rick Joyner’s Oak Initiative sent out an email to activists asking if the crisis along the southern border just might be God’s judgment on America for allowing legal abortion and same-sex marriage.
Written by Kenneth L. Carozza, the piece declares that while evangelicals have a lot in common with Catholics, they cannot support calls from Catholic leaders to back immigration reform because Catholics have an ulterior motive: “Rome might see the alien deluge into the U.S. as a quick road to bigger parishes regardless of the form of government that survives.”
Excerpt from the email:
Does our nation gain God’s favor if officials advocate for children crossing the Rio Grande but fail to guarantee safe passage through the birth canal? Such carnage in the womb occurs within our U.S. borders daily. Additionally, in 2003 Justice Scalia predicted that with the repeal of sodomy laws, sodomy would become institutionalized. Today our little children learn a new euphemism in school, “same-sex marriage.” At the university level, academics are paving the way for pedophilia to be viewed as one more sexual orientation…
Yeah, how dare those ivory tower elitist professors teach our youth that pedophilia is OK?!!?111!
Oh wait…actually that isn’t happening, the only place pedophilia gets discussed as a “sexual orientation” is in abnormal psychology classes. Nevermind…
The Evangelicals are having a problem recruiting among my generation:
A report released by the Southern Baptist Commission this week suggests that the country’s largest denomination outside of the Roman Catholic Church is struggling to bring in new members from the Millennials and younger age group demographic.
It appears to be an existential crises for the future of the denomination:
According to the Pastors’ Task Force on SBC Evangelistic Impact & Declining Baptisms, 25 percent of Southern Baptist churches baptized no new members in 2012, while 60 percent reported no baptisms for youth between the ages of 12 and 17. Also indicative of the denomination’s struggle to attract Millennials were the 80 percent of churches which reported baptizing one or zero adults between 18 and 29.
Ed Stetzer, the President of the Southern Baptist-linked Lifeway Research, who worked on the team headed by Al Gilbert, the Vice President of Evangelism at the North American Mission Board which created the report, suggested the denomination had not focused enough on intentionally reaching non-Christians.
Interestingly - they do not seem to understand the driving issues of this problem:
To remedy these issues and the declining numbers the task force made five suggestions: praying for spiritual awakening, pastoral modeling of personal evangelism, creating a disciple-making culture in churches which lead church members to share the gospel themselves, equipping parents and church leaders to more effectively teach youth, and more robustly celebrating baptism.
No mention of a more liberal, pro SSM, generation as the cause, yet the polls seem to show that as exactly the reason:
The poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 44 percent - nearly half - of young evangelicals between the ages of 18 to 29 favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry.
Nearly half that generation is outside the evangelical tent on that issue.
By contrast, the white evangelical community as a whole, even counting those relatively liberal young adults, is solidly opposed to same sex marriage, by slightly more than 80 percent.
64 percent of those polled agreed “it is inevitable that same-sex marriage will become legal throughout the United States.”
“80 percent of Americans disagree that employers should be allowed to refuse employment to someone based on their sexual preference.”
58 percent of respondents agreed with the question: “like age, race, and gender, homosexuality is a civil rights issue.”
A majority of Americans believe rental halls and landlords should not be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples.
“More Americans do not believe homosexual behavior is a sin than those who believe it is a sin.”
The poll also found that women, young people and people with college degrees were more likely to favor gay rights.
Overall, the 2012 exit polls, which were conducted in 31 states, showed 49 percent supporting same-sex marriage in their states and 46 percent opposing it.
The pollsters found that opposition centered primarily in a few demographic groups.
Voters age 65 and older expressed opposition to allowing such unions in their states by a 21-point margin, with 37 percent supporting them and 58 percent opposing. Those younger than 65 favored them by eight points, 52 percent to 44 percent.
The disparity was even greater among religious groups, broken down along racial lines. White evangelical Christians opposed same-sex marriage by nearly 3 to 1. But every non-evangelical group — other white Protestants, white Catholics, Hispanic Catholics, African American non-evangelicals and Jewish voters — expressed support for such unions by double-digit margins.
that split carves deeply into even the white evangelical community, the most socially conservative major group on the American religious landscape.
The demographics throughout the United States are changing. Even more so in the South. However, large tracts of the South is host to strong white republican coalitions that for the moment, hold the political power in the House, and in our recent history, even the White House :
From the high plains of West Texas to the Atlantic Coast of Georgia, white voters opposed Mr. Obama’s re-election in overwhelming numbers. In many counties 90 percent of white voters chose Mitt Romney, nearly the reversal of the margin by which black voters supported Mr. Obama.
While white Southerners have been voting Republican for decades, the hugeness of the gap was new. Mr. Obama often lost more than 40 percent of Al Gore’s support among white voters south of the historically significant line of the Missouri Compromise. Two centuries later, Southern politics are deeply polarized along racial lines. It is no exaggeration to suggest that in these states the Democrats have become the party of African Americans and that the Republicans are the party of whites.
The collapse in Democratic support among white Southerners has been obscured by the rise of the Obama coalition. Higher black turnout allowed the Democrats to win nearly 44 percent of the vote in states like Mississippi, where 37 percent of voters were black. But the white shift is nearly as important to contemporary electoral politics as the Obama coalition. It represents an end, at least temporarily, to the South’s assimilation into the American political and cultural mainstream.
The problem for Republicans is that the Democratic weakness appears confined to the white South. Even though some analysts suggested that Mr. Obama was historically weak among white voters more generally, he fared better than recent Democratic nominees among white voters outside of the South. That’s how he won battleground states like Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin and New Hampshire. Whatever is causing Republicans to excel in the South, whether religion or race, just isn’t helping them elsewhere.
If the Republicans do eventually attempt to broaden their appeal, the result could be the eventual marginalization of the South within American politics. For now, cultural issues like same-sex marriage are at least given lip service by the national Republican Party. In the future, they might not even get that courtesy.
This loss of power is what the South fears the most. The irony is - it will be their intractability and their intransigence which will be the catalyst to their worst nightmare: broad political power wresting with the West and North, and a coalition with the ‘minority majority’ non-white South.
And this is why:
Moreover, the Republican Party’s increasingly Southern character makes broadening its appeal more challenging. A record 41 percent of Republican voters in the 2012 election hailed from the South. Those voters elected more than half of all House Republicans in 2012 — the first time that Southerners have represented a majority of the House Republican Caucus. They have since blocked establishment-led efforts on an immigration overhaul and voted to shut down the government by an 88 to 25 margin in October, after an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act predictably failed
Two years ago, former Harvard student Matthew Vines presented an hour-long lecture in Wichita, Kansas, arguing that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality as many conservative Christians claim that it does. Several hundred thousand people watched the video of his lecture, and now Vines has released a new book, God and the Gay Christian, making his case in further detail by weaving in stories of his own coming out. Conservatives are taking his book very seriously, prompting many to attempt to refute his interpretations and in doing so, highlighting their narrow understanding of what it actually means to be gay.
Leading the charge in countering Vines is the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), produced a full ebook responding to Vines’ book, with contributions from professors at various theological institutes, including SBTS. Mohler is clear in his thesis: “Biblical Christianity can neither endorse same-sex marriage nor accept the claim that a believer can be obedient to Christ and remain or persist in same-sex behaviors.” Contrary to Vines’ pleas on behalf of people who want to be true to their sexual orientation and to their faith, Mohler concludes that one can be gay or Christian, but not both.
The first same-sex weddings have taken place after gay marriage became legal in England and Wales at midnight.
Politicians from the main parties have hailed the change in the law.
David Cameron said the move sent a message that people were now equal “whether gay or straight”, but some religious groups remain opposed.
Scotland passed a similar law in February; the first same-sex marriages are expected there in October.
Good for you.
This story provides some background on the relationship between U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman (1988 Reagan appointee), who on Friday declared Michigan’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, and newly minted 6th Circuit Court Judge Judith Levy (nominated by Obama in 2013 and confirmed this month). She is the first openly gay judge to serve on that court.
There’s no snarkiness or outrage, no hyperbole or partisan finger-pointing, it’s just an interesting and very human story about a professional relationship between two people which, through mutual respect & tolerance, became a personal friendship spanning nearly two decades. They both now sit on the same court—amazing how much has changed in less than 20 years.
Bernard A. Friedman, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Almost 19 years ago — long before most Michiganders could imagine a day when gay and lesbian couples would enjoy the right to marry and raise children together — U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman discovered that a social revolution was breaking out in his own chambers.
It was the summer of 1995, and Judith Levy, the second-year University of Michigan Law School student Friedman had recently tapped to become his law clerk after she graduated the following June, had come to the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit to meet her future boss for lunch.
They’d come face-to-face just once before, when Levy interviewed for the clerk’s job the previous February, and Levy had chosen not to share with Friedman the good news she and her partner, Janet Johnson, were privately celebrating.
But now, seven months later, the clerk’s job was hers, and there was no hiding their secret: Levy was pregnant. […]
In a historic ruling that provided a huge morale boost to the gay-rights movement, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman today struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, making it the 18th state in the nation to allow gays and lesbians to join in matrimony, just like their heterosexual counterparts.
The state has long argued that it is, and that the will of 2.7 million voters — who in 2004 decided that marriage is only to be between a man and a woman — should not be drowned out by a single judge. The state also argues that it has a “legitimate” interest in preserving the traditional family structure because — it claims — children thrive best when raised by married moms and dads.
Friedman, though, sided with the plaintiffs: two Hazel Park lesbian nurses who argue the state has no “rational basis” for denying them the right to get married and adopt each others’ children.
Earlier, I spoke about Mother Jones excellent take down of Scott Lively, the Anti-Gay Christian pastor who is responsible for murder, torture, oppression and other malfeasance towards GLBT people in Africa and Russia.
Now, another Massachusetts hate group, MassResistance, is following this template in Jamaica:
On International Human Rights Day, December 10, Brian Camenker of MassResistance went to Jamaica and delivered a stirring speech at a pro-family rally in Kingston, warning citizens about the slippery slope effects that would come with legalizing homosexual behavior, now being considered by the Jamaican governent. The speech was broadcast live over national radio.
The Southern Poverty Law Center regards MassResistance as a ‘hate group’:
MassResistance, “the leading pro-family grassroots activist group in Massachusetts,” began life in 1995 as the Parents’ Rights Coalition, became the Article 8 Alliance in 2003, and took on its current name in 2006. Its leader, Brian Camenker, is a programmer who was an official of the Article 8 Alliance and also headed the Newton, Mass., chapter of the National Taxpayers’ Association.
As president of yet another group, the Interfaith Coalition of Massachusetts, Camenker spearheaded the drafting of a bill that passed in 1996 and required that parents be notified of any sex education in their children’s schools. That same year, Camenker claimed that suicide prevention programs aimed at gay youth actually were “put together by homosexual activists to normalize homosexuality.” Later, MassResistance charged that groups like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which support school anti-bullying programs, actually want to lure children into homosexuality and, very possibly, sadomasochism.
At a 2006 religious right gathering in Washington, D.C., Camenker insisted that gays were trying to get legislation passed to allow sex with animals. “One bill in Massachusetts takes away all the penalties for bestiality,” he claimed. “This is where this [homosexual] agenda is going.” A little later, he added, “They [gays and lesbians] are pushing perversion on our kids.”
In 2006-2007, Mass-Resistance pushed for an amendment of the 1996 statute that would have required that parents be notified of any discussion of gay or lesbian issues in the schools. The group proposed language that lumped sexual orientation (which includes heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality) in with criminal behaviors like bestiality and polygamy. During legislative testimony supporting the amendment, Camenker falsely claimed that no homosexuals died in the Holocaust and that the pink triangle the Nazis forced imprisoned gays to wear actually signified Catholic priests. The amendment did not pass.
Camenker, who has long focused on the purported “homosexual agenda” in the schools and frequently claimed gays are dangerous to kids, has repeatedly cited discredited claims from organizations like the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality that link homosexuality and pedophilia.
In 2008, Camenker made another accusation for which there was no supporting evidence at all — the claim that the state of Massachusetts had had to spend more money every year since same-sex marriage became legal in that state. That, he said, was because of “skyrocketing homosexual domestic violence” and because of the “extreme dysfunctional nature of homosexual relationships.”
This year, MassResistance called Boston Gay Pride events a “depraved” display that featured “a great deal of obviously disturbed, dysfunctional, and extremely self-centered people whose aim was to push their agenda.
And more from wiki:
MassResistance has made claims that no homosexuals died in the The Holocaust of World War II, that the “pink triangle the Nazis forced imprisoned gays to wear actually signified Catholic priests”, and that “gays are dangerous to kids”. They have also made comments regarding “skyrocketing homosexual domestic violence” and called a gay pride event a “depraved” display that featured “a great deal of obviously disturbed, dysfunctional, and extremely self-centered people whose aim was to push their agenda”.
So now, under the banner of Christianity, Americans are exporting hate, intolerance, oppression, bodily harm, and a whole host of miasma to poorer, less sophisticated nations - because they simply cannot get an inch here in the U.S.
This is morally repugnant. Actually, it is beyond repugnant, it is evil. It is shameful. It is dangerous, and it does not mirror any idea of Jesus that I have ever heard….