Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Texas allows local clerks to cross the ethical lines on "conflict of interest" in resisting issuing same-sex marriage licenses; the Katie Lang site

The Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton (GOP), issued an opinion stating that local county clerks can deny marriage licenses that contradict their personal religious objections.  He will not defend them, but can provide pro bono attorneys who will.

And according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, at least one clerk in Granbury in Hood County, was taking him up.  Katie Lang said she would state her own policy on a personal website today, which I cannot yet find in search engines. 

Another clerk, in Denton County, however, said that her religious beliefs actually required her to uphold the law even if she disagreed with it, and would issue licenses. 
AC360 tried to interview Katie Lang on this video.
I have some distant experience with the issue of “public broadcast” speech when it could cause a conflict.  I actually transferred within a company and move to Minneapolis in 1997 right after publishing a book that dealt critically with the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy for gays in the military, because a branch of the company in Virginia specialized in selling to military officers.   I felt this was a “conflict of interest”, even though I didn’t make any underwriting decisions that could affect customers.  So I personally look askance at a public official’s putting expression her own opinions over her job under the law. 
Lang appears to be affiliated with the Hood County Tea Party.
Paxton did say that fines for non-compliance were possible, if not real likely.


Monday, June 29, 2015

"Undocumented Trans and Queer People" die-in protest to take place near White House June 30 (according to press release sent to me)

I just got an email from Mario Carillo that “United We Dream”  and “Operation Break the Cage” will conduct a “die-in” at 16th and H Sts NW Tuesday at 1:15PM near the White House. The press release says “Undocumented Trans and Queer People”, so one can sense the tone of the protest.

The closest coverage I could find online is here for a similar protest in May.  I’ve asked Mario to post this on a specific post so it can be tweeted.

I’m not sure yet how big this will be or how much attention it will get from the major media.  Maybe it will touch off debate on the asylum issue, and the policies that are needed.  This is a difficult political issue.  Will the movement need sponsors?

Update: June 30

I got a second email today saying that the protest will happen at 2:15 PM instead of 1:15.  Facebook link is here

Later June 30

I did attend and film some of the demonstration, more details on Wordpress here.

The tone of the event was more about social and emotional solidarity than political arguments.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Housing and job discrimination protections at federal level will be uphill fight

Erik Eckholm has a front page story Sunday morning in the New York Times, “Next up for gay rights: Jobs in bias and housing”, link here
The article gives some stories of bias, especially in the rural south, as a lesbian couple was unable to get an apartment in Tennessee.  In the early 1990s, there was a horrific case, DeMuth v Miller, where an accountant was fired for being gay in Pennsylvania and then the accountant was sued when he went started his own business and took business away (and the employer won).  Cracker Barrel Restaurant (the greeting sign on I-95 driving north and approaching Fredericksburg, VA) fired people for “being gay” in the early 90s and was reported on ABC 20-20;  it was hosted in Lebanon, TN.
A GOP Congress might seem less likely to pass an ENDA, but some Republican Congressman are claiming they are trying to figure out a balance between religion and personal lifestyle in the workplace.
And transgender protections don't always follow sexual orientation protections. 
GLIL (Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty) actually offered an awkward press release in 1996 opposing ENDA-type laws based on libertarian theories.  And Harry Browne was from Tennessee!
CNN reports that a couple in Louisiana is having trouble getting a marriage license because of the words “bride” and “groom” on the form. 


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Same-sex marriage ruling applies to military bases

One of my Facebook friends (associated with fighting “don’t ask don’t tell in the Marine Corps in the 1990s)  has forwarded a story from Instinct Magazine, that the same-sex marriage ruling Friday does extend to military bases, link here.  It does NOT deal with any transgender issues (or even the idea of which gender someone is in the eyes of the law).  
One of the interesting paradoxes is that the 1993 DADT policy considered “attempting to marry a member known to be of the same biological sex” a triggering factor for discharge – ironically years in advance of the time when gay marriage would be legal, but prescient. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Supreme Court nixes "states rights" to bar same-sex marriage, in historic 5-4 ruling

I was in a bank making a car insurance loss deposit exactly as my Smartphone beeped and tweeted the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.  The bank (Wells Fargo) said it could not turn on its TV to show breaking news on CNN.
In the past, in fact, I thought most decisions were rendered on Mondays through Thursdays. 
Right now, the Washington DCC Gay Men’s Chorus sings the National Anthem on the Supreme Court steps, just as it did at Nationals Park.
On Twitter, I upload the PDF for the ruling, joking that SCOTUS much have watched “Bulletproof Picasso” because it can “say what you mean and mean what you say.” That link is here. he official case is Obergefell v. Hodges.  The main reasoning is based on the Fourteenth Amendment and the incorporation doctrine.
States may not limit marriage based on gender and will have to allow same-sex marriages from others states. 
CNN’s master story is here.  Listen to Jeffrey Toobin’s video especially. Chris Johnson’s story in the Washington Blade is here

Same-sex marriage, with all the benefits to partners, is now legal in all 50 states, all territories and the District of Columbia.
The notion of “family values” gets more nuanced.  The personal tension will live between fantasy (driven by reaction to external trappings) and real relationships, with the ability to provide for others and maintain a relationship when challenged by adversity.  But the cultural pinnacle given to traditional sexual intercourse, in the minds of many heterosexual men, gets reduced and unlinked from this moral tension.

There is a theoretical right for reconsideration from the states affected, for about three weeks. 
The progress on marriage has been quick and stunning. In 1997, I published my hypothetical “Supreme Court opinion” on “don’t ask don’t tell”, and marriage was largely seen in terms of civil union.  In fact, I then even advocated a DOMA-like provision to let states experiment on their own, with progress in increments.  In 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas, Justice Scalia wrote a venomous dissent, inappropriate in today’s world (as in Toobin’s comments) and ironically predicted the ruling would lead to gay marriage.  It did.  In 2006, Virginia passed the obnoxious Marshall-Newman amendment, which William and Mary GALA lobbied against.   In the 2008-2012 period, Proposition 8 was all the news. Then came the repeal of DOMA.  Looking back 30 years ago, we were fighting for our political and real lives, literally, given the explosion of the AIDS crisis.  The historical turnaround is full circle.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Major LGBT 50th Anniversary celebration in Philadelphia July 4 weekend

There is a major celebration in Philadelphia from July 2-5, the 50th Anniversary LGBT Civil Rights Movement, link here. Much of the weekend involves an LGBT History exhibit at several venues, as well as VIP events, dances and an outdoor celebration. 

The original “East Coast Homophile Reminders” was formed in part by Frank Kameny in 1965, with its “Annual Reminders”.  Kameny was fired from the US government in 1957 for being gay (discovered by rumor), after President Eisenhower had signed an anti-gay executive order shortly after taking office in 1953, and Huffington “commemorates” the 60th Anniversary of that order here when I was in fourth grade and could not grasp what it could mean.


Monday, June 22, 2015

GOP candidates maintain opposition to marriage equality

Many GOP candidates continue their opposition to marriage equality, most of all Jeb Bush recently, as reported in Florida gay papers and now the Washington Blade by Chris Johnson here. There have been some angry tweets about this today. But the politicians struggle with the idea that any day the Supreme Court could make their views moot. SCOTUS seems to maintaining maximum suspense. 
It’s impossible to maintain that a couple should get special privileges for having a sexual relationship that can lead to procreation without sometimes demanding sacrifice from those who don’t procreate.  It seems like most social animals do this.