Friday, October 09, 2009

Washington Post summarizes legal arguments around DC gay marriage strategy; House passes hate crimes bill

Take note of the Editorial in the Washington Post on Friday, October 9, about the time of “national coming out day” and just before the Equality March on Washington. The title is “A Right to Have and to Hold: The D.C. Council takes a major step toward legalizing same-sex marriage”. The link is here.

The Post describes the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009, introduced by David A. Catania (I-At-Large), as a second step, following on to the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states. The editorial discusses the clever concept that the Council can bar initiative or referendum (trying to strike down the “step 1”) on the theory that the initiative itself denies equal protection of the law. (Somehow that reminds me of analysis by my friend in the UK, Philip Chandler, on his “gay equality and the law” blog (link.

The New York Times this morning offers detailed coverage of the House’s vote to expand hate crime coverage to include gays and lesbians, in a story by Carl Hulse, here. The reader can check the New York Times link on Matthew Shepard.

Some "Republicans" have objected to the new bill on the theory that it punishes “thought crimes” and undermines respect for the law as an abstract element of society. But Randy Shilts, in his 1993 book “Conduct Unbecoming”, had a chapter called “Thoughtcrimes” that characterized the US military as the first entity since the Third Reich that tried to punish “homosexual thoughts.”

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