Speed Read: Tuesday 12 November 2013

1-    HAWAII SENATE VOTE TODAY: The Hawaii Senate convenes today at 10 a.m. (3 p.m. EST) to give its final approval to the marriage equality bill. The governor is likely to sign the bill the same day and it is due to go into force on December 2. Hawaii News reports that former state Supreme Court Justice Steven Levinson has already agreed to preside over a ceremony at midnight of the first day.

2-   SOCE BAN UPHELD: The conservative law group Liberty Counsel filed notice Friday that it will appeal a U.S. District Court judge’s ruling upholding a New Jersey law that bars the use of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) on minors. Judge Freda Wolfson, appointed to the court in Trenton by President George W. Bush, ruled November 8 that the ban “restricts neither speech nor religious expression.” She said, “there can be no serious doubt that the Legislature enacted [the ban] because it found that SOCE ‘poses critical health risks’ to minors. By doing so, the Legislature exercised its regulatory powers to prohibit licensed mental health professionals in New Jersey from engaging in SOCE.” In King v. Christie, two mental health practitioners and two organizations argued that the ban, which went into effect last August, impedes the rights of patients “to self-determination…to prioritize their religious and moral values, and …to receive effective counseling consistent with those values.”

3-   SOCE BAN CHALLENGED, AGAIN: Three days before Judge Wolfson issued her decision in King, Liberty Counsel filed a second lawsuit against the New Jersey SOCE law, this time on behalf of parents who are seeking therapy for their teenaged son (John Doe) who they say has tried to commit suicide because of his unwanted same-sex attractions. The lawsuit, Doe v. Christie, was filed in the Camden Division of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey. It challenges the SOCE ban as violating the family’s exercise of religion.

4-   RUBIO KEYNOTES FOR RIGHT-WING: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a supposed presidential wannabe among Republicans, will be the “special keynote speaker” Saturday night at the annual dinner of the Florida Family Policy Council. The Council will be awarding its Lifetime Achievement Award to the head of Liberty Counsel, Mat Staver.

5-   CITY IN INDY WEIGHS IN: The Indianapolis City Council Monday night approved a “Special Resolution” to urge the Indiana General Assembly to reject a proposal to amend the state constitution to ban marriage between same-sex partners. The proposal was first passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2011 but must be approved again in 2014 and be ratified by voters on the November 2014 ballot.

6-   THE GOP’S PROBLEM: Conservative political columnist Juan Williams in The Hill Monday: “The GOP’s problem with social issues is getting bigger as gay marriage gains political traction with voters. Not so long ago, in 2004, the GOP promoted gay marriage bans as ballot initiatives in key electoral states like Ohio to help drive turnout by conservative voters. Now polls show opposition to gay marriage fading even among Republicans.”




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