Speed Read: Damned to hell
ETERNALLY DAMNED: Closing arguments in a two-week-long trial challenging Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage will begin in a federal courthouse in Detroit this morning, The state called its final witness yesterday, who told the court he thinks gays are eternally damned to hell, according to the Detroit News. But the witness, economics professor Douglas Allen from the anti-gay Ruth Institute in San Marcos, California, said he does not believe he is biased against gays and acknowledged that there was no statistical difference in outcomes for kids raised by same-sex parents or straight parents. Two other experts testified for the state earlier in the week, attempting to establish a rational purpose for Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage and adoption. But, instead, both said there’s just not enough research to prove that kids do as well under gay parents as they do under straight parents. U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman could rule very soon after closing arguments in DeBoer v. Snyder.
TALKING IT OVER IN KANSAS: The Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee held a marathon hearing Thursday to discuss whether existing state law adequately protects the free exercise of religion if the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying should be struck down. Many witnesses were seeking to revive interest in a religious bias bill which had passed the House but was effectively killed in the Senate Judiciary Committee when its Republican Chairman, Jeff King, refused to give the bill a vote. King gave proponents a hearing, but both he and Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) said the would not allow the bill –which would give citizens a right to refuse to serve gays in public accommodations and elsewhere by claiming their religious beliefs compelled them to do so—to go forward.
ARIZONA STATE SENATOR COMES OUT: In an emotional interview with the Arizona Republic, State Senator Steve Gallardo, 45, said his family knew he was gay but that it was just something that nobody talked about. But that, plus the intense debate around the state’s religious bias bill, compelled him to disclose he’s gay this week. “I am gay, I’m a Latino, I’m a state senator, and it’s OK,” said Gallardo. Gallardo announced just one week earlier that he will seek the Democratic nomination for an open U.S. House seat this year.
FOUR MORE WHIPPED IN NIGERIAN COURTROOM: Four young men were made to lie on the floor of a Nigerian courtroom and were whipped Thursday for having acknowledged having same-sex sexual relations, reports Associated Press. A spokesperson for a civil rights groups said the “confessions” were coerced from the men, ages 20 to 22, through beatings from police. The men were arrested under a law that went into effect in January that calls for prison terms of 10 years for belonging to a gay organization or 14 years for being in a gay relationship.
CPAC NOT REACHING OUT FAR ENOUGH: The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual high-profile gathering of political conservatives in Washington, D.C., began Thursday, but Log Cabin Republicans, a national gay Republican group, chose not to participate. Its president, Gregory Angelo, penned an essay to say that Log Cabin’s attempts to participate in the conference’s “Reaching Out” program were rebuffed.