Speed Read: ‘Pacts of cohabitating”
MISSISSIPPI HOUSE READIES TO VOTE: The Mississippi House is expected to vote today on a bill, cleared by the Senate, to enable people to discriminate against others by claiming a religious motivation to do so. The House bill has been amended from the Senate version, but opponents say it still leaves a lot of room for discrimination against gays, blacks, and others. Governor Phil Bryant has sent expressed support for one section of the bill which would add “In God We Trust” to the state seal but has not expressed his position on the religious bias language.
POPE SAYS OK TO ‘EVALUATE’ CIVIL UNIONS: Pope Francis told an Italian newspaper last week that the Catholic Church needs to “evaluate” the reasons some governments recognize same-sex relationships through civil union status. The Corriere della Sera published the March 5 interview and the Catholic News Agency published an English transcript. The interviewer noted that “many nations have regulated civil unions, and asked “Is it a path that the Church can understand? But up to what point?” Francis replied:?”Marriage is between a man and a woman. Secular states want to justify civil unions to regulate different situations of cohabitation, pushed by the demand to regulate economic aspects between persons, such as ensuring health care. It is about pacts of cohabitating of various natures, of which I wouldn’t know how to list the different ways. One needs to see the different cases and evaluate them in their variety.”
MICHAUD ORGANIZES FOR ORDER: U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) announced March 6 that he is part of a Congressional effort to urge President Obama to sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people by federal contractors. While he is still pushing the House to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), said Michaud in a press release, “In the absence of Congressional action, the President should follow the example of strong anti-discrimination laws in Maine and other states to ensure that no one in the federal workplace is discriminated against because of who they are or who they love.”
SAY THAT AGAIN? “Legislators in Kansas, Arizona and 23 other states who are properly determined to protect religious freedom can begin by asking themselves: Does any religious conviction justify denying lesbians and gays a basic legal promise of non-discrimination in hiring, public accommodations, and housing? Surely the answer to this question is no. Correcting that inequity would begin the process of recognizing that both sides – gay couples and religious objectors – have rights and that reasonable accommodation is possible only when both sides have something to gain.” –David Blankenhorn and Leah Ward Sears in a Time magazine essay Sunday. Blankenhorn was a witness in support of Proposition 8 in January 2010. Sears is a former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court and presumed to be a potential nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.
SERIOUS MINORITY STATUS: Only seven out of the world’s 1,645 billionaires are openly LGBT, according to a report March 3 from Forbes magazine. They include six gay men: Dreamworks co-founder David Geffen, Facebook funder and Paypal creator Peter Thiel, fashion designers Dominico Dolce, Stefano Gabbana, and Michael Kors; and medical equipment heir Jon Stryker. The seventh LGBT billion is also the first transgender billionaire, Jennifer Pritzker, of the Tawani wealth management firm in Chicago.