Speed Read: Hobby or agenda?
DEFENDING VIRGINIA’S BAN: Attorneys for the Virginia county clerks who are defending the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying submitted their brief to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Friday. The case, Schaefer v. Bostic, will be argued in May and is on track to be the first post-Proposition 8 case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. In the brief, the attorneys assert that, by not ruling on the merits of last year’s Proposition 8 case, the Supreme Court “continued to leave such an option to the state.” And by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act in U.S. v. Windsor, argues the brief, the high court signaled “that state laws respecting same-sex marriage are protected from federal intrusion.”
A ROSE IS A ROSE IS A WHAT? Like many briefs opposing same-sex marriages in the last several years, this latest one in the Virginia case bases much of its argument on a premise that a marriage between two people of the same sex is not just a “marriage” but rather is a “same-sex marriage.” And while the Supreme Court has found “marriage” to be a fundamental right, it has not pronounced “same-sex marriage” to be a fundamental right. It’s a little like saying a car with a convertible top is not a car but rather a convertible. The brief also cautions that allowing same-sex couples to marry will open the door to allowing brothers to marry or allowing marriage between “any two persons who can fill out an application and pay a fee….”
HOBBY LOBBY’S HIDDEN HOBBIES: An article in Salon.com March 27 says the national arts and crafts store chain that was before the U.S. Supreme Court last week seeking a religious exemption to certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act has an anti-gay agenda. According to the article, Hobby Lobby funds an organization that is funneling millions of dollars to smaller groups “to advance an agenda that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians….” Hobby Lobby reportedly pours millions into the National Christian Charitable Foundation that, among other things, helped fund the recent attempt to pass a religious exemption in Arizona aimed at gays. NCCF also funds a large chunk of the budgets for the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Center for Arizona Policy, which have led a number of anti-gay efforts.
HOLDER GIVES MICHIGAN A LIFT: As he did for Utah in January, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday the U.S. government will recognize marriage licenses obtained by same-sex couples in Michigan. An estimated 323 couples were able to marry during a one-day period before a federal appeals court issued a stay of a district court ruling striking down the state’s ban. “These families will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages,” said Holder.
BALDWIN INTROS NEW BILL: Openly gay U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) introduced a bill March 27 to require that universities receiving federal aid establish anti-harassment policies aimed at curbing bullying of students based on their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. The bill is named after Rutgers student Tyler Clementi who jumped to his death in his first year of college in 2010 after his roommate surreptitiously recorded Clementi’s intimate activities with another man and made fun of him over the internet. U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) joined Baldwin in introducing the measure. The bill was introduced last year by then Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who passed away last June.
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