John McCain worried ENDA will lead to “reverse discrimination” – Salon.com

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would criminalize workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, is set to get a vote in the Senate sometime before Thanksgiving, but while the support of 57 Democrats (and Independent Bernie Sanders) seems likely, it still falls short of a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

In an effort to push that number over the top, advocates and supporters of the bill have focused on a handful of Republican senators, including Arizona’s John McCain. But McCain has shown some resistance to supporting the bill, telling the Huffington Post that he worries it might inspire “reverse discrimination.”

via John McCain worried ENDA will lead to “reverse discrimination” – Salon.com.

Defense Secretary Hagel calls out 9 states for refusing to issue military IDs to same-sex spouses – U.S. News

Nine states that continue refuse to issue military IDs to same-sex spouses of service members at National Guard facilities are “wrong” and causing “division among the ranks” that furthers prejudice, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.

He called out the states for the first time in a speech before the Anti-Defamation League in New York City.Hagel said he has directed the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Frank Grass, to “take immediate action to remedy this situation,” and to “meet with the Adjutants General from the states where these ID cards are being denied.

“Texas this summer announced a “potential conflict” between state law, which does not allow same-sex marriage and the U.S. Department of Defense policy. The Defense Department is now abiding by a Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act that banned federal recognition of gay marriages.

Texas, meanwhile, said the state would not issue ID cards to same-sex spouses at National Guard facilities, saying  those identity cards can only be obtained at federal facilities in the state.

Since Texas’ decision, eight other states have made similar decisions: Indiana, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia.

via Defense Secretary Hagel calls out 9 states for refusing to issue military IDs to same-sex spouses – U.S. News.

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Advocates launch campaign to bar workplace discrimination against gays – Washington Post

A coalition of civil rights groups is launching a $2 million campaign aimed at mobilizing support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has languished on Capitol Hill for nearly two decades.

The coalition, called Americans for Workplace Opportunity, is targeting 13 senators in 11 states in hopes of replicating the strategy gay marriage advocates have used to push successful state ballot initiatives.

The effort includes gay rights groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and the GOP-leaning American Unity Fund, as well as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Service Employees International Union.

via Advocates launch campaign to bar workplace discrimination against gays – Washington Post.

After DOMA, 36 States Will Have Little Choice On Gay Marriage

Opponents of same-sex marriage are bracing themselves for a veritable tidal wave of new legal challenges to laws in 36 states that do not recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples. Emboldened by the Supreme Court’s decision striking down key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — a federal law restricting government marriage benefits to heterosexual couples — lawyers for the LGBT community are citing the court’s majority opinion as a legal basis for throwing out similar laws on the state level.

Leading the charge is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has filed suits inPennsylvania and North Carolina, and has plans to file a suit in Virginia as well. Unlike previous marriage equality lawsuits alleging violations of an specific state’s constitution, and culminating in the supreme court of that state, these suits allege violations of the United States Constitution, meaning that they could eventually make their way to the Supreme Court of the United States. This is a big deal. By opening up the floodgates for federal litigation against state marriage laws, the DOMA decision puts considerable pressure on the states to enact legal reforms — or face the strong possibility that reforms would be imposed upon them by the Supreme Court itself — making the prospect of national marriage equality greater now than ever before.

Anyone who has followed the DOMA case has heard by now that the ruling will have far-reaching implications, but most of us aren’t quite why that is, legally speaking. The ruling, which mandates that all officially recognized marriages be treated equally under the law, has immediate legal ramifications for only the 12 states that already allow same-sex marriages. Then there’s this: The Supreme Court ruled part of DOMA unconstitutional for violating the Fifth Amendment, but the ACLU and others are citing the decision as grounds to do away with similar laws, in the states, for violating the Fourteenth Amendment. How does proving that a federal law violates one part of the constitution help prove that a state law violates a different part of the constitution?

 

via After DOMA, 36 States Will Have Little Choice On Gay Marriage.

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Arkansas Group Submits Proposal for Marriage Equality – OzarksFirst.com

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A grassroots group of Arkansans have turned over an initiative to legalize same-sex marriage, hoping to get it on the ballot for 2016.
Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality (A.I.M.E.) submitted the ballot initiative to the Arkansas Attorney General Tuesday. That date happens to be the 145th anniversary of the ratification of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

The group anticipates several rounds of rejections from the Natural State’s attorney general, but it hopes to get all that cleared up so they can work on getting signatures. The group says it will likely need around 100,000 signatures to get the measure to a vote of the people in Arkansas.

“The American dream for a lot of people is a good job, a nice house, marriage, kids — the whole nine yards,” says supporter Trey Weird. “If you don’t have that one single thing — marriage — then a lot of that is just not possible.”

The ballot initiative would not only legalize same-sex marriage in Arkansas, but it would provide assurances that no church or member of the clergy would be forced to perform any marriage ceremony it didn’t want.

A.I.M.E. started the day after the 2012 elections in which Minnesota voters rejected a ban on gay marriage similar to the one put in place in Arkansas in 2004.

“We hope that LGBT equality will find its way to Arkansas and the rest of the south in the near future,” the group states in a news release. “Our success is based not only on getting this initiative passed but also on educating our fellow Arkansans on the issue. We want to start a public dialogue about marriage equality, with it brought up both at the water cooler and the dinner table. We hope that our efforts will put marriage equality and other LGBT issues on the fast track in the right direction here in Arkansas.”

via Arkansas Group Submits Proposal for Marriage Equality – OzarksFirst.com.

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Senate HELP Committee approves Employment Non-Discrimination Act; protects gays and transgender works – Jacksonville Business Journal

A Senate committee approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act by a 15-7 vote this morning, giving gay Americans a victory in their long fight against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“We finally got it out of committee,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chairs theSenate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “It has been a long time coming.”

Harkin said Senate leaders have indicated could be brought up in the full Senate for debate sometime this fall.

The legislation would prohibit employers from firing or refusing to hire people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity — extending workplace protections that already apply to race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability.

Nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have non-discrimination policies that cover sexual orientation and 57 percent of these large corporations also ban discrimination based on gender identity.

But this form of workplace discrimination is not against federal law, and it’s legal in 28 states.

via Senate HELP Committee approves Employment Non-Discrimination Act; protects gays and transgender works – Jacksonville Business Journal.

Putin Introduces Fines for Gay ‘Propaganda’ Aimed at Children – Businessweek

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law fining people who “propagate” homosexuality to children, a day after dozens of people were detained following a gay-pride parade in St. Petersburg.

The law introduces fines of 4,000 rubles ($122) to 5,000 rubles for individuals and 10 times those figures for public officials found guilty, according to a copy of the legislation posted to a government website yesterday. Fines for individuals who use mass media or the Internet to propagate homosexuality to minors rise to as much as 100,000 rubles.

Putin, who returned to the Kremlin for a third term as president last year, said in April that same-sex marriages don’t produce children and that Russia and Europe face demographic challenges from lower birth rates, though it’s his duty to protect the rights of people with “non-traditional” sexual orientations. The decision comes days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that denied benefits to same-sex couples and removed obstacles for gay weddings to resume in California.

Putin violated Russia’s international obligations by signing the law, which will be challenged at Russia’s Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights, Nikolai Alexeyev, a Russian gay-rights activist, wrote in a statement on GayRussia.eu.

‘Under-educated Electorate’

“By signing the law banning gay propaganda, President Putin may have won a local battle for the votes of his under-educated electorate,” Alexeyev wrote. “He lost the historical battle. History will prove that he committed a mistake that future generations won’t likely forgive.”

Opinion polls have shown limited tolerance among Russians for homosexuality. Last year, Moscow City Court upheld the city’s decision to ban gay-pride parades for the next 100 years.

The federal bill follows a similar ban on “propaganda” instituted last year in St. Petersburg, which was used two days ago in Russia’s second-largest city. The 58 people detained in St. Petersburg included eight who were opponents of same-sex marriages, the local Fontanka.ru news portal reported, citing city police. A leader of the event, Yury Gavrikov, was held overnight and will face administrative charges on July 4, the news service said.

The St. Petersburg law drew international outrage. American singer Madonna faced a 333 million-ruble fine earlier this year, later thrown out by a city court, after saying at a concert last year that gays and lesbians should be treated with dignity and tolerance.

Defended Record

Putin has defended Russia’s record on gay rights amid criticism from European countries. The bill Putin signed yesterday stigmatizes homosexuals and breaches the spirit of Russia’s commitments, including to the European Convention on Human Rights, Steffen Seibert, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief spokesman, told reporters in Berlin last month.

“I want everyone to understand that in Russia there are no infringements on sexual minorities’ rights,” Putin said in Amsterdam in April. “They’re people, just like everyone else, and they enjoy full rights and freedoms.”

The federal amendments expanded on a law that protects children from pornography and other “harmful information.” The bill prohibits the distribution of information intended to promote or spread “non-traditional sexual orientations’” among minors, or a “distorted conception of the equivalence between traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships.”

The bill also prohibits the “obtrusive spreading of information about non-traditional sexual relationships that may arouse interest in such relationships.”

Russian ‘Mood’

Foreign citizens charged under the law face administrative arrests for as long as 15 days and deportation from Russia.

The federal government wasn’t behind regional initiatives to ban material promoting homosexuality, Putin said in April. They “reflect the mood of Russian society,” he said.

Some 48 percent of Russians believe the government should “definitely” prevent public displays or justifications of homosexuality, the independent Levada Center said May 17, citing a poll of 1,601 people conducted in April. The Moscow-based polling firm found 25 percent said the state should “probably” do so.

The same survey found 13 percent of people think homosexuals should face prosecution, while 38 percent said they should be “treated” for their homosexuality. Some 31 percent said gays and lesbians should be left alone.

via Putin Introduces Fines for Gay ‘Propaganda’ Aimed at Children – Businessweek.

Gay marriage couple wins green-card petition – POLITICO.com

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Bulgarian graduate student and his American husband are the first gay couple in the nation to have their green card petition approved after the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriages, their lawyer says.

But Traian Popov, here on a student visa, won’t be able to work or visit his family back home for at least another six months while his green card can be processed. And his marriage to Julian Marsh, performed in New York, still won’t be recognized in Florida where they live.

“It’s unbelievable how that impacts you,” Marsh told The Associated Press on Sunday. “They make you feel more and more like a second-class citizen and they don’t want you. And that’s how I feel about Florida.”

Two days after the Supreme Court struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples, Marsh and Popov were notified Friday afternoon that their green card petition was approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/gay-couple-green-card-petition-93614.html#ixzz2Xr0WajLC

via Gay marriage couple wins green-card petition – POLITICO.com.

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Justice Scalia Is Not Happy About The Decision – Forbes

My fellow Son of Xavier, Antonin Scalia, did not like the majority decision one little bit:

This case is about power in several respects. It is about the power of our people to govern themselves, and the power of this Court to pronounce the law. Today’s opinion aggrandizes the latter, with the predictable consequence of diminishing the former. We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation. The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution [the Supreme Court] in America.

As I have observed before, the Constitution does not forbid the government to enforce traditional moral and sexual norms.

A reminder that disagreement over something so fundamental as marriage can still be politically legitimate would have been a fit task for what in earlier times was called the judicial temperament. We might have covered ourselves with honor today, by promising all sides of this debate that it was theirs to settle and that we would respect their resolution. We might have let the People decide.

But that the majority will not do. Some will rejoice in today’s decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent.

I thought Justice Scalia might have already thrown in the towel, since in his dissent in Lawrence v Texas, he more or less said that if we can’t prosecute them for sodomy, we might just as well let them get married:

If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest” for purposes of proscribing that conduct…what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising “the liberty protected by the Constitution”? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry.

 

I don’t know about the sterile, but personally, I think it would be a good idea if the elderly were not allowed to marry, but that’s just me as I’m getting elderly.

via DOMA Unconstitutional – Scalia Unhappy – Let’s Get Practical – Forbes.

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Larabee: DOMA ruling grounded in Constitution | The Salt Lake Tribune

“The liberty protected by the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause contains within it the prohibition against denying to any person the equal protection of the laws. While the Fifth Amendment itself withdraws from Government the power to degrade or demean in the way this law does, the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment makes that Fifth Amendment right all the more specific and all the better understood and preserved.” — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

via Larabee: DOMA ruling grounded in Constitution | The Salt Lake Tribune.

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