House Republicans Ask Supreme Court To Preserve ‘A Traditional Male-Female Couple,’ Uphold DOMA | ThinkProgress

Next year, the Supreme Court will have its first opportunity to weigh in on same-sex marriage, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has filed an appeal in one of the many cases in which the Defense of Marriage Act has been found unconstitutional. Though numerous cases are advancing, House Republicans appealed the pair of cases from the First Circuit: Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. HHS. In the filing, Boehner’s attorneys continue to ignore the reality of same-sex families, arguing that Congress did nothing to harm or discriminate against them:

DOMA does not bar or invalidate any marriages but leaves states free to decide whether they will recognize same-sex marriage. Section 3 of DOMA simply asserts the federal government’s right as a separate sovereign to provide its own definition which “governs only federal programs and funding.”

Congress, of course, did not invent the meanings of “marriage” and “spouse” in 1996. Rather, DOMA merely reaffirmed and codified the traditional definition of marriage, i.e. what Congress itself has always meant — and what courts and the executive branch have always understood it to mean — in using these words: a traditional male-female couple.

House Republicans Ask Supreme Court To Preserve ‘A Traditional Male-Female Couple,’ Uphold DOMA | ThinkProgress.

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Maiden gay cruise to Muslim land hits Morocco snag | Reuters

 

RABAT (Reuters) – Organisers of an all-gay cruise on Saturday blamed Moroccan officials for the cancellation of what would have been the first visit of its kind to a Muslim country, but the tourism minister denied the ship was banned and said its passengers were welcome.

Cruise liner Holland America Line and trip organiser RSVP Vacations told the 2,100 holiday-makers aboard the MS Nieuw Amsterdam ship that the July 1 visit to Casablanca had been cancelled.

“Our port agent in Casablanca has advised us that authorities in Morocco have — despite previous confirmations — now denied our scheduled visit,” the two companies said in a letter tweeted to news organizations by passengers of the ship.

“For all of us, this is a very disappointing development,” they added. “It was ultimately the decision by local authorities in Morocco that has necessitated us to adjust our plans.”

The Casablanca visit was supposed to be the first and the only non-European leg of a week-long journey for the cruise liner, which sailed from Barcelona on Friday with mostly American and European passengers.

Morocco’s Tourism Minister Lahcen Haddad said no official decision had been made to prevent the ship from stopping in Morocco.

“We don’t ban cruise ships here and we never ask our visitors about their sexual preferences,” he told Reuters. Asked if the MS Nieuw Amsterdam could still visit Morocco, he said: “They can if the organisers want to”.

Haddad is from the secular Popular Movement Party, a junior partner in Morocco’s ruling coalition led by moderate Islamists of the Justice and Development Party PJD.L.

PJD came to power in December, riding a regional wave of support for Islamist movements amid Arab revolts but saying it would not impose a strict moral code. The tourism sector accounts for 10 percent of Morocco’s GDP and 450,000 jobs.

The cruise ship’s visit had caught the attention of local media in this generally conservative society where the law deems same-gender sexual relationships “lewd or unnatural” and punishes them with six months to three years in jail. No political parties call for ending laws against homosexuality.

Morocco has an Islamic-inspired penal code that bans sex outside marriage and Moroccans buying alcohol, but authorities favour a tolerant brand of Islam in which young urban couples display affection in the street and locals often outnumber tourists in bars and night clubs.

That has partly helped Morocco to attract large numbers of tourists, especially from western Europe, providing much-needed foreign currency and jobs to an economy that lacks the oil riches of neighbouring states. (Reporting By Souhail Karam; Editing by Roger Atwood)

via Maiden gay cruise to Muslim land hits Morocco snag | Reuters.

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Could gay marriage debate drive young Christians from church? – U.S. News

As the battle over gay marriage heats up in this election year, one evangelical Christian writer is calling for a truce, fearing that the outspoken opposition to gay marriage among some church leaders could alienate an entire generation of religious youth.

“Evangelicals have been so submitted to these culture wars for so long, so that’s hard to give up,” evangelical writer and speaker Rachel Held Evans, 31, told msnbc.com. But “the majority of young Christians really, really, really want to stop with the political emphasis.”

Held Evans, who regularly speaks at Christian colleges, said the young Christians she meets are much more open to gay rights than are older generations, an observation backed up by polling data.

via Could gay marriage debate drive young Christians from church? – U.S. News.

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Southern Baptists: Gay rights not same as civil rights – The Washington Post

The nation’s largest Protestant denomination is attempting to broaden its appeal beyond its traditional white Southern base. At the same time, leaders said they feel it is important to take a public stand on their opposition to same-sex marriage.The resolution acknowledges that gays and lesbians sometimes experience “unique struggles” but declares that they lack the “distinguishing features of classes entitled to special protections.”

via Southern Baptists: Gay rights not same as civil rights – The Washington Post.

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Michigan House Passes Law to Protect Christian Antigay Counseling Students | Advocate.com

The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill last week that could prevent colleges from disciplining counseling, social work, or psychology students based on their religious beliefs.

The Julea Ward Freedom of Conscience Act was inspired by former Eastern Michigan University counseling student Julea Ward, who refused to affirm the relationship of a gay client as part of her master’s practicum. She was removed from the program for her actions. While Ward, who was training to become a school counselor, has attempted to legally challenge the school, a federal judge upheld EMU’s decision.

Michigan House Passes Law to Protect Christian Antigay Counseling Students | Advocate.com.

Fundraising for campaign against gay marriage kicks off on Father’s Day — State — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

Ken Graves, senior pastor, urged people to contribute because “the family is under attack.”

Between 150 and 200 churches were expected to participate in the Father’s Day event.

We have intentionally chosen Father’s Day to emphasize the stark differences between those who support Biblical marriage and those who are attempting to redefine marriage,” Pastor Bob Emrich, chairman of Protect Marriage Maine, said last week in a letter to fellow members of the clergy. “We believe God designed and utilizes the differences between men and women to establish the ideal environment to raise a family. The other side believes moms and dads are replaceable by generic adults.

“They have raised over $500,000 in nearly a year,” he continued. “We have no illusions of matching that amount, but I believe it is critical for the state of Maine to see our Christian community and its churches enthusiastically support Protect Marriage Maine.”

As of June 1, Mainers United for Marriage, supporters of same-sex marriage, had raised about $359,000 compared with the nearly $10,000 raised by Protect Marriage Maine, according to documents filed with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. Since then, same-sex marriage supporters raised more than $120,000 to match a $100,000 contribution from a co-founder of Facebook.

Supporters of same-sex marriage in Maine said earlier this year that they expect to raise $5 million or more for their campaign. Opponents have said they expect to raise far less, but collection plate offerings will go a long way toward helping fund the campaign, Carroll Conley, director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, said last month.

via Fundraising for campaign against gay marriage kicks off on Father’s Day — State — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine.

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Sen. Hatch, other leaders defend DOMA with friend-of-the-court brief | Deseret News

Sen. Orrin Hatch and nine other senators filed a friend-of-the-court brief Monday defending the Defense of Marriage Act in a constitutional challenge to the law before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Dan Coats, R-Ind., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Richard Shelby, R-Ala. and Roger Wicker, R-Miss. joined Hatch in the brief. All of the senators voted for DOMA in 1996. At the time, the legislation passed the House 342-67 and the Senate 85-14, before being signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

In February, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White ruled that the stated goals of DOMA could not pass muster under a heightened scrutiny test or a lower “rational basis” threshold.

White concluded that DOMA unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex married couples. He cited “animus against gay men and lesbians within the legislative history of DOMA,” and his 43-page rulingdismissed Congress’ stated governmental interest in defending and nurturing traditional marriage, defending traditional notions of morality and preserving government resources.

White suggested that prejudice may have motivated DOMA’s passage, quoting the Board of Trustees of University of Alabama v. Garrett, saying, “Prejudice, we are beginning to understand, rises not from malice or hostile animus alone. It may result as well from insensitivity caused by simple want of careful, rational reflection or from some instinctive mechanism to guard against people who appear to be different in some respects from ourselves.”

via Sen. Hatch, other leaders defend DOMA with friend-of-the-court brief | Deseret News.

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Grieving parents: Gay teens walk a painful, lonely path | syracuse.com

Twenty or 30 years ago, Tracy said, gay children could at least find safety away from school. In the age of Internet, electronic insults followed Jamey home. Since his death, Tracy and Tim have grown to realize, day by day, how unbearable his ordeal must have become.

“People don’t wake up one day and say, ‘I’m gay,'” Tracy said Sunday, from an altar adorned with rainbow-colored cloth and candles at All Saints. “My son, on his 14th birthday, didn’t say, ‘I want to get picked on, I can’t wait to get pushed around, so I’m going to tell people I’m gay.'”

As they went through Jamey’s room in the days after his death, his parents were surprised by what they found: Their son had written a passionate essay supporting gay marriage. He created T-shirts with slogans supporting gay rights and tolerance.

“Unfortunately,” Tracy said, “he had a harder time believing it for himself.”

Grieving parents: Gay teens walk a painful, lonely path | syracuse.com.

Growing Up LGBT In America: HRC Survey Polls 10,000 Gay Youth On Bullying And Education Issues

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth are twice as likely to say they have been physically assaulted, kicked or shoved at school. Ninety-two percent say they hear negative messages about being LGBT through school, the Internet and peers, while 42 percent say the community they live in is not accepting of LGBT people.

Those are just three of the more disturbing statistics unveiled by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as part of its “Growing Up LGBT In America” survey, released to coincide with the start of the advocacy group’s incoming president Chad Griffin’s tenure.

HRC officials have deemed the survey — which polled more than 10,000 LGBT youth between the ages of 13 and 17 years old around the country — “groundbreaking,” though acknowledging that it “provides a stark picture of the difficulties they face — the impact on their well-being is profound.”

On a more optimistic note, however, officials also note that “these youth are quite resilient. They find safe havens among their peers, online and in their schools.”

In a statement cited by MetroWeekly among other publications, Griffin noted, “We have a responsibility to change that, because we know all too well that there are real life consequences to inaction.”

You can view the full report here.

Growing Up LGBT In America: HRC Survey Polls 10,000 Gay Youth On Bullying And Education Issues.