Two days

During the past 48 hours, we have learned that the Uganda legislature has passed what is one of the most draconian anti-civil rights bills targeting sexual minorities in the world – bookended between announcements that two more US states – New Mexico and Utah – are constitutionally prohibited from excluding same gender couples from civil marriage.

From the Salt Lake City Tribune this afternoon:

A federal judge in Utah Friday struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

“The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby. “Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”

Meanwhile, Bryan Fischer, spokesperson for the American Family Association, was tweeting this about the situation in Uganda. I don’t know that we could have had a more timely and chilling reminder of the fact that as LGBTI people in the US move closer to attaining full civil rights, anti-gay activists who are rapidly losing ground here are focusing more of their lethal attention on our sisters and brothers in other countries.

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Some people will just never be happy.

I wouldn’t have thought that the dissembling by the anti-marriage crowd could get worse when they had to admit that Utah’s polygamy law wasn’t really overturned after all, but it just did.

The following arrived from Citizen Link:

It’s what many marriage supporters have been trying to point out for months: The redefinition of the institution could pave the path to legalized polygamy.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem filed a legal opinion Thursday basically saying that a man who married another man in another state, may obtain a marriage license — with a woman — in North Dakota. That’s because same-sex marriage is not recognized in North Dakota.

Quite true, that last part. North Dakota was one of the states to pass a constitutional amendment back in 2004 restricting civil marriage to “man-woman couples” (we may wish to return to a discussion of how that happened).

Also, AG Stenehjem was responding to a hypothetical question. There is no actual man in a North Dakota case, a detail omitted by Citizen Link.

But it’s this framing, quoting a Breitbart columnist, that really impressed me with its capacity for expressing the exact opposite of reality by stating bald, incontrovertible facts. This is a work of art.

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Another day, another painfully dumb lie

polygamyBecause what else can they do, really?

ACTIVIST JUDGE LEGALIZES POLYGAMY, JUST AS WE WARNED, screams the latest email from certified hate group “American Family Association” (mainly known at this time of year for their lucrative “war on Christmas” scam, in which they solicit donations by pretending the world will end if store clerks say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”).

Not so fast, cupcake. U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups ruled on Friday that a family, “reality TV stars Kody Brown and his four ‘wives’,” can’t be prosecuted under Utah’s anti-polygamy law. But what does this actually mean?

The AFA’s hysterical email notwithstanding, here is what it clearly does not mean: the “redefinition of marriage” in Utah.

Judge Waddoups explicitly ruled that the prohibition of bigamy – “the fraudulent or otherwise impermissible possession of two purportedly valid marriage licenses for the purpose of entering into more than one purportedly legal marriage” – is not overturned.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs were not even seeking legal recognition for plural marriage. I am tempted to wonder here whether the bright legal minds over at AFA even bothered to read the opinion…oh, never mind. Of course they read the opinion.

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The trouble with Baskerville

Trigger warning: Rape, domestic violence and child abuse denialism, victim-blaming.

Critics of Stephen Baskerville’s astonishing Faith and Reason lecture at Patrick Henry College last Friday have no shortage of material to cite. The lecture was such a departure from even the pretense of academic standards that it’s easy for critics to frame it as a mistake that no one should take seriously; surely the cause of this catastrophe is that the administration failed to vet it properly, and surely the students have the necessary skills to reject it. PHC alum David Sessions reaches out to those students in an open letter:

To say it was beneath the standards of charity, evidence, and logical rigor students at PHC should expect from their professors would be an understatement. But beyond its weaknesses as a piece of argumentation, it had darker moral undertones that should be emphasized and rebutted. Anyone committed to the Christian virtues of love, charity, forgiveness, and justice should be deeply suspicious of such a hostile condemnation of the voices of people who have been subjected to violence and discrimination in our society, and of those who have worked courageously and democratically to protect them.

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The intellectual dishonesty behind the Elane Photography case

After reading the New Mexico Supreme Court opinion in Elane Photography v. Willock, I’m now convinced that Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth were prescient about the right wing strategy of redefining religious liberty, and absolutely correct to file their discrimination complaint. I had earlier been somewhat sympathetic to the argument that this sort of conflict is more constructively worked out by the free market, and that the couple was feeding the martyrdom needs of the anti-gay right by pursuing legal action.

The unanimous opinion pushes back against organized efforts to expand the reach of religious liberty well past the point where it might conflict with other equally important constitutional rights. Elane was seized on by the usual anti-gay legal advocacy groups as a precedent-setting case, and in my opinion their arguments did the owners of the business a disservice.

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Easter and Equality in Marriage

The reflection What does Equality in Marriage have to do with Marriage Equality? was delivered Sunday, April 28 at St. James United Church of Christ by David Weintraub.

Revelation 21:1-6
A New Heaven and a New Earth

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”

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Meet the men who claim they would lie about being trans to “see some naked chicks”

It should surprise no one that they are all anti-trans activists and right wing talking heads.

While attempting to prompt the responses he wanted from some GMU students about the recently signed California student rights bill, right wing activist and videographer Dan Joseph revealed “you mean like a guy who just wants to see some naked chicks going ‘oh, I’m transgendered and I need to go to the girls locker room?’ I mean, that’s what I would do.

Thank you for that heads-up. Now we know who to keep an eye on, as we have warned before: Those who repeat the lie that respecting the human rights of trans people will result in creepy men invading women’s restrooms.

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