Trial date set for Federal Prop 8 challenge, advocacy groups denied access to case

activism, lgbt, politics, religion No Comments »

Proposition 8 Federal CaseA trail date of January 2010 has been set for hearings to begin on a Federal challenge to Proposition 8, which passed in November of 2008 preventing California from recognizing same-sex marriages.

About 30 lawyers crowded into a San Francisco courtroom hearing the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 same-sex marriage ban, a high-risk venture that will set court policy for years, if it reaches the U.S. Supreme court.

Ted Olson, the lawyer whose Supreme Court arguments put President George W. Bush in the White House, and David Boies, his opponent in the 2000 case, joined forces to overturn Prop. 8, arguing precedents showed they could win.

Gay rights groups had avoided federal court in favour of a state-by-state battle for fear conservative Supreme Court justices would deny their cause. A handful of U.S. states, mostly in the northeast, have allowed same-sex marriage, but the overwhelming majority forbid it.

In respectful tones, Olson told federal district Judge Vaughn Walker participation by gay groups and social conservatives would only slow the case.

Walker, clearly eager to focus and speed arguments, denied the groups’ motions but added the city and county of San Francisco to the case as a government representative. Calif. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signalled his administration will not actively join the case.

Advocacy groups against Prop 8 that were denied to the case include Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Campaign for California Families which supports Proposition 8 was also denied access to the case.

Pro marriage equality ad debuts in Maine

activism, lgbt, politics, video No Comments »

Maine marriage equality adA new ad called “Together” began airing in Maine today advocating for marriage equality. The ad comes on the eve of a decision that may force marriage equality to a November vote provided enough signatures are gathered in opposition to the law, despite the governor having signed the measure on May 6. The 60 second spot is produced by Equality MaineGLAD and MCLU.

Marriage equality in Maine is opposed by StandForMarriageMaine, as well as the usual suspects, the National Organization for Marriage and the Catholic Church.

California Assembly holds hearing on resolution supporting UAFA

lgbt, politics No Comments »

Uniting American Families ActThe California Assembly held a hearing today on resolution ARJ 15 which urges Congress and the President to pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would allow gays and lesbians to sponsor their foreign-born partners, providing a legal path to citizenship. The bill, authored Assembly Member Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), in part says:

This resolution urges Congress to support the removal of legal barriers to immigration that affect permanent same-sex partners in binational relationships. Specifically, the resolution calls on Congress either to include the Reuniting Families Act, which incorporates the Uniting American Families Act, in comprehensive immigration reform, or to pass the Uniting American Families Act on its own as stand-alone legislation. In support of the measure, the author writes:

The federal Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to add same-sex “permanent partners” to the list of family members that a U.S. citizen or legal resident could sponsor for immigration.

Since current law does not allow gay and lesbian Americans and permanent residents to sponsor their foreign-born partners for legal residency, they cannot access the family immigration system for green cards and immigrant visas. Because of this inequity, thousands of lesbian and gay bi-national couples are kept apart, torn apart, or forced to stay together illegally, with one partner living in constant fear of deportation.

ARJ 15 is co-sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality (AACRE). Melanie Nathan, human rights attorney, Amos Lim, co-founder of Out4Immigration, Gina Caprio who is unable to sponsor her British partner, and representatives from EQCA and AACRE will be providing testimony.

The bill is opposed by Capital Resource Family Impact, which believes UAFA undermines the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Catholics outraged with Penn & Teller over Bullsh!t!

entertainment, lgbt, religion 2 Comments »

Penn & Teller BullshitPenn & Teller’s Bullshit which airs on Showtime is taking on the Catholic church in its season finale, and Bill Donahue, President of the Catholic League, is none too pleased. Donahue has taken out an ad in Variety demanding the magician duo be fired for their assault on Catholics.

What will the upcoming show be like? On his Twitter page, Penn Jillette brags how he rips a Catholic encyclical on sexuality: “I’m dressed as Darth with a condom c–k light saber.” He even boasts that the show is “hardcore,” admitting that “we attack the Vatican.” From trashing The Last Supper to mocking Catholic prayers, anti-Catholic bigots who feed on this kind of stuff will have a stomach full.

This is not the first time Showtime has featured a vile Penn & Teller show. In 2005, Mother Teresa was called “Mother F—ing Teresa,” and her order of nuns were branded “f—ing c–ts.” The year after, Jillette said on his CBS radio show that Mother Teresa “got her [sexual] kicks watching people suffer and die.”

Just recently, Jillette took after me again in his usual foul way. That doesn’t matter, but what matters greatly is his pathological obsession with bashing Catholics and their religion. There is no legitimate place for this kind of frontal assault on any demographic group.

CBS/Showtime needs to send Penn & Teller a message and let them know that they have crossed the line for the last time. This should be their final season. We know that they’ve been told before to drop the Catholic bashing, and yet they persist. By doing so, Penn & Teller have effectively stuck their middle finger right in the eye of CBS.

“There is no legitimate place for this kind of frontal assault on any demographic group.” Oh, that’s really rich Mr. Donohue, coming from you. What about the frontal assault against children by priests you so adamantly defend? Or toward Jews? Or gays?

Perhaps Mr. Donohue I’d have more sympathy for your position if you showed some for everyone else’s.