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Entries in gay rights (10)

Thursday
Mar282013

Gay Humanist James McGreevey on Universal Redemption in HBO's 'Fall to Grace' by Alexandra Pelosi

James McGreevey, This Side of Redemption New York Times

As it happens, this $1.4 million retreat is home to one of Plainfield’s — if not New Jersey’s — most notable couples. James McGreevey is best known as the self-described “gay American” who, threatened with blackmail by a lover whom he’d placed on the state payroll, resigned as New Jersey’s governor in 2004. His partner, Mark O’Donnell, is an Australian financier with a taste for modern art and adventure travel.

Bunnies or no, Easter is about the Passion of Christ in this household. Once a Catholic weighted with shame over his homosexuality, Mr. McGreevey, 55, has made his way back to God. After he stepped down in Trenton, the shock sent him for a month to the Meadows, a rehabilitation center in Arizona. Relentlessly excavating his heart and soul, he later went into psychotherapy and resurrected the calling he said he had felt since he was an altar boy in Carteret, N.J.

Now an Episcopalian with a degree in divinity from the General Theological Seminary, he’s embracing the Lord’s work with the same fervor with which he once pursued politics. Though the Newark diocese denied his bid for the priesthood last year, inciting another painful round of headlines about his past, he says he is at peace.

Anne here, on my to Lancaster, to tend our beautiful new shops at Building Character. I’m struck by this startingly beautiful article about former governor Jim McGreevey and his life after his resignation as governor of New Jersey.

The timing of the article during the Easter season and after two days of US Supreme Court hearings on gay marriage is simply perfect. 

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan stunned millions yesterday when she read aloud from the 1996 Report to Congress that accompanied the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act known as DOMA. The Atlantic shares the story

Individual rights are under attack in America from the right-wing who seeks to insure that America remains a purely Christian nation. Many seek a theocracy for America, no different thaa Iran’s — except that it is Christian. Gay rights and women’s rights are the clear target the right-wing who seek to govern both group according to a Biblical code. This is not the vision of America that most of its citizens embrace. 

Noted Kagan: “We have a whole series of cases which suggest the following … that when Congress targets a group that is not everybody’s favorite group in the world, that we look at those cases with some —­ even if they’re not suspect — with some rigor to say, do we really think that Congress was doing this for uniformity reasons, or do we think that Congress’s judgment was infected by dislike, by fear, by animus, and so forth? I guess the question that this statute raises, this statute that does something that’s really never been done before, is whether that sends up a pretty good red flag that that’s what was going on.”

McGreevey and his partner Mark O’Donnell will be featured in a HBO documentary tonight March 28 on HBO in Alexandra Pelosi’s HBO documentary ‘Fall to Grace’.  In an equally lovely twist, Alexandra Pelosi is House Minority Speaker and champion of human rights Nancy Pelosi’s daughter. 

Sunday
Dec022012

Freedom From Religious Foundation Sues IRS Over Election Evangelicalism | Gay Marriage & Supreme Court Cases

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Experts don’t agree on last week’s Supreme Court decision in which it ordered the 4th U.S Circuit of Appeals to rehear a case filed by Liberty University that argues the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act violates its religious freedom by legislating that the Christian University must provide health insurance for its employees. Note that the Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional in June.

“On one level, it’s routine,” said Sara Rosenbaum, professor of health law and policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. “This is not an unusual way for them to handle a case that’s in front of them that they want to take, because it hasn’t been fully developed yet.”

But Mathew Staver, the lawyer in the case and vice president of Liberty University is encouraged that the court is willing to look again at the employer mandate, certainly as it applies to religoius institutions.

Mark Graber, law and government professor at the University of Maryland disagrees, saying: “Based on the Supreme Court’s past decisions, Liberty University has no case because this is a neutral law that doesn’t single out religions.” via Southern Maryland Headline News.

Freedom of Religion

Lawsuit Challenges Tax-Exempt Status for Pulpit Electioneering

The Freedom from Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the Internal Revenue Service is violating the US Constitution by allowing tax-exempt churches and religious organizations to publicly endorse political candidates.

At the conclusion of an election season in which numerous religious figures including Catholic bishops told congregations how they should vote, the lawsuit argues that organizations have become increasingly more involved in political campaigns, “blatantly and deliberately flaunting the electioneering restrictions.”

IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman is named in the lawsuit, which also asks that the IRS initiative legal action against churches and religious organizations that engage in electioneering.

The lawsuit cites full-page ads run this fall in the New York Times and other newspapers by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Renowned evangelist Billy Graham urged Americans to vote along biblical principles after pledging to do “all I can” to elect Mitt Romney. Also mentioned in the lawsuit are Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenkins of Peroria, Ill, requiring all the priests in his diocese to read an order that Catholics only vote for a pro-life candidate. The lawsuit refers to ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ in which more than 1.500 pastors challenged the IRS ruling directly, seeking a court challenge.

US Abortion Politics

The Family Values Congressman and His Mistresses

Abortion politics in America hit a new low when details of the private life of recently re-elected, pro-life Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) became public. The Congressman says that God has forgiven him for his scandalous past, including pressuring a patient with whom he was having an affair to get an abortion.

Court papers revealed that DesJarlais’ former wife had two abortion by a “mutual” decision. The first abortion was because his wife was taking an experimental drug that carried risks during pregnancy; the second abortion came as the couple suffered from problems in their marriage.

The same divorce papers relating to the 2001 divorce of the family values Congressman DesJarlais revealed affairs with four women who were patients.

US Supreme Court & Gay Marriage

The Supreme Court has released a list of cases it will hear this term, and same-sex marriage is currently not on the docket.

On Friday the Supreme Court met behind closed doors with 10 appeals related to same-sex marriage on the agenda. It’s possible that the Court will announce this week plans to hear at least one of the cases. If the Court allows the federal appeals rulings to stand, it’s not the end of the gay marriage debate. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has predicted that the court will hear a gay marriage case this term.

Friday
Aug032012

Reid Challenges Media To Dig On Romney Finances | Chick-fil-A Gay Rights Kiss-In | Campari Calendar 2013

See Wall Street Journal’s interactive map that links Chick-a-Filet locations and support for gay marriage by state.

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Sen. John McCain said on CNN last night that Sen. Harry Reid might have gone “over the line” in his full-court press against Mitt Romney with allegations that a Bain Capital source told him that the presidential candidate paid no income taxes for 10 years.

For Republicans who are crying foul against Reid, arguing that Reid’s allegations against Romney are just as contemptible as Michele Bachmann’s against Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin, one can only imagine that they wish McCain’s remarks about Harry Reid were half as strong as his senate floor condemnation of Michelle Bachmann.

It’s generally believed that if he hasn’t seen Romney’s tax returns up close and personal, Sen. McCain knows whether Reid’s accusations have substance. When Romney was vetted as a possible vice presidential candidate in 2008, the McCain campaign reviewed 23 years of Romney tax returns.

Sen. Reid challenged the media to be more aggressive in digging into Romney’s finances, writes the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“What if he has paid no taxes, like I am saying he hasn’t,” Reid said. “What if he has all these moneys as we already know … in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Swiss banks. I mean, gee whiz, rather than ask me why I should do this, that is a story you should be writing.”

Mitt Romney will be in Las Vegas today, talking about his new five-point plan “for a stronger Middle class” before attending a fundraiser with leading Nevada Republicans.

CNN’s Dana Bash has followed Reid for years and said on air that she spoke with a private source very close to the Senate Majority leader who also knows the identity of the Bain investor and insider. The Bash source says Reid’s informant is “a credible person and this person if we knew the name we would understand they would have the authority and the ability to know about Romney’s tax returns.”

Dana Bash continued:

There are times [Reid] says things off the cuff that make his aides wince, like talking about smelly tourists in the Capitol — I’m not making this up. This is not one of those times. This is one of those times he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s doing it on purpose, he is doing it for political reasons, because he wants this issue — Romney’s taxes — talked about on programs like yours, wants it to be headlines in newspapers and wants Mitt Romney to respond on this issue which they think is a negative for Romney, as opposed to issues Romney wants to talk about.

The CNN reporter said that Reid’s decision to enter the Romney tax return foray is “very personal”. Bash continued saying: “”When Harry Reid doesn’t like somebody, he goes for the jugular.”

Reid’s allegations come on the heels of the Romney campaign’s failure to follow up with an ABC News reporter David Muir’s question as to whether or not he has ever paid less than the 13.9 percent tax rate revealed in his 2010 return.

“I haven’t calculated that,” said Romney. “I’m happy to go back and look, but my view is I’ve paid all the taxes required by law.”

ABC News has followed up with a request for an answer to Muir’s question, with no response from the Romney campaign.

Flying Chicken Feathers!!!

Wednesday — dubbed ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day’ by talk show host and former governor Mike Hukabee — was the largest day in the company’s history.

Today the LGBT community responds with a national ‘Kiss In’ at Chick-fil-A restaurants, to protest the fast-food founder Dan Cathy’s opposition to same-sex unions. The Southern Baptist Cathy family respects many other tenets of their faith, including not being open on Sunday.

Today’s participants are encouraged to visit one of the company’s 1600 fast food chains and kiss a fellow demonstrator of the same sex. Marci Alt is organizing a protest outside the Chick-fil-A in Decatur, Ga, about 20 miles from the company’s headquarters in Atlanta. About 150-200 folks are expected at a Chick-a-Filet in New York at 8pm tonight. Follow the event on Facebook.

A thoughtful Huff Po piece interviews gays who work at Chick-fil-A, many of them caught in the middle of the controversy.

Chick-fil-A has long come under fire from activists for giving millions to groups that advocate against gay rights and even support ex-gay therapy, but the fire has ratcheted up in recent weeks, following interviews in which Cathy said he was “guilty as charged” of supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit” and that gay marriage invites “God’s judgment on our nation.”

While city officials send messages that Chick-fil-A is not welcome in their cities, thinking people agree that the Cathy family is free to express its beliefs. They are free to donate money to The Family Research Council — a staunch advocate against same-sex marriage — just as Jeff Bezos is free to give $2.5 million to the pro gay marriage Referendum 74 factions in Washington state.

Issues raised by Huff Po’s Lila Shapiro resonate not only in her focus on the gay and straight employees of Chick-a-Filet and how they feel being caught in the crossfire on the front line of the controversy. Employees who love their jobs are now faced with reconciling their own beliefs and identities with those of the Cathy family.

In today’s age of social media, Chick-fil-A suddenly has an anti-gay rights identity based on the beliefs of its founder. The Wall Street Journal makes the point that while the company may get a boost on the short term from older social conservatives who showed up on Wednesday, the long-term impact could be much more serious.

It’s true that Domino Pizza founder Tom Monaghan, a devout Catholic, supported activist antiabortion groups in the 90s, and suffered little public backlash when his antiabortion views were established.

“No public figure tweeted on Tom Monaghan,” says Irv Schenkler of New York University’s Stern School of Business. “It’s social media that creates a larger ripple of knowledge and adds complexity to who hears what about whom.”

Support for gay marriage in America is at an all-time high with 53% supporting it. Without a doubt, the strongest opposition against gay marriage is in the south. Because young people — even young evangelicals — don’t share the views of their parents on gay marriage, most observers and researchers put the future of gay marriage acceptance in America on a forward-leaning course.

With divisions between progressives and social conservatives so deep in America, Chick-a-Filet may be no Domino’s in how this story plays out.

Anne of Carversville

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