When most people think of Republicans who support same-sex marriage, they think of RINOs firmly entrenched in the liberal Northeast. But a new coalition of pro-equality Republicans is emerging in what may seem an unlikely place: the conservative West. “Evoking Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater,” notes the New York Times, a group of Western-state Republicans plans to enter the battle in favor of same-sex marriage on Tuesday, urging a federal appeals court to declare gay marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma unconstitutional.”
The brief has collected the signatures of approximately 20 prominent members of the GOP, including former senators Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming and Nancy L. Kassebaum of Kansas. It declares that “marriage is strengthened” and “the social stability of the family unit are promoted” by the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Though the battle rages on across the country, its tide is turning nationwide. The friend-of-the-court brief that has attracted so many signers is being filed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. There, appeals are being heard from marriage equality foes in Utah and Oklahoma who want their gay-marriage bans reinstated.
Michael Sam and Jason Collins have made headlines over the past month for breaking barriers in two American sports. Sam, a 24-year-old NFL prospect from the University of Missouri, will be the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL, and Collins is now the first openly gay player to compete in one of the big three American sports.
In spite of the fact that sports figures are frequently at the forefront of social change in America, athletes and sports journalists are rarely, if ever, comfortable with social commentary. Most would prefer to politely dismiss both stories. “Yes” to historic, “no” to distraction, and “please” to moving on. Continue reading →
It’s been a conflicting few days for anyone who supports both gay rights and the liberty of those who hate gays. The media has relentlessly told us a slew of things about the Arizona bill SB 1061 that are at best hyperbolic and at worst factually inaccurate.
Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute has a great analysis, which closely mirrors my own thinking. (For other thoughts on Sanchez’ piece see David Link’s also-terrific post at IGF Culture Watch.) For those who haven’t read it, Sanchez argues essentially that antidiscrimination/public accommodation laws for African-Americans were justified by the facts on the ground in the segregationist south, but that antidiscrimination laws for gays may not Continue reading →
News alert (1) that you’ve already heard: The Arizona legislature passed SB 1062 which would allow private businesses to discriminate, for religious reasons, against customers.
News alert (2) that you’ve already heard: This created a HUGE backlash throughout the country. Huge. And bipartisan. John McCain and Mitt Romney opposed the bill.
News alert (3) that you’ve already heard: Republican Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill.
Now, the question that comes out of this is: Did this Arizona fiasco ruin any future attempt at religious exemptions from gay marriage? The bill created such a strong, nation-wide reaction, that the country will probably be on heightened alert for similar measures and will automatically associate them with this spectacularly unsuccessful Arizona effort. As readers of this blog know, I’m a proponent of religious exemptions, and, as such, quite disappointed by this turn of events.
So where did Arizona go wrong? How did we go from “Rasmussen Reports study found that ’85% Think Christian Photographer Has Right to Turn Down Same-Sex Wedding Job,’” to this huge outcry that Arizona is bigoted.
A few thoughts:
This should have been introduced WITH GAY MARRIAGE. Done alone, SB 1062 seems a one-sided, bigoted effort to secure rights to discriminate against gays. If added alongside the passage of gay marriage, it seems like a compromise that expands gay rights while protecting religious rights. And it shows that Republicans are good-faith players who don’t just have some deep-seated animus against gay people; rather, it’s truly about protecting freedom of conscious.
The one thing the Arizona bill did right was that it didn’t single out gays as the only class against which people could make religious objections to. This was a “pro-religious-discrimination” bill. Not a “free rein to discriminate against gays” bill.
More later. But this could sink all the work that Professors Thomas C. Berg, Robin Fretwell Wilson, Douglas Laycock, etc. have been doing to try to carefully work in broader religious exemptions in gay marriage bills.
** NOTE: I mention only Arizona because its bill happened to be the one that blew up in the media. But other states trying out small RFRA laws include: TN, UT, KS, NV, ID, MS, HI, OH, SD, CO, OK.
Arizona, the Grand Canyon State of Crazy, is famous for its boiling temperatures. It is also notorious for its political lunacy. Not surprisingly, it is here that the cauldron of nationwide hysteria over the same-sex marriage “menace” is threatening to blow its top. While measures to protect the “religious freedom” of anti-gay Christians are failing elsewhere, here the steaming stew is almost ready to be force-fed to all Arizonans – whether they want it or not.
“Arizona is the first state to pass a bill on religious freedoms specifically addressing LGBT rights,” notes Jaime Fuller in The Washington Post, adding that similar bills in other states “have fizzled out in the last few weeks.”