Author Archives: Casey Given

Yes, Virginia’s AG Refused to Enforce Gay Marriage Ban. No, It’s Not a Big Deal.

By Casey Given

Last week, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring made waves by announcing he would not enforce the Commonwealth’s ban on gay marriage, concluding that the state constitutional amendment violated the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, Herring announced that the state will join a federal lawsuit on behalf of two gay couples who are challenging the law, claiming it was time for Virginia to be on the “right side of history.” As Politico explains:

He pointed to the state and some of its counties being on the losing side of landmark cases like Brown v. Board of Education, which ended school segregation on the basis of race; Loving v. Virginia, which struck down a ban on interracial marriage; and United States v. Virginia, which held that female applicants must be admitted to Virginia Military Institute along with males.

Naturally, Herring’s announcement roused a predictable outcry from many of the state’s so-called conservatives. Republican House Speaker William J. Howell raised concerns about “the dangerous precedent” Herring’s decision “sets with regard to the rule of law,” noting that “The Attorney General has a constitutional and statutory obligation to enforce and defend the duly adopted laws and Constitution of Virginia.” The National Organization for Marriage even called for his impeachment.

This outrage, unfortunately, rests on a complete misunderstanding Continue reading

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Gay Rights and the Catholic Church: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Time's Person of the Year:  Pope Francis.  Is he good, bad, or ugly on gay rights?

Time’s Person of the Year: Pope Francis. Is Francis’s Catholic Church good, bad, or ugly on gay rights?

By Casey Given

Last month, The Advocate sparked a discussion among the gay community by bestowing its  Person of the Year title on Pope Francis “for persuading hearts and minds in opening to LGBT people.” Supporters of the Advocate’s choice point to his now famous question last July, “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?” Opponents such as The Huffington Post’s Gay Voices editor-at-large Michaelangelo Signorile point to homophobic statements Francis made as the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires calling gay marriage the work of the devil and “a destructive attack on God’s plan.”

Unfortunately, much of the commentary both pro and con has ignored how exactly the Church perceives homosexuality. In the context of Catholic dogma, the new Pope’s statements are far less groundbreaking than they initially seem. Rather, they conform to decades of Church teachings. As a former Catholic schoolboy, I present to you the good, the bad, and the ugly of gay rights in the Church. Continue reading