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North Carolina Poised to Pass “Turn Away the Gays” Bill

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By Matt Baume

A bill to allow North Carolina officials to refuse to serve any couple they don’t like is several steps closer to passing, even after the governor vetoed it. Texas is coming up with new excuses for refusing to issue marriage licenses. And with a federal ruling on marriage due any day now, Judge Roy Moore continues to speak out against the Supreme Court.

North Carolina’s close to passing a bill that would allow state officials to refuse to serve gay couples. Governor Pat McCrory vetoed the bill two weeks ago, but last week the Senate overrode his veto. The House could do the same any day now, which would present a huge problem — not just for gay couples, but for everyone.

This law essentially allows state employees to disregard their oath of office, and choose which citizens they do and don’t want to serve. And it doesn’t just apply to LGBTs — straight couples, divorced couples, interracial or interfaith couples could all be denied access to public services. That’s because anti-gay legislators know that they’re not allowed to single out LGBTs for discrimination. So what they’ve done written a law that just makes everyone’s life unpleasant, which is both clever and a real pain in the neck.

Couples in Texas could be looking at similar problems. State officials there are pointing fingers to explain why they might refuse to issue licenses even if the Supreme Court orders them to. According to local officials, they can’t issue licenses until they get updated forms from the state. State officials say they’re waiting for the Attorney General. And Attorney General Ken Paxton refuses to say if he’d obey a Supreme Court ruling requiring marriage equality. All of this could leave gay couples unable to marry, with nobody in Texas taking responsibility.

Meanwhile, Alabama legislators have failed to pass a bill that would take the state out of the marriage business. The law would have stopped the state from issuing licenses to any couple, gay or straight. But legislators voted it down by an overwhelming margin in committee, which means it’s off the table. For now.

Marriage equality starts this week in Guam, after a few weeks of arguing about whether or not a ruling from a US District Court requires the territory to issue licenses. It turns out that it does. Also last week Judge Roy Moore gave an interview in which he said that marriage equality will “destroy our country.” Moore, who currently faces an ethics complaint by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama. For now.

37 Comments

  • 1. 1grod  |  June 8, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Less than 7 hours from now, Guam offices will open for issuing marriage licenses to same gender couples. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes

  • 2. All_American60  |  June 8, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Hate destroys, like dripping water eventually turns a solid stone into dust.

    And Roy Moore seems to have a lotta hate.

  • 3. DJSNOLA  |  June 8, 2015 at 10:49 am

    I am somewhat happy that the hate brigade is starting to go overboard with these new laws that are affecting everyone not just LGBTs. Its probably healthy for the rest of the country to get a dose of what we have been dealing with for so long.

    That said how is someone like Roy Moore still allowed to serve in any Judicial capacity in the United States. Its not like he has tried to hide his disdain for separation of church and state?

  • 4. All_American60  |  June 8, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I agree. Marriage equality has exposed the old hatred in a new way. Observers connect the dots when they see that many of these bills never mention marriage — they're bills directed at LGBTs, motivated by hate. This exposure of the real motivation isn't necessarily a bad thing, in the long run.

  • 5. mu2  |  June 8, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    I am having a VERY hard time not hoping that, if and when this passes, a gay ambulance driver arrives to pick up a 'christian' and tells them "Sorry, I find your lifestyle dirty and sinful. You can walk your sorry ass to a hospital, I refuse to 'serve' you.

    Well, maybe not quite VERY hard…..

  • 6. FredDorner  |  June 8, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I hope SCOTUS has been paying attention. What's been going on in the red state legislatures is a very good argument for heightened scrutiny for sexual orientation.

  • 7. DJSNOLA  |  June 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Well If I'm correct this law only applies to state employees. Regardless, you know what the next gay rights case will be, however, the way these are written it could be argued that they will involve more than just gay rights. Needless to say its a ridiculous waste of time and resources but it will expose the true animus behind these laws as they try to make them not seem antigay they are just offending more people which in my book is a good thing long term. Once you are on the receiving end of bigotry your views change pretty dramatically.

  • 8. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    As I've said previously, IMO coming to a decision is the easy part for SCOTUS, the writing of the decision is the hard part.

    Although, with all these 'turn away the gays' bills and laws, and the invoking of religion, writing the decision is going to be easier.

  • 9. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 8, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    It's already happened in DC, except a straight doctor and EM personnel refused to help a trans person involved in an auto accident. She later died of her injuries.
    ( http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2007/08/trya-hunte… )

  • 10. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    And once opinions are forceably changed, it is very difficult to get them to change back.

    New England to Maryland used to be hotbeds of Republicanism – Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York especially. Now? It's difficult to find anyone in most of those states who admits to being a Republican.

    Most African-Americans were proud members of (as they called it) the "Party of Lincoln" until 1929, when President Hoover didn't try to do several things he had previously promised he would do. Getting African-Americans to now vote for the Republican candidate is probably more difficult in most cases than counting hen's teeth.

  • 11. mu2  |  June 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Sure, but in many places (like here in Oklahoma) most ambulances are operated and/or subsidized by municipal or county governments. They're a subsidiary of fire departments, at least in virtually any city of any size.

  • 12. mu2  |  June 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Not at all surprising, really. Sadly there is no way to know the real number of LGBT people who have over the years been subjected to genuine physical persecution and death from so-called 'christians' on behalf of their filthy misanthropic "loving" piece of shit 'god' and their book of medieval superstitious nonsense.

  • 13. RnL2008  |  June 8, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Did the family sue the Doctor and others who failed to do their jobs?

  • 14. Rik_SD  |  June 8, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    They sued, the city appealed and it eventually settled for 1.75 million

  • 15. FredDorner  |  June 8, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Wow – that's just disgusting. Truly shameful how the EMTs and other first responders treated her. Even worse that none of them were fired or otherwise disciplined.

  • 16. RnL2008  |  June 8, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Well, that's something, but still the law or bill or whatever ya want to call it is a violation of their oaths they take and what happens when a Gay doctor explains he won't help a Christian person….what then? When does SCOTUS and others start to see this crap for what it is…….nothing more than a HATE law!!!

  • 17. RnL2008  |  June 8, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I know that if it was the other way around and it was a Gay Doctor who had done this, what do you bet he/she would have gotten some discipline attached to their employment file!!!

  • 18. Rik_SD  |  June 8, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    yeah it truly appalling

  • 19. RnL2008  |  June 8, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    I can't believe that SCOTUS would be ignoring these acts/bills/laws as showing ANIMUS towards Gays, Lesbians and Transgender because even if they include EVERYONE per se, they were designed to attack the GLBTQI community.

  • 20. weaverbear  |  June 8, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    And there was a time when the Republicans were a big tent party, where liberal ideology was welcome. The party has been hijacked by the far, far right, and people like Teddy Roosevelt, Jacob Javits and John V Lindsay, have no place in the party. It is now a party of very conservative white people and very little else.

  • 21. All_American60  |  June 8, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Very true. I hear Republicans continue to express their upset at the christian right's hijacking (I like your choice of word, weaverbear!) of the GOP, and the bad reputation that's followed.

  • 22. A_Jayne  |  June 8, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Where and whom? And if they really think that, why do we continue to see the voting patterns that we see?

  • 23. All_American60  |  June 8, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    People I know, personally, who can't bring themselves to think outside their red boundries. So they continue to vote as such. I should've included that in my comment, above.

  • 24. A_Jayne  |  June 8, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Aargh! So they continue to vote as such.

    I'm inclined to think that if they cannot bring themselves to not vote for the candidates who cater to the christian right, they are not sufficiently upset about it. Damn!

  • 25. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 8, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    One thing I found somewhat encouraging was the people of the neighborhood (and SE DC is considered DC's African-American Harlem) considered Tyra a human, not a 'thing' like the emergency medical personnel, and later the doctor at DC General (closed in 2001). It took, though, until 2010 for the city council to allow ME in the District. Should have been allowed in DC years earlier.

  • 26. weaverbear  |  June 8, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Not to cast aspersions on either of them, but both Hilary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren were are one time Republicans. Both are originally from the midwest and in Warren's case, the Republican party then was the only game in town in her native Oklahoma.

    The turn to the far right really happened with Reagan's era. If they knew what has happened to their party Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt wouldn't just be turning over in their graves, they'd be spinning.

  • 27. 1grod  |  June 8, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Four hours ago: Five Guam couples have applied for a license, http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/gua

  • 28. madeleineallann  |  June 8, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    They are doing the right things in which all the outcomes are becoming more good and have the best thing to say forward. Essay Corp– helping students

  • 29. VIRick  |  June 8, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Colombia to Allow Gender Change Without Surgery

    The Colombian government has moved to allow transgender people in the South American country to legally change their name and gender on identification cards and other government documents without surgery. Justice Minister Yesid Reyes told "El Espectador," a Colombian newspaper, that he issued the decree to notaries and registrars on 5 June 2015.

    Reyes told the newspaper that judges have ordered “body exams to determine if people have physically changed their sex or demanded a psychiatric opinion in order to know whether the person who is seeking to legally change their name or gender suffered from gender dysphoria. Both practices were profoundly invasive of the right to privacy and based upon an impermissible bias,” said Reyes during the interview with El Espectador that it posted onto its website on Saturday, 6 June. “The construction of sexual identity and gender is a matter that does not depend on biology.”

    Reyes told "El Espectador" the decree would allow trans Colombians to publicly record their new gender through what he described as a “simple bureaucratic transaction” with a notary. "They would receive documents with their new gender once they contact a registrar. The decree applies not only to those who have changed their sex through surgery, but also to those who desire to modify the gender listed in their documents,” said Reyes.

    Mauricio Albarracín Caballero, executive director of Colombia Diversa, a Colombian LGBT advocacy group, welcomed Reyes’ announcement. “For the first time in the history of Colombia, the national government has taken on a matter of public policy that allows for trans people to have their gender identity recognized,” he said in a statement. “Trans people have lived in a permanent situation of injustice because they are not the gender that corresponds to their identity on their documents. This has caused them obstacles in terms of studying, working, moving around, receiving health care and, in general, in all aspects of their daily lives.”

  • 30. Waxr  |  June 9, 2015 at 2:44 am

    Same-sex marriage has begun in Guam http://news.yahoo.com/guam-first-us-territory-rec

  • 31. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  June 9, 2015 at 4:01 am

    Only one opinion released by SCOTUS yesterday (classic Scalia "blistering" dissent), leaving 20 cases left in the term with only three remaining declared days for opinions. Based on previous years, the Clerk announces additional days at the end of the week for the following week. Given this being a one opinion week. I expect we have two days of opinions for the next two weeks and close up on Momday, June 29th as expected.

  • 32. DJSNOLA  |  June 9, 2015 at 7:41 am

    There is the reason why I think the far right going overbaord with these laws will have an effect. It will force a larger group of people to care about it. This is how republicans can still win while taking positions on issues that arent popular. People disagree with them but dont care about it enough to get them to vote for the other guy. Cant tell you how many people I know who are totally pro gay that still vote republican. They just dont think they are that big a threat. While they are probably right that a lot of the talk is pandering, it still sucks. Im always trying to point out if you like a majority of republican policies then you should care greatly about these smaller issues because in aggregrate they run alot of people off and that will make it increasingly difficult for your party to win. In short, if liberal and moderate Republicans want to become less marginalized they better start caring about these issues and these groups!

  • 33. DJSNOLA  |  June 9, 2015 at 7:57 am

    I think we all know the Obamacare case will be announced last.

  • 34. DJSNOLA  |  June 9, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Looks like Ill be in Europe for it.Would be lovely to leave america without gay marriage everywhere only to return with it legalized everywhere. woohoo!

  • 35. A_Jayne  |  June 9, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Many have speculated over the months that King and Obergefell will be announced on the same day, and one will be the liberal trade for the conservative other one.

    As the cases (and the country) have progressed (hopeful pun intended) over those same months, however, it seems more likely they will both be decided in favor of liberal positions.

    Any speculation on how likely it is now that both rulings will be released on the same day? I don't know this Court (or the politics/political impact) well enough to guess.

  • 36. Lymis  |  June 9, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    To their Unemployment file, you mean!

  • 37. RnL2008  |  June 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    You have a point.

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