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Obama administration supports efforts to ban LGBT “conversion therapy”

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President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
The Washington Blade has the story:

The White House has formally thrown its support behind bans on “ex-gay” sexual orientation conversion therapy for minors as the result of a “We the People” petition signed earlier this year by more than 120,000 people.

Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, said in a phone interview with the Washington Blade on Wednesday the Obama administration has came out in favor of prohibitions on conversion therapy because “young people should be valued for who they are, no matter what they look like, where they come from, or the gender to which they identify or who they love.”

“As a part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, the administration supports the effort to ban the use of conversation therapy on minor because there’s overwhelming scientific evidence that demonstrates conversion therapy, especially when practiced on young people, is neither medically, nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm,” Jarrett said.

The formal response from the White House, which can be found here, begins with a quotation from President Obama during his 2009 speech at the Human Rights Campaign national dinner where he called for building a society more accepting of LGBT youth.

The Supreme Court declined to review a challenge to California’s ban on the so-called “therapy” last year, and they’ll decide soon whether to take up a similar challenge in New Jersey. The state’s brief in opposition to Supreme Court review was filed on March 30. Bans are being considered in several states, and LGBT organizations like the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) are pushing the legislation.

The petition was a request to enact “Leelah’s Law” – a total ban on the “therapy”. Leelah Alcorn was an Ohio teenager who committed suicide when her parents wouldn’t accept her transgender identity. According to a post published to her Tumblr that was scheduled to go up after her suicide, her parents took her to harmful therapists leading her to feel deeply depressed and alone. The White House response suggests their strong support of statewide conversion therapy bans, which is where the practice would need to be banned, anyway.


  • 1. Christian0811  |  April 9, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Couldn't the Federal government enact a ban on SOCE? Supposing congress wasn't controlled by some of the most vile human beings ever to visit our world, I reckon they could argue that medical quackery is well within their purview of powers, just as it has banned other snake oil remedies.

    Am I mistaken somehow?

  • 2. Eric  |  April 9, 2015 at 9:17 am

    If the administration really cared, it could do lots of things now with the FDA, medicare and medicaid funding, wire fraud if the "therapists" used the phone, mail fraud if the "therapists" sent a bill in the mail, etc.

    The administration chooses not to. Just as it chose to not repeal DOMA, nor pass ENDA back when Democrats had the largest majorities in Congress in a generation.

    This is all talk and no action, meanwhile, LGBT kids are killed by their superstitious parents.

  • 3. Christian0811  |  April 9, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Hm I see, well I understand better now.

  • 4. Christian0811  |  April 9, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Yeah you really have to hand it to the democrats in totally bungling there own agenda after the 08 elections.

    They passed ACA and repealed DADT, but forgot ENDA, SNDA, RFMA, failed to pass greater restrictions on gerrymandering, immigration reform AND tax reform. Totally set themselves up for the electoral disaster of the century with the 2010 elections.

  • 5. Zack12  |  April 9, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    That is the fault of Democrats in various state legislatures who refused to do gerrymandering reform when they had the power and Democratic voters as well who don't show up for midterm elections.

  • 6. Sagesse  |  April 11, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Don't forget that gerrymandering is a very long-term thing. Republicans had already gerrymandered themselves into strong positions in some jurisdictions before 2010. Once established, it can take most of a generation to reverse.

  • 7. F_Young  |  April 10, 2015 at 1:18 am

    Christian0811, what's SNDA? For the benefit of non-Americans, you might explain the other abbreviations too.

    Personally, I don't blame the Democrats for the failures you mentioned. They just did not have enough seats, and the Republicans systematically obstructed the Democratic agenda. I blame the Republicans and those who voted for them. However, I do blame the Democrats for not reforming the blue slip rule and for putting too little emphasis on judicial appointments.

  • 8. seannynj  |  April 10, 2015 at 6:32 am

    No. It's was definitely the fault of the congressional Democrats. They had the power to do all the things that Christian mentioned without Republican interference. The problem was that senate minority leader Harry Reid did not have control of Blue Dog Democrats like former WV Senator Joe Manchin who is a pretty much a DINO. The only good thing about Republican congressional leaders is that they almost always have total control over their chambers and thus they easily have the ability to pass or obstruct legislation.

    Also spending 8 months working on nothing but healthcare with the result being a 1000+ page bill that admittedly not many people who voted for (or against) the bill read, did them no favors.

  • 9. JayJonson  |  April 10, 2015 at 7:59 am

    In 2008, the Democrats had a huge majority. Unfortunately, a lot of them were more worried about retaining their seats than actually accomplishing anything. The leadership gave too many bluedogs a pass. But being Republican-lite did not save them. The only good thing about the 2010 disaster was that most of the obstructive Democrats lost their seats. They were replaced by obstructive Republicans, but at least there was no pretence that those Democrats were our friends.

    Curiously enough, the 2010 loss made President Obama a far better president. He finally realized that attempting to placate Republicans was a foolish strategy. They would never be satisfied. Even when he proposed policies that they were supposedly in favor of, because he proposed them, they opposed them.

  • 10. Zack12  |  April 10, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Indeed Jay, the Blue Dogs were given way too much power and we all suffered as a result of that.

  • 11. Christian0811  |  April 10, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    I agree with Jay here's reasoning.

    Also SNDA is the bill that would be the Student Non Discrimination Act. It would ban harassment of students and proscribe discriminatory action or bullying of students on the basis of Sexual Orientation (actual or perceived) and Gender Identity.

  • 12. ebohlman  |  April 9, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Regulation of medical and therapeutic practice (as opposed to products used in that practice) is the province of the states rather than Congress. Congress is pretty much limited to banning the use of Federal funds to support particular therapies.

  • 13. F_Young  |  April 10, 2015 at 1:20 am

    ebohlman: "Congress is pretty much limited to banning the use of Federal funds to support particular therapies."

    That should be a priority.

  • 14. guitaristbl  |  April 9, 2015 at 10:23 am

    The 5th published an en banc opinion on a bankruptcy today. I don't know if there will be more but I think it's unlikely.

  • 15. DACiowan  |  April 10, 2015 at 5:24 am

    The Fifth passes the Sixth and the Oklahoma case over the weekend; the 100th day would be April 20

  • 16. ReadLearn  |  April 9, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Congress won't do it, but it is still progress to have the President speak out on this.

  • 17. guitaristbl  |  April 9, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Hutchinson will quickly appoint the three special justices who will decide the new case about wether Wood should participate in the decision :

    So if it up to Hutchinson to appoint the judges who will hear this case, we can be sure McCorkindale is out and Wood is in on the decision. He even said he is "concerned" about the situation.

    So thankful it won't matter in the end.

  • 18. StraightDave  |  April 10, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Why does it even matter who he appoints now? The 4 remaining will still hold the majority. It's just one more clown show on the way to the big dance in June. I was kind of hoping the 3 vocal recusers would embarrass the shit out of their peers, but I should know better by now. They have no shame and probably think they're in the right, anyway. I can't recall judges at that level ever stoning their peers in public so badly. Even the criticism of Cook and Sutton doesn't compare.

  • 19. VIRick  |  April 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    "…. the 3 vocal recusers would embarrass the shit out of their peers, …."

    Obviously, they had hoped for the same. Plus, given their reasoning, there's actually a violation of law involved.

  • 20. Zack12  |  April 11, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    And rightfully so.
    People in Arkansas politics say they've never seen another case where the court has punted and dragged their feet for so long.

  • 21. Zack12  |  April 9, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    An article about the judges in the 8th.
    As I said before, it was a blessing in a way that the 6th ruled against us when they did.
    That gives us a chance to have this done with once and for all, versus having to wait until next year with a negative ruling from the 8th.

  • 22. Jaesun100  |  April 9, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    You think they will get in a ruling in before June?

  • 23. KahuBill  |  April 10, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Getting a good panel from the 8th would have been almost impossible, but this is about as bad as you can get – an 82 year-old Republican appointed by Reagan from SD, two other Republicans appointed by W. To top it off, Smith, prior to his being appointed to the bench, was the Executive Director of the conservative Rutherford Institute! I wouldn't be surprised if the decision comes out ASAP and is about as nasty as possible to rally the "base".

    I have visited every state and territory of the US except South Dakota and Arkansas – now I know why and give thanks for missing those two.

  • 24. hopalongcassidy  |  April 10, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    South Dakota has 2 parts…the Badlands and the Worselands.

  • 25. Mike_Baltimore  |  April 9, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Off topic:

    From New York City's channel 4, a headline that reads: 'NYC Woman Accused of Marrying 10 Times, Never Filing for Divorce'
    (… )

    I wonder how the bigots, especially those who claim ALL illegal activities occur only in the GLBT community, or those who claim only the GLBT community will fail to report previous marriages, will try to explain this.

  • 26. RemC_Chicago  |  April 11, 2015 at 7:11 am

    As with all bigotry, they would consider this woman as an individual, as one particularly astonishing example of humanity. When they gather their stones, they consider all of us to be the same and judge accordingly.

  • 27. tigris26  |  April 10, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Regarding the 8th CA and what Hutchinson is doing, my question is "what's the hurry"? It appears as though he's trying to beat the Supreme Court to its ruling in June.

    But if the Supreme Court rules and makes same-sex marriage legal nationwide, wouldn't all of Hutchinson's efforts become pointless? Their decision trumps all the state-level courts, right?

  • 28. guitaristbl  |  April 10, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    The point of both the whole mess in Arkansas and the rush in which the 8th circuit is, is to try to influence SCOTUS obviously about the unanimity, or near unanimity of rulings on marriage equality. They want to produce some more ammo for the anti-gay side and influence the current balance.

  • 29. tigris26  |  April 10, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Ah, I see…

    But still, by the time 8th CA could even possibly give a ruling on the marriage cases it will be after SCOTUS heard the arguments for their 4 cases on April 28. I mean I would think SCOTUS would have its ultimate decision made by May at the latest and just needing that extra month to write the opinion. I can't imagine that a super last-minute ruling from the 8th CA is really going to change their minds. Like really?

    Plus, we have the 5th CA ruling to look forward to, I would think – way before the 8th CA would rule.

  • 30. guitaristbl  |  April 10, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    They all have to play what cards they have really…I assume the 8th will issue a ruling in less than 10 days upholding the bans in hopes that SCOTUS justices will read their opinion and change their mind, or be hesitant to issue a pro-equality ruling if a 2nd court of appeals rules against marriage equality. Is it likely ? Not much, but it's all these bigots can do plus at least one of them wants to prove his conservative credidentials as he is a possible SCOTUS nominee under a potential republican president.

  • 31. tigris26  |  April 10, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Okay, yeah, I can see them grasping at straws here. It's just that I've never heard of another lower court ruling influencing SCOTUS after they've already heard the arguments for their own cases.

    But yeah, I agree, it doesn't seem likely to happen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • 32. bythesea66  |  April 10, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Political fight for righties in 2016? States Rights crap maybe.

  • 33. Silvershrimp0  |  April 10, 2015 at 10:01 am

    It's noon CDT and the 5th hasn't released any opinions yet. Here's hoping for good news today.

    Edit: Spoke too soon. Looks like they've released some, but no marriage cases.

  • 34. KahuBill  |  April 10, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    In marriage equality cases courts have been known to hit the opinion "send" button on Friday afternoon as they are their way out to the parking lot.

  • 35. BillinNO  |  April 10, 2015 at 10:26 am


  • 36. MichaelGrabow  |  April 10, 2015 at 11:54 am

    OBVIOUSLY not a funny topic, but it sure does drive the point home.

  • 37. hopalongcassidy  |  April 10, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Filed under "Sad but all too true"

  • 38. F_Young  |  April 10, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Off-topic: Toronto Cop Luke Watson Dyes His Hair Pink To Combat Homophobia And Anti-LGBT Bullying

    Retweet and he stays pink for weeks.

    Oh, and he's handsome too.

  • 39. guitaristbl  |  April 10, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Loved the pink.

    Also why aren't there any cops looking like that anywhere near where I live really ? Canada seems like a place to trust the law enforcment..!

  • 40. dlejrmex  |  April 10, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Hell… I trust the police here in Mexico more than I trust the cops in the US. Especially after my run-in with Maricopa Co. Sheriffs (in AZ). They pulled me over because I had a license plate light out… (my truck has 2… only one was out) they even told me they thought I was a Mexican because my truck is adorned with Mexican team emblems. I ended up waiting 60 minutes for a drug sniffing dog to arrive. That was the last time I drove in AZ.

  • 41. RemC_Chicago  |  April 10, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Ugh. What a story. I'm sorry you were subjected to that.

  • 42. VIRick  |  April 10, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    When I was living in Sonora, Mexico, I had my car stripped by the US Customs agents at the entry point in Nogales. They pulled everything out of the car, cleaned out the trunk, ripped out the seats, and left everything in a pile on the ground. Despite the fact that they didn't find any contraband, they refused to replace anything back into the car, and left me to do that for myself, a task which took me the rest of the afternoon.

    On the other hand, I trust the police in Mexico even less, as I know that they were the ones who falsely "tipped off" the US Customs agents, and did so in retaliation for my investigative research into systematic voter fraud in the state elections in Sonora.

    They were displeased with the fact that I turned up information, for example, that showed that 105% of the registered voters in the town of Navojoa voted for the party in power (and that figure does not include the votes cast for the 5 other political parties contesting the election). Plus, this type of fraud was duplicated multiple times in numerous municipios throughout the southern part of the state, in towns like Hualabampo, Etchojoa, Quiriego, and Cajeme.

  • 43. F_Young  |  April 11, 2015 at 6:16 am

    Off-topic part 1 of 2.

    I'm sorry to hear your border crossing story, Rick. It's scary to realize how much arbitrary power border crossing officials have. And there's even more potential for abuse in relation to non-citizens.

    My own border crossing story was much less unfair, but sort of dramatic. It's off-topic and quite long; I mention it now mainly for its entertainment value, for those who are interested.

    I'm a Canadian, and I was slated to introduce Svend Robinson before his keynote at a lesbian and gay conference in the USA a few miles from the Canadian border. This was sometime in the 1989 to 1991 period and Svend was then the only openly gay member of the Canadian Parliament, sort of Canada's Barney Frank. About 200 Canadians and Americans were expected to attend the conference, many of whom were lesbian and gay activists.

    I was crossing the border with a couple of friends. We we're all going to attend the gay and lesbian conference, but had agreed that we would tell the US border agent that we were travelling for pleasure because the US then had a ban on HIV immigrants (and visitors?).

    As usual, I was an unconvincing liar; so, the agent inspected my car's trunk and found some LGBT activist publications for a tabletop display at the conference, which was inconsistent with our story.

    So, he told us to come inside and each of us was separately interviewed. It's the only time I was ever brought inside for an interview; so, I knew they were taking this seriously.

    I was interviewed for about 45 minutes. I basically told the truth about attending the conference, but I didn't mention what to my mind was the single most important thing about my border crossing. Throughout the interview, my mind was racing with the thought, "Please, please let us go. I can't tell you why, but, trust me, you have no idea how much trouble you could save yourself and your agency, not to mention me, my friends, the activists at the conference and the governments of Canada and the US, if you just let us through or send us home." That's what I was thinking, but I never said a word.

    I knew the conference organizers, some of whom were good friends of mine, would note that three pre-paid attendees from the same place were no-shows, especially since it required finding someone else to introduce Svend. The organizers would investigate and probably deduce that we were being detained at the border, presumably due to the HIV ban.

  • 44. F_Young  |  April 11, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Off-topic part 2 of 2.

    And I figured I knew how Svend and the other activists would react. He would fire them up and dozens of activists would go to the border and block the international bridge in protest. Yup, that would be exactly like him, I figured. You see, he was not just an out gay and HIV activist, but also a passionate environmentalist. He had participated in blocking a logging road in British Columbia in 1985 (and in 1995, he would be imprisoned for 14 days for blocking a logging road at Clayoquot Sound).

    A border blockade would create a delicate and complicated international incident. Even before negotiating with the activists, the two countries would have to negotiate between themselves, which would be complicated by the fact that Svend was an influential Member of Parliament known to Barney Frank and other US politicians. Svend's left-wing political party would likely have become involved, and even my own agency might have too. Plus, the novelty of a Member of Parliament participating in a border blockade would entice the US and Canadian TV networks to cover it.

    Needless to say, this was not exactly how I was planning to come out to my co-workers and extended family.

    At least, my parents already knew I was gay, but they would have been acutely embarrassed by the word going out to all their relatives and friends.

    But, the irony is, I figured that I couldn't actually tell the agent about Svend Robinson and the border protest scenario and all the trouble that I feared. For one thing, my story would sound too speculative and implausible to be believed. Secondly, if it was believed, it might sound threatening and provocative.

    All of this was going through my head as the agent interviewed me and then left to speak to his supervisor. Several minutes later, he returned, saying that he couldn't reach his supervisor since it was after-hours.

    And then, surprisingly, he let us through!

    I couldn't believe it. Boy, was I relieved!

    So, we went to the conference and I delivered my introduction and probably embarrassed Svend with my over-the-top praise. Svend gave a rather formulaic speech; so, I was easily distracted by the stunning US military hunk who sat toward the front looking at Svend worshipfully (Maybe my over-the-top praise had something to do with it.). I was envious, as were all the guys there probably.

    By then, Svend had already had a significant influence in drafting the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982 (in which I had a tiny, tiny role, but that's another story). His many bills to add sexual orientation to the Canadian Human Rights Act broke the ground for the government bill that passed in 1996. Years later, Svend's bill to add sexual orientation to the hate propaganda sections of the Canadian Criminal Code was successful. Unfortunately, his brilliant political career collapsed shortly afterwards, after he admitted stealing an expensive wedding ring.

    In the hustle and bustle of the conference, I never asked Svend and the organizers what they would have done in reality had we been detained. So, maybe I just had a hyperactive imagination. Who knows?

  • 45. EricKoszyk  |  April 11, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Aren't the Conservatives trying to dismantle parts of the Charter? I though I read that somewhere, which would be unfortunate since the Charter is a document that is beneficial for all human beings, not just Canadians.

  • 46. F_Young  |  April 11, 2015 at 7:11 am

    EricKosZyk: "Aren't the Conservatives trying to dismantle parts of the Charter?"

    Yes, their anti-terrorist bill and anti-prostitution law, for example, are constitutionally dubious, but the Conservatives have to be careful because the Charter and probably the courts are far more popular than any politician or party.

    However, I expect that the anti-terrorist legislation is one area where Canadians are probably willing to sacrifice Charter rights.

  • 47. 1grod  |  April 11, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Eric: weaken would be closer than dismantle. Americans would understand the significance of the Charter [1982] constitutionally if it was said to be analogous to your Amendments to the Constitution. Like the US Supreme Court, the Canadian Supreme Court is the final arbitrator of the meaning of the Constitution.

  • 48. RemC_Chicago  |  April 11, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Fabulous story. Thanks for taking the time and trouble to share it with us!

  • 49. Sagesse  |  April 11, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Aged Canadian here… old enough to remember Svend Robinson, and the writing of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He was fierce in his support for individual rights (as a politician… he's not dead :)).

    "Robinson was a leader in the movement for the right to physician-assisted suicide, fighting for the right of well-known ALS patient Sue Rodriguez to choose when to end her life with the assistance of a physician. He was ultimately present at her bedside at the time of her physician-assisted death [in 1994]."

    He could have gone to jail. Rodriquez lost at the Supreme Court of Canada in a bid to die with dignity. The court reversed that decision in February.

    And I'm very proud of my local Toronto Police Force. I had missed the article.

  • 50. 1grod  |  April 11, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Sagesse, in my entry to this thread below, I did not mention that Con [pink haired] Luke Watson and a Con Todd Storey were accused of assault during the June 2010 G 20 summit protest. In another case that occurred at that location that day, Toronto Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani was finally convicted in January 2015 of assault of Adam Nobody. Andalib-Goortani was immediately back at work.…. Torontonians have not forgiven Chief Bill Blair for the mass arrest and kettling that took place then – which clearly was an affront to the Charter you mentioned, and reminded people of the 497 overnight arrests in Quebec with the imposition of the War Measures Act on Oct 17 1970.
    On this April 25, Ontarians will be glad to see Blair's backside, when his contract runs out. [10 yrs in the job – contract not renewed]. The TO police chief's handling of the Mayor Rob Ford fiasco is another embarrassment to local citizens. Blair has been recently described as often insubordinate to the Police Services Board on such matters as racial profiling:… .
    While you may have good reason for your opinion of the 5500 police officers and 2200 civilian staff, being 'very' proud is not a widely held sentiment there. A force of that size in a city covering 246 square miles, with a diverse population of more than 2,615,000 people could hardly be described as 'local'. Police Services on both sides of our shared border have their challenges.

  • 51. dlejrmex  |  April 11, 2015 at 6:24 am

    In ten years I have not had any serious incidents on the Mexican side and I cross the border every few months. I have had two incidents where I paid a small bribe that was unnecessary. I live in Sinaloa and I am always happy when I cross back home. That said, I am sure they can be vindictive and I would not do anything to cause any officials to take notice of me. On the other hand, I have had US customs people break my door window intentionally and the only reason I can believe it was for was because I was wearing an Obama T-Shirt. Also, now having Sinaloa plates gets me extra scrutiny on a consistent basis.

  • 52. EricKoszyk  |  April 11, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Adding to this discussion:

    When I lived in WA State I crossed the border many times. Interestingly, it seemed that the Canadians were mostly interested in guns and working in Canada without paying taxes while the Americans were mostly interested in drugs. Priorities.

    The Canadians usually were much more polite, which isn't surprising since their police are much more polite than ours. Much less aggressive and trigger happy as well, obviously.

    The only time I was detained for a significant period was once when I was going to see some friends up in BC. I was going to a rave/ dance party type of camp out. The problem was that I had my massage table with me. Even though this was while I was still in massage school, the Canadians were worried that I was going up there to work. They couldn't believe that I just wanted to give people free massages. Luckily, after about an hour of asking me repetitive questions, they let me through, telling me never to bring my table again.

  • 53. VIRick  |  April 11, 2015 at 10:12 am

    "…. I have not had any serious incidents on the Mexican side …."

    dlejrmex, nor have I, so much so, that I've never even been asked for a bribe, while travelling southbound, entering Mexico. Any and all scrutiny has occurred northbound, entering the USA, where shit-for-brains seems to prevail, as all of my investigative work has consistantly focussed on Mexico.

  • 54. RemC_Chicago  |  April 11, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Ye Gods.

  • 55. VIRick  |  April 11, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Rem, then there was the instance when I was detained by US Immigration at Miami International and falsely accused of being a citizen of Guatemala, after having arrived there on a flight from Jamaica. They insisted on speaking to me in Spanish, while refusing to actually inspect my passport. In return, I insisted on responding in English, while shoving my passport in their face to make them look at it to see where I had actually been.

    Again, I had been in Jamaica investigating voter fraud and human rights abuse, which resulted in there being a phony "tip-off," complicated by the fact there there actually was a citizen of Guatemala (an LGBT asylum-seeker) on board that flight, and I knew who the person was.

    The citizen of Guatemala managed to enter undetected (on their own), and I (as the inadvertant distraction) was released immediately after several Jamaicans were nabbed attempting to enter on phony ID.

  • 56. RemC_Chicago  |  April 11, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Fascinating and educational, enlightening and informative, eye-opening. As Gomer would say "GooOOOoooollly!"

  • 57. EricKoszyk  |  April 11, 2015 at 6:56 am

    It's simple. Canadian police are much better trained than American police and Canadians by and large have more rights than we do. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a much stronger document than our Constitution, as far as civil liberties go. Plus, cities such as Montreal add on even stronger protections.

    Every time I've come in contact with a Canadian police officer they have been very polite. It's sad but I've traveled a decent amount and the only place where I've seen police misconduct, beside the United States, is Russia.

  • 58. ianbirmingham  |  April 11, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Canadian law has its problems though – example: The Canada Border Services Agency is empowered to stop the importation of materials prohibited under obscenity laws. Many gay and lesbian bookstores have claimed that this is applied in a discriminatory manner against same-sex pornographic material.

    Police misconduct exists worldwide, though US and Russia are certainly serious cases.

    Fortunately, I've only had a few border harassment experiences.

    One was upon return from Sweden, where Delta check-in staff are apparently systematically trained to verbally harass every passenger for about five minutes before letting them check in their bags. This happens to everyone whether their passport is American, Swedish, or whatever. Apparently it's some kind of anti-terrorism strategy. It really pisses everyone off. Swedish culture is correctly noted for being hyper-civilized. Boorish harassment like this is the last thing anyone would expect when in Sweden, and pretty much the perfect way to fuck up pleasant memories of Sweden. And the worst part is that obviously Swedish staff people are doing the harassment. I wonder how many months it took Delta to train all the Swedishness out of their check-in staff?

    The second was upon return from Thailand, where a truly delicious concoction called Nam Prik Pao is made by the Pantainorasingh company in Bangkok. I bought about 25 jars of this tasty Thai flavoring and wrapped it carefully in my take-on bag (I didn't want to take a chance on having the glass jars broken when checked luggage was being tossed around). The Suvarnabhumi airport staff X-rayed it and refused to let me take it on board. These were factory sealed jars and the Thai staff absolutely knew exactly what it was, but they claimed it was a liquid (it's actually a paste and it says that on the jar in both English and Thai) and that liquids were prohibited from carry-on. So I had to go back to retrieve my bags (already checked in) and transfer the Pantai Nam Prik Pao to the carry-on luggage. Then upon arrival in the US, I received one of my checked bags late and the other one extremely late (1 hour type delay). It turns out that the TSA had selected my bag for a hand search, and I later found that every single jar of Pantai Nam Prik Pao in that bag had been wrapped in a special TSA wrapper saying that the US Government had searched it. They didn't break any of the factory seals, fortunately, and the jars were all intact in both bags (super fortunately), so all I lost was about two or three hours badly misspent in the harassment zone.

    I later found out that you can buy Pantai Nam Prik Pao on with a lot less hassle:

  • 59. 1grod  |  April 13, 2015 at 6:52 am

    Eric – in considering deaths caused by police officers/by population, apparently last year USA had 1100, Canada 16. USA population is 9.1 times larger than Canada's.

  • 60. 1grod  |  April 10, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    bl – Power in Simple Gesture: As I understand the sequence of events, fellow officer Ryan volunteered his buddy officer because he himself lacked in the hair department. Apparently he and other officers, wearing pink shirts, arrived at a Forest Hill community high school [ ] in a pink police car.

  • 61. DeadHead  |  April 10, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Ted Cruz is so vile… "We look at the jihad that is being waged right now, in Indiana, and in Arkansas," Cruz preached, "going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman." Ted Cruz Tells Homeschooling Parents Gays Are Waging 'Jihad' Against Christians

  • 62. RemC_Chicago  |  April 10, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Yeah, there we are in our disguises, at every church (synagogues are exempted), ready to jump on anyone reading the Bible, or daring to enter the house of worship. Pretty exhausting work, but we do what we have to do.

  • 63. VIRick  |  April 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    "Pretty exhausting work, but we do what we have to do."

    Indeed! It's wearing me out, but as you've stated, we do what we have to do. LOL

  • 64. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  April 11, 2015 at 6:22 am

    It's simply taxing as all hell to disrupt their lives the way we do.

    My only desire is that like Senator Rubio in my residency state of Florida promised to do if he announces, that Senator Cruz would resign from the Senate to run for president. Then we could remove two jackasses from that institution.

  • 65. SoCal_Dave  |  April 10, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Said the man who is trying to implement christian sharia law. :-Z

  • 66. Steve84  |  April 12, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Just look at his father and you'll see where his insanity comes from.

  • 67. DeadHead  |  April 10, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Awesome photo! President Obama Shoots a Rainbow From His Hand in Jamaica White House photographer Pete Souza caught this incredible shot of President Obama departing Jamaica. Beautiful. Massive.

  • 68. F_Young  |  April 10, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    The freedom of religion argument could actually make gay marriage opponents more tolerant

    …our research has identified a fascinating silver lining. We find that evangelical Christians who are exposed to claims about religious rights actually become more willing to extend First Amendment rights to their ideological opponents. That is, the campaign to reinforce religious liberty might actually increase political tolerance in the long run.

    …..Why would this occur? We argue that claiming a constitutional right for your side is an acknowledgement of minority status and a plea for recognition, equal status, and protection. And by making these issues salient, our experiment may have led these evangelicals to become more sensitive to the minority status and the rights of other groups as well.

    This is an interesting article based on a novel experiment.

  • 69. F_Young  |  April 10, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Conversations with My Mom About Gay Conversion Therapy

    Mom held out hope well into the 2000s that I would change my mind and do conversion therapy, and it ruined our relationship for years.

    …..Now gay kids who don't want to wait until they're 18, gay kids who can't lie to their parents, or gay kids who can't just up and move have something to say to parents who try to force them into conversion therapy programs. They can say, "Mom, the president says that can cause substantial harm."

    It's a lot harder to torture and misinform gay kids than it used to be. Thanks, Mr. President.

  • 70. ianbirmingham  |  April 11, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Dan Savage is always a great read! My favorite Dan Savage response is this one, in which Dan very cleverly advises HOTTY while still complying with his lawyer's requirements:

  • 71. Zack12  |  April 10, 2015 at 8:36 pm
    An article about the 5th circuit.
    I hope they're wrong about that.
    It would be nice to have a positive ruling to counter the one from the 8th.

  • 72. VIRick  |  April 10, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Without question, my favorite quote from that article is:

    "Daniel McNeel Lane Jr., who represents two same-sex couples challenging Texas’ marriage ban, stated, 'Marriage equality in Texas this summer could be a hot mess, but who doesn’t like a hot mess?'”

  • 73. F_Young  |  April 10, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Article: “I thought that the 5th Circuit would want to have its voice heard … and we would not have to have the Supreme Court drag us kicking and screaming like bitter-enders to marriage equality, but it appears that’s the way it will have to occur,” said Lane, a partner with Akin Gump Srauss Hauer & Feld in San Antonio. “In a case involving a fundamental constitutional right, the court shouldn’t be waiting around. The court should have its voice heard, and it’s a pity that that hasn’t happened yet.”

    I'm rather surprised that a lawyer from a law firm, as opposed to a LGBT advocacy group, would make a public statement critical of a Court of Appeals before which he would normally have to appear again several times in his career.

  • 74. Sagesse  |  April 11, 2015 at 8:32 am

    I saw this article at the time. It didn't seem to provoke much of a media response. Was hoping they were just trying to nudge the 5th circuit panel into responding, but with the passage of time, I suspect they have sources that the rest of us don't.

  • 75. ReadLearn  |  April 12, 2015 at 1:38 am

    I agree.The 5th isn't going to rule before SCOTUS.

  • 76. kohltd  |  April 11, 2015 at 12:47 am

    Completely off topic – does anyone know what's going on with the 5th Circuit's decision? Is it on hold pending SCOTUS or are we still expecting them to rule?

  • 77. scream4ever  |  April 11, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Since they have not indicated they're putting it on hold we should still expect them to rule.

  • 78. Sagesse  |  April 11, 2015 at 5:59 am

    Not sure this means anything at all… a peek inside the minds of the religious right.

    Leading Christian Conservative Wants You to Start Fasting to Stop Gay Marriage [Daily Beast]

  • 79. Sagesse  |  April 11, 2015 at 6:10 am

    How to think about government coercion. Good read.

    Conservatives used to love government coercion — when it helped ban gay marriage [The Week]

  • 80. Steve84  |  April 11, 2015 at 7:19 am

    They always love Big Government when it suits their needs. See also abortion or sex-education.

    But I've generally stopped taking Americans seriously on this topic. Way too many are just opposed to government action for silly ideological reasons rather than anything based in reality. It's not as as the "hands off" approach has led to a better society. Very much the contrary.

  • 81. Sagesse  |  April 11, 2015 at 6:21 am

    This site requires registration, but permits up to five free articles a month.

    Michigan Firm Stays Out of Gay Marriage Case [National Law Journal]
    Appellate attorney defends state's same-sex ban on his own time.

    "The private-practice lawyer who will defend Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage before the U.S. Supreme Court is working independently from his firm, Warner Norcross & Judd, which declined to get involved in the litigation.

    "John Bursch (left), Michigan’s solicitor general from 2011 to 2013, rejoined Grand Rapids-based Warner Norcross last year as a partner. After the Supreme Court accepted the challenge to the Michigan law and three similar cases this term, Warner Norcross’ management committee voted to stay out of the litigation, according to Douglas Wagner, the firm's managing partner.

    “We refused to take the case when it was tendered to us,” Wagner told The National Law Journal this week. “It’s one of those issues where I think there are strong emotions on both sides. With over 7,000 active clients and almost 500 people at the firm, we’ve got people on both sides of the issue.”

    "A majority of Warner Norcross’ 120-lawyer partnership agreed to allow Bursch to take the case on his own, without using firm resources, Wagner said. Bursch remains co-chairman of the firm’s appellate litigation.

    "The firm’s divide over whether to get involved in the case highlights how unpopular it has become for large corporate firms to oppose gay marriage. That’s in contrast with same-sex marriage appellate advocates, who, within their large firms, take pride in working on cases pro bono. Ropes & Gray partner Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, for instance, will argue against the states in the cases this year. The list of firms and lawyers on amicus briefs this year in support of same-sex marriage reads like a who's who of large appellate practices."

  • 82. Sagesse  |  April 11, 2015 at 6:29 am


    Michigan AG's legal team defends fight to uphold same-sex marriage ban []

  • 83. Sagesse  |  April 12, 2015 at 4:52 am

    And the New York Times weighs in. Adam Liptak notes that there are no top tier legal scholars, lawyers or firms represented in the amicus briefs in support of the states.

    The Case Against Gay Marriage: Top Law Firms Won’t Touch It

    Oddly, the article omits reference to Gene Schaerr, who left his mid-tier DC law firm to represent the state of Utah. It does quote Ryan Anderson, who is not a lawyer, but is a protege of Robert George and seems to have become his surrogate spokesperson.

  • 84. Sagesse  |  April 11, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Take that, AL Chief Judge Roy Moore :).

    Gay marriage advocates cite statistics on marriage licenses to bolster bid for class-action suit []

    "In Friday's court filing, the lawyers for the plaintiffs cited an Associated Press story reporting that probate judges issued at least 545 marriage licenses to same-sex couples from Feb. 9 to March 3 during a window when gay marriages were legal in the state."

    This too is Alabama. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

  • 85. VIRick  |  April 11, 2015 at 10:46 am

    That figure of 545 marriage licenses is actually based on information released by the state of Alabama itself. Here's my edited report concerning it, as already posted on another website:

    MONTGOMERY, AL — According to a report released today, 10 April 2015, there were at least 545 same-sex couples who married during the three weeks (23 days) that same-sex marriage was allowed in Alabama. The preliminary numbers were compiled by the Alabama Department of Public Health, and the tally reflects marriages that occurred from 9 February 2015 through 3 March 2015. The director of the Alabama Center for Health Statistics, Catherine Molchan Donald, said county probate courts send completed marriage license forms back to the state after a couple actually marries.

    Same-sex couples began marrying in Alabama on 9 February, after a federal judge overturned the state’s same-sex marriage ban. The marriages were halted late in the day on 3 March when the Alabama Supreme Court ordered county probate judges to stop issuing the licenses. However, very quietly, the various state departments in Alabama continue to recognize these 545 marriages as valid, as well as any other legal same-sex marriage performed out-of-state.

  • 86. Sagesse  |  April 11, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Three takeaways from Indiana religious freedom law frenzy [Washington Blade]

  • 87. jpmassar  |  April 11, 2015 at 10:48 am


    Guam's attorney general said Friday she's "deferring answering further questions on the issue of gay marriage until a later time."

    Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson's comment to Pacific Daily News came a day after she issued a public statement that the island's health department "was acting in compliance with Guam law" when it denied a same-sex couple's application for a marriage license on Wednesday…

    In a statement issued Thursday, Barrett-Anderson said "whether Guam's statutes will stand or fail will soon be definitely decided by the Supreme Court of the United States for our entire nation and upon that decision Guam will abide."

  • 88. Nyx  |  April 11, 2015 at 3:57 pm


  • 89. F_Young  |  April 11, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Gay Marriage Is the Best Traditionalists Could've Hoped For
    The most potent threat to marriage was always that secular society might abandon it. Now many are persuaded that it is a timeless human right.

    The rapid legalization of same-sex marriage has, I think, been better for traditionalists than would all plausible alternatives in a society where gays are out-and-loved rather than closeted-or-persecuted.

    …..What if instead they'd demanded mere tax benefits, hospital visitation, and other material concessions like what has been called "civil unions"? Had that happened, civil unions would've quickly spread from gays to non-traditionalist straights. With the spread of civil unions, all continuity with the past would've been lost. A full break with traditional marriage would've been upon us.

    Instead, a culturally influential minority is now included in marriage, so it remains the default way that couples join; religious people are as free as ever to marry in a fully traditional sense; and secular straights retain more traditional aspects and attitudes than they would if they'd switched over to a new paradigm of coupledom.

  • 90. ianbirmingham  |  April 11, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    It is indeed a timeless human right. However, the traditionalists still have much more change to swallow. The next great revolution will be polyamorous marriage (aka "dyadic networks"):

  • 91. F_Young  |  April 11, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Catholic Church ‘will pay price’ for stance on gay marriage

    Sociologist Dr Richard O’Leary told the conference there was a danger of a “smaller, more anti-gay” church emerging from the public debate in relation to the referendum.

    …..Church of Ireland bishop of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory Michael Burrows said he was supporting a yes vote in the referendum and referred to gay rights as “the great justice issue of our time”.

    “I have come to believe that the rights of gay people have become, very properly, the great justice issue of our time just as the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of women were in the past.

    …..Trinity College vice-provost Prof Linda Hogan said there were no theological impediments to gay people marrying.

    "…abolition of slavery and the emancipation of women…"
    Frankly, I think that's overstating it. Slavery was a much more severe human rights violation, and the issue of the emancipation of women affected and still affects a far greater number of people.

  • 92. 1grod  |  April 11, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    F_: I read this statement differently that you have. It is not a comparison of slavery, women's emancipation, sexual orientation but a comparison of periods of time. In ' our times [THIS generation], what other civil rights issue has been more significant, and likely can be said to be so in some grouping of 'development counties' say OECD [membership of 35 counties] or the G7? OR, given this statement is coming from Ireland, the reference could be understood as applied to only Ireland or the EU…. Take the USA as a specific point of reference, assume that "our times" means a generation or 33 years and mark 1945 post-Second Word World War as the beginning point and1978 as your end point, the Civil Rights Bill [1964] particularly discrimination by race and colour would be seen as centre piece achievement of that generation. Or use 1992 and Romer's beginning in Colorado's ballot initiative as another beginning of THIS generation and 2025 as its end; US Supreme Court decisions in Romer, Lawrence, Windsor and Obergefell are stepping stones to equality in Employment, Accommodation, Access to services surely achieved by the end of this generation – our times. IMO, understood as such. recognition of equality by sexual orientation will be the civil rights achievement of 'our times'. Its achievement is no overstatement.

  • 93. VIRick  |  April 11, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    F_Young, the term, "Church of Ireland," needs to be correctly defined within its proper Irish context: The "Church of Ireland" is an autonomous province of the Anglican communion, and thus, is directly afflliated with the "Church of England." Cashel, Ferns, and Ossory are 3 dioceses of the "Church of Ireland," all located in the southeastern portion of the island.

    The "Church of Ireland" is the second-largest church denomination in the Republic of Ireland and the third largest in Northern Ireland, after the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian churches.

    Trinity College, Dublin, has historically been fully associated with the Anglican "Church of Ireland." The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland forbade its adherents, without permission from their bishop, from attending until 1970.

    Also, the original, historic St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, is "Church of Ireland."

  • 94. F_Young  |  April 11, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    VIRick: "F_Young, the term, "Church of Ireland," needs to be correctly defined…"

    Thanks, Rick. You're a fountain of knowledge.

  • 95. VIRick  |  April 12, 2015 at 12:30 am

    OK, but to be fair, here's the religious denominational preferences for the Republic of Ireland for 2011, by percentage:

    Roman Catholic 89%
    Church of Ireland 3%
    Muslim 1%
    Presbyterian 0.5%
    Other 0.5%
    None 6%

    However, just 72% of people in Ireland believe there is a God. Which appears to suggest there are a good many Catholics in Ireland who don’t believe in God. At the same time, only between 30% and 35% of Irish Catholics now attend mass weekly.

    As I've mentioned elsewhere, in the lead-up to the referendum vote on next month's question of legalizing same-sex marriage in the Republic, the Roman Catholic hierarchy have been mainly preaching to the Presbyterians, as only the RC hierarchy and the Presbyterians appear to be dead-set against the issue (and almost all Presbyterians live on the British side of the border in Northern Ireland, so they won't be voting in the Republic's referendum).

  • 96. F_Young  |  April 11, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    'Praying the gay away': Trauma survivors crusade to ban conversion therapy
    White House’s call to ban ‘reparative’ therapy for minors a welcome change as activists work to stop practice – but industry won’t go down without a fight

    Brinton doubts he will ever completely be free of the trauma. “I’m definitely still processing. The hard part is because it happened long ago, a lot of it is mentally associated into my cognition. Therefore, every single time I shake a man’s hand or get a hug, I’ll have a small amount of shock hit me.

    …..Samantha Ames, staff attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), said research indicated that as many as a third of LGBT people have undergone some form of conversion therapy…

    …..“If you think about it, we’re double-trapped. We can’t got back to therapists because they’re the ones who ‘hurt’ us in the first place. So our mental health access is extremely limited.”

    This is a heartbreaking article. Unfortunately, many of the most traumatic incidents involved religious counsellors who are exempt from the current laws against ex-gay therapy, and would be protected by RFRA.

  • 97. F_Young  |  April 11, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    The Case Against Gay Marriage: Top Law Firms Won’t Touch It

    In dozens of interviews, lawyers and law professors said the imbalance in legal firepower in the same-sex marriage cases resulted from a conviction among many lawyers that opposition to such unions is bigotry akin to racism. But there were economic calculations, too. Law firms that defend traditional marriage may lose clients and find themselves at a disadvantage in hiring new lawyers.

    …..The current attitude among elite lawyers about same-sex marriage grew very quickly, said Kenji Yoshino, a law professor at New York University.

    …..The current climate, Professor McConnell of Stanford said, means that important distinctions are being lost. One is that it is possible to favor same-sex marriage as a policy matter without believing that the Constitution requires it.

  • 98. Sagesse  |  April 12, 2015 at 5:01 am

    I posted this above before I read down to this comment:

    And the New York Times weighs in. Adam Liptak notes that there are no top tier legal scholars, lawyers or firms represented in the amicus briefs in support of the states.

    The Case Against Gay Marriage: Top Law Firms Won’t Touch It….

    Oddly, the article omits reference to Gene Schaerr, who left his mid-tier DC law firm to represent the state of Utah. It does quote Ryan Anderson, who is not a lawyer, but is a protege of Robert George and seems to have become his surrogate spokesperson.

  • 99. FredDorner  |  April 12, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Gene Schaerr is the guy who admitted that he took the case so that Utah could continue to enforce the sharia laws of his bigoted cult. No surprise that his arguments lost in court.

  • 100. F_Young  |  April 12, 2015 at 3:33 am

    'Conversion Therapy' Viewed as 'Quackery' by Gay Man Who Lived It

    Today, Levovitz works with over 800 kids at his nonprofit Jewish Queer Youth. He says that over time, he has seen the climate of acceptance improve for LGBTQ youth in his community. He estimates that 10 years ago, at least 60 percent of the kids in his program, which provides support and community building programs, had undergone some form of conversion or reparative therapy. Today, he thinks the number has gone down to about 30 percent, but he's still concerned, he said.

    "It's quackery," he said. "Every week there are kids who come to my organization traumatized and broken because their families sent them to therapists to try to change them and make them straight."

    This is another example of a number of media articles triggered by Obama's statement.on conversion "therapy."

  • 101. mariothinks  |  April 12, 2015 at 4:22 am

    The truth is, no one knows what the 5th Circuit is going to do until it says so itself. I find it unlikely that the 5th will sit on this expedited case without doing absolutely anything for more than 6 months. If the 5th was set on not doing anything, I don't think they would've held oral arguments on an expedited basis knowing full well that it was likely that SCOTUS was going to take a case after the circuit-split. My guess is that the 5th will publish its opinion one random day when people least expect it.

  • 102. Elihu_Bystander  |  April 12, 2015 at 5:49 am

    "In a statement issued Thursday, Barrett-Anderson said 'whether Guam's statutes will stand or fail will soon be definitely decided by the Supreme Court of the United States for our entire nation and upon that decision Guam will abide.'"
    For Guam, it has already been definitively decided. Guam is in the Ninth Circuit and it is established circuit precedence that bans of marriage of same gender persons is unconstitutional.That precedence was confirmed by Latta v. Otter cert. denied.

  • 103. Sagesse  |  April 12, 2015 at 6:01 am

    Dahlia Lithwick, legal analyst at Slate, hosts a weekly half hour podcast called Amicus. Here, she interviews Paul Smith, who argued Lawrence v Texas, on marriage equality before the Supreme Court.

    Amicus: Marriage Arrives [Slate]

  • 104. Sagesse  |  April 12, 2015 at 6:20 am

    I've been following marriage equality since the Prop 8 trial in 2010. There are legal scholars and analysts who I have have found to be particularly perceptive and enlightening… they add to the discussion, or explain from a different angle. Kenji Yoshino, law professor at New York University, is one of them, and he has a book, Speak Now, coming out April 21 on the Prop 8 trial. For those who enjoy that kind of thing and need something to read :).

  • 105. ianbirmingham  |  April 12, 2015 at 6:29 am

    Kenji is a good analyst, well worth reading. He is well known for this previous work:

  • 106. F_Young  |  April 12, 2015 at 6:44 am

    Complicit as Sin

    Doug NeJaime of the University of California–Irvine and UCLA law schools and Reva Siegel of Yale Law School expose these real origins of the new religious freedom claims in their law review article, “Conscience Wars: Complicity-Based Conscience Claims in Religion and Politics…”

    …..the claim here is not that a religious individual is being forced to do something that violates his religion, such as shaving his beard; it is that he must be free from endorsing or enabling the behavior of others who are engaging in what he sees as sinful behavior.

    …..the new RFRAs may hurt third parties in ways these earlier state and federal RFRAs never quite imagined.

    …..In drafting the federal RFRA, Congress chose not to protect claims of religious freedom that placed a burden on third-party disfavored minorities.

    …..Hobby Lobby was decided largely on Justice Anthony Kennedy’s assurance, on behalf of the majority, that third parties would not be harmed by the accommodation afforded the religious employers: Employees denied contraceptive coverage would supposedly just receive these same benefits from the government. If the costs had fallen very heavily on women, the authors contend, the majority, or at least Kennedy, would have looked at the case quite differently. (As it turned out, Kennedy was probably optimistic.)

    …..The real incubator of the complicity-based claims in Hobby Lobby was the raft of health care refusal laws passed over the past few decades to protect doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who had religious objections to providing any contraception, sterilization, and abortion services.

    …..Siegel and NeJaime detail the myriad harms to third parties that have come about because of the health care exemptions that have been in place for years now. Patients are denied medical services, lose access to prescriptions, may not receive crucial medication, and more, and these refusals may become norms across hospital systems. These refusals legitimize discrimination and stereotypes and also harm human dignity.

  • 107. brchaz  |  April 12, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Cutting to the core here, the article claims that "the new RFRAs may hurt third parties" – but then again, they may not! Pretty flimsy stuff. Beyond that, they recite the familiar litany of "people who support this actually want to go farther", which is the classic red herring argument. This article is all smoke and mirrors. They are furiously spinning facts that don't support their conclusion, and then pointing to an apocalyptic future which exists only in their imagination.

  • 108. Rick55845  |  April 12, 2015 at 8:53 am

    What you are reading above is a Slate article about the law review article by Siegel and NeJaime. Have you read the article itself?

    But in any case, I take it from your comment that you don't agree that these new RFRA's pose a threat to GLBT or others by allowing people to claim religious or conscience-based exemptions to anti-discrimination laws.

  • 109. davepCA  |  April 12, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I don't think that's what brchaz meant. It looks to me like the commenter is pointing out that views such as 'it may or may not cause harm' and 'some people wanted something that would have been even worse for the gays' are in no way a reasonable defense or endorsement of a measure.

  • 110. brchaz  |  April 12, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Yes, that's what I was pointing out, thanks! 🙂

  • 111. Rick55845  |  April 13, 2015 at 5:39 am

    Siegel and NeJaime are neither defending nor endorsing the RFRA laws that incorporate complicity-based conscience exceptions, davep. They are critical of them, saying that including that kind of languate in an RFRA will more likely undermine religious liberty than advance it.

    For a quick recap, read the conclusion section at the end of their article.

  • 112. brchaz  |  April 12, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Yes, the law review article contained more "May" than a truckload of calendars. The law review article admits that SCOTUS is keeping a very sharp eye out for any real third-party harm and that if this harm is found SCOTUS will torpedo any possible harm-causing proposed RFRA accomodations, which just sinks the entire premise of the article. The law review article should have been about healthcare refusal laws vs. public accommodation laws.

  • 113. davepCA  |  April 12, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    "… the law review article contained more "May" than a truckload of calendars. "
    Aha, I see what you did there : )

  • 114. JayJonson  |  April 12, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    brchaz has been drinking the koolaid served up by Maggie Gallagher, who pretends not to like the RFRAs because they don't go far enough. Most legal analysts, including those who signed onto the Columbia University letter about the original Indiana law, know damn well it will hurt third-parties–or at least that that is the very purpose of the law.

  • 115. weshlovrcm  |  April 13, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Every anti-gay pressure group and anti-gay "Christian" has been screaming that these "laws" must be in place so as to avoid serving lgbt taxpayers. Their very words tell us that this is the sole purpose of these new Jim Crow laws.

  • 116. Sagesse  |  April 12, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Catholic school boards across the US are adding sweeping 'morality clause' restrictions on teachers. Perhaps I've just missed it, but this creeping brand of 'religious freedom' infringement on the way citizens (not just teachers, but students) live their lives is troubling. Especially considering that Ohio does not yet have marriage equality. Evidently, teachers in Ohio Catholic schools will be at risk if they choose to exercise their legal right to marry, assuming the 6th circuit decision is overturned.

    Cleveland Diocese adds detailed "morality clause" to high school teachers, too []

    There is a link to a somewhat dated article (May 2014) about the spread of similar 'morality clauses'.

  • 117. Steve84  |  April 12, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    They can get into a trouble for a let less in many places. Merely attending the same-sex wedding of a relative could get you fired. Or saying anything pro-gay at all.

  • 118. davepCA  |  April 12, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    … which is obviously nothing more than blatant anti-gay animus, since they would face no trouble at all if they attend any other kind of wedding that doesn't comply with their religion's beliefs. They can attend a Hindu wedding, a wedding of previously married and divorced people, a wedding of an atheist couple, etc. No problem unless the couple are a same sex couple.

  • 119. bayareajohn  |  April 12, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Well, they would say otherwise, as in if you attended a satanic wedding, or one between an adult and a child, or a woman and a horse, of course of course. Never mind that those things aren't legal anywhere and nobody expects them to be, and aren't part of this discussion. Oh so slippery are the minds of the fearful. Afraid that the thing they most want might become legal, and the temptation would be too much?

  • 120. VIRick  |  April 12, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    North Dakota Republican Legislators Banned from Fargo Coffee Shop

    Joe Curry, one of the worker-owners of the Red Raven Espresso Parlor in Fargo, has posted a newspaper page in the shop showing all 55 Republican state House members who recently rejected a bill that would have prohibited discrimination in North Dakota based on sexual orientation in housing, government, public services, and the workplace. It is accompanied by a large sign saying that these same 55 legislators are henceforth banned from the shop, and are thus being refused service, “Unless accompanied by a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, intersex, or asexual person.”

    I love it, treating them like small children who don't know any better (rather than as the full-blown bigots they really are), and who, therefore, have to be carefully supervised by a proper adult.

  • 121. F_Young  |  April 12, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Here Are 11 LGBT Tax Planning Tips, Courtesy of Marcum's David Glusman

    This is a very useful collection of tax tips for American same-sex couples.

  • 122. Zack12  |  April 12, 2015 at 5:42 pm
    Another reminder of how stupid the logic Sutton and other bigots have used in saying we have to win by changing hearts and minds.
    These bigots don't care to hear anything we have to say, folks like Rep. White are just honest enough to admit it.

  • 123. DeadHead  |  April 13, 2015 at 7:44 am

    Nevada, here they go again… "Refusing to let a federal appeals court ruling in favor of marriage equality be the final word in Nevada, an anti-gay group six months later after the decision has called on the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. In a 32-page petition obtained by the Washington Blade on Saturday, the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage seeks review of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down the Silver State’s prohibition on gay nuptials. The anti-gay group has defended Nevada’s same-sex marriage ban on its own after state officials dropped defense of the law.

    It’s hard to see how the Nevada petition this time around could have much of an impact. The petition has been submitted too late to be fully briefed and heard by the end of the Supreme Court’s current term in June. By that time, the Supreme Court is likely to have rendered a nationwide ruling on the marriage issue as a result of other litigation pending before the Supreme Court.

    Moreover, the Supreme Court likely would deny the petition based on earlier actions turning down the opportunity to review federal appeal courts decision in favor of marriage equality. "

  • 124. A_Jayne  |  April 13, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Seems like easy money for an attorney to draft a petition to the SCOTUS based on what the client's claims are. Simple legal jargon is all that is required, and the bill will be paid because the client wants to keep their "position" in the spotlight for as long as they can. As I said, easy money.

    (The interesting part of the petition is that "suspect class status" for gay people being challenged in it was not set in the 9th Circuit by this case, but by SmithKlein, so challenging it in a case where the precedent was simply applied by the court, and not challenging that status in the case in which it was established seems foolish. Of course, the anti-gay group has even less standing in SmithKlein…)

    The effort will fail, of course, due to multiple precedents set by the current court. But the attorneys will get paid…

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