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Open thread


Open thread for discussion.


  • 1. jpmassar  |  October 21, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Dr. Ben Carson said Wednesday that the Supreme Court's June ruling making same-sex marriage legal around the country is the worst decision by the high court in the past 20 years.

  • 2. jjcpelayojr  |  October 21, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Pretty sure "Citizens United" still holds top spot…

  • 3. Dal_i_gredu  |  October 21, 2015 at 10:42 am

    My vote would be for Bush v Gore as the worst decision.

  • 4. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 21, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Many doctors, nurses, administrators, technicians, etc., that I have talked to at Johns Hopkins Hospital, consider Carson to be a brilliant surgeon. Otherwise, they don't say anything about him.

    (I go to JHH because of the inherited corneal disease I have (FECD). Hopkins is a world leader in the study of the disease.)

    When medical people don't say anything about an aspect of a person they know, it is not a complement.

  • 5. JayJonson  |  October 21, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    On his retirement, he was selected by Johns Hopkins University administrators to give the commencement address for the medical school. The students who were to receive medical degrees rebelled, saying that they would boycott the commencement. Finally, he withdrew. No, he may have been a good surgeon, but he is not very bright and not appropriate for a university medical school, since among other things he does not believe in evolution and holds a host of truly nutty beliefs.

  • 6. davepCA  |  October 21, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Note that he never bothered to try to explain WHY he thought this, or exactly HOW he thinks the Supreme court (or any of those numerous lower courts) made some error in their process of applying constitutional law to this issue and WHAT he thinks they did wrong when they were subjecting the law to standard tests for determining constitutional compliance of a law. A rather glaring omission that renders his statement unsupported and irrelevant.

    And his other remarks about 'religious freedom' would imply that he's just another 'willfully confused' politician, pandering to his base by spewing baseless rhetoric that conflates religious concepts of "Holy Matrimony" with the actual topic of legal civil marriage and the civil laws which regulate it.

  • 7. JuliHIA  |  October 21, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Apart from Dr. Carson's appalling views, I think it's just strange that he would up and run for president of the United States without ever having held any other elected office at all. Not the school board, city council, state legislature – nada, nothing, zip! Suppose I walked into Johns Hopkins and said "I'm a chef, but I want to be head of surgery now." How do you think that would fly? Leader of our nation is not a popularity contest (Mr Trump, Ms. Palin…). You actually should have been a public servant and know how government works. A degree in political science or law would be a plus as well.

  • 8. Randolph_Finder  |  October 23, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Every person who has become President of the United States has previously served in 1 of 6 positions: VP, US Senator, US Representative, Member of a presidential Cabinet, Governor, General in the US Army.

    (Frankly, Eisenhower's position in 1943-1944 as commander of SHAPE was frankly as much Diplomatic as Military)

  • 9. RnL2008  |  October 22, 2015 at 10:55 am

    In my opinion, Dr. Ben Carson ISN'T qualified to be running for President of the Unite States as he is NOT willing to be the President for EVERY American Citizen, just the ones who believe as he does……in fact, Cruz, Huckabee, Paul and Trump AREN'T qualified to be President EITHER!!!

    Frankly, I hope that Bernie Sander's NOT only wins the Democrat Nomination, but pulls off the win for the White House. I think he has spent the last few years LISTENING to the wants of the American people, but I believe he could make the changes NECESSARY for this Country to regain it's status……JMPO 🙂

  • 10. RobW303  |  October 23, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Carson's professional competency is solely in brain surgery, certainly not in law. So his opinion is worth what?

  • 11. RnL2008  |  October 23, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Already stated…..NOT much!!!

  • 12. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 21, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    A rebuke to kim davis.

    And a change in LDS philosophy on GLBT rights?

  • 13. davepCA  |  October 21, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    An interesting development but I don't trust it one bit. The part about Kim Davis is fine, but regarding his comments about LGBT rights overall, it reeks of financial expediency and PR rather than a real, demonstrable change in actions. Especially when you look at his final comment:

    "On the big issues that divide adversaries on these issues, both sides should seek a balance, not a total victory."

    Just what exactly do you suppose he thinks LGBT citizens ought to be doing to 'seek a balance' between having their fundamental rights recognized and NOT having their fundamental rights recognized?

  • 14. JuliHIA  |  October 21, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    No. The LDS 12th article of faith states: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." So the LDS church did everything they could to keep marriage equality from becoming the law in the first place, but now that it is, they can't do anything about it. They still won't recognize same sex marriages in their church, but won't get in the way of the government recognizing them.

  • 15. VIRick  |  October 21, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    "…. but won't get in the way of the government recognizing them."

    Until they mysteriously find another set of golden tablets under a rock unequivocally commanding them to keep out of the way of government recognition in every conceivable aspect, I won't accept this abrupt reversal of the cult's singular dogma.

    Remember, the hard-core of the LDS still can not accept the "apparition" which caused their peculiar dogma to flip from "one man, many women" to "one man, one woman." And that "apparition" occurred well over 100 years ago. Just ask the residents of Hillsdale UT or Fredonia AZ.

  • 16. Eric  |  October 21, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    They certainly had no problem getting in the way of government recognition of marriages with Prop 8. Nor, did they have a problem with getting in the way of the legal marriages that occurred in Utah.

    We know them by their fruit, not their lies.

  • 17. JuliHIA  |  October 21, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Exactly. The letter of the law is strong here – do everything they can to stop it from being the law, but once it is, they're screwed. Their fruit is rotten, have no doubt. I'm just saying, no one should think what Oaks is saying is any kind of change, softening. It isn't

  • 18. Zack12  |  October 21, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Not to mention their antics in Hawaii.
    The horror show we saw with marriage equality there also took place when civil unions (the things the bigots said they would be okay with us having) were being debated.
    Bottom line, it's the pot calling the kettle black.

  • 19. Randolph_Finder  |  October 23, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    But what we *haven't* seen is after the Supreme Court ruled *any* sort of games in terms of not performing marriages. Support of Prop 8 *was* legal.

    Basically what I'm reading from this is that if Kim Davis were a Latter Day Saint, not only wouldn't the church support her in *any* way, she would be likely to face discipline within the Church as well.

  • 20. Eric  |  October 23, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Prop 8 unconstitutionally eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry. That doesn't sound like honoring nor sustaining the law.

    In Utah, litigation has had to continue to get birth certificates amended.

    The LDS are dishonest in their claims, when compared to their actions.

  • 21. Randolph_Finder  |  October 23, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Until the Supreme Court ruled on Prop 8, it was *quite* reasonable and appropriate from the standpoint of the law to call it legal.

    Owning a slave in 1830 Georgia was legal.

    Can you give me a link on the amendment of birth certificates?

  • 22. VIRick  |  October 24, 2015 at 12:44 am

    "Can you give me a link on the amendment of birth certificates?"

    The case is "Roe v .Patton," and it was just decided a few days ago:

    Utah: Married Lesbian Couple Wins Court Battle To Have Both Their Names On Child’s Birth Certificate

    On 19 October 2015, the state of Utah has relented in a lawsuit brought by a married lesbian couple seeking to have both of their names on the birth certificate of their child.

    In a joint agreement filed in US District Court, the ACLU of Utah and the Utah Attorney-General’s Office acknowledged that Kami and Angie Roe had received a birth certificate that included Angie Roe’s name as a parent of their child, Lucy. Lawyers for the two sides also agreed to make the judge’s injunction permanent, effectively ending the case. The joint stipulation could also apply to other same-sex couples in Utah, noting: “The Court further ordered that if Defendants continue to enforce Utah Code Ann §§ 78B-15-201(2)(e), 78B-15-703 and § 78B-15-704, with respect to male spouses of women who give birth through assisted reproduction with donor sperm, they must also apply the statute equally to female spouses of women who give birth through assisted reproduction with donor sperm.”

  • 23. David_Las_Cruces_NM  |  October 22, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Oaks is a self-deceived hypocrite who demands respect for his unsubstantiated personal opinions (i.e., religious beliefs) but refused to treat his neighbors with the same dignity and respect he demands for himself and his ilk. His club hurt children. Why have we seen no effort to "Repent" for the emotional pain and financial harm that Mormon leaders caused individuals and families, especially families with minor children? Are Mormons exempt from their own dogma (Repentance) if they cause emotional pain and financial hardship only to their neighbors who do not believe the same religious myths that they do?

    I have more respect for a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan than I have for hypocrites like Oaks, because at least the Klan leader will tell you straight up that he is a bigot.

    (The author formerly was known as David from Midvale UT.)

  • 24. 1grod  |  October 22, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Mike: Mormons stand against public official Kim Davis

  • 25. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 22, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    The Mormons and Westboro church not for her position on the GLBT issue, but how she is presenting the issue.

  • 26. Randolph_Finder  |  October 23, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    This doesn't seem to be a complete sentence…

  • 27. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 23, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    You ALWAYS talk or comment in complete sentences?


  • 28. weaverbear  |  October 21, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    As long as the LDS church gets out of my way in this larger civil society where we allegedly have separation of Church and State, I'm OK with this live and let live attitude with regard to the larger civil society.

    Not a Mormon here, and I have no desire to have them try to interfere with my personal civil rights. If they wish to not have same gender couples marry within their church, SO BE IT. That affects LGBT Mormons and the people that love them. I do not and should not have a personal say in that matter as I AM NOT A MORMON. That personal pain is for the Mormon faithful to work out.

    Do not misunderstand me here. I'm still roaringly angry with the Mormon and Catholic hierarchies for trying to impose their will as they did 7 years ago with the drive to Prop 8 here in California. I wish it had cost them their non-profit tax exempt status in California, if not the whole country.

    What those hierarchies are likely learning here, is that if they do not change, and stop scapegoating and abusing the LGBT community, the younger generations in their pews have been and will continue to leave and worship elsewhere. There are a growing number of denominations where we are (and for some, traditionally have been) welcomed. (and by the way, of the three couples that challenged Hawaii's ban back in the mid-90's, two had already had religious marriages under the care of Honolulu Friends Meeting – aka, the Quakers.)

  • 29. Eric  |  October 21, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    But, by their actions, they don't want a live and let live attitude. They want or actively work to maintain public accommodation exemptions for their anti-gay animus.

  • 30. David_Las_Cruces_NM  |  October 22, 2015 at 9:28 am

    When Mormon leaders denied full membership benefits to individuals with African ancestry, the racist bigotry affected only individuals who wanted to be members of their club.

    Starting with Hawaii's Future Today, Mormon leaders engaged in political activity designed to denigrate and vilify same-sex couples. This political activity has nothing to do with protecting so-called traditional marriage. Mormons or other individuals were not being told that they could not have traditional marriages celebrated in any way that their dogma requires. This political activity served one and only one purpose: to denigrate and vilify what the Mormons call "same-sex attraction," to prevent society from recognizing that homosexuality is a normal and natural variant of human sexuality.

    No rational person gives a flying rodent flatus if Mormon leaders celebrate same-sex marriages in their clubs (or treat women as second-class members, or brainwash little children to believe that a sexual predator restored the One and Only True Church).

    But when Mormon leaders used a political process to deny the benefits and protections of secular government to individuals and families, especially families with minor children, they crossed the line and should be ashamed of their bigoted behavior.

  • 31. 1grod  |  October 21, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    OT: Tolerance in Alabama: –

  • 32. itscoldoutside  |  October 22, 2015 at 5:54 am

    The Constitutional Court of Slovenia has unfortunately just allowed the referendum on the new law legalizing same-sex marriage to take place. The decision was split 5:4.

    The referendum will take place sometime around Christmas, so the opponents will spin this new law as an attack on family even more. There is no doubt in my mind that it will be repealed.

    And it was such a wonderful opportunity as well. Oh, well.

  • 33. SethInMaryland  |  October 22, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Man they need to remove members of that court soon as possible. I don't understand how the court is so soviet style and government is liberal. I hope they publish a opinion for as why allowing such a referendum.

  • 34. itscoldoutside  |  October 22, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Yeah, I had no idea there were so many conservative justices on the bench. I don't quite understand how that happened as they are appointed for nine years and we haven't had a conservative government for a while now.

    Though the national association of jurists is very conservative so I guess there isn't much choice when selecting a nominee.

  • 35. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I'm seriously hoping for an initiation of impeachment proceedings, though I doubt that will happen…

  • 36. itscoldoutside  |  October 22, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Eh, you win some, you lose some. We don't really do impeachments.

  • 37. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Actually polling has shown that the camp in favour of the law is grown so it'll be a tight race. Hopefully the YES camp will prevail.

    This sucks, I was hoping for at least one more win this year.

  • 38. scream4ever  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:11 am

    We still could get Colombia mind you.

  • 39. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:39 am

    No chance of that, Colombias constitution explicitly defines marriage as between a man and a woman. I wish it weren't so, but it does.

  • 40. SethInMaryland  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Woo did you not miss supreme court review a few months ago? The Columbia supreme court was very skeptical of the marriage ban. They even invited the former supreme court justice of South Africa who wrote the opinion in South Africa's marriage case to give input how to proceed.

  • 41. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    I just don't see how they can over look such an explicit provision? :/

  • 42. Bruno71  |  October 22, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Perhaps they could find that provisions like that are in conflict with other parts of the national Constitution? If the California Supreme Court had any balls (namely Justices George, Kennard, & Werdegar), they would have found proposition 8 in conflict with provisions of the California Constitution that guaranteed equality. The same provisions they used to overrule Prop 22 in the first place.

  • 43. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    I think CASC might have been able to do that, but even then that might have required some contortion of legal logic. It would've been better to bring federal constitutional claims in a state court to pre-empt prop 8. Just as they did in 'Sharpe' (1948).

    In Colombia's case, the provision already existed, I think they'd have to take the Irish route to legalize it.

  • 44. Bruno71  |  October 23, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    It's true it might make a difference in Colombia depending on how the provision was enacted. I imagine it wasn't in their constitution from day one, so if I'm the Colombia SC, I would probably feel OK by saying that when their legislature (or populace, or executive) acted to ban same-sex marriages, they did so in an unconstitutional manner. It is the ACT of passing the law that is unconstitutional. That's very simple, sound logic, and shouldn't be subject to a loophole. I don't see that it should throw any state or national Supreme Court into any type of contortions. It's just that in 2008, the CA SC was too unwilling to "keep stirring the pot," in their own minds.

  • 45. Christian0811  |  October 23, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Interesting that could be a winning argument

  • 46. Randolph_Finder  |  October 23, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Where? There is an english language copy of the constitution that was put into effect in 1991 at… . Was something added to that? (I don't see anything that would ban SSM in there)

  • 47. Christian0811  |  October 23, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Article 42: "…[the family] is formed on the basis of natural or legal ties, by the free decision of a ****man and woman**** to contract matrimony or by their responsible resolve to comply with it."

    Seems to ban marriage equality. I think ot would take an amendment to make it right.

  • 48. VIRick  |  October 23, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    As quoted from my long-story version further down in this thread, Colombia's Constitutional Court has already approved same-sex marriage.

    " In June 2011, Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled Congress had two years (until June 2013) to legalize marriage for same-sex couples …."

    When the Congress failed to act positively within that two-year time-frame, various lower courts, from June 2013, began marrying same-sex couples, as per the Constitutional Court's original 2011 ruling. The Inspector-General of Colombia has challenged these courts' interpretation of the Constitutional Court's 2011 ruling. That is the matter currently under review before the Constitutional Court. In my interpretation, all they have to do is affirm their original ruling from 2011 and the subsequent lower courts' actions in accord with it.

    Perhaps Christian is confusing Colombia with neighboring Ecuador which does have an explicit constitutional ban on same-sex marriage (which, nevertheless, is also being challenged in that nation's highest court by two different parties).

  • 49. Bruno71  |  October 23, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    My understanding at the time it happened in 2011 is that it didn't specify "marriage." It was a more vaguely worded ruling that most thought implied civil unions or domestic partnerships.

  • 50. VIRick  |  October 23, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Bruno, at that point in time, probably so. And to be perfectly honest, my full quote should read:

    " In June 2011, Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled Congress had two years (until June 2013) to legalize marriage for same-sex couples or to provide for an equivalent of marriage."

    So, as a worst-case scenario, let's focus on the latter wording, "to provide for an equivalent of marriage," remembering that the laws in Colombia allow for an incremental build-up of rights and benefits, unlike the USA where is became a hard-and-fast all-or-nothing deal. We also should remember that in Colombia (and other Latin countries) the vast majority of couples (of whatever persuasion) do not legally marry, but rather, simply start living together without any formalities.

    Thus, call it marriage (matrimonio) or civil unions (uniones de hecho) or whatever (cual que quiere), in one country after the other, throughout Latin America, they have been extending ALL of the benefits of marriage to both hetero couples in civil unions, as well as to same-sex couples in civil unions (regardless of the wording in the constitution). Plus, as intense allies, the women's rights movement has been pushing for gender-neutral language throughout, a point that simultneously benefits women, same-sex couples, and transgenders.

    For example, now that Chile's same-sex civil union law has gone into effect, the government of Chile has begun recognizing foreign same-sex marriages, which means that, if they haven't already done so, a LOT of Chilean same-sex couples will cross the near-by border, marry in Argentina, and then return home to full recognition. Done.

    At the same time, same-sex couples from everywhere have been flocking to Uruguay to marry, given that Uruguay will literally marry everyone (of age), regardless of citizenship or actual country of residence.

  • 51. guitaristbl  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Still there is the last safeguard : 20 % of the whole population has to vote to repeal it.

  • 52. itscoldoutside  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:27 am

    This is THE hot-button issue of our time so I have no doubt that the participation won't be any problem for them. They know what's at stake and they will pour all their money bussing people to the ballot box. The logistics are totally different in a small country where this is easily done.

    They did the same thing at the previous referendum. Straight from the Sunday service to the ballot box. Even made a little family holiday out of it. They are beyond contempt and I can't wait to emigrate to leave these god botherers behind.

  • 53. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:41 am

    From Wikipedia

    "A poll conducted by Delo Stik in February 2015 showed that 59% of Slovenians surveyed supported same-sex marriage, while 38% supported adoptions by same-sex couples. The poll also gauged support for the same-sex marriage bill, which was debated in the National Assembly at the time. The results showed that a narrow majority (51%) of Slovenians surveyed supported the bill."

    We're starting off from a good fairly good lead, so we aren't out of luck yet.

  • 54. guitaristbl  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:54 am

    That's why I say that higher turnout is an advantage for our side in this case – lower turnouts only help the bigots. Since the validity is not based on the overall turnout so we should encourage people to abstain but only on the turnout of the side that wants to repeal the law then the YES side has every reason to work hard to get people on the ballot box.

  • 55. guitaristbl  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Well in 2012 they did not get the amount of people needed (see my comment below) and it has been 3 years since 2012. If polls are indicative larger turnout will benefit supporters of equality not the opposite – since the last eurobarometer shows majority support for marriage equality in slovenia. They will have a hard time imo to get 20 % of the whole population to vote no imo.
    And for god's sake stay positive really..There is majority support just get them out to vote, organize yourselves, build campaigns ! You got the government and most parties in the parliament with you so get out there, be aggresive, speak up ! – You don't even need to win the referendum to maintain the law but the numbers are there for you to do so – just get the people to the ballot box ! You are not Slovakia and even they could not get enough people to vote on the "hot button issue".

  • 56. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    My concern is that people will get hung up on the adoption issue

  • 57. guitaristbl  |  October 22, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Yes that is much less popular than marriage equality itself..We'll see. As I said getting 20 % of the electorate to not only vote but vote against equality as well is quite a task for the bigots. If the turnout is about 30 % as in many slovenian referendums (only noticable exception where the EU referendum with 60 % turnout and a 2007 referendum on some privatization or something that had a 57 % turnout) they will have to get more than 65 % of these votes to win – which I find kind of difficult given the polls – even if they are wrong, they cannot be THAT wrong. LGBT activists and supporters in general must be wary of the tactics of the catholic church though and its definite efforts to boost turnout of NO voters.

  • 58. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Hopefully our Slovene brethren have taken notes on combatting the "homosexuality = pedophilia" narrative which is so pervasive in conservative culture (especially in Eastern Europe). Winning the argument in the public forum on that would make for leaps and bounds on adoption rights.

    I also think they need to emphasize the fact that many Christian denominations also support marriage equality in order to counteract "religious freedom" arguments. That has proven crucial in the past to both adoption AND marriage rights. (Eg. How Catholic adoption agencies failed in convincing the public of their plight when they were shuttered due to their habit of discriminating against same sex couples in NY.)

  • 59. JayJonson  |  October 22, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Interesting development in a Virginia transgender rights case in which a student had requested an injunction allowing him to use a school bathroom, but was rejected by an obviously biased judge. Lawyers for Gavin Grimm asked a federal appeals court on Wednesday to reassign his case to a different lower court when it goes trial. Grimm’s attorneys argued that U.S. District Court Judge Robert Doumar, who originally heard the case, has exhibited egregious behavior and holds preexisting views about transgender people and medical science that may compromise his judgement.

    Read more here:

  • 60. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 10:15 am


  • 61. scream4ever  |  October 22, 2015 at 10:46 am

    What the Slovenian Parliament should do is up the minimum voter participation for a referendum to be valid to 50%. Slovakia has similar standards and that's why their marriage ban failed to pass.

  • 62. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:05 am

    In both countries the minimum is 20% turn out

    What they REALLY should do is add sexual orientation as an explicitly protected class and do what Ireland did as well to the constitution.

  • 63. scream4ever  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Nope it's indeed 50%

  • 64. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Oh wow you're right

    So it's only Slovenia that has such a low count required.

    Unfortunately for Slovakia, it didn't matter. There parliament still banned marriage equality in the constitution despite the referendums failure

  • 65. SethInMaryland  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:25 am

    I just hope the government and advocates were preparing just In case the referendum went forward.

  • 66. guitaristbl  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:27 am

    This is an interesting article :

    Among others it says :

    "But the court merely decided on the narrow dispute between the proponents of the referendum and the National Assembly as the authority that issued a referendum ban, providing no substantive guidance as to the admissibility of such a referendum.

    The ruling suggests the National Assembly overreached, as the Constitutional Court is the only authority that can decide on the unconstitutionality of laws in the Slovenian system of the division of powers.

    The gist of the dispute is the very nature of the contested marriage equality changes: they affect about 70 laws, which means the scope of the legislation is significantly beyond the previous Constitutional Court rulings regarding marriage equality.

    "The National Assembly may independently choose how and in which laws it will address an unconstitutionality determined as such by the Court, but if it does so in an indirect way…this cannot constitute grounds to ban a referendum," the ruling reads.

    While thus failing to rule on the substance of the marriage equality referendum, the court nevertheless provided some guidance as to how the complex issue may be resolved in the future.

    It says that in the event a referendum results in legislative solutions that are deemed unconstitutional, such solutions "can be thrown out of the body of laws" through petitions addressed to the Constitutional Court.

    As Mitja Blažič, a prominent gay rights activist said on Twitter, the court has effectively invited the gay community to lodge challenges against 70 separate laws."

    Basically the court said that the parliament had no authority to block the referendum on constitutional grounds – only they can do that. And if the referendum results in an unconstitutional law established or maintained they can strike it down – I guess the gay community can indeed challenge each and every one of these laws should they lose in the referendum.

    Also take a look at this article about referendum rules in Slovenia after the changes in 2013 :

    "Also banned under the amendments will be referendums on legislation needed to implement the national budget and on laws implementing emergency measures for defending the country, dealing with the consequences of natural disasters, ratifying international treaties and fixing unconstitutionalities."

    This last category is what the court disputed – the authority of the legislature to ban a referendum that fixes an unconstitutionality.

    Also pay attention here :

    "The changes are moreover introducing the "rejective referendum" model, under which a law will be defeated if the majority of the valid ballots are against but only under the condition that at least a fifth of all eligible voters vote no. A simple majority was required so far."

    So 20 % of ALL eligible voters have to vote NO. In the last referendum in 2012 the turnout was 30.3 % and 54.55 % voted against expanded registered partnerships – which constitutes 16.4 % of the electorate – under the new rules it would be invalid now.

    Finally :

    "Also, parliament will no longer be banned from adopting similar legislation for a year, but will be allowed to propose an improved bill immediately after a referendum rejection."

    That could also work as a last case scenario if the law is repealed after all.

    Long story short nothing is done yet in Slovenia – bigots have some way to go still. I would encourage supporters of equality to be active and get out there to do some campaigning – polls show that they can even win the referedum if they are able to get people to vote. But even if they lose it the opponents need a very strong turnout as well to repeal the law.

  • 67. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:47 am

    What a relief!!! The constitutional court has an otherwise good history on gay rights, perhaps a new petition can be launched now.

  • 68. guitaristbl  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:51 am

    A new petition now on what ? Challenging the constitutionality of the 70 or so laws that need to be changed for marriage equality to come ? I guess so but the article gives me the impression that a complain has to be filed against each one of these laws seperately – it could result in absolute chaos. But I guess it would be the only option if the law is repealed after all. The only other solution comes from the last paragraph I quoted – The parliament could follow Portugal's deficient marriage law and remove the adoption provisions – shameful as it is then it would have more of a chance to be approved – and then possibly the adoption provisions alone could be challenged in the constitutional court.

    P.S. This court does not seem to me as having any good disposition towards lgbt rights..

  • 69. itscoldoutside  |  October 22, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Honestly, the disposition if this court towards any matter is the same as the one of the German Constitutional Court.

    And I agree that throwing out the adoption part would be the thing to do. It's this part that annoys them. They're convinced we'll be coming for their children in droves.

  • 70. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    The Supreme Court decision Decision No. II Ips 462/2009-9 of 28 January 2010 recognized the lack of an explicit prohibition of same sex adoptions and that adoption orders should only consider the best interests of the child.

    There is executive guidance to that effect too.

  • 71. Christian0811  |  October 22, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Ruling U-I-425/06 held that same sex couples deserve the same rights as heterosexuals and that sexual orientation is covered as an "other status" under the equal protection provision.

  • 72. VIRick  |  October 22, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Slovenia: Constitutional Court Allows Referendum to Repeal Same-Same Marriage

    The haters in Slovenia have convinced the Constitutional Court that despite a recently-adopted ban on voting on human rights, there will be a national referendum to repeal same-sex marriage. Via Agence France-Presse:

    The court’s decision comes after parliament in March 2015 adopted a bill giving same-sex couples the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples. A conservative group close to the centre-right opposition Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), and backed by the Catholic Church, had contested the law. The group gathered enough signatures to trigger a referendum. But Slovenia’s parliament had halted the initiative in its tracks, claiming it was unconstitutional given that marriage, heterosexual or same-sex, is a basic right.

    Today, 22 October 2015, the Constitutional Court struck down parliament’s bid to prevent a popular vote. Under Slovenian law, any group that gathers 40,000 signatures within a month’s time can take a motion to referendum. Slovenia’s total population is estimated at around 2 million. Should more than 20 percent of the electorate take part in the referendum, and a majority of them vote against the law, it will eventually be scrapped.

    Related: The European Union currently has 28 members. Same-sex marriage is legal in 12 of them: Belgium, Denmark, Finland (effective 2017), France, Ireland (effective late 2015), Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland}. Civil unions are legal in 7 EU nations: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia (effective 2016), Germany, Hungary, and Malta. No partnership recognitions exist in 9 EU nations: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. Non-EU members Norway and Iceland legalized same-sex marriage in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

  • 73. guitaristbl  |  October 23, 2015 at 7:12 am

    On the countries with no recognition : The partnership bill will be discussed by the end of october by the cypriot legislature and a civil union bill has been introduced to the italian senate. Both are expected to pass even if it will take some time in Italy with the shennanigans of the conservative parties. In Cyprus all parties have agreed on the bill so it could even pass unanimously if there are no dissenters breaking ranks with their party.
    A bill is expected to be introduced in Greece as well, most probably by the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016 – It enjoys the support of the major left wing governmental partner SYRIZA as well as 3 other center or center left parties (PASOK, The River, Union of Centrists) and certain MPs of the official right wing opposition New Democracy while it is opposed by the right wing minor governmental partner Independent Greeks, the Communist Party of Greece and the far right neo nazi Golden Dawn party, so it will pass quite easily as well when introduced.
    Both Latvia and Lithuania are making efforts to introduce such laws but it has been challenging till now. It is worth noting that Latvia is the first post soviet country to have an openly gay minister.
    In Poland a bill was recently shot down – there is little to no hope there for now – there is no major left wing party, the two major parties are right wing and center right.
    Slovakia recently had the referendum which was of course declared invalid but the socialist government does not seem too interested to introduce a partnership bill even if they said it should be done after the referendum technically failed. The constitutional ban on marriage equality is active though anyway.
    As for Romania and Bulgaria, they still have a long way to go till such things are discussed I believe…

  • 74. allan120102  |  October 22, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    I knew that the constitutional court of Slovenia would allow the referendum. Knew it from the start had a gut feeling and sadly it became true. I just hopw that slovenian vote in favor of equality but would nit hold my breath after the referendum in croatia I have not a lot of faith. Anyways the Colombian supreme court is really liberal like the Mexican supreme court in terms of lgbt rights. Will expect a 5-4 decision allowing ssm from them.

  • 75. VIRick  |  October 22, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Mexico's 11 Supreme Court Justices are so liberal on LGBT issues that we can almost guarantee that we will receive a minimum of 9 votes in each case, but often times we obtain 10. Only one Justice consistently votes against us.

    The problem in Mexico resides lower down in the food chain outside the judiciary, given the federal system and the codified laws. State legislators have been exceedingly slow in revising the state codes to eliminate the unconstitutional marriage bans, while state governors have rarely exercised their power in issuing executive orders overturning the same unconstitutional marriage bans, given that, so far, only 2 of 31 have done so. As the alternative, it requires 5 injunctions (amparos) on the same matter in a given state before that state's law is held in abeyance.

  • 76. Randolph_Finder  |  October 23, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Just trying to figure out what the US would look like with a Supreme Court with as little power as the Mexican Supreme Court has.

  • 77. allan120102  |  October 23, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    I thought some states have already surpass the 5 injuctions need but still not marry ss couples. Ex Oaxaca and I think Mexico state. Can you explain that to me VIRick? Would really appreciate it.

  • 78. VIRick  |  October 24, 2015 at 1:34 am

    Mexico is comprised of 32 jurisdictions. Five have legalized same-sex marriage, either legislatively or by executive order: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Federal District, Guerrero, Quintana Roo. Additionally, at the present moment, at least seven more states in Mexico have hit or surpassed the required 5 amparos. They are:

    Baja California

    As a result, and because authorities are no longer obfuscating, same-sex couples are marrying without amparo in Baja California, Colima, Nayarit, and Querétaro. Presumably, authorities in both Michoacán (with at least 26 amparos granted) and Morelos (with at least 7) will soon relent. Yucatán, though, (with at least 10) is still a problem.

    Both Oaxaca (4 amparos for 42 couples) and State of Mexico (1 amparo for 4 couples) have had their state constitution's marriage bans declared unconstitutional by Mexico's Supreme Court. Since early June 2015, all jurisdictions are under court orders to provide for marriage equality, and most have had legislative proposals introduced into their state congresses in order to comply. It just takes an ungodly length of time, and an excess of political maneuvering among the three major political parties, for the petty state legislators to act upon said measures. Personally, I wish the various state governors would simply exercise their power to issue executive orders, and be done with it, as happened in Chihuahua and Guerrero.

    Still, we need to remember that since August 2010, same-sex marriages performed within Mexico (and abroad) are recognized by all 31 states without exception, and that fundamental spousal rights (such as alimony payments, inheritance rights, and the coverage of spouses by the federal social security system) also apply to married same-sex couples throughout. As a result, during the past 5 years, because it was so far ahead of every other jurisdiction, thousands of same-sex couples from all over Mexico have already gotten married in the Federal District (and continue to do so).

    Thus, only the timing of the resolution of the performance issue in the remaining 20 states is yet to be determined. Inevitably, they will all fall into line,– at some point in the future,– one after the other.

  • 79. VIRick  |  October 22, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    As for Colombia, I quote from an entry dated 2 July 2014, in my cached archives on another site:

    " In June 2011, Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled Congress had two years (until June 2013) to legalize marriage for same-sex couples or to provide for an equivalent of marriage. As Congress failed to pass a marriage equality bill during that interval, the courts then began approving marriages themselves. However, the country's Inspector-General requested the Court invalidate all such marriages approved in Colombia. As a result, to date, from June 2013, only 30 same-sex couples have been given a marriage license in Colombia.

    That brings us to this:

    Same-Sex Marriage Cases before Colombia's Constitutional Court

    Two U.S. legal groups on 24 April 2014 filed briefs with Colombia’s highest court that urge it to recognize two same-sex couples’ right to marry. The New York City Bar Association cites last year’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings that struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 in a brief filed with the South American country’s Constitutional Court on behalf of Luis Felipe Rodríguez Rodas and Edward Soto of Cali and Julio Albeyro Cantor Borbón and William Alberto Castro of Bogotá who challenged Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez Maldonado’s efforts to nullify their unions. It also notes that no federal court in the USA has ruled in support of state gay marriage bans since the landmark decisions. The brief the Impact Litigation Project at American University, Washington College of Law, in D.C. filed with the Constitutional Court also cites the U.S. Supreme Court’s DOMA and Prop 8 rulings. It additionally refers to marriage decisions in Massachusetts, South Africa, Brazil and Spain that upheld the “human dignity” of same-sex couples. “Marriage provides dignity to married couples, dignity that unmarried couples cannot access,” reads the brief. “This reasoning is even more clear when the decision appeals to the humiliation that children of same-sex couples whose marriages are not recognized suffer.”

    The Constitutional Court of Colombia originally ruled in June 2011 that same-sex couples could legally register their relationships in two years' time (commencing from June 2013) if Colombian lawmakers did not pass a bill that would extend to them the same benefits heterosexuals receive through marriage. The Colombian Senate in April 2013 overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would have allowed gays and lesbians to tie the knot.

    A handful of same-sex couples have exchanged vows in the country since the Constitutional Court’s deadline passed in June 2013. Ordóñez has petitioned the tribunal to overturn rulings that allowed them to marry.

    Rodríguez and Soto in June 2013 applied for a marriage license in Cali, but a notary rejected it on the grounds he did not have the authority to allow same-sex couples to marry. A judge subsequently ruled in favor of the men, but Ordóñez challenged the decision.

    A Bogotá judge in July 2013 married Cantor and Castro after a court in the Colombian capital granted them a marriage license. Ordóñez two months later petitioned the Constitutional Court to block the union.

    Cantor and Castro and Rodríguez and Soto specifically referenced the Constitutional Court’s June 2011 ruling in their petitions that urge it to recognize their right to marry. The Constitutional Court on 1 April 2014 announced it would consider the couples’ cases. It specifically asked government agencies to state whether they allow same-sex couples to marry or if they prevent them from doing so. The Constitutional Court also said it would accept amicus briefs and other submissions.

    From Wikipedia:

    Colombia has no laws providing for same-sex marriage. However, as a result of subsequent rulings by the country's Constitutional Court that started in February 2007, same-sex couples can apply for all the rights that heterosexual couples have in de facto unions (uniones de hecho). According to the 1991 Constitution, "de facto unions" are legally equal to marriages.

    A couple will be regarded as a de facto union after living together for two years. A union can be either registered or unregistered; both have the same status, but the registered union may provide greater convenience when accessing rights. A union can be registered through a public deed before a notary or a judge.

    Same-sex couples have been getting married due to a Constitutional Court ruling that in 2011 established the family status of same-sex couples, and remarked the need for a "solemn contract" that would grant the same advantages to those couples as to opposite sex couples. The National Congress did not correct the discrepancy. Since 2013, judges have to use their discretion on the matter, with many of them performing same sex marriages, despite opposition from conservative groups and the Inspector-General .

  • 80. VIRick  |  October 22, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Chile: New Civil Unions Law Takes Effect

    Chile’s new civil unions law goes into effect today, 22 October 2015. In Chile, a new law comes into force which will make it easier for unmarried co-habiting couples to co-own property and make medical decisions. The law will apply to both heterosexual and same-sex couples. Government spokesman Marcelo Diaz said the law “was unthinkable a few years ago” in Chile, one of the most socially conservative countries in the region. Gay rights advocates say they hope it is a first step on the road towards allowing same-sex marriages. Co-habiting couples who register under the new law will be able to claim pension benefits and inherit property if their civil partner dies. It will also make it easier for people to get custody of their partner’s child if he or she dies.

    The Law for All Families was passed in January 2015 after years of lobbying by activists. Officials said 1,600 couples had already signed up to register their unions. The Chilean government will have extra staffers on hand today to handle the proceedings as registrars are on strike over an unrelated matter.

    Quite importantly, too, given Chile's geographic position in relation to Argentina, a country which has had marriage equality since 2010, the Chilean government now recognizes the marriages of gays and lesbians that were legally performed outside the country. – See more at:

    Related: Elsewhere in South America, same-sex marriage is legal in Argentina, Brasil, French Guiana, and Uruguay. Same-sex civil unions are legal in Colombia and Ecuador (and now in Chile). A same-sex marriage lawsuit is pending before the Venezuelan Supreme Court. Homosexual acts remain illegal in Guyana, but nowhere else on the continent.

    A second piece of legislation is already currently pending on legalizing marriage for same-sex couples in Chile.

  • 81. VIRick  |  October 22, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Irish Marriage Equality Bill Passes Final Step, Ceremonies Set to Begin in November

    Today, 22 October 2015, the Irish government took the final steps in approving the result from May's historic marriage equality referendum, which saw 62% of voters cast their ballots in favor of equality. With its final reading in the Irish parliament, the Oireachtas, Marriage Bill 2015 has officially been adopted, with just President Michael Higgins' signature, an assured formality, remaining. The moment was marked by spontaneous applause from those gathered in the hall.

    Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that marriages will begin in November 2015.

  • 82. VIRick  |  October 22, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Off Topic:

    Hurricane Patricia Set to Slam into West Coast of Mexico as a Category 5

    The storm had sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, was about 185 miles from the Mexican coast, and had grown to a Category 5 hurricane, Thursday evening, 22 October 2015.

    Estimates had the storm hitting the Mexican coast Friday afternoon or evening, 23 October 2015, while still at Category 5 strength.

    The government of Mexico has issued an extraordinary emergency warning for all 10 municipios in Colima, 34 more in Jalisco, and 12 more in Nayarit. In fact, all of Colima state is on total shut-down, while coastal cities such as Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, and San Blas are already being inundated.

  • 83. Christian0811  |  October 23, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Any one know where to get the Slovene CC ruling from yesterday?

  • 84. itscoldoutside  |  October 23, 2015 at 2:13 am

    It's an important decision and it will probably be translated into English and published on the Court's website. But it will take some time, I'm afraid.

    The judgment in Slovene can be accessed on this link:

    I ran a Google Translate on it and it came out in a surprisingly decent English, I have to say.

  • 85. Christian0811  |  October 23, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Ah great! Thanks 🙂

  • 86. allan120102  |  October 23, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    When do you think the referendum will take place?

  • 87. Christian0811  |  October 23, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    Sometime in November, unless a new challenge strikes it down

  • 88. allan120102  |  October 23, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Wow that is close, I thought it would be next year. Things might get interesting then,depending on the result we might get Slovenia before the year is done.

  • 89. SethInMaryland  |  October 24, 2015 at 10:38 am

    That might just be a good thing us. The haters may not have time to prepare those ads to spike up their support.

  • 90. itscoldoutside  |  October 25, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    It will be more like late December or early January. It doesn't matter as there is very little of those who are still undecided on the issue.

    Some of the proponents of the new law have already called on people to abstain from going to the ballot box, which in my view is not the best strategy. It has succeeded in an earlier referendum on archives but this is infinitely more ideologically charged an issue.

  • 91. Randolph_Finder  |  October 23, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Frankly the agreement on LGBT discrimination in the Utah Legislature while considerably better than what I expected in Utah, is still insufficient, but I think that taking it and working on other States for now is the way to go…

    In a way they already have bent a *little*. The idea of a man who is out of the closet and Celibate being able to have a calling and be endowed would have been unheard ten years ago.

    However in terms of Doctrine, the fact is that the Heterosexual marriage is closer to the core of the LDS Doctrine than *any* other religion in the World (and yes, I'm including Islam here).

    My standard response to those on both sides is "An LDS church which seals Homosexual couples is *farther* from today's church than today's church is from the way the church was on the day that Joseph Smith died"

    And my wife's Bishop (I'm Jewish) agrees with the statement that a murderer can eventually be forgiven and be endowed, someone who has gone through a sex change operation can't be endowed.

  • 92. Eric  |  October 23, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    No one cares about LDS heterodoxy, they are free to believe whatever superstitions they like. The issue is their public accommodation discrimination and continued efforts to deny LGBT people due process and equal protection under the law.

  • 93. VIRick  |  October 23, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    "…. someone who has gone through a sex change operation can't be endowed."

    Ummmmm, somehow, in my lexicon of word usage, that statement would only apply if the sex change operation was from male-to-female, as the endowment would presumably no longer be there. And ditto for the balls.

  • 94. Randolph_Finder  |  October 23, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Endowment = Temple Endowment which among (a *lot*) other things means that they wear the special temple Garments (AKA underwear)

  • 95. VIRick  |  October 23, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    On the other hand, transgender Laith Ashley, female-to-male, in addition to being quite attractive, appears to be quite well-endowed. See pics here, including several in the skimpiest of underwear which, most likely, would not pass muster with the temple:

    By the way, I always assumed that the wearing of those strange garments was to be taken as a punishment, not a privilege.

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