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Open thread to discuss the latest news.


  • 1. Scottie Thomaston  |  October 23, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Sorry everyone. Been dealing with health issues the past two days. Hopefully I'll be better on Monday.

  • 2. JayJonson  |  October 23, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Sorry to hear that you have been under the weather. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Scottie.

  • 3. 1grod  |  October 23, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    What AL probate judges be paid and by whom

  • 4. 1grod  |  October 25, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Autauga Co probate office's website lists issuing of marriage licenses among the services offered. While it is hard to determine when this page was last updated, the website's contact information for this service lists Shannon Smith as the chief clerk. A link from the site to the probate court's Facebook page gives visitors a photo's of her Sept 11 2015 swearing-in as the new Chief Clerk by judge Alfred Q Booth. From the pictures it can be said that this office has 15 staff.. Why would a county with a population of 55,514 list a service it was not offering its residents?
    The site map is extensive with pages on marriage licenses for those over and for under 18.

  • 5. allan120102  |  October 25, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Well at first Autauga was issuing later stop. Not sure why the probate judge change its mind. Anyways I imagine ballotpedia would have shown in their page if it was issuing.

  • 6. 1grod  |  October 25, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Allan, on July 1 Equality Alabama said that Autauga was issuing. I thought the chief clerk then resigned. Was it not said that they stopped issuing licenses until matters could be sorted out re a replacement. While I could understand why an dependable external source might be relied upon, would not the material posted on the office's website be more credible? If you look at ballotpedia site, they relied on information on Chambers Co that was two months old as well as Bibb and Covington Cos which was a month old. Given that Autauga is the most populated AL county of the 9/10 not issuing, isn't it worth checking out / asking them to update their website? Or if not issuing encouraging them to review their stance in light of the 11th Circuit Appeal Court's recent ruling?

  • 7. allan120102  |  October 25, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    I asked Equality Alabama in facebook like two weeks ago if they could update their map to see which probate judges were still refusing to issue ssm licenses but they never answer me back.

  • 8. 1grod  |  October 26, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Allan – agree its time for an update as I believe the last one was in very early September. The related comments begin of September 5. If only to clear up if it is 9 or 10 delinquent counties. Good on you for taking the initiative. G

  • 9. Bruno71  |  October 26, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    In my opinion, Equality Alabama stopped caring about this issue not long after the SCOTUS ruling…maybe a month or two. Ballotpedia is the only organization bothering to follow up with these counties anymore.

  • 10. Fortguy  |  October 23, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    In Texas, the University Interscholastic League is the governing body of public high school athletics. The UIL is now asking superintendents of the state's school districts for approval to formally adopt a policy determining the gender of student-athletes based upon birth certificates or similar government documents which is already informally the UIL's practice. Such a policy would effectively prohibit transgender student-athletes from competing on teams conforming to their gender identity. This is obviously a big step backward when the trend elsewhere is in the other direction. Fifteen states and DC as well as the NCAA have instead adopted transgender-inclusive policies for student-athletes.

    Charles Kuffner, Off the Kuff: Please rethink this, UIL

  • 11. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 23, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    The UIL should make it a priority to study the case of David Reimer, a Canadian who was born the identical twin of his brother, but due to a medical accident when 6 months old, was raised as a girl until he was 14.

  • 12. Fortguy  |  October 23, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    At UT-Austin, those wishing to protest the upcoming campus carry gun law by openly carrying dildos on campus through the @CocksNotGlocks campaign now may receive free or reduced price offerings from retail and manufacturing suppliers in the sex toy industry.

    "The outpouring of support from the sex industry has been astounding and I am so grateful. I am working hard to figure out a way to properly balance messaging so that gun control stays at the forefront," [UT alumna Jessica] Jin told the Chronicle. "And as soon as I've worked that out, it'll be raining dildos."


    "Sex positivity has turned out to be an awesome byproduct of this campaign, but I personally have to prioritize and make sure that we're all throwing our full weight behind first putting a dent in society's archaic views on gun ownership," said Jin, an Austin resident and violinist who works as a business consultant.

    "I am so glad that the sex industry has picked up and run with some parts of this movement that I haven't entirely been able to carry myself. It makes my job a lot easier, and it will surely make many people's lives a lot more joyous."

    Lauren McGaughy, Houston Chronicle: Sex industry support means 'it'll be raining dildos' at anti-gun protest

  • 13. VIRick  |  October 23, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Fortguy, this turn of events is absolutely rich! I truly love it. Raining dildos, indeed!

    One question: Do butt-plugs qualify??

  • 14. Fortguy  |  October 23, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Perhaps you should tweet them that question. I'd love to see the response.

  • 15. Fortguy  |  October 24, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    On second thought, a butt-plug campaign would be much more effective up the road in Waco. Everyone knows the Baylor community is much more anally retentive than their other collegiate counterparts in the state.

  • 16. VIRick  |  October 24, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Baker Who Won't Make Wedding Cake for Same-Sex Couple Appeals to Colorado Supreme Court

    The Lakewood baker who, citing his religious beliefs, refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, is asking the Colorado Supreme Court to hear his case. On 13 August 2015, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld two previous rulings and found that Masterpiece Cakeshop owner, Jack Phillips, cannot cite his religious beliefs or free-speech rights in refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

    In 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins were turned away by Phillips while trying to buy a custom wedding cake. Mullins and Craig planned to marry in Massachusetts and wanted a cake to celebrate in Colorado. Phillips told the couple that he would not make them a wedding cake because of his religious beliefs.

    The petition, filed by Phillips' attorneys, the notorious ADF, on Friday, 23 October 2015, asks the state's high court to decide whether Phillips' religious beliefs about marriage are being violated. They're also asking the justices to consider whether forcing Phillips to create an "artistic expression" that is against his religious beliefs violates his free speech rights. "From Masterpiece's inception, he has integrated his faith and work," Phillips' attorneys (the notorious ADF) wrote in the filing. "Phillips also honors God through his creative work by declining to use his artistic talents to design and create cakes that violate his religious beliefs."

    However, Colorado law bans discrimination in a public place on grounds of sexual orientation. In December 2013, administrative law Judge Robert N. Spencer said offering the same services to gay couples as heterosexual couples did not violate Phillips' rights to free speech nor does it prevent him from exercising his religion. Spencer ordered the cake shop owner to "cease and desist" from discriminating against same-sex couples.

    Five months later, the state's seven-member Civil Rights Commission went further and required Phillips to submit quarterly reports for two years showing he was working to change discriminatory practices. Phillips was also required to disclose the names of any clients who were turned away.

    The appeals court's ruling affirmed Spencer's ruling and the Civil Rights Commission's order. They found that the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act does not compel the cake shop owner to endorse any religious views, but rather prohibits Phillips from discriminating against customers based on their sexual orientation.

    Phillips' attorneys (the notorious ADF) are now asking the high court to overturn that ruling. Unlike the appeals court, the state's Supreme Court selects which cases it wants to hear.

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  October 24, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Pope Francis, ending a contentious bishops' meeting on family issues, on Saturday excoriated immovable Church leaders who "bury their heads in the sand" and hide behind rigid doctrine while families suffer.

    The pope spoke at the end of a three-week gathering, known as a synod, where the bishops agreed to a qualified opening toward divorcees who have remarried outside the Church but rejected calls for more welcoming language toward homosexuals. …

    The outcome of the gathering, over which the pope presided, marked a victory for conservatives on homosexual issues and for progressives on the thorny issue of remarriage.

    The final synod document restated Church teachings that gays should not suffer discrimination in society, but also repeated the stand that there was "no foundation whatsoever" for same-sex marriage, which "could not even remotely" be compared to heterosexual unions. …

    During the synod, some bishops said the Church should introduce welcoming and inclusive language regarding homosexuals, such as calling them "brothers, sisters and colleagues" in the document.

    But Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna told reporters many of the 270 bishops felt homosexuality was still "too delicate a theme" in their countries. During the meeting, African bishops were particularly adamant in their opposition to welcoming language toward homosexuals, saying it would only confuse the faithful.

    At a preliminary meeting a year ago, conservative clerics made sure an interim report deleted a passage they thought was too welcoming to gays.

  • 18. Christian0811  |  October 24, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Ugh couldn't they just burn us at the stake again instead of subject us to relentlessly passive aggressive and morally bankrupt theology? I mean this is just cruel

  • 19. VIRick  |  October 24, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    "…. African bishops were particularly adamant in their opposition to welcoming language toward homosexuals …."

    Apparently, having already given up on every part of Western Europe, the entire Western Hemisphere, and all of Oceania, while simultaneously allowing the tail to wag the dog, they're decided it's time for them to become an exclusively African church. Or something.

    News alert: The Catholic Church lost divorcees (of whatever nationality) years and years ago.

  • 20. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 25, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Remember, Africa was mostly split between France and England when they set up 'colonies' in Africa during the 1800s.

    England was 'lost' to Catholicism some 300 years earlier, but France was a Catholic country. Pope Gregory XVI (Pope from 1831 to 1846) and Cardinal Lambruschini (Vatican Cardinal Secretary of State starting in 1836) opposed basic technological innovations such as gas lighting and railways, believing that they would promote commerce and increase the power of the bourgeoisie, leading to demands for liberal reforms which would undermine the monarchical power of the Pope over central Italy. Gregory XVI in fact banned railways in the Papal States, calling them chemin d'enfer (literally "road to hell," a play on the French for railroad, chemin de fer, literally "iron road".).

    Could the African catholic church hierarchy be trying to get the ghost of Pope Gregory XVI and French colonization back again?

  • 21. VIRick  |  October 24, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Mexico's Supreme Court Declares Separate Same-Sex Civil Unions Discriminatory

    The latest ruling from Mexico's Supreme Court, as applicable to the separate same-sex civil union provisions of Campeche, Jalisco, and pending in Michoacán:

    Discriminatorias Normas Que Impiden a Parejas del Mismo Sexo Acceder al Matrimonio

    La Primera Sala de la Corte emitió una jurisprudencia de rubro: exclusión de las parejas del mismo sexo del matrimonio.

    "El hecho de que exista un régimen similar, pero distinto al matrimonio y que por ello se les impida el acceso a este último a las parejas del mismo sexo, es discriminatorio.

    Se argumentó que el hecho de que el legislador contemple un régimen diferente o modelo alternativo, para las parejas del mismo sexo, aunque otorgue los mismos derechos que el matrimonio, viola lo previsto por el Artículo 1 de la Constitución. Pues dicha exclusión que el legislador pretende remediar con la creación de un modelo alternativo, implica la creación de un régimen de 'separados pero iguales.' Lo que perpetúa la noción de que las parejas del mismo sexo son menos merecedoras de reconocimiento que las personas heterosexuales, lo que ofende su dignidad como personas."

    23 October 2015
    Discriminatory Rules that Prevent Same-Sex Couples Access to Marriage

    The First Chamber of the Court issued a categorical jurisprudence: exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.

    "The fact that when there exists a similar system, but different from marriage, and that by it, same-sex couples are prevented access to the latter, is discriminatory.

    It was argued that the fact that the legislature contemplated a different regime or alternative model for same-sex couples, although having granted the same rights as marriage, violates the provisions of Article 1 of the Constitution. For such exclusion that the legislature intended to remedy with the creation of an alternative model, actually involves the creation of a regime of 'separate but equal.' This perpetuates the notion that same-sex couples are less worthy of recognition than heterosexuals, a point which offends their personal dignity."

  • 22. Fortguy  |  October 24, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Houston billionaire Bob MacNair, owner of the NFL's Houston Texans organization is shocked, shocked!, to learn that his $10,000 donation to an anti-HERO bigoted hate group dedicated to sustaining discrimination against their fellow citizens based solely upon irrational fears propagated against the transgender community by lying liars who lie might reflect poorly upon himself. He is befuddled and flabbergasted that his contributions to extremist causes pursuing efforts allowing people to afford others in the public sphere.unequal treatment while denying their dignity and respect they deserve as fellow humans could somehow be construed as to suggest that he and his organization are less than dedicated to opposing discrimination. Worse, he's outraged that the haters, after receiving his check, have the gall to claim publicly that he supports their cause!

    And he's asked for his money back!

    Charles Kuffner, Off the Kuff: McNair rescinds anti-HERO contribution

    MacNair is by far the biggest contributor to right-wing causes and candidates of all the NFL team owners. Perhaps like the ladies in the Ragu commercials, he should ask himself what other questionable choices he's made.

    Meanwhile, as the potty panic anti-HERO strategy vilifies transgender women, it seems no one on the right even wants to address the issue of what to do with transgender men if HERO fails.

    Zach Ford, Think Progress: Opponents Of LGBT Protections Are Clueless About Transgender Men

  • 23. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 25, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Maybe MacNair (and several other NFL team 'owners') need to do some research before giving out money, opening their mouths, making rules, etc.

  • 24. VIRick  |  October 25, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Kentucky: First Couple Turned Away by Kim Davis Marries

    Morehead KY – April Miller, the lead plaintiff in "Miller v. Davis," and Karen Roberts stood before a minister Saturday night, 24 October 2015, hand-in-hand, and said the two words they fought for months to exchange, “I will.” The people packed into the room around them jumped into a standing ovation. They all wore matching rainbow buttons that read #LoveWins. The couple, the first to be denied a license by Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, celebrated their wedding Saturday, capping a months-long saga that landed them in the middle of a national firestorm over religious freedom and civil rights. They laid out one rule for their guests: no one was to mention Davis. “This is about us and our wedding,” Roberts said.

    When the Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage across the nation in June, Davis cited “God’s authority” and stopped issuing marriage licenses. Miller and Roberts, along with three other couples, filed a lawsuit against her. The couple has been represented by the ACLU.

    A more extended account, with pictures, can be found here:

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