The Mormons Repeat the Errors of History

SaltLakeCityTemple

Last month, a federal judge in Utah ruled that it violated the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection to deny civil marriage rights to same-sex couples. After a few days of joyful chaos in which gay and lesbian couples flocked to county clerks' offices, Utah state officials managed to convince the Supreme Court to temporarily stay the ruling pending a full hearing by an appeals court. In the meantime, the state announced that they'll refuse to recognize the more than 1,000 marriages their … [Read more...]

The Actual Victims of Discrimination

The dominoes keep falling in the U.S., as this month courts ruled in favor of marriage equality in New Mexico and Utah (!!). Until this decision, New Mexico was the only state that had no law either permitting or prohibiting same-sex marriage, creating a legal ambiguity that the state's highest court has now resolved.But it's the shock decision in Utah that could be far more significant in the long run. In that case, a federal judge struck down an anti-gay amendment to the state … [Read more...]

No Segregation in the Marketplace of Ideas

Last month, Universities UK, an umbrella organization representing institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom, published guidelines for how colleges could host controversial speakers on campus in a way that respects both free-speech and anti-discrimination laws. Among their case studies was the hypothetical example of a fundamentalist religious speaker who wanted his audience to be segregated by gender. Shockingly, Universities UK concluded that such a demand can and should be agreed … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: November 9

Coffee

• Following the resignation of the previous team, CFI has announced the new hosts of their podcast Point of Inquiry, one of whom is my friend Lindsay Beyerstein. Congratulations!• This week's entry in the WTF Department: Richard Cohen, an awful columnist for the Washington Post, saw the movie 12 Years a Slave and was shocked to learn how bad slavery was. I wish I were kidding about that.• Three cheers for science! A new antiviral therapy can cure hepatitis C without a … [Read more...]

Congratulations, New Jersey!

NewJersey

As a born-and-raised New Yorker, I reserve the right to make fun of New Jersey every so often, but this week I have nothing but congratulations for my neighbors in the Garden State:As couples across New Jersey began marrying on Monday after the stroke of midnight, Gov. Chris Christie abandoned his long fight against same-sex marriage, concluding that signals from the court and the march of history were against him.His decision not to appeal a judge's ruling that allowed the weddings … [Read more...]

New Pope, Same Old Dogmas

FrozenFountain

Earlier this summer, I wrote about some conciliatory (but ultimately meaningless) remarks from Pope Francis about gay people. Now he's given a longer interview to the Jesuit magazine America in which he appeared to suggest that the church has been talking about abortion, contraception and gay rights too much:"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: The Religious Right Loves Putin

My latest column is now up on AlterNet, Meet the American Religious Right Figures Thrilled by Russia's Brutal Anti-Gay Laws. In it, I report on Russia's sharp turn towards authoritarianism, its government's violent and repressive anti-LGBT laws, and the American religious right figures who couldn't be happier about it all. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:Russia has become a dangerous place for dissent. Its ex-KGB president, Vladimir Putin, has accomplished what … [Read more...]

American Fundamentalists Applaud Russian Eliminationism

I've been writing about Russia's brutally violent crackdown on LGBT people and whether the international community ought to respond by boycotting the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. Incredibly, that situation got even worse last week with the news that Vladimir Putin has decreed a "forbidden zone" around the Olympics where all forms of public demonstration and protest are banned. (Meanwhile, even Adolf Hitler granted a temporary exemption from Nazi Germany's anti-gay laws to foreign athletes … [Read more...]

Is It Worth Boycotting the Russian Olympics?

I've written about Russia's hostile and oppressive treatment of artists and the Russian Orthodox church's increasingly close alliance with the state, but in the last few years, things have gone from bad to worse. Journalists and anti-corruption activists have been murdered with impunity. Critics of the state have been subjected to trumped-up charges and show trials. Gay pride marches have been banned, and supporters of gay rights have been brutally assaulted by the police and mobs of skinhead … [Read more...]

A Conscience Clause for Equal Protection

Earlier this month, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced she wouldn't defend the state in an ACLU lawsuit challenging a ban on same-sex marriage. She's following the same trail blazed by California, where state officials refused to appeal a district court ruling against the discriminatory Proposition 8. It cheers me enormously to see that more and more government officers are coming to recognize the fundamental injustice of these laws, and refusing to defend them where they … [Read more...]


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