Alabama’s secessionist judge Roy Moore suspended over bigoted rulings – once again

Alabama politics are at a low point even by the state’s own high – or low – standards: three top elected officials are embroiled in scandal or facing removal from office while a former governor serves time in federal prison on a corruption conviction.

On Friday, chief justice Roy Moore was suspended from his job. He faces possible ouster over his attempts to block gay marriage following the US supreme court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

It is familiar territory for the Republican, a Christian conservative who was removed from the same position in 2003 over a Ten Commandments monument, then easily won re-election later…

Idjits love re-electing idjits.

Among the nation’s poorest states, Alabama is troubled by problem areas including physical and mental health; comparatively low high school graduation rates; and too many occupational deaths, according to a report by the United Health Foundation…

In its list of civil charges against Moore, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission said the 69-year-old chief justice abused his office by issuing an administrative order to probate judges in January, telling them an Alabama court order and law banning same-sex marriages remained in effect despite the US supreme court decision affirming same-sex marriage six months earlier…

The court of the judiciary will decide whether Moore violated judicial ethics, and he could be removed from office if found guilty. The same court removed Moore from office in 2003 for his refusal to follow a federal court order directing him to remove a washing machine-sized Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state’s judicial building.

At least this gives today’s generation a demonstration of the thought processes of secessionists like the Confederate Judge Moore. If the federal constitution supersedes your own archaic ruling – stop recognizing federal law. He’s trying to do the same regarding the state constitution and the commission which suspended him. It’s all the same kind of anarchist silliness that ego-smitten nutballs embrace every time they confront civilized law which refuses to bend to their patriarchal dementia.

The toughest row to hoe is that red dirt and rocky line that women and men of good will in Alabama have to fight to cross. Plenty of folks who love their home state, self-educated or schooled in enough history and philosophy, science and law, to understand what a modern state and society can accomplish for all citizens. So it was when I lived in Louisiana. So it is in Alabama, today.

SCOTUS won’t stop gay marriage in Oregon

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a conservative group’s move to halt same-sex marriages in Oregon in a brief order Wednesday.

The Oregon attorney general has refused to challenge a judge’s ruling in May that found the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. The National Organization for Marriage has been attempting to win standing to appeal.

In a filing Tuesday with Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles emergency matters for Western states, NOM said that in Oregon a position decided by voters in a referendum was “invalidated at the behest and encouragement of its elected officials.” Oregon held the vote in 2004 after Multnomah County, which includes the city of Portland, issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Kennedy referred the matter to the entire court, which issued a one-sentence decision denying the group’s request.

“The application for stay presented to Justice [Anthony] Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied…” In case you wondered what that sentence was.

Mexican state of Colima legislates same-sex civil unions

Colima has become the latest Mexican state to allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions after a majority of local authorities passed a change in the state’s constitution.

Legalisation on same-sex unions falls under state legislation, and a number of states have divergent rules.

Mexico City and the southern state of Quintana Roo allow gay marriages, while Coahuila allows same-sex civil unions.

Congress in Yucatan on the other hand banned same-sex marriage in 2009.

Seven out of ten authorities in Colima approved the constitutional change, which had been passed by the state’s congress earlier this month.

Only two Congressmen voted against the change, arguing the state should legalise gay marriages rather than restricting same-sex couples to civil unions…

Gay marriage was legalised in Uruguay earlier this year, and in Argentina in 2010.

In Brazil, the Supreme Court in May voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married heterosexuals, effectively authorising gay marriage.

However, full legalisation of gay marriage in Brazil still depends on the passage of a law in Congress.

And then there’s the United States which still can’t find sufficient political courage in Congress to support constitutional legislation from decades ago – much less move forward towards civil rights for all citizens.

Same-sex marriage is now the law in England and Wales

Same-sex couples will be able to get married in England and Wales after new measures became law.

The government’s controversial legislation on the issue received Royal Assent on Wednesday.

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaderships all backed the proposals, which were finally approved by MPs and peers earlier this week.

Continuing to call a measure “controversial” after all three major parties backed the proposals is only a comment on the BBC worrying about offending the few churchgoers left in the UK.

It is expected that the first gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies will take place by summer next year.

Under the terms of the the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, religious organisations will have to “opt in” to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church in Wales being banned in law from doing so.

Commons Speaker John Bercow announced the bill had received Royal Assent – the formal approval of the sovereign required for all legislation. The news was greeted with cheers in the Commons chamber…

There will also be a review of whether groups such as the humanists will be allowed to carry out marriages, while ministers said they were prepared to look at eliminating any difference in the treatment of gay couples when it came to pension schemes.

During the Commons debate, Equalities Minister Maria Miller said the passing of the bill was “clear affirmation” that “respect for each and every person is paramount, regardless of age, religion, gender, ethnicity or sexuality”, she added.

Religious groups which traditionally support civil rights will opt-in, no doubt. Conservatives, cowards, cookie-cutter reactionaries will continue to whine until their children finally stop inviting them for holiday dinners – and they run out of people polite enough to listen to them.

Of course, all the reasons for passage of this law in the UK are as legitimate here in the United States. But, then, neither the White House nor Congress has sufficient courage to challenge bigots and backwards ideology.

Deal struck to move gay marriage bill forward in UK Parliament

Plans to legalise gay marriage in England and Wales are to proceed unimpeded in Parliament after ministers reached agreement with Labour…MPs backed a Labour plan to consult on changing civil partnerships – a move criticised by some Tory MPs.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Culture Secretary Maria Miller thanked other parties for their “unwavering support” for the principles of the same-sex Marriage Bill and said a review of civil partnerships could take place “very swiftly”.

Labour said the review could potentially take place within the next few months – enabling its findings to be reflected in the final legislation…

MPs gave their support in principle to gay marriage in February but are now discussing proposed amendments on Monday and Tuesday amid calls from some Conservatives for the government to focus on other priorities.

The bill is being debated over two days, with its third reading – the final hurdle in the Commons – on Tuesday. If approved, it will go to the House of Lords on Wednesday, where it is expected to face further opposition.

David Cameron has said equal marriage would help build a stronger and fairer society but nearly half of all Tories voted against it in February and many party activists remain deeply opposed to it in principle…

It does’t seem to matter which Western nation moves forward on civil rights for all. There always are conservatives who apparently feel equal opportunities for all somehow diminishes their tiny little lives.

While failing in their attempts to amend the legislation in any form, Conservative MPs voiced their concerns in large numbers on a range of issues. Blah, blah, blah.

Stonewall, which campaigns for equality for gay, lesbian and bisexual people, said it would be a “terrible pity” if the legislation got “bogged down” and urged MPs from all parties not to “play politics” with it.

Under the bill, the Church of England and the Church in Wales would be banned from offering same-sex marriages because of their strongly stated opposition, unless they changed canon law.

Other religious organisations would be able to “opt in” to holding ceremonies. There are currently no plans for similar legislation in Northern Ireland, but there are already plans for a bill to allow same-sex marriage in Scotland.

The UK debate comes the week after France became the ninth European country, and 14th in the world, to legalise gay marriage. Earlier this month Rhode Island became the 10th US state to allow same-sex marriages.

I wonder if the United States will join the ranks of nations with full civil rights, say, below number 50?

France becomes 14th country to legalize gay marriage

France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate that has exposed deep social conservatism in the nation’s heartland and triggered huge protests in Paris from both sides of the divide. Legions of officers with water cannon braced outside the National Assembly for possible violence on an issue that galvanized the country’s faltering right.

The measure passed easily in the Socialist-majority Assembly, 331-225…

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told lawmakers that the first weddings could be as soon as June.

“We believe that the first weddings will be beautiful and that they’ll bring a breeze of joy, and that those who are opposed to them today will surely be confounded when they are overcome with the happiness of the newlyweds and the families,” she said…

One of the biggest protests against same-sex marriage drew together hundreds of thousands of people bused in from the French provinces — conservative activists, schoolchildren with their parents, retirees, priests and others. That demonstration ended in blasts of tear gas, as right-wing rabble-rousers, some in masks and hoods, led the charge against police, damaging cars along the Champs-Elysees avenue and making a break for the presidential palace.

Following the vote members of the gay and lesbian community flocked to a square in central Paris, just behind City Hall, to celebrate the vote.

“I feel immense joy, gigantic joy,” said 39-year old Sylvain Rouzel, “at last, everyone has the same rights. This is huge! France was lagging behind. We had to wait 14 years after the civil union to finally obtain the right to get married, with equal rights for everyone. I feel great!”

Paris’ openly gay mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, was among the crowd of hundreds gathered for the street celebration in the Marais, the city’s historic gay neighborhood…

The controversy that we’ve seen has been a stoked and manipulated controversy that’s really kind of a last-ditch attempt to block the tide of history,” said Evan Wolfson, president of the American activist group Freedom to Marry, which he said worked with the French on the bill. “I don’t think it spoke to a deep or wide opposition among the French people.”

French civil unions, allowed since 1999, are at least as popular among heterosexuals as among gay and lesbian couples. But that law has no provisions for adoption…

France is the 14th country to legalize gay marriage nationwide —and the largest population. If the United States still pretended to any social or cultural leadership we could strike a real blow for civil rights.

Of course, with so-called leadership coming from a mostly spineless White House – and Congress divided between windbags and colostomy bags – there ain’t much chance of the United States providing leadership to a lemming.

New Zealand lawmakers pass gay marriage bill


Louisa Wall, Labour MP, celebrating the bill’s passage

Hundreds of jubilant gay-rights advocates celebrated at New Zealand’s Parliament on Wednesday as the country became the 13th in the world and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage.

Lawmakers voted 77 to 44 in favor of the gay-marriage bill on its third and final reading.

People watching from the public gallery and some lawmakers immediately broke into song after the result was announced, singing the New Zealand love song “Pokarekare Ana” in the indigenous Maori language…

In one of several speeches that ended in a standing ovation, bill sponsor Louisa Wall told lawmakers the change was “our road toward healing.”

In our society, the meaning of marriage is universal — it’s a declaration of love and commitment to a special person,” she said. She added that “nothing could make me more proud to be a New Zealander than passing this bill.”

Lawmakers from most political parties were encouraged by their leaders to vote as their conscience dictated rather than along party lines. Although Wall is from the opposition Labour Party, the bill also was supported by center-right Prime Minister John Key.

“In my view, marriage is a very personal thing between two individuals,” Key said. “And, in the end, this is part of equality in modern-day New Zealand…”

Same-sex marriage is recognized in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark. Lawmakers in Uruguay approved a law last week that President Jose Mujica is expected to sign. Nine states in the U.S. also recognize such marriages, but the federal government does not.

The article notes the usual copouts from fundamentalists whose ideology slanders religious folk worldwide. This post also notes the nations already years ahead of the United States. At the current rate, I expect just about any progressive law to become a fixture outside the US well before Congress gets it right.

Our Congressional conservatives are better characterized as cowards, ideologically corrupt, backwards, only capable of blocking attempts to move this nation into the 21st Century.

Uruguay becomes 3rd American nation to legalise gay marriage

Uruguayan lawmakers voted on Wednesday to legalise gay marriage, making the South American country the third in the Americas to do so.

Supporters of the law, who had filled the public seats in the Senate, erupted in celebration when the results were announced. The bill received the backing of 71 members of the 92-seat chamber…

The “marriage equality project,” as it is called, was already approved by ample majorities in both of Uruguay’s legislative houses, but senators had made some changes requiring a final vote by the deputies.

President Jose Mujica’s ruling Broad Front majority, which backed the law, is expected to put it into effect within 10 days…

The vote makes Uruguay the third country in the Americas, after Canada and Argentina, to eliminate laws making marriage, adoption and other family rights exclusive to heterosexuals. In all, 11 other nations around the world have already taken this step.

Whereas some other countries have carved out new territory for gay and lesbian couples without affecting heterosexual marrieds, Uruguay is creating a single set of rules for all people, gay or straight. Instead of the words “husband and wife” in marriage contracts, it refers to the gender-neutral “contracting parties.”

All couples will get to decide which parent’s surname comes first when they have children. All couples can adopt, or undergo in-vitro fertilization procedures.

It also updates divorce laws in Uruguay, which in 1912 gave women only the right to unilaterally renounce their wedding vows as a sort of equaliser to male power. Now either spouse will be able to unilaterally request a divorce and get one.

People danced in the streets.

There was a time in my life when living in the United States meant you participated in the formation of progress for all the nations in this hemisphere. Not any more, man.

Apple, Morgan Stanley, corporations unite to support gay marriage

Gay-marriage advocates, aiming to show broad support as the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue for the first time, have enlisted Apple, Morgan Stanley and dozens of Republicans who once held top government positions…

The justices will hear arguments March 26 on California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that halted gay marriage in the state after it was allowed for five months.

The corporate group, which also includes Facebook and Intel will argue in its brief that gay-marriage bans in 41 states harm workplace morale and undermine recruiting.

“No matter how welcoming the corporate culture, it cannot overcome the societal stigma institutionalized by Proposition 8 and similar laws,” the companies will argue.

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