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RandySF's Journal
RandySF's Journal
December 26, 2013

Indiana now up for grabs in next big marriage equality test.

So suddenly Indiana, where lawmakers in the coming weeks are expected to call for the second vote needed to put a ban before voters in the fall elections, is now in a far more tense, unpredictable and closely watched spot than anyone here had imagined — a test case in whether a state will impose new limits on same-sex marriage in this fast-moving political and legal environment.

“What happens in Indiana is critical,” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage. He and other opponents hope the outcome here will reveal that shifts in public sentiment over the last few years are not as widespread as some may think.

Supporters of same-sex marriage, however, are pouring money and effort into defeating the measure in Indiana, a possibility that seemed unthinkable not long ago but one that advocates now insist is conceivable. They say victory in a conservative place like Indiana would be a turning point in a fight that has largely been waged in more predictable, left-leaning states or in the courts. “That would send a clear message to opponents of marriage equality that it’s time to be done fighting this battle,” said Sarah Warbelow, state legislative director of the Human Rights Campaign.

As lawmakers prepare to return for a new legislative session in January, it is an especially awkward spot for Republicans, who dominate both chambers of the General Assembly. With an election year ahead and the risk of primaries in May, the issue is pitting socially conservative groups, who are urging a constitutional ban, against sometime allies in the state’s business community, who say a ban could cause Indiana economic harm.


December 26, 2013

Sarah Palin: I didn’t read ‘Duck Dynasty’ interview

Turns out Sarah Palin, who has been one of Duck Dynasty’s biggest defenders, hasn’t actually read the GQ interview that includes cast member Phil Robertson’s controversial comments on homosexuality and other subjects.

When pressed by Fox News host Greta Van Susteren whether the language Robertson used when talking about his opposition to homosexuality was graphic and offensive, Palin admitted she didn’t know what Robertson had said.

“I haven’t read the article. I don’t know exactly how he said it,” Palin said Monday on Fox News’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”

After the GQ interview was published, Palin immediately came to Robertson’s defense by posting a statement on Facebook saying it was an issue of free speech and defended his comments in a TV appearance with Sean Hannity.


December 25, 2013

Scalia's early and unintentional(?) Christmas gift to the LGBT community.

For the second time in a week, a federal judge embraced U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's dissent from this summer's ruling overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act in a case challenging a state's ban on gay marriage.

Scalia was adamant in his dissent that the logic of the DOMA decision would result in state bans being overturned. In his decision Monday declaring that Ohio must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages on death certificates, federal district judge Timothy Black wrote:

And now it is just as Justice Scalia predicted -- the lower courts are applying the Supreme Court’s decision, as they must, and the question is presented whether a state can do what the federal government cannot -- i.e., discriminate against same-sex couples … simply because the majority of the voters don’t like homosexuality (or at least didn’t in 2004). Under the Constitution of the United States, the answer is no.

Black's rhetorical nod to the Court's most outspoken conservative justice was the second such instance in four days. Last Friday, a federal judge in Utah cited Scalia's DOMA dissent four times across 40 pages in a decision overturning that state's ban on gay marriage.


December 25, 2013

GOP congressman eats reindeer for Christmas.

As Santa made his way around the globe to deliver presents, one GOP congressman introduced a Christmas special into his diet.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) posted a photo to his Twitter account Wednesday morning, displaying a meal he had eaten in Oslo, Norway. Among the items on his plate was reindeer.

A few days earlier, King delivered his Christmas message to constituents, urging them to tell him what their #DCWishList was. King's own wish was "that we would all pull together to restore the pillars of American exceptionalism."


December 25, 2013

'Duck Dynasty' Star Phil Robertson Claims Black People Were 'Happy' Pre-Civil Rights

"Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson made headlines this week for his anti-gay sentiments in a GQ interview. Now another statement from the interview -- this time about the black community during the pre-civil rights era -- is stirring more controversy.

GQ's Drew Magary sat down with the "Duck Dynasty" patriarch for a candid interview about his road to fame. The 67-year-old journeyed from substance abuse to devotion to God to small-screen celebrity, all in the backwoods of Louisiana. According to Robertson, growing up in those Louisiana backwoods in the pre-civil rights era was not bad for black people.

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person," Robertson is quoted in GQ. "Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Before the civil rights movement of the 1950s, Jim Crow laws enforced a system of subjugating African-Americans in the South by upholding racial barriers for years after the Emancipation Proclamation. The cultural climate in the Southern states was one of "disenfranchisement, segregation and various forms of oppression, including race-inspired violence," History.com notes.


December 25, 2013

Tomorrow will be the warmest Christmas I can remember in NorCal

Granted. I've only lived here for about eight years, but 67 degrees is pretty warm for Christmas Day.

December 25, 2013

While we were celebrating the news out of Utah, something bigger happened in Ohio.

Just three days after a federal judge in Utah declared that state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, a federal judge on Monday issued a much narrower ruling that Ohio’s ban on gay marriage is also unconstitutional.

Although Judge Timothy Black’s ruling applies only to death certificates, it is expected to be precedent-setting, leading to more lawsuits in Ohio challenging the law.

Black wrote that “once you get married lawfully in one state, another state cannot summarily take your marriage away,” saying the right to remain married is recognized as a fundamental liberty in the U.S. Constitution.

“When a state effectively terminates the marriage of a same-sex couple married in another jurisdiction, it intrudes into the realm of private marital, family, and intimate relations specifically protected by the Supreme Court,” he wrote.


December 25, 2013

Utah headed to Supreme Court after appeals court refuses to stop same-sex weddings

Utah officials were busy Tuesday night planning an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after a federal appeals court denied their request to stop same-sex marriages while they try to overturn a judge's ruling legalizing them.

In a two-page order (.pdf) entered late Tuesday in Denver, two judges on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to grant Gov. Gary Herbert's request for a stay halting the marriages while Utah pursues its appeal.

Herbert's office didn't return a call for comment, but the state attorney general's office — which filed the motion on his behalf — said it would seek an emergency stay with the Supreme Court as early as Thursday. That motion would be heard by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has jurisdiction over the 10th Circuit.

Herbert asked for a stay Monday after U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby upheld his own ruling that Utah's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.


December 25, 2013

Political Predictions for 2014

1. Republicans will keep the House and fall short in the Senate.

2. Democrats will score big wins in key state governorships but will lose Arkansas.

3. Mitch McConnell will survive the primary but pledge to kill Obamacare will cost him a very narrow defeat.

4. Potential upsets: Arizona Governor, South Senate, Colorado Governorship

5. Continued scrutiny of Chris Christie will cause him to sour in the minds of Republicans and voters at-large.

6. Right wing press will hound NYC mayor Bill de Blasio just like they did with Pres. Obama. As a result, he will enter 2015 with low ratings.

7. Gavin Newson will be handily re-elected Lt. Gov. of California and that, along with his early support for marriage equality will set him up for higher office in the near future.

8. Nancy Pelosi will announce her retirement as Minority Leader and Member of Congress after Election Day.

9. Hillary Clinton's will campaign for Dems around the country and her fundraising power will solidify her place as front runner for president.

10. Obamacare will continue to have successes and setbacks, but will fade as an issue more people keep signing up. However, it will still be a problem getting young people to sign up.

11. Pennsylvania Republicans will find a way to get Gov. Corbitt off the ballot.

December 24, 2013

Is Utah really THAT conservative?

The only people I read about having a fit over the judge's same-seas marriage ruling are Republcian politicians and LDS leaders, but not from the average Utahan. I know there are pockets of deep, deep red, but Salt Lake City elected a progressive mayor not long ago. Is Utah truly united against marriage equality?

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About RandySF

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.
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