Score One (or 9) For The Good Guys

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a florist who denied services to a same-sex couple cannot claim a religious exemption. The religious objection idea often cited by conservatives is revealed for what it really is: thinly veiled bigotry.

Who cares about some flowers? Aren’t there other florists? According to the court ruling, the case here “is no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches.”

“Public accommodations laws do not simply guarantee access to goods or services, Instead, they serve a broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to the equal treatment of all citizens.”

There was a great deal more in the arguments about the nature of art, morality, and the right to protest. But the message was clear: Like race and religion, sexual orientation is a protected category.

You can read more on Slate.

 

The Trump White House is Awfully Leaky

Some staffers at the White House are clearly unhappy with their new President. Transcripts of his messy calls with the Prime Minister of Australia and the President of Mexico were made public. But the leak that really concerns us here is one expanding religious “rights” to discriminate. From The Nation:

It sets forth an exceptionally expansive definition of “religious exercise” that extends to “any act or refusal to act that is motivated by a sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the act is required or compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.” “It’s very sweeping,” said Ira Lupu, a professor emeritus at the George Washington University Law School and an expert on the Constitution’s religion clauses and on the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). “It raises a big question about whether the Constitution or the RFRA authorizes the president to grant religious freedom in such a broad way.”

Lupu added that the language of the draft “might invite federal employees,” for example, at the Social Security Administration or Veterans Administration, “to refuse on religious grounds to process applications or respond to questions from those whose benefits depend on same sex marriages.” If other employees do not “fill the gap,” he said, it could “lead to a situation where marriage equality was being de facto undermined by federal employees, especially in religiously conservative communities,” contrary to Supreme Court rulings.

Notice how broadly phrased it is too: “any act or refusal to act”. ANY ACT. Hopefully nothing like this draft is ever enacted. President Trump has said he intends to keep federal LGBT protections in place.

LGBT Rights Page Removed From whitehouse.gov

This is why the Illegal Wedding Fair has returned. One of the very first things to happen under President Trump is that the LGBT rights page, global warming, and all Spanish language pages were removed from the White House official website.

In the first few days of the Trump administration, whitehouse.gov lost its Spanish pages and content about civil rights, LGBT rights, global warming and regulations — while adding a new statement about America’s “dangerous anti-police atmosphere.”

It is not usual for a new President to wipe the webpages of his predecessor. President Obama and President Bush both tailored the White House page to their own administrations; their versions of the site are now archived.

But the swiftness and specificity of the Trump changes show a radical overhaul of the website to align with some of President Trump’s most controversial policy priorities.

NY Daily News

Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions Confirmation

During his confirmation hearing, the conservative Senator from Alabama fell back on the notion of “settled law”.

As for as marriage equality, LGBT rights and women’s access to abortion, he admitted that it was the “law of the land” and that he would grudgingly uphold it. Specifically on marriage quality and the Obergfell decision he stated:

“The Supreme Court has ruled on that, the dissents dissented vigorously, but it was 5-4 and … I will follow that decision.”

A California Elopement

This amazing looking gay wedding comes to us from a Sonoma winery. Even though same sex marriage is settled law, and widely accepted in California, sometimes it’s still a problem for the happy couple’s extended families. Eloping is often the best choice and guarantees a happy ceremony and reception when you limit it to just a few core friends and family. This package comes courtesy of Run Away With Me, who won’t divulge the exact location, but if all elopements looked this great we’d get married all the time. Click through to their site to see more pictures.

 

Trump might replace more of the Supreme Court

As the clock ticks down to the inauguration, we have reason to be concerned about both gay rights and women’s health. President-elect Trump’s list of nominees stays pretty far to the right. More worrying is that he may get to appoint additional justices, given the advanced ages of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy.

According to The Advocate:

During the presidential campaign, Trump released two lists of judges and other officials from which he said he’d choose his Supreme Court nominees. All are very conservative, and some have anti-LGBT track records. That makes it likely that if the appropriate case comes before them, they would vote to revoke marriage equality, abortion rights, and other civil liberties. Trump had also pledged to appoint justices in the mold of the ultraconservative Scalia, who died last year, and the president-elect has said he thought the marriage equality decision should be overturned (he also said after the election that the issue of marriage equality was “done” and “settled”).
Trump’s two top choices, according to Politico, are Diane Sykes and William H. Pryor Jr. Both pose a threat to LGBT rights, given their records.

Link to The Article.

At least incoming president Trump is “fine with that.”

I have serious concerns that the president-to-be might be damaging to women’s reproductive and health rights. However, at least when pressed on the issue of same sex marriage, he claims not to have a problem. From his interview on 60 Minutes.

Lesley Stahl: Well, I guess the issue for [LGBTQ groups] is marriage equality. Do you support marriage equality?

Donald Trump: It— it’s irrelevant because it was already settled. It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done.

Lesley Stahl: So even if you appoint a judge that—

Donald Trump: It’s done. It—you have—these cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They’ve been settled. And, I’m fine with that.

Big Gay Irish Xmas Card

Religious conservatives continue to use political schemes to block marriage equality in Ireland. Meanwhile there’s a big gay Xmas card up in the middle of Belfast. It’s already so full of messages of love that they’re going to need more cards. Lots more.

Suit Filed in Minnesota

A husband a wife videographer company in St Cloud, Minnesota have filed against the state claiming their religious freedom is infringed by Minnesota’s Human Right’s Act. You know, that law that says they aren’t allowed to be bigots.

Carl and Angel Larson wish to not provide their video services to same sex weddings through their company Telescope Media Group. Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota in 2013. While they should defiantly lose on both legal and moral grounds, it’s almost tempting to let the free market sort this one out.

According to the article in the Star Tribune, they are “breaking into” the wedding business, and they already want to turn away customers? Sounds like a built in business FAIL.

Minnesota marriage equality

Gov Mark Dayton sighs gay marriage bill.