The city council in Topeka, Kansas has passed an equality package. One bill establishes a partnership registry. Yeah, with marriage bans being declared unconstitutional across the country a partnership registry is so last decade, but it is better than nothing. Another bans discrimination based on gender identity (I don't know if sexual orientation is missing from the news report or the ordinance).
And why is this one, in spite of its halfway measures, so sweet? Topeka is the location of Westboro Baptist Church.
I wrote last Friday that gay rights has shifted from a wedge issue wielded by the GOP against rights to a wedge issue wielded by the Dems in favor of rights. That is being played out in the Attorney General race in Utah. The Dem candidate, Charles Stormont, says it is time to leave same-sex couples alone, allow them their fundamental freedoms, and stop wasting money on a losing battle. The GOP candidate (and incumbent) is Sean Reyes. He says he doesn't have the liberty or luxury of deciding what laws to defend.
Translation: Conservative says gotta play by the rules. Progressive says some rules are stupid.
Slate has a map of America, reposted from Mother Jones, which shows where same-sex marriage is (1) legal, (2) banned and is struck down and on appeal, (3) banned and challenged, and (4) banned. There is only North Dakota in that last category. One can click on each state for a summary of the status.
Things are changing a bit in the Southern Baptist Convention. They still consider our behavior to be sinful, but their preachers are much less likely to be flamethrowers when they talk about us. They are aiming to be more compassionate. Right. We'll take the baby step. But we'll consider you to be compassionate when we can be married in your churches.
The sponsors of the nasty anti-gay laws in Africa like to proclaim homosexuality is an export from the West. We know how silly that sounds. Charles Upchurch, writing for the Advocate reminds us of the 1998 book Boy-Wives and Female Husbands, Studies in African Homosexualities. written by Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe. It catalogues the various indigenous African homosexual practices. An example: "The Lovedu people of Lesotho were ruled by queens who were required to take wives and even assembled female harems." Which means the only export from the West is homophobia.