Friday, June 20, 2014


As part of my ongoing efforts to get ready for a new computer I downloaded the Libre Office suite and I'm writing today's posts on it. There are a few things I wish it did differently, but it opens all the files it should. As for the rest of the migration efforts, email is still the big issue.

On to the news of the week.

The US Senate has approved two nominees for federal courts at the district level. They are Darrin Gayles in Florida and Staci Yandle in Illinois. The significance (beyond the Senate actually filling court vacancies) is that both are black and openly gay. In addition, Gayles is the first openly gay black man to be confirmed.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals has declared a ban on gay sex to be unconstitutional. Um, yeah, the Supremes did that more than a decade ago. But this is progress. Eleven states still have such unenforceable laws on their books (including Michigan) and two months ago Louisiana voted to keep their law even though it can't be enforced – it is still useful for intimidation.

A while back in the same-sex marriage case in Wisconsin I had wondered about the legal definition of “injunction.” Now I know. An injunction is the part of a judge's ruling that says what the losing side has to do to fix things. In the Wisconsin case the original ruling didn't come with an injunction. She declared the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, but she didn't say what the state should do about it. Instead, she asked the state and plaintiffs what they thought should be done. On hearing that the clerk's offices weren't sure what they were supposed to do. Most offered marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a few did not. It's official now. The injunction was issued along with a stay. And I know what that means.

Luxembourg has approved same-sex marriage! It's passage through Parliament took two years, though it passed 56-4. I think the hold-up was making sure the related adoption laws permitted both closed and open adoptions by same-sex couples, just like straight couples. Though in a country where the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are both openly gay one would think passage would have been more swift.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) voted at their national gathering to allow clergy to perform same-sex weddings. The vote was 76% in favor, quite the change from two years ago when the resolution failed by 1%. The resolution now goes to 172 regional assemblies for confirmation.

An increasing number of gay advocacy groups are declaring they are against the version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that was passed by the Senate (and won't be touched by the House). The reason is the religious exemptions are too generous. It can be summarized this way: if the exemptions are different from those for race, gender, or disability then the non-discrimination act is discriminatory.

I had written about the HBO documentary The Case Against 8 and how worthwhile I thought it is. Jacob Combs of Towleroad interviews the makers of the film, Ben Cotner and Ryan White.

Newsweek has an article on the GOP Establishment v. Tea Party. Though the Tea Party won big ousting Eric Cantor it has lost most of the other races where it fielded candidates. But the Tea Party isn't conceding defeat because most of the Establishment candidates are much more to the right than before the Tea Party got into the fray. Some are so far right they are doing a pretty good imitation of Tea Party candidates.

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