Watch: Is Obama Trying to Lose the DOMA Cases on Purpose?


Matt Baume of speculates on NOM's unlikely theory, plus offers a few more updates.


Towleroad News #gay

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Obama DOJ files DOMA defense brief in First Circuit cases

This is no surprise, as the Obama administration announced last year it would defend the Defense of Marriage Act in regards to Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. United States, which addresses section of the DOMA regarding federal benefits to same-sex married couples. The brief is here. (The Wonk Room):

The Obama administration announced its intention to defend DOMA in October of 2010 and today filed a brief arguing that “DOMA is rationally related to legitimate governmental interests.” The government maintained that Congress enacted the law during an era of upheaval to maintain “uniformity on the federal level” and allow states the flexibility to expand the definition of marriage as they see fit:

By passing DOMA, Congress sought to preserve the status quo understanding of marriage in federal law as limited to opposite-sex couples while preserving the authority of individual states to engage in a period of evaluation of and experience with a new definition of marriage that is open to same-sex couples. Congress could rationally conclude that maintaining the status quo at the federal level during a period of change would allow states that wish to make changes in the legal definition of marriage to retain their inherent prerogative to do so, while permitting others to maintain their existing view, both by declining to authorize same-sex marriages in the first instance under their own laws and by declining to recognize such marriages that are approved under the laws of other states.

At MetroWeekly, Chris Geidner has more.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Ranker: Top 12 Most Invasive TSA Sexual Harassment Cases (So Far)

The sad truth is that there are probably more than these twelve that are worthy of exposing, but here are two examples that made Ranker’s top of the list

Hands in Underwear

It seems to be a recurring theme that most of these assaults tend to happen to people working in the news and broadcasting industry, because they’re the few who have the ability to report on it. The amount of sexual assaults that happen (TSA or not) every single day that go completely unreported is actually quite soul-crushing and devastating.

So the TSA gets another setback when an ABC producer rings in her opinion by stating a trip to the TSA is worse than “a trip to the gynecologist.” Meaning the agent she dealt with during her pat-down felt her underwear, felt the inside of her underwear and searched for an explosive device which was, of course, never found.

This Guy

Do you remember LolCats and those pictures with quotes like ‘I Can Haz Cheezeburger?”

Of course you do.

Well, the picture to your left may very well start of its own line of LolJunkGrabbing. This photo snapshot miraculously managed to go unnoticed by the TSA when it was taken (cameras are a threat to the US, you know.) What we get is the entire focal point of the pat-down debate and just how unpleasant, awkward, and downright scarring the new and improved procedural are proving to be.

Even the TSA agent seems to be hating on his life at that moment as he digs into that guy’s junk like it’s a unmovable car part that just won’t give.

All that this picture is missing is the agent being red-faced and sweaty with Ren-and-Stimpy-detailed veins popping out of his neck. Seriously, that grimace is sure to inspire hundreds of ridiculous quotes. This picture has been featured in more new stories and internet coverage than any TSA picture thus far and this man will no doubt become an internet superstar (or will sue the pants off of someone.)

The newspaper source got its topic right. This is an image that your mind will not get rid of.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Papa Ratzi stumbles upon the obvious – condoms are appropriate ‘in certain cases’

Unfortunately, according to Catholic doctrine, he just stepped into a steaming pile of hypocrisy. How, for instance, does this square with the fact that sex is only for procreation? No matter the reason, this is a shift that acknowledges the church has failed to hold a reality-based view of the use of condoms to stem the spread of HIV.

This new stance by the head of the pedophile priest protection racket is problematic — how does he determine what those certain cases are? Look at this and tell me what part of this makes sense:

Pope graphic by Mike Tidmus

In a series of interviews published in his native German, the 83-year-old Benedict is asked whether “the Catholic Church is not fundamentally against the use of condoms.”

“It of course does not see it as a real and moral solution,” the pope replies.

“In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality,” said the head of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics

To illustrate his apparent shift in position, Benedict offered the example of a male prostitute using a condom.

“There may be justified individual cases, for example when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be … a first bit of responsibility, to re-develop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes,” Benedict was quoted as saying.

Becoming simply fixated on the issue of condoms makes sexuality more banal and exactly this is the reason why so many people no longer find sexuality to be an expression of their love, but a type of self-administered drug.”

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Pope: Condoms OK To Use ‘In Certain Cases’ – For Male Prostitutes

This unexpected news comes today via excerpts form a new book to be published by Pope Benedict.

The BBC reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef011168fdaff7970c-800wiHe said condoms could reduce the risk of infection with HIV, such as for a prostitute, in a series of interviews he gave to a German journalist.

The Vatican newspaper ran excerpts on Saturday.

The comments appear to soften the Roman Catholic Church's hardline stance, which until now had banned the use of any form of contraception.

When asked whether the Catholic Church is "fundamentally against the use of condoms", the Pope is said to have replied, in the book entitled Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times:

"It of course does not see it as a real and moral solution.

"In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality," he said.

In which "certain cases" does he refer to? The Pope uses male protitution as an example of when people should use condoms.

This new belief goes very much against what the Pope said just last year about condoms being used to in the battle against AIDS. At the time he said, "You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem."

Towleroad News #gay

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The “Witt Standard” and Pending DADT Cases

By Sher Kung, Perkins Coie Legal Fellow, ACLU of Washington

Last week, Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach filed a high-profile lawsuit arguing that the Air Force should be forced to meet the "Witt standard" if it attempts to discharge him from military service under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).

The "Witt standard" comes from a significant 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision (PDF) in an ACLU of Washington case, Witt v. U.S. Air Force, in which the court ruled that the Air Force must prove that dismissing a specific servicemember under DADT is necessary to ensure “good order, morale, and discipline” within the unit he or she served, rather than simply proving in a more general way that DADT broadly advances military readiness. With that requirement of proof, the “Witt standard” was born.

We filed this lawsuit back in 2006 on behalf of Maj. Margaret Witt, who was discharged from the U.S. Air Force on the grounds that she engaged in homosexual conduct. Maj. Witt is a much-decorated flight nurse and operating room nurse assigned to McChord Air Force Base near Tacoma. In 1993, she was selected to be the “poster child” for the Air Force Nurse Corps recruitment flyer. In 2003, she was awarded an Air Force Commendation Medal for saving the life of a Defense Department employee who had collapsed aboard a flight from Bahrain.

The lawsuit sought to reverse the decision to discharge Maj. Witt. The military provided no evidence that her sexual orientation had caused a problem in the performance of her military duties. The district court initially dismissed the suit.

We appealed the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. In 2008, the 9th Circuit ruled that in order to pass constitutional muster, the Air Force must prove discharging Maj. Witt is necessary for purposes of military readiness within her unit. While the 9th Circuit’s decision did not overrule DADT, it made clear that the military must make this individualized determination before it can discharge LGBT service members.

Lt. Col. Fehrenbach’s case, which the New York Times says "rests heavily" on the 9th Circuit’s Witt standard, is pending before the federal district court in Idaho. (Rachel Maddow interviewed him and his lawyer on her show. Previously, then-Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan discussed the significance of the Witt standard in her confirmation hearings.)

In the meantime, Maj. Witt’s case will be back before the U.S. District Court for Western Washington for trial, scheduled for September 13. The ACLU will prove that it was Maj. Witt’s dismissal — not her presence in her unit — that was bad for morale.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Fehrenbach’s legal action could help other DADT cases, shows need for repeal

More on Lt. Col Fehrenbach’s legal effort to block his imminent DADT discharge from the Air Force via Julie Bolcer at The Advocate:

Although limited to Fehrenbach at this time, how the court responds to the request filed Wednesday could shape subsequent legal efforts to end the policy.

“The emergency temporary restraining order applies to Victor directly, but the larger case would apply facially to all of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” said SLDN spokesman Trevor Thomas.

On the political front, the request arrives just weeks before the Senate is expected to vote on the DADT repeal that passed the House in May. The Fehrenbach case illustrates the urgent need for lawmakers to act.

“The discharge of Lieutenant Colonel Fehrenbach would dramatically underscore that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is still the law and all gay and lesbian service members should be on notice,” said SLDN executive director and Army veteran Aubrey Sarvis. “Clearly there is an urgent need for the Senate to act on legislation currently pending that would allow for repeal.”


—  John Wright