Public input sought on non-discrimination amendment effort

Fairness Works Houston, a new organization formed to pass a proposed non-discrimination charter amendment in Houston, will hold a public meeting this Saturday, Feb. 25, to seek public input. As previously reported by Houstini, the proposed charter amendment, which is still being drafted, will remove discriminatory language added to the city charter in 1985 and 2001 and make it a crime to deny employment, housing or public accommodation to a person because of their “age, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or physical characteristic.”

The meeting, scheduled for 1 pm at the GLBT Cultural Center (401 Branard) in rooms 112/113, looks to identify community resources that can be used both topass the amendment and to gather the 20,000 signatures that will be needed to place the amendment on the November ballot. Scheduled speakers include Noel Freeman, president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus and Jenifer Rene Poole who chairs the Caucus’ committee on the proposed amendment.

—  admin

DOMA ruled unconstitutional by bankruptcy court

A federal bankruptcy court in California on Monday ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles ruled that it is discriminatory to prevent a legally married same-sex couple from filing for joint bankruptcy.

The couple, Gene Balas and Carlos Morales, filed a joint chapter 13 petition. They were married in 2008 in California and remain legally married.

In his ruling, the judge wrote: “This case is about equality, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, for two people who filed for protection under Title 11 of the United States Code (Bankruptcy Code).”

It is “undisputed that the Debtors are a lawfully married California couple,” the judge wrote, adding that the couple came to the court to restructure and repay their debt following extended illnesses and long periods of unemployment.

The U.S. trustee for the case filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that two men cannot file jointly for bankruptcy. The judge ruled the trustee did not ask for dismissal based on one of the 11 causes listed in bankruptcy law to dismiss, but simply because the couple are two men.

The judge said the trustee filed no relevant case law supporting his position and said the couple should not be singled out for discriminatory treatment. He cited the Obama administration’s position that DOMA is unconstitutional and ruled that, indeed it is.

—  David Taffet

NOM nostalgic for ’90s, for the discriminatory laws if not the Doc Martens

NOM has never met a body of lawmakers whose pro-marriage equality law they will not overturn. But when it comes to Republican-controlled Congress of 1996 and their (unconstitutional) Defense of Marriage Act, the flawed procreation arguments were apparently infallible. And of course those dang activist judges and dirty progressives are being somehow out-of-line when further tests and reconsiderations are put into modern-day effect:

“The DOJ brief amounts to collusive litigation, failing to even offer to the court, much less vigorously defend, the reasons Congress laid out in the statute when it passed DOMA—especially responsible procreation. This is an attack not only on marriage, but on the prerogatives of Congress. The Executive branch should not attempt to exercise this kind of retroactive line-item veto over a bill passed by Congress,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM.

DOMA, which was passed by bipartisan majorities in 1996, defines marriage for the purpose of federal law as the union of one man and one woman. In the statute, Congress laid out four reasons justifying this definition of marriage including “responsible procreation.” Courts in New York, Maryland and elsewhere have accepted this reason as the rational basis for marriage’s definition. The DOJ brief formally defending DOMA, pointedly and explicitly repudiates the idea that responsible procreation is a purpose of DOMA, significantly undercutting the efforts of the Congress.

“All the parties to this litigation want the court to strike down DOMA; this is clear from their behavior, no matter what President Obama and his politicized DOJ pretend to convey to the public,” said Brown, “If Obama’s DOJ had merely honestly refused to defend the law, the court would likely have permitted another party to intervene to defend the law. Obama’s DOJ is trying to retain control so it can lose this case.”

NOM Responds to Obama Administration’s Failure to Defend DOMA and Congress [NOM]

Well look, we’re not going to really defend the DOJ’s actions here. If the administration, through its reasoned read, sees DOMA as unconstitutional, then it’s certainly odd that they have to defend it. It’s annoying that we even have to unpack this cognitive dissonance.

But the bottom line here in terms of Brian and NOM is not the DOJ’s defense or lack thereof, but the merits of this flawed law. Once again we see Brian trying to hold on to the ridiculous procreation basis, an argument that might have flown back when this nation’s marriage equality conversation was in its widely unrealized infancy, but one that fails every fair test put upon it here in 2011 America (where gays in five states and D.C. are marrying without incident). Brian and NOM keep working this procreation argument because they know its the best “logic” they have, playing to the same sort of kid-based fears that have reduced this national dialogue in ways immeasurable. But fortunately for us, this “best argument” is still quite bad. At some point NOM staffers are going to have to come up with something, anything else if they want to be seen as a stable of political tiger rather than one of political dodos.




Good As You

—  admin

Video: Huckabee in Iowa, applauds dangerous decision to turn retention process into discriminatory smoke signal

This man wants to be your next president of this supposedly church/state-separated nation, a job that will most certainly come with a few U.S. Supreme Court picks:

[Retention vote] wasn’t personal. It was just business. It was the business of protecting marriage the family. It was the business of believing that there really is a God to whom we are ultimately responsible and accountable, and that we are not merely answering to political governments set up by men, but we ultimately will answer to all things to a holy God who will ask whether or not we held not to a human standard but rather to an eternal standard that supersedes all the of the human standards that can be voted in or voted out. And when we stand by those things it is not personal, it’s business.

Full justice-chilling breadth:







[YT: iowanews1]

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*Our many posts on the gay-focused Iowa retention vote and why it was so wrongheaded/dangerous (regardless of one’s personal view of the judges’ careers, btw): Iowa For Freedom Archive [G-A-Y]




Good As You

—  admin