T.D. Jakes on the marriage equality decision: You may be surprised

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The Rev. T.D. Jakes

I have never considered the Rev. T.D. Jakes to be a big supporter of LGBT rights. I am not saying that this speech indicates he is. But I applaud him for preaching on the necessity of separating church and state, and the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court makes its rulings, as it should, based on civil law, not biblical scripture.

“The world is gonna be the world, and the church is gonna be the church and you have to understand the difference. The Supreme Court is there to make a decision based on constitutional rights and legalities that fit all Americans. They are not debating Scripture.”

—  Tammye Nash

NOM ‘Committed to working to reverse’ marriage equality

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Brian Brown, president of NOM

We won. At least at the Supreme Court level. But we have a lot of work left to do. That’s blatantly obvious when you stop to look at opinions and instructions from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, who are encouraging county clerks not to follow the law by not issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Then there is this: A “give us money” plea sent out through email by Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage:

“MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2015

“Dear Marriage Supporter,

“As you know, a 5-4 ruling of the US Supreme Court has resulted in marriage being redefined, with genderless ‘marriage’ now being imposed on every state in the nation. This is a terrible decision that entirely lacks constitutional authority.

“NOM is committed to working to reverse this decision over time. But until that happens, we need to minimize the damage that is going to be caused to individuals, churches and other organizations that support marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“Please act today to support the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) (S. 1598, H.R. 2802) today by completing this Action Alert. FADA will prevent any federal agency from denying a tax exemption, grant, contract, license, or certification to an individual, association, or business based on their belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. For example, the bill would prohibit the IRS from stripping a church of its tax exemption for refusing to officiate same-sex weddings.

“This common-sense and urgently-need bill has become “must pass” legislation in light of the US Supreme Court decision. I urge you to contact your US Senators and Members of Congress to ask them to support this legislation.”

There was more. It was more of the same. Of course, the truth is the marriage ruling was good for NOM and others like it because it gives them a reason to beg for more money.

But even though we have won the battle, the war continues. Today, we are still celebrating. But we have to remember not to rest on our laurels, so to speak. We have to remember the fight continues.

—  Tammye Nash

Paxton bemoans the horror of marriage equality, predicts wrack and ruin

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Less than 24 hours after insisting that Texas county clerks needed to get his approval to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if the U.S. Supreme Court issued a pro-marriage-equality ruling today (Friday, June 26) — which the court did, shortly after 9 a.m. CST — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement calling the ruling “an assault on the actual text of the U.S. Constitution” and predicting widespread death and destruction — OK, really he just said it will dilute marriage as a societal institution and endanger religious liberty.

If we had even a smidgen of belief that Paxton has actually read the U.S. Constitution, or even the Texas Constitution, we might be more inclined to pay attention. But …..

Anyway. Here’s his statement in its entirety. If you have a weak. stomach, make sure you haven’t just eaten something when you read it:

“Today’s ruling by five Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court marks a radical departure from countless generations of societal law and tradition. The impact of this opinion on our society and the familial fabric of our nation will be profound. Far from a victory for anyone, this is instead a dilution of marriage as a societal institution.

“What is most disturbing is the extent to which this opinion is yet another assault on the actual text of the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law itself. Just as Roe v. Wade ripped from the hands of the American people the issue of life and placed it in the judge-made ‘penumbras’ of the Constitution, so has this opinion made clear that our governing document — the protector of our liberties through representative government — can be molded to mean anything by unelected judges.

“But no court, no law, no rule, and no words will change the simple truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Nothing will change the importance of a mother and a father to the raising of a child. And nothing will change our collective resolve that all Americans should be able to exercise their faith in their daily lives without infringement and harassment.

“We start by recognizing the primacy and importance of our first freedom — religious liberty. The truth is that the debate over the issue of marriage has increasingly devolved into personal and economic aggression against people of faith who have sought to live their lives consistent with their sincerely-held religious beliefs about marriage. In numerous incidents trumpeted and celebrated by a sympathetic media, progressives advocating the anti-traditional marriage agenda have used this issue to publicly mock, deride and intimidate devout individuals for daring to believe differently than they do. This ruling will likely only embolden those who seek to punish people who take personal, moral stands based upon their conscience and the teachings of their religion.

“It is not acceptable that people of faith be exposed to such abuse. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects our religious liberty and shields people of faith from such persecution, but those aspects of its protections have been denigrated by radicals, echoed by the media and an increasingly-activist judiciary. Consistent with existing federal and state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that should already protect religious liberty and prevent discrimination based on religion, we must work to ensure that the guarantees of the First Amendment, protecting freedom of religion, and its corollary freedom of conscience, are secure for all Americans.

“Our guiding principle should be to protect people who want to live, work and raise their families in accordance with their religious faith. We should ensure that people and businesses are not discriminated against by state and local governments based on a person’s religious beliefs, including discrimination against people of faith in the distribution of grants, licenses, certification or accreditation; we should prevent harassing lawsuits against people of faith, their businesses and religious organizations; we should protect non-profits and churches from state and local taxes if the federal government penalizes them by removing their 501(c)(3) status; and we should protect religious adoption and foster care organizations and the children and families they serve. Shortly, my office will be addressing questions about the religious liberties of clerks of court and justices of the peace.

“Displays of hate and intolerance against people of faith should be denounced by all people of good will and spark concern among anyone who believes in religious liberty and freedom for all.

“Despite this decision, I still have faith in America and the American people. We must be vigilant about our freedom and must use the democratic process to make sure America lives up to its promise as a land of freedom, religious tolerance and hope.”

 

—  Tammye Nash

BREAKING: SCOTUS rules for marriage equality

DV Cover 03-15-13DThe Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality by a 5-4 vote with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority.

You can read the 5-4 majority opinion here.

Check the Dallas Voice for more information as more details. come in.

—  James Russell

Waiting ….

Jesse and Chance

8:46 p.m., CST. This is what it looked like about 25 minutes ago outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. A see of supporter for marriage equality, waiting on the court to rule. And yes, that’s former Dallasites Jesse Garcia and Chance Browning front and center.

—  Tammye Nash

BREAKING: Supreme Court rules on housing, healthcare

Supreme-Court-building-permissionNo marriage equality ruling today, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on 2 cases. The marriage equality ruling will either be issued tomorrow, June 26 — the anniversary of the Lawrence v. Texas, Windsor and Prop 8 decisions — or on Monday, June 29.

On the second-to-last opinion day of the term, it’s customary for the Chief Justice to announce that the remaining opinions are coming on the next day. He didn’t do that today, so announcement of the remaining five opinions will probably be split between Friday and Monday.

The Texas Housing decision, a Dallas case, was decided 5-4 upholding the lower court decision and is remanded to the Fifth Circuit to review.

SCOTUSblog wrote, “The issue in this case is whether the Fair Housing Act allows lawsuits based on disparate impact – that is, an allegation that a law or practice has a discriminatory effect, even if it wasn’t based on a discriminatory purpose. The court had granted review to consider this question in two earlier cases, but both of those cases settled before the Court could rule on them.”

The ruling broadens the terms of discrimination and Dallas Housing Authority must do more to distribute funds for housing in black and in white neighborhoods.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the decision in King v. Burwell, a 6-3 opinion. Subsidies for health insurance will continue in states like Texas that did not expand Medicaid coverage and did not create their own exchanges.

—  David Taffet

BREAKING: SCOTUS adds Friday as new opinion day

Supreme-Court(5)The U.S. Supreme Court added Friday, June 26 as a day it will release opinions in addition to Thursday, June 25 and Monday, June 29. The marriage equality decision could be released on any of those days.

Seven decisions are left to be released. Included are three widely anticipated rulings.

Obergefell v. Hodges is the marriage ruling.

Also, King v. Burwell will decide the fate of insurance subsidies in states including Texas that did not create their own exchanges.

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project will address the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which addressed racial segregation in housing. The decision will answer the question: Does the law prohibit only intentional discrimination, or does it also apply to seemingly race-neutral policies that still have the effect of harming minorities? That may affect those members of the LGBT community in Section 8 housing.

Other decisions involve Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol, the possession of a short-barrelled shotgun as a felony, the EPA’s regulation of hazardous pollution from utilities and Arizona’s use of a non-partisan redistricting commission.

 

 

—  David Taffet

Dallas County Clerk’s office will extend hours after the Supreme Court rules

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Dallas County Clerk John Warren

Dallas County Clerk John Warren told Dallas Voice he will extend hours to issue marriage licenses if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality.

Warren couldn’t say exactly what those extended hours will be or how soon after the ruling he will open the office to issue licenses to same-sex couples. That, in part, depends on the wording in the ruling that may give the remaining states time to prepare. However, when the court lifted the stays in a number of states in October, marriage began immediately in most cases and within a few days in other cases.

In Houston, Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart said “They’re destroying an institution, the institution of marriage.” But he said he would comply. In Fort Worth, Tarrant County Clerk Louise Garcia said she had no plan to deal with the rush but would comply with court rulings.

Travis County and Bexar County both plan to extend hours.

—  David Taffet

Freedom to Marry expects a Supreme Court victory

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Marc Solomon

Freedom to Marry’s national campaign director, Marc Solomon, was in Dallas on Wednesday (May 27) to discuss his new book, Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits — and Won.

Predicting how the Supreme Court will rule, Solomon said, “I have huge confidence we’ll prevail.”

Solomon was in the Supreme Court listening to the arguments last month. He said marriage equality will win for three reasons.

First is the power of the arguments for equality. Next is the lack of substance in opponents’ arguments.

Solomon cited one argument made by the attorney for the state of Michigan, who argued that if gay couples marry, straight couples will be less inclined to marry and more children will be born out of wedlock. Asked what studies he had to prove that, the Michigan lawyer  couldn’t answer,

Instead, the pro-equality side talked about one of the Michigan plaintiff couples who adopted four children. Each partner adopted two, but because of state law couldn’t adopt each other’s children, proving tangible harm to the children who each has only one legal parent.

Solomon said the third reason equality will win in the Supreme court is “where we’ve taken this country.”

He cited several recent polls that each showed more than 60 percent support for marriage equality including a majority of people across the south. He credits the change in polling numbers to several things.

“We shared who we are and talked about why marriage is important to us,” he said. That happened not just in cities, but in suburbs and rural areas of states across the country: “We waged smart political campaigns. We have a great track record of re-electing our friends.”

Solomon said he expects all 50 states to have marriage equality by the end of June and that Equality Texas, working with allies in the Legislature, did a great job this session killing any anti-LGBT and anti-marriage legislation.

—  David Taffet

Anti-marriage-equality protesters still ‘on the job’

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A friend of mine is in Washington, D.C., today, just on a sightseeing tour. She sent me this photo, taken this afternoon in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building, and I decided I would share it here on the blog, just as a warning.

Remember folks, the oral arguments held last month are over, and we aren’t expecting a ruling from the Supreme Court on marriage equality until at least sometime next month. But the opponents of equality remain vigilant. So we must be even more vigilant.

—  Tammye Nash