Wednesday, December 17, 2014

IDAHO: Gov. Butch Otter Asks SCOTUS To Hear Same-Sex Marriage Appeal

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter today filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in which he demands that they hear the appeal from his state over any others.
If this Court is prepared to decide the constitutionality of state man-woman marriage laws - as amicus believes it should - it is important that the Court have before it at least one case in which state officials will vigorously defend those laws on the merits. Unless state representatives in one case are mounting such a defense — including an explanation of why the man-woman definition of marriage satisfies any form of heightened scrutiny — neither the Court nor the public can be assured that the ultimate decision will be the product of a fair contest between opponents who made the strongest possible arguments on both sides.

Although the officials in the cases now before the Court have been well represented, none has demonstrated a willingness to mount such a defense. Perhaps they believe this Court will inevitably reject all the arguments for heightened scrutiny, thus making a defense under such a standard superfluous. Or perhaps some fear (incorrectly) that a vigorous defense will impugn the parenting skills of same-sex couples and thus be offensive to gays and lesbians. Whatever the reason, these officials’ presentations have left an important viewpoint unrepresented, and it is one that needs to be vigorously presented in this Court.

That is a main reason Governor Otter respectfully suggests that the Court ensure that the Idaho case Otter v. Latta, - in which the Governor is a named party - is among the cases the Court uses as “vehicles” for deciding the constitutionality of the man-woman definition. Unlike the laws now before the Court, Idaho’s definition has been vigorously defended, in part on the ground that it satisfies the heightened scrutiny that the Ninth Circuit held applies to such laws. And unlike those cases, the Ninth Circuit in Latta purported to address Idaho’s heightened-scrutiny defense. Moreover, Latta will likely be before the Court in a very few days: Unless the Ninth Circuit quickly grants the pending petition for rehearing en banc, amicus intends to seek this Court’s review by January 5, 2015.
Read the full brief at Equality Case Files.

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Snowden Applauds Chelsea Manning

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LONDON: Subway Erasure Singalong

Via the BBC:
A fan of Erasure sparked an impromptu singalong on the London Underground with his own version of the band's A Little Respect. Neil Francis, who sings at venues around Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, was waiting at the Kentish Town station when he decided to break into song. "I love the sound of the acoustics in the tube station, so I thought 'give it some'," he said. "It went mental, and got louder and louder." Mr Francis, who admitted having had a couple of drinks to "wet the whistle", said people asked him to carry on singing once they got on the train.
636K views so far. Hit the link for an interview with him.

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Most Major Theater Chains Pull The Interview Over Terrorist Threats

Via the Los Angeles Times:
The nation's leading theater chains are pulling the plug on screening "The Interview." Regal, AMC and Cinemark -- the three largest chains in the United States -- have decided not to screen “The Interview” when it debuts on Christmas Day in the wake of threats made by Sony hackers, said people familiar with the decision. The chains have asked Sony to postpone the release date of the controversial film. The decision represents a major blow to Sony Pictures Entertainment, which has been under siege by a hack attack that became public Nov. 24. A representative of Sony Pictures Entertainment declined to comment. Late Tuesday, Carmike Cinemas, the fourth-largest theater chain, with 2,917 screens in 41 states, became the first major exhibitor to scrap plans to screen "The Interview."
More from the Associated Press:
The fallout from the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack that began four weeks ago exploded Tuesday after the shadowy group calling themselves Guardians of Peace escalated their attack beyond corporate espionage and threatened moviegoers with violence reminiscent of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Department of Homeland Security said there was "no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters," but noted it was still analyzing messages from the group, dubbed GOP. The warning did prompt law enforcement in New York and Los Angeles to address measures to ramp up security.

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BREAKING: Supreme Court To Consider Louisiana Case At January Conference

See the docket notice.

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TURKEY: US Diplomat Charles Hunter To Marry Local Musician Boyfriend

Charles Hunter, US Consul General to Turkey, has confirmed to the local press that he will marry his Turkish boyfriend with the ceremony to take place in Wisconsin.
Hunter was at an event at the Dutch consulate the previous day where he sang at an a capella choir. He responded to reporters' questions afterward. Naturally, almost all questions were about his affair with Turkish artist Ramadan Çaysever, and Hunter spoke about the affair for the first time. He said he "confirmed" all the reports in the press about his affair and planned marriage, but avoided elaborating on the matter. Çaysever, who frequently accompanies the Consul General at events, was absent at Tuesday night's event. Meanwhile, rumors made the rounds in the media about the top diplomat's affair. Some media outlets claimed Çaysever converted to Christianity for his partner. Milliyet, a Turkish daily, claimed Hunter asked for assignment of a bodyguard for Çaysever who has moved in with him, but has not been assigned one yet.
Hunter reportedly met Çaysever at one of his concerts. His music sounds quite like 80s Italo.

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FLORIDA: Judge Grants First Gay Divorce

Via the Associated Press:
The first formal divorce for a gay couple in Florida has been granted by a county judge who also declared the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Circuit Judge Dale Cohen on Wednesday dissolved the marriage of Heather Brassner and Megan Lade. They were united in a 2002 civil union in Vermont. Cohen had ruled in August that Florida's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional and that out-of-state gay marriages should be recognized. Brassner attorney Nancy Brodzki said it was Florida's first gay divorce. Brodzki says she expects Attorney General Pam Bondi to appeal the decision, just as she has several other rulings against the gay marriage ban. There was no immediate reaction from Bondi's office.
(Tipped by JMG reader Lulu)

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RUSSIA: State TV Runs Action Movie-Style Trailer For Putin Press Conference

Via Vox:
Russia's official state-run news channel, Russia-1, has always been a bit brazen about cheerleading Russian President Vladimir Putin as a national action hero. But Russia-1 is taking that to a new level this week. The channel is broadcasting ads for Putin's forthcoming press conference, on the disastrous fall of the ruble, that look very little like sober news coverage and very much like the trailer for a Hollywood Michael Bay action film. That is not hyperbole: the ads literally look like action movie trailers.

(Tipped by JMG reader Mike)

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Brian Brown: Send Me Money To Fight Billionaire Teabagger David Koch

"I have to let you know exactly what we're up against. Recently, the news reported that David Koch—the conservative boogeyman of the left—will be interviewed by ABC's Barbara Walters for her 'The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2014' special scheduled to air on Sunday. In the interview, he unequivocally states, 'I'm basically a libertarian, and I'm a conservative on economic matters, and I'm a social liberal.' It harkens back to a 2012 Politico article where he said, 'I believe in gay marriage.'  This is exactly the problem. Millionaires and billionaires are lining up in support of this radical social agenda... even on the right! And I need your help to stop it! Won't you please click here right away to make a generous donation of $35, $50, $100, $500, or $1,000 or more to help us carry out our mission of protecting marriage and the faith communities that sustain it? When the radical left—like Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry, each bankrolled to the tune of tens of millions of dollars per year—pushes this agenda, they claim people are accepting gay 'marriage' in ever increasing numbers. But what they really mean is that a bunch of hyper-wealthy social liberals are trying to push this agenda on America whether they like it or not." - Hate group leader Brian Brown, via email.

NOTE: Walters' special actually aired last Sunday.

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Pat Robertson: Homosexuals Will Die Out Because They Don't Reproduce

But it's a CHOICE to be gay. Norman, coordinate!

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Quote Of The Day - Barack Obama

"There's no black male my age who's a professional who hasn't come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn't hand them their car keys. It's one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala. It's another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed, or worse, if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress." - Barack Obama, in a People interview that hits the newsstands on Friday.

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Historic Thaw In US-Cuba Relations

Via the Associated Press:
The United States and Cuba will start talks on normalizing full diplomatic relations, marking the most significant shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island in decades, American officials said Wednesday. The announcement comes amid a series of new confidence-building measures between the longtime foes, including the release of American Alan Gross and the freeing of three Cubans jailed in the U.S. President Barack Obama was to announce the policy changes from the White House at noon Wednesday. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said the U.S. and Cuba were moving toward normalized banking and trade ties. He also said the U.S. was poised to open an embassy in Havana in the coming months. "This is going to do absolutely nothing to further human rights and democracy in Cuba," Rubio said in an interview. "But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come."

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Lindsey Graham: I Might Run For President

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Pop Danthology 2014

1.3M views on the first day.

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TEXAS: State's First Gay Federal Judge Approved Thanks To Sen. Ted Cruz

Via the Dallas Morning News:
The Senate confirmed three Texans Tuesday night for lifetime judicial appointments, capping an effort to fill vacancies in the state that have languished for years. The nominees — U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman of San Antonio, Texarkana lawyer Robert Schroeder III and Sherman Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant III — were approved by a voice vote on Congress’ final night this year. Pitman, the first openly gay U.S. attorney in Texas history, will be the state’s first openly gay federal judge. The process was sped up over the weekend, when Sen. Ted Cruz forced action on the constitutionality of the president’s immigration policies. The move failed badly — but gave Majority Leader Harry Reid more time to set up votes on a slew of nominees in the final days of the chamber’s session. Before that point, it was unclear whether the three Texans could be approved before Republicans take over the Senate on Jan. 6.
(Tipped by JMG reader Mike)

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Headline Of The Day

Pastor Gaylard Williams. Seriously. (Tipped by JMG reader Scott)

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FLORIDA: Justice Thomas Calls For Plaintiffs' Response Brief By 5PM Thursday

The plaintiffs in Florida federal marriage equality case have until 5PM on Thursday to respond to Attorney General Pam Bondi's demand for an indefinite stay while the Eleventh Circuit Court considers her appeal. Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia both dissented the last two times that SCOTUS rejected stay demands.

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Merry Christmas From Donald Trump

Trump spent yesterday trying to steal a bit of Jeb Bush's thunder by telling any outlet that would listen that he is also "seriously considering" running for president. What coverage he got was mocking.

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Perkins: Your Gay House Is On Fire

"You go beating on the windows of the bedroom and you awaken them, now you’ve disturbed their sleep, you’ve wakened them up, you’ve disturbed them, you’ve made them uncomfortable because you’ve awakened them in the middle of the night and you’ve told them their house is on fire. Do you hate them because you’re doing that? I would say that you’re actually expressing love, profound love, by awakening them to something that is very destructive and liable to take their lives." - Hate group leader Tony Perkins, speaking on the Faith & Liberty radio show.

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HRC Slams Pam Bondi

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Ferguson Protesters Wed

Via Buzzfeed:
Alexis Templeton and Brittany Ferrell first met while demonstrating in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of unarmed Michael Brown and a grand jury’s subsequent decision to not indict the police officer who shot him. The two activists were married Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall — months after meeting while demonstrating in Ferguson. Both Templeton and Ferrell are prominently involved in Millenial Activists United, a youth-led organization that focuses on “educating and empowering” communities.

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Google: Year In Search 2014

(Tipped by JMG reader Daddy Ray)

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

FLORIDA: County Clerks Legal Group Claims Federal Marriage Equality Ruling Applies In Only One County

As we await the SCOTUS decision on yesterday's marriage stay extension demand by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, the legal firm that represents the state's 67 county clerks today declared that the federal ruling that overturned the ban only applies in the county in which it was issued. The firm warns that clerks outside of Washington County risk arrest if they issue any same-sex marriage licenses after (and if) the stay is allowed to expire on January 5th.
Lawyers for the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers said in a statement today that Washington County is the only place named in the federal lawsuit. Clerks in all other counties, according to the association, aren’t bound by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling in August that the gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. In addition, the association said Florida’s same-sex marriage ban enacted by voters in 2008 is unique because clerk employees who issue a marriage license to a gay couple without authorization could face misdemeanor criminal charges. “At this time of uncertainty, the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers have been advised by the association to follow the advice of our legal counsel and not issue same-sex marriage licenses until a binding order is issued by a court of proper jurisdiction,” said Kenneth A. Kent, executive director of the clerks association.
Judges in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties have also ruled against Florida's ban on same-sex marriage, but those cases have been put on hold pending the federal appeal now before the Eleventh Circuit Court.

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RUSSIA: Ruble Crashes To New Low, Apple Suspends Local Online Sales

Via USA Today:
The Russian ruble currency declined sharply against the dollar on Tuesday despite an aggressive intervention just hours earlier by Russia's Central Bank to halt the slide by hiking its benchmark interest rate to 17%. The ruble fell to a new low of 73 against the dollar on Tuesday. Initially, the ruble reacted favorably to the monetary policy move to prop up the troubled currency. It rallied for a few hours before sliding back into record-low territory. The Central Bank's rate rise — from 10.5% — was its biggest single move since 1998, Bloomberg reported. That is the same year that the Russian government defaulted on its sovereign debt. The ruble has lost about half its value since the start of the year because of a collapse in oil prices and Western sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine. Oil prices remained around five-year lows Tuesday as supply outstrips demand.
In response to the ruble's crash, Apple today suspended online sales in Russia.
The iPhone and iPad maker stopped sales from its Web store as Russia’s currency lost as much as 19 percent today, with a surprise interest-rate increase failing to stem a run on the currency. The ruble briefly sank beyond 80 per dollar, and bonds and stocks also tumbled, with the RTS equity gauge dropping the most since 2008. “Our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing,” Alan Hely, a spokesman for the Cupertino, California-based company, wrote in an e-mailed statement today. “We apologize to customers for any inconvenience.”

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PUERTO RICO: First Circuit Court Sets Briefing Schedule For Marriage Case


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Bishops Have The Executive Order Sadz

Via press release:
The regulations published on December 3 by the U.S. Department of Labor implement the objectionable Executive Order that President Obama issued in July to address what the Administration has described as “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” discrimination in employment by federal contractors. We will study the regulations carefully, but we note the following initially.

Our Church teaches that “[e]very sign of unjust discrimination” against those who experience same-sex attraction “should be avoided” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 2358)—but it appears on an initial reading that these regulations would prohibit far more than that “unjust discrimination.”

In particular, they appear also to prohibit employers’ religious and moral disapproval of same-sex sexual conduct, which creates a serious threat to freedom of conscience and religious liberty, because “[u]nder no circumstances” may Catholics approve of such conduct (CCC 2357). Very many other people over a broad spectrum of different religious faiths hold this same conviction.

Additionally, the regulations advance the false ideology of “gender identity,” which ignores biological reality and harms the privacy and associational rights of both contractors and their employees. In justice, the Administration should not exclude contractors from federal contracting simply because they have religious or moral convictions about human sexuality and sexual conduct that differ from the views of the current governmental authorities.

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Martina Navratilova Gets Married

Lovely bit from the BBC: "A role model still for millions of aspiring players, today she is something more private, more romantic. She is a bride."

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Paging Bill Donohue

Via the Associated Press:
For the first time in its history, the sponsors of Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade will allow a group representing the gay community to participate, drawing cheers from Mayor Martin Walsh, who boycotted the event last year over the exclusion.

The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which has long resisted the inclusion of gay groups and won a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1995 upholding their right to ban them from the annual parade that draws hundreds of thousands of spectators, voted 5-4 on Monday night to allow the group OutVets to march in the parade scheduled for March 15.

They will be allowed to carry a blue banner with five white stars representing the branches of the military and six vertical rainbow stripes. The group represents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans and participated in the city's Veterans Day parade last month.
Ooh, somebody's gonna have a turrrrible case of the sadz.

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DC Priest To Gays: Stop All That Fucking

"A person with same-sex attraction is called to live celibately, like any unmarried heterosexual person. And though celibacy has its challenges (as does marriage) it can also be a very fulfilling way to live. Of this I am a witness. I am heterosexual, but I live celibately, not just because I am a priest, but because I am unmarried. And my life is very rich and fulfilling. I am not lonely, frustrated, or miserable. I suppose sex can be a source a happiness. But I have done enough counseling to know that sex can also be a source of stress, struggle, and yes, unhappiness. It is wrong to simplistically link sexual intercourse with happiness or to declare it a sine qua non for fulfillment. With this background in mind, I was pleased to see an article in the Washington Post that discusses the lives of those with same-sex attraction who choose to live celibately and in conformity with the teachings of the Church in this matter."- Father Charles Pope, writing for the Archdiocese of Washington.

PREVIOUSLY ON JMG:  Father Pope calls for the cancellation of NYC's 2015 St. Patrick's Day "anal sex celebration parade" over the inclusion of one LGBT group. Father Pope slams the legalization of gay adoption in Florida because "parthenogenesis" is not meant for humans. Father Pope denounces President Obama for citing scripture in his endorsement of same-sex marriage.

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YouTube Comment Reconstruction Finale

The last line slayed me.

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2015 Rock Hall Inductees: Joan Jett, Green Day, Lou Reed, Ringo Starr

The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame has unveiled its list of inductees for the 2015 class. Via Rolling Stone:
Lou Reed, Green Day, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Bill Withers and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band will all join the class of 2015. Ringo Starr will be given the Award For Musical Excellence and 1950s R&B group the "5" Royales will receive the Early Influence Award. Artists are eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first album or single. Green Day, whose debut EP, 1,000 Hours, came out in 1989, are entering the institution in their first year of eligibility. Starr was inducted as part of The Beatles in 1988, though his three other bandmates have since entered the Hall of Fame as solo artists.
And once again Chic, who have been nominated NINE times since becoming eligible in 2002, are shut out.

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Josh Duggar: I Fight Non-Discrimination Laws Because I Love Gay People

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Ireland To Vote On Marriage In May

Polls indicate a landslide win for marriage equality.

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PENNSYLVANIA: Philadelphia's Alleged Gay-Bashers Get First Hearing Today
UPDATE: There WILL Be A Trial

Via Philly Magazine:
The case will be brought before a municipal court judge to determine if there was probable cause to arrest the suspects in September. Attorney for Kevin Harrigan, Josh Scarpello, tells me, “we won’t decide the truth of the matter in that first hearing. It is a probable-cause hearing to establish if the case should go to trial.” Scarpello confirms that all three defendants have pleaded not guilty. District Attorney's office spokesperson Tasha Jamerson tells me chief assistant district attorney of the central unit, Michael Barry, is prosecuting the case. During the preliminary hearing he will present all evidence, and the judge will hear testimony from witnesses, police, and the complainants and defendants. "The judge will listen to both sides and determine if there is enough to hold them to trial," Jamerson says.
If the judge rules for a trial and if no plea bargain is reached, a jury trial would likely not take place for a couple of months at the earliest. I'll update this post after the hearing concludes. (Tipped by JMG reader Edward)

UPDATE: There WILL be a trial on all charges. BOOM.
UPDATE II: Here's the first recap from the AP:
A gay man is testifying about a late-night confrontation with young adults out on the town in Philadelphia that left his boyfriend in a pool of blood. The 28-year-old says the September attack began when 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan used slurs to ask if he and his partner were gay. The witness says he used the same language back to say they were, and the fight soon got physical. Harrigan, 24-year-old Philip Williams and 24-year-old Kathryn Knott are charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy and other counts. Defense lawyers hope to have the case dismissed at Tuesday's preliminary hearing, arguing that both parties were at fault. But witness Geoff Nagle questions whether the second gay man could have thrown a punch as he was beaten to the ground with a broken jaw.

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Supercut: Darlene Love On Letterman

Via Stereogum:
Every year since 1986, David Letterman has invited Darlene Love to perform on the last show of the year before Christmas. Every year, she sings “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” her Phil Spector-produced 1963 Christmas classic. Every year, Paul Shaffer and a sprawling cast of musicians backs her up. Next May, Letterman will retire from late-night TV, which means that when Love appears on Friday’s show to sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” it’ll be the last time singing it on Letterman’s show.
By far my favorite Xmas song. Watch this supercut of Love's performances on Letterman over the last three decades.

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HomoQuotable - Greg Quinlan

"The [PFOX 'ex-gay'] billboard speaks to the scientific fact that to quote the American Psychiatric Association, 'there still remains no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality.' There is zero evidence that a person is born a homosexual. In fact, Dr. Francis Collins of the human genome project with the National Institute of Health, who was appointed by President Clinton to do the project said homosexuality was 'not hard-wired.' The reason we see so much of a proliferation of homosexuality in our society now is because we live in a sex-saturated culture. The first century church thrived in a hyper-sexualized homosexual culture in an age of sexual anarchy. So can the 21st century church. We do not need to compromise our message in order to bring homosexuals into the church or accommodate them. The truth is the truth, and if we love someone, we will tell them the truth that homosexuality is destructive to someone. I know because I watched 100 of my friends die of AIDS." - Former PFOX president Greg Quinlan, in a World Net Daily piece that does not mention that the model on the billboard is not a twin and is in fact proudly and openly gay. Quinlan is currently head of the virulently anti-gay New Jersey Family Policy Council.

PREVIOUSLY ON JMG: PFOX former president Richard Cohen earns national ridicule after CNN broadcasts a demonstration of his "gay cure," which involved Cohen pounding a pillow with a tennis racket while screaming, "Why, Mommy, why?" PFOX files "ex-gay" discrimination complaint with state of Maryland. PFOX kicks Right Wing Watch reporter out of "Ex-Gay Awareness Dinner." PFOX announces "the end of homosexuality." PFOX head Greg Quinlan declares that President Obama and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy are secretly gay. Quinlan says gay men are sexual cannibals. Quinlan says he's gay because he was molested. Quinlan defends the "ex-gay" therapy of Ladybird Bachmann. Quinlan claims gay activist Wayne Besen threatened to inject him with AIDS. Quinlan testifies against New Jersey marriage.  Quinlan attempts to distribute "ex-gay" flyers at public schools. Quinlan demands that FDA cease linking gay sites in harm reduction campaign. Quinlan files SCOTUS brief in support of DOMA.

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Pundits' Mom Calls In To C-SPAN

Via Mediaite:
Brothers Dallas and Brad Woodhouse were debating ye olde bipartisanship on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal Tuesday morning when they got a call in from “someone down south.” “You’re right I’m from down south!” said the voice. “Oh god, it’s mom!” Dallas said as both brothers hid their faces. “I disagree that all families are like ours,” Joy Woodhouse told the program. “I don’t know many families that are fighting on Thanksgiving.”

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TAIWAN: Pop Star Jolin Tsai Backs Marriage In Heartbreaking Music Video

Via Gay Star News:
The Taiwanese queen of pop Jolin Tsai locks lips with actress Ruby Lin in the music video for her new song, We're All Different, Yet The Same. The clip is based on the true story of a lesbian couple who have been together for more than 30 years. However, when one was hospitalized due to old age and required emergency surgery, her partner could not sign the consent form because she was not a legal spouse or family member. When medical staff asked, 'What is your relationship with the patient?' she could only answer, 'A good friend.'
The song is in Mandarin, but you'll probably need a tissue.

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It's Semi-Official: Jeb Bush 2016

From his announcement:
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! Like many of you, our family was blessed with the opportunity to gather together over the recent Thanksgiving holiday. Columba and I are so proud of the wonderful adults our children have become, and we loved spending time with our three precious grandchildren. We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football. We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States. In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.
Is anybody surprised?

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SCOTLAND: Same-Sex Marriages Begin

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LOS ANGELES: Ninth Circuit Court Upholds Law Mandating Condoms In Porn

Via the Associated Press:
A Los Angeles County ordinance requiring actors in pornographic films to use condoms does not violate the porn industry's First Amendment rights of free expression, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The decision from a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the industry's contention that having actors use condoms would interfere with a film's fantasy element by subjecting viewers to real-word concerns like pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. For the First Amendment argument to apply, the court ruled, there would have to be a great likelihood that a film's audience would understand that intended message. "Here, we agree with the district court that, whatever unique message plaintiffs might intend to convey by depicting condomless sex, it is unlikely that viewers of adult films will understand that message," said Judge Susan P. Graber, writing for the panel's majority.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation head Michael Weinstein called the ruling a "total vindication." The AHF was the bill's primary backer. A similar bill to implement the rule statewide died last year in a state Senate committee. Weinstein has vowed to place the issue to a public ballot if the bill is not resurrected.

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We Have A Surgeon General

Via the Washington Post:
President Obama's pick to serve as the next surgeon general was confirmed Monday evening more than a year and half after being nominated, the first of nearly a half dozen of the president's picks set for confirmation this week as Democrats prepare to cede control of the U.S. Senate. Senators voted 51 to 43 to confirm Vivek Murthy, a Harvard and Yale-educated doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, whose nomination had been in limbo amid concerns about his experience, and opposition from the gun lobby.

Senators in both parties had questioned whether he was too inexperienced for the job, or whether his efforts to get Obama elected and support the president's health-care law made him too polarizing a figure. But by far the most vehement opposition to Murthy’s confirmation came from the National Rifle Association, which called him a “serious threat to the rights of gun owners” because of his support of tighter gun control laws. That animosity in part dates to a tweet Murthy sent out in 2012: "Tired of politicians playing politics w/guns, putting lives at risk b/c they're scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue."

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AUSTRALIA: Murdered Hero In Sydney Cafe Siege Was Openly Gay Man

The Sydney cafe manager murdered yesterday after being held hostage by a deranged Islamist was an openly gay man in a 14-year relationship.
The manager of the Lindt cafe who was fatally shot in the Martin Place siege is being praised as a hero who helped others trapped in the cafe to escape. Tori Johnson, 34, was wrestling a gun from hostage-taker Man Haron Monis when he was killed. It is understood the cafe manager decided to take action when the gunman began to doze off after the siege had been ongoing for 17 hours. He lunged at the hostage-taker’s weapon, allowing others to flee. He was one of two hostages killed in the siege, with 38-year-old lawyer Katrina Dawson also fatally shot. The family has gathered at the 34-year-old’s apartment as his brother James flies to Sydney from Canada. The cafe manager was in a long-term relationship with his partner of 14 years, Thomas Zinn. It is understood Mr Zinn is being comforted along with the Johnsons at the couple’s home.
Johnson's family has released a statement:
We are so proud of our beautiful boy Tori, gone from this earth but forever in our memories as the most amazing life partner, son and brother we could ever wish for. We feel heartfelt sorrow for the family of Katrina Dawson. We'd like to thank not only our friends and loved ones for their support, but the people of Sydney; Australia and those around the world for reaching out with their thoughts and prayers. Our deepest gratitude to the NSW police, armed forces and paramedics for their tireless efforts. We ask that the media respects our privacy in this difficult time. Let us all pray for peace on earth.
Condolences have poured into Australia from Stephen Harper, David Cameron, President Obama, and other national leaders. (Tipped by JMG readers Wayne and David)

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Pat Robertson Slams Ted Cruz

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Monday, December 15, 2014

BREAKING: Florida AG Pam Bondi Asks SCOTUS To Extend Marriage Stay

On December 5th the Eleventh Circuit Court denied Bondi's demand for an indefinite stay on same-sex marriages while they consider her appeal. That stay is due to dissolve on January 5th and today Bondi filed the same stay extension demand with SCOTUS. Justice Clarence Thomas has jurisdiction over the Eleventh Circuit.

UPDATE: Here's the demand.

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The Hand Of God Brought You The Todd Starnes All-American Xmas Special

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NOM Appeals Denial Of Legal Fees After Losing Suit Against Feds

Back in June a federal court declared that NOM had not "produced a shred of proof" that their donor information had been deliberated leaked to the Human Rights Campaign. The government did agree to pay NOM $50K for the "unintentional disclosure" of that information, prompting chairman John Eastman to hit Fox News and every teabagger site to declare victory - even though NOM actually lost their lawsuit, a pesky detail that none of those outlets reported. In October NOM lost again when the same court told them to suck it regarding their legal costs. Today NOM filed notice that they are appealing that "suck it" to the Forth Circuit Court. Named in today's appeal notice is Brian Brown's ActRight group, which also today told its supporters that they are nearly flat broke. Pity.

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