Thursday, October 23, 2014

NEW YORK CITY: Cyndi Lauper To Host Benefit Concert For Homeless LGBT Youth

Via press release:
Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund today announced annual “Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays” benefit concert on Saturday, December 6th at New York City’s historic Beacon Theatre to help raise awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth homelessness and funds to support the True Colors Fund’s work to address the problem. Cyndi Lauper will be joined on stage this year by 50 Cent, Natalie Maines, Patty Griffin, Salt-N-Pepa, Sufjan Stevens, Emily West, STRFKR, Liv Warfield, Hoda Kotb, and co-hosts Rosie O’Donnell and Laverne Cox. Additional guests will be announced soon. 

“For the fourth year in a row, ‘Home for the Holidays’ will feature an amazing night of performances in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth experiencing homelessness," said Lauper, co-founder of the True Colors Fund. "I am astounded by the artists who continue to give of their time and talent each and every year and I am so excited by the line-up who are joining us in December. The concert plays such an important role in supporting the True Colors Fund’s work to ensure that no young person is homeless again because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
50 Cent! That's interesting. Tickets go on sale here tomorrow. The Beacon Theatre is on the Upper West Side and is one of the most gorgeous venues in New York City.

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ALASKA: Palin Endorses Independent Opponent Of GOP Gov. Sean Parnell

Parnell (above left) was lieutenant governor under Palin. From the National Journal:
Palin rebuked her Republican successor in her home state, endorsing independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker, who is running on a "unity ticket" with Democratic running mate Byron Mallott, instead. Palin's endorsement goes against her former lieutenant governor, Gov. Sean Parnell, who assumed office in 2009 when Palin abruptly resigned and is embroiled in a highly contested race for reelection to a second full term. Palin offered the endorsement at a campaign reception in her Wasilla home, according to a press release issued by Walker. Parnell's 2013 restructuring of the state's oil and gas taxes dismantled a prior, Palin-championed program that she considered to be one of the greatest achievements of her tenure. That difference of opinion is at the heart of Palin's conflict with Parnell, which resulted in the two campaigning on opposite sides of a ballot measure in this year's primary.
Like Parnell, Walker opposes same-sex marriage.
Independent candidate Bill Walker says he treats people with kindness, dignity and respect but says his "Christian beliefs" are that marriage is between a man and a woman. He said that's keeping with Alaska's constitution, which a governor is sworn to uphold. If the constitution changes, he would uphold the amended constitution.
The Parnell/Walker race is presently considered a toss-up.

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ARKANSAS: State Supreme Court To Hear Marriage Case On November 20th

This is separate from another Arkansas case that a federal court will hear that same day.  Also on November 20th is the hearing on the Montana case. Three marriage hearings on one day. Zoom!

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OTTAWA: Parliament Gives Standing Ovation To Official Who Stopped Gunman

RELATED: The tinfoil hat crowd is already claiming that yesterday's incident was a false flag attack: "Kevin Vickers Sergeant-at-Arms guy is tied in with the royal family and a bunch of other corrupt New World Order evilness so obviously he is an untrustworthy character!"

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KANSAS: Duggars And FRC Rally Today Against Gays With Gov. Sam Brownback

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HOUSTON: Hate Groups To Rally Against Mayor Annise Parker On November 2nd

Tony Perkins, Todd Starnes, Mike Huckabee, Phil Robertson, Rick Scarborough, the Benham brothers, and a clown car cavalcade of other crackpots will rally in Houston on Sunday, November 2nd to denounce "sermon-grabbing homofascist" Mayor Annise Parker. Sponsoring the event, which will be live-streamed to churches nationwide, are the Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Counsel, Texas Values, Iowa's Family Leader, Citizens For Community Values, Christians Vote, and E.W. Jackson's STAND, which last week launched a petition for Congress to legalize anti-gay discrimination nationwide. The hate rally will be held at the Houston megachurch Grace Community, where the largest hall seats 10,000.

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Tributes For Murdered Canadian Soldier

Flags are flying at half-mast across Canada this morning in tribute to murdered soldier Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. The scene of his murder remains under lockdown, but flowers are piling up at the closest accessible point. At last night's Penguins/Flyers match in Pittsburgh, fans sang O Canada before the start of the game. Trending on Twitter: #OttawaStrong.

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Lambda Legals Sues Social Security Adminstration On Behalf Of Texas Widow

Via press release:
Today Lambda Legal filed suit against the Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of Kathy Murphy, a Texas widow denied spousal benefits after the death of her wife, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (the National Committee), arguing that denying Social Security benefits to same-sex spouses because they live in states that discriminate against their marriages violates the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court struck down federal discrimination against same-sex spouses last year in United States v. Windsor; Lambda Legal argues that SSA cannot perpetuate the same kind of discrimination now and leave lesbian and gay spouses without the financial protections of social security as they age.

“SSA should not be telling widowed lesbians and gay men already grieving the loss of a spouse - ‘you live in the wrong state so you don’t get Social Security spousal benefits,’” said Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation at Lambda Legal. “Thousands of same-sex spouses, like our client Kathy Murphy, have married, even though their home states refuse to recognize their relationships. Since Windsor, these aging lesbian and gay Americans believe that, at the very least, their marriages finally will be respected by the federal government. But, relying on discriminatory state marriage bans declared unconstitutional by an avalanche of courts around the country, SSA continues to deny same-sex spouses their benefits. Widows, widowers and retirees, wherever they live, need Social Security spousal benefits, earned through years of hard work, to support them as they age. They should not have to wait one more day to be treated with dignity by the federal government.”
Read the complaint.

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Jessica Lange - Gods And Monsters

On last night's episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show, Jessica Lange covered a track from Lana Del Rey's 2012 EP Paradise. I'll replace this audio-only version if a clip from the show appears on YouTube.

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SAN DIEGO: New Poll Shows Carl DeMaio And Rep. Scott Peters In Dead Heat

Via the San Diego Fox affliliate:
The race for a San Diego-area congressional seat held by Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, is a dead heat, according to results of a poll released Tuesday. The survey conducted on behalf of 10News and U-T San Diego found former Councilman Carl DeMaio — a Republican — with a 46-45 lead over the incumbent in a sampling of more than 600 likely voters in the Nov. 4 general election. SurveyUSA called 650 registered voters who live in the 52nd Congressional District between Friday and Monday, and 10 percent were undecided. The campaign, which is being watched nationally, has been punctuated with accusations that DeMaio masturbated in front of a former staffer, and that backers of Peters got a DeMaio “playbook” allegedly taken by vandals in a break-in earlier this year. On Monday, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said there wasn’t enough evidence for charges in the break-in or sexual harassment investigations.
The new result shows a three point decline for DeMaio.

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ALASKA: Gov. Sean Parnell Files En Banc Marriage Ruling Request With Ninth Circuit

Last night Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell filed an en banc marriage ruling request with the Ninth Circuit Court. Two days ago Idaho Gov. Butch Otter did the same. From Parnell's filing:
Compelled by Latta v. Otter, (9th Cir. Oct. 7, 2014), the district court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment requires Alaska to license and recognize same-sex marriages, contrary to its Constitution and laws. But Latta’s imposition of heightened scrutiny on state marriage laws places this circuit “on the short end of a 10-2 split,” and contradicts the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision. SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Labs.,  (9th Cir. 2014) (O’Scannlain, J., dissenting). Absent en banc hearing, Alaska’s appeal will be controlled by Latta, which effectively guarantees the invalidity of all man-woman marriage laws in this circuit. Resolution of an issue of that magnitude deserves the Court’s plenary consideration. Otherwise, Alaska’s citizens will be stripped of any ability to vindicate their “historic and essential authority to define the marital relation,” United States v. Windsor, (2013).
And on and on it goes.

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SAN DIEGO: Carl DeMaio's Accuser To Sue For Sexual Harassment & Retaliation

Via the San Diego CBS affiliate:
Republican congressional hopeful Carl DeMaio's legal troubles may not be over. The DA's office says there's not enough evidence to charge DeMaio or the former aide accused of breaking into his campaign office. But the attorney for DeMaio's accuser, Todd Bosnich, now says he plans to sue. "We knew Todd had nothing to do with the break-ins, so we're happy that the district attorney did the right thing. As far as the civil suit, we do plan to move forward with a sexual harassment and retaliation claim, and are considering a defamation claim as well," Bosnich's attorney Bibianne Fell said.
Bosnich is the guy who also claims that DeMaio made sexual advances on him, once with his "penis in hand." (Tipped by JMG reader Aaron)

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Sister Cristina - Like A Virgin

In June this Ursuline nun won Italy's version of The Voice. Her new single has racked up 1.5M views in the last 48 hours. The label has disabled comments at YouTube, which is unusual for pop releases.

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This Is A Major Network News Reporter

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Rep. Louis Gohmert: Gay Massages Put The Military In Danger Of Terrorism

"I've had people say, 'Hey, you know, there's nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks.' Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle. But you know what, it's a different kind of fighting, it's a different kind of war and if you're sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into a big, planned battle, then you're not going to last very long. It's guerrilla fighting. You are going to be ultimately vulnerable to terrorism and if that's what you start doing in the military like the Greeks did. As people have said, 'Louie, you have got to understand, you don't even know your history.' Oh yes I do. I know exactly. It's not a good idea." - Rep. Louis Gohmert, speaking on Christian radio.

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Open Thread Thursday

Are you doing a costume for Halloween? What will be this year's popular themes?

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TRAILER: Avengers 2, Age Of Ultron

The first Avengers grossed $1.5 billion and is the third-highest grossing film of all time (in unadjusted dollars.)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

KANSAS: Straight Couple Seeks To Intervene In Marriage Case Because Gays Literally Want To Steal Their Marriage

Phillip W. Unruh and Sandra L. Unruh today filed a motion to intervene in the ACLU's marriage equality case in Kansas. As laid out in multiple points in their brief, the Unruhs declare that legalization of same-sex marriage would constitute the literal theft of their straight Christian marriage, a property which is guaranteed to belong only to them per the Fifth Amendment. Apparently, once them gays steal a chunk of their marriage, well, it's all downhill for the Uhruhs from there. Next thing you know they'll be cooking meth with hobos under a Kansas overpass. The rest of their brief is similarly cracktastic, complete with quotes from Genesis and the usual "they can't even make a baby" crapola. Hit the link courtesy of Equality Case Files and dig out your favorite bits.

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OTTAWA: Soldier Victim Named, Suspect Described As Canadian Convert To Islam

The National Post has named the soldier that was killed in today's attack at Ottawa's Parliament Hill. Corporal Nathan Cirillo, 24, a reservist based out of Hamilton, Ontario, was standing guard at the National War Memorial this morning when the attack began. Reuters has emerging details about the 32 year-old Canada-born gunman who was killed near the scene by 58 year-old Kevin Vickers, the Sergeant-At-Arms of the House Of Commons.
Canadian police were investigating a man named as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as a possible suspect in the shootings, a source familiar with the matter said. Two U.S. officials said U.S. agencies had been advised the suspect was a Canadian convert to Islam. Security in Ottawa came under criticism after the gunman was able to run through the unlocked front door of the main parliament building. Police said an operation was under way to make parliament safe. "It caught us by surprise... If we had known that this was coming, we would have been able to disrupt it," Gilles Michaud, assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, (RCMP) told a news conference. It was unclear whether there was any connection between Wednesday's shootings and an attack on Monday when a convert to Islam ran down two Canadian soldiers with his car, killing one, near Montreal, before being shot dead by police in the first fatal attack on Canadian soil tied to Islamic militants.
Three others were shot, but their injuries are not life-threatening. Other possible gunmen continue to be sought and much of the area remains under lockdown at this writing. Earlier reports of a third shooting at a nearby shopping mall are being called untrue. Following the shooting, security was tightened at the Canadian embassy in Washington DC.
The Globe & Mail has more about the shooter.
Federal sources have identified the suspected shooter as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a man in his early 30s who was known to Canadian authorities. Sources told The Globe and Mail that he was recently designated a “high-risk traveller” by the Canadian government and that his passport had been seized – the same circumstances surrounding the case of Martin Rouleau-Couture, the Quebecker who was shot Monday after running down two Canadian Forces soldiers with his car.

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NYC Subway Breaks Ridership Record

Via the New York Daily News:
If you think the subway is more crowded than ever you’re right: The MTA set a ridership record last month. Subway trains carried 149 million passengers in September — the most of any September in more than 60 years, according to the MTA. The newly available figures also show 6.1 million people rode the subway on Tues., Sept. 23, making it the highest daily ridership since reliable numbers were first recorded in 1985, according to the MTA. The subways swelled during the People's Climate March last month. There were 2.9 million riders on Sept. 21 — the highest for a Sunday since the 1940s, the MTA said.
Twenty years ago the daily ridership averaged a "mere" 3.9M.

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Quote Of The Day - Dan Savage

"Let's take [Ross] Douthat at his word and just accept that it didn't occur to him the event was a fundraiser even after the MC began soliciting donations from the stage during the event. Let's focus on this this instead: Douthat isn't apologizing for crawling into bed with the ADF, an organization that wants to send Douthat's colleagues Frank Bruni (gay), Josh Barro (gay), Charles Blow (bi), and Jennifer Boylan (a trans woman married to another woman) to prison. He's not apologizing for speaking before the ADF. He's only apologizing for appearing at a fundraiser for the ADF. (Accidentally!)

"So... it's fine for writers at the NYT to speak before hate groups—rabidly anti-gay orgs like the ADF, anti-Semitic groups, the reconstituted KKK, White Citizen Councils—so long as the event isn't a fundraiser? So... it would've been fine for Douthat to have a 'conversation' with the organization that wants to send Frank Bruni and Josh Barro to prison but a line was crossed when Douthat helped raise money for the organization that wants to send Frank Bruni and Josh Barro to prison. And let's end with followup question for Ross Douthat: We know that your pals at the ADF want to send Josh and Frank to prison—along with all the other gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans folks who work at the New York Times—but do you? Do you believe that gay sex should be criminalized? And if you don't, Ross, what are you doing in bed with people who do?" - Dan Savage, writing for The Stranger.

NOTE: Savage is referring to Alliance Defending Freedom's opposition to the 2003 Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence V Texas, which struck down sodomy laws nationwide. Here's what the ADF wrote in March of that year.
Plaintiff’s arguments have serious problems, explained Jordan Lorence, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a national legal organization based in Scottsdale, Arizona. "They are asking the court to convert itself into a national legislature and to determine state policy regarding marriage, family, and sexual conduct outside of marriage. They are asking the court to judge a case that has no court record on which to rule. The plaintiffs are asking the court to suddenly declare as unconstitutional certain laws which have existed in unbroken succession since before the founding of the country." The ultimate goal of this case is not simply to end sodomy laws, Lorence explained. "Advocates of homosexual behavior would like to use a win in this case to advance their ambitious agenda. They want a court win to change the definition of marriage, because the real goal is to legalize same-sex ‘marriage.’ They want a win that will lift restrictions on homosexual conduct in the military, to legalize adoption by same sex couples, and to restrict free speech rights of individuals who have faith-based objections to endorsing, funding, or supporting homosexual behavior," Lorence said.
NOT incidentally, quoted in that post is the ADF's archenemy, then Houston City Councilwoman Annise Parker.

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ADF Vs Coeur d'Alene, Continued

In an attempt to swat away reports that Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies have consistently lied about the Hitching Post situation in the tiny Idaho town of Coeur d'Alene, the ADF has posted a response to the letter sent them on Monday by the town's attorney. First, an excerpt from the town's letter:
And here is how the ADF is spinning that.
“The city has said explicitly, repeatedly, and publicly that it would prosecute a for-profit business. That’s what the Hitching Post is, and it has never claimed to be anything other than that,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “While the Knapps do operate a ministry, they charge a fee for the ceremonies in order to be able to make a modest living. Therefore, the city, in its letter and elsewhere, is admitting that it would prosecute these pastors, who are clearly under a present threat of being sent to jail, fined, or both. The city has had months to figure out its own ordinance, and our clients have years of incarceration and devastating fines hanging over their heads. The city’s disingenuous waffling is indefensible.”

The religious corporation document filed by the Knapps on Oct. 6 did not change the chapel to a non-profit entity. It continues to operate as a for-profit LLC. City officials told the Knapps that he and his wife Evelyn, both ordained ministers, are required to perform such ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines. The city repeatedly claimed its “non-discrimination” ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies now that the courts have overridden Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
They "never claimed" to be anything but a for-profit business? You sure wouldn't know that from the hundreds of articles seen in Teabagistan, where readers believe that the Hitching Post owners are pious pastors who are thisclose to prison sentences. What the ADF is doing, clearly, is using Coeur d'Alene as a test case in their campaign to invalidate public accommodation laws nationwide. The Hitching Post has all the right elements: wedding venue, small town, beleaguered mom & pop operation, ordained ministers. What the ADF hasn't gotten, surely to their regret, are any outraged, ranting, homofascist litigants that they can point to and scream, "GAYSTAPO!"  For now, they have to twist the words of the Coeur d'Alene town attorney.

RELATED: Yesterday Andrew Sullivan quoted gay libertarian author Walter Olson, who supports those so-called "sincerely held religious belief" exemptions to public accommodation laws that protect LGBT Americans. But even Olson is calling out the ADF.
While I hope the Knapps succeed in establishing their exemption from this law, I am still shaking my head at the ADF’s framing efforts, which via Starnes set off a predictable panic about dangers to religious liberty (see also, last week, on the Houston pastors subpoena). In this instance, those efforts amount to something very akin to hiding the ball, including (as cited by Sullivan) the quiet legal revamping of the business onto a religious basis in recent weeks and the silent removal of extensive language on its website that until earlier this month had promoted the chapel as a venue for civil, non-religious wedding ceremonies. Now, the Knapps are free (or should be, in my view) to change their establishment’s business plan overnight to one that welcomes only ceremonies consistent with Foursquare Evangelical beliefs. But shouldn’t their lawyers be upfront that this is what’s going on?

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NYT Writer Ross Douthat Apologizes For Speaking At Hate Group Fundraiser

"I was not aware in advance that this event was a fundraiser and had I known, I would not have agreed to participate. I was invited by an events organizing group, not by ADF directly. I understood this to be a public conversation about religious liberty. This is my fault for not doing my due diligence, and I will be declining the honorarium." - New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, in a statement to Media Matters. Earlier this year Douthat expressed support for Arizona's attempt to legalize anti-gay discrimination, a campaign that was partly organized by Alliance Defending Freedom.

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FLORIDA: State Has Until Friday To Oppose Motion To Lift Marriage Ban

Via Orlando's Watermark:
“The day after the Supreme Court denied review in the marriage cases before it, we filed a motion with Judge Hinkle in Tallahassee explaining why the stay in our case should be lifted and our clients’ marriages should be recognized immediately,” said Daniel Tilley, the ACLU of Florida’s staff attorney for LGBT rights. That motion set an Oct. 24 deadline for the state to file a response to the request. “If Judge Hinkle indicates he will lift the stay, he will very likely give the State an opportunity to ask the Eleventh Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court to keep the stay in place,” Tilley said. “If the stay is lifted, couples married out of state will have their marriages immediately recognized in Florida, and same-sex couples will be able to marry right here in Florida.” If the stay remains, Tilley said they’ll have to get relief from the Eleventh Circuit.
RELATED: Last week Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi reversed course and asked the state Supreme Court to rule on marriage cases out of Monroe and Miami-Dade counties.

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Goodfellas Actor Sues The Simpsons

Actor Frank Sivero, best known for playing a mobster in Goodfellas, is suing The Simpsons for $250M over a character he claims is based on him.
Mr. Sivero, who evidently wants it to be known that he is not a clown and not here to amuse you, has filed a lawsuit against Fox and the creators of “The Simpsons,” saying that the character of Louie, a cartoon mafia man who occasionally appears on that show, is an appropriation of his likeness and an infringement on his right to publicity. Court documents reported at show that Mr. Sivero’s suit was filed Tuesday in California Superior Court for Los Angeles County. The lawsuit states that Mr. Sivero has had contact with “The Simpsons” since 1989 (when he lived in the same Sherman Oaks apartment complex as some of the show’s writers), and that the “appearances and mannerisms” of the Louie character, who first appeared on the show in 1991, “are strongly evocative of” Mr. Sivero. The suit asks for up to $250 million in damages and injunctive relief, considerably more than was netted in the notorious Lufthansa heist. A representative for Fox said the studio had no comment. A lawyer for Mr. Sivero did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
Many Simpsons characters are based on real life people or famous movie characters. Mayor Quimby is based on JFK, Professor Frink is based on Jerry Lewis' Nutty Professor, action hero Ranier Wolfcastle is based on Arnold Schwarzenegger, and on and on.

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It's Time For Anti-Gay States To Secede And Form New Nation Called "Reagan"

Brian Tashman writes:
While speaking yesterday with Janet Mefferd about his book, “The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating a Traditional Values Country…Now,” MacKinnon called for a movement of states, starting with South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, to establish a new country that will adhere to the Religious Right’s political agenda. Texas, MacKinnon explained, was not included in his secessionist blueprint because “there have been a number of incursions into Texas and other places from some of the folks in Mexico.”

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FRC Praises Puerto Rico Judge

"Judge Pérez-Giménez serves as a model of judicial restraint in the face of an epidemic of federal judges legislating from the bench on the issue of marriage. It is time for other courts to follow his example, and the Supreme Court shouldn't allow activist lower courts to redefine states' marriage laws.  Judge Pérez-Giménez not only rejected the constitutional arguments for redefining marriage, but succinctly made the case for natural marriage, noting that 'the very survival of the political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in traditional marriage.' He is correct in saying that this is among the 'principles of logic and law that cannot be forgotten.' Every judge considering a marriage case-and every public official charged with administering or enforcing his or her state's laws on marriage-should read and take guidance from this ruling." - Hate group leader Tony Perkins, via press release.

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MISSISSIPPI: Court Sets Rapid Schedule For Marriage Equality Hearing

This is the suit filed just Monday by some of Edith Windsor's legal team. (Others on the DOMA case were the ACLU and NYCLU.)

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Pat Robertson: Gays Are Terrorists

Via Right Wing Watch:
These people are terrorists, they’re radicals and they’re extremists. No Christian in his right mind would ever try to enforce somebody against their belief or else suffer jail. They did that during the Inquisition, it was horrible, it was a black mark on our history, but it isn’t being done now. There’s no Christian group I know of anywhere in the world that would force somebody to do something contrary to their deep-held religious beliefs or else face criminal penalties, but that’s what the homosexuals are trying to do here in America and I think it’s time pastors stand up and fight this monstrous thing. If the gays want to go out and do their gay sex, that’s one thing, but if they want you to force you to accept it and solemnify it by marriage then that’s a different matter and it’s an infringement on people’s religious belief.
Watch the full crazy.

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Shooting At Canada's Parliament

Via the Associated Press:
Police say a man believed to be a member of the Canadian Forces has been shot at National War Memorial, and there are reports of gunfire inside the halls of Parliament. Ottawa police confirmed they had a call at 9:52 a.m. with a report of shots fired. The gunman reportedly ran toward Parliament Hill, which is under lockdown. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are advising people to avoid the area. Emergency responders are on the scene. The incident comes just two days after two Canadian soldiers were run over — and one of them killed — in Quebec by a man with jihadist sympathies.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has reportedly been safely escorted from the area. 

UPDATE: From a reporter on the scene.
UPDATE II: Sky News is live-streaming the situation.

UPDATE III: Multiple gunshots inside the Parliament's hallways. Unreal footage.

UPDATE IV: This is definitely terrorism.
UPDATE V: Simultaneous attack on nearby shopping mall.
UPDATE VI: President Obama has been briefed and the State Department has ordered US embassies to be on high alert.
UPDATE VII: NORAD is on elevated alert.

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Hitching Post Fact Check

As we learned yesterday, claims about Idaho's Hitching Post wedding venue are a total lie. But that hasn't stopped the avalanche of screeching out of Teabagistan - if anything, they've gotten louder.

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Protests Rock NYC Metropolitan Opera Over The Death Of Klinghoffer Production

Hundreds of protesters swarmed Lincoln Center on Monday night to rage against the Metropolitan Opera's debut of The Death Of Klinghoffer, which is based on the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro and which detractors say is anti-Semitic and glorifies terrorism. Opposition to the show was spurred by right wing sites with Ben Shapiro's Truth Revolt leading the charge. The Death Of Klinghoffer was first performed in Belgium in 1991 and the Met's production is winning rave reviews:
The opening moments establish tribal rivalries between Palestinians, with green flags, and Israelis, with olive trees, in separate scenarios filled with soaring choral work. It sets the stage for simmering tension that is only occasionally interrupted. Performed by a superb cast, the production is anchored by Paulo Szot, who plays the captain. He brings great emotion to the role, in trying unsuccessfully to reason with the terrorists. Sean Panikkar, Aubrey Allicock and Ryan Speedo Green sing the roles of the terrorists with great conviction. Jesse Kovarsky is truly terrifying as the terrorist who pulls the trigger. The roles of Klinghoffer and his wife, Marilyn, are played by Alan Opie, who has a meditative aria following his murder, and Michaela Martens, whose final aria is filled with anguish and loss. She has the last word, and rightly so.
The protest spawned some sharp words between Mayor De Blasio and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who joined the crowd outside Lincoln Center on Monday.
Mayor de Blasio defended the Metropolitan Opera's right to show "The Death of Klinghoffer," and criticized predecessor Rudy Giuliani's protest against the controversial work. "I really think we have to be very careful in a free society to respect that cultural institutions will portray works of art, put on operas, plays, that there will be art exhibits in museum," de Blasio said Monday at an unrelated press conference. "And in a free society we respect that. We don't have to agree with what's in the exhibit but we agree with the right of the artist and the cultural institution to put that forward to the public." De Blasio hit Giuliani's record of cracking down on art he didn't care for. As mayor, Giuliani famously threatened to yank funding for the Brooklyn Museum over its display of an image of the Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung. "The former mayor had a history of challenging cultural institutions when he disagreed with their content. I don't think that's the American way. The American way is to respect freedom of speech. Simple as that," de Blasio said.
The Met posted the below trailer on Sunday.

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Toys R Us Yanks Breaking Bad Dolls

Florida Mom has won.
Toys R Us is pulling its four collectible dolls based on characters from AMC's hit series "Breaking Bad" after taking heat from a Florida mom who launched a petition campaign last week. The dolls are based on the series about Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who turns into a crystal meth dealer, and his sidekick Jesse Pinkman. The figures have a detachable bag of cash and a bag of methamphetamines. Toys R Us, which is based in Wayne, New Jersey, told The Associated Press late Tuesday that the dolls are being removed immediately from its website and shelves. "Let's just say, the action figures have taken an indefinite sabbatical," Toys R Us said in a statement. The retailer had maintained that the figures were sold in limited quantities in the adult-action-figure area of its stores. The mom, who wrote the petition under the name Susan Myers, said that the dolls are a "dangerous deviation from their family friendly values."
Before the toys were pulled, Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston had tweeted, "I'm so mad, I'm burning my Florida Mom action figure in protest."

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FLORIDA: Marriage Absent From Final Crist/Scott Debate Before Election Day

Last night's CNN-hosted debate between Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist included no questions about same-sex marriage, but the pair heatedly sparred about jobs, the economy, the death penalty, medical marijuana, and Scott's Medicare fraud past. The Florida gubernatorial race is considered the nation's tightest. CBS Miami has the full debate in four parts.

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Cops Release Palin Family Brawl Report

From Talking Points Memo:
Amid the crackle and chaos of audio released by the Anchorage Police Department on Tuesday, an unmistakable voice could be heard. "Did you find your necklace?" the woman could be heard saying. "Track, that is such a God thing. See?" The voice almost certainly belonged to former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. The audio was released as part of hours of recordings made by Anchorage cops in the aftermath of an alcohol-fueled brawl at a house party in the city in September. The recordings were released along with photos from the scene, and they documented the surreal situation police were faced with when they rolled up to the party. People were scattering and the Palin family was hovering around a stretch Hummer limousine they had brought with them that night. Previously, eyewitnesses had largely blamed the Palins for the brawls, and police documented their findings in reports. But ultimately, prosecutors decided to bring no charges.
The above-linked piece includes transcripts of the audio and links to photos taken in the aftermath. Below is an audio excerpt starring Bristol Palin.

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F-Bombs For Feminism

 E! Online has the story:
Warning: What you hear in this video may shock you. But we're not talking about the fact that these little girls (ages 6 to 13) are swearing like sailors. We're talking about the phrases they are using regarding gender inequality. In a video produced by starring the "Potty-Mouthed Princesses," young girls all dolled up in pastel gowns drop F-bombs to remind everyone that society shouldn't be offended by curse words; we should be offended by the fact that women are still paid 23 percent less than men in the work force and the fact that one in five women is sexually assaulted or raped.
Right wing sites are going nuts.

UPDATE: The clip has been pulled from Vimeo. Below is a possibly short-lived mirror posted by a YouTube user.

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Humane Society Endorses Pam Bondi

JMG reader Greg yesterday received the above flyer from the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which "formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal levels, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office." The vast majority of the group's 2014 endorsements for state and national office have gone to Democrats. They make no endorsement in Florida's gubernatorial race.

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The Carl DeMaio Scandal Timeline

If you're not up to speed on all the bizarre developments that have hit homocon Carl DeMaio's campaign for the US House over the last six months, the Voice Of San Diego has a timeline. Plagiarism, trashed offices, inside job theories, accused staffer, sexual harassment allegations, a stolen campaign playbook, and on and on and on. It's the most scandal-plagued run for office we've seen since the days of Carlos Danger.

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ASAP Science: Your Brain On MDMA

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Perkins Slams Obama On Constitution, Claims Idaho Marriages Are Stopped

"For a constitutional law professor, President Obama still has a lot to learn about the 14th Amendment. After years of leading Americans on, the former states’ rights, natural marriage defender finally came full circle yesterday, publicly defending the courts’ activism on an issue that still fiercely divides the country. 'Ultimately,' the President told the New Yorker, 'I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states.' The self-styled 'gay rights President,' Obama insisted that judges are right to trample the 41 million Americans who successfully enacted marriage protection amendments.  Unfortunately for the Left, which either willfully or ignorantly misreads the marriage landscape, the sea change in public opinion hasn’t been as radical as they claim. If anything, same-sex 'marriage' is losing ground as more people come to grips with the consequences of nonconformity -- which, as we learned over the weekend -- includes jail.

"The only place where there seems to be an overwhelming consensus on redefining marriage is in the chambers of 25 unelected judges, who have been arrogant enough to substitute their agendas for the will of 13 states. For now, the states are continuing to put up a fight, right down to the local officials forced to carry out the courts’ bidding. In Idaho, site of the first ministers ordered to perform gay 'weddings' or be imprisoned, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is giving the state a brief reprieve by putting a hold on the ceremonies for now. While the two sides appeal the Ninth Circuit ruling that struck down Idaho’s law, the Knapps -- and other ordained ministers -- will hold their breaths, hoping the same country that gave them conscience rights won’t jail the couple for exercising them." - Hate group leader Tony Perkins, lying again about the Hitching Post and totally wrong about a stay on Idaho marriages.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

PUERTO RICO: Lambda Legal To Appeal "Aberrant" Marriage Lawsuit Dismissal

Via press release from Lambda Legal:
"The court's ruling directly conflicts with the wave of recent decisions finding these marriage bans unconstitutional and perpetuates the discrimination and harm done to same-sex Puerto Rican couples and their families," said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. "It defies the unmistakable import of the Windsor decision and flies in the face of the blizzard of rulings of the last year, the reasoned rulings of the Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th Circuits, and the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand the rulings striking down five bans similar to Puerto Rico's. One struggles to understand how this judge came to a different conclusion. We will, of course, appeal this ruling to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals," Gonzalez-Pagan said. "All families in Puerto Rico need the protections of marriage."

On March 25th, 2014, Ada Mercedes Conde Vidal and Ivonne Álvarez Vélez filed a lawsuit to compel Puerto Rico to recognize their marriage, which they entered into in Massachusetts. In June, Lambda Legal joined and amended that lawsuit to include four more plaintiff couples, two seeking recognition of marriages entered into in other jurisdictions and two who seek to marry in Puerto Rico, as well as an organizational plaintiff, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s. "It is outrageous that loving committed LGBT couples and their families have been deprived of their civil rights and dignity," said Pedro Julio Serrano, founder and president of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s. "We are hopeful that justice will prevail and that the equality promised by the Constitution will be upheld." Lambda Legal attorneys Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Hayley Gorenberg, and Jael Humphrey are handling the case, joined by co-counsel Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, local counsel Celina Romany-Siaca of the Law Offices of Celina Romany, and Ada Conde Vidal representing herself and her wife.
Read more about the case.

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PUERTO RICO: Federal District Court Tosses Out Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuit

Saying that the Puerto Rico marriage equality lawsuit before them "fails to present a substantial federal question," a US District Court today issued a dismissal based on the 1972 Minnesota Supreme Court case Baker V Nelson, which the US Supreme Court rejected that year on the same grounds. The suit was filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of three couples married in other states, two couples seeking to marry in Puerto Rico, and the LGBT rights group Puerto Rico Para Todos. From the ruling:
The plaintiffs have brought this challenge alleging a violation of the federal constitution, so the first place to begin is with the text of the Constitution. The text of the Constitution, however, does not directly guarantee a right to same-gender marriage, for “when the Constitution was adopted the common understanding was that the domestic relations of husband and wife and parent and child were matters reserved to the States.” Without the direct guidance of the Constitution, the next source of authority is relevant Supreme Court precedent interpreting the Constitution. On the question of same-gender marriage, the Supreme Court has issued a decision that directly binds this Court.

The petitioners in Baker v. Nelson were two men who had been denied a license to marry each other. They argued that Minnesota’s statutory definition of marriage as an opposite-gender relationship violated due process and equal protection – just as the plaintiffs argue here. The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected the petitioners’ claim, determining that the right to marry without regard to gender was not a fundamental right and that it was neither irrational nor invidious discrimination to define marriage as requiring an opposite-gender union. [snip]

Baker, which necessarily decided that a state law defining marriage as a union between a man and woman does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment, remains good law. Because no right to same-gender marriage emanates from the Constitution, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico should not be compelled to recognize such unions. Instead, Puerto Rico, acting through its legislature, remains free to shape its own marriage policy. In a system of limited constitutional self-government such as ours, this is the prudent outcome. The people and their elected representatives should debate the wisdom of redefining marriage. Judges should not.
You can expect the final lines excerpted above to appear in a lot of hate group press releases. Dig further into today's ruling at Equality Case Files.

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NORTH CAROLINA: GOP State Senate Leader To File Bill Making It Legal To Refuse To Marry Same-Sex Couples

Via the News & Observer:
Senate leader Phil Berger said Tuesday that he would introduce a bill that would protect the jobs of magistrates, registrars of deeds and their employees who refuse to officiate at weddings for members of the same-sex if their refusal is based on religious beliefs. A magistrate in Berger’s home county of Rockingham quit because he said marrying same-sex couples would violate his religious beliefs. “The court’s expansion of the freedoms of some should not violate the well-recognized constitutional rights of others,” Berger said in a statement. “Complying with the new marriage law imposed by the courts should not require our state employees to compromise their core religious beliefs and First Amendment rights in order to protect their livelihoods.”
Equality North Carolina ain't having it: "If Senator Berger insists on being an extremist and pushing unconstitutional legislation, we will be fully prepared to fight this at the legislature in tandem with the business community." (Tipped by JMG reader Sean)

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FLORIDA: Major Cities File Joint Amicus Brief In Support Of Same-Sex Marriage

The cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando, and Miami Beach today jointly filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs suing for same-sex marriage in a Tallahassee federal court. Also joining the brief are the popular LGBT tourism town of Wilton Manors, the tiny Miami-Dade County town of Biscayne Park, and the government of Broward County (home to Fort Lauderdale, which approved a resolution in support of same-sex marriage in June, but which is not party to the brief). Notably absent from the brief are the city of Miami and all major cities north of Orlando, but that doesn't necessarily mean that those city governments remain in support of Florida's ban.

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