A Radical Assault on the Constitution
Majorities that are frustrated when courts stand up for minority rights have occasionally tried to strip them of the power to do so. This week, the House voted to deny the federal courts the ability to decide a key constitutional issue involving gay marriage. Such a law would upset the system of checks and balances and threaten all minority groups. It is critical that the Senate reject it.
The Marriage Protection Act, which was passed by the House, 233-to-194, would bar federal courts from hearing challenges to parts of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. That law says states do not need to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states. Gay marriage opponents fear that the courts will hold that this violates the constitutional requirement that states recognize the legal actions of other states.
The House's solution, stripping the federal courts of power, is one that opponents of civil rights and civil liberties have been drawn to in the past. Opponents of court-ordered busing and supporters of school prayer tried it. But even at the height of the backlash against the civil rights movement, Congress never passed a law that completely insulated a federal law from Supreme Court review.
Gay men kiss in front of G-G
Two gay men kissed in front of Governor-General Michael Jeffery while he addressed a conference on families.
The men say the stunt was designed to show that family does not necessarily mean a man and a woman.
The protest happened as Major-General Jeffery addressed a Family Expo conference in Brisbane.
The marriage and family conference was organised by the Family Council of Queensland and involved about 800 parents.
Proposed marriage amendment has ramifications for court challenges
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri voters will determine Aug. 3 whether to add a ban on gay marriage to the state constitution, a move that would change to opponents' options for fighting the policy in court.
Missouri already has a law defining marriage as a union only between a man and a woman. But supporters of the amendment believe they would be on firmer legal ground should a challenge arise if the ban is also spelled out in the state constitution.
"A state statute simply does not command the same level of respect by state or federal courts as does the respect granted a constitutional provision," said Thor Hearne, a St. Louis attorney who supports the amendment.
Because of the existing state law, a gay couple already faces an uphill legal battle trying to get a marriage performed elsewhere - such as in Massachusetts - legally recognized in Missouri.
Stamp Honors Gay Writer James Baldwin
by Todd Richmond
(Los Angeles, California) The US Postal Service has unveiled a new stamp honoring gay Africa American writer James Baldwin, considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century.
The 37-cent commemorative is part of the Post Office's Literary Arts Series and went on sale Friday.
Baldwin was born in 1924 in Harlem. His experiences as an African American and as a gay American are inextricable interwoven.
In his writings Baldwin trenchantly demonstrates the necessity of recognizing our sins: not just racism and homophobia, but our refusal to really know other humans, to accept differences, and to love. The point is not guilt, but taking up responsibility.
Hearing held on gay minister
An investigating committee of the United Methodist Church's Eastern Pennsylvania Conference heard testimony yesterday to determine whether there was enough evidence to send to a church trial the case of the Rev. Beth Stroud, an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church of Germantown, who revealed she was a lesbian in an April 2003 sermon to the congregation.
Such a trial could result in Stroud's losing her ministerial credentials.
The Rev. Michele Wright Bartlow, a spokeswoman for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, said yesterday that the outcome of the hearing was not yet known and not necessarily expected to be known "for several days at a minimum."
It was possible, Wright Bartlow said, that the committee could call for another hearing before reporting its decision to Bishop Peter Weaver, former head of the conference, who brought the complaint against Stroud.