Amendment One

NC National Guard to recognize same-sex marriages

In case you missed it, here's a September 9th story about the NC National Guard announcing that they will recognize same sex marriages:

The North Carolina National Guard announced Monday that it will begin recognizing same-sex marriages, a policy shift that could have substantial financial help for families not previously eligible for the same federal military benefits awarded to heterosexual couples.

Spokesman Lt. Col. Maury A. Williams said the Guard will abide by U.S. Department of Defense orders extending benefits to the same-sex spouses of uniformed service members. Williams said couples who wed in states where same-sex marriage is legal can begin applying for benefits immediately.

Southern Baptists order military chaplains not to officiate or attend gay weddings

From Raw Story:

In addition to ordering Baptist chaplains to adhere to the church’s “marriage is for one man and one woman” line doctrinally and pastorally, the guidelines say, “NAMB-endorsed chaplains will not conduct or attend a wedding ceremony for any same-sex couple, bless such a union or perform counseling in support of such a union, assist or support paid contractors or volunteers leading same-sex relational events, nor offer any kind of relationship training or retreat, on or off of a military installation, that would give the appearance of accepting the homosexual lifestyle or sexual wrongdoing. This biblical prohibition remains in effect irrespective of any civil law authorizing same-sex marriage or benefits to the contrary.”

IRS case could impact electioneering by NC churches

Raw Story has info on a case that might have an impact on NC evangelical churches that engage in direct electioneering. In the past few years, the IRS overlooked this type of activity and direct involvement in campaigns for candidates and coordination between candidates and churches has exploded.

A judge has ruled that a case by Freedom from Religion Foundation to force the IRS to enforce the laws and regulations can move forward.

Some of the big evangelical outfits, like Focus on the Family, established separate organizations focused on political activism and lobbying to get around the laws, but they're just a formality with close coordination and staffing sometimes share between the religious group and the political organization. Smaller churches haven't even bothered with that and just jumped into the political fray.

The gay brain drain

One of the more conservative national publications has tackled a gay rights issue in an op-ed today - the "brain drain" of gays in states with laws that discriminate against LGBTs.

The piece highlights a report by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission on the economic impact of that state's laws barring domestic partnership benefits for same sex partners.

In a section of the report titled, "Discrimination Impacts the Economy," the commissioners found, "People are leaving the state … and seeking out jobs with employers that have policies and environments inclusive of and favorable toward LGBT employees."

NC conservative Orson Scott Card in the news

As you may have heard, Orson Scott Card is in the news. His book "Ender's Game" has been turned into a movie and will be coming out soon.

The producer's were concerned about Card's rabid anti-gay statements in the past harming box office for the film. In the run-up to the movie, DC hired Scott to write a story for an online comic, bring out petitions and controversy, resulting in the artist assigned to illustrate the comic to resign from the project. Salon helpfully has a round-up of Card's statements and misinformation about homosexuality. A few highlights:

ACLU is going to court against Amendment One

The ACLU is taking on Amendment One - details here and in an ACLU fundraising email.

"The ACLU is asking North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to agree to allow an additional claim challenging the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples to be added to Fisher-Borne v. Smith, a lawsuit filed last year in Greensboro in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina that challenges the state’s ban on second parent adoption, a process by which one partner in an unmarried gay or straight couple adopts the other partner’s biological or adoptive child. If the Attorney General’s office does not agree to the addition of the new claim, the ACLU will petition the court to allow the claim to be added."

Exodus International in NC

As you may have heard, the main organization pushing Gay "conversion" therapy, Exodus International, is shutting down. The head of the group has made a public apology for the organization's work, which has been going on since 1976. Gay conversion therapy has been debunked by several organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, and has been linked to causing or encouraging depression, PTSD and suicide.

Some churches affiliated with Exodus may continue to offer "ex-gay" therapy, even though Exodus itself is shutting down. Gay conversion therapy is illegal in some areas.

Here's a list of Exodus affiliates in North Carolina. I'd encourage the press in NC to follow up with these individual churches when the dust settles from the Exodus announcement to see if they're still offering dangerous this dangerous quack therapy and how they can defend it. It's also worth investigating if they actively campaigned for the passage of Amendment One.

Gary Pearce has a very good idea

I've been looking for good examples of insurgent actions that have the potential disrupt the Republican juggernaut in Raleigh. In a post today on Talking About Politics, Gary Pearce offers a good and simple suggestion.

Just for the hell of it, why don’t Democrats in the North Carolina legislature put in a bill calling for another statewide vote on the constitutional amendment? It will go straight to the Republican trash can. And that’s the point.

That said, it's not just for the hell of it. It's a smart, strategic move. And it should happen immediately.

Bigot Bill James' crusade against domestic partners

Hatred so blinding he would help somebody sue himself:

“I want there to be no doubt that the question was asked and that government either responded appropriately by eliminating benefits or they didn’t, and therefore can be sued. My questions and their responses provide a trail that someone who wishes to sue can use,” James said in a phone interview with the Observer last week.

So much for the idea that conservatives believe in "tort reform". It doesn't get any more frivolous than suing the most populated county in the state because 12 people are receiving domestic partner benefits. But that's what idiots like Bill James do, they set up evil strawmen so they can strike them down.

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