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8380NEWS -- 2013.12.21.Saturday -- The Winter / Summer Solstice

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  • James Martin
    Dec 21, 2013
      Saturday 21 December 2013
      The Winter Solstice -- North
      The Summer Solstice -- South
      High Holy Day of Obligation and Measurement
      1) President Obama Takes a Stand Against Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws, Chooses Openly Gay Athletes for Sochi Delegation
      2) ‘Duck Dynasty’ Fallout: GLAAD Reeling From Biggest Backlash in Years, Says Rep
      3) New Mexico Becomes 17th State to Allow Gay Marriage
      4) Marriage Equality in Utah! You Can Thank Antonin Scalia. Really.
      5) Dazzling Airline Video Captures Beauty of Flight

      President Obama Takes a Stand Against Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws, Chooses Openly Gay Athletes for Sochi Delegation

      By Ellen's Good News | The Good News – Thursday 19 December 2013
      Though the US won't boycott the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, President Obama has made it clear what he thinks of Russia's anti-gay legislation and their shameful treatment of gays and lesbians.

      The President has selected three openly gay athletes in the US delegation for the opening and closing ceremonies. For the first time since 2000, neither a President, former President, First Lady, Vice President nor any high-level American official will attend the games.

      The three openly gay athletes who will be heading to Sochi are tennis star and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Billie Jean King, Olympic ice hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow and Olympic figure skating gold medalist Brian Boitano, who chose the occasion to officially step out of the closet.

      "I am many things: a son, a brother, and uncle, a friend, an athlete, a cook, an author, and being gay is just one part of who I am," Boitano said in a statement.

      Billie Jean King said, "I am equally proud to stand with the members of the LGBT community in support of all athletes who will be competing in Sochi and I hope these Olympic Games will indeed be a watershed moment for the universal acceptance of all people."

      Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, said, "It's a positive sign to see openly gay representatives in the delegation. Hopefully, it sends a message to the Russian people and the rest of the world that the United States values the civil and human rights of LGBT people."

      France and Germany will join the US in not sending their elected officials to Sochi. France legalized gay marriage this year, while Germany has legally recognized same-sex civil unions since 2001.

      More of the Good News:
      Here's a Great Way to Support Gay Athletes and Equality at the 2014 Olympics


      ‘Duck Dynasty’ Fallout: GLAAD Reeling From Biggest Backlash in Years, Says Rep

      By Jethro Nededog December 19, 2013 5:00 PM

      In the fallout over Wednesday’s suspension of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson by A&E for anti-gay and racist remarks, GLAAD is experiencing record levels of backlash.

      “In the five-and-a-half years I’ve worked at GLAAD, I’ve never received so many violently angry phone calls and social media posts attacking GLAAD for us speaking out against these comments,” the media watchdog organization’s vice president of communications Rich Ferraro told TheWrap.

      He said those reactions range from those who simply believe as Robertson believes to those who feel that GLAAD and A&E’s actions limit the reality star’s free speech.

      Also read: ‘Duck Dynasty’: Inside the Decision to Suspend Phil Robertson (Exclusive)

      “I don’t think this is about the first amendment,” Ferraro said. “I feel it’s more about the America we live in today. That is one where Americans, gay and straight, are able to speak out when people in the public eye make anti-gay and racist remarks.”

      Robertson’s supporters have started petitions, called for boycotts and include Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. Currently, more than 70,000 people have signed the online petition asking A&E to drop the suspension.

      “It just means we still have a lot of work to do,” Ferraro said.

      GLAAD spoke with A&E representatives on Wednesday morning to discuss why people would be offended by the comments and calls to action. ”They took this very seriously, as soon as the news broke,” Ferraro said.

      Also read: ‘Duck Dynasty’: 5 Other Crazy Phil Robertson Quotes From the GQ Article

      After the meeting, GLAAD issued its statement on Robertson’s comments. A&E initially released a statement from Robertson in which he said he would “never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me.” But the network declined to comment itself until Wednesday night, when it announced the suspension, which GLAAD applauded.

      “We believe the next step is to use this as an opportunity for Phil to sit down with gay families in Louisiana and learn about their lives and the values they share,” the spokesman said.

      The organization is also currently researching companies who use Robertson as a spokesperson.

      Also read: ‘Duck Dynasty’: How Phil Robertson Became an Instant Conservative Martyr

      “Silence is agreement in this case,” he said. “With such egregious anti-gay and racist comments, those companies that choose to be affiliated with this family need to speak out.”

      The post ‘Duck Dynasty’ Fallout: GLAAD Reeling From Biggest Backlash in Years, Says Rep appeared first on TheWrap.

      Related stories from TheWrap:

      Sean Hannity, 'Duck Dynasty' Fans Target A&E Executives as Phil Robertson Fallout Gets Personal

      View Comments (21,891)

      New Mexico Becomes 17th State to Allow Gay Marriage

      Friday 20 December 2013, page A22
      The New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously affirmed on Thursday the right of same-sex partners to marry in the state, reasoning that the “protections and responsibilities that result from the marital relationship shall apply equally” to them and to opposite-sex couples.

      With the ruling, which takes effect immediately, New Mexico becomes one of 17 states and the District of Columbia to permit same-sex marriage. Thirty-three states limit marriage to opposite-sex couples. “Today’s decision is a powerful affirmation that same-sex couples are equal members of New Mexico’s diverse culture and must be given the same legal protections and respect as other families,” Shannon Price Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which joined the American Civil Liberties Union to bring the case to court, said in a statement.

      In a written opinion, the court’s five justices agreed that marriage rights for same-sex couples are guaranteed under the equal-protection clause of the New Mexico Constitution, amended in 1972 to state that “equality of rights under law shall not be denied on account of the sex of any person.”

      Justices weighed this amendment against the opposition’s argument that prohibiting same-sex marriage was necessary to protect the government’s “overriding interest of responsible procreation and childrearing.”

      The justices said in their opinion that such interest played no role in the development of the state’s marriage regulations. Its purpose, they contended, is to “bring stability and order to the legal relationship of committed couples” by defining their responsibilities to one another, their children if they choose to have them, and to their property.

      “Procreation,” wrote Justice Edward L. Chavez, author of the opinion, “has never been a condition of marriage under New Mexico law, as evidenced by the fact that the aged, the infertile and those who choose not to have children are not precluded from marrying.”

      The decision capped years of failed attempts in the State Legislature to have same-sex marriage legalized, or banned. In March, six same-sex couples filed a lawsuit, bringing to court a battle that, until then, had been governed primarily by political interests.

      In August, a district judge ordered the clerks in Bernalillo County — which encompasses the state’s most populous city, Albuquerque — and Santa Fe County, which includes the state’s capital, to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex partners. The 33 county clerks in New Mexico intervened, asking the State Supreme Court to resolve the issue.

      Among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit were Ona Porter and Miriam Rand, who have been together for 26 years and have three children.

      After the Supreme Court decision became public on Thursday, Ms. Rand said: “Our kids get to feel they matter both legally and by name.”

      Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, chose to stay away from the dispute, although she has publicly taken the position that marriage should be between a man and a woman. On Thursday, she talked about a proposal to roll out high-tech research and development programs, and issued no comment on the court’s ruling.

      The justices heard arguments on Oct. 23; spectators packed three rooms in the historic territorial courthouse in Santa Fe. By then, eight county clerks had begun granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. According to the state’s chapter of the A.C.L.U., more than 1,000 such couples have already been married in New Mexico.

      An appeal of Thursday’s ruling is impossible, because it was issued by the state’s highest court and is specific to the state’s Constitution.

      Dan Frosch contributed reporting.

      A version of this article appears in print on December 20, 2013, on page A22 of the New York edition with the headline: New Mexico Is 17th State To Allow Gay Marriage.
      The world has gone upside down. Who would have thought that Utah would be on the forefront of the marriage equality trend? Yet clerks are starting to issue marriage licenses in the wake of a federal ruling striking down the ban on same-sex marriages. And who would have thought that one of the LGBT’s biggest enemies helped pave the way?
      No one would ever confuse Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with a friend of the LGBT community. But in striking down Utah’s ban on marriage equality Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby referred to Scalia several times in his decision to support his ruling. As it turns out, Scalia’s scathing dissent against gay marriage also foresaw the exact problem that Shelby was dealing with and gave Shelby important ammo for his decision.

      The Utah ruling is a big, big deal. It’s the first time after the Supreme Court decision that a federal judge has ruled on the right of states to ban marriage. This year’s victories in New Jersey and New Mexico relied upon the state Supreme Courts there and had no impact past the respective state lines. Shelby is dealing with federal law, not state law, so his ruling has implications that go beyond Utah’s borders. (And just in case you’re wondering what the 2012 election was about, Shelby was appointed by Barack Obama.)

      The problem with the Supreme Court ruling striking down DOMA was that it left unstated the full implications of the decision. The justices preferred to punt the issue to the states to deal with as they choose. But that creates chaos for couples who marry in one state but aren’t recognized as married in another. It also creates lawsuits, like the one in Utah.

      For all his fuming about the DOMA ruling, Scalia was able to see the implications of it clearly (and he hated what he saw). In his ruling, Shelby said that striking down state bans on marriage equality “was the logical outcome of the Court ruling in Windsor,” the Supreme Court DOMA ruling. Shelby quotes Scalia’s prediction in his dissent:

      In my opinion, however, the view that this Court will take of state prohibition of same-sex marriage is indicated beyond mistaking by today’s opinion. As I have said, the real rationale of today’s opinion . . . is that DOMA is motivated by “bare. . . desire to harm” couples in same-sex marriages. How easy it is, indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same-sex couples marital status.

      Just to rub judicial salt in Scalia’s wounds, Shelby notes that “the court agrees with Justice Scalia’s interpretation.” In other words, the Supreme Court left loose ends hanging, but it also clearly indicated how those ends will have to be tied up.

      The legal battle is far from over. Utah’s attorney general plans to appeal and is seeking a temporary injunction stopping the decision from taking effect. The Mormon Church will hardly keep quiet about the ruling. And Utah is far and away the most conservative state to face the issue, so there will be a lot more resistance than there has been in other states.

      But all of that said, the Utah ruling marks a major milestone for marriage equality. If a state like Utah can be forced to admit that its ban on same-sex marriage irreparably harms couples for no good reason, there really is no place left where marriage equality can’t succeed. It’s always just been a matter of time. It may just be a lot shorter time than we thought.

      see also
      Comment found on the net ---

      I am guessing that the church itself does not fund NOM but encourages wealthy members. Voices Will Mormon Church Keep Funding NOM?

      I wonder if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) will keep funneling millions and millions of dollars to Brain Brown and his National Organization for Marriage (NOM) after their huge loss in Utah yesterday? Will the LDS Church keep throwing good money after bad?

      The Mormon Church ran and its members funded every anti-gay marriage vote in over 30 states since 1998. Take a look at these secret Mormon Church documents courtesy of Mother Jones Magazine.

      Last year it appeared that the LDS Church pulled the plug and bowed out of the gay marriage fight to avoid becoming an issue in the Romney campaign. This year after Romney was no longer a factor, the Mormon Church jumped right back in to the fray in Hawaii where it all began 15 years ago. The LDS Church unsuccessfully tried to block the gay marriage law from passing there during a recent special legislative secession called by Governor Abercrombie.

      Dazzling Airline Video Captures Beauty of Flight

      By Genevieve Shaw Brown | ABC News Blogs – Thursday 19 December 2013
      --- click on URL to watch the video ---

      Air Tahiti Nui, the carrier of French Polynesia, released a behind-the-scenes time-lapse video of flight operations from baggage loading to landing. The carrier has been flying from the U.S and Europe to Tahiti for 15 years.

      The video, according to News Australia, was created by Matthieu Courtois, a 32-year-old technical engineer from Tahiti who has been working for the airline since 2007, with the help of pilot Ludovic Allain.

      Using a go-pro, Courtois spent a month filming and editing the video, which follows the airline's A340 planes as they fly from Auckland to Paris via Papeete (French Polynesia) and Los Angeles, the site said.

      The result is a rare look at what goes on behind the scenes, in the cockpit and in the air. And of course, the gorgeous views of Tahiti from the air.