Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
2014-OCT: Part 4:
OCT-19 to 31: Accelerating changes
involving same-sex marriage, LGBT equality, etc.
We use the acronym "SSM" to represent "same-sex marriage."
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
Events during earlier in October are described in in the previous essay.
Developments during 2014-OCT-19 to 31:
- 2014-OCT-20: A hoax or misunderstanding by some media in Idaho: A few days previously, same-sex couples became able to marry in Idaho. One of the popular places for couples to marry is in the Hitching Post Chapel in the city of Coeur d'Alene, ID. The chapel is a for-profit company that provides goods and a marriage service to engaged couples. It appears to fit the definition of a "public accomodation:" a retail company set up to make a profit by selling goods and services to the general public. A potential for conflict exists there because the city's human rights legislation states that such public accomodations must not discriminate among customers on the basis of their gender, race, skin color, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, etc: The owners of this company had said during a TV interview in May that, because of their religious beliefs, they would refuse to marry same-sex couples if marriage equality came to Idaho.
Fox News and a bunch of other socially and religiously conservative web site pubished articles saying that the Hitching Post's owners had been charged with violating the city's human rights legislation, that they were subject to a $1,000 a day fine for every day that they coninued to refuse to marry same-sex couples, and that they were subject to a 180 day jail sentence. One media source even said that they had been arrested and were in jail. In reality, none of this had happened. It would only happen if a couple was refused by the Chapel and lodged a complaint with the city. That hasn't happened. Although errors by the media have been widely exposed, the errors in some or all of the original articles remain online. Some information services don't seem to have any feelings of obligation to tell the truth and to correct any errors that they make. More details
- 2014-OCT-22: Probable future developments:
We rarely make predictions. However, the stakes are very high for the approximately 30 million Americans who currently identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual or who will identify that way in the future. It is also very important to social or religious conservatives who are mainly opposed to same-sex marriage, We will make an exception in this case, and try to predict what will happen.
We suspect that:
- The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals which has jurisdiction over Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas in the deep South will hold hearings in two cases: one from Texas and a combined cases from Louisiana. If the court decides that both states' same-sex marriage ban are unconstitutional and if the U.S. Supreme Court is consistent by not granting certiorari, then marriage equality would come immediately to Texas, Louisiana and -- almost certainly -- later to Mississippi. However, bringing equality to each of the three states may involve a fight.
- Among the states in the Midwest and South that have not yet attained marriage equality, existing lawsuits will be pursued to the 6th, 8th, and 11th Circuit Courts of Appeals. If:
- A Circuit Court issues a ruling in favor of marriage equality, the state involved will appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court which will refuse to accept the appeal. Marriage equality will then come to the state involved almost immediately. After quick lawsuits in District Courts among the remaining states in that Circuit Court, marriage equality will come to any of the these states that still have marriage bans.
- A Circuit Court issues a ruling upholding a state's same-sex marriage ban, the plaintiffs involved will appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court which will accept the appeal later in that year. The Supreme Court has traditionally accepted appeals from lower courts where there is a conflict. The Court will issue its ruling in June of the next year, legalizing same-sex marriages across the entire country.
- However, if a Republican President is elected and Republicans obtain control of the Senate in 2016, then a sufficient number of conservative Justices will replace retiring liberal Justices over the next few years to sway the Supreme Court in a very conservative direction. The Supreme Court will later ban access to same-sex marriages everywhere in the U.S. and may forcibly divorce all the existing same-sex couples in the country against their will. They would order that same-sex couples who had been legally married outside the country would no longer have their marriages recognized within in the U.S.
- However if a Republican President is elected and Republicans obtain control of the Senate in 2020 or later, then the Court will be packed with conservative Justices, but marriage equality will remain intact. Marriage equality would probably be such an entrenched concept in the U.S. that the Supreme Court would be very resistant to ban it.
- 2014-OCT-24: Florida: Supporters of marriage equality in Florida filed a requested with U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle, asking that he lift the stay that he imposed in August. This would allow same-sex couples to marry in the state. Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) filed an objection, asking that the stay remain in place until the case in the federal court system is heard by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and that court releases its verdict.
The eventual ruling by the 11th Circuit Court could have ramifications far beyond Florida. If they rule against marriage equality in Florida it could lead to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage across the entire United States.
If they rule in favor of marriage equality, it could bring same-sex marriage to Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana! More details.
- 2014-OCT-25: The federal government decided to recognize same-sex marriage in six additional states, and to extend access to 1,138 federal programs, benefits, and protections to these married couples in Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said:
"With each new state where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, our nation moves closer to achieving full equality for all Americans,"
Potential conflict between the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel and the city of Coeur d'Alene's human rights legislation:
The Hitching Post is a for-profit business that is run by a couple, Donald and Evelyn Knapp. Both of them have been ordained and are now in their 60's. They perform weddings for a fee. Their Wedding Chapel appears to fit well the description of "public accommodation." That is, it sells a service and/or goods to the general public. This business is in the city of Coeur d'Alene, which has a human rights ordinance that prohibits discrimination by public accommodations on the basis of a potential customer's race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and other grounds.
The following KXLY/You Tube video is titled: "Hitching Post owners will close before performing same-sex marriages:" It was posted during 2014-MAY when marriage equality was a hotly debated topic, and about five months before same-sex marriages became legal in the state.
2014-OCT-28: National Conference of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) met in Nashville, TN:
Over 1,000 evangelicals met at a three-day conference to discuss the rapid movement towards marriage equality in the U.S. The theme of the conference was:
"The Gospel, Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage."
Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said:
"This moral revolution is happening at warp speed. This is a real challenge to us on biblical authority."
There were some signs of change within the evangelical Christians at the meeting:
- Speakers realized that they are losing the cultural war on marriage and that they must now adapt to operate as a vocal minority within the country.
- Rev. Mohler admitted that his earlier teaching that lesbians, gays and bisexuals could change their sexual orientation was wrong.
- Mohler also said that Southern Baptists now reject reparative therapy and accept the belief that some gays and lesbians will always have same-sex attraction. However Gospel teaching can help them live a celibate live without a loving, committed and sexually active same-sex relationship.
- Attendees were aware of a new movement within evangelicals who promote the belief that same-sex marriage is morally acceptable.
- Rev. Russell Moore, the director of the Commission, condemned anti-gay bullying. He also called on Christians to tackle the problem of LGBT youth homelessness as a "human dignity issue" and said that parents shouldn't shun their LGBT children. During an interview, he said:
"I’m not worried about churches in our tradition conforming to the culture. I’m worried about them not effectively engaging the culture. We have to be able to speak with conviction about what we believe. We have to speak to people."
- Rosaria Butterfield, who appears to have a bisexual orientation, delivered a personal testimony describing how she was once attracted to other women but is now married to a man. She said that evangelical Christians need to "repent of anti-gay rhetoric" and befriend lesbians and gays instead of trying to "fix" them.
- Erik Stanley is from the Alliance Defending Freedom, (ADF) a legal defense fund helping religious conservatives discriminate against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons in opposition to state and local human rights legislation. He believes that gays want "unfettered sexual liberty" while they silence dissent. 1
However, in the media reports on the conference, there was no indication that open members of the LGBT community were allowed to speak or that any evangelical Christians who support marriage equality were allowed to address the convention.
Webmaster's comment: (bias alert):
The LGBT community is investing immense amounts of their time, energy, and finances to fight for the right to marry the person that they love and to whom they want to make a lifelong commitment. Yet Stanley describes them as libertines who lack moral principles or a sense of sexual responsibility. Either the ADF or the LGBT movement must be suffering from intense cognitive dissonance -- the "feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time." 2
This topic continues in the next essay with information about events in November.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Rachel Zoll, "At religious liberty conference, pastors told to hold the line on gay relationships," LGBTQNATION, at: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/
- "Cognitive Dissonance," Changing Minds, 2014, at: http://changingminds.org/
How you may have arrived here:
Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2014-OCT-01
Latest update: 2014-OCT-30
Author: B.A. Robinson