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Religious Tolerance logo

North America attainment of gay marriage
(a.k.a. same-sex marriage, SSM), LGBT equality etc.

Part 3 of 3 parts:

2015-AUG to 2016-JAN inclusive:
Gay marriages became available
across North America, almost (cont'd).
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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.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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2016-JAN-25: Judge in Oregon was found unfit for the bench:

The Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability has investigated Judge Vance Day and issued a 48 page report recommending that the Oregon Supreme Court remove him from the bench. A main reason for this recommendation is that he refused to marry qualified same-sex couples. Also he instructed his office staff to lie about the reason for his refusal and to direct the couples to another judge who would marry them.

Judge Day is a former chairperson of Oregon's Republican party. He is a conservative Christian who claims that his religious beliefs do not allow him to marry same-sex couples.

The report states that Judge:

"Day asserts that this system of discrimination 'accommodated' same sex couples. The idea that a discriminatory practice is a positive ‘accommodation’ to those being discriminated against shows a deplorable lack of understanding of the most basic concepts of impartiality."

Judge Day had made the headlines in 2015 when he set up a "Hall of Heroes" in the Marion County Courthouse. The group of heroes include a photograph of Adolph Hitler, the dictator of Germany during and preceding World War II. Hitler was largely responsible for mounting a genocide against Jews, Roma, lesbians, gays, and others which resulted in the extermination of about 12 million women, men and children. Judge Day eventually removed Hitler's photograph after the county's presiding judge ordered him to do so.

His hearing before the Oregon Supreme Court is scheduled for JUN-15. 4

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2016-JAN-27: Governor Tom Wolf (D) of Pennsylvania supports LGBT anti-discrimination law:

Governor Wolf took office earlier in January. In an address to the Pennsylvania legislature and the public, he called for passage of a bill to provide:

"... economic opportunity for all," 12

by protecting LGBT people from discrimination in housing, employment, business and government services.

Pennsylvania remains the only state in the northeast U.S. that does not provide such protections to the LGBT community. However, according to Equality Pennsylvania, there are 34 municipalities in the state that do have anti-discrimination ordinances on the books.

He asked:

"Why would we cut ourselves off from a talent pool that is broad as it could possibly be? Why would we cut ourselves off from people just because of who they love?"

Two bills to provide such protections were introduced in the legislature during the previous session. However, it did not proceed even though they had been sponsored by 90 representatives in the House and 25 senators in the Senate.

Comments posted by readers of the Post-Gazette article included:

  • Leslie Gray who posted: "There is no good reason for the cisgender community 12 to oppress the transgender community. Discrimination of this sort is based on fear fueled by ignorance. And, that ignorance has been augmented by the narrow minded, hate filled teachings of [some] conservatives in most religions. This has go to stop."

  • Dru Germanicus who posted: "I read something once. It went something like this, 'A law can not remove the hatred in a person's heart but it can protect you from it.' This is the right thing to do." 13

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2016-JAN-31: Phil Robertson revs up voters at a Ted Cruz rally in Iowa:

Phil Robertson of the Duck Dynasty TV program fired up voters at the Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City, IA. He warned that America's moral core is collapsing, saying:

"When a fellow like me looks at the landscape and sees the depravity, the perversion -– redefining marriage and telling us that marriage is not between a man and a woman? It is nonsense. It is evil. It's wicked. It's sinful. ... They want us to swallow it, you say. We have to run this bunch out of Washington, D.C. We have to rid the earth of them. Get them out of there." 14

Robertson appears to be advocating actions that go well beyond simply voting politicians out of office. That would only rid Washington, DC of what he considers to be offensive politicians. He seems to be advocating mass murder. That could be considered by some as a call for violence.

Later, when presidential hopeful Ted Cruz took the stage, he commented:

"How about Phil Robertson. What an extraordinary human being. I mean listen, God makes every one of us unique, but some are uniquer [sic] than others. What a voice Phil has to speak out for the love of Jesus. What a joyful, cheerful, unapologetic voice of truth Phil Robertson is."

Webmaster's comment [bias alert]:

Robertson's first comment will not make a lot of sense to many of the more than 60% of American adults who approve of gay marriage. They observe lesbian, gay, bisexual couples who love each other, making a lifetime commitment in marriage, and view it as a positive development, not as depravity and perversion.

His second comment is invalid. No state is prohibiting opposite-sex couples from marrying. There were probably more than two million opposite-sex couples who married during 2015, both before and after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that legalized gay marriage. He probably intended to say that marriage equality has been attained, that marriage is no longer restricted to one woman and one man.

Maeve Reston, writing for CNN, said:

"The tirade against gay marriage played well in the room, but would likely raise red flags for voters who are weighing whether Cruz is the kind of GOP nominee who could attract swing voters. Robertson said Cruz was the only candidate who could restore the constitutional and biblical foundation of government. 14

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Possible developments in the future:

The main political parties appear divided. Most members of the Republican Party want either:

  • to restrict marriage everywhere in the United States to the voluntary union of one woman and one man, or

  • to make the decision whether to allow same-sex couples to marry up to the individual states, territories, and district.

Most Democrats want to retain marriage equality.

If the Republicans retain control of the federal House and Senate and a Republican is elected as president in 2016-NOV, then:

  • The president would probably nominate a series of very conservative Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retiring Justices. The Senate would probably confirm them. That would shift the High Court to the right so that the case Obergefell v. Hodges might be reversed in the near future. If that happened, same-sex marriages might be limited to 36 states, the District of Columbia, and an unknown number of territories. Depending on the wording of the new ruling, it might go further and deny access to marriage by all same-sex couples everywhere in the U.S.

  • The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) might be passed and allow businesses and individuals to freely discriminate on religious grounds against sexual minorities.

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This topic continues with news about LGBT equality during 2016-FEB.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, "No Same-Sex Couple Left Behind: SCOTUS Ruling for the Freedom to Marry Would Apply with Equal Force to U.S. Territories," Lambda Legal, 2015-APR-24, at: http://www.lambdalegal.org/
  2. Fili Sagapolutele, "American Samoa Questions If Gay Marriage Ruling Applies To Territory," Huffington Post, 2015-JUL-10, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  3. "American Samoa questions US gay marriage laws," SpasifikMag.com, 2015-Autumn edition, at: http://www.spasifikmag.com/
  4. Michael Stone, "Oregon Judge Found ‘Unfit’ After Refusing To Marry Same-Sex Couples," Patheos, 2016-JAN-28, at: http://www.patheos.com/
  5. Kathryn Blaze Carlson, "The true north LGBT: New poll reveals landscape of gay Canada," The National Post, 2012-JUL-06, at: http://news.nationalpost.com/
  6. "The first legal gay marriage is now certified. January 14, 2001: signed, sealed, delivered," Equal Marriage, 2004-JUN-30, at: http://www.samesexmarriage.ca/
  7. Adam Taylor, "What was the first country to legalize gay marriage?" The Washington Post, 2015-JUN-26, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  8. "FRC Action Praises Presidential Candidates for Pledging Support to the First Amendment Defense Act," PR Newswire, 2015-DEC-18, at: http://www.prnewswire.com/
  9. Kira Lerner, "Six GOP Candidates Pledge To Sign Anti-Gay Discrimination Into Law," Think Progress, 2015-DEC-19, at: http://thinkprogress.org/
  10. "The 'First Amendment Defense Act' Is The Next Attack on LGBT Rights," Media Matters, 2015-JUL-28, at: http://mm4a.org/
  11. "Six Presidential Candidates Pledge to Sign the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA)," American Principles Project, undated, at:https://americanprinciplesproject.org/
  12. A cisgender community includes the vast majority of humans, in which their birth-identified gender matches their perceived gender later in life. A transgender person is one whose perceived gender is different from their birth-identified gender.
  13. "Gov. Wolf asks legislators to send him LGBT bills," Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 2016-JAN-28, at: http://www.post-gazette.com/
  14. Maeve Reston, "At Ted Cruz event, Phil Robertson calls gay marriage 'evil'," CNN, 2016-JAN-31, at: http://edition.cnn.com/

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Copyright © 2015 & 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2016-JAN-09
Latest update: 2016-FEB-10
Author: B.A. Robinson
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