Digesting what’s really baked into the U.S. Supreme Court’s wedding cake ruling with ACLU attorneys James Esseks and Ria Mar and San Francisco politicians Mark Leno and Jeff Sheehey!
Bermuda rebounds for marriage equality, the EU’s Court of Justice rules for married queer couples’ freedom of movement, Scottish lawmakers pardon anti-gay sex law convicts, Brazilian Anglicans and Irish Presbyterians take divergent paths on same-gender couples, Guyana hosts its first Pride Parade, an out U.S. gubernatorial candidate tells Trump to kiss off, and more international LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of June 11, 2018
Let Them Eat Cake?
Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon
NewsWrap (full transcript below):
Bermuda’s Supreme Court overturns a measure revoking marriage equality 5 days after the law to replace equality with inferior domestic partnerships took effect … a landmark ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union orders member states to allow the foreign same-gender spouses of married lesbigay people to live legally in their countries, even in member states that haven’t themselves opened the civil institution to those couples … Scottish lawmakers officially pardon gay and bisexual men who were convicted of since-repealed laws against consensual adult same-gender sex … Brazilian Anglicans overwhelmingly decide to allow church weddings of married same-gender couples, but the Presbyterian Church in Ireland decides to ban membership by same-gender couples and deny baptism to their children … LGBTQ people parade with Pride for the first time in Guyana … out gay candidate for governor of the U.S. state of Maryland RICH MADALENO seals his anti-Trump TV campaign ad with a kiss [you’ll hear the audio of the provocative spot that’s airing on local cable and TV, including presidential fave “Fox & Friends”] … and more LGBTQ news from around the world (written by GREG GORDON, produced with BRIAN DESHAZOR, and reported this week by JOHN DYER V and MICHELE YEATER).
The U.S. SUPREME COURT has ruled in favor of a COLORADO baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. But here’s what much of the mainstream media coverage got wrong: the June 4th decision was not definitive on the broader issue of religious-based discrimination in the marketplace. Instead the Court zeroed in on the point that in this particular case the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had been “openly antagonistic” toward religion in its ruling against the baker. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the high Court’s 7-to-2 decision that future cases would need to be determined “with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market. ” Our survey of analysis and opinion includes comments by the ACLU’s JAMES ESSEKS (with co-hosts ANN NORTHROP and ANDY HUMM on their “Gay USA” TV show), the gay couple’s attorney of record, the ACLU’s RITA MAR (on “Democracy Now!”), San Francisco pols MARK LENO and JEFF SHEEHEY, and a typical mainstream media report on the ruling (on the Pacifica Evening News) by MARY McCARTHY in Denver (with incidental music by THE FONTANE SISTERS and ELVIS PRESLEY).
Satisfying your weekly minimum requirement of queer news and culture for more than 30 years!
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBT communities for the week ending June 9th, 2018
As broadcast on This Way Out Program #1,576 distributed 06/11/18 Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, and reported this week by John Dyer V and Frances O’Brien
We reported in last week’s “NewsWrap” on the law in Bermuda taking effect that replaced marriage equality with domestic partnerships. So naturally, 2 days after that newscast was distributed, the same court that had ruled for marriage equality in May 2017 overturned the domestic partnerships replacement law and restored marriage equality to the island nation.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Ian Kawaley announced the ruling on June 6th, saying that the sections of the measure that revoked the right of same-gender couples to marry violated the British Overseas Territory’s Constitution, which guarantees the right to freedom of conscience and creed.
The public gallery erupted in wild applause as the decision was being announced. Kawaley wrote that, “Persons who passionately believe that same-sex marriages should not take place for religious or cultural reasons are entitled to have those beliefs respected and protected by law. But, in return for the law protecting their own beliefs,” he said, “they cannot require the law to deprive persons who believe in same-sex marriage of respect and legal protection for their opposing beliefs.”
Because the court said nothing about the domestic partnership provisions of the law, the ruling now gives same-gender couples the option of marriage or domestic partnerships.
However, the Court stayed its ruling for 6 weeks to allow the government to appeal – as it’s expected to do. Veteran gay journalist Rex Wockner says that such a challenge would be heard by the Court of Appeal, which meets only 4 times a year and is composed of 3 foreign judges. After that, one final appeal could be filed with the U.K. Privy Council.
Cruise ship giant Carnival was forced to scuttle weddings at sea for same-gender couples that it had been promoting when lawmakers revoked marriage equality late last year. The company, whose subsidiaries include Cunard, Princess, and P&O Cruises, operates 24 vessels flying the Bermuda flag – primarily for financial reasons. It partially funded the successful challenge to the law that replaced marriage equality with domestic partnerships. And a statement issued soon after the law was overturned said the company looks forward to resuming its romantic weddings at sea for gay and lesbian couples, adding that “we believe it is important … to oppose any actions that restrict travel and tourism.”
The European Union’s Court of Justice issued a groundbreaking ruling this week that guarantees freedom of movement by married same-gender couples in all E.U. member states – whether or not a member state has itself opened civil marriage to queer couples.
One of those countries without marriage equality is Romania. Adrian Coman sought recognition in his homeland of his legal Belgian marriage in 2010 to American Clai Hamilton. Without it, the couple can’t settle in Romania as they’d like. It would be virtually automatic if they were a heterosexual couple. Coman appealed his case to E.U. Justices after being rejected by Romanian courts.
“Although the Member States have the freedom whether or not to authorize marriage between persons of the same sex,” the Court of Justice of the European Union concluded in its June 5th decision, “they may not obstruct the freedom of residence of an E.U. citizen by refusing to grant his same-sex spouse, a national of a country that is not an E.U. Member State, a derived right of residence in their territory.”
In a media statement, Coman said that, “It is human dignity that wins today.”
The ruling confirms a January recommendation by the Court’s Advocate General. While those decisions are non-binding, Justices usually endorse them.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that anti-religious bias by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission against devout Denver area Christian baker Jack Phillips was enough to hand a narrow victory to him for refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins. While mainstream news coverage of the decision suggested that it was a major victory for so-called “religious liberty”, most legal eagles believe it was not. Many think that the ruling actually affirmed the right of LGBT people to not be discriminated against.
We’ll have comprehensive coverage and analysis immediately after this newscast on most of these This Way Out stations.
In other news, a unanimous vote in the Scottish Parliament on June 6th approved a measure to pardon gay and bisexual men who were convicted under since-repealed anti-gay sex laws. “The Scotsman” newspaper reported that the Police Service of Scotland counted almost a thousand people who will be eligible for the pardons.
Gay sex was outlawed in Scotland until 1980, when it was legalized for men over the age of 21. The age of consent for gay men was lowered to 16 in 2001, the same age of consent for heterosexual couples.
When the bill was initially published in November of last year, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a public apology to the men who were convicted under those laws.
Religious bodies in two countries have taken divergent paths in their treatment of legally married same-gender couples.
Members of the General Synod of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil voted 57-to-3 this week to approve church weddings of lesbian and gay couples. Brazil opened the civil institution to those couples in 2012.
Outgoing Primate Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva told the “Anglican Communion News Service” that “This widens our boundaries, allowing us to be more welcoming to the diversity of people in our country.”
The move is likely to add fuel to the fire that’s already burning within the global denomination, pitting more progressive branches like the Canadian Anglican Church, the Episcopal Church in the U.S., and now Brazilian Anglicans, against conservative traditionalists in what’s known as the Global South – Africa, most of Latin America, and Asia – who believe that the Bible condemns same-gender love.
Meanwhile, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland voted on June 8th to ban membership by same-gender couples, and to deny baptism to their children.
According to “Pink News”, documents of the harsh new policy adopted by the largest of the Presbyterian denominations in Ireland claim that “In light of our understanding of Scripture … it is clear that same sex couples are not eligible for communicant membership, nor are they qualified to receive baptism for their children. We believe that their outward conduct and lifestyle is at variance with a life of obedience to Christ.”
And to add insult to injury, the Assembly also voted to cut ties with the Church of Scotland, which has relaxed its policies on blessing civilly married gay and lesbian couples.
But Guyana hosted its first-ever LGBT Pride parade on June 2nd. Marchers in the small South American nation focused on broken election campaign promises by both major parties to outlaw discrimination against vulnerable groups, including LGBTQ people. Happily, there were no confrontations between activists and opponents as some had feared.
One local outlet reported that, “Several curious onlookers turned out at the starting point and along the route to get a glimpse of the parade by people of all walks of life, races, and ages.”
Activist Joel Simpson praised the police for insuring a peaceful march. “They served and protected us tonight,” he said. At the post-parade rally, Simpson criticized several conservative Christian pastors in Georgetown who had called on the government to ban what they called an “illegal” march. “Aren’t we all entitled to … freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of expression, equal protection of the law and every right under the constitution? I don’t know what they are talking about,” he said.
Several marchers carried placards with messages like “Walking With Pride and Love”, “LGBT rights are human rights” and “Be who you are, not who the world wants you to be.”
And finally, it was once thought that “mincing his words” was a telltale sign that a man was gay. Well, an out and proud candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor in the U.S. state of Maryland isn’t mincing his words in a new political ad – in fact, you should be able to hear the coup de grâce during the last shot in the ad of the candidate with his husband of 16 years and their 2 adorable children of color:
[sound – :30 spot]
His campaign manager Keith Presley said that they made sure to include “Fox and Friends” – a show known to be a particular favorite of Mr. Trump – when they bought time for the ad on local cable and TV shows. Presley told “USA Today” that, “we wanted to make sure the president had an opportunity to see this ad.”