Monday, December 17, 2012

Around The Nation

District Of Columbia
FRC's president Tony Perkins via CNN
Tony Perkins On Boy Scouts Anti Gay Policy: 'That's Their Code, Morally Straight' WASHINGTON -- During an interview with CNN Friday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said that FRC is boycotting United Parcel Shipping (UPS) after the shipping giant pulled its charitable financial support of the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policy, a policy that Perkins claimed is "morally straight." Earlier this week, the self labeled christian family values group announced it was dropping UPS as its 'official shipper' saying on a message posted on its website: "Unfortunately, the company only reiterated its position that until the BSA puts a greater priority on the political agenda of LGBT activists than the protection of Scouts, they are not entitled to the same equality UPS claims to endorse," the FRC posted on Dec. 11.
"Apparently, the company isn't interested in true diversity but in strong-arming anyone who disagrees with their extreme agenda -- including a century-old youth development program, whose only crime is instilling character into millions of American boys. 
As for their longstanding policy on homosexuality, the Boy Scouts are doing what every parent would want them to: putting children's safety first." 
During the interview Perkins explained the issue as a moral one: 
“Well, the Boy Scouts for over 100 years, as part of their moral code, has challenged boys to be straight and to be upstanding citizens,” Perkins said. “That’s their code, morally straight, that they not engage in sexual behavior, that they keep themselves morally conditioned and mentally sharp, and that’s been their code.” 
"What have you is you have a few corporations, major corporations, who are saying, look, unless you abandon a century old value set, we’re not going to give you money,” he continued. 
“The Boy Scouts are one that have laid down a marker and said we will continue with what’s worked for our boys. We’re going to continue to produce young men who make good citizens.”
UPS is not the only corporation that has pulled its sponsorship from the Boy Scouts in recent months.
Iowa based activist Zach Wahls has led several successful internet petition campaigns to get other Fortune 500 companies in the past few months to pull their charitable funding of the BSA based on the group's anti-gay polices.
In September, the Boy Scouts' biggest donor, Intel, pulled its charitable funding publicly stating: “[...]organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, veteran or disability status.” 
More recently the Merck Company Foundation, the private charitable foundation of the pharmaceutical giant, has also pulled its sponsorship.

Active Duty Marine Officer Proposes To Boyfriend At White House Reception
Matthew Phelps proposes to Ben Schock
WASHINGTON -- An active duty U. S. Marine Corps officer, in a first for The White House, proposed to his same-sex partner during the annual Holidays Open Tour. Captain Matthew Phelps, on bended knee, proposed to his partner Ben Schock just outside the entrance to the Blue Room Saturday evening. Phelps also serves on the Military Advisory Council for OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
"Such a special night surrounded by wonderful people in an amazing place, and the best is still yet to come," Phelps wrote on his Facebook page. "Thanks for all the wonderful greetings and messages, and thanks to Barack Obama and Michelle Obama for lending us your home for the occasion!" 
"Ben and I are blown away by the amazing love and support we have received," Phelps wrote in a follow-up post. "Thank you all so much for sharing in our joy and our lives."
Montana Supreme Court Rejects Benefits For Same-Sex Couples
HELENA, MT -- In a 4-3 decision Monday, the Montana Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision to reject an "overly broad" request that same-sex couples can receive the same protections and benefits as opposite sex married couples.
Helena District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock had ruled that based in part on a 2004 voter-approved amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman, spousal benefits in the state are limited by definition to opposite sex married couples. 
Sherlock also noted that a court decision that would ultimately force state lawmakers to write new laws would violate the state's constitutional separation of powers.
The Missoulian reported:
The majority justices upheld that decision. The court wrote that the gay couples want the court to intervene "without identifying a specific statute or statutes that impose the discrimination they allege."
But the high court also said the legal complaint can be changed and re-filed with the lower court if it specifically cites state laws that are unconstitutional.
"It is this Court's opinion that plaintiffs should be given the opportunity, if they choose to take it, to amend the complaint and to refine and specify the general constitutional challenges they have proffered," Montana Supreme Court chief justice Mike McGrath wrote for the majority.
The advocates said the new legal filings would be coming.
"We are on the right side of history here. This is a discrimination case. In other civil rights cases people have not given up, and we won't," said James Goetz, an attorney for the couples. "There is just no question, and the court did not hold otherwise, that these statutes are discriminatory. If we have to go back step by step and prove it statute by statute, that is what we will do."
Writing in dissent, State Supreme Court Justice James Nelson, pointed out that Montana's marriage amendment itself unconstitutionally conflicts with fundamental rights, stating that he believes the marriage amendment was a religious-based attack meant to demean homosexuals.
"But future generations – indeed, most young people today – will not fear, much less honor, the sexual-orientation taboo," Nelson wrote. "Indeed, a not-too-distant generation of Montanans will consign today's decision, the marriage amendment, and the underlying intolerance to the dustbin of history and to the status of a meaningless, shameful, artifact."
Anti-gay advocates however were pleased by today's ruling;
"The people of Montana believed in traditional marriage when they passed the Montana marriage amendment, and they're not willing to consider any laws that will weaken marriage," said Jeff Laszloffy, president of the Montana Family Foundation and author of the marriage amendment.
A spokesperson for the Plaintiffs said the Supreme Court decision will open a path to securing a win for the plaintiffs and expressed her optimism:
"We're encouraged by the decision because the justices said that we could pursue the protections we are seeking," said Mary Leslie, who was unable to apply for death benefits after a partner was killed. "Legal protection is essential, not just for our families, but for all same-sex couples. We won't stop until every loving couple is treated fairly."
Among the rights the couples are asking for in the lawsuit which was filed in 2010:
  • Inheritance rights, and the ability to make burial decisions and receive workers compensation death benefits.
  • The right to file joint tax returns, claim spousal tax exemptions or take property tax benefits.
  • The right to make health care decisions for a spouse when that person cannot.
  • Legal protection in cases of separation and divorce, including children's custody and support.


Trab said...

From the article, "Nelson wrote. "Indeed, a not-too-distant generation of Montanans will consign today's decision, the marriage amendment, and the underlying intolerance to the dustbin of history and to the status of a meaningless, shameful, artifact.""

They are more likely to recall the names of those bigoted and fear-filled religious nuts as the reactionary discriminatory idiots they are.