Wisconsin State Supreme Court Will Review Constitutional Amendment Banning Gay Marriage

This is good news. 

James and I had been in touch with professor William McConkey that filed suit over the 2006 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Wisconsin.  We had talked with him about becoming a part of his case as we felt very strongly about this matter, and the way it was presented to the electorate.  Not being entirely clear what financial obligation that would entail should we have proceeded, we decided against it.   But we are very pleased that this measure has advanced to the point that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will review the matter.  This is a most serious case, and not only for the issue of gay marriage or civil unions, but for the broader rationale of how questions are brought before the voting public for their consideration.

The wording of the amendment in 2006 was fashioned in such a manner that it clearly asks two separate questions.  This was not done by mistake.  It was fashioned by those who knew exactly what they wanted to accomplish by placing it on the ballot.  There was every desire to end once and for all in the State Of Wisconsin any attempt to provide civil rights, and legal equality for gay couples either through marriage or civil unions.

The problem is of course that there can not be such a cleverly crafted series of words in a state-wide referendum that seeks  to solve two separate issues with one question.  We have long contended that the over-reach on this matter was nothing short of mean-spirited, and utterly grotesque.  It is only proper that the Wisconsin State Supreme Court review and address what is clearly a poorly worded ballot question that violated the process of amending the State Constitution.  As a state we are better than to allow this to stand as it was presented to the voting public.

Late Thursday, the court announced it would take up a case thrown out of Dane County court last year.

In 2006, Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will look at a challenge to that vote. Namely, whether  the referendum illegally put two issues to voters at the same time: whether to ban gay marriage and whether to outlaw civil unions.

The case was brought to the courts by a UW-Oshkosh professor.

Last month, the  Court of Appeals asked the high court to take the case immediately because of its statewide significance.

New Hampshire Will Be 6th State With Gay Marriage After Change To Current Bill

UPDATED

Since this post was written comes this paragraph from the New York Times.

Legislative leaders indicated they would allow the changes, making it all but certain that New Hampshire will become the sixth state to allow marriage between gay couples.

Though I have problems giving bigots any ground to stand on this is another huge step forward.

Now back to your original programming…..err…I mean post….

The word today from New Hamspire Governor John Lynch was good news indeed.  He will sign a gay marriage bill into law.  But first he wants a change in the wording of the current legislation that will tighten up the rules concerning those who have some religious beliefs who might feel better with added language.   This thing is close to becoming law in New Hampshire folks!

Gov. John Lynch said today he would sign legislation that would legalize same-sex marriages if it gives the “strongest and clearest” protection for individuals who don’t wish to take part due to their religious beliefs.

Lynch told reporters he gave to legislative leaders corrective language similar to what Connecticut has in its same-sex marriage law.

“If the Legislature passes this language, I will sign the same-sex marriage bill into law,” Lynch told reporters during a quickly called briefing in his office.

“If the Legislature doesn’t pass these provisions, I will veto it.”

The suggested change would only give a legal protection to individuals working directly for a religious organization or an entity that a religious group owns or controls.

The change, for example, would not permit a self-employed photographer or caterer to refuse to work because a same-sex marriage ceremony violated their own religious beliefs.

Lynch said the core of the bill changes the term civil union to civil marriage.

“Given the cultural, historical and religious significance of the word marriage, this is a meaningful change,” Lynch said.

The prime sponsor of the gay marriage bill – Portsmouth Democratic State Rep. James Splaine – said they will study Lynch’s suggested change but this marked a big turning point for the campaign to make New Hampshire the sixth state to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

“The important thing is John Lynch has said today he comes down on the side of marriage equality in New Hampshire,” Splaine said.

“Now the question is how do we make it work.”

This means supporters will ask House Speaker Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, and Senate President Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord, to hold onto the gay marriage bill (HB 436) and one that fixes mistakes and omissions in the first (HB 310) so the Legislature can quickly pass a third that contains Lynch’s suggested change.

A leading suspect to make the Lynch-desired amendment is a pending bill in the State Senate (HB 73) making changes to the solemnization of marriages.

Jobless Numbers Continue To Go Up

I make no apologizes for wanting to shore up the car companies last fall.  I make no apologies for wanting to make sure a critical component to our national economy not be allowed to flounder and fail even further.  Though Detroit has had many self-inflicted wounds the fact remains they are a major source of economic power in the economy.  The news over the past weeks has not been good for car companies, and now all that is reflected in the jobless numbers for the country.

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, government data showed Thursday, pushed up by auto plant shutdowns related to Chrysler’s bankruptcy.

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits increased 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 637,000 in the week ended May 9, the Labor Department said, reversing an easing trend of the previous two weeks.

A Labor Department official said “a good part of the increase is due to automotive states and claims.”

The data, coming on the heels of a report showing a consumers were still reluctant to go out and shop, was another set back an economy trapped in recession since December 2007.

“I’m afraid a little Round-Up has been sprayed on the green shoots” of the recovery, said Lee Olver, fixed income strategist at SMH Capital in Houston, Texas.

Amazing Reaction To The Obama Decision Not To Release U.S. Torture Photos

There were so many thoughts and views about the bad decision yesterday from the Obama White House regarding the torture photos.  I was rather surprised at the volume, and weight of the rationale here on this blog from readers.  Once it started there was a constant and genuine need to talk about this matter.  Americans are concerned about the President’s decision, and rightfully so.

But there was also a lot of talk on the cable channels, and as such I found a link with lots of  those voices included.  The one that stands out for me is Jonathon Turley.  I love the guy for his logic and calm when dissecting a story, and helping the nation better understand an issue.  I think he is right in what he said yesterday.  I made that comment bold in the following link.

World News” and “Evening News” both led with Pres. Obama‘s reversal on detainee photos. “Nightly News” led with the hearings on the Buffalo plane crash.

Obama announced 5/13 that he will not release hundreds of photos potentially showing U.S. military members abusing prisoners.

ABC’s Stephanopoulos, on what changed: “The White House argues that first of all, the president did realize he could make new legal arguments. The second is, these commanders came in hard on the president. … They said, you are harming our troops. The president was convinced by this argument.”

More Stephanopoulos: “But what I think you see here is that there has been a tension between the president’s desire for a clean break from the past and his continuing responsibilities as commander in chief. He’s siding increasingly with his responsibilities as commander in chief” (“World News,” 5/13).

CBS’ Plante: “Candidate Obama pushed for full disclosure. President Obama has decided that there are times when transparency is a tough call” (“Evening News,” 5/13).

GW prof. Jonathan Turley: “What President Obama is saying today is diametrically against the federal law. And if he succeeds, instead of having a transparent government, he would create this opaque government. … It’s an incredibly dark moment for civil libertarians. It’s just more evidence that this administration is becoming the greatest bait and switch in history. Then, you know, he’s morphing into his predecessor” (“Rachel Maddow Show,” MSNBC, 5/13).

CNN’s Henry: “You know something really strange is happening here at the White House when Republicans like Mitch McConnell are praising the president and liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union is ripping him apart” (“Situation Room,” 5/13).

More after the jump, including interrogation hearings.

(KATHERINE LEHR)

 

FNC’s Hannity: “I, Sean Hannity, agree with President Obama. He did the right thing” (“Hannity,” 5/13).

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA): “I have a bit of a hard time with this decision, but I would accept it for a temporary pause in the release for one primary reason. He’s been dealt a very weak hand on Pakistan. … I remember how the Danish newspapers published those photographs that were insulting to the Islamic faith. I would accept that at this precarious time for national security, not for the protection of our troops — because our troops were already in endangered by the notices that we did torture — but rather not to inflame a very precarious situation.”

More Sestak: “But just like I believe there needs to be an exit strategy measuring success and failures and benchmarks for Afghanistan, there should be an exit strategy for the release of these eventually, because only then can we hold up a mirror to ourselves and once again say, that’s not who we are. We are better than that” (“Ed Show,” MSNBC, 5/13).

New York Times’ Zeleny: “They really know that, once these photos were released — at least that was their fear — that this would spread and would, of course, be broadcast in media there and it would simply give another reason to oppose and to stand against what American troops are trying to do there” (“NewsHour,” PBS, 5/13).

Conservative radio talk show host Monica Crowley: “On its face, it looks like a good move. It looks like he’s protecting American soldiers. But if we are to believe what he said today, that he’s concerned about the inflammatory effect that these photos would have in the Muslim world and on American citizens around the world, then why didn’t he make this argument weeks ago? Why didn’t he nip this thing in the bud from the beginning?”

More Crowley: “I think his Hamlet-like indecision of how to handle this has actually made this decision worse. … What you have going on in the Muslim world today is an endless conversation about what is in those photos that must be so bad that even the liberal American president didn’t want to release them. … Now you have the imaginations running wild across the world as to what is in those photographs” (“O’Reilly Factor,” FNC, 5/13).

CNN’s Borger: “The president changed his mind. And he’s allowed to do that. I don’t think, politically, anybody would hold this against him, because he made the decision not to hand over propaganda to our enemies. … But the question I want to know is if there were questions from the generals, why didn’t the secretary of Defense, Mr. Gates, talk to the president about that sooner so it didn’t look like they were flip-flopping here?” (“Situation Room,” 5/13).