Friday, February 5, 2010

Roundup of recent news and commentary

Perry case

Law professor Nan Hunter comments on the February 3rd brief by the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. She says that the brief represents "a different strategy than the one Boies and Olson have pursued, as it would give "the court a way to rule for the plaintiffs without invalidating other states' laws" - and thus a way to lower the risk of U.S. Supreme Court review. The different strategy has been "a persistent bone of contention, since the beginning of the case, between the lgbt groups - which are worried about attempting to win such a sweeping decision from the current U.S. Supreme Court - and Olson/Boies litigation team."

Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute (FRI) offers his "Take on the Prop. 8 Trial." (cross-posted at ADF Alliance Alert) He advertises himself as "[a]s the man every homosexual ‘loves to hate.’" He has been the subject of investigation by the American Psychology Association. (I am new to the contoversy surrounding him.) Although he says that he was not called to testify in the trial, he claims that "[a]mazingly enough, FRI has solid empirical evidence that ... there are real harms associated with homosexuality and homosexual marriage." He then tries to explain why the evidence has been neglected - alleged fear of offending gays and lesbians - and favors "animus" instead: "Animus toward those who seek to corrupt society and seduce children is a good thing." He disparages testimony by psychologist Michael Lamb. Lamb testified that Psychology Reports is not a scientific publication, even though Cameron and a colleague have published in it.

Marriage equality

In the Iowa state House, a proposed super-DOMA amendment, HJR 2001, has been referred to the State Goverment Committee. If approved, its supporters would be able to launch the equivalent of a Prop. 8 campaign to overturn overturn Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862 (Iowa 2009). "Lobbyists" for the bill include the state Christian Alliance, Family Policy Action Center, and Catholic Conference. Republican Representatives in the Iowa state House will try to bring the measure out of committee if the committee doesn't approve it. (02/04/10 Iowa Independent)

Restore Equality is a coalition that seeks an initiative on California's 2010 ballot to repeal the constitutional amendment that Prop. 8 added. Love Honor Cherish, a coalition member, has already cleared more than one proposed initiative for petition signatures. I don't know which one Restore Equality targets as the object of its plan this weekend to collect 100,000 signatures.

Religious liberty exemption

The Saskatchewan provincial government in Canada has proposed a law to exempt marriage commissioners from licensing same-sex marriages for religious reasons. It has asked the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal to rule on the constitutionality of the legislation. The Court has not identified a date for hearing the case. "Most of the arguments on both sides hinge on the Charter of Rights — with some contending the marriage commissioners’ religious rights are being infringed, while those opposed to the proposed law say the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation is paramount." (01/14/10 Regina-Post)

Other news

"Liberty University School of Law will host a one-day conference followed by a one-day symposium addressing homosexuality and its consequences. The Friday, February 12, conference is entitled 'Understanding Same-sex Attractions and Their Consequences.' On Saturday, February 13, the Liberty University Law Review will host a legal symposium entitled 'Homosexual Rights and First Amendment Freedoms: Can They Truly Coexist?'" (02/03/10 press release)

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