Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama-appointed judge orders Ohio to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages

From the Toledo Blade.

Excerpt:

Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages legally performed elsewhere despite the state’s own ban on such marriages in its constitution, a federal judge in Cincinnati officially ruled today.

Attorney General Mike DeWine has said he will appeal the decision as he already has another by U.S. District Judge Timothy Black that required the state to recognize same-sex marriages on death certificates.

The latest ruling, promised by Judge Black more than a week ago, does not mean that same-sex couples may be wed in Ohio. But it strikes a blow against another portion of the constitutional amendment Ohioans adopted in 2004 that prohibits government from extending rights approximating those of marriage to same-sex and unmarried couples.

The case before Judge Black initially dealt solely with the issue of having the names of same-sex couples legally married in another state on the birth certificates of children born here. But Judge Black, a 2010 appointee by President Obama, went a step further by ordering the state to recognize all such marriages performed legally.

[...]The case was brought by four couples married in California, New York, and Massachusetts who have had or soon expect to have children in Ohio. Three are female couples in which one spouse was impregnated through artificial insemination while the fourth is a male couple who adopted a child born here.

[...]Ohio is just one of a number of states with same-sex marriage cases in the appeals pipeline with at least one likely to work its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Christian News Network reported on the Obama-appointee’s previous related decision.

Excerpt:

As previously reported, Black similarly issued a ruling in December that required state officials to recognize same-sex “marriages” on death certificates. He rejected the state’s sovereignty argument at that time as well.

[...]Consequently, Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township), a born-again Christian, is seeking to have Black impeached as he believes that the judge is rather trampling the state and federal constitutions.

“[Judge Black] persists in allowing his personal political bias to supersede jurisprudence,” he wrote in a recent statement.

Becker has submitted an impeachment resolution to the state assembly, but it has not yet come up for a hearing.

I wonder if the many people who claimed to believe in traditional marriage yet voted for Obama will stop voting for Democrats? One can hope that will be the case, now that everyone can see what people like me were warning about before the election. We warned back then, but were told that our concerns were silly and that Obama was just as much a Christian as George W. Bush. Now we know different. And so many people still claim to be pro-life and pro-marriage while voting for the most pro-abortion and anti-marriage President we have ever had. I suppose in 2016, they’ll vote for Democrats again, and be shocked when the Democrats push even more for expansions abortion and gay rights. When will we learn?

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Mozilla claims to be inclusive but forces pro-marriage CEO Brendan Eich to step down

This article from Townhall by Guy Benson is a must-read.

Excerpt:

Eich is out on his ear for the unpardonable sin of subscribing to a moral and political belief so mean-spirited and close-minded that it was shared by President Obama back when the fateful contribution was made. (Obama was never actually against gay marriage, but it was his public stance for awhile). Indeed, a majority of California voters endorsed Proposition 8 that year, including substantial majorities of Hispanics and African-Americans. When Eich’s private beliefs recently came to light, online petitioners demanded that he either renounce them or be fired. Think about that. “Renounce your beliefs and agree with us, or else” is not a sentence that should be uttered lightly, if ever, in a free society. Scalp collected, and message received. They didn’t even seriously allege — let alone try to prove — that Eich’s tenure as CEO would be marked by discrimination in any way. It was his mere presence that was intolerable. An appeal to reason from one of Eich’s gay colleagues evidently fell on deaf ears:

Mozilla’s Education Lead Christie Koehler, who is gay, also defended the company in a blog post, despite stressing that she was “disappointed” to learn that Eich had made donations in support of Prop 8. “Certainly it would be problematic if Brendan’s behavior within Mozilla was explicitly discriminatory … I haven’t personally seen this (although to be clear, I was not part of Brendan’s reporting structure until today),” she wrote. “To the contrary, over the years I have watched Brendan be an ally in many areas and bring clarity and leadership when needed.”

Ah, but who needs “clarity and leadership” in a CEO when there are ideological conformity tests to satisfy? Upon Eich’s departure, Mozilla issued a statement expressing their support of “free speech and equality,” with no apparent trace of irony. Gay rights organization GLAAD was even less self-aware in its official response:

Mozilla’s strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where corporate America is: inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all.

Inclusive and welcoming to all…unless you’re a hateful “bigot” who disagrees with us on the definition of marriage — in which case, get the hell out.

[UPDATE: Link to PJ Tatler story removed, and title of this post changed]

Let’s take a look at one case of fascism in detail.

Frank Turek, too

You might remember that this happened to well-known Christian apologist Frank Turek when he spoke at Cisco.

Excerpt:

In 2008, Dr. Turek was hired by Cisco to design and conduct a leadership and teambuilding program for about fifty managers with your Remote Operations Services team. The program took about a year to conduct, during which he also conducted similar sessions for another business unit within Cisco. That training earned such high marks that in 2010 he was asked to design a similar program for about 200 managers within Global Technical Services. Ten separate eight-hour sessions were scheduled.

The morning after completing the seventh session earlier this year, a manager in that session —who was one of the better students in that class—phoned in a complaint. It had nothing to do with content of the course or how it was conducted. In fact, the manager commented that the course was “excellent” as did most who participated. His complaint regarded Dr. Turek’s political and religious views that were never mentioned during class, but that the manager learned by “googling” Dr. Turek after class.

The manager identified himself as gay and was upset that Dr. Turek had written this book providing evidence that maintaining our current marriage laws would be best for the country. Although the manager didn’t read the book, he said that the author’s view was inconsistent with “Cisco values” and could not be tolerated. (Dr. Turek is aware of this because he was in the room when his call came in.) The manager then contacted an experienced HR professional at Cisco who had Dr. Turek fired that day without ever speaking to him. The HR professional also commended the manager for “outing” Dr. Turek.

This firing had nothing to do with course content—the program earned very high marks from participants. It had nothing to do with budget constraints—the original contract was paid in full recently. A man was fired simply because of his personal political and religious beliefs—beliefs that are undoubtedly shared by thousands of your very large and diverse workforce.

When I meet people at lectures, debates and conferences, the first question they ask me is why I have an alias. This case explains why. It’s much harder to get a job or a promotion when people on the secular left can just search the Internet for all your views and rule you out – or have you fired. It doesn’t matter if you are using peer-reviewed data to make your case, as I do. They don’t care about facts, they just want you to stop disagreeing with them and start celebrating their views.

You absolutely have to have an alias if you are a man who expects to provide for a family. And don’t take chances – save everything you make for that day when they find out who you really are, so you can go down fighting.

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Leader of gay student group: disagreeing with us makes us kill ourselves

The latest from Life Site News about Stanford’s University’s attempt to suppress a pro-natural-marriage group’s campus event.

Excerpt:

At a recent GSC meeting, SAS co-president Judy Romea reminded student leaders that not only is the SAS not “anti-gay,” it stood “in solidarity” with homosexual groups against the controversial Westboro Baptist Church when it held a protest on campus.

But that wasn’t enough for campus gay activist groups, who turned out en masse for the same GSC meeting to demand that funding for the event be pulled.

“Their viewpoint kills people,” Jeffrey Cohen, vice president of GradQ, a homosexual advocacy group for graduate students, told the GSC.  “There’s a lot of research published in top psychology journals that have looked at university environments, both positive and negative. An event such as this would be a negative event, [and] in schools that have negative events there is a statistically significant increase in suicide.”  He said the last time a pro-marriage speaker visited the campus, someone told him “they wanted to kill themselves.”

Cohen said he was especially “bothered by the idea that their conference is trying to create better ways to deliver [the pro-marriage] message. … The idea that they are learning how to deliver their message scares [me].”  Cohen suggested SAS cancel its conference and instead hold a joint event with GradQ in which gay activists would have a chance to promote their message too.

Ben Holston, chair of the undergraduate senate, also threw his weight behind the gay groups. “This is an event that hurts the Stanford community,” Holston said. “To express a belief that, for some reason this event is not discriminatory, is completely off-base. This event as it stands, given the speakers, and given that they have said the event is supposed to ‘promote one-man one-woman [marriage],’ which promotes stripping away rights of people in this room, is unacceptable on Stanford’s campus.”  He urged the GSC to withdraw its funding for the conference.

Now I’m chaste, and a virgin, so I was just imagining what it would be like for me at Yale during Sex Week, when my student fees (hypothetically) would be used to bring in sex addicts to instruct college students that my view is sick and twisted and that binge drinking and premarital promiscuity is morally praiseworthy. Does anyone here seriously think that I would threaten to commit suicide unless people who disagreed with my chastity and virginity stopped disagreeing with me? No. A sex addict’s disapproval of my chastity and virginity doesn’t make me want to commit suicide, because I am not insane. I’m also not engaged in immoral behavior by being chaste and remaining a virgin. Criticism of me for being moral doesn’t bother me – that’s your problem if you disagree with morality.

If you tell me that what I’m doing is wrong, I’ve got piles of papers in peer-reviewed journals showing me that for my plans – life-long married love and influential Christian children raised by a stay-at-home mom – chastity is the best plan. But it doesn’t bother me if you disagree with me, and I’m not going to attack your place of work with guns, vandalize your church, or force you to lose your job – because I’m not a gay activist. I don’t care that you disagree with me, because I believe that there is a right to free speech and no right to force you to celebrate and fund my sexual orientation.

That gay activist sounded insane, but I don’t think that most gay people agree with him.

Look:

Ben, a graduate student in neuroscience, told the GSC that even though he is homosexual, he believes the SAS should be able to access the same student funding as any other group.

“What bothers [me] the most is that in the name of tolerance, we are silencing and taking away support from a view that we don’t agree with,” Ben said. “These views are out there, we should listen to them. I totally disagree with these people, but we need to hear what they have to say.  We need to hear SAS.”

Now there is a gay person I can tolerate – because he tolerates me.

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The Economist: SB 1062 was a reasonable protection of religious liberty

Here’s a case for tolerance of religious liberty from a gay writer in the Economist.

Excerpt: (links removed)

Doing that seems to me to have been point of laws like Arizona’s strangely controversial SB 1062, which was vetoed last week by Jan Brewer, Arizona’s governor. Douglas Laycock, a professor of law at the University of Virginia, recently noted that the thrust of the bill was simply to refine existing state and federal religious-freedom protections. “These laws”, Mr Laycock writes, “enact a uniform standard—substantial burden and compelling interest—to be interpreted and applied to individual cases by courts. They rest on the sound premise that we should not punish people for practicing their religion unless we have a very good reason”. The point of SB 1062 in particular was to clarify “that people are covered when state or local government requires them to violate their religion in the conduct of their business, and that people are covered when sued by a private citizen invoking state or local law to demand that they violate their religion.” Mr Laycock goes on to emphasise, and this is very important:

But nothing in the amendment would have said who wins in either of these cases. SB1062 did not say that businesses can discriminate for religious reasons. It said that business people could assert a claim or defense under RFRA, … that they would have to prove a substantial burden on a sincere religious practice, that the government or the person suing them would then have the burden of proof on compelling government interest, and that the state courts in Arizona would make the final decision.

It is incorrect to claim, as my colleague did last week, that SB 1062 was “in effect, an exemption from anti-discrimination laws for the pious”. It was not. It was an attempt to calibrate the law so that worthy new legal rights don’t infringe on worthy old ones. If forcing conservative Christian photographers to shoot gay weddings can be shown to promote a “compelling interest” of the state, and if the photographer fails to show that doing so would place a “substantial burden” on her sincere religious beliefs, then refusing to work a gay weddings would remain a violation of existing anti-discrimination law. That seems reasonable to me. As Mr Laycock says, “we should not punish people for practicing their religion unless we have a very good reason”. When we do have a very good reason, we can go right ahead.

It’s important to understand that many gay people are either 1) not in favor of gay marriage or 2) not in favor of forcing Christians to affirm gay marriage. The Economist is a socially liberal, fiscally moderate publication. So I am especially glad to see an article defending religious liberty and tolerance of Christians here. Of all places. I think a lot of people are going to read that and realize that it’s worse to take away the religious liberty of Christians to not participate in activities they oppose, than for gay couples to simple go next door and get the product or service they want.

I also think that this article goes to show you how reasonable SB 1062 was as legislation.

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Famous gay activist pleads guilty to child pornography charges

From the San Francisco Chronicle. (H/T Robert S. McCain via First Street Journal)

Excerpt:

Veteran gay rights advocate and former San Francisco Human Rights Commission staffer Larry Brinkin pleaded guilty Tuesday to possessing child pornography.

Brinkin, 67, changed his plea in a deal with the district attorney’s office that will result in a sentencing recommendation of six months in county jail, six months of home detention, five years of probation and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Brinkin, who worked as a senior contract compliance officer with the rights commission until his 2010 retirement, was arrested in June 2012. Authorities said e-mail attachments were found on his America Online subscriber’s account that contained images of toddlers engaged in sex acts with men.

Prosecutors originally charged him with six felony counts of possessing and distributing child pornography, but dropped all but one felony count of possession as part of the plea bargain.

Brinkin must undergo sex offender therapy and is banned from working with kids, contacting a juvenile without parental consent, and living with someone responsible for a child without disclosing his offender status.

During his 22-year tenure at the rights commission, Brinkin helped craft the city’s Equal Benefits Ordinance, which became a national model for workplace equality for gays and lesbians. When he retired, the Board of Supervisors declared the week of Feb. 1, 2010, as Larry Brinkin Week.

Brinkin, who appeared in court with his husband, has been out on $240,000 bail since September 2012. He is scheduled to return for sentencing on March 5, and to surrender into custody at a later date.

He’s going to keep his pension, though:

Knox said he did not believe Brinkin’s city pension would be affected by the plea because his conviction doesn’t fall under “moral turpitude.” Under Proposition C, approved by voters in 2008, a city employee convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude – usually theft, fraud or a breach of the public trust – cannot collect employer-funded retirement benefits.

This is the public sector after all.

Previously, I blogged about a case of two gay men who had adopted a boy from Russia for the purpose of creating child pornography using him. I’m not sure if this is the Australian connection mentioned in the article, but it would make sense. The trouble we have today is that we are so interested in talking about love, love, love, that we have no will to say anything to protect children. When it comes to the selfishness of adults, anything goes, whether it be divorce, single motherhood or anything. We just don’t care about kids, and we mask our indifference by talking about “love” and “not judging”. It’s very important to understand that there are real victims from all of this “love” and “not judging”, and it’s not as benign as it looks on the surface.

Other cases

The NY Daily News reports on another similar case, and links to CBS News and the Hartford Courant.

Excerpt:

The case of a same-sex Connecticut couple accused of repeatedly raping and abusing two of their nine adopted boys is headed for trial.

Married couple George Harasz and Douglas Wirth of Glastonbury were supposed to be sentenced Friday in Hartford Superior Court under a plea deal, but instead withdrew from their agreement with prosecutors. The men had already pleaded no contest in January to one felony count each of risk of injury to a minor — a reduction from even more serious charges related to sexual assault.

[...]Harasz and Wirth adopted nine children — three sets of male siblings — beginning in 2000, and ran a home-based dog breeding business called The Puppy Guy.

The couple was arrested in November 2011 following a police and state investigation of sex-abuse allegations. The children were removed from the home.

Police said two boys, ages 5 and 15, accused Harasz of sexually assaulting them. Harasz was initially facing first-degree sexual assault and other charges, while Wirth had been charged with third-degree sexual assault of the 15-year-old boy.

Their arrest warrants claimed the couple not only sexually and physically abused the children, but also forced them to sleep in closets.

[...]One of the victims who spoke during the court hearing said sexual assault began when he was 6.

“They took turns raping me over and over,” he said.

Now, a lot of these rape accusations turn out to be false, so we don’t really know if anyone is guilty until the trial concludes. But I’ve posted before about other trials that did conclude, so that you know that these things are in fact happening. I had blogged previously about the Duke University official who was offering his 5-year-old adopted son for sex on the Internet, not to mention the famous Jerry Sandusky case and the case where the head of a gay youth organization was running a child sex ring.

Comments are going to be strictly moderated for this post.

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