Sunday, February 01, 2015

Gov. Scott Walker Leads 2016 GOP Poll

Via the Des Moines Register:
Presidential stage newcomer Scott Walker, the conservative reform pit bull who inspired death threats from the left, has become the one to watch in the race for the Republican nomination a year out from the Iowa caucuses. At 15 percentage points, he leads a big, tightly packed field of potential contenders in a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll of likely Republican caucusgoers. The caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 1, 2016. The Wisconsin governor is also the No. 2 most popular choice for likely caucusgoers who want an establishment candidate, and he's the No. 2 for those who want an anti-establishment candidate, the poll shows. The day after polling wrapped up, Romney announced he's out of the competition. When the numbers in this poll are shuffled — by giving Romney's votes to the contenders his supporters named as their second-choice pick — the five others in the top tier gain support. Huckabee, a former TV commentator and two-term Arkansas governor, benefits the most, picking up 3 percentage points. The pecking order doesn't shift, though.

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Hallmark Valentine's Ad Stars Gay Couple


(Via Good As You)

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Today's Lie From Todd Starnes

Obama's statement:
The United States condemns the heinous murder of Japanese citizen and journalist Kenji Goto by the terrorist group ISIL. Through his reporting, Mr. Goto courageously sought to convey the plight of the Syrian people to the outside world. Our thoughts are with Mr. Goto’s family and loved ones, and we stand today in solidarity with Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese people in denouncing this barbaric act. We applaud Japan’s steadfast commitment to advancing peace and prosperity in the Middle East and globally, including its generous assistance for innocent people affected by the conflicts in the region. Standing together with a broad coalition of allies and partners, the United States will continue taking decisive action to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.
You'd think that even Fox News would call Starnes out at some point.

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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Whitney Houston's Daughter Bobbi Kristina Found Unresponsive In Bathtub

Via CNN:
Whitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown was found unresponsive Saturday morning in a bathtub full of water in Roswell, Georgia, police in that Atlanta suburb said. Brown "was not breathing" when her husband and a friend found her around 10:25 a.m. at a home in a Roswell subdivision, police spokeswoman Lisa Holland said. "They called 911, started CPR on her, and police arrived first," the spokeswoman added. "We took over the lifesaving measures until the fire/rescue and an ambulance arrived." Brown was then transported to Roswell's North Fulton Hospital, where she was breathing, according to Holland. It was three years ago February 11 that Brown's mother, renowned signer Whitney Houston, was found dead in a bathtub in The Beverly Hilton, hours before she was to attend a pre-Grammys bash there.
Moments ago CNN reported on-air that Brown is said to be breathing, but may be on a ventilator.

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Harlem Hate Pastor James David Manning: Justin Bieber Is A Transgender Man

In the last few weeks Manning has declared that Starbucks laces their lattes with "sodomite semen" (which can get women pregnant), that former President George H.W. Bush has had "anal sex with 100 men," that all gay Americans will "become cannibals" by next year, and that Islamists are justified to execute homosexuals. Today he reveals that pop idol Justin Bieber is a transgender man who "threw his life away and at 20 years old can't grow his breasts back." Just wait until the Beliebers get a hold of this.

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DELAWARE: Legislature Approves Study To Implement Digital Driver's Licenses

Several states are looking into digitizing driver's licenses for display on smartphones and Delaware wants to be the first to implement the system. Via the Washington Post:
The Delaware legislature passed a bill last week asking the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles to “study and consider issuing” digital driver’s licenses that could replace the traditional plastic ones. This bill notes that since people in the state are already using their phones for things such as working and banking, so giving them the option for a digital driver’s license could be a way of “increasing convenience” for drivers in the state. And it would just be an option, giving drivers the choice of loading it on their phone or sticking with the plastic card wedged into a wallet. The First State isn’t the first to suggest such an idea — Iowa said last month it planned to have a pilot program testing smartphone driver’s licenses — but Delaware wants to beat them out of the gate, if possible. “We’d like to go first,” said Jennifer Cohan, head of the state’s motor vehicle division, told DelawareOnline. “If it works for Delaware, then it will be a new option for Delaware citizens to show proof of driver’s license and identification.”
The above-linked story points out obvious issues with the plan, noting that a driver pulled over with a dead phone would be a driver without a license. Also of concern are privacy issues - some would be hesitant to hand over their "digital diary" to a police officer.

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Australian Jewelery Retailer Michael Hill To Air Gay-Inclusive Ad During Super Bowl

Via Stuff New Zealand:
Michael Hill International has splashed out big bucks securing an ad slot during the Super Bowl, reaching an audience of millions. The jeweller's advertisements will play in Canada and Chicago during the NFL Super Bowl XLIX on Monday (NZ time). The company would not disclose what it spent on the project, but 30 second Super Bowl ads reportedly cost about $4.5 million. The ad was expected to reach up to 8 million viewers, he said. "We've been working on this campaign for over a year now and have invested a substantial amount in the development of the platform," Talcott said. The ads were filmed on the streets of New York and created in partnership with Colenso BBDO. The Super Bowl final is between Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
The ad debuts in Australia and New Zealand tomorrow night. Michael Hill has 240 outlets, about two dozen of which are in Canada and the Chicago area.

(Tipped by JMG reader Lynda)

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Bondi: No Marriage Brief To SCOTUS

Via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
Although she continues to defend Florida’s ban on same-sex marriages, Attorney General Pam Bondi will not be filing a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case that is likely to settle the issue of gay marriage in the nation. This week, Bondi told reporters and editors gathered at the Associated Press’ legislative planning session this week that her office has not decided whether to file an amicus — or friend-of-the-court — brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of Florida’s constitutional ban against same sex marriages.We’re holding off on that right now, on the amicus (brief). We’re reviewing that,” she said. But Friday evening, Bondi’s office said the attorney general would not be filing an amicus brief as the nation’s highest court in April hears a group of cases from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal that has upheld same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. That federal appellate court’s opinion is in conflict with other appellate courts that have held the gay marriage bans are unconstitutional.
Still pending is Florida's appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court.

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RuPaul's Drag Race: Dear Mary Cheney

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Friday, January 30, 2015

TRAILER: Game Of Thrones Season 5

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IDAHO: Plaintiffs Oppose State's Demand That SCOTUS Hear Marriage Appeal

The National Center for Lesbian Rights today filed a motion which opposes Idaho Gov. Butch Otter's petition that SCOTUS hear an appeal of his state's same-sex marriage ruling. Equality Case Files has the motion:
The Court has already granted four petitions for writs of certiorari to decide the questions presented in this case. There is no cause to add yet more petitions, especially ones with vehicle problems. Nor should the Court hold these certiorari petitions pending its decision in the marriage cases from the Sixth Circuit. The Court has previously denied petitions for writs of certiorari by state officials seeking to block same-sex couples from marrying and to withhold recognition of such couples’ lawful marriages performed in other States. The Court should do the same here, notwithstanding the pendency of other marriage cases. Two of the respondent-couples have already married (as have many other residents of Idaho) in reliance on the injunction issued by the district court in this case, and their marriages should no longer be subject to the uncertainty created by ongoing litigation. The petitions should be denied.
The NCLR notes that the Ninth Circuit Court has already twice slapped Otter down.

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Mary Cheney: Drag Is Like Blackface

"Why is it socially acceptable - as a form of entertainment - for men to put on dresses, make up and high heels and act out every offensive stereotype of women (bitchy, catty, dumb, slutty, etc.) - but it is not socially acceptable - as a form of entertainment - for a white person to put on blackface and act out offensive stereotypes of African Americans? Shouldn’t both be OK or neither?" - Mary Cheney, writing on her Facebook page after seeing an ad for the upcoming season of RuPaul's Drag Race. (Tipped by JMG reader Scott)

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Trump: I Scared Romney Out Of The Race

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Liberty Counsel: Repeal The Lemon Test

The Liberty Counsel yesterday filed an amicus brief with the Tenth Circuit Court in which they argue for the overturn of the so-called Lemon Test, an expression that arose from Lemon v Kurzman, the 1971 Supreme Court ruling which grants private citizens standing to complain when the government endorses a specific religion. From the Liberty Counsel's press release:
“Since 1971, the Lemon test has allowed mere offended observers to overturn years of religious tradition,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. In the case currently before the court, two Wiccans were offended over a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Bloomfield, New Mexico, municipal building.

“The Lemon test has meant that the Establishment Clause, designed to prevent federal establishments of religion, has morphed into a weapon aimed at eliminating all vestiges of public religious expression,” added Staver. “It is past time to abandon that judge-made rule and return to the actual words and intent of the First Amendment,” concluded Staver.

Federal lawsuits require that the complainant have standing, which means they must demonstrate that they have been injured by an act of government. Over the years, the Supreme Court has loosened the standing requirement for Establishment Clause claims, allowing people to file suit merely because they are offended. In Lemon v. Kurtzman, the Court ruled that religious activity must be diluted with secular influences.
The Liberty Counsel argues that recent Supreme Court decisions indicate that a repeal of the Lemon Test is possible. And then the Ten Commandments can be everywhere.

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TV Binge-Watching Linked To Depression

This can't be very surprising. Via Variety:
Put down that remote control, binge watchers, and get some fresh air. A new study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin discovered that viewers who gorge on multiple TV episodes in one sitting may be doing so to cope with feelings of depression and loneliness. “Even though some people argue that binge-watching is a harmless addiction, findings from our study suggest that binge-watching should no longer be viewed this way,” said Yoon Hi Sung, author of the study. The study, which included more than 300 people ages 18-29, also linked binge-watching to a lack of self-control, fatigue and obesity.
Now excuse while I get back to my Law & Order marathon.

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Coca-Cola Takes On Internet Haters With Super Bowl Ad Starring Michael Sam

Via AdWeek:
If you've spent more than three seconds on the Internet, you know it can be a pretty horrible place, swarming with cyberbullies and trolls who've turned comment sections into rotting hate-fests and people's own personal social pages into sources of despair. Coca-Cola hopes to change all that—or at least, steer things in a different direction—with its 2015 Super Bowl campaign. Four longer online videos will roll out this week starring teens and celebs who've experienced online negativity (racecar driver Danica Patrick and football player Michael Sam will star in two of these) or who are devoted to spreading happiness online (Kid President stars in the one of these.)
Other clips are at the link.

(Tipped by JMG reader Lynda)

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Perkins: Gays Are Persecuting Christians With Photos On Their Facebook Pages

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ALABAMA: Governor's Brief Declares That Same-Sex Marriage "Demeans" Democracy

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley today filed an amicus brief with the Eleventh Circuit Court in support of Attorney General Luther Strange's petition for a stay on same-sex marriage until SCOTUS makes its ruling. Bentley's brief declares that it is "demeaning" to democracy to allow same-sex marriages to occur. Via Equality Case Files:
On a complicated and controversial issue such as this, with no clear warrant inthe Constitution for imposing one State’s conception of marriage on another, the judiciary has a duty not to do so. As the Supreme Court stated last term, the people of the sovereign States have a “fundamental right” that is “held in common,” the right“to speak and debate and learn and then, as a matter of political will, to act through a lawful electoral process.” Schuette v. Coal. to Defend Affirmative Action, 134 S.Ct.1623, 1637 (2014). And “[t]hat process is impeded, not advanced, by court decrees based on the proposition that the public cannot have the requisite repose to discuss certain issues. It is demeaning to the democratic process to presume that the voters are not capable of deciding an issue of this sensitivity on decent and rational grounds.”
The brief was filed by Al Algricola, the same lawyer who represents Alabama's association of probate judges.

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ALABAMA: NCLR Steps In To Represent Lawyer-Less Couple In Marriage Case

The first couple to win a same-sex marriage suit without a lawyer will not have that problem for their appeal. Just in from the NCLR:
Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) asked a federal appeals court to permit same-sex couples in Alabama to begin obtaining marriage licenses when an existing federal court stay expires on February 9. NCLR filed the request on behalf of a Mobile couple who were denied a marriage license and subsequently obtained an order from a federal district court prohibiting enforcement of Alabama’s laws prohibiting marriage for same-sex couples. NCLR will represent the couple as the State of Alabama’s appeal from that order proceeds.

James Strawser and John Humphrey applied for a marriage license in Mobile County, Alabama, but were denied. Strawser faces significant health issues. Despite having a medical power of attorney, Humphrey was told by a hospital where Strawser was receiving medical treatment that they would not honor the document because Humphrey was not a family member or spouse.

The couple filed a federal challenge to Alabama’s marriage ban without an attorney. After a hearing at which the couple testified, Judge Callie V. S. Granade of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Alabama issued an order on January 26, 2015, prohibiting the state from enforcing its marriage ban. The court temporarily stayed its order. Unless the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals or the United States Supreme Court enters a further stay, the district court’s stay will be lifted on February 9, and Alabama will be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples at that time.
Earlier this week Alabama AG Luther Strange petitioned the Eleventh Circuit Court to continue the stay until SCOTUS makes its ruling.

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Anguish Looms For The Hipster Express

Gothamist has unfortunate news for Billyburg nightlife:
Brokelyn reports that the L will not run overnight between 8th Avenue and Bedford Avenue on weeknights from March 24th to May 22nd. Indeed, it will turn into a pumpkin from midnight to 5 a.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, for six weeks. Hope you don't work in the service industry! And again, there will be no L service between 8th Avenue and Bedford Avenue on weekends from April 11th to May 18th. That joy kicks off at midnight on Saturday and ends at 5 a.m. Monday. The good news is, this track work will improve infrastructure on the L. And as always, there will be shuttle buses at Lorimer, and the JMZ/G trains will (hopefully) be running, but whatever, we're all dead when the East River overflows.

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Democrats Introduce Bill To Create Special International Envoy On LGBT Rights

Via Reuters:
U.S. lawmakers in both houses of Congress introduced on Thursday a bill to protect and promote the rights of the international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The International Human Rights Defense Act, spearheaded by Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California, both Democrats, would appoint a special envoy within the U.S. Department of State to coordinate efforts to prevent discrimination and advance the rights of LGBT people worldwide. “When President Obama addressed the nation and committed to defending the human rights of the LGBT community, we made that commitment to the world,” Markey said in a statement, referring to the State of the Union address earlier this month. “With the rights of the LGBT community under attack around the globe, we must stand hand-in-hand with them in the struggle for recognition and equality everywhere," he said.
Markey introduced the same bill last year but it died in committee. Read the text of the International Human Rights Defense Act Of 2015 here.

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BREAKING: Romney Will Not Run In 2016

Via the Associated Press:
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will not run for president in 2016. Three weeks after unexpectedly saying he was considering a third campaign for the White House, the former Massachusetts governor told members of his staff during a Friday conference call that he is out of race. Romney jumped back into the presidential discussion on Jan. 10, when he told a small group of former donors in New York that he was eyeing another White House run. But in the days since, as Romney tried to rally support for another campaign, he discovered that several of his past supporters and major fundraisers had defected to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Fixed polls! Romney landslide! 330 electoral votes! (Sorry, I accidentally went back in time for a moment.)

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NFL Tackles Domestic Violence

Via Slate:
An anti-domestic violence PSA will air during the Super Bowl this Sunday, courtesy of the No More campaign and the National Football League, which donated its internal ad agency to create the spot and, according to the Wall Street Journal, half a minute of air time on NBC, "where ad time costs roughly $4.5 million for 30 seconds." No More is billing it as the first of its kind. The NFL and No More previously teamed up for a series of PSAs titled "Speechless," which featured footage of current and former players emoting over domestic violence, that aired during NFL games on Thanksgiving; this ad downplays the NFL’s role, instead borrowing its conceit from a tale first published on Reddit last year by a former 911 dispatcher, who recalled taking a call from a woman who had feigned ordering a pizza in order to get police to respond to her home without tipping off her abuser.

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Today In Knowing Your Internet Acronyms

Details. (Tipped by JMG reader Mick)

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Maddow Follows Up On Fischer Story

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ExxonMobil Adds LGBT Protections

JMG reader Mike forwards us yesterday's message from ExxonMobil's LGBT employee group, which notes that the company's board of directors has approved the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. In July 2014 ExxonMobil announced that it would comply with President Obama's executive order regarding companies with federal contracts, but at that time a company spokesman would not say if that compliance would mean a formal change to ExxonMobil's equal employment opportunity policy. ExxonMobil's shareholders had long rejected such a change, voting it down for 17 consecutive years and earning the lavish praise of Tony Perkins, who will surely have the sadz about today's news.

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Not A Real Super Bowl Ad

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Jim Parsons To Play God On Broadway

Via the New York Times:
Jim Parsons is God – and not just to fans of his character, Sheldon Cooper, on the hit CBS series “The Big Bang Theory,” for which he has won four best actor Emmy Awards. No, Mr. Parsons is actually going to play the Almighty on Broadway beginning May 5 in the new comedy “An Act of God” by David Javerbaum, a former head writer and executive producer of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” the play’s producer announced on Thursday. The 90-minute production is based on Mr. Javerbaum’s 2011 book “The Last Testament: A Memoir By God,” a swirl of satirical riffs on Biblical passages, jokey anecdotes and comic pronouncements. Mr. Parsons was last on Broadway in 2012 starring as Elwood P. Dowd in a revival of “Harvey,” which was a hit with critics and at the box office. He will be performing “An Act of God” at the same theater as “Harvey,” Roundabout Theater Company’s Studio 54, although the new play is not a Roundabout production; the nonprofit is renting out the space to Jeffrey Finn, a producer, for a limited engagement of “An Act of God.”
For those unaware, Javerbaum is the author of the popular Tweet Of God account, which has over a million followers.

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TODAY: Mitt Romney's 2016 Decision

Via Bloomberg:
Late Thursday evening, Romney’s political operation sent scores of supporters an email under his name inviting them to join a Friday morning conference call to be led by Romney himself for “an update.” The email was signed “All the best, Mitt.” Those who have been helping Romney make up his mind say there are three factors in favor of a run, and two factors against. The main rationale on the “go” side is Mitt and Ann Romney’s strongly held conviction that no one in the current field would make a better president. Critics in both parties and the press may scoff at this view, but the Romneys believe it to their core and thus feel Mitt has an obligation to his country to once again shoulder the mantle.

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Here's Budweiser's Super Bowl Ad

Over 10M views since yesterday.

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TEXAS: Fort Worth To Extend Same-Sex Spousal Benefits To City Employees

Via Fort Worth's CBS affiliate:
Fort Worth police Cpl. Tracey Knight, it is a life-changing decision. "When I got the news last night," she said, pausing, tears in her eyes... "When I got the news last night, it was very emotional." The news that has Knight, all choked up came from a memo sent Wednesday to all Fort Worth city employees. It says starting February 1, the city will extend spousal pension benefits to all legally-married same-sex couples. It's a decision the city says makes sense. "I told my wife and we burst into tears," said Knight, who serves as the department's LGBT liaison. "We're like any other family. And God forbid if I'm ever killed in the line of duty, I want her and our child to be taken care of." It has been a journey for the city, gaining back the trust of the LGBT community after the widely-publicized 2009 police raid on a gay bar, the Rainbow Lounge. "I'm proud to say that as a result of that incident, many many good things have come out of it," Knight said.
Stand by for the screaming from Texas Values. By the way, Fort Worth already has one of them there liberty-destroying LGBT rights ordinances like the one under fire in Houston.

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Sen. Rand Paul Posts "Secret Phone Call" Between Hillary Clinton And Jeb Bush

Via Politico:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the 2016 field’s most prolific adopter of social media, has posted what aides wryly call a “secret tape” of a fake phone call between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. RAND PAC, Paul’s political organization, used actors to portray the conversation, which hits both rivals on the dynasty issue. “Bush” tells her he’s thinking about running for president: “I just wanted to call and give you a heads-up in hopes we could work something out.” “Clinton” says: “We both agree on so many issues: bigger government, Common Core, and amnesty for illegal immigrants.”

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LOUISIANA: State Supreme Court Urged To Rule On Same-Sex Marriage Case

Lawyers from both sides of one of Louisiana's same-sex marriage case yesterday urged the state Supreme Court to rule soon even though other cases are pending before SCOTUS.
Kyle Duncan, making the state's argument that its ban on same-sex marriage should stand, argued that the nation's highest court "needs as much input as possible on this issue, especially from state supreme courts." Paul Baier and Josh Guillory, arguing on behalf of two women legally married in California, said the case involves an urgent question about whether one can adopt the child of the other. "At the heart of this matter is a 10-year-old little boy," Guillory said.

Louisiana voters approved a 2004 amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex marriages in the state and forbids the recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions. In September, state District Judge Edward Rubin of Lafayette ruled the ban unconstitutional. The case involved Angela Costanza and her wife, Chasity Brewer. Rubin ruled that Constanza may adopt Brewer's son and be listed as a parent on his birth certificate. Rubin's ruling, which was suspended pending appeal, only affects the state's 15th Judicial District: Lafayette, Acadia and Vermilion parishes. The case has been widely overshadowed by federal cases, including another September ruling in which U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans upheld Louisiana's ban.
The appeal of Feldman's ruling was heard by the Fifth Circuit Court earlier this month alongside cases out of Texas and Mississippi. That ruling could come at any time.

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Tony Perkins Cheers Idaho Rights Vote

"In Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas, Republicans are moving quickly on measures that would penalize any government employee caught issuing same-sex 'marriage' licenses -- regardless of the courts' orders. Meanwhile, Utah, North Carolina, and South Carolina are desperately trying to give cover to anyone with religious objections to same-sex 'marriage' by drafting bills that would give government officials the ability to opt out of licensing or officiating same-sex couples. The brushfire over religious liberty continues in places like Idaho, where citizens are finally standing up to the government's anti-faith bullies. After three days and hundreds of testimonies (including FRC's Peter Sprigg's), the state's heated debate came to a sudden end when Idaho's House committee downed a Houston-type special rights ordinance that would have punished people with natural views on human biology and sexuality. By a 13-4 vote, Republicans succeeded in killing the measure. In the end, conservatives made it clear to the Left's Add the Words campaign that the only words that matter are the First Amendment's. Congratulations to our friends in the Gem State, who are adding their voices to those across the country who have the courage to fight back against these fierce assaults to our most basic freedoms." - Hate group leader Tony Perkins, via email.

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