Saving traditional marriage

We’re celebrating the “traditional” 4th marriage of Billy Joel, and the “traditional” 3rd marriage of Vanessa Williams, but dammit, we’ve got to keep them gays from getting married or it will “destroy marriage!”

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Bigotry is expensive

If you have a business that serves the public, you’re not allowed to discriminate. If your religion won’t let you serve everyone, then find something else to do.

An Oregon bakery has been ordered to pay damages of $135,000 to a lesbian couple for refusing to make them a wedding cake. The ruling by the Oregon Labor Commission upheld a previous finding that Sweet Cakes by Melissa had discriminated against the couple based on their sexual orientation.

Under Oregon law, businesses cannot discriminate or refuse service based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot turn customers away because of race, sex, disability, age or religion, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said in a news release.

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.

“Within Oregon’s public accommodations law is the basic principle of human decency that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, has the freedom to fully participate in society.  The ability to enter public places, to shop, to dine, to move about unfettered by bigotry.”

Though the Oregon Equality Act of 2007 includes an exemption for religious organizations and schools, it does not permit private business owners to deny service and discriminate against potential customers, BOLI said.

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A Republican tries a little nuance

Senator Lindsey Graham addresses SPAWAR employees at SPAWAR Headquarters during a visit to Joint Base Charleston for briefings on space and naval warfare systems in Charleston, S.C., June 18, 2012. (DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett) (Released)

Senator Lindsey Graham addresses SPAWAR employees at SPAWAR Headquarters during a visit to Joint Base Charleston for briefings on space and naval warfare systems in Charleston, S.C., June 18, 2012. (DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett) (Released)

Huh. Would you look at that. Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham has used a little nuance on a right wing voter. That’s NOT going to go over well (not that Graham has a shot of winning the GOP primary anyway.)

I disagree with Graham that increasing military presence anywhere is going to stop terrorism. Terrorism won’t be defeated by a show of military force. All that would accomplish is to grow more terrorists. But I highly respect Graham not using the position to enlarge upon the insanity of Islamophobes, and this, coupled with his surprisingly touching words about Vice President Joe Biden, increases my respect for him. Oh, I still disagree with his positions and politics, but I respect him more.

Conservative Sen. Lindsey Graham has made it clear he’s extremely concerned about the threat of Islamic terrorism, but he isn’t willing to outlaw a whole religion over it.

When a voter in Iowa suggested barring Islam in the U.S. in response to ISIS, Graham quickly shut him down, the Des Moines Register reports.

“You know what, I’m not your candidate,” Graham said, cutting him off. “I don’t want you to vote for me. I couldn’t disagree with you more.”

As he’s said before, Graham told his audience Sioux City on Thursday night that he would deal with ISIS by increasing the United States’ military presence in Iraq. Explaining his terse response to the voter’s suggestion to outlaw Islam, Graham told people, “I’m not trying to please him.”

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Alan Grayson nails it

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Entire county clerk’s office resigns rather than serve gay couples

An entire county clerk’s office in Tennessee has resigned rather than issue marriage licenses to gay couples. So rather than issue marriage licenses for gay couples, they’re not going to issue any marriage licenses at all.

On the other hand, resigning is at least the honest thing to do. If you can’t do the job you were hired to do, quit and make room for people who will.

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JUST IN: Court rules 10 Commandments statue must be removed from Oklahoma state capitol

I have often wondered at people who insist government should display the 10 Commandments and that our laws are based on them. They seem completely unaware that many of the Commandments are direct violations of the Bill of Rights.

The Commandments about not worshiping other gods, taking God’s name in vain, not cursing your parents, not working on the Sabbath, not coveting, etc. — all are violations of freedom of speech, religion and assembly.

Nevertheless, a court has ruled that the 10 Commandments at the state capitol in conservative Oklahoma is a violation of the state’s constitution and must be removed.

10 Commandments

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) —A Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds is a religious symbol and must be removed because it violates the state’s constitutional ban on using public property to benefit a religion, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The court said the Ten Commandments chiseled into the 6-foot-tall granite monument, which was privately funded by a Republican legislator, are “obviously religious in nature and are an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths.”

The 7-2 ruling overturns a decision by a district court judge who determined the monument could stay. It prompted calls by a handful of Republican lawmakers for impeachment of the justices who said the monument must be removed.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt had argued that the monument was historical in nature and nearly identical to a Texas monument that was found constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Oklahoma justices said the local monument violated the state’s constitution, not the U.S. Constitution.

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Bad news for anti-vaxxers in California

Jerry BrownCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown has signed a mandatory vaccination bill into law. The bill bans religious or personal belief exemptions for public school kids. It was introduced after an outbreak of measles at Disneyland in December which infected more than a hundred people.

The law requires nearly all children in public schools to be vaccinated against diseases including measles and whooping cough, with exemptions only for kids with serious health issues.

However, calling it a mandatory vaccination law is a bit of a misnomer, as parents are free to leave their children unvaccinated — they just won’t be allowed to attend school until they’re vaccinated.

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