Sunday, January 25, 2015

ALABAMA: Montgomery County Judge Vows To Issue Licenses Tomorrow UPDATE: Probably Jefferson County Too

Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed announced on Twitter this afternoon that barring any stay he will be issuing same-sex marriage licenses tomorrow morning.

I just finished listening in on an hour-long conference call between reporters and Al Agricola, the lawyer who represents Alabama's probate judges association. According to Agricola, the association has no mechanism to discipline any judge who issues licenses as their declaration that the ruling only applies to the plaintiffs is merely their "opinion." Agricola says he has no idea how many judges will buck that opinion as "there is no time" to conduct a poll of Alabama's 67 county probate judges.

Responding to one reporter's question, Agricola revealed that the "don't issue" opinion was the work of a five-person executive committee. Another reporter asked if Agricola was familiar with the Loving v Virginia comparison made in today's response brief from the plaintiffs. Agricola replied that he's not yet read the response brief. He added later that his association plans to file an amicus brief in support of the state's demand for a stay.

In summation, it appears at this writing that at least one judge will be issuing licenses tomorrow morning and there's nothing the state can do to stop that.

UPDATE: JMG reader Jason alerts us to a text message sent today by Jefferson County Judge Sherry Coleman Friday who writes: "At this point our analysis is that the ban has been ruled unconstitutional. I don't violate federal court rulings." Jefferson County is Alabama's most-populous and is home to Birmingham, the state's largest city.

RELATED: Agricola has represented GOP Alabama Gov. Robert Benchley in the past, including during an unsuccessful 2010 campaign to have Benchley removed from the gubernatorial ballot. His wife, Bash Agricola (real name), is the head of the Montgomery County Tea Party. Ms Agricola is seen in the photo below as she protests against immigration reform.

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ALABAMA: Plaintiffs Compare Local Judges To George Wallace, Ask Federal Judge To Clarify Her Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Last night the association that represents Alabama's probate judges declared that Friday's ruling only applies to the one couple who filed the suit. Unlike most states where marriage licenses are issued by county clerks, that duty is the responsibility of those judges in Alabama. Today the plaintiffs filed a motion which opposes the state's request for a stay and asks that the judge clarify her ruling. From the motion:
Clarification is necessary as the Probate Judges association in Alabama have assumed the position like George Wallace at the schoolhouse door staring defiantly upon this Court’s order reasoning that not all citizens of Alabama are entitled to the same rights and privileges afforded under the Constitution of the United States and that as Probate Judges “it is [their] duty to issue marriage licenses in accordance with Alabama law and that means [they] can not legally issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.” Alabama Probate Judges Association statement to the press on January 24, 2015. It is respectfully submitted that this Court’s order declaring Ala. Const. Art. 1§ 36.03 (2006) and Ala. Code 1974 §30-1-19 unconstitutional for violation of the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment shall meet with immediate defiance and confusion without further clarification.
BOOM. Read the full motion.

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Tired Old Queen At The Movies #129

Clip recap:
It’s high hilarity as Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe play three gold diggers on the make in Jean Negulesco’s “How To Marry A Millionaire”. Shot in glorious Technicolor and cinema-scope it’s a love letter to Manhattan and three of the funniest and most glamorous gals that ever hit Hollywood. Rounding out the cast are Cameron Mitchell, Rory Calhoun, David Wayne, Alec D’Arcy and William Powell as their intended spouses with able comic support from Fred Clark. The girls are gorgeous, the settings are fabulous, the dialogue witty and sophisticated. It’s the perfect way to ring in the New Year.

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Ben Carson: Gays Should Be Careful Or Someone Will Poison Their Wedding Cake

"What I have a problem with is when people try to force people to act against their beliefs because they say 'they're discriminating against me.' So they can go right down the street and buy a cake, but no, let's bring a suit against this person because I want them to make my cake even though they don't believe in it. Which is really not all that smart because they might put poison in that cake." - Tea Party darling Ben Carson, in a press conference yesterday that followed his speech at the 2016 GOP Clown Car Revue. The Hill notes that journalists reacted to the remark with "dead silence."

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Alabama GOP Chair Has Marriage Sadz

"The far left-wing radical agenda of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have brought to Alabama’s front door their effort to redefine marriage. I urge the Attorney General’s office to use every resource available to challenge, to the fullest extent, this ruling and stop the federal government’s overreaching power in this case. The fact that a federal judge in Alabama has ruled against Alabama’s constitution is a clear indication that the Democratic Party’s platform to promote same-sex marriage is impacting our way of life in Alabama. Few elected officials remain in the Democratic Party in Alabama today because of the radical positions taken by their Party and implemented federal judges like Judge Granade. I suspect that there will be even fewer elected officials in Alabama who claim to be Democrats after this ruling." - Alabama GOP chairman Bill Armistead, via press release.

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Sarah Palin At The GOP Clown Car Revue

Those of you who suffered through yesterday's all-day GOP 2016 clown car revue in Iowa were rewarded near the end when Sarah Palin took the stage to Taylor Swift's Shake It Off and launched into a rambling 35-minute word salad that seemed to have been randomly assembled from teabagger fridge magnets. Half of Palin's speech was devoted to her The Internet Is Mean To Me theme. Woven into those disconnected complaints were familiar Tea Party attack lines: Benghazi, Obama eats dogs, Hillary wears pantsuits, liberals hate the military, etc. Watch in wonder below.

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Alabama Retreats To Red

Our insider at Wikipedia writes this morning to say that he was against advancing Alabama to sapphire on Friday, but was overruled by the other editors.

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ALABAMA: Probate Judges Say Marriage Ruling Only Applies To The Plaintiffs

Via Birmingham's ABC affiliate:
The Alabama Probate Judges Association says Friday's ruling does not open the door for the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses. Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand are the only plaintiffs in the case that was filed against Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. The Alabama Probate Judges Association says that is a key point in the effect that this ruling has on the duties of probate judges. "Judge Granade's ruling in this case only applies to the parties in the case and has no effect on anybody that is not a named party. The probate judges were not parties in this matter," Al Agricola, attorney for the Alabama Probate Judges Association, explained. "The legal effect of this decision is to allow one person in one same-sex marriage that was performed in another state to adopt their partner's child. There is nothing in the judge's order that requires probate judges in Alabama to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples." Probate Judges are elected in all 67 counties in Alabama and are statutorily given the responsibility of issuing and recording marriage licenses.
Here we go again.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Wasserman-Schultz Calls 2016 GOP Clown Car Revue "Extremist Ring Kissing"

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Trump Vows Border Fence If Elected

"We have to build a fence and it’s gotta be a beauty. Who can build better than Trump? I build. It’s what I do. I build. I build nice fences but I build great buildings. Fences are easy, believe me. I saw the other day on television, people are just walking across the border, they’re walking, the military is standing there, holding guns and people are just walking right in front, coming into our country. It is so terrible, it is so unfair, it is so incompetent and we don’t have the best coming in, we have people that are criminals, we have people that are crooks, you can certainly have terrorists, you can certainly have Islamic terrorists, you can have anything coming across the border. We don’t do anything about it. So I would say that if I run and if I win, I would certainly start by building a very, very powerful border." - Donald Trump, speaking today the 2016 GOP Clown Car Revue.

RELATED: In a separate interview with the Des Moines Register, Trump declared that he would have "easily" beaten President Obama in the 2012 race.

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Palin On 2016: I'm Seriously Interested

Via the Washington Post:
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin told The Washington Post in an interview Friday that she is “seriously interested” in running for the White House in 2016. “You can absolutely say that I am seriously interested,” Palin said, when asked to clarify her thinking about a possible presidential bid. Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice-presidential nominee, said she stood by comments she made Thursday in Las Vegas to ABC News, where she first expressed enthusiasm about potentially competing for the Republican presidential nomination. “I am. As I said yesterday, I’m really interested in the opportunity to serve at some point,” Palin said Friday, as former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, a potential 2016 rival, looked on. Palin said, “It is a significant step, of course, for anyone to publicly announce that they’re interested. Who wouldn’t be interested? Who wouldn’t be interested when they have been blessed with opportunities to speak about what is important to this country and for this country?”
And here's yesterday's word salad:
"Yeah, I mean, of course,” she said, when they asked whether she was interested in the 2016 election. “When you have a servant’s heart, when you know that there is opportunity to do all you can to put yourself forward in the name of offering service, anybody would be interested.” When asked again if she could be “possibly” interested in a presidential campaign, she answered, “We definitely had enough of seeing that — America has had enough of seeing that — sign on the Oval Office door saying, ‘No Girls Allowed.’ I know that.” While serving up bowls to those gathered in line, the former Alaska governor clarified, “It doesn’t necessarily have to be me, though, but no, America is definitely ready for real change. “It doesn’t have to be myself, but yes … happy to drive that competition, because competition will make everyone better and produce more and be more candid regarding their solutions they will offer this country. I am very interested in that competitive process and, again, not necessarily me.”
Palin is one of today's speakers at the 2016 GOP Clown Car Revue, which is linked in the post below.

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LIVE VIDEO: 2016 GOP Clown Car Revue

Rep. Steve King is holding his 2016 GOP Clown Car Revue in Iowa today and pretty much every right wing crackpot contender is there. The Des Moines Register is running a live stream and things are just now kicking off.

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POLL: 73% Back Gay Athletes

Via the Public Religion Research Institute:
Roughly three-quarters (73%) of Americans say they would support a professional sports team signing a gay or lesbian athlete, while about 1-in-5 (19%) say they would oppose this action. There is broad support for a professional sports team signing a gay or lesbian athlete across demographic and political groups, including 66% of Republicans, 75% of independents, and 79% of Democrats. A majority of all religious groups would support a professional sports team signing a gay or lesbian athlete, although white evangelical Protestants register lower levels of support. Roughly 8-in-10 white mainline Protestants (77%), Catholics (78%), minority Protestants (66%), and the religiously unaffiliated (84%) favor teams signing gay and lesbian athletes. In contrast, a significantly smaller majority (54%) of white evangelical Protestants say they would favor a team signing a gay or lesbian athlete, while 36% would oppose such a move
Embiggen the image above or go here for more..

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FLASHBACK: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

"I thank the Senator from Nevada for his courtesy. I will speak about Callie--known as Ginny--Granade, who will be voted on shortly for the U.S. district judgeship for the southern district of Alabama. Ginny Granade is a nominee of the highest order. President Bush has nominated her to be the judge in the southern district of Alabama. She has the temperament, integrity, legal knowledge, and experience that will make her an outstanding jurist on the Federal bench. I know this from firsthand experience. Ginny is levelheaded, fair minded, trustworthy, and very smart.

"I suggest in the filling of this vacancy with Ginny Granade as a Federal judge, we are going to have done a good day's work. Her experience and practice make me confident that the lawyers and the litigants in the Southern District of Alabama will enjoy and appreciate their opportunity to be in the courtroom she will control and preside over." - Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), in his 2002 Senate speech endorsing the nomination of the judge who yesterday overturned his state's ban on same-sex marriage.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: One year later Sen. Jeff Sessions co-sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 26, also known as the Federal Marriage Amendment: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the Constitution of any State, nor State or Federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups." (Groups!)  Not incidentally, the original text of the Federal Marriage Amendment was written by future (and now former) NOM chairman Robert George, with an assist from failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Tony Perkins Has The Alabama Sadz

"This federal judge is throwing out the votes of the people of Alabama and attempting to shut down the debate over marriage. In exercising their right to vote, Alabama voters overwhelmingly sent a message that that they want to see society rebuild and strengthen marriage - not have it redefined by unelected judges. As one judge after another has robbed the people of their voice, the U.S. Supreme Court's intervention last week was long overdue. It is time that the courts respect the freedom of the people to uphold the timeless and natural definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that empowers this federal judge to overturn Alabama's marriage amendment nor any basis for the U.S. Supreme Court to impose a 50 state same-sex 'marriage' mandate." - Hate group leader Tony Perkins, via press release.

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ALABAMA: AG Asks Federal Judge To Stay Her Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange tonight filed an emergency stay request with federal Judge Ginny Granade, the same judge who struck down the ban on same-sex marriage several hours ago. From Strange's motion:
Defendant and the State of Alabama will suffer irreparable harm if marriages are recognized on an interim basis that are ultimately determined to be inconsistent with Alabama law, resulting in confusion in the law and in the legal status of marriages. Granting a stay will not harm the Plaintiffs, but would only maintain the status quowhile these issues are considered by the appellate courts. Finally, a stay will serve the publicinterest by avoiding the confusion and inconsistency that will result from an on-again, off-again enforcement of marriage laws.
Should Granade deny his request, Strange will have to take his stay request to the Eleventh Circuit Court, which last month denied the same request from Florida.

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Local Hater Has The Alabama Sadz

Godfrey is the executive director of Alabama Citizens Action, whose tagline is "The Moral Compass Of Alabama." He is also a leader of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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Alabama Governor Has The Sadz

Bentley is a deacon at his Baptist church, sits on the advisory board of Youth For Christ, and has won awards from the Christian Coalition.

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Alabama House Speaker Has The Sadz

"It is outrageous when a single unelected and unaccountable federal judge can overturn the will of millions of Alabamians who stand in firm support of the Sanctity of Marriage Act. The Legislature will encourage a vigorous appeals process, and we will continue defending the Christian conservative values that make Alabama a special place to live." - GOP Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who was indicted on 23 felony corruption charges in late October. Hubbard has refused to resign in advance of his trial.

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Alabama Turns From Red To Sapphire!

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BREAKING: Federal Court Strikes Down Alabama Marriage Ban, NO STAY ISSUED

From the Washington Blade:
A federal judge in Alabama has become the latest to strike down a state ban on same-sex marriage, ruling against the Yellowhammer State’s prohibition on gay nuptials on the basis that it violates the Fourteenth Amendment. In a 10-page decision on Friday, U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade, an appointee of George W. Bush, issued summary judgement in favor of a plaintiff same-sex couple, finding Alabama marriage laws violate the couple’s right to due process and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. “There has been no evidence presented that these marriage laws have any effect on the choices of couples to have or raise children, whether they are same-sex couples or opposite-sex couples,” Granade writes. “In sum, the laws in question are an irrational way of promoting biological relationships in Alabama.”
See the ruling.

UPDATE: The Attorney General vows to seek a stay.
The Alabama Attorney General's Office indicated it would continue to fight the case. "We are disappointed and are reviewing the Federal District Court's decision," read a statement from the office "We expect to ask for a stay of the court's judgment pending the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling which will ultimately decide this case." It is the first of several pending same-sex marriage cases in Alabama to be ruled on. The decision adds to a growing list of decisions across the country in favor of same-sex marriage.
UPDATE II: From the ruling:
If anything, Alabama's prohibition of same-sex marriage detracts from its goal of promoting optimal environments for children. Those children currently being raised by same-sex parents in Alabama are just as worthy of protection and recognition by the State as are the children being raised by opposite-sex parents. Yet Alabama's Sanctity laws harms the children of same-sex couples for the same reasons that the Supreme Court found that the Defense of Marriage Act harmed the children of same-sex couples.

Such a law "humiliates [ ] thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives." Windsor, 133 S.Ct. at 2694. Alabama's prohibition and non-recognition of same-sex marriage "also brings financial harm to children of same-sex couples." id. at 2695, because it denies the families of these children a panoply of benefits that the State and the federal government offer to families who are legally wed.

Additionally, these laws further injures those children of all couples who are themselves gay or lesbian, and who will grow up knowing that Alabama does not believe they are as capable of creating a family as their heterosexual friends. For all of these reasons, the court finds that Alabama's marriage laws violate the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
UPDATE III: There is no waiting period to marry for Alabama residents. If no stay is issued over the weekend, we could see weddings first thing Monday morning when county clerks' offices open.

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Sarah Palin Poses With "Fuck You Michael Moore" Poster At Las Vegas Gun Show

Remember when Palin got blasted for placing gun-sight symbols on a map of targeted Democrats during the 2010 midterms? Palin doesn't.

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Doomsday Clock Advances Two Minutes

Via USA Today:
Citing unchecked climate change and the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons, scientists Thursday moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight. "It is now three minutes to midnight," said Kennette Benedict, the executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at a news conference in Washington, D.C. "The probability of global catastrophe is very high. This is about the end of civilization as we know it." Three minutes is the closest to midnight the clock has been since 1984 during the Cold War. The closest it has ever been to midnight — two minutes— was in 1953, when the hydrogen bomb was first tested. The closer to a setting of midnight it gets, the closer it's estimated that a global disaster will occur. "In 2015, unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity," the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said in a statement.
Back when I was in middle school, my history teacher had us construct a paper Doomsday Clock which was posted to the bulletin board and referred to often in the months following the Yom Kippur War, which the teacher convinced us was the start of it all. The inevitability of nuclear armageddon was further drilled into our nightmares via showings of Fail-Safe and Panic In The Year Zero. And to bring the doomsday specter very close to home, several weeks of ninth grade were devoted to out-loud readings of chapters from the Orlando area-based nuclear war novel Alas, Babylon. Those readings were done by the American literature teacher and viewed over the school's closed-circuit television system in multiple classrooms. Not incidentally, she was married to the history teacher.

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ARKANSAS: AG Requests Second Round Of Oral Arguments In State Marriage Case

Newly-elected Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, the first Republican to hold that office in her state, has requested that the state Supreme Court re-hear oral arguments in one of her state's two marriage equality cases because there are new justices on the bench. In May 2014 a state judge struck down the ban on same-sex marriage in Arkansas and couples began to marry. One week later the state Supreme Court issued a stay on that ruling, bringing same-sex weddings to a halt. In November the state Supreme Court heard oral arguments on that case and that court has not yet issued its ruling. Further complicating the situation, the following week a federal judge also struck down the ban in Arkansas but issued an immediate stay. Late last month former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who says he personally supports same-sex marriage, appealed the federal ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court. In short, there are two pending appeals in Arkansas and today's action is on the May ruling made by a state court.

RELATED: AG Leslie Rutledge was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's legal advisor during his 2008 presidential bid.

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COLORADO: Pro-Gay Bakery Launches Legal Defense Crowdfunding Campaign

From Azucar Bakery's GoFundMe page:
As many of you know some time ago a person came into my bakery asking to make a Bible shaped cake with discriminatory and hateful words against the LGBT community. I did not feel comfortable writing said message. I would gladly make the cake but would give him the tools to write the message himself. Now that person has filed a complaint with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies against Azucar Bakery for discrimination. At the moment I never thought this story would get so big, just that I was doing the right thing. For better or for worse the story has blown up and in order not to stick my foot in my mouth and say something that would get me into trouble, I have decided to seek legal advice. Many of you have already offered to help; that is why this campaign was started. I will use the funds to help me and the bakery with legal expenses. I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for your support. With love, Marjorie Silva
(Tipped by JMG reader Sean)

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Tweet Of The Day - Democratic Party

For a $10 donation.

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Fire Island Business District Auctions To Manhattan Hotelier Ian Reisner For $10M

Via the New York Times:
A strip of commercial real estate along the harbor in Fire Island Pines sold for $10.1 million at auction on Thursday to developers with plans to continue the revival of a former mecca for closeted gay men. The sale price was well below the $25 million the previous owners sought when they placed it on the market last fall, and below the $17 million they paid for it in 2010. In a deal hammered out over more than six hours, the property was bought by Ian Reisner, who also owns the Out NYC, a hotel on West 42nd Street in Manhattan that focuses on a gay clientele. The deal is expected to close in February.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Reisner said he, his business partner and a small team of investors planned to spend $4 million over the next 18 months to “renovate and rejuvenate” the property, which includes a hotel, a nightclub, a restaurant, a bar and retail space. The Pavilion nightclub in Fire Island Pines was rebuilt after a 2011 fire and reopened, but in the interim the crowd moved on. “My idea for the Out was to have a place for L.G.B.T., because we didn’t have that at the time,” said Mr. Reisner, who said he has been visiting Fire Island Pines since he came out as gay in 1989. “The Pines is the Out.”
Reisner was last in the news back in October when a 25 year-old Hell's Kitchen club manager died of an apparent drug overdose in his $25M Central Park South penthouse.

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Kate Pierson - Bottoms Up

This is the third track to be unveiled from her forthcoming album Guitars And Microphones, which is due out on February 17th. (The first two tracks were Mister Sister and Bring Your Arms.) This one was co-written by Sia and Nick Valensi of The Stokes, who also provides the guitar work.

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Liberty Counsel: SCOTUS Will Destroy America If It Rules For Marriage

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ATLANTA: Former Fire Chief Files Religious Discrimination Complaint With Feds

Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran has filed a federal discrimination complaint contending he faced religious discrimination when the City fired him after he published a book that contained controversial statements about homosexuality. Cochran swore out the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by the City of Atlanta on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Attorney Jonathan Crumly filed an EEOC complaint Wednesday on behalf of Cochran, who was fired this month after complaints about his self-published 2013 book, “Who Told You You Are Naked?” “Americans are guaranteed the freedom to live without fear of losing their jobs because of their beliefs and thoughts. We are continuing to evaluate all available legal options to vindicate Chief Cochran after his unjust termination,” said Crumly, who is allied with the group Alliance Defending Freedom that has rallied to Cochran’s defense.
Mayor Reed reacts: "He can get all of the lawyers he wants so that he can continue to have publicity and sell books, but he's going to lose the legal case. What is not disputed is he never communicated with me, the chief executive officer, prior to the publication of the book. It's clearly out of bounds." (Tipped by JMG reader Arthur)

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KENTUCKY: GOP Pol Claims Immunity From DUI Arrest Due To 1891 Law

GOP Kentucky state Sen. Brandon Smith wants his DUI charge dismissed because an 1891 amendment to the state constitution bars the arrest of lawmakers while the legislature is in session.
Smith was arrested and charged with DUI on Jan. 6, the first day of the 2015 legislative session. Smith had a .088 percent blood alcohol level in a portable breath test, according to a citation filed in Franklin County Circuit court. A person is presumed drunk when the alcohol to blood ratio is .08 and above. But attorney Bill Johnson has filed a motion to dismiss the charges citing section 43 of the Kentucky Constitution which states that "members of the General Assembly shall, in all cases except treason, felony, breach of surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance on the sessions of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same." "If you can't arrest them, then you can't try them," Johnson said. That language was added to the constitution in 1891. Johnson said the purpose was to "keep legislators from being bothered by people who would arrest them during sessions."
Smith made his JMG debut last summer when he declared that climate change is a hoax because the temperature on Mars "is exactly as it is here." He also broke the news that there are no coal mines on Mars.

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McDonald's Reveals French Fries Recipe

Mmm, delicious anti-foaming agents.

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RUSSIA: Top Official Pledges That Country Will "Eat Less" For Vladimir Putin

Via the Associated Press:
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, on Friday warned the West against trying to topple President Vladimir Putin and said that Russians are ready to sacrifice their wealth in Putin's support. Russia has for the past year been sliding into recession amid a slump in its energy export prices as well as Western sanctions against Moscow's role in the conflict in Ukraine that has claimed more than 5,000 lives. Questions have been raised in Russia and abroad whether the price that ordinary Russians are having to pay for the annexation of Crimea is too high.

Shuvalov, who is believed to be one of the richest men in the government, said that what he considers the West's attempts to oust Putin will only unite the nation further. "When a Russian feels any foreign pressure, he will never give up his leader," Shuvalov said. "Never. We will survive any hardship in the country — eat less food, use less electricity.  Shuvalov's comments triggered pithy remarks on Russia social media including an opposition activist who posted photos of Shuvalov's Moscow, London and Austria homes to illustrate where the deputy prime minister would experience the hardships he described.
The image above comes via Copyranter, who notes that the font is called "Hunger Games." Hit his link for two more suggested billboards.

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LAUNCHED: One Million Kids For Equality

Via the Huffington Post:
The One Million Kids campaign launched Jan. 22 with the release of a new website, a Facebook page and a Twitter handle. Additional components will emerge over the coming weeks in an effort to give "kids, parents and allies a voice around LGBT equality," according to founder Brad Delaney. The choice to name the campaign One Million Kids was "absolutely" an intentional one, especially in the wake of the One Million Dads news, Delaney said. "We hope that by adapting a similar name, we will be able to turn the conversation from one of hate to one of love and acceptance," he said. He went on to note, "We foresee a day when a gay parent can put a picture of their family or partner on their desk at work without fear of being fired and the day when kids aren't bullied by their peers for either being LGBT, being perceived as LBGT or having LGBT parents."
Their website is here. (Tipped by JMG reader Mike)

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One Million Moms Vs Pop Tarts

Just in via email:
Dear Joe, Kellogg's new Pop Tart commercial includes a double entendre that is inappropriate and unnecessary. Foul language or the implication of it is not needed in this commercial, but that is exactly what Kellogg's intended with their play on words.

The animated commercial has a mom pop tart and a dad pop tart admiring their newborn baby pop tart at the hospital nursery when a nurse walks in. The dialogue includes: "He so has your peanut butter. Well, he's got your jelly." Then the nurse, while rubbing her hands together ready to devour the baby pop tart, says, "Time for a feeding." The parents say, "No! Ah, Jam It!" The advertisement could have ended with "No!" but Kellogg's chose to include a phrase that sounded just like a curse word.

Kellogg's should be more responsible in their marketing decisions. Let them know that as a parent and consumer you are offended the company cares more about financial gain than the impression made on our children. Kellogg's executives apparently don't care about what children hear as long as it puts money in their pockets. Everyone knows kids repeat what they hear. This is weak marketing, and Kellogg's should have the corporate responsibility to not use an age old euphemism that offends families.
A replacement clip in which the final line is bleeped was posted yesterday to the Pop Tarts channel. The bleeped version makes it seem more like the mom is saying "Oh, shit!" The original below (left) was posted to the channel of an ad agency.

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SPAIN: King Poses For Gay Magazine

Spain's King Felipe VI, 46, has posed for the cover of a local gay magazine as a show of support for the LGBT community. According to Latin Gossip, this is the first time that a "high-ranking Spanish official" has done so. Felipe took the throne last year following the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos. The magazine is available online and the article on Felipe (pages 17-20) can be read in both Spanish and English. The opening paragraph is below.
(Tipped by JMG reader Eric)

CORRECTION: JMG reader Eduardo writes from Sitges to note that the above photo is an official royal portrait and that King Felipe did not "pose" for the magazine. Per Ragap Revista, the "royal house" did authorize the photo's use as their cover image.

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OKLAHOMA: State Rep. Sally Kern Introduces Three New Anti-Gay Bills

Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern hasn't been in the headlines lately and yesterday she acted to change that by introducing three new anti-gay bills.
House Bill 1599 is dubbed the “Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act.” House Bill 1598 is called the “Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act.” A third measure would allow businesses to refuse to provide services to the gay community, among others. Kern, R-Oklahoma City, garnered national attention a few years ago when she said the “homosexual agenda” was destroying the nation and poses a bigger threat to the nation than terrorism. House Bill 1599 says that no taxpayer funds or governmental salaries can be used for the licensing or support of same-sex marriage. “No employee of this state and no employee of any local governmental entity shall officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license and continue to receive a salary, pension or other employee benefit at the expense of taxpayers of this state,” the measure says. “No taxes or public funds of this state shall be spent enforcing any court order requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage license.”
The third bill would allow businesses to refuse service "to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, group or association." (Tipped by JMG reader KaneHau)

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Sarah Palin Talks Saggy Scrotums

"I’m not going to talk politics except to say that the GOP better get on offense, they are not going to win any games on defense. That GOP leadership, that establishment, they’ve got to get their stuff together. I love what they believe in, I believe in it too. But they’ve got to get tough, man. You know what? It’s not just the New England Patriots who are dealing with deflated balls right now." - Sarah Palin, speaking yesterday at an event to promote her latest reality show.

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SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas Hobnobs With Anti-Gay Activists And Must Recuse Himself From Marriage Case

Yesterday Heritage Foundation staffer and anti-gay marriage activist Ryan T. Anderson posted the above photo of himself, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and former NOM chairman Robert George, who wrote the Manhattan Declaration, whose signees avow that they will disobey (somehow) the legalization of same-sex marriage. Using hate group logic, Thomas must now recuse himself from the coming marriage case before his court. 

RELATED: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia must also recuse himself, as last summer he was the keynote speaker at an event organized by anti-gay marriage activist and Catholic Bishop Paul Loverde, who helped spearhead Virginia's battle against same-sex marriage.

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Postmodern Jukebox - I Want It That Way

A 70s soul take on the 1999 Backstreet Boys smash. Featuring Broadway's Shoshana Bean, who seems to be everywhere these days. 300K views on the first day.

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Portugal Rejects Gay Adoption

Portugal's Parliament yesterday rejected a bill that would have legalized adoption by same-sex couples.
The draft laws, presented by the opposition Socialist, Left Bloc and Green parties were all defeated by some 30 votes by the chamber in which 220 deputies were present. The majority ruling right, led by the Social Democrats, had already refused to back similar propositions in 2012 and 2013. Thursday's vote was nevertheless passed by the smallest margin yet as the 16 Communist Party deputies for the first time backed the move to allow gay couples to adopt. In Portugal any individuals, including homosexuals, may apply to adopt but when the parliament authorised gay marriages in 2010 it expressly excluded the right for such couples to adopt.
The pro-gay Socialist Party is favored to take the majority this fall. (Tipped by JMG reader Lulu)

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Jeopardy! Mocks Civil Unions

Via Slate:
You might not typically think of Jeopardy! as a source of opinion on the hot-button political issues of the day, but on the Jan. 21 edition of the game show, a saucy clue challenged that perception. Under a category called “Civil” the $800 clue read as follows: “Some opponents of same-sex marriage say, hey gay folks, how about these? Wouldn't these be good enough?” The correct answer, of course, is “What are civil unions?” The clue writers’ flippant tone in the rhetoric attributed to gay marriage opponents is clear evidence of how they—like most gay people—feel about civil unions as an alternative to full marriage equality: They are a weak attempt at placation that suggests second-class citizenship, if not a kind of segregation.

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Tomorrow: Watch Transparent For Free

Via Yahoo News:
Transparent is putting Amazon on the map for original programming in a bigger way than any of the company’s other shows have. And there are awards to prove it. Jill Solloway’s series earned two Golden Globes earlier this month. One was for best television comedy or musical; Amazon knocked off Netflix’s Orange is the New Black to win that one. The other went to series lead Jeffrey Tambor, who has received universal praise for his performance in the show’s first season. And on Saturday, Amazon will use all of that buzz to sell a whole ton of new Prime subscriptions. The company will make Transparent's entire first season free to stream for all customers, not just those paying yearly for Prime.

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