The upper house of the Minnesota Legislature will debate a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, a bill many believe will pass.
The Minnesota Senate has scheduled debate on Monday afternoon for the bill, which passed the Minnesota House of Representatives Thursday with a vote of 75 to 59. According to the Huffington Post, the Democratic Party holds a firm majority in the Minnesota Senate and Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has stated that he would sign the bill.
If passed, the bill would make Minnesota the eleventh state to legalize same-sex marriage and the second one located in the Midwest, with Iowa having legalized it via judicial fiat. more >>
Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in all 50 states, benefited the pro-life cause and harmed the movement in favor of legal abortion, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who favors legal abortion, said Saturday. Her argument in favor of "judicial restraint," as she called it, could have implications for pending gay marriage cases.
"That was my concern, that the court had given opponents of access to abortion a target to aim at relentlessly. ... My criticism of Roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum that was on the side of change," she said before a University of Chicago Law School audience, according to Associated Press.
Ginsburg told the audience that she preferred a "judicial restraint" approach to the expansive approach of Roe, which took the decision away from legislative bodies. She would have preferred for the judges to have only struck down the Texas abortion law, rather than decide the issue for all 50 states. more >>
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that it will no longer use the terms "mother" and "father" when collecting information about a student's legal parents when those parents apply for federal student aid. Instead of using the words "mother" and "father," the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA) will use "Parent 1" and "Parent 2."
The announcement states that the changes to the 2014-2015 federal student aid form "more accurately and fairly assess students' need for aid" and that "Gender-specific terms fail to capture income and other information from one parent when a student's parents are in a same-sex marriage under state law but not federally recognized under the Defense of Marriage Act."
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "All students should be able to apply for federal student aid within a system that incorporates their unique family dynamics…. [that] provide[s] an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of American families." more >>
A conservative United Methodist pastor with a traditional view of marriage says that a clergyman set to be on trial for officiating his son's gay wedding acted in a way that is "injurious to the church."
Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, vice president and general manager of the Methodist group Good News, shared his feelings in an interview earlier this week with the New York Times.
"Reverend [Thomas W.] Ogletree is acting in a way that is injurious to the church, because it fosters confusion in the church about what we stand for," said Lambrecht. "And it undermines the whole covenant of accountability that we share with each other as pastors." more >>
Most Americans are in favor of the Boy Scouts of America lifting its ban on gay scouts and gay leaders within its organization, a new poll shows.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll posted on May 9 found that 63 percent of Americans support allowing gay scouts to join the organization, while 32 percent remain opposed. Fifty-six percent say the ban on gay adults serving as leaders should be lifted, while 39 percent of respondents agree with the current policy.
Among Protestants, 49 percent support the ban on gay scout leaders while 47 percent oppose it. A majority of Catholics (56 percent) favor lifting the ban. more >>
Libby Phelps-Alvarez, the granddaughter of the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, recently appeared on Anderson Cooper's "Anderson Live" program to talk about her experience growing up in the church and what it's been like since she left over four years ago. She also apologized for the hurt she had caused others.
The Topeka, Kan.-based church is known for its anti-homosexual stance and commitment to picketing social, cultural, educational, private, and public institutions with which it deems are violating its interpretation of scripture. Its Website, www.godhatesfags.com, quotes Lev. 20:23 "therefore I abhorred them" and states that in 1991 it began to conduct "peaceful demonstrations opposing the fag lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth."
Members picketed funerals of dead service men and women, holding signs that read, "Not Blessed, Just Cursed," and "God Hates Dead Soldiers." more >>