United States Republican candidates support breaking equal marriage law

This 4 September 2015 video from the USA is called Meet Homophobic Christian “Hero” Kim Davis.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Six Republican presidential candidates back defiance of gay marriage ruling

7 September 2015

Six of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have come out publicly in support of Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, who has been jailed for refusing a court order to begin issuing licenses for gay marriages.

The open defense of anti-gay bigotry is an indication of the drastic shift to the right in American capitalist politics, in which arguments based on religious doctrine are increasingly accepted by both parties as legitimiate in making policy decisions.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Texas Senator Ted Cruz have taken the most strident public positions, joined by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

Several more Republican hopefuls, like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, have expressed sympathy for Davis’s actions and urged the Kentucky state legislature to find a way to accommodate anti-gay bigotry and the Supreme Court’s decision striking down legal barriers to marriage equality.

Davis remains in jail for defying the order of US District Judge David Bunning to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Five of her six deputies—the exception was Davis’s own son Nathan—began issuing licenses Friday in her absence.

The Rowan County clerk has drawn national attention and support from Christian fundamentalist groups. She is one of three Kentucky county clerks to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples, along with a dozen or more from Alabama and a scattered few in other states.

A Democrat elected in 2014, Davis is a member of an Apostolic Church that adheres to a literal interpretation of the Bible. While presenting her actions as an assertion of her religious freedom, Davis is really trampling on the freedom of others, using her position as the issuer of marriage licenses in Rowan County to prevent gay couples from gaining the legal sanction for their relationships that they are entitled to receive under the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Walker discussed the case on a right-wing talk show Thursday, claiming that Davis was only exercising her freedom of religion. “I read that the Constitution is very clear that people have freedom of religion,” he said. “You have the freedom to practice religious beliefs out there, it’s a fundamental right.”

Santorum told CNN’s “New Day” program Friday, “What Kim Davis did, in my opinion, was heroic.” He claimed that the Supreme Court “acted unconstitutionally” when it ruled that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry.

Jindal declared, “I don’t think anybody should have to choose between following their conscience — their religious beliefs — and giving up their job or facing financial sanction,” adding, “You should be able to keep your job and follow your conscience.”

Rand Paul, speaking on CNN, said, “It’s absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberty.” While Paul has in the past presented himself as “socially tolerant,” supposedly because of his libertarian views, he has pandered to the Christian fundamentalists in Kentucky, his home state, where he will be a candidate for re-election to the Senate next year.

The most strident defenses of Davis came from Cruz and Huckabee. Cruz issued a vitriolic attack on Judge David Bunning, a conservative Republican appointed by George W. Bush, for ordering Davis to comply with the Supreme Court decision, declaring, “Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America.”

This assertion is preposterous. Davis is jailed not for “living according to her faith,” but for refusing, as an elected public official, to carry out her duties under the law. When Christian pacifists attempt to disrupt the functioning of US nuclear weapons facilities, they are invariably arrested, and reactionaries like Cruz do not shed any tears, let alone howl about the persecution of nuns.

“Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office,” Cruz said in a statement this week. “That is the consequence of their position. Or, if Christians do serve in public office, they must disregard their religious faith — or be sent to jail.”

Here theocracy raises its ugly head. Cruz & Co. seek to impose the religious views of a specific Christian sect on the entire population of a vast and diverse country, in defiance of the constitutional separation of church and state laid down in the First Amendment.

Cruz cited the dissenting opinions in Obergefell v. Hodges, particularly that of Justice Antonin Scalia, who predicted that local and state officials might choose to defy it—demonstrating that the ultra-right faction on the Supreme Court was deliberately appealing to the most backward and reactionary forces in American society.

Even more vocal was Mike Huckabee, the former preacher who is basing his campaign on the mobilization of evangelicals, home schoolers and the like. He devoted his entire appearance on the ABC Sunday interview program “This Week” to the Davis case, and announcing a rally in Kentucky Tuesday against what he called “the criminalization of Christianity,” and plans to visit her in her prison cell.

Huckabee absurdly compared the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage to the Dred Scott decision before the American Civil War, grossly distorting both the historical context and consequences of that decision. His interviewer, the abysmally superficial George Stephanopoulos, entirely ignored this issue, if he even recognized it.

Stephanopoulos did press Huckabee on the separation of church and state, playing a recording of the famous declaration by John F. Kennedy reassuring an audience of Baptist ministers that his Roman Catholic faith would not determine government policy. Would a President Huckabee carry out the terms of the Supreme Court decision on recognition of gay couples, for example, on health benefits for spouses of gay federal employees? Huckabee simply avoided responding.

Only a handful of the Republican candidates have adhered to a traditional constitutional position, that the Supreme Court interpretation of the law was binding, and that Davis, as a public official, had to carry out the law and not her personal religious beliefs.

Others sought to square the circle, giving lip service to the separation of church and state while seeking to appease the Christian fundamentalist right.

Jeb Bush said, “It seems to me there ought to be common ground, there ought to be big enough space for her to act on her conscience and for, now that the law is the law of the land, for a gay couple to be married in whatever jurisdiction that is.”

Chris Christie said, “We have to protect religious liberty and people’s ability to be able to practice their religion freely and openly, and of course we have to enforce the law too.”

Marco Rubio issued a statement: “While the clerk’s office has a governmental duty to carry out the law, there should be a way to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of individuals working in the office.”

Billionaire Donald Trump, who leads in polls of Republican voters, said that Davis “can take a pass and let somebody else in the office do it.”

These statements ignore the fact that Davis has ordered her deputies to enforce the prohibition of gay marriage. In effect, she has made her own religious views the basis of official action by everyone in the clerk’s office, regardless of their individual beliefs.

What is involved here is an effort to legitimize government-imposed bigotry and overturn constitutional principles established more than 200 years ago in the Bill of Rights, which barred the government establishment of any particular religion, or of religion in general.

THE KNOW-NOTHING CANDIDATES “The 2016 campaign, especially on the GOP side, is setting a modern record for vacuity and even pride in ignorance about government. The widespread lack of civic education, the failure of media interest and growing public cynicism have made not knowing any details a perverse qualification for the highest office.” [Howard Fineman, HuffPost]

Oregon judge against same-sex marriage displayed Hitler photo in courthouse. Vance Day, who is under state ethics review for refusing to marry gay couples, said he put up picture of Nazi dictator to honor second world war veterans: here.

Israeli government abuses racist violence for attacking civil liberties

This video from Israel says about itself:

We are the majority – marching the streets

28 June 2012

Israeli social protest is taking a more assertive approach as a response to the latest homophobic remarks of MK Anastassia Michaeli, the refusal of the Tel-Aviv city hall to allow the re-opening of tents on Rothschild Boulevard, and the aggressive arrests of protesters that have become common lately.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Israelis will also be jailed without trial

Today, 10:36

The Israeli inner cabinet has made it possible for Israelis suspected of violence against Palestinians to be jailed without trial. The measure was announced following the arson last week in two houses of Palestinians in the West Bank, where a Palestinian child was killed.

Suspects can be held for months under the measure. This so-called ‘administrative detention’ was so far only for Palestinians. The measure has been criticized internationally because the suspects have no rights in those circumstances.

So, now ‘legal equality’ for Israeli citizens and Palestinians by, after first undermining civil liberties for one group, undermining them for another group as well. While there is a clear danger that this policy will not just be applied against ‘Israelis suspected of violence against Palestinians’, the only category of Israelis which the NOS report mentions. Might it not also be applied against ‘Israelis suspected of OPPOSITION TO violence against Palestinians‘? Against Israeli opponents of homophobia, including homophobia in Israeli political parties in the coalition government; against people like the recently murdered girl Shira Banki? Against some of the many Israeli opponents of the Netanyahu government’s ‘austerity’ economic policies? Etc.

Wouldn’t it be better to have ‘legal equality’ for Israeli citizens and Palestinians by not having arbitrary jailing for anyone? And by thorough investigation, which there has not been so far, of the violent extreme right in Israel, their anti-Palestinian crimes, their bigotry against African refugees, their homophobia, etc.? Including their relationships to some politicians in Israeli coalition government political parties?

Israel’s Netanyahu government widens use of anti-democratic detention orders: here.

Forbidding Asylum Seekers From Living in Tel Aviv or Eilat Reeks of Racism. Israel’s government continues to abuse African asylum seekers without offering any kind of solution: here.

Even with an imperfect knowledge of Dutch, it was not difficult to make out that the article, covering an entire page, was referring to the murderous attack on the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem and the immediately following arson of a Palestinian family home at the village of Duma near Nablus, where a father and his baby son died. From Jerusalem, correspondent Derk Walters informed the Dutch readers of the alarming increase of violent extreme right groups upholding a Nationalist-Religious Messianic ideology. He recounted the openly voiced explicit calls for attacking Arabs and homosexuals and for the torching of Christian churches, and quoted extensively the sharp denunciations made from all parts of the Israeli political spectrum. The article ended with a question: “Is the Netanyahu Government capable of taking serious measures against the settlers, when some of the cabinet ministers are themselves settlers?”. Quite a few Israelis are asking themselves the same question.
Read more: here.

16-year-old Israeli girl murdered by ultra-religious homophobe

Shira Banki, 16-year-old Israeli girl before she was murdered by an ultra-religious homophobe

From daily Haaretz in Israel:

16 Year Old Stabbed in Jerusalem Pride Parade Succumbs to Wounds

Shira Banki was critically wounded in an attack by an ultra-Orthodox man on Thursday; Netanyahu: She died for bravely supporting everyone’s right to live in dignity.

Also from Haaretz: Why the Israeli government’s condemnation of Jerusalem Gay Pride attack is hollow

See also here.

Yaniv Kubovich Aug 02, 2015 6:16 PM

Three days after being critically wounded by an ultra-Orthodox man that went on a stabbing rampage at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade, Shira Banki, a 16-year-old Israeli teen succumbed to her wounds Sunday afternoon. Five other people were wounded in the attack.

Police confirmed that the suspected stabber is Yishai Schlissel, a Haredi man from Modiin Ilit who stabbed three participants in the 2005 Gay Pride march. He was recently released from prison after serving a 10-year sentence.

Banki was a high-school student from Jerusalem, studying at the Hebrew University High School. She took part in Thursday’s parade to show solidarity with her LGBT friends. She is survived by her parents and three siblings; her family decided to donate her organs.

In a statement issued Sunday, her family said: “Our magical Shira was murdered because she was a happy 16-year-old – full of life and love – who came to express her support for her friends’ rights to live as they choose. For no good reason and because of evil, stupidity and negligence, the life of our beautiful flower was cut short. Bad things happen to good people, and a very bad thing happened to our amazing girl. The family expresses hope for a less hatred and more tolerance.” The family requests the public respect their privacy as they grieve.

As of Sunday afternoon two of those wounded in the attack alongside Banki were still in serious condition and remained hospitalized, though medical officials said their condition was improving. Three of the other people wounded in the attack were released home after suffering lighter injuries.

Opposition Chairman Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) also issued a statement, saying Banki was a victim of “Jewish terror”. “I cry for Shira… she is the age of my children. We will not tolerate violence, racism or LGBT-phobia of any kind,” he said, reiterating his demand that the prime minister outlaw extreme right-wing groups which he said “incite hatred” in Israel.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) said in a statement: “It’s a dark day for Israel… in which a high school girl is murdered for her opinions and positions.” “There is no principle in the world worth the life of a young girl,” said Bennett, who was supposed to address an LGBT rally Saturday evening, but canceled after refusing to sign a commitment to act on behalf of the gay community. This is “a day in which we became darkness unto the nations instead of a being light unto the nations,” he added.

On Saturday, thousands of Israelis took to the streets to protest the stabbing as well as a deadly arson attack in the West Bank that saw a Palestinian infant killed.  “Flames have engulfed our country,” President Reuven Rivlin said at the rally in Jerusalem’s Zion Square. “Flames of violence, flames of hatred, flames of false, distorted and twisted beliefs.”

An estimated 10,000 people turned up for a rally in Tel Aviv’s Gan Meir, which was already planned to mark six years since two people were killed in a shooting at Barnoar, a Tel Aviv gay youth center. …

The attacker, Schlissel, was sentenced for 12 years in prison for the 2005 attack after his conviction on charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault. However, in 2007, following an appeal, the Supreme Court mitigated his sentence to 10 years. He was deemed sane and fit to face trial on Friday.

After his release, Schlissel returned to his hometown, where residents said that he distributed hand-written pamphlets in which he called on “all Jews faithful to God” to risk “beatings and imprisonment” for the sake of preventing the parade.

Right-wing MK: Jerusalem pride parade is an ‘abomination’. Habayit Hayehudi lawmaker Betzalel Smotrich calls anti-violence protest held in wake of stabbing a ‘witch hunt’ against those opposing LGBT rights: here.

Israel Police to probe failure to monitor Jerusalem gay pride parade assailant. Yishai Schlissel, who served 10 years for 2005 parade stabbing attack, urged self-sacrifice against ‘abomination parade’ following his recent release: here.

Gay people in Ramallah, West Bank: here.

Homophobic mayor in Venice, Italy

This 2014 video is called Homophobia as seen by youth in Italy.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

New Mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro bans books about homosexuality from city schools

Certain books are being collected by authorities so they can “verify” they are suitable for young children

Doug Bolton

Thursday 09 July 2015

Venice‘s new mayor has been heavily criticised for his decision to ban books dealing with homosexuality from the city’s schools.

Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has banned a total of 49 books covering homosexuality and discrimination from schools, fulfilling one of his campaign promises.

Books banned include a French book titled ‘Jean Has Two Mums’, a story of a wolf family where the cub has two mothers.

Brugnaro has defended himself, saying he will “not be intimidated” by the criticism, which has taken the form of groups organising public readings of the banned books, and public libraries actively encouraging visitors to read them.

He added: “Parents need to educate their children on these things, not schools.”

According to a statement posted on Brugnaro’s website, authorities have collected all the books in question from across the city’s schools, and will “verify” them to make sure they are “suitable for preschoolers”.

Books that deal with religious, racial or disability-related discrimination have been collected by authorities for analysis, but the statement says they will “certainly be redistributed” at some point.

However, he said that books that deal with homosexuality may be kept out of school libraries for good.

The Mayor’s statement criticised the “cultural arrogance” of previous administrations, that have introduced the banned books into schools “without asking anything to anyone, especially to families.”

Any type of same-sex union, whether civil partnership or full marriage, is not recognised in Italy and unobtainable in the country.

For years there has been a push to make the government introduce civil unions, a cause that has received a boost recently following the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Ireland and the USA.

However, it has been met by a backlash from other groups, who see an introduction of same-sex unions as an affront to traditional Italian values.

The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, supports the cause, and Italy’s senate is currently looking a a bill which Renzi hopes will allow same-sex partnerships by the end of July.

Little girl stops fundamentalist hate preacher

This video from the USA says about itself:

1st Grader Backs Down Homophobe Street Preacher

29 June 2015

Zea faces down a fire and brimstone street preacher, at a festival in Columbus, the day after the SCOTUS marriage equality ruling.

Comfest is a family-friendly, free, community music festival.

This was not a march, or a political event. The preacher was accosting festival goers, including other families with children. His rhetoric, before being confronted by a small girl, was graphic, and bigoted. He was escorted out by police a short time later. Zea was not there to protest. She volunteers at Comfest every year, and was on her way to spend her volunteer tokens on pizza.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with simple pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture

The incident has since been turned into a T-shirt

Adam Withnall

Wednesday 01 July 2015

A seven-year-old girl has inspired hundreds of thousands of people and been immportalised in a T-shirt after she confronted a hate preacher with a simple pro-LGBT gesture.

In an incident captured on camera by her father at a community festival in Ohio, Zea Bowling can be seen silently holding up a rainbow flag to a preacher yelling about “sodomy and brimstone”.

Ryan Bowling, Zea’s father, said he had told her about the US Supreme Court‘s majority decision to uphold same-sex marriage the day before.

And he said that when she heard the preacher, she “was shocked as to why he would bother to come to [the community festival] just to be so mean”.

In the video, people can be heared cheering on Zea as she confronts the preacher, and other onlookers approach to give her a high-five.

Mr Bowling said the preacher was “visibly deflated when he saw her coming”, and he can be seen turning away during the video.

The moment has been viewed more than 200,000 times since footage was uploaded by Mr Bowling, and he told Raw Story the crowd at the time had been “passionately on her side, right away, shockingly so”.

“People actually cried. I almost didn’t film it. It was pretty powerful, and I was trying not to be in my phone. Somebody I didn’t know sniffled pretty loudly, and I realized I might be missing something kind of important.”

Mr Bowling has since provided a link underneath the video to an Ohio clothing maker who has turned the viral moment into a T-shirt.

Designed by Zachary Traxler and adorned with the text of the 14th Amendment, proceeds will go towards Zea’s family and an LGBT charity.