Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

The state of marriage equality

Pennsylvania has been in the news a lot lately for our struggle for marriage equality.  Here’s a quick round-up of where we are.

The ACLU lawsuit is still pending, this was first announced after the Prop 8 and DOMA decisions and is actually separate from everything else going on.  Our Attorney General declined to defend it, since she believes it is unconstitutional and would not stand in court, opting to save the state money.  Governor Corbett, however, picked up the defense and is now using a $400/hour lawyer, charged to the taxpayers, to defend Pennsylvania’s ban on marriage equality in court.

What’s kept us in the news lately has been marriage licenses coming from a county hear Philadelphia.  A case was heard, and the Governor’s lawyers shoved their feet so far into their mouths, it garnered national attention for their offensive remarks:

In a brief Wednesday, state attorneys said those marriage licenses were never valid, and compared gay and lesbian couples to “12-year-olds” who are also barred from marrying under state law.

The Governor backtracked from those remarks after the backlash heated up, which I suppose is something.

The wording of that brief however, called these marriages “meaningless.”  And I think that’s the most hurtful part.  These are people’s lives, people’s loves that they’re calling meaningless, because Corbett is desperately trying to cling to some sort of base to keep him in office next year.

And I may be wrong, but here is what I understand, once a marriage license has been given to a couple, they can be married by anyone in the the state that has that authority, so people like Mayor Fetterman aren’t breaking any laws.  Again, I may be off on that, and it’s really a technicality, but one that I would hope would give more public officials ways to show their support.

So the two trials will continue, and the spotlight isn’t going to be moving off of Pennsylvania anytime soon, as we’re the only state in the entire northeast that has no legal recognition of same-sex relationships (NJ has civil unions, but no marriage equality, and every other state has marriage equality).

Update: The court has ordered the the county clerk to stop issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples.

Pa’s DOMA case

After the Supreme Court ruled on the Windsor case, the ACLU moved swiftly, and their first lawsuit was here in Pennsylvania, challenging our state-wide DOMA in Whitewood v. Corbett.

Our Attorney General has decided to not defend the state, as in her professional opinion, the law is unconstitutional and she would not be able to defend it.  Please note, while this is her personal opinion, as a lawyer, her professional opinion is that the law is unconstitutional, and defending it would be a waste of tax-payer time for a frivolous exercise.

The Judge randomly assigned, John Jones III, is a bit of an enigma.  He is conservative, and has the backing of, of all people, Rick Santorum.  But he also ruled that a public school could not teach Intelligent Design in a science class.

Talking about that case:

“I take every case as it comes, but beyond that, anybody who is familiar with the Kitzmiller case understands that I gave both sides ample opportunity to present their cases, and I’ll certainly do that in this case as well.”

So we’ll see what happens, the courts seem to take a while, so we’ll be waiting for a bit.  But watch this space, I’ll keep you updated.

Move over, Peduto

The web designers for Anthony Weiner’s campaign (for NYC mayor) messed up and used the Pittsburgh skyline (and one of the three sister bridges) on his website instead of Manhattan:

I think we should take the compliment.

(h/t to Joe My God, which also includes a great comment thread)

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The Daily Show covers the voter ID voter supression measures here in Pennsylvania.  The second clip is also funny, although it mainly focuses on Ohio.

Check out the clips here if you have a few minutes.  You’ll get dragon bones, 7-Eleven, peanut butter and outrage at the loss of constitutionally-guaranteed rights all in the name of partisanship.

Only 72 days left…

Until the election and we can hopefully once again become more civilized.

Not that we shouldn’t be civil all the time, but it seems like that sentiment gets thrown out the window rather easily this time every two years.

Take for instance, the words of Allegheny GOP Chairman Jim Roddey:

“There was a disappointment tonight. I was very embarrassed. I was in this parking lot and there was a man looking for a space to park, and I found a space for him. And I felt badly — he looked like he was sort of in distress. And I said, ‘Sir, here’s a place.’ And he said, ‘That’s a handicapped space.’ I said, ‘Oh I’m so sorry, I saw that Obama sticker and I thought you were mentally retarded.”

Now, he did eventually apologize for his remarks.  And of course, we’re all (myself very much included) guilty of using words that we should not, although as of late I’ve tried to make a more conscious effort to not use the word “retarted.”

But the vitriol behind the original comment is what bothers me.  I hate the fact that we are all so divided and at each other’s throats when we’re all trying to get to a better place.

Only 72 days left…until the next cycle.

The Episcopal Diocese: Here We Go Again

Here’s the (shortened version of the) backstory: A few years ago, the former bishop of Pittsburgh left and created his own church in the Anglican Communion over “differences.”  I put differences in quotation marks because, quite simply, he didn’t think certain types of people, namely those in the LGBT community and women, should be bishops, and that’s not a difference, that’s running contrary to Jesus’ call to accept and love everyone.  Jesus never once put limits on his love or who could be his disciples.

His leaving was drawn out and drama-filled, although I guess it actually was easier and shorter than it could have been, so that’s a positive.  We’ve had interim bishops and the diocese finally elected a new bishop after an extended search process.  Our diocese split, but I think became stronger and more focused on outreach and love because of all the drama.

Every three years, the Episcopal Church has their general convention (which includes a whole lot of legislating and more representatives than the Indian Parliament…true story).  Since this was going on (instead of a separate meeting of House of Bishops (as I understand it), our bishop-elect was set to be confirmed and then, if approved, join the House (spoiler alert: he was).

I’ll put the rest after the jump, since I’ll be quoting a large amount of text, and probably most of the readers have tuned out by this point.  Like, I could probably put something here about giving away huge sums of money and no one would notice, because who really is going to read my rantings about local religious politics.  I’m not giving away any money by the way, sorry, but the offer still stands for free drinks if you want to write for Metblogs, though!

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Ravenstahl joins Freedom to Marry

Mayor Ravenstahl joined the Freedom To Marry’s Mayor program.  While I think it’s weird that it took him this long to join on, maybe he was specifically waiting for Pride weekend.

And on a side note, while I like the logo for this year, the wings in the background of the logo, just look funny to me.  Maybe it’s because I was always seeing the banners through the dirty windows on a PAT bus (or covered by an ad wrapper), but they looked funky.

Here is Luke’s comment to WATE:

“Hearts change, minds change,” Ravenstahl told Channel 4 Action News on Tuesday. “I have had numerous discussions with members of my staff who are gay, with friends who are gay, and as I said, hearts change, minds change, and mine has changed.”

Good for the Mayor, and happy Pride to everyone downtown this weekend, have fun, be safe and enjoy yourself!

The first Pittsburgh gaffe of the Presidential campaign

Mitt Romney visited Pittsburgh last week, and had this to say:

“I’m not sure about these cookies. They don’t look like you made them,” Romney said to the woman sitting next to him. “No, no.They came from the local 7-eleven, bakery, or whatever.”

The cookies came from Bethel Bakery.

Here’s the deal, I’m probably going to start some sort of flame war, but maybe it’s because I live out east, so the only times I have Bethel Bakery is when someone brings it into the office, but I think Oakmont is better.

I know, I know, flame away in the comments, but I guess either way, we can just be proud of the fantastic baked goods coming out of the local Pittsburgh bakeries.

Oh yeah, and Bethel Bakery is taking advantage of the gaffe and started a “Cookie-gate” promotion, pretty awesome.

Corbett’s 112% lie

I try not to get too political here, however, Pennsylvania is making national headlines, so I figured I’d mention it.

Maddow Blog recently covered not only Governor’s support of an abhorrent mandatory ultrasound bill (much like the bill to come out of Virginia), but also his recently signed voter ID bill.

Never mind that even though is outcry from both sides of aisle, he has yet to reveal is plan for the state’s transportation funding, this bill sets out to “solve a problem” that doesn’t exist:

But here’s the trouble: there are no examples of Pennsylvania precincts, at a time or in an election, coming in with 112% participation. Corbett appears to have simply made this up.

Voter ID bills around the country are set up to discourage blocks of the population from voting: groups that tend to vote democratic, hence the big push of them this year.  If voter fraud was a problem, it would be another matter, but as it is right now, there is not a problem, just a grab to keep republicans in power at the expense of democracy.

And I know, it’s a hyperbolic, but I’ll go with it for now, and go back to mostly ignoring politics tomorrow.

It’s like a freaking yard sale

The county government is considering selling naming rights, advertising space and sponsorship rights (whatever that means) to bridges.

The plan also allows for the same type of naming rights at the county parks and the airport.

Bridges already named for famous citizens (such as the three sisters bridges of Clemente, Carson and Warhol) are “unlikely” to be renamed.  The “unlikely” part has me worried.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’d probably look at whatever banner is above the bridge I’m going over, we already see them for community and ethnic festivals.  And hanging them off the sides (hopefully better than the protesters did at G20), wouldn’t be too bad.  But renaming bridges I don’t think will work.

It’s been, what, nine years since the Homestead High-Level bridge was renamed.  And even though I love that it was named for the Grays, we all know that ‘Burghers give directions by what used to be there, not what currently resides in any location.

I doubt we’ll be calling the West End Bridge anything other that just that, at least anytime soon.  Just ask Star Lake.

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