Posted: 14 Jul 2008 11:49 AM CDT
In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court struck down a state law that allowed only opposite-sex couples to marry. Conservative religious groups then obtained enough signatures to have a ban on same-sex marriage as a state constitutional amendment, added on to the November ballot, which if it receives the majority of vote, it would then overturn the Supreme Courts ruling.
Should the constitutional ban on same-sex marriages in the November election in California, fail, the U.S. Census Bureau still will not be recognizing those couples as married in their 2010 census report.
Voters in at least 20 states have approved such amendments. The 2000 California initiative passed with 61 percent of the vote, but it was not a constitutional amendment as the one on the November ballot is..
If the constitutional ban on same-sex marriages fails in the November elections, then tens of thousands of same-sex couples are expected to legally marry in the state of California by the year 2010.
The U.S. Census Bureau, citing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act which they interpret as instructing all federal agencies only to recognize opposite-sex marriages for the purposes of enacting any agency programs, will edit the responses on the 2010 census questionnaires and list those couples as "unmarried partners".
According to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, (2 page PDF version here) the state purpose is as follows:
To define and protect the institution of marriage.
The specific passage that the U.S. Census Bureau refers to, states:
No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.'.
On July 12, 1996 the bill was passed in the U.S House of Representatives with a vote of 342 to 67 and on September 10 of the same year, it passed the Senate with a vote of 85 to 14.
It was then signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996.
Because of that law the U.S. Census Bureau says they will follow the same procedure for the 2010 census report as they did with the 2000 census report and the reason they give is twofold.
First they quote the law above, then according to the chief of the Census Bureau's Fertility and Family Statistics Branch, Martin O'Connell, it would be a "huge and difficult logistical issue" and that the Census Bureau has been unable to find any federal agency that collects data on same-sex married couples.
O'Connell goes on to say, "This has been a question we've been looking at for quite a long time. It's not something the bureau could arbitrarily or casually decide to change on a whim, because our data is used by virtually every federal agency."
He concludes by saying, "The last thing anyone wants is to use the 2010 census as a trial run."
Critics of the stated policy say that it will degrade the quality of the government's demographic data and Gary Gates of the Williams Institute, which is a think tank at the University of California-Los Angeles law school that studies gay-related public policy issues, states, "I just think it's bad form for the census to change a legal response to an incorrect response. That goes against everything the census stands for."
O'Connell, speaking for the agency maintains that the Census Bureau will not be "falsifying" the responses and will be retaining the original responses.
"We're not destroying data; we are keeping that data," O'Connell said. "We are just showing the data published in a way that is consistent with the way every other agency publishes their data."
Newly married same-sex couples are frustrated over this news and gay rights activist groups are equally as critical, with the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Shannon Minter, saying, "To have the federal government disappear your marriage I'm sure will be painful and upsetting. It really is something out of Orwell. It's shameful."
An interesting item which the U.S. Census Bureau, nor the article about this story seems to address, is whether they are preparing a plan B, so to speak, a contingency, for the possibility that Barack Obama is elected as President in November of 2008, because according to a PDF produced by barackobama.com, it states:
Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples equal legal rights and privileges as married couples, including the right to assist their loved ones in times of emergency as well as equal health insurance, employment benefits, and property and adoption rights. Obama also believes we need to fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions.
Should Barack Obama win the November elections, it is within the realm of possibility that Congress, the Senate and Obama would all approve a new definition of marriage by the year 2010, rendering the U.S. Census Bureau's official position moot.
According to CNN, Obama opposes same-sex marriage, supports civil unions, but also opposes a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.
That support or lack thereof might also be a moot point if the California voters decide to vote for the same-sex marriage ban in November, thereby making it a state constitutional amendment.
Posted: 14 Jul 2008 09:18 AM CDT
Last week I brought you the words of Afghan 'terps, who are working alongside the coalition forces to rebuild their country into a safe place to raise their families. Today? The other side of the coin. Last week I found a piece on another family: the bin Laden family. It seems one of the bin Laden sons is determined to follow in his father's footsteps. Canada Free Press carried this, and it should be required reading for......well, you know.lol... It really needs no extra commentary from me, so read on:
Go - now - and read the rest here.
Cross-posted in all the usual places!
Posted: 13 Jul 2008 08:40 PM CDT
The cartoon depicts Obama in Muslim garb with a turban and his wife, Michelle with an afro and an AK-47 and an American flag burning in the fireplace.
The New Yorker Magazine has a satirical cartoon on their cover which both the Obama and McCain campaigns are calling "offensive and tasteless".
Barack Obama was first asked about the satirical cartoon, created by The New Yorker's artist Barry Blitt, claiming it is a satire of how scare tactics will be used to derail Obama's campaign, to which he replied: "I have no response to that."
He was asked by Maria Gavrilovic of CBS News, in San Diego, California, "The upcoming issue of The New Yorker, the July 21 issue, has a picture of you, depicting you and your wife on the cover.
"Have you seen it? If not, I can show it to you on my computer. It shows your wife Michelle with an Afro and an AK-47 and the two of you doing the fist bump with you in a sort of turban-type thing on top. I wondered if you've seen it or if you want to see it or if you have a response to it?"
The news release that the New Yorker sent out can be found here and it states:
On the cover of the July 21, 2008, issue of the The New Yorker, in "The Politics of Fear," artist Barry Blitt satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama's campaign.
Both the candidate's campaigns have since released statements.
Bill Burton, who is Obama's spokesman said, "The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree."
Following that the McCain campaign, via an email to The Politico from Tucker Bounds, agreed by stating, "We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it's tasteless and offensive."
According to Jack Tapper over at the ABC News' Political Punch blog, he states that he believes, knowing the liberal slant of The New Yorker, that the satire is meant "as a parody of the caricature some conservatives (and some supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.) are painting of the Obamas" and he agrees with Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post in calling it incendiary.
Tapper goes on to wonder what the reaction would be if this was a conservative publication that did this, such as the Weekly Standard or the National Review.
Not to say that The New Yorker is getting off scott free from other liberals, because one high profile Obama supporter told ABC's Political Punch, "This is as offensive a caricature as any magazine could publish, and I suspect that other Obama supporters like me are also thinking about not subscribing to or buying a magazine that trafficks in such trash."
The fallout has just begun over this highly controversial satirical piece from The New Yorker and many, conservative and progressive sites, as well as the newly formed Michelle Obama Watch, alike are already ripping into The New Yorker for this.
The harshest criticism I have seen about this as of yet, does come from a conservative blog called Hot Air, where Ed Morrisey writes, "Just as obviously, the editors of the New Yorker showed very poor judgment in approving this cover." He then goes on to point out, "Obama warned that the Republicans would obsess over his ethnicity, but so far only the mainstream Left has made it an issue."
The editors of The New Yorker are surely going to be receiving some irate phone calls and emails as this news spreads and some think that if they are smart, they will rethink putting the cartoon, satire or not, on the front cover of their magazine on July 21, 2008.
[Update] The artist that created this satire responds to an email that Huffington Post sends him asking him to respond to those who feel that his work was offensive, and to explain his own personal feelings about the Obamas:
I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic [let alone as terrorists] in certain sectors is preposterous. It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is.
When he was asked "given the outcry, is he glad he made the art?" His response was, "Retrospect? Outcry?" The magazine just came out ten minutes ago, at least give me a few days to decide whether to regret it or not..."
Posted: 13 Jul 2008 07:00 PM CDT
Short and sweet, here was the exact words that Barack Obama said to a Jewish audience, in early June, speaking before the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee: (page 5 of the PDF file)
Egypt must cut-off the smuggling of weapons in the Gaza. And Israel can also advance the cause of peace by taking appropriate steps consistent with it security to ease the freedom of movement for Palestinians and improve economic conditions in the West Bank and to refrain from building new settlements as it's agreed to do with the Bush Administration at Annapolis. Now let me be clear; Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable; the Palestinians need a State--the Palestinians need a State that is contiguous and cohesive and that allows them to prosper, but any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish State with secure, recognized, defensible borders. And Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.
Those were his prepared remarks and he said them as he was supposed to.
Caused all sorts of criticisms to come at him from Arabs and Palestinians and after waiting a month, he now says that those words about Jerusalem were "poor phrasing".....what he should have said is that he "lied through his teeth because he was pandering to a Jewish audience" and now it is time for him to backtrack, flip flop, and lie a little more.
What a joke!
LGF puts it perfectly:
The bottom line here is that Barack Obama tried to pander to AIPAC with one of the most important issues for Israel, telling them exactly what they wanted to hear. Then he basked in the applause.
Good luck with that sweetie.
Posted: 13 Jul 2008 02:48 PM CDT
Update: Here is a copy of an email I just received from Kevin Myers, the author of this courageous piece. Evidently, he is paying a price for his honesty. I have posted a copy of my email to his editors below. If you believe that this sort of honesty is vital in confronting our dangerous world, please write you own letters of support. Thanks.
"Thank you. The lefties are writing in, howling for my scalp. If you could write a letter of support for what I wrote to my newspaper, it would be great.The address is firstname.lastname@example.org
It's" up to you. Either way, thanks."
To the editor. The truth is volatile, isn't it? I think perhaps we should just stay away from it altogether, it's too dangerous. I think writer's like Mr. Myers should be silenced because they are exposing their readers to the truth, and we can't have that, can we? We must keep ourselves comfortably wrapped in our denials and delusions.Here is what I think. You should be proud of yourselves for having the courage to print Mr. Myers brave article. We are facing a multitude of enemies in this real world of ours, enemies from both within and without, who are determined to destroy us or steal our cultural heritage. Our only hope is truth. We must be able to confront the truth, no matter how "volatile" it may be. If we continue describing our world with wishful euphemisms and continue to ignore the truth we are lost.
Bravo Mr. Myers!And bravo Independent IE for supporting him!
Roger W. Gardner
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