Huffington Post | Sep. 23, 2013 | Reaction was swift to Pope Francis' remarks last week calling the church "obsessed" with culture war issues like homosexuality, abortion and birth control. After the pope said that Catholics should stop judging gay people and focusing incessantly on sexuality, New Ways Ministry, a pro-gay Catholic ministry, proclaimed the interview "a new dawn of hope and promise for LGBT Catholics," while Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, spun the interview as nothing new, complaining that the "problem with the left" is that "they are trying to take what the pope said and then run with it." Religious liberals are right to be buoyed by the pope's words (and nonreligious liberals may be forgiven for continuing not to give a rat's ass what he says). But the real significance of the pope's interview is that it stands to return to the nation a moral vocabulary that the religious right has stolen and twisted for over a generation...
SLATE | Posted Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration filed a brief last week defending the state’s 2006 Civil Union Act, which grants gay couples all the benefits of marriage yet bars them from actually getting married. The brief is Christie’s first official legal statement on same-sex marriage. Given his apparent aspiration to be the next Republican nominee for president, it is especially too bad that the brief also may be the most incoherent defense of heterosexual supremacy yet. That’s saying something in an era in which lawyers have tied themselves in logical pretzels to defend indefensible anti-gay laws. Even by that low standard, the brief reads like a student paper written during an all-nighter. You’d think an aspiring president would take the task more seriously.
The New Republic JUNE 28, 2013 For those who don’t follow every twist and turn of the gay rights battle, the Supreme Court's invalidation of two major gay-marriage bans--”the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8--”may seem like the final victory for gay equality. Even some gay people seem to think the end is nigh, in part because the full legal impact of DOMA’s demise is not yet clear. Can those living in a state without gay marriage, for instance, hold a wedding in a friendly state and thus secure newly won federal benefits?
SLATE | Posted Thursday, June 27, 2013, at 1:02 PM On the very day the high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, Slate’s Hanna Rosin penned this buzz kill: “The Dirty Little Secret: Most Gay Couples Aren’t Monogamous.” There’s a lot to admire about this instinct to rain on the gay parade: I myself am constitutionally predisposed to look for what we haven’t achieved on days when others are popping champagne to celebrate what we have. (I grappled with this personality flaw in a recent piece on what marriage means to me, where I committed myself to celebrating a potential DOMA victory “fully and without reservation”--”and I proposed to my boyfriend in the same piece, so maybe I’m a little sore at Rosin for crashing the party.)
Scout’s Dishonor: The Boy Scouts’ strange new policy on homosexuality is a spineless half-step that's doomed to fail
SLATE | Posted Friday, May 24, 2013 In a clear effort to appease a divided membership, the Boy Scouts of America has voted to change its national policy on homosexuality: It will now allow gay youth to become and remain scouts, but it will still ban adult leaders “who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.” A spokesman told me the focus is on youth so as to ensure that the Scouts can “provide kids a place to belong while they learn and grow.” Some will view the policy change as progress, which it certainly is for the estimated tens of thousands of gay boy scouts who will finally feel a sense of belonging that was needlessly denied them before. But this modicum of progress virtually dries up when you consider what those same boys will face as they age out of the Boy Scouts: a giant slap-down for anyone wishing to become a Scout leader, with the attendant message that, while being a gay kid is now
Evolve With Me: Today’s Gay Marriage Rulings are about Amazing--and Utterly Rational--Historical Change
SLATE | Posted Wednesday, June 26, 2013, at 2:46 PM There’s no question that today’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act on equal protection grounds is sweeping and historic. There is a unique feature of the 40-year gay marriage debate that makes the question of history and historical evolution particularly important: Unlike racial segregation, to which anti-gay laws are often compared, the traditional restriction of marriage to opposite-sex couples was not designed, in and of itself, to denigrate or harm same-sex couples. No matter how angry pro-gay advocates may rightly feel toward those who oppose our equality, it seems fair, at first blush, to concede that restricting marriage to straights was not exactly a malicious or irrational act based on nothing but animus against gay people. But none of that means DOMA was constitutional. Whatever the dissenters may say, each generation should interpret the meaning of a law as it applies in that generation’s own ti
Scalia the Mullah: The justice’s misunderstanding of morality and how it leads him astray in cases about homosexuality
SLATE | Posted Tuesday, June 25, 2013 In a speech last week titled “Mullahs of the West: Judges as Moral Arbiters,” Justice Antonin Scalia told the North Carolina Bar Association that the court has no place acting as a “judge moralist” in issues better left to the people. Since judges aren’t qualified--”or constitutionally authorized--”to set moral standards, he argued, the people should decide what’s morally acceptable. But does Scalia, whose quarter-century on the bench has marked him as the court’s moral scold for his finger-wagging views on social issues, have a coherent understanding of what it means to say something is or isn’t moral, and of morality’s proper role in the law? Scalia would have you believe it’s liberal, pro-gay sympathizers who are imposing their own brand of moral laxity on the nation, and unconstitutionally using the courts to do it. His angry dissent in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case ending sodomy bans--”decided 10 years ago this week--”blasted