Why Civil Unions Make More Sense Than Gay Marriage

The idea of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights is that these documents protect the rights of all Americans. Theoretically no person or group has more or less rights than any other person or group. However, some recent decisions by courts and lawmakers have put the idea of protecting the rights of all Americans in danger. Britain is learning a lesson that I fear America will soon be learning.

On Saturday, the International Business Times reported the story of Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow.  In 1999, these two men were the first gay couple to be named as parents on a British birth certificate when they adopted a baby. The men entered a civil partnership in 2006. Now they are ready for the next step.

The article reports:

Now the pair, who entered a civil partnership in 2006, are planning to take another pivotal step forward for gay rights in the UK, after running out of options in their attempts to get married in church.

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow said: “I want to go into my church and marry my husband.

“The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the Church.”

Although the government lifted the ban on same-sex marriages in July, David Cameron promised Britain’s religious institutions they will not be forced to conduct gay weddings.

So why am I bringing this up? If a church believes what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, doesn’t the Pastor have the right to refuse to perform gay weddings based on his right to practice his religion? The only way to avoid this dilemma is to put marriage under the jurisdiction of civil law and let church weddings be a private church issue. If a church chooses to perform a gay wedding, they should be free to do so, but it is wrong to use the law to coerce a Pastor to do something that is against a fundamental belief.

Civil unions for everyone is one way to protect everyone’s rights on the issue of gay marriage. We need to protect the rights of Americans to practice their religion.

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Bad News For Those Of Us Who Love Free Music

The International Business Times is reporting today that rising royalty costs will cause the free music site Pandora to limit free listening to 40 hours a month. That works out to a little more than one hour a day. Pandora is lobbying Congress to pass the Internet Radio Fairness Act which would change the way that royalties are paid to artists.

Listeners will have alternatives to the 40-hours-a-month program–99 cents for unlimited listening for the remainder of the month, a subscription to Pandora One for unlimited listening and no advertising.

The article concludes:

“The streaming business is obviously growing and booming. It’s north of a billion-dollar business now,” Alex Luke, executive vice president of A&R for the Capitol Label Group, whose artists include the Beatles, Katy Perry and Coldplay, told RS (Rolling Stone) in a previous interview. “But it’s still in its infancy.”

I enjoy Pandora and hope they will continue to provide free Internet music.Enhanced by Zemanta

Common Sense In A Muslim Society

The International Business Times reported today that Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has stated that the recent diarrhoea epidemics in rural Egypt are caused by breastfeeding women who were cleaning themselves properly before feeding their children.

The article states:

Qandil previously caused widespread anger by offering a bizarre solution to Egypt’s power crisis. He urged the Egyptians to wear cotton clothes and gather in a single room to conserve power.

Has anyone asked about the quality of the water the people in rural Egypt are drinking or bathing in? It’s obviously much easier to blame women.

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This Seems Rather Ironic To Me

Last Tuesday the International Business Times posted an article reporting that the College Board has announced that all students taking the SAT and ACT tests will be required to provide their photo ID’s on their applications.

The new rule was triggered by a cheating scandal on Long Island which involved about twenty students who paid people $500 to $3,600 to take the SAT or ACT for them.

The article reports the plan for increasing security at the test sites:

For the photo IDs, students that wish to take the tests will be required to upload or mail in a photo of themselves upon registering for either test. In return, the student will receive an admission ticket into the testing site with a copy of their scanned photo, which won’t be printed directly on the admission ticket, but on the test site roster, so it can be checked against the photo ID that the student provides at the test center itself. The same photo will be attached to the students’ scores.

That is a really good idea. When are we going to get smart and apply the picture ID standard to voting in America? How many voter fraud cases will be needed to convince people that identification is needed for voters?

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Exploiting The Office Of The American Presidency

Martha's Vineyard - Massachusetts

Martha's Vineyard - Massachusetts (Photo credit: Dougtone)

We hear a lot of attacks on the rich these days–they are accused of not paying their fair share of taxes, of being uncaring, and of just generally being bad people. It’s just awful that we have to live with them. However, I would like to point out a few things about the rich men who recently held the office of American President. When George Bush was President, he gave up golf while our soldiers were overseas fighting–he just felt that it was not appropriate for him to be on the golf course when soldiers were dying overseas. When George Bush went on vacation, he went to his ranch in Texas or his father’s house in Maine. What happens when we elect a President who grew up in the Middle Class? When President Clinton and President Obama were in office, the taxpayers paid for extravagant vacations on Martha’s Vineyard. During the Obama Presidency, taxpayers have financed expensive Hawaiian vacations, vacations in Spain for the first lady, ski vacations for the first lady, and now spring break in Mexico for Malia. Nevermind that Americans are still struggling financially and can’t afford vacations–off they go!

It does seem that the Obama Administration is becoming aware that this is a public relations problem.

Big Government reports:

An AFP story, linked at the Huffington Post and elsewhere, reported on Malia Obama’s visit to Mexico despite a Texas public safety warning, she’s reportedly accompanied by 12 friends and 25 Secret Service agents. The Huffington Post story link now directs to the main page and the AFP item is fast disappearing from view. 

The Yahoo News link now diverts to a completely different story, in contrast to the url: http://news.yahoo.com/obamas-daughter-spends-springbreak-mexico-145031176.html. The headline now reads: Senegal music star Youssou Ndour hits campaign trail.

The story was also reported in the International Business Times, but is no longer there. Aside from the cost of the trip, the fact that the warning was ignored is troubling. Malia is thirteen years old. I realize that 25 Secret Service agents provide serious security, but there is no insurance against being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a parent, I know that even if they were traveling in a tank with an armed platoon as an escort, I would not allow any of my daughters to ignore a travel advisory.

It’s a shame that the President and his family believe that travel advisories and economic restraint in choosing vacations simply don’t apply to them.


A website called media bistro is reporting the following:

Politico reports several websites have scrubbed stories about the trip from their websites after being asked to do so. A White House spokesperson says:

From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest. We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls.

This is ridiculous. The taxpayers are paying for the vacation and the secret service protection. There is a vital interest–the President is sending his daughter to a place with a travel advisory and possibly putting members of the secret service at unnecessary risk in the process. If the President’s daughter had chosen to go to Florida or any place but Mexico, the story would not have been news.

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Moving Quickly In The Wrong Direction

Politico posted a story yesterday about the new telephone hotline set up by the the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to help people who are arrested on immigration violations to get help.

An article at the International Business Times reports:

The toll free number, (855) 448-6903, will allow detained individuals to contact federal immigration authorities if they believe they may be victims or the crime, or if they are U.S. citizens or residents being unlawfully detained, according to a statement posted on the ICE Web site.

The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by ICE personnel at the Law Enforcement Support Center, which will provide translation services in several languages.

“ICE personnel will collect information from the individual and refer it to the relevant ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Field Office for immediate action,” reads the statement.

We are talking about illegal aliens–American citizens don’t have a hotline they can call. What are we doing? This is paid for by taxpayer money at a time when there isn’t any taxpayer money! This is just totally upside down.

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The Problem With Scandals Is That They Grow…Fast

We have all learned more than we wanted to know about the scandal at Penn State. The real bottom line for me is that the school officials did not carry out their responsibilities to report what they had been told to police and other authorities. Because of the Penn State coaching staff’s failure to report what Mike McQueary told Joe Paterno he saw, more children fell victim to the activities of Jerry Sandusky.

The International Business Times reported yesterday that Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary has been placed on administrative leave indefinitely. The article explains the awkward situation the school is in regarding Mr. McQueary:

Interim coach Tom Bradley said on Thursday that the decision wasn’t up to him whether McQueary would coach, but CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel posited that Penn State might be retaining the coach in order to not open itself up to a whistleblower lawsuit. The alluded to complexities to firing McQueary are that the coach could be protected under the whistleblower laws and the school could be found liable of violating those laws if they dismissed the coach.

It seems as if a lot of people dropped the ball in this situation. Meanwhile, the Sun Gazette reported today that the Jerry Sandusky scandal may include the Keystone Central School District.

The article at the Sun Gazette reports that after a parent of a student at the Central Mountain High School reported in 2009 that her son was sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky, she was discouraged from pursuing the matter:

* Several reputable sources say the guidance office talked to the victim and his mother, then discouraged them from contacting Children and Youth.

* Those same sources said when the family questioned that outcome, they were told by a Keystone administrator (Karen Probst) that Sandusky was a “great man” and they should go home and think about it before taking further action.

* The district only took action after the family, frustrated with the school’s response, went directly to Children and Youth Services with its complaint, and after C&Y officials told the district Sandusky should be banned from contact with students and barred from school property.

Only after the family acted, did the school take any action to protect its students. That is truly sad.

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The Iranian Government Is Trying To Save Face

Yesterday the International Business Times reported that Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who is facing the death penalty in Iran, is actually being charged with rape–not apostasy.

However, the article reports:

However, a December 2010 court ruling issued and signed by Supreme Court judges Morteza Fazel and Azizoallah Razaghi mentions the religious charges against Nadarkhani and nothing more.

What has happened here is that the world has noticed that Pastor Nadarkhani was facing the death penalty for apostasy and has begun to question the Iranian record on human rights.

The article further reports:

As the case slowly garners international attention, the rape allegation is a signal that Nadarkhani has become, to put it bluntly, a public relations disaster for Iran.

In what could prove to be Nadarkhani’s last days, world leaders have finally condemned the death sentence and pushed for the pastor’s release.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a made-up charge. Hopefully the civilized nations of the world can put enough pressure on the Iranian government to prevent the execution of an innocent man.

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