What is an extremist? This is an important question in Britain today as the Conservative-led government of David Cameron clamps down on jihadist preachers and right-wing groups who stir up hate and incite violence. If you are doing that sort of thing the authorities will very soon be able to slap an “Extremism Disruption Order” (EDO) on you, restricting your freedom. Putting it positively, the new laws are intended to protect “British values”.
Just who else might be deemed a serious threat to these values has been unclear, but last week a Conservative MP attempted to clarify the issue for a constituent who wrote to him, asking if it was true that EDOs could be used to silence people with traditional views about marriage.
Australian politicians returning to the federal parliament today were met with conflicting messages about marriage. Thousands of flowers covered the forecourt of Parliament House as a thank-you to the MPs opposing a push to legalise same-sex marriage. But already as they flew in to Canberra this morning the MPs found the terminal building lit up in rainbow colours and a giant #WeCanDoThis campaign sign out the front.
A bill supporting gay marriage and sponsored by members of the federal coalition and Labor is due to be introduced in parliament on Tuesday. Australia is the holdout against ssm in Anglo world and Prime Minister Tony Abbott is personally against legalisation.
Article 162 deals with homosexual acts. “Any person who - (a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or (b) has carnal knowledge of an animal” is “liable to imprisonment for 14 years”. Homosexual rape is punishable with 21 years’ imprisonment.
Article 163 deals with attempted unnatural offences. Such crimes are punishable with 7 years’ imprisonment. Article 165 deals with acts of “gross indecency” by males, whatever that means. Perhaps a stolen kiss. These are punishable by 5 years’ imprisonment.
The New York Times reported this week that the American Boy Scouts are ending a nationwide ban on gay leaders. According to the Times, the organization was seeking to resolve an issue that threatened to tear apart the organization and expose it to crippling lawsuits. Discrimination based on sexual orientation will also be barred in all Boy Scout offices and for all paid jobs. The step, the paper says, is aimed at heading off lawsuits in New York, Colorado and other states that prohibit such discrimination in employment.
It's a pity, however, that the Times missed a shocking story which emerged at the same time as jubilation over the new policy. If they had the stomach for it, it might make readers think twice about the wisdom of allowing the Boy Scouts to have gay leaders.
I must begin by congratulating you on being the first sitting American president to visit our country. It is highly unlikely you noticed it, but they renovated the highways and swept the streets for you. Never mind that a few blocks away from the highway you used, I have frequently escaped being knocked down while walking on the road, which is the only sensible place to walk if you don’t want to arrive at your destination with shoes caked with dust.
But anyway, that aside, we are Kenyans. We like visitors, and we make the living room, which is where we host them, very clean and beautiful, even if it means sweeping all the dirt and muck into the other rooms. We’ll deal with the trash when you are gone. And I hope that you were not fooled by the excellent behaviour of our leaders;…
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The campaign to redefine marriage has recently gained such momentum - with now three and soon four bills before the Commonwealth Parliament - that many think it is inevitable. This can leave those with misgivings feeling that they are already losers in a done deal.
Some think it is the inexorable progress of liberty and equality - which leaves the doubters on "the wrong side of history."
In this context supporters of classical marriage are presumed to have no real arguments to offer. So here I want to offer some reasons - not decrees from on high or from the past, not expressions of hatred or prejudice - but reasons I hope anyone can understand. I also hope these reasons prove persuasive and helpful in proclaiming and witnessing to true marriage among families, friends and colleagues.
With the print version not even released yet (August 31 is the date) but availble on Kindle, Anderson’s book is already No 1 Best Seller in the General Constitutional Law category at Amazon and at this moment has 222 reviews, 69 percent of which give it a five star rating while 26 percent give it one star. There’s nothing much in between. The average rank is 3.9.
Justice Anthony Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court seems to know a lot about marriage, Justice Kennedy especially. His Honor says once gays get married they’ll radiate dignity, and autonomy and spirituality. Sad to believe they’ll need all that. The wife and I destroyed each other’s dignity and autonomy right after our honeymoon. Odd thing: we’ve been happy ever since.
Year one, her chief object was to keep me from wearing cargo pants. No man was ever taken seriously wearing them, she said. Next she separated me from an old pair of wingtips and a loose fitting seersucker suit. My bow ties disappeared too.
To the Attorneys General, Governors, and Legislatures of Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky:
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the Obergefell case, purporting to overturn all state constitutional amendments and laws in your four states defining marriage as a covenant union between two people of the opposite sex. Since then, numerous efforts have been made, urging each state to file a Petition for Rehearing of that decision, as permitted in the Rules of the Supreme Court before the deadline of Tuesday, July 21, 2015. Apparently, to date, every such effort has been rebuffed. In response, various of your offices have stated that such a Petition would be: (i) unlikely to succeed; (ii) a waste of time: and (iii) a waste of money.
From left to right, the car’s bumper stickers read: “Hatred is Not a Family Value,” “Celebrate Diversity” (in rainbow colors), and “Obama-Biden.”
Collectively, these refreshed my growing fear that I should soon “celebrate” certain lifestyle choices or suffer the consequences. There was once another option, but memory of it is fading rapidly like an image in my rear view mirror.
Both the imperative tone and intolerance of the bumper messages are troubling; as is the shallow and muddled thinking behind them. A polite “no thank you” is now an unacceptable response to the colorful and demanding “celebrate”. It is time we rediscovered the validity of conscientious objection.
Conscientious objection is objection to an act, not a person. Equating conscientious objection with bigotry is unkind and a particularly egregious kind of ignorance. And restricting and penalizing the exercise of religiously-informed civil rights is simply wrong -- though in modern parlance it is “evolved” behavior.
Conjugality deals with the true nature of marriage and the challenges it faces today. Our current focus is on the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage. We'd love to get your comments and suggestions. Send an email to email@example.com