Pope Fran­cis de­nies he of­fered sup­port to out­law clerk

GA Voice - - YEAR IN REVIEW -

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 26 that state bans on mar­riage for same-sex cou­ples are un­con­sti­tu­tional and that states must rec­og­nize mar­riage li­censes is­sued to same-sex cou­ples from other states. The 5 to 4 de­ci­sion in Oberge­fell v. Hodges ended bans en­forced by 13 states and se­cured lower court de­ci­sions that struck down bans in nine other states.

Jus­tice An­thony Kennedy, writ­ing for the ma­jor­ity, stated that “the right to marry is a fun­da­men­tal right in­her­ent in the lib­erty of the per­son, and un­der the Due Process and Equal Pro­tec­tion Clauses of the Four­teenth Amend­ment, cou­ples of the same sex may not be de­prived of that right and that lib­erty.… The Court now holds that same-sex cou­ples may ex­er­cise the fun­da­men­tal right to marry. No longer may this lib­erty be de­nied to them.”

Ire­land ap­proves same-sex mar­riage, and more

In the world’s first-ever na­tional ref­er­en­dum on giv­ing le­gal recog­ni­tion to mar­riages of same-sex cou­ples, Ir­ish vot­ers in May weighed in 2 to 1 for le­gal­iza­tion. More than 60 per­cent of the coun­try’s vot­ers turned out to have their say. And by De­cem­ber 2, the leg­is­la­ture had ap­proved a bill that pro­hibits Catholic-run schools from dis­crim­i­nat­ing against teach­ers

De­cem­ber 25, 2015

based on their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion.

The leg­is­la­tion re­peals an ex­ist­ing law, known as Sec­tion 37, which al­lowed dis­crim­i­na­tion against employees based on their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. The bill now goes to Pres­i­dent Michael Hig­gins for his sig­na­ture.

Catholic lead­ers main­tain op­po­si­tion to same-sex mar­riage

At a three-week-long global sum­mit, Catholic bish­ops in Oc­to­ber re­jected ef­forts to soften the church’s poli­cies against ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity and same­sex mar­riage. In­stead, the doc­u­ment ap­proved by 86 per­cent of more than 258 bish­ops gath­ered in Rome said that “ev­ery per­son, in­de­pen­dently of their sex­ual ten­dency, must be re­spected in their dig­nity and wel­comed with re­spect.” But it also stated that there was “no foun­da­tion what­so­ever to as­sim­i­late or es­tab­lish analo­gies, even re­motely, be­tween ho­mo­sex­ual unions and God’s de­sign for mar­riage and the fam­ily.”

A state clerk tries to mount cam­paign against Supreme Court

A county clerk in Ken­tucky, Kim Davis, cap­tured na­tional head­lines for weeks as she at­tempted to cir­cum­vent a U.S. Supreme Court de­ci­sion that found state bans against mar­riage for same-sex cou­ples to be un­con­sti­tu­tional. Davis and her supporters por­trayed her con­tin­ued re­fusal to is­sue mar­riage li­censes to same­sex cou­ples as an ex­er­cise of her re­li­gious be­liefs, but oth­ers—in­clud­ing a few Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates—said she was vi­o­lat­ing her oath of of­fice to carry out the law.

In Au­gust, the full U.S. Supreme Court de­nied an emer­gency re­quest to stop en­force­ment of a fed­eral dis­trict court or­der that Davis re­sume is­su­ing mar­riage li­censes.

Pope Fran­cis stunned LGBT peo­ple when it was re­vealed that he se­cretly ac­cepted a visit from Ken­tucky clerk Kim Davis dur­ing his wildly pop­u­lar visit to the United States.

Davis and her at­tor­ney char­ac­ter­ized the visit, which took place at the Vat­i­can’s em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., as an ex­pres­sion of the pope’s sup­port for her de­fi­ance of the Supreme Court’s rul­ing that bans on same-sex mar­riage are un­con­sti­tu­tional. But in short or­der, the Vat­i­can is­sued a state­ment say­ing the pope did not know about or sup­port Davis’ ef­forts to sub­vert the Supreme Court’s rul­ing on mar­riage and noted, in­stead, that the only au­di­ence the pope gave while in the United States was to a gay friend and his part­ner.

EEOC says Ti­tle VII pro­hibits LGBT dis­crim­i­na­tion

The U.S. Equal Em­ploy­ment Op­por­tu­nity Com­mis­sion (EEOC) ruled in July that ex­ist­ing fed­eral law pro­hibits em­ploy­ment dis­crim­i­na­tion against fed­eral work­ers based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. The five-mem­ber com­mis­sion said that the pro­hi­bi­tion of sex dis­crim­i­na­tion in Ti­tle VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “means

Hous­ton vot­ers on Novem­ber 3 voted 3 to 2 to re­peal a year-old nondis­crim­i­na­tion ordinance—a re­peal that ap­peared to be largely driven by a cam­paign that claimed the law would en­able sex­ual preda­tors to en­ter women’s re­strooms to as­sault young girls.

The Hous­ton Equal Rights Ordinance passed the City Coun­cil in May 2014 as an ef­fort to pro­hibit dis­crim­i­na­tion based on nu­mer­ous fac­tors, in­clud­ing race, eth­nic­ity and re­li­gion. But op­po­nents of pro­hibit­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der iden­tity con­vinced vot­ers that HERO amounted to a “Bath­room Ordinance.”

Olympic leg­end comes out pub­licly as trans­gen­der

Bruce Jen­ner, the United States’ 1976 Olympic gold medal­ist in the decathlon, ac­knowl­edged in a Van­ity Fair in­ter­view and on na­tional tele­vi­sion in April that she has al­ways felt she is a woman and that she would, go­ing for­ward, live life as a woman, Cait­lyn Jen­ner.

The re­sult­ing public­ity prompted a flood of dis­cus­sions pub­licly and na­tion­ally about trans­gen­der peo­ple: their preva­lence, their needs, their fears, and their med­i­cal and le­gal chal­lenges. While violence and dis­crim­i­na­tion against trans­gen­der peo­ple con­tin­ues, Jen­ner’s open­ness un­doubt­edly ad­vanced the Amer­i­can pub­lic’s un­der­stand­ing.

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