October 28, 2015
WORDS HAVE POWER to make you believe, but also to deceive. In 1984 , his brilliant "Big Brother" novel (that in some ways has achieved reality), George Orwell invented Newspeak, a language in which words don't mean what they say. In real life, Orwell fought against opaque, meaningless words he thought discouraged clear thought. If you are pushing your point of view, you want it to sound smart and nice. You want the other guy's position to seem dumb and nasty. That's why abortion activists on both sides frame their positions as being positive: " pro -choice" or " pro -life.
August 10, 2015 |
Kathleen Kane sowed the seeds of her undoing during her seemingly flawless first year in office. That was the year the Democratic attorney general, newly elected in a landslide, won national attention for stands in favor of gun control and marriage equality. MSNBC host Chris Matthews even suggested she was presidential material. But it was also the year she secretly shut down an undercover sting operation she inherited from her Republican predecessors. Though the investigation had caught Democratic elected officials in Philadelphia pocketing cash and jewelry, Kane, in 2013, declined to press charges, saying the case was badly flawed and possibly tainted by racial targeting.
July 17, 2015 |
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes, sometimes, divorce. Even as gay and lesbian couples rejoiced last week over the Supreme Court's ruling in support of marriage equality, attorneys were ready for the inevitable - same-sex divorce. Philadelphia lawyer Angela Giampolo performed her first same-sex divorce 15 minutes after U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III established marriage equality in Pennsylvania in May 2014. According to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, which conducts research on sexual orientation and gender-identity law, in states where same-sex marriage has been legal for several years and in those that have allowed nonmarital unions, there was a 1.6 percent annual dissolution rate of those relationships as of December 2014.
July 8, 2015 |
A vocal duo's flawless a cappella rendition of "Over the Rainbow" hushed the crowd outside Independence Hall as the reenactment of a pioneering LGBT civil rights demonstration began. Several dozen people marched along Chestnut Street holding placards ("Equality for Homosexual Citizens") that replicated those carried by a plucky group of gay men and lesbians a half-century earlier. It was an emotional, and pitch-perfect, way to celebrate the Fourth of July - and the fact that marriage equality is at last the law of the land.
April 8, 2015 |
Pat Robertson shared a revelation last week. The LGBT agenda, he warned, will force straight people to "like" gay sexual practices. Regardless of Robertson's feverish fantasies - delivered on his 700 Club show - same-sex intimacies are unlikely to become all the rage. But gay people do seem to have attained an unprecedented level of acceptance. You might even call it popularity. Consider the heartening resistance to so-called religious freedom restoration legislation in states such as Indiana and Arkansas.
March 25, 2015 |
It was billed as a "Big Gay Brunch" in Cherry Hill, inspired by Pope Francis' planned visit to Philadelphia. Among the 20 guests were devout Catholic heterosexuals, a gay man raised as a Mormon, and an evangelical Christian crusader against human trafficking. "We're trying to figure out how to leverage this historic visit," said organizer and host Jay Lassiter, a marriage equality and medical marijuana advocate and death penalty opponent. "We want rational, sane, forward-thinking voices to be at the table.
March 17, 2015 |
Many of the courses she is taking at Rutgers-Camden law school are about the law as it currently is, says Katie Lara. "Sexuality, Gender, Identity and the Law" is different, she says: It is about how social movements change laws. The course that has Lara and fellow students excited is inspired by what its creator calls "the great civil rights struggle of our era" - for LGBT rights. Rutgers professor Katie Eyer said she began teaching the elective about a year ago after she was approached by students interested in the law as it pertains to sexuality.
December 19, 2014 |
SONY SCHMARONY. This week, when celeb watchers weren't obsessing over Amy Pascal , James Franco , Seth Rogen , Kevin Hart and the guy who played Spider-Man, we were ogling mysterious Jennifer Lawrence associate Justin Riblet , without knowing who he was. Turns out, he's Philly's own hometown hero. Sorta. J-Law and J-Rib turned heads a few days ago when he accompanied her to LAX. Wonderers speculated whether he could be a romantic liaison. Wonderers wondered wrong.
November 1, 2014 |
They've become some of Pennsylvania's biggest out-of-state political contributors: a small group of multimillionaires - most of them gay - who want every state to allow same-sex marriage and to pass laws protecting LGBT rights. Since the mid-2000s, they have poured more than $1 million in campaign contributions into the commonwealth through Democratic organizations, buoying campaigns here for governor, attorney general, and seats in the General Assembly. The biggest donors include Tim Gill, a Colorado software entrepreneur; David Bohnett, a California technology tycoon; and Jon Stryker, heir to a medical-device fortune who lives in Michigan.
October 8, 2014 |
Gay-rights advocates in Pennsylvania and throughout the country say they are encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Monday not to take on five pending same-sex marriage appeals. The denial effectively legalized same-sex marriage in five states - Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin - and cleared the way for legalization in six others. Some advocates in the Philadelphia area viewed the court's action as a sign that nationwide legalization is just a matter of time.