August 1, 2013
WE THOUGHT it would be difficult for Pennsylvania - the least progressive state in the region, and one of the least in the union on gay rights - to look much worse. But this week, we managed to sink even lower. This week, Pennsylvania became less progressive on gay rights than the pope . The Catholic Church, of course, is not exactly renowned for its tolerance toward the LGBT community. The previous pope, Benedict XVI, approved an order calling homosexual acts "grave sins" that are "intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law. " Earlier this week, Pope Francis struck a much different tone, saying, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?"
July 28, 2012 |
Major provisions of Pennsylvania's controversial law governing the oil and natural-gas industry were ruled unconstitutional Thursday, allowing communities to keep drilling away from homes, schools, and parks. The 4-3 ruling by a Commonwealth Court panel was a blow to Gov. Corbett, who has pushed to attract gas drilling and the resulting jobs to the state. An appeal of the ruling to the state Supreme Court was likely, Corbett's office said. The provisions of Act 13 that override local zoning and environmental laws are "unconstitutional, null, and void," President Judge Dan Pellegrini wrote.
April 13, 2012 |
When Pennsylvania's new natural gas law, which takes effect Saturday, was being debated, the focus was on high-profile issues such as the new impact fee. But just before it passed, medical provisions were added that now have some physicians worried it will compromise public health. Except in an emergency, a physician who needs proprietary information about chemicals used in natural gas drilling to assess a patient must provide "a written statement" to a company, according to the act, and must sign a confidentiality agreement.
September 9, 2011
By Lanny Morgnanesi Lately there's been much reading of old but relevant documents, like the Constitution. For my part, I've been reading old but relevant books. One is The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. His 18th-century writings helped inspire the French Revolution and probably the American Revolution. In this small book he uses a familiar term later picked up in our Declaration of Independence: "unalienable rights. " Until recently, I thought unalienable rights were ones that could not be taken away.
October 17, 2007 |
Devout U.S. Catholics like himself may stand apart from much of the nation on abortion, homosexuality, and embryonic stem-cell research, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a packed audience at Villanova University yesterday, but he insisted "there is no such thing as a 'Catholic judge.' " "The bottom line is that the Catholic faith seems to me to have little effect on my work as a judge," he declared. Invited to speak to that very question - "the role of Catholic faith in the work of a judge" - the famously opinionated justice rendered his decision just three minutes into his keynote lecture at Villanova Law School's annual Scarpa conference on law, politics and culture.
July 11, 2002 |
The end of the U.S. Supreme Court's term brought a flurry of noteworthy rulings involving such important issues as school vouchers and the execution of retarded criminals. These cases have dramatically changed the political landscape. But a lawsuit filed in New Jersey overshadows them, at least in this state. The litigation will, without the intervention of a constitutional amendment, establish a constitutional and moral catastrophe - homosexual marriage. Seven same-sex couples have sued for the right to marry.
June 10, 2002 |
On May 16 the Philadelphia City Council voted 15-2 to pass a bill that prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations on the basis of "gender identity. " Many sexual minority-rights groups consider inclusion of people under this rubric a major victory. Mara Keisling, co-chair of the Pennsylvania Gender Rights Coalition, described City Council's action as "a wonderful step forward for civil rights for citizens of Philadelphia. " I thought the Constitution's 14th Amendment - equal protection under the law - took care of that.
July 18, 2001
IRA EINHORN is nothing more than an actor. In the '60s, Einhorn was a hippie messiah wannabe. Last week, he looked like a demonic figure when he made a superficial suicide attempt to avoid extradition for killing his girlfriend. After 24 years, poetic justice will be served and the natural law will prevail. Just like the beatniks who eventually became the establishment, everything in time comes full circle. Stuart M. Burgh Jr., Philadelphia
July 12, 1997 |
Should we obey laws? It all depends. Some laws aren't worthy of obedience. I know what you'll say: "What kind of society would there be if people decided which laws they'd obey or disobey?" How big a worry should that be? Let's consider. During several visits to South Africa during its apartheid era, I discovered widespread disobedience and contravention of its apartheid laws. Whites rented to blacks in open violation of the Groups Areas Act. Whites hired blacks in defiance of job-reservation laws that set aside certain jobs for whites.
September 26, 1996 |
First came the Libertarian Party, with its platform to scrap most of the federal government. Then came the Natural Law Party, pushing a notion that the United States would be a better place if its citizens practiced transcendental meditation. Typically, these minor movements operate without much notice on the fringe of American politics. But, this year, their candidates conceivably could tip the balance in one of the country's most closely watched congressional elections - the battle in the Philadelphia suburbs between freshman Republican Jon D. Fox and Democrat Joe Hoeffel.