On June 30th, 2023, the last day of the term, the US Supreme Court issued a bizarre ruling regarding free speech and the ongoing culture wars over gay marriage, siding with a Colorado website designer who balked at having to design wedding websites for same-sex couples. But here’s the thing – in 2016, when the suit was filed, Lorie Smith wasn’t designing wedding webizes at all, for couples of any sexual persuasion; she claimed to have been approached by a gay couple whom she refused the services she wasn’t offering to anyone, based on her religious objections to same-sex unions. So, Lorie Smith’s suit against Colorado’s antidiscrimination law was hypothetical or, shall we say, prophylactic?
Tag archive: Eros
The US is poised to formally enshrine marriage equality in law, as opposed to allowing the practice via Supreme Court fiat. Same sex marriage, first legalized in Massachusetts in 2003, was validated in all fifty states by the Obergefell v Hodges decision in 2015. But recent events with the overturning of Roe v Wade and its abandonment of federally guaranteed reproductive freedoms have shown just how fragile governance by judicial rulings can be, and advocates have been pushing hard for legal codification of the right to same-sex unions.
Just before midnight on Saturday, 19 November 2022, a man clad in body armor with an AR-15-style long rifle entered Club Q, an LGBTQ+ watering hole in a strip mall on the outskirts of Colorado Springs, Colorado, which was hosting a drag show that evening. He began shooting into the crowd, but was tackled two minutes later by two patrons and subdued until police arrived. In those two minutes, he had killed five and wounded 18 others.
On April 22, 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a mean-spirited, retaliatory Bill meant to punish Disney World for its outspoken opposition to his so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bans discussion of same-sex and transgender orientation in primary public schools in the Sunshine State, signed by the governor the month before. The new legislation revokes the Disney World theme park’s special status as a self-governing enclave within Florida, allowing it to function as a municipal or county government, providing its own electrical grid, security, emergency, medical, fire and rescue services, in exchange for special tax status in the state. DeSantis pushed for the law after Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek publicly denounced the anti-gay legislation, and announced a reassessment of Disney’s political contribution policy.
Just in time for Pride Month, on June 21st Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as homosexual, in a very casual and matter-of-fact Instagram post. “I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” stated Nassib, in what sounded almost like an afterthought, a testimony perhaps to the non-event such disclosures have become in recent years. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest,” continued Nassib. “I really have the best life. I got the best family, friends and job a guy can ask for. I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important.”
During Holy Week 2021, the New York Times broke the story that GOP firebrand Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was under federal investigation for possible sex trafficking of a minor and related offenses. Begun by the William Barr Justice Department, the investigation has been ongoing for more than a year, with the FBI characterizing Gaetz as a “subject”, not a “target.” Gaetz stands accused of multiple incidents involving exchange of cash or goods for sex, but so far only one allegation of underage trafficking; if proved, Gaetz faces up to life in prison. Gaetz’ response to the story being made public has been a staunch denial, and a rather tortured quasi-justification alleging a complicated and improbable blackmail and extortion scenario at the root of the investigation.