Tomorrow the Tennessee House Civil Justice Committee plans to consider HB 1412/SB 1437, the so-called Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act, and by the name, I bet you can guess what it does -- it declares that the state will "defend natural marriage" and claims to nullify the Supreme Court's recent decision legalizing gay marriage across the nation. The bill's fiscal note instructs us that the bill's passage would cost the state money not just in marriage license fees, not just in lost tourism dollars, but also in federal funding (including welfare funding) that Tennessee simply won't get if it's not in compliance with the law. Under these circumstances, I'm tempted to let Tennessee do what it wants and suffer the not-inconsiderable consequences (certainly including "being ostracized by the rest of America"). But right is right and wrong is wrong and duty is duty, hence Change.org helps you tell Tennessee state legislators to reject the so-called Natural Marriage Defense Act. Don't be afraid to let them know you're from out of state -- they need to know we're all watching them.
In the wake of yet another fairly well-received Presidential State of the Union address, this one declaring (among other things) that we should "reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion," Just Foreign Policy joins with MoveOn to offer two petitions: one helping you tell the Senate to reject any bills that would block Iraqi and/or Syrian refugees from entering America, the other helping you tell your Congressfolk to support a bill that would repeal a visa waiver ban on Europeans who hold dual citizenship with Iran, Iraq, Syria, or the Sudan. I've taken some flack for saying things like this, but I'll say it anyway: banning folks from certain countries just because of their nationality is racist. And banning dual-citizenship folks because of their heritage is also stupid -- a lot of Europeans with dual-nationality have never even set foot in Iran, Iraq, Syria, or the Sudan. I know, I know -- facts mean nothing to the rage-filled. But the rage-filled don't get all the say around here. I mean, this isn't 2005.
Finally, Katie Ernesto, of Meridian, ID, helps you tell the Idaho state Senate to ban battery cages for egg-producing chickens. Battery cages, as you probably remember, are so small that they hardly let chickens stand or spread their wings, plus the wire bottoms mangle their feet, plus these chickens tend to get "de-beaked" at birth so they don't peck the other chickens in the cage to death (because, surprise, surprise, if you stick a couple of chickens in a single cramped cage for their whole lives with nothing to do they'll take it out on each other). And several fast-food corporations (most recently Wendy's) have started to expel battery cage-produced eggs from their food production chains, but as California has instituted bans on battery cages, Idaho has, ah, pointed out its lack of battery-cage laws to chicken-producing corporations. A lot of Idaho legislators may well try to say, as state Sen. Corder did, that "industry should decide." Well, there's an inspiring bumper sticker: let the industry decide! And it's much less impressive if, like me, you think the people should decide.