Cemetery Rejects Gay Couple’s Headstone Design Celebrating Marriage Equality
A Kentucky Archdiocese Says Depiction of Supreme Court, Interlocking Wedding Bands Conflicts with Church Teaching
The Archdiocese of Louisville has refused a same-sex couple’s headstone design featuring the U.S. Supreme Court building and interlocking wedding bands, saying it conflicts with the teachings of the Catholic Church.Â
Greg Bourke and Michael De Leon, a couple of 34 years who are raising two adopted teenagers, were plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Kentucky’s same-sex marriage ban, which was among the cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges.Â
After purchasing a joint burial plot at St. Michael Cemetery in Louisville, Bourke and De Leon, both Catholic, submitted their headstone design: Â
A Louisville gay couple’s cemetery headstone proposal was denied by @ArchLouKY: https://t.co/C50lNJLlbG pic.twitter.com/1yQZRWLAhW
â€” WDRB News (@WDRBNews) May 17, 2016
But Javier Rajardo, executive director of Catholic Cemeteries for the archdiocese, wrote in a letter to the couple dated March 30 that the cemetery is a “sacred place … where the signs and symbols of our Catholic faith are displayed with pride and reverence.”Â
“Having reviewed your proposed gravestone inscription please note we can approve your shared stone with both your names and dates of birth and of course the religious symbol of the cross,” Rajardo wrote. “Inscriptions on grave markers are permitted so long as they do not conflict with any teachings of the Church. Your proposed markings are not in keeping with this requirement. Determination as to the appropriateness of any inscription or symbol is the judgment of the Executive Director of Catholic Cemeteries in consultation with proper church authority.”Â
@WDRBNews @ArchLouKY who is anybody to judge this, yes they may be gay, but the love of God does not come from following a list of rules
â€” Garret Jones (@toonicegmoney1) May 17, 2016
Bourke and De Leon plan a “freedom to bury” press conference on Wednesday to respond to the archdiocese’s decision.Â
Join our “Freedom to Bury” press conference Wed., 10am at St. Michael Cemetery. @WDRBNews https://t.co/WpHoywCrOf
â€” Fairness Campaign (@FairnessCamp) May 17, 2016
Bourke and De Leon, who’ve been members of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish for 28 years, were named persons of the year by The Catholic Reporter, a progressive independent newspaper, in 2015. But this is not the first time they’ve had a run-in with the local archdiocese.Â
Several years ago, theÂ couple was thrust into theÂ spotlight when Bourke was removed from a leadership role in a Boy Scout troop sponsored by theirÂ parish due toÂ his sexual orientation.Â After the Boy Scouts of America lifted its ban on gay adult leaders, Bourke reapplied for the troop in 2015, but was rejected based on guidance from Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, who called the high court’s ruling in Obergefell “a tragic error.”
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Trump Lawyer’s ‘Critical Evidence’ Will Help DOJ Make Decision to Charge ‘Without Significant Delay’: Former Prosecutor
Donald Trump‘s attorney Evan Corcoran, who allegedly directed another Trump attorney to draft the false statement claiming all classified and sensitive documents had been returned, has been ordered to testify before a grand jury and hand over documents and records to Special Counsel Jack Smith in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents criminal investigation.
Trump appealed U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell’s decision ordering Corcoran to testify and hand over documents, including handwritten notes. The Appeals Court in light speed mode, rejected Trump’s appeal.
Corcoran will be testifying before the grand jury on Friday, CNN reports.
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One former top DOJ official, Brandon Van Grack, says the “Special Counsel is about to get access to the most critical evidence in the case. Should allow DOJ to make a charging decision without significant delay.”
He did not define what “without significant delay” means in terms of days, weeks, or months.
Van Grack served at Main Justice for eleven years, including as a lead prosecutor in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and later, as the Chief of the DOJ’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit.
“The announcement from a panel of three judges in the appeals court – less than a day after Trump sought to put Corcoran’s testimony on hold – adds momentum to the special counsel investigation as it seeks to secure evidence that could make or break a federal criminal case against Trump,” CNN explains. “The Justice Department has successfully argued in court that prosecutors have enough evidence that Trump’s interactions with the lawyer were part of a possible crime that they can pierce the confidentiality of the conversations between the two.”
‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
A former top Dept. of Justice official says a federal judge’s expedited ruling ordering an attorney for Donald Trump to testify against his client before a grand jury and hand over documents very well may be related to “national security.”
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled that DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith had successfully made the case Donald Trump may have committed a crime, via his attorneys, in his classified documents case. That finding allowed her to invoke the crime-fraud exception, and order Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to testify before the grand jury investigating the ex-president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents.
Former FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann, who also worked for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and headed the DOJ’s Criminal Fraud Section, Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC said it’s possible Judge Howell’s expedited decisions were related to national security.
Tuesday night Judge Howell ordered DOJ to provide information by 6:00 AM Wednesday.
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Trump appealed Howell’s ruling, and Wednesday afternoon the Appeals Court denied his appeal related to the documents, Politico reports.
“I’ve never seen anything that quick. It’s very hard to know why. I have to say, to me, when I think about what can be a plausible reason– and this is pure speculation – is that there must be something in the papers that gave the judges concern about national security implications, because it’s such a short timeframe.”
“The reason this is a bombshell is you could end up with Evan Corcoran as a key, fundamental witness against Donald Trump in an obstruction of justice case and a false statements case,” Weissmann adds.
According to Politico, Wednesday’s appeals court ruling “effectively permits the Justice Department to circumvent Trump’s attorney-client privilege after a lower-court judge found that the documents likely contain evidence of a crime.”
NEW: Trump Lawyer’s ‘Critical Evidence’ Will Help DOJ Make Decision to Charge ‘Without Significant Delay’: Former Prosecutor
This article was updated to correctly spell Andrew Weissmann’s last name.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Trump Appeals After Judge Agrees With Special Counsel on Crime-Fraud Exception and Requires His Attorney to Testify
Donald Trump’s attorneys have appealed a ruling that requires one of his lawyers to testify before a grand jury investigating his unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return classified documents from the White House.
Attorneys for the Special Counsel “said there is evidence of a deliberate effort not to turn over all the material covered by the subpoena,” The Washington Post reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell had reportedly agreed with Special Counsel Smith that there is sufficient evidence proving Donald Trump may have committed a crime via his attorneys, and ruled his attorney must testify before a grand jury. The ruling, which was not made public, was handed down Friday night, NBC News reported Wednesday afternoon.
Judge Howell “ruled in favor of applying the ‘crime fraud’ exception to Trump’s attorney-client privilege and ordered Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran to testify before the federal grand jury.”
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Trump’s attorneys have already appealed the ruling.
“People familiar with the matter said an appeals panel has already begun reviewing the decision, after Trump’s lawyers appealed,” The Washington Post adds. “The extraordinarily quick timeline suggests that the judges — all nominated by Democratic presidents — intend to rule swiftly.”
Trump could take his case all the way to the Supreme Court, but The Post says it’s “not clear he would have a much better chance of success there.”
According to an NBC News report from October, Corcoran directed another Trump attorney, Christina Bobb, to sign the letter claiming a thorough search of Mar-a-Lago had been made and all classified or “sensitive” documents had been returned. That was proven untrue after federal agents, executing a search warrant, recovered hundreds of documents with classified markings.
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