Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

WA Marriage Equality Bill Passes with Some Republican Support

The bill which would allow gay marriage in the State of Washington received support from Republicans in both houses. Maureen Walsh (R) from Walla Walla, in the southeastern part of the state, made a particularly passionate plea for bipartisan support that can be viewed here...


The bill is expected to be signed by the governor on Monday. However, it will not become effective unless and until it receives voter support in a planned referendum and initiative intended to prevent the bill from becoming law (presuming they qualify for the upcoming November ballot).

February 9, 2012 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

9th Circuit Affirms Unconstitutionality of CA Proposition 8

Today, the 9th Circuit affirmed the District Court's finding that California's Proposition 8, overturning gay marriage in that state, is unconstitutional. We will be seeing more on this case. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204136404577209183209519256.html

February 7, 2012 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Marriage Equality Bill Sponsored by Catholic Governor

The Washington State Legislature is poised to pass a marriage equality bill, which will likely make it the 7th state (9th US jurisdiction if one includes DC and the Suquamish Indian Tribe) to allow same-sex marriage. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politicsnorthwest/2017341256_gay_marriage_bill_voted_out_of.html As in Maryland, the Washington bill is sponsored by a Catholic Governor. http://ncronline.org/news/politics/same-sex-marriage-issue-facing-lawmakers-voters-several-states Washington Governor Christine Gregoire has explicitly addressed her discernment process over the past several years. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/28/chris-gregoire-washington-governor-gay-marriage_n_1239058.html

January 30, 2012 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 26, 2011


The question of accountability has again been raised in this article at Time.com regarding the arrest of a priest in the archdiocese of a prominent cardinal who has advised Pope Benedict on issues related to abuse by clergy. Given the facts presented in the article, the accused priest's arrest is likely an important move.  It will be interesting to follow future reports to see whether Church officials or policies played a role.

May 26, 2011 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Reflection on the Life of Bill Stuntz

A number of us have commented on the life and work of Bill Stuntz, and I would like to offer my own reflection.  Bill was a professor at Virginia while I was there in law school.  As a Catholic student I was involved both in the Catholic student organization and the Law Christian Fellowship.  As a faculty advisor, it was important to Bill that LCF be ecumenical and inclusive, which is one of the reasons I felt so welcomed.  I found a home there and even served as president of the organization.  As a mentor, Bill challenged me to think critically about scripture, the law, and my own tradition.  Perhaps more importantly, he encouraged me to be attentive to the Holy Spirit working in my life and to be completely authentic, as he strove to be.  I am sad that we have lost Bill, but I am thankful for his work and his example of faithful integrity.

March 28, 2011 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Looking at Egypt as an American Catholic

Commmonweal currently has interesting pieces on events in Egypt here and here.  A stable Egypt has contributed to peace in the region since the Camp David Accords, but our economic and strategic support of the regime has undoubtedly been in tension with our commitments to democracy and human rights.  As someone who studies the region, I believe that this is a complicated situation that belies simplistic solutions.  Let us pray for leaders in the U.S. and Egypt and most importantly for peace, justice, security and the defense of human dignity in Egypt.

February 4, 2011 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Example LGBT Youth's Rational Fear of People of Faith

Clint McCance, a member of the Arkansas School Board, was reported in multiple media sources including the Huffington Post, to have posted the following to Facebook in response to recent calls for solidarity in preventing LGBT teen suicide...

"Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE."

His further comments are so offensive that I don't believe they are appropriate for posting here. If this is what children hear from Christian-identifying education officials, what should our response be?


October 27, 2010 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (70) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Are we complicit?

It has been deeply disturbing to read media coverage of the bullying and suicide of at least six gay youths in the past few weeks.  A colleague of mine in psychology assures me that this represents only a small percentage of the number of LGBT young people who committed suicide in the same period, not to mention those who attempted to end their lives.  In reflection, I wonder whether we are somehow complicit in creating an environment of alienation and despair.  In the Church's attempt to assert it's commitment to heterosexual marriage and to maintain that homosexuality is a moral disorder, does it help to create a cultural climate that tacitly legitimizes the stigmatization of gay young people?  At the very least, I hope that bishops and pastors will take the opportunity to offer encouragement to young people at risk and to call communities to love rather than to reject.  It has also caused me to reconsider the possile benefits of anti-bullying legislation even if it were to serve a largely symbolic function.

October 5, 2010 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (84) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rob's Helpful Taxonomy

Rob's post considering potentially non-bigoted arguments against the construction of a mosque near ground zero highlights how problematic those arguments really are.  Arguments 1 and 4 rely on inaccurate and essentialized views of Islam.  Argument 2 is similarly inaccurate and is also an insult to those Muslims, like Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who have opposed violence and supported interreligious dialogue. Argument 3 is more complicated, because it does not appear to rely on bigoted assumptions and because it appears to be rooted in concern for the good of others.  As a moral argument, I suppose that it ought to be considered by the developers of the Park51 project.  However, there is a risk that assuming collective guilt actually contributes to the tendency to overgeneralize and villify Muslims.  Despite the furor raised by this controversy, it has created an opportunity for Muslim leaders to distinguish between the Islam practiced by the vast majority of Muslims and the actions of al-Qaeda.  It has also helped to refute the notion that Islam is monolithic.  I doubt that most Americans opposed to the contruction of Park51 would use an essentialized lens when considering Christianity.

August 20, 2010 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Response to Rick on Marquette Affair

I cannot speak with knowledge regarding the details of Marquette's process failure. However, if we assume that the search committee members, the provost, the president, and the trustees all met their duty of due care in the selection process, they were certainly aware of Professor O'Brien's work. Even so, they made her an offer to be the new dean. Presumably, these parties had to have found her acceptable for mission purposes in order to make the offer. Those who have problems with this substantive determination (including some MOJ contributors), noted objections after a only brief review of her CV. So, unless the decision-making parties were grossly negligent by failing to review O'Brien's work, it is most likely that some outside party (perhaps a donor or Church official) expressed disapproval and exerted pressure to rescind the contract.

My understanding is that this has had a chilling effect on Marquette's faculty, some of whom wonder when outside parties will next attempt to control the content of scholarship.

If this decision was based on Professor O'Brien's status as a lesbian, it would be a violation of Marquette's own non discrimination policy. In my opinion, it would also be unjustifiable on the basis of Catholic teaching.

May 12, 2010 in Powell, Russell | Permalink