Tag Archive: Marriage Equality

Jul 07 2015

I Am No Man

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Jun 30 2015

LGBT Equality Fight Not Over

Another battle for equality for the LGBT community was won with the Supreme Court Ruling that gives them marriage equality in all 50 states. However, the war for equality has only just begun. As Scott Lemieux in The Guardian points out. “The language of the ruling means that states cannot discriminate against same-sex marriages. The same cannot be said for LGBT people as a whole – yet.” He discusses Justice Anthony Kennedy vague opinion that leaves the door open on other forms of discrimination

The problem with Kennedy’s judicial vagueness is that public officials and lower courts need to know whether classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny, like those based on race or gender, or whether such classifications require only a “rational basis”, like economic regulation. If heightened scrutiny applies, states can only use sexual orientation classifications in law if it they are closely related to a compelling state interest – a test states usually fail. If states need only a “rational basis,” courts are generally very deferential to the state. After Friday’s opinion, it seems obvious that heightened scrutiny is being applied in practice, but Kennedy inexplicably refuses to say so. The refusal to define sexual orientation as subject to heightened scrutiny will lead to unnecessary confusion, and possibly permit federal and state judges to deny LBGT rights claims that even Kennedy might think should be upheld.

By not being more specific about his rationale for forcing all states to recognize and perform same-sex marriages, Kennedy leaves open the legal possibility that marriage is the only form of discrimination against same-sex people that is covered by the 14th Amendment. But LGBT people face many other types of discrimination – in public accommodations and in employment, for example – that now may have to be fought out case by never-ending case in the lower courts.

The LGBT community will now be focusing its energy on state laws that permit discrimination in housing, employment, commerce and the Transvestite communities special issues. To discuss those topics Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman was joined by Jennicet GutiĆ©rrez, undocumented trans activist from Mexico and a founding member of Familia: TQLM and Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry.



Transcript can be read here

Jun 27 2015

June 26, 2015 Postscript: I Love Rainbows

I don’t think I can actually describe the emotions I’ve felt today; they’ve run the entire gamut. I’m not LGBT, so technically, this ruling legally doesn’t affect me directly, but I have really felt strongly today. Strongly proud. Strongly jubilant. Strongly angry at a select few.

The decision came down around 9am Central, just as I got to work. My phone, with its many news notifications, went absolutely nuts. I did my first work stuff, then got online and it was so early it wasn’t even in my regular newsfeeds. But I got to Facebook. That graphic of the guy with the rainbow coming out from his computer – that was it – that captured the moment perfectly.

I was very emotional. This surprised me. I don’t even think I can adequately convey it in words. I got really choked up. I’m still really choked up, but this morning was just something else.

Apr 13 2015

TBC: Morning Musing 4.13.15

I have 3 articles for your perusal this morning!

First, a piece of history:

71 Years Ago FDR Dropped a Truthbomb That Still Resonates Today

Here is where Roosevelt’s argument gets really interesting. He does not just present this Economic Bill of Rights as a question of fairness or some dreamy utopian ideal of equality. He sees them as a fundamental to national security:

“All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being. America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.”

Jump!

Feb 26 2014

One by One They All Fall Down

A federal judge has ruled that the Texas law banning same sex marriage is unconstitutional:

Judge Orlando Garcia issued the preliminary injunction after two gay couples challenged a state constitutional amendment and a longstanding law. He said the couples are likely to win their case and the ban should be lifted, but said he would give the state time to appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals before do so.

“Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution,” Garcia wrote. “These Texas laws deny plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex.”

The ruling is the latest in a series of victories for gay rights activists following similar decisions in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia.

But this was the first time a court in the conservative 5th Circuit has reached such a decision. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was expected to file an expedited appeal.

That was the good news. The bad news is that the ban will remain in effect until the issue is visited by the U.S. Supreme Court. Or not? I suppose that if SCOTUS refuses to review the case the ban would be lifted. Still, this is good news for marriage equality.

Texas Gay Marriage Ruling

Jun 26 2013

SCOTUS: DOMA Struck Down; Dismisses Prop 8

Equal Right to Marry photo imagesqtbnANd9GcQmD05y7D9pRuFTg2wtz_zpsbcb78269.jpg The Supreme Court ruled on two important cases for the LGBT community: Windsor v. U.S., addressing the Defense of Marriage Act, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, addressing California’s Proposition 8.

On DOMA, which was signed into law by Pres. Bill Clinton in 1996, the court ruled (pdf) that same-sex spouses legally married in a state may receive federal benefits. Justice Kennedy delivered the court’s opinion, and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito all filed dissenting opinions. While the ruling is a victory on the federal level, the 5- 4 ruling does not effect a state’s right to ban same sex marriage.

“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”

The plaintiff who brought the case, Edie Windsor, 84, will now get her refund for the $363,000 in federal estate taxes she paid after her spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009.

In the Prop 8 case, that was argued before the court by attorneys, Theodore Olson and David Boies, the court decided, again by a 5 – 4 decision, that the opponents of same sex marriage have no standing to sue. The ruling allows gay couples in California to marry.

“We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “We decline to do so for the first time here.”

Roberts was joined in his majority opinion by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan. Justice Anthony Kennedy filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor.

The judgement of the Ninth Circuit was vacated and the case remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

California voters added Proposition 8 to the state’s constitution in 2008 through a ballot initiative that reversed the state Supreme Court’s recognition of same-sex marriage earlier that year. Two same-sex couples challenged the ban in federal court, and by the time their suit reached the justices, two lower courts had declared it unconstitutional.

After the disappointing ruling yesterday striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act, this is truly a great day for equal rights in the US.

May 04 2013

Saturday May 4, 2013: Up with Steve Kornacki Tweets

Today was about gun control and the power of the presidency and a lot of BS about how Obama is the knight in shining armor held down by the evil opposing army in the Senate. Pretending that any mention of the bully pulpit or real legislative history is having liberal fantasies like on the West Wing. Same crap I have debunked forever. I am going to be a thorn in Steve Kornacki’s side if this keeps up. Also there was marriage equality and Jason Collins coming out in the NBA.

Now #Uppers.

This was my point of the day.

Thank you for reading.

Jan 30 2013

How’s That Filibuster Agreement Going, Harry?

The Senate apparently will carry on as usual with threats of holds and filibuster from the minority to obstruct anything that appears to interfere with their extremist code of values and quest for something scandalous to hang on Pres. Obama or someone in his administration. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) refusal to curb filibuster abuse is already starting to have its consequences , lead by none other than one of filibuster’s chief abusers, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC).

Sen. Graham: Either Panetta testifies on Libya or I put hold on Hagel nomination

Graham said in an interview with Fox News’s “On the Record” Monday night that he would “absolutely” block Hagel unless Panetta testifies – making him the first Republican threatening to filibuster or hold Hagel’s nomination as Defense secretary.

“The one thing I’m not going to do is vote on a new secretary of Defense until the old secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, who I like very much, testifies about what happened in Benghazi,” Graham said.

“Hillary Clinton got away with murder, in my view,” he said, referring to the secretary of State’s testimony before Congress last week. “She said they had a clear-eyed view of the threats. How could you have a clear-eyed view of the threats in Benghazi when you didn’t know about the ambassador’s cable coming back from Libya?”

Graham made a similar threat against President Obama’s nominee for CIA Director, John Brennan, when Brennan was nominated earlier this month, but this was the first time he’d suggested he’d also block Hagel over the Sept. 11 attack. While Brennan was part of the Obama administration during last year’s attack, which left four Americans dead, Hagel was not.

That was just a warm up for Lindsay.

Lindsey Graham Warns Immigration Reform Including Same-Sex Couples Will Fail

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters on Tuesday that it’s a mistake for the president to push for same-sex couples to be included in immigration reform, if he wants Republicans to support the bill. [..]

White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed the news, first reported by Buzzfeed, that the president would mention his support for such a provision. [..]

There is support for such a concept from many Democrats, some of whom have signed on to bills such as the Uniting American Families Act that would specifically address the issue of same-sex couples. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is the sole Republican co-sponsor of that bill in the Senate, and told HuffPost in December that she would support its inclusion in broader immigration reform.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), another member of the “gang of eight,” is a co-sponsor of that legislation, but aides say it’s too soon to say whether it could be included in a bipartisan immigration bill.

Sen John McCain (R-Ariz.), another member of the group, made the same point.

Never mind that the Immigration Reform Bill is still in the “wish list” stage. Lindsay has his knickers in a knot because President Barack Obama said he would support  immigration for the spouses of same sex couples. Just wait until the Senate gets to the Violence Against Women Act next week, Lindsay’s gonna blow a gasket over that.

So, Harry, how’s that gentleman’s agreement with Mitch going?

Oct 18 2012

2nd Circuit Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional

In a 2 to 1 decision, a three judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has ruled that Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.

The majority opinion written by Judge Dennis Jacobs rejected a section of the law that says “marriage” only means a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife and that the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. A federal appeals court in Boston earlier this year also found it unconstitutional.

The issue is expected to be decided by the Supreme Court. The decision came less than a month after the court heard arguments on Sept. 27. [..]

In striking down the law, the Jacobs wrote that the law’s “classification of same-sex spouses was not substantially related to an important government interest” and thus violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

He said the law was written so broadly that it touches more than a thousand federal laws. He said “homosexuals are not in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public.”

He rejected arguments that the definition of marriage was traditional.

“Even if preserving tradition were in itself an important goal, DOMA is not a means to achieve it,” he said.

Judge Chester Straub dissented, saying that if the government was to change its understanding of marriage, “I believe it is for the American people to do so.”

As noted in another New York Times article, acceptance of same sex marriage has grown even among Latinos:

Just six years ago, 56 percent of Latinos were against same-sex marriage. Today, their rate of approval stands at 52 percent over all and slightly higher – 54 percent – among Latino Catholics, the survey by the Pew Research Center found.

Latino evangelicals, on the other hand, remain strongly opposed to same-sex marriage, affirming their conservative credentials in a demographic group whose politics and positions, liberal and conservative, have become more in line with Americans over all.

The Republican House took up defending DOMA after the Obama Justice Department stopped defending it in February 2011. House leaders committed $1.5 million of tax payer funds to hire lawyer, Paul Clement, to represent them in DOMA cases. So far they have argued in 14 cases and have spent nearly all of the allocation. As of today they have lost six.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) criticized Boehner for ignoring “critical issues like comprehensive jobs legislation” while wasting “time and taxpayer money defending the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.”

“Despite losing multiple court cases, Speaker Boehner continues to insist on racking up even more taxpayer-funded legal bills, even as Republicans claim to be concerned about the deficit,” Hoyer said in a statement.

It remains unclear if House Republican leaders plan to extend their contract with Clement — and spend more taxpayer dollars — to continue defending DOMA. They maintain they are obligated to defend current law, regardless of what it is. A Boehner spokesman deferred all DOMA-related questions to Clement. A request for comment from Clement was not immediately returned.

So much for those deficits concerns.

Aug 03 2012

You’re Doing It Wrong!: Chick-fil-A Edition

Originally posted at Voices on the Square, a new blog in the sphere featuring News, Information, and Fun!

Welcome to You’re Doing It Wrong, a weekly column taking the Powers That Be (PTB), especially the media and talking heads, to task for poor information and poor framing.

Well, this week I’m ruffled by, yes, the Chik-fil-A brouhaha and something the media is doing that is not constructive.

This week marked the big right wing Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, so there were not only prominent people speaking up about it, but the media covered it pretty heavily on Wednesday.

People like Mike Huckabee set the stage by framing the argument as one of defending Dan Cathy’s freedom of speech and stopping him from “being disenfranchised from his citizenship and rights of free speech”.  Rick Santorum not only cited the free speech, but also freedom of religion. Pretty soon all their followers were parroting these talking points.

More below the fold…

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