Over the course of Spring Break, my traditionally blue Facebook page was turning red. My friends, it seems, are overwhelmingly supportive of gay rights, changing everything from their profile pictures to their banners in response to the recent Supreme Court case, United States v. Windsor. Likewise, thousands more rallied outside the high court to show their support for marriage equality, hoping that change will come with the ruling.
But the case in its original context is not about legalizing gay marriage. Instead, it is a dispute about taxes. Edith Windsor, the plaintiff, and Thea Spyer, her partner of 41 years, married in Canada six years ago. When Spyer died two years after the marriage, Windsor received her partner’s estate, along with a tax bill for more than $300,000. According to the federal court, the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, prevented Windsor’s eligibility for a spousal tax deduction because it can only be awarded to opposite-sex couples, even if a same-sex couple is legally married under state law.
I have been watching this debate from afar, weighing my opinion, not quite willing to change my Facebook photo to the red equal sign that has so quickly became a symbol of the debate. I say this, not because I am interested in protecting the sanctity of marriage (having studied the history of marriage with Lane Fenrich, I have learned that this sanctity is nearly nonexistent in America), but because I have been grappling with the debate in the context of my politics (liberal) and my religion (not so liberal).
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I've never been to a Gynecologist. How important is it for me to go see one? Since I don't have sex with men is it necessary to go?
Read my answer by clicking read more ------------------->
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When I was a scrawny little pup, I dreamed of the day I would be older, bigger and free to come and go as I pleased. The world seemed to be waiting for me to claim it as my own. I would be able to drive wherever I wanted, eat cake for dinner, have a body like that of my beloved comic book heroes and live in my own apartment where I could blast my Duran Duran music as loud as I wanted.
Then as the years flipped past and I grew up and out, I found myself longing for the sweet simplicity of childhood. No responsibilities, no bills, no dramatic relationships, dinner on the table every night and summers off. It's the eternal conflict that all of us face in every aspect of our lives: wanting what we cannot have.
It's human nature to desire the things that we don't have and if we are told we can't have them, we want them even more. When we see someone leading a seemingly perfect life, we feel a twinge of envy at the things they have that we do not. The hard truth is, however, that we don't know the true nature of their lives and what they have done to get these things which seem so fantastic. A person with many amazing material possessions may be thousands of dollars in debt. Someone with a perfect body may have sacrificed their deeper health to achieve that physical ideal. Not only that, but the odds are pretty good the person you envy is missing something that you have taken for granted, such as a family that loves you, the comfort of anonymity or even a clean bill of health.
Every day we are bombarded with images of people who are seemingly better than we are, have more than we do and live their lives in a manner we can only dream of. This country has become so adept at making any entitled moron or screeching hillbilly into an overnight celebrity that it leaves many of us wondering: "Where's my television show? I'm much more interesting and easier on the eyes, so why am I not getting paid six figures to have people watch me complain about my love life and throw drinks in people's faces?"
The culture of celebrity is a fertile ground for breeding the "grass is always greener" mentality. We see these talentless nobodies rise to fame, fortune and People Magazine covers and we resent them for having the fame and wealth they obviously don't deserve.
It should be you, right? But when you realize they can't even go to the grocery store without being followed by paparazzi who love taking unflattering snapshots of them how will you feel then?
Speaking of snapshots, it seems that everywhere you turn there are images of perfect bodies splashed across billboards and in magazine layouts. We secretly think: "I wish I looked like that", but there are many factors that are part of those carved abs and pumped-up biceps.
Let's start with how these bodies are created. Take it from me, it's not easy. Even without whatever hand you've been dealt on the genetic level, there are the grueling workouts, the strict diets and the sweat-soaked cardio — and that's all before the Photoshop is brought in. Contrary to what the media will have you believe, it's not just Hydroxy- cut and Skechers Shape-Ups.
Being unbelievably good-looking and carrying around a warrior's physique is a double- edged sword. Sure, everyone thinks you're beautiful and can't wait to get you between the sheets, but that's all you have to offer right? When you've got a face like Will Grant who cares about your views on all the facets of life? Who needs a brain when you've got a 44-inch chest and a 30-inch waist? So once again: would it be worth it?
Would you trade brains for brawn? Don't get me wrong, I know for a fact you can have both, but the way beauty in all its forms is perceived is that you must be a one-trick pony. And this feeling is prevalent in the gay community more than anywhere else.
In our culture there is always a race to have a prettier face, a better body, a sleek new car or dazzling home and the impossible ability to hold on to the fragile gossamer of youth. Maybe it's because in a dark comer of our mind we believe if we have all of these things plus the material touchstones of perfection, then we will finally be loved. Sure, not everyone feels this way, but when you have grown up in an environment where who you are is deemed unacceptable, it also seems to mean that you are unlovable as well. This leads to overcompensation and the desire for things that may be out of reach: A beautiful body, a beautiful boyfriend, barrels of cash, an expensive home and all things that are newer, better and shinier.
The desire for the things we can't have is a familiar monster that rears its ugly head in our sexual and romantic lives and can consume you if left unchecked.
Remember all those girls who had crushes on you in high school and college? Remember all the straight boys you had crushes on in high school and college? These are two peerless examples of wanting what you can never have. As far as wanting to be in a stable loving relationship when you're a singleton in a world of men, that is something that is not out of reach — unless of course the object of your affection is connected to someone else.
When you desire a person you can't have, whether they are already in a relationship or simply not interested, it may be because you see in them qualities that attract you. Maybe it's their smile or their body or their sense of humor or even their commitment to their current boyfriend.
But just because you have a fondness for someone's mate or someone who has no romantic interest in you doesn't mean you can't find someone equally amazing with many of the same qualities if you just put forth a little effort. The truth is that even if you do find that someone, they won't have the delicious danger of the forbidden, and if that is what really turns you on, you're in for a world of hurt. Not only could you cause the demise of a relationship when you pursue one of its pair, but once you chase something down and finally get it, the thrill is gone and your gaze will shift elsewhere.
On the flip side, you have the people who are in relationships but who see the freedom and variety of the single life as something to be missed. Instead of appreciating the emotion, sanctity and security of their relationship, they see the world as missed opportunities and a constant parade of temptations.
Many people deal with this by deciding an open relationship is better than a traditional one-on-one relationship, thereby reducing the importance of the emotion that falls into monogamy. Why not have your cake and eat it too? That isn't happiness. That's greed. And if you are in a monogamous relationship and give in to the seductive power of forbidden fruit or you are the one that seduces someone away from their partner, will either of you be able to move any further with your union? Or will you merely turn to the next seemingly unattainable conquest now that the excitement has peaked?
There is nothing wrong with ambition, confidence and having high hopes for yourself in this life. When you look at something you want that is seemingly out of reach, you need to take a step back and ask yourself if it's truly something that is unattainable or if it is even worth aiming for.
None of us can go back in time to our youth or fly like Superman, so those are merely fantasies and dreams of things we will never have. To have fame and fortune may be attainable for some, but is that truly something that you can handle? Living comfortably is one thing, but having more money than you know what to do with opens up a Pandora's box of woes, as does having a camera crew follow your every move.
What about your appearance? If you want to have a great body, you have to be willing to work for it, and if there is something about your looks that you want to change, the science is out there. But before you do something drastic, you have to realize that everyone in the world sees beauty differently. The very thing you want to change may be the one thing your true love finds most desirable.
Speaking of true love, if you're in the habit of coveting other people's boyfriends maybe it's better to find someone who is unattached to set your sights on. The room for heartbreak is a lot less on all fronts. And if you're lying next to your partner at night thinking about all the fun you used to have when you were single, I can guarantee you that when you were flying solo you day dreamed about having someone to come home to every night.
Our culture saturates us with stories and images of people who have more than we do. It tells us that we need a beautiful mate, more money, better clothes, sharper abs, faster cars and all the trappings that will finally, truly make us happy and loved by all.
If you look closer you will see that more often than not, you have many, many things that already make you happy and to want for trivial things merely because you are made to believe they are important or because they are forbidden is a road to disappointment.
So the next time you see something or someone you feel may greatly improve your life ask yourself this: Are these things really better than the things I already have? Or am I just trained to be dissatisfied with what I have now?Add a comment Add a comment
Why has the last month seen such a rush of Senators supporting marriage equality? Nate Silver, our community’s statistics guru, explains. From 538.com:
The hypothesis implied by the model is that this timing reflects when same-sex marriage began to reach a national majority (or at least a plurality) in some polls. Otherwise, it is hard to understand why same-sex marriage endorsements increased considerably in the Senate in 2011. Democrats had just come off a very bad election year, in which they were punished by voters in part for being too liberal. President Obama had not yet endorsed same-sex marriage. It had not yet won any victories at the ballot booth (as it would in 2012). However, by 2011, it had become possible to argue that support for same-sex marriage had become the majority position. By extension, it was also reaching majority status in more and more states. The perception of majority status may influence the politics of the issue in profound ways. Mr. Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage last year may have been typical in this sense. Once it became arguable that support for same-sex marriage represented a majority view, it became harder for a blue-state Democratic president not to support it.
So basically it’s because marriage equality is now perceived to be be the majority position, and the Supreme Court hearings just goosed the whole thing along. But will it last?
While there will almost certainly be a few more endorsements over the next year or two, it’s very likely that the rate of increase will slow down. Some of this is just a mathematical necessity: a bounded quantity (there are only 100 senators) cannot continue to grow exponentially forever. More than that, however, if the recent cavalcade of endorsements is caused in part by senators perceiving that same-sex marriage has potentially become the national majority position, endorsements will begin to decelerate once it has become unambiguously the majority stance. Some senators will continue to oppose it, either because it does not yet constitute a majority position in their states (like Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, they may say it should be decided at the state level), or because they oppose it on moral grounds, or because they are more concerned about a primary challenge than the general election.
So let’s keep the pressure on the Democratic Senators now (strike while the iron is hot, and all that)!
Politico says that even with the change of heart, Senators are being remarkably careful about how they’re endorsing marriage equality:
There’s clearly a new playbook for senators just now coming out for gay marriage: quietly post something on Facebook, slip it into your Tumblr feed or release a statement to friendly media outlets. What most lawmakers are not doing is talking for the cameras… But for all the hoopla over their announcements, combined with media coverage of last month’s Supreme Court arguments on the issue, these moments are scripted to be public — but not too public. There’s little footage available for opponents to use in the next campaign or live interviews with reporters who might ask difficult or inconvenient questions. The fact that so many of these announcements are coming from lawmakers who are retiring or just reelected helps make it even safer for them to take a stand.
Gotta be gay friendly. But not too gay friendly, if you know what I mean.
Which GOP Senators might be next? Elahe Izadi at the National Journal has some guesses:
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – What she’s said: If there’s only one more Republican that flips, it’s probably going to be Murkowski. She told the Chugiak-Eagle River Star that her views are “evolving” but stopped short of endorsing gay marriage. “I think it’s important to acknowledge that there is a change afoot in this country in terms of how marriage is viewed,” she told the paper.
The political calculus: Murkowski indicated that where she falls on gay marriage could depend on where Alaskans stand. The state passed an amendment in 1998 that defines marriage as between a man and woman. But there are signs that it’s not political suicide to support gay marriage even in a heavily Republican state like Alaska. Her Democratic colleague, Sen. Mark Begich, has come out in favor of gay marriage, and he is up for reelection in 2014.
Hit the link above for the other four.Add a comment Add a comment
From Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas over at WonkBlog:
Is gay marriage winning? It would seem so.
As this graph from Dylan Matthews shows, support in the Senate has risen at a genuinely exponential pace, rocketing from 11 supportive senators in 2011 to 50 in 2013. The flip in the country has been almost as impressive, though not quite as swift. According to the Washington Post/ABC News poll, support for gay marriage has gone from about 40 percent of the population in 2004 to almost 60 percent today.
Amidst all this, it’s become popular to say that gay marriage has actually “won.” At Bloomberg View, Josh Barro brushes this away as glib triumphalism. “It doesn’t feel that way to gay men and lesbians,” he writes. “Unless the Supreme Court rules in our favor this summer, we will likely have to spend more than 20 years fighting to repeal provisions in 30 state constitutions before national marriage equality is achieved. Many of us will be dead, or at least old and unmarriageable, before then.”
Recall that even if the Supreme Court invalidates California’s Prop 8, only about 28 percent of the country will live in states that recognize same-sex marriages. If Prop 8 stands, then only 16 percent of the country will live in such states.
Even though the fight will go on for some time, you can just feel the shift in momentum. It’s an exciting time to be alive.
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While NOM keeps its hands relatively clean, they want others to do their dirty work. On Top Magazine reports:
When asked why NOM, the nation’s most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, is not taking “a hard stance” against gay relationships, Brown said “different groups need to do different things.” “It’s concerning to a lot of people that the arguments being used in the various court cases concede that homosexual relationships are legitimate and not a perversion or what have you, we just don’t like them,” said Brian Camenker of MassResistance. “And we wonder if there was more of a hard stance that they are not legitimate, that it is perverse, unnatural and what have you, that we might have some better success in some of the cases.”
In an age when folks are becoming more and more comfortable with the LGBT community, calling us perverts seems like exactly the wrong strategy to win over converts. But hey, that’s just me.
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I’ve had to do some soul searching recently regarding marriage equality, not because of where I stand on the issue (I firmly believe that every American should have the right to marry the person they choose) but because of where some of my friends stand.
This week I had the awesome privilege of witnessing history: hundreds of gay men and women and their straight allies rallying on the steps of the Supreme Court, while inside the justices listened to arguments on the legality of California’s Proposition 8 and the federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Like many others, I changed my Facebook profile photo in solidarity. I tweeted news articles and my personal thoughts on the issue. Then, on Thursday morning, I received a message from a college friend of mine. She wrote, “I hope you know, that even though we have different perspectives on this issue, I still love you.” I was excited to hear from her but saddened and angered by her response.
My friend and I graduated from Asbury College, a small, Christian liberal arts school about 15 miles from Lexington, Ky. We both graduated with the same degree in media communications. We’re both journalists. And although we’re both Christians, we apparently differ in our beliefs about homosexuality and gay rights. But how could someone I care about not support my right to choose whom I marry? And how should I respond?
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Last March (2012), after Starbucks backed a Washington state ballot initiative legalizing same-sex marriage, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) organized a "Dump Starbucks" campaign in response during the annual shareholders' meeting. The goal was to get closet-cases and people who despise the LGBT community to stop buying cups of coffee at Starbucks, which would cause Starbucks' market value to tank until they recanted their support for equality. You could almost hear NOM's Brian Brown say, "Mwahahaha!"
What was the economic effect of Dump Starbucks? Well, the NASDAQ, a barometer showing the health of the stock market, was already in the midst of a dip – it ended up dropping over four percent; Starbucks ("SBUX" as listed in the NASDAQ) only dropped a little over one percent. In other words, as "The New Civil Rights Movement" pointed out last year, the entire market took a little dip during that time and despite that, Starbucks remained strong. Speaking as a Starbucks barista, this is no surprise to me; people find a way, any way, to pay for their addictions.
This ridiculous campaign then mysteriously disappeared from the news faster than a Newt Gingrich marriage....until now.
CEO Howard Shultz (my boss) recently told a shareholder, who was protesting the company's stance on marriage equality, that he was free to sell his shares and invest in a different company. The far-right's reaction: Dump Starbucks...2.0! Yes, the failed and hilarious faux campaign is back.
So you can see through this non-sequitur, here's what Shultz actually said at the annual shareholder meeting last week:
"If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it's a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much."
See?! Can't you just hear and see the anti-Christian drivel oozing from Shultz's mouth?? Outrageous...we must all boycott this hippie-pinko-commi-faggy corporation at once! Gays are recruiting our children! They're gross! And something about gay sex!
It really is astounding that in 2013, there are entire organizations devoted to making sure loving, committed couples who happen to be the same sex cannot marry because it would somehow damage their members' own insecure marriages. Somehow, committed, same-sex couples have a magical power to turn others gay...don't catch "the gay," people!
What's even more astounding is that the cultural tide is turning rapidly. Poll after poll shows public support for same-sex marriage well over 50 percent. Some polls go far into the 60s. Support for marriage equality is even more pronounced and strong with members of my generation ("millennials"), where the number is between the high 70s and low 80s.
The be-afraid-of-the-scary-gay-couple tactic is even failing to work on growing numbers of young Evangelicals and conservatives, maybe because they're able to tell the difference between equal rights under the law vs. specific religious belief, as opposed to their parents and grandparents.
The Supreme Court is gearing up to hear two landmark cases in the struggle for equal rights and if the make-up of the court is any indication, along with increasing public support, things are looking good for marriage equality.
NOM's Brown recently compared marriage equality to slavery and vowed to go for an amendment to the U.S. constitution if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of equality. Good luck with that, Brian. Keep fighting the losing, bigoted fight.
What exactly is the end game of these groups? Most of the products we use in our modern society come from corporations that support equality. Will bigots like AFA's Bryan Fischer or FRC's Tony Perkins simply live on farms outside Atlanta, hiding from the equality-supporting zombies (Yes, that was a "Walking Dead" reference....)? Unless they plan on living like the Amish, their ridiculous boycotts will accomplish nothing more than making them look like the narrow-minded bigots they are.Add a comment Add a comment
We’ve always looked to the US Supreme Court as the final arbiter of legal disputes, sorting out the arguments, and then, for better or worse, settling the matter. But what if they decide to take half-measures in the marriage equality cases? Doyle McManus speculates at The Los Angeles Times:
The court seems ready to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, while ruling quite narrowly on California’s Proposition 8, allowing a lower-court decision to stand. Such an outcome would make gay marriage legal in California without deciding whether state bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional… What happens to two gay men who marry in New York and then move to Salt Lake City? Will they still be married? If they have children, will the kids have two parents under Utah law? And will their federal benefits, such as survivors’ Social Security benefits, travel with them, even though they’ve moved to a state where their marriage isn’t valid? Will they file their federal tax returns jointly but state returns separately? And don’t even think about the issue of divorce.
He also suspects it will divide the GOP further:
And when the question is changed from marriage to equal rights, the wedge potential is even clearer: Republicans divide right down the middle as to whether homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples, 49% to 48%, with young people again more permissive than older voters. One leading GOP fundraiser described the conflict to me as “between the Christians and the donors” — Christian social conservatives who want the party to stand forthrightly against gay marriage, and donors who want the GOP to broaden its appeal to young people and moderates as a path toward winning the next election.
Unless the Court surprises us and rules for an unambiguous right for gays and lesbians to marry across the country, we’re likely in for another 5-10 years of state-by-state fighting over the issue, a prospect I hadn’t really considered unless the Supremes had issued a clear no on both cases.
And although the Justices voted Friday in the two cases, we’ll have to wait until June or maybe July to hear the results. And I don’t know about y’all, but I suck at waiting.Add a comment Add a comment
There’s just so much to report today on our opponents – we’ll start with New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who says gay and lesbian couples only get to be friends, sorry. Think Progress reports:
Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, “I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness. And – and we – we want your happiness. But – and you’re entitled to friendship.” But we also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that – especially when it comes to sexual love – that is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally. We gotta be – we gotta do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And I admit, we haven’t been too good at that.
Think he’s a bit bitter that he’s only “entitled to friendship”, too?
In a slightly less condescending tone, the new head of the Anglican church has called for graceful disagreement on marriage equality, Gay Star News reports:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, who wasted no time in speaking out against gay marriage equality on his first official day in office this year, today gave an interview calling for Anglicans to demonstrate to society they can agree to disagree. ‘We need to understand reconciliation within the Church as the transformation of destructive conflict, not unanimity,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t mean we all agree, it is that we find ways of disagreeing, perhaps very passionately but loving each other deeply at the same time, gracefully and deeply committed to each other.
In closely related news, 69% in the UK think the Church of England is out of touch, a new poll says. Pink News has the details:
More than two-thirds (69%) of the population believe that the Church of England is out of touch with society and half (54%) believe that it does a bad job of providing moral leadership. Almost half disagree with its stance on same-sex marriage. The Easter Sunday YouGov poll for the Sunday Times also found than four in ten respondents believe that priests and vicars cannot be trusted to tell the truth. More of the public disagree with the Church of England’s objections to same-sex marriage than agree with it. 49% said that the Church is wrong to oppose same-sex marriage, while just 37% said they agree with the Church’s stance.
Pastor Joel Osteen also softpedals his approach. From On Top Magazine:
“Where do you draw the line?” host Jake Tapper asked. “Do you think that it’s important for those individuals who are in same-sex relationships to at least have the same rights as more traditional couples?”
“It’s a fine line,” Osteen answered. “We’re for everybody, but, of course, as a Christian pastor my base is off what I believe the Scripture says. Marriage is between a male and a female. But again, we’re for everybody. But that’s where I draw the line.”
Over at Fox News, wingnut “psychiatrist” Keith Ablow repeated the tired old like about the slippery slope to polygamy. On Top Magazine reports:
“The government should never have been involved in these personal matters and that’s why it’s coming back to bite us. Because frankly Laura, it’s just completely illogical to me and I think highly prejudicial that a state or the federal government would say two men can marry but not two women and a man. Three people can be in love. If love is the arbiter, then three people can marry.”
Right-wing blowhard Charles Krauthammer (yes, the one who looks like Dracula), forsees a coming assault on religion. Newsbusters reports:
“But it gets really sticky. If the Court were to decide that to deny same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, then you’ve got Georgetown University, a Jesuit university, married housing. It’s a Catholic university. So it says that it’s only going to allow heterosexuals. It will get sued. This will become an assault on religion. And the religions, which I think are sincere in their beliefs, are going to be under assault and under attack.”
Joe.My.God reports on a white supremacist who fears gay marriage will mean fewer white babies:
Gay marriage is bad because it means fewer white babies will be born. “I will not give in to your homofascism! You’ll have to kill me first!” (This guy is probably BFFs with Tony Perkins.) The crazy really gets uncorked in the last three minutes.
In Gambia, President Yahya Jammeh spoke out against gays in particularly nasty terms. LGBTQ Nation reports:
“Homosexuality is anti-humanity. I have never seen homosexual chicken, or turkey..0 If you are convicted of homosexuality in this country, there will be no mercy for offenders. We will put you in the female wing of the prison,” Jammeh said.
Almost every one of these objections are grounded in religion, and yet, there are many people of faith who have come to embrace gay and lesbian couples.
In the end, love is love.Add a comment Add a comment
By now if you have not heard about the two cases affecting gay marriage which were heard by the SCOTUS then you have no Facebook and have lived under a rock. Let’s cut to the chase, here are my predictions (f you want to know my reasons then read the rest of the column):
Prop 8: the court will be very conservative the decision will have the effect of allow gay marriages in California only.
DOMA: The Supreme Court will find that Federal Government has no legal basis to make a distinction between gay and hetero marriages and thus invalidate the part of the law that forbids federal government to recognize gay marriages.
What the court will NOT do is find that there is a fundamental right that protects gay marriages and thus all states must recognize or adopt gay marriage.
These results may not be what we are asking for however they are huge steps toward full recognition.
Traditionally (rooted in constitutional law) the federal government has allowed States to dictate laws in certain areas. One such example is marriage. That is why it is possible that each state has slightly different marriage laws, for example the way a divorce is conducted. With this in mind I believe that DOMA will be invalidated. The reasoning goes like this: Massachusetts has dully enacted law that defines marriage as including same sex couples therefore the federal government must respect that state’s right to do so and failure to recognize such marriages for purposes of federal law would undermine the states right to define marriage. This is very likely to be the reason why DOMA will go down in history as unconstitutional because it violates each states right to define marriage as they wish.
The more difficult law to predict is Proposition 8. Not only is it difficult to predict how the justices will decide but, also what rationale they will use. But, I am still predicting that the result will be that gay marriages will be available in California, come this fall.
My prediction though is that the court will decide that it is not proper for SCOTUS to decide on this case. This would be a technical maneuver based on procedural rules. Simply put the Court may say that those defending the law did not have a right to do so and therefore it is not proper for them to hear the case. If they make such a ruling then the decision of the last court (Ninth Circuit) will stand. That court found that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional as it affected gay people living in California only. So that gives us the result I mentioned already.
Now the even more difficult prediction of how each justice is going to vote. Scalia, Alito and Thomas will both vote against anything that would allow gay marriage in any form. Not because of legal reasoning but because they have indicated they are very much against gay marriage even before the hearings were held. Then there is the obvious “for” gay marriage votes: Sotomayor, Kagan and Ginsburg and Breyer. Now remember any decision requires at least five votes. Therefore the deciding justices will be the swing votes of Roberts and Kennedy.
Kennedy has been cast as the consistent swing vote, the deciding vote in recent years. He seems more against DOMA than Proposition 8. That is why it is easier to predict DOMA. But since DOMA suffers from one huge flaw, that it intrudes on states right to determine laws of marriage it is very possible that Chief Justice Roberts will also strike down DOMA. Traditionally conservative justices, such as Roberts, have gone to great lengths to protect states from federal government intruding. It is odd that in the case of DOMA the conservative justices are okay with states being dictated by federal law. But I think that Roberts is smart enough to know that this is his legacy, after all he is the chief justice and history is being written as we speak. He sees the writing on the wall and will not want to be cast as falling on the wrong side of history. DOMA will likely go down 6 to 3.
Proposition 8 is harder to predict. Again the ultra conservative and ultra liberal will vote the same. Again, leaving Kennedy and Roberts to decide. I think the vote will be whether or not SCOTUS should hear the case or not. It will not be whether proposition 8 was properly passed or not or whether it violates gay citizens constitutional rights. In that case it is conceivable that Justice Roberts will like to appease the conservatives and say that it is proper for the court to hear. Kennedy on the other hand will say that it is not. Prop 8 will go down on a 5 to 4 vote.
Now let’s wait until sometime this summer to see how accurate my predictions are.Add a comment Add a comment
Over at the Advocate, Kerry Eleveld has five take-aways rom this morning’s Prop 8 hearing at the US Supreme Court. My favorite:
As expected: Justice Antonin Scalia did go on a rant of sorts, insisting that Olson explain, “When did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage?” Olson offered, respectfully, “When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriage?” (The suggestion being that it became so when the Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia in 1967.) Scalia responded, “Don’t answer my question with a question!” Then, like a dog with a bone, he insisted on getting a date certain when it became unconstitutional. Finally, Olson conceded, “There’s no specific date.”
Ask a question to which you know there’s no answer, and then browbeat your opponent for not answering it. Vintage Scalia. But he can’t take his own medicine – typical.
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NOM must be getting nervous. Yesterday, the group’s leader Brian Brown threatened to pursue a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality if the Supreme Court rules against them. Joe.My.God reports:
“I think we’re going to win these cases. But say the worst happens and we lose in a broad way – that means that the Court somehow does a Roe, a Roe v. Wade, on marriage and says that all these state constitutional amendments are overturned, gay marriage is now a constitutional right – well, we’re going to press forward on a Federal Marriage Amendment. We’ve always supported a Federal Marriage Amendment, and there’s a lot of misconceptions about it. Some people try and argue, ‘Well, this is against federalism.’ No, our founders gave us a system where we can amend the Constitution.”
Good luck with that. There wasn’t the will to do it back in 1996, when Defense of Marriage Act was passed, and a mch larger percentage of the US population supports us now.
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Over at ScotusBlog, Tom Goldstein thinks the Court will either find that the Prop 8 defendants have no standing, or will just decline to rule on the case. Either would invalidate Prop 8:
The Justices seem divided on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 on ideological lines, four to four – i.e., all the members other than Justice Kennedy. For the more liberal members of the Court, there was no clarity on how broadly they would rule…
If those features of the oral argument hold up – and I think they will – then the Court’s ruling will take one of two forms. First, a majority (the Chief Justice plus the liberal members of the Court) could decide that the petitioners lack standing. That would vacate the Ninth Circuit’s decision but leave in place the district court decision invalidating Proposition 8… Second, the Court may dismiss the case because of an inability to reach a majority. Justice Kennedy takes that view, and Justice Sotomayor indicated that she might join him. Others on the left may agree. That ruling would leave in place the Ninth Circuit’s decision…The upshot of either scenario is a modest step forward for gay rights advocates, but not a dramatic one.
Although having Prop 8 invalidated would be a great step, we can’t help but wish that the Court was more in step with society on this issue. It’s painful to thin we may have to wait another 2 or 3 or 5 years to get a yes ruling on marriage equality in another case.
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This is HUGE. On the day of the US Supreme Court hearing on Prop 8, Think Progress reports that an astonishing 67% in California now support marriage equality:
As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments today on California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, a new SurveyUSA poll shows that 67 percent of Californians believe same-sex couples deserve the legal benefits of marriage. Only 30 percent believe those benefits should be limited to “a man and a woman.” Conservatives have argued that if the Court rules against Prop 8, it will somehow invalidate the will of the voters who supported the ballot initiative.
In related news, 25 California mayors signed a letter urging the Court to overturn Prop 8. Queerty reports:
The mayors of Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, West Hollywood and 20 other cities in California signed a letter urging the Supreme Court to rule the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, unconstitutional.
One way or another, Prop 8 is going down.
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Ezra Klein at WonkBlog has the written transcripts and audio for today’s US Supreme Court hearing on marriage equality.
Listen for yourself.
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With everything that has been written about the oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Supreme Court case challenging California's Proposition 8 (spoiler alert: Prop 8 will most likely be a thing of the past), I'd like to take a different approach and address the haters.......of the LGBT community, specifically those who frequently bring religion into the equation.
Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), recently compared same-sex marriage to slavery. He is one of many on the far religious right who have, for years, demonized and insulted members of the LGBT community. People like the American Family Association's (AFA) Bryan Fischer and the Family Research Council's (FRC) Tony Perkins have consistently outdone themselves in a sick game of who can say the most outrageous and degrading things about gays and lesbians. According to bigots like them, gays and lesbians are perverts, degenerates, pedophiles, into bestiality, unhealthy, Nazis, and unfit to raise children. Don't believe me – simply visit the websites of these hate spewers.
Because actual professionals in psychology, psychiatry, sociology and even biology long ago destroyed the many ridiculous arguments against homosexuality with reason, rationality and compassion, bigots like Brown and Perkins are left with using old-time, Hellfire and brimstone religion. However even that is becoming unacceptable as more and more religions and faiths move to accept members of the LGBT community just as they are. How do they respond: Homosexuality is wrong because sexist, homophobic, genocidal Bronze Age men said so!
To which I respond with this: If there really is a higher power, whether it is an actual being or energy force or what ever, I strongly suspect it does not care who I fall in love with just like it doesn't care that women vote or people from different ethnic backgrounds marry. Your side of the argument has consistently used god and religion to fight against everything progressive, from the abolition of slavery to women's rights and interracial marriage. What kind of deity punishes people with eternal damnation and suffering anyway?! What about the "God of Love?" The whole "You will burn in Hell for ________ (insert various actions)!" line is really getting old. Times change. Cultures change. The meaning behind words are in a constant state of change (Communication Theories 101). Religions, thankfully, also change.
If you still want to use hate, go right ahead; it's a free country. However, here in the United States, there is separation of church and state. All citizens are seen as equal and are consitutionally guaranteed equality under the law. There's a pretty big difference between consitutionally protected civil rights and religious doctrine. No one is coming or will come to your church and force you to marry same-sex couples. It's not going to happen – get that myth and scare tactic out of your mind.
It is 2013 CE, not 2013 BCE. We don't stone women and children and we no longer think Earth is the center of the known universe. America is not a theocracy, nor are its churches controlled by the state. It is time for your loud screaming and hate to go the way of Senator Joe McCarthy's career – a disgraceful part of our history.
If you still cling to a brand of religious faith that preaches such hate and intolerance of everything different from it, that says something about your humanity (or lack thereof). The fact that there are countless compassionate, intelligent religious leaders and practitioners who accept their LGBT family, friends, doctors, lawyers, and coworkers just as they are delegitimizes your excuse for continuing to use religion as a tool to discriminate and oppress. Evolve or be left on the wrong side of history.Add a comment Add a comment
It’s still waaaay too early to tell, to be sure, but the tenor of Chief Justice Roberts’ questions on Prop 8 is encouraging. Towleroad.com reports:
Tweet: “Developing: Roberts says California #prop8 case may not reach central issue of right to marry for gays…”
Tweet: “U.S. Chief Justice Roberts, midway into gay marriage arguments, raises doubts about California case”
Tweet: “Supreme Court Justice Kennedy: California gay marriage ban may hurt rights of gay couples children”
Tweet: “Breaking: 1st update- #prop8 unlikely to be upheld; either struck down or #scotus won’t decide case.”
Tweet: “Breaking: key vote Kennedy VERY uncomfortable striking down #prop8. Suggests dismissing case. Would leave in place 9th Cir pro-#ssm ruling.”
Tweet: “There are not 5 votes to strike down #prop8 and recognize equal right to #ssm at this time”
So it may very well be that Prop 8 is struck down by default, but that the lower court decision only applies to California. Half empty, or half full?
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After more than an hour of oral arguments this morning in Hollingsworth v. Perry,the challenge to the constitutionality of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, it came down to this: attorney Charles Cooper, representing the proponents of that ban, Proposition 8, returned to the lectern for his ten minutes of rebuttal time. He immediately confronted a question from Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom many regard as the critical vote in this case. Kennedy told him bluntly to “address why you think we should take and decide this case.” And with that, the Justice may have confirmed that the real question before the Court is not whether it would strike down Proposition 8, or what the broader effect of such a decision might be, but whether it is going to reach the merits of the case at all – a prospect that would be (to say the least) anticlimactic but seemed to be a real possibility by the end of the morning.
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On March 26th and 27th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases, respectively, which are fundamentally about whether same-sex couples, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans should have the same rights and freedoms as everyone else. The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will make rulings by June, on whether or not it is constitutional for the federal government to deny a minority of U.S. citizens’ rights and privileges under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and whether or not to uphold the decision striking down Prop 8, where a majority of Californians voted to take rights away from a targeted minority.
Do you realize how important your presence at an event or rally is, this March 2013?
The LGBT community and supporters are planning events nationwide, to rally in support of marriage equality and full equality for gay,lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, while many thousands plan to converge on Washington D.C.
CENTRAL VALLEY CANDLELIGHT VIGILS:
March 25th – Porterville
Candlelight Vigil, City Hall Building, 5:30-7p
March 26th – Fresno
Candlelight Vigil, Federal Courthouse, 4-6p
March 27th – Hanford
Candlelight Vigil, Old Courthouse, 5:30-7:30p
Join the events on Facebook or go to lighttojustice.org
Brought to you by local, grass roots organizing with the assistance of: GetEqual, Marriage Equality USA, Gay Fresno, Gay Visalia, Gay Porterville, Gay Hanford, Gay Central Valley, COS Pride Club and many other local organizations.Add a comment Add a comment
Lots more to report on the Prop 8 / Defense of Marriage Act front this morning. We’ll start with congress.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke out this week on DOMA, On Top Magazine reports:
“Around 2005, the Republicans, who were in the majority, passed legislation specifically related to DOMA, which had, as you know, passed some years before, in the 90s,” Pelosi told reporters. “But they came up with a specific bill relating to DOMA that stripped the courts of the right of judicial review. They said [that] Marbury v. Madison was wrongly decided, that the courts do not have right of judicial review, and therefore they were stripping the courts of judicial review. Why would they do that if they thought they had a constitutional bill – specifically related to DOMA?” she asked.
Senate Democrats seem to agree. On Top Magazine also reports that all 15 current Senate Dems who voted form Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 now oppose it:
All 15 sitting Senate Democrats who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) now oppose the law… Patty Murray of Washington state is among those senators who have had a change of heart. “My state voted, and I voted with them, to allow marriages between gay and lesbian couples,” Murray told NPR. “I’m very proud of my state.”
What Strobhar said as reported by KPLU: “In the first fill quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earrings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing.” Schultz responded by saying not every decision the company makes is an economic one: “The lens we use to make decisions is the lens of our people. We want to embrace diversity…If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”
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