June 25, 2014
Utah Gets What It Paid For: Another Loss
I gotta wonder if there is an online forum just for federal judges that allows them to schedule all their same-sex marriage decisions to come out on the same day.
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling that found Utah's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. Here's the decision written by Judge Carlos Lucero who got his law degree from The George Washington University Law School in 1964. He was appointed to the Tenth Circuit in 1995 by President Clinton. Joining in the majority opinion was Judge Jerome A. Holmes who got his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1988. He was appointed to the Tenth Circuit by President Bush in 2006.
Judge Paul J. Kelly, Jr. dissented. He got his law degree from Fordham University in 1967. He was appointed to the Tenth Circuit by the other President Bush in 1991; confirmed in 1992. His dissent begins on page 66 of the PDF that includes the majority decision.
Justice Scalia is cited in the majority decision:
Instead of explaining why same-sex marriage qua same-sex marriage is undesirable, each of the appellants' justifications rests fundamentally on a sleight of hand in which same-sex marriage is used as a proxy for a different characteristic shared by both same-sex and some opposite-sex couples. Same-sex marriage must be banned, appellants argue, because same-sex couples are not naturally procreative. But the state permits many other types of non-procreative couples to wed. See Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 605 (Scalia, J., dissenting) ("[W]hat justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples . . . ? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry."). Same-sex marriage cannot be allowed, appellants assert, because it is better for children to be raised by biological parents. Yet adoptive parents, who have the full panoply of rights and duties of biological parents, are free to marry. See Utah Code § 78B-6-139 (adoptive parents have same rights and duties). As are opposite-sex couples who choose assisted reproduction. See §§ 78B-15-701 to 707 (providing rules for parental rights in cases of assisted reproduction); §§ 78B-15-801 to 809 (providing rules governing gestational agreements).
In his dissent, Judge Kelly says there is no fundamental right to marriage, despite the fact that Supreme Court has said there is. Later in his dissent, when citing the Loving decision, he acknowledges there is a fundamental right to marriage, but that the Loving decision was based on a Constitutional ban on racial discrimination, not a fundamental right to marriage.
Craig Bowen and Jake Miller get married in the first same-sex wedding in Indianapolis today.
Here's the court decision. Fourteenth Amendment again: "For the reasons set forth below, the court finds that Indiana's same sex marriage ban violates the due process clause and equal protection clause and is, therefore, unconstitutional."
The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue. In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions – laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage – not a samesex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street.
Judge Richard Young took some pains to make it clear that his decisions applies to all laws, existing now or in the future, that might try to prevent same-sex marriages; and he goes on to say his decision applies to every officer of the state government - except the Governor. We're not going to have some obscure town clerk trying to muck up the works. Not sure why there's an exception for the Governor, unless he simply has nothing at all to do with marriages. No stay, no delay, marriages start right now.
Judge Young got his law degree from George Mason University School of Law in 1980. He was appointed to his seat in 1998 by President Clinton and was approved by a unanimous Senate vote.
June 24, 2014
"Kidnapped For Christ"
A documentary which follows a young evangelical filmmaker, who is granted unprecedented access to a Christian boarding school in the Dominican Republic for troubled US teens that bills itself as a rehabilitation center. There she discovers the shocking secrets of the behavior modification program that is being forced upon students who have been kidnapped with their parents' permission, and she makes it her mission to free a young man who will change her life.
June 20, 2014
A Score Of Complaints
Barry Petchesky obtained copies of every complaint filed with the FCC about Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend on ESPN. There were twenty of them, so the research must have tied him up for a whole couple of hours or so. Here's a PDF with scans of the complete complaint forms. There were a couple of especially bogus complaints. For example, a viewer in Chatham, Illinois, objected to the Miami Dolphins "excusing" Don Jones for re-education because he tweeted "'OMG' and 'Horrible'." The complainant said "This is tyranny like in Communist countries! In America, the 1st Amendment guarantees free speech EVEN WHEN THE THOUGHT POLICE & the PC crowd don't like it."
Many of the complaints mention children seeing the kiss, but none describe any signs of malaise in those children - no screaming, no crying, no seizures, no sudden redecorating.
June 18, 2014
Texas, Round 2
We're going to double-up on Texas. Jon Stewart gives a good summary of the notion of "gay reparative therapy" and how it appeals to Texas Republicans.
Maybe this is part of that "Texas Economic Model" we've heard about.
More Begging For Those Special Rights
In Texas a judge has ruled that the birth certificates of two half brothers cannot include the names of the biological fathers. In most states (I would say all states, but maybe Texas is different) if a man comes forward at the birth of a baby to identify himself as the father and the mother agrees that's the father, then the authorities are delighted to put the father's name on there. It imposes genuine legal obligations on the father which might keep the kid off welfare rolls in the future (if Texas has welfare rolls).
But not in Texas, because, those two fathers of the two half brothers went and got themselves married to each other in another state, and while Texas doesn't recognize anybody's same-sex marriage, they can certainly recognize a Homer-sexual when they need to.
The men contracted with a surrogate mother and each fertilized an egg. The surrogate mother carried both so they could be born as fraternal twins. Now only the mother's name is on the birth certificate. What each father wants is to have his own name on his own biological son's birth certificate - which would be a no-brainer in any other part of the world than Texas - and each wants his husband's name on there as father too. The adoption of your spouse's child is not much of a big deal anywhere but Texas.
Temporary workaround for other expectant Texas fathers is to make sure the mother delivers in a neighboring state. New Mexico is quite nice.
How Big Is It?
June 12, 2014
Rick Perry Can Put A Checkmark Next To "San Francisco" Now
Texas Governor Rick Perry is not running for President and he had the not bad idea of speaking in San Francisco now while the Presidential election is far enough off that whatever he said might be forgotten. He spoke at the Commonwealth Club last night.
Commonwealth Club interviewer Greg Dalton then asked him whether he believes homosexuality is a disorder.
"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that," Perry said. "I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way."
"The large crowd gathered at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel on Nob Hill included many Perry supporters. But the comment still drew a murmur of disbelief."
One reader made the comment that in order to keep all non-candidates for the Presidency on the same playing field they all should be asked "Do you agree or disagree with Rick Perry's ideology that homosexuality, like alcoholism, is a choice?"
June 6, 2014
Having reviewed the parties' and amici's filings, I am granting plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and denying defendants' motion to dismiss because I conclude that the Wisconsin laws prohibiting marriage between same-sex couples interfere with plaintiffs' right to marry, in violation of the due process clause, and discriminate against plaintiffs on the basis of sexual orientation, in violation of the equal protection clause. So saith Judge Barbara B. Crabb of the Seventh Circuit. She was appointed by President Carter in 1979. She is a native of Green Bay and got her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law school in 1962. (Wikipedia)
These decisions have all been essentially the same. The state presents unbelievable arguments that have been shredded by every judge. Then the state's ban is ruled unconstitutional based on its violation of either due process or equal rights. The interesting variations lie solely in the writing skills of the judges, which range from literary to straightforward legalese.
The decision is not yet effective. The plaintiffs have until June 16 to submit a proposed injunction. After that is dealt with, she will address the defendants' motion for a stay.
Even so, some jurisdictions in Wisconsin are breaking out the party cheese and have begun issuing marriage licenses. "Minutes after learning about this decision, the Office of the Milwaukee County Executive announced the courthouse will stay open until 9:00 p.m. The courthouse will also be open Saturday, June 7, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to process marriage licenses." Usually there is a 5-day waiting period, but the county will waive the waiting period for a $25 fee! Yessirree, that's how you get some revenue. "Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele says he will personally cover overtime pay for all employees if he has to." Okay, now they're just going crazy.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, stands firm with the Republican tradition to continue wasting taxpayer dollars on a losing case to deny people their 14th amendment rights. "While today's decision is a setback, we will continue to defend the constitutionality of our traditional marriage laws and the constitutional amendment, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters. I will appeal."
May 30, 2014
Time Has Stood Still For Texas Republicans
"Overall, Log Cabin Republicans of Texas has found incredible support within the Republican party — Texans, like the rest of the country, are evolving on LGBT rights issues," said Log Cabin Republicans of Texas Chairman Jeffrey Davis. "The Republican Party of Texas has even welcomed many of our members as delegates to the Texas State Republican Convention. However, the party has denied our several attempts to host a booth in the convention exhibit hall, citing archaic language in the party platform to support their actions. We deserve to occupy a booth just like anyone else, and it's time that the Texas GOP's hypocritical policies and procedures are replaced by new ones that match the general opinion of Texan Republican voters."
Here is the archaic language cited in the Texas Republican Platform:
Homosexuality ― We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country's founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable "alternative" lifestyle, in public policy, nor should "family" be redefined to include homosexual "couples." We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.
This is not simply opposition to marriage or to an anti-discrimination law. The Texas Republican Party wants to roll time backwards a few decades.