November 12, 2014
U.S. Judge Richard Gergel ruled today that South Carolina's bans on same-sex marriage "unconstitutionally infringe on the rights of Plaintiffs under the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and are invalid as a matter of law." The decision has been stayed until November 20.
Judge Gergel is a native of South Carolina who got his law degree from Duke. He was nominated to the District Court in 2009 by President Obama. He was confirmed in August 2010. His nomination was supported by South Carolina members of Congress of both parties.
November 7, 2014
On Wednesday (November 5) of this week, a Missouri state judge declared that state's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstituitional. St. Louis County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately. Now, two days later, a federal judge has come to the same conclusion. That federal decision was stayed, but the state judge's decision still holds in St. Louis County, at least.
The Sixth Circuit's Appeals Court decision that bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional will encourage the U.S. Supreme Court to render a clarifying decision some day. Read the Sixth Circuit decision here. "The traditional definition of marriage goes back thousands of years and spans almost every society in history," the court wrote, failing to address the fact that non-traditional definitions of marriage go back thousands of years and span almost every society in history.
Judge Daughtrey's dissent (begins on page 43 of the PDF version of the decision) should be read too. She starts out...
The author of the majority opinion has drafted what would make an engrossing TED Talk or, possibly, an introductory lecture in Political Philosophy. But as an appellate court decision, it wholly fails to grapple with the relevant constitutional question in this appeal: whether a state's constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage violates equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Instead, the majority sets up a false premise—that the question before us is "who should decide?"—and leads us through a largely irrelevant discourse on democracy and federalism. In point of fact, the real issue before us concerns what is at stake in these six cases for the individual plaintiffs and their children, and what should be done about it. Because I reject the majority's resolution of these questions based on its invocation of vox populi and its reverence for "proceeding with caution" (otherwise known as the "wait and see" approach), I dissent.
"...although my colleagues in the majority pay lip service to marriage as an institution conceived for the purpose of providing a stable family unit 'within which children may flourish,' they ignore the destabilizing effect of its absence in the homes of tens of thousands of same-sex parents throughout the four states of the Sixth Circuit."
November 4, 2014
A federal judge in the Tenth Circuit has granted an injunction that bars the State of Kansas from enforcing its ban on same-sex marriage. An interesting twist in this case is that the defendants (the state) argued that common-law marriage provided a separate but equal alternative to ceremonial marriage. The judge issued a stay until November 11.
The state Supreme Court's hearing on the matter of Johnson County is still scheduled for Thursday.
Live! It's The Kansas Supreme Court!
See what passes for justice in Kansas as it is live streamed from their Supreme Court. Oral arguments in the case of a Johnson County judge who directed a clerk to issue a same-sex marriage license in October are scheduled for 10 AM (Central Time, 2 hours ahead of Pacific) Thursday, November 6.
November 3, 2014
Russia Protecting The Children
Those silly Rooskies seem to have been under the impression that every single Apple employee is a card carrying heterosexual. But now that Tim Cook has come out (what? he was in?), the truth has been revealed: that every single Apple employee is a card carrying homosexual and all those Apple devices are just tools to seduce and convert Russian children. But they got on the ball (you know, with that typical Russian efficiency) and tore down a memorial to Steve Jobs that had been erected (erected, I said, erected) by a Russian group of companies called ZEFS in St. Petersburg, thereby foiling the global plot before any children were hurt.
No word yet as to whether they will be burying all their iPhones and iPads in landfills.
October 27, 2014
Bystanders Intervene To Stop Bashing
It's not often...maybe it's more accurate to say never before have we seen a good clear video of an entire gaybashing from beginning to end, but here it is. If you stay to the end of the video it morphs into something else and you get to see a prize winning beard. This is DFW:
You can see that the main reason this is all recorded was that the drunk guy telegraphed his intentions so far in advance that our videographer was able to set up a good shot. Hell, there was enough time to call Hollywood and get them to agree to a deal before he kicked that kick. So all the bystanders had time to think "Do I want to intervene, can I take this guy on?" And the tough ones sort of shuffled to the front and others sort of shuffled away. The genuine, uniformed police seem to have been nearby, but perhaps further away than any of the bystanders. (Do not confuse TSA with real police).
UPDATE: The Ruddlike bystander is Ben Kravit.
Ted Olson Still Aiming High
Ted Olson acknowledges that the point of no return has been passed on the issue of marriage equality. He does not, however, agree with President Obama that this incremental approach is acceptable. There are still 18 states that abridge the rights of their citizens...which, I irrelevantly point out, is more states than were in the Confederacy, but this is fine with Obama.
Olson wants the damn Supremes to take one damn case and make a damn clear decision, damn it. [Note: Olson never said "damn."]
Drawing The Lines
It's official. Westboro Baptist Church has petitioned the court to allow them to intervene as a defendant in the attempt to preserve marriage inequality in Kansas. I wonder if they would conduct their defense by holding up brightly colored signs with offensive slogans on them. Part of their position is that the Kansas Attorney General cannot use religion in a defense of the state's laws, but the Westboro Baptist Church can and intends to do so. I would certainly welcome such an entertaining effort that would make the differences between the two sides extremely clear.
Meanwhile, over in Washington, the DOJ has added six more states to the list of those where the federal government recognizes same sex marriages: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Yeah, the DOJ runs a week to ten days behind reality, which is not bad for the federal government (outside of NASA and the DOD, where timeliness is more critical).
October 22, 2014
A federal judge who thinks bans on same-sex marriage areconstitutional, that is. Judge Juan M. Pérez-Giménez has dismissed a case in which the plaintiffs sought to overturn Puerto Rico's ban on same-sex marriage. Puerto Rico is in the 1st Circuit in which all the states (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island) permit same-sex marriage. The reasoning he uses in his decision is so contrary to all of the appeals court decisions, I imagine he has guaranteed himself a lifetime job free of promotions.
October 21, 2014
Late To The Party Again
President Obama now thinks bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, thereby aligning himself with roughly 60% of the American population.
Personally, my opinion as to whether I should send him a thank-you postcard is evolving. Get back to me in another four years or so.