The Federal Prop. 8 Trial / Gay Marriage Catch-All

To say I am frustrated and angry is putting it mildly.

I have listened to the recording of oral arguments today before the SCOTUS on Prop. 8, and it is abundantly clear that a good chunk, if not the majority, of the Court do not want to have to deal with this.

Greetings, judicial cowardice.

But, I am getting ahead of myself.

Here is the synopsis of the arguments with my commentary (in italics):

Charles Cooper for the Prop. 8 proponents is up first and get about 10 seconds into his presentation before he is cut off by Chief Justice Roberts and is told to address the issue of standing. This goes back and forth with Cooper saying they do have standing, Justice Kagan demanding to know how the "average citizen" of California could ever have standing, Justice Scalia helping out Cooper, and then back to Cooper who makes the argument that Prop. 8 doesn't need to harm anyone because it harms the State of California.

Cooper is absurd. He has been before the federal circuit court, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and now the SCOTUS, and at no time has shown the actual harm to the State. None. In fact, he clearly said in the original trial that he didn't need to provide evidence of harm.

The standing issue goes on for about 11 minutes before Roberts invites Cooper to address the merits. Right out of the gate, Cooper talks about how the proponents of Prop. 8 are just "people of good faith" who aren't getting a fair shake from those who oppose Prop. 8.

Because, you know, it must of been a living hell to win the vote on Prop. 8 and outlaw gay marriage in California. To hear Cooper speak, you would think Prop. 8 had gone down in flames in 2008 and he and the small, tiny group of people he represents who oppose gay marriage are on the verge of being hunted down and slaughtered for their beliefs.

Cooper addressed Baker v. Nelson from 1972 and Justice Ginsberg reminds Cooper that that case is over 40 years old and occurred when even engaging in private sexual conduct with a person of the same sex was criminal behavior. Cooper's retort is that since the ruling was unanimous in 1972, time and the facts Ginsberg points out are irrelevant.

Kagan then asks if Cooper can provide one single reason why there is a rational basis to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Cooper says he has no knowledge of any rational basis. Kagan then asks if that is the case, what is the rational basis for not seeing gays and lesbians as a class that deserves protection from the court under heightened scrutiny or is marriage so more important than housing, employment, etc. that the class status can be waived? Cooper says no to the later, but that homosexuals and heterosexuals are not "similarly situated" (i.e. one can procreate while the other can't) so we need to treat them different.

No word from Cooper if infertile or elderly couples or couples who choose not to procreate are "similarly situated."

Kagan specifically asks what harm gay marriage will have on society, the institution of marriage, etc. Cooper says that's the wrong message and is pressed by Kennedy to answer Kagan's question or concede that there isn't any harm with gay marriage. Cooper invokes the testimony of David Blankenhorn and says that gay marriage will have "significant" negative effects on society and stumbles around before Scalia rides in like the Calvary and says that if we allow gay marriage, then we have to allow adoption by gay parents and there is "considerable disagreement" amongst researchers that gay adoption is a good thing or does harm to the child.

No, no, there isn't, Justice Scalia! You can prattle that pile of crap all you want, but there is very little disagreement by researchers in this area, and they aren't on your side. But don't let your blatant homophobia and fear of people engaging in sodomy stand in your way.

Justice Kennedy wonders about the harm this is bringing to the children of same-sex parents in not granting them marriage. Cooper says there is no data that shows that the civil unions in California are worse than marriage, so gays should be satisfied with civil unions.

Yeah, until they cross in to Arizona and their civil union is meaningless. Then what?

Justice Souter then asks what is to be done about sterile couples that get married and why are they allowed to get married if gays can't. Cooper says that the issue is redefining marriage which was created to further procreative interests. Kagan says what about a married couple where both parties are 55 years of age or older. Cooper says it is probably not likely both parties are sterile. Kagan shoots back, "I can just assure you that if the man and the woman are both over the age of 55, there aren't a lot of children coming out of that marriage." Cooper is NOT amused.

Poor, poor Charles Cooper. He's such a person of good faith that is only trying to save America from the impending doom. /eyeroll

Cooper then goes into a litany of sentences about "responsible procreation" and how the institution of marriage is built on foundations of monogamy and fidelity.

This just shows that Cooper is completely ignorant of marriage. Monogamy and fidelity are NOT the foundation of marriage. The original foundation of marriage was a property contract. There is no obligation under the laws of any state that I know of that a heterosexual couple that is married is required by law to be monogamous or pledge fidelity. None.

Ginsberg brings up the fact that the SCOTUS ruled that even inmates have the right to marry and they are exceptionally unlikely to procreate. Cooper brings up that the inmates in the case were minimum security and that the married couple would ultimately be allowed to consummate the marriage so just in case the woman got pregnant, we need marriage reserved for heterosexuals.

No, you aren't the only ones who thinks Cooper has no idea what he is talking about.

Timothy Olsen is then up before the Court. He gives a brief rundown of Prop. 8 in context, but is cut off by Roberts who tells him to address the issue of standing.

Alito wants to know why Cooper's clients don't have standing suggesting it's a one-way street in favor of the state. Olsen said that is still the role of the government of the State of California and it made the decision not to defend Prop. 8. Scalia pounces says that California has to have someone that is allowed to defend Prop. 8. Justice Sotomayor also joins in as to why Cooper and Co. don't have standing. Olsen stands his ground and says that anyone who comes along can't defend unless they are an officer of the state because they are not subjected to the rules of conduct, don't have a fiduciary responsibility to the state, and so forth.

When Sotomayor joined in, it became evident to me that this Court wants to punt this issue.

Olsen then goes to the merits and is quickly cut off again by Roberts who says that marriage wasn't founded to exclude gays, but to create a government contract that supports heterosexual marriage which includes issues of procreation. Olsen tries to respond, but Scalia wants to know exactly when prohibiting gay marriage was unconstitutional. Olsen says there is no specific date and Scalia nearly pops a vein demanding to know when the moment is happened. "How am I supposed to decide a case without knowing that?"

What a BS response from Scalia. He doesn't need to know the exact second it became unconstitutional. He is using that as a buffer against his hatred of gays and, particularly, gay sex.

Olsen then says he simply doesn't know the exact moment and Scalia demands again to know. Olsen pushes back: "You have never made that requirement before" and cites Brown v. Board of Education where the SCOTUS never asked when "separate but equal" became unconstitutional.

Roberts then asks if this whole is really just about a label. He wants to know that if gays and lesbians have all the same rights under a civil union, why is the label so important? Olsen says it is important because society has assigned importance to the word marriage.

So, if the segregated schools in the U.S. in the 1950s were all the same academically, then it's okay to have segregated schools?

Then, in what has to be the most frustrating part of today's hearing, Alito wonders aloud whether or not the SCOTUS "properly granted" cert in this case. Olsen says they did. Other justices aren't so sure.

Rehi, judicial cowardice! Seriously? A Justice on the highest court in the free world says "Well, maybe we made an oopsie in accepting this case." Here's a thought: DO YOUR DAMN JOB! Take a stand! Decide the case one way or the other!

The Solicitor General of the U.S. is up next and says the U.S. has no formal position on standing but says the government has no problem with Olsen's position. There is a lot of back and forth about the government's position and, quite frankly, there is some reliance on the briefs that unless you read thoroughly, the discussion gets lost.

Which I freely admit it did on me, so I am going to move on.

Alito then wants to know how the case can be decided on the science of the goodness or badness of gay marriage when gay marriage is so new. He says it isn't as old as the Internet or cell phones.

Um... Alito slept through social history class, it seems, as gay marriage was a topic of conversation as far back as the early marches of the Mattachine Society that picketed Eisenhower in support of gay rights including gay marriage.

There is more back and forth regarding the actual position of the U.S. government, and the Solicitor General does a horrible job in explaining.

Cooper is back up for rebuttal and he says the Court was right to take the case, but then Kennedy and Sotomayor suggest the Court may have been wrong to accept the case. Even Ginsberg suggests that there may be a problem in moving too fast on the issue.

/facepalm

Cooper then returns to the issue of procreation and the rebuttal ends.

And there are no fresh walls in my home to beat my head against.

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You can hear the recording of today's proceeding here.

Again, this was incredibly frustrating to listen to. The SCOTUS really doesn't want to tackle this.

And now that Kennedy and Alito have raised the idea that the Court may have made a mistake in accepting this case, I have little hope that we now beginning a rather long endless loop of litigation.

The only hope I have is that history will look back at today's hearing and decide that there should be a pox on the entire court for being gutless.

When I saw Sotomayor's comment that the nation let racial segregation "perk" for 50 years, I had to wonder where her brain went. It makes it sound like the nation conducted this grand social experiment for 5 decades to determine whether or not black people were people, and when we suddenly figured out they were, the supreme court rendered a proper decision. I can't think of a rational individual who would use such an explanation to justify the continued denial of rights to a fellow human being. She should be ashamed.

If there's one good that came out of all of this, the anger I felt prompted some pretty vigorous sprints on the elliptical tonight.

It's been said before, but I'll say it again: thanks for putting together these summaries, Phoenix Rev.

OG_slinger wrote:

It's been said before, but I'll say it again: thanks for putting together these summaries, Phoenix Rev.

+1

At the rallies in front of the SCOTUS today, two videos are of particular interest.

First, a group went around to people in the pro-Prop. 8 rally and asked a simple question: has gay marriage affected your marriage?

Apparently not.

So, the whole line about how gay marriage will affect straight marriage is unfounded. Even those opposed to gay marriage say so.

But I am sure the good people at NOM can't be bothered with the facts.

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And then, there is nothing quite like a self-loathing homosexual.

Actually, there is: a self-loathing homosexual who not only hates gay marriage, but can't for a moment believe that a gay person can be homophobic.

Transcript from the video:

Same-sex marriage will not redefine marriage, it will undefine it, and unravel it and in so doing will undefine children. This is not progressive legislation. This is regressive. As a gay man, I can state catagorically, it is not homophobic to oppose same sex marriage. In fact, it is very wise to maintain marriage as it has always been. To the Supreme Court, legislators and jurists around the country: slow this train down. Ignore the media's relentless manufactured urgency to institute same-sex marriage. Slow down. Put on the breaks. Thank you.

The only thing missing from this video is the speaker ending with "And now I am off to the DC Eagle to find a hot leather top. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America."

Phoenix Rev wrote:

You can hear the recording of today's proceeding here.

Again, this was incredibly frustrating to listen to. The SCOTUS really doesn't want to tackle this.

And now that Kennedy and Alito have raised the idea that the Court may have made a mistake in accepting this case, I have little hope that we now beginning a rather long endless loop of litigation.

The only hope I have is that history will look back at today's hearing and decide that there should be a pox on the entire court for being gutless.

I wonder what their reticence means for DOMA. Based on what I've read, the DOMA case will be more difficult to ignore, and they're going to most likely have to say something. I know the legal arguments in DOMA are completely different, but it sure looks to my non-lawyer self like the real reason for the dodge on prop8 is ideologically motivated.

We will see where the court goes on Prop 8. Personally, for me, a ruling that private citizens cannot take up the defense of a state law would go very far for gay rights, women's rights, and free speech. It would also go a long way towards judicial efficiency. Or it might have some legislators passing measures to hire special counsel if the governors or attorneys general decline to defend certain laws. To legitimize special interests in this way just serves to create more chaos in an already chaotic federal system.

Yet another Supreme Court bitch slap to the 9th Circuit was inevitable. But an expectation of a unanimous court on Prop 8 was unrealistic, like asking for a Unicorn on Christmas. Scalia and Thomas have specific axes to grind on Roe v Wade, on non-enumerated rights.

It is a real egg on the face moment for whichever justices argued to grant cert, instead of issuing an opinion without a hearing that the 9th Circuit could not hear an appeal without proper standing, and it was non parties to the suit carrying on the appeal. I doubt that the current 6th and 9th Circuits are capable of feeling embarrassed, but the 9th should be. This is fundamental, first year of law school type stuff.

If the court was not poised to consolidate Prop 8, with other state challenges, and DOMA, it becomes a why bother moment. Brown v Board of Ed consolidated many state actions and one from DC into one ruling.

Phoenix Rev wrote:

Transcript from the video:

Same-sex marriage will not redefine marriage, it will undefine it, and unravel it and in so doing will undefine children. This is not progressive legislation. This is regressive. As a gay man, I can state catagorically, it is not homophobic to oppose same sex marriage. In fact, it is very wise to maintain marriage as it has always been. To the Supreme Court, legislators and jurists around the country: slow this train down. Ignore the media's relentless manufactured urgency to institute same-sex marriage. Slow down. Put on the breaks. Thank you.

How do you undefine children? Divide them by zero?

muttonchop wrote:
Phoenix Rev wrote:

Transcript from the video:

Same-sex marriage will not redefine marriage, it will undefine it, and unravel it and in so doing will undefine children. This is not progressive legislation. This is regressive. As a gay man, I can state catagorically, it is not homophobic to oppose same sex marriage. In fact, it is very wise to maintain marriage as it has always been. To the Supreme Court, legislators and jurists around the country: slow this train down. Ignore the media's relentless manufactured urgency to institute same-sex marriage. Slow down. Put on the breaks. Thank you.

How do you undefine children? Divide them by zero?

I believe the answer can be found in the first book of Kings.

You cut the baby in half.

Two people being in a loving and committed relationship will undefine marriage? Sorry folks, my wife and I are doing that right now! BAM! No more marriage! Anaracy! Woooooo! *rolls eyes*

I prefer the one where Kim Jung-Un says that he supports gay marriage: "I am not a monster."

Scotusblog's take on the DOMA case:

If the Supreme Court can find its way through a dense procedural thicket, and confront the constitutionality of the federal law that defined marriage as limited to a man and a woman, that law may be gone, after a seventeen-year existence. That was the overriding impression after just under two hours of argument Wednesday on the fate of the Defense of Marriage Act.

I wonder what Clement has to say about federal employees paying state income and payroll taxes then.

I also really love reaching back to the 1850's to differentiate between state citizenry and federal citizenry. No gay person can ever be a citizen of the United States just like no African free or otherwise can be.

Today was the DOMA case, and things looked much better for gays and lesbians today than yesterday.

First up was Vicki Jackson, who was appointed by the Court to address the issue of jurisdiction and suitability of the case, especially since the U.S. government originally was defending DOMA and then decided not to. She says right up front that the case shouldn’t even be being heard. Sotomayor asks if they don’t take the case, then what happens to Edith Windsor, the plaintiff. Jackson says another plaintiff can start from the beginning and sue.

Scalia wonders how if the plaintiff doesn’t have standing now, how could she have standing in the original trial court and then proceeds to wonder why the original trial court didn’t just summarily rule against the government when the Obama administration said they would no longer defend DOMA.

Alito wonders if there is a legitimate case for the President saying that he thinks the law is unconstitutional, but will continue to follow the law until the courts decide.

For some reason, that bothers the justices. I don’t see why. Why can’t a president or governor or even a legislature decide to take a different position than they had before? It seems the SCOTUS is two-faced in this: they want society to evolve, but when it does, especially if it is represented by someone, then that’s a problem.

Roberts then says he wonders why Obama just doesn’t go with the courage of his convictions and stop enforcing DOMA instead of waiting for the courts to figure it out.

After yesterday, it is the height of irony for Roberts to be lecturing anyone on courage.

Jackson then states that there is no real injury here anyway. Kagan jumps in and reminds Jackson that a $300,000 tax bill was issued to Windsor because of DOMA and asks how that isn’t a “classic injury.” Jackson them makes the argument that because the federal government switched sides in the case, there is no adversarial relationship between the government and Windsor, there is no claim of injury.

That is just about one of the most bizarre legal claims I have ever heard. If a plaintiff and defendant ultimately agree on an issue, then no injury occurs? What about that $300,000 tax bill? Chump change?

Sri Srinivasan for the U.S. government steps up and states the Court has jurisdiction. Roberts goes on offense within 15 seconds and asks how this issue isn’t unprecedented, that the SCOTUS is being asked to take on an appeal where both the plaintiff and the defendant both agree that the law is unconstitutional. He says this isn’t just rare, but “unprecedented.”

Dear Mr. Chief Justice, there is a first time for everything.

Scalia jumps in and says that when he was in the Office of Legal Counsel, the only time they would not defend a law is if it involved presidential powers or there was simply no argument to make to defend the law and says that neither of those exist here. He then says he doesn’t want to deal with cases like that and complains that the government should either defend the law or stop enforcing it.

What a disingenuous set up. If Obama didn’t enforce the law, someone would sue and this would be right back at the Court and I am willing to wager a month’s pay that Scalia would be whining about how the President isn’t following the law until it is declared unconstitutional by the courts.

Ginsburg then wonders why the President simply didn’t appeal the lower court ruling and let the law stand if he doesn’t think it is constitutional. Srinivasan says the President has many options. There is a long back and forth about standing which seem to focus on the President switching positions midstream and how that affects standing.

Paul Clement for the House of Representatives steps up and barely gets a word in before Sotomayor demands answers about how the House has standing if the government is officially represented by the Solicitor General. Clement says the House has standing because the Executive branch isn’t defending. Kennedy wonders about the Senate. Clement says despite the Senate siding with the President, that still doesn’t mean the House can intervene.

Sotomayor is concerned about how the House can set up the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. She wants to know what authority the House has to even form the BLAG. Clement says it is in their own House rules. Sotomayor thinks that answer is a bit to convenient. She then wonders why the House didn’t even take a vote on whether to form BLAG or defend DOMA. Clement says that decision is left to the Houseleadership.

Kennedy then asks if the Senate could form its own version of BLAG and then side with the Plaintiff and the President in this case. Clement says no. The Senate can either say nothing or side with the House.

Just bizarre. The House, then, controls the cards and the upper chamber has to tag along or sit in the corner and be quiet? Wow.

Jackson is back up for rebuttal and answers the pending questions by the Justices which are really more of the same. The Court thanks her for her serving at the request of the Court and then Roberts calls for a recess before debating the merits of the case.

Upon return, Clement is back up and says the federal government has the absolute right to distinguish between the marriages of gays and straights because they do in other ways, such as recognition of common law marriages and in divorces. Ginsburg, Kennedy and Sotomayor all point out that it is just one or two items that are being distinguished but over 1,000 benefits given to heterosexual couples that gay couples won’t get. Clement says that it still doesn’t change the fact that the federal government can distinguish between the two types of marriage.

Alito asks an interesting question regarding the tax benefits of being married and says he doubts it was made to encourage marriage, but more for an easier transfer of wealth within a family. Clement claims the tax benefits were written into federal law so that all married couples would be treated equally vis-à-vis the tax benefit in all jurisdictions. He then claims that is why Windsor doesn’t have any complaint because all homosexual couples are being treated the same by the federal government because none are allowed to claim the tax benefit.

Oh. My. God.

Sotomayor attacks his argument and says he is “begging the question.” Clement says that the only ones treating gay marriage differently are the states, but the federal government is treating all gay marriages the same.

Double. Oh. My. God.

Justice Beyer brings up example after example of how that fails irrationality. He says you could have a state say no one under 18 allowed to marry and another state that says you can marry at 17, so the federal government could say to the 17 year old, “Well, you can’t have any federal benefits because we only recognize marriages of people 18 years and older. Clement dismisses all of them and says that no matter how irrational the federal laws would be, as long as they are uniform, it doesn’t matter.

Triple. Oh. My. God.

Clement then says that the concern is that someone will go off to Hawaii and get married and then go back to their home jurisdictions and claim tax benefits under federal laws because they are married.

So what? People do get married for health insurance benefits. Or for a variety of other reasons that have nothing to do with procreation or tax benefits or love or commitment or etc. And, Clement should know that Rubb Ed and I damm well will be amending our federal tax forms if DOMA falls because we want our money back.

Sotomayor then asks if the federal government then has the right to pick any class and exclude them from federal benefits. Clement says, “I am not suggesting that the federal government has any special authority to recognize traditional marriage.”

Kennedy and Ginsburg aren’t happy with Clement’s answers and Ginsburg says that he (Clement) want the federal government to recognize two kinds of marriage: full marriage and the “skim milk” of marriage. Laughter ensues. Clement reels and falls back on his line that gay marriage is being treated the same because all gay marriages are being excluded.

I am back to Oh. My. God.

Kagan is dubious about Clement’s claim and opines aloud and ends up wondering if DOMA is a red flag toward animus toward gays and lesbians. Clement asks how she knows that and Kagan cites the House transcript that says the legislation was to express disapproval of gays and lesbians. Clement tries to weasel out with a response that such a claim was really only from one or two members of Congress. (OH JEEZ!) And that even if it was the sense of the Congress, then that still doesn’t reach the level of rational basis because we shouldn’t expect Congress not to say something like that.

There is so much straw grasping here, Clement could make his own scarecrow.

Kennedy says that DOMA regulates marriage. Clement says that it doesn’t. It only defines marriage.

Two scarecrows.

Breyer seems particularly miffed at the answers and pins down Clement by asking him what is so unique about gay marriage that it gets different treatment than other types of marriage (May/December marriages, marriage of convenience, marriages for tax benefits, etc.) Clement says that Congress picked the traditional definition of marriage and that should suffice.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli is up next and he and Roberts immediately spar over whether the question is one of federalism. Verrilli says it is not. Kennedy is not convinced and states that the legality of marriage has always been left to the states.

Alito brings up the case of three soldiers who are wounded. One is legally married to a same-sex spouse. The other is in a civil union with a person of the same sex. The third is in a long-term relationship with a person of the same sex. Alito wonders if all should be allowed to have their spouse/partner/lover visit or just the one with the legal spouse. Verrilli says that isn’t his argument, but Alito and Scalia push the point.

To be honest, why hospitals get involved in this in the first place has always been a head scratcher for me. If you have some connection to the patient, why not let them in (save space limitations or health concerns)?

There is additional back and forth between Verrilli and various justices over whether or not there was animus when DOMA was passed and signed, although the bottom line is that Verrilli says that it is a simple issue of discrimination – whether DOMA was passed with animus or not.

Roberta Kaplan for Edith Windsor is up next. Roberts wants to know if Congress could go the other way and recognize same-sex marriage as legal even if the state doesn’t recognize it. Scalia joins in, but Kaplan seems reluctant to just say, “I don’t know” and ends up sparring with Scalia who has a bit of a fit of bluster.

Kaplan should just have said she didn’t know and left it at that.

The issue of residency comes up and Alito and Scalia want to know what happens to a couple that was legally married in one state but moves to another state where their marriage isn’t recognized. What happens in issues of estate planning, etc.? Is there an equal protection claim. Kaplan says that is more akin to the Prop. 8 issue than hers.

She then goes on a very well-thought out argument about how there is no federal interest in treating gay marriages as separate.

Roberts wants to know how many states have gay marriage. Kaplan says nine, plus DC. Roberts says the fact that there are nine states that have gay marriage and that there are lots of politicians supporting marriage equality, that proves that gays and lesbians are politically powerful.

Um... most states don't allow gay marriage. Most states allow you to be fired simply because you are gay. Many states refuse to repeal their sodomy laws even after Lawrence v. Texas. Yeah. Powerful. /facepalm

Clement is back up for rebuttal. He immediately goes into the federalism issue, but Ginsburg takes him to the rational basis for DOMA. Clement says there are lots of rational bases for discriminating against gay marriage, the chief on his list being the uniformity issue.

Clement then ends his argument by saying that it should be up to time to let gays and lesbians have equal rights by letting Congress repeal DOMA and the individual states to allow gay marriage.

Perhaps Clement should read a little MLK now and then to remember that justice delayed is justice denied.

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Clement is a weasel. He is exactly what is wrong with the anti-gay marriage side. He would be arguing that Mildred Loving doesn't need equal rights because she has then all ready because all other whites and blacks can only marry their own color so all is well and God bless America!

I was a bit surprised at Alito's questions and that may point to another vote to strike down DOMA, but at this point, I suspect it will be 4 to strike down DOMA on equal protection grounds, 1 concurring but on state's rights grounds, and Scalia writing a blistering dissent saying that homosexuals will doom America, the planet, the solar system, the Milky Way and, then, God will have no choice but to destroy all time, space and matter.

Another frustrating, but not as hopeless day.

And, of course, today's DOMA hearing also gave us a peek into the good citizens of Crazytown.

First up, the grand cleric of Crazytown, Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. wades into the fray with this lovely bit of nonsense:

God has given us a blueprint for how to have success in the earthly realm. He’s given us an architectural plan of how to heal the barren places in urban America. He says that marriage between a man and a woman will heal the desert places in urban America. Ghettos will be revitalized if one man, one woman families are the order of the day. When a man and a woman are in the house, poverty is lessened. When a man and a woman are in the house, kids don’t go to prison. When a man and a woman are in the house, there’s less domestic violence. When a man and a woman are in the house, sexual abuse does not happen.

Which, of course, is why every state in the union puts husbands in jail for raping their wives.

Here's the video:

Next up is chief homophobe Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council who can't wait to compare gay marriage to polygamous marriage:

As you set up this package interview, people ought to be able to marry who they love. If love becomes a definition of what the boundaries of marriage are, how do we define that going forward? What if someone wants to immigrate to this country from a country that allows multiple spouses? Right now they can’t immigrate with the spouses, but if the parameter are simply love, how do we prohibit them from coming into this country? If it’s all about just love, as it’s being used, where do we set the lines?

Here's the video:

Of course, gay marriage is different because it is a slippery slope. And, of course, that is why it is so dangerous. It's not like interracial marriage because no one equated interracial marriage with polygamy and said it was a slippery slope.

Well, except R.D. McIlwaine III, an Assistant Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Loving v. Virginia case:

It is clear from the most recent available evidence on the psycho-sociological aspect of this question that intermarried families are subjected to much greater pressures and problems then those of the intermarried and that the state's prohibition of interracial marriage for this reason stands on the same footing as the prohibition of polygamous marriage, or incestuous marriage or the prescription of minimum ages at which people may marry and the prevention of the marriage of people who are mentally incompetent.

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Then, there is the great matriarch of Crazytown, Jennifer Robach Morse, the head of the NOM's Ruth Institute:

Eventually, young people are going to see that redefining marriage sets aside the interests of children for the convenience of adults. Now in the unhappy event that the Court should redefine marriage, which we pray that they will not — we pray that they will allow us to continue this nationwide conversation and discussion that we desperately need to have. But if they do redefine marriage, 40 years from the young people of that generation will have one simply question for our generation, “What were you thinking?”

They’re going to say, “Dad, you and your partner are lovely guys, I love you Dad, but did you really think I would never need a mom? What were you thinking?” “Mom, I know you love me, you and your partner are nice ladies, but the biological connection that was so important to you — did you think it would never be important to me? What were you thinking? What were you thinking?” That’s what they’re going to ask us.

Here's the video:

No, Jennifer. What those kids - and their friends - are going to say is, "You mean there were people who said that you and Dad couldn't get married? You're kidding right? That's insane!"

Yes.

Yes it is.

I was going to type up a nice long response, but I can't stop shaking my head at the supidity... No sexual abuse in a house in which a man and a woman live? Preconceived notions about future generations' opinion? Monogamous and polygamous relationships in the same basket?
*SIGH*

Phoenix Rev wrote:

First up, the grand cleric of Crazytown, Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. wades into the fray with this lovely bit of nonsense:

When a man and a woman are in the house, sexual abuse does not happen.

I've worked with the abused. This quote sends me into...uh...how you say...a blinding fury of existence-rending proportion? Serious, I'd unthinkingly and critically damage the toes of anyone who said such a thing in my presence.

Phoenix Rev wrote:

Next up is chief homophobe Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council who can't wait to compare gay marriage to polygamous marriage

Um. Polygamous marriage is sanctioned in the Bible. Hmm.

Phoenix Rev wrote:

Today was the DOMA case, and things looked much better for gays and lesbians today than yesterday.

First up was Vicki Jackson, who was appointed by the Court to address the issue of jurisdiction and suitability of the case, especially since the U.S. government originally was defending DOMA and then decided not to. She says right up front that the case shouldn’t even be being heard. Sotomayor asks if they don’t take the case, then what happens to Edith Windsor, the plaintiff. Jackson says another plaintiff can start from the beginning and sue.

Scalia wonders how if the plaintiff doesn’t have standing now, how could she have standing in the original trial court and then proceeds to wonder why the original trial court didn’t just summarily rule against the government when the Obama administration said they would no longer defend DOMA.

Alito wonders if there is a legitimate case for the President saying that he thinks the law is unconstitutional, but will continue to follow the law until the courts decide.

For some reason, that bothers the justices. I don’t see why. Why can’t a president or governor or even a legislature decide to take a different position than they had before? It seems the SCOTUS is two-faced in this: they want society to evolve, but when it does, especially if it is represented by someone, then that’s a problem.

I do not buy this at the state level as much as the Federal. However, this would essentially grant the president a second veto power. There is also a strong argument for not carrying out the oath to uphold the laws of the United States. And what happens in 10, 20 years from now when a sitting president declines to defend the Civil Right's Act, or the Affordable Care Act? The Attorney General makes no appearance, and a default judgment is rendered against the nation? That is a scary precedent to set.

At the state level, there is not the strict separation of powers that the US Constitution has, so the state legislators can enact additional requirements for the executive or the judiciary. What irks me at the Prop 8 front is that no federal judge seemed to consult California's courts on whether a private citizen has standing to take up defending a state law.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Phoenix Rev wrote:

First up, the grand cleric of Crazytown, Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. wades into the fray with this lovely bit of nonsense:

When a man and a woman are in the house, sexual abuse does not happen.

I've worked with the abused. This quote sends me into...uh...how you say...a blinding fury of existence-rending proportion? Serious, I'd unthinkingly and critically damage the toes of anyone who said such a thing in my presence.

Funny...my adopted son was abused and neglected in a house with a man and a woman. There must have been gay neighbors or something.

Nevin73 wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Phoenix Rev wrote:

First up, the grand cleric of Crazytown, Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. wades into the fray with this lovely bit of nonsense:

When a man and a woman are in the house, sexual abuse does not happen.

I've worked with the abused. This quote sends me into...uh...how you say...a blinding fury of existence-rending proportion? Serious, I'd unthinkingly and critically damage the toes of anyone who said such a thing in my presence.

Funny...my adopted son was abused and neglected in a house with a man and a woman. There must have been gay neighbors or something.

The gaydiation leaked into his household, causing the abusive mindset of the parents. It's science.

Sri Srinivasan for the U.S. government steps up and states the Court has jurisdiction. Roberts goes on offense within 15 seconds and asks how this issue isn’t unprecedented, that the SCOTUS is being asked to take on an appeal where both the plaintiff and the defendant both agree that the law is unconstitutional. He says this isn’t just rare, but “unprecedented.”

Dear Mr. Chief Justice, there is a first time for everything.

I think Roberts is right. It's unprecedented and it highlights the reality. A vocal minority of angry bigots have hijacked this issue. Under saner circumstances Congress would just pass a bill to repeal it and that would be that. But they're so afraid of the politics of the issue and that vocal minority that now the government is wasting money letting the SCOTUS do Congress' job.

Now, of course, there is something to be said for the value of precedents being set, etc. but I think he's right. Gutless Congress could end this tomorrow.

DSGamer wrote:

I think Roberts is right. It's unprecedented and it highlights the reality. A vocal minority of angry bigots have hijacked this issue. Under saner circumstances Congress would just pass a bill to repeal it and that would be that. But they're so afraid of the politics of the issue and that vocal minority that now the government is wasting money letting the SCOTUS do Congress' job.

I think this is right on money.

Roberts then says he wonders why Obama just doesn’t go with the courage of his convictions and stop enforcing DOMA instead of waiting for the courts to figure it out.

...

Scalia jumps in and says that when he was in the Office of Legal Counsel, the only time they would not defend a law is if it involved presidential powers or there was simply no argument to make to defend the law and says that neither of those exist here. He then says he doesn’t want to deal with cases like that and complains that the government should either defend the law or stop enforcing it.

What a disingenuous set up. If Obama didn’t enforce the law, someone would sue and this would be right back at the Court and I am willing to wager a month’s pay that Scalia would be whining about how the President isn’t following the law until it is declared unconstitutional by the courts.

Ugh. What's to then stop the next president from enforcing it?

And whether enforced or not, the law itself is still a barrier to Full Faith and Credit recognition by states.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

I think Roberts is right. It's unprecedented and it highlights the reality. A vocal minority of angry bigots have hijacked this issue. Under saner circumstances Congress would just pass a bill to repeal it and that would be that. But they're so afraid of the politics of the issue and that vocal minority that now the government is wasting money letting the SCOTUS do Congress' job.

I think this is right on money.

Unless you understand the House of Representatives, with their greater numbers, more frequent elections, and James Madison's own records to exist exactly to be the voice of minorities in congress. Otherwise what is the point of carving the states into districts and giving them representation in the first place? We could very easily have a single legislative body. The delegates from Virginia were very keen on that; just as they were about limited executive and judicial power. Massachusetts, the other big down in the fight has a bicameral legislature of , almost exactly like the federal system.

It is incredibly odd to me that in this debate it is both opposing sides making the same 2 headed arguments. For Prop 8 once side is stating that popular democracy put this law in place, when representative democracy and republicanism struck it down. For DOMA, we are saying that support is more and more popular, many states are democratically granting equal rights, and it is the representative government standing in the way. But then again, I have a heightened sense of cognitive dissonance.

KingGorilla wrote:

It is incredibly odd to me that in this debate it is both opposing sides making the same 2 headed arguments. For Prop 8 once side is stating that popular democracy put this law in place, when representative democracy and republicanism struck it down. For DOMA, we are saying that support is more and more popular, many states are democratically granting equal rights, and it is the representative government standing in the way. But then again, I have a heightened sense of cognitive dissonance.

I see what you're saying, and I think the dissonance-free explanation is that popular democracy is to be trusted far more in the case of granting equal rights than when it makes a distinction between classes of people--especially classes like "which gender of consenting adult are you in a mutually agreed upon relationship with"--and restricts rights based on those classes.

When did Michelle Shocked go off the f*cking deep end?

Matt Besser did an awesome send up of her rant on his podcast, Improv for Humans.

OG_slinger wrote:

When did Michelle Shocked go off the f*cking deep end?

Surprisingly a while ago: I know--I had the same "WTF?BBQ!" reaction as you to her rant.