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

SixteenBlue wrote:

Devil's advocate: they're not saying that no one should do it, they're saying they're forced to. Which is wrong, but examples of other people going against their religion for business purposes don't really make a different.

This is an accurate point, but it doesn't necessarily invalidate those examples. Assuming the reason Grubbs opened a store to make money, examples of others making a profit from people who do not share their beliefs shows Grubbs to be a pretty bad capitalist.

I get that Grubbs would consider himself a principled capitalist here, but meh. So did the people whining about letting blacks eat in the front of the restaurant.

KingGorilla wrote:

Does he rent to gay graduation ceremonies or gay birthdays? Look chump, every Jewish Deli I have been to in my life sells ham, and will put mayo on your sandwich. You can shut the f*ck up.

Yeah, because those people aren't batsh*t crazy. He's not the one performing the ceremony. And in spite of what he tells his customers. How they arrive at the destination doesn't mean jack squat. They can still get gay married without your help by driving up in their own cars. They can still enjoy their gay marriage reception/after party by having everyone drive themselves to the secondary location.

By announcing this, not only is he not preventing the marriage, he's a small business owner who is willing to take a dive and refuse business in this economic environment. So not only is he a bigot, he's hopefully NOT the type of business owner that Republicans claim are good for the country, because he seems more than willing to sacrifice jobs and revenue for the country for his own personal issues.

SixteenBlue wrote:

Devil's advocate: they're not saying that no one should do it, they're saying they're forced to. Which is wrong, but examples of other people going against their religion for business purposes don't really make a different.

Well the point is that their religion occupies this peculiar space, where their providing accommodation for sin in their eyes but not in the eyes of the grander public is coming to a head. Business reasons or no, what these people are stating is that this is a core tenet of their religion which is flatly wrong! They are stating that their religious fringe thought trumps state law, also flat wrong. Reasonable accommodation for their belief has become "my special god told me so, I win and you cannot do anything about it." These are people making up religious canon and american law from whole cloth.

One cannot just make up a religious belief and seek its imposition-look at Snake Handlers. Denying accommodation to homosexuals is in no way a core belief of Christianity. It just shows how Christians are activists on made up beliefs.

While lots of people will shun this guy, I suspect his business will increase, as crazy-ass evangelicals will flock to him for their marriages for his . . . must not vomit . . . "brave stand". It's not like Chick-Fil-A is hurting for business; I will never eat there, but huge numbers of people specifically go there because they're a bunch of bigoted asshats . . . uh, "principled Christians".

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

While lots of people will shun this guy, I suspect his business will increase, as crazy-ass evangelicals will flock to him for their marriages for his . . . must not vomit . . . "brave stand". It's not like Chick-Fil-A is hurting for business; I will never eat there, but huge numbers of people specifically go there because they're a bunch of bigoted asshats . . . uh, "principled Christians".

Except I think it was mentioned in the Chick'Fil'A thread that that increase in their business trickled off as conservatives had new concerns to worry about, while the gay portion of my office and me and my wife continue to refuse to eat theire. Anger has a longer half-life than praise. And in a state where enough people support it for it to stand? I suspect a bump from the socially conservative business will not compete with a drop in socially liberal business.

Chik-Fil-A made a very high-priority stand, so I'll always remember that. This is one guy in a locality. Six months from now, most people won't remember he made a stand, because he's pretty much nobody. I'd bet the evangelicals will remember the guy's name and will funnel him business, while most people won't have any idea. Net positive for the guy.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Chik-Fil-A made a very high-priority stand, so I'll always remember that. This is one guy in a locality. Six months from now, most people won't remember he made a stand, because he's pretty much nobody. I'd bet the evangelicals will remember the guy's name and will funnel him business, while most people won't have any idea. Net positive for the guy.

I would say given that the state of the country with so many sites like Angie's List and Yelp.com, this is something that will likely live with him for quite some time. And, even then... what's he going to do, ask customers about this everytime someone comes in to book a reservation? I can tell you, if I was on the phone trying to reserve a slot and was asked, "is this going to be a gay/lesbian wedding?", I would ask, "why?"

Given what his response will be, I think he will be reinforcing this in people every time he has to open his schedule. And, even then, given that this is not the same thing as a fast food restaurant... how much can positive conservative evangelical support boost him compared to what he's losing in the long run (and based on his words, has plans to maintain losing in the long run)... especially with what is likely to be a wedding boom?

SCOTUS has granted cert to DOMA and Prop. 8.

More later.

Supreme Court To Hear Trial Determining Whether Human Beings Deserve Equal Rights http://t.co/HSDbvTuj

I already want to kick Scalia in the shins for the minority opinion he's going to write on this one.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I already want to kick Scalia in the shins for the minority opinion he's going to write on this one.

I'm looking forward to the bitter, angry, childish tears that will flow forth due to it being a minority opinion. I'm sure we will see a new tumblr site dedicated to the twitter/facebook meltdowns.

I'm not looking forward to finding out what legal gymnastics the SCOTUS is going to contort themselves through for their inevitable non-ruling ruling. But I'm also a stark pessimist about things like this.

A few of our more notably legally educated commenters have made similar comments, Keithustus. I think his decision cannot be assumed, based largely on their commentary.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I already want to kick Scalia in the shins for the minority opinion he's going to write on this one.

Justice Scalia is actually a wildcard. I can't think of anything in the Constitution that refers to states' powers over marriage licensing being limited to heterosexual couples, so I wouldn't count out Scalia from sawing DOMA in half. How has he voted and written on similar cases before?

We've recently allowed gays to serve openly in the military, but their spouses, even in states that allow gay marriage and/or civil unions, are prevented from the same spouse benefits (e.g. Increased housing allowance, family separation pay) that heterosexual couples are, because of DOMA. The court here has the opportunity to, with one opinion, eliminate that disparity.

Scalia has proven more than willing to set aside his state rights fundamentalism based on requests from his masters or the whims of his withered black heart.

Salvatore Cordileone, archbishop of San Francisco and the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' marriage defense subcommittee, said the high court's decision to consider the cases "is a significant moment for our nation."

"I pray the Court will affirm the fact that the institution of marriage, which is as old as humanity and written in our very nature, is the union of one man and one woman," Cordileone said in a statement from the conference.

The Archbishop doesn't seem knowledgable about the diversity of human relationships. We should call this "Wearing Judeo-Christian Blinders" (excepting traditional Mormons).

http://molly.kalafut.org/marriage/ma...

For the next few weeks, SCOTUSBlog is our friend.

What's interesting is that in the DOMA case, the participants are to argue not just the merits of the cases, but whether the Supreme Court has standing to make the decision, because the government has decided not to defend the law. The fact that the government may not "be present" before the court means that the GOP hired lawyers who are defending DOMA might not be allowed to do that. The Court wants to know whether the government simply "got what it wanted" when the Federal courts struck down DOMA, and so "the government" would not be correctly represented by the GOP lawyers. So the DOMA thing might just be dropped and left incapacitated on the cold, cold same-sex ground.

There is a lot to cover here, so let's get to it.

First up, DOMA.

I have been more attuned to the Prop. 8 item, but DOMA does have an impact on Rubb Ed and me (particularly our tax situation).

The SCOTUS is only hearing the Windsor case which was the first case filed challenging DOMA via the 2nd Circuit out of New York. The Justices are asked to decide if Section III of DOMA is constitution as it says that a perfectly valid marriage in, say, New York is not valid under federal law unless the two parties are opposite sex. In granting cert today, the Justices also asked for both sides to address two additional questions in their briefs along with the question of the constitutionality of Section III of DOMA. Those questions are: 1) Does the SCOTUS have jurisdiction to hear the main case since the government is not defending it and 2) does the House of Reps. BLAG counsel have standing since the government won't defend DOMA?

This is a shrewd move on the part of the Court, IMO. They want to see all the arguments and then have an escape hatch if they get timid in deciding this. If they punt by denying jurisdiction or standing, no precedent is set and a future court can make what is certain to be the civil rights case of our lifetimes.

My guess: *throws hands up in the air* In this one, all bets are off, but if they do hear the case fully and say they have jurisdiction and BLAG can represent, I think Section III falls as unconstitutional by a 7-2 vote with Scalia and Thomas dissenting.

Now, Prop. 8.

This is critical because the SCOTUS has a lot of options here. They can decide:

1. Prop. 8 is constitutional, which means that gay marriage is still illegal in California except for the 18,000 marriage performed before Prop. 8 was passed (there is no case before the SCOTUS that would dissolve those 18,000 marriages).
2. Prop. 8 is unconstitutional, but the ruling only applies to California.
3. Prop. 8 is unconstitutional, and the ruling applies to the entire nation.

The SCOTUS also told counsel that they want to hear whether or not Charles Cooper and his group have standing to defend Prop. 8. This may also be an escape hatch for the SCOTUS, but it may also be their second bite at the apple in dealing with the issue of standing. In the Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, the Court unanimously overruled the Ninth Circuit and stated that when the State of Arizona refused to defend the English Only law passed by the voters, a third party could not be appointed to defend it. We are in the same situation here. California's governors and attorneys general for two administrations have refused to defend Prop. 8. The Ninth said Charles Cooper et. al. could defend, but the SCOTUS wants to hear why Cooper has standing to sue. That gives us...

4. Prop. 8 falls not because of constitutional issues, but because there is no one who has standing to defend it since the State of California will not participate. That means Judge Walker's original decision would stand.

My guess: If standing to Cooper is granted, Prop. 8 will fall 6-3 with Scalia, Thomas, and Alito dissenting. However, I think there is a very strong chance that the SCOTUS will say Cooper does not have standing based on their prior ruling in Arizonans for Official English.

The cases will be heard in March 2013 with rulings in June.

SixteenBlue wrote:

Devil's advocate: they're not saying that no one should do it, they're saying they're forced to. Which is wrong, but examples of other people going against their religion for business purposes don't really make a different.

The issue here, though, is whether or not a business owner's religious convictions trump valid and legitimate laws governing businesses.

The answer is no.

Even Justice Scalia, in the landmark case of Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, stated:

We have never held that an individual’s religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law … On the contrary, the record of more than a century of free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition.

Grubbs does not have a constitutional right to operate a business. The states regulate businesses and the Congress regulates inter-state commerce. If the state mandates that a person will only be granted a business license if they agree to follow the non-discrimination laws on the books, the business is obligated to follow those laws. Otherwise, you would have sheer pandemonium.

For instance, if I am a business owner and a Jehovah's Witness and believe that paying my workers time-and-a-half on Christmas, as mandated by state law, means I am paying a nod to a holiday, which violated my religious beliefs, then I am free to ignore the law and pay them regular wages.

Maryland's non-discrimination laws are valid and legitimate. Grubbs is simply trying to drum up sympathy here about how he had to give up $50,000 a year in order to protect his tender religious sensitivities.

And yet, I am willing to bet he has provided his trolley services to atheists, pagans, Muslims, agnostics, divorced people, thieves, etc. without so much as a peep.

If he wants to make his living off of being a businessman, he can follow the rules like the rest of us or he should accept the fact that his religious convictions require him to make such sacrifices and stop his childish whining.

Some Wiki reading.

Romer v. Evans had to do with a Colorado statute that would have singled out LGBT individuals from being called a protected class from discrimination for the purposes of criminal or civil matters. In short, you cannot fire a guy for being black, but you can fire him for having a boyfriend.

This court is even more conservative than that court. Short of a major shift in Thomas and Scalia, I predict they will vote that DOMA and Prop 8 or other ilk are constitutional. Roberts and Alito are more of a wild card. Alito never really had a gay rights issue before him on the bench; but had some outspoken pro gay privacy publications in law school.

Roberts has about no gay issues in his history. The closest was a ruling that West Boro protests are protected speech.

Phoenix Rev wrote:

It's one thing to have convictions.

It's quite another to dishonestly use your convictions in order to get your way.

Today, as I noted above, Washington State started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Maryland also started issuing those licenses as well.

And, right out of the gate, we have a business owner in Maryland whining up a storm because he can't discriminate against gay couples who want to buy services from that business (the business rents trolley cars for transportation during special events like weddings).

"The law exempts my minister from doing same-sex weddings, and the Knights of Columbus don’t have to rent out their hall for a gay wedding reception, but somehow my religious convictions don’t count for anything," Discover Annapolis Tours owner Matt Grubbs wrote in an email.

The email was provided to Patch by Chris Belkot on Nov. 29. He received it from Grubbs after Belkot inquired about using the company's wedding services this spring.

Grubbs confirmed the email, and said his attorney advised him to shut down the wedding part of his business immediately because he could be sued for refusing services to same-sex couples.

"We’re a Christian-owned company, and we just can't support gay marriages," Grubbs said. "We're not trying to make a statement. We're not trying to make a point. We're just trying to be faithful Christians."

The decision will cost him approximately $50,000 a year in revenue.

And it's all completely dishonest.

Grubbs was not allowed to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples even before the election on Nov. 6 that approved gay marriage in Maryland.

Maryland has had, for some time, a law prohibiting businesses from discriminating against people based on sexual orientation. Grubbs, of course, knew that, but continued his business anyway.

Now that gay marriage is a reality in Maryland, it has provided dishonest hacks like Grubbs a new scapegoat and he can wear his religion on his sleeves and cry his crocodile tears about how oppressed he is.

I just wonder what Grubbs' so-called "Christian convictions" say about renting his trolleys to divorced people.

Maryland can be a very odd place despite the fact that the majority of folks here are pretty progressive.

If you go out to some of the more rural places like Western Maryland or Eastern Shore, you can run into folks who think the whole civil rights movement pretty much ruined it for everyone.

I remember when my wife and I were dating, we wanted to go spend a weekend at a bed and breakfast on Tilghman Island and the proprietress called us back and said that she needed to know more about us first. We both have Korean names, we weren't married yet, and it wasn't immediately obvious to a non-Korean what genders we were.

She seemed relieved when I told her that Paleogal was my fiancee and that, though we were not married, we planned on tying the knot later in the year. I wanted to respect her preference not to turn her B&B into a love shack, but what she said next pissed me off. She said, "good. I just wanted to make sure we weren't talking about three men and a camera".

I thanked her for her time and booked at a different B&B.

Annapolis is in a pretty conservative, highly religious semi-rural county, and has in the last 20 years had a large influx of low-income blacks, who were promptly ghettoized and blamed for every economic and social problem in the area (although by now some of that is sorted out). The city itself has some cosmopolitan elements, but the older families and their businesses are mostly more socially conservative. That's been buoyed up by the fact that the money set there is deeply into the import luxury, yacht club and piano bar culture, rather than a culture of change and social mobility. It's also got a military academy, so that's an influence too.

The Seattle City Council is live blogging all the same-sex weddings today. Get some tissues cause there won't be a dry seat in the house. http://married.seattle.gov/

I came across and interesting Q&A regarding the SCOTUS taking on Prop. 8 over at the Prop. 8 Trial Tracker site, and this exchange I found every interesting:

COMMENT FROM JESSE: Hey, I'm also one of the 18,000 that married Lana! Wouldn't these 18,000 influence the SCOTUS on addressing rational basis, heightened scrutiny, etc.? Because after all, we are addressing LGBT community as a 2nd class here. Aren't the 18,000 essentially a class of their own?

RESPONSE FROM CHRIS STOLL FROM NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS: Jesse, that is a good point. Olson and Boies have argued in the past that the existence of some married couples in California makes it even more clear that Prop 8 is totally irrational and pointlessly discriminatory. I expect they will keep making that argument in SCOTUS.

If the Justices are honest about it, I don't see how they can see the rational basis for allowing Prop. 8. Rubb Ed and I are one of those 18,000 couples. The SCOTUS is not addressing anything that would affect our marriage (i.e. no decision they make on DOMA or Prop. 8 would dissolve our marriage). We are legally married and that is not going to be undone. So, what is the rational basis for Prop. 8 if you have 36,000 people in California who clearly fly in the face of Prop. 8 and will always do so?

I'm really enjoying all the photo galleries out of Seattle. Here's another good set.

(But seriously, there must be some ninjas cutting onions in here.)

The bearish couple with the gentleman wearing the captain's hat (in the image it's Glenn and Wendell), the younger one's someone I've known for many years. I "awwwww"ed when I saw them up. Another guy I know from Facebook got married to his husband yesterday as well.

And yes, the Onion Ninjas are out in force.

It's both dusty AND oniony in here. Wow.

Rubb Ed wrote:

The bearish couple with the gentleman wearing the captain's hat (in the image it's Glenn and Wendell), the younger one's someone I've known for many years. I "awwwww"ed when I saw them up. Another guy I know from Facebook got married to his husband yesterday as well.

And yes, the Onion Ninjas are out in force.

From back in the Royal Canadian Bear Force?

That was the first photo that got me all oniony, too. The older couples are always my favorites.

Thank God we have someone fair and impartial like Antonin Scalia ruling on the DOMA and Prop. 8 cases:

Speaking at Princeton University, Scalia was asked by a gay student why he equates laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and murder.

"I don't think it's necessary, but I think it's effective," Scalia said, adding that legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral.

Scalia has been giving speeches around the country to promote his new book, "Reading Law," and his lecture at Princeton comes just days after the court agreed to take on two cases that challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Some in the audience who had come to hear Scalia speak about his book applauded but more of those who attended the lecture clapped at freshman Duncan Hosie's question.

"It's a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the 'reduction to the absurd,'" Scalia told Hosie of San Francisco during the question-and-answer period. "If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?"

Scalia said he is not equating sodomy with murder but drawing a parallel between the bans on both.

Then he deadpanned: "I'm surprised you aren't persuaded."

Because the sexual intimacy that Rubb Ed and I share as a legally married couple and someone murdering another human being with an axe deserve the same level of scrutiny when it comes to bans by the Legislature.

I am pretty sure we can count on Scalia to find DOMA and Prop. 8 constitutional.