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This clearly has to be the most optimistic prediction that I have read regarding how the SCOTUS justices will come down on the marriage equality issue/cases. Chicago Tribune editor, Eric Zorn, states that he believes that the ruling will favor marriage equality by a unanimous vote of the justices. All I can say is that that would be quite remarkable given how some of the justices of this Supreme Court have ruled on gay issues in the past. Mr. Zorn says that he realizes that, but that none of the SCOTUS justices will want to go down in history as being against marriage equality because it is the wrong side of history.

From The Chicago Tribune:

But some court observers thought they heard Roberts looking for a way to make it 6-3 when he said from the bench, "I'm not sure it's necessary to get into sexual orientation to resolve this case. I mean, if Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can't. And the difference is based upon their different sex. Why isn't that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?"

The three outliers would then have to ask themselves, "Do I really want to earn the contempt of history with one last futile shake of my wizened fist at this expansion of human rights? Do I want my name in the Supreme Court rogues gallery that includes those justices now acknowledged as benighted who voted to uphold slavery in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), OK'd "separate-but-equal" segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and tried (but failed) to uphold anti-contraception laws in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)?"

That's the choice they face. Public opinion has undergone a dramatic and generationally driven shift on gay marriage.

A 9-0 ruling tells America "move on, this issue is settled." It enhances the legitimacy of the decision and, therefore, of the court itself while minimizing the potential for backlash.

It would be amazing if he turns out to be correct, but at this point I'm quite skeptical.
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Last Sunday, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was on Face The Nation to discuss marriage equality. Prior to beginning the discussion/interview, Bob Scheiffer mentioned that CBS had gotten flooded with letters from viewers complaining about the network having Tony Perkins on because he is a member of a SPLC designated hate group. It seems that religious right leaders and Todd Starnes of FOX News are quite upset about CBS calling out the FRC in that way.

From JMG:

Teabagistan has been in an uproar all week after CBS' Face The Nation host Bob Shieffer correctly called the Family Research Council an anti-gay hate group in the opening to his interview with Tony Perkins last Sunday. Yesterday Todd Starnes posted the below rant, bringing in foaming hater Brent Bozell to denounce CBS. Bozell, you may recall, is most known here for calling President Obama a "skinny ghetto crackhead."

If you missed that interview, here it is.

The following video is called "the march of marriage equality." I'm posting it just because it's really cool.

Reposted from librarisingnsf by librarisingnsf
Maggie Gallagher has penned a letter to Justice Kennedy and it is published in the National Review. In it she states four reasons she believes that Justice Kennedy should affirm the Sixth Circuit's ruling that the states' marriage bans are constitutional. She says that the gay community is no longer powerless and does not need his help, but that those who are in favor of traditional marriage do. The tone of self-victimization in this letter is palpable. And, she says that the government cannot bestow dignity on a relationship. Reason number four states:
4. Finally, dear Justice Kennedy: Government cannot confer dignity on our relationships. My best friends, my adult children, my godchildren, my brothers and sisters, every single intimate relationship that I have and that gives meaning to my life, government has no role there. To imagine that a government stamp of approval is what creates value in human relationships, or gives dignity to our sexual lives, is to accord to government a power it does not have: a power to impose an idea of equality that is not true, and to remove from the American people the hard work — of negotiating, compromise, and dealing with one another — that belongs to the democratic process, not the Constitution.

Justice Kennedy, you’ve surprised us before. Do it one more time. If originalism doesn’t move you, perhaps an honest plea for pluralism from the newly stigmatized might?

via JMG

I don't believe a word of that. And, I don't think Maggie does either. If she didn't think that marriage bestowed a certain dignity upon a couple, why has she been working overtime the last decade or so to keep us out of the institution of marriage.

From Jeremy Hooper at Good As You:

It is the sort of thinking that could only come from a movement as entitled as the one that fights us. More and more over the decade that I've done this kind of work, I've come to realize that the opposition movement, in general, truly does believe that they always get to have the upper hand over us. They truly believe that there is some sort of secret script that mandates their dominance in this world that we all share. Their driving narrative is one that leaves no possibility for their own wrongness or our own peace of mind. It's always about them and what our lives and loves and families and rights supposedly mean for them.

No, "livelihoods are not under attack" because of same-sex marriage. It only feels that way to the opposition movement because they keep lying to people and telling them they have right to ignore nondiscrimination laws that they do not favor, legal marriages that they do not wish to honor, and certain duties of their jobs (e.g. issuing marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples) that they feel they shouldn't have to perform. The anti-LGBT movement is pushing a huge lie that has turned fair compliance into some sort of undue burden. The only "attack" is coming from them, against reality.

In the aftermath of the SCOTUS oral arguments in the marriage equality cases heard yesterday, much of the national media is reporting that the SCOTUS justices are "divided" on the issue of marriage equality. I'd say that most are not willing to make a prediction as to how the cases will be decided, and that is probably wise. However, I did find a few interesting responses and predictions (including my own after listening to the hearing). They follow.

My own comment after listening to Part 1 of the oral arguments:

I think we may eek out a win on the equal protection arguments. But, I'm extremely skeptical on the due process claims (because of all of those "opposite sex marriage being the case for millennia" comments).

I'm also much more skeptical of Justice Roberts ruling in our favor now. Maybe I'll change my mind after reading other analysis of the arguments later (I hope).

I haven't changed my mind, although a couple of experts whose comments I've read  predict that the ruling will encompass a combo of due process and equal protection analysis. I also feel a bit more confident that the SCOTUS will come down on the side of marriage equality now.

I also expressed a bit of confusion as to the discussion about Plato. This is a relevant comment from Ari Ezra Waldman for Towleroad.

Justice Alito asked a few questions about how Plato said wonderful things about gays, but Greece still didn't officially allow gays to marry. Accuracy of what happened in Greece aside, Justice Alito appears to be trying to say that you can be opposed to gay marriage and not be a total bigot (See Plato).

That argument is miles off topic. It is absolutely irrelevant what Plato did or did not do. Greece didn't have a Fourteenth Amendment and Plato lived in a time that condoned (and embraced) slavery. Let's not get off topic. And to his credit, Mr. Verrilli brought the conservative justices back on topic when he stated, at the end of his talk, that it was simply "untenable" to deny rights to same-sex couples under a gradualism approach. The country is ready. It is time.

One of the reasons I enjoy Daily Kos is that for virtually any subject matter presented, there is someone here who is knowledgeable and/or even is an expert. So, AKBear adds to the discussion:
He brought it up

without realizing the strength and interconnectedness of the Orthodox Church within modern Greek government and laws.  He also inadvertently tipped his own hand to how he would like to shape American jurisprudence to better fit his own ultra-conservative theology based loosely on Christianity.

Plato significantly predates the founding of the Orthodox Church in Greece.  What the good Justice was pointing out was how times changed as did social norms. He did not support his own argument very well.  Instead, he showed how bigotry and hatred of the "other" was allowed to take root and become "legal."  He used a pre-Christian philosopher as an ineffective foil to justify his own, ultra-conservative take on his own religion, Catholicism.

Professor Kenji Yoshino in answering a law student's question on Reddit:
It's a great question--if a "great question" is one that puzzled me as well! I got frankly quite frustrated by all this talk about the millennia. First of all, we have Supreme Court precedent that says that tradition alone does not insulate law from Constitutional attack (Williams v. Illinois (1971)). Second, one of the most reviled Supreme Court decisions is the Bowers v. Hardwick decision in 1986, in which Chief Justice Burger talked about "millennia of moral teaching" about homosexuality en route to supporting (in a concurrence) a Court decision deeming that the right of privacy didn't extend to same-sex sexual intimacy in the privacy of one's home. So tradition is overrated. I'm not sure if that means that there wasn't much else to say, but Justice Breyer at least seemed to explore that possibility when he said that he had heard reason number one for the bans was tradition and reason number two was religion but that he wanted to start hearing about reasons three, four, and five (i.e. because reasons one and two are foreclosed by precedent and the Establishment Clause, respectively).

From Evan Wolfson via The Daily Beast:

Our opponents’ core argument in court today was that marriage bans exist for a rational, secular reason: namely, because allowing same-sex couples to marry will have a negative effect on marriage for straight people, leading to more kids born out of wedlock and all the resultant harms. But when the four more liberal justices peppered them with questions and challenges, they couldn’t back up the claim (no shocker to me!) and didn’t even pretend to have any evidence.

That contrasted with the very tangible, real harms that same-sex couples and their families face through the denial of marriage, which our attorneys brought forward again and again.

The swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, asked questions of both sides, but when the states’ attorneys argued that marriage wasn’t about love, respect and dignity, Kennedy jumped in, defending the importance of dignity and the “noble purpose” of marriage. He also strongly implied that there had been a sufficient amount of time since the Supreme Court recognized the dignity of gay people in Lawrence v. Texas (which found sodomy laws unconstitutional) for the country to evolve its social mores.

But if I were a betting man, I’d certainly put my money on the Justices doing the right thing by the end of June. Love, like freedom and family, must—and will—win.

From Lyle Denniston at ScotusBlog:
From worrying about casting aside a “millennia” of cultural norm and habit about who can marry, to wondering about whether America has had enough time to debate the issue, to a somewhat testy defense of the dignity that gay and lesbian couples would have in marriage, Kennedy appeared to have moved from hesitancy toward acceptance as the Court heard nearly two-and-a-half hours of argument in the cases that are known as Obergefell v. Hodges.
From LGBTQ Nation:
But Brian Fitzpatrick, a Vanderbilt University law professor who once served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, said Kennedy’s questioning seemed more favorable to same-sex marriage supporters, even with his early focus on the definition of marriage. “He did want an answer to why we should change it after 10 years of experience. I think he answered that question himself when he talked about dignity and concern for the children,” Fitzpatrick said.

Another sign that could point to the same outcome was Kennedy’s relative lack of interest in the second issue that was argued Tuesday, whether states have to recognize same-sex marriages from elsewhere, said Thomas Goldstein, a veteran Supreme Court lawyer and publisher of Scotusblog. That’s because the answer to the recognition question is unimportant if the court says same-sex couples can marry everywhere, Goldstein said.

From The Advocate:
Duke University law and political science professor Neil Siegel was at the Supreme Court hearing. He tells us why he expects Justice Roberts isn't our friend and Justice Kennedy will save the day.

I remain very confident the court is going to invalidate the ban by at least a vote of 5-4. That’s probably the most likely outcome; it’s possible it could be 6-3 if the chief justice joined Justice Kennedy and the liberals. That’s quite uncertain. The chief said more in support of the states than in support of the challengers. He also asked about sex discrimination — whether this was unconstitutional sex discrimination to allow a man to marry a woman but not a woman to marry a woman. But the chief’s instincts are going to be in favor of the states leaning on the democratic process.

A few things are most telling. [Kennedy] said what he did about millennia, and I think that’s why journalists are saying the court is cautious. First, none of this changes the fact [Kennedy] let it get this far. For him to say now, “I didn’t mean it or you all inferred what I didn’t imply,” I think that would be really surprising.

It’s also telling what we didn’t hear questions about. We didn’t hear questions about if we rule for the states [fighting marriage equality] what will the legal status be of same-sex couples who got married in states subject to judicial order? If the states can now ban the marriages, what happens to their legal status? Are they in limbo? Can they be undone? I didn’t hear [those questions].

The basic argument of the states is that in some way if same-sex couples are allowed to marry, a message will be sent by the state to opposite-sex couples that marriage is primarily about their own gratification and fulfillment; it’s not about raising children in a stable environment. Justice Kennedy was offended by that. He said that was a wrong premise; that same-sex couples seek the same kind of dignity and status, the same noble motivations that opposite-sex couples do. It may not be about procreation, but it may be they also might want to raise children in that environment. They all struggled with the argument, because I don’t think the argument worked.

Professor Dale Carpenter of The University of Minnesota shares my view of the due process claims. From The Washington Post:
But Kennedy doesn’t deploy the Burkean idea as a sledgehammer like that. Instead, in talking about the historical understanding of marriage Kennedy was concerned about the Court defining the tradition broadly for due process purposes. In his exchange with the Solicitor General, Don Verrilli, Kennedy referred directly to that understanding of the historical point:
I’m interested in your comments on [Washington v.] Glucksberg, which says we should have to define a fundamental right in the narrowest terms. A lot of the questions that we’re ­­asking your colleague in the earlier part of the argument were–had ­­that in mind, I think. What do we do with the language of Glucksberg that says we have to define it in a narrow way?
Glucksberg was a decision in which the Court rejected a claimed fundamental right to physician-assisted suicide. It was a due process case.  On this view of due process, a declaration that the fundamental right to marry allows one to choose a spouse of the same sex is a departure from using the “narrowest terms” based on historical experience.  Verrillii responded by saying that, unlike the petitioners themselves, the federal government was making only an equal protection argument and not a due process argument.

So it’s apparent that Justice Kennedy was very skeptical of a fundamental right argument for gay marriage. (Note that Justice Kennedy himself has not always stuck to the narrowest terms in due process cases.  See Lawrence v. Texas.) Burkeanism is much more at home within the Court’s due process doctrine, which preserves historic rights, than it is in equal protection doctrine, which repudiates longstanding traditions of discrimination.

Andrew Koppelman is John Paul Stevens Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. Here is his take on the issue via Salon:
The Court has long held that laws that discriminate based on sex must be presumed unconstitutional and invalidated unless the government can prove that they can pass rigorous, heightened judicial scrutiny. Since the state has such difficulty articulating a rational basis for denying marriage to same-sex couples, it could not withstand such scrutiny.

Bursch responded that the sex discrimination precedents “have always involved treating classes of men and women differently. And that’s not what we have here.” This has become the standard response to the sex discrimination argument: Laws banning same-sex marriage do not discriminate because they affect members of both genders equally: Men are forbidden to marry other men, and women forbidden to marry other women. But this is exactly the same kind of reasoning that the Supreme Court rejected when it struck down laws banning miscegenation and interracial marriage. The defenders of those laws claimed that they did not discriminate on the basis of race because both blacks and whites were equally barred from marrying members of the other racial group. But the law still denies rights to both men and women solely on account of their sex. The fact that Tom cannot marry Joe solely on account of gender is not somehow balanced by the fact that Sue is forbidden to marry Carol.

The cleanest, most lawyerlike way for the Court to resolve the case is just to apply its settled sex discrimination law. We will find out in June. The most controversial cases drag on until the end of the Court’s term, and this is one of those.  But it’s already clear which way this is moving.

Here are Barney Frank's thoughts about the hearing.

Update 1:

It appears that one of the federal judges who ruled in favor of marriage equality has passed away.


I got up this morning, turned on the computer, logged on to twitter, and my twitter feed was going crazy with tweets about marriage equality at the Supreme Court, Here are some of them.

And, from Freedom To Marry:

11:35am • Responding to Justice Kennedy's Questions

Reports from inside the Supreme Court state that Anthony Kennedy has questioned the historical role of marriage - that only men and women have been able to marry. The New York Times reported, "At just after 10:07, he said the definition of marriage “has been with us for millennia. It’s very difficult for the court to say, ‘Oh, we know better.’ ” The comment suggested that for Justice Kennedy the long history of marriage could be a key factor in how he decides."

It's important to keep in mind, however, that same-sex couples marrying does nothing to change the institution of marriage. Gay and lesbian people are simply asking for the same access to marriage as all other couples. Like U.S. District Court Judge Shelby from Utah said in December 2013, "Here, it is not the Constitution that has changed, but the knowledge of what it means to be gay or lesbian."

11:30am • Argument on Question 1 Wrapping Up, 11:30am

The New York Times reports from inside the courtroom that the arguments on Question 1 - whether same-sex couples have the freedom to marry - are wrapping up. The Times reports:

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, a member of the liberal bloc, forcefully questioned why states should be able to exclude gay people from marriage. “Marriage is open to vast numbers of people,” he said, adding that same-sex couples “have no possibility to participate in that fundamental liberty. And so we ask, ‘Why?’"

And, we have audio of the first part of the oral arguments.

And, the audio of the second part of the arguments is up.

NOM held its latest "March4Marriage" in Washington on Saturday. And, it was quite the show of religious right characters. They wanted to give the SCOTUS justices the message that they best NOT rule in favor of marriage equality. As a matter of fact, Scott Lively showed up at the SCOTUS this morning with a bunch of boxes full of something ... presumably restraining orders.
From JMG:
On the scene are Scott Lively, Janet Porter, "ex-gay" activist Greg Quinlan, and a flotilla of crackpots from Texas Values. Whatever is in those boxes will doubtlessly soon end up in a federal shredder.
From Right Wing Watch:
In a press conference today in front of the Supreme Court, Faith 2 Action’s Janet Porter gathered a who’s who of radical anti-gay activists and “ex-gays” to deliver “restraining orders” to the Supreme Court demanding that the justices not hear arguments on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.

Far from a far-right pipe dream, Porter’s bill to block federal courts from ruling on marriage was introduced last week by Rep. Steve King in the House and Sen. Ted Cruz in the Senate. “We have appealed to Congress to restrain the judges, and the good news is Congress has heard our cry,” Porter said.

The activists, including Scott Lively, Peter LaBarbera and Bill Owens, also announced that they were filing a motion asking Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan to recuse themselves from the case because they, in Lively’s words, “deliberately officiated at so-called homosexual wedding ceremonies.”

Ginsburg and Kagan, Lively charged, “have committed an unparalleled breach of judicial ethics by elevating the importance of their own favorite political cause of gay rights above the integrity of the court and of our nation.”

But, let's get back to the march on Saturday. Here is a short video summarizing the events.

Don't those justices know what "gawd's word" says about marriage?!

Another speaker at the march was Pastor Jim Garlow. I become quite amused at how ridiculous Christian fundies sound when they pretend to know ancient Hebrew. Take for instance Pastor Jim Garlow's little word game with the Hebrew words/letters in the creation story. Let's see ... we can rearrange these (English representations of) Hebrew letters so that they spell "fire." That means you heathens trying to redefine marriage will BURN! And, besides that, the SCOTUS will be a laughing stock if they rule in favor of marriage equality.

From Right Wing Watch:

At today’s March for Marriage, Pastor Jim Garlow offered a lengthy explanation for why he believes marriage equality is wrong, asking the audience to repeat several Hebrew words found in Genesis before rearranging the letters to make the word “fire,” which of course proves that if you allow marriage equality you are going to Hell.

“You mess with the definition of marriage, and you burn, you’re toast, you can’t win that one,” he said.

This explanation is so obvious, he said, that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality this year, it will soon become a “laughingstock” for having promoted the “ridiculous” idea of legal marriage for gay and lesbian people.

Reposted from Steven Payne by bythesea
Former Arkansas Governor and former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee addresses supporters during the third session of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 29, 2012.  REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES  - Tags: PO
Mike Huckabee has never had the surest grip on reality. A conference call with conservative pastors hosted by none other than the rancid Family Research Council drove that point home hard today. Right Wing Watch captured it for our amusement in a soundcloud.

Mike began with his usual boogity boo that marriage equality will lead to Christian pastors being thrown in the pokey for refusing to marry the gays. His rant vacillates from staunch defiance to self-pitying victimization like a nauseating seven-minute roller coaster ride.

If the courts rule that people have a civil right not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage, then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor who believes in biblical marriage who says ‘I can’t perform that wedding’ will now be breaking the law,” he said. “It’s not just saying, ‘I’m sorry you have a preference.’ No, you will be breaking the law subject to civil for sure and possible criminal penalties for violating the law…. If you do practice biblical convictions and you carry them out and you do what you’ve been led by the spirit of God to do, your behavior will be criminal.
Getting through seven minutes of this crap took some intestinal fortitude, but when I got to the 3:57 mark of the audio recording I was glad I hung in there. Behold what Mike Huckabee thinks a Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality really means. Does it mean that gay people will have their civil right to marry across the land protected under federal law? No siree Bob.
Getting a decision from the court, it's not tantamount to saying 'well that settles it. It's the law of the land.' And when I hear people say that I just cringe and I'm thinking 'How many people pass 9th grade civics?' This is not that complicated. There are three branches of government, not one. We don't like it if the executive branch overreaches and pretends that it can act in difference to the other two. And neither can we sit back and allow the court, one branch of government to overrule the other two. And so when a court rules that same sex marriage is okay, it doesn't mean that the next day, marriage licenses should be issued for same sex couples. It simply means that if the legislature agrees with that court decision and the representatives of the people—the elected officials—if they then put that into legislation and it is signed and enforced by the executive branch, then you have same sex marriage. But until those other two branches act, what you have is a court opinion and nothing else.
No need to fret, you homophobic worrywarts. The nasty gay people aren't really going to get equality until the Supreme Court ruling is vetted through Congress and signed into law, as was the process when Loving v. Virginia was decided.

And this guy wants to be the preznit.

The SCOTUS will hear oral arguments in the marriage equality cases on Tuesday, and the Sunday news shows from the major networks discussed the issue with some of the major players on each side. The first clip is from CBS's Face The Nation. Kudos to Bob Scheiffer for telling viewers that Tony Perkins' organization, the Family Research Council, is a SPLC certified anti-gay hate group.

Also, from Evan Wolfson and the folks at Freedom To Marry is this latest television ad.

From Freedom To Marry:

Evan Woflson, president and founder of Freedom to Marry, explained that this ad serves as Freedom to Marry's last words to the Supreme Court before they consider the cases before them:
With this latest ad, Freedom to Marry is summing up our closing argument, in hopes of closing our doors after getting the national win. After 30-plus years of doing marriage work, I am gratified that we're in such a strong place as we head into court on Tuesday. The American people have resoundingly and unequivocally embraced the side of love and fairness. We hope the Supreme Court does the right thing and agrees with more than 60 federal and state courts that have held marriage discrimination unconstitutional. America is ready for the freedom to marry. It's time.

On ABC's This Week In Washington was Chad Griffin of HRC and Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation.

The following is the HRC's latest video:

And, David Boies and Ted Olson were on Meet The Press:

The lawyers who argued in favor of overturning California's same-sex ban in front the Supreme Court said Sunday they believe the votes exist for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

David Boies and Ted Olsen said on Meet the Press that based on a previous ruling that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act - which prevented legally married same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits - the Court will rule to overturn the ban.

"If you read what the Supreme Court said in that case, there's really no other way for the Supreme Court to come out in the case that's up for argument on Tuesday," Ted Olson said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"The first part of that case is whether states have to recognize the rights of individuals who wish to get married in that state. I think that will end the debate right there."

Lambda Legal also has a (fairly) new video out.


Oral arguments in the marriage equality cases will be heard by the SCOTUS justices on April 28, 2015. Much of the discussion will center around the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, and whether it requires states to recognize marriages of same-sex couples. However, another very important event occurred on April 28, 1866 (149 years ago to the day of this important SCOTUS hearing). It had to do with the acceptance and edit to the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The hero of the following story is Rep. John Bingham, one of the key leaders of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction at the time.

Many of the opponents of marriage equality and other gay rights issues like to say that the 14th Amendment only applies to race. However, the history of the development of the Equal Protection Clause does not support that premise.

From Slate:

The equal protection clause was added to the 14th Amendment—then in draft form—on April 28, 1866, 149 years to the day before the Obergefell argument. To understand the full story of this critical provision, it’s important to begin with some historical context.

Congress established the Joint Committee on Reconstruction in December 1865. The body was tasked with studying the conditions in the post-Civil War South and recommending a congressional response—one that might counter President Johnson, rally the Republican Party, and provide a new blueprint for Reconstruction. The committee’s most enduring legacy is Section 1 of the 14th Amendment—arguably, the most important provision added to our Constitution after the Bill of Rights.

A few days earlier, the committee had agreed on language for the proposed amendment that focused exclusively on the evils of racial discrimination, reading, “No discrimination shall be made by any State, or by the United States, as to the civil rights of persons because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” However, Bingham convinced his fellow committee members to broaden this language.

Bingham’s key move was to craft a new provision that promised “equal protection of the laws” for all persons, not just African Americans. In one of the most important edits in American history, Bingham added text that was, as he later explained, “a simple, strong, plain declaration that equal laws and equal and exact justice shall hereafter be secured within every State of the Union,” guaranteeing “equal protection” for “any person, no matter whence he comes, or how poor, how weak, how simple—no matter how friendless.”

Had that edit not been made, the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause would have protected against racial discrimination, however there would not have been any protection against gender or sexual orientation discrimination (or for any other minority/class) at the state level.

There is much more to the story, and it is very interesting and educational (for those who don't already know it).


From Buzzfeed:

The ongoing feud between Alabama and federal courts over the state’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages continued Friday, as a federal judge kept alive advocates’ attempt to take marriage equality statewide.

U.S. District Court Callie Granade has not ruled on the underlying class-action request — which would apply Granade’s ruling that Alabama’s marriage ban is unconstitutional to probate judges, who grant marriage licenses, statewide — but she refused on Friday to grant state and local officials’ request to dismiss the amended class-action complaint.

Judge Granade rejected a number of arguments. Via

First: the state Supreme Court action does not prevent federal court actions.

"Moreover, this Court's jurisdiction in this case and this Court's finding that Alabama's marriage sanctity laws are unconstitutional predate the state court mandamus action," she wrote.
Second: probate judge Davis' compliance with the federal injunction does not prevent federal court actions.
"As long as Judge Davis chooses not to issue any marriage licenses to anyone, he is not violating this court's preliminary injunction entered against him," the judge wrote. "The fact that Davis has reportedly complied with the injunction order does not invalidate Plaintiffs' claims."
Third: standing does not not exist because a probate judge told a gay couple they would not be issuing a marriage license.
As for Russell, the judge rejected his argument that the plaintiffs lack the ability of to sue him because he merely told a couple over the phone that he would not issue a marriage license.

"Whether they were informed of this fact over the phone or in person makes no difference," Granade wrote.

Finally: judicial immunity does not apply.
Additionally, Granade ruled against the probate judges' various claims to immunity. She ruled judicial immunity does not apply because they are not acting as judges with regards to marriage licenses.
If Judge Granade eventually rules that the case can proceed as a class action, then all same-sex couples in the state can be made plaintiffs, and all of the state's probate judges will be made defendants. This will mean that all probate judges would be caught between the state Supreme Court and the federal court. From there, I honestly don't know what could happen.

When former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned last year over his $1,000 donation to Prop 8, here's some of what NOM had to say about it.

From April 4, 2014:

NOM called the dismissal of Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla a "McCarthyesque witch hunt" that reflects the desire of gay rights activists to punish anyone in society who fails to support their agenda of redefining marriage.
From three hours and five minutes later:
[Marriage equality supporters'] actions escalate a pattern of behavior that makes it crystal clear that the mask is off any pretense of tolerance for different opinions on marriage. The message is clear: no matter your talents, accomplishments and capabilities, opposition to 'gay marriage' utterly disqualifies you from corporate leadership and employment, and even meaningful participation in civil society.
From April 10:
In 2008, Eich donated $1,000 to the campaign to pass Proposition 8 in California and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. For that, he's been convicted of an imagined hate crime by the radical homosexual activist community.

We must stand up to this outrageous assault on not just our values — but on the fundamental principles of free speech and our very democratic process! We cannot let a fringe group of radicals create an environment that will prohibit citizens from engaging in their right to enter the political arena without fear of reprisals!

From April 17:
Can you envision a future in which your support of marriage deprives you of your job...of your business...of your liberty?

I can. Because, quite frankly, we're already seeing it...all over the country!

Mozilla's forcing CEO Brendan Eich to resign over a political contribution he made six years ago certainly brings to the fore the need to stand up to these bullies.

So, what can be done about it? Many things — but it all boils down to this: mobilize the American people to defend God's truth about marriage and stand up to the radical extremists that want to redefine marriage, marginalize its supporters and stifle free speech and the democratic process!

From August 6:
The ousting of Brenden Eich from Mozilla and the attempts by Chase Bank to ID employees based on whether they are "an ally of the LGBT community" were two powerful and extreme examples of efforts to marginalize and punish people who believe in a biblical or traditional view of sexual morality.
When it happened, I defended how things played out. I want to clarify exactly where I stand on what happened and why I defended, and continue to defend, what happened. I have no problem with what happened, because what happened was that Mozilla's own customers were angry at Mozilla for appointing a man to the position of CEO that they did not like. The anger that his appointment to CEO bred from Mozilla's own customers meant that he could not be an effective leader. Mozilla was being harmed by his appointment. So he resigned. That's his bad luck. However, I wrote at the time, and I still believe, that he should not be fired (although, of course, that's not what happened). Implicitly, this extends to me disagreeing with calls for him to be fired, including boycotts of Mozilla until he leaves.

One would assume from NOM's posts about what happened is that NOM opposes people losing their jobs over their political beliefs or activities, but one would be wrong. NOM hasn't learnt that when trying to distinguish two similar situations so you can act in one way in one situation and act in another in the other, you cannot distinguish the two situations over the two different political positions involved and not be a hypocrite.

During the controversy over Indiana's RFRA, then-Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterie put expansion plans in the state on hold as a protest against the law. Now, he has resigned. I don't know if the two are related. But NOM is not just claiming that they are related. They're celebrating it:

They comment:
Less than a month after we launched our Dump Angie initiative, 2,290 former Angie's List members have canceled their accounts following the company's attack on the rights of Christians and other faiths, and an additional 4,938 have written the company with their disapproval, saying they would not be using Angie's List in the future. Thank you to all who have made the Dump Angie pledge!

In addition to thousands of marriage supporters taking action, now a second victory has emerged from our Dump Angie petition: Bill Oesterie has “surprised” everyone by voluntarily stepping down from his position as CEO of the company. Having co-founded the subscription service in 1995, Oesterie is leaving at one of the company’s rockiest times, due to its decision to withhold business from Indiana after the state passed a bill protecting the religious freedom rights of its citizens.

And just to show that they truly are committed to seeing political opponents lose their jobs:
Whether Oesterie or the media will admit it, it was the men and women who believe in their religious freedom rights who showed Oesterie the real effects of attacking the first amendment. Oesterie is one of many who have learned the hard way that marriage defenders are not submissive: they are refusing to compromise on something as important as marriage and family.

This is a great victory for religious freedom, and there are many more to come!

By "refusing to compromise", they mean "we will seek to run you out of your job if you don't agree with our politics, and celebrate when we succeed".

How the hell can NOM seriously claim to accuse us of being intolerant? As I've said, the difference between this case and the Mozilla case is that (if he did resign because of a campaign by conservative Christians) Eich resigned because he was unpopular and polarizing, and his appointment was harming Mozilla. If what NOM is claiming happened did happen, then it means that Oesterie was run out of his job by a campaign by conservative Christians seeking just that.

The same people that claim that we are the bullying, intolerant ones.

Pot, meet kettle.

Reposted from d3clark by librarisingnsf

Last evening, the weekly issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) was released. The NEJM is one of the most prestigious medical journals published.  Its weekly editorial is most often focused on some medical issue - cancer research, discoveries in immunology, new cardiac surgery techniques, etc.  Occasionally, the editorial will discuss a political policy like health care for all in the U.S., children's safety around firearms or some other topic that is less directly scientifically oriented.  This week the Journal came out strongly in support of marriage equality, calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to find in favor of same-sex marriage.

For more on their opinion and the case that then make, come below the orange medical diploma curlicue.

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