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Bloomberg's editors, who support marriage equality, pen a process piece today expressing nervousness about how the marriage equality cases before the Supreme Court may play out:
Gay marriage is fast becoming a reality. The level of public support for same-sex marriage continues to rise, and just last month voters in three states legalized it, bringing the number to nine plus the District of Columbia as of Jan. 1. In politics and culture, support of same-sex marriage is becoming commonplace. Thankfully, there is little the Supreme Court can or should do about this.

What’s more, the court’s intervention on major social and political issues is not always helpful. One of the leading critiques of Roe v. Wade is that it was a legal short circuit of the political process; you can believe, as we do, in a woman’s right to an abortion and also think that the court’s 1973 decision inflamed an already divisive issue. Some proponents of same-sex marriage made this argument in recommending against the court’s review of the California case.

In the law as in politics, there is an honorable tradition of dodging the question. It wouldn’t necessarily be horrible if the court didn’t pronounce next year that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. It needn’t even rule on the constitutionality of DOMA, although the law infringes on what is traditionally a state right. Whatever the court does, however, it should be careful not to impede the expansion of rights and the cause of fairness that help to define America.

Michelangelo Signorile at The Huffington Post echoes some of those concerns but argues that no matter what happens, equality will march forward:
Is it quite possible that the court will hand down a sweeping decision upholding marriage bans in over 30 other states, ruling that marriage is not a fundamental right for gays? Absolutely, and if that's what you're afraid of, then be very afraid. Such a ruling could have a broad and enduring impact.

From everything I've read, it seems more likely that the Supreme Court would hand down a sweeping decision in that direction than in the other direction: throwing out marriage bans across the country. Many experts seem to think that the court will do something more restrained: affirming the Ninth Circuit's ruling, which would make it apply only to California, a state that had granted marriage rights to gays and lesbians and then took them away at the ballot. Alternatively, there's the issue of standing, which the Supreme Court is taking up again. Do the Prop 8 proponents even have legal standing to challenge Judge Walker's ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, given that the attorney general and the governor didn't file a challenge? If the Supreme Court thinks not, then the case goes back to Walker's ruling and would not apply beyond California. [...]

But I'm not afraid of the Supreme Court, and I am completely prepared for the worst possible outcome while hoping for the best. The court can't hold us back, nor can it stop a movement, even if it becomes an ugly impediment. Public opinion is shifting rapidly, and the movement for LGBT equality has come very far in such a short period of time. Few imagined it would happen so fast, and if there's a chance it may take longer by taking some risks that could bring full equality, I'm all ready for that. The alternative is to do nothing and continue without rights, perhaps indefinitely. Our current president supports full equality, and a previous great president, FDR, once wisely told Americans that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." That and the latest polling showing that Americans are with us should be enough for us to boldly move forward.

The USA Today editorial board nutshells what we do know from all this uncertainty:
[T]he cases are so laden with quirks that the only safe prediction is what the court's ruling won't change:

Same-sex marriage will continue. Nine states and Washington, D.C., marry gays, and their right to do so is not being challenged. More are expected to follow.
Churches in every state will continue to prohibit gay marriage if they wish. The First Amendment bars the government from meddling in church affairs, and that premise is not under challenge either.

This New York Times profile of the plaintiff in the SCOTUS case is remarkably touching:
People move to New York for many complicated reasons — personal, professional, spiritual, gravitational — some quite clear, some unknowable. Edith Windsor came 60 years ago for a very simple one.

“I came to New York to let myself be gay,” said Ms. Windsor, 83 and regal in a pink silk blouse, black slacks, flowing blond hair and the pearls she wore on her wedding day in Canada five years ago.

Meanwhile, on the fiscal cliff front, Republicans are wringing their hands and chastising their party. Jennifer Rubin:
First, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is right: Republicans should stop flapping their gums.
Marc Theissen:
Republican leaders have only two options: 1) Surrender. 2) Stand and fight.

Right now, it seems as if they are seeking the least painful way to surrender. It’s time to stand and fight instead. Republicans can still shoot their way out of their current predicament. It won’t be pretty and they will have to fight ugly — but they can still win.

With GOP pundits fretting and playing armchair consultants, it's not a great time to be negotiating on behalf of the GOP.

DeWayne Wickham at USA Today rgues that we're seeing a resurrection of liberalism:

While recent polls show that conservatives significantly outnumber liberals, liberal ideals and causes have not had a better year since Lyndon Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law.

Proof of this can be found in the approval last month of same-sex marriage laws in Maryland, Maine and Washington, the first states to legalize gay unions by popular vote. And it was evident in the success Democrats had at the polls this year. Liberals revel in the re-election victory President Obama, a moderate Democrat, achieved over Mitt Romney, the GOP candidate whose campaign was a genuflection to the demands of this nation's most misguided conservatives.

Evidence of the banner year for liberals also can be seen in the gains Democrats made in the U.S. Senate, which pushed their majority to 55 seats (including two Independents who are expected to join their caucus). These victories came in a year in which political pundits widely believed Republicans would seize control of the Senate. Among the right-wing Republican Senate candidates who went down to defeat were Tea Party favorites Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana. Both suffered fatal self-inflicted political wounds.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So far the rethugs have excelled in (5+ / 0-)

    creating alternate realities. And that applies to their pundits AND pols.

    American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

    by glitterscale on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:52:29 AM PST

    •  unlike 2004, it only works on them (3+ / 0-)

      as described in the seminal article by Ron Suskind back then, Republicans have long been overtly involved in creating alternate realities.
      But sometime between the unmasking of the WMD fraud, the drowning of NOLA, the crash of '08 and the reelection of the devil's spawn to the Oval Office, most of America stopped suspending their disbelief. Now it only works on the True Believers, as was so starkly evident on the mole face of Karl Rove at 11;19 PM on Nov 6.

      Stand for something, or you'll fall for anything - Malcolm X via Skindred

      by kamarvt on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:43:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The pace re: Marriage Equality is indeed amazing. (11+ / 0-)

    Anyone else remember not too many years ago, that Vermont was demonized, truly demonized, for being the only state in the USA to legalize civil unions?  Civil unions, NOT full marriage.  

    In late 2003 and early 2004, while Howard Dean's presidential candidacy was strong, he was assailed from the right on this issue -- they caricatured him as governor of that extremist freakshow state Vermont!  Dean signed the legislation that actually gave same-sex couples... civil unions!  What a nutcase.

    This was their rhetoric, not even a decade ago.  Of course months later, Massachusetts shocked them magnitudes further.  Some of the proudest days of my life were spent holding up pro-marriage-equality signs on the MA state house steps with MASS Equality.

    The pace of change on this issue is remarkable.  I know this has been commented on before but I just feel it's worth noting again.  We often get discouraged about the pace of social progress - this is a great example of a sea-change.  It can and does happen sometimes.

    •  "you can blow out a candle/ (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rikon Snow, Torta, DRo, celdd

      but you can't blow out a fire/ when the flames began to catch / the wind just blows them higher...."

      (Peter Gabriel, "Biko", but applicable to all struggles for freedom and justice)

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:57:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dean signed the bill in private because it was (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Torta, Amber6541, Laconic Lib

      so contentious in Vermont. From that to Iowa having legal same-sex marriage in less than a decade is amazing. MA, NY, WA and ME are all pretty liberal states, but IA is a purple state full of old people and gay marriage has become no big deal there.

      President Obama at Madison Rally 9/28/2010 - "Change is not a spectator sport."

      by askew on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:09:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gay marriage has become "no big deal" wherever (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        askew, bythesea, celdd, Laconic Lib

        it has passed and been made into law.  You're right.  

        I've tried to assure my more "queer (NOT gay!) progressive" friends in NYC of this.  Last year they were fed up with marriage dominating all conversation on LGBT issues.  To the point of being contemptuous of the whole issue.  I said "we went through this in MA - it settles down and other issues get their airtime back, within a year or two."  And that is indeed what's gradually happening now in NYC, regarding LGBT issues.

  •  Haley Barbour on Mourning Joke.....talking about (16+ / 0-)

    'what americans want'........Rethugs should stop using that phrase.....I don't think they know what it means.

    •  They know. It applies to their America and many (8+ / 0-)

      are deep in a red sea. If you go to many of those "red states" you will find the GOP, if not the TP/GOP, view is "America" in daily experience. Not too long ago I know of people in the deep South reacting to admission one was a Democrat with:

       "You are white and a Democrat?!!"

      That assumption is pretty good outside small, progressive enclaves found in the larger cities, college towns and a few small cities with a "progressive history." I visited more rural and small town areas in which one could live long periods without meeting and admitted white Democrat and where admission might lead to social isolation.

      Swimming for life in such a sea leads to such assumptions. If one does not travel, or travels with tourist blinders, it is easy to maintain that "America" is like this.

      If you look at  the deep red map of the U.S. you will quickly see it centers on the Old Confederacy and rural, agricultural areas away from the coast. At county level "rural" is a key to TP/GOP strength. It is in states, even ones like Virginia, that by long history give rural voters disproportionate voting power, where legislatures are dominated by this thinking.

      In a piece I saw no sign of here, copletely missed as far as I know, "Agriculture secretary says rural America becoming less relevant, needs a more positive message," we get some gut level feel for how quickly that influence may be dying.

      A month after an election that Democrats won even as rural parts of the country voted overwhelmingly Republican, the former Democratic governor of Iowa told farm belt leaders this past week that he’s frustrated with their internecine squabbles and says they need to be more strategic in picking their political fights.

      “It’s time for us to have an adult conversation with folks in rural America,” Vilsack said in a speech at a forum sponsored by the Farm Journal. “It’s time for a different thought process here, in my view.”

      Secretary Vilsack went on to note that for the first time in memory there was no "farm bill" and that "farmers who have embraced wedge issues such as regulation" need to update their views. Probably not likely, even though rural voters were just 14% in November, because swimming in that sea leads to views such as this comment left with the article:
      Sounds like maybe Vilsack is the wrong person for AGRICULTURAL secretary. I get that your administration hates rural America because they don't vote your way, but Tom, what are you gonna eat when there are no more farms? The Obama administration's legacy will probably be how many different groups they have vilified.
      Just where that sea is located becomes evident in more detailed election maps. Of course deep sea denizens can see the alternative, inverted universe (looking in there is like looking out the port of a bathyscaphe) even in those maps!
      The assault on Liberty we witnessed Tuesday was led, as in 2008, primarily by urban dwellers, most of whom reside on "government plantations," and subsist on the spoils of what Obama calls "redistributive justice." That collectivist constituency now accounts for almost 50 (FIFTY) percent of Obama's voter base. Socialist Democrats have mastered the practice of co-opting (read: "buying") their allegiance and getting them to the polls. The good news, as noted previously, is that about nine million fewer Obama voters showed up in 2012.
      The pressure, the deep dark pressure! It is getting to them and now it is about how gun ownership matches the red tint and "how distorted the national political landscape becomes when controlled by a narrow majority of urban voters"!

      Time to put a spike in that crap at the state levels as well. Blue Virginia needs to turn out in force next year to sweep statewide offices and boot out TP/GOP reps in even bluish areas. In 2014 every state with those "urban dwellers" and like-minded rural voters must turn out to boot the TP/GOP from state office wherever possible.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:46:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Barbour does know what they want - in Miss. (0+ / 0-)

      What a majority of the white electorate wants in Mississippi and demographically similar areas of the deep south, Barbour does know.  That's why their voting pattern is so much different than most of the rest of the country.

  •  Gad. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crashing Vor, Egalitare, thomask, CwV
    Republicans can still shoot their way out of their current predicament. It won’t be pretty and they will have to fight ugly — but they can still win.
    Ah, yes.  Reasoned discourse, compromise and reconciliation -- the three pillars of representative democracy.  I suspect my old civics teacher is spinning like a top in a grave somewhere.

    "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

    by Rikon Snow on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:00:49 AM PST

    •  For a moment I thought they were in trouble. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRo, Egalitare, Amber6541

      Butch: Ready? OK, when we get outside and we get to the horses, whatever happens, just remember one thing... hey, wait a minute.
      Sundance: What?
      Butch: You didn't see Lefors out there, did you?
      Sundance: Lefors? No.
      Butch: Oh, good. For a moment there I thought we were in trouble.

      Pardon our dust. Sig line under renovation.

      by Crashing Vor on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:04:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Republicans can still shoot their way out" (0+ / 0-)

      Yeah, that kinda pops out, doesn'tit?
      Anyone know if this Theissen is related to Theissen/Krupp?
      I mean....shoot your way out....

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:41:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "There is an honorable tradition of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    dodging the question" I hope this is supposed to be sarcasm.

    "Onward through the fog!" - Oat Willie

    by rocksout on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:03:08 AM PST

  •  Googled 'Artur Davis'....no recent sightings. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, Drdemocrat
  •  It'll be a sad day in the USA if the Supremes (5+ / 0-)

    don't rule in favor of marriage equality.

    Why is this country so socially backward?  It must be because of the undue religious-oriented influence of aging conservatives.  To the young, I believe religion is becoming irrelevant, it's so unrelated to modern life.  Does anyone really believe that young people will wait until ages 25 or 30 to become sexually active?  Huh?  

    When birth control was unreliable, people did marry early--girls as young as 18, boys at 20 or 21. Now people often marry late or don't marry at all.  My elder son is marrying his lady friend next year and he's 42.  My younger son was 33 when he married, my daughter 30.

    Society is changing but most religions aren't changing with it.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:14:04 AM PST

    •  I think that it (4+ / 0-)

      is the usefulness of the religious conservatives to the ruling class.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:18:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a sad day (0+ / 0-)

      now in that I simply can't figure out how they're going to rule, and it all comes down to one or two votes on the Supreme Court.

      Warranted, I don't expect a sweeping decision rendering marriage equality either nationally legal or illegal.  That would be out of the observed range of the court.  In such a case, a universally negative decision has very little lasting power.  CA can always put it up to vote again, and the next Dem House and President can reverse DOMA--by which time it'll be politically popular.

      It's the last that tends to lean me toward thinking they'll dump DOMA and weasel out of Prop 8 on cert.  Roberts doesn't want to see his court being more biased than it's already shown itself to be with Citizens United.

      (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

      by Lonely Liberal in PA on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:58:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Diary pimping: (0+ / 0-)

    "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

    by kestrel9000 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:24:19 AM PST

  •  Dred Scott, Dred Scott, Roberts Court Dred Scott (0+ / 0-)
  •  Win? Win what? (0+ / 0-)
    Republicans can still shoot their way out of their current predicament. It won’t be pretty and they will have to fight ugly — but they can still win.
    All they are truly clinging to is those precious, talismanic tax cuts for the wealthy. Like Gollum and his ring.
    They don't care about the deficit, that's clear. they don't care about the economic consequences of this latest manufactured crisis, the fiscal bluff.
    They don't care about the 98% of us held hostage to this monomania.
    They don't care that huge, pan-demographic majorities of the American people strongly oppose their one and only goal.
    They don't care if 'shooting their way out" and "fighting ugly" are the only avenues they have.
    They don't even care that, so soon after the election, Americans are actually paying attention to this ghastly display.

    So somehow showing all that is a win?
    Thiessen has accidentally bared a little more of the ugliness that is the Republicans in Congress.

    Stand for something, or you'll fall for anything - Malcolm X via Skindred

    by kamarvt on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:37:29 AM PST

    •  WTF is the surprise? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CwV

      For some time, at least since the "Gingrich Revolution" the practice of "fighting ugly" is as characteristic of that party as climbing trees is to a squirrel—it is what they do.

      They do it even to themselves. Years ago in Fairfax County here in NOVA the "true believer" faction moved the Republican Caucus location on the quiet and even tired to block Republicans that found out and were going to the new location. Anything, anything, no matter how ugly, is just fine in defense of the true faith these people think they carry.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:54:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "U.S. Treasury exits AIG with bailout profit of (0+ / 0-)

    $22.7 billion"....hmmm seems like the gument does know a thing or two about how to make money...they ought to take over the entire energy industry, bring down consumer costs, go more green, pass profits along to paying off the debt and decreasing taxes. the natural resources of this land belong to the people why shouldn't the people profit from their exploitation and why shouldn't that exploitation be regulated more carefully....?

  •  "they will have to fight ugly" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CwV, wintergreen8694, weinerschnauzer

    I can't remember a time when the Republicans fought any other way but ugly.
    And in related news, Joe Lieberman is making his final "diner tour" of my state, but by all accounts it's really a "whiner tour" as Tail Gunner Joe, the embodiment of backstabbing and obstruction, pisses and moans about the lack of "bipartisanship" in DC. His departure can't some too soon for Connecticut residents.

  •  In order for "equality to march forward" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    in red states, particularly in the South, the SCOTUS is going to have to rule that equal marriage is now the law of the land and the red states must conform.  If the court leaves the decision strictly to the states, hell will freeze over before a state like mind, Texas, will permit such marriages.  If Loving v. Virginia hadn't been decided for all the states, I seriously doubt that interracial marriage would exist here now.

    And I really don't think the court will make such a sweeping ruling this time.  I hope I'm wrong, but I don't trust the SCOTUS to believe that nine states is preponderance, and I know my state.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:28:12 AM PST

  •  Oh please, Rethugs, listen to your Thiessen (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694, StellaRay

    Should they follow his advice it would be like Lee ordering a repeat attack on Mead's position in Gettysburg - it would annihilate their army and maybe shorten the civil war period we have to endure until the GOP is beaten badly enough to come to their senses (sort of like the Confederacy in the civil war, again). Sure, it is romantic to be a 'Chesty' Fuller and/or a King Leonidas... .'We will stand and FIGHT'...but the marines had to retreat all the way down the peninsula after Chosin, and never really menaced the North Koreans again, and the Spartans were annihilated to a man, having held up the Persian army for all of three days.

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:07:29 AM PST

    •  Yep, Thiessen gets the booby prize (0+ / 0-)

      from me in today's APR. He advocates a fight to the death without chance of victory, as republicans have no choice when it comes to the rise of tax rates, that's GOING TO HAPPEN.  Now the question is simply whether it will happen for everyone or just the 1%.  Whether they will swallow hard and move forward, or be the party that caused a tax hike for the middle class. And THEN be the party to say no again when the Democrats turn around and try to initiate a middle class tax cut.

      What a circus of posturing, ego, and BAD strategy. If they had agreed to the 1% only tax hike weeks ago, they could have spent the last month railing on cutting entitlements, which is what they're really after.  But no, they're stuck on fighting for a battle that's already over.

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:00:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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