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News from the Plains: All this RED can make you BLUE

It's OK to hate gays in OK
by Barry Friedman

(Optional musical accompaniment)

So, how hard was this one to get right?

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered the National Guard to stop processing requests for military benefits for same-sex couples, her office confirmed Tuesday, despite a Pentagon directive to do so.
Apparently too hard.
Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said the governor was following the wish of Oklahoma voters, who approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 that prohibits giving benefits of marriage to gay couples.

"Because of that prohibition, Gov. Fallin's general counsel has advised the National Guard not to process requests for benefits of same-sex couples," Weintz said. "Gay couples that have been legally married in other states will be advised they can apply for those benefits on federal facilities, such as Tinker Air Force Base, rather than state run facilities."

Ah, leadership. The governor, who, incidentally, is on her second marriage (as is her husband), will protect the sanctity of the institution, because nothing tears at the fabric of society faster than a gay soldier making his lover a beneficiary on a 401k. Good thing we didn't allow voters to decide on the legality of interracial couples, otherwise Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas and his white wife Ginny would be outlaws.

That constitutional amendment, by the way, in addition to denying benefits to same sex spouses, also says Oklahoma will not recognize same-sex marriages from other states, which is a problem because the United States Constitution says it has to.  

SECTION 1.

Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

SECTION 2.

The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.

And ... there is the matter of the recent SCOTUS decision stiking down the Defense of Marriage Act (something Justice Thomas astonishingly voted against doing).
This decision means that legally married same-sex couples are now entitled to the same federal benefits as married opposite sex couples.
And ... there is the matter of the makeup of the National Guard.
"Her legal argument is full of holes," said Chris Rowzee, spokeswoman for National Guard affairs for AMPA. "National Guards are not solely state entities; they are a joint entity with the federal government."
And ... there is the matter of the directive from the Department of Defense of the United States of America that benefits be granted to same-sex domestic partners in the military.
The Department of Defense has announced the extension of equal benefits for ALL military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation.
And ... there is the matter of the Oklahoma Constitution itself.
Section I-1: Supreme law of land.

     The State of Oklahoma is an inseparable part of the Federal
Union, and the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law
of the land.

Slowly ... and with feeling: THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATE IS THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND.  It's on page one, for the love of Madison!

This should settle it, right? Aside from being pernicious, heartless, and petty, the governor's decision is legally indefensible. Now if we could just get her to stop confusing Oklahoma with Oklahoma!

This is what she said at the Republican National Convention.

The history of my state of Oklahoma offers a great example of pursuing the American Dream. It was built and settled by pioneers moving West to seek better lives. During the great the Land Run of 1889, thousands of families rushed to put a stake down on empty plots of land. They built tent cities overnight, they farmed the land and they worked hard. And in 1897, eight years after the Land Run, a handful of adventurous pioneers risked their own money – NOT, the federal government’s – to drill Oklahoma’s first oil well, the Nellie Johnstone. Mr. President, we know better. As we say in Oklahoma, that dog won't hunt.
Except, Governor, this isn't the end of the musical where Laurey and Curly ride off in their surrey with the fringe on top without having to register the surrey at DMV--it's a real place where the Morrill Land-Grant, railroad, and homestead acts ... the U.S. Military, meat inspectors, and federal highway money ... hunting licenses, Pell Grants, and U.S. Weather Service--not to mention the $1.35 it gets back from the federal government for every $1 it pays in taxes--all made the state what it is today.

In belonging to that commonwealth, we adhere to its laws--and not just the ones we like.

That's the deal.

Oklahoma is still part of the United States of America. It would be nice if we acted like it.

Ed. Note: That picture above is National Guard Sgt. Heather Britt-Davis, who will soon be returning home from Afghanistan later this month. The woman around her neck is Kasey, her spouse.

This is what a soldier's family looks like.
This is what America looks like.
This is what Oklahoma looks like.
This is what marriage looks like
This is what love looks like.

Oklahoma!, DOMA, Governor Fallin

Originally posted to News From The Plains. All This Red Can Make You Blue on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 04:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Oklahoma Roundup.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fallin doesn't have to obey the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

    She only takes orders from the Koch brothers and their minions. She is 100% bought and paid for.

    It is not a stretch to call her a sock puppet.

  •  Fallin is nothing if not predictible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina

    While this is pernicious, it was always going to happen in Oklahoma and several other States.

    It was always going to take another Supreme Court case to strike down the last bit of DOMA, and one of these couples will provide it.

    It's just a pity we have to go through this crap, when Congress could fix it in about ten minutes.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 05:00:19 AM PDT

  •  It's an unsettled question, I think. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, VClib, darlalalala

    clearly the Oklahoma constitution, as amended, effectively requires the governor not to recognizes same-sex marriages in that state.  And the SCOTUS ruling on DOMA does not affect that.  The SCOTUS ruling addressed only section 3, which banned FEDERAL recognition of same sex marriage.  The SCOTUS ruling did not address -- and so left intact -- section 2, which allows a state to refuse to recognize same sex marriages from another state which is what the Oklahoma constitution now requires, and is what the governor is doing here.

    The National Guard presents an interesting question, from a legal perspective.  Is payment of those benefits something the federal government does, and therefore falls within section 3, or is it something the state does, and therefore falls within section 2?  

    Questions like this will continue until there is some definitive  ruling on section 2, making the same kinds of arguments the diary makes here.  There may well be a challenge to section 2 on the grounds that it violates the Full Faith and Credit clause.  But unless and until that happens, that section of DOMA remains intact as of now, and so frankly I would not expect a governor of Oklahoma to refuse to abide by a state constitutional amendment put in place by the voters of that state.  Unless challengers want this to be the case that goes to this SCOTUS as a way to invalidate section 2 (and there are strategic reasons as to why supporters of marriage rights for same sex couples might not want that to happen) it seems to me that the better argument might be that the National Guard is a federal function, and that giving benefits to same-sex married couples does not constitute a state recognition of those marriages in violation of the state constitution. (I don't know how successful that argument would be as I'm not up on the details of how those benefits are paid and who controls them.)  

    •  Thanks for this ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil

      and if the governor's hands were tied constitutionally--and I don't believe they are--let her come out and say that and then let her also say that those who defend and protect this country should be allowed to direct their benefits anywhere they wish--and that the rest of us should stay out of it. Yes, let her tell the state it's wrong.  Let her show some sympathy and grace for those who, in spite of heinous amendments like this, still believe this country, this state, is worth protecting.

      Mostly, though, I appreciate your take and clarification.

  •  And I would add to your statement (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vuzvilla, marina, sfbob

    that

    it's a real place where the Morrill Land-Grant, railroad, and homestead acts ... the U.S. Military, meat inspectors, and federal highway money ... hunting licenses, Pell Grants, and U.S. Weather Service--not to mention the $1.35 it gets back from the federal government for every $1 it pays in taxes--all made the state what it is today
    another bit of federal largesse that continues to come directly to the state's higher education community via those same National Guard soldiers and military veterans, a number of whom are gay. Federal Tuition Assistance dollars and GI Bill benefits pour into Oklahoma's public and private higher education institutions to the tune of tens of millions of dollars every year. Hypocrisy, bigotry and misinformation always seem to find fertile ground in these people's minds.

    I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

    by dannyboy1 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 06:24:22 AM PDT

  •  This is why THE REST of DOMA must go (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vuzvilla

    Section 2 of DOMA is still intact. It's the fig leaf behind which Governor Fallin is hiding.

    Section 2 of DOMA needs to be the target of our next litigation offensive.

  •  Fuck Mary Fucking Fallin (0+ / 0-)

    That is if you can get close enough to endure the stank of her skank.

    "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

    by kerplunk on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 09:29:36 AM PDT

  •  Can you export some of the sane legal thinking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vuzvilla

    south of the Red River?

    We may need to wait until our next governor takes office.

    Gov. Wendy Davis, that is.

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 10:29:21 AM PDT

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