Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

marriage equality

In the News: Two Americas.

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Facing Overwhelming Opposition, Arizona Governor Vetoes Anti-Gay Bill

After a week of national backlash, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has vetoed SB 1062, which would have allowed religious beliefs to be used to justify discrimination against LGBT people and others. Explaining her veto, Brewer said, “I call them like I see them despite the cheers or boos from the crowd.” She added that the bill does not address a specific concern and that she knows of no examples of how religious liberty has been under attack.

Opposition to the bill came from individuals and companies across the country, including the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, Apple, and Mitt Romney. Many other states have introduced similar bills, some specifying that businesses could refuse services to marrying same-sex couples, but most have stalled or died, particularly those introduced this week during the backlash against Arizona.


Media Matters: Fox News Has A Nasty Anti-Gay Hangover

What explains Fox’s sudden cold feet now that several states are acting to deal with the manufactured threat to religious liberty that Fox News helped create?

To hear people like Fox’s Kelly and Tantaros explain it, laws like Arizona’s SB 1062 simply went a little too far. These laws would be acceptable if they only affected businesses directly involved in the marriage and wedding industry, but giving all business owners a license to discriminate against gay customers too closely resembles Jim Crow legislation.[…]

The distinction between marriage-related services and general services used by gay couples is convenient, but it doesn’t stand up under closer scrutiny.

For one, Fox News has aggressively promoted the idea that requiring equal treatment of gay people in non-marital contexts also infringes on businesses’ religious liberty. […]

… many of the network’s personalities are waking up to the harsh reality that their words have consequences. They’re in the uncomfortable position of to decide between disowning the right-wing talking points they helped promote or siding with measures that even they admit look a lot like pro-segregation laws.


More …

The Price of Snark: Thank you, Justice Antonin Scalia!

The domino effect …

From Justice Antonin Scalia’s DOMA dissent:

“As I have said, the real rationale of today’s opinion, whatever disappearing trail of its legalistic argle-bargle one chooses to follow, is that DOMA is motivated by ‘bare . . . desire to harm’ couples in same-sex marriages. How easy it is, indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same-sex couples marital status.”

How easy, how inevitable, indeed. And disdainful eye-rolling by Justice Scalia becomes precedent for district court judges across the country.


Federal Judge: Virginia Gay Marriage Unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled Thursday that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, making it the first state in the South to have its voter-approved prohibition overturned.

U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen issued a stay of her order while it is appealed, meaning that gay couples in Virginia will still not be able to marry until the case is ultimately resolved. Both sides believe the case won’t be settled until the Supreme Court decides to hear it or one like it.

Allen’s ruling makes Virginia the second state in the South to issue a ruling recognizing the legality of gay marriages.

“Through its decision today, the court has upheld the principles of equality upon which this nation was founded,” the plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel, Theodore B. Olson, said in a statement.

The Virginia Attorney General’s Office took the unusual step of not defending the law because it believes the ban violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. In her ruling, Wright Allen agreed.


Kentucky Judge Turns Gay Marriage Tide in the South

On Wednesday, a federal judge with deep ties to the Republican Party became the first in the South to rule in favor of gay marriage, offering the best proof yet that the balance in the nation’s long and contentious clash over how to define marriage has been tipped irrevocably in favor of gay rights.

The brief but remarkable ruling by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn, a former lawyer for Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell who was put on the bench 22 years ago by President George H.W. Bush, invalidates a key part of Kentucky’s ban on gay marriage, and requires the state to recognize as valid same-sex unions sealed elsewhere.[…]

Borrowing heavily from Kennedy’s reasoning in last year’s decision, and in plain language aimed directly at the many voters in Kentucky who still oppose gay marriage, Heyburn found gay marriage laws are illegal for the simplest of reasons. At worst, he ruled, they are aimed at hurting gays and at best, are based on religious convictions that can’t pass constitutional muster.

“Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them,” wrote Heyburn. Since none of the reasons put forward to justify that treatment can withstand constitutional scrutiny, he ruled that the laws are invalid.


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Court Watch: Utah Marriage Equality – UPDATE: 10th Circuit Denies Stay

On Friday afternoon, District Court Judge Robert Shelby released his ruling stating that the Utah ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

The response was … people getting married!!

And for the State of Utah to ask for a stay, for the governor to tell the counties to wait before complying with federal law (!), and for the County of Salt Lake to promise to issue marriage licenses until the court tells them to stop.

Today at 8am MST, in Salt Lake City, the county clerks office will re-open and more marriages will take place.

At 9am MST, Judge Shelby will hear arguments on whether or not to grant a stay heard arguments and denied the stay.

UPDATE: Tuesday evening 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Denies Utah’s Stay Request

 The state can ask the Circuit Justice for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to review an application for a stay. The Circuit Justice there is Justice Sotomayor. She can decide to grant or deny a stay on her own, or ask the full Court to decide.

We continue to wait and watch … one step closer.

TV news links: KUTV 2, Fox13Now

Marriage Equality Coming to New Jersey!

Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson has ruled today in Garden State Equality v. Dow that same sex couples must be allowed to marry in NJ!  Marriage equality currently set to start on October 21st.  

In arguments before Jacobson in August, Lambda Legal’s lawyer, Lawrence Lustberg, said that not allowing same-sex couples to marry will have “devastating” consequences because the federal government denies a wide array of benefits to couples who are not married. He said the question is a matter of equal protection under the law and has moral overtones.

Jacobson agreed, ruling that the ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits hurts them in “a wide range of contexts,” such as pension benefits, family leave protections and tax benefits.

“If the trend of federal agencies deeming civil union partners ineligible for benefits continues, plaintiffs will suffer even more, while their opposite-sex New Jersey counterparts continue to receive federal marital benefits for no reason other than the label placed upon their relationship by the state,” the judge wrote. Such unequal treatment “requires that New Jersey extend civil marriage to same-sex couples to satisfy the equal protection guarantees of the New Jersey Constitution.”

It’s About Damn Time.

As you know, the Defense of Marriage Act finally fell, having been struck down by the Supreme Court and relegated to the heap of shitty things that never should have existed in the first place.

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For bigots, this means that an army of hairy men in assless leather chaps are coming to devour their succulent mullet-spawn.  For all else, it means that the United States is one step closer to living up it’s self-evident but expressly stated ideal: all Americans are created equal, and that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights — Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  For LGBT Federal employees, it also provides for deserved–but long denied–benefits.  

Jewish Americans Embrace Supreme Court Rulings on Marriage Equality

Let me start with a very simple statistic about the degree of support marriage equality enjoys within the Jewish American community:

Most Jewish communal leaders celebrated the landmark Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. The Jewish community, with 81% of support for gay marriage according to public opinion polls, is the constituency most supportive of marriage equality, second only to the LGBT community in its backing of the rights of gays and lesbians to marry.

By comparison, among the population as a whole, marriage equality is enjoys anywhere from plurality to a small majority in support.  Given this 81% figure, it should come as no surprise that much of institutional Judaism (to the extent it exists) in the United States has been supportive of the effort for equality.  Many such organizations filed amicus briefs in support of marriage equality before the DOMA and Prop 8 cases were heard and now that the cases have been decided have reiterated their support.

How rejecting Obamacare advances the Gay Agenda

The title is, of course, ironic, but after reading about Chris Cristie’s rejection of Medicaid Expansion under Obamacare for New Jersey, and considering that in light of his position opposing marriage equality in New Jersey, I began to think about the linkage between these two seemingly distinct issues.

While watching the NewsHour’s excellent coverageof the SCOTUS decision in US v. Windsor to throw out Section 3 of DOMA,  I found this quote from Kathleen Sibelius :

Today’™s Supreme Court decision finding the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional is a victory for equality, which is a core belief of this administration. It is also a victory for families, especially those children whose parents’ legal same sex marriages can now be recognized under federal law.

As a result of today’s ruling, the federal government is no longer forced to discriminate against legally married same sex couples. The Supreme Court’™s decision on DOMA reaffirms the core belief that we are all created equal and must be treated as equal. The Department of Health and Human Services will work with the Department of Justice to review all relevant federal statutes and ensure this decision is implemented swiftly and smoothly.

Wednesday’s Supreme Court Watch – Marriage Equality Cases (UPDATE: DOMA Struck Down)

Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)


– DOMA struck down as unconstitutional

– Prop 8 petitioners have no standing and the District Court ruling stands. California can resume marrying same-sex couples.

Today the final decisions on the merit cases argued in the October 2012 term will be announced starting at 10am Eastern.

SCOTUS Blog for liveblog starting at 9:00am Eastern.  

Pending cases include:

– Hollingsworth v. Perry 12-144, heard 03/26/2013 (Prop 8)

– United States v. Windsor 12-307, heard 03/27/2013 (DOMA)

Empathy As A Path To Activism

My dear sister has become a powerful voice and advocate within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) on behalf of marriage equality and LGBT issues in general. In a piece she recently wrote for a Mormon-oriented website she shares her evolution and offers some personal reflections. I offer a long excerpt from that piece below, both as a celebration of Pride Month and as a tribute to a remarkable woman who I’ve known since she was born.

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My sister, holding a sign at last year’s Pride Parade in San Francisco

I have always loved the beatitudes, especially the “mourn with” and “comfort those” verses. As a pediatric oncology nurse I have mourned with and comforted parents of dying children more times than I can count over the years. And yet, I have come to realize that until my son Ross came out six years ago at age eighteen, and my feet were set on a path I never chose, my understanding of this most Christ-like of attributes was not complete. I am not speaking of the empathy I felt for Ross, though as his mother, his pain was indeed my own.

Minnesota House Passes Marriage Equality!

I was watching the Minnesota House of Representatives debate their Marriage Equality bill, and it passed!  75 Yeas to 59 Nays.  The Minnesota Senate is expected to take up the bill on Monday, and from everything I’ve read it’s expected to pass there.  Governor Mark Dayton has said he will sign the bill when it passes.  Minnesota would become the 12th State (13th jurisdiction) to legalize marriage equality.  The tide is definitely turning.