Tag Archives: marriage equality

Who’d ever thought we’d reach this point?

WASHINGTON — I’ve witnessed plenty in my lifetime: an erupting volcano, a Ku Klux Klan rally, returning to where I served in a time of war.

I was able to knock another experience off my list of things I thought I’d never see: I got to watch a gay pride extravaganza in the nation’s capital.

My first — and most profound — takeaway was this: An event such as what we saw could not have been possible a generation ago. It speaks to the changes in attitude, culture, social mores that have swept across the country.

I was told the gay pride activities were “tame” compared to how they used to be. Every one of the thousands of people I saw along the many streets we walked was fully clothed. I saw plenty of rainbow colors. People’s hair was dyed in the colors of “Gay Pride.” They were festooned in rainbow-colored clothing. They were lugging signs, selling trinkets of assorted value.

I saw lots of smiles on a gorgeous day under a bright late spring sun.

Who in the world could have foreseen events such this a generation ago, perhaps even a decade ago.

I guess we can thank the U.S. Supreme Court for delivering millions of Americans from a form of purgatory when it ruled that under the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection clause” that gay marriage is therefore legal in all 50 states of this great nation.

But here’s another aspect of what I heard about the gay pride activities taking place in this most political place in America: Corporate and, yes, church endorsement helped make it mainstream. Think about that for just a moment. Gay pride events no longer are the sole province of radicals and extremists intending to shake up “the establishment.” The establishment has signed on.

So the parade took place. The capital was alive with celebration along block after block around the corridors of political power. I was there to witness it.

It was cool.

Gay marriage, where Trump and GOP base part company

facebook-marriage-equality-rings

Here it comes.

The millions of Republican voters who stood by their man, Donald J. Trump, during the acrid presidential campaign might be feeling the first of many pangs of regret over one of their guy’s core beliefs.

Trump has told “60 Minutes” correspondent Leslie Stahl that gay marriage is the law of the land and that he’s “fine” with that. The U.S. Supreme Court decided it, legalized gay marriage in all the states. The issue is done, said Trump — quite correctly. There, you see? I actually can say something complimentary of the president-elect.

I almost could hear the teeth-gnashing while sitting in my study at home when he said that.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/305803-trump-diverts-from-gop-fine-with-supreme-courts-gay-marriage

Do you think the president-elect has upset those among his base, the folks who stood by him while he insulted prisoners of war, mocked a disabled reporter, admitted to groping women, denigrated a Gold Star family?

All of those things, taken separately, should have been enough to disqualify this guy from being nominated by a major political party, let alone from being elected president.

The GOP base — the true believers — stood by the nominee despite not even understanding what he believed.

Trump has vowed to appoint a conservative to the U.S. Supreme Court to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. The court, though, has settled the gay marriage issue, citing the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and its “equal protection under the law” clause.

Trump tonight has indicated — finally! — that he understands the concept of “settled law.” The base of his party will be unhappy with the man they backed to the hilt.

A compromise in Rowan County?

Kim-Davis-450x253

Kim Davis went back to work Monday in Rowan County, Ky.

The question loomed: Would she do her taxpayer-funded job, which includes issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples?

Well, no, but actually yes.

Davis, the rogue county clerk who spent a few days in the slammer when a federal judge found her in contempt of court for railing to issue the licenses, said she wouldn’t do issue the licenses herself, but wouldn’t stand in the way of her deputy clerks who chose to do their jobs on her behalf.

You know, that sounds like a reasonable compromise to me.

If only, though, Davis would understand a couple of key points in this ridiculous sideshow.

One is that her religious faith isn’t being challenged. Two is that she took an oath to serve the entire public, and that includes gay citizens who, according to the nation’s highest court, are entitled to the same rights as all U.S. citizens.

If she can’t perform all the duties she took an oath to perform, she ought to quit.

 

 

Justices vent their anger, show their fangs

What? Do you mean to say that the U.S. Supreme Court justices are human beings, with actual tempers?

I guess so, if the story attached to this post is any indicator.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/supreme-court-justices-antonin-scalia-samuel-alito-119486.html?ml=po

The two huge rulings this week — affirming the Affordable Care Act and legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states — reportedly has revealed a growing schism between the two wings of the court.

Conservative justices don’t like the liberal tilt the court showed in the two rulings.

And at least one of them, Justice Antonin Scalia, said as much in his dissenting opinions.

Scalia and fellow Justice Samuel Alito appear to be angriest at Justice Anthony Kennedy, who joined the liberal justices on both rulings. Kennedy was picked for the court by a conservative president, Ronald Reagan, as was Scalia; Alito was picked by President George W. Bush.

I happen to believe that Scalia and Alito need to settle down. It seems a stretch for me to believe that a high court headed by yet another Bush selection, Chief Justice John Roberts, is going to become a bastion of liberal constitutional interpretation.

OK, so the liberals won two gigantic victories. Obamacare stands and gay marriage is now legal.

There will be plenty of other fights along the way.

What’s more, the fact that Scalia wrote such scathing dissents shouldn’t surprise anyone. He’s known for using colorful language and is fearless in stating his case.

As for the court’s fifth conservative justice, Clarence Thomas, well … he’s always silent during oral arguments before the court. The day Justice Thomas erupts in a fit of rage might be cause for concern.

Sanders to fight for Democratic left

Pundits all across the land have been talking about the Republican base and the core values it seeks for its party.

Meanwhile, the Democratic base has been relatively quiet … until now.

On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, is going to announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/report-sen-bernie-sanders-to-announce-2016-bid-thursday/ar-BBiN6mJ

Hillary Rodham Clinton will get her first real challenger in her campaign for the same nomination.

Sanders will run from the far left wing of his party, kind of like the way Ted Cruz is running from the far right wing of his Republican Party.

Wow! Think about this: What if Sanders and Cruz win their parties’ presidential nomination next year?

Sanders is a hard-core socialist. He favors wealth distribution, wage equality, marriage equality, universal health care and massive cuts in defense spending.

He thinks Hillary Clinton is too cozy with Wall Street and likely is going to hold her Senate vote in 2003 in favor of going to war with Iraq against her.

Does the maverick independent stand a chance at winning the Democratic nomination? You have to say “no.”

Then again …

Oh … the hypocrisy of it all

You hear it from time to time in the debate over whether people should be allowed to marry someone of the same gender.

“Why, allowing same-sex marriage is going to destroy the institution of traditional marriage,” the narrative goes.

That’s what makes this little item so patently hilarious, except I’m not laughing.

Texas state Rep. Tony Tinderholt has filed a complaint against a state judge who ruled that two women could get married legally in Texas. Tinderholt, a Republican from the Fort Worth area, disputes the judge’s legal standing.

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/03/01/texas-republican-whines-about-states-first-gay-marriage-has-been-married-five-times/

But here’s where it gets weird. Tinderholt is currently married to his fifth wife. He’s been divorced four times. I haven’t a clue as to whether Tinderholt has argued against gay marriage because of the destruction it allegedly brings to traditional marriage, but rest assured that plenty of others on his side of the debate have argued it.

While I remain a bit uneasy about the term “marriage” to describe a same-sex union, I understand fully the constitutional argument that no citizen should be denied basic human rights, such as those spelled in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; they guarantee every citizen “equal protection” under state and federal law.

I shall stipulate, though, that no time ever have my wife of more than 43 years and I have felt “threatened” by laws that allow same-sex couples to be married legally. Our marriage is as strong as it’s ever been and I have supreme confidence that we’re going to remain wedded for the duration.

I also am quite certain that millions of other traditional couples feel the same way as we do.

So, to see someone such as Rep. Tinderholt — lugging around his personal history of marital failure — argue against someone else’s rights under the law simply makes his argument laughable on its face.

 

Ready or not, Texas, same-sex marriage on its way

Get ready, Texas.

We’re about to be told that same-sex marriage is OK after all in the Lone Star State.

That vote we had to amend the Texas Constitution to say “not just ‘no,’ but ‘hell no!’ to same-sex marriage”? It’s going to be ruled in violation of the other Constitution, the federal document that governs all Americans. You see, it has an amendment that guarantees “equal protection under the laws” for all U.S. citizens. It doesn’t say just for those who want to marry those of the opposite sex; it means all, period.

http://www.texastribune.org/2015/02/12/light-alabama-plaintiffs-tx-ask-relief/

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against an effort to overturn a lower-court ruling involving this issue in Alabama. That has court-watchers believing that other states whose same-sex marriage laws are in limbo at the moment now will be informed that, yes, they also must allow same-sex couples to get married.

One of the U.S. Supreme Court justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has said publicly that all Americans had better get used to the idea of same-sex marriage becoming legal in this country.

I remain somewhat conflicted on this issue. I dislike using the term “marriage” to define same-sex relationships. Being an old-fashioned kind of fellow, I remain a bit reluctant to climb on board fully. That all said, I do understand what the federal Constitution’s 14th Amendment says about equal protection.

Therefore, I believe it should be legalized purely on the grounds that the Founders understood that all citizens need certain guarantees written into the nation’s governing framework.

Texas remains one of 50 states, all of which are subject to federal law. Thus, we’d better prepare ourselves for the inevitable change in the way we view marriage.

 

 

Alabama's Roy Moore: judicial activist

Judicial activism is alive and well on one state’s bench, and it’s not a state where one would expect to find such a thing.

It’s in Alabama, where the chief justice of that state’s Supreme Court, has decided that the Highest Court in the Land — the United States Supreme Court — declined to overturn a lower federal court ruling that overturned the state’s ban on people marrying others of the same gender.

The high court, then, in effect endorsed the lower court ruling. The state’s ban on same-sex marriage is overturned, along with bans in 38 other states — including Texas.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/02/10/alabama-supreme-court-gay-marriage-editorials-debates/23200975/

As USA Today notes in an editorial, same-sex marriage has become as divisive an issue as the civil rights battles were in the 1950s and ’60s. Most Americans support same-sex marriage now, although in the Deep South, opponents of it remain in the majority.

Still, the entire nation is governed by a single Constitution and the federal courts are empowered to interpret that document in the manner they deem appropriate.

Federal judges have been striking down the bans generally on the grounds that they violate the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, the one that guarantees “equal protection” for all citizens under the law.

Justice Moore, though, doesn’t see it that way, even though he swore an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.

Don’t conservatives oppose judicial activism? Don’t they rail continually at judges who put their own bias above the law?

Alabama’s top state judge is on the wrong side of this issue. Period.

 

 

 

Sexuality is no 'lifestyle choice'

Mike Huckabee is entitled to believe what he believes about homosexuality.

I just happen to think he’s mistaken when he compares a person’s sexual orientation to drinking alcohol or cursing in public.

http://nypost.com/2015/02/01/huckabee-says-gay-marriage-is-just-like-alcohol-or-profanity/

That’s his latest take on an issue that is likely to be a key driver in the upcoming 2016 Republican presidential nomination campaign.

Huckabee is a former Baptist preacher and a one-time Arkansas governor. He told CNN’s “State of the Union” that while he opposes gay marriage he wants to be tolerant of those who choose to marry someone of the same gender. As the New York Post reported: “I accept a lot of people as friends maybe whose lifestyle I don’t necessarily adhere to, agree with or practice. Doesn’t mean that I can’t have a good relationship with anyone or lead them or govern them.”

“We’re so sensitive to make sure we don’t offend certain religions, but then we act like Christians can’t have the convictions that they have had for over 2,000 years,” he said.

I get that, too. I also am a practicing Christian, but I happen to have a different view of the issue than the former governor.

The notion that many folks have that someone’s sexual orientation is a lifestyle choice simply defies logic, as explained to me over many years by my own gay friends. To a person, whenever the subject comes up — and I don’t bring it up myself, ever — about their orientation, they say essentially the same thing: “Why would I choose to be scorned, ridiculed and vilified?”

I haven’t found the answer to that one.

Feds aren't seeking to create 'moral standard'

Here’s a shocker: The Texas Legislature and its Republican super-majority in the House of Representatives is likely to consider legislation that blocks any effort to lift the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

OK, it’s not a shocker. I was kidding.

State Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, has filed House Bill 623 that would prevent the federal courts or the Congress from legalizing same-sex marriage.

http://www.texastribune.org/2015/01/08/no-salaries-for-recognizing-gay-marriage-bill-says/

According to the Texas Tribune: “The federal government is trying to act to create moral standards, and that’s just not acceptable,” Bell said.

Let’s hold on for a moment.

I do not believe the feds are seeking to “create moral standards” with court rulings striking down same-sex marriage laws in several states. The impetus behind the rulings — in every instance — has been the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which grants full rights of citizenship to every American citizen. Full rights of citizenship means that every American is guaranteed “equal protection” under the law.

That means, quite clearly, that if you love someone who happens to be of the same sex as you, the Constitution gives you the right — as a citizen — to marry that individual, just as any citizen is able to marry someone of the opposite gender.

The Tribune reports: “The bill also requires state courts to dismiss legal actions that challenge a provision of the bill and award legal costs and attorney fees to the defendants. Citing the 11th Amendment, which gives states sovereign immunity, the bill also says the state isn’t subject to a lawsuit for complying with the act — regardless of a contradictory federal ruling.”

But wait, says a gay-rights group. Again, from the Tribune: “Daniel Williams, a legislative specialist for the gay rights group Equality Texas, said the bill would go against legal precedent.

“’This bill is retreading very well-established precedent here. In 1869, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Texas v. White that no, Texas does may not ignore federal law whenever it wants,’ Williams said. ‘Beyond it ignoring federal law, it would actually punish state employees who follow the law.’”

The setting of a “moral standard” is not at issue here. Adhering to federal law is what’s at stake.