Tag Archives: same-sex marriage

Stunning profile may emerge on local judicial bench

The Texas Panhandle received excellent federal judicial service for nearly four decades, thanks to the steady hand provided by U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson.

She is stepping aside. A new president has nominated a replacement for Judge Robinson. But some potentially chilling information is coming forth about the new guy.

The Texas Tribune is reporting on statements made by another judicial nominee who is linked to the man Donald Trump has selected for the Northern District of Texas federal bench. Jeff Mateer formerly served as general counsel for a right-wing advocacy group, the First Liberty Institute; Matthew Kaczmaryk — Trump’s choice to succeed Robinson — is deputy general counsel for the same group. Mateer now works in the Texas attorney general’s office. Follow me for a moment.

Mateer is Trump’s pick for another federal judgeship. He reportedly believes transgender children are part of “Satan’s work.”

In a 2015 speech, Mateer said this, according to the Texas Tribune Texas Tribune, about the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage in the United States: “I mean, it’s disgusting,” he said. “I’ve learned words I didn’t know. There are people who marry themselves. Somebody wanted to marry a tree. People marrying their pets. It’s just like — you know, you read the New Testament and you read about all the things and you think, ‘Oh, that’s not going on in our community.’ Oh yes it is. We’re going back to that time where debauchery rules.”

There you have it: Same-sex marriage equals “debauchery,” according to Mateer. The nation’s highest court ruled that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees that all Americans are entitled to “equal protection under the law,” meaning that gay Americans have a constitutional right to marry people of the same gender.

My question is whether Kaczmaryk is cut from the same mold as Mateer, given that they both work for the same ultra-right wing advocacy group.

Is this the kind of justice we can expect from the federal bench in Amarillo? Please say it won’t be so.

‘Equal protection’ or not, from the high court?

I totally understand that court rulings can be complicated and that there often is more than meets the eye.

Thus, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that Houston city employees aren’t guaranteed all spousal rights if they’re married to someone of the same sex.

The state’s highest civil appellate court said in its ruling that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized gay marriage didn’t cover all the benefit rights that one thought might accrue for the same-sex spouses. As the Texas Tribune reported: “As part of a case challenging Houston’s benefits policy, the Supreme Court suggested a landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage does not fully address the right to marriage benefits. Justice Jeffrey Boyd, writing on behalf of the court in a 24-page opinion, said there’s still room for state courts to explore the ‘reach and ramifications’ of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.”

Court ruling deals blow

I admit readily that I’m a bit slow on the uptake at times. However, as I read the U.S. Supreme Court decision on this matter, I am certain I read something about the court deciding that the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection” extended to gay couples just as it does to all American citizens. The U.S. Constitution is clear in its guarantee of equal protection under the law to every American; it doesn’t take Americans’ sexual orientation into account.

Why, then, aren’t same-sex spouses entitled to the same rights as those involved in heterosexual marriages?

My hope would be that the U.S. Supreme Court could clear up, somehow, this apparent discrepancy.

Sen. Wofford to get married … big deal? Well, yes


Two blog posts in a row on a matter that makes me uncomfortable …

Bear with me on this one.

Former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford was married to a woman for 48 years. Then his wife, Clare, died of leukemia in 1996. Sen. Wofford was despondent.

Then he met someone else five years later.

The someone else is Matthew Charlton. Wofford and Charlton fell in love. And so, quite soon, the two of them are going to get married.


Wofford is now 90 years of age. He served with distinction in World War II in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He and Clare produced three children.

I get that people of Wofford’s generation who were gay perhaps were afraid to reveal their sexuality in that earlier time. I also believe Sen. Wofford’s statements about how deeply in love he was with Clare.

Then he has this new love interest enter his life. Is it a big deal that the new significant other is of the same gender? It’s not nearly as big a deal as it would have been a generation or two or three ago.

The truly weird part of this story to my way of thinking is that Matthew Charlton is now 40 years old. He is five decades younger than Sen. Wofford.

Wofford said he never attached the terms “gay” or “straight” to his sexual orientation.

He said he’s now just happy to have found love once again. That it happens to be with a man must be just, well, the way it is.

A lot of us out here in the peanut gallery who are watching this latest chapter in the life of a one-time public man are left to wonder: What in the world is up with that huge age difference?


A compromise in Rowan County?


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.



Klansman responds to blog

In February of this year, I posted a blog about the Ku Klux Klan and how it continues to promote a message of hate … even though some within the organization profess to have moved past the KKK’s bloody and murderous past.

I referenced a fellow from Mississippi, a Klansman, who said he would fight against efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in next-door Alabama.

Well, overnight, the Klansman — Brent Waller — responded to my blog post.


It’s at the end of this post. I encourage you to read it.

I’m going to make only one response to the fellow’s view of the state of things in the United States.

He seems to think the country is going straight to hell. He blames all that is wrong today on those who won what he calls the “second war of independence.” He means, of course, the Civil War and he blames the Union’s victory for what has happened in the country.

I prefer to think our nation has had a much more positive trajectory since the end of the Civil War. We went through that period called “Reconstruction,” which meant we had to rebuild the former Confederate States of America; we went through the civil rights movement, which the Klan opposed; we enacted landmark legislation granting all Americans — regardless of race — the rights of full citizenship, which the Klan also opposed.

Waller thinks we’re headed for some abyss.

I beg to differ.

Still, I welcome this man’s comments and I laud him for putting them out there for the public to read.


There 14th amendment was added after the war of northern agression. The Southern states Legislative bodys were filled with black puppets, so their Amendment is therefore a Tyrants Amendment.

Almost every thing wrong with this country can be traced to the doorsteps of those who won the 2nd war for independence.

I will not stoop to your childish name calling level, but do suggest a relearning of the true history of the war, and the Tyranny that existed in my state at the hands of Barbarians from 1865 to 1877.

The Ku Klux organized and drove the disgusting international carpetbaggers from our state, and brought an end to the lie called ” Reconstruction”.

The Bible clearly states a man shall not lie with a man as a woman. This nation was built as one nation under god.

It is our duty as Christians and Klansmen to oppose Tyranny, and the crowd that follows in the sin of Satan. Unnatural sex, and unnatural marriage goes against the Word.

Do you suggest White Christians who sailed the ocean and fought for this country with their blood just simply give it up to Tyrants, International bankers, lunatics and fools?

Being gay is a choice people make. They make these choices as they were constantly told, by the international carpetbaggers media that the sins of Homosexuality are OK.

The carpetbaggers fear Nationalism, so they are in a mode to destroy America from within. They are pouring in the third world masses and promoting Homosexuality. They finance all elections and only support those who prosdtitute their votes for money. These slimy prostitutes deserve a special seat at Satan’s table.

Throughout history when the grip of the Tyrants hand gets to tight upon the God Fearing White mans throat, He rises up and slays the Tyrants. So just to answer your question of how White men fight, start with the French Revolution and read.

If you as a person promote the enemy’s agenda of Homosexuality you need to check your Morals.

This serpent as you called me is not the Grand Dragon, He is the elected Imperial Wizard of the United Dixie White Knights. My Ancestors fought in the American Revolution and every war since they helped build the American Republic.

I’m a husband and father, and a man who has a thorough understanding of how this country was founded and the atrocities of the revolutionaries who won the second war for independence. Most simply have no clue and are trained sheep.

To ignore the word of God is risky business

Have fierry cross will travel

IW Brent Waller

U.S. Constitution alive and well

There are those who say the U.S. Constitution is carved in stone.

Others say it is a living document.

I will side with the living document folks.

Consider this, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision that legalizes gay marriage across the nation.

The Constitution, when it was written, granted full citizenship rights to just a portion of the population.

* Men were allowed to vote. Not women.

* Black people were the property of white people; they were considered to be three-fifths of a human being.

Eventually, the Constitution underwent change.

The 19th Amendment gave women got the right to vote. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery. The 24th Amendment barred poll taxes as a requirement to vote in federal elections.

The courts stepped in on a number of fronts. The Supreme Court tossed out a state law that prohibited interracial marriage; it tossed out “separate but equal” provisions in public education, resulting in integration of our public schools; it ruled that women have a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

Now it has ruled that same-sex couples are as entitled to marry as heterosexual couples.

The Constitution has evolved over time.

I believe the evolution will continue with this latest ruling.


Judge will marry gays, if duty calls

Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner is on record already on an issue that well could generate a good bit of controversy.

Back when she was running for the office to which she was elected, Tanner — along with her four Republican primary opponents — took part in a candidate forum sponsored by Panhandle PBS. I was privileged to be one of the journalists questioning the candidates.

One of the panelists asked all the candidates a most probing question: Given that Texas law gives county judges the authority to perform marriage ceremonies, would you — as county judge — be willing to perform a ceremony uniting a same-sex couple in matrimony?

Some of the candidates hemmed and hawed. One of them said “no,” he wouldn’t do it.

Tanner’s response? She was unequivocal. If the courts rule that gay marriage is legal in Texas, then she would follow the law. She would marry anyone with a valid marriage license. That would be her responsibility as county judge and she would perform it.

Her answer was straightforward as it could have been. It didn’t harm her at the polls, as she won the GOP primary outright and went on to be elected county judge in November 2014.

As of this morning, the issue hasn’t yet presented itself to Judge Tanner. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has said county clerks can refuse to issue marriage licenses if they have a religious objection to the Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized gay marriage.

There’s been no word that I’ve heard about whether Potter County Clerk Julie Smith is going to follow the law or ignore it, per Paxton’s decision.

Tanner’s take on the issue is clear. What’s cloudy and muddled is whether another countywide elected official, Smith, is going to follow the law.

Stay tuned. This could get dicey.

Next up for Supremes? Gay marriage

Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, with two conservative justices joining the liberals to form a majority coalition, it is fair to speculate about the gay marriage ruling that’s coming up.

My trick knee is throbbing and it’s telling me the court is going to declare that gay couples can legally be married.

What’s more, if conservatives think they’re angry now at Chief Justice John Roberts’s ruling in favor of the ACA, wait to see the reaction if he decides that the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause applies to gay couples.


Republicans, such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, say that religious liberty is under attack. Cruz, who’s running for the GOP presidential nomination, told the Faith and Freedom Coalition: “I would encourage everyone here to be lifting up in prayer the court that they not engage in an act of naked and lawless judicial activism, tearing down the marriage laws adopted pursuant to the Constitution.”

There he goes again, using that word “lawless.”

The case under consideration deals with whether a gay couple can be married legally in one state and have it recognized in another. Federal judges have overturned state bans on gay marriage, declaring that such bans violate the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law for all citizens. Gay people are citizens, too.

The court surprised a lot of Americans — including me — by upholding the ACA.

I’m sensing a less-surprising outcome on the gay marriage issue.

The reaction, though, could be ferocious.

Let’s now await high court ruling on gay marriage

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott knows when the Legislature has finished its work and there’s no need for “overtime.”

Thus, he has nixed the idea of a special session to deal with same-sex marriage, which legislative conservatives wanted to do.

To what end? Beats me.


Texas already has approved a constitutional amendment that says, by golly, marriage should involve a man and a woman. The amendment came on top of an existing statute that said the very same thing.

Now the state is awaiting — along with 49 other states — a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that well could render all of that action moot. The court is going to decide, more than likely, whether states’ bans on same-sex marriage violate the federal Constitution, the one to which all state governments must adhere.

Texas legislators considered a bill that dealt with religious freedom, a bill that resembled legislation approved in Indiana, but which attracteded a torrent of protest from gay-rights groups. The Indiana bill would have allowed businesses to deny serving same-sex couples on the basis of business owners’ religious convictions. Critics said the bill, in effect, permitted business owners to discriminate openly.

The Texas bill didn’t pass. Legislators, though, did approve a bill that, according to the Texas Tribune says this — and you’ll have to follow it closely to understand it: The bill protects those from being from forced to “solemnize any marriage or provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, formation or celebration of any marriage if the action would cause the organization or individual to violate a sincerely held religious belief.” The bill awaits action from Gov. Abbott.

Hey, all of this could be tossed aside if the high court rules that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees every American “equal protection” under the law, regardless of who they love or intend to marry.

I’m pretty sure that covers Texas.


Huck needs to cool the rhetoric

“We are moving rapidly toward the criminalization of Christianity.”

That was the Rev. Mike Huckabee in a conference call to conservative activists. The one-time Baptist preacher and former Arkansas governor is going to announce soon his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination and this is going to be a theme of his second White House campaign.

Honestly, he needs to settle down.


Huckabee and a host of other GOP candidates are roiling the party’s base by using scary rhetoric, declaring that there’s a phony war against Christians in the United States. Rick Santorum says it. So does Bobby Jindal. Same for Scott Walker. They all oppose same-sex marriage and suggest that this issue is pretext for the war against Christian belief in this country.

I once considered Huck to be a fairly reasonable man. He ran for president in 2008 and acquitted himself fairly well during much of the GOP primary. He’s gotten a bit overheated in recent years. His statement now about the threat of “criminalizing” Christianity goes beyond what’s reasonable discourse.

He knows that’s not going to happen. Ever.

In this supercharged political climate, it plays well among the party’s base, which seems to believe anything that its political leaders say out loud.