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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Massachusetts
Home country: United States
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 60,536

Journal Archives

How Gay Marriage Became a Constitutional Right

The untold story of the improbable campaign that finally tipped the U.S. Supreme Court.


On May 18, 1970, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell walked into a courthouse in Minneapolis, paid $10, and applied for a marriage license. The county clerk, Gerald Nelson, refused to give it to them. Obviously, he told them, marriage was for people of the opposite sex; it was silly to think otherwise.

Baker, a law student, didn’t agree. He and McConnell, a librarian, had met at a Halloween party in Oklahoma in 1966, shortly after Baker was pushed out of the Air Force for his sexuality. From the beginning, the men were committed to one another. In 1967, Baker proposed that they move in together. McConnell replied that he wanted to get married—really, legally married. The idea struck even Baker as odd at first, but he promised to find a way and decided to go to law school to figure it out.

When the clerk rejected Baker and McConnell’s application, they sued in state court. Nothing in the Minnesota marriage statute, Baker noted, mentioned gender. And even if it did, he argued, limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples would constitute unconstitutional discrimination on the basis of sex, violating both the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. He likened the situation to that of interracial marriage, which the Supreme Court had found unconstitutional in 1967, in Loving v. Virginia.

The trial court dismissed Baker’s claim. The Minnesota Supreme Court upheld that dismissal, in an opinion that cited the dictionary definition of marriage and contended, “The institution of marriage as a union of man and woman...is as old as the book of Genesis.” Finally, in 1972, Baker appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. It refused to hear the case, rejecting it with a single sentence: “The appeal is dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.” The idea that people of the same sex might have a constitutional right to get married, the dismissal suggested, was too absurd even to consider.

Last week, the high court reversed itself and declared that gays could marry nationwide. “Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his sweeping decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”


GOP candidates shouldn’t try to outdo Donald Trump - By Jennifer Rubin

For those unfamiliar with Jennifer Rubin; she's the resident wing nut on the OpEd pages of the Washington Post -- DV

By Jennifer Rubin July 1 at 11:30 AM

The latest national CNN poll confirms what we suspected: The presence of Donald Trump in the race helps one candidate, Jeb Bush. If this is more than a passing phenomenon, the conservative pundits who fawned over Trump and the GOP contenders who seek to ingratiate themselves with him might want to rethink their approach.

In recent national and a raft of early primary state polling, Trump seems to have accumulated loose support from other not-Bush candidates. As the hard right’s not-Bush candidate du jour, Trump siphons support from both self-marginalizing candidates like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), down to an appalling 3 percent in the CNN national poll, and candidates trying to straddle the mainstream/grassroots divide like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (at 6 percent). The reaction of Cruz, Mike Huckabee (down to 5 percent), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (at 2 percent), and Rick Santorum (4 percent) is to scream louder and be even wackier in their policy stances so as to compete with Trump. But not one beats Trump in the crazy department. If voters are looking for an outlandish loudmouth, they might go for the “real” thing, Trump.

The lesson for other serious, mainstream contenders is this: Don’t compete in Trump’s lane. Both Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are Bush’s stiffest competition. Each appears to be dealing with Trump and other gadflies in his own way. Rubio, to his credit, is essentially ignoring them. Although somewhat hesitant on the flag issue, he has been levelheaded on the gay marriage decision and consistently credible on foreign and domestic policy. Walker has sunk from his first-place position early in the race as each new candidate has entered the field. On one hand, this is partially of Walker’s own making as he deliberately focused on foreign policy preparation and his state’s budget (which was nearly finalized yesterday). On the other hand, he is sometimes seen looking over his shoulder at the Cruz-Trump-Huckabee contingent, hinting at limits on legal immigration and reversing himself on illegal immigration reform and Common Core as well as championing the idea of a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court decision. This, I would suggest, has only hurt him with mainstream Republicans who might be inclined to look for a not-Bush alternative, while failing to be “out there” enough for the far right.

The not-Bush competition is fierce, but I don’t believe it is mathematically possible to beat him by ignoring the centrist voters, or by scaring them off in a vain attempt to rob votes from fringe candidates. Let the latter squabble among themselves and self-destruct. Even if one of the them prevails in Iowa, a far-right candidate is not likely to do well in more diverse settings. To beat Bush, a top-tier candidate will have to be a slightly more conservative but entirely credible Republican who can, in essence, say he is more conservative than Bush but still electable and comes without the dynasty baggage.


Utah Gay Hate Crime Was a Hoax

Source: The Daily Beast/GaySaltLake.com

The Utah man who claimed in April that he was robbed twice by bigots who force-fed him bleach and carved “Die Fag” into his arms now says he made everything up. Rick Jones, who co-owns his family’s Delta, Utah, pizzeria told authorities he was bluffing when he said robbers attacked him before tossing a Molotov cocktail into his bedroom. The Millard County Sheriff’s Department said it may now press charges against the 21-year-old man for the fake report after inconsistencies were discovered. Jones’s lawyer, Brett Tollman, said his client has been seeking medical treatment and acknowledged that the attack tale spiraled out of control once it received national attention.

M.L. Nestel

Read it at GaySaltLake.com


Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/07/01/utah-gay-hate-crime-was-a-hoax.html

Mississippi AG Asks To Stop Defending Guv In Gay Marriage Case

Source: TPM

Now that the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry, the attorney general and governor of Mississippi are butting heads over how to proceed. The Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood (D) on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to allow his office to withdraw as counsel to Gov. Phil Bryant (R) in the case regarding the state's ban on same-sex marriage, according to Buzzfeed News.

The plaintiffs in the Mississippi same-sex marriage case asked on Friday that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals lift the stay on its ruling striking down the state's ban following the Supreme Court ruling. Hood's office supported the plaintiff's request, but Bryant opposed the motion, according to Buzzfeed.

Following Bryant's opposition, Hood's office asked to withdraw as counsel to Bryant in the case "because (Hood and Bryant) have differing views regarding how to respond to the (same-sex couples)’ motion," according to the filing obtained by Buzzfeed.

Hood also sent the court a letter on Tuesday asking that they affirm the Supreme Court's ruling. Clerks in Mississippi began to issue marriage licenses to gay couples on Monday after Hood ordered them to do so.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jim-hood-phil-bryant-mississippi-gay-marriage

After 14 years of watching Christie, a warning: He lies | Moran

By Tom Moran | Star-Ledger Editorial Board
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on June 27, 2015 at 7:56 PM, updated June 30, 2015 at 11:23 AM

Most Americans don't know Chris Christie like I do, so it's only natural to wonder what testimony I might offer after covering his every move for the last 14 years.

Is it his raw political talent? No, they can see that.

Is it his measurable failure to fix the economy, solve the budget crisis or even repair the crumbling bridges? No, his opponents will cover that if he ever gets traction.

My testimony amounts to a warning: Don't believe a word the man says.

If you have the stomach for it, this column offers some greatest hits in Christie's catalog of lies.

Don't misunderstand me. They all lie, and I get that. But Christie does it with such audacity, and such frequency, that he stands out.


Random Facebook Post

Random Facebook Post:

You think mindcontrol through vaccines, chemtrails, and quantum waves is a joke? Think again! 10 years ago, gay marriage was unthinkable to most people. Today, almost everyone on Facebook has rainbow-colored profile pictures. Do you REALLY think a landslide like that happens naturally? Of course not. Drill a little deeper, and I'm confident that you'll find that all or most of the people with rainbow profiles are vaccinated. Coincidence? C'mon! WAKE UP!!!!

This is the level of stupid we are up against. Better be on top of your game people.

How the reaction to the gay marriage ruling could hurt the GOP’s 2016 nominee

By Paul Waldman June 30 at 12:15 PM

When you suffer a policy defeat, you have a few choices for what to do next. You can move on, giving your attention to other issues. You can look for ways to make progress on the issue, this particular setback notwithstanding. Or you can simply refuse to abide by the new state of affairs, whether it’s a law passed by Congress or a ruling by the Supreme Court. With the two major rulings the court made last week, Republicans faced this choice, and more than a few of them are choosing refusal. So far it may be just rhetorical, but it could open up yet another rift within the Republican Party as it tries to pick a presidential nominee and then unite under a banner that can win the support of a majority of the electorate.

There is a clear divide among Republicans in how they’ve reacted to the court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, and it roughly correlates to how much concern each individual has about winning that national majority. Jeb Bush said the focus now should be on protecting religious liberty, presumably that of our nation’s oppressed bakers and florists. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) agreed, saying “we live in a republic and must abide by the law.” But in other quarters, there were hints of the kind of resistance we saw after the Supreme Court struck down segregated schools six decades ago.

Or at least there were people advocating that kind of resistance, if the resistance itself hasn’t yet emerged on any significant scale. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that if county clerks in his state have religious objections, they should refuse to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples. If someone decides to sue them, “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights.” Mike Huckabee predicted there would be a campaign of civil disobedience from Christians and reiterated his bizarre legal theory that Supreme Court rulings have no effect until Congress passes a law authorizing them. Some, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, are advocating a constitutional amendment reversing the decision. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) argued that states that were not party to the suit are not bound by it, so they don’t have to obey the ruling until a court specifically orders them to. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wrote an op-ed stating his belief that if gay people are allowed to get married, then government at all levels should simply stop issuing marriage licenses altogether.

You can say all this is just bluster, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Other than the odd county clerk who can give a couple trying to get their license a very inconvenient day or two, there isn’t much anyone who objects to the court’s ruling can do. But the louder they are about it, the more they reinforce the idea that the Republican Party is the party that not only hates gay people, but is also stuck in the past and refuses to grant the legitimacy of any institution it doesn’t agree with. And candidates like Bush and Rubio will no doubt be attacked for being insufficiently militant on this issue.


Republicanism is dead. Maybe.

By Richard Cohen Opinion writer June 29 at 8:00 PM

If you’re old enough to recall how the landslide election of Lyndon Johnson over the hapless Barry Goldwater supposedly spelled the end of the Republican Party, or how Ronald Reagan’s election amounted to a revolution that put the Democratic party on the mat until — more or less — the end of time, then you will understand my caution in saying that while the Republican Party may well survive its recent difficulty, Republicanism itself is dead. I think.

The recent difficulties consist of taking the wrong side in the great health-care debate, not only opposing what came to be called Obamacare, but also refusing to produce an alternative. People are worried about their health, and the party comes up with buffoons such as Sarah Palin who invents death panels and trivializes the whole debate. Obamacare is not only the law of the land, but it is also the inevitable next step toward universal health care — just like many countries have, even the poorer ones.

The party’s other recent difficulty is being on the wrong side of just about every social issue you can think of. The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage throughout the land, and Republican after Republican stepped forward to denounce the decision and prattle on about what God intended — as if any of them know.

Some, such as Chris Christie, reached for that hoary cliche about unelected men in black robes. Christie is hardly the first person to discover the awesome power of the American judiciary and, when you Google the matter, he turns out to be using similar language as school desegregation opponents did in 1954. Then, too, an alleged and simply horrible dictatorship of the judiciary was denounced — but the nation moved on.

Opposition to social change is but one pillar of contemporary Republicanism. The other was best articulated by one of the many Bushes in American life, George H.W., who vowed at the 1988 GOP national convention, “Read my lips: No new taxes.” This was a clear — if extorted — articulation of the First Principle of Republican Life as received, possibly in fire and other Cecil B. DeMille effects, by Grover Norquist.

The no-new-taxes mantra has now been applied in several states and found wanting. In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback has taken a weed whacker to the tax code, lowering rates and waiting for the promised economic miracle to occur. It didn’t, and now he’s working on raising some revenue — through the sales tax, for instance — because there’s a hole in the budget.


Republicans are in retreat

So the Republicans are all in a flurry to redefine, adjust or refocus their message, since the past week showed them to be out of step with both their normally conservative brethren on the Supreme Court and American public opinion. It wasn't just a matter of Obamacare, gay marriage or public anxiety over corporate sponsored trade agreements; it was a confluence of a whole host of data points that made them look out of step and quite silly.

Just to string together a few of the threads:

The nine deaths in a Charleston, S.C., church bared their racial preferences with a nod toward removing the Confederate flag, but not an inch of give on gun legislation;

A Republican-sponsored bill banning notification of the source of meat products as protection for consumers gets national laughs;

Their ridicule for Pope Francis's pronouncements on climate change is seen as offensive;

The bombastic entry of Donald Trump into the presidential fray, joined by also-ran Govs. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) and Bobby Jindal (R-La.), does little more than highlight the comic element of the Republican presidential campaign;

A bill tagged onto budget legislation to end net neutrality is called out for the regressive step it is;

And a notification that the rich donors have already exceeded their spending in the last election gives the public notice to just how much the party is in the pocket of wealthy sponsors.

These were all sidebar issues to the main attraction of the Republican Party leadership's bluster and indignation expressed as being shut down on healthcare and gay marriage, and the demonstration of their decidedly pro-business chops in passing fast-track legislation over Democratic Party objections.


Trumpghazi Continues: Mexico Drops Out Of Miss Universe Pageant

The Mexican media company in charge of sending contestants to the Miss Universe pagaent has dropped out of the event in protest of the contest's owner, presidential candidate and ex-reality TV star Donald Trump.

Televisa announced in a statement on Monday that it would not be sending a contestant to Trump's beauty pageant due to the mogul's remarks calling Mexican immigrants "rapists," killers, and drug dealers during his presidential launch.

Former Miss Universe Lupita Jones, also responsible for organizing Mexico's represenation at the pagaent, weighed in on Twitter on Monday and blasted Trump for "harming the organization."

Trump remained steadfast on Tuesday morning, tweeting that while he loves "the Mexican people," the country itself is "not our friend."

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