BIGOTS ON PARADE: Idaho Homophobes Take Their Westboro-Style Act On The Road [TW: Anti-LGBT Bigotry, Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia]
Video: Justin and Melanie Sease from Treasure Valley, Idaho, where same-sex couples began marrying this week, have adorned their car with homophobic slurs hoping to start a mobile movement.
First comes love. Then comes marriage. Now cue the clown car - literally.
KBOI News reports that they were contacted this week by Justin and Melanie Sease, a married couple from Treasure Valley, Idaho. The Seases wanted to let people know that they had greeted the news that same-sex marriage is now legal in the state, by painting up their car with homophobic messages. A kind of Westboro on wheels.
"This is kind our little way of protesting the homosexual extremist movement." Justin tells the reporter.
He went on to recite the typical religious ramble:
"We can never accept public homosexuality. It’s wrong, and it’s wrong in God’s eyes first. He’s very clear in the Bible. The Bible says that when homosexuality is publicly accepted, basically it spreads like a cancer."
More interesting is Melanie’s vision of their protest:
"If nobody else is going to do it, why not start doing it? Hopefully, other people will join us and follow us and do what we’re doing."
She wants everyone to paint up their cars and take to the roads like seniors at graduation time? That will show those marrying gays!
I’m so amused and intrigued that I will even help them out with a name for their mobile protest movement:
Honk If You Hate Homos!
The family says they are now being ridiculed. To which I guiltily reply, how could you not be?
WND Pundit Gina Loudon: Democrats Want To 'Destroy Marriage' In Order To Cause Violence So They Can Ban Guns
WorldNetDaily pundit Gina Loudon is out with a new column titled “8 Reasons Why Democrats Hate Traditional Marriage.”
We won’t get into all of the reasons that Loudon has uncovered, but she does tell us that Democrats want to bring an end to “traditional marriage” since they want couples to be sick, poor and childless.
Loudon even claims that Democrats seek to “destroy marriage” because they are “opposed to people being mentally healthier,” arguing that Democrats secretly hope for a “mentally deranged person to act out violently” so they can “rush to a TV camera to call for more gun control” and make sure that “all guns were banned.”Have you ever wondered what it is about traditional marriage that is so offensive to Democrats?
1) Married people overwhelmingly vote Republican
For the last several elections, traditionally married people have overwhelmingly voted Republican. Married men and women supported Romney by 14 percent. Married women alone supported Romney by seven points. If only married people were allowed to vote, the GOP couldn’t lose no matter how hard it tried – no matter how spineless and worthless its candidates. The inverse is also true. If Democrats can cause fewer people to get married and fewer people to value traditional marriage, Democrats can destroy the GOP’s advantage among that group of voters.
2) Married people are physically healthier
Studies throughout the years have all agreed that in almost every way, married couples are physically healthier. Married people live longer, are less likely to develop cancer and heart disease, and are healthier in more ways than can be listed here.
You may wonder why Democrats are opposed to people being healthy.
Simply put, when people are healthy, they don’t need help from the government. Of course, no matter how healthy one may be, we are all now forced to purchase health insurance.
3) Married people are mentally healthier
Married people are less likely to suffer depression, develop dementia, commit suicide and are protected from a host of other disorders. Married people are also more likely to describe themselves as happy.
But why would Democrats be opposed to people being mentally healthier?
All it takes is one mentally deranged person to act out violently for Democrats to rush to a TV camera to call for more gun control and government surveillance. If only government agents were able to snoop on everyone (conservatives) 24/7, they could prevent violent outbursts. Also, they claim that if all guns were banned (except from men who guard the president and leftist politicians), there would be no more gun violence.
4) Married people are wealthier
Research done by Ohio State University found that married people individually are almost twice as wealthy (93 percent wealthier) than single people.
To a Democrat, that screams income inequality. It is unfair in the mind of a progressive for married people to have more money than unmarried people. Besides, what did those evil married people do to steal that money from everyone else? Don’t worry. Democrats will turn those tax credits for married couples into taxes levied against married couples. If only those pesky right-wing extremists would get out of the way, they could tax traditional marriage out of existence. That hasn’t been formally proposed yet, but don’t think that hasn’t crossed the minds of Democrats in D.C.
8) Marriage promotes children
Organizations like ZPG (Zero Population Growth), Planned Parenthood and even animal rights groups flourish when fewer children are born, or when having fewer children is the goal. All of those organizations are arms of the Democratic Party, so when they flourish, so does the cash in the coffers of the Democratic Party.
Should the government just stay out of marriage? No!
Democrats flourish when marriage is diminished, but many on the right side of the political spectrum still refuse to take a stand on the issue. They have fallen for the lie of the left that conservatives should be neutral on the issue. The idea that the government should “stay out of marriage” is exactly what the left would love the right to believe. If Democrats and their allies actively push to destroy marriage, and Republicans can be convinced that they should be neutral on the issue, then Democrats will win this one easily and traditional marriage will be something we will soon read about in history books.
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
In July, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a ruling that threatened the future of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. By a vote of two to one, the court held, in Halbig v. Burwell, that the insurance subsidies that allow millions of Americans to buy health insurance were contrary to the text of the law and thus were illegal. If such a decision had been made earlier in Obama’s tenure, lawyers for his Administration would have been left with a single, risky option: an appeal to the politically polarized, and usually conservative, Supreme Court.
This year, the lawyers had another choice. When President Obama took office, the full D.C. Circuit had six judges appointed by Republican Presidents, three named by Democrats, and two vacancies. By the time of the Halbig decision, Obama had placed four judges on the D.C. court, which shifted its composition to seven Democratic appointees and four Republicans. In light of this realignment, the Obama Administration asked the full D.C. Circuit to vacate the panel’s decision and rehear the Halbig case en banc—that is, with all the court’s active judges participating. The full court promptly agreed with the request, and the decision that would have crippled Obamacare is no longer on the books. Oral argument before the full court is now set for December.
The transformation of the D.C. Circuit has been replicated in federal courts around the country. Obama has had two hundred and eighty judges confirmed, which represents about a third of the federal judiciary. Two of his choices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, were nominated to the Supreme Court; fifty-three were named to the circuit courts of appeals, two hundred and twenty-three to the district courts, and two to the Court of International Trade. When Obama took office, Republican appointees controlled ten of the thirteen circuit courts of appeals; Democratic appointees now constitute a majority in nine circuits. Because federal judges have life tenure, nearly all of Obama’s judges will continue serving well after he leaves office.
Obama’s judicial nominees look different from their predecessors. In an interview in the Oval Office, the President told me, “I think there are some particular groups that historically have been underrepresented—like Latinos and Asian-Americans—that represent a larger and larger portion of the population. And so for them to be able to see folks in robes that look like them is going to be important. When I came into office, I think there was one openly gay judge who had been appointed. We’ve appointed ten.”
The statistics affirm Obama’s boast. Sheldon Goldman, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a scholar of judicial appointments, said, “The majority of Obama’s appointments are women and nonwhite males.” Forty-two per cent of his judgeships have gone to women. Twenty-two per cent of George W. Bush’s judges and twenty-nine per cent of Bill Clinton’s were women. Thirty-six per cent of President Obama’s judges have been minorities, compared with eighteen per cent for Bush and twenty-four per cent for Clinton. Obama said that the new makeup of the federal bench “speaks to the larger shifts in our society, where what’s always been this great American strength—this stew that we are—is part and parcel of every institution, both in the public sector as well as in the private sector.”
Beyond diversity, the story of Obama’s influence on the courts is more complex. Indeed, it could serve as a metaphor for his Presidency: symbolically rich but substantively hazy. Obama took office after years of intense conservative focus on the courts. President George W. Bush spoke often of the need for judges who “will strictly apply the Constitution and laws, not legislate from the bench.” The conservative agenda included limiting abortion rights, ending racial preferences, and lowering barriers between church and state. Obama has shrunk from an ideological battle with conservatives on these constitutional issues. Claims for his judges are grounded in their personal integrity and professional competence. Notwithstanding their qualifications, many of his appointees have drawn fierce opposition from Senate Republicans. In those battles, too, where his judicial legacy has been at stake, the President has chosen to remain largely above the fray.
To the extent that there is an Obama legal legacy, it centers on gay rights and voting rights, subjects that the President addresses more with caution than with passion. Obama served as president of the Harvard Law Review (Class of 1991), and taught at the University of Chicago law school for more than a decade. He was never exactly a legal academic; he didn’t write law-review articles or seek a tenure-track job. He taught classes once a week while practicing law and, later, while serving in the Illinois state senate, in Springfield. When it comes to the law, Obama may never have been a full professor, but he remains fully professorial.
I asked him to name the best Supreme Court decision of his tenure. When the Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, in 2012? When it struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, a year later? Neither, it turned out.
“In some ways, the decision that was just handed down to not do anything about what states are doing on same-sex marriage may end up being as consequential—from my perspective, a positive sense—as anything that’s been done,” the President said. “Because I think it really signals that although the Court was not quite ready—it didn’t have sufficient votes to follow Loving v. Virginia and go ahead and indicate an equal-protection right across the board—it was a consequential and powerful signal of the changes that have taken place in society and that the law is having to catch up.” In the Loving decision, from 1967, the Court held that states could no longer ban racial intermarriage.
In other words, Obama’s favorite decision was one in which the Court allowed the political process to go forward, one state at a time. Not long ago, the President described his foreign-policy doctrine as one that “avoids errors. You hit singles, you hit doubles.” On same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court had hit a single, or maybe a double, and that was fine with him.
Obama opposed marriage equality until May of 2012. He told me that he now believes the Constitution requires all states to allow same-sex marriage, an argument that his Administration has not yet made before the Supreme Court. “Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states,” he said. “But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.
“The bulk of my nominees, twenty years ago or even ten years ago, would have been considered very much centrists, well within the mainstream of American jurisprudence, not particularly fire-breathing or ideologically driven,” Obama went on. “So the fact that now Democratic appointees and Republican appointees tend to vote differently on issues really has more to do with the shift in the Republican Party and in the nature of Republican-appointed jurists. . . . Democrats haven’t moved from where they were.”
This is how Obama has attempted to define his Presidency—as an exemplar of common sense set against the extremism of the contemporary Republican Party. He has had the same mixed success in making this argument for his judges as he has had on most other issues during the past six years.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a recent interview published in Elle, said that she would not yet step down from the Court. “If I resign anytime this year,” she argued, Obama “could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the Court.”
I asked Obama if Ginsburg was right about his political weakness. “Well, we’ve got a pretty good track record,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of Supreme Court Justices confirmed who I think are doing outstanding work. My sense is that the Senate necessarily has to treat the Supreme Court nomination process differently than the circuit- or district-court nomination process—higher profile, people are paying attention.” He found that most people pay little attention to lower-court appointments, but when it comes to the Supreme Court “they have the sense ‘All right, this is big,’ ” and the media cover the story intensely, “which means that some of the shenanigans that were taking place in terms of blocking appointments, stalling appointments, I think are more difficult to pull off during a Supreme Court nomination process.
“Having said that, Justice Ginsburg is doing a wonderful job. She is one of my favorite people. Life tenure means she gets to decide, not anybody else, when she chooses to go.” Asked whether he had any advice about her retirement, Obama replied, with a big smile, “None whatsoever.”
Still, what the President calls “shenanigans” have defined his effort to move his circuit-court and district-court nominations through the Senate. For a politician who is still fairly new on the political scene, Obama has had considerable experience with judicial nominations and confirmations—a subject of great controversy in the past decade. As a senator and as President, Obama has recoiled from the particulars of these fights, leaving others to do the dirty work.
Charles Grassley, the veteran Republican senator from Iowa, dates the conflict between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate over judges to 1987. “It all starts with Bork,” Grassley told me. After contentious Senate Judiciary Committee hearings chaired by Joseph Biden, Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court was voted down, fifty-eight to forty-two. Four years later, Clarence Thomas’s nomination produced an even more rancorous struggle. Ginsburg was confirmed easily, in 1993, as was Stephen Breyer, in 1994.
The tumultuous end to the 2000 election led to a renewed period of partisan struggle in the Senate over the confirmation of judges, which has never really ended. “Right after Bush was elected, all the Senate Democrats went on a retreat, with these liberal law professors, and they came back and changed the ground rules on judicial nominations,” Jeff Sessions, the Republican senator from Alabama, told me. “There is no question that the Democrats were always the aggressors on judicial nominations.” In particular, Senate Democrats rallied against the nomination of Miguel Estrada, a widely admired Republican lawyer, to the D.C. Circuit. Repeated filibusters forced him to withdraw, in 2003. More than a decade later, his defeat still irks Senate Republicans. “Estrada is the poster child for how the Democrats destroyed the process,” Sessions told me.
Most of George W. Bush’s judicial nominations were easily confirmed, but, in 2005, many Democratic senators decided to make a stand. They objected to several of his circuit-court nominees, and refused to allow votes to take place. The D.C. Circuit—often described as the second most important court in the nation—was the focus of the dispute. Democrats fought the nominations of Janice Rogers Brown, a justice of the California Supreme Court, who had once called Social Security and other New Deal programs “the triumph of our own socialist revolution,” and Brett Kavanaugh, a Bush White House aide who had made his name as a principal author of the Starr report.
There were only forty-five Democrats in the Senate, but that was enough to prevent the nominations from coming to the floor for a vote. Under the Senate rules, it took sixty votes to end a filibuster. In response to the Democratic tactics, Bill Frist, the Majority Leader at the time, threatened to invoke what became known as “the nuclear option,” which would have changed the Senate rules to allow nominations to proceed with a simple majority.
Obama had just been elected to the Senate, and, as he later suggested in his book “The Audacity of Hope,” he viewed the battle with disdain. “I remember muffling a laugh the first time I heard the term ‘nuclear option,’ ” he wrote. “It seemed to perfectly capture the loss of perspective that had come to characterize judicial confirmations.” In Obama’s account, he supported the efforts of Democratic colleagues, but with reservations. “I doubted that our use of the filibuster would dispel the image of Democrats always being on the defensive—a perception that we used the courts and lawyers and procedural tricks to avoid having to win over popular opinion,” he wrote. “I wondered if, in our reliance on the courts to vindicate not only our rights but also our values, progressives had lost too much faith in democracy.”
In 2005, a bipartisan group of senators who became known as the Gang of 14 achieved a compromise of sorts. The Republicans agreed to maintain the rules, and the Democrats agreed not to filibuster judicial nominees unless there were “extraordinary circumstances.” The agreement led to the confirmation of almost all of Bush’s nominees, including Brown and Kavanaugh.
That, more or less, was how things stood when Obama became President. Sixty votes were still required to end debate on judicial nominees, but the minority party in the Senate—now the Republicans—was supposed to acquiesce to votes unless the judicial candidate presented “extraordinary circumstances.”
Harry Reid and Barack Obama belong to the same political party but to different worlds. At seventy-four, the Senate Majority Leader is a generation older than the President, and his rough-hewn upbringing, in Searchlight, Nevada, makes him more comfortable with close political combat than with polished phrasemaking. When Reid was a law student, at George Washington University, in the nineteen-sixties, he didn’t spend his spare time on scholarly publications; he moonlighted as a Capitol police officer.
When I visited Reid in his small, elegant office, just off the Senate floor, he spoke wistfully about the first two years of Obama’s Presidency, when Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and enjoyed a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. “This first Congress, we were very successful. We were successful during the regular Congress, we were really successful in the lame duck,” he told me. But in 2010 the Democrats lost the House and several seats in the Senate, and, as a result, Reid told me, “the last two Congresses have been awful.”
With the House in Republican hands, the chances of passing meaningful legislation diminished to nearly zero, and that, in a peculiar way, put more focus on the issue of judicial nominations. Reid could confirm judges without the assent of the House, so he tried to push through as many nominations as he could. In his view, Republicans have violated the pledge made in the Gang of 14 pact of 2005. Instead of filibustering only in “extraordinary circumstances,” Republicans routinely insisted on sixty-vote majorities to end debate on lower-court judicial nominees. “I regret having been one of the premier movers of that deal we made, stopping the nuclear option,” Reid said. “I wanted to make peace here, I wanted the place to work better. Once they got those people on there—Janice Rogers Brown, a guy named Kavanaugh—they were virtually bringing everything to a standstill.”
Who filibustered more—the Democrats under Bush, or the Republicans under Obama—is disputable. Republicans have used filibusters to stop outright only two of Obama’s judicial nominations: Caitlin Halligan, a former aide to Andrew Cuomo, nominated to the D.C. Circuit; and Goodwin Liu, a Berkeley law professor, nominated to the Ninth Circuit. (Governor Jerry Brown later appointed Liu to the California Supreme Court.) But delays by Republican senators have slowed the confirmation process. “In the scheme of things, the long-term trend here, at least since the mid-eighties, is declining confirmation rates and rising length of time it takes to get nominees on the bench,” Sarah Binder, a congressional scholar at the Brookings Institution, told me.
The Senate’s inability to accomplish anything, including the confirmation of judges, began generating disquiet within Reid’s Democratic caucus. Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, and Tom Udall, of New Mexico, began pressing him to invoke his own nuclear option: to change the Senate rules so that only fifty-one votes, not sixty, were necessary to bring judges up for a vote. This precipitated a generational struggle among Democrats. An older group of senators, including Reid, initially opposed such a major change in the Senate’s rules.
The turning point came last November, when Reid brought to the Senate floor three Obama nominees to the D.C. Circuit: Patricia Millett, Nina Pillard, and Robert Wilkins. (A fourth Obama nominee, Sri Srinivasan, had been confirmed earlier in the year.) As the debate began, it became clear that few Republicans had any substantive objections to any of the nominees. Rather, they argued that the D.C. Circuit heard so few cases that there was no need to fill the vacant judgeships. “The D.C. Circuit is a thorn in my saddle,” John Cornyn, of Texas, told me. He said that Democrats simply wanted to gain a majority for cases when the judges sat en banc.
Reid confronted a dilemma, much as Frist had done in 2005. Like all his Democratic colleagues, Reid scoffed at the Republicans’ rationale for denying the votes. The Republicans had tried to fill those same seats on the D.C. Circuit when Bush was President. It hardly counts as court-packing to fill existing judicial vacancies. But Reid had only fifty-three votes. “I’m a traditionalist here,” Reid told me. “I didn’t want to stir up a lot of trouble.” Then, last November, Reid said, his deputy leader, Richard Durbin, of Illinois, remarked that their Republican colleagues were mocking them. “And I knew that was true,” Reid went on. “He said, ‘They’re just saying to each other, “Hey, he wants to change the rules, let him do it.” ’ Because they didn’t think we had the votes.”
Republican intransigence about the D.C. Circuit nominees finally brought around even the most senior Democrats to the idea of filibuster reform. “I was probably the last person to agree to it,” Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, the president pro tempore of the Senate, and its longest-serving member, told me. “I believe the Senate should be independent, not a rubber stamp of any Administration. But this was a wholesale filibuster, completely unprecedented in two hundred years.” On November 21, 2013, the Senate voted, along party lines, to change its rules so that only fifty-one votes were necessary to bring up for a vote a circuit-court or district-court nomination.
Since then, the Senate votes have cemented Obama’s judicial legacy. With simple majorities, the Senate approved the three D.C. Circuit nominees, who joined a court that has frequently served as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court. (John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Thomas, and Ginsburg all served on the D.C. Circuit.) The confirmed appeals-court nominees include several judges who conform to the Obama paradigm, in that they are all relatively youthful and impeccably credentialled, with indistinct ideological profiles: David Barron, a forty-seven-year-old Harvard Law School professor, and a former law clerk to John Paul Stevens, to the First Circuit; Pamela Harris, a fifty-two-year-old Georgetown law professor and another former Stevens clerk, to the Fourth Circuit; and Michelle Friedland, a San Francisco attorney active in the legal fight for gay rights (and a former clerk to Sandra Day O’Connor), who is forty-two, to the Ninth Circuit. According to statistics compiled by Sheldon Goldman, of the University of Massachusetts, the average age of Obama’s first-term appeals-court nominees was 53.5 years, and 49.4 for his second-term nominees. This predilection for younger nominees was a strategy of Robert Bauer, Obama’s White House counsel, and his successor, Kathryn Ruemmler. The judges are likely to serve for decades, and they constitute a farm team for prospective Supreme Court appointments.
The subject of voting rights has largely been thrust upon Obama by a conservative judiciary. “You look at something like the Voting Rights Act, which was uncontroversial from a legal point of view among both Republicans and Democrats ten, fifteen, twenty years ago,” Obama told me. “The ruling that struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act would have been considered a fairly radical step, but it’s a step that the Supreme Court took.” He was referring to the Shelby County decision, of 2013, which invalidated the portion of the law that required Justice Department review of electoral changes, mostly in Southern states.
In response, Obama offered a modulated criticism. As he put it, “The fact that the Supreme Court didn’t seem to internalize evidence where state election officials or politicians are pretty unabashed in saying we want to keep certain folks from voting, where you have voter-I.D. laws that clearly make it harder for certain folks to vote, despite the fact that there is no actual evidence of fraud—not just a little evidence of fraud but no evidence—as every mathematical assessment, statistical assessment that’s been done shows, it’s a pretext for wanting to shape the franchise for partisan advantage. The fact that that doesn’t seem to have gone into the Court’s reasoning I think makes it an ultimately flawed decision.”
For a long time, the Court has moved toward outlawing all forms of racial preference, including affirmative action, and Obama seems accepting, even supportive, of the change. In 1978, in Regents of University of California v. Bakke, the Court rejected the use of racial quotas in graduate-school admissions. Chief Justice Roberts has made the fight against the traditional civil-rights agenda a cornerstone of his tenure. He wrote nearly a decade ago, “It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race.”
Specifically, Obama told me that he believes the Constitution permits the use of racial preferences, though only within carefully defined limits. “It’s legitimate to say that when the government takes race into account it should be subject to some oversight by the courts,” he said. Judicial “oversight” of affirmative action has a controversial history. For many decades, starting in the nineteen-thirties, the Court applied “strict scrutiny” to laws that discriminate against racial minorities, and struck down most of them.
Starting in 1995, though, with Adarand Constructors v. Pena, the Court, in an opinion by Sandra Day O’Connor, began applying “strict scrutiny” to laws that favor racial minorities—viewing affirmative action, in effect, as a form of racial discrimination. O’Connor’s opinion drew a stinging dissent from John Paul Stevens. “There is no moral or constitutional equivalence between a policy that is designed to perpetuate a caste system and one that seeks to eradicate racial subordination,” he wrote. “Invidious discrimination is an engine of oppression, subjugating a disfavored group to enhance or maintain the power of the majority. Remedial race-based preferences reflect the opposite impulse: a desire to foster equality in society.” In its embrace of judicial oversight of affirmative action, Obama’s view appears closer to O’Connor’s than to Stevens’s.
By 2003, O’Connor had softened her stance somewhat, writing the majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, which upheld the use of affirmative action as a means to achieve diversity at the University of Michigan Law School. However, she made clear that she regarded affirmative action as a stopgap. In twenty-five years, she wrote, racial preferences would be neither required nor permissible. Again, Obama seemed to agree with O’Connor, in his grudging support for racial preferences in admissions. He said, “If the University of Michigan or California decides that there is a value in making sure that folks with different experiences in a classroom will enhance the educational experience of the students, and they do it in a careful way,” the practice should be allowed. Still, he added, “most of the time the law’s principal job should be as a shield against discrimination, as opposed to a sword to advance a social agenda, because the law is a blunt instrument in these situations.”
Obama reiterated his belief that the biggest issues concerning race are “rooted in economics and the legacy of slavery,” which have created “vastly different opportunities for African-Americans and whites.” He went on, “I understand, certainly sitting in this office, that probably the single most important thing I could do for poor black kids is to make sure that they’re getting a good K-through-12 education. And, if they’re coming out of high school well prepared, then they’ll be able to compete for university slots and jobs. And that has more to do with budgets and early-childhood education and stuff that needs to be legislated.”
I asked the President whether O’Connor’s time line in the Grutter case, now about halfway expired, was accurate. He replied that Justice O’Connor would “be the first one to acknowledge that twenty-five years was sort of a ballpark figure in her mind.” In any event, he said, progress in racial justice and equality would not come principally from the courts. “And that’s where politics comes in,” he said.
Limbaugh: Democrats' "All Out Assault" On Marriage, Religion, Science, And Education The Cause Of "National Angst"
From the 10.20.2014 edition of Premiere Radio Network’s The Rush Limbaugh Show:
Mr. Abbott, you are a hate filled idiot who is about as useful as a milk bucket under a bull. The only thing that will reduce the number of babies born out of wedlock is comprehensive sex education in our schools. Clearly whatever you were taught is for shit if you think there is any correlation between same sex marriage and unplanned pregnancies. And for the record, if you have an issue with gay marriage, don’t get married to a gay person. And if you don’t want another idiot as Governor of Texas, don’t vote for Greg Abbott. Vote for Wendy Davis. She knows where babies come from. I mean it. Really.
And if you don’t want another idiot as Governor of Texas, don’t vote for Greg Abbott. Vote for Wendy Davis.
Judge also refuses to put his ruling on hold during any possible appeal.
WASHINGTON — Arizona’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Friday.
U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick struck down the state’s ban based on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision striking down Idaho and Nevada’s similar bans.
Additionally, he refused to grant a stay of his opinion, meaning the decision goes into effect immediately.
Frank Turek pushes same anti-reality rhetoric that led his movement to loss - Good As You:: Gay and Lesbian Activism With a Sense of Humor
Frank Turek is a longtime voice of anti-gay hostility and an early adopter of the anti-equality movement’s now-definitive "victim" meme. So it’s no surprise that he, a North Carolina resident, is all kinds of angry at the recent actions that brought marriage equality to his state and others.
But while he’s free to be angry and to shout said anger from the rooftops, Mr. Turek does need to at least deal with reality. Like, for example, when he writes this:[Marriage is] the one institution best capable of creating and then raising children by encouraging their mothers and fathers to stay together. It’s the basis of a civilized society. We can’t build and maintain a civilization through homosexuality or by equating it to what moms and dads do. You may claim that’s bigotry, but it’s really just biology. (Sorry, I didn’t set up the facts of nature. I have noticed, however, that conservatives attempt to change their behavior to fit reality, while liberals attempt to change reality to fit their behavior.)
FULL: Who Does the Constitution Protect? [AFA]
Mr. Turek might have a point if we were talking about replacing heterosexuality with homosexuality. But of course we are not. We are talking about our world, as it exists and has it has always existed. Gay people are a part of that world; this is a fact of nature. Expanding marriage rights to include same-sex couples and our families simply acknowledges basic truths about our society—as it is already, right now. Expanding these freedoms is the civilized thing to do.
The idea that people with certain sexual orientations can and should “change their behavior” is the true bastardization of reality.
Further on, Mr. Turek writes:What do you think would happen if some federal judge wrenched a passage of the Federal Constitution out of context and summarily struck down Maine’s law democratically decided law approving same-sex marriage? Do you think the people preaching “tolerance”—including their cheerleaders in the media—would tolerate such judicial abuse? The airwaves would be blasting howls of unfairness and calls for judicial impeachment. Yet when the same thing is done to strike down marriage laws based in biological reality—laws passed by millions of voters—liberals celebrate that those voters have been disenfranchised. Saying that one judge’s vote counts more than the votes of millions of Americans is an unequal way to advance “equality.”
FULL: Who Does the Constitution Protect? [AFA]
Cool thought exercise, bro. Except, of course, this is a comparison between apples and oranges. Particularly if we’re talking about a faith-driven orange that had dedicated his life toward turning the apple’s basic freedoms into an overwrought and cruel political sparring match ginned up primarily by one party for the sake of votes, paychecks, and access.
The truth is that there is no comparison between the expansion of freedoms and the cruel subjugation of freedoms. The anti-gay social conservatives like to pretend there is because they are hyper defensive about what they have done and their role within civil rights history. But few are buying it. Most people are quite capable of seeing the world of difference between a theoretical court ruling that literally takes away tangible rights from a minority population, and most understand why the denied population would have a credible basis for outrage. Most also understand why the discriminators who’ve been fighting to take away our rights not only have no basis for such outrage, but the mere claim that they do have such a basis is itself outrageous.
Conservative legal advocates from throughout the country have been quietly pouring money into a Montana state supreme court race, hoping to topple a court majority that has bucked the U.S. Supreme Court on campaign finance issues and could soon hear cases with national implications challenging the state’s marriage equality ban and its abortion clinic buffer-zone law.
The Right’s chosen candidate is Lawrence VanDyke, a former state solicitor general with a perfect pedigree for pro-corporate and Religious Right donors. Not only has VanDyke indicated his support for the U.S. Supreme Court’s dismantling of campaign finance laws and lamented that the current Montana high court is insufficiently “pro-business,” but, in his position as solicitor general, steered the state government toward taking positions against abortion rights, marriage equality and gun restrictions in other states.
What’s more, in his writings as a law student, VanDyke was unguarded in his social conservative views, fretting about same-sex marriage, endorsing discredited “ex-gay” therapy and defending the teaching of anti-scientific “Intelligent Design” in public schools.
The Right Sees An Opportunity In Montana
At last month’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, the Family Research Council’s political action committee hosted a private $100-a-head reception featuring conservative luminaries including Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, GOP congressmen Steve King, Vicky Hartzler and Mark Meadows, and congressional candidate Dave Brat of Virginia, who unseated former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in an upset primary election this year.
A flyer for the event announced that along with those national Republican politicians, FRC would be “showcasing a very important State Supreme Court candidate, Lawrence VanDyke of Montana, who we hope can flip the court in that state.”
VanDyke’s presence on the fundraiser’s roster was telling. As FRC’s flyer made clear, a VanDyke victory would change the ideological balance on a court that has been a thorn in the side of opponents of campaign finance reform and could soon be facing nationally watched cases on abortion rights and marriage equality.
VanDyke has not yet submitted a campaign finance report showing how much money, if any, FRC was able to bundle for him at the fundraiser, and his campaign did not respond to our inquiry about whether he was personally present at the Values Voter event. But a review of VanDyke’s campaign finance reports shows that his candidacy has attracted keen interest from out-of-state donors, including some of the country’s leading conservative legal activists.
Since filing for the race to unseat sitting Supreme Court Justice Mike Wheat in March, VanDyke has raised about $78,000, more than one-third of which — roughly $29,000 — has come from 114 individual out-of-state donors. By contrast, Wheat has raised just under $85,000 for his reelection bid, only $1,100 of which came from just five out-of-state donors.
Among those who have contributed to VanDyke’s campaign are recognizable names in conservative legal circles. Kelly Shackelford, president of the right-wing legal group Liberty Institute (a major sponsor of the Values Voter Summit) contributed $100, while another top Liberty Institute official, Hiram Sasser, gave $320, the maximum gift allowable as of VanDyke’s last fundraising report. Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network and a Harvard Law School classmate of VanDyke’s, and her husband Roger also each maxed out with $320 contributions. Thomas Spence, an official at the conservative Regnery publishing house also sent the maximum contribution to VanDyke’s campaign. Two employees of the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom have together contributed $370. Christopher Murray, a lawyer who served on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, also contributed $320.
Nearly $7,000 of VanDyke’s contributions have come from employees of the law firm Gibson Dunn, where Vandyke worked before entering public service. That includes $320 each from Theodore Olson, the conservative attorney argued the Citizens United case (but who has become better known as a marriage equality advocate), and controversial Bush appeals court nominee Miguel Estrada. VanDyke’s campaign also received $320 each from Eugene Scalia — the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and a Wall Street reform-buster in his own right — and his wife.
Montana’s Cowgirl Blog notes that prominent Montana social conservatives Greg and Susan Gianforte — who fund creationist efforts and support anti-gay policies — have also each contributed the maximum amount to VanDyke’s campaign. He has also received the maximum contribution from the Montana Gas & Oil PAC and — in the form of an in-kind gift of catering — from the PAC’s treasurer, Dave Galt.
Cowgirl Blog also notes that VanDyke got a major assist last month from a newly created group called Montanans for a Fair Judiciary, which sent a statewide mailer in favor of his candidacy. The group, which was registered last month, is staffed by a former Montana GOP official and a corporate lobbyist for oil and gas clients, among others.
And just last week, a Washington, D.C.-based group called the Republican State Leadership Committee Judicial Fairness Montana PAC — an offshoot a national group funded by big business interests including the Reynolds tobacco company and Koch Industries — bought $110,000 worth of television ads supporting VanDyke and slamming Wheat as soft on crime. The group has also been mailing out leaflets accusing Wheat of siding with “environmental extremists.”
All of this attention from national activists and corporate backers has caught the attention of a group of six retired Montana Supreme Court justices, who signed a letter last week calling VanDyke an “unqualified corporate lawyer,” adding, “Given [his] background, Mr. VanDyke is an excellent corporate pick although that is obviously not good news for Montanans.”
The letter from the judges notes that VanDyke has received the maximum allowable campaign contributions from numerous out-of-state lawyers who represent major corporations, including more than 20 at the Gibson firm - including at least one who represented Citizens United.
"Corporations are buying judicial races because they want judges who will not hold them accountable," the draft letter from the retired justices says. "If the disinformation they are spreading successfully manipulates Montanans into electing an unqualified corporate lawyer, we will lose our fair and impartial court."
‘Changing The Face of the Montana Supreme Court’
While VanDyke’s personal connections seem to behind quite a bit of his financial support from out-of-state conservative leaders, his featured spot at the Values Voter Summit hints that the conservative legal movement and the Religious Right see an opportunity in his candidacy.
Montana conservatives have made no secret of their desire to pack the state Supreme Court with justices in their ideological mold. Last year, the Great Falls Tribune published leaked emails between conservative Republicans in the state senate discussing a “long term strategy” for displacing more moderate Republicans in the state legislature and “changing the face of the Montana Supreme Court.”
One lawmaker wrote of the need to “purge” the party of moderates, after which “a new phoenix will rise from the ashes.”
In 2012, Montana conservatives were able to elect the likeminded Laurie McKinnon to the state Supreme Court thanks in part to a dark money group called the “Montana Growth Network” run by a Republican state senator that spent at least $42,000 on her campaign — more than the candidate spent herself. The “Montanans for a Fair Judiciary” group that has been campaigning for VanDyke is linked to the firm that was employed by the “Montana Growth Network” to boost McKinnon.
National conservative groups have good reason to take an interest in the race as well.
Montana’s Supreme Court gained national attention in 2011 when it bucked the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of campaign finance regulation, ruling that the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United did not invalidate Montana’s century-old ban on corporate spending in elections. The 5-2 decision, in which Justice Wheat joined the majority, openly defied the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling. One of the two dissenting justices wrote that the state court must follow the high court’s precedent but used the opportunity to excoriate the Supreme Court for its Citizens United logic. On appeal, the Supreme Court summarily reversed Montana’s opinion, ending the state’s corporate spending ban.
Montana’s Supreme Court may soon also be in the center of the legal debates on same-sex marriage and abortion rights. State anti-choice groups have indicated that they might challenge Montana’s abortion clinic buffer-zone bill in the wake of the Supreme Court’s striking down of a similar bill in Massachusetts. And four same-sex couples have filed a challenge to the state’s marriage equality ban, potentially making Montana one of the next states to address the issue.
A Movement Candidate
Although Montana’s judicial elections are ostensibly nonpartisan, VanDyke’s resume makes him seemingly a perfect candidate for conservative activists hoping to drag the state’s high court to the right. At Harvard Law School, VanDyke was active in the conservative Federalist Society and wrote an article for the school’s law review favorably reviewing a book arguing for allowing public schools to teach anti-scientific Intelligent Design.
In an article for another school publication, VanDyke lamented that courts in Canada had been “forcing same-sex marriage on the populace” and warned of a “trend of intolerance towards religion as homosexual ‘rights’ become legally entrenched.” In the same article, he cited a study supporting debunked “ex-gay” therapy to support the “view that homosexuals can leave the homosexual lifestyle.” (The author of that study has since recanted.)
After graduating from law school, VanDyke clerked for D.C. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown, perhaps the most stridently conservative of that court’s activist pro-corporate wing, known for her extreme opposition to government regulation and her writing of a prequel to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. After a stint at Gibson Dunn, VanDyke became an assistant solicitor general in Texas and was named solicitor general of Montana early last year.
In public statements, VanDyke has indicated that he would have sided with the U.S. Supreme Court on Citizens United, defending the decision in a debate last month. And although his race is officially nonpartisan, VanDyke has made it very clear which side of the aisle he falls on, accusing his opponent of judging “like a liberal Democrat” and being “results-oriented” in his rulings — a loaded accusation favored by conservative activists.
VanDyke has also hinted that he would be more favorable to business interests on the court, touting an endorsement from the Montana Chamber of Commerce and saying, “I don’t think anybody who follows our court thinks it’s a pro-business court.” On his website, he backs efforts to “produce and preserve” natural resources, which he contrasts with his opponent’s siding with preservationists in a dispute over drilling gas wells. In September, he spoke at a “Coal Appreciation Day” sponsored by a coal industry group.
VanDyke’s website also touts his support for the death penalty and an expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment, noting his work as state solicitor general defending a bill that would have invalidated federal firearms regulations on weapons manufactured and kept in Montana. (The law was ultimately struck down in federal court). In that position, VanDyke also pushed for Montana signing on to Alabama briefs in favor of overturning semiautomatic weapon bans in New York and Connecticut. At the time, he bantered over email with Alabama’s solicitor general, Andrew Brasher, about shooting elk with semi-automatic firearms, attaching a picture of himself hunting with “the same gun used by the Navy Seals.”
VanDyke recently announced that he had been endorsed by the National Rifle Association.
In his role as solicitor general, VanDyke also worked on efforts to oppose same-sex marriage and abortion rights, including signing on to amicus briefs filed in other states.
VanDyke, meanwhile, is running on the message that he will follow “the law, not politics” and accusing Justice Wheat of being overly partisan. In the same interview in which he lamented that the current state supreme court was unfavorable to business interests, he said, “I have not promised anybody that I’m going to be a pro-business judge or that I’m going to be a conservative judge…I’m going to be a fair and balanced judge.”
Judicial Elections Draw More And More Big Money
Last year, Justice at Stake reported on the fast increase of spending in judicial elections, leading to judicial races seeming “alarmingly indistinguishable from ordinary political campaigns” and blurring “the boundaries that keep money and political pressure from interfering with the rule of law.”
Part of this increase was attributable to the 2010 Citizens United decision, which allowed outside groups to spend unlimited amounts supporting and opposing candidates. In the case of judicial elections, those candidates could be the ones deciding on the future of that very campaign spending.
It’s no wonder that the corporate right and the Religious Right have joined forces to back VanDyke’s candidacy. A little-noticed nonpartisan race in Montana could prove to be an effective long-term investment for a movement that’s trying to solidify a pro-corporate grip on the courts and win back lost legal ground abortion rights and LGBT equality.
h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW
John Paul Brammer: Mary Fallin thinks gay marriage violates religious freedom: An Oklahoman's response
She’d like to paint gay rights as something being forced upon Oklahomans. That activist judges in DC are the ones coming down on otherwise well-meaning southern states and trying to change their way of life without their consent.Wait, Governor Fallin. Could it be that you don’t like it when someone tries to tell you what you can and cannot do with your personal life? I wonder what that must be like.Wait, I know exactly what that’s like living as a gay Oklahoman under your governance.
She’s still harping about the decade-ago referendum on human rights that decided that only strictly heterosexual marriage would be recognised in the Sooner State. You know, to protect the “sanctity of marriage” or whatever. First of all, why were we voting on other peoples’ human rights? That shouldn’t be happening. Secondly, and again, Mary Fallin is the last person that has any business talking about the sanctity of marriage.
I also remind that it’s been less than 50 years since marriage between mixed-race couples was recognised as legal (the Loving case). When someone tells you that one’s racial makeup is different from one’s sexual orientation, I remind that these are characteristics that cannot be changed (nobody asks or chooses to be gay). So what’s the difference? Extremists also use the Bible to justify their racism, not just their homophobia.
As for “religious freedom,” it is worth the reminder that Americans practise a wide variety of faith traditions, and one’s right to “religious freedom” does not afford them the right to trample on the rights of others who don’t follow that same faith tradition. Last time I checked, the United States is a secular constitutional republic or something, or is it a secular constitutional democracy. Doesn’t matter if you view it as a republic or a democracy; the important word is ‘secular.” Mary Fallin is one of those who thinks “religious freedom” means only her religious freedom: To hell with yours, because your religion is not hers and, therefore, wrong and bad and like unto poopy.
We should all cringe, too, when Fallin utters the phrase “state’s rights.” This is particularly true of those who are over a certain age and remember what it was like to be a person of colour before the Civil Rights movement.
Friday the 10th is the deadline to register to vote in the state of Oklahoma for the coming elections. Do your part — register and vote. We cannot continue to have poor voter turnouts, especially in midterm elections. It’s fine that we turn out every four years to vote for a President; but we forget that the midterms are just as, if not more, important because it is midterms where we determine who’s going to Congress for another two to six years. We also forget that it is Congress — the House and Senate — whose work is supposed to be the actual law-making function of government. But relevant to Oklahoma, it’s during those non-Leap Year elections when we don’t choose a POTUS but we do choose a governor.
A panel of high-ranking Catholic officials have proposed a dramatic change in the way the church treats gays and lesbians. The group of Cardinals, known as a synod, suggested the church is capable of “valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine.”
The Cardinals stopped well short of endorsing gay marriage, stating “unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman.” But they also acknowledged, in a section called “Welcoming homosexual persons,” there “are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners.” The Cardinals also suggests that same-sex couples should never be discriminated against in ways that could impact their children.
The document was called a “pastoral eathquake” by John Thavis, a prominent journalist who covers the Vatican. The document produced by the synod, however, does not represent a formal change in church policy.
The new language is reflective of the more inclusive thinking of Pope Francis on homosexuality. Earlier this year, Pope Francis hinted at support for civil unions for same-sex couples. Speaking specifically about gay priests last year, Francis said “Who am I to judge [homosexual priests] if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem… they’re our brothers.”
Pope Francis also recently appointed Bishop Blase Cupich, an outspoken critic of anti-gay bullying, as Archdiocese of Chicago.
Earlier this month, 50 influential conservative christian activists urged “church leaders reiterate a traditional understanding of sexuality and gender roles” at the synod.
BREAKING: Alaska Has Become The 30th Marriage Equality State, The 11th New Marriage Equality State In A Week
And Alaska does, indeed, makes 30.
The week’s momentum for marriage equality did not end with the arrival of the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, Federal Judge Timothy Burgess ruled that Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, officially making it the 30th marriage equality state — and the 11th in the past week.
Burgess’ ruling largely follows the Ninth Circuit’s opinion from this past week, which controls in this case, and also cites some of the opinions from other circuits as well. Still, he makes a few points of his own to counter the arguments put forth by the state.
For example, Alaska contended in court that its ban on same-sex marriage did not violate same-sex couples’ equal protection because it did not directly target them. Not only did Burgess find this claim unconvincing, he pointed out that it doesn’t matter, because “the fact is that the laws do discriminate.” “By singling out homosexual couples and banning their ability to marry an individual of their choosing, it is impossible to assert that all Alaskans are equal under the state’s laws,” he wrote.
The state had also argued that the ban, as worded, was not designed to prevent same-sex couples from marrying, but to promote the marriage of different-sex couples. “Rather than promoting marriage between a man and woman by granting them additional rights and privileges,” Burgess countered,” the apparent purpose and practice effect of Alaska laws is to impose inequality upon same-sex couples by denying them the rights and privileges afforded heterosexual couples.”
Burgess immediately enjoined the state from enforcing its ban, but the state could still request a stay. Given the Supreme Court didn’t entertain Idaho’s stay for very long, it’s unlikely Alaska would be treated any differently.
Source: Zack Ford for ThinkProgress
BREAKING: Alaska’s constitutional ban on #MarriageEquality (1st in the USA) gets struck down. Sarah Palin’s not gonna be happy about this. #AK4M
Federal judge strikes down Alaska’s first-in-the-nation gay marriage ban - @AP— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) October 12, 2014
GREAT DAY IN ALASKA! Sarah Palin’s gonna be mighty mad!
Watch Ted Olson Destroy The Conservative Argument That Overturning Same-Sex Marriage Bans Is "Judicial Activism"
From the 10.12.2014 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday:
OLSON: We have a Constitution and Bill of Rights precisely because we want protections from majority rule. When the majority in a legislature or a popular vote take away rights of individuals that are protected by the Bill of Rights, then we have an independent judiciary to rectify that situation. It’s happened again, and again, and again throughout this country’s history. We have an independent judiciary to protect the rights of individuals like gay and lesbian citizens who only want respect, decency, and equality along with the rest of us.
BREAKING: North Carolina’s Amendment 1 has been struck down.
Several times, we have heard David Barton make the absurd claim that biblical law was directly incorporated into the U.S. Constitution through the Seventh Amendment, which he then uses to assert that laws legalizing abortion and gay marriage are actually unconstitutional.
Lately, Barton has tried to bolster this argument by citing an obscure 1913 Texas Supreme Court ruling in a case called Grigsby v. Reib, which he claims proves that America can never accept a definition of marriage that differs from God’s definition.
In Barton’s telling, this case was about efforts to attain legal recognition for secular civil unions that were separate from marriage as a religious institution in which the court found that “government is not allowed to redefine something that God himself has defined.”
On his radio show yesterday, Barton once again cited the case as he read excerpts from the decision to argue that gay marriage can never be legal:
Marriage was not originated by human law. When God created Eve, she was a wife to Adam; they then and there occupied the status of husband to wife and wife to husband … The truth is that civil government has grown out of marriage. which created homes, and population, and society, from which government became necessary. Marriages will produce a home and family that will contribute to good society, to free and just government, and to the support of Christianity. It would be sacrilegious to apply the designation “a civil contract” to such a marriage. It is that and more; a status ordained by God.
The key finding in this case, Barton asserts, is that the court was basically saying that “we can’t do something different than what God’s done on” the issue of marriage.
Given that nothing that Barton said ought to be taken at face value, we decided to read that court decision for ourselves and, not surprisingly, Barton’s interpretation of the ruling is entirely misleading.
The case involved a woman named Jessie Stallcup, who claimed to have been the wife of a widower named G.M.D. Grigsby and who had sued Grigsby’s sister for control of his estate following his death. Stallcup was a prostitute whom Grigsby used to visit and she claimed that the two had agreed to become husband and wife, though they never held a ceremony, nor did they cohabitate or take any other actions to signal that they were now living has husband and wife.
The case heard by the Texas Supreme Court revolved around a lower court’s interpretation of a different ruling on the issue of common law marriage which said that common law marriage “requires only the agreement of the man and woman to become then and thenceforth husband and wife. When this takes place, the marriage is complete.”
Relying on this line, the lower court ruled in favor of Stallcup, but the Texas Supreme Court reversed this decision, pointing out that in the other case, the couple in question had then lived and presented themselves as husband and wife, with the Texas Supreme Court stating that it takes more than a simple verbal agreement to constitute a legitimate marriage.
To demonstrate this point, the Texas Supreme Court proposed a hypothetical situation in which a man and a women met for the first time, agreed to become man and wife, and then went their separate ways, never to see one another again. This obviously would not constitute a binding marriage, the court found, and neither did the relationship between Stallcup and Grigsby.
"It would be sacrilegious" to give legal standing to such relationships, the court found, because it would then give complete strangers the right to contest seemingly every inheritance by simply claiming to have been the secret spouse of the deceased.
Contrary to Barton’s claims that this case enshrines divine principles about marriage into our civil laws, the court repeatedly notes that marriage is a nothing more than a civil contract that requires “neither license nor solemnization of religious or official ceremony” to be legally binding.
Barton claims that this case was about trying to create a secular alternative to marriage, which the court slapped down because there can never be any legal marriage that does not correspond to “God’s definition.” In reality, the case addressed the issue of whether a supposedly secret verbal agreement to become husband and wife constitutes a legally binding and recognizable common law marriage and whether the relationship between Stallcup and Grigsby qualified as one under the law, with the court ruling that it did not because it didn’t meet the most basic requirements.
This is just one more example of Barton’s willingness to intentionally and flagrantly misrepresent history in order to promote his religious and political agenda.
h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW