SCOTUS Blog publisher Tom Goldstein provides a quick analysis that, to sum it up, says it looks unlikely a majority will rule up or down on Proposition 8. Many of the justices think the opponents of gay marriage may not have standing (they aren't representing the State of California, they're just activists). Second, on the constitutionality question, Justice Kennedy seems to be the deciding vote (surprise!). Kennedy believes the jury's still out on the "social science of the effects of same-sex marriage" because it's a new phenomenon, Goldstein writes.
Here's his thinking on how this plays out:
If those features of the oral argument hold up – and I think they will – then the Court’s ruling will take one of two forms. First, a majority (the Chief Justice plus the liberal members of the Court) could decide that the petitioners lack standing. That would vacate the Ninth Circuit’s decision but leave in place the district court decision invalidating Proposition 8. Another case with different petitioners (perhaps a government official who did not want to administer a same-sex marriage) could come to the Supreme Court within two to three years, if the Justices were willing to hear it.
Second, the Court may dismiss the case because of an inability to reach a majority. Justice Kennedy takes that view, and Justice Sotomayor indicated that she might join him. Others on the left may agree. That ruling would leave in place the Ninth Circuit’s decision.
Breaking: 1st update- #prop8 unlikely to be upheld; either struck down or #scotus won’t decide case. More in 30 mins.
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) March 26, 2013
There are not 5 votes to strike down #prop8 and recognize equal right to #ssm at this time
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) March 26, 2013
Also: the anti-gay haters from NOM are currently marching on the Supreme Court behind a banner that reads "Every Child Deserves a Mom and a Dad." If NOM believed that every child child deserved a mom and a dad—and that the law should reflect and mandate that—NOM would be fighting IVF treatments, which are often used by single straight women, and demanding that sperm banks be closed. NOM would oppose adoptions by single straight people and NOM would be demand that divorce be made illegal for straight couples who already have children. But they're not doing any of that, of course, because this isn't about children. It's about hate.
Photo credit: GLAAD.
Rush Limbaugh yesterday:
So same-sex marriage and wiping out the Defense of Marriage Act is now a civil right. People that oppose it are bigots and nobody wants to be a bigot. But the thing you can't say is that if left to a vote of the people, same-sex marriage loses every time it's on the ballot. I think so far it's 30 times. State ballots, initiatives and other things, and the Defense of Marriage Act at the federal level. It's never passed. You wouldn't know that, would you, by listening to the pop culture media? You would think that this issue has overtaken everything, it's the most important issue to everybody and anybody, and that it has massive public support. And yet every time it's been voted on by the people it has gone down to defeat. That's why the courts have to get involved, because the people, according to the left, won't do the right thing.
Someone needs to let Rush know about the polls. And someone needs to let Rush know that marriage equality has been approved at the ballot box—in four states. And someone needs to tell Rush to go fuck himself.
You can pray for the Supreme Court to strike down gay marriage. You can pray the justices will fear the wrath of a vengeful god. You can pray your bigoted little heart out. So that's what Traditional Values Coalition president Andrea Lafferty, who has spent every other option, begs you to do in a letter:
"I could" see a Republican candidate for president in 2016 endorsing same-sex marriage, Republican strategist Karl Rove told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, further underscoring just how quickly public attitudes on the issue are changing.
In recent years, Rove has very publicly tried to nudge his party closer to the center of public opinion on a variety of topics - a task he has taken on with renewed urgency in the wake of Republicans' 2012 election losses. Given polls showing a quickly increasing base of support for same-sex marriage, it is understandable that the electability-minded Rove could envision a GOP candidate publicly supporting the right of gay couples to get married.
How nice of Rove to try to "nudge his party closer to the center of public opinion," considering he's the architect of George W. Bush's 2004 campaign that used gay marriage as a wedge issue to win reelection. What a piece of shit this guy is—granting Rove the nickname "Turd Blossom" might be the smartest thing Bush has ever done.
Hooray for Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz for taking a strong stand in favor of gay marriage yesterday:
At the company’s annual meeting Wednesday, shareholder Tom Strobhar suggested that the boycott had indeed bled the company of value.
“In the first fill quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earrings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing,” he said.
CEO Howard Schultz shot back that the decision to back gay marriage was not about the bottom line, but about respecting diversity. He said the company had delivered a healthy return last year, boycott or no.
“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much,” he said, to loud applause from the audience.
Schultz didn't have to take a stand against the NOM shill, but he did so forcefully and simply. It was a perfect response, and I think that we'll start to see more CEOs following suit in the months to come. But I have an important question to ask of you:
This Politico story puts some perspective on the amazing things happening around us politically.
When historians write the story of America’s cultural revolution on gay marriage, March of 2013 may well get its own chapter — the month when the political balance on this issue shifted unmistakably from risky to safe.
But historians will surely also note that this was a movement in which the politicians, for the most part, were mere passengers along for the ride. With very few exceptions, elected officials remain profiles in caution and calculation, while activists and courts are the real engines of change.
It's not often that you can tell that you're living in a moment that will be historically important. It's even rarer when that obvious historical moment is a change for the better. This is one of those moments.
They hear that their cause is lost, that demographics and the march of history have doomed their campaign to keep marriage only between a man and a woman. But the young conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage — unlike most of their generation — remain undaunted.
They identify themselves as part of the “pro-marriage movement” and see themselves at the beginning of a long political struggle, much like the battle over abortion. If they can begin shifting the terms of the debate away from gay rights and toward the meaning of marriage, they say, they have a chance to survive short-term defeats.
Nope! That's not going to happen. The only leverage the anti-gay bigots had was the idea that if gay marriage passed, a bad thing—an amorphous something terrible—would happen to us all. Now that states from coast to coast have approved gay marriage and nothing awful has happened, all their arguments are moot. Making the conversation more about "the meaning of marriage," which presumably means more bullshit Bible talk, isn't going to change that. People are seeing happy married gay couples, and now those who oppose gay marriage aren't just trying to stop something that has never happened before; they're trying to take something that is very real away from people. I'm happy to report that these conservative kids are in for long lifetimes of disappointment.
Support for gay marriage reached a new high in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, marking a dramatic change in public attitudes on the subject across the past decade. Fifty-eight percent of Americans now say it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to wed.
We've come a very long way in ten years. As ABC News notes, "in 2004, strong opponents outnumbered strong supporters by a broad 34 percentage points."
Republicans don't get any more mainstream than Ohio Senator Rob Portman. He's so Republican, he was very nearly Mitt Romney's choice for vice president last year, until Romney decided he had to make a big splash and went for Paul Ryan instead. And now, Portman has announced that he's in favor of gay marriage:
Sen. Rob Portman has renounced his opposition to gay marriage, telling reporters from Ohio newspapers yesterday that he changed his position after his son Will told him and his wife, Jane, that he is gay.
Portman, an Ohio Republican, made the stunning revelation just a week before the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on a 1996 federal law asserting that gay marriage is not legal, a measure that Portman co-sponsored as a member of the U.S. House.
Portman couldn't do the full monty, though. He says gay marriage should still be a state-by-state issue. Still, this is huge news. Portman is as Republican as they come; his name has even come up a few times as a 2016 presidential contender. It'll be interesting to see how Republicans treat this news tomorrow at CPAC now that boring, reliable ol' Portman has backed off the bigot parade.
Straight people who've adopted kids? Your families are second best, your kids are second best, and your parenting is second best. So says the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage. He said it in an interview with the Associated Press and he was specifically talking about United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Roberts' wife, and Roberts' two adopted children. AP:
“You’re looking at what is the best course societywide to get you the optimal result in the widest variety of cases. That often is not open to people in individual cases. Certainly adoption in families headed, like Chief Roberts’ family is, by a heterosexual couple, is by far the second-best option,” said John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage. Eastman also teaches law at Chapman University law school in Orange, Calif.
It's making headlines. Here, for example, is the front page of HuffPo right now:
John Aravosis pivots from NOM vs. the Roberts Family to the new pope vs. orphans. Looking forward to reading blog posts about the wisdom of NOM attacking the family of the Chief Justice on the eve of the court's decisions on gay marriage.
After the blatant anti-gay bigotry at Arlene's Flowers—the owner refused to serve two gay men getting married—Eryn Hugo walked out. She didn't even give two weeks. Slog tipper Jim says, "someone needs to hire this girl."
...and bragged about doing so on rightwing Christian radio during his reelection campaign? That same guy—Bill Clinton—is now calling for the repeal of DOMA.
A flower shop in Richland, Washington, is refusing to do business for a same-sex wedding, teeing up what could become the state's first big test of its anti-discrimination law since voters approved gay marriage last fall. Now you may be thinking: an anti-gay florist? But Arlene's Flowers owner Barronelle Stutzman confirmed in a phone interview this morning that she refused to serve Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed's wedding "because of my relationship with Jesus."
"I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman," Stutzman explained. "If they choose to get married, that's fine, if that is what they believe. I just choose not to be a participant in the wedding."
But Freed, 43, points out that the owner was never asked to "participate" in a wedding she disagrees with—just sell them flowers. "We had no intentions of sending her an invitation to our wedding. We don't want her to walk us down the aisle," he says. The couple has been buying flowers from the shop for the nine years they've been together, but when Ingresoll asked the owner last Friday to provide floral arrangements for their September 19 ceremony, Stutzman refused. Freed was seething the next morning and posted about his experience on Facebook, he says. "After I posted it, I started crying. I said to Rob that I had to do this. We are not wanting to cause some fight or create national debate about this, but it was wrong what happened to us."
And apparently against the law.
This appears to be a cut-and-dried case of illegal activity under Washington State's 2006 anti-discrimination law, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, says Anne Levinson, a former Seattle Municipal Court judge and a leader of the marriage campaign. "If a business is putting themselves out there as serving the public, then they cannot discriminate," Levinson explains. And the Washington State Attorney General said in a statement that "if they sell wedding flowers to any other opposite sex couple, they must not discriminate against a same-sex couple seeking to buy wedding flowers."
Asked if she thinks she broke the law, Stutzman replied, "Well I guess we will find that out, won't we." Still, it's unclear if Stutzman will even have to defend herself in court.
Thank God this man got reelected.
Grab a tissue before you head over to the New York Times to read the rest of this story:
Danny called me that day, frantic. “I found a baby!” he shouted. “I called 911, but I don’t think they believed me. No one’s coming. I don’t want to leave the baby alone. Get down here and flag down a police car or something.” By nature Danny is a remarkably calm person, so when I felt his heart pounding through the phone line, I knew I had to run.
When I got to the A/C/E/ subway exit on Eighth Avenue, Danny was still there, waiting for help to arrive. The baby, who had been left on the ground in a corner behind the turnstiles, was light-brown skinned and quiet, probably about a day old, wrapped in an oversize black sweatshirt....
Three months later, Danny appeared in family court to give an account of finding the baby. Suddenly, the judge asked, “Would you be interested in adopting this baby?” The question stunned everyone in the courtroom, everyone except for Danny, who answered, simply, “Yes.”
Andrew swooned, but Charles Pierce isn't the least bit impressed by the pro-equality amicus brief that has now been signed more than one hundred "prominent Republicans," as every news report describes them. Among the signers: Jon Huntsman, Christine Todd Whitman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Meg Whitman, William Weld, David A. Stockman, and James B. Comey. Says Pierce:
Seriously, is there one person on that list of serious influence in the Republican party, and it's not Huntsman, god knows, who is a person of serious influence only in the Republican party that exists in the heads of the people in various green rooms. Bill Weld, god love him, has been out of public life since 1996 and Jane Swift wasn't a "well-known" Republican in Massachusetts even when she was governor. Christine Todd Whitman is an influential Republican? Since when? You might as well be talking about William Seward.
But the coverage of the brief is more interesting than the brief itself because it is another item in the continuing attempt by the elite political media to find a sane Republican party out there somewhere, struggling to be born. Jon Huntsman changes his mind on marriage equality! Chris Christie is Not Invited to CPAC! (Of course, a real sign of Republican reform would be if influential Republicans en masse decided to reject invitations to share the podium with the likes of Allen West.) The Very Fact Of Marco Rubio! The ringworm in the whole business is to be found deep in the bowels of the Times story, right after they summon up the shade of Jane Swift.
"...suggests that once Republicans are out of public life they feel freer to speak out against the party's official platform, which calls for amending the Constitution to define marriage as "the union of one man and one woman."
No duh, as the kidz say. You can support marriage equality as a Republican as long as you're not presently running for office as a Republican, which rather mitigates against your being able to change the nature of a political party, the putative job of which is to elect people to office in order to carry out certain policies.
Dozens of prominent Republicans—including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress—have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election. The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter: Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does, that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”
Legal analysts said the brief had the potential to sway conservative justices as much for the prominent names attached to it as for its legal arguments. The list of signers includes a string of Republican officials and influential thinkers —75 as of Monday evening—who are not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their previous positions.
Among the signers of the amici brief are Ken Mehlman, Steve Schmidt, Meg Whitman, Jon Huntsman, "Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B. Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a former member of the House Republican leadership." The brief directly addresses—and demolishes—the arguments put forward by opponents of same-sex marriage:
LOLGOP is playing slip 'n' slide on the culture's slipperiest slope:
When I tell my friends that I support letting the states decide if Republicans can marry, they often ask me to leave their sauna, unfriend them on Facebook and return all of their lent toiletries. In these instances, I’m reminded that the tradition of marriage is so sacred to many Americans that the notion of Republicans being allowed to marry can offend their very being. “Imagine,” their smoldering eyes seem to be screaming, “My dear, normal child being forced to sit in a classroom being forced to learn about Newt Gingrich’s belief that marriage should only between a man and a woman who doesn’t have cancer.”
I try to tell them that not all Republicans are like Marc Sanford, David Vitter or Herman Cain. Not all Republicans are Rick Perry who has executed hundreds of people, many of them likely guilty of crimes, while making it nearly impossible for thousands of poor children women to find basic health care.
That’s just most Republicans, I say.
I have to admit that LOLGOP makes a persuasive case for Republican marriage. Go read the whole thing.
Last week, if you'll remember, the Associated Press issued a style memo saying that AP style, which is used by copy editors for the AP and publications nationwide, "generally... uses couples or partners to describe people in civil unions or same-sex marriages," and only uses "husband" or "wife" with attribution or in a quote.
Well, it looks like they're changing their style officially, now:
The following entry was added today to the AP Stylebook Online and also will appear in the new print edition and Stylebook Mobile, published in the spring:
husband, wife Regardless of sexual orientation, husband or wife is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage. Spouse or partner may be used if requested.
"The AP has never had a Stylebook entry on the question of the usage of husband and wife," said AP Senior Managing Editor for U.S. News Mike Oreskes. "All the previous conversation was in the absence of such a formal entry. This lays down clear and simple usage. After reviewing existing practice, we are formalizing 'husband, wife' as an entry."
It shouldn't have been a question in the first place, but good on them for coming around.
Here's Jon Huntsman in The American Conservative, telling his fellow Republicans to support gay marriage:
..conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. I’ve been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love.
All Americans should be treated equally by the law, whether they marry in a church, another religious institution, or a town hall. This does not mean that any religious group would be forced by the state to recognize relationships that run counter to their conscience. Civil equality is compatible with, and indeed promotes, freedom of conscience.
That's Jon Huntsman, everybody: A good human being, a sensible politician, a smart policy guy, and—according to other Republicans, anyway—the worst Republican on earth.
@fakedansavage, who loves to bully people who disagree with him, picked up on my #marriage vlog. #NoH8slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/…
— Anna Maria Hoffman (@AM_Hoffman) February 20, 2013
Radical #SSM activists are not used to young people challenging their hateful agenda. We won't shut and we won't give up.
— Anna Maria Hoffman (@AM_Hoffman) February 20, 2013
When people have to resort to ad hominem attacks because they can't have a civil discussion, you know they're losing the debate.
— Anna Maria Hoffman (@AM_Hoffman) February 20, 2013
In a poll billed as the "first public opinion poll of 2013 on marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples," a majority of Americans—"91% of Democrats, 75% of Independents, and 56% of Republican voters"—believe that gay marriage is a Constitutional right. I think this second part of the poll is even more exciting than that:
With nine states now allowing same-sex couples to legally marry and more moving in that direction, voters almost universally believe that it will be legal nationally in the next five to ten years (83%), and 77% believe that it will be legal nationally “in the next couple of years” – regardless of their personal opinion on the issue. This represents a sizeable increase since 2011 when 72% believed it would happen in the next five to ten years, and 67% believed it would happen in “the next couple of years.” While Democratic voters feel most strongly (82% believe it will happen in the next couple years), huge margins of Independents and Republicans feel the same way (73% and 70% respectively).
This is exciting stuff. Go read all the heartening poll results.
The Democratic-led Senate delivered a Valentine’s Day victory to gay and lesbian couples today, passing legislation for the first time that would allow same-sex marriage in Illinois.
The gay marriage measure now goes to the House, where the fight is expected to be tougher. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
It passed by a 34-21 vote with two voting "present." But the Illinois House is more conservative. How tough will it be for this thing to pass the Illinois House, you guys? I poked around real quick looking for a recent breakdown of likely votes, but couldn't find one instantly. Any master analysts of Illinois legislative politics out there?
But there are holdouts, too. In America's gigantic wedding industrial complex—a $40 billion annual market in the United States—some are bristling at the prospect of taking two dudes as their lawfully wedded clients. In contrast to her own enthusiasm, Garness said, "I think you will hear that there are some officiants who aren't going to do it."
And she's not alone with that story. "I won't lie—I get a lot of calls from couples who are getting turned down at a lot of venues," said Amanda Bogue, who plans weddings at the Majestic Inn and Spa in Anacortes. She was positively thrilled to book gay weddings; she hosted one on New Year's Eve. "But nearly all the calls I've gotten from same-sex couples have said the same thing," she continued, recounting stories of gay clients who got the cold shoulder trying to rent a reception hall. "The reality is that not a lot of people are welcoming it like they should."
The Boeing Company has finally agreed to grant pension survivor benefits to same-sex married couples equal to their straight counterparts, according to the union currently hammering out a contract for thousands of the company's technical workers.
That's a retreat for the aerospace giant (which is still locked in sour labor negotiations while its flagship 787 Dreamliner has been grounded by the FAA). As we first reported in November, the Boeing Company told union leaders that, even though Washington State's voters legalized marriage equality, it would continue to deny same-sex couples equal benefits because they weren't required to by federal law.
"We are satisfied that this language protects same sex spouses," says Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, which represents 23,000 Boeing engineers and technical workers. Most of those employees are in Washington State.
The language negotiated today, which Goforth provided to The Stranger, reads as follows: "Recognizing Boeing’s commitment to equality without regard to sexual orientation, Boeing will extend pension survivor benefits to all spouses, as defined under either State or Federal law whichever defines the same sex person as a spouse."
"This language also protects members if same-sex marriage is recognized at the federal level but made illegal at the state level," Goforth says. For example, benefits could still apply if the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is struck down and marriage equality is legal, "but then a state adopts its own discriminatory statute," he says.
Nearly two months ago, Boeing told SPEEA that it intended to deny the benefits to same-sex married employees, and the company appeared to backpedal under media scrutiny by issuing a statement saying that it would be "taking a closer look" at company policy. One SPEEA member responded by launching an online petition asking Boeing to grant equal benefits to gay married employees, gathering 79,000 signatures.
But SPEEA remains at an impasse over other key aspects the contract negotiations. The Boeing Company, which hasn't yet responded to a request for comment, today rejected previous union offers, which would extend existing contracts, and instead gave its final offer. SPEEA members will vote on that offer in the coming weeks.