POTUS believes in fifty-state equality, happy with way it's playing out
In an interview with Jeffrey Toobin for The New Yorker, President Obama cited the recent Supreme Court decision to not grant cert to any same-sex marriage cases as the best SCOTUS decision in his tenure:
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.
FUL: The Obama Brief [NYer]
Not sure I agree that the court didn't have sufficient votes. I suspect that's not the case at all, actually. I think it's much more that the court didn't see fit to jump in unless or until there is a dissenting opinion at the appeals level. And if/when this court jumps in, I think it's somewhat realistic to believe we might have six votes, even (I refuse to give up on Roberts, the major legacy-bearer for this court).
But it's fascinating to hear the president continue to put gay rights and marriage front and center. His commitment, once evolutionary, will go down in history as truly revolutionary.
But your subjective view of 'real' marriage is factually irrelevant, Ryan
In response to my post about an Idaho wedding business that changed its website in what seems to be a revisionist attempt to cover the fact that it used to perform civil weddings and weddings outside of their faith, the Heritage Foundation's Ryan Anderson, one of the modern marriage inequality movement's biggest stars, writes the following:
Ryan's opinion about our marriages, as offensive as it may be, is completely irrelevant to the facts. The fact is that this business was, according to its own website, fully willing to move forward with civil weddings that they themselves may not have supported, but now—suddenly and seemingly without any announced change in business plan—they are not. They have always operated as a public accommodation with an "all comers welcome" position statement, and now they are trying to act like a de facto church that could not conceive diverging from their faith. And that is the issue.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the couple at the center of this controversy, is claiming that the business owners are now being asked to "violate their religious convictions and ministerial vows." If this business, up until two weeks ago, was perfectly willing to marry atheists, the previously divorced, and a whole host of couples that they might not personally condone, then their current claims to be wholly faith-driven are at least lessened, and more likely demolished. They (and Ryan) might see same-sex civil marriages as a whole new ball of wax and a bridge to far, but the law does not. Idaho and federal civil law recognizes same-sex marriage right alongside opposite-sex unions. That being so, it's likely if the ADF moves forward with this lawsuit, and if the information is accurately documented, then the law is going to side with my objective read of the facts rather than Ryan's subjective read of "real" marriage.
And the last thing I will say (for now), is that I literally do not know even one credible marriage equality activist who has even an iota of desire to actually force churches and pastors to marry same-sex (or any kind of) couples. And I know more than a few marriage equality activists. So this is yet another one of those instances where the far-right refuses to accept us at our word, and since they can't "catch us" in what they wish they could catch us in doing, they instead twist information to make it seem like we are acting in bad faith. The truth is that we are acting in good faith on this issue. WE. DO. NOT. WANT. TO. FORCE. CHURCHES. TO. MARRY. SAME. SEX. COUPLES. Period. But if a business owner like this brings a lawsuit based on completely flawed information, we will respond with the facts. On this one, I'm even willing to take all emotion or personal stake out of it.
Flip Benham (yes, their dad) reportedly protesting outside NC weddings
Considering he's a longtime foe of all things LGBT rights and no stranger to street protests, don't take this as indicative of much of anything. But it is still worth noting the people who are determined to show America just how vicious anti-gay activism can still be:
With gay marriage now legal in North Carolina, it was only a matter of time before Flip Benham of Operation Save America started crashing wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.
The North Carolina-based pastor, who is the father of Religious Right activists David and Jason Benham, reportedly disrupted several weddings at the Mecklenburg County and Courts Office in Charlotte last week.
FULL (with photos): Flip Benham Crashes Gay Weddings In North Carolina [RWW]
Hopefully he at least followed stated dress code. Preferably brought a gift, too.
TV's Duggar family continues anti-LGBT activism
Over the years, the Duggars from TLC's hit reality TV show 19 Kids And Counting have become increasingly political. In addition to eldest son Josh joining the extremely anti-LGBT Family Research Council and dedicating his time to efforts to stop marriage equality, mother Michelle has recorded robocalls advocating against LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws and the whole family has shown up at rallies that are focused at least in part toward discrimination. Here's the latest, happening today:
And of course the next time they are on Good Morning America, Extra, or any of those entertainment shows that love to play host to the family, all involved will pretend they are little more than a modern day Brady Bunch. Because that is what always happens. And the TLC network continues to let it happen since the cabler's version of "reality" excludes the "culture war" politics that the family has put front and center.
My one and only request, then now and always, is that the people who choose to cover this family do so accurately. If you're going to make this family the focus of a television show, then let Americans know that they are using their high profile to deny rights to certain viewers. That is not a major request. It should be common sense, frankly. Yet I have watched this family get a truly bizarre for years now. I really don't get it.
Caught ya: Far-right's latest marriage 'victim' edited website to make more solid legal case
Back in May, I wrote about a place called The Hitching Post, a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, business that marries couples for profit. At the time, I opined about how the ordained minister who owns the business has every right to not perform same-sex marriages, if he so chooses. However, if he is going to make that choice, then he is going to lose that right to run a for-profit, "all comers welcome" business that says it marries opposite-sex couples in civil ceremonies, regardless of faith.
And in May, when that business owner, Donald Knapp, first started going to the press with this vow, that's exactly what his business claimed to do. These are the screen caps I used in my initial post:
But get this. In the wake of marriage equality coming to Idaho, the Alliance Defending Freedom is attempting to turn Mr. Knapp and his business into the latest "victims" of the marriage equality push. The ADF is championing a lawsuit against the city of Coeur d'Alene, and to make the case, all involved are claiming that the business is made up of "ordained ministers" who are being told "to act contrary to their faith." They are making it sound like this is an instance of a pastor being forced to perform a religious ceremony in a church, which is a fear they would love to play up as a reality. Several other conservative groups and outlets have run with that spin.
Now here's where it gets interesting. In order to make this case of supposed religious persecution, someone has gone into the very website that I used as basis for my spring commentary and changed the text so that all the mentions of civil weddings no longer appear. Here is how the very same screens that I showed you above look today:
"Ordained ministers" who perform a "traditional, religious ceremony"? And only "for couples who desire a traditional wedding ceremony"? This is revisionist history of the highest order! Now that this business needs to make a case for "religious persecution," they are pretending like they didn't operate in the way that they totally used to operate. They are pretending like civil ceremonies and ceremonies outside of their own deeply held faith were never on the table so that they can make it seem like they have always been convicted in and committed to one specific kind of religious wedding. They have up and changed the rules that they themselves had laid out (i.e. no church, no faith, no problem) so that they can now make the case that they and their far-right spinmeisters are itching to make (i.e. only church, always church; we're the victims).
It's gross! And I caught ya.
*UPDATE: The revisionist history is recent, too. According to Google Cache, the "civil wedding" option was still very much intact on October 9:
*FOLLOWUP: But your subjective view of 'real' marriage is factually irrelevant, Ryan [G-A-Y]
Read: Wyoming to become our 32nd marriage equality state
In a temporarily stayed ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl has ruled against Wyoming's discriminatory marriage ban. Once the stay is lifted (on Oct 23rd, if not before), this will make Wyoming the 32nd marriage equality state:
Only eighteen (!) to go.
*UPDATE: WYOMING: Governor Will Not Appeal, Marriages To Commence By Friday [J.M.G.]
GLAAD: Victory is what happens while you're busy making other plans
What fake victimization sounds like in Arizona
Cathi Herrod, Arizona's longtime voice of discrimination for LGBT people, weighs in on today's decision bringing marriage equality to her state:
PHOENIX – “I am heartbroken for a country and a state that has had the redefinition of marriage forced upon them by an out of control federal judiciary.
In what amounts to the de-facto Roe v Wade of marriage, voters throughout the nation have watched their voices be silenced, and their votes voided. Now, Arizona’s marriage amendment and our voters are the latest victims. While the United States Supreme Court may still take up the issue of marriage redefinition, for now the courts have settled the issue in our state.
Today, we grieve. We grieve for the children who now have no chance of growing up with a mom and a dad. We mourn the loss of a culture and its ethical foundation. We mourn a culture that continues to turn its back on timeless principles.
But we do not despair. We do not throw in the towel. We do not give up.
Just as we have worked to build a culture of life, we will focus on rebuilding a culture of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
SOURCE: Whatever AZ's big anti-ay group is called
Mourn? Grieve? Because certain human taxpayers get to vow a lifetime of happiness together? Because our families get an enhanced measure of protection? Because children who grow up gay learn that they can dedicate their adult lives to art and science and literature and business rather than fighting self-appointed political activists who believe their personal religious condemnations get to trump fair freedom?
You shouldn't despair, Ms. Herrod. You should apologize for holding such crude disregard for your neighbors who happen to have been born a certain way.