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Kim Davis: The almost too perfect coda to the marriage discrimination fight

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 At 11.00.16 PmShe is portraying herself as a victim even though she is the one denying equal treatment, basic fairness, and dignity to a minority population.

She is arrogant, thumbing her nose at court orders that go all the way up to SCOTUS.

She is almost unbelievably hypocritical, having herself enjoyed four—count 'em—marriages herself.

She is relying fully on her personal faith with complete disregard for church/state separation

She is aligning herself with activist groups that put their agendas far above the facts and their fundraising far above their ability to serve her needs.

She is fighting a fight that everyone knows she will ultimately lose.

Kim Davis is the perfect story for these waning days of the marriage fight. This sideshow of a news item, playing out through an almost too good to be true subject, is like a mutant melding of all that the anti-equality movement has done wrong over the years. She, like discrimination itself, is quite hard for any logical person to defend. She, like the anti-gay movement itself has long done, is unwittingly helping America see just how nasty inequality looks when it plays out in the real world.

In the documentary, Kim Davis is the angry protester yelling at the stoic citizens who are just trying to move on with life. She is the antagonist who is unnecessarily hassling those who are ready to comply with fairly contested and enacted laws. She is the soldier who doesn't realize that she's already lost the fight. And she is perfectly cast. If she didn't step up on her own misguided accord, Hollywood would've wanted to invent her.

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Anti-gay clerks are going to have to do their jobs. Because of course they are.

by Jeremy Hooper

Declaring that she has "little or no likelihood" to win on appeal, a Sixth Circuit panel has denied a now infamously anti-equality clerk's attempts to sidestep her job whenever a qualified same-sex couple requests she fulfill her paid duties:

A panel of federal appeals judges refused to overrule a judge's injunction against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who continues to refuse marriage licenses for same-sex couples more than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court found a constitutional right to marry.

Three judges with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Davis' request for a stay on Wednesday, writing that her official duties include issuing the forms and that the Supreme Court has already said states cannot bar same-sex couples from marriage.

KEEP READING: Rowan gay marriage licenses upheld on appeal [Courier-Journal]

Shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

No word on how the anti-LGBT movement (or what's left of it) will next lie to Ms. Davis (and to the bakers and the photographers and the florists and...) in order to dupe them into believing they get to win these fights simply because they want to. Though I do hear the plan will have something to do with a lamp and a genie.

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Jeb really wants to remind voters of his anti-'same status' plan for gay couples

by Jeremy Hooper

When a candidate releases a book in the middle of a primary, every chapter, word, and comma is carefully orchestrated. So you can be sure that Jeb Bush included this in his new ebook, Reply All, because he thinks it's a virtue worth touting:

Mr. Cortada, an artist, was alarmed that Mr. Bush’s brother, President George W. Bush, was proposing to amend the Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage – and was unsettled that the governor backed the idea.

“When one of us is denied equality, then all of us are denied liberty,” Mr. Cortada wrote to Mr. Bush. “Today, I am feeling particularly denied and particularly unequal.”
“I don’t believe that your relationship should be afforded the same status in the law as a man and a woman agreeing to marriage,” he wrote.

FULL: Jeb Bush’s Emails as Governor Show His Feelings on Same-Sex Marriage [NYT]

Out of all the email terminology available, it's fitting he called the book "Reply All." "Forward" would have been a big lie.

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Maine: NOM finally forced to hand over its tiny, out-of-state, incestuous donor roll

by Jeremy Hooper

The list itself holds few surprises, showing the same names we've long known (Templeton, Fieler, Caster, Knights of Columbus) having financed NOM's operations in Maine. But having covered this saga for all the years that NOM tried to obstruct justice, I do feel compelled to post this final chapter:

Breaking: NOM Hands Over Donor List From Maine Campaign Against Same-Sex Marriage – Details [NCRM]

The whole thing is already starting to feel nostalgic.

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This delusional primary: Huckabee claims 'same-sex marriage is not the law of the land'

by Jeremy Hooper

The US Supreme Court did not "write a law," obviously. Instead, the majority found that same-sex couples have the right, under our constitution, to enter into civil marriages. In fact, the laws that were passed to try to muddy and ultimately stop that right (both federally, with DOMA, and with all the state marriage bans) are what court after court found unconstitutional; SCOTUS agreed.

But now listen to Mike Huckabee, a presidential candidate who wants nothing more than to entwine church and state into a covenant marriage, throw some red meat at Iowans in hopes that they will support his pipe dreams:

MIKE HUCKABEE: Well, let me correct you. Same-sex marriage is not the law of the land. And let me tell you why. Because the Supreme Court cannot make law. And so I know we say it is, but — let’s be very clear. Let’s go back to the fundamentals of the Constitution. Three branches of government equal to each other. Each has checks and balances with each other. No one branch can just do something and say, to heck with the other two branches. It doesn’t work like that.
FULL TRANSCRIPT: Mike Huckabee: “Same-Sex Marriage Is Not the Law of the Land” [The Pulse (an anti-gay conservative site)]

And of course Huckabee throws in Dred Scott since that's become the gross, cynical, and divisive talking point social conservatives love to toss out there in order to make our love seem like one of history's ugliest chapters. Huck says:

HUCKABEE: I don’t mean to overwhelm this, but here’s what I think we’ve got to understand. In history, there have been times — Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, all ignored Supreme Court decisions that they clearly knew were unlawful. The most notorious was the Dred Scott decision in 1857 which said black people weren’t fully human. Let me just ask, does anybody here agree that that decision was the right decision? I mean, it was the Supreme Court’s decision. So if the Supreme Court decides something and it’s now the law of the land, shouldn’t we now be disrespecting black people? Why do we not? Well, because one, Abraham Lincoln refused to accept it. He refused to abide by it. And he instead signed the Emancipation Proclamation and later we passed the Fourteenth Amendment, which codified into law what Lincoln said was the obvious law.
FULL TRANSCRIPT: Mike Huckabee: “Same-Sex Marriage Is Not the Law of the Land” [The Pulse (an anti-gay conservative site)]

But even in his disgusting attempts to play a "slavery" card, he trips up in his own rhetoric. Yes, he's right that Lincoln reacted in outrage to the heinous ruling. But until new laws were passed, Dred Scott was legally binding, something Lincoln himself acknowledged in his first inaugural address. The president and allies had to engage in political efforts to ultimately overturn the ruling and damage done.

And yes, a theoretical President Huckabee (shudder) could use the same political will, moving to pass new laws and even shooting for a far-fetched constitutional amendment. But that never-going-to-happen, only-in-Huck-and-Santorum's-dreams scenario still wouldn't change the fact that same-sex marriage, circa the summer of 2015, is the law of the land in all of these United States. This idea that it is not is simply Huckabee's delusion and nothing more. It is not a serious idea for a serious electorate.

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The 'Yeah. Duh. Of course' phase of this fight

by Jeremy Hooper

A U.S. District judge ruled today that Kim Davis, the clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky, who went viral when she was filmed denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples, must issue such licenses or ultimately face some pretty steep consequences:

Judge Orders Kentucky Clerk to Issue Gay Marriage Licenses [AP via ABC News]

Davis' lawyers vow to appeal. Because of course they are. It's likely a fruitless exercise based on the lower court's findings.

At one time this would have been the kind of story that make me raise a hearty, "hell yeah." But now? Now it's something different. Now I can't muster much more than a "Yeah. Duh. Of course."

In another story in the cycle today, whipsmart legal eagle and DOMA hero Roberta Kaplan and her team are vowing to bring down Mississippi's heinous ban on adoption by same-sex couples:

Mississippi Ban on Adoptions by Same-Sex Couples Is Challenged [NYT]

This is the only ban on its kind remaining, and even the former governor who signed it says he regrets doing so. Most anyone who knows anything about gays and the law and the trajectory of such things believes that the ban is as good as gone.

And again, at one time I would have been like, "in your face, opposition!" But now? Now, when considering the prospect of this, the last of these bans to fall, I'm more like, "Yup. Duh. Of course; crossing another off the list."

It's not that I don't care anymore. Indeed, I care about all of these injustices and their righting. I always will. It's just that I, like everyone else paying attention, know that all such injustices are on the way to correction, and soon. And when it comes to something like a clerk issuing licenses, those of us who have already won this fight have little to gain from the sustained wins. I mean, don't get me wrong—it's fun and right and worthy of note. But it's also now the norm. An unchangeable norm here in the U.S.

Once again, I must give the caveat that there are some fights remaining, some fights to come, and perhaps even some small pieces of ground that we will lose. I also must note that the international stage is still a hefty slog. I should proceed to say that anti-LGBT mindsets and biases, as systemic and ingrained as they are, will likely linger in real, hurtful, and even damaging ways for years and years to come. This is all true. Vigilance is pertinent.

Even so, the ground has shifted too much and too fundamentally for the major injustices to linger in law or within our politics. Protections will only increase. The last vestiges of discriminatory laws will fall away. Defiant types with the anti-equality movement will eventually realize that their movement has sold them a bill of goods. At this point, all of our victories are now more like overdue compliance with the notion that we are equal citizens whose rights and protections and benefits don't come with special exceptions, asterisks, or carve outs. There are few chances for those who just now getting with the program to write their own profiles in courage or tout their laudable changes of heart. At this point, you support basic fairness because "Yeah. Duh. Of course."

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Trailer: 'Stonewall'

by Jeremy Hooper

I'm admittedly sidestepping the controversy for now (and there is some; Google it) and the fact that it, like all historical dramas with a fictional character as an entry point into the story, will be a bit revisionist. I just think it looks like a Hollywood take on an event that benefits from wider exposure, and I'm looking forward to seeing it:

I caught the mid'90s Stonewall movie on cable late one night after my parents had gone to bed, and it clicked even more things with in my constantly clicking brain. These stories do that.

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And now NOM is literally pleading with its (theoretical) supporters

by Jeremy Hooper

"Please don't" begs an organization whose supporters have every reason to flee their failed experiment in discrimination:

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 At 5.13.57 Pm

Even that one bird is like, "I'm outta here." The rest will follow soon enough.

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