Please sign and/or reblog! Silence is murder.
Please sign and/or reblog! Silence is murder.
By Scottie Thomaston
Edited and updated for clarification
David Blankenhorn, who founded the Institute for American Values, testified in the Prop 8 trial as a witness in favor of Proposition 8. He is the witness who, when cross-examined by attorney David Boies with questions on how marriage equality would harm heterosexual marriage, replied “The safest answer is: I don’t know.” (Later attorney Charles Cooper, defending Proposition 8, told Judge Walker the same thing: “I don’t know.”) He is also the witness who said we would be “more American” on the day marriage equality is legalized.
He evolved a bit further when he came out against North Carolina’s anti-gay Amendment 1earlier this year.
Today in an op-ed in the New York Times, Blankenhorn says he now supports marriage equality:
IN my 2007 book, “The Future of Marriage,” and in my 2010 court testimony concerning Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that defined marriage as between a man and a woman, I took a stand against gay marriage. But as a marriage advocate, the time has come for me , to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do. I’d like to explain why.
He says that he has some reservations about gay relationships, but under the law these relationships should be afforded equal dignity:
For me, the most important is the equal dignity of homosexual love. I don’t believe that opposite-sex and same-sex relationships are the same, but I do believe, with growing numbers of Americans, that the time for denigrating or stigmatizing same-sex relationships is over. Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness.
Another good thing is comity. Surely we must live together with some degree of mutual acceptance, even if doing so involves compromise. Sticking to one’s position no matter what can be a virtue. But bending the knee a bit, in the name of comity, is not always the same as weakness. As I look at what our society needs most today, I have no stomach for what we often too glibly call “culture wars.” Especially on this issue, I’m more interested in conciliation than in further fighting.
Importantly, and surprisingly – especially coming from a pro-Proposition 8 witness – Blankenhorn admits outright that much of the opposition to gay relationships isn’t based on the things others have suggested: honest disagreement or respect for tradition or religion; rather it’s based on anti-gay animus:
And to my deep regret, much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying anti-gay animus. To me, a Southerner by birth whose formative moral experience was the civil rights movement, this fact is profoundly disturbing.
Blankenhorn says he wants to move forward and work together to build coalitions with gays and straights alike to strengthen marriage.
NEW ORLEANS—A day after electing their first African-American president in a historic move that strives to erase its legacy of racism, Southern Baptists passed a resolution opposing the idea that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue.
Thousands of delegates at the denomination’s annual meeting in New Orleans on Wednesday were nearly unanimous in their support for the resolution that affirms their belief that marriage is “the exclusive union of one man and one woman” and that “all sexual behavior outside of marriage is sinful.”
(Yes, but wasn’t it the Southern Baptists who were lynching people because they decided they had no civil rights either)
Or also construing Scripture to make blacks inferior (as well as gays).
California’s 1975 sodomy law-repeal (in force Jan.1, 1976).
By Scottie Thomaston
The judges sitting in the Ninth Circuit have issued a new order in the Perry v. Brown case today. The full panel of Ninth Circuit judges have decided that en banc rehearing of the three-judge panel’s decision will not be granted. This comes after a months-long wait: the proponents of Proposition 8 announced their intention to seek en banc review of the Ninth Circuit’s three-judge panel decision on February 21 of this year. As we noted yesterday, the decision to deny rehearing of the case with a new, randomly-selected eleven judge panel means that Judge Reinhardt’s opinion, which was joined by Judge Michael Daly Hawkins and garnered a dissent by Judge N. Randy Smith, either way, will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court where the proponents will now likely file a petition for certiorari, asking them to review and possibly overturn Judge Reinhardt’s opinion for the Ninth Circuit’s panel of three judges.
An en banc rehearing at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is much different from other circuits. Generally, en banc means that the entire court will rehear the case, with all judges in the circuit participating. But the Ninth Circuit has an inordinately large number of judges, so they have a procedure wherein they have an ‘en banc panel’ consisting of eleven judges: ten randomly-chosen judges plus the Chief Judge (at the Ninth Circuit that is Alex Kozinski) presiding. If rehearing had been granted, the randomly selected panel could have heard arguments and issued new briefing in the case or they could have decided to forgo that and issue a new decision without it.
Now that en banc rehearing was denied, the proponents have 90 days to file a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court, seeking review of the decision striking down Proposition 8. It’s likely that Justices at the Supreme Court would have their conference to take up the petition and decide whether to grant review or not sometime after their summer break in October. Oral argument would follow a few months later, and then a final decision would be issued by June or July 2013.
Judge O’Scannlain has filed a dissent from the denial of en banc rehearing joined by Judges Bybee and Bea, and in it he discusses his belief that Judge Smith’s dissent was correct. He says that “we have now declared that animus must have been the only conceivable motivation for a sovereign State to have remained committed to a definition of marriage that has existed for millennia.”
No one is certain if the Supreme Court would grant review of the case as it currently stands. Judge Reinhardt’s opinion for the three-judge Ninth Circuit panel is very narrow and the holding is specific to California’s unique legal circumstances. A denial of rehearing in this case leaves the decision California-specific and there may not be four Justices – the number needed to grantcertiorari – who want to visit an issue that’s so limited in scope. On the other hand, the panel’s decision did strike down an amendment to a constitution of an enormous state involving a contentious issue. And allowing gay couples to marry in California would nearly double the amount of people in the United States who live in an area that allows same-sex marriage.
This process has gone on for so long. The complaint was initially filed on May 22, 2009 and the trial began on January 11, 2010. Judge Walker didn’t issue a decision in the case until August 4, 2010. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling came much later, with the three-judge panel issuing its ruling on February 7 of this year. Now the Perry case is entering its final phase.
Now that the Ninth Circuit has denied en banc rehearing of the three-judge panel’s decision, the case will face its final test soon, at the Supreme Court, as the proponents are widely expected to seek review of the three-judge panel’s decision. If the proponents do file a petition for certiorari the Justices will look at the petition in a conference later this year where the final decision will be made: review the case or let the Ninth Circuit’s decision be the final word in this long journey to decide the fate of the odious Proposition 8. It promises to be an exciting year.
The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments on six cases challenging the constitutionality of the California’s state law (Prop 22, 2000) limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. The plaintiffs, which include couples who wish to marry, argued that a ban on marriages between people of the same sex is discrimination and unconstitutional. Lawyers for the state who want to uphold the law urged justices to respect the tradition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and that the judicial system was the wrong actor to institute the demanded change.
The Court Subsequently held the ban as unconstitutional and California had 6 months of Marriage Equality before Proposition 8’s passage.
In 2009, citizens of Maine were posed this question in a referendum:
“Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”
A Yes vote takes away the ability of same-sex couples to marry.
A No vote keeps the ability of same-sex couples to marry.
The motion passed 53%–47%.
This year, 2012, residents have the option to reinstate the 2009 law Act To End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom that had been previously rejected. Please share and reblog!
We at Gay Christian International sadly do not yet include a writer(s) who are transgender or gender queer. But we recognize the needs and wants of Trans* Christians, while recognizing that we ourselves cannot fully understand your hardship.
So GCI presents to our Trans*/Gender Queer audience, TransChristians.org! They are a group (independent of GCI) who operate to cater to the needs of the Transgender Christian Community and build you up on the rock of the faith of Jesus Christ!
I sincerely hope that you find this helpful and we encourage you to reblog and share this site! God bless!
Senators (33) currently co-sponsoring S. 598, the Respect for Marriage Act [Source: Library of Congress]:
Sen. Akaka (D-HI)
Sen. Bennet (D-CO)
Sen. Bingaman (D-NM)
Sen. Blumenthal (D-CT)
Sen. Boxer (D-CA)
Sen. Brown (D-OH)
Sen. Cantwell (D-WA)
Sen. Cardin (D-MD)
Sen. Coons (D-DE)
Sen. Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Feinstein (D-CA)
Sen. Franken (D-MN)
Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen. Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Inouye (D-HI)
Sen. Kerry (D-MA)
Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sen. Kohl (D-WI)
Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Sen. Leahy (D-VT)
Sen. Levin (D-MI)
Sen. Merkley (D-OR)
Sen. Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Mikulski (D-MD)
Sen. Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Reed (D-RI)
Sen. Sanders (D-VT)
Sen. Schumer (D-NY)
Sen. Shaheen (D-NH)
Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)
Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI)
Sen. Wyden (D-OR)
By Scottie Thomaston (Taken From Prop8TrialTracker)
“Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) has written an interesting take down of the arguments BLAG is trying to make in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in court. GLAD is fighting against DOMA in Gill v OPM, which was recently argued at the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and inPederson v. OPM. We covered the arguments in Gill extensively here, but you can find a summary atThe Huffington Post.
GLAD argues that DOMA is unconstitutional violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection implicit in the Fifth Amendment. DOMA treats same-sex married couples differently from opposite-sex married couples with no legitimate basis. One of the arguments BLAG has been fond of using in support of DOMA is that the issue shouldn’t be “constitutionalized”, meaning it should remain a legislative issue rather than one the courts should take on. But it is up to the courts to determine when laws comport with the Constitution’s guarantees: “Telling people to go back to the people that discriminated against them rather than to the courts could be the answer to every constitutional violation, but in our system of checks and balances, courts must say when laws are invalid.
DOMA is legally mandated discrimination against gay people and same-sex couples that is causing harm now. In addition to denying federal marital legal protections and obligations to married same-sex couples, DOMA is de jure discrimination that injures all gay and lesbian people by inviting disrespect by states and private parties.”
Arguing that Congress can indeed define its own terms for federal law (and that any suggestion otherwise is a red herring) GLAD says the issue is that courts must ask “what legitimate and independent federal interest is rationally served by denying respect only to marriages of same-sex couples” and “why… sexual orientation [is] relevant to the federal government given that marital benefits and burdens are allocated based on marital status and nothing more” because restrictive definitions that affect equal protection of the laws need good reasons behind them.
Taking on the claim that “for so long” marriage was between a man and a woman, they note that tradition is not a legitimate basis alone for a law. This matches what the Supreme Court said in cases like and Loving v. Virginia. ‘Tradition’ has historically been used to keep marginalized groups from obtaining the rights and protections guaranteed by the constitution. The government needs a legitimate basis for the law aside from tradition and unrelated to animus against the class of people being targeted with the law. GLAD says: “Rational basis review requires that a classification must bear a rational relationship to an independent and legitimate legislative end. The means (the classification) and ends (the goal) must be separate and distinct to ensure classifications are not drawn for the purpose of disadvantaging the group burdened by a law.
Many of the (invented) justifications for DOMA repeat what DOMA does but not a reason for doing it, or doing it only for married gay people. DOMA’s discrimination is re-labeled as uniformity or consistency, for example, or saving money or administrative ease, but only with respect to gay people’s marriages. Take uniformity: treating all gay people uniformly as unmarried doesn’t explain why only married gay people, among all married people, are treated as unmarried. Doing so also creates disuniformity within the class of married persons. Take the public fisc: Congress could save moneydenying the validity of marriages of redheads, too. But rational review requires a principled basis for recognizing the marriages of some but not others. The same analysis holds.
Other justifications (pause while states debate, act cautiously, maintain the status quo) are only a means to an end but not an end in themselves. Sometimes the government can hold back while some other problem is addressed, but more people marrying exercising their right to marry is neither a problem, nor anything new. DOMA is not cautious – it is a complete ban and unlimited in time. And it upended the status quo at the federal level of deferring to state marital status determinations.
Lastly, the family law justifications about “responsible procreation” and “optimal parenting” don’t rationally relate to DOMA at all. DOMA provides nothing to encourage heterosexuals to marry or have children in a marriage. It only harms same-sex couples who are already married and any children they may have.”
And one important thing about DOMA is the fact that the federal government has always recognized state marriage law even when it disagreed. There was no “DOMA” to protect marriage against interracial married couples. And the federal government has recognized marriages between younger people as well. This makes DOMA distinct from immigration law, according to GLAD, because: “Immigration laws, like many other laws, accept the state’s marital status determination, and then apply additional eligibility criteria. If a person is validly married in a state, but cannot also show that the marriage was bona fide (i.e., not entered into for purposes of securing immigration benefits), then the person is denied immigration benefits.”
The federal government and BLAG who is defending the law need a justification that is not animus based, not tied to tradition, is related to the purpose of the law and explains why similarly situated people should be treated differently in this particular instance. But given the four justifications for DOMA in the Congressional Record: “advanc[ing] the government’s interest in defending and nurturing the institution of traditional, heterosexual marriage”, “advanc[ing] the government’s interest in defending traditional notions of morality”, “advances the government’s interest in protecting state sovereignty and democratic self-governance”, and “advances the government’s interest in preserving scarce government resources”, that task seems quite difficult.”
Possible date for hearing is May 8. State updated on http://senate.ca.gov/