National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown spoke Tuesday night at an anti-marriage equality rally at the Utah state capitol, where he claimed that the anti-gay movement represents “true civil rights.” There have been several news reports about the event, but YouTube user Drew Stelter posted video of Brown’s speech.
In the speech, Brown pushed the narrative that conservative Christians are being persecuted by the increased acceptance of gay rights. While he acknowledged that there might be people of many faiths in the crowd, he made it clear exactly who his audience was: “I would say that it’s pretty likely that those of us here share some respect for our savior, Jesus Christ.”
Brown went on to compare the movement against marriage equality to Christians who fought against the Roman empire, slavery, and those at the head of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. “Throughout history, people of faith have stood up against gross injustices, stood up for true civil rights,” he said, adding later: “We stand up for the civil rights for all when we stand up for the truth about marriage.”
Whenever you hear about a member of the Virginia House of Delegates saying something ridiculously offensive or introducing a radical anti-gay or anti-choice law, there’s a pretty good bet that that delegate is Bob Marshall.
So it was this week when Marshall attacked state Attorney General Mark Herring for refusing to defend Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban in court by comparing himself and fellow anti-gay activists to Dred Scott. While we weren’t surprised to hear Marshall making an over-the-top statement comparing himself to an enslaved person denied citizenship because of his race, we weren’t necessarily expecting the Family Research Council to trumpet their “good friend” Marshall’s remarks. But then we got this email from the FRC touting “The Marshall Plan…on Marriage”:
Days after announcing his refusal to carry out his most basic duty -- upholding the state constitution's marriage amendment -- Herring is facing more than criticism. Thanks to Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall (R), he may also be staring down some weighty repercussions. This week, Del. Marshall, a good friend to FRC, filed a complaint with the Virginia State Bar over Herring's refusal to enforce the will of 57% of the people. "Herring has put all of us in the position of Dred Scott, who had no right to counsel in federal court. An attorney general has a duty to support those laws that are constitutional, and an attorney general has just as strong an obligation and duty to defend laws that he has concluded are unconstitutional..."
Marshall is the “good friend” of FRC who once said that children with disabilities are God’s punishment for abortion, reacted to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, by lamenting that “it's a distraction when I'm on the battlefield and have to concentrate on the enemy 600 yards away and I'm worried about this guy whose got eyes on me,” and led the effort to defeat the nomination of an openly gay judge, questioning how he would rule in a "bar room fight between a homosexual and heterosexual."
Anti-gay activists including Rush Limbaugh, Fox News’ Todd Starnes, and the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer and Tim Wildmon have been having a field day this week attacking the Grammy Awards for hosting a performance involving a mass marriage that included same-sex couples. Today, the Illinois Family Association, the state affiliate of the AFA, joined the fray, sending out an email attacking the awards show for contributing to the “destruction of marriage.”
IFI’s “cultural analyst” Laurie Higgins writes that the Grammys were “a tragic freak show” and “a gawdy[sic] spitball hurled in the all-seeing eye of a holy God.”
The wedding ceremony, Higgins writes, was “a sorry, sick, non-serious ceremony that looked like something from the garish dystopian world of the Hunger Games” and “a non-wedding festooned with all the indulgent gimcrackery [sic] of Satan's most alluring playground: Hollywood.” She particularly attacks “homosexual faux-pastorette” Queen Latifah and “the Dorian Gray-esque” Madonna for taking part in the proceedings.
But Higgins disapproval goes beyond the same-sex marriage portion of the entertainment. She also criticizes Beyoncé -- the object of a fewrecent tirades from the Right -- for providing a “vulgar anti-woman, anti-marriage performance” that Higgins compares to “soft-core porn.”
“Beyoncé has abused her power as a beloved role model for young girls to teach them terrible lessons about sexuality and marriage,” Higgins writes. Her anger extends also to Beyoncé’s husband Jay-Z, whom she claims “seems to revel in the lustings of strangers for his wife.”
“Is it money that motivates his eager embrace of his wife's immodesty, or pride that he has access to her body when all other leering men do not?” Higgins asks. “If it's money, how is he different from a pimp?”
This past Sunday night's Grammy awards was a tragic freak show that demonstrated the entertainment industry's arrogance, ignorance of marriage, and disregard for children. It was a gawdy spitball hurled in the all-seeing eye of a holy God.
The spectacle was bookended by a soft-core porn performance by the not-single lady Beyoncé who twerked and jerked her half-revealed derriere in a series of "dance" moves that simulated sex and stimulated sexual appetite, while the crowd cheered in puerile excitement.
Beyoncé was later joined by her husband Jay-Z who seems to revel in the lustings of strangers for his wife. What kind of man gets pleasure from his wife's flaunting of her sexuality and from the certain knowledge that men desire to do things to his wife because of her arousing dress and actions? Is it money that motivates his eager embrace of his wife's immodesty, or pride that he has access to her body when all other leering men do not? If it's money, how is he different from a pimp?
Beyoncé's performance reinforced the cultural deceit that modesty and the notion that conjugal love is private are archaic puritanical irrelevancies. Beyoncé has abused her power as a beloved role model for young girls to teach them terrible lessons about sexuality and marriage. Her performance raises many questions:
- What motivates a young, married mother to flaunt her partially-exposed sexual anatomy to the world and simulate sex movements?
- Deep down is this what she truly wants to do?
- Deep down does she really want her husband to delight in the objectification and commodification of her body for the prurient pleasures of other men?
- Would Jay-Z and Beyoncé want their daughter to one day perform like her mother for the pleasures of men? What would they think about an 18-year-old Blue Ivy recreating her mother's performance but in a seedy club for the eyes of less expensively attired and botoxed men and women?
- Is Beyoncé comfortable with her father watching her performance?
- What kind of mixed message does this performance send to children? Parents and pediatricians tell children that parts of their bodies are "private parts" that only parents and doctors should look at or touch. We convey that message to them from the earliest prepubescent ages. So, what happens after sexual maturity? Do those "private parts" suddenly become public parts?
- Is modesty in dress the same as prudery, or is it a virtue to be cultivated?
Beyoncé's vulgar anti-woman, anti-marriage performance foreshadowed the climactic setpiece of the evening: Queen Latifah, long-rumored to be a lesbian, officiated at the "weddings" of 33 couples, many of whom were same-sex couples, while accompanied by the preachy, feckless song "Same Love" by Macklemore and the song "Open Your Heart" by the Dorian Gray-esque Madonna. It was a sorry, sick, non-serious ceremony that looked like something from the garish dystopian world of the Hunger Games, replete with a cheering sycophantic audience, faux-stained glass windows, a faux-choir, a homosexual faux-pastorette, and "Madonna" with her faux-face. It was a non-wedding festooned with all the indulgent gimcrackery of Satan's most alluring playground: Hollywood.
The sponsor of a South Dakota bill that would allow businesses to deny services to same-sex weddings or any others that violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs,” told the Associated Press today that gay rights are taking the United States “down the road of Iran.”
Rep. Steve Hickey, Republican of Sioux Falls, is one of two primary sponsors of a bill that would allow any person or business to “decline to provide certain wedding services or goods due to the free exercise of religion.”
Hickey told the AP that “religious rights need to continue to trump gay rights” in order to prevent the country from “heading down the road to Iran,” an odd argument since Iran is a theocracy in which gay people can face flogging or the death penalty.
Hickey, pastor of a Sioux Falls church, said a court ruling legalizing gay marriage in South Dakota might expose him to lawsuits or prosecution because he believes in traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
“Religious rights need to continue to trump gay rights. Otherwise, we’re heading down the road of Iran, where it’s convert or die, be quiet or die,” Hickey said. “If we want to talk about church and state, this is a bill that keeps the state out of my church.”
The bill is clearly aimed at LGBT people, but its wording is ambiguous, potentially opening the door for many other kinds of discrimination as well.
In an interview with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Hickey seemed to oppose provisions in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibit private businesses from discriminating on the basis of race, saying, “Let the market bear it out. If there’s some racist group, they can boycott it.” He also claimed that he would support allowing businesses to deny wedding services to Christians.
South Dakota does not currently allow same-sex marriage, but the bill covers receptions and other “wedding services or goods.” UCLA law professor Eugene Voloch pointed out to the Argus Leader that South Dakota doesn’t have a law preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, so people in the state “are already free to discriminate, even much more broadly, based on sexual orientation.”
State Sen. Angie Buhl O’Donnell noted to the Argus Leader that clergy are already protected from participating in wedding ceremonies to which they have religious objections. She called Hickey’s bill “mean-spirited.”
We’ve all heard anecdotal stories of gay and lesbian couples traveling or even moving to marriage equality states to tie the knot. But according to Phyllis Schlafly, there’s a migration going the other way too. In her latest radio commentary, Schlafly claims that “many Americans are dissenting with their feet, by moving away from same-sex marriage states and into the many states that continue to recognize the value of marriage as being between only one man and one woman.”
The liberal media must be covering up this mass exodus from marriage equality states, because we haven’t heard a single story of someone doing this.
The Court held that because the U.S. Supreme Court had recently ordered that federal benefits be granted to same-sex couples who are married under state law, the civil union law in New Jersey was inadequate to ensure that homosexual couples in New Jersey are able to receive the same benefits as married couples.
There was no dissent from the New Jersey Court’s ruling, not even by Christie’s own judicial appointments. But many Americans are dissenting with their feet, by moving away from same-sex marriage states and into the many states that continue to recognize the value of marriage as being between only one man and one woman.
Today a federal judge found Oklahoma’s ban on marriages for same-sex couples to be unconstitutional. While this is great news, same-sex couples are not yet able to marry in the state because the decision is stayed – in other words, on hold – pending appeal.
As victories for marriage equality continue to stack up across the country, it is increasingly clear that the march toward full equality nationwide cannot be halted. Congratulations, Oklahoma!
South Carolina state senator Lee Bright, who is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham in this year’s Republican primary, suggested to a Tea Party group today that Congress should impeach federal judges who rule in favor of marriage equality in order to intimidate other judges into doing “the right thing.”
Discussing the recent federal ruling legalizing marriage equality in Utah, Bright told Tea Party Express, “Congress ought to stand up and do its job and impeach one of these federal judges. And I think when you do that, being a federal judge is a pretty good gig, and I think if you’ll impeach just one, the rest of them will do the right thing. And they’ll do it out of necessity, because self-preservation is an instinct that so many folks have.”
The Constitution grants lifetime appointments to federal judges “during good behavior.” In the nation’s history, only eight federal judges have been impeached and removed from office by Congress –most for committing crimes or severely neglecting their duties.
Later in the interview, Bright launched into a discourse on the balance between liberty and security, including a rant that we don’t quite understand about how “there are institutions that can put you in a room that you can’t harm yourself but you’re not free, and I would rather take the risk and be free.”
This led him to the topic of gun laws, on which he said the U.S. should follow Israel’s example, including putting “teachers with machine guns on playgrounds.”
"You look over at Israel, and that’s an armed group of folks over there,” he said. “I mean, they are teachers with machine guns on playgrounds, because you got terrorists over there that would choose to harm children and whose teachers are there to protect them. When you’ve got folks that are armed and able to defend themselves, the threat of terrorism goes down drastically.”
In fact, Israel has much stricter gun control laws than the U.S. does and in 1995 mandated guards at the entrances to schools to protect against terrorism. As an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman put it, “We're fighting terrorism, which comes under very specific geopolitical and military circumstances. This is not something that compares with the situation in the U.S.” Also, we weren’t able to find anything about Israeli teachers walking around playgrounds with machine guns.
It has been a roller-coaster few weeks for marriage equality in Utah, where a legal battle over the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples continues and more than a thousand marriages are caught in limbo.
On Friday People For the American Way Foundation Major Gifts Associate Tyler Hatch reacted to the struggle in Utah, and his op-ed was featured by CNN.
Regardless of the ultimate outcome of Kitchen v. Loving (Utah’s marriage equality case currently under review by the 10th Circuit) the issue of marriage equality is once again before the Mormon or LDS church.
I was raised LDS and went to church nearly every Sunday until I was 18. I participated in weekly youth meetings, attended Boy Scout outings, and was a leader within my church. By all accounts I appeared to be the model youth, however inside I was dejected. Severe depression, suicidal thoughts, and extreme self-loathing plagued my adolescent and teen years due to an overwhelming sense of guilt regarding my sexuality.
….Whether it is in the halls of elementary schools, the wedding chapel, or feeling secure and safe in the workplace there is much work to be done. LGBT equality is an issue that will surely grip our generation for years to come. As society becomes more accepting of LGBT individuals I remain optimistic that progress will be made, at least within civil society.
….There are no easy answers for the countless number of LGBT individuals with conservative religious backgrounds and the struggle to find an identity within that intersection is a fight that will continue throughout our lives.
The Illinois Family Institute, the state affiliate of the American Family Association that led the unsuccessful fight against marriage equality last year, is back to fighting smaller battles, this time attacking the University of Notre Dame for officially recognizing an LGBT group.
In an open letter to Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins posted on IFI’s website, the group’s “cultural analyst” Laurie Higgins expresses her “disappointment” that Notre Dame has for the first time recognized a student LGBT group, or as she calls it, “those who affirm homosexual acts and acts related to gender confusion as normative and morally defensible.”
Higgins tells Jenkins that in recognizing its LGBT students, Notre Dame might as well affirm “other sin predispositions” like incest or pedophilia.
She then turns to the eternal consequences of LGBT organizing, warning that openly LGBT students will bring “nothing but temporal and eternal harm” to themselves and their colleagues.
I also want to express my disappointment that Notre Dame has chosen to recognize a “student organization” initiated and shaped by those who affirm homosexual acts and acts related to gender confusion as normative and morally defensible. In permitting an organization that affirms subjective moral propositions that defy Catholic (as well as orthodox Protestant) doctrine, Notre Dame’s distinct Catholic identity has been weakened. Would Notre Dame recognize other “student organizations” initiated by those who affirm other sin predispositions (e.g. polyamory, consensual adult incest, or the “sexual orientation” recently designated “minor-attracted persons”)?
If the Notre Dame-recognized “LGBT” organization had been initiated by those who were committed to helping “LGBT” students live lives that embody Catholic beliefs on sexuality and gender, such an organization would be a service to Notre Dame students. Unfortunately, the central goals of students who affirm a homosexual or “transgender” identity are contrary to Catholic doctrine and as such can bring nothing but temporal and eternal harm—intellectual, emotional, physical, and/or spiritual harm—to “LGBT”-identifying students and the larger Notre Dame community.
Higgins did, however, praise Jenkins for Notre Dame’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate.
A sample letter opposing a proposed state antidiscrimination measure circulated by the Utah Eagle Forum this week calls homosexuality a “disturbing and disruptive” “personal weakness,” which the group compares to “theft, dishonesty [and] murder.”
Fox 13 reporter Max Roth, who attended an Eagle Forum event on the antidiscrimination bill Wednesday, posted an image of the letter on Twitter, which was then spotted by On Top Magazine. The meeting was led by Utah Eagle Forum head Gayle Ruzicka.
“Any confusion a man or woman has for their gender other than the gender that they were born with, is their personal weakness,” Petty writes. “We all have weaknesses and some are more disturbing and or disruptive than others. There is no need to categorize weaknesses.”
“However our God inspired Founding Fathers included words in describing our Constitution as a document good only for a moral people,” she continues. “Deviant sexual life styles are immoral.”
The letter goes on to compare discrimination against “immorality” to discrimination against “theft, dishonesty [and] murder” and berates Urquhart for promoting “oppression of the majority by the minority.”
We’ve transcribed the letter from Roth’s photograph. Sic throughout, bolding is ours.
Dear Senator Urqhart
We raise our voices in extreme rejection of the Anti-Discrimination Bill that you sponsored.
To propose such an option in support of a questionable life style is unacceptable.
God’s word says he created man and woman in his image. Any confusion a man or woman has for their gender other than the gender that they were born with, is their personal weakness.
We all have weaknesses and some are more disturbing and or disruptive than others. There is no need to categorize weaknesses.
However our God inspired Founding Fathers included words in describing our Constitution as a document good only for a moral people.
Deviant sexual life styles are immoral. We urge you to withdraw your anti discrimination bill and any further activity in that direction.
We discriminate against immorality, theft, dishonesty, murder etcetera and as our representative in the Utah Senate your oath of office is to uphold the constitution. We hold you to the oath you have taken.
Such action as described in the anti discrimination bill allowing a man to say he feels like a woman and wants to use the bathroom and shower facilities for women is a disgrace to the sacred covenants we have with the God of this world and offends all decency.
It is also a complete perversion of sentiment in that, in order to make a small minority feel more “comfortable” in their unnatural behavior, the overwhelming majority must suffer being uncomfortable in natural behavior. It is not an abuse of a minority to reject its abuse of the sensibilities of the majority.
Isaiah 5:20 says: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
What were you thinking?
Please don’t consider oppression of the majority by the minority to be good.
cc: Senator Ralph Okerlund (who voted in favor to bring this Bill out of committee)
Senator Peter Knudson (who voted in favor to bring this Bill out of committee)
You can view Roth’s report from the event and another anti-antidiscrimination event the same day here.
The two ads, which the Indiana-based group Advance America says it is paying “several thousand dollars” to air, play ominous music over a picture of the state capitol in front of cloudy skies. One shows the members of state committee considering the ballot measure. In the other, the words “freedom” and “right to vote” float across the screen as actors say “let me vote.”
“You Deserve the Right to Vote…to Protect Marriage in Indiana!” the ad concludes.
Advance America is the same group that has been distributing flyers warning that marriage equality will result in the imprisonment of pastors and lead the state to “legalize ‘gender identity.’”
Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute, which was until recently affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage, joined Phyllis Schlafly on Eagle Forum Live this weekend to discuss her new book of marriage advice.
Of course, the two turned immediately to bashing feminism, which Morse praised Schlafly for exposing as a “deadly” and “totalitarian” movement that made “men compete with women instead of competing with each other for the sake of women.”
Later in the program, Schlafly asked Morse about a “kooky” new law in California that requires schools to respect the gender identities of transgender students.
“In the end they want to get rid of male and female,” Morse said. “In the end they want everyone to be androgynous.”
She added that this showed that feminists and the gay rights movement harbor a “deep resentment of the human body.”
Morse also linked the fight against gay rights to the fight against the women’s movement, lamenting the cultural “wounds” from the push for equality: “There are so many people out there who have been wounded by the sexual revolution and no one has ever taken the slightest responsibility for that, none. And the only reason we’re dealing with gay marriage now is because we never faced up to the harms that have already been inflicted by feminism.”
Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that the Ruth Institute is affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage. The two groups formally broke ties in November, 2013.
National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown was one of the Religious Right activists to attack last week’s Rose Parade in Pasadena for including a float featuring a same-sex wedding, lamenting that “once marriage is redefined to make it genderless, this perverse construct of ‘marriage’ is forced on everyone.”
In an interview with Voice of Russia radio on Friday, Brown doubled down, saying that Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclaire’s wedding had been “shoved in the face of families,” including those who had voted against marriage equality in their states.
This was all part of a plan to “target children” and use “a family event to sort of indoctrinate kids,” he added.
All along, we’ve been hearing from activists who support same-sex marriage, ‘Hey, if we redefine marriage, it won’t have any effect on you, this is about loving individuals, what they decide to do, it will have no effect on you.’
Well, lo and behold, it has to be shoved in the face of families -- many of whom voted to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman – on a float at a family event.
We know that when you redefine marriage this is taught in schools, we know that teachers tell kids that folks who believe in this notion of marriage as a union between a man and a woman are discriminating, they’re the functional equivalent of bigots.
And now it hasn’t even stopped in the classroom, now the idea has to be, well, at family events we need to make a point to have a same-sex marriage to sort of put it right in their faces and call them out. Well, that’s just wrong. In America, we can disagree over key issues, but the idea that you would target children and make this about using a family event to sort of indoctrinate kids, that’s just wrong.
In a speech before the Russian parliament promoting anti-gay laws last year, Brown similarly warned that advances in gay rights would lead to “talking to children about homosexuality.”
Right-wing advocates of “nullification” say it is a principle by which state and county officials can simply ignore federal laws and court rulings they consider unconstitutional. A Utah man who believes a federal judge acted unconstitutionally in ordering officials to permit same-sex marriage in the state has been fasting since December 21, he says, and will keep doing so until state officials refuse to obey the federal judge. He invokes the founding fathers in his call for nullification.
In an interview posted today on the Cultural Hall website, Meacham said it is “completely pointless” for state officials to go through the courts because they are “packed full of activist judges that don’t listen to the constitution.” He has urged state officials and county clerks to defy the order. He told an interviewer he is emulating Gandhi, and said he is willing to sacrifice his life for the cause.
Trestin Meacham is a libertarian-leaning Navy veteran who ran for the state senate in 2012 as a candidate for the far-right Constitution Party, which promotes biblical law. His online bio from Project Vote Smart doesn’t have much more information other than that he is a small business owner and Mormon, while his personal Facebook page describes his politics as “Anti-Marxist Secessionist.” (It lists joking pop culture references for his work and education.)
As a candidate he was described as a conservative blogger, though some of his blogs appear to be defunct. In his writings and postings he has demonstrated a commitment to the Tea Party’s notion that much of what the federal government does violates the Tenth Amendment. As a candidate, he argued:
For over a hundred years we have been drifting further and further from the government designed by our founders, to something more closely resembling the writings of Karl Marx …
It is the duty of the State Legislatures to stand up to the federal government and take back our God-given right of self-government laid out in the Constitution. Washington is not going to reform itself. Even if we had Ronald Reagan as President, with control of both houses of Congress, it would still be heading down the wrong path. Washington is too corrupt; it will not relinquish its unconstitutional power. Reform can only come from an outside source, that source is the states.
As a State Senator, I will oppose any further unconstitutional power grabs from Washington. I will also sponsor and support legislation, which takes back the states rightful power from our corrupt federal government.
Meacham claims federal courts decisions on gay marriage will lead to tyranny, ultimately forcing churches and LDS to officiate same-sex weddings:
I think an attack on freedom, an attack on the Constitution, affects everybody. If a fed judge can throw out the Constitution and the will of the people then we’re really little better off than a Soviet satellite nation. Our freedom means nothing. They can do anything if they can do this.
In a 2011 comment on a story on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, he wrote, “Our schools have always been places for socialist indoctrinations. The public school system is the tenth plank of the Communist Manifesto.” An old YouTube channel apparently created while he was serving in Korea includes birther material.
Meacham has linked to right-wing sources online promoting nullification. In today’s interview he also appealed to the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, quoting Joseph Smith saying that saints should not follow any law that violates the Constitution.
The blog Meacham created to promote his fast appears to be built on the same platform as a fictional country, Kherutistan, that Meacham seems to be constructing online, complete with its own Declaration of Independence and flag. Kherutistan is a libertarian paradise, a “heroarchy” led by people of good character where the basic ground rule of living is for people to be excellent to one another.
Last year, Religious Right activist and possible 2014 Iowa Republican Senate candidate Bob Vander Plaats claimed that the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling had provoked a “constitutional crisis” because it defied “the law of nature and the law of nature’s God.”
In an interview on the Steve Deace show last week, Vander Plaats elaborated on this constitutional analysis, claiming that a Utah federal judge’s ruling legalizing marriage equality was wrong because same-sex marriage “goes against the law of nature” and therefore is “against the Constitution.”
Vander Plaats also encouraged Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to simply ignore the court’s ruling and issue an executive order staying the decision until it’s put to a popular vote.
He warned guest host Jen Green that the Utah ruling was the first step on a slippery slope to tyranny, showing the need to put judges “in their place” as he did in Iowa in 2010.
Vander Plaats: First of all, Justice Shelby, there’s a lot of issues with his ruling. Number one is, you had the people of Utah already amend the Constitution to what marriage is. And you’re supposed to uphold the Constitution, not redefine the Constitution. So, that’s number one.
Two is, there is no research on it, there is no data on it. Why? Because it never existed before. So all there is is speculation. But what we know is it goes against the law of nature, and the law of nature’s God, which means, again, it’s against the Constitution.
My suggestion to Gov. Herbert: Don’t overcomplicate this. Don’t over-study this or analyze this. Lead on this. Issue an executive order from the governor’s office that places a stay on this judge’s decision until the people of Utah resolve this, either through the legislature – the people’s representatives – or through another vote, if you need to go through another vote. But you don’t allow an activist judge to have his way to inflict same-sex marriage on the entire state of Utah.
It is We the People who are the final arbitrators of this deal. They gave us the power of the king. The governor is the executor. He’s got the executive branch, he’s the one who gets to enforce or not enforce. By him staying silent, he’s really enforcing this judge’s opinion. That’s why he needs to step up and lead, and what I’d say, issue that executive order.
And for the Lead or Get Out of the Way members and audience, and especially those in Utah, what really has to concern you here is that if they will do this to the institution of marriage, they won’t even blink an eye when they take your private property, tell you how to educate your kids. If you really want to have tyranny, keep allowing activist judges to keep activism alive. You need to put them in their place. That’s what I’d encourage Gov. Herbert to do.
Green: You will be made to care.
Vander Plaats: You will be made to care. But Gov. Herbert could make that judge made to care. Just like in Iowa, we made the judges, that they should care about what they’re doing.
"It has never yet been discovered how to make a man unknow his knowledge, or unthink his thoughts."
--Tom Paine, The Rights of Man
"A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved--I do not expect the house to fall--but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other."
--Abraham Lincoln in his "House Divided Speech"
United States District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby's masterful December 20, 2013 decision striking down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage is headed to the Supreme Court. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which takes cases from Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, refused to stay the decision and nearly 1,000 jubilant gay and lesbian couples have married in the state in just over a week.
The outbreak of marriage equality in conservative Utah is another huge and momentous crack in the crumbling wall of marriage discrimination against gay Americans. So the Attorney General of the state is preparing a last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court to turn back the mounting tide of equal rights and freedom.
The state's petition will first reach Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees cases in this group of states. She will be able to either decide the petition herself or refer it to the full Court. If she rejects the petition, as she is likely to do, Utah can appeal to the full Court.
Those people who thought the Court could buy some time after its electrifying 5-4 decision in June striking down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act misunderstand the logic of constitutional freedom. The phony alibis for marriage discrimination have fallen away, and the Court's decision in United States v. Windsor leaves no doubt: gay people have an equal right to marry in the United States of America and the laws standing in the way impose irrational discrimination.
One delicious irony about Judge Shelby's decision is that he freely quoted Justice Antonin Scalia's doleful dissenting opinion in the Windsor case, which repeatedly predicted -- just as Scalia has been warning all along in other gay rights cases, like Lawrence v. Texas (2003) -- that the Court's decision to defend the equal rights of gay Americans would inescapably lead to the downfall of marriage discrimination. Judge Shelby wrote: "The court agrees with Justice Scalia's interpretation of Windsor and finds that the important federalism concerns at issue here are nevertheless insufficient to save a state-law prohibition that denies the Plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection under the law."
There should be nothing surprising about either Justice Scalia's gloomy reactionary lament in Windsor or the fact that his words are coming back to haunt him now. As we pointed out several months ago in this PFAW Report, Equal Protection or 'Social Tradition': The Supreme Court's Test in the Marriage Cases," Justice Scalia chastised Justice O'Connor back in 2003 for voting in Lawrence v. Texas to strike down anti-sodomy laws because they do nothing other than legislate "moral disapproval" of other people's private and consenting conduct. Scalia angrily observed that "'preserving the traditional institution of marriage' is just a kinder way of describing the State's moral disapproval of same-sex couples." In other words, if we can't put gay people in jail because we disapprove of their relationships, how will we stop them from marrying? As always, Justice Scalia's intellectual rigor and candor, from the other side of the barricades, have proven to have great predictive power about the unfolding of the law.
Still, it is not entirely clear what will happen on the Court in response to Utah. It requires four Justices to vote to grant a Cert petition and hear a case. Undoubtedly the hard Right of the Court -- Justices Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito -- will feel Utah's pain intensely, and Chief Justice John Roberts is likely to want to join them, although he may count the votes and decide not to test Justice Anthony Kennedy's willingness to vote with the liberals to wipe away the stain of marriage discrimination.
After all, Justice Kennedy's reputation as a thoughtful figure on the Court has essentially been made by authoring the majority opinion in a series of brilliant decisions enunciating the equal rights of gay Americans: Romer v. Evans (1996), Lawrence v. Texas (2003), and most recently United States v. Windsor (2013). In Windsor, Justice Kennedy wrote that the "principal purpose" of the Defense of Marriage Act was "to impose inequality" and to put gay people in "a second-tier marriage," locking them out of hundreds of valuable federal benefits and rights. Significantly, he wrote that this legislation not only "demeans the couple" but "humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples." The table may now be set for another 5-4 gay rights decision that makes Justice Kennedy an historic figure.
If Justice Kennedy and the moderates can indeed count to five on the big question, one or more of them might even provide a vote for cert, on the theory that the country has hit a tipping point, with marriage now available to gay people in 17 states and the District of Columbia and public opinion racing ahead to full equality. It may be time to do what the Court did in Loving v. Virginia (1967), when it told the truth about "white supremacy" and wiped out the anti-miscegenation laws that made it a crime for Richard and Mildred Loving to marry.
Still, 33 states are blocking the courthouse door for gays seeking to wed and Justice Kennedy did sprinkle lots of pro-states' rights language in his dissenting opinion in Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), Windsor's companion decision which punted on the merits of marriage discrimination. So the wheel is still in spin during this go-round.
But, as we stated in the "Equal Protection or 'Social Tradition'" Report, the overall dynamic of freedom and equality has been unleashed for our gay and lesbian citizens, and it will be nearly impossible to rewind the tape. On national marriage equality, it is just a matter of when -- not if. There is no way to get this movement or intelligent jurists to unthink their thoughts about fundamental rights, and ultimately, a country divided over a basic right like marriage for millions of people, can't stand. All signs point to equal rights and liberties for gay people in America.
This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
Adding to this week’s great news on marriage equality, today U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, which was put into the state constitution by referendum in 2004.
One of the far right’s standard attacks on the increasing number of judicial opinions striking down discriminatory marriage laws is that judges are “redefining marriage” and “usurping the legislature.” No doubt they will do so again in this case. Fortunately, Judge Shelby opens his opinion with a brief but important explanation of how the American constitutional system works:
The issue the court must address in this case is therefore not who should define marriage, but the narrow question of whether Utah’s current definition of marriage is permissible under the Constitution.…
[T]he legal issues presented in this lawsuit do not depend on whether Utah’s laws were the result of its legislature or a referendum, or whether the laws passed by the widest or smallest of margins. The question presented here depends instead on the Constitution itself…
In his opinion, Judge Shelby also takes apart the harmful, bogus argument that preventing same-sex couples from marrying somehow “elevate[s] the status of opposite-sex marriage”:
Rather than protecting or supporting the families of opposite-sex couples, Amendment 3 perpetuates inequality by holding that the families and relationships of same-sex couples are not now, nor ever will be, worthy of recognition. Amendment 3 does not thereby elevate the status of opposite-sex marriage; it merely demeans the dignity of same-sex couples. And while the State cites an interest in protecting traditional marriage, it protects that interest by denying one of the most traditional aspects of marriage to thousands of its citizens: the right to form a family that is strengthened by a partnership based on love, intimacy, and shared responsibilities. The Plaintiffs’ desire to publicly declare their vows of commitment and support to each other is a testament to the strength of marriage in society, not a sign that, by opening its doors to all individuals, it is in danger of collapse. (Emphasis added.)
It has been quite a year for marriage equality. Today the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the state is required by its constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry. This means that New Mexico joins the impressive list of states that legalized marriage for same-sex couples in 2013 alone, including Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, and becomes the 17th state in the country to legalize marriage equality.
As the march toward full equality nationwide continues with today’s victory in New Mexico, the momentum is undeniable. PFAW will continue to advocate for marriage equality until every couple can access the protections necessary to take care of each other for a lifetime.