Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Victory Over Bigotry and Intolerance in California Today

A federal judge overturned California's same-sex marriage ban Wednesday in a landmark case that could eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if gays have a constitutional right to marry in America.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker made his ruling in a lawsuit filed by two gay couples who claimed the voter-approved ban violated their civil rights.

Gay couples waving rainbow and American flags outside the courthouse cheered, hugged and kissed as word of the ruling spread.

No one has yet been able to explain to me why they care who other choose to marry.

Of course, the battle is not over yet... not even in California where the bigoted proponents of Prop 8 plan to appeal the judge's decision.

Let's hope they fail miserably.



This is certainly a shot in the arm for individual liberty. It is getting harder to be a citizen of this country when half the powers-that-be have their hands in your pocket and the other half is in your bedroom.

Lou said...

How does Prop 8 keep anyone from doing what they like in their bedroom?



It doesn't.

Now that I have answered your question answer mine.

How does Prop 8 square with the 14th Amendment's "Privilege and Immunities Clause"? You believe in the Constitution, don't you?

csm said...

Hey Bawdy and Lou, Prop 8 actually WOULD stop homosexuals from getting married in their bedroom, if that is what they wanted to do.


Dally around the fringe!

G said...

I'm sure you all will think I'm just picking nits, but you do realize that Prop 8 didn't actually ban anything, right?


I don't see how you can view this decision as a victory for individual liberty... unless, of course, you mean the liberty of a single federal judge to manipulate the U.S. Constitution to fit into his own predetermined outcome and to overrule the will of the people.

Rather than answer your question about the 14th Amendment, it would probably be better if you would explain exactly how Prop 8 violates it.


I'd like to hear what it is about supporting Prop 8 that is bigoted and intolerant. All the measure did was define what the state recognizes with the specific term, "marriage."

csm said...

We all know what I meant, including you G. You can huff and puff about a proposition doing only this or only that, but it is all about the right wing leading the chorus to limit the rights of homosexuals. And the majority in this country are more than willing to go along because of fear and hatred of anything different. In a perfect world the state wouldn't give a shit about marriage, but this ain't a perfect world. So as long as the state is going to sanction such things, then it is WRONG to limit it to only certain individuals.


"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

This isn't ambiguous, g. Making it illegal for homosexuals to marry the person of their choice is not "equal protection under the law" and it certainly isn't liberty.

Now I am on record as stating that governments(all levels) should get out of the marriage business(it is a religious rite, done differently in different religions), but since the social conservatives don't want to give this up(marriage being controlled by government)and want to keep this a exclusive club, it rubs against the "Immunities and Privileges Clause".

I personally think governments should provide civil unions to all who want one(even though I stood before a minister(well it was Vegas), that's a joke, huh) and let marriage to the religions. Religions would handle it as they wish. But that answer doesn't let the pious control the situation, control the "lepers" and how they want to live their lives(liberty).

Social conservative's position is an emotional one and not rife with common sense. They aren't concerned with the survival of their particular sect(schisms happen over all kinds of things), because the elders and parishoners control what rites they perform; so the only thing I keep coming up with is the fact they want to control other's happiness and that ain't American.

G said...


I have a pretty good idea what you meant. I'm under the impression (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) that anyone who doesn't see homosexual and heterosexual relationships as morally and legally identical is a bigot in your eyes.

The reason I asked is that the typical liberal response to most issues is a quick, emotional reaction followed by a seemingly related invective (bigotry, racism, greed, homophobia, heartless, etc.). And of course there's the rallying cry of those who have no objective basis for their views: "tolerance."

I wanted to see if you might be willing to articulate a rational basis for your claims of bigotry and intolerance.

Furthermore, you simply can't pin this one on your favorite "right wing" demons. California is, in fact, one of the most liberal states in the nation. In the election where this proposition was passed, Obama received an overwhelming majority of the vote (more than 60% if I remember correctly). Even the self-identified Republicans in the state typically range from center to center-left.

I know the liberal media and blogosphere keep repeating that canard about this being a "right wing" issue. But the facts about the electorate in California show that it's a bogus claim.

G said...


I agree with you that it isn't ambiguous. But equally unambiguous is the viewpoint of the SCOTUS. They have consistently held that sexual orientation is NOT accepted as a "suspect class" (i.e. a group that warrants special considerations in matters of equal protection). That special consideration has been limited quite consistently to racial and religious groups.

But even if one DOES confer that status upon homosexuals and DOES view marriage as a fundamental right (also a debatable issue), this proposition doesn't make ANYTHING illegal. It doesn't prevent anyone from exercising their liberties. It doesn't even prevent a homosexual couple from getting married (I'm sure there are many ministers in California willing to do the ceremonies). The ONLY thing this proposition did was limit the kind of relationship the State recognizes by the word, "marriage."

Also, the State of California has long had a "domestic partnership" law that enables homosexual couples to have all the same rights and privileges as a married couple (in the eyes of the State).

This court decision is an atrocious example of judicial activism. I would think that you would be concerned that the will of the people could be overruled by judicial fiat that has zero basis in the original meaning and intent of the US Constitution, the well-established history of SCOTUS rulings, or anything else other than a single judge's personal opinions.

Here's a link that I thought might interest you. If I remember correctly, you have some degree of respect for Steve Chapman. Note that he is actually in favor of same-sex marriage, but is quite bothered by this ruling.

Overreaching on gay marriage

csm said...

OK, g, here goes: morality has nothing to do with it. There should be no legislation of morality of any kind IMHO. Do as you will as long as you do not hurt others (yes, we can wind down a rat hole on that if you'd like, I will defer for now).

To me, anyone who would deny another living human of anything they choose to do just because they do not care for it is being a bigot. For example, if I said "Those christians shouldn't be allowed to vote because they are not clear-headed" then I'm advocating a bigoted position against christians. Oh, I can think they are not clear-headed (I do) but I will not attempt to force them out of any activity they choose because of it.

Regarding the "typical liberal response'... it is correct. It absolutely is a right wing tactic to scare the electorate on a topic that they already are bigoted against. The mainstream fears homosexuals; the right wing uses that to stoke the fires and get the masses to vote Republican. It is not the right wing that has caused the majority bias against homosexuality, but it most certainly IS the right wing that embraces it and uses it for their gain whenever they can. So if their is indeed anyone in the "liberal media and blogosphere" saying that the right wing causes folks to be homophobes, I'd agree with you. But I think it is usually more that they ("the liberal media and blogosphere" you cite) decry the right wing's use of homophobia as a way to rally support.

csm said...

And I know this was part of a reply that was meant for Bawdy ("I would think that you would be concerned that the will of the people could be overruled by judicial fiat") but I have to respond. That is EXACTLY what I want the judiciary doing! If we left things up to "the will of the people" then let's not have a legislative or executive branch - let's just put everything up to a popular vote. Then we'd still have legal slavery, and only white property owners could vote, and and and... sometimes you need to override the will of the people to ensure fairness and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...


Though csm did a fine job explaining the reason we have a Supreme Court, g, I would like to add that the judiciary is the last hope for individual liberty. The Founders realized democracy's(the will of the people)limitations. They understood that the "different" individual had no chance against a majority, especially an emotional majority.

Our country was not created for the will of the people, it was created for the individual. This is what makes this country as great as it is. Granted, democracy is the best way to have representational government but it has it's dark side and it is showing up in this debate.

Also, I think the tribulations of homosexuals gets a short shrift. Yes, they haven't struggled as long as blacks or even women, but their struggles can be traced back officially at least to the late '60's. And we are talking of Constitutional issues here. Their freedom of association was taken away when you could be thrown in jail just for being in a gay bar. Sodomy(and fellatio in some states) was an illegal act. Citizens had to hide the fact they were homosexuals just so they could find gainful employment. I am not talking of "hate" crime laws(of which I am in complete disagreement with); I am talking about living a life with the same safeguards and advantages every other citizen enjoys. The chance for life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness was the goal and if one group of people(even if they are a majority) wants to keep that from another(and the former party is unharmed), I beleive that is unConstitution in my opinion.


Oh, and since I believe in federalism, you might ask why this isn't a state issue. My rebuttal would be the official original mandate of the federal government WAS to protect our individual civil rights and the 14th Amendment just emphasizes this. This is EXACTLY the type of issue the federal government is supposed to take on. This is one of my major disagreements with Barry Goldwater and the Voting Rights Acts of the '60's. This is what the feds are supposed to promote; liberty for all.


One last thing, and it is off subject to some degree, but I was looking at a story about the 1794 silver dollar that fetched $1.2 million and I realized when this country started to go wrong. In 1909 we started to put Presidents on our coins, before that it was usually a depiction of a lady called Liberty. This country wasn't supposed to be about Presidents or even Congress, it was supposed to be about Liberty and to a large degree we have lost our way.

csm said...

Just wait... some day we'll have celebrities on our coins instead of presidents and politicians. Or when the dread day comes when Reagan gets put on currency, we'll have both!


Can't wait for the Anna Nicole Smith coin; it would have to be at least a quarter cuz you couldn't get it all on a dime!

G said...

Sorry it's taken me so long to comment. I've been wanting to make a detailed reply, but just haven't had the time. For now, I have to just throw this together quickly.

While I appreciate both of your opinions, they are just that: opinions. Neither one of you has actually answered the questions I've posed.


First of all, the argument that no legislation should be based on morality is ridiculous. Laws dealing with murder, theft, child abuse, etc. are all based on moral viewpoints. What you're really saying is that you want all legislation to match YOUR moral perspective (i.e. do no harm) rather than someone else's.

Also, you haven't given me any objective argument that explains how Prop. 8 is bigoted. As I've already explained, it doesn't prevent a homosexual couple from doing ANYTHING, and it doesn't deny them a SINGLE right that is available to heterosexual married couples. The ONLY thing the proposition did was limit the state's use of the word "marriage" to a man and a woman. The homosexual couple has the exact same rights and privileges available to them if they enter into a "domestic partnership."

As for your explanation of the use of the courts, I agree with you. They are in place specifically for the purpose of overruling laws and statutes that violate the Constitution. But when you quoted me, you conveniently left out the context of what I said. The problem in this case, as I've stated is that this judge's ruling was in direct opposition to the original meaning and intent of the 14th amendment and to the rulings handed down by the Supreme Court over the past century in that regard (which CLEARLY state that sexual preference/identity is NOT a "suspect class" for which the 14th amendment gives any kind of special protection).

In other words, Prop. 8 was perfectly consistent with precedents set by higher courts for the past century. But this judge somehow decided it was unconstitutional.


What I've said above is for you as well. You haven't answered my question about how this law is a violation of the 14th amendment. If you look through the rulings of the SCOTUS (and federal appeals courts), you will see that they have never actually held that it applies to sexual preferences/orientation.

I'd like to know what rights you think homosexuals are being denied in California. Even if one accepts that marriage is a fundamental right, they are not denied that right. It's when you throw in "whomever they want" that it might seem unfair. But any definition of marriage will necessarily have some kind of limitation. By your argument, there should be nothing stopping someone from marrying his sister, if that's who they choose.

EVERY right has some kind of limitation attached to it. And really, those limitations are mostly just arbitrary lines that have been drawn by either the government or the people.

G said...

I just stumbled across this op/ed on the subject from the WaPo... agreeing with my viewpoint, of course. You might find it at least thought-provoking.

Prop. 8 ruling ignores precedent, evidence and common sense


"If you look through the rulings of the SCOTUS (and federal appeals courts), you will see that they have never actually held that it applies to sexual preferences/orientation."

Never is such a dangerous word. Check out Romer v. Evans(1996).

Also, you keep bringing up California as your example(I realize Prop 8 is a California law), but California is a relatively liberal state. This is a national issue and plenty of states are much more emotional about this and much more likely to not install a remedy(civil unions) for this issue. The bettleground isn't just California.

G said...

I keep referring to California because that is where Prop 8 was passed, and that is what csm specifically referred to in the headline of this thread, "A Victory Over Bigotry and Intolerance in California today."

It is NOT a national issue. That's exactly what the Supreme Court has said over the years. Californians have made their own determination. Every other state can do the same (or just ignore the issue if they so choose).

As for Romer v. Evans, while the court sided with the challengers to Colorado's law (the pro-homosexual side), they never actually got to the point of whether sexual orientation/preference is a "suspect class." In fact, the court's decision reiterated the finding that it is NOT a "suspect class," and the plaintiffs didn't even try to claim that they were. The court threw it out on other grounds.

The 1972 case where the SCOTUS denied an appeal is still the binding precedent. That case was nearly identical to California's Prop. 8 situation.

csm said...

Oh, g, just because those laws you cite match up with your morals you infer that that is why they are laws. Frankly, everyone's morals are personal regardless of what they admit publicly - another good reason to keep morality out of laws.

csm said...

Oh, and I have explained what is bigoted. Perhaps Your bigotry against gays blinds you to the explanation?

G said...

"just because those laws you cite match up with your morals you infer that that is why they are laws."

You'll have to explain that statement for me. I don't understand what you're talking about.

As for not legislating moral issues, I've already commented. It's a ridiculous position to take. What you really want is for the law to be guided by YOUR moral viewpoint of "do no harm."

I realize that you've already explained what you consider to be bigotry, although you've made it so broad as to cover almost anything more limited than pure anarchy. But what I asked was what it is about THIS LAW that you think is bigoted. Again, it doesn't deny any rights to any people. It doesn't prevent homosexuals from doing anything they choose.

"Perhaps Your bigotry against gays blinds you"

And out comes the liberal meme. Anyone who has a different viewpoint on a particular issue is a bigot.

Have I made anti-gay comments? If so, please point them out. My defense of the law through this entire post has been based on applicable state and federal laws alone. I've even pointed to articles from people who SUPPORT gay marriage but are very disturbed by Judge Walker's ruling. From what I can see, the only basis you have for your position is that it feels right.


OK, g, ya fucking forced me to read the Romer v. Evans ruling and technically you are right but that isn't the whole story. And you gave the ruling short shrift.

The ruling, as I read it, basically said that because this Colorado state Amendment 2(voted on by the voters in that state, just like Prop 8)was so narrow(in the intended victims(my word)) and so broad in scope, this did so infringe on the rights provided by the 14th Amendment(and even common law) that they could rule on it's unConstitutionality without calling homosexuals a "suspect class". The fact that it(Amendment 2) doesn't "further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else" made the law unConstitutional.

Now there IS much verbiage in this ruling which comes very close to calling homosexuals a "suspect class", but they didn't have to to make that ruling. The law was so bad in and of itself. This is a far cry from stating that the Court "never" has made that ruling. Again, technically you are right, but that doesn't get to the crux of what they are really saying in the ruling.

Which brings me to another thought as I was reading this ruling. How in the world does Prop 8 square with our current jurisprudence about "separate, but equal"? To me, Prop 8 doesn't pass THAT smell test.

Since the government is in the business of providing marriage licenses, they should not be able to arbitrarily decide who gets married as long as no other law is broken(incest, bigamy, bestiality)and since homosexuality is no longer illegal, I see no reason why homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to get married.(You already know my thoughts on the government marriage business, but hey, the government wants to stay in this business.)

The real reason behind this law, and the Colorado law which was struck down, is animosity towards a certain class of citizens and that isn't American. Not in my book.

If you want me to cite passages of the ruling which back up my point I am prepared to do so; all you have to do is ask.