Friday Reads: Welcome to the Jungle

Justice Kennedy delivers opinion in same sex marriage

Justice Kennedy delivers opinion in same sex marriage

How very ironic that it is my day to post and it’s the very day that all my gay friends get access to the one institution that I tell every one I know and love to avoid like a plague.  You can ask my daughters. My first response is that you really don’t have to do this because you’re educated, can make your own life, and you don’t have to continually have your assets, energy, will to live, and dreams drained away from you over time.  Just hang out with him until the inevitable drift to hell becomes obvious.  Please, don’t do it.  It hasn’t worked so far. Just a few months ago, yet another long time, long married friend confessed to me that she–and others she knows–would have the kids and everything else but never do the husband thing again. That’s pretty much where I’m at with an institution designed to make you disappear into chattel v. meal ticket status.

No one can make you happy but you.  That’s basically a head trip. Marriage, however, absolutely gives another person the right to make you miserable in ways that you’d never even dreamed about when you’re lost to bonding hormones.  You can’t ever ever know how to properly enunciate “till death to us part” until you’ve been stuck at least a good 15 -20 years in the institution. Then you realize, it’s pretty much akin to a death row sentence where the things you really wanted to do with your life were left outside the doors.

Bill Murray showed up–seemingly drunk–on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show in May when the nice young gay couple looking to get married that were filmed in  that Hillary Clinton commercial were interviewed.  He pretty much expressed my views exactly.  I really hope you all make a better situation out of it than straight people generally do. Knock yourselves out!  I want nothing to do with any of it!  I frankly think that there’s hope for some change given the rigid expectations that come with an institution that’s generally been defined by really awful stereotypical sex roles and where it may not treated as a purely breeder institution.

So, with you knowing that I am a conscientious objector to the entire institution for any one, I give you the day that marriage equality happened in the USA.  To my knowledge, nobody’s church has crumbled to the ground and no one’s sanctified marriage has been taken away by any angry sky fairy.   This gives legal access to huge numbers of subsidies, tax benefits, and rights that were never available to gay couples before.  For that, I am very happy.  All the spoils that government provides the institution should be available to any one that wants to try to go the distance; especially if they do so with children.

The Supreme Court has given gay couples the right to be married every where in the United States and its territories.  Just think on that one given Scalia, Thomas, and the religious-politico harpies of the the-honeymooners-pow2Republican party.  Teenagers, now is the time to go to law school and become a divorce lawyer.  An entirely new and huge market segment has just opened up. Until then, welcome to the boom in wedding paraphernalia and hoopla.

“Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. He was joined in the ruling by the court’s liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

All four of the court’s most conservative members — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — dissented and each wrote a separate opinion, saying the court had usurped a power that belongs to the people.

That sums it up and it happened just about the way every one thought it would. Kennedy has always seemed open to the idea that civil marriage was a civil right.  I’m not sure how access to a legal institution basically is a power that belongs to the people, but that appears to be the argument by the court’s hyper religious sour grapes.

Here’s the analysis from SCOTUSBlog.

Putting itself back in the forefront of the gay rights revolution, the Supreme Court ruled by the narrowest margin on Friday that same-sex couples across the nation have an equal right to marry.  The five-to-four decision was based firmly on the Constitution, and thus could be undone only by a formal amendment to the basic document, or a change of mind by a future Supreme Court.  Neither is predictable.

Explicitly refusing to hold off deciding the issue to see how other parts of society may deal with the rising demand for gay acceptance and legitimacy, the Court declared that two clauses in the Fourteenth Amendment mean that a “fundamental right to marry” can no longer be denied because the partners are of the same sex.   It did not create a new right, but opened a long-existing one to those partners.

The ruling was the most important victory in a cultural revolution that began almost exactly forty-six years ago, when patrons of a gay bar — the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village — fought back against a police raid.  The events that began on the night of June 28, 1969, are widely known as the beginning of “gay pride” and an unapologetic campaign for equality.

The decision in Obergefell v. Hodges expressly overruled the Court’s only prior ruling directly on same-sex marriage — a one-line decision in the 1972 case of Baker v. Nelson, declaring that a claim to such marriage did not raise “a substantial question” for the Court to resolve.

Over the last two years, the right to marry has been extended rapidly and widely for gays and lesbians, ultimately expanding the places where they may marry legally to thirty-six states and Washington, D.C., through new laws, court rulings, or voters’ approval.  From a 2003 ruling by the highest state court in Massachusetts allowing same-sex marriage, the movement to gain marital rights had spread from coast to coast, with lawsuits in every state where the right had not yet been recognized.

The decision on Friday will open marriage legally in the remaining fourteen states, and will give new legal protection for those who got married under court rulings that actually could not be considered truly final until the Supreme Court itself had decided the constitutional question.  The decision nullified bans on same-sex marriage as well as bans on official recognition of such marriages performed outside a state.   Both prohibitions, it said, violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantees of due process and equal protection.

6993425243_70e116e576The dissenting justices evidently strongly dissented. Quelle Suprise!

Chief Justice John Roberts not only dissented from the Court’s ruling but also read a summary of his dissent from the bench.  It was the first time that he has done so in his ten Terms on the Court, and it signaled how strongly he disagreed with the Court’s ruling.  Roberts forcefully criticized the majority for side-stepping the democratic process and declaring that same-sex couples have the right to marry when, in his view, such a right “has no basis in the Constitution.”  The Court’s decision, he complained, “orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs.”  “Just who,” Roberts laments, “do we think we are?”  The other three Justices echoed Roberts’s sentiments, sometimes in even more strident terms:  Justice Antonin Scalia characterized the decision as a “judicial Putsch” and suggested that, before he signed on to an opinion like the majority’s, “I would hide my head in a bag.”

I always love that historical and religious marriage is always defined by modern terms.  They so overlook the traditional old man and harem mold.  It’s always amazing to me when people that should be smart and well educated just get so hung up in the frames of their bias that they conveniently overlook a huge amount of history that contradicts their halcyon view. Marriage has had many forms over history. The rich and powerful basically treat it as a protocol for more property, power, and strategic alliances. Beyond the breeding requirements, historically, it’s more of an economic and political arrangement with the exceptions of the old common law marriages of the masses.  Most of those were never even registered or recognized by the state. Here’s the typical ancient Greek marriage according to one scholar.

Closely endogamous marriages between uncles and nieces (and sometimes half-siblings), marriages in which women retained almost no property rights or independence and were regularly both physically segregated and violently abused, and a system in which marriage was designed explicitly to increase and safeguard the property of closely related men while encouraging the production of definitely legitimate male heirs to those men through tightly restricting access to their wives.

Scalia was unhinged, as usual.

“‘The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality,'” he quoted from the majority opinion before adding, “Really? Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie.”

So, while, I’m just a grumpy pessimist who thinks the entire institution and its subsidies/financial incentives should go away, the 2016 GOP candidates are on their barn burning fatwas.   Which gas bag should I quote first?  Hmmm…. let’s go with the Jebster of love.

“Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage. I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision. I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate.”

Prop8-gay-weddingAh, yes, HIS faith should triumph, every one else’s can go to hell, and if we don’t agree with his faith than were oppressing him.  His brain should explode from this basket of contradiction if it were functional enough to fire a synapse to set off the explosion.

Rubio actually tried the pragmatic dogmatic approach. I’ll be interested in seeing how that flies with the hate groups that now comprise the republican base.

I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman. People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

“While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. As we look ahead, it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood.

The most interesting thing about this bit of dogma dancing is that Kennedy rooted the finding in the Constitution which solomonwivesmakes what Rubio said flagrantly out to lunch.  (Is it just me or does Rubio always say things that just are not grounded in the facts on the ground?)  Kennedy carefully crafted the decision in light of a constitutional right.

The first line of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, on the legality of same-sex marriage in the United States, is as breathtaking as it is legalistic.

The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.

There it is, the ruling that gay-marriage advocates and opponents have been waiting for since April when the Court took up the case—but really, for years long before that. There is now a constitutional right for people of the same sex to get married in the United States.

He even crafted the ruling’s logic to follow the precedent of similar constitutional rights.

Second, Kennedy writes, marriage is a distinctive institution: “It supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals.” Here, he points to the Court’s opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut, which affirmed the right of married couples to use birth control. “Same-sex couples have the same right as opposite-sex couples to enjoy intimate association.”

So, my gay friends and family, you have total access to the institution of marriage  in these United States.  Please make it a better arrangement for everyone!


28 Comments on “Friday Reads: Welcome to the Jungle”

  1. janicen says:

    No surprise that the dissent came from RATS; Roberts-Alito-Thomas-Scalia.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Great post, Dak. I agree with your negative assessment of the institution of marriage, but one of the most important things will be that now same sex partners will have the right to visit each other in intensive care and pay joint income taxes. They’ll have inheritance rights, and the right to have children together, and get each other’s social security benefits if one dies. Those are all very important privileges that come with marriage.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    This is pathetic.

    Same-sex marriages still on hold in Louisiana, Mississippi

    In Louisiana, Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell called the Supreme Court’s ruling “yet another example of … federal government intrusion into what should be a state issue.”
    Nothing in the court’s decision makes its order effective immediately, Caldwell’s office said in a statement posted on its website. Louisiana voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 that banned same-sex marriage and civil unions.

    “Therefore, there is not yet a legal requirement for officials to issue marriage licenses or perform marriages for same-sex couples in Louisiana. The Attorney General’s Office will be watching for the Court to issue a mandate or order making today’s decision final and effective and will issue a statement when that occurs,” it said.
    Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said an ongoing legal proceeding in his state creates complications. Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage was overturned in a federal lawsuit last year by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, but Reeves issued a stay on his order, pending the state’s appeal.

    • dakinikat says:

      Our state government got overrun by religious whackos after Katrina. We’re still recovering from that damage.

    • RalphB says:

      The mandate will be issued in the next 30 days or maybe less. Once that happens the 5th Circuit decisions will be voided and they will be powerless and the the assholes will have nowhere to hide,

    • Fannie says:

      I argued with a cousin, she told me this is not about rights, more about obeying God, and that he made marriage and not man…………….I replied, how about love, I guess I was thinking about IRS.

      • dakinikat says:

        Her imaginary friend can rule her life but leave me the fuck out of it.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Fannie, I’ve spent my entire life listening to that. I heard it when I was a child in school, I heard it when I was associated with a church, I heard it from my family, I heard it from friends, I heard it at work, I’ve heard on TV, I’ve heard it on the radio, I’ve heard it or read it repetitively and regularly throughout my life. Still, I always knew in my heart that they weren’t right.

        There will always be a group of holdouts, but as time passes and they see that gays getting married really isn’t that remarkable, they’ll begin to quiet down. In time their numbers will dwindle and soon same gender marriage won’t attract anymore attention than interracial marriage.

        We know that marriage is just step 1. We still need to get the Congress to Pass ENDA (Employee Non-Discrimination Act) because we need protection in the workplace. We need protection from discrimination in services and our families with children need to be free from harassment and discrimination. Those are our next challenges and we’re up to it.

        • Fannie says:

          She is deleted, and the cousins that came with her. I agree with you 110%. I am tired of the same old song, that some how they are special, and everybody else is. I am tired of all the degradation they dish out. They turned blacks away in the south, couldn’t eat in the same place, they are doing the same damn thing they did years ago, but added a whole of people who are gay, who are poor. They refuse to allow them to get jobs that would feed their families.

          I up with it too Mouse. By the By………………Yay, USA, on to the next game with Germany. Got USA.

        • dakinikat says:

          ENDA is the big one.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Louisiana, Texas governors vow to fight Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage while others pledge to comply.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/governors-vow-disobey-scotus-ruling-gay-marriage-article-1.2272503

    • RalphB says:

      Courthouses in Texas will be staying open late in several counties to accomodate gay marriages. Here’s another little nugget, last week the Texas Supreme Court ruled that gay divorces have to be honored because doing so violated equal protection under the state constitution. Hence without the ban on marriage passed earlier, and now nullified by the SC, gay marriage would have been a constitutional right in Texas all along.

      That being the case, who the hell is Abbott going to hide behind? Probably his little used copy of the old testament. Fuck him, it’s gonna be fun watching him get turned inside out.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “Fuck him, it’s gonna be fun watching him get turned inside out.”

        It sure is.

  5. janicen says:

    I watched the President speak at the Clementa Pinckney funeral service. He was awesome. It was a really stirring speech.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2015/06/26/thousands-expected-for-obamas-tribute-to-charleston-victims

    • Fannie says:

      His message was spot on: Love and Grace, and when he shed the light on being God-like, feeding the poor, helping with basic life needs, allowing people of color to vote, and to love everyone, and being aware that children are turning out as haters. His praise of Clementa Pickney and the other eight people, just made me feel like “we all matter.”

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    Tonight, all over the U.S.A

  7. Kat, I’m so overjoyed to see someone else express what I’ve been thinking all along, I could fall in love.

    Except…if you’re right, then what would be the point?

    (Seriously, for ten years I’ve told people that it’s not fair to ask me to support gay marriage when I don’t support heterosexual marriage.)

    • NW Luna says:

      Yes, I’ve wondered at the trend over the last few decades to embrace an institution which can embody so much of what is restrictive and unfair. Why should a married person get more benefits/subsidies than someone who is unmarried? The legal implications of marriage as it affects property ownership and taxes can be beneficial or not, depending on income and state of residence.

      All of the above doesn’t detract from the fact that I’m glad all adults who want a marriage relationship can now have that without discrimination.

      • janicen says:

        I agree with your sentiment that it’s a good thing that all adults who want a marriage relationship can now have that without discrimination. The damage from legalized discrimination by one’s own government goes far beyond merely depriving someone of a particular activity. It tells that person or group of people that they are less than those who are allowed to do the same thing. I don’t like to swim in public swimming pools either, but I’m glad that black people are no longer legally barred from doing so by my government.