The Delaware Senate just passed a same-sex marriage bill into law, making “the First State” the eleventh to extend marriage to same-sex couples. As expected, the vote was close, 12-9.
Governor Jack Markell fully supports the bill and will sign it.
â€” Gov. Jack Markell (@GovernorMarkell) May 7, 2013
Arguments against the bill were the same that have been made at every legislative debate that ended in Â passage of marriage equality. Polygamy, polyamory, and the “law of unintended consequences,” were some argument against the bill, as were false claims about damage to the public education system, damage to children, and the usual claims that same-sex marriage will cause florists and photographers to be sued. (In fact, the laws that provide for these cases are anti-discrimination laws that far pre-date marriage laws.)
â€” Equality Delaware (@EQDE) May 7, 2013
Anti-gay arguments were predominately offered by several Republican Senators, including Robert Venables, 80, who argued that Delaware’s civil unions bill should have been sufficient for “them,” even though he voted against that bill. Venables, having made as many anti-gay arguments, resorted to holding up a copy of a book called the “Queen James Bible” that he said was written by “homosexuals” who just wanted to feel better about themselves.
“What really they want is for them to feel comfortable in their lifestyle,” Venables told the chamber, saying the book was an example of “just how far these people will go in feeling normal.”
Senator Venables also said, “I think this is carrying it too farâ€¦ love should not be the only criteria” for marriage, as he called for “responsibility,” apparently by gay men who are married to women but want to marry a man they love.
By contrast, Senator Harris McDowell stood up for civil rights and equality, chastising an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) for perverting the idea of civil rights. ” I am offended by your reasoning,” McDowell told Jordan Lorence, adding that the idea of civil rights is not to protect people who want to “have hate in their hearts.”
“We can’t stop ill feelings in someone’s heart, but we can ensure it’s not carried out in public policy,” McDowell noted, adding,Â “You can’t select who belongs in the public. In America, we all belong there.”
Father Leonard Klein of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington,Â testified, admitting he was citing the wholly-debunked anti-gay “study” by Mark Regnerus.
Pastor Betters of theÂ Glasgow Church in Bear, Delaware delivered lengthy testimony including calling homosexuality a behavioral choice, and relayed the “vitriol” he experienced after posting this sign on his church.
â€” Cap’m Zafo Z. Jones (@zafojones) May 7, 2013
Curiously, NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, reportedly wrote off Delaware.
“National Organization for Marriage has apparently expected to lose the marriage equality debate in Delaware all along, since it has done little in the state to oppose passage of the bill,” wrote Laurel Ramseyer at Pam’s House Blend. Ramseyer notes that NOM is still fundraising off the Delaware battle, but has invested little funds.
Image by Jarred Hill via Twitter
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House Votes to Boot George Santos 311-114
Representative George Santos (R-NY) has been expelled from Congress following a 311-114 vote; two house members voted “present.”
The expulsion of Santos follows a debate on his fate on Thursday. The vote required a two-thirds majority, or 290 of the 435-seat chamber. This is not Santos’ first vote of expulsion; last month, a vote failed with 31 Democrats voting against expulsion, according to The Hill.
While the vote was decisive, some notable Republicans voted to save Santos, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN).
“We’ve not whipped the vote and we wouldn’t,” Johnson told CNN Wednesday. “I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this, I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
R.I.P. Sandra Day O’Connor: Politicians, Reporters Mourn First Woman on Supreme Court
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor passed away Friday morning in Phoenix, Arizona at the age of 93. She was the first woman on the Court.
The news was announced by the Supreme Court, which said that the former justice died of a respiratory illness combined with complications of advanced dementia.
“A daughter of the American Southwest, Sandra Day O’Connor blazed an historic trail as our Nation’s first female Justice. She met that challenge with undaunted determination, indisputable ability, and engaging candor. We at the Supreme Court mourn the loss of a beloved colleague, a fiercely independent defender of the rule of law, and an eloquent advocate for civics education. And we celebrate her enduring legacy as a true public servant and patriot,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in the statement.
Though O’Connor was appointed in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan and was conservative, she was known to be a swing vote in many major decisions. Her appointment was challenged from the religious right as she had been vocally against banning abortion and had supported the Equal Rights Amendment.
While she normally joined the Court’s conservatives, she would side with the liberal members of the court in 28 cases. In 1992, she was the deciding vote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld the Roe v. Wade decision.
However, in 2000, she voted with the conservative majority on Bush v. Gore, which stopped the Florida election recount, keeping then-Vice President Al Gore from potentially becoming president. She retired in 2006, during President George W. Bush’s second term, and was replaced by conservative Justice Samuel Alito.
Politicians, pundits and journalists alike took to X (formerly Twitter) to mourn the passing of O’Connor.
“I’m sorry to hear of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor passing. I loved Evan Thomas’s recent bio, which showed off her can-do, self-starter, distinctly southwestern mentality. The first female Supreme Court justice (the original SCOTUSlady!), never a victim, & a model of civility. RIP,” wrote Anastasia Boden, director of the Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies.
I’m sorry to hear of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor passing. I loved Evan Thomas’s recent bio, which showed off her can-do, self-starter, distinctly southwestern mentality. The first female Supreme Court justice (the original SCOTUSlady!), never a victim, & a model of civility. RIP. pic.twitter.com/5EFuQykvSI
— A lady (@Anastasia_esq) December 1, 2023
“Today, we say goodbye to the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and first female majority leader of a state senate. El Paso’s own Sandra Day O’Connor was instrumental in developing case law as a jurist, especially sex discrimination under Title VII,” Representative Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) wrote.
Today, we say goodbye to the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and first female majority leader of a state senate.
El Paso's own Sandra Day O'Connor was instrumental in developing case law as a jurist, especially sex discrimination under Title VII. https://t.co/OxndeFrJVz
— Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett (@RepJasmine) December 1, 2023
“She blazed every trail she set foot on—defying the odds stacked against women in the legal profession to rise to become Arizona’s assistant attorney general, our first female majority leader in the state Senate, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge, and ultimately our first female justice on the United States Supreme Court. She brought her Arizona brand of pragmatism and independence with her to the Supreme Court and was often the swing vote on consequential decisions,” Representative Greg Stanton (D-AZ) wrote in a statement.
“Justice O’Connor was not perfect. But her drive for consensus & common sense, her love of family, and her career itself, having graduated from law school at 22 in 1952, are especially notable and laudable. May her memory be a blessing,” tweeted MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin.
Justice O’Connor was not perfect. But her drive for consensus & common sense, her love of family, and her career itself, having graduated from law school at 22 in 1952, are especially notable and laudable. May her memory be a blessing.https://t.co/HPxpmyKQUO
— Lisa Rubin (@lawofruby) December 1, 2023
“Sad news w the passing of fmr Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor She was a trailblazer for the high court &always worked to find consensus She was 1st justice I had honor of voting for as Senator Her contributions 2 the court will endure +she will be missed,” Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wrote.
“Sandra Day O’Connor was a trailblazer whose life and career paved the way for so many others. Her service and dedication to our country will be long-remembered. My heart is with her family and loved ones today,” Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) said.
“I’m saddened to hear about the passing of former Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor. As the first female justice, she leaves behind a trailblazing conservative legacy. My prayers are with her family during this difficult time,” Representative Cory Mills (R-FL) wrote.
Featured image by Kyle Tsui via Wikimedia Commons.
The Christian Ziegler/Moms for Liberty Scandal Could Hurt Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attempted to distance himself from Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler and his wife Bridget, the co-founder of Moms for Liberty—but his close involvement with them could spell trouble for him.
On Thursday, Christian Ziegler, elected this year as chair of the Florida Republican Party, was accused of sexual assault. The accuser is a woman who says she’s had a regular three-way sexual relationship with both Zieglers.
DeSantis told ABC News Thursday night that Ziegler should resign as chair.
“He’s innocent until proven guilty, but we just can’t have a party chair that is under that type of scrutiny,” DeSantis said.
Before Thursday, DeSantis was close with the Zieglers. In February, during DeSantis’ fight with Disney, he appointed Bridget Ziegler to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, a new board overseeing Disney’s theme parks in Orlando, according to Variety. DeSantis has not called on Bridget Ziegler to step down from either the district or her position on the Sarasota County School Board.
Last year, Christian Ziegler opened a rally for DeSantis, and has backed DeSantis’ using of the culture war to make a name for himself.
“All you have to do is Google Christian Ziegler Ron DeSantis, and you’ll see no one has been in the press more than I have promoting the governor and what he’s done because I think he’s done an outstanding job, especially on the cultural issues, which for me, are a big passion of mine,” Ziegler said in a March interview with CBS Miami.
DeSantis’ approval ratings as governor have been falling. In a poll taken in November, before the allegations against Christian Ziegler were made public, DeSantis’ overall approval had fallen four points since July, to a 49% approval rating. But among independent voters, his disapproval rating rocketed to 60%, a 14-point boost during the same time frame. Disapproval also grew by 10 percent, to 80%, among Black voters.
The allegations against Christian Ziegler are serious. Ziegler is accused of sexually assaulting the woman he and his wife and a standing sexual relationship with on October 2. He’s also accused of secretly recording video of their previous sexual encounters.
Though DeSantis has called on him to resign, other GOP leaders have supported Ziegler.
“If the allegations are true I’m pretty sure change will come at the [Republican Party of Florida] but I don’t believe it for a minute,” Lee County GOP Chair Michael Thompson told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “Christian’s the chairman. Christian’s still the chairman of the organization until something else happens. We don’t anticipate Christian leaving as the chair.”
“Innocent until proven guilty,” Thompson added. “That’s what our justice system needs to get back to and that’s for everybody across the board, not just for Trump, not just for Ziegler… let’s not try to convict people in headlines. Let’s see the evidence.”
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