Constitution Day: Marriage Equality Is A Right The Constitution Demands
On National Constitution Day, let’s remember that the Supreme Court affirmed, in 1967, that marriage is, indeed, a civil right.
Today is National Constitution Day, marking the dayÂ in 1787 delegates toÂ the U.S. Constitutional Convention in PhiladelphiaÂ Â — including our Founding Fathers — signed the Constitution. It would not be ratified for another two years.
Constitution Day, formally known as â€œConstitution Day and Citizenship Day,â€ was created to recognize the ratification of our Constitution, and to acknowledge all those who have become citizens of our country.
The U.S. Constitution is an elegant, elastic creation (yes, Tea Party, elastic,) that has guided and inspired us since it was signed into being 224 years ago. And no, IÂ donâ€™t agree with it all — like our current interpretation of the Second Amendment — but, like some might say, you donâ€™t run aÂ country with the Constitution you want, you run aÂ country with the Constitution youÂ have.
And yes, aÂ lot has changed since it was written. But the principles in our Declaration of Independenceâ€‰â€”â€‰upon which our country were founded: life, liberty, the pursuit of happinessâ€‰â€”â€‰havenâ€™t.
So, letâ€™s talk about gay marriage.
Gay marriage, same-â€‹sex marriage, marriage equality, whatever we want to call it, bottom line, itâ€™s marriage. Someday, weâ€™ll be able to say â€œmarriageâ€ unequivocally and without qualification.
The Supreme Court affirmed, in 1967, that marriage is, indeed, aÂ civil right. In the unanimously-â€‹decidedÂ Loving v. Virginia, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the court’s opinion:
â€œMarriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.â€¦ To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable aÂ basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the Stateâ€™s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, aÂ person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by theÂ State.â€
Make the obvious switch from racial terms to identity and orientation terms — all of which describe immutable characteristics — and the result is, well, obvious.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution includes this passage:
â€œâ€¦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 theÂ laws.â€
Surely marriage is both a â€œbasic civil rightâ€ and a â€œprotection of theÂ law?â€
Ted Olson and David Boies’ much-â€‹heraldedÂ Prop 8 someday may make its way to the Supreme Court on two important Constitutional cases:
Romer v. Evans, the Supreme Court case that ruled against aÂ Colorado constitutional amendment that had prohibited state protections for homosexual citizens. AndÂ Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down sodomy laws in Texas, and, therefore, in the United States.
So, where is all this taking us?
The battle for marriage equality has been fought at the state level, for several reasons. Many have said marriage is aÂ statesâ€™ rights issue. Others have been disinclined to bring aÂ case to the U.S. Supreme Court, concerned that aÂ judgment against marriage equality by the conservative court would establish precedent that would be even more difficult to overturn.
Make no mistake — marriage is not aÂ statesâ€™ rights issue. Marriage, as determined inÂ Loving, is aÂ civil right. Civil rights are not statesâ€™ rights, but federal. It is theÂ FBI, for example, that investigates civil rights abuses. Civil rights are, simply, federal.
And weâ€™ve been wrong to fight this battle at the state level. It is, in fact, a federal issue, a Constitutional issue.
Nevertheless, thatâ€™s what weâ€™re stuck with. For now. Because at some point enough states will offer full marriage equality to make Article Fourâ€‰â€”â€‰U.S. Constitutionâ€™s full faith and credit clauseâ€‰â€”â€‰the elephant in theÂ room.
Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, will make this more likely, asÂ DOMAÂ allows (unconstitutionally, in the opinion of a federal court judge, 20 U.S. bankruptcy court judges, the DOJ, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the President,) states and the federal government to ignore the legal and judicial proceedings of other states.
Which is all the more reason why it is critical we support, and work very hard to ensure that the â€œRespect for Marriage Act,â€ is passed and signed intoÂ law.
The Constitution is an elastic instrument subject to interpretation. It is not aÂ black and white document without room for interpretation.
We will win marriage equality. It may be via language already in the Constitution. It may be via Congressional legislation. It may be, sadly, one state at aÂ time. The one thing IÂ do know: it will not be via inaction.
(Image:Â Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, byÂ Howard Chandler Christy.)
Editor’s note: This article is based upon one The New Civil Rights Movement ran in 2009.
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Double Bombshell: Mark Meadows and Trump’s Secret Service Agents Have Testified, NYT Reports
The New York Times late Tuesday afternoon published two separate reports revealing previously unknown details from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s double-pronged investigation into Donald Trump’s likely unlawful actions, including that investigators have interviewed or subpoenaed approximately two dozen people who are among those who know the ex-president best: Mark Meadows, Trump’s final White House Chief of Staff, and “more than 20” of the ex-president’s Secret Service agents.
The Times, pointing to the “surprise revelation” that a federal grand jury has been convened in Florida, reports Meadows has testified before the grand jury, presumably in Washington, D.C. The 20 or more members of the ex-president’s Secret Service detail have either testified before the D.C. grand jury or been subpoenaed to do so.
Meadows is a “key witness” who allegedly was intimately aware or involved in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and he is believed to also have knowledge of the ex-president’s likely unlawful handling of classified and top secret documents.
Suggesting there could be “unknown complexities” with the revelation of a Florida grand jury, The Times reports Special Counsel Jack Smith’s D.C. grand jury appears to have stopped hearing testimony recently from witnesses, while the one in the Sunshine State “began hearing evidence last month,” but has seen “only a handful of witnesses.”
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Based on “people familiar with the matter,” The Times explains, “if both grand juries are in operation, it suggests that prosecutors are considering bringing charges in both Washington and Florida. It is possible that Mr. Trump could be charged in one jurisdiction while other people involved in the case are charged in the other.”
“But if only the Florida grand jury is currently hearing testimony, it suggests two possibilities,” The Times explains. “One is that the investigation in Washington is largely complete and that prosecutors are now poised to make a decision about bringing charges there while still weighing other potential indictments in Florida.”
Other possibilities are that the Special Counsel believes Florida is the proper venue to file charges against Trump, in the documents probe, or even that the Florida grand jury was convened to accommodate “local witnesses.”
But former Deputy Asst. Attorney General Harry Litman told MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace Tuesday that if the Special Counsel files charges in the wrong venue, the entire case “can go away” and cannot be retried.
READ MORE: Buttigieg: Republicans Are Targeting LGBTQ People Because They ‘Don’t Want to Talk About’ Their Own ‘Radical Positions’
“I think Smith has made all his decisions,” Litman added. “The fact that there was this meeting yesterday, only happens when everything’s final. I think there’s a draft indictment and everything, but a very important strategic decision is venue, and I think that they’re pursuing something separate in the Southern District of Florida.”
Meanwhile, The Times notes that “Mr. Meadows has kept largely out of sight, and some of Mr. Trump’s advisers believe he could be a significant witness in the inquiries.” Apparently, even Trump has “at times asked aides questions about how Mr. Meadows is doing, according to a person familiar with the remarks.”
Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, played coy when asked about his client’s possible grand jury testimony. Terwilliger told The Times, “Without commenting on whether or not Mr. Meadows has testified before the grand jury or in any other proceeding, Mr. Meadows has maintained a commitment to tell the truth where he has a legal obligation to do so.”
In addition to his knowledge, if not participation in efforts to overturn the election, and his knowledge of Trump’s mishandling and possible attempts to obstruct the Dept. of Justice’s investigation into the classified documents, Meadows “tangentially” is involved in a meeting that Special Counsel Smith now has recorded audio of. Although he was not present, that meeting was about Meadows’ book. In the audio, Trump allegedly made clear he knew the highly-classified Pentagon document had not been declassified, shattering his stated defense, and he allegedly said he wanted to share it, which could lead to more legal troubles for him.
Andrew Weissmann, a former top DOJ official, tweeted in response to the Times’ story on Meadows, “Did he plead or was he given immunity?”
Professor of law at NYU Law, Ryan Goodman, a former Special Counsel for the Dept. of Defense, served up this equation:
“Put these 2 things together and what do you have? 1) Meadows ‘has testified before a federal grand jury…in the investigations being led by the special counsel’s office’! 2) Meadow’s actions seem to be kept secret from Trump team! Answer: A cooperator?”
Buttigieg: Republicans Are Targeting LGBTQ People Because They ‘Don’t Want to Talk About’ Their Own ‘Radical Positions’
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg blasted Republicans attacking the LGBTQ community on Tuesday, saying the reason right-wing lawmakers have decided to target them is they don’t want to talk about their “radical positions,” including opposing President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure law and other accomplishments, like $35 insulin.
Appearing on MSNBC, Secretary Buttigieg was asked to weigh in on the Human Rights Campaign’s declaration earlier in the day, of a national emergency in the U.S. for LGBTQ people.
“We have officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year,” the organizations says on its website. “More than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record.”
HRC also published a detailed chart by state on various issues, including bans on gender-affirming care, sports participation, drag, or support for forced student outing.
And while HRC points to the more than 75 bills that have been signed into law this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says it’s currently tracking 491 anti-LGBTQ bills across the country.
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“Our country is at a very real risk of backsliding on freedom and equality but that is exactly why we continue to push. There has been extraordinary work that’s been done just in this presidency,” Buttigieg said, responding to HRC’s national emergency declaration. He specifically pointed to “the President being able to sign the Respect for Marriage Act.”
“And if you zoom out to the progress that’s been made in the last 10 or 15 years, including the ability of somebody like me to be standing here doing this job, it’s extraordinary, and yet, now you see the attacks on the LGBTQ community, especially on the trans community and what they’re going through,” Buttigieg, who is the first out gay U.S. Cabinet Secretary, told MSNBC’s Chris Jansing.
“And I think it’s being done out of the perception that it is politically convenient to target vulnerable groups. And honestly, I think where it largely comes from is folks who don’t want to talk about why they were against the infrastructure loans, building roads and bridges. They don’t want to talk about why they were against $35 insulin that the President delivered for Medicare recipients. They don’t want to explain why they were for these radical positions that speak to what those people are worried about their everyday lives.”
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“So they’re focused on targeting some of the people who already do not have a very easy time going about everyday life,” he said.
“Think about how hard it is to be a teenager to begin with. But think about how hard it is to be a teenager when you realize that you are different when you’re coming to terms with your gender identity or you’re coming to terms with realizing that you’re gay or lesbian.”
“The last thing you need in your life are politicians trying to score political points by making things worse for you. We’re gonna stand together, whether it’s pride or just on any given day and say no, we’re going to expand, not withdraw, the freedoms and equalities we won in this country, and we’re going to build on them.”
Bill Barr Slams Trump: DOJ Not ‘Conducting a Witch Hunt’ – ‘He Jerked Them Around’ – ‘No Excuse for What He Did’
Bill Barr, once Donald Trump‘s favorite attorney general and the one who was seen as his “faithful protector and personal henchman” for his “willingness to enable Trump’s darkest impulses,” came out swinging against his former boss Tuesday, refuting his “witch hunt” claims, and saying the ex-president “jerked” DOJ around over hundreds of classified and top secret documents he refused to return.
“I think if based on the facts, as the facts come out, I think over time, people will say that this is not a case of the Department of Justice, you know, conducting a ‘witch hunt,'” Barr told CBS News Tuesday, ahead of what many believe is an impending indictment on what experts say could include charges of obstruction of justice and charges under the Espionage Act.
“In fact,” Barr continued, praising his former agency, “they approached this very delicately, with deference to the President, and this would have gotten nowhere had the President just returned the documents.”
Instead, Barr said, Trump “jerked them around for a year and a half. And the question is, did he deceive them? And if there’s evidence of that, I think people will start to see that this says more about Trump than it does the Department of Justice.”
The ex-president who is once again running to retake the Oval Office, Barr says, is “so egotistical that he has this penchant for conducting risky, reckless acts to show that he can sort of get away with it.”
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“It’s part of asserting his his, his ego, and he’s done this repeatedly at the expense of all the people who depend on him to conduct the public’s business in an honorable way. And, you know, we saw that with both impeachments, and there’s no excuse for what he did here.”
Referring to what many believe is an impending indictment over the classified documents he removed from the White House and refused to return, Barr added, “I’ve said for a while that I think this is the most dangerous legal risk facing the former president. And if I had to bet I would bet that it’s near.”
He said DOJ would not try to indict “if there’s not enough evidence, but from what I’ve seen, there’s substantial evidence there.”
But true to form, Barr also defended his former boss.
Whether what Trump’s done is “a crime or not remains to be seen,” he said, while refusing to weigh in on whether or not he thinks Trump “deceived” DOJ.
Later in the interview, Barr went full-force on supporting Trump’s claims that the Russia investigation was a hoax.
“I went into the administration halfway through, and I did it at a time where I felt he was being treated unfairly on the Russia gate thing. I thought that was, you know, turned out to be I think a big lie,” Barr said.
“And I felt that he was the duly elected president and he deserved a chance to conduct his administration. And I went in because I thought I could help stabilize things and also have the administration conducted in an appropriate way. And as I felt the idea that the election was stolen was a big lie.”
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And despite it all, despite everything that has come out about Trump’s actions and alleged actions, despite the looming indictment – on top of a current indictment – Barr says if Trump is the Republican party’s nominee for president he will still support him.
“I don’t see myself not supporting the Republican candidate,” Barr said.
Taking a swing at President Joe Biden, Barr said neither the current nor the former president are “fit for the office.”
“But if I’m confronted with that choice, I have to go with policy, who’s closest to me on policy,” regardless of who might be convicted of breaking the law, including on our national secrets.
Watch a clip from the interview below or at this link.
Bill Barr on the classified documents investigation:
“This is not a case of the DOJ conducting a witch hunt…This would have gone nowhere had the president just returned the documents, but he jerked them around for a year and a half…There is no excuse for what he did here.” pic.twitter.com/dYWzauBqjo
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