Connect with us

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 day in 1787 delegates to the U.S. Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia  — including our Founding Fathers — signed the Constitution. It would not be ratified for another two years.

Constitution Day, formally known as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day,” 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, I don’t agree with it all — like our current interpretation of the Second Amendment — but, like some might say, you don’t run a country with the Constitution you want, you run a country with the Constitution you have.

And yes, a lot has changed since it was written. But the principles in our Declaration of Independence — upon which our country were founded: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness — haven’t.

So, let’s talk about gay marriage.

Gay marriage, same-​sex marriage, marriage equality, whatever we want to call it, bottom line, it’s marriage. Someday, we’ll be able to say “marriage” unequivocally and without qualification.

The Supreme Court affirmed, in 1967, that marriage is, indeed, a civil right. In the unanimously-​decided Loving v. Virginia, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the court’s opinion:

“Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.… To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a 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 State’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, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

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:

“…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.”

Surely marriage is both a “basic civil right” and a “protection of the law?”

Ted Olson and David Boies’ much-​heralded 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 a Colorado constitutional amendment that had prohibited state protections for homosexual citizens. And 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 a states’ rights issue. Others have been disinclined to bring a case to the U.S. Supreme Court, concerned that a 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 a states’ rights issue. Marriage, as determined in Loving, is a civil right. Civil rights are not states’ rights, but federal. It is the FBI, for example, that investigates civil rights abuses. Civil rights are, simply, federal.

And we’ve been wrong to fight this battle at the state level. It is, in fact, a federal issue, a Constitutional issue.

Nevertheless, that’s what we’re stuck with. For now. Because at some point enough states will offer full marriage equality to make Article Four — U.S. Constitution’s full faith and credit clause — the elephant in the room.

Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, will make this more likely, as DOMA 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 “Respect for Marriage Act,” is passed and signed into law.

The Constitution is an elastic instrument subject to interpretation. It is not a 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 a time. The one thing I do know: it will not be via inaction.

(Image: Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler Christy.)

Editor’s note: This article is based upon one The New Civil Rights Movement ran in 2009.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


GOP Congresswoman Saying She Would ‘Do Anything’ to Protect Her Grandchildren, Even ‘Shooting Them’ Sets Internet on Fire



U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) in a speech denouncing a House bill on gun safety, appears to inadvertently have declared that to protect her five grandchildren, she would “do anything,” even shoot them.

“I rise in opposition to H.R. 2377,” Congresswoman Lesko says in the video. “I have five grandchildren. I would do anything, anything to protect my five grandchildren, including as a last resort shooting them if I had to, to protect the lives of my grandchildren.”

NCRM has verified the video is accurate. Congresswoman Lesko made the remarks on June 9, according to C-SPAN, while she was opposing a red flag law.

The Congresswoman presumably meant she would as a last resort shoot someone threatening her grandchildren.

One Twitter user, Ryan Shead, posted the previously ignored video to Twitter, where it has gone viral and is trending.

Lesko, who some social media users note is running for re-election unopposed, went on to say: “Democrat bills that we have heard this week want to take away my right, my right to protect my grandchildren. they want to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect their own children and grandchildren. and wives and brothers and sisters,” which is false.

“This bill takes away due process from law-abiding citizens. Can you imagine if you had a disgruntled ex or somebody who hates you because of your political views and they go to a judge and say, ‘oh, this person is dangerous,’ and that judge would take away your guns?”

Lesko’s hypothetical claims are false. Red flag laws are designed to protect both gun owners and those around them.

Some social media users noted that Congresswoman Lesko reportedly “attended meetings about overturning the election,” while others are having fun with the Arizona Republican’s remarks:

Watch Congresswoman Lesko’s remarks above or at this link.


Continue Reading


Separation of Church and State Is a ‘Fabrication’ Says Far Right Activist Charlie Kirk: They Should Be ‘Mixed Together’



Far-right religious activist, conspiracy theorist, and founder of the right-wing organization Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk has falsely declared that separation of church and state, a bedrock principle on which American society is based, is a “fabrication” not in the Constitution.

Kirk is a member of the secretive theocratic Council for National Policy., a close friend of Donald Trump, Jr., and spent years promoting President Trump – even interviewing him at one point. Turning Point USA has had repeated challenges. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer in 2017 write a piece about TPUSA titled, “A Conservative Nonprofit That Seeks to Transform College Campuses Faces Allegations of Racial Bias and Illegal Campaign Activity.”

Former TPUSA communications director Candace Owens has praised Hitler, saying “the problem” with him was that he wanted to “globalize.”

RELATED: Watch: Charlie Kirk Calls for Texans to Be ‘Deputized’ to Protect ‘White Demographics in America’

On Wednesday Kirk declared, “There is no separation of church and state. It’s a fabrication. It’s a fiction. It’s not in the Constitution. It’s made up by secular humanists.”

That’s false.

The claim separation of church and state is not in the Constitution is a religious right belief that has been debunked by countless legal experts.

“Of course we should have church and state mixed together,” Kirk continued. “Our Founding Fathers believed in that. We can go through the detail of that. They established – literally – a church in Congress.”

That too is false.

RELATED: ‘When Do We Get to Use the Guns?’: TP USA Audience Member Asks Charlie Kirk When Can ‘We Kill’ Democrats? (Video)

“It’s a good thing Charlie Kirk doesn’t go to Wheaton because he would fail my Constitutional Law class,” writes Dr. Miranda Yaver, PhD, a Wheaton College professor.

As most public school students know, Kirk’s claims are belied by the First Amendment to the U.S., Constitution, which states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

It’s the Establishment Clause, legal experts say, that debunks Kirk’s falsehood.

In reviewing the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, Reuters last month noted: “It was President Thomas Jefferson who famously said in an 1802 letter that the establishment clause should represent a ‘wall of separation’ between church and state. The provision prevents the government from establishing a state religion and prohibits it from favoring one faith over another.”

Jefferson is also considered the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

Watch Charlie Kirk below or at this link.



Continue Reading


Pat Cipollone Is ‘A Greatest Hits Package of Crazy Statements’ by Donald Trump: Legal Expert



Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has agreed to speak to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress on Friday.

Former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Harry Litman told CNN that Cipollone has carefully negotiated the testimony and he will likely “steer around down the middle” of the attorney/client privilege. However, former President Donald Trump is not the client of a White House counsel, the White House is. President Joe Biden has waived executive privilege for anything involving Jan. 6 or the 2020 election.

“He is a greatest hits package of crazy statements by Donald Trump,” Litman said of Cipollone. “He is the one who says to Mark Meadows, ‘You know, if you do this, you’ll have blood on your effing hands.’ He’s the one who says to Mark Meadows about [Mike] Pence, ‘You’ve got to stop it’ and Meadows says, ‘You’ve heard him. He thinks the rioters are right.’ He’s the one who has to go to Cassidy Hutchinson, a 25-year-old, and plead with her because Meadows won’t speak to him. ‘Please try to keep him from going to the Capitol.’ He’s the one who says, ‘if I go to the Capitol, it will be every effing crime imaginable.'”

READ MORE: Longtime friend of GOP’s Eric Greitens calls him a ‘broken man’ and accuses him of lying about his beliefs

“Now, they’ve negotiated it up, and probably what he wants is to say he’s not piercing attorney/client privilege. But all these statements I’ve said to you, Trump’s nowhere around. So, attorney/client has to be with the client for the purpose of getting legal advice, so he’s got tons to say without that.”

As Litman explained, Cipollone is in “everything.”

See the discussion below.

Image: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks  via Flickr:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump talk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, her husband Jesse Barrett, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife Virginia Thomas, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Deputy White House Counsel Kate Comerford Todd in the Blue Room of the White House Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, after attending Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony as Supreme Court Associate Justice.


Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.