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Does The U.S. Constitution Already Make Gay Marriage Legal?

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Happy Birthday, 14th
Amendment!

Recent advances in gay marriage have created an interesting – and I use that term generously – cornucopia of marriage situations. In California, gay marriage was “illegal,” until May, when the California Supreme Court deemed any ban against same-sex marriage unconstitutional. That allowed 18,000 couples to wed – until Prop 8 was passed, overruling the Supreme Court and making same-sex marriage, essentially, illegal once again. But there are still 18,000 same-sex couples in California who are married – their marriages remain “legal.”

Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine have all moved to support marriage equality. So, what happens if one of those 18,000 couples moves to, say, Massachusetts? Well, aside from having better access to lobster, nothing. What happens if a promotion takes them to, say, New York? Again, nothing, because New York, while not enabled to perform same-sex marriages, still recognizes them from other jurisdictions. But, if that couple moves to New Jersey, voila! They are not married; they do not receive legal recognition of their marriage by the state. Crazy, huh?

In June 0f 1958, Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving were married in Washington, D.C. and went home to Virgina, where they were subsequently arrested one night, in their bed, having sex, which was illegal. Why? The Lovings were an interracial couple, and in 1958 Virgina, it was illegal for them to be married, and it was illegal for them to have sex. Crazy, huh?

Right now, that very same fictional California couple I mentioned is facing a similar fate. While they aren’t subject to arrest for being married or for having sex (thank God!) they are still not legally married in New Jersey or in any one of forty-two other states. And in the eyes of the federal government, they are not married in any state. Crazy, huh?

The Fourteenth Amendment, which is 141 years old today, was used in the landmark case of Loving v. Virginia to repeal anti-miscegenation laws, making interracial marriage legal. It should protect same-sex couples as well. Via Wikipedia:

“The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the convictions in a unanimous decision, dismissing the Commonwealth of Virginia’s argument that a law forbidding both white and black persons from marrying persons of another race, and providing identical penalties to white and black violators, could not be construed as racially discriminatory. The court ruled that Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute violated both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In its decision, the court wrote:

“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.”

The Supreme Court concluded that anti-miscegenation laws were racist and had been enacted to perpetuate white supremacy:

“There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification. The fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy.”

And there you have it. The Supreme Court of The United States, in 1959 made it clear:

“Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival….”

The obvious question becomes, can race be viewed in the same manner as sexual orientation or identification?

The State of Massachussetts is taking this one step further. It is suing the federal government, saying the Defense of Marriage Act violates the Constitution and forces the states to discriminate against same-sex couples.

The Attorney General for Massachussetts, in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, said,

“Congress overstepped its authority, undermined states’ efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people.”

In, “New DOMA Lawsuit is the Most Exciting Yet,” Emma Ruby-Sachs writes,

“The genius of this complaint is that it takes a conservative argument — that liberal states should not be permitted to impose their tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality on the rest of the country — and turns it around to benefit a state that really pioneered gay rights in the U.S.

“Even a conservative justice would support the notion that federal encroachment over those few areas where states have sovereign jurisdiction is unconstitutional. In this case, that principle supports, at the very least, limiting the application of DOMA when it affects state programs with federal funding.

“If a conservative justice chooses to oppose the argument put forward by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, then their logic could be used in the future to justify federal enforcement of equal rights on those states that oppose same-sex marriage. If state’s no longer have absolute jurisdiction over marriage, a liberal government can interfere with a conservative state’s policies.”

So, the Constitution, as we would hope, may already have embedded in its wisdom, equal rights for all people, including gay people who want to get married:

“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.”

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News

‘Taking Us All for Fools’: Critics Decimate Greg Abbott’s Claims and Defense of His Actions in Wake of School Shooting

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Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott in a press conference that left reporters frustrated defended his actions and insisted his earlier praise for law enforcement’s widely criticized response to the Uvalde school massacre was the result of being “misled.”

“I am livid about what happened,” Abbott declared, blaming others for his “recitation of what people in that room told me.”

Critics aren’t buying his claims.

Abbott, who’s in the middle of a heated re-election campaign, appeared extremely defensive when reporters asked him questions.

“Let’s be clear about one thing. None of the laws I signed this past session had any intersection with this crime at all,” Abbott told reporters when asked if he would call the legislature back for a special session, as The Texas Tribune’s Sewell Chan noted.

“No law that I signed allowed him to get a gun,” Abbott insisted.

“The answers fell pretty flat,” opined MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, who noted the press event lasted just 36 minutes, less time than the police officers “stood outside and did nothing,” which was 47 minutes.

Abbott ended the press conference with many reporters almost begging him to take more questions. As the governor got up and left one frustrated reporter was caught on a hot mic saying “unbelievable.”

Chan, who is the editor in chief of the Tribune, added on Twitter: “Abbott rejects background checks as a simplistic and ineffective fix. Wouldn’t have prevented Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe shootings, he says. Tries to turn focus to broken mental health system.”

Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi on MSNBC delivered a strong rebuke to Governor Abbott’s remarks.

“No amount of free flights, no amount of free caskets, no amount of mental health counseling is going to bring back any one of those murdered children,” Figliuzzi said, referring to Abbott’s announcement an anonymous donor is putting up  $175,000 for funeral expenses of those who were murdered in the shooting and said the state will pay for mental health treatment.

Abbott also insisted that since Texas became a state it’s been legal for 18-year-olds to buy long guns.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered in the Parkland school shooting, blasted Abbott:

And long guns of today, as Figliuzzi noted, are often semi-automatic “killing machines.”

“The governor seems completely unable to understand that he can easily make a distinction when you’re talking about whether an 18-year-old should buy an assault rifle or not. And all he cares about is a century of history in Texas on long guns. We didn’t have the AR-15 style assault weapons back then.  He can easily make a distinction and say, ‘you can go hunting, here are the rifles you can do, you can buy, you can possess – and here’s an assault-style rifle.'”

“If he thinks that people are stupid and unable to understand that there is a clear distinction between a killing machine and a hunting rifle, that he’s taking us all for fools.”

 

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‘I Apologize for Interrupting Your Press Conference’: Tearful Texas Democrat Urges Greg Abbott to ‘Do Something’ on Guns

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The Texas Democratic State Senator who represents Uvalde stood up during Greg Abbott’s Friday afternoon press conference and almost begged the Republican Governor to “do something” about gun violence after Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School that took 21 lives.

Abbott was trying to place the blame for the school shooting on mental health despite the gunman having no documented issues, and told attendees, “we’re focusing our attention on the wrong thing.”

That was not good enough for Democratic State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who politely introduced himself and said, “I’m not making a political speech.”

“My colleagues are asking for a special session, you’re getting a letter tomorrow,” from the Senate Democratic Caucus.

“We’ve asked for gun control changes – I’m asking you now, bring us back in three weeks.”

Gutierrez grew emotional, sounding as if he was choking up, and added, “I apologize for interrupting your press conference about the needs of this community. I’ve been here for three days with all of these elected officials – this county judge has been working his ass off,” he continued.

“I don’t know how to express the loss of the families that I’ve talked to,” he added.

“You have to do something, man,” Gutierrez said, all but begging the governor to take action, and saying his “own colleagues are calling me and telling me this is enough.”

Watch:

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Right Wing Host at NRA Convention Likens 18 Year Olds Buying Guns to 3rd Graders Deciding Gender

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A host from a right-wing streaming service covering the NRA convention in Houston decided to compare conservatives’ growing active opposition to the rights and existence of transgender people, to the majority of Americans demanding expanded gun control legislation.

“We are being told by the left that a third-grader has the knowledge to determine if they were born a boy or they were born a girl, whether or not they want to stay that gender that they were born with,” said Brian Glenn, Right Side Broadcasting’s director of programming and correspondent.

“And if we feel like at a third grade you can make decisions on your gender, then I think by the time you’re 18 you should have enough maturity – assuming you’re not a complete psychopath – to buy a handgun and exercise your Second Amendment.”

Of course, that hypothetical third-grader is harming exactly no one and later can reverse that decision if they choose, which the vast majority do not.

That hypothetical 18-year old, or, in the case of this week’s horrific tragedy, an actual 18-year old, buying two AR-15 style assault weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition within three days of their 18th birthday, gunning down 21 people including 19 elementary school children, cannot reverse any of those decisions.

Watch:

 

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