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DOMA Case Analysis And Arguments: A Lesbian Love-In Small Screen Celluloid Moment

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It was lesbian heaven on the small screen celluloid world last night when Rachel Maddow kicked off her show with a loving treatise to Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during a segment filled with and defined by  powerful women  who have changed our world for the better

Yesterday’s Defense of  Marriage Act (DOMA) arguments in United States v. Windsor were followed by a lovely lesbian evening which was kicked off by Rachel Maddow herself, at the top of her broadcast as she delivered an adoring ode to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, arguably the most incisive jurist at the Supreme Court during the Windsor arguments.

Indeed, Maddow was completely captivated by Ginsburg’s reference to same-sex marriages as “skim milk,” not “full,” or whole,  like heterosexual marriages, which benefit from approximately 1,100 different statutes, although effectively denied to gay couples by DOMA.  Her show plastered “Skim-Milk Marriage” at the bottom of the screen continuously throughout the DOMA segment.

I knew that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would love Windsor, because of its intricacies of benefits and taxes and because of the blatant discrimination; and while a reverse would be hugely significant, it could be decided with a jurisdictional state’s rights argument, or maybe on the constitutional merits. We all hope for the latter.

But of course  Maddow played tape from the arguments, and who could have not been inspired by the arguments posed by the charismatic litigator Roberta Kaplan, who fought brilliantly for Edie Windsor’s claims (the ACLU filed the lawsuit against the government on behalf of Windsor).

Let me just admit to The New Civil Rights Movement readers that I am in love with Kaplan’s rigorous and brave defense of Windsor and her tete de tete with Chief Justice Roberts which ends the argument on behalf of Windsor:

Roberta A. Kaplan: The fact of the matter is, Mr. Chief Justice, is that no other group in recent history has been subjected to popular referenda to take away rights that have already been given or exclude those rights, the way gay people have.

And only two of those referenda have ever lost.

One was in Arizona; it then passed a couple years later.

One was in Minnesota where they already have a statute on the books that prohibits marriages between gay people.

So I don’t think — and until 1990 gay people were not allowed to enter this country.

So I don’t think that the political power of gay people today could possibly be seen within that framework, and certainly is analogous — I think gay people are far weaker than the women were at the time of Frontiero.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts: Well, but you just referred to a sea change in people’s understandings and values from 1996, when DOMA was enacted, and I’m just trying to see where that comes from, if not from the political effectiveness of — of groups on your side of the case.

Roberta A. Kaplan: To flip the language of the House Report, Mr. Chief Justice, I think it comes from a moral understanding today that gay people are no different, and that gay married couples’ relationships are not significantly different from the relationships of straight married couples.

I don’t think–

Chief Justice John G. Roberts: I understand that.

I am just trying to see how — where that that moral understanding came from, if not the political effectiveness of a particular group.

Roberta A. Kaplan: –I — I think it came — is, again is very similar to the, what you saw between Bowers and Lawrence.

I think it came to a societal understanding.

I don’t believe that societal understanding came strictly through political power; and I don’t think that gay people today have political power as that — this Court has used that term with — in connection with the heightened scrutiny analysis.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts: Thank you, Ms. Kaplan.

In straining to listen to Kaplan’s articulation and prevented from watching, I got in touch with my ‘inner lesbian’. I was wowed by her. Not able to watch her, I hung onto to every word, imagining her before the Chief Justice, hammering on the reality of our lives and the suffering as a result of this terrible law.

But the chief lesbian on this night is Maddow, who is not done with her examination of DOMA yet, before she interviews none other than Mary Bonauto, an attorney (and lesbian) and GLAD‘s director of the civil rights project  who made history in America when she successfully argued in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that civil unions were not constitutional, laying the legal groundwork for the DOMA challenge at the US Supreme Court.

So now we have two open lesbians talking to each other on the small celluloid screen of a major network, which I believe is unprecedented.  This just does not happen everyday, or on any day…and I was just loving it.  It was wonderful. I feel like I had died and arrived to  lesbian celluloid heaven for a women’s only party.

I freely admit that I am taken with all these powerful women.  And because it happens so infrequently, when we see just one lesbian on television, as in Rachel Maddow, we rightly celebrate.  And now there was two.  I just wanted to jump up and down and cheer on all these lesbians, who are powerful women in the ways that attracts all of us to one another!

 

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But the two lesbians that matter the most right now are Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, who loved each other for 42 years and were married in Canada the last year before Thea died.  In Thea’s death, Edie was hit with a whopping $360,000 tax penalty on property inheritance because their marriage was not recognized by the IRS due to DOMA’s prohibitions. Edie chose to fight and it is because of her love for Thea and her compunction to fight back–that the oppressive walls of DOMA  may just come tumbling down in June.  All because of these two lovely lesbians. Who could not love and adore Edie Windsor?

So let me leave you with one more brilliant lesbian that people should follow, as we await the Prop 8 and DOMA decisions: Georgetown Law Professor Nan Hunter and the author of the engaging “Hunter of Justice blog  where she has analyzed the Prop 8 and DOMA cases (among many other issues).  Follow her regularly because of her trenchant legal analysis and know this about her as well:  Hunter has been a ground-breaking advocate for women and LGBT people throughout her storied and dedicated career of service to our community.

DomiheadshotTanya L. Domi is the Deputy Editor of the New Civil Rights Movement. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and teaches human rights in East Central Europe and former Yugoslavia. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi was a nationally recognized LGBT civil rights activist who worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force during the campaign to lift the military ban in the early 1990s. Domi has also worked internationally in a dozen countries on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights and gender issues. She is chair of the board of directors for GetEQUAL. Domi is currently writing a book about the emerging LGBT human rights movement in the Western Balkans.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘Doesn’t Get to Tell the County What They Can Read’: Lawmaker Blasts Christian in Viral Video Attacking LGBTQ Library Books

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A Tennessee Democratic state lawmaker is responding to a viral video of a Christian woman in her home state railing against “perversion,” apparently upset with LGBTQ-themed books being in a local public library, while ranting about Satan and “revelation prophecies.”

Rep. Gloria Johnson, a retired special ed teacher, blasted the young woman who spoke in the video for about three minutes berating, lecturing, and preaching to her fellow Maury County, Tennessee residents about books she believes the public library should not have.

After introducing herself as “Stephanie” (her last name was not discernible), the young woman in the undated video declares, “I speak on behalf of God Almighty, my husband, the daughter in my womb and every law abiding God fearing taxpaying citizen here in Maury County.”

She admitted she is not from Maury County, but she did feel very comfortable telling Maury County locals what to do and think.

“We moved here from Indiana to start our family,” she said. “I will not raise kids in a county that has sexual oriented books on the counter,” she insisted, later stating, “My taxes pay [for] this place.”

“The kingdom of God is within reach,” Stephanie went on to preach. “It is within here and we live not for heaven but from heaven. What that means is when perversion permeates our county, that is when the devil gets our children. If you don’t see this you are blind. We must understand that there cannot be perversion in this county, in this country. Obviously revelation prophecies are occurring right before our eyes. But what you need to know first and foremost, that obviously the future generation is our children.”

READ MORE: Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Doug Mastriano Calling for ‘40 Days of Fasting and Prayer’ to Help Campaign

By the end of her lengthy rant she decreed, “God sees everything and by the grace of God, we will rise above this, but I’m not gonna let my children be raised – I’m gonna homeschool, you better believe it. I will not let my children be raised in a county like this. If we’re having sexual oriented books. You can even ask the gay community, a lot of them say why would you want to bring kids to the bars? They already think of pedophilia, why would you want them to come to the bars?”

“Understand that you serve our country second. You serve our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob first,” she concluded.

She also flew into a false screed straight out of recent Fox News reports.

READ MORE: Trump Uses Crude Anti-LGBTQ Language – Aides Stunned by Obsession With Staffers’ Sexuality: New Book

Saying, “I speak on behalf of millennials my generation,” she claimed, “We already have so many illegal aliens here who are bringing fentanyl they are killing our children, our youth.”

That’s false.

A right-wing think tank, the Cato Institute states: “Fentanyl is primarily trafficked by U.S. citizens.”

Rep. Johnson, who served in the Tennessee state House from 2013-2015, and is again serving, since 2019, also served up strong criticism against the woman in the video.

“She is welcome to monitor the books her children read, but she doesn’t get to tell the rest of the county what they can read,” Johnson tweeted.

Johnson is apparently a strong supporter of public libraries. This was posted to her Facebook page just days ago:

Watch the viral video below or at this link.

 

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CRIME

Watchdog Reports Trump ‘Credibly Accused’ of ‘Staggering’ List of 55 Criminal Offenses – Urges DOJ to Prosecute

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A nonpartisan federal government watchdog has updated its list of “uncharged” criminal offenses it says Donald Trump stands “credibly accused” of committing, and is urging the Dept. of Justice to prosecute them, warning that “the rule of law is not self-enforcing.”

“As of September 2022, Donald Trump has been credibly accused of committing at least 55 criminal offenses since he launched his campaign for president in 2015,” reports Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, better known as CREW. “That total only reflects allegations relating to his time in or running for office and omits, for instance, Trump’s criminal exposure for fraudulent business dealings.”

The lengthy list includes numerous allegations of campaign finance crimes and coverup, destruction of presidential records, obstruction of the Russia and Special Counsel Investigations, attempts to steal the 2020 election, false public financial disclosure reports, attempts to get Ukraine to interfere in 2020 election, profiting off of post-election lies, and unlawful post-presidency possession of government records.

READ MORE: Trump Sarcastically Prayed for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Health – Before Asking ‘How Much Longer’ She Had: New Book

CREW says its update includes “seven offenses we have added since we published the first version of this table in March 2022,” including “three criminal offenses relating to the investigation of election fraud and related crimes in Fulton County, Georgia; one offense relating to potential wire fraud stemming from fraudulent representations made to solicit PAC contributions after the 2020 election; and three offenses relating to Trump’s unlawful possession of government records at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office.”

“The updated tracker likely understates Trump’s legal exposure because the high volume of sensitive records discovered at Mar-A-Lago suggests that he could be indicted for multiple counts of willfully retaining without authorization government records containing national defense information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(e)), even though it is only listed once on CREW’s tracker.”

CREW is not the only one keeping track of Trump’s misdeeds, criminal civil, or ethical.

McSweeney’s published a list of 1056 “atrocities,” it calls “horrors,” titled: “A Catalog of Trump’s Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes.” It stopped updating on Jan. 20, 2021.

READ MORE: Trump Mocked for ‘Sidelining’ His New $3 Million Attorney: ‘Must Have Given Him Actual Legal Advice’

Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler on Wednesday published her “Trump Document Theft Resources,” a timeline of events surrounding the former president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return classified documents, complete with numerous links.


 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Doug Mastriano Calling for ‘40 Days of Fasting and Prayer’ to Help Campaign

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The far-right Christian nationalist and state lawmaker who is the Republican Party’s nominee to become governor of Pennsylvania is so extreme and has been performing so poorly in the polls it took the media two days to learn of his latest plan to win election: 40 days of fasting and prayer.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who led a Zoom meeting days before the January 6 insurrection praying his fellow Trump supporters would “rise up” and overthrow the government, on Monday posted to Facebook a call for “40 Days of Fasting and Prayer.”

To date it has received little attention, a mere 10 comments, 46 shares, and 156 various likes. That’a after one news outlet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, published an article on Mastriano Wednesday afternoon.

READ MORE: Doug Mastriano Shredded by Local Paper for ‘Chilling’ Plans to Overturn Future Elections

“The Republican gubernatorial candidate is losing some support among GOP allies as his cash-strapped campaign turns to Twitter memes and, apparently, divine intervention,” the Inquirer reports.

A mere “few dozen supporters joined the Republican state senator on the steps of the Capitol building in Harrisburg — some of them members of a local militia group,” for campaign rally last weekend, adding that “Mastriano hasn’t run or booked any TV ads in response. He doesn’t do interviews with most media outlets, and won’t agree to a standard format debate.”

Mastriano recently made headlines over previously unreported remarks showing he supports criminal murder charges for women who violate a 6-week abortion ban.

It seems likely Mastriano will lose the election. FiveThirtyEight gives the far right Republican state lawmaker just seven chances in 100 to win the governorship. His opponent, Democrat Josh Shapiro, has spent millions more that Mastriano, who the Inquirer notes has spent just $6300 on TV ads.

READ MORE: ‘Yes’: GOP Nominee Mastriano Supports Charging Women With Murder if They Have an Abortion After a 6 Week Ban (Audio)

Some are highlighting bigger, more longterm concerns, noting that Mastriano is helping to expand the Christian nationalism and fascism his ideologies represent.

Media Matters for America’s Eric Hananoki on Wednesday reveals: “Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate.”

“Mastriano is a QAnon conspiracy theorist and a January 6 insurrectionist,” Media Matters report adds. “He has also shared toxic commentaries about Muslims; abortion; and gun safety; along with making other inflammatory remarks.”

“He has surrounded himself with numerous extremist media figures in his campaign for Pennsylvania governor. They include: antisemitic Gab CEO Andrew Torba; QAnon and antisemitic conspiracy theorists Allen and Francine Fosdick; “prophet” Julie Green, who has promoted an antisemitic conspiracy theory; and QAnon supporter and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Toni Shuppe. Mastriano also recruited Jenna Ellis, who has a history of anti-LGBTQ remarks and election denialism, as a senior adviser.”

The New York Times last month reported Mastriano “speaks almost exclusively to far-right podcasters like Stephen K. Bannon, conservative talk radio hosts and Fox News. On a recent swing through northwest Pennsylvania, he brushed off a Pittsburgh TV station that sought to interview him, and even the small-circulation Meadville Tribune.

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