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Same-Sex Marriage: Does National Strategy Trump Private Citizens’ Right To A Trial Decision?

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Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

A federal judge yesterday was expected to hear and rule on a same-sex marriage and adoption case that could have found Michigan‘s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Instead, the judge, who had scheduled the hearing of the case at a Michigan law school because he thought it would be instructional for the Wayne State University students, quickly announced he was delaying his ruling until after the Supreme Court had decided the Prop 8 and DOMA cases, which surprised most people in the room.

READ: Same-Sex Marriage Might Be Legal In Michigan By The End Of The Day Today

But as it turns out, some were likely not surprised, namely, state and national LGBT organizations that filed an amicus brief that offered support — albeit somewhat tepid, one could argue — for overturning the Michigan ban on same-sex marriage and for finding in favor of the couple’s right to jointly adopt their three toddlers, aged three and four, two of whom have special needs.

In fact, as Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed reported, the LGBT organizations that signed the amicus brief “wrote that before resolving the Michigan couple’s case, ‘this Court may determine that it is prudent to await decision’ in the California Proposition 8 case at the Supreme Court.”

“Although the LGBT groups’ moves have been out of the spotlight as the DOMA and Proposition 8 cases took center stage,” Geidner added, “they shed light on the careful approach LGBT legal advocacy organizations have taken in the past couple of years. Although courtroom successes have been plenty in challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, more direct marriage-rights cases have met with mixed results. Although courts in the Proposition 8 challenge have found the California amendment to be unconstitutional, federal marriage equality lawsuits in Hawaii and Nevada were rejected by trial courts.”

Regular readers of The New Civil Rights Movement are very familiar with this Michigan case. Jayne Rowse and April Deboer are a lesbian couple, together more than ten years, both nurses, who have singly but not jointly been allowed to adopt three toddlers, Nolan, Ryanne, and Jacob, (one of whom, frankly, was expected to not live) and sued the state at first only for the right to adopt their children as a couple. When the federal court judge suggested they amended their case and ask the court to overturn as unconstitutional Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, they took some time to consider it, and ultimately decided to move forward to challenge the marriage ban.

“The case, initially filed in January 2012, came only after several LGBT organizations declined to participate, Dana Nessel, one of the couple’s attorneys, told BuzzFeed Thursday,” Geidner reports:

“What they told us is that they refuse to touch anything in the Sixth Circuit [Court of Appeals].”

The fear: they would lose.

Jay Kaplan of the ACLU of Michigan told BuzzFeed Friday that Nessel’s assessment was accurate, saying, “If you’re going to bring a marriage equality claim, you want to be sure that you’re going to be successful at all stages of the process.” Of the Sixth Circuit, he said, “There is not a progressive majority on the court.”

At issue here is strategy. And rights — not the right of the couple to adopt and to marry (which should be a foregone conclusion, and hopefully someday soon will be,) but the right of LGBT organizations who have contributed absolutely not one penny to support the case, and almost zero support otherwise, with the exception of the amicus brief.

(In fairness, Equality Michigan has publicly expressed support of the couple’s case in the Huffington Post and elsewhere.)

The brief easily could be seen as not wildly supportive — and perhaps that’s a legal strategy too. It hems and haws and is written in a manner that might lead someone to conclude the signatories are nervous.

But most if not all of the LGBT organizations who drafted and/or signed the amicus brief are pros in the field: the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Civil Liberties Fund of Michigan, Equality Michigan, the Human Rights Campaign Fund (HRC), Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., National Center for Lesbian Rights, Family Equality Council, Affirmations Community Center, Ruth Ellis Center, and KICK.

And there was an option: say nothing. Or, a better option: say something to argue unequivocally and unwaveringly.

April, Jayne, Nolan, Ryanne, and Jacob desperately need help, support, and relief from the state. (Try raising three special needs toddlers on the salaries of two unmarried nurses.)

The LGBT organizations are tasked with strategizing and ultimately securing equality for all. But has their long-term strategy hurt or harmed the chances of a short-term win for Jayne and April?

Imagine what would have happened had the judge struck down as unconstitutional Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, less than three weeks before the Supreme Court took up two landmark same-sex marriage cases?

We’ll never know, but it certainly can be said that there are many who felt optimistic about where the judge was headed.

“This court may find that denying same-sex couples the ability to obtain second parent adoptions is unconstitutional without addressing the question of whether Michigan may deny same-sex couples the ability to marry because these two claims are separate,” part of the amicus brief reads.

“Second parent adoptions are at the core of the relief sought by the plaintiffs, and can be granted regardless of whether ams-sex couples are allowed to marry in Michigan,” reads another section.

Here’s the amicus brief. You decide. Did April Jayne, Nolan, Ryanne, and Jacob deserve unfettered support?

 

Adoption Amicus Curiae Motion and Brief by davidbadash

http://www.scribd.com/embeds/129357946/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-1dmlrbn3jjbt981ajxl5

Editor’s note: The New Civil Rights Movement reached out to several of the LGBT orgs who signed the brief. Only one responded before publication.

 

For more, read The New Civil Rights Movement’s Jean Ann Esselink‘s reports:

On Our Radar – Do Children In Same-Sex Families Have A Right To Be Equal?

Federal Judge Encourages Lesbian Couple To Take On Michigan’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Michigan Couple Take Judge’s Suggestion To Challenge State’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Oakland County Refuses To Defend Michigan’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage And Adoption

 

You can help support April and Jayne through the Deboer Rowse Fund, which is also on Facebook.

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News

House Republicans Move to Upstage SOTU With New Hur Investigation Subpoena and Hearing

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While continuing to defend their impeachment investigation into President Joe Biden, despite the testimony or credibility of numerous star witnesses collapsing, Republican House Chairs Jim Jordan and Jim Comer on Tuesday announced they have issued a subpoena to Attorney General Merrick Garland for “records, including transcripts, notes, video, and audio files, related to Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation” of President Biden’s mishandling of classified information.

Hur cleared the President of any criminal wrongdoing, while deviating from DOJ guidelines by making partisan attacks on the President’s memory.

Despite the entire “Burisma” conspiracy again imploding, Chairman Comer and Chairman Jordan have continued to promote false claims surrounding President Biden.

Comer on Tuesday claimed now-indicted former FBI source Alexander Smirnov, who reportedly got the Burisma falsehoods from Putin’s Russian intelligence, “never was a key part” of his investigation into the President.

READ MORE: At the White House Johnson Says Biden Must Use Executive Orders After Calling Them ‘Gimmicks’

Jordan’s and Comer’s remarks have drawn the scrutiny of several former federal prosecutors, including U.S. Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-NY), who last week warned they could be opening themselves up to conspiracy charges. Monday night Rep. Goldman made his allegations clear: “Jordan is now conspiring with Putin to interfere in the Nov election.”

The deadline Comer and Jordan gave the Attorney General is March 7, the date President Biden is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union Address, as NewsNation Washington Correspondent Joe Khalil noted.

Republicans, along with Fox News, have been concerned over reports President Biden’s team wants to use the State of the Union as a “reset.” Far-right Fox News Business host Maria Bartiromo expressed great concern about the State of the Union Address as she noted Republicans have legislation that would block President Biden from delivering the annual address, at least from inside Congress.

As Axios reported last week, Republicans have been planning ways to take the “spotlight” away from President Biden’s control, and turn it back onto him.

READ MORE: Democratic Senators Now ‘Daring’ Republicans to Block IVF Protections: Report

“Biden’s ownership of the national spotlight will be brief. Just five days after his speech, House Republicans will hold a hearing with special counsel Robert Hur, whose report cleared the president of mishandling documents but called him a ‘well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,'” reported Axios’ Mike Allen and Alex Thompson. “Republicans tell Axios they hope to make the hearing a blockbuster, including pressing Hur about Biden’s fitness.”

CBS News adds that Comers and Jordan’s “committees have been trying to show for months that Mr. Biden was enriched by his family’s foreign business dealings and accepted bribes, but have so far uncovered no wrongdoing by the president. Their impeachment inquiry took a hit when one of their key witnesses was recently charged with lying about the first family’s business dealings.”

See the video above or at this link.

Image of Jim Jordan via Shutterstock

 

 

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News

At the White House Johnson Says Biden Must Use Executive Orders After Calling Them ‘Gimmicks’

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Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson says President Joe Biden must issue executive orders to address the southern border, just days after scoffing at claims the President was considering using his executive authority, calling those orders “election year gimmicks.”

Republicans, with the assistance of – and some say, at the direction of – Donald Trump derailed a bipartisan  border bill several weeks ago.

Although the House is still on vacation, Speaker Johnson attended his first White House meeting with President Biden on Tuesday, along with Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

The President’s goal in gathering the congressional leaders together was to find a way to avoid a government shutdown, which will come after midnight Friday if the House and Senate cannot agree and pass legislation to fund the government.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the meeting “one of the most intense” of his career.

READ MORE: Democratic Senators Now ‘Daring’ Republicans to Block IVF Protections: Report

Schumer, McConnell, and Jeffries are all united in the need to pass legislation to help Ukraine battle Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal war.

Often after these meetings participants will hold a joint press conference outside the White House but Johnson opted to speak to reporters alone.

Defiant, and in opposition to the President, Leaders Schumer, McConnell, and Jeffries, Johnson declared that the southern border must be fixed before he could support funding critical military aid to Ukraine.

Pointing to “discussion about the supplemental spending package,” referring to the military aid bill, Johnson told reporters (video below): “I was very clear with the President and all those in the room that the House is actively pursuing and investigating all the various options on that, and we will address that in a timely manner.”

READ MORE: ‘How Extremism Is Normalized’: Schlapp Furious as Critics Slam CPAC Over Report of Nazis

“But again, the first priority of the country is our border and making sure it’s secure. I believe the President can take executive authority right now today to change that. And I told him that again today in person, as I’ve said to him many times, publicly and privately over the last several weeks, it’s time for action. It is a catastrophe, and it must stop and we will get the government funded and we’ll keep working on that.”

Last week, Politico reported Johnson, in addition to his “election year gimmicks” remarks, said: “The president suddenly seems interested in trying to make a change using the legal authority that he claimed until recently didn’t exist.”

Watch Johnson below or at this link:

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

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COMMENTARY

Stephen Miller: Arrest ‘Commie’ Teachers, Use Government Power to ‘Defeat Evil’

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Former Trump aide Stephen Miller told the MAGA activists gathered near Washington, D.C. last week for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that conservatives must be willing to use power more aggressively against their opponents. He railed against district attorneys and other officials for not arresting teachers who violate new state laws that restrict teaching on race, gender, and sexuality.

Miller, an architect of the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies, has been promising MAGA activists that if Trump returns to the White House, he “will unleash the vast arsenal of federal powers to implement the most spectacular migration crackdown.” Miller’s America First Legal group is part of the far-right Project 2025, which has prepared a battle plan for the movement to “take the reins of government” in a new Trump administration. The Heritage Foundation, ringleader of the Project 2025 scheme, was at CPAC recruiting foot soldiers willing to carry out the plan.

In a recent article for Political Research Associates’ “The Public Eye” magazine, I noted that Project 2025 reflected a “movement-level, ideological shift away from a libertarian mistrust of government power and toward an authoritarian view of government power being used ruthlessly—whether as a righteous force wielded to advance a ‘biblical worldview’ or turned against an ‘administrative state’ supposedly captured by a radical Marxist left.”

Miller provided ample confirmation about the MAGA movement’s intentions, down to his dismissal of libertarianism as “a terrible ideology” that might be fine for academic debates but not in the real world, where he said public officials have a responsibility to “defeat evil.”

Excerpts from Miller’s appearance on a Friday, Feb. 23 CPAC panel:

Call it a mental illness, call it a spiritual failing, call it a moral deficiency, call it weakness, softness, or just being pathetic. There is something really broken in the conservative brain. They’re afraid not only of conflict, we know that. But there’s an even deeper fear, a deeper fear than all that, which is having power, and using power. Conservatives are addicted to the language of libertarianism, which is fine–you know, it’s a terrible ideology, but in an academic setting, okay, have these debates. …

You elect a state supreme court justice, you elect an Attorney General, and so on and so forth, to have an office with specific powers, duties, and responsibilities, with the expectation that they will use that authority to defeat evil, to protect the good, and to accomplish positive change in society. And you have to use that power fearlessly. …

A number of states, for example, have passed laws, saying that you can’t have this in the curriculum, or you can’t have that in the curriculum, and you can’t teach DEI and so on and so forth. Without exception, I can promise you, all the commies in the classroom changed the name of their lecture, changed one word, changed one little paragraph in the syllabus and did the exact same damn thing every single day because they’re communists and that’s what they do. Were they sued? No! Were they arrested if they broke a law and it’s applicable? No! Did any D.A. anywhere, if you’re talking about trans issues, think of arresting somebody for abusing children with trans ideology? No, we write blog posts about it. That’s what we do. So until we get serious, all the way down to the local DA, all the way up to the state A/G. and every office in between, including judges, electing people who have power and will use that power and measure their success by change in the real world, then we aren’t going to be able to beat the left.

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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