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The Ennead Awards: Nine Justices, Nine Prizes



Well, folks, before the arguments to the Supreme Court on Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act are erased from your memory tapes to make room for “Thrift Shop” (clean version only, please!), we present the First-Ever Ennead Awards. There are — conveniently — nine categories, to wit:

Most Willfully Clueless Award: To Justice Antonin Scalia, for his remarks that sociologists were in disagreement about the effects of gay and lesbian parenting on children. OK, they’re not. The most one can say is that more evidence would be helpful, but this position is usually taken by those who are trying to avoid the implications of the studies that do exist — and show that kids do just fine across all measures when raised by same-sex parents. It might be that Scalia was sending out one of his increasingly high-pitched dog whistles to the far right, a sonic treat that was prominently featured during his otherwise-inexplicable excoriation of the Obama Administration for not doing enough to deal with illegal immigration. But it might also be that, once again, the opera-loving oenophile just didn’t do his homework. As Maureen Dowd pointed out, he didn’t even seem to know how many states have full marriage equality. (He might have just been posing, though.) And last year, he seemed to lament the suggestion that he should actually read the Affordable Care Act before deciding its constitutionality. Try that in your job.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Fantasy: To Chief Justice John Roberts. When the Justices agreed to hear the case, some of us hoped that they would finally take up the issue of whether discrimination based on sexual orientation should be judged by what the Court calls “heightened scrutiny.” It doesn’t look like the Court’s going to do that. In fact, I doubt they’re even going to get into the vast equal protection problems at all. And one reason for their declining to do so was voiced by the Chief Justice, who suggested that gays and lesbians don’t need the suspect classification designation that’s reserved for groups that lack political power. According to Roberts, the reason same-sex marriage laws have passed is because of our powerful lobbying. Then he added:

As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the case.

OK, this is a valid point (and one I made, in a somewhat different way, in this Slate piece). But here’s the much more persuasive response of Roberta Kaplan (representing Edie Windsor, the DOMA plaintiff):

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.

[A]nd 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 [the Court found women to be a “suspect class.”]

Just to make sure no one else might claim this award, the Chief Justice also expressed mild incredulity that the 84 Senators who voted for DOMA might have been motivated by a dislike of lesbian and gay people. Sustaining this particular fantasy requires ignoring the contribution of our next award winner…[1. Justice Roberts would also have won the “Oops!” Award if the Academy had recognized the category. At one point, he let slip the obvious point that Congress wasn’t really concerned with uniformity in enacting DOMA, but in something else: “Do you think Congress has the power to interfere with the [oops!!]…to not adopt the state definition….”]


Best Audiobook Reading Performance: To Justice Elena Kagan. Her sparring with Paul Clement, who was trying to defend the indefensible DOMA, was devastating. When Clement kept insisting that the real purpose of DOMA was to ensure uniformity, she confronted him:

JUSTICE KAGAN: Well, is what happened in 1996 — and I’m going to quote from the House Report here — is that “Congress decided to reflect an honor of collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.”

Is that what happened in 1996?

MR. CLEMENT: Does the House Report say that? Of course, the House Report says that. And if that’s enough to invalidate the statute, then you should invalidate the statute.

Yes, it does. And yes, you should.


The Lactose-Intolerance Award: To Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who delivered this dairy product:

It’s — it’s — as Justice Kennedy said, 1100 statutes [that confer federal advantages], and it affects every area of life. And so he was really diminishing what the State has said is marriage. You’re saying, no, State said two kinds of marriage; the full marriage, and then this sort of skim milk marriage.

Well, we know what she thinks of DOMA. But I don’t want to milk the point any further.

The Billy Preston (“Nothin’ from Nothin'”) Award: To Justice Stephen Breyer. Always prolix (he had more “air time” than any other Justice in both of these arguments) and often entertaining, here’s how he explored the somewhat counterintuitive claim that states that give same-sex couples all the same rights as opposite-sex couples, but without the name, have a harder time defending their exclusionary laws than states that fence gay and lesbian couples out completely:

I mean, take a state that really does nothing whatsoever. They have no benefits, no nothing, no nothing.

Anything but that!

Best Performance of 1999: Belatedly awarded to Justice Samuel Alito, who bemoaned the possibility that the Court might be able to find a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry on the ground that such marriages weren’t even as old as cell phones or the internet. After receiving the award, the Justice sped away in a Ford Granada.


The George Burns Award: To the woman playing the “straight man” during the arguments, Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Among her most unfunny but penetrating series of exchanges involved whether any other kind of discrimination against gays and lesbians might be justified. The attorney defending Prop 8, Charles Cooper, couldn’t think of any. The exchange reflected how far the nation has moved from the Justice Scalia position, expressed in cases like Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas that discrimination against gays and lesbians is still as American as apple pie. The exchange also points up the need to identify a real harm to society from same-sex marriages. None was identified during two-plus hours of argument.


Most Important Player in a Dramatic Role Award: As always, to Justice Kennedy, who will almost surely be the swing vote in both cases. It looks like he’s ready to join with the four sort-of liberals on the Court to strike down DOMA — but on states’ rights grounds, rather than on the basis that DOMA denies equality under the law — which it ever so plainly does. (Windsor’s estate tax bill upon the death of her wife: $363,000; hypothetical husband’s bill: $0.) It also looks like he wants Prop 8 gone, but doesn’t know quite how to get there. Two quotes, one epigrammatic and one moving:
[To a flabbergasted Charles Cooper]: “And you might address why you think we should take and decide this case.” (Really? Now? Over at Slate, I offered a possible reading of this statement.)

[T]here is an immediate legal injury…and that’s the voice of these children. There are some 40,000 children in California, according to the Red Brief, that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case, don’t you think?

The Marcel Marceau Lifetime Achievement Award: To Justice Clarence Thomas. ‘Nuff said.


John Culhane is the co-author of the new book,  Same-Sex Legal Kit for Dummies. He is a law professor who writes about various and sundry topics, including: disaster compensation; tort law; public health law; literature; science; sports; his own personal life (when he can bear the humanity); and, especially, LGBT rights and issues. He teaches at the Widener University School of Law, and is also a contributing writer for Slate.

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Fox Host Says Democrats Don’t Believe in Heaven So They Play ‘Hard’ to ‘Perfect’ Earth



Fox News host Rachel Campos-Duffy blamed the differences between Republicans and Democrats on religious beliefs about Heaven.

On Sunday’s Fox & Friends program, co-host Pete Hegseth argued religion was liberating because people could realize they aren’t perfect. A video clip of the moment was shared on social media.

“It changes the way you look even at politics,” Campos-Duffy agreed. “And sometimes, you know, we look at how hard on the left they play. They really play for keeps. They play in a way that’s very, you know, a lot of times conservatives look at it and go, why don’t we play as hard as them?”

The Fox News host said Democrats were trying to perfect the Earth because they did not believe in Heaven.

“Well, for them, where we live right now, this place, Earth is it,” she opined. “So everything’s on the line here for them. They think, as you said, they can perfect this Earth. Those of us who have faith don’t believe that. And we believe how we act here determines where we go after. And so we had to behave.”

“And so even in politics, we don’t, you know, we act within those moral limits,” Campos-Duffy insisted. “And you know, the ends justify the means is sort of the rules for radicals. That’s not how Christians act.”

Watch the video below from Fox News or at the link.


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Extremist Group Targets Florida High School’s Yearbook Over Inclusion of LGBTQ Students Section



The publication of a Florida high school yearbook that included an LGBTQ section has drawn rebuke from a conservative group, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

Lyman High School’s 256-page yearbook includes two pages that highlight the school’s LGBTQ students and features gender identity terms such as “genderfluid” and “nonbinary.”

The Seminole County Public Schools in response to the criticism is offering to issue refunds or reprint the yearbook without the LGBTQ section that the conservative Seminole County Moms for Liberty claims is offensive.

“They shouldn’t have any sexual definitions in a yearbook,” the group’s chapter chair Jessica Tillmann told The Sentinel.

“This is a yearbook that goes to every student as young as 14.”

The school’s yearbook is stirring controversy for a second straight year after the district in 2022 considered putting stickers over photos of a student walkout protesting the so-called “don’t say gay” law, the report said.

The Sentinel’s Skyler Swisher reports that “An LGBTQ+ section in this year’s yearbook includes a picture of members of the student’s Gay-Straight Alliance, definitions of key LGBTQ+ terms, a passage on the evolution of pronouns and a profile of a student who advocates for the LGBTQ+ community.”

Danielle Pomeranz, the school yearbook’s faculty advisor, isn’t on board with the district’s decision to remove the LGBTQ content.

“They are definitions,” Pomeranz told The Sentinel.

“They are not teaching anything about sex at all. … Nobody is teaching anybody about sex acts. It is ridiculous.”

Pomeranz has since resigned from her position in the district, citing in part the Sunshine State’s political climate and an unsupportive district, the report said.

“We’ve always had the LGBTQ+ spread in there,” she said.

“Our job as journalists and members of the yearbook staff is to provide coverage of the entire school and that includes all of the communities, including the LGBTQ+ community.”

Read the full article here.

Image via Shutterstock

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‘No Longer the Lord’s Chicken’: ‘Christian Woman’ Says She’s ‘Grieving’ Over ‘Woke’ Chick-fil-A Hiring a Diversity Officer



A self-described “Christian woman” who is a contributor to the far-right wing students organization Turning Point USA, is being widely mocked for posting a video attacking Chick-fil-A over claims the conservative, privately-owned, faith-based fast food restaurant chain recently hired a diversity officer.

“So I’m grieving,” the video, apparently by Morgonn McMichael (below), begins. “It’s lunchtime. I’m here with Aubrey. And we really wanted some Chick-fil-A but because they decided to hire a diversity, equity and inclusion corporate position, and also bow down to the woke lord because their ESG scores, and also I found out do you know their chicken is funded by BlackRock and Vanguard? Yeah their farms, they use Tyson and this other farm, BlackRock and Vanguard funded chicken.”

If you think that’s a mouthful just wait, there’s more.

“Chick-fil-A,” Morgonn continues, “you are no longer the Lord’s chicken. You’re actually the woke chicken and I’m really upset about it as a Christian woman. All we wanted was some good fried chicken so now we’re gonna go to Cane’s, we’re going to try it out.”

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Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is a Louisiana-based fast food restaurant with 600 locations in the U.S. and Western Asia.

“This is really difficult because there’s a Chick-fil-A is across the street. Now eating chicken fingers instead of chicken nuggets. I know, first world Christian woman problems, but no one will ever understand the love that I had for Chick-fil-A.”

“You know, we’re taking this boycott Chick-fil-A thing seriously, and it’s really difficult.”

The video was posted to Twitter by the anonymous group PatriotTakes, which has been described as a liberal political action committee. It quickly went viral, garnering over 2 million views in just eight hours. Late Friday afternoon Morgonn tweeted, “sarcasm and satire are things the left doesn’t seem to understand.”

For those who don’t know, Turning Point USA, a far-right Christian nationalist organization, was founded by the ultra-MAGA Charlie Kirk, now a member of the highly-secretive Council for National Policy.

CNP’s membership list also includes former Trump attorney, ally, and advisor Cleta Mitchell, and Ginni Thomas.

“CNP members range from the leaders of the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society, to the Southern Poverty Law Center designated anti-LGBTQ hate groups Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom,” Documented reported last year.

Turning Point USA was in the news last week after Rolling Stone reported: “Charlie Kirk’s TPUSA Teamed Up With a Registered Sex Offender.”

Meanwhile, over at TPUSA, Morgonn McMichael’s bio says she is “a Gen Z social media influencer from Texas whose effort to empower and inspire America’s next generation of young conservative female leaders through patriotic online video content has amassed over 100,000 unique social media impressions every week on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and more.”

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“Morgonn has dedicated the last year promoting freedom of speech, religious liberty, personal responsibility, and limited government both online and across TPUSA campus chapters. Morgonn has also reached tens of thousands of viewers of all ages with her articles and appearances on Newsmax, Real America’s Voice, OAN, and Breitbart, offering insightful cultural commentary into the most pressing issues concerning young conservatives today.”

Apparently, Chick-fil-A’s diversity officer (more on that next) is one of “the most pressing issues concerning young conservatives today.”

Morgonn did claim Chick-fil-A “decided to hire a diversity, equity and inclusion” officer.

Well, stunningly, the company – long known for its hate-filled attacks on same-sex marriage – did, over a year ago.

A USA Today fact check found Chick-fil-A hired Erick McReynolds, its vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, more than a year and a half ago. The company even has a DEI page featuring him on its corporate website.

PatriotTakes also tweeted, “TPUSA Contributor Morgonn, who is now calling for a boycott of Chick-fil-a, previously said, Cancel culture is toxic’ and ‘needs to be canceled.'”

As some social media users pointed out, Cane’s Chicken Fingers is very pro-LGBTQ.

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“Since its inception in the early 2000s, Raising Cane’s has been a strong supporter of the LGBT community,” San Diego Gay & Lesbian News (SDGLN) reported in November. “The chicken chain was one of the first companies to offer domestic partner benefits to its employees and has been a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. In 2015, Raising Cane’s was named one of the best places to work for LGBT Equality by the Human Rights Campaign.”

In response to Morgonn’s video, Mississippi Free Press editor Ashton Pittman posted this screenshot from a Raising Cane’s tweet:

Over at TPUSA, Morgonn has written content including a piece titled, “Disney’s Male Employee in a Dress Sparks Outrage,” that begins, “At Disney, anyone can be a princess — even a grown man.”

Also, “Disney in Decline: Company Loses Billions Due to Woke Agenda.”

Noted actor and activist George Takei weighed in, tweeting simply, “They’ve lost their goddamned minds.”

Watch Morgonn below or at this link.

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