Ted Olson, the Conservative attorney who, along with Democrat David Boies, are spearheading the battle to overturn Proposition 8, spoke today in federal court. Here are his opening remarks. It’s long (1646 words.) It’s worth it.
I’ve taken the liberty of marking in bold the parts I thought were especially compelling. Here you go:
This case is about marriage and equality.Â Plaintiffs are being denied both the right to marry, and the right to equality under the law.
The Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly described the right to marriage as â€œone of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men;â€ a â€œbasic civil right;â€ a component of the constitutional rights to liberty, privacy, association, and intimate choice; an expression of emotional support and public commitment; the exercise of spiritual unity; and a fulfillment of oneâ€™s self.
In short, in the words of the highest court in the land, marriage is â€œthe most important relation in life,â€ and â€œof fundamental importance for all individuals.â€
As the witnesses in this case will elaborate, marriage is central to life in America.Â It promotes mental, physical and emotional health and the economic strength and stability of those who enter into a marital union.Â It is the building block of family, neighborhood and community.Â The California Supreme Court has declared that the right to marry is of â€œcentral importance to an individualâ€™s opportunity to live a happy, meaningful, and satisfying life as a full member of society.â€
Proposition 8 ended the dream of marriage, the most important relation in life, for the plaintiffs and hundreds of thousands of Californians.
In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court concluded that under this Stateâ€™s Constitution, the right to marry a person of oneâ€™s choice extended to all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, and was available equally to same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
In November of 2008, the voters of California responded to that decision with Proposition 8, amending the Stateâ€™s Constitution and, on the basis of sexual orientation and sex, slammed the door to marriage to gay and lesbian citizens.
The plaintiffs are two loving couples, American citizens, entitled to equality and due process under our Constitution.Â They are in deeply committed, intimate, and longstanding relationships.Â They want to marry the person they love; to enter into that â€œmost important relation in lifeâ€; to share their dreams with their partners; and to confer the many benefits of marriage on their families.
But Proposition 8 singled out gay men and lesbians as a class, swept away their right to marry, pronounced them unequal, and declared their relationships inferior and less-deserving of respect and dignity.
In the words of the California Supreme Court, eliminating the right of individuals to marry a same-sex partner relegated those individuals to â€œsecond classâ€ citizenship, and told them, their families and their neighbors that their love and desire for a sanctioned marital partnership was not worthy of recognition.
During this trial, Plaintiffs and leading experts in the fields of history, psychology, economics and political science will prove three fundamental points:
First â€“ Marriage is vitally important in American society.
Second â€“ By denying gay men and lesbians the right to marry, Proposition 8 works a grievous harm on the plaintiffs and other gay men and lesbians throughout California, and adds yet another chapter to the long history of discrimination they have suffered.
Third â€“ Proposition 8 perpetrates this irreparable, immeasurable, discriminatory harm for no good reason.
MARRIAGE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RELATION IN LIFE
Plaintiffs will present evidence from leading experts, representing some of the finest academic institutions in this country and the world, who will reinforce what the highest courts of California and the United States have already repeatedly said about the importance of marriage in society and the significant benefits that marriage confers on couples, their families, and the community.Â Proponents cannot dispute these basic facts.
While marriage has been a revered and important institution throughout the history of this country and this State, it has also evolved to shed irrational, unwarranted, and discriminatory restrictions and limitations that reflected the biases, prejudices or stereotypes of the past.Â Marriage laws that disadvantaged women or people of disfavored race or ethnicity have been eliminated.Â These changes have come from legislatures and the courts.Â Far from harming the institution of marriage, the elimination of discriminatory restrictions on marriage has strengthened the institution, its vitality, and its importance in American society today.
PROPOSITION 8 HARMS GAY AND LESBIAN INDIVIDUALS, THEIR CHILDREN AND THEIR COMMUNITIES
Proposition 8 had a simple, straightforward, and devastating purpose:Â to withdraw from gay and lesbian people like the Plaintiffs their previously recognized constitutional right to marry.Â The official title of the ballot measure said it all: â€œEliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.â€
Proponents of Proposition 8 have insisted that the persons they would foreclose from the institution of marriage have suffered no harm because they have been given the opportunity to form something called a â€œdomestic partnership.â€Â That is a cruel fiction.
Plaintiffs will describe the harm that they suffer every day because they are prevented from marrying.Â And they will describe how demeaning and insulting it can be to be told that they remain free to marryâ€”as long, that is, that they marry someone of the opposite sex instead of the person they love, the companion of their choice.
And the evidence will demonstrate that relegating gay men and lesbians to â€œdomestic partnershipsâ€ is to inflict upon them badges of inferiority that forever stigmatize their loving relationships as different, separate, unequal, and less worthyâ€”something akin to a commercial venture, not a loving union.Â Indeed, the proponents of Proposition 8 acknowledge that domestic partnerships are not the same as traditional marriage.Â Proponents proudly proclaim that, under Proposition 8, the â€œunique and highly favorable imprimaturâ€ of marriage is reserved to â€œopposite-sex unions.â€
This government-sponsored societal stigmatization causes grave psychological and physical harms to gay men and lesbians and their families.Â It increases the likelihood that they will experience discrimination and harassment; it causes immeasurable harm.
Sadly, Proposition 8 is only the most recent chapter in our nationâ€™s long and painful history of discrimination and prejudice against gay and lesbian individuals.Â They have been classified as degenerates, targeted by police, harassed in the workplace, censored, demonized, fired from government jobs, excluded from our armed forces, arrested for their private sexual conduct, and repeatedly stripped of their fundamental rights by popular vote.Â Although progress has occurred, the roots of discrimination run deep and its impacts spread wide.
PROPOSITION 8 HARMS GAY AND LESBIAN INDIVIDUALS FOR NO GOOD REASON
Proposition 8 singles out gay and lesbian individuals alone for exclusion from the institution of marriage.Â In California, even convicted murderers and child abusers enjoy the freedom to marry. As the evidence clearly establishes, this discrimination has been placed in Californiaâ€™s Constitution even though its victims are, and always have been, fully contributing members of our society.Â Â And it excludes gay men and lesbians from the institution of marriage even though the characteristic for which they are targetedâ€”their sexual orientationâ€”like race, sex, and ethnicity, is a fundamental aspect of their identity that they did not choose for themselves and, as the California Supreme Court has found, is highly resistant to change.
The State of California has offered no justification for its decision to eliminate the fundamental right to marry for a segment of its citizens.Â And its chief legal officer, the Attorney General, admits that none exists.Â And the evidence will show that each of the rationalizations for Proposition 8 invented by its Proponents is wholly without merit.
â€œProcreationâ€ cannot be a justification inasmuch as Proposition 8 permits marriage by persons who are unable or have no intention of producing children.Â Â Indeed, the institution of civil marriage in this country has never been tied to the procreative capacity of those seeking to marry.
Proposition 8 has no rational relation to the parenting of children because same-sex couples and opposite sex couples are equally permitted to have and raise children in California.Â The evidence in this case will demonstrate that gay and lesbian individuals are every bit as capable of being loving, caring and effective parents as heterosexuals.Â The quality of a parent is not measured by gender but the content of the heart.
And, as for protecting â€œtraditional marriage,â€ our opponents â€œdonâ€™t knowâ€ how permitting gay and lesbian couples to marry would harm the marriages of opposite-sex couples.Â Needless to say, guesswork and speculation is not an adequate justification for discrimination.Â In fact, the evidence will demonstrate affirmatively that permitting loving, deeply committed, couples like the plaintiffs to marry has no impact whatsoever upon the marital relationships of others.
When voters in California were urged to enact Proposition 8, they were encouraged to believe that unless Proposition 8 were enacted, anti-gay religious institutions would be closed, gay activists would overwhelm the will of the heterosexual majority, and that children would be taught that it was â€œacceptableâ€ for gay men and lesbians to marry.Â Parents were urged to â€œprotect our childrenâ€ from that presumably pernicious viewpoint.
At the end of the day, whatever the motives of its Proponents, Proposition 8 enacted an utterly irrational regime to govern entitlement to the fundamental right to marry, consisting now of at least four separate and distinct classes of citizens:Â (1) heterosexuals, including convicted criminals, substance abusers and sex offenders, who are permitted to marry; (2) 18,000 same-sex couples married between June and November of 2008,Â who are allowed to remain married but may not remarry if they divorce or are widowed; (3) thousands of same-sex couples who were married in certain other states prior to November of 2008, whose marriages are now valid and recognized in California; and, finally (4) all other same-sex couples in California who, like the Plaintiffs, are prohibited from marrying by Proposition 8.
There is no rational justification for this unique pattern of discrimination.Â Proposition 8, and the irrational pattern of Californiaâ€™s regulation of marriage which it promulgates, advances no legitimate state interest.Â All it does is label gay and lesbian persons as different, inferior, unequal, and disfavored.Â And it brands their relationships as not the same, and less-approved than those enjoyed by opposite sex couples.Â It stigmatizes gays and lesbians, classifies them as outcasts, and causes needless pain, isolation and humiliation.
It is unconstitutional.
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‘I’m Broke’: One Day Before Shutdown and With No Plan McCarthy Says He Has ‘Nothing’ in His ‘Back Pocket’
Just 30 hours before his own Republican conference likely will have succeeded in shutting down the federal government of the United States, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy candidly admitted to reporters he’s run out of ideas.
Earlier Friday in an “embarrassing failure,” 21 House Republicans killed legislation from their own party, a short-term continuing resolution, that would have kept the federal government open.
Later on Friday afternoon, swarmed by reporters, McCarthy was asked if he was going to tell them what his plans are. He sarcastically replied, “No, I’m going to keep it all a secret.”
When pressed, he said he would “keep working, and make sure we solve this problem.”
“What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?” another reporter asked, pressing him for an answer.
“Nothing right now. I’m broke,” he admitted, apparently referring to options and ideas to avoid a shutdown.
But another reporter asked Speaker McCarthy the main question: Would he partner with House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to put the Senate’s bill before the House.
He refused to answer.
After Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) failed House vote to keep the federal government open…
Reporter: “What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?”
McCarthy: “Nothing right now. I’m broke.” pic.twitter.com/pB2SWhOSVr
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2023
Just before 5 PM CNN’s Manu Raju reported on the ongoing House Republicans’ closed-door meeting with the Speaker, a meeting where the 21 Republicans who will likely be effectively responsible for the shutdown reportedly did not attend.
“McCarthy is telling [Republicans] now there aren’t many options to avoid a shutdown, according to sources in room. He says they can approve GOP’s stop-gap plan that failed, accept Senate plan, put a ‘clean’ stop-gap on floor to dare Democrats to block it — or shut down the government.”
He adds, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) largely responsible for the impending likely shutdown and the impending possible ouster of McCarthy said: “We will not pass a continuing resolution on terms that continue America’s decline.”
At midnight Saturday Republicans will likely have succeeded in furloughing 3.5 million million federal workers – two million of them service members in the U.S. Armed Forces – and countless contractors, while financially harming untold thousands of businesses that rely on income from all those workers to keep running – unless Speaker McCarthy puts a bipartisan continuing resolution approved by at least 75 U.S. Senators on the floor, legislation every House Democrat is likely to vote for.
Should he do so, many believe he will have also signed his own pink slip.
But whether or not the government shuts down, and whether or not McCarthy puts the Senate’s CR on the floor, according to The Washington Post the far right extremists in his party are already moving to oust him “as early as next week.”
The Biden campaign is making certain Americans realize the blame for the impending shutdown sits at McCarthy’s feet.
Here is Kevin McCarthy a few months ago praising the deal he made with President Biden to avert a government shutdown, which he is now reneging on pic.twitter.com/B4rVNzNXkZ
— Biden-Harris HQ (@BidenHQ) September 29, 2023
At 6:23 PM Friday evening, Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman wrote on social media: “HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE NO PLAN TO KEEP GOVERNMENT OPEN.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
‘Bad News’ for Sidney Powell as First Trump Co-Defendant in Georgia RICO Case Takes Plea Deal: Legal Expert
“Under the terms of an agreement with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office, Hall pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit computer theft, conspiracy to commit computer trespass, conspiracy to commit computer invasion of privacy, and conspiracy to defraud the state,” NBC News reports. “Under the terms of the deal, he’s being sentenced to five years probation.”
CNN previously reported “Hall, a bail bondsman and pro-Trump poll-watcher in Atlanta, spent hours inside a restricted area of the Coffee County elections office when voting systems were breached in January 2021. The breach was connected to efforts by pro-Trump conspiracy theorists to find voter fraud. Hall was captured on surveillance video at the office, on the day of the breach. He testified before the grand jury in Fulton County case and acknowledged that he gained access to a voting machine.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, a professor of law and frequent MSNBC contributor, says Hall “was in the thick of things with Sidney Powell on Jan 7 for the Coffee County scheme involving voting machines. If he’s cooperating, it’s a bad sign for her.”
Hall’s plea deal “spells bad news for, among others, Sidney Powell,” says former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman, an NYU Law professor of law. Goodman posted a graphic showing the overlap in charges against Hall and Powell, which he called “alleged joint actions.”
With breakthrough for Georgia DA (@TamarHallerman reporting: “SCOTT HALL has become the first co-defendant in the Fulton election interference case to take a plea deal with prosecutors.”)
That spells bad news for, among others, Sidney Powell.
Example of alleged joint actions.👇 pic.twitter.com/odMM5C7JtX
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) September 29, 2023
See the graphic above or at this link.
Far-Right Republicans Kill GOP Bill to Keep Government Running in ‘Embarrassing Failure’ for McCarthy: Report
With a shutdown less than 36 hours away, far-right Republicans in the House of Representatives Friday afternoon voted against their party’s own legislation to kept the federal government running. Democrats opposed the content of the bill and voted against it. Just 21 far-right members of the GOP conference were able to effectively force what appears to be an all but inevitable shutdown at midnight on Saturday.
“HARDLINE HOUSE RS take down stopgap funding bill. 21 GOP no votes. 232-198,” reported Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman just before 2 PM Friday.
NBC News reported that a “band of conservative rebels on Friday revolted and blocked House Republicans’ short-term funding bill to keep the government open, delivering a political blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and likely cementing the chances of a painful government shutdown that is less than 48 hours away.”
“Twenty-one rebels, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a conservative bomb-thrower and a top Donald Trump ally, voted Friday afternoon to scuttle the 30-day funding bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, leaving Republicans without a game plan to avert a shutdown. The vote failed,” NBC added. “The embarrassing failure of the GOP measure once again highlights the dilemma for McCarthy as his hard-liners strongly oppose a short-term bill even if it includes conservative priorities. It leaves Congress on a path to a shutdown, with no apparent offramp to avoiding it — or to quickly reopen the government.”
A bipartisan group of at least 75 U.S. Senators has passed two bills this week that would keep the government running. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has refused to allow it to come to the floor for a vote.
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