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UPDATED: Prop 8 Case Will Not Be Re-Heard By The Ninth Circuit — What’s Next

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Prop 8 will not be re-heard by the the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals again, “en banc.” The court could have decided to chose an 11-judge panel to rehear the case, which it was not expected to do.

What’s next? Supporters of Prop 8 can petition the Supreme Court to try the case, or, after ninety days, same-sex couples in California can begin to marry again, if the case does not go to the Supreme Court.

The Ninth Circuit has decided to “stay” the ruling, which would mean that same-sex marriage would still not be allowed in California, until the end of the 90 days, or until the case goes to the Supreme Court.

Chances are strong that the supporters of Prop 8 will take their case to the Supreme Court, which probably would not hear the case until 2013 at the earliest.

The Prop 8 lawsuit questions the constitutionality of California’s constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage. Prop 8 was found to be unconstitutional by federal judge Vaughn Walker, and his ruling was upheld by federal judge James Ware.

A three panel Ninth Circuit court also upheld Judge Walker’s ruling, and today the Ninth Circuit denied the supporters of Prop 8 a re-hearing. They now have 90 days to ask the Supreme Court to hear the case. The Supreme Court could refuse. If it agrees, the makeup of the Supreme Court will most likely be the deciding factor in a same-sex marriage case.

Scottie Thomaston, writing at Courage Campaign’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker, notes:

It’s likely that Justices at the Supreme Court would have their conference to take up the petition and decide whether to grant review or not sometime after their summer break in October. Oral argument would follow a few months later, and then a final decision would be issued by June or July 2013.

Judge O’Scannlain has filed a dissent from the denial of en banc rehearing joined by Judges Bybee and Bea, and in it he discusses his belief that Judge Smith’s dissent was correct. He says that “we have now declared that animus must have been the only conceivable motivation for a sovereign State to have remained committed to a definition of marriage that has existed for millennia.”

No one is certain if the Supreme Court would grant review of the case as it currently stands. Judge Reinhardt’s opinion for the three-judge Ninth Circuit panel is very narrow and the holding is specific to California’s unique legal circumstances. A denial of rehearing in this case leaves the decision California-specific and there may not be four Justices – the number needed to grant certiorari – who want to visit an issue that’s so limited in scope. On the other hand, the panel’s decision did strike down an amendment to a constitution of an enormous state involving a contentious issue. And allowing gay couples to marry in California would nearly double the amount of people in the United States who live in an area that allows same-sex marriage.

AFER, the group that is opposing Prop 8, has created an excellent info graphic that explains more. You can see our report of it from yesterday, here.

“Once again, a federal court has affirmed that the cherished guarantees of our Constitution are there to protect all Americans – including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Joe Solmonese said in a statement.”For over three years, the plaintiffs, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, and attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies have shown tremendous fortitude and perseverance in their fight for marriage equality.  With today’s announcement, we are one step closer to ensuring that gay and lesbian Californians – and, one day, our entire community nationwide – are able to join the institution of marriage and have their love and commitment respected equally.”

“Today’s announcement is another significant step on a path that we all know leads to equality.  While the U.S. Supreme Court may ultimately decide the outcome of this case, we must all continue to walk that path – in this case and other courtrooms, in legislatures, at ballot boxes and at kitchen table – until all LGBT people are fully and equally part of the American community.”

Other organizations are starting to weigh in.

“Today’s decision means we are one significant step closer to ensuring fairness and freedom for all American families,” said Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler. “A majority of Americans, President Obama and many of our nation’s elected leaders have changed their hearts and minds to support marriage equality for our families. Now we have renewed hope that the laws and policies of country will change as well. We look forward to the day when our children and grandchildren can be assured of full equality and full protection under the law.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Executive Director Kate Kendell stated:

“Today’s refusal by the Ninth Circuit to grant further review is a testament to the meticulous and well-reasoned opinion originally issued by the Court. While the supporters of Proposition 8 will now seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court, there is no doubt that they are on the wrong side of history. Excluding same-sex couples from the right to marry runs counter to our highest ideals of equality and fairness.”

Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry:

“Today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit to deny a rehearing of Perry vs. Brown brings committed same-sex couples in California one step closer to being able to marry.  It’s now been three-and-a-half years since the freedom to marry was stripped from from loving and committed same-sex couples.  It is long past time for this ‘gay exception’ to marriage in California to come to an end.   Freedom to Marry calls on all Americans to join us in continuing to make as strong a case in the court of public opinion as legal advocates are making in the court of law.”

Via Marriage Equality New York:

“The momentum for the freedom to marry seems unstoppable,” said Stuart Gaffney, Marriage Equality USA’s Media Director. “Three weeks ago, the President of the United States announced his support for marriage equality. Last week, the 1st Circuit Federal Court of Appeals held that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. And today, the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals upheld its earlier decision striking down Proposition 8. Nationwide polls have shown majority support for the freedom to marry for the last two years, and Californians now favor marriage equality by a 59 – 34 percent margin, according to the latest polling,” said Gaffney.

“Earlier this year, a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit held that Proposition 8’s targeting lesbian and gay people and taking away their freedom to marry violated the equality and fairness guarantees of the United States Constitution. Today, a majority of the Court agreed, by declining to revisit the ruling. If the United States Supreme Court also declines to review the case, loving, committed lesbian and gay couples could be able to marry again in California later this year or early next year,” said John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA’s Legal Director.

Thom Watson and Jeff Tabaco of Daly City have been waiting to marry since Prop 8 was passed almost 4 years ago. “This month Jeff and I begin our 10th year together as a couple,” noted Watson. “When Judge Vaughn Walker heard closing arguments two years ago this month, he quipped, ‘June is, after all, the month for weddings,'” stated Tabaco. “It would be wonderful if this June marked the final decision in the case, and Thom and I could celebrate our 10th anniversary by getting legally married,” he continued. “A few days ago First Lady Michelle Obama stated: ‘In a country where we teach our children that everyone is equal under the law, discriminating against same-sex couples just isn’t right.’ We applaud our courts’ standing up for what’s fair and right and urge them to continue to do so,” concluded Watson.

Developing — stay tuned.

Related:

Breaking: Mitt Romney Donated $10,000 To NOM During Prop 8 Says HRC

Prop 8 Lawyers Attack GLAAD For New Pundit Accountability Project

Watch The Prop 8 Play “8″ Starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Jane Lynch

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Nazis and Proud Boys Clash With Anti-Fascists Outside Texas Church Hosting Drag Queen Bingo

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Authorities from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department responded to an anti-LGBTQ protest outside a Texas church on Saturday.

“First Christian Church Katy is hosting a drag bingo fundraiser benefiting the ministry’s Transparent Closet, a free boutique aimed at helping young people in the LGBTQ community in the largely conservative west Houston suburb,” Jay R. Jordan reported for Axios on Friday. “Protect Texas Kids, led by North Texas’ self-described “Christian fascist” Kelly Neidert, plans to protest outside the church, according to a Facebook event from the group.”

The report noted anti-fascist activists were planning a counterprotest.

“Neidert’s protests have drawn support from neo-Nazis and other anti-LGBTQ groups,” Axios reported. “Men in Nazi regalia and alleged Proud Boys wearing Buc-ee’s masks joined Neidert’s protest outside a drag brunch at Hamburger Mary’s downtown in July.”

On Saturday, Jordan posted a video clip from the scene.

“Proud Boys and Kelly Neidert’s Protect Texas Kids are in Katy, Texas, protesting a drag bingo fundraiser at First Christian Church. PB and Houston antifascists just clashed. Heavy police presence dividing the two groups now,” he reported.

He noted “Houston’s Nazis” had arrived and police formed a line between the two sides.

“The group of Nazis appear to be leaving the protest, sporting for the first time today a flag with a swastika. Proud Boys and Patriot Front have also left,” he reported.

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Image: Proud Boys in Washington, D.C. (Johnny Silvercloud / Shutterstock.com)

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‘Pretty Big ‘A-Ha’ Moment’: J6 Staffer Reveals White House Switchboard Called Rioter’s Cell Phone During Insurrection

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On Friday, 60 Minutes revealed that Denver Riggleman, a key staffer for the House Select Committee on January 6, discovered the White House switchboard patched through to the phone of a Capitol rioter — while the attack was in progress.

“Riggleman, an ex-military intelligence officer and former Republican congressman from Virginia, oversaw a data-driven operation for the January 6 committee, pursuing phone records and other digital clues tied to the attack on the Capitol. He stopped working for the committee in April,” reported Keith Zubrow.

“You get a real ‘a-ha’ moment when you see that the White House switchboard had connected to a rioter’s phone while it’s happening,” said Riggleman to 60 Minutes’ Bill Whitaker. “That’s a big, pretty big ‘a-ha’ moment.”

He added that “I only know one end of that call. I don’t know the White House end, which I believe is more important. But the thing is the American people need to know that there are link connections that need to be explored more.”

This comes after a series of damning revelations about the involvement and support of former President Donald Trump in encouraging the people storming the Capitol.

One of the biggest allegations to come out of the public hearings by the select committee was the claim by former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson that Trump demanded the rioters be allowed onto the premises because “they’re not here to hurt me” — and that he lunged at his security detail in the car after they refused to take him to the Capitol to join the attackers.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Torba Warns GOP to Not ‘Disavow or Condemn Us’ Because ‘Christian Nationalists Are the Republican Party’

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Far right wing extremist, Christian nationalist, antisemite Andrew Torba, the founder of Gab, the social media platform that is popular with white supremacists, is telling the Republican Party that “80 percent” of its base is Christian nationalists, and warns them to not “condemn” or “disavow” them.

Torba has ties to far right Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano, the Republican party’s nominee for governor of Pennsylvania. Torba has also “endorsed” Arizona GOP secretary of state nominee Mark Finchem, an election-denier and member of the far-right antigovernment group Oath Keepers, and election-denying Arizona GOP state Senator Wendy Rogers.

“We have the numbers, we are the majority. And we are done being the footstool. We are going to wake up the body of Christ in this country. And we’re going to do something about you castrating our children, about you sexually indoctrinating them in the schools, about, you know, taking over our culture and taking over our government and sending all of our money to foreign countries and allowing our border to be invaded,” he says in video published by Right Wing Watch.

READ MORE: ‘Pledging to Sue’: Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Subpoenaed by J6 Committee ‘Didn’t Answer a Single Question’

Gab is home to QAnon and “great replacement” conspiracy theorists, Trump supporters, MAGA and ultra MAGA extremists, white Christian nationalists, white supremacists, antisemites, and anti-LGBTQ extremists.

“We’re done,” Torba continues in his rant.

“We’re done with it, and we’re going to step up and we’re going to rebuild this fallen and corrupt society from scratch, just as Christians have done many times before. And yes, we absolutely are going to get involved in public discourse and in politics, and you’re not going to shut us up,” Torba declared.

“And it’s a message to the Republican party too that they are not to disavow us,” he warned. “They are not to condemn us, because we are 80% of the Republican Party. Christian nationalists are the Republican Party, and they’re going to start doing the will of God,” he says, appearing to order the Republican Party to meet his demands.

READ MORE: ‘Seize the Power’: Christian Nationalist Doug Mastriano Prayed MAGA Would ‘Rise Up’ Against the Gov’t on 1/6 (Video)

“And they’re going to start, you know, supporting biblical policies, and they’re going to start, you know, fighting back against this and not being complacent or they’re going to get out of the way and we’re going to go in there and we’re going to do it ourselves. Those are their two choices.”

Torba has appeared on Tony Perkins’ Washington Watch show. Perkins is the longtime head of the Family Research Council, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

Last week Jewish Insider reported on an “obscure new book calling for the construction of ‘a parallel Christian society’ to replace ‘the failed secular state'” that seemed to be “performing surprisingly well on Amazon.”

That book, Christian Nationalism: A Biblical Guide for Taking Dominion and Discipling Nations, was written by Torba.

Last month the House Committee on Oversight sent Torba a letter “regarding your company’s response to the surge of online threats against law enforcement following the execution of a court-authorized search warrant by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.”

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ‘Christian Nationalist’ Declaration Is ‘Alarming’ Says Religious Liberty Executive

“We are concerned that reckless statements by the former President and Republican Members of Congress have unleashed a flood of violent threats on social media that have already led to at least one death and pose a danger to law enforcement officers across the United States. We urge you to take immediate action to address any threats of violence against law enforcement that appear on your company’s platforms,” the letter reads.

But that letter also said, “On August 15, a Pennsylvania man was arrested and charged with making threats of violence against FBI personnel. He wrote on the social media platform Gab, ‘If You Work For The FBI Then You Deserve To Die.’ He also wrote, ‘Every single piece of shit who works for the FBI in any capacity, from the director down to the janitor who cleans their fucking toilets deserves to die. You’ve declared war on us and now it’s open season on YOU.'”

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