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Our Wizard Behind The Equality Curtain



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Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 7 months, you undoubtedly have seen the lawsuits and court cases to advance equality that have sprung up throughout the United States. One by one, states are coming in on the right side of history and accepting all families, allowing them to join their love together in legally recognized marriage.

What you may not have seen, or what tends to get overlooked, is the magic that happens behind the equality curtain and the names of those who are working to make these cases successful. From drafting complaints to the never ending responses and appeals, there are many long hours that are given to advance equality in the courts. There is a whole list of people shepherding these cases down the road to equality. Lawyers who work without pay, keeping long hours, away from family, giving up their personal time, pushed to the limit. One such lawyer is Scott J. Spivey. (Photo above)

Scott is a local New Orleans lawyer who was born in Orlando. Scott moved to Alexandria in 1976, and graduate from Alexandria Senior High where he was a nationally ranked swimmer. He was offered scholarships by both Tulane and Dartmouth and appointments to all of the service academies except West Point, (They said that he was not physically fit because he couldn’t do the long jump.) He accepted the appointment to the US Coast Guard Academy in 1985, and graduated in 1990. He was commissioned as an ensign  in the Coast Guard and served on board the USCG Cutter BEAR WMEC 901.

In June 1992, Scott transferred to Coast Guard Command District 8, here in New Orleans.  In August of the next year, he began law school at Loyola Law School in the evening program, while serving as detachable law enforcement duty officer and on-call law enforcement duty officer with Operations . In January 1996, he resigned his commission and began clerking with local law firms and practicing criminal law as a law student under the now Judge Darryl Derbigny.  He graduated December 1996 and was licensed in 1997.

Scott practices multiple areas of law, including general civil practice with concentrations in business, commercial and real property transactions and litigation, contract preparation, business formation and dissolutions; federal and state workers’ compensation; property tax and business personal property tax appeals and sales; family business planning and litigation, wills and successions; immigration and customs enforcement defense; and traffic and criminal defense.

In July 2012, when my husband and I were contemplating the idea of suing the state of Louisiana to have our legal marriage recognized by the state, we didn’t know at the time that Scott would take on this fight singlehandedly. After putting out feelers to several lawyers, we got a response back. It was from our friend Scott, informing us that not only would he gladly take on our case, but much to our surprise, take it on PRO BONO.

There is much to be said about Scott, and still it would not be enough. Whether you needed a will, someone to represent you in court, or any other area that he can help in, Scott has always helped the LGBT community.

As Scott told us:

“I resigned my commission and became a lawyer because I wanted to advocate for those in need.  I wanted to provide the last line of defense to an individual’s rights and freedoms.  That can only be found in a court of law or with zealous legal advocacy.”

So it came as no surprise that he would risk his neck and reputation for our cause. (At the time, we were getting a lot of pushback from different organizations and public opinion, saying that it wasn’t the right time here in Louisiana to attempt this.)

Just this week, our original complaint and motion to amend was denied, forcing us to re-file a new case, naming as defendants those the judge considers are the “proper parties”. When this happened, two days earlier than expected, Scott did not waiver in his dedication, nor did he flinch at the court’s decision. He woke up the next morning and filed the appeal for the original motion to amend, then immediately filed a new complaint with the “correct” defendants, adding more work to his already full plate.

We, as Scott’s friends and plaintiffs, are grateful for the work that he is doing. Not just anyone would take on this colossal work load without anything in return. The payoff he sees in the distance goes far beyond money. It is the betterment of the LGBT community that he considers as his reward, someday being able to marry his partner legally.

Most of the praise that gets dished out by the media in these cases, talks about the brave and heroic plaintiffs who expose themselves to the world. But in my opinion, the praise should also fall upon the lawyers and their families, who endure just as much exposure.

I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of what Scott is doing for us. He has reached out to several more organizations, and we are proud to say, is on the cusp of joining us with resources for our case. With the trend that is being set in red states like Utah and Oklahoma, Louisiana doesn’t seem like that far of a stretch for marriage equality any longer and people are taking notice. Finally we are starting to see support from some of the bigger guns in our nationwide community.

Our cases have a long way to go, and we know that Scott will work hard all the way to what we hope will be a victory for all families here in Louisiana. We knew when we started the journey, that it would not be a smoothly paved nor a short path; we will see it to the end

If you would like to follow our cases you can like us on Facebook and visit our website.

We appreciate your support and vow to continue our fight no matter where or how long it takes us!


Photo via Facebook

Catch up on Derek’s previous posts on his lawsuit against the State of Louisiana:

The Benefits Of Marriage
Robicheaux vs. Caldwell – Why We Are Suing To Be Married In Louisiana
A Blanchard Family Christmas


derek penton Derek Penton, 35, is a native of Mississippi and a longtime resident of New Orleans.  He holds degrees in computer information systems and paramedicine.  After more than five years together, Penton and his husband, Jonathan Robicheaux, were legally married in Iowa on Sept. 23, 2012.


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‘Scared to Death’: Trump’s Prison Panic Admission Means He Knows He’s Doomed Says Legal Expert



Reacting to a report that Donald Trump has been quizzing his attorneys about what type of prison he likely will be sent to, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner stated that is not only an indication that he knows he’s going to be convicted but also an admission of guilt.

Speaking with MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart, the attorney was asked about a recent Rolling Stone report about Trump’s prison panic.

As Rolling Stone reported, Trump asked if he’s “be sent to a ‘club fed’ style prison — a place that’s relatively comfortable, as far these things go — or a ‘bad’ prison? Would he serve out a sentence in a plush home confinement? Would government officials try to strip him of his lifetime Secret Service protections? What would they make him wear, if his enemies actually did ever get him in a cell — an unprecedented set of consequences for a former leader of the free world.”

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to run for office?

According to the attorney, Trump is revealing himself by asking for so many details.

“What does this tell you about Trump’s mindset?” host Capehart asked.

“It tells me he is scared to death” Kirschner quickly answered. “It tells me he has overwhelming consciousness of guilt because he knows what he did wrong and he knows he is about to be held accountable for his crimes. So it is not surprising that he is obsessing.”

“If he was confident that he would be completely exonerated, would he have to obsess about what his future time in prison might look like?” he suggested. “I think the last refuge for Donald Trump can be seen in a recent post where he urged the Republicans to defund essentially the prosecutions against him. which, to this prosecutor, Jonathan, smells a lot like an attempt to obstruct justice.”

Watch below or at the link.


Image via Shutterstock

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‘Vulgar and Lewd’: Trump Judge Cites Extremist Group to Allow Drag Show Ban



A federal judge in Texas known for a ruling that attempted to ban a widely-used abortion drug is citing an extremist anti-LGBTQ group in his ruling allowing a ban on drag shows to stay in place.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a former attorney for an anti-LGBTQ conservative Christian legal organization, and a member of the Federalist Society, in his 26-page ruling dated Thursday cited the “About” page of Gays Against Groomers to claim, “it’s unclear how drag shows unmistakably communicate advocacy for LGBT rights.”

Judge Kacsmaryk, appointed by Donald Trump twice before finally assuming office in 2019, suggests the First Amendment does not provide for freedom of expression for drag shows, calls drag “sexualized conduct,” and says it is “more regulable” because “children are in the audience.”

READ MORE: ‘The Public Deserves to Know’: Abortion Pill Banning Judge Redacted Details About Millions of Dollars in His Stock Portfolio

Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern adds, “Kacsmaryk’s conclusion that drag is probably NOT protected by the First Amendment conflicts with decisions from Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Montana which held that drag is constitutionally protected expression. It also bristles with undisguised hostility toward LGBTQ people.”

Calling the judge “a proud Christian nationalist who flatly refuses to apply binding Supreme Court precedent when it conflicts with his extremist far-right beliefs,” Stern at Slate writes that Kacsmaryk ruled drag “may be outlawed to protect ‘the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.’ In short, he concluded that drag fails to convey a message, while explaining all the reasons why he’s offended by the message it conveys.”

Stern does not let Kacsmaryk off the hook there.

“From almost any other judge, the ruling in Spectrum WT v. Wendler would be a shocking rejection of basic free speech principles; from Kacsmaryk, it’s par for the course. This is, after all, the judge who sought to ban medication abortion nationwide, restricted minors’ access to birth control, seize control over border policy to exclude asylum-seekers, and flouted recent precedent protecting LGBTQ+ equality,” Stern says.

READ MORE: Far-Right Judge Under Fire for Failing to Disclose Interviews on Civil Rights – but LGBTQ Community Had Warned Senators

“He is also poised to bankrupt Planned Parenthood by compelling them to pay a $1.8 billion penalty on truly ludicrous grounds. And he is not the only Trump-appointed judge substituting his reactionary beliefs for legal analysis. We have reached a point where these lawless decisions are not only predictable but inevitable, and they show no sign of stopping: Their authors are still just settling into a decadeslong service in the federal judiciary.”

West Texas A&M University President Walter V. Wendler penned the letter that sparked the lawsuit.

Titled, “A Harmless Drag Show? No Such Thing,” Wendler wrote: “I believe every human being is created in the image of God and, therefore, a person of dignity. Being created in God’s image is the basis of Natural Law. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, prisoners of the culture of their time as are we, declared the Creator’s origin as the foundational fiber in the fabric of our nation as they breathed life into it. Does a drag show preserve a single thread of human dignity? I think not.”

Journalist Chris Geidner concludes, “It’s an extremely biased ruling by a judge who has established that he does not care about being overturned — even by the most conservative appeals court in the nation.”

READ MORE: ‘Corruption of the Highest Order’: Experts ‘Sickened’ at ‘Definitely Bought’ Clarence Thomas and His ‘Pay to Play’ Lifestyle



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Gaetz Praises GOP Congressman Who Echoes His Call for Change ‘Through Force’



U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL). largely seen as pushing Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s Republican-majority House of Representatives toward shutting down the federal government, is praising and promoting remarks made by a freshman GOP lawmaker that appear to suggest the use of violence. U.S. Rep. Eli Crane‘s comments, posted Friday (below), call for change “through force,” remarks echoing Congressman Gaetz’s recent comments which were denounced by an expert on authoritarianism as fascistic.

“The only way we’re going to see meaningful change in this town is through force,” wrote Congressman Crane, Republican of Arizona atop a three-minute video in which he frames what is now an almost guaranteed government shutdown as a “spending fight.” In his video he says, “the only way you’re gonna get any change in this town is through force.” Gaetz in August had said, “we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C.”

Congressman Crane is a former Navy SEAL. He has promoted the false “Big Lie” conspiracy theory that there was massive fraud in the election President Joe Biden won, and called “on the state legislature to decertify the 2020 election.” He is one of six House Republicans who voted against McCarthy’s speakership all 15 times in January.

READ MORE: White House Mocks GOP With ‘Worst Person You Know’ Meme After Matt Gaetz Blames McCarthy for Shutdown

“Congressman Eli Crane is a fountainhead of political courage,” said Rep. Gaetz Friday afternoon. “He holds the line.”

Crane recently came under fire for calling Black people “colored,” during debate on his legislation that would force the U.S. Armed Forces to not use any diversity requirements in its hiring practices.

READ MORE: ‘Corruption of the Highest Order’: Experts ‘Sickened’ at ‘Definitely Bought’ Clarence Thomas and His ‘Pay to Play’ Lifestyle

Just days before he won his House seat last year, The Washington Post reported Crane had urged an “audience to look up an antisemitic sermon at a recent campaign stop.”

“Crane said that he was motivated to run because of ‘radical ideologies that are destroying this country’ and that he was most concerned about ‘Cultural Marxism,’ which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as an antisemitic baseless claim gaining traction on the American right.”

“He encouraged the audience to watch a speech by a right-wing pastor who blamed cultural change on a group of German Jewish philosophers and condemned Barack Obama for having a ‘homosexual agenda.'”

“If we don’t wake up,” Crane said, according to the Post, “if we don’t study what they’re doing, and if we don’t put people in influential positions that understand what this war is all about, what they’re trying to do and have and have the courage to call it out, we’re going to lose this country.”

In August, while standing next to Donald Trump at a campaign rally, Congressman Gaetz said, “Mr. President, I cannot stand these people that are destroying our country. They are opening our borders. They are weaponizing our federal law enforcement against patriotic Americans who love this nation as we should.”

“But we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C. And so to all my friends here in Iowa, when you see them come for this man, know that they are coming for our movement and they are coming for all of us.”

At the time, Raw Story reported, “historian and author Ruth Ben-Ghiat called Gaetz comments alarming.”

READ MORE: Pete Buttigieg Just Testified Before Congress. It Did Not Go Well for Republicans.

“What he is saying is that they are not going to have change through elections or through legislation or through reform. They are going to have change through violence,” she warned.

“And that’s how fascists talk,” Ben-Ghiat added. “So, even if Trump is out of the picture, these are people who have adopted methods very familiar to me as a historian of fascism, that violence and corruption and lying that’s what the party is today.”


Image via Shutterstock


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