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Dissenting 6th Circuit Judge: Anti-Gay Marriage Ruling ‘Fails’ On ‘Constitutional Question’

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The dissenting judge in today’s 2-1 6th Circuit decision upholding marriage bans in four states has written a stunning rebuke of her colleagues’ work.

The author of the majority opinion has drafted what would make an engrossing TED Talk or, possibly, an introductory lecture in Political Philosophy. But as an appellate court decision, it wholly fails to grapple with the relevant constitutional question in this appeal: whether a state’s constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage violates equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Instead, the majority sets up a false premise—that the question before us is “who should decide?”—and leads us through a largely irrelevant discourse on democracy and federalism. In point of fact, the real issue before us concerns what is at stake in these six cases for the individual plaintiffs and their children, and what should be done about it. Because I reject the majority’s resolution of these questions based on its invocation of vox populi and its reverence for “proceeding with caution” (otherwise known as the “wait and see” approach), I dissent.

So begins the dissenting opinion – over 20 pages long – in today’s stunning 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that finds states can ban same-sex marriage. The ruling sets off a constitutional challenge that most likely will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

(The complete ruling is embedded above, thanks to Equality Case Files.)

Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey wrote the dissent.

Readers may remember the audio of Judge Daughtrey’s fiery questioning during the case.

“It doesn’t look like the sky has fallen,” Judge Daughtrey told the court, in the ten-plus years same-sex marriage has been on the books in Massachusetts. 

Daughtrey’s opinion continues:

In the main, the majority treats both the issues and the litigants here as mere abstractions. Instead of recognizing the plaintiffs as persons, suffering actual harm as a result of being denied the right to marry where they reside or the right to have their valid marriages recognized there, my colleagues view the plaintiffs as social activists who have somehow stumbled into federal court, inadvisably, when they should be out campaigning to win “the hearts and minds” of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee voters to their cause. But these plaintiffs are not political zealots trying to push reform on their fellow citizens; they are committed same-sex couples, many of them heading up de facto families, who want to achieve equal status— de jure status, if you will—with their married neighbors, friends, and coworkers, to be accepted as contributing members of their social and religious communities, and to be welcomed as fully legitimate parents at their children’s schools. They seek to do this by virtue of exercising a civil right that most of us take for granted—the right to marry.

Bam!

She then slams “what has come to be known as the “irresponsible procreation” theory: “that limiting marriage and its benefits to opposite-sex couples is rational, even necessary, to  provide for ‘unintended offspring’ by channeling their biological procreators into the bonds of matrimony. When we asked counsel why that goal required the simultaneous exclusion of same-sex couples from marrying, we were told that permitting same-sex marriage might denigrate the institution of marriage in the eyes of opposite-sex couples who conceive out of wedlock, causing subsequent abandonment of the unintended offspring by one or both biological parents. We also were informed that because same-sex couples cannot themselves produce wanted or unwanted offspring, and because they must therefore look to non-biological means of parenting that require  planning and expense, stability in a family unit headed by same-sex parents is assured without the benefit of formal matrimony.”

But, as the court in Baskin pointed out, many “abandoned children [born out of wedlock to biological parents] are adopted by homosexual couples, and those children would be better off both emotionally and economically if their adoptive parents were married.” Id. How ironic that irresponsible, unmarried, opposite-sex couples in the Sixth Circuit who produce unwanted offspring must be “channeled” into marriage and thus rewarded with its many psychological and financial benefits, while same-sex couples who become model parents are punished for their responsible behavior by being denied the right to marry. As an obviously exasperated Judge Posner responded after puzzling over this same paradox in Baskin, “Go figure.”

And Judge Daughtrey goes on to denigrate — appropriately — the testimony given by none other than Mark Regnerus.

To counteract the testimony offered by the plaintiffs’ witnesses, the defendants presented as witnesses the authors or co-authors of three studies that disagreed with the conclusions reached by the plaintiffs’ experts. All three studies, however, were given little credence by the district court because of inherent flaws in the methods used or the intent of the authors. For example, the New Family Structures Study reported by Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, admittedly relied upon interviews of children from gay or lesbian families who were products of broken heterosexual unions in order to support a conclusion that living with such gay or lesbian families adversely affected the development of the children. Regnerus conceded, moreover, that his own department took the highly unusual step of issuing the following statement on the university website in response to the release of the study: [Dr. Regnerus’s opinions] do not reflect the views of the sociology department of the University of Texas at Austin. Nor do they reflect the views of the American Sociological Association which takes the position that the conclusions he draws from his study of gay parenting are fundamentally flawed on conceptual and methodological grounds and that the findings from Dr. Regnerus’[s] work have  been cited inappropriately in efforts to diminish the civil rights and legitimacy of LBGTQ partners and their families. In fact, the record before the district court reflected clearly that Regnerus’s study had been funded by the Witherspoon Institute, a conservative “think tank” opposed to same-sex marriage, in order to vindicate “the traditional understanding of marriage.”

And then, bam! again.

Presented with the admitted biases and methodological shortcomings prevalent in the studies performed by the defendant’s experts, the district court found those witnesses “largely unbelievable” and not credible.

 

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'FEIGNING OUTRAGE'

Yes, the GOP Has Repeatedly Said It Wants to Gut Social Security and Medicare Before Calling Biden a ‘Liar’ – Here’s Proof

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Many across the nation were likely horrified but not surprised Tuesday night when Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and several other House and Senate Republicans lashed out at President Joe Biden as he delivered the State of the Union Address, falsely branding him a “liar” for telling the truth: The GOP has consistently called to gut, sunset, or otherwise dramatically alter or dismantle the critical, life-saving social safety nets of Social Security and Medicare.

But it’s no secret Republicans for years, including recently, have wanted to take an ax to these programs, and other “entitlements,” despite proof they literally save lives.

Just Monday, Bloomberg reported, “House Republican committee and caucus chairs are pushing to create panels to study extending Social Security and Medicare solvency as part of any debt limit deal.”

“The discussion about creating commissions indicates some policy proposals floated by Republicans on entitlements — such as increasing the eligibility age or adding means-testing measures — are a possibility, even as GOP leaders say they’re not negotiating policy changes directly as part of a debt-limit vote,” Bloomberg added.

READ MORE: Former GOP Congressman Calls for Marjorie Taylor Greene to Be Censured After Calling President Biden a ‘Liar’

Cutting, gutting, altering, or otherwise tampering with “entitlements” (which also include federal and state programs paid for by workers via their paychecks) has been a core policy of the Republican Party for years.

Donald Trump repeatedly called for gutting Social Security and Medicare, a fact that appears to have been conveniently forgotten by some of his staunchest supporters.

Numerous House and Senate Republicans have either attacked or outright called for gutting, “sunsetting,” or otherwise dramatically altering Social Security and Medicare in the past year, including U.S. Senators Rick Scott (FL), Mike Lee (UT), Lindsey Graham (SC), Ted Cruz (TX), Ron Johnson (WI), Ted Budd (NC), and U.S. Reps. Rick Allen (GA), Mike Waltz (NC), Kevin Hern (OK), and others.

Here’s Rep. Greene and most of the Republican caucus Tuesday night heckling the President, with some including Greene calling him a “liar.”

Proud of her disruption of centuries of decorum, after the State of the Union Greene told reporters, “I don’t clap for liars.”

Greene then recorded video after shouting “You’re lying!” and “Liar!” at President Biden, defending her antics — by lying.

Greene may have led the charge but she was far from the only culprit lying about the President of the United States in a nationally-televised speech that was seen in several parts of the world.

READ MORE: Republicans ‘Acting Like Jackasses’ Because Biden Nailed Them on Social Security: Morning Joe

Here’s U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), once floated as a Trump Supreme Court nominee, “feigning outrage” at President Biden’s truthful claim, and video of him calling to gut Social Security and Medicare. In fact, he says in the video the reason he was running for Senate was to pull up “by the roots” Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

And U.S. Senator Rick Scott, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), getting called out by Fox News for wanting to “sunset” Social Security and Medicare.

U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, Republican of Georgia, claiming people are telling him they “want to work longer,” as he says he wants to raise the retirement age, which would dramatically alter Social Security and Medicare.

Or an apparently younger U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme:

Center for American Progress Action’s research director, Will Ragland, in October pointed out Trump has repeatedly promised to gut Social Security and Medicare:

“Every single budget Trump proposed would’ve cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid,” Ragland says.

READ MORE: ‘Salute Their Flags’: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Appears to Attack LGBTQ Americans and BLM During Angry GOP SOTU Response

And video of Trump saying it as recently as 2020:

Literally dozens of Republicans back in October called for gutting, sunsetting, or killing Social Security and Medicare. This was the GOP playbook just a few months ago.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham in June: “entitlement reform is a must.”

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) in August saying he wants to “fix” “broken” Social Security and Medicare by turning them into “discretionary” spending:

U.S. Senator Ted Budd (R-NC), as a candidate, agreed with the “major points’ of Sen. Rick Scott’s 11-point plan which included sunsetting all federal programs, which would include Social Security and Medicare. (Sen. Scott just hours ago “doubled down” on his call to die just that.)

U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz (R-NC) just one month ago called for “big reforms,” and said: “if we really want to talk about the debt and spending, it’s the entitlements program.”

Many of those who have been trying to gut Social Security belong to the far-right Republican Study Committee.

Last summer NBC News reported: “The Republican Study Committee, a large group of House conservatives, proposed a budget in June that would incrementally raise the retirement age to collect Social Security, based on changing life spans, and lower benefits over the long term by using a new formula.”

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Republicans ‘Acting Like Jackasses’ Because Biden Nailed Them on Social Security: Morning Joe

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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough called out Republicans for acting foolishwhen confronted by President Joe Biden for proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

The president urged Congress to protect the broadly popular social programs, saying “some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” which prompted literal howls from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and a handful of GOP lawmakers, but the “Morning Joe” host said Biden’s claim was on the mark.

“If you’re at home an you’re not as much of a nerd as me and you don’t follow all this stuff, let me tell you something, they were booing reality, Republicans,” Scarborough said. “Joe Biden said that one administration raised the debt more than first 220 years of president, we can say to you on the show, that’s a truth, the debt went up 25 percent. When he said Republicans raised the debt ceiling three times during the Trump administration — wait, why are they booing? They did it. They’re booing themselves for doing that.”

“Then, this is the one that gets me, talking about sunsetting Social Security and Medicare every five years, nobody dreamed that up — that was the head of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee,” Scarborough added. “He won’t say his name, I will say his name. Say his name: Rick Scott, the most powerful Republican in the United States Senate for running campaigns. So they’re acting like jackasses because they can’t deal with the truth, can’t deal with the truth, and they make themselves look foolish.”

READ MORE: ‘Only in Mississippi’: White representatives vote to create white-appointed court system for Blackest city in America

House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was seen at several points trying in vain to shush the hecklers in his caucus, and Scarborough said the reward structure in GOP politics gave the noisiest lawmakers outsized influence.

“Here is the problem being a leader of Republicans right now is Marjorie Taylor Greene just gave a gift to Joe Biden, gave a gift to the Democratic Party, gave a gift to every Democrat that is running against Republicans who won in Biden districts,” Scarborough said, “and yet the incentive structure is such that Marjorie Taylor Greene will raise a million dollars by calling the president a liar. So you have all of these extremists that are raising a ton of money while damaging their party and they just don’t care. So if you’re Kevin McCarthy, what do you do?”

Watch the video below or at this link.

 

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Former GOP Congressman Calls for Marjorie Taylor Greene to Be Censured After Calling President Biden a ‘Liar’

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U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) numerous times heckled President Joe Biden as he delivered the State of the Union Address, including repeatedly calling him a “liar.”

Not in modern history has anyone so clearly disturbed the decorum of the nationally-televised event watched live by 40 million Americans. Not even U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), who infamously also called the President a liar – “You lie!” – during another nationally-televised event, that one by President Barack Obama in September of 2009.

Tuesday night Congresswoman Greene repeatedly yelled, “You lie!” and, “Liar!” at President Biden, who, ironically, was sitting one seat back from his current position the last time it happened.

Here is that moment:

Greene also heckled President Biden at other times throughout his speech – something she and Rep. Lauren Boebert did one year ago, also during the State of the Union.

Republican former U.S. Congressman Adam Kinzinger Tuesday night tweeted, “Did @RepMTG just yell ‘liar’?! Awful. Yet she will not be punished in response.”

READ MORE: ‘Salute Their Flags’: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Appears to Attack LGBTQ Americans and BLM During Angry GOP SOTU Response

He then called for Greene’s censure – and called for her fellow Republicans to do it.

The GOP should lead the censure of @RepMTG for her behavior,” Kinzinger tweeted.

He wasn’t done.

Posting a screenshot of Greene standing during the State of the Union heckling President Biden, with her thumb pointing down, Kinzinger asked, “My fellow Republicans… you really want this as a role model for your kids? Do you really think the next generation will want to be part of this? I don’t.”

Kinzinger went one step further, reposting a tweet likening Congresswoman Greene to the fictional Disney villain Cruella de Vil – a comparison many on social media had been making during the evening’s event.

“Representative Joe Wilson was formally rebuked by the House on Tuesday for his outburst during President Obama’s health care address,” The New York Times reported, less than a week after what was at the time an unthinkable act. “The vote came after a Congressional clash over civility that showcased the deep partisan divisions in the House.”

Congressman Wilson also apologized for calling President Obama a “liar,” barely hours after his outburst.

“This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill,” he said in a statement. “While I disagree with the President’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.”

Congresswoman Greene likely will not apologize, and likely will not face any formal rebuke.

 

 

 

 

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