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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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‘As a Father, He’s Done Nothing’: Herschel Walker Urged the Mother of His Child to Have a Second Abortion – NYT

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The mother of Herschel Walker‘s 10-year old son who reportedly had an abortion the former NFL star paid for, reveals he also urged her to have a second abortion when she again became pregnant. She refused, ended their relationship, and gave birth to a boy, The New York Times reports.

The woman, whose name is not being published for family and safety reasons, revealed this week the former NFL star now running for a U.S. Senate seat as a hard core anti-abortion Republican had urged her to have the first abortion, and paid for it when she did.

“As a father, he’s done nothing. He does exactly what the courts say, and that’s it,” she told The Times. “He has to be held responsible, just like the rest of us. And if you’re going to run for office, you need to own your life.”

READ MORE: ‘Nothing to Be Ashamed of’: Herschel Walker Says if He Paid for an Abortion He Would ‘Be Forgiven’

The Times reports “the woman said Mr. Walker had barely been involved in their now 10-year-old son’s life, offering little more than court-ordered child support and occasional gifts.”

Walker has publicly acknowledged his eldest son, Christian Walker, but months ago when The Daily Beast revealed he had a “secret son,” Walker’s campaign confirmed only the second child, but did not initially reveal that Walker had fathered an additional two children.

In their interviews, the woman “described the frustration of watching Republicans rally around Mr. Walker, dismiss her account and bathe him in prayer and praise, calling him a good man.”

“The fact that I had a choice” to have an abortion, and “now he’s in the public trying to say he wants to put a ban on abortion completely,” the woman said. “It appalled me.”

She also “said Mr. Walker hardly knew his 10-year-old son — she said he had ‘maybe only seen him three times’ — and had not spoken to her in years.”

Walker is running to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, a progressive pastor. Warnock has not directly commented on this latest Walker scandal, one of many Georgia voters will have to weigh when they vote. On Thursday he tweeted, “The people of Georgia have a clear choice to make about who they think is ready to represent them in the United States Senate.”

Also on Thursday, Walker repeatedly flatly denied the allegations. But he did say if he had paid for an abortion, it was “nothing to be ashamed of.”

READ MORE: ‘Train Wreck’: Herschel Walker Criticized for New Ad Claiming God Helped Him ‘Overcome’ His Mental Illness

The woman, who is not being named by the press, also spoke with The Daily Beast, which broke the original story earlier this week and revealed many of the details the Times reported Friday.

Meanwhile, once his strongest supporter, Christian Walker has now become his father’s harshest critic.

“I stayed silent as the atrocities committed against my mom were downplayed, I stayed silent when it came out that my father, Herschel Walker, had all these random kids across the country, none of whom he raised,” Christian Walker said in a video he posted this week, after The Daily Beast’s report was published. “And you know, my favorite issue to talk about is father absence – surprise – ’cause it affected me. That’s why I talk about it all the time, because it affected me.”

“Family Values people: He has four kids, four different women, wasn’t in the house raising one of them,” Christian Walker continued, lambasting his father. “He was out having sex with other women. Do you care about family values? I was silent lie after lie after lie. The  abortion card drops yesterday – it’s literally his handwriting in the card. They say they have receipts, whatever. He gets on Twitter, he lies about it. Okay, I’m done.”

He hasn’t tweeted since Wednesday, but Christian Walker’s last tweet reads: “Wear a condom, damn.”

READ MORE: Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’
 

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Dr. Oz Campaigned in Front of Hitler’s Car at a Fundraiser Hosted by Matt Gaetz’s In-Laws and Rick Scott’s NRSC: Report

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New Jersey celebrity doctor turned Pennsylvania Republican senatorial nominee, Dr. Oz, asked high-dollar donors for campaign cash Thursday night while standing in front of a car – emblazoned with a red swastika flag – that actually was used by Adolf Hitler. The fundraiser was hosted by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz‘s in-laws and Republican Senator Rick Scott‘s National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

Ironically, it was all predicted by “The Simpsons.”

Calling it “quite a choice,” Jezebel reports, “Dr. Mehmet Oz attended a $5,000-a-plate fundraiser hosted by sex pest Matt Gaetz’s in-laws on Thursday night at the Lyon Air Museum and stood in front of one of Adolf Hitler’s cars, which made it into the background of attendees’ photos.”

“The museum is full of WWII memorabilia, and yes, it is just a museum,” the website explains. “Twitter user Larry Tenney shared a screenshot from Instagram stories showing Oz standing on a small podium next to a TV monitor showing the logo for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and a hashtag #TheOzShow. Jezebel confirmed the image as coming from the account of Shane Mitchell, who attended the event.”

The NRSC is chaired by Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott, who has come under fire for somehow spending millions of dollars in donations, but not on Senate campaigns. Scott, the former Florida governor, was the head of a healthcare corporation that was forced to pay the largest health care fraud settlement in history.

READ MORE: ‘What I Saw Was Abuse’: Allegations of Dr. Oz’s Experiments Killing Hundreds of Animals Fact-Checked by Whistleblower

Oz is running against – and slightly behind – Pennsylvania Democratic Lt. Governor John Fetterman.

Jezebel has much more in its report, including that the “chair of the event, Palmer Luckey, is Gaetz’s brother-in-law and the billionaire founder of Oculus VR.”

“Luckey is a Donald Trump supporter and, in 2017, he was photographed with Steve Bannon and white supremacist Chuck C. Johnson, with both Johnson and Luckey flashing a white power gesture. Luckey claimed on Twitter that the gesture being a hate symbol was ‘fake news’ and that people do it to ‘playfully mimic Trump.'”

READ MORE: Dr. Oz Trounced in Newsmax Interview as Host Demands Explanation for ‘Wegner’s’ and ‘Crudité’ Ad

“Potentially not unrelated to his politics, Luckey is also the head of a military technology company called Anduril that makes surveillance equipment used on the US border and is now making drones. The company has multiple contracts with the Department of Defense and Gaetz, meanwhile, sits on the House Armed Services Committee.”

“Mitchell’s Instagram stories also showed that cancel culture warrior and incel king Jordan Peterson appeared at the event by video.”

“Dr. Oz began the week with a story about him killing puppies,” observes The Forward’s Jake Wasserman, “and now is ending it standing in front of Hitler’s car. Truly a landmark in the history of U.S. Senate campaigns.”

Sawyer Hackett, a communications strategist and advisor to former HUD Secretary Julián Castro noted “The Simpson’s” and Fetterman seem to have predicted this all.

READ MORE: ‘Depraved’: Rick Scott’s NRSC Slammed Over Fundraiser Asking GOP Voters ‘Where Do You Want to Send Illegal Immigrants Next?’

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Biden Names and Shames ‘Socialist Republicans’ Who Voted Against His Infrastructure Bill but Are Begging Him for Funding

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President Joe Biden spoke about the September jobs report praised by leading economists Friday afternoon, and took a few moments to criticize the “socialist Republicans” who publicly voted against the critical infrastructure legislation that is an important part of his economic agenda, while privately begging him for funding for their districts.

“There’s a report, you guys can, as they say, as my grandkids say, ‘Google it,’ but a report that came out on CNN that says, ‘Republicans called Biden infrastructure program socialist.’ Then they asked for the money,” the President said mockingly.

“And it goes through all the Republicans, the most conservative Republicans, who called it ‘socialism,’ and how they’re asking for it. A guy named Paul Gosar,” President Biden said, referring to far-right wing white nationalist U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona.

“He’s written three separate letters to the administration, asking for projects in his district,” Biden said, appearing to read from the CNN report. “He says they enhance the quality of life and ease congestion, boost the economy.”

Biden. leaning into the microphone, told supporters, “Voted against it, says it’s all socialism.”

“Go down the list. Kentucky Representative Andy Barr.”

Mocking the GOP lawmaker he mimicked him saying, “The biggest socialist agenda.”

“Three different projects he wants, citing the importance of safety and growth in his district.”

“Rand Paul,” President Biden continued. “I go down the list. Look it up,” he said waving the pages of the report.

“Socialist,’ he said mockingly.

“I didn’t know there were that many socialist Republicans,” Biden deadpanned.

“Think about it. I’m serious,” the President urged. “Let’s get serious about taking care of ordinary people. Regular people like I grew up. Folks, look, you can’t make this stuff up. You got to say, I got to say, I was surprised to see so many socialists in the Republican caucus.”

Watch below or at this link.

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