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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.

 

Image via YouTube

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WHITE NATIONALISM IS HATE

White Nationalist Congressman Tweets White Nationalist Group’s Motto in Sex Worker Meme

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Dr. Paul Gosar, a Republican U.S. Rep. from Arizona and a white nationalist on Sunday tweeted out a meme featuring a sex worker and the motto from a white nationalist group.

“$50 WHATEVER YOU WANT BABY,” says a woman peering into a car. The driver says, “Can you TELL EVERYONE AMERICA FIRST IS INEVITABLE.”

America First is inevitable,” as HuffPost reports, “is the motto of the ‘America First’ white nationalist movement headed by the racist and anti-Semitic podcaster Nick Fuentes.”

Gosar’s original tweet is here. NCRM has inserted a screenshot in case it gets deleted.

Gosar late last month delivered the hate group’s keynote address, then on the same day headed to CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, and appeared to denounce white nationalism.

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia and a CC license

 

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GRIFTER

RNC Reinforces Ties to Trump by Moving Major Donor Dinner to Mar-a-Lago

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The Republican Party has had multiple chances to distance itself from former President Donald Trump, including most recently when he sent the RNC a cease and desist letter warning them to not use his name or image for fundraising. But as usual the RNC just reinforced its ties to Trump, moving a major donor dinner to Mar-a-Lago.

“The weekend retreat in early April for the party’s most influential donors will be at a luxury hotel in Palm Beach, as in past years,” The Washington Post reports. “But the RNC has decided to move the Saturday evening portion of the schedule to the former president’s private club to accommodate Trump and guests who would like to visit the site.”

The move will line Trump’s pockets with cash and give him another opportunity to bask in the spotlight of the donors’ adulation.

At least 350 are expected to attend the Mar-a-Lago event.

 

Image Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr 

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LIES AND THE LYING LIARS THAT TELL THEM

Marjorie Taylor Greene Lies Pending LGBTQ Equality Bill Has ‘Completely Canceled Women’ and ‘Destroyed Women’s Rights’

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U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) on Monday used her time to address the House of Representatives by lying to her colleagues and attacking the LGBTQ Equality Act.

The legislation, which passed the House but has not been debated in the Senate or even voted on, much less signed into law, “has completely destroyed women’s rights,” and “has completely canceled women,” the QAnon Congresswoman lied.

The Equality Act, she continued, “has taken away women’s rights in sports,” which is also false.

“It has completely canceled women and I think it’s a terrible thing that’s happened to the women in America who have come so far, our grandmothers and mothers worked so hard to achieve our rights. And now with the passage of the Equality Act they have put men in our little girls bathrooms, sports, locker rooms, playing fields, and seem to care less about women’s rights whatsoever.”

Again the Equality Act has only passed the House, not the Senate, nor has it been signed into law, so it has not been enacted.

“They’ve also completely destroyed religious freedoms and and violated our freedoms and rights in every single way,” she insisted, not naming who “they” are.

“The Equality Act is atrocious and evil,” she said, repeating the false claim she has made several times. “It completely erases gender, that God created us ‘male and female in his image.’ He created us. Women deserve their rights, we deserve our sports, we deserve our privacy, and should not have the invasion of biological men in any of these areas.”

Green has been trying to remake herself from a conspiracy theorist and QAnon promoter to a far right religious extremist anti-choice activist. Her diatribe on International Women’s Day did little to advance that goal, or any other cause.

Watch:

 

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