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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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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

John Eastman Will Face Charges if Continues ‘Frivolous Argument’ Against Capitol Riot Probe: Adam Schiff

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John Eastman, the far-right lawyer who authored Trump’s “coup memo,” announced on Friday that he would be defying a subpoena from the House January 6 Committee.

Appearing on CNN later in the day, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) made clear that Eastman is free to plead the Fifth if he has a good-faith reason to fear he could incriminate himself — but that doesn’t entitle him to a free pass to ignore investigators.

“Eastman says the partisan makeup of the committee, he says makes it invalid and doesn’t need to cooperate,” said anchor Wolf Blitzer. “What do you say to that?”

“Well, that was a frivolous argument,” said Schiff. “If he uses that as a basis to refuse to answer questions, he will be in contempt of the committee, simple and straightforward. So we’ll be seeing with each witness… whether they’re properly invoking a privilege or to stall and delay for the former president, and will make the judgment as to what the repercussions should be once we see and hear the testimony.”

READ MORE: Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark postpones Capitol riot testimony due to ‘medical condition’

This comes after former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was indicted on contempt charges for ignoring the committee, and as former DOJ lawyer Jeffrey Clark faces an upcoming contempt vote by Congress.

Watch below:

 

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COMMENTARY

Marjorie Taylor Greene Cries She’s the ‘Most Attacked’ – Less Than 24 Hours After Labeling All Democrats ‘Communists’

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If it seems like it was just yesterday that U.S. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene labeled the President of the United States and in fact every Democrat in the country “communists,” it was, which is why it might seem strangely hypocritical that the Republican from Georgia minutes ago was labeling herself the “most attacked” freshman member of Congress in all of U.S. history.

“Joe Biden is a communist,” Greene declared strongly Thursday evening. “And that’s who the Democrats are – they’re communists.”

“You know, a lot of people are swallowing down the word ‘socialist,’ but that’s not a good enough word for Democrats – they are communists,” Greene told her supporters, clearly ignorant of the words’ meanings.

“That’s the word we need to keep using with them,” she continued. “Because they’re using these unprecedented, authoritarian, tyrannical controls on the American people to force people to comply.”

But Greene was singing a very different tune Friday afternoon.

“I have been the most attacked freshman Member of Congress probably in United States history,” Greene cried in a video she posted to social media. “The media has defamed me. They have completely smeared my character. Called me names and labeled me horrible things, none of which I am. None of the things they have said are true about me.”

What has been said about Congresswoman Greene in the legitimate media? Unlike her videos, there’s a high degree of likelihood it’s mostly true.

Here’s a portion of what The New York Times wrote in January:

Marjorie Taylor Greene had just finished questioning whether a plane really flew into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and flatly stating that President Barack Obama was secretly Muslim when she paused to offer an aside implicating another former president in a crime.

“That’s another one of those Clinton murders,” Ms. Greene said, referring to John F. Kennedy Jr.’s death in a 1999 plane crash, suggesting that he had been assassinated because he was a potential rival to Hillary Clinton for a New York Senate seat.

Ms. Greene casually unfurled the cascade of dangerous and patently untrue conspiracy theories in a 40-minute video that was originally posted to YouTube in 2018.

Ms. Greene suggested in a 2018 Facebook post, unearthed this week by Media Matters, that a devastating wildfire that ravaged California was started by “a laser” beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family with connections to powerful Democrats. She endorsed executing Democratic lawmakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She served as a prolific writer for a now-defunct conspiracy blog called “American Truth Seekers,” writing posts with headlines including “MUST READ — Democratic Party Involved With Child Sex, Satanism, and The Occult.” And she argued that the 2018 midterm elections — in which the first two Muslim women were elected to the House — were part of “an Islamic invasion of our government.”

Ms. Greene has repeatedly claimed in multiple videos and social media posts that several school shooting massacres were “false flag” events perpetrated by government officials in an attempt to drum up support for gun control laws. In an October 2020 video surfaced on Friday by Mother Jones, she said that the “only way you get your freedoms back is it’s earned with the price of blood.”

Ms. Greene is perhaps best known for having endorsed QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy movement that claims that Mr. Trump was facing down a shadowy cabal of Democratic pedophiles.

That was almost an entire year ago. You’re probably more familiar with all the baseless and unfounded attacks she has made since.

Greene has made lying about and attacking Democrats part of her weekly, if not daily routine. Sometimes those attacks have been very personal – and very close. Like when she followed Parkland shooting survivor and gun control activist David Hogg around the streets of D.C. He said he felt she was threatening him. Or more recently, when she verbally assaulted U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of Congress. That was one of her countless attacks against the New York Democrat who Greene seems disturbingly obsessed with.

But if indeed Greene is the “most attacked” freshman member of Congress in all of U.S. history, she has only herself to blame.

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BREAKING NEWS

On the Lam?: FBI Now Searching for Parents of Michigan Accused High School Shooter – Sheriff Says They’re ‘Missing’

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James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of accused high school mass shooter Ethan Crumbley, appear to be “missing,” according to Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

Sheriff Bouchard says his office is now searching for the Crumbleys, but they cannot be found and are not returning calls from their attorney.

MSNBC reports the FBI and U.S. Marshals are currently searching for them.

The Crumbleys will face four counts of homicide involuntary manslaughter. Their son, Ethan, is facing murder and terrorism charges, in addition to other charges.

Prosecutor Karen McDonald Friday afternoon detailed the alarming note and drawings that led to school administrators summoning the Crumbleys to the school. Among the words on the note, “the thoughts won’t stop help me,” “blood everywhere,” and “The world is dead.”

Watch:

EARLIER:

‘Blood Everywhere’ and ‘The World Is Dead’: Prosecutor Details Accused School Mass Shooter’s Alarming Note

Prosecutor Reveals Disturbing Texts, Involuntary Manslaughter Charges Against Parents of Michigan High School Accused Shooter

Michigan School Shooting Suspect’s Mom Thanked Trump for Right to Bear Arms in Vulgar 2016 Open Letter

 

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