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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This Is a Big Fucking Deal

Posted by on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 6:08 AM

NYT:

Dozens of prominent Republicans—including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress—have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election. The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter: Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does, that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”

Legal analysts said the brief had the potential to sway conservative justices as much for the prominent names attached to it as for its legal arguments. The list of signers includes a string of Republican officials and influential thinkers —75 as of Monday evening—who are not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their previous positions.

Among the signers of the amici brief are Ken Mehlman, Steve Schmidt, Meg Whitman, Jon Huntsman, "Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B. Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a former member of the House Republican leadership." The brief directly addresses—and demolishes—the arguments put forward by opponents of same-sex marriage:

Deinstitutionalization. No credible evidence supports the deinstitutionalization theory.... Petitioners fail to explain how extending civil marriage to same-sex couples will dilute or undermine the benefits of that institution for opposite-sex couples... or for society at large. It will instead do the opposite. Extending civil marriage to same-sex couples is a clear endorsement of the multiple benefits of marriage—stability, lifetime commitment, financial support during crisis and old age, etc.—and a reaffirmation of the social value of this institution.

Biology. There is also no biological justification for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples. Allowing same-sex couples to marry in no way undermines the importance of marriage for opposite-sex couples who enter into marriage to provide a stable family structure for their children.

Child Welfare. If there were persuasive evidence that same-sex marriage was detrimental to children, amici would give that evidence great weight. But there is not. Social scientists have resoundingly rejected the claim that children fare better when raised by opposite-sex parents than they would with same-sex parents.

 

Comments (43) RSS

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1
Well that's a bit of a surprise on a Tuesday morning.
Posted by ultrasuedecushion on February 26, 2013 at 6:20 AM · Report this
2
Bout fuck'n time.
Posted by The fag on February 26, 2013 at 6:20 AM · Report this
Claypatch 3
The anti-gay marriage crowd is putting up the same thinking and arguments that the anti-mixed race marriage crowd used to put up: you know, think of the children and Because Teh Bible. And once again, when you apply critical thinking all arguments against melt away. It is quite satisfying to see these conservatives "come out of the closet" to confirm what the rest of their fellow rational thinking citizens already know: gay marriage is as much of a civil right as marriage between races.
Posted by Claypatch on February 26, 2013 at 6:38 AM · Report this
4
So it's become politically viable for them to reach out for the gay vote? How'd GOProud enjoy CPAC?
Posted by Drew2u on February 26, 2013 at 6:50 AM · Report this
5
Holy shit - this could sway the dbag justices, the holdouts, Scalia, Thomas. Holy shit.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 26, 2013 at 6:52 AM · Report this
ScienceNerd 6
Wow, this is the first time in a long time I didn't feel straight up hate toward something a republican said. Way to be, guys!
Posted by ScienceNerd http://stanichium.tumblr.com/ on February 26, 2013 at 6:54 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 7
The real question is:

How will the haters spin this as a victory for themselves?

Hopefully this will represent another fracture in the GOP, helping to usher in the pipe dream of a viable third party.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on February 26, 2013 at 6:57 AM · Report this
8
Let's see, gay marriage promotes family values... conservative ideals of personal freedom and limited government interference... allowing marriage and not marriage-lite is an affirmation of the specific value of marriage as an institution...

Sorry, for once I don't know how to say it better than the Republicans (who seem to have been reading this blog).

@7 It's more likely that this is yet another case of one or more major parties seeing the writing on the wall and giving the American people what they want. When they elect liberals, one or both parties get more liberal. When they elect conservatives, one or both parties get more conservative. That is actually how the Democratic and Republican parties switched places in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Posted by DRF on February 26, 2013 at 7:11 AM · Report this
seatackled 9
@5

No, this ain't gonna sway Scalia-Thomas. I wouldn't bet on Alito, either. This is about Roberts and Kennedy. 7-2 in favor of marriage equality at best, 6-3 much more likely.
Posted by seatackled on February 26, 2013 at 7:11 AM · Report this
10
GOOOOD MORNING!
Posted by Totalpukoid on February 26, 2013 at 7:14 AM · Report this
11
How many of the amicus brief writers are Catholic? Scalia et al. see the constitution through Pope-colored glasses.

Speaking of the MF-Pope, my @PontifexFalsum Twitter was SUSPENDED for impersonating the (real) pope.

No shit. Would have had a heydey on latest Vatileaks stuff.

Any SLOG readers know anyone at Twitter who can get @PontifexFalsum re-activated? As a non-famous person without much free time, it's impossible, 5 days now and they ignored polite emails & web form appeals.

FYI it was a clearly marked parody account with no violation of TOS -- some Catholic must have complained and Twitter pulled the plug.

I had just 180 followers, including Dan, so I guess it wasn't that funny, and he's probably too busy to help out and won't see this. As a non-famous person without a lot of free time, I'm shit out of luck (never swore on Twitter).

Yet we are Prayerful someone on SLOG can help.

Eternal gratitude,
@PontifexFalsum (suspended)
Posted by PontifexFalsum http:// on February 26, 2013 at 7:14 AM · Report this
12
@9, okayfine, thanks for calming me down.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 26, 2013 at 7:31 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 13
None of the Republicans currently hold office. This speaks volumes about them. But I suppose it's better than nothing that at least these Republicans understand the constitution and equal justice.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 26, 2013 at 7:32 AM · Report this
bgk 14
This might be the cover that Kennedy and Roberts use for a 6-3 decision.
Posted by bgk on February 26, 2013 at 7:42 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 15
@3 You forgot another popular canard: the slippery slope to polygamy. Which is obvious bullshit. Gay marriage looks just like other marriage for any legal purpose: one spouse, one inheritor, one extra adult on an insurance contract, etc. It's no change at all, really. Polygamy would explode all the calculations of contracts like insurance, inheritance, child custody and so on, which no judge would ever touch.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on February 26, 2013 at 7:54 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 16
@ 13, good observation, but I think it speaks more about the state of the GOP itself. Undoubtedly some elected Republicans feel the same way (not many, but some) - even if only because they know which way the wind is blowing, not that they think marriage equality is actually right. The strategists know that social issues are no longer a winner for the GOP, because only old white guys care about that. But the old white guys have a deathgrip on the GOP, so elected Republicans can't risk taking a stand (principled or pragmatic).

I wouldn't be surprised if this was part of a grand strategy. The actual powers that be know that same sex marriage is inevitable, and that it's now a losing issue in general elections in competitive districts and states. So they must want the issue to go away, and it will if the SCOTUS declares DOMA unconstitutional. Only the hardest core bigots will still care, but all the ones who care more about ending social security and Obamacare, whether they like gays or not, are ready to move on.

Thus, this amicus brief. Signed by Republicans with nothing on the line, to be used to sway Roberts and Kennedy (who also have nothing to lose), to settle the matter of same sex marriage once and for all. I guarantee that hard right teabaggers care more about other issues and won't fuss about it. Some will make noise about a constitutional amendment, but it's a foregone conclusion that that won't go anywhere.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 26, 2013 at 7:59 AM · Report this
17
That is kind of a big fucking deal.
Posted by MLM on February 26, 2013 at 8:01 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 18
@ 15 is also correct. Legalizing polygamy would have to be handled by Congress, even if SCOTUS found bigamy laws discriminatory. And that would only happen if a case challenging bigamy laws came before them. DOMA isn't about bigamy.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 26, 2013 at 8:02 AM · Report this
seatackled 19
@12

Sorry.
Posted by seatackled on February 26, 2013 at 8:05 AM · Report this
20
@13, actually, two of the Republicans are sitting members of congress. It's a pathetically low number, and it speaks volumes to the amoral spinelessness of the GOP, but at least it isn't zero.
Posted by esperando on February 26, 2013 at 8:09 AM · Report this
21
I've no argument with marriage equality, but this is more evidence that the Supreme Court follows the election returns.

Now, about the insane level of economic inequality...
Posted by Che Guava on February 26, 2013 at 8:15 AM · Report this
slake 22
It's nice to see people who will never run for election and have nothing to risk finally take a stand.
Posted by slake on February 26, 2013 at 8:17 AM · Report this
23
@9 and 14: I'll take 6-3, Thank you very much.

@22: I agree with you entirely. That said, it's nice to see some prominent Republicans take on the teabaggy right and expose the divisions within the party.
Posted by Clayton on February 26, 2013 at 8:34 AM · Report this
24
I just went to NOMblog to see how NOM was responding to the news.

Surprisingly, they have not mentioned it!
Posted by Clayton on February 26, 2013 at 8:41 AM · Report this
seatackled 25
Actually, Meg Whitman was a support of Prop. H8 when she ran for governor.

I can't tell if any signers are currently in office. The phrasing of the excerpt suggests that there are two current Congresspersons, but the article names a former Congresswoman and I didn't see anyone else mentioned identified as current in my skim of the source.
Posted by seatackled on February 26, 2013 at 8:44 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 26
@ 21, election returns? That's probably a bit too specific, given that they have lifetime appointments. But Supreme Court justices ARE human, so they are not immune to the politics of their time, nor are their decisions free from emotion and prejudice. They are affected by the politics surrounding them. That's exactly the thing that makes the Constitution a living document, despite the wishes of those who insist it's frozen in the amber of 1787.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 26, 2013 at 8:46 AM · Report this
27
@15 And in Louisiana, gay marriage would have even less influence on estate law, since in that quaint 18th C. province, intestate inheritance goes not to the spouse, but to the children, or lacking those, to the blood relatives of the deceased.

Don't die in Louisiana without a will, kids!
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on February 26, 2013 at 9:04 AM · Report this
Fnarf 28
On the one hand, yay. On the other hand, I don't WANT the Republicans to become reasonable; they're easier to crush when they're doing the bug-eyed freak show thing. C'mon, somebody get Herman Cain on TV again.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on February 26, 2013 at 9:12 AM · Report this
29
Considering the contributions to the brief of advisors to the previous Bush administration, the cynic in me says they're trying to take gay marriage off the table as a contentious social issue in order to put a moderate face on the republican party to help Jeb Bush win back centrist voters when he runs for the Presidency in 2016.
Posted by neo-realist on February 26, 2013 at 9:43 AM · Report this
30
This brings the spectre of having to make difficult choices during future elections, since we might be looking at a republican party that you can't simply write-off. Will the Stranger be able to cope?
Posted by fetish on February 26, 2013 at 9:57 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 31
@ 30, if you're suggesting that the GOP is beginning to swing left (toward the center) and become competitive, we are a very long way from being assured that that's happening. They have swung so fully to the right that making even pragmatic moves back to the middle will require a successful purging of the teabaggers and bigots who have been crucial to the GOP successes of the previous decade.

That doesn't mean that they can't still be dangerous in general elections, but from today's perspective it's hard to see how they return to the mainstream without tearing themselves apart first. Their biggest hope is that they have a more viable bench of POTUS candidates than the Dems. But are any of them pure enough to win the nomination? Can any of them kiss the hard right's collective ass without going so far to the right that swing voters won't buy their run back to the center?

As I wrote upthread, same sex marriage is inevitable, and it's not the topic teabaggers care most about, and there are fewer bigots every day as they either die out or open their hearts and learn (like that girl from Westboro). If SCOTUS overturns DOMA, that will kill same sex marriage as a mainstream political issue once and for all, but it's been dying for years, as undeniably demonstrated by the successes in Washington and elsewhere.

That said, the GOP is still beholden to its most extreme members, and they have plenty of other issues to shout about and scare middle of the road voters with. I think The Stranger will cope just fine.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 26, 2013 at 10:22 AM · Report this
32
For the general election purposes, the bulk of the teabagger hillbilly republicans will go along with the centrist moves because they know its nothing more than kabuki theater to win. The Bush family has enormous institutional/political power and the republican base politicians will for the most part yield to it if they, for their own future political survival, know what's good for them.

Posted by neo-realist on February 26, 2013 at 10:40 AM · Report this
debug 33
Doesn't surprise me. The loudest republicans tend to be the nuttiest and we've made our elections so expensive that being elected as an individual against some of the platform is near impossible.

Many republicans are primarily fiscal conservatives and don't think the government, especially the federal government, should be dealing with social / religious issues at all.

The pattern seems to be that many politicians sing a more moderate tune once they are out of office and not running for anything.
Posted by debug on February 26, 2013 at 11:01 AM · Report this
Alanmt 34
I must be over-emotional from being sick or on codeine, but this news actually made me tear up a little. The arc of the moral universe has just bend a little more toward justice.
Posted by Alanmt on February 26, 2013 at 11:23 AM · Report this
Baconcat 35
When the brief is published you should send it to Rob McKenna and get his view.
Posted by Baconcat on February 26, 2013 at 11:39 AM · Report this
36
@15 Gay marriage might indeed be a slippery slope into polygamy. The difference is that while it is possible that gay marriage could damage society by opening the way to polygamy, it has been demonstrated that forbidding gay marriage damages society by preventing proper inheritance, medical access, social stability and childrearing, and "does" must trump "might."
Posted by DRF on February 26, 2013 at 11:43 AM · Report this
37
@9 I'd be surprised if the SCOTUS ruling on the Prop 8 case winds up as as a 6-3 to overturn. More likely a 4-5 to overturn the lower Appeals Court's ruling, with Roberts joining the other 4 D-Justices* to strike it down, thereby legitimizing Prop 8's hate as being Constitutional.

The other Marriage Equality case -- to repeal DOMA -- seems more likely to be a 5-4 decision, with perhaps even Roberts joining with Kennedy & the majority to make it 6-3.

(* = Douche-Justice)
Posted by WrteStufLA on February 26, 2013 at 11:54 AM · Report this
38
Never underestimate the talents of the haters on the Court to cobble together some ruling that appears to allow same sex marriage in theory while giving the states the ability to make it nearly impossible to implement in fact. Look to abortion laws in the red states. A ruling like that would give the Rethugs something to point to (see how evolved we are now, vote for us again) while it would satisfy the teabagger need to be nasty to gays. A win win for GOPers. I am very skeptical of anything any Republithug does no matter how good it looks on the surface. One of their jellybeans will be the poison pill in our Easter basket.
Posted by kwodell on February 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 39
what's the use of marriage equality when you can still be fired from your job because you're gay? hmm? why hasn't there been any action on ENDA?
Posted by scary tyler moore http://pushymcshove.blogspot.com/ on February 26, 2013 at 12:30 PM · Report this
40
YES!!!
Posted by BG on February 26, 2013 at 12:56 PM · Report this
41
Better late than never I suppose but all of the arguments put forward in this brief in favor has been valid since DOMA was enacted up until today so fuck all these people. I'll also point out that not one of these people has enough juice to pull a single Republican primary voter out of the fever swamp their party currently resides in or sway a vote on the Supreme Court.

It's great that your kids and grandkids have bullied you out of your aprthaid era view of social liberties. But none of you (especially you Mehlman) said a fucking word when your word had currency. You don't get to glom onto a movement you pissed on until the winds of change became an unstoppable force. Fuck off republicans.
Posted by FistOSalmon on February 26, 2013 at 3:58 PM · Report this
the idiot formerly known as kk 42
I hope Ken Mehlman doesn't really believe that anyone is going to start respecting him just because he got a bunch of third-rate has-beens to admit in writing that 1 + 1 = 2. Ken, everyone with a brain still thinks you're a weasel, and the mouth-breathers still think you're just a fag.
Posted by the idiot formerly known as kk on February 26, 2013 at 9:46 PM · Report this
43
@25 You're right - Meg Whitman supported Prop 8 when she was running for governor. And IIRC, when she was in Congress, Mary Bono Mack never (or rarely) voted in favor of anything pro-LGBT.
Posted by Jared Bascomb on February 27, 2013 at 8:46 AM · Report this

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