BLAG

What It Sounds Like When Bigots Cry

Lebanon dispenses wisdom and confidence.  (Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 4, 'The Ark Adrift on the Lake ...')

Matt Baume makes the obvious point―

Four states will have to defend their marriage bans before the U.S. Supreme Court this month, and all four are still scrambling to figure out exactly how they’re going to pull that off. They filed a series of briefs with the court last week that are full of weird claims and arguments that just don’t make sense. Kentucky says that its marriage ban doesn’t discriminate, since gay couples are still free to marry someone of the opposite sex. This is exactly the same argument that was used to justify bans on interracial marriage, and it’s essentially saying: “You’re free to do whatever you want, as long as you actually do something else.”

Michigan’s brief is even crazier. They say that gaining marriage equality through a court order, rather than a popular vote, would be demeaning to gay couples. So, thanks, Michigan, for your concern. Tennessee is sticking with the argument that if gay couples can get married, then straight couples will stop raising children in stable families, somehow. And Ohio says that overturning the marriage ban would cause the people who voted for it to feel isolated. Sure.

―but given that he chose Gov. Steve Beshear for the article photo, it’s probably worth reiterating that the Kentucky Democrat isn’t exactly dedicated to the argument.

And, in truth, the title of Baume’s article―“The Four Worst Anti-Gay Marriage Arguments Ever”―really is a matter of opinion. That is to say, I’m not going to knock his summary, but I’m not sure what comes out of Michigan, Ohio, or Tennessee overcomes the absurdity standard set by Paul D. Clement in Hollingsworth, when he argued, on behalf of House Republicans that heterosexual irresponsibility was a reason to ban gay marriage.

Sigh. Yes, he really said that.

And, you know, sure, what Leigh Gross Latherow came up with for Kentucky―after the Attorney General refused to argue the case―is just one of those supremely stupid arguments. We might suggest nostalgia, one last go for the homophobic trolls.

Nor did Baume exactly miss it. Rather, his focus is on the cases coming before the Supreme Court―which reminds of the problem with the word “ever”―and we already know the arguments against marriage equality are so weak that even Justice Thomas has acknowledged the inevitable outcome. What we hear from Tennessee and Michigan is straightforward stupidity. Ohio isn’t even trying. And Kentucky? Well, Ms. Latherow as achieved a new standard in stupidity.

We might have hoped that the Sutton and Cook opinion in the Sixth Circuit would be the “swan song for traditionalist heterosupremacism”, but apparently that wasn’t good enough for Ms. Latherow, who certainly wouldn’t intentionally throw the case. And the vicious excuse for an argument popular among internet trolls six or seven years ago is apparently what she found at the bottom of the barrel.

Scrape away, Ms. Latherow; you’ve certainly achieved your place in history.

____________________

Image note: Lebanon dispenses some manner of wisdom and confidence. (Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 4, ‘The Ark Adrift on the Lake …’)

Baume, Matt. “The Four Worst Anti-Gay Marriage Arguments Ever”. The Huffington Post. 7 April 2015.

Savage, David G. “Gay marriage opponents take unusual tack with Supreme Court”. Los Angeles Times. 26 January 2013.

The Picture: Marriage Equality Mix

Contemplation of Justice

“The rough idea would be that the Roberts court would be to the rights of gays and lesbians what the Warren court was on race issues.”

David A. Strauss

There is a lot going on. Or maybe not. Where once the idea was that courts should stay out of things and let “democracy” pick and choose who gets what human and constitutional rights in the United States, many of those advocates are looking to the Supreme Court of the United States to cram the gays back into the closet. With Justice Ginsburg suggesting last month that the Supreme Court might get involved if the lower courts make a sufficient mess of things, and the Fifteenth Judicial District Court of Louisiana holding the line in terms of state courts, one might wonder about the fervor Robert Barnes noted last week for the Washington Post:

The 10th edition of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. begins work Monday with the prospect of a monumental ruling for gay rights that could serve as a surprising legacy of an otherwise increasingly conservative court.

Whether the justices will decide that the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry dominates expectations of the coming term; such a ruling would impart landmark status on a docket that so far lacks a blockbuster case.

And some say it would be a defining moment for a closely divided court that bears the chief justice’s name but is most heavily influenced by the justice in the middle: Anthony M. Kennedy, who has written the court’s most important decisions affording protection to gay Americans.

“If the court establishes a right to same-sex marriage . . . [it] will go down in history as one that was on the frontiers of establishing rights for gays and lesbians,” said David A. Strauss, a constitutional-law scholar at the University of Chicago.

“The rough idea would be that the Roberts court would be to the rights of gays and lesbians what the Warren court was on race issues.”

Something about blockbusters, to be certain; one would hope we have enough worked out about our society that we should not necessarily be rushing for a marquée show every year. That is to say, there is plenty wrong with society, but do we really have so many fundamental civil rights questions coming to the fore? And if so, well, what the hell is wrong with Americans that we have not yet figured out how some of these very basic concepts work?

(more…)