Federal court strikes down Michigan same-sex marriage ban

Good news, as another decision affirming the right to same-sex marriage is issued by a US District Court in Michigan. The full text of the ruling is here. The state has determined that it will appeal the decision, however. By the way, the Judge, Bernard A. Friedman, was appointed to the court by Ronald Reagan.

Marriage quote of the day

Tradition is revered in the Commonwealth [of Virginia], and often rightly so. However, tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry any more than it could justify Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.

– U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen, from an opinion issued this week striking down the ban on same-sex marriage in Virginia.

Grammy Awards quote of the day

In what Grammy organizers hoped would be a heartwarming showstopper, 33 gay and straight couples were officially married — by Queen Latifah, deputized by Los Angeles County — during a performance of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s marriage-equality anthem “Same Love,” which also featured Madonna.

The wedding segment led to some criticism from conservatives. On Sunday afternoon, after news of the weddings was reported by The New York Times, Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis of the conservative American Family Association, said on Twitter that the Grammys were featuring “sodomy-based wedding ceremonies.”

– as reported by The New York Times

Anti-gay Family Research Council unveils hilarious new logo

The Family Research Council has launched a new campaign in response to the Supreme Court rulings this week block a portion of DOMA. Here is their logo:


You gotta be kidding, right. The male figure looks like someone engaged in oral sex, and the catch phrase is “on our knees for America.” I didn’t realize that the FRC had such a wonderful sense of humor.

Reactions to the invalidation of DOMA

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel:

The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision today on the Defense of Marriage Act. The department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court’s decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies. The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses — regardless of sexual orientation — as soon as possible. That is now the law and it is the right thing to do.

Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment. All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country, and their qualifications to do so. Today’s ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve.

Jack Balkin:

Windsor is a reminder of the fact that the scrutiny rules we teach our students as gospel are a relatively recent invention–less than fifty years old.   They were designed to make it easier to think about when laws are constitutionally unequal. But sometimes they don’t really assist our understanding of the issues; they just get in the way.  In fact, you actually can explain Windsor in terms of the existing structure– it’s a “rational basis with a bite” case, and that’s how the casebooks (including the one I co-author) will probably classify it. But we should be able to look behind the doctrinal superstructure, which explains little, and see the deeper principles at stake, principles that have a long history in American constitutional thought.  DOMA singled out gay people for special burdens in an important area of social life; it declared their marriages less valuable, and therefore, to that extent, it made them second class citizens.  Even if this wasn’t obvious in 1996, it is increasingly obvious today.

Andrew Sullivan:

Some final thoughts after so many years of so many thoughts. Marriage is not a political act; it’s a human one. It is based on love, before it is rooted in law. Same-sex marriages have always existed because the human heart has always existed in complicated, beautiful and strange ways. But to have them recognized by the wider community, protected from vengeful relatives, preserved in times of illness and death, and elevated as a responsible, adult and equal contribution to our common good is a huge moment in human consciousness. It has happened elsewhere. But here in America, the debate was the most profound, lengthy and impassioned. This country’s democratic institutions made this a tough road but thereby also gave us the chance and time to persuade the country, which we did. I understand and respect those who in good conscience fought this tooth and nail. I am saddened by how many failed to see past elaborate, ancient codes of conduct toward the ultimate good of equal human dignity.



The Onion:

The nation’s homosexuals should rest easy knowing their freedoms lie within famously rational state legislatures.

Rand Paul (apparently worried about marriages to extraterrestrials):

I think this is the conundrum and gets back to what you were saying in the opening — whether or not churches should decide this. But it is difficult because if we have no laws on this people take it to one extension further. Does it have to be humans?

Rush Limbaugh:

DOMA quote of the day

The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States. The history of DOMA’s enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, a dignity conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power, was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute. It was its essence.

– Justice Kennedy, from his opinion requiring the Federal government to provide equal treatment to same-sex marriages.

DOMA opinion is 5-4: law is unconstitutional; Prop 8 case dismissed for lack of standing; Same-sex marriage now legal in California

DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.

From the opinion:

The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.

Rhode Island makes it 10

On thursday, Rhode Island became the 10th State to recognize the legality of same-sex marriage. Good news, right?

Well, not so fast.

Rhode Island’s Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Tobin immediately penned a “pastoral letter” to all Catholics in the state in response to the legalization of same-sex marriage. And what a touching, warm-hearted letter it is. In part, it reads as follows:

As I have emphasized consistently in the past, the Catholic Church has respect, love and pastoral concern for our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attraction. I sincerely pray for God’s blessings upon them, that they will enjoy much health, happiness and peace. We also offer our prayerful support to families, especially parents, who often struggle with this issue when it occurs in their own homes.

Our respect and pastoral care, however, does not mean that we are free to endorse or ignore immoral or destructive behavior, whenever or however it occurs. Indeed, as St. Paul urges us, we are required to “speak the truth in love.” (Eph 4:15)

At this moment of cultural change, it is important to affirm the teaching of the Church, based on God’s word, that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) and always sinful. And because “same-sex marriages” are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful, Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.

So let me get this straight (to coin a phrase), the Catholic Church has “respect, love and pastoral concern” for gay people. But gay people are “intrinsically disordered” and acting on their feelings is “always sinful.” Further, all good Catholics should refuse to recognize members of their own family and friends who choose to participate in or endorse same-sex unions. This is hate, pure and simple. It is also an attempt at intrusion by a religion on the secular, civil recognition of marriage. In this country, no religion can impose its views on the state.