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Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Supreme Court heard arguments about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage for the first time in U.S. history Thursday. But much of the oral argument in Hollingsworth v. Perry was occupied with the question of whether the petitioners had the “standing” to argue in favor of California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that banned gay marriage.

You can listen to the arguments here or read the transcript here.

Charles Cooper — the attorney arguing in favor of the proposition that added a provision to the state’s Constitution stating “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” — was in the middle of the first sentence of his argument when Chief Justice John Roberts interrupted him to ask about the “jurisdictional and merits issues here.”

The 2010 “Republican Lawyer of the Year,” according to the Republican National Lawyers Association, Cooper argued the case on behalf of, the group that put the proposition on the ballot. But several of the Justices — including Anthony Kennedy, who is expected to be the key vote in this case — questioned if the group, or any group, suffered because California officials failed to enforce the initiative, which is required in order to give a petitioner “standing” in federal court.

California’s Supreme Court upheld an initial challenge to Prop 8 but decided that any same-sex couples married during the brief period of legal same-sex marriages in the state were still lawfully wed. U.S. District Court Judge Walker Vaughn then overturned the proposition in 2010. A federal court affirmed Walker’s decision — along with dismissing a challenge that he must recuse himself because he is gay — in 2012. The Supreme Court agreed to review the ruling in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry — however, the question of who had the “standing” to argue in favor of the proposition remains controversial.

The focus on jurisdiction, along with a comment from Kennedy suggesting that a sweeping ruling would lead the Court into “uncharted waters,” has led many observers to believe that a narrow ruling that allows the federal court’s decision to stand without any broader implications may be imminent.

A total of 40 states currently do not allow same-sex marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act denies the same-sex couples who can marry the federal rights of marriage. The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to that law Wednesday.

Ted Olson — George W. Bush’s former Solicitor General, who is now representing the two same-sex couples challenging Proposition 8 — argued over and over that the Court had previously found a constitutional “right” to marry.

After the hearing, Olson said that he had “no idea” how the Court would rule.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • The fact that marriage equality is still being discussed in the USA is embarrassing. Hopefully the Supreme Court will correct an injustice that sets us apart from the rest of the civilized world. Surprisingly, the most adamant opponents to tolerance, compassion, respect, and love are the pseudo Christians whose interpretation of Christianity is limited to hatred, violence and greed.

    • GusanoAmarillo

      I doubt that I will read a better comment on an online story today than yours Dominick. You will probably get your share of downvotes, but interestingly enough your observations were confirmed today after I happened to read posts on Instagram from some young “Christians” mocking gays getting bullied (“just act less gay”). Thank you for calling out those who identify as “Christians” who see no contradiction or irony in their intolerance, cruelty, disrespect and hate.

    • angelsinca

      Not sure how you can define the Asia continent as not part of the civilized world. Currently, no Asian or Russian country performs or recognizes same sex marriage.

      And, it isn’t the psuedo chriistians you should be worried about. The harsh punishment for homosexuality within Islam is not likely to wane anytime soon. Along with the growing acceptance of muslim culture in the west, there’s a huge accompanying paradox to consider. This brewing clash over the issue between Islam and the West is explosively imminent.

      • charleo1

        Aw come on! At least get on one side or the other of the issue.
        Or, just read. You don’t have to post.

        • angelsinca

          Based on Dominick’s other comments, it seems he would openly accept the corrections I offered. With France’s muslim population driving yesterday’s same sex marriage riots there, it seemed reasonable to introduce that relevant consideration. It’s embarrassing that you want to censor comments charles.

          • charleo1

            OK. Here’s the deal on France, the rioters, and why it has
            absolutely nothing to do with us. First, we are not, “making
            same sex marriage, the law of the land.” We are hopefully
            upholding, and reaffirming one of the foundational pillars
            of our democracy. In this instance, equal treatment under
            the law. Secondly, the opposition to a marriage equality
            bill being considered in the French Legislature, is not led
            by Muslims at all. But by a militant faction of Right Wing,
            Christian Zealots. Clearly shown, giving the old Nazi salute,
            as they demand that everyone tow the line, to their version
            of, “family values.” So, why is it again, Americans should
            be listening to fascists in France? So, we don’t ring, I think

            you meant to say, “The death knell, to the all creeds, welcome,
            credo.” If the, “creed,” is fascism you’re talking about, then,
            no. I don’t think we should deny the Rights of a group of our
            citizens, to make the fascist feel welcome.

          • angelsinca

            I understand all that. Thanks for the french civics update. Getting back to my original point, you don’t see the welcoming of islam into the american culture as a threat to gay marriage?

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Actually, I consider Islam as a threat to democracy, not just gay marriage.

            But, I also consider Christianity in the same fashion – any religion in fact that becomes, or may become too powerful in our society.

          • angelsinca

            Can appreciate your position. Though a society without religious foundation is one with no moral bearing. It’s like trying to find North with your eyes closed and no gps.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Did you ever consider religion to be one of our biggest problems?

            It is you know.

          • angelsinca

            Of course religion is one your biggest problems. You don’t accept it. Religious people don’t have anything to lose by not being accepted by you; they are already accepted by God. If you don’t want religion to be your biggest problem, just stop trying to challenge their beliefs in God. No matter how silly you think they are for believing in ‘fairy tales’, their collective belief is much larger than you will ever be. Be humble and respect that they have religious beliefs and they will no longer have a need to defend those beliefs against your disrepectful agressions.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I do not fear religion for my own person. And, I don’t care if anyone looses any sleep because I don’t believe in any religion.

            But, I bet a lot of people loose sleep because I refuse to believe in a religion. I’ve been told that too.

            I don’t think people are silly because they believe. I pity them because they’ve let themselves become brainwashed and manipulated.

            I have always preferred to strike my own path. I follow no one. I bow down to no one. I will not humble myself to anyone. We are all equal. No one is “better” than anyone else. And, as long as I behave and don’t violate any of our man-made laws, I have absolutely nothing to fear.

            The day may come when I fear those who would choose to try and by force, or by law or trickery, force me to believe in a religion. That’s the day I will take up arms against those people. I will take out as many of them as I possibly can. If that is the type of legacy they want me to leave, I am more than welcome to give them what they want. I will more than happily help them cross over to the other side.

            I’ve been prepared to cross over for a long time. In all honesty, are they? All indications point to that they aren’t.

            Remember, be careful, beware what you wish for, you just might get it. And, you probably won’t like it when you do.

          • angelsinca

            Thanks for the reply, Michael. Can’t imagine anyone would or could be tricked into a religion. It doesn’t work that way. The congregations I’ve seen usually host a welcoming invite to anyone that wants to participate. I don’t believe the human condition is compatible with a forced belief in a religion. There have been milions executed for their beliefs. Can’t say if the opposite is true. Interesting that you mention religion and crossing over. I’ve always seen faith as a method of guidance for the living, and not so much as a passport into the hereafter.

          • angelsinca

            No, I didn’t mean to say as you paraphase. I meant what I said. I don’t have an issue with religion or the people that practice any faith. It’s one of the few basic constutionally assured human rights you ironically seem to ignore, and unfortunatley are willing to abandon, in pursuit of the freedom to reaffirm “one of the foundational pillars
            of our democracy”. I assume you meant to say gay marriage? The subject doesn’t matter much. It’s the willingness to dimiss one the cleaarly defined rights others while pursuing your own sense of rights for yourself that may end up being the ‘harmful effects’ of gay marriage that Justice Scalia was trolling for.

            Also, you seemed a bit upset I didn’t state a position (on gay marriage). There is still way too much emotion to pick a side. For many years, I’ve been profiled as anti-gay because I have a traditional marriage with kids. I’ve endured the subsequent ridicule by hostile gay activists, without me ever having stated a position. If that kind of irrationality exists there, I can easily imagine the ridicule if I declared which side of the gay marriage fence I stand. So I won’t, not here, not among volatile strangers.

      • idamag

        Do we follow the Mideastern values or do we follow our own? How will making same sex marriage legal be the death nail to all creeds? In some countries Islam is an example of why we should keep church and state separate. Religion is emotion and state should be pragmatic. If homosexuality is against your religion, don’t be one and if you find a relative is homosexual perhaps you should kill him or her.

        • angelsinca

          You may want to aim the false assiumptions at a better target because they certainly don’y apply here. It’s not like the gay marriage issue is without emotion.

        • angelsinca

          In your world, I wrongly assumed that America was a place that tolerated the freedom to practice religion. Apparently religion is seen as a viable threat to certain lifestyles and the reaction is to attack religion. Is it right to take away the freedom of one group to promote the freedom of another? Amend the constitution to include the freedom of sexual preference if you have to, but leave religion alone. It’s a freedom that billions have cherished for millenia. Religion will survive the trending of the gay lifestyle. And, the gay lifestyle might even survive if it stops attacking religion.

          The comment about killing a homosexual in the family is just plain stupid. But, it is understandable because of the highly charged emotional condition of the lifestyle’s predicament. Good luck. I’ll say a prayer.

    • Canistercook

      The real issue here is not ‘marriage’ but rather what perks it provides to individuals who choose to enter into the contract.

  • whodatbob

    Married in the Church to a lovely beautiful Lady 45 yrs. ago and we are still married & in love. She is as lovely and beautiful as the day she walked into my life. Believe in the santity of marrage. But without using religious reasons to prevent same sex marriage there are none. As for those of us of a religoius persuasion, I believe God loves us all no matter what our sexual orentation and would bless same sex couples as He has blessed my wife and I. Bigitry is on His objectional list.

    • I Agree And I Too Believe GOD Love Us All And I Also Believe That People Have A Real Problem Sticking Their Noses In Other People Lives!! If Same Sex People Wants To Get Married Let Them!! We All Should Have Equal Rights Period!!!

  • Lovefacts

    Religions have the right to say whom they will marry in their churches or synagogue, but religious leaders don’t have the right to say who can get married in a civil ceremony.
    While I was married in a wonderful religious ceremony, I’ve never mistaken it but anything other than the trappings, because the actual “I do” is nothing more than contract law. It’s because it is a contract that it must be dissolved in a court of law, which divides all property among other things. It is also why pre-nups are legal, which are nothing more than a contract settling how their contract of marriage will function.

    • angelsinca

      Absolutely the church has the ‘right’ to not perform a ceremony. The state-issued license is the contract, not the sacrarment of matrimony. The ‘I do’ is a promise to God, not the state.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        Hate to break it to you but saying I Do, is now a state function. Without saying I Do even in front of a Judge, you won’t get married and the marriage rite is not completed..

        You are right though, a Church has the right to not perform ANY marriage, not only gay. Coming to think about this, a few churches “down south” are refusing to wed a mixed couple. So, what does this say about any other form of marriage? Not very much!

        Personally, I wouldn’t give a Church the privilege of getting married in one, IF it they wanted me to.

        • angelsinca

          quote: “…saying I Do, is now a state function.

          Right. It is still a promise or vow to God, and only a perfunctory utterance for the state.

  • Michael Kollmorgen

    There is NO justification for denying anyone to become wedded of legal age, regardless what it is called; marriage, civil union, domestic partnerships, etc.

    Marriage as we know it today isn’t a religious function. It is a STATE FUNCTION. As I’ve stated many times on these threads, IF you don’t obtain a Marriage Licence before the ceremony, you legally can not be married, even in a church.

    IF Marriage was only a religious function, you couldn’t get married in front of a Judge. The only exception I know of that will legally marry you without a Licence might be a Caption of a Ship. Even then, I think to do that, you have to be in International Waters.

    The Local, State and Federal Government will not honor a marriage, which means all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that goes along with that marriage, if you do not have a Marriage Licence on file at the local courthouse.

    If you don’t have a Marriage Licence and a church does perform the rite (which is illegal), IF you have children, in the eyes of the law, I think they are Illegitimate.

    • whodatbob

      Marriage Licenses are issued by the State not the Federal Government. As so are we not dealing with an issue each State should handle not the Federal Gavernment?
      Again we want the Feds to step in to make the states do what we want done, but get upset when others want the Feds to make the states not do what we want done.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        Actually, this become very confusing. Even I can’t explain it correctly in here.

        The feds don’t honor any state marriage licence where gay couples are concerned, yet, as far as I know. This is because the Feds disallow same sex marriage in as far as coverage such as SS, Pensions, etc. that would otherwise be granted to straight marriages. This I believe is because of Doma.

        Some states allow gay marriage which then, all the states rights are honored within the border of said state. But, the Federal Rights are still barred from being granted because of Doma.

        Here is the point I am trying to make. Without a State Marriage Licence, straight or gay, neither state or fed is required to honor the marriage.

        Each particular group of people with their own interests always wants the feds to step in and, more or less, guarantee their rights. This is an overall blanket statement for everyone. Any decision by the court would apply to all 50 states. IF Doma is struck down, it would apply to all federal law pertaining to gay marriage involving all 50 state laws, on a federal level.

        The reason why striking down Prop 8 is so important is because all of these other states use the Prop 8 case as Pressident-setting case law. If Prop 8 is struck down as unconstitutional, all these other states can’t use the same “fashion” law to discriminate. These other states that disallow gay marriage would have to come up with some other new law to discriminate.

        I hope I got this right.

        But, all this might not mean anything at all. From all indications, so far, the Court is giving hints they just might throw these two cases out and wait for another few years – basically waffling on any major decisions.

        What I think they’re probably doing is waiting until more states approve of gay marriage. I’d be surprised if they do make any major decisions in our favor.

        I know, this is very difficult to understand and explain because we are dealing with two separate bodies of case law, state and federal levels. But remember, Federal Law trumps all state laws.

        • whodatbob

          Thanks for your thoughful and in insightful reply. Confusing?! I am incapable of understanding 1. why same sex marriage is not legal in all states, 2. why the Federal Government does not reconize same sex marriages officiated in States where it is legal, & 3. why Prop 8 is in front of the Supreme Court?
          Your point as to why the Feds should step in is good. The Feds did so on interracial marriages, same principle.
          As usual bigots are making this a bigger deal then it needs to be. They want to tell all of us how to live.

          • idamag

            When it comes to the rights of all people, states cannot be trusted. The Federal Government had to step in to stop southern states lynchings, cross burnings and jim crow laws.

          • whodatbob

            I am aware of that. Just can not believe there are so many assholes unable to do the rght thing without the government forcing them to do so.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            The basic problem, besides the gay issue, is that these states can’t and/or won’t enforce their own laws. In another words, these states by themselves, can not be trusted.

            What is legal in one state could be totally illegal in another. Even within a state, it sometimes is a patchwork quilt of local laws. I have a horror story about such a situation between Ohio and West Virginia.

            This is why the Feds have historically stepped in and passed blanket decisions which affect all states as a whole.

          • whodatbob

            You trust the Feds?

          • idamag

            If the Federal Government hadn’t sent troops into the Bible belt, they would still be lynching people and getting by with it.

          • whodatbob

            Yes, and they killed Students protesting the war in Nam. I had riot control tranning in the sixties. The feds areno more trustworthy then the States. And our government is as good as it gets.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            IF you are referring to Kent State, that was the Ohio National Guard, not federal troops.

            Well, I’d sure put more trust in the Feds any day over the state.

          • whodatbob

            I know that and so were the troops sent into the Bible belt. The Constitution prevents the use of Soldiers against Americans. But the Feds work around the Constitution all the Time.

            The States are as trust worthy as the Feds. That ain’t sayin much.

          • idamag

            It wasn’t the Federal troops that killed students, it was state troops such as the State National Guard did in Ohio. That is a strong argument for taking emotional hysteria out of government.

          • whodatbob

            Refer to my answer to Michael. The troops you refer to were also State Troops. The Constitution prevents the use of Federal troops against Americans, but the Feds ignore the Constitution whenever it gets in the way. If it was as you say it is another exampleof the Federal Government trampling on the Constitution.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            You are right, the Constitution prevents the use of Federal Troops against America.

            In any of these cases, it WASN’T the federal Government overstepping its authority, or was being used. It was the State Governor calling up the State National Guard to stop the violence.

            The State National Guard is in no way connected with the Federal Government.

            The ONLY situation where Federal Troops was involved was when Wallace tried to block entrance of a black female into one of the colleges years ago. Even then, I’m not sure federal troops were sent in. It might have been Federal Marshals.

          • whodatbob

            Obviously Governor Wallace was not going to call out the Alamama National Guard to prevent him from keeping Alabama University segreated. Even though it was morally correct to have US Army intergrate ‘Bama it was unconstitutional.
            In the late sixties as a member of my State National Guard I received extensive riot control training. If called up for riot control we would be issued rifles with fixed baonets but no ammo. Kent State was a bunch of cowboys disobaying orders. Called out twice luckily false alarms no riots.

        • whodatbob

          You might want to reread my item posted before my reply to your frist post.

  • There is not one redeeming feature in our superstition of Christianity. It has
    made one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.” ~Thomas Jefferson
    I am a Christian, but according to Thomas Jefferson I am a hypocrite.
    Because what I believe as Christian, is not the same as in politics.
    The fools believe that politics and religion are one.There are no cure for fools, but if you
    are mentally impaired, you can go to a Mental hospital.

    • idamag

      There definitely should be a separation of church and state. Religion is emotional and civil law is suppose to be pragmatic.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        You are right, there SHOULD be a total separation between Church and State.

        But, in reality, there never was. Our Founding Fathers back peddled on this issue and only gave lip service to it. Also, they never gave it a thought it would become as complicated as it has become, similar to the 2nd Amendment.

        We, by rights, need a new Constitutional Amendment spelling out in great detail exactly what is meant by this total separation. We can’t keep battling this out in our court systems. It’s bogging down the entire judicial process.

        • whodatbob

          Our Constitution has worked for over 200 years because it is a generalized outline, open to interpertation, not a detailed instruction manual spelling out in detail exactly how things are to be done. It is specfic in limiting Fresral Government power.
          Our Founding Fathers gave us a Government of the people, by the people and for the people. That is a botton up government. We elect repersenatives to do our job. Our Founding Fathers did not give us an impeical form of Government that has specfic rules how to run our life.
          Michel, you are asking for an imperical instructions with your proposed amendment. Those only weaken the Constitution.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I really don’t have the space to talk about how our “wonderful” Constitution “hasn’t” worked for the common man since our country was first founded.

            I’ll just phrase it this way: it never has and never will. And, if anyone thinks it does, it’s pure brainwashed illusion. The ONLY people who would be considered FREE are the ones who can afford it. Our LIBERTIES are in the same boat, ONLY if you can afford it. Pursuit of Happiness?, please……………. Once again, ONLY if you can afford it.

            We the People?, this actually means – We The Corporations. When the Supreme Court gave Corporations virtually the same rights as human, this should show anyone what our Constitution really stands for.

            Open your eyes and take a serious look around you. Take a look at how money and power is involved with every single thing you do, even using your own bathroom, to using a barbecue in your back yard – Ad Infinitum.

            Don’t believe me?, divest yourself of all your savings, all your assets and try doing the things you do now without it. Your own family and friends will desert you sooner than you think and your government will throw you in jail as a vagrant.

            Even Jesus couldn’t survive in this country. The Powers To Be would have him committed as insane, or even Crucify him once again.

  • charleo1

    I’ll say right up front, I don’t see this issue as a States Rights issue. It is a
    pursue your happiness issue. Something that was such a radical concept,
    in it’s day. The people that went on to describe other Rights the government
    ought to keep it’s hands off of. felt obliged to leave it in the heads up notice, the
    colonists sent to the King of England. Just so he would know what our suing

    him for our independence was all about. I have no doubt, if there had been a
    Federal Government in the 1600s, the Puritans in the State of Massachusetts,
    would have claimed tying a woman’s hands, and feet, and throwing her in the
    river to see if she was a witch, was definitely a matter best left up to the States.
    The woman in question, would not have agreed. Sometimes I think perhaps being
    trained in the law, is not the best background for being a Supreme Court Justice.
    Some of them seem to be way over thinking this issue. It was determined once
    upon a time in this Country, that separate, but equal, was not equal. That White
    only drinking fountains, and putting Mildred, and Richard Loving in prison,
    because they loved each other, and wanted to spend their lives together pursuing
    their happiness, was wrong, if we’re a Country that respects freedom above all
    else. That anti miscegenation laws were wrong. Even if the State of Virginia didn’t
    think so. This is not rocket science. It’s not even complicated, for Heaven’s sake!

    • Michael Kollmorgen

      If anyone thinks we are as Free as we believe, they are crazy. There is no other country on the face of the earth that has so many laws on the books pertaining to “freedom and Liberty” – usually quashing it.

      This not only concerns gay marriage, but the entire scope of human activity. Let’s see, we have; local city law, county law, state law and federal law. And, each with it’s own enforcement wing such as local cops, county sherrifs, state troopers and fed police. We are not only lawing ourselves to death, but also policing ourselves to death as well.

    • I love your analysis. Separate but equal is not equal. I was deeply moved in reading the words of Justice Kennard in the 2008 Supreme Court ruling in the In re Marriage Cases (2008) 43 Cal. 4th 757. “… [T]his court discharges its gravest and most important responsibility under our constitutional form of government. There is a reason why the words, ‘Equal Justice Under Law,” are inscribed above the entrance to the courthouse of the United States Supreme Court. Both the federal and the state Constitutions guarantee to all the ‘equal protection of the laws,’ (citations removed,) and it is the particular responsibility of the judiciary to enforce those guarantees. The architects of our federal and state Constitutions understood that widespread and deeply rooted prejudices may lead majoritarian institutions to deny fundamental freedoms to unpopular minority groups, and that the most effective remedy for this form of oppression is an independent judiciary charged with the solemn responsibility to interpret and enforce the constitutional provisions guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and equal protection.”

      I remember that many people were promoting the opinion that the Supreme Court was circumventing the will of the people. However, historically it has been the Supreme Court, not the states, nor the citizens as a whole which has promoted and extended equal protections. Unfortunately, this is often done only under the proper political climates. Therefore, what I believe can and must be done is the continuous promotion of tolerance, and petitioning the court to promote rights and protections.

      • charleo1

        Well said. I assume you meant Justice Kennedy. (Kennard)
        And since he is often the tie breaker, I was encouraged by
        his statements. I do not understand as to why marriage is,
        not a Federal issue. Or why, since so much property and
        tax law are written to apply to only legally recognized unions.
        Then treat, what should be a protected Civil Right, like it’s a
        privilege, that may or not be granted. depending on the State
        one happens to be in. It seems to me, that a person’s Rights
        should be portable. Say for example, a couple are legally
        married in one State where it’s allowed. But they need to
        move for business purposes. Now, they are in FL. where the
        law looks upon them as strangers. It’s what happens when
        people’s Rights are not inalienable, but put up for the popular
        vote. It seems to me, this should never happen.