Tag Archives: gay marriage

John Roberts Falls Victim to the Slippery Slope

When public officials want to gift themselves new powers, they usually justify their expansive actions with their favorite platitude, “for the greater good.”

Conservatives, in their turn, respond with the proverbial warning of the slippery slope.

The problem, of course, is the dynamism of American politics means the powers one party invests themselves with are then available for the next majority, which seizes the precedent and continues to expand federal jurisdiction. In this way, central power burgeons exponentially.

Perhaps the best modern example of this phenomenon is the Patriot Act, passed in the wake of 9/11 to protect the nation’s security. The always grasping hands of federal power destroyed the restraints placed on the security state by the original legislation and created bulk data collection, disturbing not only in its total disregard for civil liberties, but also in its parallelism to George Orwell’s omniscient Big Brother.

This sort of slow creep usually happens primarily through regulation. But in a stunning display of hypocrisy demonstrated by subsequent opinions issued last week, Chief Justice John Roberts demonstrated that this can happen in any part of the government.

Roberts, in writing the majority opinion in King v. Burwell, hypothesized on the intent of the legislature and President Obama in passing the Affordable Care Act and then allowed his decision to be influenced by this outcome:

“A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”

He gave the Court transcendent powers of interpretation. This was not a case of statutory or Constitutional interpretation; it was a case of assessing the intent of politicians and yielding to them.

Then, in his minority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, Roberts denounced the powers which had been integral to his rationale of only a day before:

“But this Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be.”

Like other legislators who grant themselves powers and then later have them used against them by their political opponents, Roberts is a victim of his own hubris. There is some small sense of justice that the consequences of his unconstitutional actions came back to haunt him so quickly. Unfortunately, it does nothing for the irreparable damage done to the original intent of the Constitution.

WTH Weekly -06-28-15 – the week in review

Continuing the WTH (“what the heck” happened) series, this week we look at Obama’s Iran capitulation, a rocket explodes,Greece implodes, single payer closer than thought, gay marriage and concealed carry, Obamacare subsidies, flags of our forefathers, Jindal enters the race and more!

Shockingly, Obama isn’t serious about the Iran nuclear talks. Today, reports surfaced that Obama has given into Iran’s demands and that the deal can progress even if the Iranians never submit to inspections. Trust, but verify is now trust, and hope. But, we’ve been there already.

Unless you’re in the Foreign Exchange (forex or FX) investing community, you may not be paying attention to the collapse of Greek society. Capital controls, bank runs, money flight, you name it. Greece is in trouble. But have you evaluated America’s similar situation?

SpaceX Flacon 9 explodesNext up, Elon Musk’s SpaceX project has suffered its first cargo loss after several failures in recent months. The video shows a perfect flight, until about the 2:30 mark. It goes so terribly wrong so very fast.

Many predicted that Obamacare was not intended to save anyone money on healthcare, but instead be a bridge to a single-payer system. Well, voila, recent merger propositions and changes in the marketplace are making it happen – whether you’ve noticed or not.

ACLU-logoHow in the heck are gay marriage and concealed carry linked? Thank the Supreme Court! The decision on Obergefell v. Hodges said that same-sex couples have a constitutionally protected right to marry and that all states must recognize that right. Some in the pro-gun community are saying that the reasoning used to protect gays should extend to those that bear arms in a concealed manner. In other news, now that gay marriage is law of the land, the ACLU has decided that it no longer supports religious freedom. #eyeroll

The Supreme Court had more great news – Obamacare’s subsidies are legal even if someone gets insurance from the federal exchange. Somehow the justices got confused by the “natural wording” of the law. Now, we all get to pay for something the law was not intended to fund. Greece anyone?

Flags of our FathersIn the wake of the South Carolina shooting by captured psycho Dylann Roof, liberal groups have decided that the Battle Flag of the Northern Virginia Army is to blame. Charlie Daniels makes an intelligent and reasoned argument why they are doing nothing more than making a straw man argument against a piece of cloth. Some are even pointing at the Duke’s of Hazard’s “General Lee” as a new symbol of hate. yeah, a 1969 Dodge Charger with a Virginian Battle Flag painted on it signifies Jim Crow laws and segregation … or something.

Finally, Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal has entered the race for the GOP nomination for president. A pointedly Christian announcement speech made it clear that he’s ready for prime-time, but is he ready for mainstream?

The US Supreme Court Has Gone Rogue

Many on the Right side of the aisle are outraged. Gay marriage – a social issue at its core – has been validated by the US Supreme Court. The outrage is palpable. And while there is legitimacy to this outrage – especially with regard to the Court’s transgression of the 10th Amendment – the decision on gay marriage is a “bright shiny thing” that serves to quickly file us past an earlier decision that directly threatens the constitutional structure of our government: The Court’s ruling on King v. Burwell; the Obamacare subsidies.

No matter how you feel about the issue of gay marriage, the Court’s ruling on this social issue is an attack on the 10th Amendment, the rights of States to have authority over all things not enumerated in the US Constitution. But comparatively, the Court’s decision on Obergefell v. Hodges is a “mosquito bite” to yesterday’s “beheading” of our balance of powers at the federal level. We are being led away from what is tantamount to a “genocidal slaughter” of the Separation of Powers to gawk at a “highway accident.” With yesterday’s decision we are all – Liberal and Conservative, Republican, Democrat and Libertarian – losing our government to a transformative end stage; a commingling of constitutional branches and a centralized governmental authority in the federal government; something uniquely anathema to our basic governmental structure.

The Court’s King v. Burwell decision is so much more than its Obergefell v. Hodges decision because the former strikes at the root of how our government is supposed to work. By moving on from this constitutional crisis (and this is a true constitutional crisis) to outrage over a social issue when there are still remedies to be affected for said social issue, we are acquiescing to the Court’s decision on King v. Burwell – and the mortal damage it would establish to our system of government. No, with the Court’s King v. Burwell decision we should be fundamentally and exclusively outraged to the point of immediate action, arguing our points effectively and making a singular and cohesive stand for the Constitution.

There are those who argue that the Court’s attack on the 10th Amendment in Obergefell v. Hodges is equally as important as the Court’s direct assault on the Separation of Powers. I vehemently disagree and for good reason. The immediate danger to the Constitution and the survival of our nation – as we face forces that are achieving the fundamental transformation of our governmental structure – is the failure of the government structure itself, not the prior or resulting social issue movements. To make this argument is akin to believing that the crew of the Titanic should have started examining how to better construct a ship’s hull as the vessel was sinking instead of doing everything that they could to keep the ship afloat.

A simple solution to Obergefell v. Hodges is to remove government from the authoritative realm of marriage all together. One way to achieve this is through the utilization of contracts for legal affairs between cohabitants, leaving the sanctity of the institution of marriage to the Churches where it belongs. Regarding the issue of taxation, where marriage is concerned, radically transforming our tax system from one based on income to one based on consumption makes the issue of “marriage” and personal taxation moot.

That social issue solution understood, we can see why King v. Burwell is so much more important. We live in a time when judicial precedent trumps constitutionality, and we are, in real time, witnessing an explosion of the very structure of our government. Precedent is being set – right before our eyes – that would allow the Judicial Branch to directly rewrite legislation via the issuing of judicial edicts from this point forward.

While both these decisions are important, one cements the destruction of our governmental model, while the other is a social issue battle that the Progressives will use to keep the citizenry away from being cohesive on the latter. Should we fail to see this true constitutional crisis then we will witness, in the immediate, the end of our constitutional form of government.

One battle is so much more important than the other. If we cannot see that then we are not worthy of the freedom we pretend to enjoy. Truthfully, I am stunned this has to be explained.

With Gay Marriage In, ACLU Drops Backing of Religious Freedom Law

ACLU-logoWhile the ink is still wet on Justice Kennedy’s controversial decision to legalize gay marriage, the ACLU has dropped its support of the Federal ‘Religious Freedom’ law.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was passed to prevent citizens from having to choose between their religious beliefs and negative recourse. President Clinton signed RFRA into law in 1993 saying that “governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification.”

The case that brought about RFRA was Employment Division v. Smith in 1990. In that case, two American Indians had been fired from their jobs for consuming peyote which is used in their tribal ceremonies.

The case made it to the Supreme Court which ruled that the firing was to be upheld because they could not use a religious exemption to circumvent federal law.

With RFRA in place, several groups have been afforded accommodation that would otherwise have ended their employment. For those cases, the ACLU was not only greatly in support of the law, but actually helped to use it.

Turn the page to today when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry. What made the ACLU suddenly change their mind?

Louis Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU wrote an op-ed posted in the Washington Post today telling us exactly why the ACLU changed their minds on RFRA:

The RFRA wasn’t meant to force employees to pay a price for their employer’s faith, or to allow businesses to refuse to serve gay and transgender people

The timing is impeccable. There will certainly be a wave of gay couples demanding that Christian bakers and photographers, pastors and priests bend to their will and submit to serving their wedding – or they’ll send in the lawyers.

While the ACLU takes the side of the gay and transgender public, they afford no weight to the rights of the business owners – who also happen to be American citizens with rights.

Forcing an employer to pay for something that is clearly against his religious ideals is  perhaps a bigger affront as the employee could simply choose not to work at a business that operates upon the basis of faith. The employer could be threatened with legal action if he chose not to pay for things he was against.

The same argument applies to those that would be forced to service gay weddings. If the person, through the faith, finds an activity offensive, they should have the right to avoid participation. The ACLU apparently disagrees.

Justices Give Gays Right to Marry – More Cases to Come

supreme-court-gay-marriage_mtIn a narrow 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) ruled that same sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states.

The ruling not only extends the right to marry to same-sex couples, but also requires all states to recognize gay marriages and civil unions carried out in other states.

Justice Kennedy sided with the liberal side of the court and wrote the decision. Chief Justice Roberts authored the dissenting opinion. The full text of their opinions on same-sex marriage can be found HERE.

President Obama offered his comments in a Rose Garden speech this morning where he said that “the laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.” [See the full speech here]

The case being decided, Obergefell v. Hodges, asked the court to answer two questions – are states required to license a marriage to same-sex couples and do states then have to recognize same-sex marriage licenses from other states. The court answered yes to both heavily citing the 14th amendment.

While the court decision forces state governments to license gay marriages, where those ceremonies take place could become another court case.

The Coalition of African-American Pastors and other Christian church leaders held a press conference yesterday where they expressed how the court’s decision contradicts tenets of their faith and moral law.

At a press conference in Memphis, Tennessee, held in the Church of God in Christ’s historic Mason Temple, Rev. Bill Owens, president and founder of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), said, “If they rule for same-sex marriage, then we’re going to do the same thing we did for the civil rights movement. We will not obey an unjust law.”

“The politicians and the courts have tried to take God out of this country,” he continued. “This country was founded on Godly principles. We will not stand back and be silenced.”

cakeRecently, small business owners in the wedding industry have been cyber-bullied, boycotted and in some cases taken to court over their choosing to opt-out of servicing gay weddings. Photographers and cake makers have listed religious conflicts and moral differences for choosing not to take on the same-sex clients. One such photographer had a case make it to the Supreme Court only to have the court refuse to rule on it.

So the question remains – will pastors, priests, photographers, bakers and others that typically facilitate and service a wedding be forced to do so against their own belief systems?

More SCOTUS cases are likely on exactly this issue.

Neal Boortz is right: “social conservatives” will cost the GOP more elections

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In a recent talk radio show, while filling in for Sean Hannity, conservative-libertarian Neal Boortz (the co-author of the FairTax) warned that Republicans will not recapture the Senate this year, because, says Boortz, they have an insatiable “urge to get into social conservatism”.

Boortz believes Republicans will once again prioritize social issues above all others, advocate radical no-compromise policies on those issues, and once again make stupid statements on these issues. He points to Georgia GOP Senate candidate Paul Broun as an example. (Broun’s most famous statement, other than his defense of Todd Akin, is his claim that evolution, embryonics, and Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell.”)

Shortly after Boortz made that statement, an avalanche of insults, attacks, and false claims was launched against Boortz from every “conservative” corner of the Net. His critics, and they are legion, claim Boortz is an “establishment liberal Republican” and a “blowhard” just trying to attract attention. They furthermore deny that social issues and radical socially conservative politicians like Akin and Broun have hurt the GOP in the past.

But no amount of denial and false claims can change the fact that Boortz is absolutely right: radical policies on social issues, and politicians espousing such policies, have cost the GOP heavily in the past, and will cost it even more elections in the future.

Why? After all, didn’t social issues mobilize millions of voters in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s to the GOP’s standard? Weren’t American voters overwhelmingly socially conservative in those times?

Yes – but those were totally different times, decades ago. To advocate returning to policies of long bygone eras enacted (or advocated) in a totally different society is to lead the Party to disastrous defeats.

Today, Americans are a completely different society than they were 20-30 years ago. The GOP’s problem is that it hasn’t changed with them.

17  ago, a vast majority of Americans opposed gay marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act was passed with over 80 votes in the Senate and signed by President Clinton. Today, though, according to reliable pollsters like Gallup, a large majority of Americans approves of legalizing gay marriage and of DADT repeal. Banning gay marriage and gays from the military is a decidedly losing proposition supported only by a small minority.  Over time,  this small minority will shrink even further as older, more socially conservative voters die and are replaced by younger, socially libertarian voters.

As for contraception, support for its legality is – and has long been – so broad that most pollsters don’t even bother to ask the question.

On abortion, Americans are roughly equally divided, with the pendulum slightly swinging one way or the other from time to time. However, only a small majority supports banning abortion in all or most cases (per Gallup). So radical social conservatives’ position is again that of a tiny minority and a sure election loser.

The fact is that social issues are electoral losers for Republicans. The American people don’t want politicians to legislate morality anymore than they want them to legislate prosperity (neither of which can be really legislated, BTW – but that hasn’t stopped politicians from trying :) ).

The truth, therefore, is that – as Boortz says – Republicans will continue to lose elections by landslides if they continue to take radical positions on social issues. Or nominate radically socially conservative candidates like Paul Broun.

This truth has proven itself over and over again, even in “red states” like Missouri and Indiana where Republicans should win easily. All it took for GOP Senate candidates to lose there by landslides was a radical position on abortion and one stupid remark about rape. Not only did Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock lose their races, they cost other Republicans (like Scott Brown) their races as well.

This is because the voters Republicans need to win over – siphon from the Democrats, to be precise – are suburbanites, most of whom are fiscally conservative but socially liberal (especially suburban women, and American women in general, who currently support Democrats by a large margin). Saying that abortion should be banned in all cases, that a raped woman should be forced by law to bear the child of her rapist, and that two loving people shouldn’t be allowed to marry based on sexual orientation, is an electoral loser with suburbanites, women, minorities, and youngsters.

Boortz’s critics claim this is just a call to make the GOP more liberal, more leftist, and more in line with the GOP Establishment.

On the contrary, if fiscal and defense, rather than social, issues were the conservative “litmus test”, the vast majority of the GOP’s Establishment and its past candidates (including Daddy Bush, Bob Dole, Dubya Bush, and Juan McCain) would’ve had no business being in the GOP, let alone being GOP presidential nominees. Nor would John Boehner have been Speaker.

It is social conservatives who have enabled these RINOs to hijack the party and the country. All these RINOs had to do to win social conservatives’ votes was to promise to work towards banning abortion and gay marriage, and social conservatives supported them, regardless of their lack of fiscal conservative credentials (to say it mildly). So-cons didn’t care that Daddy Bush denounced Reaganomics as “voodoo economics”, or that Dubya was a failed businessman. All they cared about were these RINOs’ useless promises on social issues. As long as the Bushes, McCain, Dole, and Boehner pledged to fight against abortion and gay marriage, social conservatives were willing to overlook everything else.

On social issues, the Bushes, McCain, and Boehner have solid records.

But if fiscal and defense, rather than social, issues were the conservative “litmus test”, those RINOs would’ve had no business being in the GOP. Ditto Eric Cantor, Rick Santorum, and Tax Hike Mike Huckabee.

Social conservatives protest that “social and fiscal issues are inextricably linked.” No, they are not.

In fact, trying to impose one’s preferred policies on social issues on the rest of the society is every bit as much a Big Government statist policy as trying to impose a health insurance mandate, a new tax, a soda ban, or a lightbulb ban. So-called “social conservatives” are every bit as much Big Government Statists as Michael Bloomberg, Bill de Blasio, and Nancy Pelosi. They only difference is what exactly their pet issues are. For “social conservatives”, it’s abortion, gay marriage, and contraceptives. For Bloomberg, de Blasio, and Pelosi, it’s lightbulbs, SUVs, soda, and fast food.

But these people are all the same: all of them want to take away YOUR right to do what you want with YOUR money, YOUR vehicle, YOUR stomach, YOUR body, and YOUR home.

As any real conservative will tell you, the ONLY legitimate purpose of any government is to protect our rights and our liberty against those who would take them away, whether that’s you, my neighbor, a religious group in my town, or the majority of the society at large. The only legitimate purpose of any government is to protect our rights and freedoms – and to let us live as we wish to, as long as we don’t threaten anyone else’s rights and freedoms.

Whenever a government goes beyond that purpose, it becomes Big Government – and a danger to people’s rights and freedoms, regardless of whether it tries to legislate morality or prosperity. (And Americans don’t want it to legislate either.)

Therein lies the problem with the two major parties: both want to take your freedoms away. The Democrats want to legislate the economy, while Republicans want to legislate morality. The Democrats want to dramatically limit what you can do with your money, while Republicans want to dramatically limit what you can do with your body. For the last four decades, both parties have tried to do that and look just how dramatically the size and scope of the federal government has expanded.

It is NONE of any government’s business to legislate whether you or I can use contraceptives, whom I can marry, and whether or not a raped woman can seek an abortion. It is NONE of any local, state, or government’s business – and NONE of YOUR damned business, social conservatives.

And just think about it: if abortion, gay marriage, and/or contraceptives were banned, that would require yet another government agency (or agencies), costing billions of dollars annually and employing tens of thousands of bureaucrats and agents, to enforce such bans. You think the IRS is bad and oppressive? Or that the NSA is? Just imagine what a National Abortion Police or a National Counter-Contraceptives Agency would do if social conservatives got their wish.

As for funding for abortion, the fiscally conservative answer is simple: end it.

Finally, social conservatives claim there is a “moral decay in America”, and that fiscal issues cannot be solved without tackling these problems.

To some extent this is true when you look at divorce, single motherhood, alcoholism, and drug usage rates. But instead of targeting these very real and very serious problems and formulating positive solutions to them, “social conservatives” have, in the last 4 decades, railed exclusively against abortion, gay marriage, contraceptives, and DADT, and still continue to obsess about them, even though they are all lost issues.

So few Americans support banning gay marriage and contraceptives, or reinstating DADT, that these issues are, politically, irrevocably lost. As for abortion, it is legally lost because no Supreme Court, especially not one led by John G. Roberts, will overturn Roe v. Wade. If “social conservatives”  couldn’t get Roe overturned in the last 4 decades, they never will.

In fact, abortion, gay marriage, contraceptives, and repealing DADT have not done any damage to America’s prosperity or well-being. Contraceptives have, in fact, helped stem the plague of STDs and unwanted pregnancies (they are highly effective at fighting both). Repealing DADT has saved taxpayers millions of dollars lost on discharging qualified, disciplined men who happened to be gay (and has not caused any turmoil in the military, contrary to grave predictions made in 2010).

Similarly, legalizing gay marriage has not done any harm to anyone. It has only increased people’s freedom by letting them marry whatever person they love. (A few decades ago, when bans on interracial marriage were being repealed, Southern “social conservatives” were saying exactly the same thing they clam today: that repealing the bans would threaten “the integrity of the institution of marriage.”)

If “social conservatives” were really concerned about America’s societal ills, like divorce and single motherhood, they’d be tackling them. But they don’t want to challenge the powerful divorce attorney lobby; instead, they prefer irrelevant issues like “gay marriage” and “contraceptives.”

Gay marriage is not a threat to anyone’s marriage, or to the integrity of the institution, in any way. Divorce – particularly no-fault divorce, now legal in all 50 states, is.

(BTW, know who was the first state Governor to sign legislation legalizing no-fault divorce in his state? Ronald Reagan.)

So Neal Boortz is absolutely right, and so.-called “social conservatives” (I prefer to call them social Big Government Nannies) are dead wrong. “Social issues” like abortion and gay marriage are sure election losers; they alienate suburbanites, youngsters, women, and minorities from the GOP; and advocating bans and legislating morality on these issues is every bit as much a Big Government Policy as banning sodas or SUVs is.

The Confederate Corner with George Neat Rantastic version – October 15th

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When: Tuesday, October 15th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Confederate Corner with George Neat on Blog Talk Radio

What: Yes there are Confederates north of the Mason-Dixon line, and George Neat is one of them. And we’re happy to bring his views to you in the “Confederate Corner” radio show.

For more information on George and his political views, please drop by the Confederate Corner at GoldwaterGal.com. (http://goldwatergal.com/goldwater-gal-media/confederate-corner/)

Tonight: So many issues, so little time! If it’s not healthcare, it’s the government shutdown. How about Michelle Obama’s garden? Or maybe it’s Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s statement about gay marriage. Yes, George is on a roll tonight! Only question is, which items will he rant about the most?

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Jabberwonky – July 21st

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When: Sunday, July 21st, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Jabberwonky on Blog Talk Radio

What:

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Whether it’s “down the rabbit hole”, or “through the looking glass”, the world of politics is often referred to in the lexicon given to us by Lewis Carroll. No matter what, those terms are resurrected when referring to something that has gone terribly wrong. And that’s what’s here on Jabberwonky…

Tonight: Liz Harrison brings up some interesting points about the what the left really has been up to when it comes to its agenda on gay marriage. Also, politicizing tragedy, and the real wars on women in the U.S. (yes, that is plural.)

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Understanding The History Of The SCOTUS DOMA Ruling

032713_al_doma_640No doubt. in the days and weeks to come, the talking heads will be edifying us on the complex nature of the DOMA ruling. In California, the voters mandated that “Marriage is between and Man and a Woman” period. Called “Proposition 8″, this vote was taken “to the people” and the “people” spoke. Historically an extremely liberal State ( I am a resident), it came as a surprise—-however, the voters of California had spoken.

Enter the “opposition” who took it to the 9th Court of Appeals, who overturned the ruling/proposition. However,  prior to that ruling,  it was heard at a lower  federal level in California.   An openly gay Judge, Judge Vaughan Walker, was assigned.  Judge Walker’s decision was key to continue that climb to the Supreme Court.  As Gerard V. Bradley, wrote back in August 2010

These high stakes have attracted a lot of attention to the California case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger. But not enough attention – in fact, almost none – has been paid to one very troubling aspect of the case.

This is the question of the judge’s bias due to his possible interest in which side wins the case.

Judge Vaughan Walker has surprised just about everyone with his unorthodox handling of the Prop. 8 trial.

Supporters describe him as iconoclastic and creative. Those less enamored have charged him with turning the proceedings into a sensationalized show-trial.

Both sets of observers could probably agree with the explanation offered by conservative commentator Ed Whelan who has observed that Walker has been determined from the outset “to use the case to advance the cause of same-sex marriage.”

I do not doubt that Judge Walker made up his mind about Prop 8 before the trial began.

But that is not the bias that has received too little attention.

Battalions of commentators have wondered about his bizarre handling of the case, and many have attributed it to Walker’s belief that it is unjust for the law to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Nor is the neglected bias related to the fact that (as several newspapers have reported) the judge is openly gay.

Of course, Walker’s opinions about marriage and sexual preference could be related to his own homosexuality.

But even if they are, it does not follow that he would be incapable of being impartial and of rendering a judgment in accord with the law in the Prop. 8 case – any more than a happily married heterosexual would necessarily be.

In fact, all judges have beliefs and personal habits which intersect from time to time with the matters in dispute before them. We do not require judges to be blank slates without a personal life. Judges are not automatons.

All we ask and what we rightly expect is that judges put aside those things insofar as they might interfere with deciding a case fairly and in accord with the law.

But no one is immune to all conflicts of interest or of belief.

So our law rightly requires that public officials – judges included – stay out of matters in which they have a financial stake. It is not that everyone would be corrupted by the prospect of financial gain. Not at all.

But some people would be corrupted. And everyone can have greater confidence in the outcome of public deliberations when they know that at least one temptation towards corruption has been removed.

The neglected bias in the Prop. 8 trial has instead to do with the fact that – as reported in The Los Angeles Times last month – Judge Walker “attends bar functions with a companion, a physician.”

If (as The Times suggests) Judge Walker is in a stable same-sex relationship, then he might wish or even expect to wed should same-sex marriage become legally available in California.

This raises an important and serious question about his fitness to preside over the case. Yet it is a question that received almost no attention.

When a judge is obliged to withdraw from a case due to a conflicting interest we call it “recusal.

Following the ruling, it was kicked up to the 9th Court of Appeals, one of the most Liberal Court of Appeals known.  The outcome:

The federal appeals court has declared California’s same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional, paving the way for a likely U.S. Supreme Court showdown on the voter-approved law. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled 2-1 Tuesday that Walker, a lower-court judge, interpreted the U.S. Constitution correctly in 2010 when he declared Proposition 8 to be a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

The Attorneys in the case, Boies and Walker always had the Supreme Court in mind.  Which brings us to today.  I think Ed Morrissey at HOTAIR sums it up best

This decision bothers me a lot more than the DOMA case.  The voters in California amended the state constitution by referendum legally, to define a legitimate government policy regarding the recognition of marriage.  The court is making the case that this is a matter for California to settle, not the federal courts, and there is a very good case to make there.  However, the effect of this is to overturn an election whose legality was never in doubt just because some people didn’t like the outcome.  That to me is a more dangerous outcome than a precedent-setting decision on standing.

“Upside” of today?  The court has evaded the question of whether same-sex marriage is constitutionally-protected in all states.  I’m sure that is the “next” move.

For great coverage of the overall unfolding of today’s ruling see http://hotair.com/archives/2013/06/26/open-thread-scotus-watch/

You can read the ruling here http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-307_g2bh.pdf

Prop 8 Ruling Avoided: Supreme Court clears the path for gay marriage in California

Image via LA Times

Image via LA Times

The Supreme Court has ruled that California citizens who want to uphold the gay marriage ban do not have the right to appeal the lower court rulings striking down the ban.

Proposition 8 was passed by the voters of California in 2008, but last year, the federal court of appeals deemed it unconstitutional.

This 5-4 decision is another win for gay marriage in America.

Dissecting the Argument for Traditional Marriage

hmomoy (CC)

hmomoy (CC)

Since the Supreme Court is hearing the cases on gay marriage, of course there are piles of blogs, columns, and media commentaries about the oral arguments that were made in Court. In all honesty, I had no intentions of weighing in on this issue – at all – until a short exchange on Twitter with Charles (@repub9989) and the social media person over at The American Spectator (@AmSpec.) The whole conversation started because I had re-tweeted a link to Quin Hillyer’s piece on the matter – The Insufficiency of the “Procreation” Argument Against Homosexual “Marriage”. It’s a long title for a short piece of work that Hillyer freely admits really does need a much longer treatment. And he does point readers to James Taranto’s long-winded opinion on the matter. Of course that would have been much more useful if it had been a bit more simplistic.

Kudos to Taranto for engaging in an admirable performance of legal and linguistic acrobatics, however Justice Elena Kagan’s “trick” question had an answer that should have literally leaped into the mind of anyone that currently has, or previously had widow or widower over the age of 55 in the family (or even a really close friend.) Anyone currently receiving or about to become eligible to receive Social Security benefits knows this little gem. If a beneficiary is receiving payments due to a deceased spouse, those benefits are forfeit in the case of re-marriage. So, while procreation may be a logical reason to defend heterosexual marriage (and deny same-sex marriage) among younger citizens, Kagan’s argument about older citizens marrying is relatively rare anyway. Widows don’t tend to want to give up the benefits they receive even for the sake of love, so the new trend among seniors is co-habitation. If nothing else, it would have been priceless to see the looks on the faces of the Justices if Charles Cooper had replied with something akin to, “well, with all due respect, because individuals of that age could stand to lose governmental benefits if they chose marriage, they tend to choose to ‘live in sin’ instead – there aren’t very many people in that age group that actually want marriage licenses in the first place.”

It would have been amusing, even a bit refreshing, to see the honest truth displayed in the highest court, but it still would not have resolved the issue at hand. Is there a real reason outside of religious philosophy that can defend traditional marriage? Is there something that is not attached to ideology or religious belief systems to counter the secular left’s desire to render all gender neutral, at least as far as marriage is concerned? It is tempting to suggest that the left has become so steeped in science fiction that they are envisioning a country with the same sort of gender neutrality the writers and creators of Star Trek tried to create. Of course the real results that they are achieving are far from that world, and include militant feminists that refuse to accept that there are biological and psychological differences between the sexes. It also includes faithful atheists that believe they follow a religion, albeit the anti-Judeo-Christian sort that apparently reduces its “followers” to the point where they can be compared with Hollywood-style vampires that are terrified of any religious article. It would be comical if it wasn’t so sad – watching them fight against symbols of deities that they supposedly do not believe exist in the first place.

As an atheist, I find it particularly disturbing that I seem to regularly end up either defending deists, or the respective religions they follow. This situation is no different. As for defending the concept of traditional marriage from being sullied by permitting gay couples to legally marry, I have nothing. That is a religious affair, beyond my reach – and for that matter, it should also be beyond the reach of the Federal Government. As far as government in general is concerned, marriage is not sacred. It is already nothing more than a personal contract, and means for the government to keep tabs on taxpayers. Many years ago, I sat in a high school economics class where the teacher pointed out the entire problem with marriage. His contention was that it was far too easy to get married, and far too difficult to get a divorce. In the case of non-religious couples, at the very least there should be mandatory prenuptial agreements that must be completed before a marriage license could be acquired. I know this sounds suspiciously like increasing the work of government, but in reality, it would eventually reduce it. Imagine removing the necessity of having bureaucrats around to settle financial and custody matters for couples getting a divorce, because those matters were settled before they even got married. Yes, there would still be a need for them in extenuating circumstances, particularly in abusive relationships that fall apart. However, perhaps the process of completing the paperwork would in itself prevent at least a few of those doomed relationships from getting started in the first place. Individuals that choose to have their unions solemnized in a church would have to complete whatever their respective faiths required, and acquire a statement of permission from a priest or minister. That would be in addition to the required prenuptial agreement, since that would be the means for the state to guarantee an easy divorce. It was an interesting concept to say the least, but one that if it was in effect now, would arguably have settled this particular issue. While it wouldn’t have removed the state from the marriage business as many Libertarians are suggesting now, it would have placed a great deal of control over the process in the hands of the churches.

As Matt Lewis recently pointed out, conservatives have lost (are losing?) the culture war. Liberals are very big on pleasure and their right to do whatever they choose, as long as it feels good. Conservatives are focused more on the responsibilities that people must remember are inextricably linked to all rights. Instead of worrying about procreation, or even the concept of government protecting marriage from being destroyed by gays, conservatives should have shifted this argument to the realm of actions and consequences. The liberals do not play well in this arena, because they are so purely focused on self-gratification that they cannot shift gears easily to address the real consequences of their actions. Conservatives have been waging this battle for years over abortion. This argument really shouldn’t be about who may or may not get married legally, but about truly protecting the institution of marriage from the state. That old economics teacher had it right, because he recognized what religious leaders are oddly quiet about now. Instead of just saying allowing gays to marry is “wrong”, why aren’t they saying what has desperately needed to be said for years now? Why aren’t those leaders leaving the blame for the high divorce rate, and high numbers of single-parent families where it belongs? Yes, they often say it is the fault of liberal policies in government, but that idea should have been hammered home on the issue of same-sex marriage until even conservatives were complaining about the repetition. The bottom line remains that the true root cause of the erosion of the sanctity of marriage is a societal failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions. It is too easy for everyone to enter into marital relationships.

It’s unlikely that anyone would ever seriously suggest what I’ve outlined here as a solution to the problem, regardless of whether or not it actually would resolve the issue. I know social conservatives would never suggest it, at least not as I’ve stated it here, because it does not forbid same sex unions, per se. Admittedly, I intentionally avoided saying anything about that. The government has no place refusing such unions, because the state’s part in the process is purely the legalities – that is the case now, and should remain that way. Churches would be free to forbid those unions at will, and that would be protecting the sanctity of marriage – the state should not be able to dictate the actions of churches when it comes to the recognition of same sex marriage. Religion and politics do not mix well. This nation was founded because of that fact, but too many of us tend to forget that, or twist it to our own purposes. Too many people forget that the “separation of church and state” was meant to be a two-way street. It is meant to not only protect churches from interference by government, but also protect government from the same by churches. It was a good theory over 200 years ago, and it still is now.

Originally posted at PolitiChicks.tv.

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