Extremism in Too Many Forms

Obama is unser Unglück, sagte der Idiot.

Some guy was on WBEN’s Hardline with Debo show on Sunday talking lovingly about his metallic penis extenders guns. I have no idea who this person was, but he was discussing how the Heller Supreme Court decision guaranteed an individual’s right to bear arms, and that state licensing schemes are illegal prior restraints of one’s 2nd Amendment rights.  

I’ve seen a lot of gun-huggers equate the first and second Amendments and prior restraint, despite the fact that, e.g.,  an anti-government polemic in a newsweekly never put a hole in another person. These people might be interested to learn that the 1st Amendment is not interpreted as being without limitations. Likewise, Heller held that your right to bear arms is absolutely subject to limitation. States have the right to regulate the time, place, and manner of one’s gun ownership and possession. The absolutist on WBEN made no exception for ex-felons or the mentally ill, nor did he make any exception for the type of weapon. Maybe the radical gun-huggers want ex-cons to have the legal right to own grenade launchers, but thankfully the Constitution has not been so mangled by even the most activist right-wing court to allow that. 

By this time, extremist cretin and has-been one-hit wonder Ted Nugent has reneged on his promise to die or go to prison following President Obama’s re-election. Nugent has made himself the de facto spokesman for the extremist gun-hugging movement, and the reactionary tea-party right has embraced him.  Mostly, it’s because he says wildly hateful and ignorant things, and suffers no palpable consequences therefrom. Because of this, he escalates his rhetoric from time to time, and has most recently, surprisingly found some pushback after having called the President of the United States a “subhuman mongrel“. Some prominent Republicans located their courage in the lost & found, and gently criticized the driver of the gun-hugging clown car. 

Why was this beyond the pale? Because subhuman, or “untermensch” and mongrel, or “mischling” were specific terms used by Nazis to dehumanize Jews and other racial undesirables. So, the gun huggers who support Nugent’s plain-speaking hatred should be fully cognizant of the fact that they are expressly condoning and supporting Nazi propaganda. Nugent and his ilk are too unintelligent and ignorant cogently to express genuine disagreements with President Obama’s policies, so they opt instead for racism, and then cry foul when they’re quite appropriately identified as racist. Simply put, not all Obama opponents are racists, but it’s safe to say that all racists are Obama opponents, and it’s not inappropriate to point out when they overlap. 

Let’s be clear on another thing: lefties sometimes say stupid things, too. When they do, they are criticized and in some cases ostracized. In at least once case, Nugent was doing the criticism. A lefty saying something stupid does not excuse Ted Nugent.  Each stupidity stands on its own demerits. Rage Against the Machine are not Democratic spokespeople, but Ted Nugent is a Republican mascot. 

It’s odd that Nugent should be the cause débile in any serious debate over policy. Ted Nugent is an admitted pedophile, (he convinced one girl’s parents to let him be her legal guardian so he could bang her that way, because ‘Murka), and avoided service in the Vietnam war by feigning insanity and shitting his pants. He loves huntin’ and shootin’ stuff that can’t fight back, but when it came time to serve his country, Nugent, “just wasn’t into it”. 

Meanwhile, we have a slide back into Apartheid as the Kansas and Arizona legislatures voted to legalize the separate but unequal treatment of the LGBT community in those states. The bill in Kansas never made it out of committee, but the Arizona bill is on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk.  Both laws purport to legalize discrimination against gay people in public accommodations to protect bigots’ religious freedoms. Getting a tattoo and eating shellfish are just as prohibited in the Bible as being homosexual, but no state legislatures have yet addressed these matters.  Cowering behind a phony cloak of religion in order to justify your own bigotry, hatred, and fear is nothing new.  People used religion to justify slavery and racial discrimination. Hitler effectively created a new religion – with himself as deity – to justify the subjugation of a continent. Your religious beliefs may instruct you to hate or fear gay people, or to treat them as subhuman mongrels, but gay people are equal under the law. This is why church and state are separate. Nugent’s Nazi rhetoric and these pseudo-religious anti-gay bills are cut from the same cloth of ignorant hatred, and they serve to demean what America is and should be. 

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, it’s fun for fraternity pranksters to hang a noose and a flag of treason around a statue of James Meredith, the first black man to attend “Ole Miss”. Meredith, incidentally, is still alive and at 80 years old has more bravery and integrity in his toenail than these frat boy racists-in-training will ever have in their lives. 

University Chancellor Dan Jones said the ideas expressed by the vandals had no place at the university. But others have disagreed, saying the university should not necessarily punish free expression.

Expressing a desire to lynch a black man is protected political speech? That’s quite a stretch. Slavery and Jim Crow were based on a belief that black people were subhuman. Also

Mr. Meredith, whose iconoclastic life included a stint as an aide to the arch-conservative Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, says the lessons of the incident have more to do with religion than race or higher education. “What has happened in America, particularly in Mississippi, is a breakdown of moral character,” Mr. Meredith, 80, said in a telephone interview. “It’s a lack of teaching of right and wrong and good and bad, the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer. That’s what the problem is.”

Mr. Meredith said the “nonsense” episode would intensify his effort to have his likeness removed from the university’s campus.

“It’s a false idol, and it’s an insult not only to God, it’s an insult to me,” Mr. Meredith said.

Free speech, like the right to bear arms, isn’t absolute or limitless and the government has to tread lightly when punishing or restraining speech, but it isn’t completely without authority to do so. Just try saying “f_ck” on prime time network television. What I’d like to see is the media report the names of the people who committed this hateful act. It should perpetually haunt them on Google. They’re not charged with a crime, but they did rightfully get expelled from their fraternity and the school. 

It’s not Barack Obama or a private health insurance marketplace that is un-American; sharting Naziistic propaganda to de-humanize a sitting President is un-American. It’s not Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid who are extremists, it’s the 2nd Amendment absolutists who argue for the insane to own M1 tanks. It’s not gay people who are an abomination, but those who would relegate the LGBT community to second-class non-citizen status. It’s not integration and multiculturalism that destroyed r weakened America, it’s racism. 

Obama came to office promising to change America.  He did, in many ways.  Not the least of which? Inadvertently emboldening neofascist extremists and racists.

Michael Sam

This is what one Dallas, Texas broadcaster has to say about the shock! Horror! of the first openly gay prospective NFL player. 

Village People

Old guys in cowboy hats pledging an “uprising” over the “homosexual” “agenda” being shoved “down [their] throats”. 

“The people of Utah have rights, too, not just the homosexuals. The homosexuals are shoving their agenda down our throats,” Former Graham County, Ariz., Sheriff Richard Mack said at the meeting…

…”State sovereignty supercedes what this judge did,” Mack said. “The Governor needs to get some courage and grip.”

Cherilyn Eager, one of the event organizers, said that people need to speak out.

“We need people to stand up and speak out. We need to get noisy. We need some outrage,” she said. “It is about the sheriffs now coming out to protect the people.”

Mack and Eager asked meeting attendees to call their local representatives and ask them to urge clerks to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

“The way you take back freedom in America is one county at a time. The sheriffs need to defend the county clerks in saying, ‘No, we’re not going to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals,'” Mack said at the meeting.

This should end well. 

 

It’s a Duck Dynasty Christmas

Liberal Alec Baldwin had a show on MSNBC for a very short time. He called a paparazzo who was harassing him and his family a “cocksucking fag”. Baldwin was swiftly suspended, then fired, from MSNBC. The right sort of shrugged, torn between its animus for Alec Baldwin on the one hand, and gays on the other. 

Liberal Martin Bashir had a show on MSNBC. He criticized Sarah Palin for likening the national debt to “slavery” by explaining what, precisely, slavery was. Specifically, he explained how the complete control of the master led oftentimes to unspeakably horrific treatment of his chattel labor – in one case, scatalogically so. Bashir said Palin should see what slavery really was before making such ignorant comparisons, and that a slavemaster should shit in her mouth. There was an outcry from Palin and the right. Bashir was suspended from MSNBC. He apologized. Palin accepted the apology. He left the network anyway. The right wing was outraged and demanded Bashir’s removal from TV. 

Some bearded person on a so-called “reality” show about very wealthy redneck manufacturers of duck calls has said some hateful and ignorant things about gay people and black people. A&E has suspended him. The right wing have gone ballistic, calling this a PC witch hunt and otherwise bemoaning the degradation of Biblical values, apple pie, Chevrolet, bearded freaks, and hate speech. Duck Dynasty guy equated homosexuality with bestiality and terrorism. He said the blacks had it better under Jim Crow, when they didn’t bitch to him (a white guy) about anything. 

Pretty base, ignorant stuff there. Well within the same wheelhouse as Bashir’s and Baldwin’s misdeeds. (I will note for consistency-lovers that I have not defended Bashir or Baldwin in any way, in any forum, and that I had no complaint of any sort when either of them were fired. To me, talking-head cable shows are a huge part of what is killing American discourse and thought, and I’d just as soon see them all gone.)

But we live in a nation that is sick beyond help – not because of the infiltration of the “gay lifestyle”, but because ignorant bullshit has gone mainstream

Never one to miss a chance for publicity, Sarah Palin posted on Facebook: “Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on theDuck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.” (Only Palin could claim that a person who has just voiced intolerant comments like Robertson is being attacked by “intolerants.”)  

Of course, when Martin Bashir made despicable comments about Palin, she didn’t defend him by saying, “Free speech is an endangered species.” Nope, instead she slammed Bashir’s comments as being “vile” and “evil.” And officials at Palin’s political action committee demanded that MSNBC punish Bashir.

First of all, the First Amendment right to free speech was not invoked in any of these cases. The Constitution limits the government’s power – not MSNBC’s, and not A&E’s. Bashir, Baldwin, and Duck Person are all entitled to think and say exactly everything they want. The networks on which they appear are likewise entitled to air, praise, condemn, or remove anything they see fit. 

Secondly, if you believe that Baldwin and Bashir should have been fired, consistency and fairness begs you to think the same of Duck Dynasty guy. If you think that Baldwin and Bashir should both be on MSNBC, then A&E should be boycotted. 

I have seen arguments defending Duck Dynasty guy because he was just repeating what the Bible has to say about, e.g., gay people suffering eternal damnation for their heinous crimes against God. That’s nice. But just because your holy book or religion says a thing doesn’t make it right, does it? Are we to excuse every ignorant and hateful thing that any religion has to say? Like I said, you can believe whatever you want – but when you equate homosexuality to terrorism, you have every right to be accountable for your words – to suffer consequences. Like when you call a photographer a “cocksucking fag”. Like when you suggest that a public figure should have someone shit in her mouth. 

The right wing didn’t have much to say about Alec Baldwin, after all. The only thing they brought up was that GLAAD were hypocrites because they didn’t condemn him (they did). It’s ok to defame gay people if you’re conservative, after all. Not just ok – encouraged. When Duck Dynasty guy defames gay people (and blacks), and gets suspended, they are outraged. When it’s Alec Baldwin, they shrug. To me, defaming gay people is wrong, full stop. 

A few months ago, “cook” Paula Deen was effectively drummed out of show business because her long history of racist thoughts and words came to light. Now, there is a miniature store selling her cookbooks and spatulas in a largely empty plaza in right-wing Clarence. She became a hero to the right because, evidently, saying ignorantly anachronistic things about black people is ok, because “free speech”. Similarly, Duck Dynasty  guy is cheered on the right for saying ignorantly anachronistic things about gays and blacks. 

I don’t see how – and it’s the Christmas season, incidentally – a time of love and cheer – nominal Christians and “conservatives” can go around defending people who have so much hatred in their hearts, thoughts, and words. If conservatism means preserving age-old hatreds, jealousies, and slanders then I don’t quite get why so many people would call themselves that. 

If Duck Dynasty guy is smart, he’ll apologize, A&E will reinstate him, and he can cash out what remains of his 15 minutes of fame. From the looks of it, he and his kin are digging in, standing firm, and telling those “cocksucking fags” and liberals to piss off and, literally, go to hell. 

Merry Christmas. 

 

Chuck Swanick and Terribleness

Chuck Swanick skulked back into the private sector and out of government in the aftermath of the epic disaster that was the county fiscal meltdown of 2004 – 2005. He went back to his job with CSX, but saw an opportunity last year when State Senator Mark Grisanti voted in favor of same-sex marriage. 

The opportunity was that Swanick could be the conservative Catholic homophobic Democratic candidate and challenge Grisanti. He enlisted the help of local scheissmeister Steve Pigeon, fresh off of a cush State Senate job under his protege-turned-convict Pedro Espada. This means that every hack with a (D) after their name who has a beef with Len Lenihan’s Erie County Democratic Committee had been enlisted in the Pigeon/Swanick cause. 

Swanick, in expressing his disgust and opposition to same-sex marriage, quickly received the endorsement of execrable Ralph Lorigo-led jobs club known as the “Conservative Party” (which is famously inconsistent in its supposed automatic withholding of support for candidates who back same-sex marriage – see Kennedy, Tim). 

What’s so conservative about Swanick? His opponent, Mike Amodeo reminds us of that, as Chairperson of the Erie County Legislature, Swanick requested $4.78 Million for the Legislature’s 2004 budget. Included in Swanick’s bloated budget request were funds for 50 patronage employees. In addition, the Legislature stashed away another $2.7 Million for member items, more commonly known as pork projects. In comparison, the County Legislature’s 2012 budget is $2.96 Million, with no money allocated for member items. The Legislature staff has also since been right-sized to almost half the employees of the Swanick era

“On the eve of the Red/Green Budget Crisis, Chuck Swanick’s focus was on pork and patronage for his political fiefdom,” said his challenger, Amodeo. “Voters have no interest in returning to the days of wasteful spending.”

During Swanick’s tenure at the Legislature, Erie County’s cash reserves dwindled down to a paltry $4 Million. In addition, Swanick helped squander $250 Million of proceeds from the County’s tobacco settlement. Swanick also voted to allow Erie County to sell the Erie County Medical Center to itself, incurring another $200 Million long-term liability in exchange for an approximately $85 Million short-term benefit. New York State eventually determined that Erie County needed “adult supervision” and implemented a control board. 

“When Chuck Swanick left office in 2005, County finances were in complete shambles,” concluded Amodeo. “Chuck’s decision to campaign as a ‘fiscal conservative’ is an insult to every Erie County resident that had their library closed, services cut and taxes raised.”

Remember all that? You should. It’s what sparked a reasonably serious civic discussion about the future direction of the city and county, and started a local tax revolt of sorts as the county’s share of the sales tax inched up to avoid catastrophe. 

Swanick – a former Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat recently accepted two donations totaling $7,000 from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), an anti-equality organization based out of Princeton, New Jersey. Since 2007, NOM has spent millions of dollars across the United States to restrict the rights of LGBT Americans, whom NOM Chairman John Eastman has referred to as ‘barbarians’.

Swanick, a 26 year career politician, also received a contribution of $16,800 from Sean Fieler of Princeton, New Jersey. Mr. Fieler, a major Republican donor and hedge fund manager, is chairman of the American Principles Project, whose founder is chairman emeritus of NOM.

 “I am deeply troubled to hear of Chuck Swanick’s taking of campaign funding from NOM, a hate group designated as such by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” said Bryan Ball, President of Stonewall Democrats of WNY. “Mr. Swanick’s blatant disregard for the equal rights and protections of every Western New York family he seeks to represent is an offensive assault on the right to freedom we value as Americans. The Democratic Party has always stood to aid the civil rights movement, and hate such as Mr. Swanick’s has no place in our great Party. I am proud of all who stand united against such divisiveness. Never should any part of our great Party support his actions.”

According to NOM’s own press release, the organization “intends to participate in legislative contests throughout the state as part of its $2 million commitment to make sure the voters of New York are able to vote to restore marriage in New York”.

Mike Amodeo supports same-sex marriage. He pledges to take on NYPA to ensure that western New York’s waterfronts continue to improve. He is against hydrofracking and the environmental risks that come from injecting bedrock with water and noxious chemicals to extract natural gas from it.  (Swanick essentially supports fracking). He supports term limits and changing Albany’s careerist culture. (Swanick is the opposite). 

Swanick isn’t a Democrat, and I don’t understand his return to politics, except by noting how he differs from the mainstream Democrat running against him. 

Happy Anniversary

Perhaps you saw this image floating around on the Facebooks this week.  Not only is same-sex marriage the right thing to do from a civil rights perspective, but it’s good for business. Treating fellow citizens like equals is really something of a no-brainer, and it’s important to note that the biggest homophobic, anti-SSM group, the “National Organization for Marriage” has decided that the best strategy is to pit African American voters against the LGBT community, and to go back to the “Obama radical” well, which has been dry for some time. 

I’ve come to the personal conclusion that one’s support of same-sex marriage is tantamount to a test of intelligence. A gay couple getting married has no bearing whatsoever on anyone else. It’s simple but true to say that if you don’t like same-sex marriage, don’t get one. Religious freedom and your own conscience do not, however, deserve to be codified as a prohibition on others’ behavior. 

Just because certain Jewish people keep Kosher, doesn’t mean every grocery store and restaurant has to follow those laws. 

And so it is, a year later, there’s a lawsuit pending brought by same-sex marriage opponents, and the execrable patronage mill called the “Conservative Party” has made repeal of the act a mission. 

As we celebrate the anniversary of this victory for civil rights and common sense, don’t forget the local electeds who would have denied this basic right to LGBT couples. 

Assembly

Robin Schimminger, Jane Corwin, Dennis Gabryszak

Senate

Michael Ranzenhofer, Pat Gallivan, George Maziarz

Clownshoes

When professional Facebooker Sarah Palin quit her last public employment as Governor of Alaska, it was because the media were intruding too much and too far into her personal space, and her family. 

So it’s somewhat ironic to find Ms. Palin’s single-mother abstinence advocate, Bristol, criticizing the Obama family for helping the President arrive at his acceptance of same sex marriage. 

“Is anyone really surprised by the fact that President Obama came out of the closet for gay marriage? What was most surprising is when he explained how his position (supposedly) “evolved,” by talking to his wife and daughters“, wrote Bristol

The single mother of one, who is estranged from her babydaddy, went on to write, 

While it’s great to listen to your kids’ ideas, there’s also a time when dads simply need to be dads.  In this case, it would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage.  Or that – as great as her friends may be – we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home.  Ideally, fathers help shape their kids’ worldview.

In this situation, it was the other way around.  I guess we can be glad that Malia and Sasha aren’t younger, or perhaps today’s press conference might have been about appointing Dora the Explorer as Attorney General because of her success in stopping Swiper the Fox.

Sometimes dads should lead their family in the right ways of thinking.  In this case, it would’ve been nice if the President would’ve been an actual leader and helped shape their thoughts instead of merely reflecting what many teenagers think after one too many episodes of Glee.

At what point does Tripp‘s dad get to be dad? The irony and cognitive dissonance here is so incredible – so palpable -as to be infuriatingly hilarious. It’s got everything, starting with the irony of a single mother lecturing the President – who is in a longtime monogomous marriage – about family values.

She lectures the Obamas about how to parent; she trivializes the societal and political import of same-sex marriage – which is critically important to many people, and does no one any harm; she clumsily throws up the idea that teenaged kids and their perhaps more progressive opinions about social issues are akin to a toddler recommending fictional cartoon characters to occupy cabinet posts; and finally, she passive-aggressively attacks Glee, which is a conservative bogeyman representing popular culture’s acceptance of LGBT people as valuable members of society. 

But what I want to know is something I Tweeted shortly after learning of this astonishing criticism by America’s Walking Contradiction: 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/buffalopundit/status/200644393131196416″]

Prez in Gay Flip Flop Flap

The headline is tongue-in-cheek. Last night, that’s what I predicted the New York Post’s headline would be. I had to put myself in the mindset of an alliterative Murdoch-paid wingnut headline author.  Instead, the Post went with a Travolta massage story

Yesterday, I wrote

Obama is caught between a rock and a hard place here. If he follows his head and comes out in support of same-sex marriage, he risks alienating a huge swath of the electorate – especially those in swing states. This is all about independent and undecided voters, and a vicious campaign based on a selective, phony reliance on obscure Biblical passages ensures that the homophobic drive to oppose same-sex marriage will continue to be strong, and risk Obama’s re-election. 

Unfortunately, this is the perfect opportunity for Obama to led on this particular issue. It’s a great chance for him to give one of those barn-burner, epic, historical speeches he’s known for where he appeals to people’s decency and common sense to try and change minds. 

Later that same day, President Obama said that he had come around to the opinion that, in his opinion, gay couples should be able to get married. This was a shift from his previous opinion – that civil unions would do the trick.  As we learned during the debate in New York over same sex marriage, civil unions don’t do the trick very much at all. 

I’ve seen lots of reaction over Obama’s change of opinion. Some Republicans accuse him of flip-flopping.  But that only works when the politician has changed his view to something safe.  I don’t think this is safe at all – I think it’s risky. This is not a poll-driven thing – this came up unexpectedly thanks to Joe Biden’s appearance on Meet the Press last weekend. The White House took only a few days to get its act together on it.  Mitt Romney reaffirmed his position that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, thus further alienating a particular population – something the Republican field (including Swiss-American Michele Bachmann) had been doing throughout this campaign. 

But it’s clear that Romney is a bit irked by the attention Obama’s getting. 

 

Some Republicans quip that Obama has become – at long last – a clone of Dick Cheney.  For Republicans, that would be valid were it true that Cheney’s view was the mainstream Republican position, but it isn’t.  But even though Obama’s statement in support of same sex marriage didn’t come right out and advocate for any change in legislation – state or federal – it’s a pretty big deal. And it’s quite risky. 

But one thing it might do for Obama is reignite youthful enthusiasm for his re-election. The acceptance of same sex marriage isn’t just geographical or philosophical – it’s generational. 

I don’t know whether Taibbi’s right about this race being a yawn-fest. At the very least, it’ll be fun to watch the Republicans begrudgingly fall behind one-size-fits-all Romney, and I’m sure the attacks on Obama will be as ridiculous as they will be ubiquitous. But Obama has many vulnerabilities, and it will be a test of Romney’s … “managerial” bona fides to see how he exploits that. 

And Yet, Here You Stand

A little over a week ago, Jack Reese, an Ogden, Utah high school student committed suicide. He was gay and a victim of homophobic harassment. But if you read about him, he was just a regular teenager – he liked to draw, was interested in Japan, had a boyfriend, and liked to play XBox. Because his sexuality was different from others’, did that justify harassment, assault, or battery that was so pervasive that it drove him to hurt himself? 

In a great editorial, the Salt Lake City Tribune wrote that people’s attitudes about LGBT youth need to change for this harassment – and its sometimes tragic results – to stop. But that’s not all – 

They learn from legislators who refuse to extend civil rights to gays and lesbians that “those people” are not as valuable as straight people.

The country is beginning to come to terms with the notion that homosexual Americans are still Americans, regardless of their sexual identity. Their rights aren’t diminished or ended based on whom they love. It doesn’t matter, frankly, whether you know that homosexuality is hard-wired in the brain, or you still think it’s a “choice” – no one should be discriminated against or harassed to the point of suicide. 

The Tribune’s editorial cartoonist, Pat Bagley, created this, which perfectly encapsulates the way humanity typically demonizes things that are “different” before acceptance sets in.  Sometimes, it’s a change that takes millenia. Homophobia is among the last forms of hate and discrimination that is acceptable to large swaths of the American population.  It’s changing, but not quickly enough. 

Prop 8 Unconstitutional

Yesterday, the 9th Circuit (Federal) Court of Appeals ruled that California’s Proposition 8, which re-prohibited same sex marriage in that state, is unconstitutional.

What people forget is that a lawsuit filed in San Francisco led to the California Supreme Court ruling that the state’s prohibition against same-sex marriage was unconstitutional (based on the California state constitution).

Secondly, California’s highest court determined that reserving the term “marriage” only for heterosexual couples was violative of that state’s equal protection clause.

Two same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses in California counties brought a federal action, a 12-day bench trial was held, and the Federal District Court ruled that Prop 8 was unconstitutional – that there was no rational basis or compelling state interest for the state to withhold the term “marriage” from same-sex couples.

Because Proposition 8 did nothing to substantively alter the underlying relationship or domestic partnerships into which California same-sex couples had committed themselves. Instead, it simply took from them the word “marriage”. But the court didn’t point this out to diminish the matter, but to highlight it. “A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name of ‘registered domestic partnership’ does not. The word ‘marriage’ is singular in connoting ‘ a harmony in living,’ ‘a bilateral loyalty,’ and ‘a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred.'”, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut, which declared the existence of a federal right to privacy and struck down prohibitions against contraception.

In the end, the court found that constitutional jurisprudence does not permit the people to “enact laws” that “single out a certain class of citizens for disfavored legal status” thus raising “the inevitable inference that the disadvantage imposed is born of animosity toward the class of persons affected.” The purpose of such a law isn’t to promote some “legitimate legislative end”, but “to make them unequal to everyone else.”

In order for a law like Prop 8 to stand, with all of its “meaningful harm to gays and lesbians”, some “legitimate state interest” must justify it. More specifically, “it” isn’t whether the legal state extant post-Prop 8 was constitutional or not – the question is whether the change that Proposition 8 made in the law could be justified, in and of itself.

The U.S. Supreme Court had decided cases going back to the 60s forbidding states from a “targeted exclusion of a group of citizens from a right or benefit that they had enjoyed on equal terms with all other citizens.” A right conveyed cannot later be withdrawn without a legitimate state justification.

The court analyzed the purported “justifications” for Prop 8 and found them illegitimate. For instance, Prop 8 proponents claimed that only heterosexual marriage was good for childrearing, but the law didn’t substantively affect same-sex couples’ right to have or adopt children. The court also went out of its way to destroy the Prop 8 proponents’ arguments that taking away the use of the term “marriage” from same-sex couples will promote responsible procreation by heterosexual couples.

The court found that Prop 8 existed as “nothing more or less than a judgment about the worth and dignity of gays and lesbians as a class.” Indeed, the court found that Prop 8 was born and promoted from a fundamental disapproval of homosexuals and from homophobia – that same-sex couples are inferior, and that their relationships are undesirable. The 9th Circuit concluded saying that the people of California violated the Equal Protection Clause by using their initiative power to target a minority group and illegitimately withdrawing a right that they possessed.


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