Category Archives: News

A Posthumous Wedding

Gay Man Makes History By Marrying Cop Killed In Terrorist Attack

Curtis M. Wong is the Senior Editor of HuffPost Queer Voices
A gay police officer killed by a gunman in Paris was married in a posthumous wedding that’s believed to be a historic first.
Xavier Jugelé, 37, was shot dead April 20 on the Champs-Élysées three days before the French presidential election. The Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack, which left two other officers wounded. The gunman, identified as Karim Cheurfi, was shot dead by security forces.
Though details of Wednesday’s nuptials are scarce, Etienne Cardiles married Jugelé in a ceremony attended by former French president François Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, The Guardian reports. It’s believed to be the first posthumous same-sex wedding to take place in France (where marriage equality has been the law of the land since 2013) and possibly the world, according to the BBC.
The U.S. does not recognize posthumous matrimony under federal law, but its origins in France can be traced back to 1803. The practice became particularly popular during World War I, when it allowed women to wed slain soldiers, thus legitimizing any children conceived beforehand and entitling them to a pension.
France’s current legislation allowing people to marry the dead dates back to 1959, when a woman named Irène Jodard requested permission from former French President Charles de Gaulle to wed her fiancé, André Capra, after he had drowned. Hundreds of people have since applied for post-mortem matrimony under the law, which requires applicants to send a formal request to the president, according to The New York Times.
Cardiles made global headlines when he delivered an impassioned eulogy at an April 26 memorial service for Jugelé, who had also been deployed during the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m suffering without hate,” Cardiles said in the speech, which was transcribed by Time magazine. “This hate, Xavier, I don’t have it because it never existed in you… Because tolerance, dialogue and temperance were your best weapons. Because behind the policeman there was the man. Because you become a policeman by choice; the choice to help others and to fight against injustice.”
An associate described Jugelé as having been “really committed” to queer causes. Mickaël Bucheron, who is the president of Flag, a French association for LGBTQ police officers, said Jugelé had been active with the group for several years. “He protested with us when there was the homosexual propaganda ban at the Sochi Olympic Games,” Bucheron told The New York Times.
Here’s to hoping the union gives Cardiles some comfort following his tragic loss.


Only in Alabama 


Beauty and the Beast has a gay scene in it. If you didn’t know this by now, what rock have you been under? The thing is, an Alabama drive-in theater, the Henagar Drive-In Theater, refused to show the movie because of its gay scene. Tragic as that is, this story has a funny ending. The owner replaced Beauty and the Beast with a film called Fierce because, based on the film’s poster, she thought it was a Game of Thrones style film about dragons. By the way, Game of Thrones has many gay scenes, but that’s beside the point because Fierce is about drag queens. She replaced a movie that had a small gay scene with an explicitly gay movie. What a dumbass!

Henagar is not a place where I have been nor is it a place I’d visit. It’s up on Sand Mountain. Those people are bat-shit crazy. That’s where the snake handling churches are. If you don’t know about snake handling churches, these churches release venomous snakes into the congregation and only the holy won’t be bit. There also used to be a sign as you went up the mountain that told black people not to be caught on the mountain after dark, implying they’d never leave alive if they did. These are seriously fucked up people.


Just a Matter of Time

Ending guidance from the Obama administration, Trump’s new policy aims to allow states to establish their own rules for transgender students in some settings — such as requiring transgender boys to use the girls restroom — without objection from the federal government.

The Trump administration on Wednesday issued new guidelines that roll back an Obama administration policy that had been designed to reduce anti-transgender discrimination in public schools.

In issuing new school guidance, the Department of Justice and Department of Education sent a letter to public schools that said the departments “have decided to withdraw and rescind the above-referenced guidance documents in order to further and more completely consider the legal issues involved. The Departments thus will not rely on the views expressed within them.”

“Please note that this withdrawal of these guidance documents does not leave students without protections from discrimination, bullying, or harassment.”

Originally issued last May, the Obama-era guidance told schools they “must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity.” While that was not a new position for the government under Obama, it was the most explicit interpretation of existing law, concluding that transgender students must be allowed access to gender-appropriate restrooms and locker rooms.

The government said at the time that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bans sex discrimination in public schools, also bans transgender discrimination as a form of sex discrimination, and warned that schools breaking the rules could lose federal funding.

Despite the federal government’s position, states and local school districts could adopt their own transgender-inclusive rules — and those with existing rules will remain in place. Trump’s latest guidance also does not block individuals or advocacy groups from raising their own complaints in federal court that a transgender student’s rights have been violated.

James Esseks, who oversees the ACLU’s litigation on behalf of a transgender student in Virginia, told reporters on a call Tuesday, “Courts enforce Title IX and courts at the end of the day decide what the scope of Title IX is.”

Withdrawing the guidelines was widely expected, given Trump’s nod to state’s rights on the campaign trail, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer announcing that a new policy was imminent. The new guidance also dovetails with the Justice Department’s decision this month to step away from defending the guidance in a federal appeals court.

Still, a fight broke out between factions of the Trump administration, when US Attorney Jeff Sessions pressed to reverse the guidance and ran up against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, according to a New York Times report on Wednesday.

Both of their agencies, the Justice Department and Education Department, which issued the guidance last year, had to concur on any new guidance. Citing three Republicans with direct knowledge of the internal discussions as sources, the Times said Trump sided with Sessions after a meeting in the Oval Office, leading DeVos to capitulate.

At a White House Press briefing, however, Spicer played down those fractures Wednesday afternoon, noting that “there’s no daylight between anybody between the president, between any of the secretaries” and said DeVos was on board “100%.” While officials considered legal and procedural issues, he said, “where you might be hearing something” relates to timing and wording of the new guidance.

Spokespeople for the agencies did not respond to inquires about the new policy on Wednesday.

Overriding the old guidelines will likely have little short-term impact on schools — the old guidelines were suspended by a federal court last summer. Most immediately, the move could neutralize lawsuits from more than a dozen states that had challenged the policy and could be a factor in a case scheduled before the Supreme Court next month.

The new guidance was submitted to the Supreme Court on Wednesday night as an attachment to a letter announcing the move in that case.


Monogamy

After all this talk of open relationships and polyamorous love, a new study has just found that younger gay couples are trending toward monogamy once again. At least, according to a new study.

The study, titled “Choices: Perspectives of Younger Gay Men on Monogamy, Non-monogamy and Marriage,” was conduced by researchers Blake Spears and Lanz Lowen. They surveyed over 800 single, monogamously-coupled, and non-monogamously coupled gay men ages 18-40 years about their relationships. A handful of “monogamish” men were also interviewed.

More at: https://www.queerty.com/monogamy-making-comeback-among-younger-gay-couples-study-finds-20160922


Italy Finally Approves Same-Sex Civil Unions 


Italy’s parliament approved same-sex civil unions and expanded rights to unmarried heterosexual couples on Wednesday after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called a confidence vote to force the bill into law.

Italy is the last major Western country to legally recognize gay couples and an original draft law had to be heavily diluted due to divisions in Renzi’s ruling majority. The bill had faced stiff opposition from Catholic groups who said it went too far, while gay activists said it was too timid While parliament was voting, gay rights groups gathered outside with a banner reading: “This is just the beginning.”

“Today is a day of celebration in which Italy has taken a step forwards,” Renzi said in a radio interview after the legislation was approved. The 41-year-old premier promised to prioritize legislation for gay rights when he took office in early 2014, but the bill has proven to be one of the most contested of a raft of initiatives he has pushed through parliament. The bill, originally presented in 2013, cleared its final real hurdle earlier on Wednesday with the confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies, which passed it by 369 votes to 193. The chamber then rubber-stamped the bill with a final ballot.

“There is still a long way to go for full equality but this is an excellent starting point,” said Gabriele Piazzoni, president of gay rights group Arcigay. The bill gives gay couples the right to share a surname, draw on their partner’s pension when they die and inherit each other’s assets in the same way as married people.

As a member of Arcigay (I got my membership when I was in Italy because many gay clubs require it), I am very happy that Italy has moved this far. The Catholic Church is a major force in Italy and has been a major opponent to gay rights. Italy still has more to do, but this is a step in the right direction.

Now is there a handsome Italian man who’d like to marry me and bring me to Italy? I’m a great cook. I’m smart, a good conversationalist (once you get me going), know a little Italian, and would make a wonderful house-husband for the right man. I spent a month in Italy doing research a few years ago and have always wanted to go back. I’ve always said that I’d love to live in Italy.


Ambrosia Starling


From the Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama:

Opinion: Josh Moon — Make Alabama great again, elect the drag queen

We should elect the drag queen.

Over the past few weeks and months, as one top Alabama elected official after another has been indicted or lied about a mistress or was removed from the bench or failed in a thousand different ways to govern with the best interest of the people in mind, it has become more and more clear that there is one solution to the madness that has engulfed this state.

Elect the drag queen.

I am, of course, speaking of Ambrosia Starling, the absolutely fab-u-lous, “known transvestite,” who is has become like a beeping watch buried deep in a closet to newly-suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore. The guy can’t say two sentences in a press conference or press release without mentioning Starling, which, if we were using elementary school dating rules … but I digress.

Moore apparently blames Starling and her complaints for his suspension from the state Supreme Court, and not the fact that he repeatedly ordered probate judges to ignore the law of the land and not issue marriage licenses to gay couples. The latter seemed to be more of a concern to the Judicial Inquiry Commission, but, you know, facts and junk.

In response to Moore’s repeated references to her, which included the chief justice proclaiming in a press conference that transgenderism is a “mental disorder,” Starling said this in an interview with al.com: “I am crazy for democracy. I’m insane for civil rights and better behavior. I am out of my mind when I see people losing their manners and disrespecting people they don’t know.”

And that is precisely the attitude missing from Alabama politics, and in many ways, Alabama in general.

We have excused away self-indulgence and self-interest for decades. We have made excuses for personal greed and excess. We have turned a blind eye to helping the least of us so long as it meant making a dollar for someone.

Our elected officials, particularly those of the conservative brand, have become a national embarrassment because of their greed and selfishness.

Gov. Robert Bentley was thumbing his nose at the state’s poor, refusing to expand Medicaid so they could have basic healthcare and a hospital within 100 miles, all while he was gallivanting around on a private plane with his mistress and declaring Celine Dion an honorary Alabamian.
(By the way, governor, I saw your endorsement on Monday of Donald Trump for president. A man you previously said was promoting racism and misogyny. Guess he turned out to be a better fit for you.)

Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard has led a Republican Party super-majority in the state legislature that has routinely sought to undermine and defund social programs, and which recently allowed a petty fight to derail funding Medicaid appropriately, all while he was seeking every way under the sun – legal and illegal, it seems – to line his own pockets.

That would be surprising if it didn’t happen every single day in the state house, on both sides of the aisle. Because too often now, decisions in this state boil down to how much money a proposal can bring to a lawmaker and his pals instead of whether it’s truly good for the people.

And then there’s Moore.

By all accounts, Moore is a smart judge. Those who know him well, including those who don’t like him much, often compliment his ability on the bench. When he’s actually trying.

But that’s not good enough for Roy Moore. It’s not enough to serve the people well by leading a Supreme Court that makes sound, smart decisions rooted in law and precedent and serves as the ultimate means of justice for the people.

No, instead, Moore has trashed all of it in search of personal glory. First, by defying an order to remove a religious monument he clearly knew was in violation of the law. And now, by issuing order after order in hopes of drawing complaints from the likes of a “known transvestite” and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Because doing so, playing on the fears and prejudices of the ignorant, is how Moore keeps donations rolling in and keeps his name in the headlines.

This is the leadership of Alabama. Built on greed, bigotry and self-indulgence.

Which is why I say we should elect the drag queen. We’d be much better off.


Gaydar

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I saw this on HuffPost Gay Voices and found it pretty interesting.

Is Gaydar Real?
By Rebecca Adams

Academic studies can be fascinating… and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.

The Background

Whether or not “gaydar” — a supposed intuitive ability to identify gay people — is real, many people believe it’s possible to tell someone’s sexual orientation just by looking at them. The problem is, research (and anecdotal evidence) has found that gaydar tends to rely on stereotypical attributes — like the way someone dresses or how they style their hair — that don’t actually tell you anything about who someone’s attracted to. Gaydar, therefore, seems to legitimize these stereotypical myths, something that’s been shown to lead to prejudice and oppression. Unlike other forms of stereotypes, however, gaydar has seeped it’s way into popular culture, and it’s considered relatively harmless and socially acceptable.

In a new five-part study, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison set out to see if what they refer to as “the gaydar myth” is as “harmless” as some people may think or if it’s just a veiled method of perpetuating gay stereotypes.

The Setup

In the first study, participants looked at pictures of 55 gay men and 50 straight men’s faces selected from an online dating site. Each photo was rated for overall quality, from “very poor” to “excellent,” by a set of student raters before the study. Then, the researchers randomly paired the photos with a supposed descriptive statement about the person that was either gay-stereotypic (“He likes shopping.”), stereotype-neutral (“He likes to read.”) or straight-stereotypic (“He likes football.”). These weren’t actually applicable to the men in the photos, but participants didn’t know that. They were then instructed to determine whether or not the man in the photo was gay. For the second study, the researchers repeated the first study, but this time they only chose photos that were rated highest in quality from both the straight and gay men groups of photos.

Both the first and second studies found that when participants were given stereotypically gay personal statements with photos, they were much more likely to guess that the man in the photo was gay. Meaning: The pictures didn’t matter nearly as much as the stereotypes did.

The third study had participants categorize the same gay and straight men’s pictures without the accompanying stereotypic statements. The researchers found that people were more likely to assume men in higher quality photos were gay — they seemingly assumed gay men would take better photos. The fourth study replicated the third with women’s photos instead of men’s to see if the same was true for lesbians. Participants were unable to gauge sexual orientation simply by looking at a person’s face.

Finally, the researchers did their fifth study to determine whether or not gaydar serves as a legitimizing myth for these stereotypes. They gathered 233 undergraduate participants and divided them into three groups: one that would be told that gaydar is stereotyping, one that would be told that gaydar is real and one that would be given no information regarding gaydar. Participants then completed a modified version of the first study, using the same pictures and statements. This time, however, participants could refrain from guessing the person’s sexual orientation if they wanted.

The Findings

In the final study, participants’ answers depended on which group they were in. Those in the “gaydar is real” group tended to believe in gaydar more than the other groups, and people in the “gaydar is stereotyping” group believed in it less than the control group. In this final version of the study, it was easy to see that people didn’t assign sexual orientation simply because they were forced to choose — participants had a “no idea” option, yet they chose it “very infrequently,” according to the study.

As the researchers put it: “The evidence provided in Study 5 indicates that the folk concept of gaydar serves as a legitimizing myth, promoting stereotyping to infer orientation by giving that stereotyping process the alternate label of ‘gaydar.'” Basically, when people slap on a euphemism for stereotyping — in this case, “gaydar” — they feel free to judge groups of people by very limited parameters which legitimize societal myths. These findings build on past research about how stereotypes that seem plausible will likely lead to inaccurate assumptions.

The Takeaway

Taken at face value, the concept of gaydar may not seem like such a big deal, but there’s one big problem with stereotyping: It often leads to inaccurate conclusions. The researchers put it in terms of the “gay men like shopping” trope. If people assume gay men like shopping, that doesn’t mean that all men who like shopping are gay (or that all gay men like shopping). Not to mention, if gay men make up 1.8 percent of the male population in America, even if they’re ten times more likely to enjoy shopping, men who like shopping are still more likely to be straight — there are simply more men who identify as straight out there.

Perhaps the researchers put it best: “Whether people fit or violate their group’s stereotypes is immaterial to their value — we would hope that, rather than being judged or pressured based on the existence of a stereotype, people can be treated as individuals and judged on their own merit.” Amen.

The Closet Professor’s Conclusion

It seems to me that the study has two major flaws. First, it assumes that gaydar is purely visual and can be determined by a picture of a face. When my “gaydar” goes off, it’s more than just a picture of a face. It has to do with how he moves, how he talks, and basically, how he carries himself. The most sure fire way is to watch his eyes. If a hot guy walks by and his eyes follow, then he is probably gay, but if a hot girl walks by and his eyes follow her, then he is probably straight. You have to watch the eyes though, because head movements can be misleading, especially for someone in the closet.

Second, the study assumes that gaydar is something that heterosexual men possess. While I do think that some women possess gaydar, most straight men do not. Heterosexual men often use all kinds of bad stereotypes to identify gay men; however, gay men and some women use more subtle stereotypes to identify gay men. I do not dispute that a large part of gaydar is stereotyping, but I think gay men tend to be more careful with stereotyping and are more intuitive. Many gay men were stereotyped before they came out, so they aren’t as quick to judge others unfairly. That being said, I will postulate that wishful thinking does occasionally interferes with gaydar.

Finally, I think gaydar is possibly an evolutionary characteristic. Gay men have always existed, but we had to find one another. Historically, if a gay man hit on the wrong man, i.e. a straight man, then he might not survive the attempt. Therefore, I think along with the genetic code that makes us gay, we also have the ability to find one another. Then again, gaydar could be a complete myth built on stereotypes, but I think it is very real, some people just have better gaydar than others. I tend to think mine is pretty good.


The hitchBOT Tragedy

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Sometimes, I am really embarrassed to be from the United States. For the most part I love my country, and I love the ideals that my country was founded on and the principles that are at the core, but it’s stories like the one below that makes me sad to be an American. This particular story is about a traveling robot name hitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot.

A bunch of really nice humans had already helped hitchBOT traverse the length of Canada and most of Germany, the robot was going to try to make it from Massachusetts all the way to California. HitchBOT is the brainchild of two Canadian social scientists. As Frauke Zeller and David Harris Smith explained it in a piece for the Harvard Business Review, it was an experiment meant to spark a discussion “about trust, notions of safety, and about our attitude towards technology.”

For his third trip, hitchBOT, a cute robot with kitsch appeal — made of a bucket, a display and noodle appendages — was dropped off at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., on July 17. The first few days, things went smoothly: With the help of friendly humans, who gave hitchBOT a ride and also charged him, he hit up Fenway Park and Providence and New Haven and even crossed off the first item on his bucket list: “See the lights in Times Square.”

Eventually, he made it to Philadelphia, where Jesse Wellens, of YouTube fame, showed him around town in the early morning hours of Saturday. At 3:57 a.m. ET on Saturday, Wellens tweeted that he was dropping hitchBOT off at Elfreths Ally, the oldest residential street in the U.S. Unfortunately, that’s where hitchBOT’s journey ended.

On his blog, the robot wrote that his body was damaged but “my love for humans will never fade.”

HitchBOT’s family — aka the researchers — issued this statement:

“hitchBOT’s trip came to an end last night in Philadelphia after having spent a little over two weeks hitchhiking and visiting sites in Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, and New York City. Unfortunately, hitchBOT was vandalized overnight in Philadelphia; sometimes bad things happen to good robots. We know that many of hitchBOT’s fans will be disappointed, but we want them to be assured that this great experiment is not over. For now we will focus on the question ‘what can be learned from this?’ and explore future adventures for robots and humans.”

In an interview with the CBC back in March, Smith said he hoped hitchBOT’s journey would lead to some introspection on the way society works. Maybe, he said, it could spark discussion on some big questions like: “What kind of people are we? Are we kind? Do we live in a safe world, you know, for the most part?”. Which leaves me with one question: What does this say about the U.S.?

Sadly, I think it says awful things about the United States. The robot went unharmed across Canada and much of Germany, but after being in the United States for a few weeks, hitchBOT was vandalized. Really, what kind of people do that. I’m afraid more and more, the United States is filled with hate and meanness. Just look at how Donald Trump is doing in the polls. The meaner more hateful he gets the higher his numbers climb. How can people really want that type of person to lead our country? Yes, he speaks his mind, and yes, he doesn’t mind speaking the truth about himself, but it just goes to show how Americans are fascinated by a culture of rudeness and disrespect.


Quotes from the Obergefell v. Hodges Opinions

  

As a historian, I often wonder how certain events and people will be remembered in history. As Obergefell v. Hodges made its way through the Supreme Court this term, I began to ask myself: how will historians look back at the Roberts Court? The Marshal Court (three three previous Courts of Jay, Rutledge, and Ellsworth heard few cases) is known for establishing judicial review and establishing the court as a equal branch of the federal government. The Taney Court is best remembered for the Dred Scott case. The Reconstruction Era Courts developed the doctrine of substantive due process based on the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The White and Taft Courts extended due process and the Bill of Rights to the states. The New Deal Courts upheld and strengthened the power of the federal government. The Warren Court was probably the most influential since the Marshall Court, establishing numerous rulings on equal protection and equality during the era of the Civil Rights Movement. The Burger Court gave us one of the most controversial cases, Roe v. Wade, while the Rehnquist Court gave us Lawrence v. Texas and expanded due process. The Roberts Court will probably go down in history as the Kennedy Court. Kennedy seems to be the swing vote on the court as Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito usually vote as a block for conservative issues, while Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan usual vote as a block on more liberal issues. Therefore, Kennedy is the moderate who makes the real decisions in the courts. Decisions tend to go as Kennedy goes.

 In Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Anthony Kennedy once again was the most important vote and laid out Americans’ right to marry. But the court was deeply divided, and I think that will be what the Roberts court will be mostly remembered for. In a 5-4 landmark decision Friday, the nation’s highest court deemed same-sex marriage a constitutionally guaranteed right, effectively nullifying all state laws that bar gay and lesbian unions.

Justice Anthony Kennedy crafted the court’s majority opinion, but the final ruling was hardly unanimous, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito all authoring individual dissents. Here are some of the most important quotes from the major opinion and dissents in Obergefell v. Hodges:

Kennedy:

“Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.”

“As all parties agree, many same-sex couples provide loving and nurturing homes to their children, whether biological or adopted. … Excluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry. Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.”

“In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

Roberts:

“Many people will rejoice at this decision, and I begrudge none their celebration. But for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority’s approach is deeply disheartening. … Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law. Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept.”

“If you are among the many Americans – of whatever sexual orientation – who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

In Roberts’ dissent, he says that the five justices who voted in favor of marriage equality are making laws instead of interpreting them. However, we all know that as Justice Kennedy so eloquently wrote, “The nature of injustice is that we may not see it in our own times.” All of the important civil rights cases have been decided because there was an injustice that the states or congress refused to address. It has often been the duty of the Supreme Court to I force the principles of due process and equal protection under the law. I disagree with Roberts, the Constitution had everything to do with the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Scalia: 

“The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me. The law can recognize as marriage whatever sexual attachments and living arrangements it wishes, and can accord them favorable civil consequences, from tax treatment to rights of inheritance. … It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.”

“If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”

Scalia consistently belittles Kennedy’s majority opinion on its prose, but if one were to read Scalia’s eight page dissent, you would see that Scalia makes a mockery of his position. His dissent is not based on legal precedent but one childish rant replete with name calling. Scalia should hide his head in a bag because he demeans the prestige of the court as he whines like a toddler who did not get his way.

Thomas:

“The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built. Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits. The Framers created our Constitution to preserve that understanding of liberty. Yet the majority invokes our Constitution in the name of a ‘liberty’ that the Framers would not have recognized, to the detriment of the liberty they sought to protect.”

Thomas is merely a hypocrite. Obergefell v. Hodges does for same sex couples what Loving v. Virginia did for interracial couples. If the Court did not have the right to make decisions about marriage equality, then Thomas would not be a the lone African-American on the Supreme Court Justice but a Virginia prison inmate for his marriage to Virginia Thomas, a white woman. Thomas needs to understand that he can’t have his cake and eat it too.

Alito:

“Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of its authority have failed. A lesson that some will take from today’s decision is that preaching about the proper method of interpreting the Constitution or the virtues of judicial self-restraint and humility cannot compete with the temptation to achieve what is viewed as a noble end by any practicable means.”

Alito misses a major point of what the judiciary of the a United States is there for, to protect the citizens of the United States. When legislators fail to protect citizens and make arbitrary and bigoted laws, it takes the judiciary to step in and correct those wrongs. Justice is the conscience of the United States. It is what makes us a land where “all men are created equal.” We are not a nation where some men are created equal and the legislative bodies of this country can create second class citizens of others.

I think the fundamental problem is that the conservative members of the Court do not understand what the purpose of the Court is, which is to provide equal justice for all.


It Could Be Today

  
The countdown is on for the Supreme Court to render its verdict in watershed cases that could bring marriage equality to all 50 states. But an update to the high court’s calendar suggests we could get a ruling as early as this Thursday.

According to the Supreme Court website, the Court has added a non-argument session “for the announcement of opinions on Thursday, June 18, 2015, at 10 am.”  Insiders believe that’s when they’ll break the news of their decision in Obergefell v Hodges, which involves existing bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

It is possible, of course, that the justices will announce a verdict in some other case, and hold off on marriage equality until as late as June 30, when the current session ends.

  

What Are The Possible Verdicts In The Supreme Court Marriage Equality Cases?

Experts on both sides of the issue believe SCOTUS will issue a broad ruling granting federal marriage equality. But what does that actually mean? And what if the justices don’t? 

Below, I’ll review three possible verdicts the Supreme Court could issue in Obergefell v Hodges and spell out what they mean in practical terms.
Of course SCOTUS can be unpredictable at times, so it is still a situation we wait for with bated breath.

If SCOTUS Rules Marriage-Equality Bans Are Unconstitutional…

Any remaining barriers to gay marriage are also unconstitutional, meaning same-sex couples will be able to marry anywhere in the country.
 This is the best possible outcome, but if Ginsberg writes the opinion, then it could possibly be an even wider ruling.

If SCOTUS Limits Its Ruling To Require States To Recognize Marriage Equality…

Couples in states without same-sex marriage would actually have marry elsewhere, but must be afforded all the rights of the institution at home.
 This may be the case of Roberts writes the opinion.  If this is the case, then SCOTUS is keeping the status quo and issuing a half-hearted ruling such as we saw in Windsor, which struck down significant parts of DOMA.

If SCOTUS Rules In Favor of Bans On Marriage Equality…

In the immediate, bans in 14 states—including the ones in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee that are at stake in Obergefell v Hodges—would remain intact.
 This would be the most disastrous of rulings, and means that Kennedy, who wrote the opinion in Windsor sided against equality in Obergefell.

Tragically, though, states that had their marriage bans thrown out by federal courts in the past could attempt to reinstate such barriers. Existing same-sex marriages could come into question, as well. Experts agree such a ruling would have wide-ranging effects that could throw our hard-earned victories into chaos.

However SCOTUS rules, it’s guaranteed to be a major issue of the 2016 presidential race, and the religious right will go nuts, either with joy or with the belief that the world is ending.  
UPDATE: SCOTUS issued First Amendment and criminal law rulings, but nothing on Obergefell. The Court had seventeen opinions left to issue going into today. They issued six today. With eleven opinions left, SCOTUSblog believes that there is a possibility that they may extend the session into July. It happens on occasion, but because the justices have teaching and speaking obligations in July, they often attempt to finish by the end of June.


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