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Posts Tagged ‘Proposition 8’

So we’ve finally come to the end of the debate over marriage equality and our gay friends Imagehave won an unquestionable legal right to marry. Right?

Well, no.

Wednesday’s historic Supreme Court decision invalidating the key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, has likely set the stage for a series of arguments in the state houses over the issue. The majority opinion in the United States v. Windsor, written by Anthony Kennedy, essentially says that the Defense of Marriage Act for no good reason allowed the federal government to stick its nose into a state issue, the affairs of family, to single out one group and injure a class of people that one of those states, New York in this case, sought to protect. As he put it:

“DOMA’s avowed purpose and practical effect are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.”

What the decision doesn’t do, however, is make gay marriage the new law of the land. By making this a state issue, the court left open the unhappy idea that it might not strike down gay marriage bans in less liberal states.

Look at the decision on California’s gay marriage ban handed down the same day. In that ruling the court decided not to take up an appeal on California’s law, but this was an issue of standing, not the constitutionality of criminalizing gay nuptials. The state of California had refused to defend the law any longer, and the gay marriage opponents who appealed had no direct stake in that appeal, so legally the Supreme Court didn’t have to argue the substance before it simply passed the hot potato right into the garbage. (The majority opinion in that vote offered an interesting Red Rover game in which Roberts stood alongside justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan against Sam Alito and Sonia Sotomayor, crews as motley as one could imagine.) The decision in Windsor also found an executive branch–Barack Obama’s–unwilling to fight for the DOMA, so a party directed by Congress had to get involved.

Of course, the standing issue is important to this argument for myriad reasons. Standing means that a plaintiff must have been directly harmed or have some connection to the harm caused by a law. In the case of gay marriage opponents, that applies … um … never. As I’ve joked here before, gay marriage does no harm whatsoever to straight people other than directly offend what must be their smutty imaginations. That fallacy was again voiced relentlessly today as religious conservatives again said that allowing gays to freely marry somehow deprived them of freedom. I guess because the act contradicts what they believe, it is a form of mind control. I’m stretching there, but it’s hard to make sense out of such a brutally senseless argument.

But as glib as I’d like to be that questionable legal representation produced a happy effect, Emily Bazelon at Slate, among others, asks a fair question: Is it right that the will of California voters was subverted in this case because their state government refused to fight for a law they passed? Would our joy at seeing gay haters’ asses handed to them on an issue of standing be so funny if this were, say, a water pollution issue that our state refused to fight?

But I don’t wish to be ambiguous. I’m happy for the decision today, that five of the Supreme Court justices called the Defense of Marriage Act what it was–malice against a group of people. A law that disapproved of a class of people one state, New York, was trying to invest with some status and integrity.

You can, of course, read Justice Antonin Scalia’s whining dissent, filigreed with such thumb-sucking lines inveighing against the “black-robed supremacy” of a court gone out of control. It is more tired rhetoric about judicial activism, something Scalia, whose willingness to become activist in defense of conservative causes, ought to be too embarrassed to keep saying out loud by now.  Then there are predictable screeds by National Review editors who try to subvert the logic of tolerance by saying gay marriage proponents are somehow full of contempt. See what pretzel logic man Rich Lowry did there? I’m not the one hating the people I hate. It must be something they are doing. The people I hate must be causing it somehow.

That attitude was institutionalized by the DOMA. That attitude spawned a law of the land. That attitude was why the law came crashing down under its own weight.

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(Originally posted Monday, November 10, 2008 )

Santa Rosa, Calif. (AP) — During the battle over Proposition 8, the constitutional state ban against gay marriage, parents groups had protested loudly that it was unfair to foist the topic of gay marriage onto schoolchildren. Those groups are now rejoicing that the proposition has passed, and that schoolchildren are safe to return to much less troubling topics like the Iraq War, Chernobyl, Abu Ghraib and the Holocaust.

“It was very difficult for me as a teacher to explain gay marriage to my students,” said Santa Rosa fifth-grade teacher Margie Prendergast as her students sat in the other room watching The Sorrow and the Pity. “I mean, how do you tell a child that a princess can marry a princess? It’s just absurd.”

“I wish I was dead,” said Jonah Brooks, aged 8, after hearing what the Holocaust was. “I think at night that somebody’s going to kill me. I’m cold all over and have nightmares.”

Helen Schiffren, a 40-year-old upstate California homemaker, concurred with Prendergast.

“What people don’t understand when they’re making these decisions is that there are children in the schools who are innocent,” said Schiffren, whose 10-year-old daughter April had just seen a film of Inuits clubbing seals to death. “My daughter is innocent. Why does she have to be dragged into this?”

When asked how she liked the movie, April Schiffren said only, “The horror. The horror.” She then shook her head, walked away and refused to answer any more questions.

Coach Jed Stevens of John Milton Elementary School in San Luis Obispo said that California had done the right thing.

“What people don’t realize is that when marriage is redefined, it affects society at every level, even the level of children,” said Coach Stevens, whose class was enjoying a special viewing of Bambi. The kids emerged from the film later crying hysterically.

“Why did Bambi’s mother have to die?” said 8-year-old Robert Peters. “Coach Stevens said it was the circle of life. But what does that even mean to me? I wish I had a gun.”

Prendergast said that gay marriage would definitely affect kids, who, if it weren’t for school, would have absolutely no other way of knowing about what adults do, even in this digital age, where information feeds back at lightning speed.

“Everything kids know they know from their teachers and parents. They have no other ways to think for themselves and we must shield them from life’s most traumatizing and confusing topics like adult sexuality,” said Prendergast, right before her class asked her what Abu Ghraib was. Prendergast went into it in excruciating detail.

“Wow,” said Sam Singer, one of Prendergast’s 10-year-old students. “People turn into real monsters when they’re angry. Now I wonder day or night if somebody’s going to water-board me. If Ms. Prendergast is keeping out the worst stuff, then I already don’t want to live anymore.”

“Kids reflect us,” Schiffren said. “They are little perfect replicas of us. We have to protect them. For God’s sake we must, we must, we must.”

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(Originally posted Sunday, October 26, 2008 )

San Francisco (API) — The onset of gay marriage in the United States has ruined the lives of straight people, say an overwhelming majority of struggling and rageful heterosexual married couples.

Since the legalization of gay marriage in states like California, Connecticut and Massachusetts, 95% of heterosexual couples say that they can no longer enjoy their married lives at all and are feeling despondent and depressed over it. Sixty-seven percent say food doesn’t taste as good; 55% say they no longer relate to their spouse; 23% no longer perceive different colors; 10% said they can’t touch animals or certain kinds of synthetic fabric; and an overwhelming 98% say that they no longer enjoy the act of sexual intercourse.

“Gay marriage has just ruined everything,” said Wayne Betancourt of Franklin, Mississippi. “I feel like we’re all just walking around in a state of waking death at my house. And I know my neighbors feel the same way. Marriage used to be sitting down to dinner with my wife and talking about our day. Now evidently it’s supposed to be some kind of trannie Wigstock Festival listening to Kylie Minogue. I’m just shattered.”

“The other night my husband was making love to me,” said Rachel Haddingfield. “And just as he was about to reach orgasm, he stopped and said, ‘I don’t know why I bother Rachel. I mean, in today’s gay world, I might as well be cornholing you instead.’ I knew that was the beginning of the end. We’re barely speaking now.”

Since gay marriages were first made legal in San Francisco several years ago, heterosexual couples claim that their interpersonal domestic lives have been directly impacted, marked by strained communication, emotional outbursts, food phobia, psoriasis, mange and worst of all, passive-aggressive behavior such as an unwillingness to speak or take out the garbage and pay bills.

“This is only a guess, but I’d say we’ve lost about $4 trillion in productivity because of this,” said gas station attendant Lance Bangs.

Since the Supreme Court a few years ago found what many scholars say is an implicit right of gays to marry, most heterosexuals say that their belief in the legitimacy of their own marriages has now been irretrievably shaken. The divorce rate among them is now 50%.

“Can you imagine?” says John McManus of the Pew research institute. “Fifty percent! That’s half of American married people whose lives have been ruined. All by a certain group of people, I won’t say which, who want to turn a Christian institution into La Cage aux Folles.”

“My son tried to commit suicide last week,” said Foster Harrigan, a truck driver in Olympia, Washington. He refused to elaborate.

Among the traumatic feelings heterosexuals have felt since the first reports of legal gay marriage are less attraction to their spouses; worries that they themselves or their children might be gay; an unsettled feeling that all marriage is no longer valid and their relationships are thus likely to dissolve in confusion; post-coital depression; post-nasal drip; bleeding ulcers; wild swings in the stock market; and wild anxiety about a new age of violent, gay frontier justice.

“I hope the gays are happy,” said Wayne Rangel, a postal employee from Osh Kosh, Wisconsin. “They are selfish, selfish people and now their selfishness has penetrated the most intimate, sacred areas of my life. I just can’t look at my wife the same way knowing that our well-founded, healthy red-blooded heterosexual love has been turned into a mockery, a joke and a sham. Evidently now, according to the U.S. Constitution I can’t be married now unless I’m willing to be fisted by a male stranger in a Berlin bathroom stall. Am I supposed to kneel somewhere? How does this work?”

Many voiced concern that with the likely surge in gay ceremonies being performed, they won’t even know how to be married anymore.

“I mean, when I come home, do I ask my wife for a foot rub and have a romantic dinner or am I supposed to dress up like Dorothy, lube up with KY and watch Melrose Place?” asked Glenn Davis from upstate California. “I mean, we’re sitting at home now looking at each other like we’ve completely lost the script. It’s just dead silence for hours. Is it me? Am I going crazy?”

“These are our lives!” insisted kindergarten teacher Grace McCutcheon of Terre Haute, Indiana. “Marriage is a sacred Christian institution. It’s not an episode of Wonder Woman. I don’t think the gays understand that.”

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