Thursday, May 12, 2005

Good for the judicial system

Call it judiciary activism, at least there is one branch of government not taking its orders from the religious right. At least there's one branch of government that bases its judgements on legal fairness and not ideology. At least there's one branch of government who is looking out for all citizens, not just the few. A federal Judge strikes down Nebraska's ridiculous gay marriage ban known as 416. Now some of us voted against the amendment back in 2000 because well it was riddled with legal problems and because we choose not to hate people because they are different. So yay for Nebraska, well actually no cheers for us, because our state voted for it in the first place, but yay for judges. Too bad after next week's attempt to outlaw the filibuster in the Senate on judicial nominations our road to theocracy may be complete.

One minor problem with your statement: "judges"

There were no "judges" in this case, but a single judge whose "opinion" and interpretation completed ignored the democratic process.

And I'm not sure what dream world you are living in, but to think that 477,571 votes (70% of the people living in Nebraska) constitues a judge looking out "for all citizens, not just the few" is ludicrous.

This is the first time in the history of our country that a federal judge has struck down a state consitutional provision - no matter what your opinin of this issue is, this is a very scary infringement of state rights.

To date, twenty-six states have statues defining marriage between a man-and-a-woman, while 17 others have consitutional provisions... 27+17 = 44 states. I would hardly call that a "few"
Just to point out your errors:
1) One judge now, yes, but to be reviewed by appeals court and supreme court with "judges" on those benches. So there's that.

2) You are completely distorting our "democracy". Is 50%+1 on every issue a democracy? Should 51% of a country's citizens define every issue, define every right of the other 49%. Was are constitution not set up to give the judicial branch equal power for a reason? To be free of majority rule's imposition? To guarantee liberty and rights to every minority group so they would not be persecuted for having a different religion than the majority, a different skin color, different abilities, handicaps, sexual orientation? To make sure that if 70% of a state's citizens want to pass a law denying rights to a certain minority group, the judicial branch which protects those rights, will right the wrong because the law is unconstitutional?

3) You said: "This is the first time in the history of our country that a federal judge has struck down a state consitutional provision - no matter what your opinin of this issue is, this is a very scary infringement of state rights."

-That might be scary if it were anywhere close to the truth. Here's a jem from an 1824 Supreme Court decision (Gibbons v. Ogden) striking down New York's "state" law on how it exclusively granted coastal navigation licenses. Or the 1943 Murdock v. Pennsylvania ruling where the courts struck down Pennsylvania's "state" law of being able to tax the dissemination of religious literature. Or best yet, surely you've heard of the Court's 1954 ruling striking down Kansas "state" law of segregation in the public school system in Brown v. Board of Education. I could list thousands more, but then I'd just be a jerkface.

4) Lastly, 44 states have laws of the such we are talking about. (At least your numbers have been accurate in this post). That's great and all except as what has happened with the Nebraska law, they eventually will get thrown out because they all blatantly violate the 14th Amendment of our Constitution where and I'm quoting "No State shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws".
I do not believe my post was in error:

1. You are correct, it will be judges once it goes through the appeals process, but at this point it was a single judge - your original post said, "yay for the judges".

2. Your argument makes the assumption that the constitution asserts that any group of people have the right to marry. Which it does not. You will never find the defintion of marriage in the consitution - the state of Nebraska amended their constition to give it a definition. I do not believe that 416 denied any of the 14th amendment to this minority group. Let's take each one individually:

a. Deprive person of life. No, the people will go on living.

b. Liberty. I suppose if you make the argument that all people have a right to marry, and that marriage is just some "legal" term, then one could argue that 416 infringed upon their personal liberties. However, I would argue that marriage is not only a legal defintion, but also one of the foundational institutions of our country. If you argue that 416 infringes upon their personal liberties, then so does every other law we have that regulates the instition of marriage. (e.g. Polygamy, ages at which one is legally allowed to marry, etc.)

c. Property. No

d. Equal protections of the law. I assure you that homosexuals are protected under the same laws as every other citizen of the state of Nebraska. The 14th amendment does not state that each person has a right to the same "privelages" of the law, only the same "protections" of the law. Yes, those who are married have more privelages under the law, they do not have more protections.

3. Your examples are greatly out of context. In all of those cases, they were state "laws" that were enacted. Similar to the Nebraska law making homosexual marriage illegal in the state. The difference in this case is: this was a "Constitutional Provision", an amendment to the state constitution, which defined marriage between a man and a woman.

I challenge you to find one other case where a federal court over-threw a state consitutional amendment (not a state law). I do not know of any. That is not to say the federal courts do not (or should not) have the power to over-turn a state constituional amendment, I believe they should. But, if and only if, it violates the Constition of the United States. And that's where we differ, you believe this state amendment violates the 14th amendment - I do not believe that it does. (Nor do thousands of other Nebraskans, which surely some of them were smart enough to have researched it before making an opinion and voting on the issue)

4. I addressed this above.

I agree, it will ultimately go to the Supreme Court to decide if these laws and amendments do violate the 14th amendment. And if the Supreme Court decides they do, then so be it - personally, I do believe the courts will rule in favor of the State of Nebraska - but that remains to be seen.

I have enjoyed this debate and look forward to your reply. However, I will not reply afterwards. This issue has been devisive enough already to our country and quite frankly, neither of us are going to change the other's opinion.

On a different note: I have enjoyed watching Evans America and while I don't always agree with the views and values reflected, I do think it has made some wonderful statements and seems to fairly address the issues our country is facing.
The only issue at hand is the rights of people. That is it. Who gives a shit if 70% of Nebraskans voted for the bill. That certainly doesn't make it right or just in historical perspective.

At the turn of the century preachers preached from pulpits and good folks everywhere shuttered at the idea of bi-racial marriage. No person in their right mind would make the same statement publicly today.

We are pawns, idiots, and fools. Who gives a shit what the majority of the people want or think is libety. Liberty is liberty is liberty. There are no variances or lee-way on this subject to adjust for a person's political preferences.

All anti-homosexual political activity in this nation is the direct result of in-bred hatred and homophobia manifesting itself in a somewhat clever attempt at a genocide of sorts.

This will be the final frontier of the civil rights battle and the rights of women and minorities hinges heavily on the "I do's" of those goofy little guys and their supposed good fashion sense.

the future will be filled with freaks, faggots, and faux paus so watch out to all of Anne Coulter's disciples. You already lost the war, you're just too fucking stupid to realize it.

all men and their dogma must die...
Anonymous, you are correct that many other states have similar statutes, but the key word there is SIMILAR.

Nebraska's went further than any other single state's and went way beyond simply defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, as most of the other state's statutes do. This is the reason it was struck down as unconstitutional.

As the judge noted, ours was much more open to interpretation, and, to quote , he said the "broad proscriptions could also interfere with or prevent arrangements between potential adoptive or foster parents and children, related persons living together, and people sharing custody of children as well as gay individuals."

As the NY Times noted, "Forty states have laws barring same-sex marriages, but Nebraska's ban went further, prohibiting same-sex couples from enjoying many of the legal protections that heterosexual couples enjoy. Gay men and lesbians who work for the state or the University of Nebraska system, for example, were banned from sharing benefits with their partners."
Well I will end my thoughts on this discussion here unless, this spirals out of control. I think people who oppose gay marriage are one of two things, simply homophobic or they feel like it is an attack by the liberal left at bringing down their faith by somehow making marriage less meaningful. With the current divorce rates and weekend marriages by Britney Spears in Vegas, you can hardly say marriage is on a good standing. But that doesn't mean I'm saying it's already lost its sacred appeal so who cares. Actually the opposite, the gay/lesbian movement has come along way from the 80s. There are hundreds of thousands of dedicated couples who want the same life and rights and marriage perks that heterosexual couples have. Wouldn't these couples be great commitment rolemodels for kids, whether they're straight or not?

Secondly, I don't understand the argument against gay marriage. Will a federal amendment banning gay marriage:
a) stop people from being gay?
b) stop gay couples from living together?
c) stop gay couples form having and raising children through surrogate mothers and third party donors?

So then what will the amendment really do? As far as I can tell, simply deny financial advantages afforded to heterosexual couples. We want a constitutional amendment for that? Really stop and ask yourself what our children and grandchildren will think about us in 50 years. The way we look back on segregation and the civil rights movements back in the 50s and 60s. And for people who say it's not the same because gays choose to be gay, here's a research story that might change your mind:
But even if it doesn't, do we need science to prove what love is, what chemistry is, what family means? Can you prove that? There's also new poll data that says only half the country (50%) supports banning gay marriage. And that most of that support is from older generations while younger generations support gay marriage by much greater numbers. Why is this? I'll bet you it's because 98% of those who support banning gay marriage have never met a gay person. And not "I seen them on the telervision" met them, I mean had a conversation with them, got to know them. More and more numbers of younger people know a few because it's a little easier to come out these days. And I say that loosely because, it's probably still hell to be a gay teenager in America. And that's just wrong to have happening, because high school is hard enough and my heart has and always will go out to those who have it rough because they are different in the eyes of the majority for whatever reason. And adults who support marginalizing the gay minority need to face up to what comes with their crusade and what it does to families and teenagers. These aren't people that are hurting anyone, these are normal Americans, who are just like you and I. What is so wrong with that? It seems like such a waste of time to debate because once older generations pass away, the poll numbers will eventually shift way towards the other side, because as the polls and history shows us, with each new generation comes more tolerance.
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