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February 17, 2012 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Gov. Chris Christie vetoes New Jersey bill granting marriage equality. Meanwhile, the Maryland House narrowly passes such a bill. The MD Senate passed a similar bill last year, and no senators have announced any plans to change their votes, and Gov. Martin O'Malley has promised to sign it.
posted by Navelgazer (160 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
And yet NJ lowered their flag to half-mast in honor of Whitney Houston's death?

DOES NOT COMPUTE.
posted by hermitosis at 4:07 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Christie, what an asshole.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:09 PM on February 17, 2012 [148 favorites]


Chris Christie wages war in his state against public school teachers. Little surprise that he doesn't recognize civil rights, either.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:12 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wish I believed in Hell so I could picture him rotting in it. Well, I suppose I could still picture it...

*imagination time*

Mmm. Time for a smoke break!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:13 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


"An issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide." -- Chris Christie

"But here’s the thing about rights. They’re not actually supposed to be voted on. That’s why they’re called rights." -- Rachel Maddow
posted by tzikeh at 4:13 PM on February 17, 2012 [72 favorites]


Christie is a blight on NJ.
posted by FunkyHelix at 4:13 PM on February 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Hmmm, I wonder if this is his signal that he is going to try for the Republican Presidential nomination?
posted by benito.strauss at 4:14 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hmmm, I wonder if this is his signal that he is going to try for the Republican Presidential nomination?
posted by benito.strauss at 4:14 PM on February 17 [+] [!]


No, he's not running this year. The Establishment has decided on Romney.

And if he runs in 2016, it'll be from a hospital bed. The man is going to be 50 this year and he weighs every bit of 350 lbs. He's a walking MI.
posted by Avenger at 4:18 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


First off, as a born and bred Marylander I love me some O'Malley. I used to volunteer for him and other Maryland Dems back when he was mayor O'Malley and he was just a great guy that had the genuine passion for his beliefs. Plus he always had time for a beer and talk shop.

As for Christie..... Seems kind of cowardly doesn't it? Almost unmanly in the way he is trying to duck the issue to keep his prospects for future Republican elections and I think he needs to be hit with this constantly:

Coward....Unmanly....Sissy... It'll get under his skin. His whole shtick is that he's the tough talker who's not scared of those big bad teachers unions.
posted by slapshot57 at 4:18 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think so benito.. but in 2016. Was reading earlier today that there are actually a lot of people who think Chistie is not terribly homophobic personally, but this is all just political theater for 2016 and the SC primary in particular.
posted by edgeways at 4:19 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


But yay for Maryland
posted by edgeways at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2012


Don't we have representational government in the United States? Isn't this why we HAVE law makers?

(Yes, I live it California. Don't get me started on the intuitive/referendum process.)
posted by m@f at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think so benito.. but in 2016. Was reading earlier today that there are actually a lot of people who think Chistie is not terribly homophobic personally, but this is all just political theater for 2016 and the SC primary in particular.

Romney Douche.0?
posted by deanklear at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


The GOP is swimming against the tide, here. This plays to the rapidly shrinking homophobic base, but it's going to catch up with them as surely as the demographics will.

Exhibit A:

Obama DOJ defends military benefits for same-sex couples.
(Reposted from an earlier thread on GOP anti-gay douchebaggery.)
posted by joe lisboa at 4:24 PM on February 17, 2012


Hooray, Maryland! Having grown up across the river, I have to say c'mon, Virginia, are you really enjoying how bad you're looking this week in comparison?
posted by jocelmeow at 4:27 PM on February 17, 2012


My take on Christie was that this was entirely about cowardice. Or rather, cowardice plus NJ-swagger. I don't think Christie really cares about this issue one way or another. If anything, I think he knows which way the wind is blowing, but that having his name on this bill would kill his GOP viability down the road. So he tried everything he could to get it done as a referendum instead, which wouldn't require his signature, and said that he'd veto it quickly if done legislatively.

I don't think he wanted to veto it either, really. But they called his bluff, and a Jersey boy doesn't back down from that kind of threat.

So, yeah, political theatre and cowardice.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:27 PM on February 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


“An issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide,” the governor said in a statement.

Again I tell you, it is easier for a fat man to go through the eye of a needle than for a Republican to stand up for civil rights.
posted by three blind mice at 4:28 PM on February 17, 2012 [25 favorites]


Why does the party of smaller government keep insisting the government show up in our bedrooms? Company puts too much lead in a toy and they're all like, "The market will sort it out, stay away, Government!" but if two people who love each other and what to marry happen to be of the same sex, they're all, "SAVE ME, GUBMENT!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:29 PM on February 17, 2012 [51 favorites]


They want a government that's small enough to fit through the keyhole in your door.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:31 PM on February 17, 2012 [82 favorites]


Romney Douche.0?

Kind of expect Rom-E ver 2012.x.x will be the last national release weather or not he makes it to the big dance this fall or not.

2016 expect Jeb Bush, Tim Pawlenty (again) Christie (perhaps slimmed down), Rand Paul, perhaps Mark Rubio.

I hope the Dems start an aggressive candidate grooming schedule soon. Would be fun to se someone like Feingold, but I'm not sure he would run and right now the bench is pretty narrow.
posted by edgeways at 4:31 PM on February 17, 2012


The Maryland bill had Darth Cheney's help.
posted by caddis at 4:35 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Christie (perhaps slimmed down)

A tapeworm made of cancer and chronic wasting disease wouldn't slim that fucker down. Those jowls go all the way to his soul.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:36 PM on February 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Christie looks to be one of the frontrunners for Republican VP nom (him or Rubio).

Also, can we make fun of him for being a horrible person and not a fat person?
posted by Garm at 4:36 PM on February 17, 2012 [73 favorites]


Can we not bring Christie's weight into this, please? It's the same thing as when people attacked Palin solely based on her gender. There is plenty to despise about these people without resorting to those kinds of comments. Let's discuss the shit that matters, okay?
posted by A neighbourhood park all covered with cheese at 4:40 PM on February 17, 2012 [70 favorites]


DAMMIT, Garm. I owe you a Coke.
posted by A neighbourhood park all covered with cheese at 4:40 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


"An issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide." -- Chris Christie

"But here’s the thing about rights. They’re not actually supposed to be voted on. That’s why they’re called rights." -- Rachel Maddow


As tzikeh pointed out, Christie is punting this as "a choice for the people" (and Maddow's response is fantastic, but ignoring the fact that the people against gay marriage don't see them as rights).

And from the first article:
The governor’s veto was conditional, asking the State Legislature to amend the bill, so that rather than legalizing same-sex marriages, it would establish an overseer to handle complaints that the state’s five-year-old civil union law does not provide gay and lesbian couples the same protections that marriage would.
Bureaucracy! That'll make everyone happy!
posted by filthy light thief at 4:40 PM on February 17, 2012


I always fail to understand the idea that Republicans want a smaller government, but want the government to be up our asses in every single social matter there is. I guess I expect the people we elect to try to make sense, but that's really overestimating the American public.
posted by xingcat at 4:42 PM on February 17, 2012


Dick.
posted by 8dot3 at 4:44 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Double your pleasure,
Double your fun,
It's the right one,
The Doublemint guv
posted by Mblue at 4:44 PM on February 17, 2012


Also, can we make fun of him for being a horrible person and not a fat person?

Thank you. I'm a miniscule person myself, but this just seems unsavory to me. I made this post today based on mews I was getting from a politically-involved friend (who may be reading this thread now, actually) who is both a very large guy and who also leads about the healthiest lifestyle imaginable (strictly vegetarian, swims up to five miles at a time several times per week.) People have different body shapes, let's not make that a thing.

But Christie's cowardice, that's something to shit on him about.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:44 PM on February 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


caddis: The Maryland bill had Darth Cheney's help.

Interesting, especially with his thoughts on the route to gay marriage rights:
Despite his reputation as a hardcore Republican, Cheney is a supporter of gay marriage, which he believes should be legalized on a state-by-state basis.
Is this really an issue of States Rights, or his attempt to be supportive of the general Republican message, that Gay Marriage is Too Icky to support nation-wide, allowing the more conservative states to stay conservative in this manner, while not stopping the more progressive states (like IOWA) who realize that gay marriage is a right.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:46 PM on February 17, 2012


Maddow's response is fantastic, but ignoring the fact that the people against gay marriage don't see them as rights

And a lot of Southerners didn't see black people as people. That didn't make them any less wrong in their views.
posted by axiom at 4:47 PM on February 17, 2012 [19 favorites]


Obviously, I'm referring to antebellum southerners.
posted by axiom at 4:48 PM on February 17, 2012


Garm

Agreed, it's much more relevant that he's an ass
posted by slapshot57 at 4:49 PM on February 17, 2012


xingcat: I always fail to understand the idea that Republicans want a smaller government, but want the government to be up our asses in every single social matter there is.

Conservative double-think is amazing that way. See: "keep government out of my MediCare."
posted by filthy light thief at 4:49 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


tzikeh, legal rights are law, and they are voted on. I think Maddow meant something like 'it should have been in the constitution', but the constitution and it's amendments were also voted on.

We have rights if we as a community recognize them. They aren't laws of nature, they're rules we agree on to be able live together.

(I think we should recognize this one. I don't disagree with you on marriage equality, I disagree with you on 'they’re not actually supposed to be voted on'. Like it or not, they are voted on in one way or another. That's how it works.)
posted by nangar at 4:51 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is this really an issue of States Rights, or his attempt to be supportive of the general Republican message, that Gay Marriage is Too Icky to support nation-wide, allowing the more conservative states to stay conservative in this manner, while not stopping the more progressive states (like IOWA) who realize that gay marriage is a right.

Or it could be the effect of his simple lived experience.
posted by persona at 4:53 PM on February 17, 2012


Isn't Cheney's support of gay marriage because of his daughter?
posted by narcoleptic at 4:54 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Christie is a blight on NJ.
Yes, yes he is. Which is really saying something. sorry
posted by stagewhisper at 4:54 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


ya think?
posted by jonmc at 4:54 PM on February 17, 2012


This has interesting implications for Perry v. Brown, the California Prop 8 case just decided by the Ninth Circuit. If the Maryland law goes to the voters and the voters reject it, the likelihood that the much more conservative Fourth Circuit reaching the same result the Ninth Circuit did in Brown is pretty low. That would set up a circuit split, more or less compelling the Supreme Court to review it (assuming they deny cert on Perry).

I had previously thought they'd deny cert on Perry, as neither the liberal nor conservative bloc confident enough in having a majority. But now I'm wondering if the liberal wing will gamble and accept cert in Perry.

The ballot challenges in Maryland (and Washington) are distinguishable from California's, but the situations are still very, very similar.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:56 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


And yet NJ lowered their flag to half-mast in honor of Whitney Houston's death? DOES NOT COMPUTE.

Huh? Why not? she was a heterosexual and a gospel singer. Her last song was a riff on "Yes Jesus loves me"

Anyway, Christie has a bit of a problem. He's been considered to be a much more 'moderate' governor, but at the same time he's always being recruited for leadership in the GOP. Roger Ailes personally asked him to run.

But there's no way he could win the nomination now, since he's a moderate (He would do well in the general, though).

So, maybe he's looking to run for president in 2016 and wants to build his 'cred' outside his state.
And a lot of Southerners didn't see black people as people. That didn't make them any less wrong in their views.
And more to the point, they used the same argument about drinking from a waterfountain or going to a specific school not being "rights"

Even if marriage is a privileged, you shouldn't be allowed to take away privileges on the basis of a race/gender/religion or any other protected class. But being gay isn't a protected class in most states. Obviously, it probably should be, and it is in California, which is probably one reason prop 8 was found unconstitutional (and obviously there are differences between protected classes in employment and in other areas like housing or whatever, but in general 'protected class' basically means the things it's illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of)
I always fail to understand the idea that Republicans want a smaller government, but want the government to be up our asses in every single social matter there is.
Santorum, sure. But Christie isn't trying to ban gay sex here, he supports civil unions. Licensing marriage is a government function.

But the bottom line is that he's basically selling out what most people in his state support (52% support, 42% oppose) in order to establish his national profile as acceptably anti-gay with the republican base.
posted by Paris Hilton at 4:56 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Christie is a blight on NJ.

You know that four mile-wide fungus patch growing underneath Oregon? Even it is disgusted with Christie.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:59 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I always want to ask these "this is a matter for amendments to state constitutions!" types exactly when they think we should strike down Loving V Virginia and re-do that whole thing 'properly.'
posted by koeselitz at 5:01 PM on February 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Christie is a big fat ugly bully, using his veto like a club, and he is in the pocket of the Catholic Bishops of NJ. They say "jump", he says "how high?"

I am ashamed to be from NJ today. He is not expressing the views of most of us here, who see nothing wrong with gay marriage and have no clue how allowing gays to marry impacts heterosexual marriage in any way. I am an old married Catholic lady, and see no problem with gay marriage at all.

Yes, Christie is running hard for VP with whatever clown the Republicans decide is last standing in the clown car.
posted by mermayd at 5:05 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I made this post today based on mews I was getting from a politically-involved friend

"...okay, a cat. My 'friend' is a cat."
posted by Zozo at 5:10 PM on February 17, 2012 [16 favorites]


Oh, and just because I have no problem kicking him while he's down, here's a fun tumblr that sprung up in the last couple days targeting Sam Arora, a Democratic Rep out of Maryland's 19th district (Bethesda, mostly) who sandbagged this bill the last time around, leading to its failure, and who voted against it in vain this time.

I know him a little and he's a douchebag, a stuffed-shirt, and has no business representing his district. He was propped up in his initial run by Terry McAuliffe, who has since abandoned him, calling him a "disappointment." I believe he knows that he has no chance at re-election now and is simply shoring up his record to sell himself out to the highest-bidding lobbying firm.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:15 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Um, I know some of you are posting out of frustration and anger, but you do realize that there is no inherent contradiction in the Republican stances in favor of smaller government and social control right?

They want government to stay out of personal and economic decisions unless there is an overriding reason for legislation. (There is nothing to be gained from posting a straw-man that they are against all government supervision, full stop.) As they see it the protection of marriage (and fetuses) qualifies as an overriding reason. There is nothing inherently problematic here. Sure the premisses are disputable, and the argument may be unsound, but the argument is not invalid.
posted by oddman at 5:20 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


They aren't laws of nature, they're rules we agree on to be able live together

I strongly disagree. The United States is based on inalienable, natural rights. See the Declaration of Independence, the 9th Amendment, and the Federalist Papers.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:22 PM on February 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


Isn't Cheney's support of gay marriage because of his daughter?
On the other hand, Newt Gingrich has a gay sister, but is happy to sell out his own family for a chance to get his ass handed to him by Obama in the next election.
posted by Paris Hilton at 5:29 PM on February 17, 2012


For a brief moment, although I'm withholding the champagne until O'Malley signs the bill, I'm proud of my state's government.

And speaking as a fat man, Chris Christie is a fat son of a bitch who deserves to be laughed out of politics by any means necessary. So there. I can out-eat any one of you skinny motherfuckers.

And yes, I'm posting drunk right now.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:31 PM on February 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


And speaking as a fat man, Chris Christie is a fat son of a bitch who deserves to be laughed out of politics by any means necessary. So there. I can out-eat any one of you skinny motherfuckers.

My hypothesis is that Christie's belligerent-governor schtick is an attempt to keep people from laughing at his wide-as-he-is-tall girth. Fat, nice guys in the U.S. are guys like Chris Farley and Jonah Hill -- figures of comedy, you can't take them seriously. Christie has to be a tough-talking, hair-triggered asshole to preempt the assumption that he's weak, lovable, and undisciplined as many people assume massively fat men are.
posted by jayder at 5:43 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


The silver lining here is that the measure passed the NJ State legislature by a very wide (albeit not veto-proof) margin. At the absolute, very worst, we're going to be playing a waiting game for the next few years until Cory Booker becomes governor.

In the meantime, let's get the Civil Union bill fixed ASAP, and work toward making this a major issue in the next election cycle. New Jersey voters have a surprisingly good record of not supporting candidates who have bigoted views on social issues, and there are more than a few state legislators who have long since passed their expiration dates. It's easily within the realm of possibility to build up a veto-proof majority in the legislature, and have a governor who supports civil rights.

Christie was very foolish to stand on the wrong side of history here, given that the writing has increasingly been on the wall for same-sex marriage in NJ for quite some time now. It sucks to wait, but I would be shocked if NJ doesn't establish marriage equality in the next 3 years.
posted by schmod at 5:51 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Christie is hoping to be the VP candidate on what is sure to be a losing Mitt Romney ticket. He's a big old dickwad. History will judge him appropriately.
posted by spitbull at 5:53 PM on February 17, 2012


They want government to stay out of personal and economic decisions unless there is an overriding reason for legislation. (There is nothing to be gained from posting a straw-man that they are against all government supervision, full stop.) As they see it the protection of marriage (and fetuses) qualifies as an overriding reason. There is nothing inherently problematic here. Sure the premisses are disputable, and the argument may be unsound, but the argument is not invalid.

You forgot about: the drug war, having a gigantic military and invading countries for made-up reasons, voter ID laws, the death penalty, corporate welfare, dictating that teachers teach religious views alongside science, harassing illegal immigrants, etc

In other words, they want small government, except when they don't.
posted by goethean at 5:54 PM on February 17, 2012 [28 favorites]


Faint of Butt, I love you man, I really do. I don't think you understand man, how much I love you. I know we are drunk, I am totally drunk. Hey what is that? is that a squirrrrril, like a a a nut muncher rodent? Anywaysss, I love you man.

I just thought of something that probably not original. Is there a small man complex that translates into a fat man complex? Was Taft all, fuck you guys? Just a drunky question.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 5:56 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think Taft was mostly proud of himself for being the only person to ever lead each of the three branches of U.S. Government (as Speaker, then President, then Chief Justice.)
posted by Navelgazer at 5:59 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


SORRY TURNS OUT I'M WRONG ABOUT TAFT THERE!
posted by Navelgazer at 6:01 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love you too, Belle O'Cosity! And I also love Taft, but who doesn't?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:10 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good job Carcetti!
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


And speaking as a fat man, Chris Christie is a fat son of a bitch who deserves to be laughed out of politics by any means necessary. So there. I can out-eat any one of you skinny motherfuckers.
Eh, he's significantly less horrible then most republicans.

His position isn't any less homophobic then most national democrats (Civil unions: good :: gay marriage: bad). Obviously there's a difference in that national democrats pander to gay rights advocates, while republicans in general pander to the right. But Christie is a bit of an outlier in terms what most people see as being bad about republicans.

It's too bad that he did this, and he's selling out his state to pander to republicans in the rest of the country. But he's hardly Bob McDonnell. We just had a thread about the vaginal ultrasound law for abortion patients the other day. He tried to make April "Confederate History Month -- and since slavery gets covered in black history month obviously there wasn't any reason to mention it.

In terms of gay rights the guy actually made it legal to discriminate against gay employees in VA. Actually rolling back progress.

Obviously, you wouldn't expect to see someone like harry Ried, Obama or Clinton veto something like this if they were a governor, even though they 'officially' oppose gay marriage. But at the same time, even though the republican party as a whole is horrible, Christie is less horrible then most of them.
posted by Paris Hilton at 6:25 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


"In other words, they want small government, except when they don't."

That's right, and there's no inherent contradiction there. We all want things they we want them.
posted by oddman at 6:26 PM on February 17, 2012


The fact that Taft was fat wasn't as big of a deal since people didn't look at politicians on TV, they just read about them in newspapers and whatnot. I'm sure the woodblock portraits or whatever people looked at were probably more flattering then a photo would be.
posted by Paris Hilton at 6:27 PM on February 17, 2012


The Maryland news is really excellent. Maryland's existing rights for folks in domestic partnerships are pretty limited.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:27 PM on February 17, 2012


robocop is bleeding: "Why does the party of smaller government keep insisting the government show up in our bedrooms? Company puts too much lead in a toy and they're all like, "The market will sort it out, stay away, Government!" but if two people who love each other and what to marry happen to be of the same sex, they're all, "SAVE ME, GUBMENT!""

So how do we determine what gender corporations are so we can prevent HOMOSEXUAL CORPORATE MERGERS!!!!
posted by symbioid at 6:40 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


The fact that Taft was fat wasn't as big of a deal since people didn't look at politicians on TV, they just read about them in newspapers and whatnot. I'm sure the woodblock portraits or whatever people looked at were probably more flattering then a photo would be.

I wonder how we'd look back on the Kennedy/Nixon debates if Nixon's legacy hadn't been what it is.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:45 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


oddman: "That's right, and there's no inherent contradiction there. We all want things [when] we want them"

Which would be a compelling argument if the right wing didn't consistently campaign on the issue of "small government" as a good thing *in and of itself*. In this world however, there is a very real conflict between the professed attitude of Republicans towards government (it should be "small enough to drown in a bathtub") and the policies they support.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 6:47 PM on February 17, 2012


nangar: legal rights are law, and they are voted on. I think Maddow meant something like 'it should have been in the constitution', but the constitution and it's amendments were also voted on.

We have rights if we as a community recognize them. They aren't laws of nature, they're rules we agree on to be able live together.

(I think we should recognize this one. I don't disagree with you on marriage equality, I disagree with you on 'they’re not actually supposed to be voted on'. Like it or not, they are voted on in one way or another. That's how it works.)


The right for a man and a woman to marry is not in the Constitution, and was never voted on. The only laws about marriage are those that were enacted to rectify the fact that some people were being denied their rights, such African-Americans and Caucasian-Americans who wanted to marry one another, and now gays to marry one another.

So, no, that's *not* how it works.
posted by tzikeh at 6:48 PM on February 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


kirkaracha: "They aren't laws of nature, they're rules we agree on to be able live together

I strongly disagree. The United States is based on inalienable, natural rights. See the Declaration of Independence, the 9th Amendment, and the Federalist Papers.
"

And which particle collider do we use to observe these "natural" rights?
posted by symbioid at 6:49 PM on February 17, 2012


And yes, I'm posting drunk right now.


I'm digging the drunk vibe. I haven't been drunk in a long, long time, and the vibe is refreshing blast from the past.

Also, if anybody still hasn't seen Mayor Booker of Newark's comments on the referendum, whoa - it's awesome -

Booker
posted by facetious at 6:49 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Taft also had a pretty rockin' mustache.

(I'm not drunk)
posted by dirigibleman at 6:55 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


"And which particle collider do we use to observe these "natural" rights?"

The great thing is that you don't even need a microscope. You just see suffering and go 'Huh, maybe we should do something about that?'
posted by Garm at 7:00 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Conservatives don't want smaller government. It's just code for what they really want...lower taxes.
posted by rocket88 at 7:10 PM on February 17, 2012


Taft was, in fact, the last president with facial hair.

More facts about William Howard Taft can be found in this educational film.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 7:15 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maryland Dem Del @sam_arora ran as a pro gay legislator and a "netroots" candidate. Voted against it today. Let him know how you feel.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:17 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


You just see suffering and go 'Huh, maybe we should do something about that?'

I feel like "maybe" is doing a lot of work in your test. I see a lot of traditionalists suffering because people are being allowed to live and love as they please. Does natural law require me to do something about that?

So confusing.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:17 PM on February 17, 2012


The right for a man and a woman to marry is not in the Constitution, and was never voted on.

It wasn't? Gee, I seem to remember a little thing called the Bill of Rights, and the Ninth Amendment, which states:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

There is a right to marry in the constitution. The idea that this right was not in full view of the founders is without support. And if men and women may marry then men and men may marry and women and women.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:30 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Based on what I've learned on the subject from Fox News, I should now, in Maryland, be permitted to marry a horse, or a corpse, or even a corpse-horse!
posted by Mister_A at 7:32 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I see a lot of traditionalists suffering because people are being allowed to live and love as they please.

That's not suffering, that's whining and complaining. While the suffering certainly have reason to complain, it's not the only reason why someone might complain.
posted by axiom at 7:34 PM on February 17, 2012


We need the most fabulous armed insurrection EVER!
posted by Samizdata at 7:35 PM on February 17, 2012


And which particle collider do we use to observe these "natural" rights?

A particle collider is no more "natural" than McDonald's French Fries.

"Natural" in the sense you use it is a fallacy. It is an artificial construct. If man arose from natural processes, then every thing he creates is indeed natural.

In terms of rights, "natural" means rights people would have without agreeing to be bound by the government of a larger community. So would gays have the right to declare themselves married without a government? Yes. So it is a "natural" right.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:36 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


the argument may be unsound, but the argument is not invalid.

That's kind of like saying a watercraft is unsound, full of holes, and likely to sink at any moment -- but, hey, it's definitely a boat!
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:38 PM on February 17, 2012


I might eat my words, but right now, today, I am optimistic enough about the trajectory the country's on that I kinda think that by vetoing this bill Christie just ensured he will never, ever be president.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:39 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


What? Traditionalists? Stop trolling man, it's shameful.
posted by Mister_A at 7:43 PM on February 17, 2012


Christie wanted public vote to get off the hook...now he has joined the Tea Party?
When will log cabin Repubs realize they support the wrong folks.
posted by Postroad at 7:43 PM on February 17, 2012


Maryland Dem Del @sam_arora ran as a pro gay legislator and a "netroots" candidate. Voted against it today. Let him know how you feel.

Yep, see my comment above.

I battled Sam on some things while at Georgetown. Let me tell you, as much as politicians are, by common knowledge, equivocating bullshit artists only out for themselves, you will never meet someone so devoid of any ideals other than entitlement towards self-promotion as Sam Arora.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:44 PM on February 17, 2012


We have rights if we as a community recognize them. They aren't laws of nature, they're rules we agree on to be able live together.

That may be your opinion, but it's not even close to consistent with actual American legal tradition. In America's legal system, all rights are viewed as derived from inalienable natural rights (remember "We hold these rights to be self-evident..."?). Yes, there are also rights that are strictly legal, but most rights--the unenumerated rights we all have in the absence of legal structures that grant qualified legal rights that only make sense in the context of other legal structures--have always been viewed as absolute and universal in US legal tradition. That goes back to the Enlightenment era thinkers that inspired the founding legal framework of the US.

Do we need to start making Americans have to take the same citizenship tests we require from immigrants seeking US citizenship? This is basic, Foundational American Principles 101 stuff that every school child is supposed to know.

Probably home schooling to blame for that, too.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:45 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Log Cabin Republicans value economic advantage above human rights. They're no better than the other sorts of Republicans.
posted by Mister_A at 7:46 PM on February 17, 2012


What? Traditionalists? Stop trolling man, it's shameful.

You don't need bad metaethics to defend marriage equality. The 14th Amendment does all the work: natural law is just putting lipstick on the pig.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:48 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'd like to point out that in the dark depths of 2004, in the midst of a war, Karl Rove came up with a plan to put gay marriage bans on the ballots of swing states. Many credit them with swinging the election in Bush's favor.

Just as you sowed so shall you reap.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:48 PM on February 17, 2012


NJ Assembly Democrats Release Video Condemning Christie's Marriage Equality Veto, Promising Override.
posted by ericb at 7:58 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rachel Maddow Blasts Christie's Veto of Marriage Equality.
posted by ericb at 8:02 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


He needs to split ways with President Obama on this one and do what's right.
posted by threeants at 8:23 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, you mean the U.S. Senate and House delivered a bill to Obama repealing DOMA and Obama vetoed it? Fuck it, I'm voting Ron Paul.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:27 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always fail to understand the idea that Republicans want a smaller government, but want the government to be up our asses in every single social matter there is.

I think it is something to do with the way they want single mothers on welfare to get out there and work but want working mothers to stay home with the kids. Somewhere, to someone, that makes sense.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:38 PM on February 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


oops... '(remember "We hold these rightstruths to be self-evident..."?)' i just failed my own citizenship test.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:38 PM on February 17, 2012


re Sam Arora, thanks for the tip. I won't be voting for him next period.
posted by stratastar at 9:15 PM on February 17, 2012


Ironmouth: In terms of rights, "natural" means rights people would have without agreeing to be bound by the government of a larger community. So would gays have the right to declare themselves married without a government? Yes. So it is a "natural" right.

I don't understand this. Isn't this already possible? If two or more people, of any persuasion, hold a ceremony of their own accord and declared themselves married (or divine representatives of Xenu, for that matter), then they can treat themselves as such. But what's being desired here is recognition by the government registrar, or such, as married. It's very much to do with how generic individuals outside one's immediate sphere ought to treat the pair of people as an entity, for legal or administrative purposes. That's not a "natural" right.
posted by Gyan at 9:36 PM on February 17, 2012


You called?
posted by Taft at 9:47 PM on February 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


I might eat my words, but right now, today, I am optimistic enough about the trajectory the country's on that I kinda think that by vetoing this bill Christie just ensured he will never, ever be president.

One hopes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:11 PM on February 17, 2012


The United States is based on inalienable, natural rights. See the Declaration of Independence, the 9th Amendment, and the Federalist Papers.

Even if you take the Natural Law position on premise -- which I don't, but I admit that it seems from the evidence that a lot of the Founders did, or claimed to, so it's a fine place for a discussion -- the actual implementation of those eternal, natural rights is still via a very much temporal, and thus flawed, process. In other words, while the laws as written may approach and strive to reflect Natural Law, they will never do so perfectly. Thus, the Constitution and other governing documents have a certain amount of wiggle room built into them, presumably (from a Natural Law perspective) so that we can continually tweak the implementation to further realize and protect the underlying natural laws.

In other words, even if there are some sort of natural laws justifying everything, there's still room for argument as to (1) exactly what those Laws are, a question that seems to descend pretty quickly into theology; and (2) how best to protect / enshrine those Laws, whatever they are, in an actual implementable system of enforcable laws and regulations. Neither of those two tasks are trivial, and both introduce ample room for argument and democratic (or other) meddling.

Claiming, as Maddow does, that there are natural laws that clearly and unmistakably lead to gay marriage is begging the question. I'm sure that a suitably motivated law or philosophy student somewhere could (and although I'm not going to search for it, I'm sure that conservatives have) come up with a reasonably plausible argument why this is not the case, and find some internally-consistent conception of natural laws that do not protect homosexuality. (Probably not difficult, since a lot of the canonical spokesmen for Natural Law in the Western legal tradition are...not big on being gay. Cf. Aquinas.)

Personally, while I respect where Maddow is coming from, and it's a nice rhetorical position as long as you don't think too hard about it, I don't think that the Natural Law argument really provides a good defense for homosexuality and other controversial (for irrational reasons) social issues, and in fact plays right into conservatives' hands insofar as it's generally reducible to religion and in particular Judeo-Christian morality, which is their home turf. I think the better defense is to abandon Natural Law as the poorly-clothed medieval theology that it is, in favor of legal realism or something more quasi-positivist, and in doing so force opponents of gay marriage to justify their stance on rational grounds rather than moral ones if they want to have the courts enforce it. Arguments against gay rights stand very little chance when those are the house rules.

tl;dr: The less 'natural laws' and the more rationality and legal realism we have in the courts, the better off we'll probably be on gay issues, and a whole lot of other stuff besides. Natural laws are too easily a stalking horse for religion, and the further we keep that away from the law, the better.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:43 PM on February 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Michael K Williams speaks out for Marriage Equality.
posted by kmz at 11:47 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dear God, we should not be putting civil rights issues to a popular vote to be subject to the sentiments, the passions of the day.

Here's a great response from Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, NJ.
posted by iloveit at 1:01 AM on February 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, that Cory Booker thing that's been linked a few times is fantastic. He says the kind of thing that should be put to a vote is, oh, say, something like the millionaire's tax, using the money to create jobs and more millionaires. Brilliant.

Holy shit, you mean the U.S. Senate and House delivered a bill to Obama repealing DOMA and Obama vetoed it?

Oh please. Obama clearly supports full gay equality under the law in his heart, and just as clearly refuses to do so publicly because he and his advisers think it will cost him swing votes.

That's about as direct a comparison with what Christie just did as it's possible to make.
posted by mediareport at 6:08 AM on February 18, 2012


I don't really give a flying fuck in a rolling donut what Obama "supports in his heart," I give a damn about whether or not he's willing to actually do something concrete. And so far, on most things, he's not. He was willing to kill DADT, but he's not willing to put any weight behind a repeal of DOMA, he's not willing to put any weight behind GENDA (which would make gender identity and sexual orientation protected classes). What he "supports in his heart" isn't worth a single damn thing to me in the real world, as a queer woman, if he's not willing to actually do anything to secure and protect my rights.
posted by MadGastronomer at 6:28 AM on February 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, yeah, I agree. That's my point. Both Obama and Christie deserve nothing but scorn for their respective positions on gay equality.
posted by mediareport at 6:51 AM on February 18, 2012


Ironmouth: In terms of rights, "natural" means rights people would have without agreeing to be bound by the government of a larger community. So would gays have the right to declare themselves married without a government? Yes. So it is a "natural" right.

I don't understand this. Isn't this already possible? If two or more people, of any persuasion, hold a ceremony of their own accord and declared themselves married (or divine representatives of Xenu, for that matter), then they can treat themselves as such. But what's being desired here is recognition by the government registrar, or such, as married. It's very much to do with how generic individuals outside one's immediate sphere ought to treat the pair of people as an entity, for legal or administrative purposes. That's not a "natural" right.


If a right originates in a circumstance where no government existed, and then government arises, the government should recognize that right.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:50 AM on February 18, 2012


Well, yeah, I agree. That's my point. Both Obama and Christie deserve nothing but scorn for their respective positions on gay equality.

Really, the guy who vetoed gay marriage and the guy who has done more actual things for gay equality on the national stage than any other?

Let's break this down. Christie has only ever acted against against gay equality.

Obama? Fulfilled a campaign promise to repeal DADT. Got his Republican SecDef and the Joint Cheifs to go to the hill and throw it in their faces, then engineered a vote which passed, then signed it.

Then ordered his administration to not defend in court key portions of DOMA while he fought for its repeal.

Yesterday he said he's not going to defend in court any law denying gay service members rights.

When Obama's had a chance, he has actually done things for gay equality.

Since the federal government does not control marriage, he can't do a thing about that.

Christie? He's had one golden opportunity to do the right thing and he failed. Miserably.

More importantly, obviously a lot of people are changing their minds on gay marriage right now. So we're supposed to welcome them or spit on them? Which is a more productive attitude in terms of securing gay rights?
posted by Ironmouth at 8:01 AM on February 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


but he's not willing to put any weight behind a repeal of DOMA

Really? Its a fucking campaign promise. Clinton signed it. What's he supposed to do, send troops into the House to force the GOP majority to vote for it? He's said clearly that he wants it and will sign it if they put it on his desk. But there's never been anywhere near the votes for it and repeatedly pounding a fist on a table with no results actually weakens his chances of getting it passed.

This is real life, not The West Wing
posted by Ironmouth at 8:07 AM on February 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


tzikeh: "The right for a man and a woman to marry is not in the Constitution, and was never voted on. The only laws about marriage are those that were enacted to rectify the fact that some people were being denied their rights, such African-Americans and Caucasian-Americans who wanted to marry one another, and now gays to marry one another."

To sort of amplify your point, actually we didn't pass laws allowing black and white people to marry each other. As I mentioned above, that was decided by the Supreme Court in Loving v Virginia. So all these conservatives going on about 'judicial activism' - well, that's nonsense, as I have a strong feeling very few of them would admit to being against that decision, which was one of the more noble in the court's history.
posted by koeselitz at 8:10 AM on February 18, 2012


mediareport and Madgastronomer

Believe me, I truly sympathize with your frustrations about how long it's taking to move forward LBGT rights in this country. I do. BUT COME THE FUCK ON, Obama and Christie the same? Obama is slowly and methodically pushing forward equality in this country, and more so an equality that will be PERMANENT against an opposition party who wants you to legislate you out of the public sphere. Yes he could just wave a magic wand but it would be used against him as a cudgel in the next election and the next republican president would just change it right back.

These things take time to do properly and the other side is not making it easier. If you're really frustrated elect more LGBT-friendly congresspeople because if you hadn't noticed we have a pretty damn conservative house right now.

I mean really, this is why it's so god-damned frustrating to be a democrat sometimes. We're making damn good progress on all fronts and single issue voters run around yelling "Well I'm only getting 60% of what I want so I'm going to sit out this election".

Because the Republicans will repeal DOMA I'm sure.
posted by slapshot57 at 8:27 AM on February 18, 2012


Ironmouth: If a right originates in a circumstance where no government existed, and then government arises, the government should recognize that right.

Almost by definition, the circumstance where no government existed, would be anarchic. In which case, a whole host of "rights" would be enjoyed by those possessing the muscle and the savvy, and not a whole lot by the rest. So your principle if applied has very unsettling implications. I thought government was to sorta get away from that Hobbesian jungle.
posted by Gyan at 8:37 AM on February 18, 2012


A part of me wants to see Chris Christie vs. Cory Booker in 2016.

If only for the cable news shows making awful New Jersey puns all the way to the ballot box.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:42 AM on February 18, 2012


Actually, I want anyone v. Cory Booker in 2016. Glenn Beck actually has attacked him multiple times with some minor race baiting, so you know he's good.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:42 AM on February 18, 2012


I think he wants VP this year. Not sure if he'll run for president. I get the feeling people don't dislike him for his weight, but it could give voters pause for health reasons similar to how they did for McCain. He might lose some weight.

What might sink Christie is that while the Tea Party loves his Youtube Chanel where he tells "entitled teachers" what for, they don't like how he's more prone to compromise with unions rather than destroy them, or how he is really more a moderate than anyone that's ever been up as a "Not Romney" in this cycle. I think he's actually more moderate than Romney as Romney stands today.

I guess he could play the "It was either that, or get nothing done in blue New Jersey" card, but they hate when Romney does that. They hate compromise. There's an established effect where if a Tea Party favorite says "compromise" in any context, they will lose approval overnight.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:47 AM on February 18, 2012


Then again, that Tea Party house sure is not helping the brand.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:47 AM on February 18, 2012


Really, the guy who vetoed gay marriage and the guy who has done more actual things for gay equality on the national stage than any other?

There were people who tried to tell me Clinton had done more for gay rights than anyone else on the national stage when he instituted DADT. I am not impressed.

Obama? Fulfilled a campaign promise to repeal DADT. Got his Republican SecDef and the Joint Cheifs to go to the hill and throw it in their faces, then engineered a vote which passed, then signed it.

He waited years to do it, put very little work into it, and got it done only after the public was for it and the Pentagon was publishing stuff saying "This is bad, get rid of it." Took no moral courage or political capital. It's a bone he threw to us, and frankly one that doesn't affect many of us. It's a good thing, but it's a small one, and one that cost him almost nothing. He should not be getting this much credit for it.

Then ordered his administration to not defend in court key portions of DOMA while he fought for its repeal.

In ONE case, while he continued to defend it in DOZENS of others. Because he didn't like the argument.

Yesterday he said he's not going to defend in court any law denying gay service members rights.

Not defending in court is not the same as actually fighting against.

Obama won't even speak to the gay press directly. He is not our friend. He is not working for our rights. He won't even say he's in favor of marriage equality, which would be nice, really. He just keeps repeating that bullshit about how his opinion is "evolving."

But, just to clarify, I'm not the one who's comparing him to Christie in anyway. I'm just sick of being told that really, he supports my rights, deep in his heart, when actually he's done absolutely nothing for me on this front, since I am not and never will be in the military.

What I want is for him to show some moral courage and actually support the LGBT community -- all of us, dammit! -- in real ways, and stop behaving as if we'll just vote for him no matter what, because we don't have another option. Even just actually speaking to our community directly, instead of his staff mouthing vague platitudes at the gay press, would be more than he's giving us now. It's disgusting, and I'm disgusted with him.

These things take time to do properly and the other side is not making it easier. If you're really frustrated elect more LGBT-friendly congresspeople because if you hadn't noticed we have a pretty damn conservative house right now.

I mean really, this is why it's so god-damned frustrating to be a democrat sometimes. We're making damn good progress on all fronts and single issue voters run around yelling "Well I'm only getting 60% of what I want so I'm going to sit out this election".


Incrementalism! We have to wait! The party really DOES support us, or at least they're not as mean to us as the other guys, so we HAVE to support the party, no matter how little they're actually doing! Yeah, whatever, I've heard it. It fails to convince me to do anything.
posted by MadGastronomer at 4:09 PM on February 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


What I really want Obama to do is to support ENDA -- vocally and publicly, and with the weight of his office. (And I want Barney Frank and his transphobic crew to stop trying to strip out the gender identity protections.)

He's taken no risks at all for the LGBT community. None.
posted by MadGastronomer at 4:26 PM on February 18, 2012


I completely stand by my statement that there is no difference in Christie's and Obama's positions with regard to gay marriage (I said "gay equality," which blurred the issue, but I assumed folks would recognize in this conversation I meant "gay marriage." I apologize for that.)

Folks talked above about Christie's cowardice. Early on, one even suggested we call Christie a "sissy" for his cowardice. What is the exact nature of Christie's cowardice on gay marriage? It is this: Christie and his advisers believe "gay marriage" is a third rail in politics - it's death to support it but not death to support a compromise like "civil unions." It seems possible that in the future, when polling suggests "gay marriage" has enough traction to not be a political liability, Christie will be comfortable changing his view to one that supports full equality under the law for every American.

This position is fundamentally exactly the same as Obama's position on gay marriage.

That is what I meant. Remember: Obama has retreated on this point since he became president, so please don't piss on my head and tell me it's raining. Currently, on the ground (where it matters), Obama's position on gay marriage is indistinguishable from Christie's position on gay marriage. I eagerly await further developments.
posted by mediareport at 4:49 PM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now I'm inclined to agree with mediareport: There is NO functional difference between Christie's position on marriage equality and the President's. None.
posted by MadGastronomer at 4:53 PM on February 18, 2012


He won't even say he's in favor of marriage equality, which would be nice, really. He just keeps repeating that bullshit about how his opinion is "evolving."

Quoted for motherfucking truth.
posted by mediareport at 5:01 PM on February 18, 2012


He won't even say he's in favor of marriage equality, which would be nice, really. He just keeps repeating that bullshit about how his opinion is "evolving."

Ugh. I don't know where this idiot meme came about and why liberals keep parroting it. Obama has made his position perfectly clear: He's personally against it. He personally doesn't want people discriminated against by disallowing gay couples to get married.

This is not fence sitting. This is not flip flopping. This is not political. You are allowed to dislike or disapprove or something but not want to stop anyone from doing it.

For example I don't like nazi hate speech. But I'll damn sure fight for your right to say you hate Jews.

But by all means continue on your rant.
posted by Talez at 5:51 PM on February 18, 2012


He's personally against it.

He's personally against what?
posted by mediareport at 5:53 PM on February 18, 2012


He's against gay marriage.
posted by Talez at 5:55 PM on February 18, 2012


*laughs*

No he's not. You're seriously telling me that Obama himself thinks that gay equality in marriage law is wrong?

He's playing pure politics with basic human rights: he's currently against it (and dropping hints that he's "evolving") because he's stupidly allowed some of his political strategists to convince him it would lose him more votes than it would gain. You can dress it up however you like, but the idea that Obama has a personal moral objection to gay marriage is absurd on its face, and I doubt anyone else here would agree with you on that point.
posted by mediareport at 6:00 PM on February 18, 2012


"I’ve stated my opposition to this [prop 8]. I think it’s unnecessary," Obama told MTV. "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America’s about."

Do go on, mediareport.
posted by Talez at 6:07 PM on February 18, 2012


I'll believe that he's for marriage equality when he actually does something to achieve it. Mealy-mouthed, half-assed, I'm-against-discrimination-but-gay-marriage-is-icky bullshit does not cut it with me.
posted by MadGastronomer at 6:09 PM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


mediareport: "That is what I meant. Remember: Obama has retreated on this point since he became president, so please don't piss on my head and tell me it's raining. Currently, on the ground (where it matters), Obama's position on gay marriage is indistinguishable from Christie's position on gay marriage. I eagerly await further developments."

Actually, there's a clear distinction. Christie is governor of a state where a majority of the people favor marriage equality. Obama is President of a country where a majority of the people do not favor marriage equality (although a majority do claim to support civil unions, so that's at least something, even if it is far short of acceptable). Thus, it makes sense to me that each would approach the subject differently.

Nationally, support for marriage equality has been on the rise since Obama was elected. Hopefully more can be done in his next term, presuming he has one.

Would I rather see an immediate repeal of DOMA and a constitutional amendment banning discrimination against GLBT people? Yes. Will I get mad that Obama is slowly pushing equality forward, absolutely not. I am not going to complain about a popularly elected official making progress in the face of a public that refuses to support it.

Also, I think it's odd how people think that it's just coincidence that the military finally figured out that DADT was bad policy shortly after Obama took office. It's like any action that doesn't have a Times Square-sized flashing neon sign pointing to it doesn't exist. God forbid that someone do something slowly and quietly so as to avoid handing control of the country to the fucking theocrats.

Sometimes guile trumps courage.
posted by wierdo at 6:15 PM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm starting to think that the only thing that will make certain people in this thread happy is if Obama makes himself a political martyr for equality covered in metaphorical blood oozing from his head after banging it repeatedly against the brick wall that is the house.
posted by Talez at 6:19 PM on February 18, 2012


Actually, there's a clear distinction. Christie is governor of a state where a majority of the people favor marriage equality. Obama is President of a country where a majority of the people do not favor marriage equality (although a majority do claim to support civil unions, so that's at least something, even if it is far short of acceptable). Thus, it makes sense to me that each would approach the subject differently.

The clear distinction is if congress sent him a bill tomorrow making gay marriage the law of the land he would actually sign it.
posted by Talez at 6:24 PM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


You can get mad or not at whatever you like, wierdo, but don't tell us not to be mad that Obama isn't actually pushing equality forward at all, and isn't even genuinely arguing for it, just mouthing a few platitudes occasionally while still saying same sex marriage is icky.

And people DIDN'T magically think it was badly policy right after Obama took office. Both public opinion and military opinion have been swinging that way for a long time, and were in favor of the repeal significantly before Obama bothered to do anything.

And, once again, incrementalism is a piss-poor argument, and doesn't work well. You have to go for the whole thing, or you get nothing very gradually. While he's pissing about, we are being hurt by this.

The clear distinction is if congress sent him a bill tomorrow making gay marriage the law of the land he would actually sign it.

Since it hasn't happened, it's not a very practical difference. There will be a practical difference when he actually works towards marriage equality, not just declines to work against it. There is a difference.
posted by MadGastronomer at 6:27 PM on February 18, 2012


What I'm really saying here is that he doesn't get any credit from me for not doing anything.
posted by MadGastronomer at 6:30 PM on February 18, 2012


Now I'm inclined to agree with mediareport: There is NO functional difference between Christie's position on marriage equality and the President's. None.

Other than the fact that Obama literally functionally has no legal power to do anything about gay marriage and Chris fucking Christie does have the functional legal power to do something about it and yesterday he acted directly to deny gay marriage to millions of people.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:38 PM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


He hasn't DONE anything. He hasn't. He has done NOTHING to actually advance the cause of marriage equality. Stopping defending against ONE lawsuit is NOTHING. Saying that gay marriage is icky but discrimination is bad doesn't actually accomplish anything. Saying he'd sign a bill that won't actually be on his desk GETS NOTHING DONE. And advocating incrementalism ALSO accomplishes NOTHING. You have yet to produce ANY evidence that he has done ANYTHING to ACTUALLY advance the nation towards marriage equality.

What he CAN do is actively advocate for it, actively encourage other Democrats to work towards it, and stop defending DOMA against ALL lawsuits.
posted by MadGastronomer at 6:41 PM on February 18, 2012


The clear distinction is if congress sent him a bill tomorrow making gay marriage the law of the land he would actually sign it.

Let us get real all up in here. Congress cannot enact a bill to legalize marriage anywhere. It may only act to regulate its interestate aspects. Barack Hussein Obama could personally want to himself get gay married in Alabama tomorrow and he could do nothing about it.

The power to marry or not marry is vested in the states, which hold the police power, which is the power to regulate our daily lives. THEREFORE to get mad at Obama for not passing national gay marriage is stupid. He cannot do it. He has no power to do it. All he can do is remove interstate restrictions on it, like DOMA, which he pledged from the beginning of his campaign to work to repeal.

So if people want to equate Chris Christie and Obama on marriage equality, first please study the U.S. Constitution and the laws of our land.

Seriously, one man has no power on the subject. The other had the power and denied millions that right with a stroke of the pen yesterday for naked political gain. Christie has done nothing for gays, EVER. Instead he has ACTIVELY HARMED THEM.

Obama on the other hand, has worked to do all that is possible in his sphere to help gays--more than all other presidents combined. The second-most gay friendly president, Clinton, put DADT in and put his pen to DOMA.

Obama has completely repealed DADT and is trying his damndest to get rid of DOMA.

To repeat. One guy has done everything in his power to help, the other has done everything in his power to hurt.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:53 PM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


What he CAN do is actively advocate for it, actively encourage other Democrats to work towards it, and stop defending DOMA against ALL lawsuits.

So, you think that if Obama banged his fist on the table about gay marriage it would make a difference in any state? Let's get specific: In what states, by name, do you think the president advocating for gay marriage would do any good? Name one and tell me why.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:55 PM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let us get real all up in here. Congress cannot enact a bill to legalize marriage anywhere. It may only act to regulate its interestate aspects. Barack Hussein Obama could personally want to himself get gay married in Alabama tomorrow and he could do nothing about it.

Yes. I know this. And I was talking from a hypothetical point of view. But it is important to follow it up with your clarification. Especially since people scream "WHAT ABOUT DOMA" when the topic of Feds getting involved with marriage shows up.
posted by Talez at 6:56 PM on February 18, 2012


Talez, I know you got that. Myi issue is that a lot of people don't seem to know this.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:01 PM on February 18, 2012


And pass a law that would allow the federal government to recognize the marriage, which, let me tell you, is fucking HUGE. And that's what DOMA prevents, the federal acknowledgement of marriage, regardless of whether or not individual states recognize it. Federal taxes, benefits programs, veteran's benefits, SS benefits, immigration status... The list is long, actually.

He has NOT worked to do all that is possible. As I have said several times, he can actively advocate for true equality, which he does not do. He is NOT doing his "damndest" to get rid of DOMA, as there are a number of things he could do, starting with advocating. Why do you keep claiming he's doing everything he can when he's NOT?

So, you think that if Obama banged his fist on the table about gay marriage it would make a difference in any state? Let's get specific: In what states, by name, do you think the president advocating for gay marriage would do any good? Name one and tell me why.

Might do something in Illinois, where he's a voter. Might do something to change opinions everywhere. Any one mind he changes is SOMETHING. And it's what any person can and should do: be openly in favor of true equality. If he's not doing it, then he's not doing everything he can. And advocating is NOT "fist banging." He can simply say, every time it comes up, that he's in favor of equality, and that would be more than he's doing now. What he'd doing now is equivocating, is saying gay marriage is icky, but he'll give some half-hearted opposition to inequality anyway. It's not the same thing.
posted by MadGastronomer at 7:02 PM on February 18, 2012


And pass a law that would allow the federal government to recognize the marriage, which, let me tell you, is fucking HUGE.

The President cannot pass a law. He is not a dictator. He can only sign what the Congress passes. Do you know anything about politics? How is he going to get the GOP house to repeal DOMA?

And when the Dems had the House? What did he do? He took the first step, which is to get DADT repealed. Because you go for DOMA on day one, you LOSE. This is the real world, where the big boys play, not a TV show. Do you know why we had DADT? Because Clinton tried to force gay military service and was crushed by his own party, who had total control of both houses.

So, back in the real world, this shit takes skill, time and coaltion-building. And if you had a better plan for how to get it done, I'd love to hear it. Be sure to tell me exactly how you convince congressmembers in purple and red states to vote for it and make sure everyone stays in office so that Obama and the rest of them aren't thrown out on their asses next time around and the GOP enacts DOMA II: The Revenge. Because remember what happened when Clinton failed at allowing for gay service? 18 years passed before we got another crack.

This aint tiddly-winks. Its power politics and the prices of losing is huge--directly for your issue. That's why you do it in steps--because the price of losing is steep.

Let's hear your way better plan for doing this politically.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:20 PM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


And advocating is NOT "fist banging." He can simply say, every time it comes up, that he's in favor of equality, and that would be more than he's doing now.

Name a state where that will help. I can name a lot where it would hurt. Everyone he would convince is already convinced. But he comes in and says something and the GOP starts screaming federal power is forcing us to do this. And a lot of independents and Republicans with libretarian tendencies will go against gay marriage precisely because he's for it.

This is about playing it smart, not playing it dumb. And I want to play to win.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:25 PM on February 18, 2012


So I should just sit down, shut up, and be grateful for whatever crumbs I get, because that's all the Dems can spare me, is really what you're saying?

And Obama can, personally, still speak up in support of equality, and can still choose to stop defending ALL lawsuits against DOMA, and he DOESN'T, so NO, he isn't doing everything he can. And he's losing his base vote by pandering to the middle instead.
posted by MadGastronomer at 7:26 PM on February 18, 2012


The President cannot pass a law. He is not a dictator. He can only sign what the Congress passes. Do you know anything about politics? How is he going to get the GOP house to repeal DOMA?

Actually, the line you quoted was in response to the claim that the federal government can only regulate interstate marriage laws, which is not true. The federal government can choose to recognize marriages itself, and give us the rights that go with that. I didn't say Obama could pass it himself.

Name a state where that will help. I can name a lot where it would hurt. Everyone he would convince is already convinced. But he comes in and says something and the GOP starts screaming federal power is forcing us to do this. And a lot of independents and Republicans with libretarian tendencies will go against gay marriage precisely because he's for it.

This is about playing it smart, not playing it dumb. And I want to play to win.


Incrementalism. We should only take baby steps, because that's all we can get. It's not true, and it's never worked. It didn't get this country civil rights, but people fighting full-on did. And no, not everyone who can be convinced is convinced.

It's my rights that are being fucked with here. Don't tell me I shouldn't advocate them, and don't tell me I should count someone as an ally who DOESN'T advocate for them.
posted by MadGastronomer at 7:31 PM on February 18, 2012


Ironmouth: Just to be fussy, Congress could pass a law legalizing gay marriage in DC and presumably other US land that is not part of a state, like the USVI or Guam.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:01 PM on February 18, 2012


Stopping defending against ONE lawsuit is NOTHING.

I'm not sure where you got this idea, but Obama has told the Justice department to stop defending DOMA in court, period.

He is also on the record supporting the Respect For Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA.

He may not be doing as much as you think he should be doing, but he's doing more than you think he is doing.
posted by hippybear at 8:06 PM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually, the line you quoted was in response to the claim that the federal government can only regulate interstate marriage laws, which is not true. The federal government can choose to recognize marriages itself, and give us the rights that go with that. I didn't say Obama could pass it himself.

Congress lacks that power under the Constitution. Only a state may declare persons to be married. There is no power granted to the federal government to do so.
Basic Con law here.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:07 PM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage."

...Do go on, mediareport.


Really? You're telling me something Obama said right before th 2008 election, when it was clear his party was going to get its ass handed to it, accurately reflects his feelings about gay marriage?

I'm sorry, but that is just unbelievably naive. The guy is smart; he *knows* gay marriage is going to happen sometime in the next 5-15 years. He just doesn't have the guts to help make it happen now.

Seriously. Is there anybody else in this thread who honestly thinks Obama has a personal, principled moral position *against* gay equality in marriage rights?
posted by mediareport at 8:12 PM on February 18, 2012


Ironmouth, no, actually, the government CAN recognize a marriage. The state licenses a marriage, but the federal government chooses whether or not to recognize it for its own purposes, including but not limited to tax purposes, social security benefits, other kinds of benefits, and immigration. We can't have them. We can't have any of the things granted to opposite-sex married couples under federal law. The federal government does not recognize same sex marriages as marriages under federal law. It can. It doesn't. DOMA blocks it from doing so. How is this not so?

And no, Obama only ordered them to stop defending Section 3 of DOMA. Everything else is still being defended. Which, if I recall correctly, meant that only one case was completely dropped at the time.
posted by MadGastronomer at 8:15 PM on February 18, 2012


Well, DOMA only has three sections... One of them is the title of the legislation, the second is about states recognizing marriages performed in other states. The third section is the one which pertains directly to Federal powers, and is the one which the DOJ is most likely to be taking (now not taking) cases about.

Besides, they are still enforcing the law, which is different from defending it in court. One means they are carrying out their mandate toward the law of the land, the second means they're opening the door toward that law being changed.

Anyway, it isn't just about one case. Several deportation cases have been suspended from proceeding because the DOJ refuses to defend DOMA. We've even had at least one thread about that here on MetaFilter.
posted by hippybear at 8:25 PM on February 18, 2012


You're telling me something Obama said right before th 2008 election, when it was clear his party was going to get its ass handed to it, accurately reflects his feelings about gay marriage?

It wasn't clear his party was going to get its ass handed to it. Unless you call winning the presidency and padding your majority in the House by 21 seats getting your ass handed to you.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:41 PM on February 18, 2012


Oops, I was thinking of 2010. But the point remains: it was right before an election. The other point remains, too: Is there anybody else in this thread who honestly thinks Obama has a personal, principled moral position *against* gay equality in marriage rights?
posted by mediareport at 9:42 PM on February 18, 2012


MadGastronomer: "And no, Obama only ordered them to stop defending Section 3 of DOMA. Everything else is still being defended. Which, if I recall correctly, meant that only one case was completely dropped at the time."

Section 3 is the only important section. As hippybear said, it's almost impossible for Section 2 to come up in Federal court anyway; as far as I can tell, it never had. So yes: you can rest assured, taking comfort from the fact that Barack Obama has indeed halted all DOJ prosecution of cases involving DOMA.
posted by koeselitz at 10:09 PM on February 18, 2012


(it never has, I meant)
posted by koeselitz at 10:10 PM on February 18, 2012


MadGastronomer: "Obama isn't actually pushing equality forward at all"

I'm sorry, but that statement is so disconnected from reality as I see it that if you truly believe it, there is no basis for continued dialogue. DADT is history, and his administration is using that to beat the opposition over the head with the fundamental unfairness of how the military treats the spouses/partners of gay servicemembers.

Maybe it's not n dimensional chess, but it's good politics. Politics that are helping to move the chains forward on equality. Yes, it's incrementalism, but it is a methodical demolition of all the supposedly rational arguments of the anti-equality camp. Public opinion is coming around (partly) as a result. Sorry you can't see that.
posted by wierdo at 11:41 PM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


As hippybear said, it's almost impossible for Section 2 to come up in Federal court anyway; as far as I can tell, it never had.

It could come up, but not with the US as a party. The whole "section 3" business is likely a canard--makes it seem like they are only doing it for part of the law when its the only part that counts.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:25 AM on February 19, 2012


MadGastronomer isn't interested in reality; only in hearing the sound of his own outrage. There's no point in continuing.
posted by spaltavian at 2:48 PM on February 19, 2012


Chris Christie Tells Piers Morgan He's Not an Anti-Gay Bigot: VIDEO.
posted by ericb at 2:24 PM on February 21, 2012


The bill just passed the Maryland Senate!
posted by amarynth at 3:26 PM on February 23, 2012


From what I read, Maryland marriage is probably going to go to referendum on the November ballot. Does anyone know how that would work? Would the public be voting about whether to allow marriage or about whether to strike down this bill? Would it require a simple majority or something like 2/3? What about in Washington State, if something similar goes on the ballot there?

I remember that with Prop 8, one of the big things was that California is unusual in that a simple majority in a popular vote is enough to change the constitution, and that other states require either some different proportion or a different process, but I'm not sure if that applies in this situation.
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:43 AM on February 24, 2012


Maryland Republican: Meeting gay couples left me 'changed person'
posted by homunculus at 3:40 PM on February 24, 2012


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