Skip

Obama officially against Prop. 8
February 28, 2013 1:19 PM   Subscribe


 
“Leadership Is Seeing A Parade and Standing In Front Of It”
posted by KokuRyu at 1:22 PM on February 28, 2013 [19 favorites]


Better than trying to stop the parade.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:24 PM on February 28, 2013 [70 favorites]


Hopefully, this will help lead to more stories like the one right beneath this FPP.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:26 PM on February 28, 2013


Good for him.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:28 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was very glad when Obama made the decision to take a leadership role on gay marriage rather than stating that he opposed it as he did in the past. He is an influential leader for a lot of people and I think his rhetorical actions have mattered. A move like this carries more weight when there is no ambiguity behind where he stands.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:30 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seriously, good. I have many qualms about some of the stuff the Obama administration has done in regards to drone policy, but he has really been good about LGBT rights, and I don't think that McCain or Romney would have been.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:32 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hopefully, this will help lead to more stories like the one right beneath this FPP.

Homosexual atom bomb!
posted by jimmythefish at 1:33 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


And, if the parade is resplendent with assless chaps and colorful feather boas, mo' bettah. (Seriously, though. Good for the President. This Presidency could be the most catalytic thing for equality since Ellen came out on her own sitcom.)
posted by NedKoppel at 1:37 PM on February 28, 2013


Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! for President Obama.

It would have been a cold day in hell before Mitt or W or McCain did anything like this.
posted by bearwife at 1:39 PM on February 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


"
you're like the french radical who goes, ' there go my people, i must find out where they're going, so i can lead them'
"

-West Wing
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 1:41 PM on February 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


But...Democrats are totally the same as Republicans!

Elections matter.
posted by lalex at 1:42 PM on February 28, 2013 [37 favorites]


“Leadership Is Seeing A Parade and Standing In Front Of It”

Yeah screw this guy for doing the right thing!
posted by Justinian at 1:50 PM on February 28, 2013 [22 favorites]


Nothing like at the last minute.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:50 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Didn't you hear? A bunch of Republicans like the mayor of Melrose, MA, the former Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs and 0.8% of the Republicans in one chamber of Congress got there first, therefore proving that the GOP has a legitimate argument that they are further ahead on gay rights in the run-up to the 2014 and 2016 elections! I bet you Obama's amicus brief will totally be overshadowed by that.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:54 PM on February 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


you're like the french radical who goes, ' there go my people, i must find out where they're going, so i can lead them'

-West Wing


"I'm the President of the United States. Not the President of the People Who Agree With Me. By the way, if the left has a problem with that they should vote for somebody else."

-West Wing
posted by dry white toast at 1:54 PM on February 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


But...Democrats are totally the same as Republicans!

Well this action will bring global love to the world and stop the various kinetic actions, bring fiscal sanity to Government spending, create honest government workers, hold the too big to fail/jail accountable and make all future Governments the more transparent than the last!

Because all that W did was stopped with the rise of Obama to power.

Elections matter.

RA Wilson - IF VOTING COULD CHANGE THE SYSTEM, IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL
posted by rough ashlar at 1:56 PM on February 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Nothing like at the last minute.

At least two Supreme Court justices (Alito and Scalia) blatantly loathe Obama and Roberts, Kennedy and Thomas are lukewarm towards him at best. Obama isn't going to say anything legal-ese that's going to sway them one way or the other, because they already know all the legal arguments and besides, they dislike him for publicly disagreeing with the Court on points of law; the point of him filing an amicus brief is to show his personal support. I would not be surprised if he had been keeping tabs discreetly to find out if Kennedy or Roberts want a little additional cover to provide that crucial fifth vote and was waiting for precisely the right time to file his brief.
posted by mightygodking at 1:58 PM on February 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


munchingzombie: "Nothing like at the last minute."

Well, yeah. When a court gives you X days to develop, review and refine your argument, you use all of them. Not every legal brief comes in right at the deadline, but most of them do.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:09 PM on February 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


Well this action will bring global love to the world and stop the various kinetic actions, bring fiscal sanity to Government spending, create honest government workers, hold the too big to fail/jail accountable and make all future Governments the more transparent than the last!

Yes. If voting doesn't solve every single problem immediately, it clearly solves no problems at all and is completely worthless.
posted by yoink at 2:15 PM on February 28, 2013 [30 favorites]


the point of him filing an amicus brief is to show his personal support

If it was about showing personal support, why wait until after the election results are in to file said brief (or otherwise state support)? Is it really impossible to recognize that there is absolutely no risk to him for doing this at this late stage?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:20 PM on February 28, 2013


On a slightly related note, the Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized today, providing expanded protections for GLBT victims as well as Native American women and immigrants.

Every Democrat in the House and Senate voted for it, 22 Republicans (all male, several of whom had voted for the original and/or reauthorization) in the Senate and 138 Republicans in the House voted against it after fighting it for so long that the law lapsed.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:20 PM on February 28, 2013 [17 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon, IIRC, it wasn't until well after the election that we found that the SCOTUS was even taking Perry.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:21 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon, IIRC, it wasn't until well after the election

Actually, it was only a few weeks (early December, if I remember?). But anyone who was following this all knew these two cases were all but certain to be heard, so that's not the point. The point is that if this was about expressing personal support for same-sex marriage, then it was safer to wait until after the election was over to jump on the bandwagon.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:24 PM on February 28, 2013


it wasn't until well after the election that we found that the SCOTUS was even taking Perry.

What kind of a good for nothing president can't even file briefs from the future?
posted by kmz at 2:24 PM on February 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


Well, again, that's not true.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:24 PM on February 28, 2013


If it was about showing personal support, why wait until after the election results are in to file said brief? Is it really impossible to recognize that there is absolutely no risk to him for doing this at this late stage?

Apart from the fact that the judicial session didn't even begin until after the election and the period for submitting briefs didn't begin until last month, I'm going to go with the posters like mightygodking that have experience in the legal realm on this one. You don't just submit a slip of paper saying "Don't be dicks" to the Supreme Court, you have to craft a legal argument that is persuasive and ironclad.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:24 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


On this particular issue there is a very clear difference between the parties, Democrats are leading on gay rights and gay marriage. Republicans are falling behind, a majority of Republicans support civil unions but religious objections prevent them from supporting gay marriage. On other issues, there is a spirited debate on the differences between the parties that is likely beyond the scope of the subject of this FPP.

Obama expressed personal support for gay marriage prior to the election, I don't think a fear of doing so again would hold him back from this.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:25 PM on February 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Again and again, mefites prove far more cynical than I could ever be. I swear, it seems like the understanding of American politics around here is at about the 4th grade level.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:25 PM on February 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


The point is that if this was about expressing personal support for same-sex marriage, then it was safer to wait until after the election was over to jump on the bandwagon.

You're so right.
posted by kmz at 2:26 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Apart from the fact that the judicial session didn't even begin until after the election

I don't think it was a complete surprise that the justices decided to hear these cases. But, factually, the "well after election" point doesn't really stand up to much scrutiny. In any case, anyone paying the least bit of attention to the subject knew this day was coming.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:28 PM on February 28, 2013




Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! for President Obama.

And, for his empty chair at the RNC!

Go ahead, make my day: Eastwood urges court to OK same-sex marriage.
posted by ericb at 2:32 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Of course you should just submit something willy-nilly to the highest court in the land in a major civil rights case just to beat an arbitrary buzzer. That's totally the kind of thing that you want to do in the interest of speediness rather than a well-crafted and cohesive legal argument. Those fucking slackers at the NAACP who waited until just before the Loving v. Virginia decision should have been shown what's what.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:35 PM on February 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


AFER (American Foundation for Equal Rights) is tracking and posting the amicus briefs as they come in here.
posted by ericb at 2:36 PM on February 28, 2013




Obama gets it right!
posted by BlueHorse at 2:38 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is cool, but I'm not sure why it needed an extra post instead of just adding it to the existing thread about amicus briefs in support of overturning Prop 8.
posted by corb at 2:38 PM on February 28, 2013


In any case, anyone paying the least bit of attention to the subject knew this day was coming.

And? You seem to be suggesting that Obama should have filed this amicus brief earlier than he did, for some reason. Could you explain what difference you think it would have made if he'd filed it, say, on the very first day that the court would have accepted it? Do you think the court pays more attention to briefs that it receives early than those it receives late as a general rule? Do you think that there's some specific justice who may be persuadable on this issue who is notorious for being swayed by briefs with an early acceptance date on them? Or do you think that filing this brief early would have had some major "bully pulpit" effect? That the public would have said "oh, when the President came out months ago in favor of gay marriage I kinda sorta believed he meant it, but man when I saw that he filed that amicus brief weeks ahead of the deadline, I just knew he was in earnest. Welp, I guess I'm gonna hafta support gay marriage now!"?

Because, truly, I cannot for the life of me figure out what you're on about here.
posted by yoink at 2:40 PM on February 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


"I don't think it was a complete surprise that the justices decided to hear these cases. But, factually, the "well after election" point doesn't really stand up to much scrutiny. In any case, anyone paying the least bit of attention to the subject knew this day was coming."

This doesn't actually respond to what anyone is saying about this? I know you aren't usually swayed by people who disagree with your personal view of reality, but by all accounts this is a very timely submittal by the president. He literally couldn't submit it before the beginning of the month. I can't fathom what you would have preferred for him to do.
posted by grandsham at 2:42 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


As brave as it was to use Biden as the modern-day equivalent of a medieval food-taster, and while I'm happy that we're now finally acknowledged as the legal equivalents of human beings by the boss, I grant it would have been much worse to have Romney actively work to join the Mormons with the federal government to take away our remaining rights. So I'm in full agreement with the hagiographists in that respect. This isn't bad news, but the notion that people need to trip over themselves to laud Caesar is a bit much.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:42 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why don't we just skip right to the part where you admit that there is literally nothing that he could have done in regards to this judicial session that you wouldn't have complained about?
posted by zombieflanders at 2:44 PM on February 28, 2013 [38 favorites]


RA Wilson - IF VOTING COULD CHANGE THE SYSTEM, IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL

This is why I actually take some comfort from Republican gerrymandering and voter suppression efforts: if that quote -- and many others like it -- were true, they wouldn't be spending so much time and effort on making it so difficult for people who tend to vote for Democrats to cast their ballots.

Fist bump to the Prez for this.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:51 PM on February 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "If it was about showing personal support, why wait until after the election results are in to file said brief (or otherwise state support)?"

I don't know, but a brief from "Former President Obama" wouldn't have carried much weight.
posted by notsnot at 2:51 PM on February 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


With all due respect, and without any reference to the merits of this particular case, my opinion is that the President ought to stay out of it. This is a case of federalism; it's a matter for the State of California. The president should be meddling in it. (I don't think the overwhelming importance etc. of this particular issue overrides that general principle.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:51 PM on February 28, 2013


Damn that Obama and his not doing something that I, the Assistant Manager of a Kenosha, WI Best Buy would have done on my very first day as the elected president of the United States.
posted by griphus at 2:53 PM on February 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


it's a matter for the State of California

Er, no; that's why it's being heard by the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
posted by yoink at 2:53 PM on February 28, 2013 [23 favorites]


With all due respect, and without any reference to the merits of this particular case, my opinion is that the President ought to stay out of it. This is a case of federalism; it's a matter for the State of California. The president should be meddling in it.

I've read a few books. I've seen this argument brandied about for slavery, and for the Civil Rights Movement. Neither of those issues (both of overwhelming importance) would have reached any kind of positive outcome without the interference of the federal government. States' rights? That's really your argument here? Good grief.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:54 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't know, but a brief from "Former President Obama" wouldn't have carried much weight.

True, but Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation carries a lot of weight even today and was written, I think, before winning a second term. Maybe it's because the North won the Civil War, and history gets written by the winners, etc. but maybe it is possible to risk taking a difficult, if principled stand and still be on the right side of things.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:58 PM on February 28, 2013


Damn that Obama and his not doing something that I, the Assistant Manager of a Kenosha, WI Best Buy would have done on my very first day as the elected president of the United States.

Nothing stopping you from writing an Amicus Brief and sending it to the Court. You might a have a little trouble getting both sides to allow it in or the Court hearing your motion to grant leave...but perhaps you are just that friendly and have some point the Court should consider.

Amicus Brief - Literally, friend of the court. A person with strong interest in or views on the subject matter of an action, but not a party to the action, may petition the court for permission to file a brief, ostensibly on behalf of a party but actually to suggest a rationale consistent with its own views. Such amicus curiae briefs are commonly filed in appeals concerning matters of a broad public interest; e.g., civil rights cases. They may be filed by private persons or the government. In appeals to the U.S. courts of appeals, an amicus brief may be filed only if accompanied by written consent of all parties, or by leave of court granted on motion or at the request of the court, except that consent or leave shall not be required when the brief is presented by the United States or an officer or agency thereof.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:00 PM on February 28, 2013


He did openly support gay marriage before the election (I know, I know, Biden said it first so it doesn't count).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:00 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


True, but Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation carries a lot of weight even today and was written, I think, before winning a second term. Maybe it's because the North won the Civil War, and history gets written by the winners, etc. but maybe it is possible to risk taking a difficult, if principled stand and still be on the right side of things.

I guess we're only going to be able to imagine what the world would have been like if Obama had unequivocally declared his support for gay marriage before the election, BP. Sometimes I imagine it so hard that it almost seems real.
posted by yoink at 3:00 PM on February 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


True, but Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation carries a lot of weight even today and was written, I think, before winning a second term.

Remember though the South didn't vote in the 1864 election and by the time of emancipation, hell by the time of the outbreak of Civil War, popular opinion in the north was by far and away anti-slavery.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:01 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remember though the South didn't vote in the 1864 election

That's a fair point. Never mind, then.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:02 PM on February 28, 2013


I don't know, but a brief from "Former President Obama" wouldn't have carried much weight.

The "Former" may not be an "officer of the United States" and therefore would need the blessings of the Court or both parties.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:02 PM on February 28, 2013


"So I'm in full agreement with the hagiographists in that respect. This isn't bad news, but the notion that people need to trip over themselves to laud Caesar is a bit much."

I think you need to get over yourself a bit. It is possible to think this is a positive thing and express that view on a website without being a hagiographist, and it's even possible to do without bringing up drone strikes or anything like that.

I know nothing Obama can do can possibly be enough for some, but when it comes to this Amicus Brief specifically, I think he did pretty much the best he could, and I don't think being positive about that means I am tripping over myself to laud him.
posted by grandsham at 3:04 PM on February 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


This Presidency could be the most catalytic thing for equality since Ellen came out on her own sitcom.

Tangential, but this is a great interview that Ellen had with Australia's 'A Current Affair' yesterday prior to her traveling there with her Aussie wife, Portia.

[Also, very tangential, but watch this touching segment Ellen had with two Australian brothers (Dailius and Julian) who she flew to L.A. for a trip and interview. Follow-up.]
posted by ericb at 3:07 PM on February 28, 2013


"With all due respect, and without any reference to the merits of this particular case, my opinion is that the President ought to stay out of it. This is a case of federalism; it's a matter for the State of California. The president should be meddling in it. (I don't think the overwhelming importance etc. of this particular issue overrides that general principle.)"

You misunderstand Federalism and the case — not only does the Equal Protection clause (and arguably due process clause) trump state law, but the federal courts have twice now found a federal issue. As the chief executive of our country, a federal issue is by definition in his purview.

Not only that, but the whole point of federalism is to protect minorities from majorities. Read Federalist 10 again.
posted by klangklangston at 3:20 PM on February 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


This is great, and I'm glad to see the administration taking a position in support of same-sex marriage in a meaningful, legal way, even if there are stronger ways it could be done. I will be very surprised if the Prop 8 case does not bring legal recognition of same-sex marriage to the entire country.

As far as timing goes, and Blazecock Pileon's suggestion that Obama should have filed an amicus brief before the election and, therefore, before the case was pending before the court, I'm not sure what the procedural mechanism would be to file an amicus brief in a case not pending before the court. I also suspect that, as a matter of legal strategy, the administration wanted to wait and see the parties' briefs in order to be able to bolster and oppose actual arguments being made. Add to that the fact that complex Supreme Court amicus briefs take some serious time to craft and the fact that it certainly had to go through several stages of strategy-making and then through numerous drafts before finally being settled on and approved for filing, and it's pretty silly to posit that Obama should have filed an amicus brief a whole lot earlier than now, let alone filed one before the case was even pending before the court (which would, in all likelihood, have simply been rejected as a brief not pertaining to any case in controversy).

Nevertheless, if I'm being cynical about the timing of the announcement and filing, I'd probably draw a connection between this announcement and the fact that tomorrow is March 1, when Sequestration kicks in if Obama can't broker a compromise in the Senate and House after having promised during the debates that Sequestration "will not happen."

This is a case of federalism

The specific question before the Supreme Court is one of interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. It is not a case of federalism - at all. One can argue that marriage law should be a state issue without federal involvement, and it's fine if you want to argue that it is an error to apply U.S. Constitutional rights to the question. But even that argument (which is just incredibly, incredibly wrong) is an argument about the application and applicability of the U.S. Constitution - not a federalism question.
posted by The World Famous at 3:26 PM on February 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is a case of federalism

Good thing the US has a federal system of government then! I guess in your world we didn't have Marbury v Madison or McCulloch v Maryland?
posted by kmz at 3:28 PM on February 28, 2013


(Which is to say that the existence of a potential federalism argument does not, logically, bar the President from taking a differing position on the Constitutional issue.)
posted by The World Famous at 3:29 PM on February 28, 2013


And just in time for Mardi Gras!
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:33 PM on February 28, 2013


Federal issue v state issue.

Hmm. Well, segregation stood at that gate, too. In this case moral support, not the 101st Airborne, is appropriate.

One more small step for humankind.
posted by mule98J at 3:35 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, this site. Recognizing a good thing is fucking hagiography, now.
posted by kafziel at 3:38 PM on February 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Seriously, the Prop 8 filing has nothing to do with the sequester. Less than nothing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:47 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]



If it was about showing personal support, why wait until after the election results are in to file said brief (or otherwise state support)? Is it really impossible to recognize that there is absolutely no risk to him for doing this at this late stage?


Standing on principle and losing wouldn't have hurt Obama in the slightest, but it would have hurt a lot of people who depend on a Democratic administration.
posted by empath at 3:58 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here is the brief, for those who haven't read it yet.

A lot of good stuff, but I like this:

"Petitioners cite no law for the proposition that “pro- ceeding with caution” is sufficiently important to deny a protected class the ability to participate in something as important as marriage. Similar calls to wait were made—and properly rejected—with respect to racial integration..."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:00 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


You don't just submit a slip of paper saying "Don't be dicks" to the Supreme Court

Oh, FUCK
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:10 PM on February 28, 2013 [27 favorites]


Aww, you beat my bit a little Room317. I was going to link to it.

Obama really does swing for the fences with this one too, it's not the cautious supporting brief that he could have filed. He calls for LGBT people to essentially be regarded as a protected class (strict scrutiny).
posted by klangklangston at 4:12 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


kafziel: Man, this site. Recognizing a good thing is fucking hagiography, now.

One person /= this site.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:13 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


My apologies for perhaps setting this thread off on the wrong note, but, from the perspective of a non-American, Obama's cool, pure cynicism is really hard to ignore.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:21 PM on February 28, 2013


My apologies for perhaps setting this thread off on the wrong note, but, from the perspective of a non-American, Obama's cool, pure cynicism is really hard to ignore.

From the perspective of somebody living in a non-American country headed by an atheist who won't support gay marriage for obscure political reasons I think I prefer Obama's cynicism.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:28 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: nothing Obama can do can possibly be enough for some (sic)
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 4:29 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love it. Going about achieving your long term aims in a strategic way that vastly enhances the chances of the changes being permanent and more broadly accepted is pure cynicism. Obama should totally have martyred himself (and real genuine progress) for the sake ideological purity.

I say this as a liberal...I increasingly feel like liberals don't deserve Obama.
posted by dry white toast at 4:30 PM on February 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


I love Obama, but he's not a liberal.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:31 PM on February 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am ok with non-liberals achieving liberal ends.
posted by Avenger at 4:34 PM on February 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


“Leadership Is Seeing A Parade and Standing In Front Of It”

Better than trying to stop the parade.


But Parade's End ends tonight.
posted by homunculus at 4:37 PM on February 28, 2013


I love Obama, but he's not a liberal.

What does that matter?
posted by dry white toast at 4:38 PM on February 28, 2013


... from the perspective of a non-American, Obama's cool, pure cynicism is really hard to ignore.

Why is this cynical?
posted by benito.strauss at 4:39 PM on February 28, 2013


You don't just submit a slip of paper saying "Don't be dicks" to the Supreme Court

Oh, FUCK


Hey, hold on -- maybe that's the problem. Maybe Scalia just doesn't KNOW not to be a dick!
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:41 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I increasingly feel like liberals don't deserve Obama.

February poll: Of his core base, 87 percent of self identified "liberals" approve of the president.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:42 PM on February 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hey, hold on -- maybe that's the problem. Maybe Scalia just doesn't KNOW not to be a dick!

From what I understand, Scalia doesn't know much of anything at all.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:47 PM on February 28, 2013


My apologies for perhaps setting this thread off on the wrong note

You did nothing wrong.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:51 PM on February 28, 2013


Of his core base, 87 percent of self identified "liberals" approve of the president.

Hoots, mon! Nae true liberal approves of Obama, ye bamstick bauchle.
posted by yoink at 4:51 PM on February 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Another big, bold stroke for gay rights
The key to the brief is that it makes two arguments. The first is that it agrees with the ruling of a lower court — which found Prop 8 unconstitutional — that challenges to the constitutionality of such laws should require that they are subjected to “heightened scrutiny.” That means the court should hold their rationale for discriminating to an extremely high standard, and strike them down if they fail to have a credible justification. The brief does that here, in a reference to previous Supreme Court ruling in cases involving challenges to discriminatory laws:
[C]lassifications based on sexual orientation call for application of heightened scrutiny. Each of the four considerations identified by this Court supports that conclusion: (1) gay and lesbian people have suffered a significant history of discrimination in this country; (2) sexual orientation generally bears no relation to ability to perform or contribute to society; (3) discrimination against gay and lesbian people is based on an immutable or distinguishing characteristic that defines them as a group; and (4) notwithstanding certain progress, gay and lesbian people — as Proposition 8 itself underscores — are a minority group with limited power to protect themselves from adverse outcomes in the political process. [...]

Because a classification based on sexual orientation calls for the application of heightened scrutiny, petitioners must establish that Proposition 8, at a minimum, is “substantially related to an important governmental objective.”
The second key to the brief is that it argues that when you apply “heightened scrutiny” to Prop 8, it is found to violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

What this means is that the government, while focusing its brief on Prop 8 itself, has, for all practical purposes, asked the Supreme Court to set a precedent that can be applied to all state laws banning gay marriage — the arguments that these laws must survive “heightened scrutiny,” and that they violate the Constitution.

This is exactly what the lawyers arguing the case against Prop 8 had hoped for. Theodore Boutrous, a lawyer who is arguing for the plaintiffs along with Ted Olsen, emails me this:
“This is a powerful brief by the United States placing the full weight of its authority in favor of equality for all Americans. This is an important day in this nation’s history. If the Court agrees with the United States that ‘heightened scrutiny’ applies, that is a clear path to marriage equality across the United States, because marriage bans in other states cannot satisfy that standard, either.”
Because Supreme Court justices give weight to the opinion of solicitors general, this makes it more likely — though it certainly doesn’t assure this — that the Court will adopt an equally sweeping ruling. It sets forth a legal view that comports with Obama’s view that “the love we commit to one another” should be equal before the law. It sends a strong signal that the administration believes the culture is ready for full equality for gay and lesbian Americans. If the Court responds in kind, it will give gay advocates a powerful weapon to challenge other state laws around the country banning gay marriage, and they’d likely be toppled as unconstitutional — one by one. This could truly help put this persistent relic of legalized discrimination on the road to extinction.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:52 PM on February 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


I love Obama, but he's not a liberal.

I love liberals, but they're not Obama.
posted by FJT at 4:52 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


True, but Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation carries a lot of weight even today and was written, I think, before winning a second term. Maybe it's because the North won the Civil War, and history gets written by the winners, etc. but maybe it is possible to risk taking a difficult, if principled stand and still be on the right side of things.

The Emancipation Proclimation only freed slaves where they couldn't be freed--in the South, where it had no effect.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:05 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Conservatives frequently put forward the argument that they'd be fine with gay marriage if only it were called something else. Basically, separate but equal. Of course, ultimately this is a lie, because every time they've had a chance to prove it, they've shown themselves hostile to any cohabitation rights for gay people.

There are a million reasons why "separate but equal" just doesn't work, but who knew that health was one of them?

Married Opposite-Sex Couples Have Better Overall Health Than Same-Sex Couples Who Live Together

And just to show that same sex couples are just like opposite sex couples, the health outcomes for unmarried cohabitants is similar regardless of gender - both worse than married:

"Same-sex couples who live together have worse health than married opposite-sex couples and similar health as opposite-sex couples who are living together (after adjusting for socioeconomic differences), according to a new study from researchers at Rice University."

I would hope that the Supreme Court doesn't want gay people to have worse health than straight people, because wouldn't that be discrimination against a class of people? Put that in the brief! But then again, given how little respect conservatives have for science, maybe this argument wouldn't fly with them.
posted by VikingSword at 5:07 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nice having a lawyer instead of an oil guy for President.
posted by four panels at 5:08 PM on February 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, Biden's Balls. Do we really need yet another thread of "Liberals Hate Obama" in defiance of facts and common sense?
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:08 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


that list of briefs seriously teared me up - especially the conservative one. sometimes change seems to come too slowly, after too many people have been hurt - and it is too slow, and too many have been hurt - but change is coming all the same. hopefully the pace keeps picking up.
posted by nadawi at 5:09 PM on February 28, 2013


if we ignore their silly arguments they'll either have to argue with themselves or go find their fights elsewhere. be the change you want to see.
posted by nadawi at 5:10 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would hope that the Supreme Court doesn't want gay people to have worse health than straight people, because wouldn't that be discrimination against a class of people? Put that in the brief!

It is in the brief. See above re:"heightened scrutiny" and GLBT citizens as a protected class.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:10 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Politics is a cynical game that affects real people's lives... But what did Obama do that was cynical here? He was a punk about gay marriage before the first election. He turned around once he was sure he wouldn't lose the next election for supporting it. I don't know if we could handle "first black president" and "first openly pro gay rights president" in 2008. Maybe, but he played his cards with caution.

I don't think he's worried about the gay base swinging republican any time soon (he's not pandering, but reversing his pandering IOW) , but meanwhile republicans are having a spiritual awakening about immigration now that it's clear that their future is in peril. But what did Obama do here specifically before this election and immediately after that was cynical? Here's hoping he has a strong change of heart on marijuana next.

This guy is extremely smart and deliberate and has to tiptoe around minefields to get shit done without completely stirring up the crazies or tanking his party. It sucks, but they have to represent the interests of a lot of sucky people and getting those people to turn around takes time.
posted by lordaych at 5:24 PM on February 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


sometimes change seems to come too slowly, after too many people have been hurt - and it is too slow, and too many have been hurt - but change is coming all the same.

When I came out in 1990, I was prepared to be part of a loathed minority with full second-class citizenship for the rest of my life.

This change has been swift and sudden! It may feel like it is slow, but where we are right now was unimaginable 23 years ago.
posted by hippybear at 5:26 PM on February 28, 2013 [26 favorites]


rough ashlar:
Elections matter.

RA Wilson - IF VOTING COULD CHANGE THE SYSTEM, IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL
It was. For all American women, blacks, and Native Americans.

Then the system changed.

Because the right people were elected.

--

I know: You think of yourself as an uber-cynical, speak-power-to-the-man nihilist. But you'll never make a difference that way.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:34 PM on February 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


hippybear - i agree with that too. i was an 8 year old mormon in the flyover states in 1990 and was just starting to figure out that i wanted to kisses girls maybe more than i wanted to kiss boys, and there was just no road map for me to even glance at. when i started coming out in a limited way in high school a few years later it still felt like i was always going to have to apologize for it or prepare people for the news or keep ready my flashcards and dance number about "we're no more or less deviant as a group than you guys are!"

it's fast when i consider how i saw the world progressing even 10 years ago. it's slow for those who, after a sudden heart attack or car wreck, lost not only their partner of 20 years, but their truck, and apartment, and their partner's baby quilt because they had no legal partnership and the family of the deceased could finally put the memory of that "sin" behind them.

there's this thing that's been growing inside me for the last few years called "hope" and it feels weird but wonderful - i just try to keep in mind the sacrifices that brought us here.
posted by nadawi at 5:35 PM on February 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


The turn around on gay rights and gay marriage really was unexpected. I think if you had asked anyone who was, say, at least a teenager under Reagan, if we would ever have a black president, or cell phones, or decoded the human genome, they would have said "sure, sooner or later". If you had asked them if gay people would have the right to marry, they'd have blinked, and just wished that they had the right to keep their jobs if their secret came out.

People who want other kinds of social change really need to be consulting with the activists and historians of the gay rights movement and finding out how they did it.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:43 PM on February 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


RA Wilson - IF VOTING COULD CHANGE THE SYSTEM, IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL

New Deal? Civil Rights Act 1964? Spain a couple of cycles ago? Hey, the National Assembly in 1789 shook things up quite a bit. What about these guys resisting a tyrant 2500 years ago and bringing in a... reformer of the system?

As IAmBroom said, voting used to be illegal (and still is in many places) and people try to control it in many ways (electoral laws, gerrymandering, eligibility to run in elections etc.)
posted by ersatz at 6:57 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


The main thing I get from this thread and others like the DADT one is some folks allegedly for gay rights get super, super pissed off if anyone actually does anything about them.

You can keep your ideological purity, I'll take progress.
posted by Artw at 7:04 PM on February 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


People who want other kinds of social change really need to be consulting with the activists and historians of the gay rights movement and finding out how they did it.

How much of it had to do with HIV/AIDS, though? I mean, that's why we have so many robust LGBT health organisations. I'm too young to know, but HIV was always a big part of the "This is how we came together and organised ourselves" story that I got told.
posted by hoyland at 7:07 PM on February 28, 2013


For the record, I'm pretty happy about how things are now as opposed to how I envisioned them to be in 1990.

I'm not really assimilationist, and I wish some moves were being made on fronts which don't involve incorporating into mainstream society, but anything which helps the GLBT community be less loathed (and I know it's not equal on all those initials, the progress being made), I'm pretty much happy about.
posted by hippybear at 7:08 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


People who want other kinds of social change really need to be consulting with the activists and historians of the gay rights movement and finding out how they did it.

How much of it had to do with HIV/AIDS, though? I mean, that's why we have so many robust LGBT health organisations. I'm too young to know, but HIV was always a big part of the "This is how we came together and organised ourselves" story that I got told.


Well, from what I understand, AIDS acted as a catalyst (as did, on another level, Stonewall) but a single catalyzing event does not a movement make. The choices activists made in the days, years and (ultimately) decades afterwards are what made those events more than simply tragic and horrible moments in history. For a contrasting example, look at, say, Thatcher's face-off with the striking coal miners - the latter's defeat was not pre-determined, nor was the fact that that event became the pivotal moment in the downfall of organized labor in Britain, as opposed to an enraged populist resurgence, predetermined. If gay activists had chosen to just curl up and withdraw into their own pain in the wake of the AIDs virus' assault, or disengage entirely with a political system that, let's face it, gave them every encouragement to do so - well, then the history of gay rights from then to now would have played out very differently, I think, and the even would have gained a much different historical meaning.

So yeah, still plenty to learn there by people operating in movements that haven't been hit by lethal diseases.
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:13 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


How much of it had to do with HIV/AIDS, though? I mean, that's why we have so many robust LGBT health organisations. I'm too young to know, but HIV was always a big part of the "This is how we came together and organised ourselves" story that I got told.

There were waves. First came the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis. Then the Stonewall Rebellion happened, and groups like the GLF and the GAA came about, and the first Gay Pride parade.

Things were pretty much in a holding pattern after that for a while, until the HIV/AIDS crisis caused ACT-UP to come into being, which was a cross-gender activist group. Following that were a lot of local-focussed groups which continue to be a source of support and funding for those who need help in the face of the disease.

But even then, really, the movement toward acceptance didn't gain much until Matthew Shepard followed closely by Ellen's coming out.

Those seem to have been the main one-two punch toward acceptance in the general culture.

Once those happened, once the country had a vision of their own children/friends/whomever hanging left to die on a barbed wire fence, and then had one of their favorite make-me-laugh people also come out as queer, the landscape began to shift in major ways.

But yeah, ACT-UP was a big part of it, but none of that would/could have ever happened if the previous 30+ years of gay activism had not happened before that.
posted by hippybear at 7:15 PM on February 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


i hope the thing coming through in my comments is how happy i am. thrilled. i posted excitedly to facebook, bigoted family be damned!
posted by nadawi at 7:17 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


And yeah, glad Obama did this. No, doing it before the election would not have been either braver or more likely to affect the course of this decision. It probably would have had much less weight, both for the technical reasons other people have pointed out, and because Obama's position (as a not yet re-elected president) would have been weaker. It would have been seen as pandering - and I'm pretty sure that there would have been folk showing up in that alternate-universe thread to point out that Obama was cynically pandering in the hopes of energizing the gay vote, just another smoke screen, nothing to see here, seriously sheeple, when will you learn! - and desperate.

Mention has been made made of Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation coming out before his re-election. But Lincoln carefully waited until after receiving news of a major Union victory (as it was being trumpeted then in the press, at least), and the political capital it brought, before firing that broadside.
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:23 PM on February 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


This isn't bad news, but the notion that people need to trip over themselves to laud Caesar is a bit much.

Well, admittedly, he's no Steve Jobs but no one tripped over themselves in this instance anyway.
posted by juiceCake at 7:26 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, you know, for folks who feel like that things'll reset to "Obama hasn't done anything" so no harm done.
posted by Artw at 7:38 PM on February 28, 2013


People who want other kinds of social change really need to be consulting with the activists and historians of the gay rights movement and finding out how they did it.

I highly recommend this article from the current issue of Harvard Magazine: How Same-Sex Marriage Came To Be -- "On activism, litigation, and social change in America."

Quite comprehensive and thorough.
posted by ericb at 8:05 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually, a lot of the GLBT activists got taken completely by surprise by the way things worked out.

Twenty years ago, same-sex marriage was considered something of a side issue by a lot of the activist groups -- it was considered at best a pie-in-the-sky longshot that wasn't going to come any time soon, by many an issue that could certainly wait until after things like employment nondiscrimination had passed, and at worst something to be actually discouraged (there was a significant movement among GLBT activists who wanted no part of the marriage paradigm and were completely uninterested in the Freedom To Marry movement.) Remember that gay sex was illegal in many states until 2003. Yeah, that's right, two zero zero friggin' three.

In the late 80's and early 90's, no one thought same-sex marriage was anything close to being on the horizon when you could be arrested just for having same-sex, well, sex -- in Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

Then ... stuff started happening.

A court case in Hawaii caught the public's attention. So did domestic partnership bills that kept getting passed and then vetoed in California. It suddenly seemed a matter of central importance, and became more so with each passing year.

I think it captured the public imagination on both sides of the issue. On one side, it seemed like something so obvious, so basic, so unfair. Two people in love want to get married! How can anyone want to stand in the way of that? On the other side, I suspect it seemed like a potentially world-shaking upheaval -- if something as basic as the concept of marriage can change, is there anything that can't? (Please note for the record I consider the latter argument completely wrong-headed.)

It hit people where they lived, in a way that was very hard to abstract. Someone on metafilter recently said, I forget in which thread, you can sometimes cloak racism or sexism in economic arguments, but it's more difficult to be anti-gay without just outright being anti-gay. Same-sex marriage boiled the argument down to its basics -- something not even about sex, really, but about equality. It's harder to paint people as filthy deviants when what they're asking for is a nice wedding with flowers and maybe one of those chocolate fountains, I hear those are nice.

To be clear, I don't want to diminish the role of the activists. Many organizations and individual activists have done heroic work on same-sex marriage. And absolutely, unquestionably, without the massive earlier efforts they made making gay rights an issue that could be talked about in the first place, the same-sex marriage debate could never have occurred.

But I don't think the activists made it a central issue of the gay rights movement. That just ... happened. An idea whose time somehow came. What the activists did was take that energy and keep it going and directed until it started to achieve real results.

They worked hard creating the conditions where a wave could start. They've worked hard since it started getting that wave where it needed to go.

But the nature of the wave itself was nothing like anyone thought it would be.
posted by kyrademon at 8:12 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Things were pretty much in a holding pattern after that for a while, until the HIV/AIDS crisis caused ACT-UP to come into being, which was a cross-gender activist group. Following that were a lot of local-focussed groups which continue to be a source of support and funding for those who need help in the face of the disease."

Well, there was also Harvey Milk and Briggs in there. And honestly, the LGBT equality movement would probably have been a lot further along without AIDS happening, since so many folks were lost to the disease. But along with losing the people, a lot of history was lost too, which makes some of the stuff hard to talk about.
posted by klangklangston at 8:14 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


But yeah, ACT-UP was a big part of it, but none of that would/could have ever happened if the previous 30+ years of gay activism had not happened before that.

Exactly.

I recommend watching the following wonderful documentaries:
Before Stonewall.

Stonewall Uprising.

After Stonewall.

Academy Award winning documentary: Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt.

And, this year's Academy Award nominated documentary: How To Survive A Plague.
posted by ericb at 8:25 PM on February 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Heck, I'll just point to my Gay Documentaries post from a while back. They're all still valid.
posted by hippybear at 8:31 PM on February 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


The point is that if this was about expressing personal support for same-sex marriage, then it was safer to wait until after the election was over to jump on the bandwagon.
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."
-President Barack Hussein Obama, May 10, 2012
The Obama administration has been a sea change in gay rights. We wouldn't even be talking about this had McCain been elected (on the same night Prop 8 passed, let's not forget), because we'd be facing a near-certain 7-2 or 6-3 pro-Prop-8 decision (and the same for DOMA, and let's not forget DADT, the latter two passed by the second-most gay-friendly president). I get that Obama has done some bad things, but to use that to dismiss his record on gay rights is just such crap.

IF VOTING COULD CHANGE THE SYSTEM, IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL

Conservatives have spent a whole lot of time, effort, and money trying to make it illegal for liberal-leaning populations to vote.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:43 PM on February 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Slight derail but since it was just mentioned:

ABC options ‘How To Survive A Plague’ for a scripted miniseries
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:55 PM on February 28, 2013


kyrademon: But I don't think the activists made it a central issue of the gay rights movement. That just ... happened. An idea whose time somehow came. What the activists did was take that energy and keep it going and directed until it started to achieve real results.

It happened because conservatives responded to little things like insurance benefits and custody cases with a nationwide agenda to "defend marriage," in jurisdictions where it wasn't proposed, in places where it wasn't on the agenda. They passed carefully worded laws and amendments that made legal powers of attorney, local civil rights laws, insurance benefits, and hospital visitation void. They used "marriage" as a scare word to bolster the elections of Republican candidates, and went on the offensive calling for boycots of media, art, and companies with civil partnership benefits for undermining the "sanctity of marriage."

It became the central issue of the gay rights movement because conservatives needed a new rallying cry after picking on people with AIDS became to reprehensible for them. "Defense of Marriage" became their casus belli, the rationale for almost all the anti-gay politics of the last 25 years. It's the basis on which they can legally get away with denying rights in those states. Repeal of those amendments is critical to getting most forms of fair treatment under the law.

It was conservatives who turned marriage from a fight into the fight. And now that's not working for them. Tough luck.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:02 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Whenever His Catholic Majesty Ferdinand of Aragon, most powerful and wise prince, was about to embark on some new enterprise, or make a decision of great importance, he went about it in such a way that, before his intentions were known, the whole court and the people were already insisting and exclaiming that the king must do such and so. Then he would announce his decision, just when all hoped and clamored for it, and it is incredible what justification and favor it found among his subjects and in his dominions.
Francesco Guicciardini (via)
posted by kirkaracha at 9:42 PM on February 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


no one tripped over themselves in this instance anyway

I guess we'll just have to disagree about the extent to which this happens, sorry.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:26 PM on February 28, 2013


Metafilter: nothing Obama can do can possibly be enough for some (sic)

He filed an amicus brief. On the last day they'd be accepted. For position his own base is in support of, soon after being elected to the last stretch of his political career. As much as we love legal recognition of same-sex relationships, let's not act like what Obama did here is anything more than a gesture.

The administration has been doing a lot of politically shady things that their base would claim to not support; the politically motivated prosecution of Aaron Swartz, nearly 3 years of "pre-trial detention" for Bradley Manning, refusing to reveal their legal rational for the assassination of USA citizens or whether they believe they are in their rights to do so on USA soil, instructing their press secretary to lie about the existence of their targetted killing program, so on and so forth. Tossing this bone to his base costs him exactly zero political capital, and since evidently it's enough to rally their support, why wouldn't he?
posted by pleurodirous at 10:40 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone who thinks this was the only thing that the Obama administration ever did to advocate for gay rights and acceptance needs to start writing important facts down on Post-its, because their medium term memory is disappearing fast.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:48 PM on February 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Well, there was also Harvey Milk and Briggs in there. And honestly, the LGBT equality movement would probably have been a lot further along without AIDS happening, since so many folks were lost to the disease. But along with losing the people, a lot of history was lost too, which makes some of the stuff hard to talk about.

This really is key. I strongly disagree with the narrative that somehow the AIDS crisis mobilized the gay community and pushed forward gay rights and organizing. It might have aided a bit in focusing the whole community on healthcare issues and an existential type of threat that resulted in confronting of the mass-murder-criminal neglect from the Reagan administration. But really, it was a massive blow - tens of thousands were lost, and there was a collateral cost where at least initially, it drove a wedge between the gay and straight community: many saw a vindication of the "wages of sin" right-wing Christian political perspective, the rest of society saw a threat that seemed to be confined - again, initially - to the gay community, thus further "othering" them. It was scary and demoralizing. The devastation was very real. Enormous momentum was lost. Before the AIDS crisis struck, a lot of progress seemed to be made along the road of acceptance by the broader society. And then, decades lost.

But that loss of momentum really started with the assassination of Milk. There was that initial burst of anger in the wake of the outrageous verdict, but really, the community lost a brilliant political giant who has - in my humble opinion - never been replaced, to this day. His loss is still felt in very real ways.

Not every cloud has a silver lining. I see no silver lining in the AIDS crisis or the loss of Milk - none at all.
posted by VikingSword at 10:58 PM on February 28, 2013


Anyone who thinks this was the only thing that the Obama administration ever did to advocate for gay rights and acceptance needs to start writing important facts down on Post-its, because their medium term memory is disappearing fast.

One should not forget that Obama was alternating between advocating for separate-but-"equal" civil unions and being against same-sex marriage rights for almost his entire political career, the latter scenario making up his policy for his first three years as President, from 2008 to most of 2012, and going as far back as 2004 and further:
"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman... What I believe, in my faith, is that a man and a woman, when they get married, are performing something before God... I don't think marriage is a civil right."
I'm very excited to live in a time when a sitting President is enlightened enough to finally recognize our rights, but one should look further back than the last few months before reinventing him as our long-standing ally. He has not exactly been a leader on this subject, even if he might have recently joined our side.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:28 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are no time machines. Sometimes people take a while to come to an understanding on things. Better late than never, right?
posted by h00py at 3:15 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm very excited to live in a time when a sitting President is enlightened enough to finally recognize our rights, but one should look further back than the last few months before reinventing him as our long-standing ally. He has not exactly been a leader on this subject, even if he might have recently joined our side.

Were any plausible candidates for president in either party in favor of gay marriage in 2008?
posted by empath at 3:35 AM on March 1, 2013


In fact, the only major national elected political figure that was in favor of gay marriage in 2008 that I can think of is Dick Cheney. Maybe somebody else can correct me on that.
posted by empath at 3:37 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obama did not have to take the bigoted position that gay marriage should not be legal in 2008, regardless of what anyone else was saying. Doing the right thing proved to be a political advantage, not the disadvantage so many offered as excuse. It is totally fair of BP to point that out, he is still just as wrong for trying to imply there is something wrong with this brief or something wrong with praising this brief or Obama's overall record of progress on gay rights.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:41 AM on March 1, 2013


He filed an amicus brief. On the last day they'd be accepted. For position his own base is in support of, soon after being elected to the last stretch of his political career.

I'd really like to hear what the "proper" timeframe is for that, because some of you seem to think that things like this should be filed as soon as they can without regard for content, strength of legal argument, or chance of influencing a conservative-leaning court split right down the middle. I'm sure millions of GLBT citizens would love to know that, in the decision that could be one of the largest steps in granting them equal rights under the law, people thought that it was better that a President and administration representing them be quick instead of thorough just to prove his liberal bona fides to people who would in all likelihood just make up another reason to complain.

Besides, those with experience in the courts here tell us that a considered response that uses all of the time given to them by the court is (and should be) the norm, and history seems to agree with them. The time between final submissions of briefs (Feb 28) and oral arguments (Mar 26) for this case is almost exactly one month. For comparisons' sake, the NAACP also submitted their amicus in Loving v. Virginia on Feb 28--which, I should note, is an interesting confluence of events, given that the man representing the administration in the spiritual successor to Loving was himself born to a black man and a white woman--for an April 10 oral argument, and yet I don't hear you complaining about them being lazy bums.

As much as we love legal recognition of same-sex relationships, let's not act like what Obama did here is anything more than a gesture.

Then please enlighten us on what else he could have done instead of just saying some words. He was never provided with a bill repealing DOMA or banning laws like Prop 8. He used his executive power to repeal DADT and add or restore rights to federal employees. And for something that you claim is nothing more than a "gesture" the legal world seems to be saying this is a lot more; that it is in fact not only the strongest-worded support that could have been filed, but also the only one with the full power of an entire branch of the federal government behind it. I think I'll take the word of the people actually fighting for this case in front of the Supreme Court instead of posting on anonymous message boards as to whether this is merely a "gesture" or not.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:32 AM on March 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


"
you're like the french radical who goes, ' there go my people, i must find out where they're going, so i can lead them'
"

-West Wing

Pedant watch. For the record, it was Ledru-Rollin. Or possibly not.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:02 AM on March 1, 2013


He filed an amicus brief. On the last day they'd be accepted.

Please consult the docket and count the number of amicus briefs filed before the last day they are accepted. It's not zero, but it is very small compared to the number of amici who used every minute available to them to craft their argument before submitting.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:22 AM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


juiceCake: "This isn't bad news, but the notion that people need to trip over themselves to laud Caesar is a bit much.

Well, admittedly, he's no Steve Jobs but no one tripped over themselves in this instance anyway.
"

Obviously Steve has no opinion on this now but Apple was one of 278 corporations who also filed a brief (PDF) supporting gay marriage. Some of the others are companies that you'd expect like Google and Starbucks but also companies that you wouldn't, like Alcoa, Goldman Sachs or CBS.

Interestingly, their reasoning is purely prosaic and business oriented:
We are located in or operate in states that recognize marriages of certain of our employees and colleagues to spouses of the same sex. At the same time, we are subject to section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”),2 which precludes federal recognition of
these marriages. This dual regime uniquely burdens amici. It puts us, as employers, to unnecessary cost and administrative complexity, and regardless of our business or professional judgment forces us to treat one class of our lawfully married employees differently than another, when our success depends upon the welfare and morale of all employees.
posted by octothorpe at 5:49 AM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Minnesota is just about the last liberal state with no gay marriage legislation or court rulings. But the Democrats just introduced a bill in the legislature that has some chance of passing! Yay!
posted by miyabo at 6:09 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, their reasoning is purely prosaic and business oriented:

The arguments that rely on advancing your enemies' sacred cows are usually the best.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:23 AM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


As much as we love legal recognition of same-sex relationships, let's not act like what Obama did here is anything more than a gesture.

The position of the United States in a Supreme Court case is a gesture? Especially on a civil rights case? Where do people come up with this?
posted by Ironmouth at 6:28 AM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


He filed an amicus brief. On the last day they'd be accepted.

Only a complete idiot files this brief on anything but the final day. The brief must be served on all parties. Filing it before the last day gives your opponents an opportunity to rewrite their brief to counter your arguments.

Duh.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:33 AM on March 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


One should not forget that Obama was alternating between advocating for separate-but-"equal" civil unions and being against same-sex marriage rights for almost his entire political career, the latter scenario making up his policy for his first three years as President, from 2008 to most of 2012, and going as far back as 2004 and further

No one has.

but one should look further back than the last few months before reinventing him as our long-standing ally

How is this is great that he did this reinventing the man and erasing the memory of other things he did that were not so great? Obama has largely been a disappoint for those that felt he'd be less political then he is, but doing this, at this time, is fine and a good thing.

Obviously Steve has no opinion on this now but Apple was one of 278 corporations who also filed a brief (PDF) supporting gay marriage. Some of the others are companies that you'd expect like Google and Starbucks but also companies that you wouldn't, like Alcoa, Goldman Sachs or CBS.

I'm aware of that, but some people feel Jobs is about the only person worthy of being tripped over and lauded as Ceasar, which is just as ridiculous a notion as people doing the same here for Obama.
posted by juiceCake at 7:28 AM on March 1, 2013


Minnesota is just about the last liberal state with no gay marriage legislation or court rulings. But the Democrats just introduced a bill in the legislature that has some chance of passing! Yay!

From local New Mexico coverage, it sounds like for the past few years, pro- and anti-gay marriage legislation has been raised in the state, and again NM legislators shelved the matter. Lots of good sounding bills get introduced, but many never make it beyond that. I think too many elected officials fear backlash from one side or another to really take a stand. I hope it's different in Minnesota this time, and maybe striking down Prop 8 can help.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:42 AM on March 1, 2013


Only a complete idiot files this brief on anything but the final day. The brief must be served on all parties. Filing it before the last day gives your opponents an opportunity to rewrite their brief to counter your arguments.


Likewise, and I'm sorry if this has been said before and I missed it (because I'm surprised it hasn't been said already), if Obama had done it any sooner, all people who signed similar pro-gay briefs would have been seen as doing something that "supported" Obama -- which may have meant many of the Republicans, corporations, or even moderate Democrats who signed may not have done so.

There's nothing wrong with doing a supportive thing at the tactical time. In fact, it's the lesson the Democratic has actually learned since 2006 or so, thank God.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:54 AM on March 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is just the weirdest argument I have ever seen. "He did what he is legally capable of doing to further the cause I support in this particular instance, during the period when it was allowed for him to do so! That bastard!"

Huh?
posted by kyrademon at 8:06 AM on March 1, 2013


Oh, it's simpler than that...

1. Obama is evil
2. Obama has done something good.
3. Therefore he hasn't.

The actual arguments for 3 are entitely shifting and inconsequential.
posted by Artw at 8:19 AM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Besides, those with experience in the courts here tell us that a considered response that uses all of the time given to them by the court is (and should be) the norm, and history seems to agree with them. The time between final submissions of briefs (Feb 28) and oral arguments (Mar 26) for this case is almost exactly one month. For comparisons' sake, the NAACP also submitted their amicus in Loving v. Virginia on Feb 28--which, I should note, is an interesting confluence of events, given that the man representing the administration in the spiritual successor to Loving was himself born to a black man and a white woman--for an April 10 oral argument, and yet I don't hear you complaining about them being lazy bums.

You're letting facts get in the way of preconceived notions.
posted by kmz at 8:25 AM on March 1, 2013


"He filed an amicus brief. On the last day they'd be accepted. "

For reference, because I've been doing coms work on this, so did the ACLU and EQCA and pretty much everyone else with skin in the game. Even though a lot of the orgs essentially had theirs drafted, we were embargoed against talking about them or filing them until the last possible moment.
posted by klangklangston at 9:46 AM on March 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


so did the ACLU and EQCA and pretty much everyone else with skin in the game.

So, if I understand you right, you're saying that ACLU and EQCA don't really care about gay people. I, for one, am shocked.
posted by yoink at 9:56 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, really, it's that our mission is to turn every kid in America gay (or trans, even better) and marriage is only important insofar as we all know that gay babies come from gay parents.
posted by klangklangston at 10:07 AM on March 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Next stop: homobortions for everyone!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:10 AM on March 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


For those interested, here is SCOTUSblog's take on the amicus brief. Here is the gist of the analysis:
The Obama administration on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to rule in the case of California’s Proposition 8 that same-sex marriage should be required in eight more states, beyond the nine that already permit it, although it stopped short of explicitly calling for the Justices to extend the right to the entire nation.

[....]

In essence, the position of the federal government would simultaneously give some support to marriage equality while showing some respect for the rights of states to regulate that institution. What the brief endorsed is what has been called the “eight-state solution” — that is, if a state already recognizes for same-sex couples all the privileges and benefits that married couples have (as in the eight states that do so through “civil unions”) those states must go the final step and allow those couples to get married. The argument is that it violates the Constitution’s guarantee of legal equality when both same-sex and opposite-sex couples are entitled to the same marital benefits, but only the opposite-sex couples can get married.

“The Court can resolve this case,” the new brief said, “by focusing on the particular circumstances presented by California law and the recognition it gives to committed same-sex relationships, rather than addressing the equal protection issue under circumstances not present here.” That final phrase was the brief’s strongest indication that the administration is not yet ready to take a firm position on whether the “fundamental right to marry” that the Court has recognized repeatedly is a right that should be open also to same-sex couples.

The eight states that apparently would be covered by the argument the Solicitor General has now made are California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island.
The feeling I'm getting from LGBT groups is that they were pleasantly surprised by the extent of the administration's brief--my guess is that they were expecting something that would argue along the lines of the 9th Circuit decision that would have be restricted to only California.
posted by Weebot at 10:43 AM on March 1, 2013


It appears the brilliant plan of some commenters is to punish politicians for taking stands that they support. Try gaming that one out a bit.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:57 AM on March 1, 2013


I'm very excited to live in a time when a sitting President is enlightened enough to finally recognize our rights,...

Thank goodness — so you'll have some of the champagne we'll pass around when (fuck "if", let's go with "when") Prop 8 is finally tossed out? Because based on all your other comments here you're nothing but upset and angry.

It appears the brilliant plan of some commenters is to punish politicians for taking stands that they support.

Well, there's something to be said for having fixed demands and sticking by them. You can think about people saying "Hey, he got rid of DADT, isn't that enough?". If people accepted that we'd lose further progress. But yeah, it sounds like some people are stuck in angry mode.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:16 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, there's that, and there's flat out denying he repealed DADT, per some folks here. That is where the crazy lies.
posted by Artw at 12:31 PM on March 1, 2013


Because I think this thread needs a little levity, you should really all check out #obamascifiquotes Gems include:
"I will not fear, fear is the mind killer. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” #ObamaSciFiQuotes
“The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many Bothans who died to bring us this information” #ObamaSciFiQuotes
In another snafu, Obama wants congress to make peace like Sookie and the Volturi did. )= #obamascifiquotes
posted by corb at 12:34 PM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


President Obama Speaks Out About Why He is Opposing Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court [04:32]
“When the Supreme Court essentially called the question by taking this case about California’s law, I didn’t feel like that was something this administration could avoid,” Obama said during a press conference. “I felt it was important for us to articulate what I believe and what this administration stands for,” he went on, before explaining that the question before the Court concerns California’s specific provision:
The specific question presented before the Court right now is whether Prop 8 and the California law is unconstitutional and what we’ve done is we’ve put forward a basic principle which applies to all equal protection cases. Whenever a particular group is being discriminated against, the court asks the question, what is the rational for this. And it better be a good reason. And if you don’t have a good reason, we’re going to strike it down.
However, Obama noted that if the Court decides that California cannot find a compelling reason to ban same-sex marriage, then it may rule that all bans fail Constitutional muster and allow gay and lesbian couples to marry anywhere in the country. “If I were on the Court, that would probably be the view that I’d put forward,” he said.*
posted by ericb at 12:35 PM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Obama Administration's Progress for the LGBT Community (2009 - 2012).
posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on March 1, 2013


... so did the ACLU and EQCA and pretty much everyone else with skin in the game.

And, yes, AFER (mentioned above) was posting the briefs as the came in yesterday. You can see the list here.
posted by ericb at 12:43 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ellen's brief to the Supreme Court:
"In the words of Benjamin Franklin, 'We’re here, we’re queer, get over it.' And there’s another famous quote that says 'A society is judged by how it treats its weakest members.' I couldn’t agree with that more. No one’s really sure who said it first, so if anyone asks, tell them I said it."
posted by ericb at 12:53 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Demographic research on lesbians and gays emerges from shadows
A few salient facts are known about the Americans whose lives might be changed by a Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage expected this summer.

About one in five gay and lesbian couples are raising children that are under age 18. Same-sex couples are less likely than traditional married couples to have health insurance covering them both. One in 10 men with a male partner or spouse is a military veteran. As many as 6 million Americans, roughly 2 percent of the population, have a parent who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

These nuggets of demographic insight into same-sex couples were contained in an amicus brief filed last week in connection with two cases before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of California’s gay marriage ban and the Defense of Marriage Act. Although posed in dry, academic language, the statistics represent a remarkable step forward in what is known about the lives of lesbians and gays.

A decade ago, such precise statistics were impossible to come by. Even now, demographers cannot say with certainty how many Americans are gay. Many of the numbers commonly used to shape government policies are, for gays and lesbians, nonexistent.

But as gays become more visible in politics, challenging laws that stigmatize their relationships, demographic research into lesbians and gays is emerging from the shadows. Some gay advocates say it’s time for surveys to ask people point-blank to identify their sexual orientation.
posted by ericb at 1:04 PM on March 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


there's flat out denying he repealed DADT,

Good lord, are people claiming that? I couldn't find it anywhere in this thread (after a cursory search). Did I miss it or was the claim made in some other thread?
posted by benito.strauss at 1:43 PM on March 1, 2013


Because I think this thread needs a little levity, you should really all check out #obamascifiquotes

The Wrath of the White House Strikes Back (yes, that's from the official WH Twitter feed)
posted by zombieflanders at 1:48 PM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


In case anyone was wondering what corb was referring to, Obama Mixes Up 'Star Trek' And 'Star Wars' With 'Jedi Mind Meld' Quip.

But I'm not so sure that was a mix-up. I think Obama is just ahead of the curve here. With J.J. Abrams now in charge of both franchises, a merger seems the inevitable result.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:49 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just trying to get some nerd cred back after refusing to build the Death Star.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:07 PM on March 1, 2013


Good lord, are people claiming that? I couldn't find it anywhere in this thread (after a cursory search). Did I miss it or was the claim made in some other thread?

There was a repeated claim in the DADT repeal thread, from a lot of the same people as this thread, that Obama had nothing to do with it and he's just trying to take credit.
posted by kafziel at 2:16 PM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, there's something to be said for having fixed demands and sticking by them.

Where are the votes? Just "demanding" something gets passed is downright stupid. If you can't whip the votes, it just sets things back, not moves them forward.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:28 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


There was a repeated claim in the DADT repeal thread, from a lot of the same people as this thread, that Obama had nothing to do with it and he's just trying to take credit.

Did Obama veto DADT repeal yet? I'm still on tinterhooks on that outcome.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:41 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did Obama veto DADT repeal yet? I'm still on tinterhooks on that outcome.

It was funny how that thread was derailed for hundreds of posts by that outrageous bit of nonsense but I still think my favorite bit was:
"Congratulations to the Senate and House, as well as to the Log Cabin Republicans for successfully overturning an unconstitutional law. Hopefully, all the servicemen and women who had to suffer unjust treatment at the hands of the Commander-in-Chief will now begin to be treated fairly."
posted by kafziel at 2:48 PM on March 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


BP can really push buttons and start derails sometimes, for instance he hasn't posted in over twelve hours and you guys are really keen to keep at it. :P
posted by Drinky Die at 2:56 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


President Obama Is Not The Jedi You're Looking For -- "The Internet got itself very worked up over the president's inelegant attempt at a 'Star Wars' reference, but maybe, just maybe, Obama is playing Jedi mind tricks on us."
posted by ericb at 2:56 PM on March 1, 2013


Who's the more nerdy? The nerdy President, or the nerds who overthink his misquotes?
posted by zombieflanders at 3:00 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


BP can really push buttons and start derails sometimes

WTF? I didn't start the DADT derail. That was started by the usual bullies. Leave me out of the historical revisionism, please.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:11 PM on March 1, 2013


BP didn't raise the issue of DADT. I did, in listing it as an accomplishment of the Obama administration. That led to people pointing out the old DADT thread, which I hadn't participated in. Whether or not that merits re-discussing the disagreements in that thread, eh, I'm not sure.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:22 PM on March 1, 2013


Where are the votes? Just "demanding" something gets passed is downright stupid. If you can't whip the votes, it just sets things back, not moves them forward.

You make the votes by activism in the streets, media, workplaces, churches, families, courts, council chambers, committee meetings, hallways, backrooms, boardrooms, voter-registration lines, ballot boxes, statehouses, congress, and ultimately, the White House.

And you do that year after year, session after session, decade after decade. You do it when the public sees you as plague-ridden pariahs and predators, as radicals, as shrill, uppity, mincing, perverted, fairies, man-haters, etc.. You do it in urban ghettos, then the suburbs, then the small towns. You do it as professionals, then as eager college students, until you reach a revolutionary moment when children are doing it in their middle schools. And maybe, just maybe, in a decade when your lucky pioneers are elders, and the unlucky are prematurely in the grave due to systemic violence and discrimination, you do it when you're seen as deserving of equal rights.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:37 PM on March 1, 2013


How not to make the votes: Throwing midterms because you're in a snit.
posted by Artw at 3:38 PM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Where are the votes? Just "demanding" something gets passed is downright stupid.

I don't get this. None of us is in Congress, so none of us has a vote. All we can do is make demands of our elected officials (after voting for them).

On preview, what CBrachyrhynchos said a millions times better than I did.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:41 PM on March 1, 2013


WTF? I didn't start the DADT derail. That was started by the usual bullies. Leave me out of the historical revisionism, please.

I was poking fun at them for obsessing over you, sorry if it came off otherwise.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:30 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


How not to make the votes: Throwing midterms because you're in a snit.

I should just save this to a text file. There's no evidence that liberals disproportionately undervoted in 2010. In fact, they had slightly higher numbers for Democrats than in 2006, but the difference is small. The 20/90 rule seems to be a pretty consistent trend. 20% of the voters identify as liberals, and approximately 90% vote for Democrats.

The big shift in the last midterm was the moderate/conservative split:

2006: 47% moderate vs. 32% conservative.
2010: 38% moderate vs. 42% conservative.

Some of that shifted back in the 2012 election, but not all of it. Certainly a few people on metafilter have declared themselves vocal spoilers, but they've done little more than inspire massive derails over grudges that have gone on for years now. Metafilter thread participation isn't representative of metafilter, much less larger trends. A disproportionate number of us own Soadastream appliances after all.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:43 PM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mother Jones: In the latest issue of Inspire, the Al Qaeda-produced English-language magazine that teaches readers how to cause traffic accidents, torch parked cars, and "make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom," the terrorist group goes after President Barack Obama for "evolving" on marriage equality.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:59 PM on March 1, 2013


You make the votes by activism in the streets, media, workplaces, churches, families, courts, council chambers, committee meetings, hallways, backrooms, boardrooms, voter-registration lines, ballot boxes, statehouses, congress, and ultimately, the White House.

And you do that year after year, session after session, decade after decade.


Pushes that fail make people back off. Activism doesn't generate votes. See: Richard Nixon landslide in 1972. What generates votes is people actually knowing gay people personally.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:52 PM on March 1, 2013


I have nothing new to point out. I just wanted to jump in and go in the recordbooks for being in favor of the concept of treating people like people, regardless of anything else.
posted by Blue_Villain at 6:47 PM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Activism doesn't generate votes. ... What generates votes is people actually knowing gay people personally.

I am not that old, and I remember when people identifying themselves as being gay to their friends was activism. I mean this literally.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:47 PM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pushes that fail make people back off. Activism doesn't generate votes. See: Richard Nixon landslide in 1972.

Yes, because an incumbent president with an active ratfucking campaign against a scandal-burdened challenger can be blamed on Stonewall.

What generates votes is people actually knowing gay people personally.

Well yes, didn't I already point that out in the sentence you quoted? Did you even bother to read the sentence you quoted?

While you've been concern trolling over votes, we got Clinton changing things in the State Department, we got Obama's public endorsement of gay rights activism, we got the votes in the house, we got the votes in the senate, we got Obama's signature on the bill, we got Obama's support in May, we got him re-elected, we got victories on ballot measures in the last election, and now we have a DoJ amicus brief arguing for strict scrutiny, and we got increasing numbers of conservatives turning chicken on marriage.

The ability of the gay rights movement to "whip up the votes" and political muscle is now a historical and political fact. That doesn't mean that we'll win every fight going forward, but we shouldn't hide from them either.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:49 PM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was poking fun at them for obsessing over you, sorry if it came off otherwise.

No problem. Their bullying gets tiresome after awhile, is all. I know it won't ever stop, I know it is sanctioned, approved and encouraged, but that makes it no less tiresome, regardless. Apologies to you if my response came off punchy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:10 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, because an incumbent president with an active ratfucking campaign against a scandal-burdened challenger can be blamed on Stonewall.

My point there wasn't specific to gay rights. McGovern didn't lose to Nixon because of the ratfucking or the scandal. He trailed massively every second of that campaign. McGovern lost because people didn't agree with him. McGovern embraced very advanced positions that did not have a lot of popular support and he lost.

As for not being in congress, the point is if you try to 'punish' the very people who are the only ones who are going to give you votes, you're very unlikely to get them to engage on your issue and you will see it dropped from their agenda. Just like the mindless attacks on Obama because he filed the brief "on the last day." When our representatives take a position we agree with, attacking them is just stupid.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:46 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The entire reason we are over the sequester deadline right now (something I believe Ironmouth predicted would never, ever occur in defending the original deal that produced it) is because the activists in the Republican party pulled them so far to the right that their views on issues before Congress can't possibly be ignored. In many, many cases this is backfiring on them politically. However, it's undeniable you get your issues heard and engaged with.

Anyway, liberals are not in danger of this becoming a problem, as near 90% of them are dedicated Democratic party voters because they see that as the best path to achieve their goals and I would expect 99% are on board with this brief. BP is wrong in this case, but many criticisms of Democrats are valid. It's okay if a few people decide that pushes them out of the party. It's a very unpopular view that isn't worth making the focus of your attention. If you think they are the problem holding back progress of liberal views, your analysis is distorted and will not serve you well.

BP being wrong at times is not a reason to get worried we are about to McGovern ourselves.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:38 AM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


What generates votes is people actually knowing gay people personally.
You remember that first day of college, where the prof told you that 1/3 of the people in that class would eventually drop out. And you were to look at the person to your left, and at the person to your right, and if it wasn't one of those two...

And in an unrelated note...

Perhaps I'm living in a fairy tale world of my own creation, but I'm pretty sure that everybody knows somebody who identifies as something other than straight. They may not be aware of who that person is, but even if it's 10%/5%/1% of the population then I'm pretty sure we all know at least 10/20/100 people.
posted by Blue_Villain at 7:29 AM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm pretty sure he meant to say openly gay there. His posting seemed a bit off his game last night. I'm not sure how you can conclude the situation we are in where it has become safer to be open was not at least in part produced by a ton of activism.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:48 AM on March 2, 2013


McGovern embraced very advanced positions that did not have a lot of popular support and he lost.

So, your argument is that progressives shouldn't have advanced those causes at all in the 70s through community building and local activism because of McGovern?

Your argument seems incoherent demanding a Schrodinger's progressive who simultaneously casts not-votes (because McGovern!) and votes (because Bush, McCain, or Romney!).

... the point is if you ...

I think you're lecturing the wrong people here. BP is not this thread. This thread is not metafilter. Metafilter is not American politics.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:35 AM on March 2, 2013


Repeatedly engaging in grudgewank over discussions that happened months or years ago in a thread where most participants are interested in and approving of the amicus briefs filed in support of same-sex marriage strikes me as inappropriate for metafilter and threadshitting. I did a little bit of that myself last night, and I apologize.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:47 AM on March 2, 2013


[Further discussion of grudges etc can go to MetaTalk or the other usual channels. In this thread, please let it drop. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:53 AM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Supreme Court Brief: Obama, Clint Eastwood Oppose Prop. 8 ...
fox40.com/.../supreme-court-brief-obama-clint-eastwood-oppose-pro...
4 days ago – The Obama administration on Thursday formally expressed its support of same-sex marriage in California, setting up a high stakes political and ...

Lets see if the Obama fan-bois go ahead and heap praise upon Clint for coming to the same conclusion. So far other than Ericb mentioning it - no reaction.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:36 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


wat
posted by Drinky Die at 7:45 PM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you want people to care as much about the actions of a moderate Republican actor/former small town mayor as they do about the actions of the current President and Solicitor General, I think you may need to adjust your expectations and/or definition of "fan-bois."
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:58 PM on March 4, 2013


He has the president's chair hostage!
posted by Artw at 8:33 PM on March 4, 2013


Lets see if the Obama fan-bois go ahead and heap praise upon Clint for coming to the same conclusion.

Okay. Good for Clint Eastwood.
posted by empath at 8:46 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good for Clint Eastwood, but former member of the California State Park and Recreation Commission doesn't carry the same legal weight as the office of the Solicitor General.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:41 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


He was a mayor!

So, for Rough Ashler: How come you haven't listed all the former mayors who support the freedom to marry?
posted by klangklangston at 9:48 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


The key distinction is that the opinion of the Solicitor General is presumed to reflect the legal framework the DOJ wishes to work under WRT things like DOMA, social security, and discrimination in federal employment and the military. Eastwood is just offering his personal testimony as a guy who lives in California. So good for Eastwood, but not the same thing.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:59 PM on March 4, 2013


I'm glad Clint's against it. Not sure why anyone would oppose anyone who agrees.

Arnold is way against it. He even sabotaged the campaign against it.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:10 AM on March 5, 2013


Sorry, Arnold sabotaged Prop 8 as best he could. There was a giant rollout by pro prop 8 forces, who planned to use a fresh-faced white couple who were going to say that they were upset that there was no Mr. or Mrs. on the license forms. A day before it launched, California said it was putting the terms back on the forms because of a lot of requests. In actual fact there were a handful of requests. Pure sabotage--Arnold found out through contacts. The entire pro-Prop 8 campaign had to scrap the whole ad drive.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:54 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Weird Friends of the Court
On Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases—the first on California’s Prop 8, the second on the Defense of Marriage Act—that could determine whether the federal government can define marriage as between a man and a woman, and whether state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. The parties are represented by some of the lions of the Supreme Court bar, including two former Solicitor Generals—Paul Clement and Ted Olson—on either side of the issue (though arguing on separate days and on separate cases). Their briefs are strong.

But the Court allows others to file briefs as amici curiae, or “friends of the Court.” These amicus briefs are usually a mixed bag, and on cases like this especially so. Controversial cases about social issues bring out the crazies, and crazies can hire lawyers to write a brief. Sometimes the crazies are the lawyers.

Here’s a taste. Apparently the real victims here are not gay men and lesbians marginalized by the laws of over 40 states. The real victims are religious people. If gays and lesbians are allowed to marry, the argument goes, people who want to discriminate against them for religious reasons won’t be able to. And that will make them sad.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:06 AM on March 20, 2013


Rush To The Altar: Big Names Dash To Back Gay Marriage -- "Politicians, business leaders, athletes and others are racing to support gay rights before the Supreme Court holds landmark arguments next week."
posted by ericb at 1:05 PM on March 21, 2013








Rush To The Altar: Big Names Dash To Back Gay Marriage

Am I the only one who read that headline and imagined the Greatest. Wedding. Band. Ever?
posted by The World Famous at 4:19 PM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]






5-4. Majority: Roberts, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan. Kennedy dissents in part, concurs in part.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:08 PM on March 24, 2013


If you had written that two years ago, I would have been all "the guy that authored the decision in Lawrence v. Texas?!" But he's been weird the last two sessions, I can't tell what way he's going to come down on anything. I would not be entirely shocked if he upheld the VRA and affirmative action and DOMA and gay marriage bans, or vice-versa, or even some mix of all four.

Kennedy be krazy, is what I'm saying.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:49 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — On the eve of the United States Supreme Court’s consideration of two hotly contested pieces of legislation regarding marriage equality — the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 — Pew Research Center has revealed that approval ratings for the judicial body are at an all-time low.

Still way more popular than Congress!
posted by Drinky Die at 12:21 PM on March 25, 2013


Still way more popular than Congress!

Which brings me to why I like PPP:
When asked if they have a higher opinion of either Congress or a series of unpleasant or disliked things, voters said they had a higher opinion of root canals (32 for Congress and 56 for the dental procedure), NFL replacement refs (29-56), head lice (19-67), the rock band Nickelback (32-39), colonoscopies (31-58), Washington DC political pundits (34-37), carnies (31-39), traffic jams (34-56), cockroaches (43-45), Donald Trump (42-44), France (37-46), Genghis Khan (37-41), used-car salesmen (32-57), and Brussels sprouts (23-69) than Congress.

Congress did manage to beat out telemarketers (45-35), John Edwards (45-29), the Kardashians (49-36), lobbyists (48-30), North Korea (61-26), the ebola virus (53-25), Lindsay Lohan (45-41), Fidel Castro (54-32), playground bullies (43-38), meth labs (60-21), communism (57-23), and gonorrhea (53-28).
posted by zombieflanders at 12:44 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]




approval ratings for the judicial body are at an all-time low

I'm sure it keeps them up nights worrying.
posted by The World Famous at 3:08 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Court opens in a couple minutes, with prior case opinions (none of which are related to the gay marriage cases) coming first, and then the oral arguments on Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop 8) lasting an hour, although Roberts may allow it to go longer. First will be the Prop 8 defenders, then the opponents, then the Solicitor General as amici in support of the opponents. SCOTUSBlog says that they will not be live-blogging, but there will be reporting ASAP on any opinions and the oral arguments, and the Court will be releasing the audio of the oral arguments as soon as today, which should be very interesting, as we could get at least some additional nuance from that.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:53 AM on March 26, 2013


From Stonewall to the Supreme Court
I grew up about a half a mile away from the birthplace of the gay rights movement — the site of the Stonewall uprising, in Greenwich Village — and throughout my childhood I had an up-close view of the ugliness of anti-gay bigotry. One thing that makes this civil rights battle different from others is that anti-gay prejudice and hostility haven’t been featured in popular culture and not many Americans have been exposed to them in the raw.

To appreciate just how far the movement has come, and how fast it has managed to force a massive cultural shift in favor of marriage equality and broad acceptance of gays, go read John Harwood’s remarkable piece tracing the whole story from Stonewall to the Supreme Court.

I spent my childhood on the far west side of Manhattan in the 1970s, at a time when it was little more than a gay ghetto. The open abuse of gays on the streets was a regular occurrence. The term “gay bashing” was in common use at the time. You sometimes saw young men from outside the city driving around and taunting gays with shouts of “faggot” for sport. I remember seeing young men creeping out the doors of underground gay clubs dotting the far west side early in the morning. As a kid I only dimly understood what they were hiding from and what they were looking for — refuge and acceptance — but now I understand that this period roughly corresponded with an era in which many gays remained in the closet. As Dem Rep. Barney Frank puts it: “We were all hiding.”

I remember seeing many of those underground clubs closed down after the AIDS crisis hit. Ronald Reagan’s longtime refusal to publicly acknowledge the AIDS epidemic was a regular topic of conversation. One of my mother’s best friends, a skilled mime who would regularly make the family crack up in laughter, died of AIDS far too young. AIDS ended up pushing gay rights into the mainstream, and Bill Clinton continued the process by aggressively spotlighting the disease and vowing to allow gays to serve openly (leading to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell), only to infuriate supporters by signing the Defense of Marriage Act amid a conservative backlash. Now DOMA is on the precipice of being struck down.

Just think: In 1972, gays were permitted to speak at the Democratic convention for the first time. Forty years later, gay marriage is in the party platform and it has been endorsed by an American president. The real credit here doesn’t go to public officials who belatedly acknowledged the inevitable, and ultimately were followers in the footsteps of a movement that helped compel an inexorable shift in public attitudes towards greater social tolerance. But it is nonetheless remarkable — and a testament to the power of that shift — to witness a president use his inaugural address for the first time to place the battle for gay rights in the context of the nation’s other great civil rights struggles, and explicitly claim that our quest for a perfect union won’t be complete until gays enjoy fully equal treatment before the law.

Incredibly, that goal — victory in a battle that first and foremost is about dignity, tolerance, and equality — is now a real possibility. Which is why people are massing outside the Supreme Court this morning, in hopes of catching a glimpse of civil rights history — of American history — in the making.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:31 AM on March 26, 2013




Well, this isn't surprising (I thought this was the most likely outcome) but it is pretty disheartening:

@SCOTUSblog Breaking: key vote Kennedy VERY uncomfortable striking down #prop8. Suggests dismissing case. Would leave in place 9th Cir pro-#ssm ruling.

Looks like Kennedy and Roberts are going for the absolute minimum level of support here, which means only California is affected.

And just before I hit "Post Comment", there's this:

@SCOTUSblog There are not 5 votes to strike down #prop8 and recognize equal right to #ssm at this time

Well, fuck. Of course, everybody thought Obamacare was dead after the oral arguments, so one can hope that three months of a full-court push by the left side of the Court may get results.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:18 AM on March 26, 2013


If the court ends up dismissing the case as improvidently granted I will just about die laughing. Wimps.

The 9th Circuit's ruling wouldn't be a bad one to leave in place, although it would be a shame to keep it confined to the whipping-boy circuit.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:20 AM on March 26, 2013


I understand their hesitancy toward striking down a state constitutional amendment approved by voters — the "judicial restraint" argument is strong there. Shame that at least three of the justices are homophobes.
posted by klangklangston at 8:32 AM on March 26, 2013


Kennedy balks sez SCOTUS tweet.

Guess he got a call from the Pope.
posted by klangklangston at 8:41 AM on March 26, 2013


I have found @SCOTUSblog a valuable resource and don't feel comfortable second-guessing, especially since I didn't hear the oral arguments, but damn, do those tweets seem pretty awfully confident for something that hasn't been decided.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:42 AM on March 26, 2013


If this ends up being their decision, this seems like a win for the bigots. They only lose California, with the added bonus that no SCOTUS ruling means no additional burden for future anti-gay laws. And since it's essentially a foregone conclusion that Kennedy and Roberts are going to gleefully overturn VRA Section 5, I get the feeling they might not be too upset by a Republican winning 2020 due to mass voter disenfranchisement and not worrying about the question for the foreseeable future.

What a bunch of cowards.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:48 AM on March 26, 2013


Ted Olson just said that, based on the questions, he has "no idea" how the Court will decide. Ugh.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:50 AM on March 26, 2013


Unfortunately, this probably means DOMA will be upheld as well.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:56 AM on March 26, 2013


SCOTUSBlog's initial write-up
[Justice Kennedy] was deeply concerned with the wisdom of acting now when in his view the social science of the effects of same-sex marriage is uncertain because it is so new. He also noted the doubts about the petitioners’ standing. So his suggestion was that the case should be dismissed.

If those features of the oral argument hold up – and I think they will – then the Court’s ruling will take one of two forms. First, a majority (the Chief Justice plus the liberal members of the Court) could decide that the petitioners lack standing. That would vacate the Ninth Circuit’s decision but leave in place the district court decision invalidating Proposition 8. Another case with different petitioners (perhaps a government official who did not want to administer a same-sex marriage) could come to the Supreme Court within two to three years, if the Justices were willing to hear it.

Second, the Court may dismiss the case because of an inability to reach a majority. Justice Kennedy takes that view, and Justice Sotomayor indicated that she might join him. Others on the left may agree. That ruling would leave in place the Ninth Circuit’s decision.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:03 AM on March 26, 2013


Also, FWIW, according to Mother Jones' Adam Serwer, both Olson and SG Verrilli specifically called for "heightened scrutiny" (i.e., pushing for gays as a protected class), but the Justices didn't respond to it either way.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:11 AM on March 26, 2013


The Guardian's live blog is quite informative.
posted by ericb at 9:26 AM on March 26, 2013


dirigibleman: Unfortunately, this probably means DOMA will be upheld as well

Don't know about that. Most of the commentary still seems to think that DOMA is dead in the water still. But we have one more day of SCOTUS tea leaves tomorrow, so who knows what the consensus will be then, and whether that consensus has any predictive power.
posted by Weebot at 9:27 AM on March 26, 2013


If this ends up being their decision, this seems like a win for the bigots. They only lose California, with the added bonus that no SCOTUS ruling means no additional burden for future anti-gay laws.

If the "win for the bigots" in this case is that a challenge to a single state's anti-gay-marriage law only succeeds to the point where gay marriage is permanently protected in that state, I'll take many, many more bigot victories like that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:31 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


That said, if the court dismisses for lack of standing, rather than just kicking the case back to the 9th, it could have some bad impacts elsewhere, by narrowing activist groups' ability to defend laws or regulations they agree with in court, after the administration that made them has left office.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:36 AM on March 26, 2013


"Unfortunately, this probably means DOMA will be upheld as well"

Nah, 8 was always more of a longshot than DOMA. DOMA's an explicitly discriminatory federal law based on nothing but animus and no reasonable justification for why banning the freedom to marry is the least impactful way to achieve government objectives of, well, I think the current conservative theory is to shackle straight dudes to baby mommas, but I think their whole thing is bullshit, so I may not be giving the fairest representation of their views.
posted by klangklangston at 9:37 AM on March 26, 2013


"That said, if the court dismisses for lack of standing, rather than just kicking the case back to the 9th, it could have some bad impacts elsewhere, by narrowing activist groups' ability to defend laws or regulations they agree with in court, after the administration that made them has left office."

Now that sounds like the Roberts SCOTUS I know!
posted by klangklangston at 9:37 AM on March 26, 2013


(Though in HvP, the issue of lack of harm is pretty critical to standing questions, and theoretically those activist groups would be able to demonstrate more obvious harms.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:38 AM on March 26, 2013


Well, yes. Any ruling that includes "same-sex marriage does not cause legally cognizable harms to straight people" would be a win for sanity.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:41 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seriously, the harms that the NOM et al. propose are on some Ralph Wiggum "They were making babies in the closet and then the baby looked at me" level shit. They're weirdly zero-sum (letting LGBT in diminishes the "special" nature of marriage) and weirdly non sequitor (that diminished specialness will mean that straights won't marry?)

I do think it's going to go down as a Plessy v. Ferguson moment if they fail to explicitly overturn 8, but this court has a significant minority that would still vote to affirm segregation if they could. Every day I pray that Thomas and Scalia take up smoking or eating fugu or something, and hopefully die before the end of Obama's term.
posted by klangklangston at 9:47 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the total upshot is Prop 8 dead in the water, no sweeping ruling on gay marriage and DOMA invalidated, I suspect that that's the best possible long-term outcome for gay rights. That doesn't give much for an anti-gay-rights rebound movement to rally around and it leads to an immediate huge number of "facts on the ground" gay unions in the largest state in the country. With more and more states likely to grant gay marriage rights in the near future that will inevitably lead to a more sweeping ruling in a few more years: by which time any hope of a backlash movement (a la Roe v Wade) will be effectively dead.
posted by yoink at 9:50 AM on March 26, 2013


That "Rove loves Ginsburg?" link upthread has a pretty good discussion of why the popular framing of Roe as provoking a backlash is wrong.
posted by klangklangston at 9:52 AM on March 26, 2013


this court has a significant minority that would still vote to affirm segregation if they could

Once they overturn VRA Section 5 (with MS and other states already preparing arguments for gutting the rest) and affirmative action, they'll already be halfway there.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:54 AM on March 26, 2013


There's a new FPP.

If it stands, maybe conversation should migrate there.
posted by ericb at 9:58 AM on March 26, 2013


That "Rove loves Ginsburg?" link upthread has a pretty good discussion of why the popular framing of Roe as provoking a backlash is wrong.

Not really--it simply points out that there are some scholars who think it's wrong, without getting into the pros and cons of the argument in any useful detail. There are scholars on all sides of most such questions--they're inherently undecidable, of course, because we can't set up parallel worlds and see what happens in one where Roe v. Wade is decided in a narrower way (simply overturning the Texas law, for example).

It is, obviously, possible that Roe v. Wade did not, in fact, spur a backlash--that history would have unfolded in more or less the same way regardless of the Roe v Wade decision. Personally, however, I find that implausible. Roe v. Wade has been at the center of almost every contentious Supreme Court appointment battle since it was decided. It has been a major driver of the deliberate, long-term project on the American Right of populating the courts with as many True Believers as possible. It has been the go-to standard to wave on the Right for any fight against "activist judges" for decades. I find it hard to believe either that all of that is basically irrelevant or that it would have played the same role even if the decision had been a narrower one.
posted by yoink at 10:07 AM on March 26, 2013


Have we won yet?

There's a new FPP.

Oh, I see.
posted by Artw at 2:02 PM on March 27, 2013


« Older We Found Our Son in the Subway   |   Like a big pizza pie Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post