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The Plaintiffs today also ask for fairness, and fairness only.
February 14, 2014 2:55 AM   Subscribe

"Our nation's uneven but dogged journey toward truer and more meaningful freedoms for our citizens has brought us continually to a deeper understanding of the first three words in our Constitution: we the people. "We the People" have become a broader, more diverse family than once imagined." In the case of Bostic v. Rainey, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia's Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen has declared Virginia's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

The judge stays her own ruling, pending appeal to the Fourth Circuit, but begins by quoting Loving v. Virginia, and stating, “Tradition is revered in the Commonwealth, and often rightly so. However, tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry any more than it could justify Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.”

She joined a so-far unanimous group of federal judges considering a question that Supreme Court justices left unanswered in June in their first consideration of gay marriage: Does a state’s traditional role in defining marriage mean it may ban same-sex unions without violating the equal protection and due process rights of gay men and lesbians?

The majority of Virginians now support marriage equality.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (66 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pity about the stay- beginning gay marriages on Valentine's would have been poetic and sweet, and aided in framing the ruling not as a repudiation of tradition or overturning of order, but as a victory of love triumphing over all.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:26 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


The AG and governor have both said they wouldn't defend the ban on the grounds it's unconstitutional. Both won close elections, with the AG winning by 0.04% against a guy who thought even the 19th century was a mite too progressive for people not like him.

Elections matter.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:48 AM on February 14 [19 favorites]


Elections matter.

Elections should not make a damned bit of difference to Constitutlonal rights and it shouldn't matter if the majority of Virginians support marriage equality or not. The idea here isn't to win hearts and minds so that homosexuals can win their rights in elections - in the same unacceptable way they have been loosing them in elections.

The path forward for marriage equality is one of equal protection under the law. Does America have it or not? This is something, I think, all Americans can get behind and even people who do not approve of same sex marriage can find satisfaction in equal protection.
posted by three blind mice at 4:13 AM on February 14 [17 favorites]


I was talking about the mechanics, not the sentiments. And no, a depressingly large number of Americans take a dim view of equal protection under the law.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:16 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]


I've been watching for the last few weeks; as a longtime Virginia resident I was surprised this made it to court, let alone getting this favorable ruling. Sure, the judge stayed her ruling, but merely GETTING such a ruling in this state is an amazing leap forward.

As zombieflanders said, our new AG governor have previously announced they won't defend the ban: what a marvelous difference it is not to have Tea Party extremists in those positions!
posted by easily confused at 4:22 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Equal protection is a right. That right is for everyone and is not subject to the whims of others. Rights are rights. That being said, having people on your side doesn't hurt.

Public sentiment really is changing. My Mom is 76 and was against gay marriage as recently as a couple of years ago. It was just too weird an idea to seriously consider. She's now come around to where she openly supports it. She says that two people who love each other should be able to marry.

Gay people certainly don't need her or anyone else's stamp of approval, but I take it as a sign that many people, like my Mom, have given a completely alien idea some thought and realized that there really isn't any good reason for keeping things the way that they are now. I know she's not the only one. The floodgates are opening and I'm glad to see another prejudiced injustice washed away in my lifetime.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:33 AM on February 14 [11 favorites]


I thought the Fox News take on the story was particularly interesting. (They have since updated the page.)
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:34 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


I love the delicious delicious irony of this:

The Kentucky Gay Marriage Decision Is Another Hilarious Swipe at Scalia
posted by JPD at 5:00 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


All these years later and Virginia is still fighting tooth and nail against Loving.
posted by spitbull at 5:10 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


By declining to fight it?
posted by indubitable at 5:14 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Boy it's great that the Alliance Defending Freedom is working so hard to defend the freedom to restrict other people's freedom. Great choice of names there, Christian lawyer group. Orwell would be proud I guess.

Writing is on the wall for marriage equality. All signs seem to indicate this has reached critical mass. I hoped it would happen in the US, but to be honest I am surprised that it seems to be happening so quickly - it's been fun to watch history happen.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:19 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Their cause was joined last fall by lawyers Theodore Olson and David Boies, who challenged California’s ban on same-sex marriage and have been leading the charge to have the Supreme Court recognize a fundamental right to marriage that states may not prohibit.

Fun fact: Olson and Boies represented opposing sides for Bush v. Gore.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:20 AM on February 14


Virginia is for Lovers (Pending Appeal)
posted by Tomorrowful at 5:28 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty angry about the stay, but mostly because I have "a former Confederate state will legalize or be forced to leagalize gay marriage" in a 2014 predictions league. Come on Arenda L. Wright Allen, why aren't you thinking about me in all this.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:30 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


It's fun to think that in the medium term, the effect of DOMAs may be to actually create marriage equality in many states. A DOMA is a nice, big fat piece of animus against homosexuals that can be invalidated even under a rational-purpose test. And if you invalidate a DOMA, it follows reasonably clearly that what it banned must be unbanned (or else the law had no purpose to start with).

But if the state hadn't banned SSM to start with but just left it illegal or at best in legal limbo by merely not authorizing it, there wouldn't be a big, juicy ban to overturn. The plaintiffs would have to argue that equal protection requires a positive right to same-sex marriage in all circumstances and not merely the overturn of clearly anti-gay legislation, and that seems a tougher battle to me.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:32 AM on February 14 [11 favorites]


All these years later and Virginia is still fighting tooth and nail against Loving.

Huh?

This is great news, along with the Kentucky decision. At this point I suspect even a negative Supreme Court decision would only push back the inevitable a few years.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:35 AM on February 14


it's ten years this weekend that San Francisco kicked off the Winter of Love. It makes me happy that Virginia is finally getting its stupid anti-gay-marriage law challenged, and incredibly happy that it's been overturned, even that ruling has been temporarily stayed; change is coming, Virginia.
posted by rtha at 6:11 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

-Mahatma Gandhi
posted by Argyle at 6:16 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


... then you ignore them.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:18 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Elections matter.

Elections should not make a damned bit of difference to Constitutlonal rights and it shouldn't matter if the majority of Virginians support marriage equality or not. The idea here isn't to win hearts and minds so that homosexuals can win their rights in elections - in the same unacceptable way they have been losing them in elections.


You're right. They shouldn't matter. But there's a lot of difference in this world between what ought to be and what is. As Mr. Dooley said long ago, the courts follow the election returns.
posted by jonp72 at 6:20 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


... then you ignore them.

I'm going to maybe do a little victory dance first! Then I'll ignore them.
posted by rtha at 6:24 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


“Our Constitution declares that ‘all men’ are created equal,”

Um. That would be our Declaration of Independence.

Call me nit-picky, but there is a difference.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:31 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]



Writing is on the wall for marriage equality. All signs seem to indicate this has reached critical mass. I hoped it would happen in the US, but to be honest I am surprised that it seems to be happening so quickly - it's been fun to watch history happen.


Matter of time until it was always Republicans that were in favor of gay marriage for freedom and america-hating defeatocrats who have been opposed to it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:38 AM on February 14


After the Virginia AG stated his intent to not defend the ban, Republicans in the legislature declared intent to impeach him.
posted by Atreides at 6:40 AM on February 14


I hope this gives Scalia a fit of apoplexy, but honestly I don't think he responds to events in the human world in any way we'd recognize.
posted by 1adam12 at 6:41 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


> "Um. That would be our Declaration of Independence."

True, but the Constitution does say "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States ... nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Which does not invalidate the point you made in any way; just wanted to note that equality under the law is still a Constitutional concept despite the misattribution.
posted by kyrademon at 6:41 AM on February 14


Um. That would be our Declaration of Independence.

Gah. I think nitpicking is allowed when it's a federal judge citing it in a ruling (on a Constitutional issue, no less).

BTW, opinion (PDF)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:50 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


In sadder news:

Kansas's Radical Attack on Gays and Lesbians
The law allows private business to deny gays and lesbians "services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges" based on their sexual orientation. By granting immunity to anyone who denies services to gays and lesbians based on an asserted religious belief, it would prevent gays and lesbians from suing even based on common-law rights that require public accommodations to accept all comers on equal terms. The law is not even limited to same-sex couples, but permits the denial of services to anyone "related to, or related to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement." Rather than extending civil-rights protections to gays and lesbians, the Kansas law would move the state in the opposite direction, diminishing the civil rights of gays and lesbians (and, possibly, straight people with gay and lesbian friends as well).

But even worse are the provisions that allows state employees to withhold services from gays and lesbians. "The sovereign," as John Paul Stevens observed, "must govern impartially." This bill is a direct shot at this basic principle of democratic governance. It is bad enough to permit private businesses to discriminate; to allow public officials to discriminate is even worse. As the Daily Beast's Jamelle Bouie puts it, "[a]mbulances can refuse to come to the home of a gay couple, park managers can deny them entry, state hospitals can turn them away, and public welfare agencies can decline to work with them." Allowing state officials to deny services to same-sex couples is about as stark a designation of second-class citizenship as one can imagine short of bringing back George Wallace to deny gays and lesbians access to the University of Kansas.
[...]
The pretext for this rollback of civil rights is the protection of religious freedom. But the Kansas law makes clear how hollow and dangerous such arguments are. It's worth noting here that we're talking about secular businesses and state officials. Acting as individuals, people are free for religious (or any other reason) not to associate with same-sex couples or support same-sex marriage. But—whether motivated by religious belief or not—homophobic beliefs cannot trump the rights of people to use public accommodations on equal terms. These arguments were bad when they were used to oppose civil-rights legislation to protect African-Americans and women, and they're no better in this context. For state officials to be permitted to deny services to citizens based on private religious beliefs is simply unconscionable.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:03 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


And here's Charles Pierce's biting commentary on that bit of nastiness:

Bleeding Kansas
Perhaps it's time for another earnest column from another earnest person in which I am informed that the biggest problem in this area is that liberals have not demonstrated the proper respect for Bible-based bigotry, the value of certain passages in Leviticus in the modern world, or the necessity of taking into account the fact that people have been anchoring their cruelty and ignorance in the Scriptures since Constantine discovered what good imperialists Christians can make. Or about why this nonsense is totally different from being a racist because somebody waved a thurible over it.

Yeah, right.
Rep. Charles Macheers, a Shawnee Republican and chief advocate for the bill, said the legislation was necessary because of potential religious persecution of individuals opposed to same-sex marriage. "Discrimination is horrible," Macheers said. "There have been times throughout history where people have been persecuted for their religious beliefs because they were unpopular."
That's so you never lose sight of who the real victims of discrimination are -- people whose bigotry is inconvenienced by someone else's simple freedom. Bull Connor died too soon to see his essential view of America get a fair hearing. Sad, really.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:04 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Elections should not make a damned bit of difference to Constitutlonal rights and it shouldn't matter if the majority of Virginians support marriage equality or not. The idea here isn't to win hearts and minds so that homosexuals can win their rights in elections - in the same unacceptable way they have been loosing them in elections.

Elections matter because they are signals. The Constitution has been and always will be a document subjectively interpreted by individuals. If 100% of the country believed that gay marriage didn't deserve equal protection under the law, the 14th Amendment wouldn't mean a darn thing. Winning hearts and minds isn't about conning people into accepting equality because it feels good - it's about making people interested in reinterpreting the Constitution in a new light, a light that many of us would consider more honest.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:05 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


There's been one hopeful sign in the Kansas House debacle — Senate president Sen. Susan Wagle released a statement yesterday indicating her caucus might not support it, which is frankly surprising.

Wagle, R-Wichita, made her name a decade ago going after a well-liked human sexuality professor at KU, so this bill at first glance would be something totally in her wheelhouse. If someone like her is going on the record as side-eyeing this, I would hope that is a sign that you’ve gone too far for even some of the crazy bigots.

Thankfully, I did make the move to Colorado I'd hoped for, so that's some relief mixed in with the impotent fury.
posted by rewil at 8:03 AM on February 14


rtha, your comment reminded me that ten years ago, almost to the day, I was a college freshman reading about the weddings in San Francisco.

I wish I could remember how I got wind of it-- livejournal is the most likely culprit-- but somehow I found a blog post from a guy in the Midwest who'd called up an SF flower shop and paid for flowers to be delivered to one of the couples at City Hall. The post went viral, and I read it, and I decided to do the same.

The person at the flower shop was so nice and so happy to be getting these calls from strangers all over the country. I looked at pictures of the happy couples with their flowers in the news, and wondered who got my bouquet.

I haven't thought of them all that often since, but whoever they were, I hope they're still together. I hope they're happy. I hope their country learns to treat them right.
posted by nonasuch at 8:14 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]


Elections should not make a damned bit of difference to Constitutlonal rights and it shouldn't matter if the majority of Virginians support marriage equality or not. The idea here isn't to win hearts and minds so that homosexuals can win their rights in elections - in the same unacceptable way they have been loosing them in elections.


It does help a little bit that Judge Allen is one of only 5 Democratic appointees on the 4th Circuit. The other 13 are Republican appointees. Of course judges aren't rigid partisans but elections do matter in the context of our courts.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 8:43 AM on February 14


Boy it's great that the Alliance Defending Freedom is working so hard to defend the freedom to restrict other people's freedom.

Good rule of thumb: If a group has the word "freedom" in its name, it's usually working very hard to restrict yours.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:43 AM on February 14 [13 favorites]


nonasuch!

Ten years ago on February 18th, gingerbeer and I, and our friends Ingrid and Greta, waited in line outside City Hall for a chance to commit civil disobedience by getting married. It had stopped raining for the first time in days, and some of the madness of crowds had dispersed a bit because so many people thought that the courts would stop the weddings that Monday or Tuesday (they didn't) and so they didn't come or they went home.

A man and a woman pulled up in a car and had coffee and cookies for people waiting in line.

Some musicians - string quartets, some acoustic-guitar-playing people - had set up inside City Hall to play for anyone who wanted live music at their impromptu wedding.

The guys in front of us in line asked us to be their witnesses (they had brought their own pastor, but no witnesses). Afterwards, they sent us lovely flowers.

It was one of those days when every encounter with a human being makes you really love human beings.
posted by rtha at 8:46 AM on February 14 [24 favorites]


God, even the first (currently) comment in the WaPo article makes me feel all happy towards people - a comment! on a news site!

I'm a Christian man. I'm married to a woman, I'm a military veteran, etc -- I'm the stereotypical conservative Republican and I applaud this ruling. Why, you ask? Because the conservative position is one of opposition to government interference. We conservatives point to the US Constitution when we demand our 2A rights, our right to worship, our right utilize rules in the Senate to our advantage, etc. But we are guilty as charged by our Democrat-Liberal countrymen when it comes to picking and choosing when our laws should apply. If you're a true conservative, I implore you to support this decision because if the government can tell you who you can marry, then as we always say, there's no telling what else they will say we can't do. Limited government interference with an emphasis on personal responsibilities and choices -- that's conservatism.
posted by rtha at 8:50 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


>> Elections matter.

> Elections should not make a damned bit of difference to Constitutlonal rights and it shouldn't matter if the majority of Virginians support marriage equality or not. ...
The path forward for marriage equality is one of equal protection under the law. Does America have it or not?


Elections should not matter to our basic rights. And yet they most seriously fucking do. Our democracy does not exist as some Platonic ideal that persists unchanged regardless of how is is embodied on Earth; it is alive and we must participate in it and we must fight to maintain it. Voting in elections is the bare minimum we can do, but for god's sake it's something and it ticks me off to hear it dismissed.

> This is something, I think, all Americans can get behind ...

This is something I'd have hoped all Americans would get behind. And yet I've seen time and time again where groups of American citizens try to use the power of government to deny equal protection to others. In 2009, 58% of Virginia voters voted for Ken Cuccinelli for Attorney General. You can be sure that Cuccinelli would have worked very hard to deny gay people equal rights if he were still in office. It's the participation of voters that kept him from getting the governorship.

Because this is MetaFilter I have to make the caveat that elections don't solve everything, and there are problems in our society that require action beyond voting. But elections most definitely matter.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:54 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Another data point, from a different angle: my mother is moderate-liberal, except for the fact that she is emphatically homophobic. However, once same sex marriage became legal in New York, you know what happened? She stopped talking about it. To her, even though same sex marriage wasn't something she wanted, it just wasn't an issue that would make her vote any differently than she otherwise would. The conservative opposition couldn't bring her over to their side by being the side against the gays. It doesn't annoy her enough to warrant another moment's thought, especially since she's aware that the tide has turned.

...

I'm not sure what "elections should not make a damned bit of difference" is supposed to substantively mean. In a representative democracy, elections are some of the most important things. Of course basic rights will be implicated - politics comprises more than trivial things. Yes, federal judges are willfully isolated from this process, since they are appointed for life, but they're still in the same general system. Besides, the same cultural forces which affect voters also affect judges.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:03 AM on February 14


Elections are the process by which we create a government to provide equal protection under the law; how can they not matter?
posted by Wood at 9:25 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


(Maybe we should just declare it a derail. I apologize for taking the bait.)
posted by benito.strauss at 9:35 AM on February 14


Yeah, rights shouldn't be up for popular vote. Unless it's gun rights. Or corporate speech. Or property rights. Or any other right I don't support.
posted by jpe at 10:11 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Ten years ago on February 18th, gingerbeer and I, and our friends Ingrid and Greta, waited in line outside City Hall for a chance to commit civil disobedience by getting married.

There was a photographer's blog that had some fantastic photos of that day that were some of my favorite pictures ever, but I've lost track of the bookmark. Do you maybe have any idea what I'm thinking of? It was a series of portraits of just-married couples coming out of the SF courthouse doors. I could use some pictures of happy couples getting married to cheer me up after reading that Kansas bullshit.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:27 AM on February 14


Governor McAuliffe statement on Bostic v. Rainey Ruling: "I applaud the federal district court's decision to ensure all Virginians are treated equally under the law, no matter what their backgrounds are or whom they love. In order to grow our economy and attract the best businesses, entrepreneurs, and families to Virginia, we must be open and welcoming to all who call our Commonwealth home. As this case continues through the judicial process, I will enforce the laws currently on the books, but this decision is a significant step forward in achieving greater equality for all of our citizens."
posted by postel's law at 10:41 AM on February 14


rtha: Ten years ago on February 18th, gingerbeer and I, and our friends Ingrid and Greta, waited in line outside City Hall for a chance to commit civil disobedience by getting married.

My wife and I used City Hall by Vienna Teng as the first dance at our wedding. We went back and forth about whether it was, I guess, respectful for us to use it, as a straight couple, but ultimately it was the only song that left us in tears every time we heard it. It captured what really mattered.

It still works that way for me now. I hit the part of your story about the gifts and the musicians and the people in line and I just lose it.

So thanks for the civil disobedience. It was no small thing.
posted by jhc at 10:41 AM on February 14


Do you maybe have any idea what I'm thinking of?

I think I do, but I have no idea where it lives now, either!
posted by rtha at 11:17 AM on February 14


Meanwhile, in Indiana...
posted by Thorzdad at 12:24 PM on February 14


Yeah, rights shouldn't be up for popular vote. Unless it's gun rights.

How dare you. Seriously. The right to be treated equally under the law is fundamentally different from matters of public safety. Jesus.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:32 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


"But if the state hadn't banned SSM to start with but just left it illegal or at best in legal limbo by merely not authorizing it, there wouldn't be a big, juicy ban to overturn. The plaintiffs would have to argue that equal protection requires a positive right to same-sex marriage in all circumstances and not merely the overturn of clearly anti-gay legislation, and that seems a tougher battle to me."

The only state that I know of that had zero laws about marriage for same-sex couples was New Mexico, and because their state constitution required equal protection, it was actually a pretty easy court case — no "will of the voters!" or other such nonsense, it was just a clerk starting to issue licenses, which then got challenged, and the judges were like, "Welp, no reason not to."
posted by klangklangston at 12:34 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


"Elections should not make a damned bit of difference to Constitutlonal rights and it shouldn't matter if the majority of Virginians support marriage equality or not. The idea here isn't to win hearts and minds so that homosexuals can win their rights in elections - in the same unacceptable way they have been loosing them in elections.

The path forward for marriage equality is one of equal protection under the law. Does America have it or not? This is something, I think, all Americans can get behind and even people who do not approve of same sex marriage can find satisfaction in equal protection.
"

Except for two things:

First, there's an argument that this equal protection conflicts with religious liberty. I don't find it a tremendously persuasive argument, but it's pretty frequently made. In which case, an election does allow us to signal which of those rights should be given priority when they conflict by electing a person whose interpretation of that conflict most closely matches the voters'.

Secondly, rights themselves are pretty poorly grounded at a fundamental level, which is especially obvious when you look at the history of how rights have been interpreted. Asserting something as a basic human right is more an appeal to emotion and tradition than it is a robust argument — if you disagree with that assertion, the argument tends to fall apart. More effective is "this should be a right because…" but that has the disadvantage of not positing rights as something indivisible, inherent and eternal.

Further, I'd point out that the most practical way to understand rights is to frame them as, "We have the rights we defend." Like, I think it's a fair contention that the NSA surveillance is a violation of my right to privacy, to be secure in my papers, etc. But that's not defended by the government, and in that way, I functionally don't have that right.

Which would come back to elections mattering, even as I personally don't think it's ever fair to vote on minority rights by majority rule.
posted by klangklangston at 12:41 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


As klangklanston suggests, it's not like legal rights are given via divine command or anything people.
posted by oddman at 12:56 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Half the USA would beg to disagree, it seems. :(
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:59 PM on February 14


It's OK; I disagree with at least half of America on a lot of things.
posted by klangklangston at 1:38 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


it's not like legal rights are given via divine command or anything

Like, inalienable rights endowed by our creator?
posted by LionIndex at 1:41 PM on February 14


it's not like legal rights are given via divine command or anything

Like, inalienable rights endowed by our creator?


Well, you can say that we all have inalienable rights endowed by our creator if you want to make an appeal to the Declaration, but regardless of that, those rights still need one heck of a lot of interpretation, and that interpretation is done by us. I mean, look at Judaic law. There's books of laws laid down by the creator, and there's quite a bit of wrangling about just how to interpret them.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:45 PM on February 14


Our rights don't have to have been endowed by a creator in order to be inalienable...
posted by Justinian at 2:59 PM on February 14


Really tired of Americans looking down on Russia for anti-gay treatment when they themselves can just barely get their shit together.

Hell, interracial marriage was technically illegal in Alabama until 2000 (though unenforceable) for fuck's sake:
Despite the Supreme Court's decision, anti-miscegenation laws remained on the books in several states, although the decision had made them unenforceable. In 2000, Alabama became the last state to adapt its laws to the Supreme Court's decision, by removing a provision prohibiting mixed-race marriage from its state constitution through a ballot initiative. 60% of voters voted for the removal of the anti-miscegenation rule, and 40% against. wtf???
("wtf" mine)

Then again, I guess any pressure towards the light is a good thing. Just... grrrrar... dumb people... venting...
posted by NiceKitty at 2:59 PM on February 14


"Like, inalienable rights endowed by our creator?"

Right, which is an assertion, not really an argument. It withers under the retort, "What creator?"

Our rights don't have to have been endowed by a creator in order to be inalienable...

It certainly helps, though. Because otherwise, it's pretty hard to get at which rights we have and why, especially when practical experience tends to show that a lot of our rights are pretty damn alienable.
posted by klangklangston at 3:01 PM on February 14


Really tired of Americans looking down on Russia for anti-gay treatment when they themselves can just barely get their shit together.

I'm okay with it, given that my (American) government is not actually sponsoring or encouraging paramilitary groups to attack gay people. It's also legal here for me to hold hands with my girlfriend in public, where children might see, and it's also legal for me to write articles advocating for gay rights and publish them where minors might see them.

I'm really tired of people demanding some sort of purity before some shitty thing somewhere can be criticized.
posted by rtha at 3:10 PM on February 14 [24 favorites]


especially when practical experience tends to show that a lot of our rights are pretty damn alienable

No, you still have inalienable rights even when the government doesn't recognize them. That's what makes them inalienable...
posted by Justinian at 7:04 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


It's not about demanding purity tests -- and I certainly resent the implication -- it's about careful framing of events to tell a narrative that amounts to propaganda while glossing over one's own flaws. That, and the ugly tendency of assuming the worst about The Other -- something the Metafilter community itself has a major problem with. One could easily cherry-pick a narrative to make the US look like the most backwards, oppressive nation in the world.

"Did you know that in almost every city across the US, well-funded, well-armed paramilitary groups roam the streets looking to assault and abduct peaceful citizens, especially minorities, who dare to use foul language or raise their voice beyond an acceptable level?" (Just a reframing of police enforcing municipal Disorderly Conduct statutes with a bit of racial bias thrown in.)

Or an easy example from MeFi itself: http://www.metafilter.com/136214/Except-for-in-a-couple-of-instances-feet-do-not-touch-the-ball

Maybe I'm in a little bubble of kindness, but folks here are quite indifferent towards gender orientation -- probably nicer than the US, actually. Good to keep the pressure on, certainly, but please keep a critical eye to what you read and consider the narrators' motivations. It's going to get worse in the coming years as the powers-that-be try to lock things down by swaying public opinion.

And I'll give a Russian cop a big bear hug before making eye contact with an American one.
posted by NiceKitty at 7:38 AM on February 15


It's not about demanding purity tests -- and I certainly resent the implication -- it's about careful framing of events to tell a narrative that amounts to propaganda while glossing over one's own flaws.

I don't think there's a lot of framing that needs to happen to make the US look not as bad as Russia when it comes to state-sponsored violence against gay people. Masha Gessen isn't framing the US as full of unicorns and rainbows when she decided to leave her home country to live in the New York because she was afraid of having her children being taken away at minimum because she's an out lesbian.

I'm fairly certain, based on threads here about gay and lesbian issues, that no one on mefi thinks that the US is perfect when it comes to lgbt rights, or human rights more broadly. But some places are measurably, actually worse, and one of those places is Russia. Me (or anyone else) saying "The situation for lgbt people in Russia is terrible" is not me (or anyone else) saying "LGBT people in the US have it totally awesome, we're great, bye." Sometimes one assumes the worst of the Other because the Other is marching around going "Hey! I'm The Worst!"

In what way should I frame a statement about the situation for queers in Russia that won't make you (you specifically, also I guess general "you") think that I am also saying the US is perfect in that regard? Do I add a sentence or paragraph each time acknowledging our lack of perfection?
posted by rtha at 8:15 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


I forgot: I'm well aware that American evangelicals like Scott Lively have a hand in "helping" create situations like what's happening in Russia and Uganda. He has to export that toxic shit because at this point in the US, as imperfect as we still are, it's too toxic to take hold here at home, and he knows it.
posted by rtha at 8:26 AM on February 15


State Delegate Robert G. Marshall (the Republican co-author of the Va. state constitution's ban on same-sex marriages) has called for Judge Arenda Wright-Allen to be impeached. In a speech on the floor of the House of Delegates, he also declared:
"Legislating through the courts against the will of the people is lawless disregard for our representative form of government".

Never mind how Marshall and his Tea Party buddies like Cuccinelli have been ramming their extremist views down everyone's throats for years now; anytime and anywhere something happens they don't like, their response is the same: Impeach our opposition!
posted by easily confused at 8:30 AM on February 15


I didn't live through segregation and it's downfall, but I'm definitely developing a firm grasp of what the opposition to that movement was kind of like through the words and antics of the crazies today. I suppose instead of Little Rock, it will be Topeka, where gay marriage (and homosexuality) is denied now and into the future.
posted by Atreides at 9:46 AM on February 15


"No, you still have inalienable rights even when the government doesn't recognize them. That's what makes them inalienable..."

If someone can't even conceive of having a right we'd articulate, how can you say that right is inalienable to them aside from asserting that they have it, even beyond their knowledge? No one involved in the execution of Socrates, least of all himself, would have argued that he had an inalienable right to free speech. But for it to be universal and inalienable, he had to have had it.

The inalienability of rights is a definitional assertion, not a fact, unless it becomes so thin and useless that asserting it can't support any other arguments. I think it has a fair amount of utility in the American justice system, but that doesn't mean it's true.
posted by klangklangston at 12:28 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


How Something Good Could Come Out Of Arizona’s Awful ‘License To Discriminate’ Bill
posted by homunculus at 11:48 PM on February 25


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