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Virginia is for Lovers
July 29, 2014 1:48 AM   Subscribe

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the decision overturning Virginia's ban on Same sex marriage:
"We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws. Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security. The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance."

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe: “I am overjoyed by the news that, as a result of today’s ruling, Virginia will become a state where two people who love each other can get married, regardless of their sexual orientation... This is a historic ruling for our Commonwealth, and its effect will affirm once again that Virginia is a state that is open and welcoming to all."

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring declined to defend the Commonwealth's ban on same sex marriages.

The ruling [pdf].

This is the second Federal Appeals Court to rule that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.

Previously: "'We the People' have become a broader, more diverse family than once imagined."
posted by peeedro (87 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
The dominos are falling so quickly at this point, I'm starting to think it's going to be a race to see who is last.
posted by hippybear at 1:54 AM on July 29 [8 favorites]


The decision does not go into effect for 21 days, allowing time for an appeal.
posted by peeedro at 1:56 AM on July 29


Where does a case from a Federal Appeals Court go? The SCOTUS won't be back in session until October, so....
posted by hippybear at 1:59 AM on July 29


Amidst the drone wars, the NSA cyberstalking, the exaltation of corporate citizens, the unwillingness to turn down the CO2 - against all that, eventually, marriage equality will be one historical movement that our generation will be able to look back on with unequivocal pride.
posted by univac at 2:06 AM on July 29 [14 favorites]


There are four other states in the 4th Circuit; MD (which already has marriage equality), NC, SC and WV. In light of the decision, the North Carolina AG has decided to stop defending the marriage ban lawsuit. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he’s reviewing the decision and won’t make a decision until it’s final. South Carolina will continue to defend their ban.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:24 AM on July 29 [5 favorites]


pfffff, MetaFilter is in reruns for the summer
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:28 AM on July 29 [20 favorites]


Oh wow, this made my day and it's not even 5:30 yet.
posted by dogheart at 2:28 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, Kennedy and Roberts alternate nights being woken at 3am by the ghost of Roger Taney.
posted by Sequence at 2:51 AM on July 29 [6 favorites]


Where does a case from a Federal Appeals Court go? The SCOTUS won't be back in session until October, so....

They can ask for rehearing ("you got this ruling wrong, please do it over") or rehearing en banc ("the three-judge panel got this ruling wrong, so the entire 14-judge court should look at it and render their own decision"). After that, the only recourse is the Supreme Court, which means they'd just have to wait until the next term for the justices to decide whether they'll take the case.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:02 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


Now, Virginia is for all lovers.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 3:30 AM on July 29 [21 favorites]


> ...the North Carolina AG has decided to stop defending the marriage ban lawsuit.

The NC constitution was only amended in 2012 because of a ballot initiative intended to get out the Republican vote due to fears that Obama's campaign momentum might lead to Democratic gains at the state level (election day results: initiative passed, Democrats won the majority of votes, but 2010's gerrymandering locked in an extremely disproportionate Republican representation in state offices).

There are a lot of individuals and politicians in NC who are deeply invested in perpetuating this discrimination, but the GOP and Republican-affiliated officials in relevant offices seems to consider the issue not worth more than token defense, having served its purpose as an election year dog whistle. If you want to be extra-cynical, you could speculate that allowing the courts to overturn the amendment now gives Republicans the opportunity to draft a new, loophole-exploiting anti-equality ballot initiative later (if they find one), and a side helping of "Activist judges" talking points to deploy as needed in front of the demographics who respond positively to that sort of thing.
posted by at by at 3:31 AM on July 29 [9 favorites]


For many years the 4th Circuit was one of the most consistently conservative appeals courts, but Obama has appointed 6 of 14 judges to go with Clinton's 4 (I count Gregory as his) and suddenly the 4th doesn't look so bad at all. Given the relatively fractured 2-1 decision from the panel, it is likely to go to the full court en banc, but I don't think anything is going to change.

Olson and Bois have really fashioned one of the most remarkable and successful appellate strategies I can remember. Even Olson seems a bit shocked, saying "I've never seen anything like it."

I loved this line from the opinion:
We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.
I never dreamed that I could find myself so happy to find that Scalia was right about something. The DOMA ruling really did pave the way for this. It is amusing that both circuits have quoted his analysis from the dissent.
posted by Lame_username at 3:39 AM on July 29 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, Kennedy and Roberts alternate nights being woken at 3am by the ghost of Roger Taney has written every major gay rights opinion for the Supreme Court.
posted by jpe at 3:59 AM on July 29


Thank you for the robust and well-sourced post on the Commonwealth, peeedro.

One thing I've been wondering about throughout this process: since Virginia has declined to defend the law in court, the city clerks have private attorneys. Do they keep contesting appeals decisions because the clerks themselves are opposed to gay marriage, or is there some weird legalism that requires them to continue challenging decisions until they're out of options?
posted by indubitable at 4:10 AM on July 29


For many years the 4th Circuit was one of the most consistently conservative appeals courts, but Obama has appointed 6 of 14 judges to go with Clinton's 4 (I count Gregory as his) and suddenly the 4th doesn't look so bad at all.

As someone pointed out in my local paper's comments section (general rule still applies, DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS), this is actually still a pretty conservative panel — Gregory was nominated by GW Bush even though he was a Clinton recess appointment, and Floyd, though an Obama appointment, was nominated as a district judge by GW Bush.
posted by indubitable at 4:18 AM on July 29


Meanwhile, Kennedy and Roberts alternate nights being woken at 3am by the ghost of Roger Taney.

I would imagine that the ghost of Roger Taney softly sings lullabies Dixie to Roberts as he drifts off to sleep.
posted by TedW at 4:22 AM on July 29


Amidst the drone wars, the NSA cyberstalking, the exaltation of corporate citizens, the unwillingness to turn down the CO2 - against all that, eventually, marriage equality will be one historical movement that our generation will be able to look back on with unequivocal pride.

I was going to make the same observation, but univac said it better so I will just quote him instead.
posted by TedW at 4:25 AM on July 29


FANTASTIC NEWS. I was anxiously awaiting an FPP on this last night.

So what does this mean for the other states in that circuit? Is this ruling a reference to be used to kill their SSM bans?
posted by Twain Device at 4:25 AM on July 29


/happy tears way too early!
Way to go, VA!
posted by the_royal_we at 4:29 AM on July 29




Olson and Bois have really fashioned one of the most remarkable and successful appellate strategies I can remember.

Well, that's fine, but they weren't the only attorneys in this case (there are intervening cases that were running parallel prior to the intervention), and they certainly aren't the only ones at the appellate level.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:44 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Well, that's fine, but they weren't the only attorneys in this case (there are intervening cases that were running parallel prior to the intervention), and they certainly aren't the only ones at the appellate level.

They're important in particular because they basically went rogue and filed the Prop 8 challenge contrary to the "official" strategy. The usual suspects in gay rights litigation (Lambda Legal, NCLR, etc.) didn't want them to file in federal court because the risk of a precedent-setting loss was too great. Despite the fact it's been working out, I think it's probably still unclear whether they had a particularly good read on the situation or if they got lucky. I'm no legal expert, but I'm still worried about what'll happen if/when this thing ends up in front of the Supreme Court.
posted by hoyland at 5:00 AM on July 29


I am fascinated by the different ways there are to say "this is clearly wrong and should be changed." It's amazing that given the clear and humanitarian reasons for ditching outdated attitudes, some states continue to cling to their fears. Time and time again Judges declare restrictive legislation incompatible with the Constitution. Wish this domino process would speed up some; the holdout states must surely be feeling some pressure (or so I'd like to believe).
posted by kinnakeet at 5:03 AM on July 29


Lovers v. Virginia
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:08 AM on July 29 [5 favorites]


Scalia name-check count in this ruling: 4. (Although one is a double citation.)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:08 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Lifelong Virginian here. I never expect much from Virginia. Sometimes they surprise me. But, not very often.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:09 AM on July 29


this is actually still a pretty conservative panel — Gregory was nominated by GW Bush even though he was a Clinton recess appointment
Well, we are talking about Doug Wilder's long time law partner and co-founder of the first African American law firm in the state -- although he isn't a radical by any means, he's not remotely conservative. He was major figure in the Virginia Democratic party. His appointment by Bush was a minor concession to sweeten a package of 10 other ultra-conservative nominees a few months after he was sworn in.
posted by Lame_username at 5:28 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


My God. Even though there's the 21-day stay on it plus various Tea Partiers in the state government are screaming 'impeachment!' at the top of their lungs, this shocked the heck out of me. I mean, Virginia?!? Sure, we're more liberal here in Northern Virginia than, say, in the southwest corner of the state (translation: your average NoVa resident's reaction to SSM: "that's nice.... now can we get back to making money?"), but still.... Virginia, as possibly state #20 instead of a kicking & screaming #50?!? Amazing.
posted by easily confused at 5:31 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


As more states kick gay marriage bans I grow more and more fearful that Tennessee will be number 50.
posted by Twain Device at 5:33 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


...the holdout states must surely be feeling some pressure (or so I'd like to believe)

I can only speak for Indiana, but, from what I can gather, the prevailing "pressure" our officials are feeling is one of "Someone must stand-up and fight to preserve God's natural order!" They honestly believe they are fighting to preserve America.

As far as Indiana goes, we're also laboring under the ambitions of our Governor (Mike Pence) who has intentions to make a Presidential run. Spending whatever tax dollars it takes defending traditional marriage against the godless liberals all the way up to the Supreme Court will put him in solid with the evangelicals and culture warriors on the right.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:39 AM on July 29


I have rarely felt so satisfied about how I voted* as I did when I heard that Herring would not defend the law on the radio. I expected the reaction then to be much sharper than some blustering from elected state Republicans about how they'd have to hire someone to defend it, and some loudly expressed (what felt like pro forma) concerns from frequent "Values Boosters". I was surprised no one really raised the idea of impeachment, but upon looking it up, I see a national group did suggest it, and I just never heard it. This suggestion apparently didn't get enough traction - even in the more conservative areas of the state - to spawn bumper stickers and outraged signs in yards and pastures and painted message tractor trailers.

Now that the law has been struck down, it will be interesting to see I see an uptick in bumper stickers, or a rise to signs or to the tractor trailer/container. The painted message tractor trailers I've seen in the Valley and SWVA have been historically anti-NAFTA, anti-UN, anti-Obama, anti-government budget, and anti-abortion.

*Mark Herring won the AG Election last year with 1,105,045 votes to Obensheim (who would have chosen to defend the law) with 1,104,138 votes, and even though that's a .04% difference, that's a far wider margin than it originally looked before the recount (.01%, still in Herring's favor). Voting matters!
posted by julen at 5:43 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Amidst the drone wars, the NSA cyberstalking, the exaltation of corporate citizens, the unwillingness to turn down the CO2 - against all that, eventually, marriage equality will be one historical movement that our generation will be able to look back on with unequivocal pride.

No, I don't think so. Let me be clear: it's great. I'm glad it's happening. It's very meaningful (I was married in California!) and certainly a positive good. But, among other things, marriage equality has had and does have real, tangible effects on queer communities that aren't always unequivocally positive. (Extended civil rights are always positive! Asking questions about to whom they are extended and under what conditions isn't implying otherwise! There are, in fact, scholars who suggest that marriage ought not be a fundamental right extended and defended by the State for anyone.) I don't know that it's what I'd want the high water mark to be. I'd like the high water mark to be, I don't know, full protection from employment and housing discrimination for transgender people. Or an end to a regime of mass incarceration driven by bad drug policy.
posted by liketitanic at 6:21 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And he's a Polar Bear...
posted by Devonian at 6:22 AM on July 29


My Facebook feed is full of people proclaiming how "Proud" they are to be from Virginia, in light of this news.

Marriage equality is good news, but the way that Virginia got there is not something to be proud of. The VA marriage amendment was one of the nastiest passed by any state, and approved by the overwhelming majority of the state only a few years ago.

That's not something to be proud of. I'm certainly glad we got this outcome, but, man... Virginia has issues.

For all the shit that DC gets for its government, we were on the right side of this issue back before it was cool. We established domestic partnerships in 1992. Our local government might be intractably corrupt, but damnit, we get a few things right.
posted by schmod at 6:24 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


"Proud" they are to be from Virginia

Proud that marriage equality was forced on them by the federal government after a long fight? That's a weird kind of gay pride.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:30 AM on July 29


Can we just let people who are excited about the news say they're proud of their states without continuously going Yeah but having the judicial branch make the decision isn't the same as having the decision made legislatively, or whatever. When people today are saying they're proud, it doesn't mean they are denying the other things that are wrong with the political systems of their respective states. They're just celebrating. Let people celebrate. (And in the case of states who's elected officials chose not to defend the ban in court, why is "proud" not appropriate anyway?).
posted by MoonOrb at 6:36 AM on July 29 [16 favorites]


Proud that marriage equality was forced on them by the federal government after a long fight? That's a weird kind of gay pride.

Virginia's re-entry back into the Union - forced on them by the federal government.

Virginia's desegregation - forced on them by the federal government.

Nah, this seems pretty on par for traditional Virginia behavior!
posted by Atreides at 6:37 AM on July 29 [9 favorites]


So I'm seeing reports that this ruling applies to the entire Fourth Circuit. That includes Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virgina, and West Virgina.

So if SSM is legal in those states doesn't that put us at 23 states? (since it was already legal in Maryland)
posted by Twain Device at 6:41 AM on July 29


So if SSM is legal in those states doesn't that put us at 23 states? (since it was already legal in Maryland)

No, because this ruling was solely about the Virginia ban. It certainly has implications for the other states as to how the Fourth Circuit will rule if and when those cases get to that level, but it's not automatic.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:43 AM on July 29


Of course my current state is still staunchly assholish about this whole thing. I wonder if we can have Charleston secede from SC and join, like, Vermont or something. We can bring a good port on the eastern seaboard. Would that make up for the sharp uptick in seersucker-per-capita?
posted by This Guy at 6:44 AM on July 29


Ah. I didn't think that was how it worked with other circuit courts previously, but I keep seeing it discussed like it did blanket apply. Thanks for the clarification.

I know I'm not alone in this thinking but I have the sneaking suspicion the race is on for individual states and that the last handful of the states will be drug into the future via a SCOTUS ruling (ya know, the one we should have gotten last year)
posted by Twain Device at 6:48 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


As someone directly impacted by this, I am trying to be happy. I should be ecstatic, right? But all I can do is look at that 21 days and think that someone's going to find a way to eff this up before we get to 21 days, and then it's going to be kicked up to the Supreme Court, and heck knows when they're going to do their jobs...

I lecture my students that social change is slow and that we have to be patient, but I'm having a hard time swallowing those words myself these days. :)

(Still, woot! And thank you, Roy Cooper. There's not a lot of sanity in our state government right now.)
posted by joycehealy at 7:02 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


This is where I say: w00t!
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:11 AM on July 29


This is 10 kinds of awesome. I don't want to dig into the 'how did it get done and that's not the right way to do it' debate but I'm happy for more progress. I'm fairly conservative in a political sense in that I think that states should have rights to set their laws (that aren't stupid) so I think this has to go state by state rather than a federal ruling. Every time I see another state making sense it makes me happy and I hope soon we'll be to 50 (and even more with the territories I hope.) I live in MN where marriage equality was official recently and guess what - God didn't send hellfire to us all. And the pullquote in the FPP was perfect.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 7:16 AM on July 29


As more states kick gay marriage bans I grow more and more fearful that Tennessee will be number 50.
Twain Device - if I was a betting lady, I would put money on Tennessee beating us Okies to the punch. (I hope not. Gosh, I hope not.)
posted by the_royal_we at 7:26 AM on July 29




Not linking to it, but the FreeRepublic thread about this is almost comically absurd, even by usual FreeRepublic standards. There are multiple comments actively calling for armed rebellion over this.

I think there's something about this that just triggers an incredibly visceral fury in hard-right conservatives like that. I don't even think it's the issue itself or their sense of morality about it or whatever- I think it's just that they know they are losing, and there's no other spin to it. They see themselves victors in the great It-Pisses-Off-Liberals-So-We-Win fights over abortion, gun ownership, immigration, taxes, who they can get fired this week, and so on and so on. But on gay marriage... they just lose. The courts and the population and the younger voters of America all just stare at them and go, no, you are just wrong, and you don't get what you want, and you don't get to smugly wink at each other about how you Pissed Off Liberals this week. And they are throwing tantrums about it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:38 AM on July 29 [7 favorites]


The new default Virginia license plates have the "Virginia is for lovers" slogan on them. I got mine last week. It's almost as if the state government were anticipating the ruling, or at least trying to make a statement (with a little bit of 'we just dare the next Republican governor to try to take it off' thrown in).

Also, Yay! Thanks for the w00ts, MeFites! I hope the full 4th Circuit will uphold this.
posted by nangar at 7:49 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


I just had to go look. Who knew that I was contributing to the fall of civilization by sending my wife off to physics class this morning and walking the dog?

Bless their hearts. Thanks for the chuckle, XQUZYPHYR.
posted by joycehealy at 7:50 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


I just had to go look. Who knew that I was contributing to the fall of civilization by sending my wife off to physics class this morning and walking the dog?

Should have sent the dog to physics classed and walked your wife. YMMV.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:51 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


One interesting bit about whether same-sex marriage goes back to the Supreme Court. Since the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor, every federal court decision -- the Fourth Circuit, the Tenth Circuit, and something like 13 federal district courts -- has ruled in favor of allowing same-sex marriage. Cases are also currently pending in the Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal.

Traditionally, one of the primary roles of the Supreme Court is to resolve what they call "circuit splits" -- that is, interpretations of federal or constitutional law where different circuit courts reach different conclusions. If federal appellate decisions keep following the pattern they have followed in the last year, there may very well be no disagreement among the circuits as to the effect of constitutional law on same-sex marriage bans.

In that case, the Supreme Court may simply decline to hear the appeal. Yes, the Court could take the appeal and conclude that all of the circuit courts have got it wrong, but that scenario is pretty unlikely. If it appears, however, that there would be a five-justice majority to uphold the circuit court decisions, the Court may simply decline to address the issue.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:09 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


The dominos are falling so quickly at this point, I'm starting to think it's going to be a race to see who is last.

It's very exciting, who knows who will be last? *cough*mississippi*cough*

(via John Oliver)
posted by Theta States at 8:09 AM on July 29


\o/

No, because this ruling was solely about the Virginia ban.

I could have sworn the article I read yesterday announcing this said that the 4th Circuit did in fact say it applies to the entire Circuit. Weird.

I think it's just that they know they are losing, and there's no other spin to it.

Yeah. Ain't it great? :D

If it appears, however, that there would be a five-justice majority to uphold the circuit court decisions, the Court may simply decline to address the issue.

I kind of hope that doesn't happen. Kennedy's always sided with gay rights AFAIK and we know how Sotomayor et al will go, so the majority is (almost certainly) there. Positively affirming the decision at SCOTUS pretty much engraves it in stone. Not doing so, at a wild guess, may leave a door open for some pisswizard to challenge.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:14 AM on July 29


This is the footnote from the ruling itself:

Three other states in this Circuit have similar bans:
North Carolina, N.C. Const. art. XIV, § 6; N.C. Gen. Stat.
§§ 51-1, 51-1.2; South Carolina, S.C. Const. art. XVII, § 15;
S.C. Code Ann. §§ 20-1-10, 20-1-15; and West Virginia, W. Va.
Code § 48-2-603. The Southern District of West Virginia has
stayed a challenge to West Virginia’s statute pending our
resolution of this appeal. McGee v. Cole, No. 3:13-cv-24068
(S.D. W. Va. June 10, 2014) (order directing stay).

IANAL, so I don't know this for sure, but I'm almost positive that SC, NC and WV would have to have their cases follow through.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:17 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


I lecture my students that social change is slow and that we have to be patient, but I'm having a hard time swallowing those words myself these days. :)

In general it is slow, but man, when it finally starts going it can go with a rush! Right now it's hard not to feel that there's a really inevitable momentum behind these decisions. The real "It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" types must be feeling pretty bewildered right now at the way the ground as moved under them. I wonder at what point railing against gay marriage will become simply too costly for any politician with national ambitions to embrace? It'll be interesting to watch Ted Cruz's rhetoric on the issue as a kind of bellwether.
posted by yoink at 8:42 AM on July 29


I read that as presuming that the ruling would apply to the other states in the Fourth Circuit, especially since WV's challenge was stayed while Bostic was appealed. If WV's law wouldn't be affected, why stay the challenge in WV?
posted by MoonOrb at 8:43 AM on July 29


So the court could wait for the Fourth Circuit to rule and then say “okay, what they said.”
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:54 AM on July 29


Caveat: I'm just posting articles, there are others in this thread much more knowledgeable on the process than I am.

Monday’s ruling did not immediately require Virginia or other states in the Fourth Circuit, which includes North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia, to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. (Maryland, also in the circuit, already allows same-sex marriage.)


That doesn't exactly tell us much. I can't tell from that if that means it doesn't require it because of the 21 day waiting period for appeals, or because it just doesn't.
posted by Twain Device at 8:59 AM on July 29


The Fourth Circuit's ruling is precedent for the district courts in the other four states. That does not mean, however, that the same-sex marriage bans in those states (minus Maryland) are automatically kaput. As a practical matter, they are likely toast, but each challenge must be taken separately, because each state is (to a certain extent) sovereign. The statutes or state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, for example, may be worded differently from state to state, and therefore must be analyzed on their own merit.

Here's how it will likely go -- another challenge (say WV) goes forward. If the AG decides to go forward with defending the law, he or she will say that the 4th Circuit is wrong. That argument will likely be unpersuasive. The district court in WV will say something like "based on the Bostic opinion, WV's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional."

Long story short - the ruling applies to the federal district courts in the other states, but doesn't automatically render the same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional until there is either a ruling from the district court or the AG decides not to defend the ban.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:01 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


I see. Thanks for breaking it down.

This is all pertinent to me, because of the ruling coming up in Ohio, this scenario applies to my state, Tennessee. We've already got a few strange individual rulings for specific couples, so I'm interested to see how TN reacts if we get a positive for SSM in the 6th circuit court.
posted by Twain Device at 9:21 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Here is some info on the panel that will hear the 6th Circuit arguments next week.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:25 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Much appreciated roomthreeseventeen. Everyone in this thread has been super informative, and thank you all.

I guess rulings like these are great as long as are making the slow progression toward a blanket ruling from SCOTUS. If we can't have a country wide ruling right now, a close second best is more people gaining rights incrementally in the mean time.
posted by Twain Device at 9:41 AM on July 29


The real "It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" types must be feeling pretty bewildered right now at the way the ground as moved under them.

Most of my Facebook friends are conservative evangelical Texans. I am fascinated by how many of them have come around on this issue. I personally know at least three people who applauded the Hobby Lobby decision but are glad to see SSM legalized. Folks who remain staunch conservatives on every other issue have moved on this one.

Of course, I still know others who oppose it. One evangelical pastor was delighted when Obama expressed support for gay marriage, because he was certain it would doom his re-election chances. That guy hasn't mentioned the topic since November 2012. He is probably still in shock.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:51 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


I think there's something about this that just triggers an incredibly visceral fury in hard-right conservatives like that.

Not just the hard right. Ron Dreher, the Ur-Crunchy Con, is losing his shit over gay marriage and the increasing acceptance of LGBT folk by the public at large. You can practically see the spit fly in his reaction to Obama's signing of the executive order prohibiting discrimination against gay and transgender people by federal agencies/contractors. Some amazing paranoia and fear on display there.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:52 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


The dominos are falling so quickly at this point, I'm starting to think it's going to be a race to see who is last.
posted by hippybear at 4:54 AM on July 29 [7 favorites +] [!]


Mississi....
posted by Fizz at 10:13 AM on July 29




I'm really glad to see this in my home state.
posted by sweetkid at 10:21 AM on July 29


Yes, haters, I live in Virginia and I'm from here. I'm happy that our attorney general, Mark Herring, opposed the commonwealth's ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions on constitutional grounds, with the support of the governor. I'm glad I voted for these people; they performed above expectations on this issue.

I'm not proud or happy that in 2006 my fellow Virginia voters approved the marriage amendment that was just overturned by the 4th Circuit.

I think the haters are completely forgetting that gay and lesbian people exist here. I'm straight, and I'm a redneck by most definitions of the word "redneck". I know people who are affected by this ruling, and I hope they will be able to get legally married in the near future.
posted by nangar at 10:24 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


South Carolina will continue to defend their ban.

"South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum." -- James L. Petigru
posted by kirkaracha at 10:24 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


I'm not proud or happy that in 2006 my fellow Virginia voters approved the marriage amendment that was just overturned by the 4th Circuit.

As your neighbor to the south, I will not lie; I walk around some days looking at my fellow NC citizens and wonder who voted for amendment 1 in 2012. (And who just didn't bother to turn out to vote; voter turnout that day was around 30%, which is appalling.) I wonder how many of them are getting ready to congratulate me on my own marriage and don't recognize the irony of doing so (heck, I'm related to some of them and they're going to be at the wedding in a couple weeks.) I get up in front of classes as an out person and wonder how many of my students think I'm going to hell (I'm lucky to work somewhere I can be out without noticeable consequence.) People get cranky at me for taking all of this so personally, but it is a personal matter, one of the most personal we have.
posted by joycehealy at 10:39 AM on July 29 [9 favorites]


Love marches on. We've got to be careful with our midterm votes to make sure that politicians and thus judges with a progressive bent continue to be elected lest we lose ground in the future.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:54 AM on July 29


>The NC constitution was only amended in 2012 because of a ballot initiative intended to get out the Republican vote due to fears that Obama's campaign momentum might lead to Democratic gains at the state level (election day results: initiative passed, Democrats won the majority of votes, but 2010's gerrymandering locked in an extremely disproportionate Republican representation in state offices).

This is close but not quite right. The amendment was on the primary ballot in 2012. Some Republican legislators had been making noise about how the amendment would "get their ground game working" and moving the vote to the primary was a sort of backtracking (abetted by ten NC House Democrats -- I'm not sure it would have even made it onto the ballot without their votes). Moving it to the primary may have taken a little pressure off Democrats in the fall elections, but it made it overwhelmingly likely that the amendment would pass. (Though given the margin, it almost certainly would have passed in the general election as well.)

I also disagree that "the GOP and Republican-affiliated officials in relevant offices seems to consider the issue not worth more than token defense, having served its purpose as an election year dog whistle." They are pissed at AG Roy Cooper (a Democrat) and had already hired outside lawyers to "look over the attorney general's shoulder in gay marriage cases" and passed a bill in the General Assembly that would allow legislative leaders to intervene to defend legislation if the AG does not.
posted by oakroom at 1:58 PM on July 29


I have little to add, other than to say that as a native and current Virginian, how nice it is to come to the blue and not have to apologize, for once.
posted by 4ster at 6:14 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


P.S. I will be back to apologize after our former Governor and first lady turn on each other and get convicted on federal corruption charges. But until then, this is nice.
posted by 4ster at 6:17 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]


The dominos are falling so quickly at this point, I'm starting to think it's going to be a race to see who is last.

As more states kick gay marriage bans I grow more and more fearful that Tennessee will be number 50.


The last state to accept it will be the first state that banned it. Alaska.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 7:04 PM on July 29


Isn't it more likely that there won't be a last state -- that after a certain tipping point (whatever that may be) of states where SSM is legalized, either the Supreme Court or Congress will make it the law of the land, bringing all the most recalcitrant states into the fold in one fell swoop?
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 9:04 PM on July 29


Finally, my state's turn!!! :D
posted by Jacqueline at 9:45 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Isn't it more likely that there won't be a last state -- that after a certain tipping point (whatever that may be) of states where SSM is legalized, either the Supreme Court or Congress will make it the law of the land, bringing all the most recalcitrant states into the fold in one fell swoop?

Oh man, we need to bet on this. Let's see how smart the market it. :)
Options to bet on would be Which Will be the final state to legalize SSM?
Or, if done Federally, which states will be swept in that final move? Alaska, Tennessee + Mississippi?
posted by Theta States at 6:02 AM on July 30


You would probably want to bet on a state whose respective federal circuit court does not yet have a case pending, or, maybe take a slightly opposite tack and predict which circuit might be conservative enough to overturn one of the district court decisions, requiring ultimate reversal by the S ct: that's where my money is, and I'm thinking the Fifth Circuit (TX, LA), will be that circuit.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:19 AM on July 30


Since it's looking like we here in Virginia are probably out of the race for the bottom of the barrel, I'm gonna place my bet on either Texas, Mississippi or North Dakota.

I'd happily be proven wrong by a federal Supremes decision clearing the board all at once, of course.
posted by easily confused at 12:17 PM on July 30


Maaaaaan it'll be great when Texas finally budgets. The big 3!
posted by Theta States at 12:25 PM on July 30


Texas has a stay right now. They're not likely to be last. :)
posted by joycehealy at 7:49 AM on August 2


Virginia, Utah attorneys general take gay marriage fight to the Supreme Court:
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) filed a petition with the court on Tuesday afternoon, asking it to review a lower court’s ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Hours later, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) said he would soon do the same. Reyes has repeatedly said it his duty to defend the state’s ban, while Herring has argued that his state’s ban is discriminatory.
posted by peeedro at 6:13 PM on August 5


More substantial coverage from SCOTUSblog.
posted by peeedro at 6:17 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


And some more news: marriage equality could take effect within a week if SCOTUS does nothing.
posted by psoas at 11:14 AM on August 13






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