Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Bible gets sued
July 10, 2008 11:44 AM   Subscribe

As the gay marriage fight unfolds in California, some gays (and others) are fighting back: one gourp is boycotting a rich hotel owner, others are standing apart and one is suing the Bible (who gets subpoenaed for that one?). Meanwhile, a key opponent to gay marriage keeps its doors open (and its ballot committee going) despite being suspended. They say they're working on it, but no changes yet.
posted by nospecialfx (34 comments total)

 
Apparently Wisconsin makes marriage outside of your home state illegal:

Myers and his partner, Steve Brondino, learned of an obscure state law that makes it a crime for Wisconsin residents to enter into marriage in another state if the marriage would be prohibited here. The law imposes a penalty for those who enter into a marriage that's prohibited or declared void in Wisconsin of up to $10,000 and nine months in prison.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:48 AM on July 10, 2008


The lawsuit against the Bible publishers is, shall we say, a bit de trop.
posted by blucevalo at 11:49 AM on July 10, 2008


The Bible's also pretty hard on witches, widows and shellfish.
posted by klangklangston at 11:55 AM on July 10, 2008


California should give Orange County back to Mexico and be rid of it once and for all.
posted by three blind mice at 11:57 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hasn't the fight already unfolded? And then refolded and put back in the glove compartment?

In the future, I'll be embarassed to admit I was alive now. I'll be stereotyped, in non-3D films starring people who haven't been born, as being a narrow-minded, torture-happy bigot the way they do with B&W films about the 50s now.
posted by DU at 11:59 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, news agencies? Don't interview Focus on the Family for any stories about anything besides Focus on the Family. Also, don't run stories about Focus on the Family. Kaythanks.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:05 PM on July 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Hasn't the fight already unfolded? And then refolded and put back in the glove compartment?

In California, the fight won't be over till after the November ballot. Most polls I've seen put it as a 50/50 chance that it will be re-banned, so it's definitely not over (sadly). Of course, even if they lose I suppose they could keep trying to ban it in future elections, but I think if it fails people will be even less likely to support it next time around. If it's going to get overturned, this fall would be the time.

On the flip side of the links from nospecialfx, here's the link to the main group opposing the initiative: Equality For All.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:21 PM on July 10, 2008


Suing the Bible reminds me of the case United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff. Good times, good times.

On a more serious note, I have a feeling that Wisconsin law probably runs afoul of the Article 4 Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Constitution.
posted by jedicus at 12:22 PM on July 10, 2008


Any state that doesn't recognize gay marriage from another state would, too, then, correct?
posted by nospecialfx at 12:34 PM on July 10, 2008


Since this is all about upholding the sanctity of marriage - or so they say - why not add a rider to the bill that makes adultery a felony. Who could argue with that? Gay marriage isn't even one of the ten commandments. Isn't it time to get tough with those adulters who are destroying the bond between one man and one woman. Isn't it equally important, when defending marriage, to go after the adulters as well?

C'mon California. No half measures here. Marriage is too important to leave to individual choice. We need more government regulation and oversight.

And harsher penalties.
posted by three blind mice at 12:37 PM on July 10, 2008 [11 favorites]


Any state that doesn't recognize gay marriage from another state would, too, then, correct?

Well, the Defense of Marriage Act says no, but there's never been a real trial case brought to see if DOMA is constitutional. I expect that will not be the case for very long (hell, I'm sure there's already people who have come to CA to marry and are in the process of challenging their home state). With MA only in-state residents could marry, so the first test cases for DOMA would be starting now.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:39 PM on July 10, 2008


Arguably it's one thing for a state not to recognize a marriage from another state. It's quite another to criminalize it. The courts may strike down the Wisconsin law while allowing others that merely prohibit marriage to stand. We'll have to see what happens if a test case comes out of California.

Interestingly, Wisconsin does not recognize common law marriages, so theoretically a heterosexual couple who became a common law man and wife in, say, Iowa and then moved to Wisconsin would also be guilty of the same crime.
posted by jedicus at 12:53 PM on July 10, 2008


"Arguably it's one thing for a state not to recognize a marriage from another state. It's quite another to criminalize it."

Perhaps logically, but not necessarily legally.

And really, this isn't a privileges and immunities issue (constitutional law that prohibits a state from unjustly depriving non-residents the same benefits or provisions it provides its own) because this rarely has any basis on civil rights. It's more of a due process and equal protection issue -- things that like priviliges and immunities, are embodied in the constitution.
posted by nospecialfx at 1:34 PM on July 10, 2008


In 2006, 59% of Wisconsin voters supported a constitutional amendment that reads: "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.

I still find this really weird. I always thought this state was more progressive than that. I mean, I seem to remember that there was a time in the '90s when Madison was considered one of the most lesbian friendly places in the US. (Though, how that was measured, I have no idea.)
posted by quin at 1:58 PM on July 10, 2008


In related news -- Efforts Underway to Repeal 1913 Massachusetts Marriage Law.
"State lawmakers are expected to vote next week on repealing a 1913 law that prevents out-of-state gay and lesbian couples from getting married in Massachusetts, reigniting a divisive debate on an issue that has stirred passions and put the state in the national spotlight....Advocates of same-sex marriage rights said they are hopeful the repeal will pass, given the support from the legislative leadership and from Governor Deval Patrick, whose position is much more sympathetic than that of Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican who was a staunch opponent of gay marriage."
posted by ericb at 1:58 PM on July 10, 2008


...there was a time in the '90s when Madison was considered one of the most lesbian friendly places in the US.
Unfortunately Madison is not representative of all Wisconsin.
posted by Floydd at 2:03 PM on July 10, 2008


Actually jedicus, fewer and fewer states recognize common law marriage these days. Only 11 states currently permit it, whereas it has been abolished--or was never permitted--in 39 states. This has little to do with what people think or don't think about marriage as an institution; it's part of the overall trend of moving from uncodified common law to codified statutory law. This trend is most notable in the contexts of contract and civil law, but marriage law has been affected as well.

And this is neither a Full Faith and Credit nor a Privileges and Immunities issue. The former has been held to mean that states may not refuse to honor the court judgments of other states. Out-of-state judgments are subject to the laws of the state in which they are enforced, so if a court finds that state law bars a claim it need not enforce it, but it may not decline to do so simply because the judgment is foreign.

The Privileges and Immunities Clause has been fairly narrowly construed to mean that a state may not generally discriminate in favor of its own citizens, i.e. a right available at state law may not be denied to a foreigner on the basis of his citizenship. If that right is not available at state law it may not be enforced there.
posted by valkyryn at 2:05 PM on July 10, 2008


The lovely, tolerant folks at the american family association want you to boycott mcdonalds.

Why?
It is about McDonald's, as a corporation, refusing to remain neutral in the culture wars. McDonald's has chosen not to remain neutral but to give the full weight of their corporation to promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage.
I'm doubling up on the big macs from now on.
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:31 PM on July 10, 2008


I know common law marriage is not recognized in most states, but as you point out it is still recognized in a sizable fraction. I was using it as an example of a form of marriage that many (if not most) people consider legitimate that Wisconsin's silly law would nonetheless criminalize.

I think a P&I challenge to the Wisconsin statute could be made. For one thing, the crime cannot be committed by a Wisconsin citizen who never leaves the state, but it can be committed by non-Wisconsin citizens and Wisconsin citizens that do leave the state. That sounds awfully discriminatory against everywhere other than Wisconsin.

As far as the P&I Clause being narrowly construed, I would suggest otherwise. At least in connection with the Commerce Clause, the P&I clause has been interpreted broadly to prohibit almost all regulation based on the state of origin of a product. There is a health and welfare exception, but it's a strict one.

You know, the wedding industry is a big one, and destination weddings are some of the most expensive. Maybe someone can claim that not recognizing marriages performed out of state is tantamount to a state regulating interstate commerce or otherwise discriminating against wedding services performed out of state. (Okay, that arguments a bit of a stretch, to say the least).
posted by jedicus at 2:33 PM on July 10, 2008


I'd be shocked if the suit against the publishers ever sees the inside of a courtroom.
posted by oaf at 2:48 PM on July 10, 2008


"You know, the wedding industry is a big one, and destination weddings are some of the most expensive. Maybe someone can claim that not recognizing marriages performed out of state is tantamount to a state regulating interstate commerce or otherwise discriminating against wedding services performed out of state. (Okay, that arguments a bit of a stretch, to say the least)."

That's on the wrong side of 5-4.
posted by klangklangston at 3:17 PM on July 10, 2008


Most polls I've seen put it as a 50/50 chance that it will be re-banned, so it's definitely not over (sadly).

Actually:

For the first time in over three decades of polling on the issue of same-sex marriage laws, The Field Poll finds more California voters approving than disapproving of allowing same-sex couples the right to marry and having regular marriage laws apply to them. In a survey completed May 17-26 among a random sample of 1,052 registered voters the idea of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry is now approved by a 51% to 42% margin statewide.

Anyone have a more recent one? Also, since our muscular governor has come out and said that he thinks gay marriage should stand, I think the fight is pretty much all over but the shouting. I'm just disappointed that we're second... California is often first on this kind of thing.
posted by Huck500 at 3:33 PM on July 10, 2008


It does suck to be a Wisconsin resident and have this hanging over my head. But, according to the rest of the state (read; northwestern and south western wisconsin) think that everyone in Dane county and specifically everyone in Madison is going to hell because we overwhelmingly vote to the left of center.

Humorously everyone in Dane county who doesn't live in Madison thinks we're evil liberals who are all going to hell and quietly ignore the fact that the rest of the state thinks that they're evil liberals who are going to hell...

Personally I say "Go California! Get this one Left!"
posted by Sam.Burdick at 3:41 PM on July 10, 2008


Procedurally, when the bible gets sued, the subpoena goes to god. They tie it to an arrow, take it to the top of the nearly completed Burj Dubai tower, shoot it into the sky, and see what happens. Historical note - the last time this occurred was at around 600 BC in ancient Babylon. (I would cite my sources...but I might get sued.) The person who delivered the last subpoena was - appropriately to the present context - Nimrod.
posted by ThusSpakeZarathustra at 3:49 PM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


...since our muscular governor has come out...

Hehe.
posted by ericb at 3:58 PM on July 10, 2008


Thanks to anti-gay marriage actions like this, discrimination is still alive and well.
posted by Navidson at 4:09 PM on July 10, 2008


Thanks to anti-gay marriage actions like this, discrimination is still alive and well.

From your own link:
Hey guys, I just called Rite Aid and they stated that it was vandals that actually put that sign up at different stores. It has been reported to the police.

I went there today after seeing this. There was no posting anywhere.

posted by Krrrlson at 6:03 PM on July 10, 2008


wildcrdj said "With MA only in-state residents could marry..."

Nope. Try again.
posted by jock@law at 6:38 PM on July 10, 2008


one gourp is boycotting a rich hotel owner,

well, that hotel dosen't serve gourps anyway.
posted by jonmc at 7:12 PM on July 10, 2008


wildcrdj said "With MA only in-state residents could marry..."

He's right.

Only Massachusetts residents right now can legally be married in our Commonwealth. The 1913 law (which I mentioned above) is this week being challenged.

Mitt Romney invoked the law while in office to overturn any out-of-state residents betrothments. And the Supreme Judicial Court (the same court which interpreted Massachusetts Charter/Constitution as legalizing same-sex marriage) ruled in his favor:
Mass. High Court Says Nonresident Gays Cannot Marry in State.

"Same-sex couples from states where gay marriage is banned cannot legally marry in Massachusetts, the state's highest court said Thursday in a ruling that left the status of many unions in legal limbo.

The Supreme Judicial Court, which in 2003 made Massachusetts the first state to legalize gay marriage, upheld a 1913 state law that forbids nonresidents from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriage would not be recognized in their home state.

Massachusetts 'has a significant interest in not meddling in matters in which another state, the one where a couple actually resides, has a paramount interest,' Justice Francis Spina wrote in the 38-page opinion.

'Massachusetts can reasonably believe that non-resident same-sex couples primarily are coming to this Commonwealth to marry because they want to evade the marriage laws of their home states, and that Massachusetts should not be encouraging such evasion,' he wrote....Gov. Mitt Romney applauded the ruling.

'We don't want Massachusetts to become the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage,' Romney said. 'It's important that other states have the right to make their own determination of marriage and not follow the wrong course that our Supreme Judicial Court put us on.'"
posted by ericb at 7:17 PM on July 10, 2008


I avoid McDonald's alright, but it has nothing to do with homosexuality.
posted by telstar at 9:35 PM on July 10, 2008


Most polls I've seen put it as a 50/50 chance that it will be re-banned, so it's definitely not over (sadly).

I think it's hard to tell for sure until the end of the summer. Personally, my thing is: the best form of gay activism is living your life without apology amongst the general population. It's easy to hate gays who live 3000 miles away, dressed in chaps on a parade float; it's harder to hate them when they're working next to you or living next door. I think this is the big reason for the failed push to hold the California Supreme Court decision until the election. What's happening this summer is that many straight people are going to gay weddings of people they know, and they're seeing that those weddings are pretty much like any other, and the sentiments are as valid; so it's going to be more difficult for them to vote for a ban down the line. This is what the anti-gay groups did not want to happen.

The thing is, too: thousands of gay couples getting married this summer (me and bobtroy included) aren't just going to roll over no matter what happens in November...

As a teenager in the 80s deep in southern-baptist Georgia, I never thought this would be possible; now that it is, I relish the possibility that in my lifetime, the anti-gay crowd will come to be viewed the way we view segregationists today.
posted by troybob at 12:04 AM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Apparently Wisconsin makes marriage outside of your home state illegal

My guess is that the obscure and ridiculous 'we'll put you in prison and take all your money' law may well have been an attempt to control another issue altogether. It would have been a fabulously horrid way to ahem discourage interracial couples from marrying anywhere. Given that the law was passed in 1915 (five years before women even had the right to vote, btw), it'd make sense.

My non-legal spousal unit and I talked recently about taking a road trip to CA to be married all official-like, but have agreed that it isn't quite worth the trip... yet.

FWIW, (in great part due to the inner workings of collective bargaining) the city of Madison WI now allows employees domestic partner benefits, as do several mega-employers (Kraft Foods, American Family Insurance, Miller Brewing, etc.). This was supposed to be true for the University of Wisconsin system as well but isn't yet. The UW loses brilliant professors who leave for jobs elsewhere where they can get benefits for their partners. With incoming UW chancellor Biddy Martin there is renewed hope that the outdated benefits rules will change once she begins her new job September 1st. Meanwhile, the semantics game continues.

I'm proud of the movers and shakers in my LGBT community, and the people who love and support us, for standing up and demanding equality.
posted by mcbeth at 11:21 AM on July 11, 2008


'We don't want Massachusetts to become the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage,' Romney said. 'It's important that other states have the right to make their own determination of marriage and not follow the wrong course that our Supreme Judicial Court put us on.'

Fuck you, Mitt Romney.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:48 PM on July 11, 2008


« Older In November 1943, the village of Tyneham in Dorset...  |  In Parentheses... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments