Justice Ginsburg Eviscerates The Case Against Marriage Equality In Just Five Sentences

Justice Ginsburg Eviscerates The Case Against Marriage Equality In Just Five Sentences
BY IAN MILLHISER POSTED ON APRIL 29, 2015 AT 8:54 AM
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JESSICA HILL
During Tuesday’s marriage equality arguments in the Supreme Court, several of the Court’s conservative members suggested that same-sex couples should not be given equal marriage rights because these couples have not enjoyed those rights for most of the past. As Justice Antonin Scalia summed up this argument, “for millennia, not a single society” supported marriage equality, and that somehow exempted same-sex couples from the Constitution’s promise of equal protection of the law.
Not long after her conservative colleagues raised this argument, however, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained exactly why marriage was long understood to be incompatible with homosexuality in just five sentences:
[Same-sex couples] wouldn’t be asking for this relief if the law of marriage was what it was a millennium ago. I mean, it wasn’t possible. Same-sex unions would not have opted into the pattern of marriage, which was a relationship, a dominant and a subordinate relationship. Yes, it was marriage between a man and a woman, but the man decided where the couple would be domiciled; it was her obligation to follow him.
There was a change in the institution of marriage to make it egalitarian when it wasn’t egalitarian. And same-sex unions wouldn’t — wouldn’t fit into what marriage was once.
Justice Ginsburg’s point was that, until surprisingly recently, the legal institution of marriage was defined in terms of gender roles. According to Sir William Blackstone, an eighteenth century English jurist whose works are still frequently cited today to explain the common law principles we inherited from our former colonial rulers, “[t]he very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband; under whose wing, protection and cover, she performs everything.” As late as 1887, fully one third of the states did not permit women to control their earnings. And married women could not even withhold consent to sex with their husband until shockingly recently.
Under the common law, “by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath given herself up in this kind unto her husband,” and this consent was something “she cannot retract.” The first successful prosecution in the United States of a husband who raped his wife did not occur until the late 1970s.
So American marriage law, and the English law that it was derived from, presumed that the wife was both financially and sexual subservient to the husband. In a world where marriage is defined as a union between a dominant man and a submissive woman, each fulfilling unique gender roles, the case for marriage discrimination is clear. How can both the dominant male role and the submissive female role be carried out in a marital union if the union does not include one man and one woman? This, according to Justice Ginsburg, is why marriage was understood to exclude same-sex couples for so many centuries.
But marriage is no longer bound to antiquated gender roles. And when those gender roles are removed, the case for marriage discrimination breaks down.

Where Do the Presidential Wannabes Stand on Gay Marriage? – Newsweek

BY KEN MCINTYRE 4/29/15 AT 12:42 PM
2015-04-26T022728Z_512906793_GF10000072926_RTRMADP_3_USA-ELECTION
Senator Ted Cruz, a U.S. Republican presidential candidate, speaks on April 25 at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s forum in Waukee. JIM YOUNG/REUTERS

The national debate over same-sex marriage has landed back in the Supreme Court, but few major presidential candidates routinely put the issue on the front burner.

Among more than a dozen possible Republican hopefuls, only three spoke out forcefully in recent days on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

The three—Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas—appeared determined to underline their defense of traditional marriage.

“We are seeing businesses shut down and individuals threatened with costly lawsuits simply because they do not agree with same-sex marriage,” Cruz said Tuesday in a statement released hours after the Supreme Court heard the marriage cases. “There was a time when the defense of religious liberty was an issue of bipartisan agreement. Yet now the progressive left is seeking to force their view of marriage upon all Americans, regardless of their religious convictions.”

Cruz filed a constitutional amendment on April 23 that he said would guarantee Americans’ right to define marriage as a man-woman union and restrain judges from requiring that “marriage or its benefits” be extended to other types of unions.

“The people should decide the issue of marriage, not the courts,” Cruz wrote in a statement. He added:

The union of a man and a woman has been the building block of society since the dawn of history, and the people in numerous states have repeatedly affirmed that truth in their laws. Nothing in the Constitution prohibits that. … And yet that is precisely what has happened. Judges have taken an unprecedented activist role to strike down state marriage laws.
In a widely noted op-ed published April 23 by The New York Times, Jindal said he would stand up to LGBT activists and corporate leaders who “bully” those with religious convictions about what marriage is.

The Louisiana governor, pointing to similar efforts in Arkansas and Indiana, wrote:

Our country was founded on the principle of religious liberty, enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Why shouldn’t an individual or business have the right to cite, in a court proceeding, religious liberty as a reason for not participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony that violates a sincerely held religious belief?
Jindal’s commentary appeared as he anticipated growing corporate calls, “under pressure from radical liberals,” for him to oppose a Louisiana bill that would prohibit the state from taking “adverse action” against an individual, business or nonprofit over religious views of marriage as between a man and a woman.

After a wave of court rulings and a shift in public attitude that seemed improbable during the 2012 presidential campaign, 37 states now allow gay and lesbian couples to marry—including the early primary states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Courts instituted same-sex marriage in 26 of those states.

Huckabee, considering a second bid for the White House, has taken to saying the Obama administration is intent on “criminalizing Christianity” because of faith-based opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

When asked, other GOP presidential hopefuls readily state their personal belief that marriage means one man and one woman, as well as their opposition to federal judges redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships. However, they aren’t inclined to dwell on the issue.

Recently, this group appears to include Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

In an email late last week to 24 declared and potential candidates for president from both parties, The Daily Signal asked each of them to state their position on two of the major questions being argued Tuesday before the Supreme Court: Does the Constitution require all states to redefine marriage to include man-man and woman-woman unions? And does one state have to recognize a same-sex marriage conducted in another state?

Only three candidates provided answers—Bush, Perry and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Of them, only Carson directly answered The Daily Signal’s questions.

Saying the Constitution does not require all states to allow same-sex marriage, Carson replied:

Like many Americans from diverse religious backgrounds, my faith confirms for me that by definition marriage cannot include same-sex relationships. The people of various states have always defined and treated marriage as a creation of the will of the people of that state. There has been no reason to suggest it should be treated otherwise now.
The public pronouncements from Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal occurred in the days leading up to a gathering Saturday of some 1,000 evangelical voters in Waukee, Iowa, for a Faith and Freedom Coalition event featuring speeches from the three men and seven other aspirants.

“I’m not backing off because what I’m saying is true,” Huckabee told attendees. “We’re criminalizing Christianity in this country by telling people who hold to an orthodox worldview of biblical marriage that if you still believe that…you will be guilty of discrimination, which could result in some kind of civil or criminal action against you.”

Santorum, having incurred the ire of gay rights activists for vocal opposition to same-sex marriage that in 2008 helped him win the first-in-the-nation Iowa presidential caucuses, instead focused his remarks on building the middle class.

On the Democratic side, party favorite Hillary Clinton has worked to demonstrate her recent change of heart in favor of same-sex marriage. The video with which she launched her campaign on April 12 features two men talking about their pending wedding.

During her 2008 race for president, Clinton opposed same-sex marriage, as did her rival for the nomination, Barack Obama. Like the president, she “evolved” on the issue, but unlike him did not come out in support of gay marriage until after the 2012 election.

Clinton faces a potential challenge for the Democratic nomination from Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent socialist from Vermont who has been a strong supporter of marriage equality, the preferred term of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and other advocates. HRC gives Sanders its highest rating.

Also pondering their own Democratic runs are Vice President Joe Biden, who declared his support for gay marriage in 2012 before Obama did, and former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, who opposed it while in office but has called the nation’s “evolution”—and his—“a good thing.”

Another Democrat who may challenge Clinton, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, led the successful drive for redefining marriage in his state and has said it’s a human rights issue.

Clinton, Cruz, Paul and Rubio so far are the only announced candidates in the 2016 race for the White House. Huckabee has said he will make an announcement May 5.

Carson, expected to declare his candidacy May 4, also said that no state should be forced to recognize a same-sex marriage allowed in another state.

On the question of whether Americans of faith may decline to provide some commonly available services for a purpose such as a same-sex wedding that violates that faith, Carson said:

America was founded on the principle that people should be able to freely express their faith. They should not be drummed out of the marketplace because of their beliefs. We endanger religious liberties when people of religious convictions are penalized for adhering to their deeply held beliefs…. We need to leave room for people of religious faith and religious conviction to be true to their conscience.
An aide to Perry replied to The Daily Signal that the former Texas governor “has long supported traditional marriage, but believes this issue should be left to the states to decide.”

Over the past 20 years, Bush moved from opposition to same-sex marriage to calling for respect for the rule of law, as courts in Florida and elsewhere changed the meaning of marriage.

A spokeswoman responded to The Daily Signal’s questions by first citing Bush’s statement in January, when a Florida judge legalized same-sex marriage:

We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law. I hope that we can also show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue—including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.
Last month, she noted, Bush told a California audience that “in a big, diverse country like America we need to have space for people to act on their conscience.”

Although “religious freedom is a core value of our country,” Bush added, “we shouldn’t discriminate based on sexual orientation.” After calling for both sides to “forge a consensus,” the former Florida governor concluded: “I do fear that certain freedoms that historically have been part of our DNA as a country now are being challenged and I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

Of the rest of the unannounced Republican field, two potential candidates—former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and former New York Governor George Pataki—have said they support same-sex marriage, although Pataki argues it is a state issue.

To some, other likely candidates such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former business executive Carly Fiorina are harder to read.

Fiorina, set to announce May 4, has said she voted when she was a California resident for Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment intended to preserve marriage as a man-woman union.

More recently, Fiorina declared that Americans are having “an important conversation” about gay marriage. “I think that the worst thing the Supreme Court can do right now is shortcut this conversation,” she told the Christian Post.

HRC, which calls itself the largest champion of equal rights for LGBT Americans, examined the public record of seven of the leading Republican presidential candidates on related issues—Bush, Christie, Cruz, Huckabee, Paul, Rubio and Walker.

The organization concluded that all are opposed to what it calls marriage equality. In its separate evaluation of members of Congress, HRC also gives a negative rating to an eighth White House hopeful, Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican of South Carolina.

The HRC website suggests the group will expand the analysis to include Democratic candidates and, as necessary, other GOP hopefuls.

“In this whole debate about the definition of marriage, I remind everyone that marriage is an institution that existed before even government itself,” Rubio said during the evangelical event held at Point of Grace Church outside Des Moines. “That the institution of marriage as one man, one woman existed before our laws existed.”

In an interview with Daily Signal contributing reporter David Brody, Rubio addressed what the Constitution requires:

There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage. There isn’t such a right. You have to have a ridiculous reading of the U.S. Constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex. … Can a state decide to change their laws? Yes, but only through the political process.
The audience gave Jindal two standing ovations for marriage-related remarks that echoed his New York Times piece, as well as a favorite line on religious freedom.

“Corporate America is not going to bully the governor of Louisiana,” the governor said. “Here’s my message to Hollywood: The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America.”

During his speech, Cruz depicted same-sex marriage as a nationwide goal for some Democrats.

“Today’s modern Democratic Party has become so radicalized in their devotion to mandatory gay marriage in all 50 states that there is no longer any room for religious liberty,” the Texas Republican said.

The government won’t stop at demanding that Americans accept a new definition of marriage, Huckabee warned the gathering:

If the government restricts something you can believe, then it can already restrict everything you do.… [S]omehow, it’s you, the believer, that’s supposed to yield your freedom rather than the government step back and recognize you are guaranteed under the Constitution the freedom to believe.
Walker, who has indicated he may declare his candidacy within two months, recalled that the Supreme Court declined to review a court decision that Wisconsin must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The governor told the crowd:

I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. I still hold out hope that the Supreme Court will rule, as has been the tradition in the past, that the states are the places that get to define what marriage is. If for some reason they don’t…I believe it’s reasonable for the people of America to consider a constitutional amendment that would affirm the ability of states to do just that.
Bolton, Bush, Carson, Christie, Graham and Pataki did not attend the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event. (See the others’ speeches here, from C-SPAN).

Ken McIntyre is chief White House correspondent at The Daily Signal and The Heritage Foundation’s Marilyn and Fred Guardabassi fellow in media and public policy studies. This article first appeared on The Daily Signal.

Gay Marriage Arguments Divide Supreme Court Justices – NY Times

Gay Marriage Arguments Divide Supreme Court Justices
By ADAM LIPTAKAPRIL 28, 2015

Supporters of same-sex marriage gathered in front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday as the justices prepared to hear arguments on the issue. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday seemed deeply divided about one of the great civil rights issues of the age: whether the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry.

The questions from the justices suggested that they were divided along the usual lines — conservative and liberal — with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy holding the controlling vote. On the evidence of his words, he seemed torn about what to do. But Justice Kennedy’s tone was more emotional and emphatic when he made the case for same-sex marriage. That, coupled with his earlier judicial opinions, gave gay rights advocates reason for optimism by the end of the arguments, which lasted two and a half hours.

Outside the Supreme Court on Monday morning.Lining Up, Early, for Same-Sex Marriage Arguments at Supreme CourtAPRIL 28, 2015
Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage-equality case being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this week, in front of the Supreme Court in March.What’s at Stake in the Supreme Court’s Gay-Marriage CaseAPRIL 28, 2015
Lawyers Seek Sea Change on Gay Rights at Supreme CourtAPRIL 27, 2015
The justices appeared to clash over not only what is the right answer in the case but also over how to reach it. The questioning illuminated their conflicting views on history, tradition, biology, constitutional interpretation, the democratic process and the role of the courts in prodding social change.

The Times provided analysis and updates — with some delay, due to court restrictions — from the same-sex marriage arguments at the Supreme Court, as well as some of the best reporting from elsewhere.

Justice Kennedy said he was concerned about changing a conception of marriage that has persisted for so many years. Later, though, he expressed qualms about excluding gay families from what he called a noble and sacred institution. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. worried about shutting down a fast-moving societal debate.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. asked whether groups of four people must be allowed to marry, while Justice Antonin Scalia said a ruling for same-sex marriage might require some members of the clergy to perform ceremonies that violate their religious teaching.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer described marriage as a fundamental liberty. And Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan said that allowing same-sex marriage would do no harm to the marriages of opposite-sex couples.

Until recently, the court has been cautious and halting in addressing same-sex marriage, signaling that it did not want to outpace public support and developments in the states. Now, though, a definitive decision will probably be handed down in about two months.

At the start of Tuesday’s arguments, Chief Justice Roberts said he had looked up definitions of marriage and had been unable to find one written before a dozen years ago that did not define it as between a man and a woman. “If you succeed, that definition will not be operable,” the Chief Justice said. “You are not seeking to join the institution. You are seeking to change the institution.”

 

PinkNews’ top 11 Jewish gay and lesbian icons

PinkNews’ top 11 Jewish gay and lesbian icons

LAST UPDATED ON 3RD APRIL 2015
Joseph Patrick McCormick

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We recount some of the most fabulous and influential Jewish gay personalities to date.
Obviously there are so many to list, and, with such a wide range of different talents and faces on offer, it would be impossible to deliver anything remotely definitive.
But in any case, we’ve attempted to strike the ideal balance between three main categories: personal prestige, historical significance, and celebrity status. At the very least, some of these might surprise you:
11. RABBI LIONEL BLUE

LionelBlue

Lionel Blue is a British Reform rabbi, journalist and broadcaster. He was the first British rabbi publicly to declare his homosexuality.
Rabbi Blue came out as gay in ‘Godly and Gay’, which was published in 1981, and has since advocated for LGBT rights.
10. JOEL SIMKHAI, FOUNDER OF GRINDR

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny Grindr’s huge influence on the global gay community.
Thanks to Joel Simkhai, and his idea to combine a gay-dating site with GPS, gay men all over the world now have a universal platform for dating, hooking up, or just hanging out.
Not only that, but the app has found plenty other uses as well. Recently – and humorously – a Tumblr user managed to poll 655 Grindr users on how they would vote in Scotland’s independence referendum. The results speak for themselves.
Joel Simkhai himself claims to have even found love “several times” on Grindr, which is surely a ringing self-endorsement if ever I’ve seen one.

9. SIMON AMSTELL, COMEDIAN/ACTOR

Simon Amstell, probably best known for making celebrities feel uncomfortable during his time on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, has been a huge icon for gay and Jewish communities.
Occasionally working his identity into his comedy, Amstell is both brilliantly self-deprecating and at times refreshingly honest to watch.
His latest tour, announced this year, is titled ‘TO BE FREE’.

8. JUDITH BUTLER, ACADEMIC

Judith Butler is best known for her philosophy work in gender theory, but she’s written just as much about her Jewish heritage and sexual identity as well.
Describing sex and gender as “performative” she has shaken the foundations of academic writing about human sexuality. Butler doesn’t believe we are ‘born this way,’ she believes that our attitudes towards our bodies are a part of our culture and language – historically open to change.
alt.culture describes Butler as “one of the superstars of ’90s academia, with a devoted following of grad students nationwide”.
Butler’s work on sex and gender has been so influential, in fact, that even Pope Benedict XVI has written critically about it.

7. BRYAN SINGER, DIRECTOR/PRODUCER

X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer makes this list for his magnificent turnout of blockbusters and success-stories.
The openly bisexual director and producer says that growing up as a minority has had a profound impact on his work.
Last month, a man who accused Mr Singer of sexual assault dropped the case.
A judge in Hawaii granted Michael Egan III’s petition to have the action dismissed, while Mr Singer’s bid to force him to pay for his legal costs was refused.
Judge Susan Oki Mollway said Mr Egan’s voluntary dismissal “ameliorated” any “alleged damage” to the 49-year-old director.

6. MICHAEL LUCAS, DIRECTOR

Fittingly dubbed “Gay Porn’s Neocon Kingpin,” Michael Lucas is also well-known for his activism and outspokenness.
Not only writing columns about LGBT issues, but also known for his sometimes controversial pieces on the state of Israel today.
Recently, he defended his decision to produce bareback porn and says that he does not use condoms with his boyfriend who is HIV positive.
He has said his film La Dolce Vita is the most expensive gay porn ever made, with a budget of $250,000.
Count this one entry a Jewish gay man with one heck of a success story, even if some of his opinions may jar.

5. ADAM LAMBERT, MUSICIAN

The American Idol star Adam Lambert was one of the first artists to bring an uncensored gay perspective to American mainstream pop.
Ever since making history, he has continued his campaign for equality and social acceptance of LGBT rights.
In May, Melanie B presented Adam Lambert with GLAAD’s top Media Award, and he gave a speech calling on the LGBT community to “unify, and take it further”.
In 2012, the singer also said that American attitudes to homosexuality are changing so fast, the country is in the middle of a “big civil rights movement”.

4. STEPHEN FRY, ACTOR/WRITER/PRESENTER

Where would we be without Stephen Fry?
With over 7.4 million followers on Twitter, it would be outrageous not to include him somewhere on this list.
Notably, the actor, presenter, and journalist was most recently honoured with an award as presenter of the year for a BBC series which saw him travel around the world looking at homophobia.
In August last year, Fry also wrote an impassioned open letter to David Cameron, International Olympics Committee President Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe, urging them to ban the 2014 Winter Olympics over Russia’s treatment and discrimination of LGBT people.

3. HARVEY MILK, FIRST OPENLY GAY PERSON ELECTED TO OFFICE

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, winning a post on the Board of Supervisors as a result of changes in the social make up of San Francisco after three unsuccessful attempts to gain office.
Having finally been elected in 1977, Milk only held his position for 11 months before being assassinated by Dan White, a former colleague who had lost his position in city administration.
Milk has been described as a martyr for gay rights and a visionary. Penn received a best actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Milk.
California in 2009 acted to dedicate 22 May ‘Harvey Milk Day’, following a wave of publicity for the late activist.

2. DEBORAH BRIN, FIRST OPENLY GAY RABBI IN JUDAISM

Deborah Brin was first ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1985, becoming – in her words – “the first lesbian rabbi to, while serving… come out and to receive a contract renewal rather than to be fired.”

Not her only notable achievement however, Brin also founded the hugely influential Women of the Wall movement in 1988, where 70 women carried a torah scroll to the Wailing Wall to campaign for their right to pray as openly as Jewish men.
The Women of the Wall website shows how the group’s efforts still continue to this day, fighting for their rights “to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall.”

1. GAD BECK, LAST GAY SURVIVOR OF THE HOLOCAUST

Gad Beck was a Zionist resistance fighter during the Second World War, and, in post-war Germany, a bold campaigner for gay rights when homosexuality was still illegal.
Under the Nazi regime, he famously dressed-up as a Hitler Youth member, and entered a deportation camp to free his lover, Manfred Lewin. However, Mr Lewin refused to be separated from his family, with whom he was later deported to Auschwitz, and killed there.
In 2012, he passed away in Berlin, just days before he was due to celebrate his 89th birthday.