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And So This is It

Trial analysis

by Brian Leubitz

My tireless job of saving you the dirty task of wading over to the protect marriage website is never done, or so it seems. Fear not, for I have digested some of the nonsense, and will try to decode some for my fellow Trial Trackers.

Pugno’s post wrapping up the testimony phase of the case was pretty simple, and boils down their case to one, relatively comprehensible, paragraph:

Meanwhile, we have shown that limiting marriage to its longstanding definition is rational because marriage benefits children, not just the adults. Whenever possible, it is best for a child to have both a mother and a father. And man-woman marriage is the only human relationship that can biologically serve that distinctive purpose. A same-sex relationship can never offer a child both a mother and father. It’s that simple.

And their case is really that simple. Sperm meets egg. That’s it. Finito. But take a look around our vast, diverse country, past the world that Protect Marriage and NOM want to show you. You’ll see single parents, couples who married far past child-rearing age, couples who had no intention of ever having children, and yup, some same-sex couples who do have children. There is no doubt that child-rearing is critical to our nation, but we should be considering all children, not just the ones Protect Marriage wants you to see. I’ll let the defense expert David Blankenhorn take it from here:

Gay marriage would extend a wide range of the natural and practical benefits of marriage to many lesbian and gay couples and their children. … By increasing the number of married couples who might be interested in adoption and foster care, same-sex marriage might well lead to fewer children growing up in state institutions and more growing up in loving adoptive and foster families.

Blankenhorn acknowledges that the Prop 8 harms same-sex couples, but argues the damage to the “institution of marriage” would be far worse if gays and lesbians were to marry. Yet throughout this trial, they have presented no evidence that shows that gay marriage harms straight marriage. No expert who could point to any studies that clearly state the case for that supposition. Quite to the contrary, Blankenhorn looked lost on on cross-examination when David Boies questioned him about the subject.

Pugno, throughout this trial, has repeatedly referred back to the rational basis test, and it is true that is known as a rather weak test. But the fact remains that the Prop 8 team must, at the very least, show that there was a legitimate governmental interest. Religion, idealism, traditionalism, these are not legitimate governmental interests in and of themselves.

Look, I can deal with some people hating me. It’s their right. But as the legendary jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes said nearly a century ago, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”

Tags: , ,

117 Comments

  • 1. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:37 am

    "Look, I can deal with some people hating me. It’s their right. But as the legendary jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes said nearly a century ago, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”"

    LMAO!!!!….snicker snicker

    That settles it….due to lack of evidence and witnesses the defense has 70% chance of losing…if the judge sways on the side of legality….yeah?

  • 2. JDI  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Great post per usual.

    And over on the NOM website, Maggie begins the spin with a letter asserting if they lose at SCOTUS, it's because Judge Walker was going to allow cameras and, well, our REALLY good witnesses feared for their lives:
    http://nomblog.com/719/comment-page-1/#comment-12

  • 3. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Another thought…..whether we win or they win….they will still use it to take it further…

    They will move onto the next state and then the next if they win with ,"we have the majority vote and the court vote"

    "so now lets squash the homosexuals once and for all"

    It's not about us wanting marriage and we all know it…Its about homosexuality…Their words say it all…They will go on a witch hunt no matter what the outcome is.

  • 4. waxr  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:46 am

    I posted this elsewhere, but I would like to get your thoughts on it:

    So far, I have not seen any comments in the press about Millers position on the use of initiatives. Boies read Miller certain paragraphs from Miller’s book “Dangerous Democracy”:

    B:– you write:
    “One also can expect the initiative process
    to produce different outcomes than the
    legislative process will, in the areas of
    protecting minority rights and promoting
    minority interests.”

    * * * *
    “The problem, however” — you write– “is
    that initiatives that directly and
    differentially affect minorities can easily
    tap into a strain of anti-minority sentiment
    in the electorate. The initiatives from the
    three states in this category” –

    Prop 8 was upheld by the state’s Supreme Court on the grounds that the people had an inalienable right to amend the constitution. That reasoning shocked me. The Court had already decided that same sex couples had the right to marry. Now they say that right has been taken away from them, and it was done without due process.

    If the CA Supreme Court is correct, then the present initiative process is unconstitutional under the 14 Amendments Equal Protection and Due Process clauses, and should be overthrown.

    My question is, can Judge Walker or a higher court restore same sex marriage in California by declaring the states current initiative process as unconstitutional? In this way, the Court would not be taking a stand on same sex marriage or GLBT rights.

  • 5. Von  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Hmmm… why didn't anybody think to offer their REALLY good witnesses white hoods to hide under as a compromise?

  • 6. fiona64  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:51 am

    I don't know what Maggie's smoking over there, but she needs to bring enough for the entire class.

    Could someone please tell me about the Prop 8 supporter who was murdered for being anti-equality? Seriously, I'll wait.

    ::crickets::

    Yeah, that's about what I thought.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 7. fiona64  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:52 am

    Von, I suspect their REALLY good witnesses already have those hoods at home …

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 8. fiona64  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:53 am

    This falls into state's rights (kind of). The CA Constitution would have to be amended to remove the initiative process. There is presently a call for a Constitutional Congress to review this concept, and many others … and believe you me, I would love to be part of it.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 9. waxr  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:55 am

    But the trial was not televised, so what is their new excuse for not being a witness?

  • 10. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Who said that? Faggie Gaylegar"

    If that happened it would be all over the news

    "Fairy Murders Prop 8 Crusader!"

  • 11. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:58 am

    I posted this on another threat but since this newer I repost:

    I just wanted a consensus of how connect we all really are and would like to ask who was at the Nationality Equality March on Washington D.C. in October 2009?
    I was….with my dog…lol and 2 of my friends from Philly. A marries straight couple (Male-British, Female-Latino)
    I was in awe and felt my uncle Chalie who dies in 1992 due to AIDS complications…I was 8… but I felt him marching with me…Now you…
    GO!

  • 12. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 6:59 am

    thread…holy typo batman….lol

  • 13. waxr  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Certainly they can come up with an initiative process which will protect minorities from losing their constitutionally guaranteed rights.

  • 14. fiona64  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:02 am

    @Ronnie: No, she didn't say anyone was murdered; she said they received death threats, lost their jobs and were physically assaulted.

    (All of this is pretty much crap.)

    Point is, LGBT people are murdered DAILY for simply existing, and she's boo-hooing over there about how their "really good witnesses" were too scared to show their faces and how it's the big, bad LGBT peoples' fault that their case looked like crap.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 15. Bill  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:13 am

    With over 40% of children in the United States born and raised in single family homes, one might ask Pugno if he is aware that he is trying to prevent LGTB couples from marrying instead of pursuing the governmentally forced marriage of heterosexuals that would be required to remedy this problem.

    It is, as Pugno himself says, about 'the children,' after all, right Pugno?? (wink, wink)

    What a complete and total tool this man is. I pity his family.

  • 16. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Yeah those cry babies need to stop…when they actually get attacked and bashed for being straight then maybe they can say something….

    We get threats all time but we don't hide, we don't cry, we don't go to mommy gov and say well so and so threatened me…unless it gets to a violent level.

    "Don't cry for me prop 8 haters…Do truth is I never bashed you…. you hurt my feelings…. but I'm still standing!"

  • 17. Straight Ally #3008  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:20 am

    And he can also work toward a mandated pact for all couples requesting a marriage license to bear or adopt children within a certain amount of time, and of course, banning divorce! Limited government! Er….

  • 18. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Just found this on nj.com….maybe a step forward?

    Obama to Congress: extend same-sex benefits

    1/28/2010, 2:51 p.m. EST
    The Associated Press
    (AP) — TAMPA, Fla. – President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to pass a law extending benefits to same-sex partners, a day after he renewed his support for repealing the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

    Obama was responding to a question during a town hall meeting Thursday in Tampa, Fla.. He noted a bill is pending that would extend to domestic partners benefits such as granting Social Security survivor payments and allowing hospital visitation.

    Obama said: "My hope is we can get it done."

    Obama has acted administratively to extend some benefits to federal employees with same-sex partners. He has called for a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of gay unions and the granting of benefits.

  • 19. Bill  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:28 am

    "Obama said: “My hope is we can get it done.”

    His hope??? His HOPE???

    It's not 'your hope,' buddy.

    It's your FREAKIN' JOB!!!

  • 20. Warren S  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:31 am

    I posted the following to their comments (I was shocked they actually allow them!)

    Have any charges been filed against Prop 8 supporters for the alleged ‘crimes’ perpetrated in the aftermath of Prop.8? How about the statistical proof as opposed to anecdotal evidence. According to official records in LA County crimes motivated by animus to gay and lesbian people rose 2005 in 2008 as a driect result of campaigning for Prop 8, and 70% of those crimes involve physical violence. Were there isolated incidents the other way around? No doubt but the overwhelming majority of attacks, violence, loss of income, harassment, etc. in this debate is felt by gay people and not the other side. These are the FACTS that were presented in court and they were no disputed by the Pro Prop 8 witnesses. Two of the 4 witnesses who dropped out were filmed in deposition and when the video was played in court they made key points that supported the legal case to overturn prop 8 under the 14th Amendment. That is transaprently the reason why they were withdrawn. Both of these persons were Canadian researchers, one of whom is gay himself. There views are well known in their home country where gay marriage is legal and where they opposed its legalization in the early 2000s. That Young and Nathanson would fear retaliation in another country thousands of miles away for views they’ve publically held for a long period of time in their home country is an assertion that stretched the limits of credulity. The reason there were no experts in the fields directly related to this case willing to testify for Prop 8 is that there is no factual evidence or reputable research that justifies retaining that law. Ms. Gallagher you are not the victim. Your life and religious beliefs are protected by the First Amendment and I really don’t mind what your views on other peoples’ relationships are. However, your beliefs (and that’s what they are as they have now been shown in a court of law to be without factual basis) should not be used to dictate how the government treats law-abiding tax-paying citizens who are not you. The victims are the people who are now denied what in the United States is a fundamental right thanks to your activities.

    The site said my comment was awaiting moderation… So it may or may not be published (I'm not holding my breath) so I thought I'd repost it here.

  • 21. Caleb  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Any idea of orgs that plan to file amicus briefs? Or, if they're filed, where to go to read them?

  • 22. Warren S  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:35 am

    You're absolutely correct. What do you think Maggie thinks about the Matthew Shepard Act, ENDA, DADT, equal housing laws and so on? They want to shame us to hide our 'lifestyles' so they can continue to hold sawy over millions of people and their potential to contribute money and votes.

  • 23. Warren S  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Wheee Hope and Change! So far uh, nothing has changed for gay people and uh I have no hope that he has the ability to get anything done, let alone move on our issues. But he does still give a nice speech. And Michelle seems like a very nice lady (though not as nice as Cindy McCain).

  • 24. Bob  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Warren, don't hold your breath. They censor everything…

    But if your post shows how hateful we are (ha ha) because all of our post do, then it might stay to set an example of how intolerant we gays are.

    BTW, When this trial started they cleaned house over at their FB page and banned almost every non-NOM supporter. Seems like the NOMiacs need to stay ill-informed.

  • 25. Warren S  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:42 am

    No. The right for individual states to ammend their constitutions is remanded to them under the Federal Constitution as a well established matter of US law. Most states make it much harder to amend their constitutions than CA, buy requiring supermajorities by popular vote, and multiple passages through state legislatures or some combination of both. The problem is a CA problem that is outside of the fed's authority.

  • 26. Warren S  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:46 am

    From the comments on the NOM blog. Just in case you though that facts and logic alone can win the day:

    "What happened to marriage supporters was found by the court to be substantiated, and tellingly, the proponents made no effort to show that the other side suffered whatsoever after the passing of prop 8. Nice try on the victimhood, but you can’t hide from the kind of “tolerance” gay activists showed against the individuals, family and property of those who support marriage and families."

  • 27. bbock  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:50 am

    You should post a story about Maggie Gallagher's setting expectations of a loss. She says that their case was greatly harmed because there was the threat of television coverage and therefore harassment. So their expert witnesses dropped out, weakening their case.

    Says she: :Here’s the bottom line: If the Supreme Court should overturn Proposition 8 and find a constitutional right to gay marriage I will never know whether or not that would be a result of the haste to televise the trial."

    Uh, no. They dropped out after their depositions didn't go well at all.

  • 28. Elsie  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:50 am

    While I am a staunch supporter of marriage equality as a stand alone issue, my real fear is that if we lose on getting marriage equality as a national right, they will work to ban adoption and parenting by LGBT parents.

    As we've seen in Washington State on ref. 71, in which they opposed it on the grounds that it was "stealth" marriage, there is absolutely no compromising with these people. No matter how big their shit eating grins when they espouse that they "hate the sin love the sinner," their hearts are as wormy as road kill.

    Marriage equality is our line in the sand!

  • 29. JDI  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:51 am

    More spin. If you read the SCOTUS ruling banning the cameras, it had nothing to do with the Yes on 8's assertions about retribution toward the witnesses. SCOTUS made the ruling based on their believe Judge Walker didn't follow proper procedures. It had ZERO to do with the scaredy-cats whining.

  • 30. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:53 am

    And yet none of those people who were "victims" of gay activists (excluding heteros who also support us) actually testified in court so its a moot point and is not on the record….nice try tough NOM

  • 31. Mouse  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:54 am

    I posted this, which will probably be deleted in the moderation process, proving that they are afraid of the truth.

    Mouse
    Posted January 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    The arguement that witnesses fled because of the possibility of the trial being televised is insane.

    The trial was not televised. The trial was always going to be a matter of public record. The names of those witnesses would always have been available.

    The truth is that the drop-out witnesses did not help the case. In their depositions, they ended up saying things that supported the plaintiff’s case rather than the defense. The witnesses left to testify did the same thing in court. Whatever points Pugnu would have you believe were made were destroyed when Boies cross-examined Dr. Miller and Mr. Blankenhorn.

    If the case had been televised, more people would see that. Fear of the truth being exposed is the real reason you didn’t want the case televised. I would respect you more if you would admit that.

  • 32. Glenn I  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Blankenhorn acknowledges that the Prop 8 harms same-sex couples, but argues the damage to the “institution of marriage” would be far worse if gays and lesbians were to marry.

    Yes, Blankenhorn deeply believes that the potential damage to the institution of marriage would be greater than the present damage caused to the families of same sex couples, but he could only speculate about what that potential damage would be. He had no evidence, just an untested theory.

    I note at one point he jumped on Boies about how no one was testing the hypothesis that same sex marriage damages the institution of marriage because researchers took it for granted that there is no damage. Queer coming from someone who makes no attempt himself to research the question or find funding for those equipped. He merely takes it for granted that it does. Sorta like dueling religions.

  • 33. Frijondi  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:04 am

    As the Rev. Mel White, director of the pro-gay Christian group Soulforce, has said, the religious right doesn't want to compromise, but they'll pretend they're willing to for as long as it takes to get their way.

    They're careful about what they say in public, but when they're talking among themselves, they're open about what they really want, which is to reinstate the sodomy laws and worse.

    This has been going on for a long time, and is more organized than many people realize:
    http://www.publiceye.org/ifas/fw/9408/gleneyrie.h

  • 34. Von  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Just want to thank you guys for providing the link to the Blankenhorn/Wolfsen ss marriage debate. Stayed up late watching it last night in it's entirety and was dumbfounded at how the defense chose to use this guy when he appeared to be so blatantly inept and hostile. My new hero is Evan Wolfsen. He was amazing! Articulate, succinct, and actually able to show some compassion for his less cogent debate foe. Great guy. Glad he's on our side! :)

  • 35. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:10 am

    And their you have it…..proof that they will not stop at marriage….It's a witch hunt!

  • 36. Jim  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Their case is so weak, if the logical argument is this:
    1. Prop 8 is rational because child is best off with mother and father.
    2. Yes Prop. 8 harms same-sex couples, but damage to institution of marriage would harm #1.

    They haven't proved #2 at all – and that's the whole point of this thing. Fine you have your marriage we'll have ours. How does me getting married weaken your marriage? It makes no sense.

    The truth is this is bigotry plain and simple – they don't want us to get married because it makes them uncomfortable.

  • 37. Brad  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Well, I thought "gay bashing" referred to verbal epithets, not to physical attack. At least that's what the defense witness said, the guy who was a little fuzzy about the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

  • 38. Skemono  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Actually, it's Congress's job to change the laws and pass new ones.

  • 39. Mouse  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:18 am

    It's not about marriage equality, it's simply about equality.

    The Prop 8 folks claim that there are rational reasons for supporting Prop 8. The only way that can be true is if you start out from the foundation that there is something inherantly inferior about gays and lesbians.

    "We don't want our children taught about same-sex marriage in school." Let's forget for a moment that children are not taught about marriage in schools. Why don't you want that? If you truly believed there was nothing inherantly wrong with gay and lesbian people, what difference would it make? It is only undesirable because you don't like homosexuals.

    "If society were more accepting of homosexuals, more people would choose to be gay." Let's not even tackle the choice part and pretend for the sake of arguement that people can choose. So what? If you have no irrational prejudice against homosexuals, why do you care if people choose to be gay? It's like saying more people would be left-handed if we didn't torture them in school to force them to be right-handed. It only matters because you don't like gay people.

    It's so crazy to listen to the politically correct hate speech. "We don't hate gays, we're not homophobic, we just don't want to have to drink out of the same filthy fountains they've soiled with their touch."

  • 40. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Exact words…."somebody who was killed"

    YAAAAAA THINK!!!!!!!

  • 41. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Its like saying I love you, but I'm not IN love with you.

    But Gina Why?

  • 42. Kendall  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Brian: We love you for all you do. :-) Thank you with all of our hearts (if I may be bold as to speak for everyone ;-).

  • 43. Andrea  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Civics WIN!

  • 44. Von  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Lol! Wow, how fearful are these guys of truth and transparency??? Not surprisingly, they did not post my comments on nomblog so I will cut and paste them here:

    "Adam, if you have a really good argument for or against something, why would you be fearful of putting that argument out there for all to see and for people to make their own judgements about regardless of what side your personal opinion falls on? Transparency seems like a bad thing only if you cannot back up your argument and are fearful of being found out. I would think that you people would want to show the world just how right you are in your views. Have your opportunity to sway a few opinions yourself. Isn’t that the American way?

    As far as the “fearful witness” angle, if we want to go back to lynching people in secrecy maybe the defense should’ve asked for a few white hoods to be provided for their “experts” before they took the stand."

    I guess my comments were just too scary and threatening to post. .

  • 45. Brad  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Projections of the 2010 Census show that households made up of "married couples with kids" will account for just 22% of U.S. households in 2010; single-parent households will make up 11% of U.S. households.

    The diversity of U.S. households is remarkable and impressive.

    Pugno's claims of course are an attack on gay and lesbian couples.

    But Pugno essentially also is attacking single-parent households, most of which are headed by a heterosexual. He is implying that single parents are inferior to heterosexual married parents.

    That's an attack on, among others, single moms–like my mother.

  • 46. Brad  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Maybe prop8trialtracker.com could create a section where people could post comments that ProtectMarriage.com chose to censor.

  • 47. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:41 am

    and my mother….That Bastard!

  • 48. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:45 am

    So they just mentioned on ABC world news hear on the east coast that it is a huge possibility that supreme court may be restructured by this time next year……step forward?

    An interview of Diane Sawyer with Terry Moran

    Her words "Will all members of the court come back next year, we'll see"

    Interesting

  • 49. ZackFord  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:04 am

    My analysis:
    http://zackfordblogs.com/2010/01/protect-marriage

  • 50. Matt in Seattle  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:13 am

    The current speculation is that Justice Stevens will be stepping down at the end of this term. It is customary for Active Justices to have 4 law clerks and to date Justice Stevens has hired only 1 for the term starting in the fall of 2010 (retired Justices typically have only 1). Then there's the possibility that Ginsberg given her health issues will retire soon.

    So, any cahnge on the bench is mostly likely going to be on the left and not the right.

  • 51. Ed-M  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:14 am

    @Warreen S, They don't even want that! They say they don't hate us, but deep down they really, really want us to either become truly heterosexual or simply disappear from the face of the Earth. At least the Fred Phelps types, the Army of God types and the Steven L Anderson self-loathing types show their true colors.

  • 52. Dieter M.  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:25 am

    they wont post it..they didnt show MINE either…same way on protectmarriage.com..they dont even HAVE a comment section.

  • 53. Dieter M.  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Maggie Gallagher has a bastard illigitimate baby born out of wedlock. end of story. this is pure hatred, and retaliation for the fact that SHE could not get a man to marry her fat ass.

  • 54. waxr  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:28 am

    In Romer v. Evans the Supreme Court declared a Colorado constitutional amendment as unconstitutional on the grounds that it discriminated against gays and lesbians. That amendment was placed on the ballot by initiative. My question is: If the federal court can declare a state amendment unconstitutional because it is discriminatory, why can't it declare an initiative process which does not protect minorities as discriminatory?

  • 55. Ed-M  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:30 am

    And what is their goal? Convert us to heterosexuality (not possible) or elimination!

  • 56. waxr  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:33 am

    He should go further than that. He should work for a law which would force those single parents to get married.

  • 57. Dieter M.  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

    They wont post my reply, however I let her know in no uncertain terms that SHE was the type of person who would punch a guy in the face, and then report on her church website how the victims FACE hurt HER hand!

  • 58. rf  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I just simply asked them where the court transcripts were. 3 days ago. comment never posted. surprise…

  • 59. nightshayde  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Because theoretically, a majority can vote to support the rights of a minority.

    The vote on 8 was very close — and if the waters hadn't been muddied by all the out-of-state church money, the voters very well might have rejected Prop8.

    The idea that 50%+1 can amend the state's constitution still baffles me. Until I researched the matter (before the election), I was sure the requirement would be 2/3. Of course, even with a 2/3 majority, I don't think it should be legal to take away civil rights from a segment of the population. Civil rights should be guaranteed — not voted on.

  • 60. nightshayde  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Wasn't the Shrub 2nd Bush administration trying once upon a time to create a program strongly encouraging unwed pregnant women to marry the fathers of their children? They weren't going to take into account the fact that teenagers probably shouldn't marry just because a sperm and egg meet, or that some of the males involved may have been abusive … or addicts … or married to other women … or just not nice people. It was going to be "all about the children" and making sure children grow up in a happy home with a mother and a father.

    Do "they" really think kids are better off in a strife-filled two-parent (straight, natch) household than in a peaceful one-parent household or peaceful two-parent gay household?

  • 61. Richard  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Yes, but we all know that they have a hidden agenda that they do NOT want the American public to see, otherwisse, they would not only have let Judge Walker's decision to provide tape-delayed broadcasts on YouTube stand, they would have said that they wanted it to be on TruTV (formerly Court TV).

  • 62. nightshayde  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Maybe Obama should propose sweeping legislation that's totally anti-gay. Republicans can't bear the thought of being on the same side of any issue as Obama to the point of reversing some of their own long-held positions just to be able to vote against him. If he goes anti-gay, maybe they'll be forced to vote pro-gay just to make him lose.

    That's almost entirely sarcasm, in case it wasn't clear. >.>

  • 63. Glenn I  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Implying? Aren't they explicitly saying so? Blankenhorn's book is Fatherless America : confronting our most urgent social problem. If you are single mother, that sort of thing is a j'accuse pointed directly at you, isn't it?

  • 64. Sean  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:06 am

    "My tireless job of saving you the dirty task of wading over to the protect marriage website is never done, or so it seems"

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Brian, for doing such a great job. I went over to the protect marriage website once…and that was more than enough. My blood pressure is already dangerously high. I don't need anything else pushing it higher.

  • 65. Sean  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:08 am

    That's…actually welcoming news. Thanks.

  • 66. Roger  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Their whole case, tirade, whatever you want to call it, arises from a belief neatly summed up by a definition I read many years ago in The Playboy Dictionary

    Marriage: A civilised means of legitimising sex.

    And don't laugh — it's in the Bible. (1Corinthians: 7, IIRC). All sex, you see, is inherently sinful — even man-woman sex — but the merciful God relises that the human species would die out without it, so He has instituted marriage, within which people can have non-sinful sex.

    Marriage legitimises sex — and that's their real objection to same-sex marriage. It would legitimise homosexual acts. That can't be allowed, as the Bible says that such acts are even more sinful than heterosexual sex, thy're an abomination!!! Read Leviticus, and also Paul to the Romans!

    Of course they have to tiptoe around this, as the idea that all non-marital sex is sinful isn't very popular any more, and the whole argument is inadmissible in court.

    They especially have to tiptoe around 1 Corinthians, as the conclusion that Paul draws from all this is that God really wants Christians to be celibate. (And hence non-procreative.) But if you can't control yourself, he concedes that "it is better to marry than to burn."

    As a Catholic-clergyman friend once said to me, "Christianity has had two thousand years to come to terms with human sexuality and has failed."

  • 67. Richard  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Guess they found out that the truthful people were going to be there and that the transcripts would be avilable online. BTW, are the transcripts at AFER's site in a downloadable format? I have friends who would like to see them but are having connection problems? Wanted to email the transcripts to them.

  • 68. Richard  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Complete with hidden pockts for their long-reach "barbecue" lighters.

  • 69. Richard  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:35 am

    And the one time I ventured over to read the site, I got so sick, I had to go wash my mouth out before I puked!

  • 70. Dieter M.  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:39 am

    I just sent a post to her regarding the fact that her letter states that her witnesses were to intimidated to fly to Sacramento to testify. Dear Maggie. The case was in SANFRANCISCO.. Not Sacramento. more proof of your inability to present facts, or the truth.

  • 71. Dieter M.  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I just sent a post to her regarding the fact that her letter states that her witnesses were too intimidated to fly to Sacramento to testify. Dear Maggie. The case was in SANFRANCISCO.. Not Sacramento. more proof of your inability to present facts, or the truth.

  • 72. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:47 am

    elimination is mostly likely their goal however since gay people are some of the results of heterosexual parents that will never happen either

  • 73. Glenn I  |  January 28, 2010 at 11:00 am

    they’ll pretend they’re willing to [compromise] for as long as it takes to get their way.

    It gives them the veneer of reasonableness. Who could be reasonable who isn't open to compromise? It's just a fun & easy way for them to point at us and say, "Look! They won't compromise!" Of course, we won't. These are basic rights! But we here know they have no intention of compromising a thing – unless it's an issue they've already completely lost on. Then they offer to compromise – in order to win back something!

  • 74. Andrew  |  January 28, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Wait a minute… I think I fell asleep on my train and missed my stop… Yup, the conductor just announced, 'Next stop: Uganda.'

  • 75. Rightthingtodo TX  |  January 28, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I'm watching this and want to slap this *%^$
    http://fora.tv/2009/10/20/Gay_Marriage_A_Debate

  • 76. nightshayde  |  January 28, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Now, now. You wouldn't want anyone to think people on the other side are bigots, would you?

    *evil grin*

  • 77. nightshayde  |  January 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I still think we should gather up all the NOM members & their little friends and ship them off to Uganda in a trade for the entire GLBT population of Uganda.

    Win win!

  • 78. Santa Barbara Mom  |  January 28, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Richard, yes the transcripts at AFER are in PDF form and downloadable.

    Front page of our newspaper today had an article about Gay Marriage Law being challenged in Mexico. The federal prosecutors are trying to overturn the law before it goes into effect in March, on the basis "that it violates the principles of legality, because it strays from the constitutional principle of protecting the family".

    My take on this article being timely placed on the front page of the paper is that it is a ploy to make people think that internationally people are against gay marriage. Grrrrrrrr!

  • 79. Richard  |  January 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    To Santa Barbara Mom @ #11. Thank you so much. And I hope that you have realized you are included wen I tell everyone here hat you are all my heroes. thanks to this site, I have placed a notice on my facebook page updating my status and coming further out of the closet ( I am out in the real world , but some of the folks whereI grew up were not aware of my relationship status in toto) , and have links posted not only to this site, but also to the first East Coast Equality Team–the one I have formed here in Cumberland County, North Carolina. I am not willing to stop now. We have only begun to rebuild our community to the levle of unity we had in the years immediately following Stonewall, and I am not ready to give up this feeling yet. Especially since we are nowhere near finished with getting our civil rights. And everyone here on this site has really given me so much to be thankfl for. I love all of you, and I look forward to the day that we can meet face-to-face, even if it is only via Skype.

  • 80. Joe  |  January 28, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Satirist Stephen Colbert made light of one advertisement created by Protect Marriage Washington on The Colbert Report's October 26, 2009 show. The ad asserts that in May 2004, gay marriage was legalized in Scandinavia and coincided with a suicide rate doubling and an illegal drug use increasing nineteen-fold. Colbert goes on to say the ad is "terrifying", adding "and that ad is no less terrifying just because there is no country called Scandinavia, none of the countries in Scandinavia passed gay marriage laws in 2004, and the statistics on suicide and drug use are made up."

  • 81. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!

  • 82. jimig  |  January 28, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    So I asked my friend why she was opposed to ss, I said we clearly are on different sides but why are you against ss. Her comment I am afraid churches will be forced to conduct ss marraiges and if they don't they might get sued and as a result force churches to close. Ok this must have been a local point because I have heard this from a number of christians. Okay that would scare me to.

    Can someone tell me or help me with this question if ss became "leagal" would churches have to marry members? I know a number of LGBT who attend church weekly but I dont think their pastor knows they are gay, so what if they want to get married? I told my friend I didn't know the answer. soem help would be nice, after all one good lawsuit would close down a strugging church.

  • 83. Santa Barbara Mom  |  January 28, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I just received this from Equality California:
    "As we’ve seen in the federal challenge to Prop. 8, our opponents have deliberately misled Californians on the distinction between civil and religious marriage, claiming that that clergy who refuse to perform marriages for same-sex couples would be punished and places of worship would lose their tax-exempt status. Thousands of EQCA volunteers who go door to door talking to people about marriage have reported that many Californians do not know that there is a difference between civil and religious marriage.

    To alleviate confusion and to ensure our Constitution’s promise of religious freedom, Senator Mark Leno (D – San Francisco) introduced a bill today, sponsored by Equality California and co-sponsored by the California Council of Churches IMPACT, that protects clergy from being forced to perform any civil marriage that is contrary to the tenets of his or her faith and protects faith institutions’ tax-exempt status"

  • 84. Cammie  |  January 28, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    3rd-ed, THANK YOU! I'm deadly curious in a know-thy-enemy-so-can-crush-their-inane-arguments kinda way, but I can't bring myself to push up their pageviews/look at their page without triggering a bunch of stress and anxiety.

  • 85. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    What you need to tell them is no a church cannot be sued…its is not a business…they don't pay taxes.

    Also because of freedom of religion that insures that the church is safe from that….however a business can be sued due to anti-discrimintaion laws, in most place anyway.

    This is why I feel that the churches have no place in politics , or paying for campaigns that are used towards the rights of tax payers should be illegal since they do not pay taxes and under the eye of law are not entitled to same protections as tax payers.

    I don't understand how they get away with that…does anybody else?

  • 86. waxr  |  January 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    nightshayde, You should re-read Boies cross of Miller (Day 11) where they are talking about the use of initiatives. In his book, "Dangerous Democracy", Miller makes an excellent case against the initiative process.

    According to the California Court, even "inalienable rights" can be taken away by the initiative process. One day the Court called marriage an "inalienable right", the next day prop 8 takes it away. Don't bother looking the word "inalienable" up because it does not have a meaning.

  • 87. Brian Leubitz  |  January 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Not a bad idea Brad, we'll have to look into that!

  • 88. Richard  |  January 28, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Actually, no church would be forced to perform a religious ceremony for a same-sex couple. There are at lest two denominations–the Unitarian Universalists and The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches–who perform Holly Unions for same-sex couples, and perform same-sex marriage ceremonies i those states where we do have the legal right to marry. None of us are trying to force churches to perform a religious ceremony. We are simply asking that they get out of the legal battle and allow us to hve our CIVIL rights tohave our relationship recognized in the LEGAL arena. Right now, here in North Carolina, if I get sick, my husband cannot come to visit me in the hospital, No we have not yet been legally married, but that will be changing in April when we take a side trip to Danbury, Connecticut after he performs a jewish wedding for some very close friends who want the rabbi who has been their rabbi for 30+ years. But even then, since our marriage will only be recognized in those states where we have the LEGAL right to marry, it will only be good here once we have full marriage equality in all 50 states. We are not trying to change anyone's religion. We are trying to gain our civil rights.

  • 89. Santa Barbara Mom  |  January 28, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Thank you for your kind words……..you got me all choked up. In regards to all of this I am in an interesting spot also.
    I find comfort in trying to love all people, despite differences in opinion. Sometimes it can be a real challenge, but I have experienced the power of love in conquering anger. I wish you everything good in life.
    Love,
    Julie

  • 90. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Hey Richard you can force your way into the hospital…that is what we need to do better….those hospitals are paid for by our taxes regardless of who or what we are.

    My mother works for a catholic hospital…..shes just a clerk in the ER but when a gay couple came in and they refused to let them see each other, even though civil unions are legal in NJ but not enforced, anyway she told all the nurses and doctors and I quote,

    "You FUCKING trash let them see each other or mark my words I WILL CUT A BITCH!"

  • 91. Sheryl  |  January 28, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    This was one of the half truths (or was that non-truths) that the Yes on 8 campaign used as one of their 8 points of things that would happen. As I understand it, this was based on a New Jersey case where the church was receiving tax exempt status on property that was not used for religious services but was open for rent to the general public for public use and denied a lesbian (or was it gay) couple rental to have a party (not a marriage ceremony). Also there was something about Catholic Social Services in Mass. closing their doors so they wouldn't have to adopt to gay/lesbian couples. this closure was not forced, but by choice. I'm sure others will correct me or add to the info.

    Fear is what they used to get votes. One of the signs that really, really annoyed me was that No on 8 would take away parents rights. I still haven't figured out how that would have happened.

    Sheryl (also a Mormon who supports equal rights for all and has a gay son who is the light of my life).

  • 92. Richard  |  January 28, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you, Ronnie. And please tell your mom that she is one of my heroes also. And for two reasons. I believe you said she raised you as a single parent. She did a mighty fine job! And also for he way she stands up to them when they try to keep same-ssex couples from seeing each other in the hospital. She is a very fine lady, and I do mean lady in the finest sense of the word.

  • 93. michael  |  January 28, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I'd have to dispute the "There is no doubt that child-rearing is critical to our nation" comment.

    I don't think anyone seriously believes that the human population is in any danger of extinction.

    If anything, gays should be thanked by not adding to the ever-increasing population that continues to drain the planet's natural resources.

  • 94. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    LOL…..your welcome…I will let her tell her you said that. My mother is a 53yo white woman (who has a weird thing for men of color) but I am convinced that she has either:

    A. A gay man trapped inside her

    B. A black projects woman trapped inside her like Shanaynay..hehehe

    C. A Drag Queen trapped inside her

    But I love her regardless….shes my hero too

  • 95. Cammie  |  January 28, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Short answer:
    Churches are NEVER required to bless a marriage that violates their doctrine, the most common example I can think of being that many Catholic churches will not marry divorcees, since the Vatican condemns marriage after divorce as adultery. I think there are also some Jewish and Muslim sects that won't conduct interfaith marriages unless the other partner converts. Remarriage and interfaith marriage are obviously legal, but churches can't be forced to bless those unions or sued for their refusal to do so.

    Getting to the nitty-gritty & exceptions:
    Where churches do get sued is when they venture beyond religion and become involved in the public sphere, like the New Jersey church that owned a patio they rented to the public for profit, but refused to rent to a gay couple that wanted to use the property for their wedding. Since the church was acting as a business refusing to sell goods to a certain class of people, they were sued for discrimination in the same way that a 'whites-only' restaurant would be for refusing to provide service to minorities. The church was never obligated to perform or bless the wedding in any way, never forced to have a gay marriage take place in the walls of their church, just told not to discriminate if they're in the business of selling public rental space. However, this unfortunately gets twisted into 'OMG, we were sued for not marrying teh gays!' when they're still totally free to refuse to perform gay marriages.

    This distinction might help:

    Civil marriage = the legal establishment of kinship via the marriage contract. This makes both parties officially Family, which qualifies them for family benefits and rights like hospital visitation, family-plan health insurance, right to sponsor entry into the US, right to inheritance, etc. No ceremony is required (you can just go down to the courthouse and sign a paper) and churches cannot be forced to perform a ceremony if it goes against their beliefs.

    Religious marriage = the ceremony conducted by clergy to bind two souls in holy matrimony, subject to the beliefs and discretion of the church. The ceremony itself isn't legally binding, you still have to apply for a marriage license (civil marriage) to be considered married by the state.

  • 96. Joe  |  January 28, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    My favorite reply to that is that of the 510,000 children in foster care, approximately 0.00% of those were born to same sex parents.

  • 97. Richard W. Fitch  |  January 28, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    It depends on how this is phrased. If we are simply pointing to procreation, then, no, there will never be a shortage of people being born. However, if you mean by "child-rearing" the nurture, education and well-being of those too young to care for themselves, then, yes, it is critical. That should already be apparent. There are far too many children already who are not wanted or cared for.

  • 98. Roy  |  January 28, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    oh good grief!! yes the NOM site posted my comment…shock…but the reply to it is the same ole crap that THEY are the harmed ones and *I* am the hater!!
    like WTF?

    I am #59…replies follow… *facepalming*
    http://nomblog.com/667/

  • 99. Ed-M  |  January 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    That's crazy!!! I thought SCOTUS overturned Judge Walker's decision simply because (they claimed) he didn't follow his court's own rules for remote simulcasting and broadcasting the court proceedings! And what's worse, they belittled OUR treatment at the hands of the haters on THEIR side while claiming they suffered SO BAD from the treatment they got from the haters OUR side. (I am assuming there were at least two of our people who were haters but still in smaller proportion than their haters are so bear with me, please.)

  • 100. Dieter M.  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    wooohoooo another EPIC blow
    to the anti-gay bigots:

    NOM Investigation Going Forward

    The National Organization for Marriage wants a delay in an investigation by the state of Maine into the group's finances, but that state's ethics commission denied its request.

    NOM contributed almost $2 million to repeal Maine's gay marriage law. Now an investigation is being launched into NOM's finances, but the organization wants to wait until the federal Proposition 8 trial —which is ruling on whether California's ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution — is decided before the Maine investigation takes place.

    "I understand concerns about duplicate efforts, but that's part of the hand we are dealt," said ethics commision member Margaret Matheson. "We're charged with ensuring that voters have that information and that's the crux of this investigation."

    enjoy prison Maggie gallagher. say goodbye to tax exempt church status….LOL

  • 101. NOM’s Maggie Gallag&hellip  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    […] of in homes headed by a man and a woman than a same-sex couple. After all, that’s what Pugno was claiming was their big argument. They never got a legitimate social scientist up there to prove this, not […]

  • 102. Dieter M.  |  January 28, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    I just sent Maggie Gallagher a nice little letter telling her that we are going to vote to make FAT people marrying illegal. As a FAT woman she is promoting and condoning an unhealthy lifestyle to our children.If we allow FAT people to get married then people will want to marry a goat.Our innocent children will be FORCED to hear about fat people in school, and they might think it is acceptable, and may want to even try being FAT themselves.This will destroy this country. her CHOSEN lifestyle directly affects me , because it is MY gay tax dollars that go to help pay for her healthcare associated with diabetes, and obesity. And since the whole purpose of marriage according to her lawyers is for procreation, and SHE had her own bastard baby our of wedlock…then clearly her getting married would violate MY rights, and her own definition of marriage.
    Fat people should not be allowed to FLAUNT thier lifestyles in public…all that taco bell running down their faces onto their dirty sweat shirts. Unacceptable. Say NO to FAT marriage. Think of the children!!

  • 103. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    BWAAAAAAAA!!!!!

    No No wait wait…that was a little funny but seriously, I can't agree to that because my mother is overweight and she is a Goddess.

    But Maggie….YA DONE!

  • 104. Callie  |  January 29, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Yes, there will be a witch hunt either way. We need to be vigilant because it'll get a LOT worse before it gets better. Just look how the civil rights struggle went. There was a lot more violence after the courts ruled in the favor of AA's.

    But, you all are right, they don't even want us to exist. They want us to either hide and pretend to be straight or just go away.

  • 105. fiona64  |  January 29, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Hi, Sheryl. The Catholic Social Services case was one where they received Federal funding, and decided to close their doors voluntarily rather than stop discriminating against LGBT couples — because when you receive Federal funding you aren't allowed to discriminate. The Ocean Grove case was indeed as you cite; a lesbian couple wanted to rent their pavilion (offered to the public) for a commitment ceremony and were denied. The pavilion was not reserved for liturgical rites but was part of a campsite that the church owns and rents out to many organizations. Again, you can't offer goods and services to the public and then say "except you people over there."

    These cases were both conflated by the Prop 8 proponents into "your church will be sued" … and, as you know, one of the biggest purveyors of that untruth was the Church of LDS.

    Sheryl is an awesome lady, BTW … she and I both post over at mormonsformarriage.com

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 106. fiona64  |  January 29, 2010 at 1:34 am

    But remember, Richard, according to one of the Prop 8
    "experts" (Mr. Blankenhorn), even when in a situation of poverty, neglect and abuse, children are better off with their biological, opposite-sex parents.

    That man was such a moron …

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 107. Richard  |  January 29, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Fiona, I have only one thing to say. Blankenhorn is not a moron. that is being too kind to him, and too insulting to the morons, who area much higher class of intelligence. (LOL)
    Your newly-adopted sib

  • 108. JimiG  |  January 29, 2010 at 2:13 am

    Thank all of you who responded to my question regarding suing the church. I have run across a number of my religious friend who voted yes on 8 just for this reason. I love this site thank you all so much and that you for discussing the NJ case since they were misquoting this and yes they watch the conservative news and listen to the radio so I am sure this is the message they have been told.

    Thank you for the help.

  • 109. Callie  |  January 29, 2010 at 6:08 am

    Just one more example that churches can't be "forced" to do any marriage they don't want to. My uncle fell in love with a black woman (this was back about 15 years ago), and he wanted to marry her in the small, local Baptist church (this is also the church that our family was charter members of so it's the family church). The pastor refused and the congregation, including my family, backed the pastor up. This is loooonnnggg after Loving v Virginia so obviously they can marry whoever they want or don't want.

  • 110. jimig  |  January 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Dieter M, that was freaking funny. Did she really have a baby out of wedlock? If she did that okay because I do believe that if marriage is for procreation then only those who can prove they can get pregnant should marry. Using her concepts she stayed true to her beliefs by getting pregnant first by proving she was worthy to get married. Personally I am surprised they don't promote sex and pregnancy prior to marriage in order to ensure only those who can procreate can get married.

    Buit really thanks for the laugh.

  • 111. fern  |  January 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Being straight I could agree with this definition of marriage
    a biological father and mother, it is the best, it is "normal" and very easy to agree with or say it out loud, it is also so very simplistic, but as we all know it has nothing to do with reality.

    I also watched the video of the debate between DB and EW.
    My first acclaim was for the straight woman, she made me happy in the sense that I'm not the only one straight supporting SS marriage.
    Then DB, I'm impressed; how this guy managed to get diplomas from Yale and Harvard is impressive, if there's such a book as "Yale & Harvard for dummies" he must have a copy, 25 years experience it took him to agree but disagree.
    I feel sorry for his wife and for judge Walker who had to listen to his gibberish.

  • 112. Sheryl  |  January 29, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    thanks, fiona64. Knew it didn't have it quite right.

    They did a real fine job with the children in SF and their teachers wedding also. So convenient they forgot to mention that the field trip was planned by the parents not the teachers and that the children were not forced to go. The Prop8 side just loves to tell half truths.

    sheryl

  • 113. Ed-M  |  January 29, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    HAHAHAHA. Good comedy gold!

    But I can't agree with this if it becomes a serious proposal cause I had gotten fat. At least I'm halfway to being back in shape (32" waist)!

  • 114. fern  |  January 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    In 2003 SS marriage was legal in Belgium.
    It destroyed my hetero marriage, I was divorced in 1972.
    (little sarcasm here).

  • 115. fern  |  January 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    The Belgian royal family had a wedding and they first went to church then to the town hall.
    I would believe that no churches has the right marry anyone whose marriage isn't sanctioned by the state.
    Same in the US I believe.

  • 116. fern  |  January 29, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Let me re-phrase:
    The Belgian royal family had a wedding and they first went to church then to the town hall and they got in trouble for it.
    I would believe that no churches has the right marry anyone whose marriage isn’t sanctioned by the state first.
    Same in the US I believe.

  • 117. Marlene Bomer  |  January 31, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Fern — In the US it's a curious mix between the two.

    *All* officiants — whether they be ministers, or not have to be certified by the state to be able to marry a couple.

    Virtually every ceremony ends with the officiant saying "By the authority invested in me by the state of ________, I now pronounce you married."

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