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READ IT HERE: Michigan same-sex couple files opening brief in Supreme Court marriage case

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

The same-sex couple who challenged Michigan’s ban on licensing same-sex marriages in DeBoer v. Snyder has now filed their opening brief in the Supreme Court case. Local attorneys Carole Stanyar and Dana Nessel are on the brief along with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD).

You can read the brief here:

14-571 Michigan Plaintiffs' SCOTUS Brief by Equality Case Files

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

120 Comments

  • 1. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 27, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Off-topic:

    NBC News is reporting on a new study of Census data that shows the wealth of parents is MUCH more important to children than if the parents are married or not. The study of the Census data was conducted by the Council on Contemporary Families (CCF).
    ( http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/family-… )

  • 2. DeadHead  |  February 27, 2015 at 10:27 am

    And the AFA gets uglier, I think this is a dog whistle from the AFA to the unhinged wackos to target some of these offices and the people working in them… “The American Family Association (AFA) has published an 'anti-Christian bigotry map' that pinpoints the exact locations for all the offices of two LGBTI rights groups. The map divides 'bigots' into four categories: anti-Christians, atheists, humanists and those with a 'homosexual agenda.' The latter are defined as: 'Advocates for the legalization and promotion of same-sex marriage and viciously attacks Christians who exercise their First Amendment right to voice support for God’s plan for marriage as between one man and one woman.' The groups with a 'homosexual agenda' include the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which AFA said were 'bullying American corporations to embrace sexual perversion and encouraging lawsuits against Christian-owned businesses and states.' More at http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/anti-gay-chris

  • 3. hopalongcassidy  |  February 27, 2015 at 11:15 am

    "God's plan"…is it just me or is the idea that an omnipotent deity could have his or her 'plan' derailed by mere mortals way beyond absurd and idiotic? And on that note, if this deity does have a plan for everyone (as more than a few fundies are wont to claim) what the hell is the point of praying to have it altered? Maybe someday we'll figure out if religion is the cause…or the result…of insanity; then we might have a shot at curing them both.

  • 4. davepCA  |  February 27, 2015 at 11:43 am

    That is just surreal…. and what on earth is their beef with the AARP?? What a bunch of delusional idiots.

  • 5. guitaristbl  |  February 27, 2015 at 11:52 am

    It's a very common psychological phenomenon I think, it's called projection (I project what I do on others to make a point of innocence). Combined with a little bit of victimization. Worked thus far many times, why not use it again ?

    In all seriousness these people are in dire need of psychological help though.

  • 6. guitaristbl  |  February 27, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I am confident all the opening briefs address the issues properly and with a great collection of pro equalities decisions since late 2013 to refer to. I am aware they are historic briefs most probably but I have read the same things so many times again and again as the current circle of litigition is going on that I really can't read 4 big briefs at this point 😛

    I just wish them the best of luck and hoping that their sound arguments reasonate with at least 5 justices.

  • 7. EricKoszyk  |  February 27, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Shouldn't the ruling in the case in Nebraska be announced today? Does anyone know?

  • 8. MichaelGrabow  |  February 27, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Two Mississippi Supreme Court justices say the court should find the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and not wait for a gay marriage ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.

    http://www.wtok.com/home/headlines/Mississippi-ju

  • 9. Raga  |  February 27, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    What? Did the judge say he would rule by today?

  • 10. Raga  |  February 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    There has been some discussion on this development in the comments section of this post: http://www.equalityontrial.com/2015/02/26/city-co

    Specifically, the order is here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/257078056/2014-CA-00008

    Video of January's oral argument is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xTqWL1Zm3k

  • 11. Rick55845  |  February 27, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    If the AFA keeps this up, they'll marginalize themselves to the point that a majority in the US will lump them in with the KKK and the WBC as a fringe hate group. It might take a while, but eventually they'll get there. Vitriolic hatred turns off a lot of people.

  • 12. guitaristbl  |  February 27, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Mississippi Supreme Court judges saying that the ban should be found unconstitutional ? The world is falling apart !

  • 13. davepCA  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Nah. The stars are aligning and all of our ducks are in neat little rows : )

  • 14. guitaristbl  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Should a chance that the Mississippi Supreme Court may strike down the marriage ban start to be entertained I wonder..?
    2 judges seem inclined to rule that way (actually the say it downright clearly that the bans should be found unconstitutional apparently) and one seemingly does not, leaving 6 justices to decide..

  • 15. davepCA  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Okay, I have been able to take the time to read through most of the contents of the briefs in these four new articles (thanks EoT for these!!). It looks to me like we are in very very good shape. We got this.

  • 16. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    The good thing about the plaintiffs having opening briefs is that the defendants (the states) now have one week to respond, and then the plaintiffs get a last submission to rebut the state's claims. And based on the history of these cases so far, the states will not introduce even one new argument that has not been presented in any court before.

    In other words, we've heard all the tired and untrue arguments from the states before, so the rebuttal briefs should be extremely easy to write.

  • 17. Zack12  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    There might be two justices on our side but I have a feeling they will be in the minority.

  • 18. bythesea66  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Conceivable but not at all certain.

  • 19. guitaristbl  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Remains to be seen I guess. 3 more are needed.

  • 20. davepCA  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Indeed. As dramatic and celebratory as the final decision this summer will certainly be, it's as if these cases and these legal issues are just sort of winding down and dying of boredom and repetition.

  • 21. guitaristbl  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    That's why I phrased the question of possibility in a very hesitant way.

  • 22. RnL2008  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Though I would tend to agree that financial situations stress just as much on kids as it does on the relationship of the parents……I believe it also makes kids more thankful in the long run when things get better.

    My wife and I raise our grandchild on a fixed income and yet, they still are able to participate in Karate and Girl Scouts.

  • 23. RnL2008  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    What I find funny is how supposed Christians feel the need to speak for their god…..like telling us that God hates us, yet how is that possible if God is the creator? Frankly, I laugh at these folks who claim that a few chapters are against Homosexuality, but in reality that's simply NOT true and when I have asked them if they follow the wording in the bible to the letter, they simply tell me they DON'T have to because only certain chapters and scriptures apply to them…yet, they apply Leviticus, Romans and 1 Corinthians on us, even though they skip most of Leviticus!!!

    Evangelistic Fundamentalists are the worse in my opinion, they want to turn this Country in to a Theocracy!!

  • 24. guitaristbl  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I think it is highly unusual so I will point it out : The supreme court will be posting on its home page the party and amicus briefs on Obergfell et al. v. Hodges et. al., it has started already :
    http://www.supremecourt.gov/

    (under the "recent decisions" section)

    They do consider this a bigger deal than King v. Burwell obviously.

  • 25. Steve84  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    What a surprise. The importance of marriage to society has always been greatly overstated

  • 26. A_Jayne  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Fabulous! Much easier to read, too, than scribd.

  • 27. davepCA  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Huh. That IS interesting. Anybody know how often they do this, or what criteria is used to decide when they will do this?

  • 28. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    My father died when I was 2-1/2. My brother, our mother and I lived with our paternal grandparents for almost 3-1/2 years until our mother had saved enough money to build a small house for us (mostly made of 'used' materials).

    We were in the Cub Scouts, took piano lessons, etc., and generally didn't realize how poor we were (Mom made almost all our clothes, for instance) until later.

    I think what helped was we had 12 surviving siblings of our father, our father's parents and 41 first cousins on our father's side, all who helped our mother as they could.

  • 29. RnL2008  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I'm sorry for your loss at such a young age…….but I do understand how our parents can make things better without us truly knowing how poor one might be……..i bet your mom was real good at creative financing……I know sometimes that's how we get by!!

  • 30. A_Jayne  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    I subscribe to no religion, and I try to respect those who do, but I theorize that religions over millennia have served earthly masters as control mechanisms for the populace in all cases. That is why the wealthy want this country to be a theocracy. Their followers who also want that accept the message from the pulpit that to do so would be "righteous." IMHO, however, theocracies are by definition self-righteous – quite the opposite of followers' goals.

  • 31. RnL2008  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I know after reading all of the briefs over the Prop 8 trial and appeals, it's rather nauseating to read these new briefs, which basically to me, are like the old briefs, there is NOTHING new in my opinion on either side of this fight……but how it is presented is what I feel will make or break the case for us…..but then, I honestly believe that SCOTUS has already made up their mind on how they will rule come June!

  • 32. RnL2008  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Give the person a cigar……you hit that nail smack on the head:-)

  • 33. hopalongcassidy  |  February 27, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    I find this to be useful when debating bible thumpers:

    Rules of bible quoting:

    Whenever a bible passage can be used to support someone's belief and bigotry, that passage is clear, stands on its own, and does not depend on any other context or special interpretation.

    Whenever someone points out any of the hundreds of bible passages showing god literally ordering or approving killing of children,
    raping of young girls, correct treatment of slaves, death penalty
    for minor infractions, and genocide, the proper response is

    (pick one or more of the following):

    1. It is taken out of context
    2. Can only be understood by special understanding of context
    3. The OT is not relevant
    4. God can't be understood by humans
    5. This is selective quoting
    6. The quoter doesn't understand the bible
    7. God didn't say that, he was "misquoted"
    8. God meant some special application, such as to Israelites or
    ancient clergy, etc.

  • 34. DrBriCA  |  February 27, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I believe he said he'd rule soon after the hearing. Plus a number of judges have released rulings on Friday afternoons, including Alabama most recently.

    I just wish we'd see more movement out of everything pending in the 8th (and 5th). Still no word yet on the requests to lift the stays for Arkansas, Missouri, or South Dakota, and Nebraska is taking longer than expected for someone who already tossed the ban once a decade ago.

    The 5th circuit court of appeals can make it up to us by ruling in favor of Marriage Equality bright and early Monday with no stays!

  • 35. jpmassar  |  February 27, 2015 at 4:37 pm


    An Alabama appeals court, in a reversal of direction Friday, recognized a gay woman's adoption of her partner's three children in Georgia.

    http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2015/

  • 36. jpmassar  |  February 27, 2015 at 4:39 pm


    The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals stated in its original ruling that Judge Chambliss should not have granted visitation rights to V.L. because a Georgia court should not have granted the adoption in the first place. Georgia does not recognize gay marriage.

    But in Friday's ruling the court did an about face and said that the Georgia adoption "is entitled to full faith and credit throughout the United States, including Alabama."

    The court, however, still said that Judge Chambliss erred in awarding V.L. visitation without affording the biological mother a hearing. "Courts of equity have broad power to act for the best interests of children, but that power must be exercised consistently with the due-process rights of both parents," according to the ruling.

    The court sent the case back to Judge Chambliss to conduct an evidentiary hearing to decide whether V.L. should be granted visitation.

  • 37. Zack12  |  February 27, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    The 8th circuit is arguably the most conservative circuit of them all.
    They aren't going to do our side any favors.

  • 38. RnL2008  |  February 27, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    All anyone needs to do is read the Vermont vs Virginia case called Jenkins vs Miller about a mother who was in a Lesbian Civil Union, who moved to Virginia, became a Christian and fled this Country with her daughter Isabella to make damn sure her ex wouldn't be able to have visitation rights:
    http://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/miller-

    This should help any person who has a child conceived and wants out how NOT to cross state lines thinking that will save them!!!

  • 39. 1grod  |  February 27, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Mike – it would have been desirable to have linked your consensus date to aspects of the brief. I will do it for you: "Literally applied, the “optimal environment” rationale would limit the right to marry to wealthy, educated, suburban-dwelling, never previously married couples of Asian descent, since their children consistently perform best academically.
    Footnote 12 p 52. IMHO Michigan is the keystone case of the four, and the petitioner's 78 page brief does not disappoint! While the record of the district court trial proved very useful ammunition to provide context, the task here is to demolish the reasoning behind the decision of the Six Circuit's Appeal panel. Counsel Stanyer et al do so in spades. I give one example: "The Sixth Circuit erred in positing the possible procreative behavior of (some) heterosexual couples as the essential predicate of marriage…..The trial record of this case further illustrates the extent to which the Sixth Circuit erred……. The right to marry has never, however, been tied to a desire or capacity to procreate or to adopt. " p 76-77

  • 40. Raga  |  February 27, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    They never learn – gives a new meaning to the phrase "flogging a dead horse":
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/257175984/14-1048-NOM-C

    I don't think Geiger et al. should even dignify this with a response.

  • 41. A_Jayne  |  February 27, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Depends how many of the judges are more interested in constitutional law than politics…

  • 42. Tony MinasTirith  |  February 27, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Yes,
    Every judge/justice walks into court with their mind made up 90-100%
    It all comes down to Kennedy now.

    It's amazing how the judiciary and American public has changed their minds on gays/lesbians since the late 60s and 70s. We've come a long way from Bowers v Hardwick in 1986 to Windsor in 2013. We'll have gone from mentally ill criminals in 1969 to Full first class citizens with Nationwide equal marriage rights in 2015. In another 2-3 years same sex couples will be able to have their own biological children, genetically related to both parents.

  • 43. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 27, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    If YOU do not know what 'Off-topic' means, then I invite you to look up the term. It would appear that at least several others know what the term means.

  • 44. RnL2008  |  February 27, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    I got to page 16 and then had to shake my head in utter disbelief regarding the stupidity of this action.

    Feed NOM folks to the lions and remember to give the lions medicine to help them not get indigestion…….lol!!!

  • 45. sfbob  |  February 27, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    The best part of these cases getting to SCOTUS is that ALL of the arguments that have resulted in favorable lower court decisions can be assembled and refined in the briefs of various plaintiffs. The states' arguments are repetitious and stale while ours build upon each other.

  • 46. VIRick  |  February 27, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    A week after a federal judge heard arguments in a challenge to Nebraska's ban on gay marriage, about 50 clergy have pledged to marry gay couples if the ban is overturned.

    U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon promised last week to issue a ruling “expeditiously.”

    According to the "Omaha World-Herald," Heartland Clergy for Inclusion is asking clergy to sign an online pledge – promoted with the hashtag #ReadyToMarry – agreeing to marry gay couples if the ban is lifted.

    “It's important for people to understand there are religious leaders who support equality for same-sex couples when it comes to marriage,” organizer the Rev. Scott Jones told the paper.

    Most of the 57 clergy who have signed the pledge are from the Omaha area and Lincoln.

    “We're happy we've been able to mobilize clergy who will make it possible for same-sex couples to have a marriage ceremony blessed by the church,” said Rev. Pamela Owens of Metropolitan Community Church.

    So, the marriage application forms are ready, the clergy is ready, and the couples are ready. Judge Bataillon, it's now up to you.

  • 47. Rick55845  |  February 27, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    In fact, ours also build upon the clearly discernible animus in the State's weak rationale for its prohibitions.

  • 48. VIRick  |  February 27, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Raga, how many times has NOM already been told, "No, your organization does not have standing?" I've lost count. And yet, they're still appealing.

    It does help me understand why the granting of certiorari is considered to be so rare. With appeals like this, and the ones from Idaho, all cluttering up the docket, it's no wonder the justices turn most cases down.

  • 49. DrBriCA  |  February 27, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Yeah, I'm aware that the Circuit Court is conservative. I was naming the "8th" in this situation more as a reference to the geographical area. Only the Missouri (repeat) request to lift the stay is pending with conservative appeals court. The SD and AR requests to lift the stays went back through the district judges who originally ruled in favor of ME. The request through the federal judge in Arkansas even suggested a reply timeline within 5 days!

    But none of these 3 states have rulings on the stays yet, and Nebraska is still waiting for Bataillon to work his magic once more!

  • 50. 1grod  |  February 27, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Mike – been a contributor to this site as long as you, if not longer. Have used it myself…. I would have expected and appreciated an experienced contributor such as yourself to know the importance of the first comments being ON TOPIC. Instead you seem proud of having lead others to follow you. This brief is the most important initial brief of the four and is worthy of insightful critical analysis. You usually provide me and others with thoughtful, balanced but on-the-mark, informed observations. You consistently get thumbs-up from me. Just saying, I was disappointed. G

  • 51. F_Young  |  February 28, 2015 at 1:48 am

    Off-topic:

    West Virginia: Bill that would ban local LGBT anti-discrimination actions called ‘dead’ http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150227/GZ01/15

  • 52. F_Young  |  February 28, 2015 at 2:06 am

    Off-topic:

    New documentary goes inside gay conversion therapy retreat http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/02/25/watch-new-do

    "Everyone is homosexual…" in the article, is a typo. In the video, Nicolosi actually said "Everyone is a heterosexual…"

    Catholic school quits Boston St. Patrick's parade over gay marchers http://www.businessinsider.com/r-catholic-school-

  • 53. jm64tx  |  February 28, 2015 at 3:23 am

    I think you misspoke …

    " that the defendants (the states) now have one week to respond, and then the plaintiffs get a last submission to rebut the state's claims."

    The response briefs are due March 27, the reply briefs are due April 17.

    So the respondents have about one month to respond, and then the petitioners get about two weeks to reply.

  • 54. 1grod  |  February 28, 2015 at 4:52 am

    Rose, like you I've read a lot of briefs and decisions. True I'm looking for something original. Help me out. Is not the following a new twist because one of the petitioner is a child? – "The bans triggers heightened scrutiny based upon this court’s Illegitimacy Precedents"….. A child living in Michigan who was conceived by artificial reproductive technology and born to two lesbians would be illegitimate as a matter of state or federal law because an “illegitimate child” is defined simply as one “born out of lawful wedlock.” ….. Ameliorative provisions available to heterosexual couples to “legitimize” their otherwise illegitimate children are not available to same-sex parents because the non-legal parent is not a biological parent. p 54/55

  • 55. JayJonson  |  February 28, 2015 at 6:01 am

    A rather curious statement on a blog like this. One of our most powerful arguments has been that marriage strengthens families.

    There is now a high correlation between education and the decision to marry. There is also a high correlation between education and wealth. The real question is whether marriage fosters the creation of wealth, as some sociologists claim, and whether the creation of wealth is completely independent of marriage.

    In any case, our attorneys have repeatedly stressed the benefits of marriage for children and pointed out that those benefits are denied to the children of same-sex parents for no rational purpose.

    I agree with the brief submitted in the DeBoer case: "Michigan’s exclusion of same-sex couples from the freedom to marry profoundly affects the lives of Petitioners and thousands of other same-sex couples in Michigan who seek to make a binding commitment in the unique institution of marriage. . . . It harms children financially, legally, socially and psychologically. It stigmatizes and humiliates adults and children, it reduces the stability of relationships, and it deprives children of the protections of having two married parents."

  • 56. JayJonson  |  February 28, 2015 at 6:17 am

    The justices have already made up their minds. There are five of them who support marriage equality. The only possible quibbles now will involve the justifications, whether there will be concurrences and how many separate dissents. The real purpose of the briefs at this point is to do no harm. Of course, they will parrot the arguments have been made previously. What our side does NOT want to do is to come up with some novel argument at this point. A little eloquence will not hurt, however, and we can hope for that.

    We also need to remember that the actual controlling decision may have little relevance to the briefs submitted, pro or con. Justice Kennedy, who is likely to write the controlling decision, knows what he wants to say. His decision will likely echo Romer, Lawrence, and Windsor, and will emphasize animus and liberty and equal protection; it will be joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Ginsburg may write a concurrence, likely to be joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan. Roberts is likely to write a dissent echoing Sutton in which he is likely to be joined by Alito. Scalia will almost certainly write a hysterical and bitter dissent in which he will be joined by Thomas. I am not expecting any surprises.

    Obviously, the briefs are historical documents and we want them to be the best they can be. But at this point, they are not going to sway any of the justices one way or the other. The real historical documents will be the opinions handed down on June 29, 2015 (or thereabouts).

  • 57. JayJonson  |  February 28, 2015 at 6:26 am

    The Mississippi Supreme Court is NOT going to strike down the marriage ban. Their request for more briefing is a delaying tactic. The majority does not want to get anywhere near this issue. If they are forced to rule, they will rule against marriage equality. So in a sense the fact that they are punting is a kind of victory for us.

    Justice King's statement, which was joined by Justice Kitchens, is excellent. These justices are profiles in courage. The other justices not so much.

  • 58. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 28, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Always been an admirer of your comments on here Jay… You were the first person I ever followed as I always wanted to make sure I didn't miss something you wrote. As usual, agree with you here.

  • 59. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 28, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Truly fascinating how one can use an ala carte option to pick which verses can be quoted frommthe bible for their own sake but ignore others given the rationale you posted above. I think the only group I know maybe who is "all in" on the bible maybe the Westboro Baptist Church…they seem okay with each and every passage as is!

  • 60. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 28, 2015 at 6:56 am

    It will be interesting to see the number of concurrences and dissents that come out of this. The CJ was emphatic in his dissent in Windsor as to ensure that what is being decided now wasn't decided then, and there was nothing to be drawn from Windsor to this case. Ironically that is what 40+ federal district jurists and several circuit courts did however, and now we stand only 2 months from oral argument and 4 months from a decison to be handed down.

  • 61. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 28, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Chop chop Judge B! Let's get this party started.

    The whole "stay" process will be somewhat fascinating here. I presume Judge Bataillon will see no need for more than a two week temporary one, it seems more likely than any other circuit court that the 8CA would actually issue a stay pending appeal so as to keep the circuit consistent with the other states in the same way, and then what will the SCOTUS do? Is SCOTUS simply deferring to the circuit court in ruling on the stay, and therefore will uphold one by the 8CA, or will it be uniform at this juncture and let Nebraska have an early celebration compared to the remaining states?

  • 62. JayJonson  |  February 28, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Thank you very much, Ryan. I appreciate your comments as well.

  • 63. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 28, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Basically providing the court a vehicle to hop on and be done with it all if there were three more Justices willing to be courageous as you noted these two are. A powerful dissent on a procedural order to strike down the bans based on animus.

  • 64. Tony MinasTirith  |  February 28, 2015 at 8:22 am

    "neat little rows :)"

    And it only took them ducks and stars 43 years to get in line

    I may even still have time to get married!

  • 65. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 28, 2015 at 10:09 am

    In all your 'years' of contributing to this site, you have NEVER seen any first comments to be off-topic? Never, until now?

    If you have NEVER seen any first comment to be off-topic (whether labeled as such or not), then that means you have not been paying attention, because just about every week, there is at least one discussion where the first comment (sometimes more) is not on the topic of the posted article. Occasionally, none of the comments are on topic.

    And the last time I made a fitst comment was … ?

    I also think the Michigan brief is the most important, but if you go solely by length of discussion by Scottie, there are more words wirtten about, and more quoting from, the Tennessee brief than all the others combined. Apparently, if the sole criterian is length of the article, Scottie thinks the Tennessee brief is the most important. I don't know if Scottie thinks the Tennessee case is the most important or not, and if he thinks it is the most important, the reason(s) why.

    There are some at EoT who think the most important case should be the one from Kentucky, and dismiss the Michigan brief entirely, as they say the Michigan case began as an adoption case, and therefore is not truly about ME. I disagree with them, and apparently you do also. For one thing, it is the ONLY case from the 6CA where a full trial, with witnesses, occurred.

    Others are championing the Ohio case for various reasons.

    And since I can no longer edit my initial comments, is it or is it not labeled 'off-topic'? Thus you were informed that the comment was not directly about the article, but you read it anyway. Why, if it broke one of your rules, did you read it?

    By the way, if it is so important for the first comment to be on-topic, can the second be off-topic, or should it be the third, or fourth, … ? Can you cite the rule that says the first comment SHALL be on-topic? Or is it only your opinion that the first comment should be on-topic?

  • 66. VIRick  |  February 28, 2015 at 11:27 am

    People in Nebraska are ready,– even the state appears ready,– for the very real possibility that Judge Bataillon will issue a ruling without a stay. The anticipation of another "window" opportunity (prior to the 8th Circuit Court issuing a stay) is palpable.

  • 67. David_Midvale_UT  |  February 28, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    I interpret Steve84's comment to be similar to my own philosophy, which acknowledges that marriage strengthens families, but marriage is neither Necessary nor Sufficient to create a strong, successful family that may or may not include healthy, happy, well-adjusted children who grow up to contribute positively to society,

  • 68. David_Midvale_UT  |  February 28, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Lawyers representing the state of Utah could have filed the following short statement for each brief in its entirety at various stages of prosecution in Kitchen v. Herbert. . .

    "Because the Prophet says so, and when our leaders speak, the thinking has been done". . .

    saving Utah taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and the courts all that time to review the garbage that was actually submitted.

    The anti-equality hypocrites exhausted their entire armamentarium on Prop. 8. The only thing that changed in subsequent briefs was the color of the lip gloss and the kind of animal to which it was applied.

  • 69. RnL2008  |  February 28, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    It's rather disgusting that in order to get to the meat of their argument, one has to wade through so much BS that it's not funny……I truly appreciate all those who can get through the entire brief……for me, I make it to about 30 pages and then it all goes Blah Blah Blah Blah for me……lol!!!

  • 70. RnL2008  |  February 28, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I so agree with ya Jay and hopefully they put Baker into the grave once and for all!!

  • 71. VIRick  |  February 28, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    "The only thing that changed in subsequent briefs was the color of the lip gloss and the kind of animal to which it was applied."

    Oh indeed! It's definitely important to continue to change the color of the lip gloss (Ryan, take notes). Mascara, too.

    However, as far as the pig is concerned, I'm not certain they ever had any other animal.

  • 72. VIRick  |  February 28, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    "I may even still have time to get married!"

    Tony, let's hope so.

    But with you, it's not the amount of time involved, it's the expense.

  • 73. VIRick  |  February 28, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    "Their request for more briefing is a delaying tactic. The majority does not want to get anywhere near this issue."

    Yes, this is an old case. They've had plenty of time to consider, without the need for more briefs.

  • 74. Tony MinasTirith  |  February 28, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    No, it's the amount of time. I hope I'm still around by the time the decision comes down in June.

  • 75. guitaristbl  |  February 28, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Zzzzzzzzz….

  • 76. JayJonson  |  February 28, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Rose, I think Kennedy will explicitly deal a death blow to Baker. But even if he decides to ignore Baker as a way to show how beside-the-point Sutton's decision is, as though the idea that Baker controls is so absurd as not to even merit a comment, the majority decision mandating marriage equality nationwide will eloquently rebuke the contention that there have not been doctrinal developments in this area since the 1970s.

  • 77. scream4ever  |  February 28, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Tony are you in I'll health?

  • 78. VIRick  |  February 28, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    "…. Kennedy will explicitly deal a death blow to Baker."

    "Baker" is dead and has been dead for quite a few years. However, the opposition has nothing else to reply upon, and thus, continue to attempt to keep it alive on artificial life-support.

    We all know "Baker" is dead, but the opposition needs to be told:

    Baker.Is.Dead. And so is the candlestick maker.

  • 79. StraightDave  |  February 28, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    So, was it done by the butcher, with a meat cleaver, in the dungeon beneath the Supreme Court?
    Couldn't help myself…funky mood today.

  • 80. VIRick  |  February 28, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    "…. in the dungeon beneath the Supreme Court?"

    I've been all over that building, but apparently, I missed the dungeon.

    Could that be where, on dark and foggy nights, under secret lock and key, Scalia skulks off to consult with the haruspices, morosely inspecting the Baker's mangled entrails, whenever he's overcome with this insatiable urge to concoct more histrionically flagrant argle-bargle??

  • 81. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 28, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Duly noted!

  • 82. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 28, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Whew… Thought you were going to take that whole dungeon thing a whole other way! And in that regard, a little disappointed. :)

    I really do want to see Baker called out in the majority opionion as overruled. Kennedy was awesome when he said in Lawrence that, "Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today. It ought not to remain binding precedent. Bowers v. Hardwick should be and now is overruled."

  • 83. VIRick  |  February 28, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    On re-reading my missive, I see where you thought I was going, at least up to this point:

    "…. whenever he's overcome with this insatiable urge …."

    Anyway,– that, too! LOL

  • 84. JayJonson  |  March 1, 2015 at 5:59 am

    We are not fighting for mandatory marriage, only for marriage equality. The decision to marry or not is a decision for any couple to make. I agree that marriage is neither necessary nor sufficient to create a strong, successful family that may or may not include healthy, happy, well-adjusted children; we can all cite examples of strong families created by couples who have not been permitted to marry or who have chosen not to marry. My only point is that it seems strange to denigrate marriage on a blog that is all about the struggle to permit same-sex couples to marry if they want to do so, especially since one of our most potent arguments has been that prohibiting same-sex couples with children to marry harms not only the couple but their children.

  • 85. JayJonson  |  March 1, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Alas, Sutton and Cook did not get the obituary for Baker. They resurrected it in their majority decision in the Sixth Circuit.

  • 86. hopalongcassidy  |  March 1, 2015 at 7:02 am

    He spends a lot of time on the rag.

    <shrug>

  • 87. SoCal_Dave  |  March 1, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Baker, the undead zombie unruling ruling that said there was no federal question on a topic that is and was the subject of dozens of recent and current federal cases.

  • 88. Zack12  |  March 1, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th didn't get it either, as he brought that up again and again.
    Even if Baker had been declared dead via Windsor, the fact is these three and others would have ruled against us anyway.

  • 89. A_Jayne  |  March 1, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Opponents of marriage equality want this to be easy for them – and Baker sounds so easy…

    So is "the law" itself seen as "not logical"? Or are some judges just not logical? Because it seems logical to me that, once SCOTUS granted cert to Hollingsworth and Windsor, they had apparently decided those cases presented a "substantial federal question."

  • 90. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  March 1, 2015 at 8:58 am

    But…but…that candlestick tho!!! 😛

  • 91. hopalongcassidy  |  March 1, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Yeah, mostly, but I don't think they much like Matthew 6:5

    …shrug…

  • 92. Zack12  |  March 1, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Bottom line, Baker gives them good cover for ruling against us.
    It sounds a lot better then saying gay people are icky and thus don't deserve any rights.

  • 93. RnL2008  |  March 1, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    The Michigan House just passed this bill over the weekend…….more lawsuits will be filed if the Governor signs this bill into law: http://www.newnownext.com/michigan-house-passed-b

  • 94. guitaristbl  |  March 1, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Off topic but I see people such as those interviewed here and I lose faith in humanity honestly :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx21JhPoN2s

    I can't even be angry at them. I just feel sorry for them.

  • 95. guitaristbl  |  March 1, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    If Snyder is stupid enough to sign it if it passes in the Senate we will have the easiest animus argument before SCOTUS. We may even get the heightened scrutiny this time around !

  • 96. RnL2008  |  March 1, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Oh I so agree…….I personally am tired of the amount of freedoms given to a choice over something that is innate like sexual orientation………I read that article and was like…..speechless almost!!!

  • 97. VIRick  |  March 1, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    "Even if Baker had been declared dead via Windsor, the fact is these three and others would have ruled against us anyway."

    Correct. "Baker" has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the issue of certain states' refusing to recognize legally-valid out-of-state marriages. That point was never raised in "Baker."

    Thus, our opponents who cite "Baker" are going to rule against us anyway. They've not actually examined the limited substance of the issue actually raised in the "Baker" case to even realize that it doesn't apply to the matter of a state's refusal to recognize another state's validly-legal marriage. They're just throwing it out there, hoping no one will notice their own animus in doing so.

    What they're really saying is that "Baker" has something to do with gays, but gays are icky, and we can't be bothered with them, so "Baker" will have to cover anything and everything having to do with gays.

  • 98. VIRick  |  March 1, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Wolf, rest assured, do we ever have a special place for that, once Scalia has vented all his venom in his insane dissent at the end of June!

    Actually, I suspect we'll need a pair,– plus an extra one for Sutton, just to share the thrill and the joy of the experience.

  • 99. DrBriCA  |  March 1, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Exactly. That's again why I believe Feldman from LA asked the plaintiffs to provide additional briefs on the right to marry, as he knew he'd have a tougher time relying on "Baker" as an excuse for banning marriage recognition. In fact, recognition rights (the primary basis for that lawsuit) were barely addressed once his ruling came.

  • 100. VIRick  |  March 1, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Precisely. Feldman requested that the second aspect (in-state marriage performance) be added in, when, in effect, all of the original plaintiffs were already married in some other state, and were simply seeking marriage recognition in Louisiana.

    However, once Feldman got the second aspect into the case, he then blithefully shot it down using "Baker," and as you mentioned, barely touched on the out-of-state recognition aspect.

    I've always felt that Feldman duplicitously used the plaintiffs for his own advantage so that he could simply rule against us. He deserves a hard slap for being so two-faced, as I sincerely feel he abused his judicial powers.

  • 101. VIRick  |  March 1, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Oh, and now that DrBri has resurrected Feldman, and his garbage-filled ruling from Louisiana, I think we'll need a special multi-pronged candlestick for him.

  • 102. Elihu_Bystander  |  March 1, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    "I don't think Geiger et al. should even dignify this with a response."

    Does the State of Oregon have to pay for the Geiger attorneys response?
    If so can they bill NOM?

    1. Did this Court’s decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry foreclose standing to non-governmental individuals in litigation challenging the constitutionality of state laws in which they have protectable and particularized interests?

    2. Did this Court’s decision in Hollingsworth implicitly overturn this Court’s vote dilution and vote negation jurisprudence?

    3. Did this Court’s decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry foreclose third-party associational standing on behalf of a governmental officer charged with implementing state law in litigation challenging the constitutionality of that law?

    I don't get angry easily, but gerrrrrrrr.

    1. F*** yes. The members of NOM DO NOT have protectable and particularized interests!

    2. F*** yes. "Fundamental rights are subject to no vote of the people or acts of the legislature," (paraphrase).

    3. F*** yes. NOM CANNOT act in the stead of the AG of the sovereign State of Oregon!

    What part of DE-NI-ED do you not understand? I know polysyllabic words are sometimes difficult for bigots to understand.

  • 103. SethInMaryland  |  March 2, 2015 at 12:14 am

    Woo this might turn ino something MISSISSIPPI: State Supreme Court Says Marriage Should Not Wait For SCOTUS
    From the Associated Press:
    Two Mississippi Supreme Court justices say the court should find the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and not wait for a gay marriage ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. Thursday's 26-page statement, written by Justice Leslie D. King and joined by Justice James Kitchens, was attached to an order by a six-member court majority. The order seeks more briefs on the question of whether a same-sex couple legally married in another jurisdiction can get a divorce in Mississippi. Justice David Chandler objected to more briefs, saying there is no need to delay a ruling that the divorce cannot be granted under Mississippi's constitution. King agreed there should be no delay, but he and Kitchens said the same-sex marriage ban should be struck down and the divorce should proceed.

  • 104. Zack12  |  March 2, 2015 at 12:59 am

    IMO, the judge that deserves a real slap is Judge Robert Jones of Nevada.
    Not only did he make clear from the start he would rule against our side but he recused himself so he wouldn't have to issue the order to allow same sex marriage in Nevada when his ruling was rightfully overruled.

  • 105. wes228  |  March 2, 2015 at 4:31 am

    Baker is a decision on the merits. Granting or denial of cert is not a decision on the merits. SCOTUS could have granted cert to Hollingsworth and the 6th Circuit cases in order to reverse/affirm them "because Baker."

    Not to say that Baker is still good precedent…that's just the reason why our side can't cite the granting of cert as proof that it has been officially overturned.

  • 106. Sagesse  |  March 2, 2015 at 5:43 am

    Hearing is scheduled for today.

    Delay in Mobile lesbian's adotpion case caused no harm, probate judge's lawyers argue [al.com]
    http://www.al.com/news/mobile/index.ssf/2015/03/m

  • 107. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  March 2, 2015 at 6:26 am

    Maybe! That's interesting news. Not sure of the precedent of judges remarking on a ruling before it is made, but it's interesting nonetheless.

  • 108. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  March 2, 2015 at 6:26 am

    No harm, bah!

  • 109. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  March 2, 2015 at 6:28 am

    A lit one at that

  • 110. DeadHead  |  March 2, 2015 at 6:36 am

    CERTIORARI DENIED “Petitioners in ProtectMarriage.com-Yes on 8 v. Padilla, 14-434, who are opponents of same-sex marriage, argued unsuccessfully for a First Amendment-based exemption from California’s campaign-finance disclosure requirements, because of past incidents of harassment. Their petition raises two questions: (1) whether their First Amendment challenge seeking exemption from California law’s disclosure requirements is moot regarding expungement of past records and further release of those records; and (2) whether the case comes within the mootness exception for cases capable of repetition yet evading review.”

  • 111. JayJonson  |  March 2, 2015 at 6:47 am

    This is discussed on this thread above and on an earlier thread. The headline is misleading. The Court did NOT say that marriage should not wait for SCOTUS. Two justices on the Court, in a minority statement, said this.

  • 112. JayJonson  |  March 2, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Judge Bataillon has struck down Nebraska's ban on same-sex marriage: "all relevant state officials are ordered to treat same-sex couples the same as different sex couples in the context of processing a marriage license or determining the rights, protections, obligations or benefits of marriage." The order is effective March 9 at 8 a.m.

    Read more at Towleroad, where there is a link to the decision.

  • 113. A_Jayne  |  March 2, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Thank you for that explanation. I'm sure at some point I read those words without fully knowing what they meant. My understanding of many things (now including this thing) has changed since I started following ME cases (when I read Judge Walker's decision). Websites such as this one have been very helpful with that.

  • 114. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  March 2, 2015 at 6:51 am

    That link:
    http://www.ketv.com/politics/judge-rules-on-nebra

  • 115. JayJonson  |  March 2, 2015 at 6:51 am

    The Nebraska decision may be found here.

    Unfortunately, it is only the injunction. It refers to a memorandum issued earlier, but I can't find it.

  • 116. MichaelGrabow  |  March 2, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Stay?

    Edit: Nevermind, I see it goes into effect 3/9/15.

  • 117. JayJonson  |  March 2, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Here is a link to the memorandum and order.

  • 118. JayJonson  |  March 2, 2015 at 7:04 am

    The ruling relies on gender discrimination: "Nebraska's “Defense of Marriage" Constitutional Amendment, Section 29, is an
    unabashedly gender-specific infringement of the equal rights of its citizens. The State
    primarily offers as its rational basis for this gender-specific discrimination the
    encouragement of biological family units. The essence of this rationale has been
    rejected by most courts and by no less than the Supreme Court. With the advent of
    modern science and modern adoption laws, same sex couples can and do responsibly
    raise children. Unfortunately, this law inhibits their commendable efforts.
    For the majority of married couples, those without children in the home, marriage
    is a legal and emotional commitment to the welfare of their partner. The State clearly
    has the right to encourage couples to marry and provide support for one another.
    However, those laws must be enforced equally and without respect to gender.
    It is time to bring this unequal provision to an end."

    I think Justice Ginsburg will like this.

  • 119. Steve84  |  March 2, 2015 at 7:22 am

    I meant that marriage is not necessary to have a healthy society. Or more precisely that the role marriage plays in having a healthy society is greatly overstated. So JayJonson's silly diatribe missed the point entirely.

    Marriage can be good for individuals yes. But all the stuff about how marriage the cornerstone of society and that everything would turn bad if people didn't get married is nonsense.

    Also, the reason marriage is good for families is not because of some intrinsic quality marriage has. It's because it's used to distribute a tremendous amount of benefits and rights. And people simply have a lot more trouble in everyday life without those. This is precisely why being wealthy is much more important. It decreases the reliance of people on government programs that allocate benefits by family status.
    If the state instead found a better way to distribute those things and also acknowledged other kinds of relationships, the importance of marriage would decrease and people would still do well.

    There are western countries, by the way, where unmarried couples aren't looked down upon, where it's perfectly normal for unmarried straight couples to have longterm relationships and children, and where people don't think you're gay when you say you have a "life partner"

  • 120. JayJonson  |  March 3, 2015 at 7:53 am

    Ah yes, the same arguments made by people who say gay people should be content with robust civil unions. After all, the only thing gay people want is the benefits, and if they are accorded equal benefts (as they were in California via domestic partnerships), then they should just shut up about marriage equality.

    That, of course, was one of the principal arguments of those who passed Proposition 8.

    Silly indeed.

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