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National Organization for Marriage Strikes Out with Supreme Court Brief

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By Matt Baume

We have more details about the Supreme Court arguments at the end of the month. The National Organization for Marriage has fumbled yet another brief. And two public officials are suing for the right to discriminate.

Here’s what to expect on April 28, when the Supreme Court hears oral argument on marriage equality. First, the justices are only asking two questions: does the Constitution require states to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples; and are states required to honor marriage licenses from other states?

Mary Bonauto will argue question one, and Doug Hallward-Driemeier question two. They both got 30 minutes apiece. The states defending their ban will get 45 minutes for question 1 and 30 minutes for question 2. The Solicitor General will get 15 minutes to argue on behalf of the government. So it’ll all be over pretty quick. Then comes several weeks of waiting and speculating, with a ruling probably at the end of June.

The National Organization for Marriage will not be arguing in court, but they did submit a brief last week. They’re claiming that public opinion is still closely divided on marriage equality. That is not even remotely true. Dozens of national surveys show a pretty clear trend. NOM does cite two surveys that show a majority oppose the freedom to marry. But guess who paid for those surveys? The National Organization for Marriage. What a coincidence.

Also, it’s worth pointing out — even if it was true that support was declining, that doesn’t matter. NOM devoted a big chunk of their brief to arguing about opinion polls. But public opinion has nothing to do with either of the two questions the Supreme Court asked. So, good job, NOM.

Also this week, the 8th circuit committed to hearing cases from Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota on May 12. Two former magistrates in North Carolina have sued for the right to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. And a lesbian couple in Guam has sued after being denied a marriage license. Guam is part of the US and covered by the Ninth Circuit, which overturned marriage bans several months ago. So hopefully this will be an easy one to clear up.

22 Comments

  • 1. David Cary Hart  |  April 13, 2015 at 10:31 am

    They are advancing the notion that Frank Schubert (one of the amici) is an expert with regards to polling. Schubert is simply another Defender of the Faith. I have been writing about some of the briefs – one is nuttier than the next. Ultimately, though, they all express (no matter how obfuscated) a religious objection to marriage equality.

  • 2. davepCA  |  April 13, 2015 at 11:09 am

    'defender of the faith'? More like desecrator of the Constitution.

  • 3. hopalongcassidy  |  April 13, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Faith…a piss poor substitute for thinking. http://www.godisimaginary.com

  • 4. RnL2008  |  April 13, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Here's an article from Lamba Legal regarding several bills about what is going on to harm us: http://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/20150410_impeach-

    Take a read.

  • 5. jm64tx  |  April 13, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    "There is not a single valid proof in the 50. And the stretch to make it 50 simply exposes the paucity of the case presented. Volume does not bolster the case. This case is so weak, the volume undermines the case against God as the writer of the proofs failed to present a single logical argument which led to the repeated conclusion that "God is imaginary." In fact, in two of the proofs it is admitted that the proof failed."
    http://www.apatheticagnostic.com/articles/meds2/m

  • 6. Eric  |  April 13, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    You provide all the proof we need that YHWH is imaginary.

  • 7. bayareajohn  |  April 14, 2015 at 12:53 am

    I have to agree, that GODISIMAGINARY site is indeed a poor substitute for thinking. Any high-school debate class could shred the anti-logic there in minutes.

    The items DO support the conclusion that many religions are conflicting with each other and internally and thus some, many, most, or even all beliefs must be imaginary, and that the devout aren't very rigorous, and that there's no proof of a god. They make a strong case to conclude that religion is made-up. But they do fail miserably to present a logical conclusion that there is not a god… just not one like the writer has defined god "ought to be".

    The archetype "proof" is: God doesn't answer prayer, therefore god is imaginary. Sorry, maybe god just doesn't do prayer like some religions say. If I don't answer your email, I am not logically imaginary, no matter how much you believe I should answer.

    I do think the various gods, as described in all religions, are imaginary, by definition. Each is an IMAGE of the god they want/hope/think. But "proofs" like those on GODISIMAGINARY are just as faith-based as religions. You believe that your reasoning and your biases equal proof, that if the religious are wrong or flawed, there can't be a god. No. Not how logic works.

  • 8. F_Young  |  April 14, 2015 at 1:38 am

    New Strategy Against Gay Marriage Divides GOP 2016 Field

    …Resting their hopes on an effort to redefine the role of the federal judiciary, the activists’ argument takes on a central tenet of modern American politics: that the Supreme Court has the final say on what is the law of the land.

    …..Constitutional lawyers on both sides of the ideological divide have pushed back against these arguments.

    http://time.com/3819317/gay-marriage-supreme-cour

  • 9. wes228  |  April 14, 2015 at 4:49 am

    The Supreme Court is never guaranteed the last word, except in the few categories the Constitution grants it original jurisdiction. Congress decides when the Supreme Court gets appellate review.

    Congress can also determine the subject matter jurisdiction of the lower courts that they create.

    But Article III also says "The judicial power ***shall*** extend to ***all*** cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority…" The use of "shall" indicates a command, an obligation. There must be some Article III court somewhere that can hear a given challenge under federal law or the Constitution.

    So the notion that Congress can pass a law with a clause tacked on "And no court has jurisdiction to hear any case alleging that this law violates the Constitution" or "no court can hear any gay rights cases" is simply absurd. The best they could do is create an Article III "Gay Rights Court" and have an anti-gay rights president pack it with anti-gay judges.

  • 10. hopalongcassidy  |  April 14, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Some day we will discover whether religion is the cause…or the result…of insanity – then we might find a way to cure both. In any case, as we exponentially increase our understanding of how the universe works, monotheism will continue to swirl the toilet bowl of history. When it is finally flushed, the world will be a much better place. Your criticism of the logic at the godisimaginary site is pretty pathetic and smacks of fundie whining.
    If you have a scintilla of evidence of one or more gods, produce it…otherwise you're just another pusillanimous apologist for medieval superstition and nonsense.

  • 11. hopalongcassidy  |  April 14, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Your imaginary god is not relevant to the actual real world and your pornographic old book of nonsense redacted over 20 centuries of mistranslation from the campfire myths of bronze-age goatherders who routinely massacred each other over which one had the god with the largest penis is not useful to humans. Well, unless we have the bad luck to run out of toilet paper…

    Morality is doing the right thing no matter what you are told,
    Religion is doing what you are told whether it's right or not.

  • 12. Steve27516  |  April 14, 2015 at 7:15 am

    "The best they could do is create an Article III "Gay Rights Court" and have an anti-gay rights president pack it with anti-gay judges."

    Ssshhhh … they'll hear you.

  • 13. bayareajohn  |  April 14, 2015 at 11:25 am

    A sincerely held belief in god is no proof that god exists.
    A sincerely held belief that there is no god is no proof that god is imaginary.
    A cornerstone of logic is that absence of proof is not proof of absence. The atom was postulated long before there was any way to prove it, as are black holes today.

    I agree with your personal assessment of the unreality of religion. But the GII site is fast and loose with what it calls logic. I would be as critical of a site that attempted to prove that SSM was right because rainbows are curved.

    Your standard quick jump to insult is not proof you are wrong, but it is evidence that you would rather fight than think.

  • 14. hopalongcassidy  |  April 14, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    If I had a sincere belief (or even certitude) that YOU are imaginary, you could prove ME wrong any number of ways. You could do that even if I just made the claim that you don't exist as a thought experiment or a casual challenge. I don't know how old you are, but I've been waiting for 72 years for someone to produce some/any evidence of anything supernatural…including deities. You have not identified a single example of what you claim is flawed logic on the GII site, you just say it's there…and you expect me to accept that on faith? Fat fucking chance.

  • 15. bayareajohn  |  April 14, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    For hypothetical example, Microbes might similarly be discussing how humans could prove they were real… but humans don't think it's important to prove anything to microbes, so we don't. We do not become imaginary because their belief that they are owed an explanation is fundamentally flawed.

    If you had a sincere belief that I was imaginary, while I could indeed prove you wrong, I'd have to care to do so, and not caring does not make me imaginary.

    I did indeed identify a single example of flawed logic from GII. The site suggested by jm64tx tackled all 50. I took it on faith that you at least read what you condemn. Apparently No chance of that either.

    "We can't explain it" is frequently offered but is no proof of god.
    "You can't prove it" is exactly as invalid as proof there isn't god.

    What's really imaginary here is thinking that either of us will get anywhere in this discussion. I imagine I will let it go.

  • 16. Eric  |  April 14, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    GII is lacking, but humans are not supernatural and microbes are not anthropomorphic. The microbe hypothetical doesn't really hold.

    The logical way to approach the problem is for a theist to put forth their deity hypothesis and then for others to falsify the hypothesis.

  • 17. Rick55845  |  April 14, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    I share your sentiments, hop.

  • 18. bayareajohn  |  April 14, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    The microbe hypo is to illustrate the size of the gap between humans and what we would consider a god. That humans both conceive of a god and then place human expectations on god is, in my opinion, quite literally nothing but hubris.

    The "deity hypothesis" cannot be falsified as it exists outside the realm of observation, and thus is not susceptible to logic or science. Such a "debate" would be a pointless affair, and in any case would revolve around the human-applied god definition, not around whether there in fact was something greater than humanity in or over the universe. Such an entity would likely be as unbeholden and as uncaring of human's expectations of it as we would be of the expectations of microbes… if they had expectations.

    For a great discussion on falsification: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Falsifiability

    I don't know how many more times or how much more clearly I could say it, I do not share or support religious beliefs. Yet Hop insists that I do. Such is his belief, which also appears to be outside the realm of truth or falsification, right there next to his hair trigger temper and foul mouth.

  • 19. bayareajohn  |  April 15, 2015 at 9:00 am

    "No backsies" clauses don't work on the playground, and they don't in congress. Anytime you try to make a law that by its own terms exempts itself from review, you are bucking the system that was built to prevent despots. And thankfully, it works.

    That so-called presidential hopefuls propose schemes that blatantly try to undo the constitutional protections of separation of powers and review is beyond insane.

  • 20. bayareajohn  |  April 15, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    It's worth noting the wide diversity of the gay community, and to reflect on how the ANTI-GAY right has no corner on the market for intolerant bigoted blowhards (with guns) that go ballistic with profanity and threats when anyone suggests a world view that they haven't personally approved.

    So you're not going to take it anymore. What are you going to do? Shoot me? Don't warn me to get off your lawn, it's as much mine as yours.

  • 21. Christian0811  |  April 15, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Even then that court would be dissolved as a violation of the equal protection clause

  • 22. Managed IT Services  |  July 10, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    One thing I've learned you can not produce change from the outside. Identify your common ideologies reinforce core values that are native of Africa. Finally embrace change, colonialism is wrong and your past.

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