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Equality news round-up: GOP Senator calls for LGBT-inclusive immigration bill, and more

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By Scottie Thomaston

– Here is a lengthy story on the marriage equality movement.

– Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine calls for the passage of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) for same-sex binational couples.

Linda Greenhouse discusses the Article III ‘standing’ issues in the Prop 8 case as well as the Court’s jurisdiction in the DOMA case given the administration’s agreement that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.

Alison Frankel of Reuters talked to Supreme Court advocates about whether Justice Scalia should recuse himself from the marriage cases in light of his recent public comments.

– On the possible upcoming Ohio ballot initiative on marriage.

– On the Supreme Court’s decision to ask outside counsel to brief and argue the position that neither BLAG nor the Justice Department have standing to be in Court in the DOMA case.

– Walter Dellinger argues the Prop 8 proponents lack standing.

19 Comments

  • 1. JPMassar  |  December 13, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Why does anyone care whether Scalia should recuse himself? He isn't going to recuse himself, even if we waterboarded him (figuratively speaking, of course). Far more productive to speculate on whether pigs have wings.

  • 2. Anthony  |  December 13, 2012 at 11:11 am

    If I were Ted Olson, I wouldn't even waste my time trying to talk to him during oral argument.

  • 3. Scottie Thomaston  |  December 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I agree. That's why I haven't done a full post on the subject. I think it's really interesting that people are still talking about it though. Figured it would die down by now.

  • 4. Concord  |  December 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Would you feel the same had he said such bias commentary about black people or latinos before voting on their civil rights or is it just LGBT you're dismissive of? Might want to do some soul searching and ask why that is.

  • 5. Amir  |  December 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    From what I've observed of Scottie Thomaston's posts, he's in the apologist crowd. Consistently being flippant about anti gay forces, and taking a complacent approach in challenging them. When others don't adopt his same sense of complacency over our equal rights, he is dismayed why that is.

  • 6. Eric  |  December 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    What is your goal? The only person that can recuse Scalia is Scalia. If people don't like that, the only option at present is impeachment. Impeachment seems far less likely than repealing DOMA.

  • 7. J.R  |  December 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Why do we care that a man who compared homosexuality to murder in terms of a moral compass recuses himself of a hearing dealing with our constitutional rights? One who has already made up his mind, and vocally expresses it in flawed manners before even Day 1 of any arguments. Gee….it's a tough one really. But I do believe you answered your own question in your own post there.

  • 8. Eric Koszyk  |  December 13, 2012 at 11:10 am

    This is good news. Not sure what their track record is, but a new Ball State University poll shows that Indianans are against a state constitutional ban on same sex marriage by a whopping 54-38%.

    Those are good numbers to start from, if the state legislature decides to put a measure on the 2014 ballot which not only bans same sex marriage but also civil unions.
    http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/news/indiana/poll-oppos
    http://www.indystar.com/article/20121213/NEWS05/2

  • 9. Anthony  |  December 13, 2012 at 11:14 am

    This is all on hold because of the Supreme Court, FYI.

  • 10. Eric Koszyk  |  December 13, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Not necessarily.

    The Indiana State Legislature can decide to still vote on putting a state constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot. Nothing the Supreme Court does has any effect on what the state leg decides to do.

  • 11. Anthony  |  December 13, 2012 at 11:23 am

    If the Supreme Court legalizes marriage nationwide (which is a possibility), the constitutional amendment is invalid, so it cannot be enforced.

  • 12. Eric Koszyk  |  December 13, 2012 at 11:51 am

    True, but to my knowledge an initiative's constitutionality has never kept one off the ballot.

    This year there several states with anti-"Obamacare" initiatives on their ballots. They passed, even though they are meaningless.

    Plus, until the Supreme Court acts, I'm going to go with the assumption that we will have to continue this fight state by state into the foreseeable future. Hopefully that's not the case but I want to remain prepared for it.

    The Republicans in Indiana have said that this is not a priority for them, but I don't take them at their word. I believe the Republicans in Minnesota and North Carolina said the same thing before pushing to get anti-gay measures on the ballot in those states.

  • 13. Mike in Baltimore  |  December 15, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Being invalid and still on the books doesn't matter. The theory of many of keeping laws on the books is that if circumstances change, the law might again be valid, and enforceable, so why go to the effort to remove, then reenact, a law that is on the books. It's a stupid argument IMO, but that's their 'justification' for not doing anything about unenforceable laws.

  • 14. Mike in Baltimore  |  December 15, 2012 at 12:03 am

    It was the Indiana state legislature that tried to pass a law (in essence) that Pi equals 3.0, rather than the accepted (rounding) of 3.14. The bill actually passed the Indiana House; the state Senate had much cooler heads [they listened to actual mathematicians who argued against the bill], and it failed in the Senate, so the Governor didn't have to decide whether to sign the bill or not (although I suspect he would have signed it).

    Granted, the attempt was made in 1897, but I don't think the state legislatures have really gotten THAT much more intelligent in the 115 years since. And it wasn't brought up in the state legislature as a result of a SCOTUS ruling, but as a 'favor' to a friend of a state legislator.

    So you are correct in that nothing the Supreme Court does (or doesn't do) has any effect on what the state legislature decides to do.

  • 15. DividedByLaw  |  December 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    This " standing" issue has me a little concerned. I am not a scholar by any means and so I try to interpret what im reading the best I can, so as one half of a binational couple I am a little less bouyant about th whole thing right now….

  • 16. Eric Koszyk  |  December 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Wow how times change: Charlie Crist says he regrets signing petition putting anti-gay marriage law into Florida state constitution.

    I wonder if he will next say that marriage equality should be the law in Florida?
    http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-po

  • 17. Mike in Baltimore  |  December 15, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Remember, when the petition came up, Crist was the Republican Governor of Florida. Last year, he left the GOTP, and was an Independent. Recently, he changed again, and is now a Democrat.

    And he no longer is Governor of the state, but will be a formidable candidate in 2014 if he decides to run then.

  • 18. Seth from Maryland  |  December 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Its starting to spark in Illinois , the vote is coming soon an close to having enough votes toward passage http://chicagophoenix.com/2012/12/13/illinois-mar

  • 19. Mike in Baltimore  |  December 15, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Being a sponsor or co-sponsor of a bill does not guarantee that the sponsor's (or co-sponsor's) vote is there for passage.

    When Maryland passed the bill for marriage equality early this year, a couple of the co-sponsors in the state House voted against the bill, not because it had been amended with poison pill amendments, but because of 'a change in mind because of constituent and church pressure'.

    And remember, just this month, Senator McConnell re-introduced a bill he sponsored last year, then almost had to filibuster it to keep it from being voted upon (the Claire McCaskill "I got whiplash" moment).

    Also remember, Senator McCain was the original sponsor for immigration reform, but now he says he would vote against it (without explaining why).

    It doesn't happen often, but it can.

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