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Equality news round-up: Profile of Virginia judge hearing marriage equality case, and more

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Virginia. Attribution: Wikipedia
Virginia. Attribution: Wikipedia
– Plaintiffs in DeBoer v. Snyder, the challenge to Michigan’s same-sex marriage and adoption ban, want to have Mark Regnerus excluded as a witness at the trial that will take place this month.

– The United Nations is condemning Russia’s anti-gay law.

– The Associated Press has a profile of Judge Arenda Wright Allen, the judge currently hearing the Bostic v. Rainey case, challenging Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban.

– Yesterday, EqualityOnTrial reported on developments in the Utah case challenging the state’s decision to put existing same-sex marriages “on hold” pending the Tenth Circuit appeal. The plaintiffs asked for an expedited hearing on their request for an injunction. State officials have responded to the request and they don’t object to the hearing, but they want enough time for full briefing.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings


  • 1. bayareajohn  |  February 7, 2014 at 11:10 am

    The motion to exclude Regnerus as an expert is a very good read.

  • 2. ebohlman  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Yes, I was really, really hoping the plaintiffs would file a Daubert motion. If it's granted, it will make it much harder for opponents to cite Regnerus in other cases.

  • 3. Dr. Z  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Could you explain what a Daubert motion is, to the nonlawyers here?

  • 4. bayareajohn  |  February 7, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    It is a motion to limit "expert witnesses" to those who meet a set of requirements, including reputation, bias, peer review, relevancy, rigor in methodology, rigor in interpretation, independence, etc. You know, all those things that are missing in REGNEROUS. Such a finding would be persuasive in other cases where Regnerus might be called… so slapping it down hard in this case would permanently scar the use of the study basically forever… basically a judicial finding of inadequacy for use at trial. A very good outcome to hope for. And I've never seen a better or more concise slicing and dicing of that noxious "study".

  • 5. Johan  |  February 7, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Yes, RegnerOUs! If the motion is granted we should use it as an adjective in contrast to rigorous. Talking about studies, we could distinguish between rigorous and regnerous studies.

  • 6. davep  |  February 8, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Ha! Brilliant! Used as an adjective in a sentence:
    "That guy's rhetoric is soooo regnerous!"

    Maybe get Towleroad to put some effort behind spreading the use of it as a new adjective and we got ourselves a new "santorum".

  • 7. Mike in Baltimore  |  February 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Also, it is much, much more difficult to avoid a Daubert motion and hearing appearance than a 'regular' court appearance.

    The Daubert hearing is normally conducted at everyone's convenience, or whenever the judge orders it. The hearing is to determine if a person's testimony can be used in a trial. with the burden of proof on the person who is to present the testimony, and (especially in this case) if Regnerus doesn't show up for the hearing, his testimony does not get heard, either at the Daubert hearing or in the trial. In a 'regular' court hearing, it is much easier to get out of testifying without facing a contempt of court motion.

    Also, a Daubert hearing ruling almost always carries much more weight in the Federal court system than a District Court's rulings.

  • 8. JustMe  |  February 9, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Of Course… The plaintiffs here made all the mistakes in the rules of Daubert motions.

    They filed this a mere 20 days before the case was set for trial. Not good, and likely to piss off the judge.

  • 9. Larry  |  February 9, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Even so, since it's a bench trial, the judge could let Regnerus testify, but give him little weight in the decision. That's exactly what Judge Walker did with Blankenhorn in the Prop 8 trial.

  • 10. Sagesse  |  February 9, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that a full Daubert hearing, devoted solely to Regnerus's credibility as an expert, would disable him in any US court forever. Second best would be if the Michigan judge thoroughly discounts his testimony, as Walker did with Blankenhorn. Anyone know if one method is more decisive than the other… if the Michigan judge shoots him down, would he just pop up somewhere else and need to be shot down again.

    How can you tell I really want this manufactured, academically unqualified 'expert' to go away for good… or at least limit his practice to countries like France, and Russia, and Uganda. Not that I have anything against those countries, but they have a ways to go to educate themselves about LGBT rights, and they will have to learn on their own to critically evaluate propaganda.

  • 11. Pat  |  February 9, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I was also wondering: wouldnt it be counterproductive to have Regnerus excluded from the trial? Wiuldnt it be much more effectuve to let him testify and destroy him in the trial and have all the bullshit thoroughly exposed for good?

  • 12. Craig Nelson  |  February 9, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Yes, I thought that as well, initially at least.

    However if one were to utterly destroy in court that would raise the issue as to why one wouldn't have first impugned the person as an expert witness.

    In this case the motion to exclude can be a good precursor to eviscerating the evidence once given. That said, it would be great if he could be excluded.

  • 13. Christian  |  February 9, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Why would France let this guy testify? I don't think in questions of constitutionality they even call expert witnesses. Further, they're pretty liberal to begin with (2011 case I reckon being a fluke, not to be expected again)

  • 14. Mike in Baltimore  |  February 9, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    The French legal system is much different from the English system, which the US uses.

    The French legal system is used in France, with variations of it used in most countries Napoleon conquered, such as Italy, Egypt, Spain, etc., and in the colonies of France (most of West Africa, Syria, French Indo-China, Madagascar, etc.)

    One of the easiest ways to visually discern between the French system and English system is there is a cage in the courtroom where the defendant usually sits in (or is confined to), especially if the charge is for a 'violent' crime. In the English system, the defendants are usually sitting at the defense table.

    In the US, the Constitution prohibits double jeopardy. Most nations using the French system don't have such a prohibition (one of many reasons Italy, for example, can hold a trial, have the verdict reversed, then hold the trial again, using the exact same evidence as before.)

  • 15. Mike in Baltimore  |  February 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Sometimes a Daubert motion and hearing are filed and heard in the middle of a trial, just prior to when a person is scheduled to testify.

    In legal timing, just as in politics, 20 days is an eternity.

    In 1986, I was serving on a jury where (I later found out) the defense questioned some evidence – DNA testing and the expert who would be testifying about it (also in 1986, Kirk Bloodsworth was the first U.S. death row prisoner to be exonerated by DNA. Yes, DNA testing is that recent.). After about 2 hours of legal wrangling in the court room (while the jury was sitting in the jury room, not the court room, and without any knowledge of what was going on in the court room), the judge allowed the evidence and testimony. What had happened was a variation of a Daubert hearing.

    A Daubert hearing called for, held, and decided in just over two hours. A much shorter time span than your "mere 20 days".

  • 16. Sagesse  |  February 8, 2014 at 5:41 am

    I agree. A concise, unemotional recitation of what is wrong with the Regnerus study. There has been some excellent investigative work on how this study came to be, and its many flaws, but the reporting has been almost hysterical at times. Though the criticisms are valid, the tone, in my opinion, has sometimes detracted from the credibility of the responses.

  • 17. grod  |  February 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Utah's Evans v Herbert (valid but unrecognized marriages) 'raises complex and novel legal issues' for the state and the Evans' submission raises 'new factual assertions'. State needs fourteen days despite the fact that this had been in state court before it was transferred to federal court, A stall.

  • 18. Lymis  |  February 8, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Well, they're not wrong. The most complex and novel legal issue is that gay people didn't just roll over when the Mormon Church told them to, and the media and courts didn't take their side. A novel situation for them, indeed!

  • 19. Seth From Maryland  |  February 7, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    PPP poll for Alaska: For the first time in its polling PPP finds a plurality of Alaskans in support of gay marriage. 47% of voters favor it to 46% who are opposed. That represents a 9 point shift just from a year ago when only 43% supported it and 51% were against. When it comes to the broader issue of granting same sex couples legal rights through civil unions there's a pretty broad consensus with 71% of voters in support and only 26% opposed to any sort of legal recognition. Even among Republicans there's 54% support for at least letting gay couples have civil unions.

  • 20. Bruno71  |  February 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Impressive. PPP is usually the most accurate poll on ME issues I find.

  • 21. Seth From Maryland  |  February 7, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    yep , Alaska has been getting a little more liberal and libertarian on social issues lately,

  • 22. Zack12  |  February 7, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Hopefully that will stay the case for this fall. Begich needs to stay in office.

  • 23. grod  |  February 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    British Columbia and Yukon, Alaska only neighbours have had equality for all of ten years, BC achieving equality a year before the Yukon.

  • 24. Bob  |  February 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    raise the rainbow flag in honor of LGBT's during the olympics!rainbow-flag-campaign

  • 25. Keith  |  February 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Cheers to Google for their doodle

  • 26. Seth From Maryland  |  February 7, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    a court ruling on marriage equality in Ecuador could come any day now

  • 27. Sagesse  |  February 8, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Press release from Faith in America. For those not familiar with them, they describe themselves as "working to end the harm to LGBT youth and families from misguided religious teaching".

    Christian counselors acknowledge
    harm from anti-gay religious teaching

    "Faith In America today praised the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) for acknowledging in its new 2014 Code of Ethics that religious belief can be harmful to gay and lesbian individuals and for eliminating the promotion of reparative therapy. However, the gay youth advocacy group is requesting the 50,000-member organization further clarify and revise its ethical code as it applies to counselors serving gay youth and their families."

  • 28. Rich  |  February 8, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Just sent a copy to Laurie Higgins of the IFI. Hope she reads it.

  • 29. Sagesse  |  February 8, 2014 at 7:40 am

    This has to be significant for the ongoing cases to overturn reparative therapy bans. If the Christian Counselors' own professional organization forbids the practice…. I expect many Christian counselors see no use for a professional organization, but it's still progress.

  • 30. Lymis  |  February 8, 2014 at 7:53 am

    If nothing else, it blows the claim that all religious counselors universally support the practice and that opposing it is inherently opposing religion.

  • 31. Sagesse  |  February 8, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Mark your calendar for next Wednesday.

    Plano men at center of Texas gay marriage case that opens Wednesday [Dallas Morning News]

  • 32. Rich  |  February 8, 2014 at 9:00 am

    I read this article. I never imagined that Texas is so insulated from the course of events that surround marriage equality in the rest of the country. The article is written as if it belonged to an earlier time when the movement was just getting started.

  • 33. bythesea  |  February 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Hmm… sounds like TX…

  • 34. Dr. Z  |  February 9, 2014 at 6:47 am

    [Radio announcer] This just in: nuclear disaster emperils people in seven states…[reads thru list]…Texas not among them. Well, we'll see you tomorrow!

    – Greater Tuna, by Jaston Williams and Joe Sears

  • 35. Sagesse  |  February 8, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Be careful who you sue… this from Wisconsin:

    On Politics: Two county clerks, sued over gay marriage, agree with plaintiffs

    "Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell and Milwaukee County Clerk Joe Czarnezki said Friday they support gay marriage and are exploring the legality of switching sides to join the American Civil Liberties Union’s challenge to Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban….

    "The two Democrats, whose offices handle marriage licenses in their respective counties, also said they will not use the attorney general’s office for legal representation in the lawsuit filed Monday."

  • 36. Sean from NJ  |  February 8, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Just to be clear these are the two clerks that denied the couples marriage licenses whichis why they were sued. Regardless of the clerk's personal stance on SSM, they did continue to perform their jobs by following the state law.

  • 37. Seth From Maryland  |  February 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    BREAKING: Holder to announce expanded federal benefits for same-sex couples:
    Eric Holder is due to speak at the Human Rights Campaign's gala in New York City tonight. According to multiple sources, he plans to announce an expanded package of federal benefits for same-sex couples. Holder will issue a directive on Monday officially implementing these changes.

    Holder said the new benefits will apply to gay couples who are legally married, even to those who live in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage.
    The moves are the latest in a series of actions following the US Supreme Court’s ruling in June that struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which had barred the federal government from recognizing legally valid same-sex marriages.

    As a result of the new measures announced Saturday, “our nation moves closer to its ideals of equality and fairness for all,” said Chad Griffin of Human Rights Campaign.

    Under the new directive, government lawyers will operate under the assumption that same-sex spouses should have the same rights in federal courts as opposite-sex couples, such as declining to testify against a spouse. That rule will apply in federal criminal and civil cases, Holder said, “even in states where same-sex marriages are not recognized.”

    Same-sex couples will also receive federal death benefits and educational payments given to surviving spouses of public safety officers who suffer catastrophic injuries or die in the line of duty.

    “The federal government should stand by that hero’s spouse — no matter whether that spouse is straight or gay,” Holder said.

    Same-sex spouses will also have the same visitation rights in federal prisons as straight spouses, and inmates with same-sex spouses will also be eligible for compassionate release or reductions in sentences if their loved ones are sick. Same-sex couples will also be treated the same as straight couples in federal bankruptcy cases.
    To put it mildly, this is long overdue. It's going to be mighty interesting to see the fundie reaction to this.

  • 38. davep  |  February 8, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I saw this article earlier today and I was a bit confused by this. Maybe someone here can clarify. Of course I think this is all great stuff, but my understanding was that, once DOMA section 3 was overturned in Windsor, the federal government began legally recognizing all same sex civil marriages for all federal purposes, and it recognized them as legally "equal" to other legal marriages. So if that were true, what would be the need for enumerating any specific rights? If they are recognized as "equal", that means "equal" and you shouldn't have to spell out any specifics beyond that. What am I missing?

  • 39. Chuck from PA  |  February 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    The Federal Government is a complex entity. Different departments had followed different sets of rules, some recognizing marriages based on whether the marriage was legal in the state the couple were married in, other departments based their decision on whether the marriage was legal in the state the couple resided in. It sounds like Eric Holder is pushing all Federal Government departments to follow a single rule that all marriages will be recognized in every state provided the marriage was conducted in a state that has legalized marriage equality. It's a very good step. Now we need to have Section 2 of DOMA thrown out and it would then be a virtual Marriage Equality situation across the nation.

  • 40. davep  |  February 8, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Ah, got it. That makes sense.

  • 41. peterplumber  |  February 8, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    The way that reads to me is, next time a marraige case reaches SCOTUS, they will have to rune in favor of marriage. 😀

  • 42. Stefan  |  February 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Or else they will decline to hear the cases until they get one which rules against the freedom to marry.

  • 43. grod  |  February 8, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Chuck – Last December Judge T Black applying the reasoning of Windsor (Section 3) to Ohio's refusal to recognize Obergefell's out-of-state marriage, struck down the law. He referred to it as an individual's right to remain married.… In December Shelby in Kitche vs Herbert recognized Archer and Call's Iowa marriage.… In January 2013, Judge T. Kearn in Bishop & Barton said Barton attack on Section 2 DOMA was misguided. Had they focused on Part B of OK Amendment 3 Part B, using the same arguments that Bishop had used to challenge Part A of the Amendment, they would have been successful. Section 2 has little effect except uniformity. All three cases are under appeal. Re Windsor in the first instance , it is about recognition of a marriage performed elsewhere (Canada), and recognition of valid marriages by another government – in that instance the Feds.

    These are valid marriages – does not non-recognition triggering fundamental liberty rights to be [remaining] married, no government or citizens vote can abridge. Straights marriages are recognizes, guys may or may not be depending on the state. Ohio in the sixth circuit, Utah and Oklahoma in the 10th. Of the cases currently before the courts, as aspect of 15 of these is the right to remain married, and recognized. No doubt one of these will make it to the US Supremes. Kean says DOMA distracts, the route is a focus of particular state law. Of note, 8 states have said they would recognize Utah valid marriages, as did the Feds.

  • 44. Dr. Z  |  February 9, 2014 at 6:43 am

    I'm not sure that's an option for Social Security – isn't the eligibility of a spouse for SS benefits set by law based on the state of residence at the time of application? I seem to recall that being one of the last major holdouts.

  • 45. JimT  |  February 9, 2014 at 7:00 am

    “Under existing law, the Social Security statute uses the wage earner’s “place of domicile” as the relevant state law…"

  • 46. Zack12  |  February 8, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Was talking it over with my other half about all the lawsuits and I have to say this, while we think it's a no brainer what the court will do, you can never tell.
    They have been on the wrong side of history before such as Bowers V Hardwick and even worse on slavery and Jim Crow laws.
    More to the point,2016 will be among the most important elections of our lifetime. Many of the justices aren't getting any younger and there is a good chance there will either be retirements or deaths of the older members in the next few years.
    We need a Democrat in there,otherwise you can be sure the Republican president will pick people that will have no problem having a seperate and unequal marriage system in the U.S.
    And saying Ted Cruz or Rand Paul can't get elected.. George W Bush says hi.

  • 47. Jay  |  February 8, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Exactly right. I think we can expect some reverses, almost certain in the 5th Circuit, for example, along the way to a SCOTUS decision. And so much depends on keeping a Democratic President in office. The Obama coalition must be sustained. Otherwise, the marriage equality movement will be stalled, at least for a while. Even as the popular support for marriage equality grows, a hostile President and Congress can pack the Courts with obstructionists. We need to keep in mind that had Romney won, we would have a Justice Department siding with Utah and Oklahoma and "states' rights."

  • 48. Stefan  |  February 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Thankfully Christie is now out of the running and Hilary isn't going anywhere. I'm not too worried but obviously we need to work hard.

  • 49. Mike in Baltimore  |  February 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    I can agree with the first part of your first sentence, but can you tell us where you are getting the meme that "Hillary isn't going anywhere"?

    Latest Washington Post poll shows Ms. Clinton polling at 73% among Democrats, with Joe Biden in second place at 12%, and Elizabeth Warren in third at 8% (even though she has stated several times that she is NOT running, and has endorsed Ms. Clinton). In early November 2013, PPP found that Ms. Clinton had a 67% polling among Democrats. To me, it looks like the polling is higher now than then.

    In the latest polling by Gallup of ALL voters, Ms. Clinton is viewed favorably by 64% of voters. Granted, in 2012 (while still Secretary of State) she had a favorable rating of 65%, and in 2011 her favorability rating was 66%, but most would consider that static within the margin of error.

    So again, why do you say that Ms. Clinton "isn't going anywhere". She might not win the nomination, but the polls I've seen don't indicate that yet. Are you looking at other polls to indicate she's losing support? If so, which polls are you looking at?

    And for who are you going to be working hard?

  • 50. bayareajohn  |  February 8, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I read Stefan's comment as meaning "Hillary isn't going away" given the context of this thread.

  • 51. Mike in Baltimore  |  February 8, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    And I didn't read it that way. Words matter.

    Reminds me of when my brother and I were staying at an Aunt's house when our mother was on her honeymoon after she got remarried (the first time). We were invited to stay at an Uncle's house (he lived about 10 miles distant), so we ran to our Aunt, asking "Can we? Can we?"

    Her response was "Yes you can, but NO, you may not."

    (Unbeknownst to my brother and me, our mother had left several instructions with our Aunt, one of which was that we were NOT allowed to go to anyone else's house to stay while she and our new Dad were on their honeymoon, even though two uncles lived less than 1/2 mile distant.)

    'Can' and 'may' seem similar, but their definitions can, and many times are, world's apart.

    Same with "Hilary [sic] isn't going anywhere." That can mean lots of things.

    Besides Stefan did NOT say for whom he would be working hard. Hillary? Warren (who has already stated she would not run)? Someone else?

  • 52. Stefan  |  February 9, 2014 at 2:43 am

    LOL I had a teacher in 4th grade who would always say, "well can you?", if we asked to go to the bathroom.

    Absolutely I will be supporting Hilary in 2016 and doing everything I can to make sure she's in office!

  • 53. Mike in Baltimore  |  February 9, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Seems as if every time you "asked to go to the bathroom" the teacher would always say "well can you?", you never got her point.

    Can you? Or may you?

    According to

    1. to be able to; have the ability, power, or skill to
    2. to know how to
    3. to have the power or means to
    4. to have the right or qualifications to

    2. (used to express opportunity or permission): You may enter.

  • 54. Fluffyskunk  |  February 9, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    We neurotypicals don't always use words according to their dictionary definitions. I know it can be hard to understand us sometimes because of that, but I think we would all appreciate it if you could try to make the effort instead of lecturing to us about words.

  • 55. Vin  |  February 10, 2014 at 12:04 am

    Agreed! That was unnecessary and annoying.

  • 56. KarlS  |  February 10, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Well, making an effort to use them properly would obviate the need for lecturing. Shrug.

  • 57. Frederic  |  February 10, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Well, saying "Hillary isnt going anywhere" was pretty clear. Mike could have given this poster the benefit of the doubt and spare us his usual obnoxious rants…

  • 58. Mike in Baltimore  |  February 10, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Hillary lives in New York state, some 200+ miles NNE of Washington, DC.

    By saying "Hilary [sic] isn't going anywhere" implies that Hillary Clinton is not going to be moving from New York to DC. When a candidate, in politics, is described as 'not going anywhere', it means not moving, or extremely little probability of passage. In politics, the phrase is interpreted as 'dead in the water'.

    What Stefan stated might have been "pretty clear" to him and to you, but it was NOT clear to me, and I suspect to several others. In fact, the comment was stated in a manner that means the opposite of what was intended.

    Communicating is the transmitting of information from one person to others. If, by the wording, the information is not transmitted clearly, then there is faulty communication being attempted. If another person or persons needs to ask questions and questions to understand and/or clarify the information, maybe the first person did not communicate clearly.

    Oh, and in his initial statement, did Stefan CLEARLY state for whom or what he would be working for or against? Or was that left up to the imagination? ". . . but obviously we need to work hard." For or against whom or what? For or against Hillary? For or against Ted Cruz? For or against Marriage Equality? For or against Prohibition? For or against gun control? For or against Etc.? Remember, Chris Christie is seen by many Rand Paul supporters as the major impediment to Rand Paul's ability to grab the CONservative nomination for President.

    Frederic? Where did you learn that a sentence written in English ends with more than one period?

    Fluffyskunk? Calling yourself a 'neurotypical'? Self diagnosing yourself? Don't you know that doing such is considered unethical by the medical profession? Medical diagnoses are considered valid when a disinterested outside party makes the diagnosis.

  • 59. Vin  |  February 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    You will complain about my use of word, but never mind:
    Can you be more of a jerk? Enough already.

  • 60. BryceND  |  February 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    "Where did you learn that a sentence written in English ends with more than one period? "

    LOL, seriously? Someone should get a life.

  • 61. bayareajohn  |  February 10, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    noun ˈpe-dənt

    : a person who annoys other people by correcting small errors and giving too much attention to minor details

    To be fair, Mike often has great information and insights. And occasionally he's off the rails like this.

  • 62. Zack12  |  February 8, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Indeed we would. I would also say this, as shown last fall in Virginia, elections matter.
    We have a gay friendly AG because people got out and voted in an off year.
    2010 was a Republican wave for many reasons beyond Obama care.
    One of them being that in many places, our side simply didn't show up to vote. And we'll be paying for that until 2021 in many areas.
    We can't make that mistake again this year.
    The anti-gay bills being proposed in the House won't go anywhere right now but if Republicans take control, they WILL bring these bills to the floor of the senate even though everything (besides the Federal Marriage Amendment) will be met with Obama's veto pen.
    And as we've seen with abortion and voting rights, our foes will not give up. We can't take what we've won for granted.
    Already we see them trying to pass religious freedom bills that are basically Jim Crow laws for gays and lesbians. We don't want a Supreme Court that will uphold things like that.
    Don't want to be an alarmist,just stating the facts.

  • 63. Jay  |  February 9, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Yes, our side did not show up to vote in 2010, but one reason our side did not show up in 2010 was because Obama had deeply disappointed us. Not only had he bungled DADT repeal, he refused to bring forward ENDA, and, of course, failed to evolve on marriage equality and his Justice Department was fighting our lawsuits about DADT and marriage equality in the courts. In effect, he squandered the unique opportunity he had as a result of the 2010 election. He allowed Gates to dictate DADT repeal and he attempted to placate the Republicans (and some conservative Democrats) by refusing to bring up our issues.

    Luckily, the 2010 election results were a wake-up call. Suddenly, he got the message that gay donors were not going to continue to support him if he did not at least attempt to deliver on his 2008 promises.

    The President finally realized that if DADT were not repealed during the lame-duck session it would not be repealed at all. He finally pressured Gates into supporting however lamely a vote before the completely unnecessary "study" he insisted upon was completed.

    And, crucially for the marriage equality movement, the President and Attorney General Holder reversed course and declared that the Justice Department would no longer defend DOMA.

    By 2012, Obama had fully evolved on marriage equality and during his reelection campaign he was able to tout DADT repeal as one of the brightest achievements of his Presidency.

    So, yes, we must vote, and we must also continue to apply pressure to our allies and supporters.

  • 64. JimT  |  February 10, 2014 at 7:24 am

    People should be alarmed! So many were complacent in the 2010 midterm and the consequences from that over the past few years are dire – the gerrymandering of voting districts, a step backwards on worker rights, women rights, civil rights and oh yeah, the voter suppression laws being enacted after SCOTUS struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. We can't afford to repeat what happened in 2010.

    Each of us and every Democratic PAC need to become more involved getting people out to vote in the 2014 midterm elections. We need to fight for taking back Congress, keeping the Senate and turning red states’ government chambers back to blue. Then we can focus on the 2016 elections and getting Hillary elected.

  • 65. Bill  |  February 9, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Jay- you say you see reverses pending in the Fifth Circuit. I wonder if you are speaking of the case pending this month in San Antonio, where the Judge is a Clinton-appointee who refused to let the case be combined with two others out of Austin. I haven't got a crystal ball, but I've been hopeful for this case. But perhaps you are referring to the judge in the cases in Austin, who I believe has said he'd be unlikely to rule in favor of SSM. Or maybe you are suggesting some wariness at the Fifth Circuit Appellate Level. Please elaborate.

  • 66. jay  |  February 9, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    BILL, I was thinking of the appellate level, which has been unwittingly hostile to gay rights. Barring an unambiguous and explicit ruling from Scotus that mandates equal marriage rights , the Fifth circuit will manufacture some reason to deny any equal protection claim. I also had in mind a marriage case filed in New Orleans by an attorney who appears to be incompetent.

  • 67. Zack12  |  February 9, 2014 at 12:31 am

    An article about Brian Boitano's brother
    To sum the article, despite having a gay brother and his wife having two siblings of her own that are gay,he says he is still opposed to gay marriage and sticks with the same tired line that you can give someone all the benefits of marriage without calling it that.
    He makes sure to follow it up with saying he loves his brother.
    No you don't,otherwise you wouldn't support a system that has shown to be seperate and unequal everywhere it's been tried.
    I will never understand (even though we've seen it again and again) how people can treat their own family this way,I truly can't.
    And the worst part, he says he is worried about his brother's safety but his words and actions are exactly the kind of thing that end up leading to the things that are going on in Russia.

  • 68. Straight Ally #3008  |  February 9, 2014 at 5:51 am

    It is a shame, but soon enough it will be irrelevant; regardless of the other Mr. Boitano's opinion, marriage equality is coming to all 50 states. And you and I, the folks reading this blog, are going to get to SEE that…I sure hope Schadenfreude isn't hazardous to one's health, because whoa, Nelly, the reaction of FRC, NOM, AFA, etc. is going to be glorious.

  • 69. grod  |  February 9, 2014 at 4:39 am

    Federal 'Recognition' rights extended under Equal Protection rationale :

  • 70. Rick O.  |  February 9, 2014 at 7:26 am

    About extension of federal rights to all same sex couples in all possible instances: this was and is not a slam dunk. At the time of the ruling, many legal pundits predicted "only in states with SSM". Each "right" involves a minefield of different controlling laws and regulations that need to be picked through without getting the Republican House involved. ONLY a supportive President could have gotten this far this fast. The only reason the House hasn't seriously proposed blocking legislation is because the D's have the Senate.

    About 2016, so very important to the Supreme Court's future. You'll feel more angst once the R's (probably) retake the Senate this fall, keep the "nuclear option", and prevent any judicial candidate to the left of John Roberts from being confirmed. I have noticed the presumed or stated political affiliations of the federal and state judges (many of the latter elected) who have ruled favorably on rights cases and found that Kennedy is the exception that proves the rule. R's are bad news. A "D", Hillary or otherwise, is not inevitable in 2016. All it takes is an economic or military crisis and the majority, including many of your straight friends, in many purple states will happily forget such niceties as equal rights and vote for somebody in favor of a "marriage amendment", etc.

    About 2016 –

  • 71. Zack12  |  February 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Exactly, HIllary is already being presented as the next president… just like she was in 2008.
    A LOT can happen between now and then.
    You can be sure the GOP is going to be doing the "horrors" of Obamacare and playing that edited clip of her saying what difference does it make over and over again.
    As it is, they are still trying to block judicial nominations from getting through and Reid and Leahy are too cowardly to do anything about it.
    As for people they would nominate, they would make Alito and Scalia look moderate.

  • 72. Michael  |  February 9, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    What on earth makes you think cons are going to retake the Senate this fall?!? You're the first person I've heard anywhere say that. That's not going to happen. Talk about a glass half empty type of post!

  • 73. JimT  |  February 9, 2014 at 9:11 am

    How's that "optimal child rearing" argument working out? “Despite their strong pro-family values, evangelical Christians have higher than average divorce rates – in fact, being more likely to be divorced than Americans who claim no religion, according to findings as cited by researchers from Baylor University.”

  • 74. Steve  |  February 9, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Hardly surprising. Dating is discouraged. Quite a few fundamentalist cult-like churches practice something called "courtship", which is one step short of arranged marriages. There is a tremendous pressure to marry young and marry the first person you have any connection with, because even having been love with someone will make a woman tainted. Others marry just to have sex. And the concept of sexual incompatibility is laughed at.

  • 75. bayareajohn  |  February 9, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    From family experience, I think Evangelicals are far more often forced or acquiesce to arranged marriages than the general population. And I am aware of many deep closet cases that find "salvation from their wickedness" in embracing deep-dish religion… including getting paired off for marriage, pushed along as their peers think best. These marriages are high risk for failure long-term.

  • 76. Richard Weatherwax  |  February 9, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    This may be significant: "Missouri defensive end Michael Sam told the New York Times and ESPN he is gay, and the 2014 NFL Draft prospect plans to become the first openly gay player in the NFL."

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