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Pennsylvania officials won’t oppose order allowing Montgomery County clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples

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Most county clerks in Pennsylvania have been allowed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples since the district court’s decision striking down the statutory ban in Whitewood v. Wolf this week. Only the Montgomery County Clerk has been prohibited from doing so: he was ordered by a state court judge to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and to comply with state law, back in September 2013. The clerk, Bruce Hanes, had previously decided to issue licenses to same-sex couples based on his own understanding of Constitutional law.

Since the ban has been struck down and there won’t be an appeal in the case, he has asked the state supreme court to step in and allow him to issue the licenses, like all other counties in the state.

The state has responded, filing a letter noting that they won’t oppose his request. Their non-opposition means that the lawsuit will be dropped, according to reports:

Wednesday night, Frank Custer, the Director of Communications of Montgomery County, told NBC10 that in light of the recent court ruling, Hanes would once again be allowed to issue the marriage licenses. “It is our understanding that the PA Department of Health tonight will file a “letter of no objection” with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court concerning the stay preventing Montco Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes from issuing same sex marriage licenses,” Custer said in a written release. “This should allow the Supreme Court to issue a ruling tomorrow allowing Mr. Hanes to resume issuing those licenses.” After the federal judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban on Tuesday, Hanes said he was looking forward to having the restrictions that were implemented by the lawsuit lifted.

Once the order is issued, all counties will be complying with the federal district court’s order.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings


  • 1. Guest  |  May 22, 2014 at 10:50 am

    This man put a whole lot on the line to do the right thing, and arguably he carried the ball quite a way down the field. Bravo, Mr. Hanes. You are a shining example of a principled ally to the LGBTI – my – community. Thank you

  • 2. Rose  |  May 23, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Has there been ANY update on his ability to issue marriage licenses yet?

  • 3. Seth from Maryland  |  May 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

    i'm no fan of that governor but i got give him a little respect for coming to the right decision on this issue

  • 4. KarlS  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Goes for the Montana gov as well.

  • 5. Dr. Z  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:10 am

    What's this I hear about NOM trying to intervene in the Pennsylvania case? Did they miss the Hollingsworth decision?

  • 6. Bruno71  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:11 am

    They're "considering" it. That they think they could actually intervene in a case that's already been heard and decided is beyond me. I think it's just to make it look like they're not sitting on their asses, which they are. They obviously didn't expect Corbett to not appeal.

  • 7. sfbob  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:19 am

    If their counsel tells them they should do it, they should fire their counsel. The time to request intervention is long past. Not just "untimely" as in their last-minute attempt to muscle in in the Oregon case, but "all gone." I don't recall now whether Pennsylvania's statutory marriage equality ban was simply enacted legislatively or whether it was the result of a ballot measure. I think it was the former. But even if it had been the result of the latter, NOM didn't exist in 1996 when the ban was instituted so they would have no conceivable basis for asserting any sort of standing. And as I was reminded yesterday, nobody who wasn't previously involved in a case can petition to intervene on appeal.

  • 8. Corey from Seattle  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:26 am

    "Your Honor, the NOM requests intervenor status to appeal on the grounds of booga booga scary gays apocalypse religious freedom booga booga scary scary think of the children."

  • 9. Rose  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Now, that's funny:-)

  • 10. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:44 am

    They obviously don't have standing to appeal themselves, due to Hollingsworth. Their blog post yesterday seemed to indicate they might be looking for someone with standing to appeal the decision. Perhaps an "anonymous" or "ghost" county clerk?

  • 11. Bruno71  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I was wondering about this. If a county clerk from a conservative PA county decided not to issue licenses, could we see a new case? I don't think there's any possibility of an outright appeal of this case, but perhaps new litigation.

  • 12. sfbob  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    It would be a separate case and probably would turn on how state law. I don't think any federal law permits a public employee to refuse service to a member of the public based on a religious objection.

  • 13. Bruno71  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I guess the idea is the clerk would refuse to grant licenses to same-sex couples and then be somehow "punished" by being demoted, suspended or fired. Then he could try to challenge the validity of Jones' ruling in some way, in federal court. It's what I thought they might do in California, though circumstances were a bit different, and a challenge in federal court never materialized.

  • 14. Rik  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I think it would be like the Bruce Hanes case, where a court would order him to comply with the law and say that he doesn't get to change the law based on his beliefs. They seem similar to me, but from opposite sides

  • 15. Matt  |  May 22, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I think that would be government discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. The county would have a legal responsibility to stop the discrimination, unless they thought it could withstand rational basis scrutiny, or more likely heightened scrutiny given the Pennsylvania ruling.

    IANAL, but I can't imagine the county clerk's discrimination being constitutional, since the state's marriage discrimination statute was just overturned on grounds of due process and equal protection. Same-sex couples could sue, I would think, and get a summary judgment in their favor. NOM might try to intervene to create the appearance of relevance, but I'm sure they wouldn't get far.

  • 16. Dr. Z  |  May 22, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    In the end, I think Hollingsworth may end up being almost as important as Windsor. As those dominoes keep falling, the bigots backing these initiatives are increasingly being shut out. I suppose that will be one of the legacies of the gay rights movement, that it will be much more difficult in future to use the initiative system as a cudgel against minorities.

  • 17. Bruno71  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Seriously. Can I intervene now in Bowers vs. Hardwick? I'm sure I was hurt by that decision and have "standing."

  • 18. StraightDave  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Well, I obviously wasn't legally injured by Bowers, but I sure as hell was mightily annoyed. It might have even raised my blood pressure to dangerous levels. Surely, that is enough to have standing, eh?

    (I still can't get images of Brian B out of my head)

  • 19. BillinNO  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I want to intervene in Marbury v Madison. I think Marbury deserves a chance to be a Justice of the Peace. He's waited even longer than Sevcik.

  • 20. Kevin  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Hahaha, I like this one the best.

  • 21. BillinNO  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    (I was born in D.C.- surely I've got standing)

  • 22. Dr. Z  |  May 22, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Agreed, and if I may be permitted a tiny criticism of Judge McShane in Oregon, he should not have been discussing the merits of intervention with John Eastman when timeliness is a gating consideration in the federal courts. I think of all the rulings striking down DOMA laws, McShane's was one of the most timid. Understandable perhaps given the unique difficulties of being one of the only openly gay federal judges and having this case land in his lap, but still – one wishes he would have given Eastman a firm and unceremonial bum's rush into the street (particularly after NOM's extremely inappropriate accusation of collusion between the plaintiffs and the Oregon AG.)

    Still. I'm grateful for the win.

  • 23. SeattleRobin  |  May 22, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    I agree, but one thing I've learned from reading decisions is that judges like to be thorough and cover all points, evev if a threshold matter precludes the rest. And I can understand that. It's a CYA thing, so that if you get overturned on the threshold matter, you've got backup reasons for why it's still a no-go.

    Plus, he did really slap Eastman down in that part about collusion. I don't know what his actual tone of voice was, but in the transcript it came across as cold and hard, accompanied by a stern "you're pushing me, boy" stare.

  • 24. michael  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    They have 6-figure salaries to pay so they have to do something to fire up the deceived who send them money.

  • 25. Arlen  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:37 am

    does anyone know how this latest court order effects the status of those licenses issued in Montgomery County last fall?

  • 26. sae  |  May 29, 2014 at 7:56 am

    The answer depends of who is asked.

    I pasted two links to recent articles below

    John Maus – a spokesman for Corbett says: "all of those couples should obtain new marriage licenses"

    Montco's Solicitor Josh Stein:
    “As far as we are concerned, the issue is settled as a result of the Jones decision,” said First Deputy County Solicitor Josh Stein, adding that the solicitor’s office has been in contact with its state counterparts to negotiate a stipulation to settle the matter.

    Which says to me that the licenses are valid only in Montco – not in PA and not federally.

  • 27. Richard L  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Seems the catholic church is thinking about appealing too.

  • 28. Lee  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:54 am

    There's supposed to be a separation of church and state in this country so I'm wondering on what grounds they would file an appeal.

  • 29. Bruno71  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:57 am

    That article was from May 20th, before Corbett dropped the appeal. That's the appeal I assume they were looking forward to.

  • 30. Eric  |  May 22, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I don't understand the title of the article. All of God's laws were created undemocratically, they were issued unilaterally. It seems hypocritical that an organization founded upon undemocratic laws would raise a democracy concern.

  • 31. sfbob  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    If they weren't a party to the case then how could they possibly have any right to intervene?

  • 32. StraightDave  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    They must be reading the NOM site. Birds of a feather and all that….
    Don't churches have anything better to do these days? Aren't there enough ills in the world that need some attention? Aren't there some fatherless AND motherless children out there just dying to be adopted by a loving lesbian couple? Throw some shoulder into that one, why don't you, and stop wasting everybody else's oxygen.

    They're still chasing this shit? Do they not even listen to their own Pope anymore, who told them to let it go? Some of them have well and truly lost their way!

  • 33. grod  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    In Nov 2012, Archbishop Sal Cordileone of San Francisco in part said: "No matter what policy, law or judicial decision is put into place, marriage is the only institution that unites a man and a woman to each other and to any children born of their union. It is either this, or it is nothing at all." In response to Judge Jones' ruling, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference of Bishops said ….The redefinition of marriage enshrines in law a denial of the rights of children to a mother and a father united in marriage. Why would an organization which portrays itself as worthy of trust so consistently misrepresent facts and not expect their credibility of matters of public policy would suffer? IMO, the failure to adapt or change their message on civil marriage equality portends a time when that church has no influence in the public sphere.

  • 34. skrekk  |  May 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    >>>The legislative arm of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania…..<<<

    Everyone should be frightened that any church has a "legislative arm".

  • 35. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Today's docket entry in Palladino:

  • 36. Rose  |  May 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    What does this mean? Can the County Clerk of Montgomery start issuing licenses now?

  • 37. Bruno71  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Looks like they're requesting a response from the state before they address the motion to dismiss the case as moot.

  • 38. Kevin  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    This is an order from the other Pennsylvania lawsuit which was mooted by Judge Jones ruling on Tuesday because of its statewide applicability. The judge is just asking the plaintiffs if there is any injury particular to them that requires relief above and beyond striking same statutes that were addressed in the previous case.

  • 39. M.-  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Hi Ragavendran. It's me again.. I don't know if you remember me but we've discussed some previous stuff here and, in fact, your posts ands comments have ALWAYS been absolutely useful for me. Sorry for bothering you -or others- again, but as you may remember I live in Europe and don't have much idea about American law.
    I'd please like to know when will the 9th Circuit inform wether they'll grant rehearing en banc or not.
    Secondly: how much time does the losing party have in the US to appeal a negative ruling before that ruling becomes final? (I'm really looking forward to have the Oregon and PA rulings 100% safe and sound). Does the timetable vary from Circuit to Circuit or is it the same in all Federal courts? ..Thank u so so much!!

  • 40. M.-  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Sorry, I forgot to say that when I wrote "rehearing en banc" I was refering to the SmithKline case and the level of scrutiny decided there.

  • 41. Pat  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Regarding your first question, I think the deadline for the 9th circuit to decide on the possible rehearing of SmithKline is the "end of this week". Whether that means tomorrow or Sunday, I'm not sure (yesterday, another commenter was even mentioning that the deadline was today).
    Good to have a fellow European here. I've also been learning quite a bit on the US legal system.

  • 42. M.-  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks very much, Pat!! I needed that info to calm down a lil' haha!
    We're having the European elections… hope we can get some more pro-equality parlamentarias here too!!

  • 43. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    No problem – thank you! Assuming no judges have asked the so-called "en banc coordinator" for extensions of time to make up their mind, the voting period ends today. Some judges may want to record their dissents in the official order – I'm not sure if they can take extra time to do that. So we should know by tomorrow or early next week in all likelihood. The answer to your second question (for OR and PA cases) is 30 days unless the district court or a higher court grants an extension of time. It is the same for all federal cases, unless the US (government, agency, official) is a party in which case it is 60 days.

  • 44. M.-  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Hi again, and thanks very very much! I think I'll be kind of anxious these 25-26 raimaining days until PA and OR have a defnitive ruling haha!
    Here at home we've started with the EU elections, I hope we all choose pro-equality legislators!

  • 45. brandall  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    6th Circuit Court of Appeals sets August 6th date for oral arguments in Michigan gay marriage case

  • 46. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Doesn't show up on PACER yet, so I wonder how they learned it. But good news anyways! I would expect the Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky cases to be calendared during the same July 28 – August 8 session.

  • 47. Ryan K.  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Remind me again, are any of the other "full" (i.e. Right to marry, not just death or birth certificate, more narrow cases) marriage equality appeals in the 6th Circuit already scheduled for oral arguments? Curious if this will be the one that basically be the ruling for the 6th.

  • 48. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Nope. Michigan's the only "full" case there.

  • 49. brandall  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Today is BORING considering the events of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday! If anyone else is looking for some interesting ME articles to read, the most interesting one I found today was:

    5 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Winning [Washington Post]….very interesting recap of what went wrong for the other side. I especially agree with #3 which was the "over reach" that was a take no prisoners, no negotiations, no compromise policy all the way up to wanting to change the U.S. Constitution. It backfired on them.

  • 50. davep  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Yeah, but ya know it really says a lot when a day is boring because none of the states have overturned a marriage ban today : )

  • 51. Pat  |  May 23, 2014 at 6:05 am

    And what about today? Today is Friday and usually most exciting things happen on Fridays! Come on, a little ruling from the 10th or the 4th would be a fabulous way of ending the week!

  • 52. sfbob  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    I especially like this quote from Jonathan Rauch (he's on our side):

    “They showed no compassion for gay people, they didn’t offer any substitutes like protecting gay families or gay kids,” Rauch said. “That lack of compassion came through. It took a little while to register, but the American public does not like lack of compassion.”

  • 53. JayJonson  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Rauch is a homocon who, along with David Blankenhorn, tried to "trade" marriage for a federal civil unions law. I.e., if we would give up the demand for marriage, he and Blankenhorn would promise to campaign for a federal civil unions law. Fat chance.

  • 54. sfbob  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    That might make it even better in a way. Basically he just admitted he was wrong because the people who he thought were behind him really weren't.

  • 55. Dr. Z  |  May 22, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    In all the histories that analyze the success of our movement -why we've come so far so fast, certain things are consistently being overlooked.

    1. It hasn't been so fast. It's been 45 years since Stonewall, and our movement predates Stonewall. If the darkest era is measured from Joe McCarthy and the blacklists and officially sponsored purges of the early 1950s, about the same length of time has passed (six decades) as between Plessy v Ferguson (1896) and Brown v Board of Education (1954).

    2. There are these little things called the Internet and Facebook that emerged around the same time as the campaign for marriage equality. They neutralized our weaknesses (invisibility, vulnerability to threats and homophobic violence) and amplified our strengths (having the better argument, and – I think – gay people tend to be opinion leaders.) Social networking in particular helped us to reach out and tell our stories. The impact of the Internet and social networking has been hugely beneficial. Just look at this site, for instance!

  • 56. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Hear hear! In terms of jurisprudence, recall that One, Inc. v. Olesen dates back to the 50's!

  • 57. Dr. Z  |  May 22, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Go to law school, Ragavendran. India needs you.

  • 58. JayJonson  |  May 23, 2014 at 6:17 am

    Yes, Ragavendran, thanks for remembering the ONE case. That was essential to making possible the emerging homophile movement. Without that ruling, we could not have developed a gay press. Prior to that SCOTUS decision, the mere discussion of homosexuality and gay people was considered by the Post Office to be obscene.

  • 59. Ryan K.  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Someone has a website or spreadsheet of the current status of cases in each circuit? I can't keep it all in my head!

  • 60. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Pat's Spreadsheet:

    My Calendar (federal only):

  • 61. Mr. E  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Add South Dakota to the list! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • 62. davep  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    …. so now, only one final domino has not yet begun to wobble. Come on, North Dakota!

  • 63. Dr. Z  |  May 22, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    All six gay couples in the state are about to sue.

  • 64. Ryan K.  |  May 23, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Really class action if each and every gay couple in ND, all six, sue together!

  • 65. Rose  |  May 23, 2014 at 7:51 am

    There are probably more than 6 Gay and Lesbian couples who live in North Dakota!!!

    Just saying folks!

  • 66. Valquiria  |  May 23, 2014 at 8:03 am

    In 2010 there were 559 same-sex couple households in North Dakota, according to a study by the Williams Institute.

  • 67. Dr. Z  |  May 23, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Okay, so I was off by 553.

    (And yes, it was intended as a joke.)

  • 68. Ryan K.  |  May 23, 2014 at 8:03 am

    I was just playing off what I suspected to be Dr. Z's sarcasm.

  • 69. jpmassar  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Suppose the unthinkable happens, and the US Supreme Court ultimately says same-sex marriage bans are not unconstitutional.

    What happens in states like PA and OR, which don't have outstanding challenges, as opposed to states like TX or NV, which do have outstanding court cases? Will same-sex marriage continue to be constitutionally necessary in PA or will it revert to being illegal via the PA constitution? (Not to even get into the question of what happens to all the marriages on Utah, Arkansas, PA and OR)

  • 70. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Good question. I'm not a lawyer and so I'm not sure, but my guess is that it won't disturb all the existing bans that have been struck down without appeal. But it opens the door for new bans to be legislated or be put to voters. Depending on the scope of such an adverse ruling, it could bind the lower courts with open cases to rule adversely as well. (By the way, the PA constitution did not have a ban, the one struck down was a statute, I believe. So for PA, if the ban is re-legislated, it could be struck down by a state court case as being violative of the PA constitution.) And the marriages that have already happened, since they were legal at the time, would probably be upheld, see Judge Kimball's recent decision regarding Utah's marriages. That's another case that could make it to SCOTUS.

  • 71. Mike in Baltimore  |  May 22, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    I think the legality of those marriages in PA would be a moot case. In Indiana, in the mid-1950s, establishment of 'common-law' marriages in the state was banned, but those already formed in accordance with the law were undisturbed.

    Later, at my second step-father's funeral, I met several couples who had created a 'common-law' marriage in PA before that state banned the new creation of such marriages. Both PA and IN recognized the marriages, even though both states no longer allow no new such marriages to be created.

    Based on that (admittedly small) sample size, I'd say there is a much greater probability of the marriages being 'safe' than not being 'safe'.

  • 72. Kevin  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    If the Supreme Court decision came from an unconsolidated case from a single circuit, it will reverse and remand the case to the circuit which will then order any district court injunctions to be lifted (or modified depending on the scope of the SCOTUS opinion). If states like PA or OR are outside of this circuit, then some entity with standing would have to intervene in the original action or file an action against the district court to have the injunctions lifted and declaratory judgments vacated. Any open cases would be decided based on the unfortunate hypothetical Supreme Court opinion.

  • 73. Dr. Z  |  May 22, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Someone would have to bring suit against couples in those states (who could show particularized harm?) or else the state would have to decide they were no longer going to recognize marriages that had been considered valid. There would be a considerable legal mess to clean up. I can't speak for other states but it is unimaginable that Oregon wouldn't continue to recognize these marriages, particularly since the Oregon SC invalidated 3000 same-sex marriages in 2005 in Li and Kennedy vs Oregon (a decision which is now clear was wrongly decided.)

  • 74. Rich  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I find the following actually kind of interesting.The NOM facebook page has gone haywire today with screaming headlines that Mike Huchabee will be the featured speaker at their June 19 march on Washington. Okay, that's humorous enough but the whole NOM facebook page is nothing but screaming headlines with no allowance for comments. I know they have been hammered of late with a ton of blow-back on their posts, especially this week. Anyone else find their newest move interesting?

  • 75. Quest  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    No, not really. Mike Huchabee, a Christian-Republican-zealot, will earn lots of money whipping up hate into the uncritical minds of more Christian-Republican-zealots. This isn't new. These same nasty Christian zealots feel entitled to snatch away abortion rights too. I think it's fascinating that they sincerely believe they can take away what ever they don't like from adults. Christianity has proven itself to be a vehicle for the worst expressions of human nature, and the Mike Fuckabee speech will be an acid spitting bonanza.

    Thankfully the federal court system has insulated our marriage rights from these worthless bigots.

  • 76. Christian  |  May 23, 2014 at 1:21 am

    This revanchist shtick ("Christianity has proven itself to be a vehicle for the worst expressions of human nature…") is repugnant to common decency and getting old. It is just as bad as the stereotyping of gays and lesbians as sexual deviants.

    Many denominations have been part of some of the best of human nature (Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. And Archnishop Desmond Tutu being counted in these), and while I would not hesitate to also vigorously attack the corrupt and evil doctrine of the Southern Baptists and other religious conservatives no person (atheistic or religious), it is wrong that one
    should lump a belief system or large set of believers with those who commit to spreading poisonous theology against gays and lesbians.

    What a handful of people on this site (other politically liberal sites tend to be far more enlightened on this point) don't get here is stereotyping Christians (or Muslims, or Buddhists etc) is just as bad as the lies NOM spreads. And simply not criminalizing religious conduct and considering yourself tolerant because you might be adamantly opposed to religion and religious individuals is misguided as Scalia was when he sided with the state of Colorado in Romer when he said "we may not criminalize such conduct, but we certainly won't encourage it". And when you share a common thought process with Scalia, that should be a red flag.

    And as I've said, twice now, just because someone calls themselves Christian certainly does not beget a true faith in the teachings of Christ. That is obvious throughout scripture whether you believe in Christianity or not, even Christ warns that false followers will be obvious by their actions. And before someone scrambles to scream "false scotsman!", followers of Christ are quite literally defined by their commitment to love others as Christ taught in Scripture (Matt 7).

    Christians have often been allies of the LGBT civil rights movement! some have needed time and repentance. Even some atheists and people of other faiths have needed to acclimate to becoming comfortable with gays and lesbians being part of society.

    Let's leave the vitriol to the religious-right and welcome all allies of civil rights, regardless of their background,

    My goal here is not to touch nerves or put myself or any other Christian above criticism, because it's only through such critism that the Church evolves. I just want to encourage understanding and if I went about that wrong, I'd ask you forgive me.

  • 77. Dr. Z  |  May 23, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Your point is well taken. (And bonus points for your correct usage of the word "revanchist.")

  • 78. Lee  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Virtual Marches, uh huh. That’s an easy one to make look really bigger than it is. Of course Mike Huckabee is proud to be associated with NOM. I figure NOM has to pay ole Huck a hefty speakers fee and some expenses to boot. They’re both milking this for all the money they can get before the well runs dry with nothing more than a small trickle.

    “First, please help us promote the March for Marriage either as a marcher, or by joining in our Virtual March … Second, …please consider making a generous, fully tax-deductible donation in support of our efforts. Your gift today will be used to help us reach thousands more Americans willing to stand up in defense of marriage… Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will be a featured speaker at the 2nd Annual March for Marriage on June 19th. He has called the National Organization for Marriage "wonderful" and been "very proud to be associated with them [NOM]."

  • 79. Bruno71  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    TBH I wonder why Huckabee hasn't done MORE with NOM. He's always been one of the most outspokenly anti-gay politicians out there, esp. when it comes to marriage. Why has it taken so long for these two rabidly homophobic powerhouses to link hands and conquer the world?

  • 80. ebohlman  |  May 22, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    NOM's leadership is hard-right Catholic whereas Huckabee and his followers are hardline evangelical Protestants. Neither group really trusts the other enough to actually work together as opposed to merely issuing joint press releases or the like

  • 81. davep  |  May 22, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    I'm picturing Brian Brown and Huckabee approaching the same podium, then beginning to hiss at each other, slowly circling….

  • 82. Bruno71  |  May 22, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Eventually they'll acclimate to each other and share weight loss tips. Which work for them about as well as their "saving traditional marriage" tips.

  • 83. Dr. Z  |  May 22, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    One can only hope that they will soon be Virtually Raptured into their own Virtual Heaven and leave the rest of us alone in the bricks and mortar world.

  • 84. GaryGDW  |  May 22, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    I'll just jump in here for a second to say that I appreciate the commenter (lee) and his understated wit. Thanks.

  • 85. Neto  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    why everyone thinks we are going to lose at the Fifth Circuit and not at the Sixth Circuit since both have the same amount of judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans (5×10)

  • 86. JayJonson  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    The Sixth Circuit has not generally been as extreme as the Fifth Circuit, regardless of their composition of appointees. The Fifth Circuit comes very close to being an independent fiefdom or even a rogue court. They have zero interest in justice and, with a few exceptions, are owned by the oil and gas industry. The quality of the writing of their decisions and of their legal analyses is deplorable.

  • 87. Quest  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    While I don't question your understanding of these courts, I can't imagine what argument a court could write to uphold such a ban. Every argument created by the American Christian industry about marriage has been eviscerated in every court of law. An opinion to uphold such a ban would be ridiculous and a lie. There is no way a federal court can uphold a ban. That is my world view.

  • 88. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    You may be right, and for this same reason I am looking forward to what crap the dissenting judges (if any) in Kitchen and Bostic come up with. And those dissents will provide plenty of fodder for any such rouge courts to deviate from the pack.

  • 89. Bruno71  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Exactly. And they'll likely look to previous adverse decisions (and overlook Windsor), such as Bruning, the Supreme Courts of NY, MD, WA, and district courts of HI and NV for fodder.

  • 90. Mike in Baltimore  |  May 22, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Actually, there is no Supreme Court in MD. It is called the Court of Special Appeals.

    And that court set the stage for ME in MD, by telling a lower court that a couple legally married in another state could go through divorce proceedings in MD, even though MD did not yet have ME. (It also upset the plans of the state GOTP to try to impeach and convict the state's AG, who had previously sent out an opinion that MD law and the state's constitution did NOT prohibit out of state marriages of any kind from being recognized in MD.)

  • 91. StraightDave  |  May 22, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Or they could take N. Randy Smith's approach (9th, Perry) and waste 6 pages rambling about Baker.

  • 92. Dr. Z  |  May 22, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Which is exactly what I think they will do. Maybe with some optimal parenting and responsible procreating thrown into the mix.

  • 93. StraightDave  |  May 22, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Baker really is their only rational option. Quite obsolete, but nevertheless rational. At least it won't get you laughed out of court as a moron like the rest of their crap will. That's it, that's their very best shot. LOL

    Or, when all else fails, try rouge. Worked for Sarah Palin

  • 94. Dr. Z  |  May 22, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I like rouge court better than rogue court, somehow.

  • 95. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    He he… Good catch!

  • 96. Mike in Baltimore  |  May 23, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Not sure if I like either. 'Rouge', in French, means red. I don't think the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals would appreciate being compared to the Soviets and Communists (the traditional meaning of 'red').

    And try as they might, CONservatives are just not very convincing in trying to equate Liberals and Socialists as Communists.

  • 97. Christian  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Hey what's the status of SB 1772 (pickup v. brown)? Did SCOTUS deny certain? Couldn't find 'Pickup' on the docket site

  • 98. Christian  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm


  • 99. Christian  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Goddangit, this site could really use a 'edit' option

    **SB 1172

  • 100. sfbob  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Ah but there IS an edit option. You can edit your posts as long as nobody's responded to them.

  • 101. Bruno71  |  May 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Only thru intensedebate.

  • 102. sfbob  |  May 22, 2014 at 5:51 pm


  • 103. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Thank you! Pickup is a preliminary injunction case that has been appealed to the Supreme Court. Here's the docket report, which shows that they've asked for and obtained two extensions to file briefs. I seriously doubt SCOTUS will grant cert.

  • 104. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    More BS from Utah Governor:

    Herbert [said] people choose their sexual orientation.

    "What you choose to do with your sexual orientation is different than what you’re born with as your race," Herbert said.

    When pressed on the issue, Herbert backed from that assertion, saying he didn’t know if people are born gay.

    "I think it’s unclear. I expect there may be different gradations," he said. "Clearly the actions involved in sexual activity ultimately end up being choices. What your attraction may be is something else, but how you act upon those impulses is a choice. But that’s not for me to make that decision."

  • 105. Matt N  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    There are different gradations with race too.

    I guess Herbert would think it OK to require non-whites to paint their face white every day. Since it's a "choice" to go out in public with you natural skin pigment visible.

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

    I worked with a person of Italian descent several decades ago. (And no, he had NO connections to the Mafia.)

    Before Maryland eliminated segregation, my friend would go to the beach (Ocean City, MD) during the summer and get darkly tanned. When he and his family went to their regular restaurants (his father was an attorney and fairly rich) upon his return to Montgomery County at the end of summer, he was almost always denied entry to those restaurants (the Maitre d' would almost always tell his father some of the diners complained, or would complain). Almost every year, my friend would have to wait for the tan to completely fade before he could go into most establishments.

  • 107. StraightDave  |  May 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    He's obviously never met Michael Jackson.

  • 108. Dr. Z  |  May 22, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Billie Jean's not *my* son, that's for fucksure.

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