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Third Circuit Court of Appeals denies PA clerk’s motion to intervene in same-sex marriage case

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UPDATE Friday, July 4 at 11:40PM ET: The county clerk has filed a request in the Supreme Court for a stay pending appeal. The request was filed initially with the Circuit Justice for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals; that’s Justice Alito. He may refer it to the full Court, and they may ask for a response before making a decision.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Schuylkill County’s Clerk of the Orphan’s Court Theresa Santai-Gaffney’s request to intervene in the challenge to Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban.

The appeal has been dismissed in summary fashion, without argument, “[f]or essentially the reasons set forth in the Opinion of the District Court” which had said, among other things, that the clerk’s role is ministerial: she has to follow the law in administering marriage licenses, and can’t make independent judgments about laws.

The clerk has two weeks to ask for rehearing but it seems unlikely to be granted, if she were to take that route.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin and Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. Japrisot  |  July 3, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Excellent news!

  • 2. brandall  |  July 3, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Oh heavens, the PA case seems like 5 years ago already!

  • 3. Bruno71  |  July 3, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Total awesome.

  • 4. Roulette00  |  July 3, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Cue the inevitable appeal to the Supreme Court in 3… 2…

  • 5. Japrisot  |  July 3, 2014 at 10:06 am

    I always know a petition for cert is coming when Brian Brown goes apoplectic and starts 'condemning' every jurist in America.

  • 6. brandall  |  July 5, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Roulette00 wins 1st place for having the earliest prediction on this site that the PA clerk would appeal to SCOTUS. Please predict the next case that will be appealed.

  • 7. StraightDave  |  July 5, 2014 at 10:38 am

    That's easy…. all of them, in order of them being ruled in our favor 🙂

  • 8. Jen_in_MI  |  July 3, 2014 at 10:04 am

    I expect this clerk to do anything and everything to cause more delays. These folks need a new hobby horse. The one they're riding is irreparably broken.

  • 9. DACiowan  |  July 3, 2014 at 10:11 am

    I'm starting to hear Yackety Sax in my head each time some opponent tries one of these pointless appeals.

  • 10. DocZenobia  |  July 3, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Now you've done it. I'll have that tune running in my head all weekend.

  • 11. Randolph_Finder  |  July 3, 2014 at 10:31 am

    and buy the Hobby Horse at Hobby Lobby…

  • 12. KarlS  |  July 3, 2014 at 10:45 am

    No kidding, it will have been made in China, wholesaled for $2 and will collapse and cause fractures or hemorrhoids or something…

  • 13. brandall  |  July 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm


    wait for it….

    wait for it…

    the Hobby Lobby hobby horse cannot be on contraceptives.

  • 14. Mistahtom  |  July 6, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    I think we all know where the loser NOM bandwagon money is going: Anti-choice campaigns

  • 15. Zack12  |  July 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

    This clerk is a bigot and with ADF and NOM supporting her, expect to see her use everything and anything to try and get standing.
    It won't work IMO but she'll certainly try.

  • 16. SeattleRobin  |  July 3, 2014 at 10:26 am

    What's that I hear? Why, I think it's tiny violins playing for all the poor downtrodden entervenor wannabes.

  • 17. KarlS  |  July 3, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Here ya go

  • 18. Retired_Lawyer  |  July 3, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks; that is really great!

  • 19. montezuma58  |  July 3, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I was thinking more along the lines if this:

  • 20. KarlS  |  July 4, 2014 at 4:56 am

    I think I recognize Buscemi but not the line…gimme me a hint? :-[

  • 21. DocZenobia  |  July 4, 2014 at 8:14 am

    "No, Donny. These people are cowards."

  • 22. KarlS  |  July 4, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Oh, okay, I googled it and found the movie but I never did see it. (I rarely watch them…now and then on TV but haven't been to a movie theater in 30 years)

  • 23. KarlS  |  July 3, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I swear some of these knuckledraggers are just like the "Black Knight" in the Monty Python movie…no arms, no legs but still wanting to do battle. Sheesh.

  • 24. Bruno71  |  July 3, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Just a flesh wound.

  • 25. jjcpelayojr  |  July 3, 2014 at 11:26 am

    let's call it a draw…

  • 26. DocZenobia  |  July 3, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Oh, running away, eh?

  • 27. Mike_Baltimore  |  July 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

    The closer we get to final victory, expect the bigots to get more unpredictable, more shrill, more violent, more frantic, etc.

    The clerk in PA seems to be part of the pattern described above.

  • 28. brandall  |  July 3, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Part 1 of 3
    I'm reviewing yesterday's oral arguments in Florida and it piqued my interest into what is going with this case. Especially because Florida is the first place I remember "homosexuals" being vilified, ripped apart and a slew of other horrible, fale statements. It was still discomforting to feel "I was who they were aiming at." I shall enjoy following this case just a tad bit more out of a sense of what goes around, comes around. While we would all hope those types of folks (with ringleader Anita Bryant) are long gone, the filings by the groups seeking to intervene proves they are still there.

    I'm still trying to find one location with all the case briefs. They are spread out across the net according to who filed what. Reminder, this is a Florida State Court action (8th District) aimed specifically at Miami-Dade county with the implications a favorable ruling would apply to the entire state. There are also two additional Florida state court lawsuit also using Federal Claim. But, again I am honing in on this one because it is Miami-Dade.

  • 29. brandall  |  July 3, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Part 2 of 3
    The case was file by Florida Equality and the National Center for Lesbian Rights Jan 21, 2014. Pareto v. Ruvin where Ruvin is the Miami-Dada County Clerk. Case # is NO.2014-1661-CA-01 – “Admendment 2 Violates Due Process and Equal Protection"

    Three parties file a Motion to Intervene because they supported the gathering of signatures and getting out the vote in favor of Amendment 2 filed February, 2014. The group is composed of Florida Family Action and Liberty Counsel, Florida Democratic League (a Hispanic group which is currently facing fire from the Florida Democratic Party over its name) and People United to Struggle for Equality. – “We have to protect Florida voters because no one else will"

    County Clerk Ruvin’s Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Plaintiff’s Complaint filed February 11, 2014 – “You got the wrong guy"

    Plaintiffs' Reply to Defendant's Answer and Affirmative Defenses (Attachments A) filed March 3, 2014 – "Clerk is the proper defendant"

    County Clerk modifies the motion to abate and requests a temporary stay on May 6th, 2014. I cannot find this filing. I would like to know their final position in this case.

    The Attorney General, Pam Bondi waited until June 24th to intervene since the county clerk withdrew their opposition to summary judgment – "This case involves a challenge to certain of the State’s statutory and constitutional provisions, so the State has an interest in the lawsuit."

    Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment Oral Arguments was July 2, 2014. I live blogged the hearing yesterday, but I was not aware of the live feed until almost 90 minutes in the hearing. I cannot find an archive of the video, but I did find a Live Blog by Billy Manes of the Orlando Weekly.

  • 30. brandall  |  July 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Part 3 or 3

    Attorney General Pam Bondi
    AG Bondi raises the usual "State has a legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units." Bondi has beeen married three times.

    Unlike many of the other state AG's trying to defend their bans, Bondi has been subject to a very public, loud discourse over her statement that ME would “impose significant public harm.” We've heard this one before many times. But, the statement was placed at the very end of the briefing and stood out like a shore thumb. I receive RSS feeds of anything covering ME and the sheer number of Florida newspapers condemming this statement were clearly much high when compared to articles about AG's in other states. From a legal perspective, the statement was probably in the correct place. But, the media jumped on it, again due to where it was placed in the briefing.

    Brief excerpts from the Intervenors who were denied intervention

    "…because of this natural aspect of a female-male union that, historically, consummation required sexual intercourse and not simply any sexual act between the coup−le the idea was to join the parts that, together, have the potential to embody a whole. …. The ‘law reflected the rational judgment that unions consummated by coitus were valuable in themselves, and different in kind from other bonds.’ ‘[T]wo men, two women, and larger groups cannot achieve organic bodily union: there is no bodily good or function toward which their bodies can coordinate,’ like procreation.”

    "…the voters of Florida acted to not only preserve and protect the social goods of marriage, e.g. stability, permanency, fidelity, sexual equality and the continuation of society, but also to promote health, safety and welfare. Social science, medical science, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and even homosexual rights activists have established that there are inherent harms associated with same-sex unions, harms that would be financially and socially costly to the entire state. As psychologist David Pickup testifies, men having sex with men (MSM) comprise 48% of all individuals with HIV/AIDS in the United States, but make up only an estimated 2-4% of men in the population

    "..For example, homosexual males are at exponentially higher risk of developing a variety of sexually transmitted diseases, and have increased risks of developing various cancers and medical conditions."

    There are additional court filings not included in the above list here.

  • 31. Japrisot  |  July 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    This is all fantastic reporting. Thank you.

  • 32. Bruno71  |  July 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    The procreation argument seems to not be working–anywhere–for the bigots. Perhaps they should just make a truthful argument and basically say "we think gay people are disgusting and sinful and we have the right to make our government not recognize their right to exist."

  • 33. davepCA  |  July 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    …. so, once again, we see in the two excerpts above that their "arguments" range from 'here's why we think gays are not as important as straights" to "here's why we think gays are awful".

    But opinions about the PEOPLE affected by this denial of equal protection are not the issue. The issue is the LAW that is denying this equal protection, and whether this law is harmful or harmless, and necessary or unnecessary.

    It does not matter what they think about gays. They need to answer questions like: "What states interest is advanced by this denial of equal legal treatment?" Describing their views about gays simply doesn't do anything to construct a valid argument. They are entitled to hold personal prejudices, if that's the kind of people they want to be. But the law cannot.

    "The Constitution cannot control such prejudices but neither can it tolerate them. Private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect." – U.S Supreme Court, 1984

  • 34. brandall  |  July 3, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    I'm being sarcastic, but none of the denied intervenors awful statements apply to lesbians who want SSM. I'll have to reread the brief, but if there are no statements about lesbian's health costs to the state, then they should be able to proceed without the guys.

  • 35. KarlS  |  July 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    It reminds me of the abortion 'debate'…the anti-choice movement is largely driven by men who really do not seem to the type to be good fathers…perhaps their opposition is a vicarious means to parenthood without any of the responsibilities…? As one wag observed (accurately in my opinion), "if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a holy sacrament". In virtually every online discussion, the most vociferous opponents to marriage equality are the ones most obsessed with the clinical details of body parts, the contents of same and the means by which something might be inserted into them. The concepts of love, loyalty, commitment and respect are completely foreign to them as they concentrate only on their salacious fantasies.

  • 36. brandall  |  July 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    I re-read this brief again. Every "study" quoted is about societal harm by gay men. Nothing I could find argues against SSM for women. So, the case should be split, one for male SSM and one for female SSM (being sarcastic again).

    The brief actually reads like they are trying to retry Lawrence. I believe they wrote this in the hopes they could intervene and have a trial for all the world to see. I never read the MI trial, so I would be very interested if this document goes beyond that case. Disgusting document on the 3rd read.

    Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment filed June 17, 2014 –
    Declaration of Judith G. Reisman, PH.D., in Support of Amici Curiae filed June 17, 2014 – .

  • 37. JayJonson  |  July 8, 2014 at 7:09 am

    That Judith G. Reisman, PH.D. is a real crackpot. No wonder she teaches at Liberty University. Obviously, no real university would hire her.

  • 38. SeattleRobin  |  July 3, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Whenever these sorts of arguments crop up I immediately note their lack of applicability to lesbians. And I always wonder if the people making the arguments even notice. If we want to make public policy based on the purely physical aspects of sex (disease, invasiveness, potential damage), then sex between two women should be preferred over sex between two men and sex between opposites as the least problematic combination.

    The fact that people actually make these arguments without ever seeming to comprehend the inherent contradiction reveals an underlying sexism that is still all too prevalent in our culture. It's indicative of a shared understanding that the women don't really matter.

    edit to add: Thanks for reporting on this and providing the links!

  • 39. JayJonson  |  July 4, 2014 at 6:31 am

    Historically, sex between women was considered to be too insignificant to criminalize. Almost none of the sodomy laws in Europe, many of which carried the death penalty, encompassed sex between women. (Though some women were executed as witches because they practiced same-sex intimacy.) Queen Victoria was supposed to have squelched a proposal to criminalize sex between women by pretending that women did not do such things. Explanations for this kind of ignorance range from sexism to male privilege.

  • 40. RCChicago  |  July 4, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Yes, I've always been fascinated by these kind of perspectives. When the legislative hearings were going on around the country last year (RI, IL, MN, what's the abbreviation for Hawaii?), I remember thinking that if the opponent's objections came down to what they think gay male sex is, then lesbians and men who don't participate in anal sex should be excused from their damnation. It is a flagrantly sexist argument in regards to women, and beyond offensive when gay men are reduced to a stereotype and a sex act.

  • 41. brandall  |  July 4, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Great comments! That "underlying sexism" you refer to existed among the gay/lesbian community in the '80's and is only now beginning to come together. The LGBT community still needs to think a little less about our unique letters (L, G, B, T) and more about all of us.

    I remember living in NYC in the 80's and there were separate lesbian bars and gay bars. Heaven forbid anyone would crossover to the other's turf. I once went to a huge dance party with over 2,000 lesbians. I was invited by a lesbian friend of me. I was the only man. Talk about feeling like the only chicken at a party of 2,000 foxes! A few were glaringly hostile at my presence. And yes, this worked both ways in that era.

    At least this sexism is less prevalent now. Here in SF, there is a better mix at the social events, private parties, bars, and charity events. These are my observations only on my LGBT community. There is another world out there of horrible sexist messes.

    This thread has made me more acutely aware of this issue as it applies to the ME cases. I will be more attuned to it and I hope you will chime in when you spot overt examples.

  • 42. Steve  |  July 3, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Married two and a half times (she had a commitment ceremony for the third) and never procreated either.

  • 43. Waxr  |  July 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    The statement that "homosexual males are at exponentially higher risk of developing a variety of sexually transmitted diseases," reminds me of similar statements made about blacks when they were fighting for civil rights. Being black was linked with being a criminal.

  • 44. ebohlman  |  July 4, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I'd also like to point out that "exponentially higher risk" is word salad; I can dismiss it offhand for the same reason that you could dismiss offhand my claim to have batted 50 touchdowns in a single basketball game.

  • 45. KarlS  |  July 5, 2014 at 5:47 am

    I submit that most people who use "exponentially" to bolster an insipid argument would not know an exponent from an exterminator.

  • 46. Mike_Baltimore  |  July 5, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Similar to how most people think that a scientific theory is defined exactly the same as the commonly used everyday word theory – a guess.

  • 47. davepCA  |  July 4, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    It's also easy to make up equally pointless "arguments" in the other direction, like pointing out that 'HETEROsexual men are far more likely to cause unwanted and unplanned pregnancies than gay men, and are responsible for far greater numbers of abandoned infants and children that gay men' and 'straight women have far more abortions than lesbians'. According to "the numbers", straight people can look like they treat marriage and child rearing with a shocking degree of irresponsibility, compared to gay people.

  • 48. Waxr  |  July 4, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    If men are responsible for most of the unwanted pregnancies, sexual diseases, and crimes, then only women should be allowed to get married.

  • 49. RnL2008  |  July 4, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    But these AREN'T pointless arguments…….the fact is that people will get STD's because they practice high risk sexual behavior……….just like one getting HIV/AIDS has NOTHING to do with anal sex…….but more to do with NOT taking precautions.

    Regardless of one's sexual orientation…..STD's and HIV/AIDS has more to do with NOT taking precautions than it has to do with who one has sex with……….I mean if both parties are negative, then they will remain negative after the encounter……….just like if I remain true to my marital vows, then I have NOTHING to worry about regarding STD's and HIV.

    People from ALL walks of life need to be educated on how STD's and HIV are passed and then we as a people NEED to make sure that pointing fingers will NOT make it better!!

  • 50. davepCA  |  July 5, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Yes, of course EVERYONE should be practicing safe sex. My point is that, on the topic of laws that regulate access to civil marriage, all of these 'arguments' about what kind of sex can result in what kind of problem are completely irrelevant. None of it constructs an argument for or against granting or denying civil marriage to any given couple. It takes an entirely different kind of argument to address the topic of eligibility for civil marriage, and what the law can and cannot do while still complying with the Constitution. But anti-gay folk think they can get away with tossing out those irrelevant remarks and that this gets them off the hook for providing a rational argument. It does not.

  • 51. RnL2008  |  July 5, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I see what you are saying now…….and you are right……sorry if I seemed out of line.!

  • 52. davepCA  |  July 5, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Not at all, RnL. You have a very valid point too! It's just a separate issue from arguments about eligibility for a civil marriage license.

  • 53. RnL2008  |  July 5, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I totally agree with ya Dave……and it's pathetic to use those arguments against ONLY Gays and Lesbians….instead of at ALL adults who are sexually active!!!

  • 54. SeattleRobin  |  July 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Dave, that's another area where I wonder if the people making those arguments are paying any attention to what they are actually saying. Reading some of the briefs, the only conclusion the reader can come to is that heterosexuals are so wayward and irresponsible that they require intervention from the government. That without some goodies handed out to them via marriage they would never settle down and raise their children together. If I were straight I would find the responsible procreation arguments extremely insulting.

  • 55. brandall  |  July 5, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I have often thought there should be a legal case testing for "abuse of the sacred and traditional marriage laws" by serial child-abandoning fathers. Or perhaps, divorce should not be allowed by any couple who have a child under 18 years of age because "only a man and a women can provide the best environment for raising a child"….turnabout is fair play.

  • 56. RnL2008  |  July 5, 2014 at 7:20 am

    You know if that happened they'd scream bloody murder that some right was being infringed upon………..and sue……I mean they really DON'T care about the children UNLESS they happen to be our own!!!

  • 57. ebohlman  |  July 5, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Zablocki v. Redhail. 'Nuff said.

  • 58. RCChicago  |  July 7, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Your observation is brilliant. It would be fabulous to see this brought up as a line of argument, either in a courtroom or in a brief. It would make a great letter to the editor at the Miami Herald.

  • 59. JayJonson  |  July 7, 2014 at 6:25 am

    That argument in the "other direction" is precisely the argument our enemies are reduced to using. That is the entire point of the "irresponsible procreation" argument championed by David Blankenhorn in the Prop 8 trial and continues to be pushed in anti-ssm briefs. Marriage, they say, should be limited to heterosexuals because heterosexuals–especially heterosexual men–cannot control their reproductive instincts and would be procreating out of wedlock if gay people could get married. The fact that it is a ludicrous (and irrelevant) argument does not keep it from being repeated over and over again. I think they use it because it does not on its face indicate any animus against gay people, but simultaneously emphasizes that only heterosexuals procreate. Of course, it ignores the fact that about half of all births nowadays are out of wedlock and that in fact gay and lesbian couples do have children conceived in various ways.

  • 60. davepCA  |  July 5, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    The point is that these "arguments" which really just point out that sex which involves at least one penis is more likely to transmit certain diseases than sex that only involves vaginas, or that straight women have more abortions that lesbians, or that potentially procreative couples have more unplanned pregnancies than non-procreative couples, are all entirely irrelevant to the legal question of whether denying a civil marriage license to a same sex couple serves any legally valid purpose and advances any states interest which could justify the denial of rights and legal protections that this causes. It's all irrelevant rhetoric that simply enumerates various potential issues that may be particular to one given type of sex act versus another, and fails to construct a meaningful argument on the merits of the question regarding constitutional compliance of civil marriage laws. But irrational rhetoric is all the anti-ME crowd has. They have no argument.

  • 61. Waxr  |  July 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Absolutely meaningless to this discussion. If you feel that men who have several sex partners should be prevented from getting married, then you would have to apply that to all men who have several sex partners, not just to gay men. As I understand it, professional athletes, as a group, have the most sex partners

    And before you can put that law into effect, you will have to explain how banning men who have multiple sex partner from marriage will lower the number of sex partners they have in the future.. It is more probable that it would have just the opposite effect.

  • 62. Japrisot  |  July 5, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    So what?

  • 63. SeattleRobin  |  July 7, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Exactly, so what? The physical aspects of sex have absolutely nothing to do with the criteria for granting marriage licenses.

    A lot of women get bladder infections from engaging in heterosexual intercourse. Should that factor in now too? After all, some of them are using publicly funded health care systems to see a doctor and get antibiotics. Or what about the fact that many straight couples also engage in anal intercourse (with either or both being the one penetrated).

    Going down the road of constitutionally protected intimacy is wasteful, disingenuous, and stupid.

  • 64. Zack12  |  July 3, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    She is appealing to the Supreme Court next.
    I hope Alito refers it to the whole court instead of being a prick and simply granting her request on his own.
    Sadly, I think the former is more likely then the latter.

  • 65. DocZenobia  |  July 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I'd wager that the Supremes probably made an agreement that all ME case requests should be considered by the full court, no matter which justice they were referred to.

  • 66. Bruno71  |  July 3, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I think he'll refer it to the whole court, and the court will deny the request. Although we'll never know, I wouldn't be surprised if all but Thomas and Scalia (maybe not even him) voted to deny the request. She clearly has no standing in this case.

  • 67. sfbob  |  July 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Then she'd be in violation of her oath of office.

  • 68. KarlS  |  July 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Um, you think it's more likely he won't be a prick?


  • 69. OctaA  |  July 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Even if he does grant her request, is there nobody able to appeal that decision to another Justice and wouldn't Alito be aware of this?

    Not sure but I think the plaintiffs or the state of PA would be able to appeal a decision to grant standing by Alito.

  • 70. Ragavendran  |  July 4, 2014 at 6:54 am

    Yes, they would be able to do so, but granting of stays (as opposed to denial of stays) has never been appealed to higher courts by any party so far in all of these cases, for reasons I can't fathom. If it happens in this case, it would be the first time.

  • 71. eizverson22  |  July 3, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Unexpected good.<img src=>

  • 72. zit treatment&hellip  |  July 3, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    zit treatment

    Equality On TrialEquality On Trial »

  • 73. RnL2008  |  July 3, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    An article worth a look:

    Justice Thomas is a real charmer!!!

  • 74. RCChicago  |  July 4, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I don't know what it says about our country and the development of its values, that we have such extremists serving on the Supreme Court. These guys aren't merely conservative—there's no sense of balance.

  • 75. JayJonson  |  July 4, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Thomas is a disgrace. Like Scalia, he is seriously ethically challenged in all sorts of ways. In addition, he is a thoroughgoing hypocrite. Apart from his moral flaws, he is simply unqualified to serve on the High Court. He should never have been nominated, in a cynical ploy by George H.W. Bush, and he certainly should never have been confirmed after the revelations of Anita Hill.

  • 76. Zack12  |  July 4, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Clarence Thomas likes to blame people not taking him seriously on affirmative action.
    That flys in the face of so many other people who have succeeded under it.
    In reality, the powers that be simply saw what we've all come to know about Thomas, he is an bitter unqualified hack who simplys applies his far right viewpoints to whatever law he's hearing and thus had no business being a judge for a dog show, let alone the Supreme Court.
    IMO, he is worse then Alito or Scalia and the scary part is we are likely to be stuck with him for another 20 years on the bench.
    Sad to say but the conservatives have always been smarter in making sure their right wing hacks get on the bench at young ages and Thomas is the best example of that, getting on there at 43.
    Thurgood Marshall is rolling over in his grave over his replacement, he truly is.

  • 77. JayJonson  |  July 4, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Indeed, to go from Thurgood Marshall to Clarence Thomas is to replace a giant with a pygmy. The cynicism George H.W. Bush displayed in picking Thomas is shocking even by the low standards set by rightwing politicians in the latter half of the 20th century.

  • 78. RnL2008  |  July 4, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I agree……Thomas should NEVER have been confirmed, let alone appointed to SCOTUS…….he DOESN'T ask questions and he appears to be Scalia's puppet!!!

  • 79. F_Young  |  July 4, 2014 at 8:59 am

    "I don't know what it says about our country "

    Well, looking at it as a foreigner, it looks like major parts of the the US legal system are corrupt and America no longer belongs in the ranks of modern Western democracies, which is a shame since America invented its very foundations.

  • 80. Sagesse  |  July 5, 2014 at 4:43 am

    I'm also an outsider… sort of. I am Canadian born and raised, but my mother is American. I had always understood that one of the founding principles of the United States was separation of church and state. A number of Independence Day-themed articles have quoted the Founders on the subject.

    This Supreme Court has run amok. And somehow confused freedom of speech and freedom of religion with the right to treat women and sexual minorities differently (in other words, without respect).

    I regretfully conclude that if Americans don't get out and vote to hold Democratic control of the Senate in November, and elect a House that does its job in government, then you deserve the government, and the Supreme Court, you get.

    This from a person who lives in Toronto, one of the most vibrant, inclusive, welcoming cities in the world, and we still manage to elect Rob Ford, a dull-witted-and-proud-of-it racist and homophobe, as mayor. Oh, and I forgot to mention, misogynist, too.

  • 81. Mike_Baltimore  |  July 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm


    Would you PLEASE stop pussyfooting around your real opinions about Rob Ford? Just come out and say he is a drug-crazed, boozing, womanizing, misogynistic a-hole.


  • 82. Sagesse  |  July 6, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Mike, you forgot lying and self-dealing.

    After reading your comment, I realize I was drawing a fine distinction. The things you mention make Ford unfit for leadership, unfit to hold office. And yes, he is all those things.

    The fact that he considers his constituents to be lesser human beings is a characteristic he shares with elected officials all over. Anti-discrimination laws are meant for people like him.

  • 83. JayJonson  |  July 5, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I am a longtime Canadianophile, so I was super disappointed to realize that Toronto had electeded someone like Rob Ford. Perhaps unfairly, I had expected more from Canadians, who on the whole seem much more sensible than their southern neighbors.

  • 84. EarlAndTim  |  July 4, 2014 at 4:24 am

    Super news! No ‘stay’ of our marriage issued thankfully!

  • 85. EricKoszyk  |  July 4, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Is that you? I saw you last Sunday at the parade! Congratulations on finally being married!

  • 86. brandall  |  July 5, 2014 at 6:14 am

    The link is no longer working. Do you have another link to reference what this discussion is about?

  • 87. Marriage Equality Round-U&hellip  |  July 4, 2014 at 7:42 am

    […] USA, Pennsylvania: A pesky county clerk who wants to stop same sex weddings in the state has once again been smacked down. full story […]

  • 88. Terence  |  July 4, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Alongside the solid string of court decisions in favour of civil ME, it's worth noting the parallel movement in a number of Christian denominations, making provision for same – sex weddings, IN CHURCH – completely undermining the alleged "religious" arguments against full equality. Just last month in the USA, both the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the largest region of the Moravian church took such decisions, and in the United Kingdom, the United Reform Church gave approval in principle (the detailed wording for the formal resolution and vote must still be worked out).

  • 89. Margo Schulter  |  July 4, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Lesbian sex was not considered criminal in the English tradition, and indeed generally was sometimes considered “a trifle,” the reported view of Casanova, as I recall. However, sources like the Journal of Homosexuality document that this was not true at all times in all parts of Western Europe, for example. Thus one 16th-century Spanish jurist reported that some women in Grenada had been condemned to the galleys for forbidden acts with each other; and there was debate about whether or when such sex might constitute a capital offense like sodomy between men. One opinion had it that only penetrative sex between two women involving the use of an instrument would qualify.

    Curiously, the Abbe de Brantome focused on Lesbian sexuality from the perspective of asking whether or not a woman could commit adultery against her husband by making love with another woman. This is very interesting evidence, which Lillian Faderman cites, that the concept of a group of “Lesbian ladies” with this propensity was present in France in the later 16th century.

    But, as JayJonson has mentioned, Lesbian and gay male sexuality were associated in the medieval era with heresy, with this connection made as early as 1022.

  • 90. RnL2008  |  July 4, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I have an issue with this part of her reasoning:
    Approximately six months ago, this Court unanimously stayed a nearly identical district-court order in a materially indistinguishable case presenting the question whether the State of
    Utah may define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. See Herbert v Kitchen
    134 S. Ct. 893 (2014). By doing this the Court signaled to all lower federal courts that they must take similar steps to preserve the enforcement of manwoman marriage laws until this Court definitively settles whether States may maintain those laws consistent with the requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Any other approach would invite needless chaos and uncertainty rather than facilitate the orderly and dignified resolution of one of the most important constitutional questions of our day.

    Just because SCOTUS granted a Stay in Kitchen does NOT mean that a State MUST wait until SCOTUS makes a ruling…….and if SCOTUS should grant her a stay and the right to intervene, then that would make what happen to the other County Clerk look HYPOCRITICAL!!!

    I DON'T believe SCOTUS will grant her stay NOR allow her to intervene because she has NO stake in this fight….she needs to do her job plain and simple!!!

  • 91. RnL2008  |  July 4, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    If the County Clerk from Montgomery DIDN'T have the authority to issue Marriage Licenses… exactly does this lady think she has Standing to go against the Governor and the AG?

    I seriously doubt Alito will grant her standing and her stay request….just because of the previous judgment against the other County Clerk……….and ISN'T this a State issue at this point?

  • 92. Zack12  |  July 5, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Here's another thing the clerk needs to keep in mind.
    If SCOTUS grants her a stay, that means they are addressing this issue and my guess is they want to avoid touching it as long as possible.

  • 93. debater7474  |  July 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Alito is by far the most partisan justice on the court; unlike Scalia and the other conservatives on the court who have guiding philosophies undergirding what they do, which lead them to sometimes side with the liberals, Alito simply decides in favor of the conservative outcome regardless of the law. If anyone is going to grant the stay, it's him. Downvote me and shoot the messenger if you like, but the facts are the facts.
    For a good analysis of Alito, by far my least favorite justice on SCOTUS, see the following:

  • 94. scream4ever  |  July 5, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Should he grant it, our side will simply go to another justice who will either lift the stay or refer it to the whole court. He knows this, hence why he will refer the matter to the whole court and they will refuse the stay.

  • 95. JayJonson  |  July 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Scalia's only guiding philosophy is that he hates gay people because his Church tells him to. The idea that has a consistent philosophy is ludicrous. He pretends to be an "originalist," yet freely departs from originalism when it will benefit Republicans. He says he doesn't believe in an "activist" court, yet he freely engages in "activism," inventing, for example, a "ten-day" rule of the Senate in recess before a president can make a recess appointment. The man is a fraud. He believes he is guided by no philosophy other than what his friends tell him to do.

  • 96. debater7474  |  July 5, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    It's a stretch to say that Scalia's only philosophy is "hating gay people." His philosophy is to apply the original intent of the framers, and it stretches credulity for even proponents of gay marriage such as us to argue that the founding fathers would have envisioned the constitutional right to same sex marriage as part of the constitution. Do you think if we went back and time and asked them "Does this document include a constitutional right to same sex marriage?" these rich old racist white men would have said yes? To argue that they would have seems to defy reality. Thus, although Scalia is of course wrong, it can't be said that his decision on same sex marriage does not adhere to his overall philosophy.

  • 97. Japrisot  |  July 5, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Except the concept of Constitutional 'originalism' has been undermined, discredited, and repudiated with such vigor in the legal community that Scalia's continued 'application' of it defies logic and constitutes a kind of willful ignorance on his part.

  • 98. debater7474  |  July 5, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Sure, originalism is terrible, but I'm just noting that his position is consistent with originalism, something that you did not dispute in your comment. I didn't say "originalism is awesome," I just said that his position is consistent with originalism, which remains 100 percent accurate.

  • 99. Steve  |  July 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    There is nothing consistent about Scalia. He cites "originialism" when it suits it and tosses it out the nanosecond it doesn't align with his ideology.

  • 100. JayJonson  |  July 5, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Scalia's commitment to originalism is a sham. He certainly does not apply it except when convenient. There is nothing in the Constitution about a ten-day recess or about an individual's right to unfettered use of arms or about a religious right to deny contraception to one's employees or the right to corporation's to give unlimited amounts of money to campaigns. In other words, he departs in all sorts of ways from any credible idea of "origninalism." Only when it comes to whether gay people can be put in jail for private consensual sex or whether they can be deprived of equal protection (as in Romer) or denied the right to marry does he suddenly find warrant in "originalism."

  • 101. debater7474  |  July 5, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    On the issue of unfeterred donations from the rich: the founders were a group of old, rich, racist, white men. They were the elite of the society, and so they purposely set up the society to benefit priveleged white men and keep them in control. (Electoral college, no direct election of senators, property requirements for voting, etc.) Thus, by allowing unfettered campaign cash, it can easily be said that Scalia is staying faithful to the will of the founders by trying to keep the elite of society in control of the government.

  • 102. SeattleRobin  |  July 6, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Nah, I stil disagree. Scalia departs from his supposed strict construction stance all the time. He "finds" stuff in the constitution that isn't there and ignores stuff that is there when it suits his purpose. I agree with the idea that the constitution was intended to be a living document. But if you're going to be strict about wording, and decry interpretation, then stick to that. This only when it suits garbage is BS and creates havoc.

  • 103. JayJonson  |  July 6, 2014 at 7:52 am

    If your entire definition of Scalia's "originalism" is that he identifies with old, rich, racist, white men (and homophobes, I would add), then yes, Scalia is an originalist. But usually originalism is defined as adherence to the original principles of the Constitution. That Scalia pretends to do, but very often does not. There is nothing in the Constitution that remotely justifies the denial of equal protection for minorities, including gay people. Only Scalia finds that in the Constitution. The Second Amendment says nothing about an individual right to bear arms; it speaks only of a "well-regulated militia. There is nothing "originalist" about Scalia's stance on the Second Amendment. And on and on.

  • 104. Sagesse  |  July 6, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Never thought I'd be posting an editorial from the National Catholic Reporter. Read it all.

    Editorial: No reconciling the irreconcilable when it comes to marriage [National Catholic Reporter]

    "It would have been better on so many levels had San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone chosen not to place the Catholic church front and center at the ill-named March for Marriage in Washington. He placed the church in league with the National Organization for Marriage, an intemperate, anti-gay lobbying outfit and unseemly company for a religious leader of any significance.

    "The organization's president, Brian Brown, has sought to globalize the fight against same-sex unions, joining with anti-gay forces in France and strategizing with Russian authorities in that country's campaign to enact harsh anti-gay laws.

    "No amount of claiming the church's love for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community will disguise the reality of the company one has to keep in order to further the cause of opposing same-sex unions….

    "Perhaps the most pertinent question on this matter was put by NCR columnist Michael Sean Winters, who asked: "Why do the leaders of the church want to have this fight?"

    "It is mystifying, with so many social problems needing attention, to watch so much of the U.S. Catholic leadership obsessed with these sexual matters. The fact is that people of other than traditional sexual orientation no longer engage in self-sequester or quarantine. That age has passed, and it has little to do with willful disregard for church teaching and far more to do with a growing understanding of the complexity and diversity of humankind."

  • 105. JayJonson  |  July 6, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Thanks. We always need to remember that Roman Catholics are one of the very strongest religious demographics in support of same-sex marriage. It is the hierarchy that is obsessed with denying equal rights to gay people. Support of same-sex marriage Roman Catholic laity is very high.

  • 106. Margo Schulter  |  July 6, 2014 at 9:05 am

    What I might add is that National Catholic Reporter has a long tradition as supporting progressive causes and focusing on feminist theology. This editorial on marriage equality, like their many articles which I recall for 30 years ago on nuclear disarmament and women’s role in the Church, is very much in keeping with this tradition.

  • 107. brandall  |  July 7, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Florida: Monroe County SSM case being heard this morning

    A case that mirrors last week's Miami-Dade case is being heard in Monroe, FL. Monroe county consists of Key West and the southwestern tip of Florida.

    The Plaintiff's are hoping for an on the spot ruling and want to marry today. From their attorney, "“That’s all it takes is a walk across the hall. It’s just about 10 feet from the door of the court to the door of the clerk’s office,”

    I'm sure we would all love to see ME accelerate even faster (from judge to county clerk in 1 minute). Highly unlikely.

    UPDATE: Tweet from Equality Florida. The judge says he will not rule from the bench today.

  • 108. MichaelGrabow  |  July 7, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Equality Florida tweeted that the judge said he would not rule from the bench today.

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  • 111. dingomanusa  |  July 8, 2014 at 5:39 am

    So does this mean Alito has granted the clerk’s request: “Plea to stop same-sex marriages in Pennsylvania (UPDATED) UPDATED Monday 11:28 a.m. The application has been docketed as 14A19. The Court has now switched its numbering system for filings to the October Term 2014.”

  • 112. DaveM_OH  |  July 8, 2014 at 6:59 am

    No. This means the Clerk of the Court has received the motion for a stay and completed the paperwork so that the Court (Alito) can act. The Court has not acted upon it.

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    Equality On TrialThird Circuit Court of Appeals denies PA clerk’s motion to intervene in same-sex marriage case » Equality On Trial

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