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Open thread: No decision today in marriage equality case

Community/Meta LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

It's time for marriage equality. Attribution: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
It’s time for marriage equality. Attribution: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
The Court issued six opinions today, however, they didn’t release Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case. They’re likely to release more opinions on Monday, and maybe to add another opinion announcement day next week as well.

This is an open thread for discussion of all things LGBT.


  • 1. tigris26  |  June 18, 2015 at 8:26 am

    It appeared to be a lot of cases about criminal punishment and First Amendment stuff today. With regards to the Brumfield v. Cain case involving the prohibition of the intellectually disabled receiving the death penalty, Justice Kennedy once again remained consistent with regards to his other "favorite" issue: capital punishment.

    In addition to gay rights, capital punishment is the other issue that Kennedy tends to join the liberal justices on. Kennedy has never appeared to be a proponent of the death penalty, especially when citing international law. And today Kennedy sided with the liberal justices again on that issue.

    It was just nice to see, in my opinion. 🙂

    Sorry if this post was too off-topic!

  • 2. Elihu_Bystander  |  June 18, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Actually you are not off topic. Kennedy is a Catholic who puts great value in the church's teachings on social and economic justice. Both of those teachings say it all begins with the dignity of the person. When Kennedy is conflicted between the church's doctrine & dogma and the church's social & economic justice, for him social and economic justice always trump doctrine and dogma.

    As it should be. Why else do you think 57% of US Catholics in the pews support marriage equality–they get it. Most of the church's hierarchy do not get it at all.

  • 3. Eric  |  June 18, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    It will be interesting to see what becomes of the climate encyclical.

  • 4. Elihu_Bystander  |  June 18, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Since you mentioned the encyclical, here is what Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry noted.

    –Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

    In Laudato Sii, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, the pontiff has a number of quotations which are worth noting for Catholic LGBT advocates. Although the context of his comments are the environment, if Pope Francis would apply the same reasoning behind these quotes to LGBT issues, we would be moving toward a church of greater equality.

    Here are some worth noting:

    Paragraph 13: “Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.” As today’s earlier Bondings 2.0 post reported, young people are also demanding change on LGBT issues, and “the sufferings of the excluded” is a main motivation for their call for change.

    Paragraph 14:“We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.” The same conversation is needed for LGBT issues, and the conversation must include LGBT people.

    Paragraph 15:“I will begin by briefly reviewing several aspects of the present ecological crisis, with the aim of drawing on the results of the best scientific research available today, letting them touch us deeply and provide a concrete foundation for the ethical and spiritual itinerary that follows.” If Pope Francis would similarly respond to the results of the best scientific and social scientific research on sexual orientation and same-gender relationships, church teaching would develop in this regard.

  • 5. terryweldon  |  June 19, 2015 at 6:03 am

    It's encouraging to see the Pope insisting on the importance of science, specifically on climate and evolution. (Nearly 50 years ago, I was taught in my Catholic high school that evolution and Genesis were compatible – not everything in the Bible should be taken literally).
    Now, I want to see that principle of respect for science, also extended in Catholic teaching to the science of sexuality and gender!

  • 6. jcmeiners  |  June 18, 2015 at 8:51 am

    What are the chances that Scalia will spontaneously combust when reading his dissent on Obergefell from the bench next week? He has a really angry voice in his opinions this term. Not only in Din on Monday, but also in his concurrence on Clark today where he talks about the court's "aggressive hostility to precedent" and accuses his colleagues of "shoveling dirt on the 6th amendment". I can't help but wonder if he shouldn't seek professional help.

  • 7. Rick55845  |  June 18, 2015 at 10:05 am

    I didn't think they actually read the full opinion, concurrences, and dissents from the bench. I thought that they customarily give a short synopsis that may not even be a verbatim excerpt from the opinion. More like a press release. I don't really know, though. I just got that impression from a question / answer on the scotusblog live blog this morning.

  • 8. jcmeiners  |  June 18, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Yes, mostly they don't read the whole thing, unless they really feel a need to do so. Scalia has more than a few times gone off into angry rants on the bench when rulings that he disagreed with were announced, and I am certain that he will not be able to contain himself when the Obergefell decision comes down.

  • 9. JayJonson  |  June 18, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    If I recall correctly, he read his entire ugly dissent in Lawrence from the bench.

  • 10. Waxr  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:32 am

    That was OK. Some Federal judges quoted Scalia's remark that Lawrence oppened the door to SSM, and ruled accordingly.

  • 11. VIRick  |  June 19, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Oh absolutely. I distinctly recall that the federal judge in Mississippi trolled Scalia verbatim. Then announced, "This proved true," and summarily struck down the Mississippi ban as being unconstitutional.

  • 12. mu2  |  June 18, 2015 at 10:53 am

    I don't much care whether he combusts just so long as he actually HAS a dissent!

  • 13. RnL2008  |  June 18, 2015 at 9:45 am

    I thought this might give folks a laugh:

  • 14. A_Jayne  |  June 18, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Thank you. The comments are interesting, to say the least.

    I especially liked this exchange:

    Chris June 17, 2015
    read the Bible, and then try to tell us what it has to say!

    Swedish Inga June 17, 2015
    Amongst other things to stone our disobedient children, take our slaves from surrounding areas and kill everyone with a different faith, if encountering them on a journey to a foreign city.
    God is a funny gu…ga…guygal?

    Read more at <a href="” target=”_blank”>

  • 15. Eric  |  June 18, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Did anyone see the New York Times piece on the lead plaintiff for the Affordable Care Act case? He comes across as a real piece of work. He admitted that he is actually covered by the Veterans Administration and doesn't have standing to bring the case.

  • 16. RemC  |  June 18, 2015 at 1:09 pm


  • 17. Elihu_Bystander  |  June 18, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    WOW; how revolting. Didn't the attorneys vet their plaintiffs?

  • 18. guitaristbl  |  June 18, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    I read it. Such a red neck far right republican. According to him Ginsburg disagrees with him because she is "far left". I so want to see his case thrown down the gutter ugh.

  • 19. ianbirmingham  |  June 18, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    (Off topic) Well, today we learned that Alito actually more than earns his paycheck sometimes… in Walker v. SCV Breyer writes a loony majority opinion and is joined by all the liberals plus Thomas, while Alito writes a luminously, flawlessly correct dissent and is joined only by Kennedy, Roberts and Scalia. Alito's dissent echoes the amicus briefs filed in this case by the ACLU and by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

  • 20. ianbirmingham  |  June 19, 2015 at 1:06 am

    Apparently a lot of people here a) have no understanding of the First Amendment, and b) just blindly react to the names on the opinion rather than the substance of what the opinion says. Pre-judgement -> prejudice…

  • 21. VIRick  |  June 19, 2015 at 1:45 am

    Ian, the "loony" majority opinion upheld Texas' right to bar the use of the Confederate flag on state-issued property, in this instance, on vehicular license plates, which continue to belong to the state. No one personally "owns" the various numerals, letters, or symbols which might appear on such license plates, as the state retains that right, and can thus control whatever messages one might wish to communicate by that means.

    The First Amendment does not apply. You have no "rights," as you do not "own" the license plate, although many people seem to think they do, and that, somehow, they feel they have a "right" to message whatever they please by such means.

  • 22. ianbirmingham  |  June 19, 2015 at 2:18 am

    Sorry, wrong. When the State creates what is technically known as a "limited public forum" – a zone in which private speech is allowed, subject to the state's rules governing that zone – under the First Amendment, the state's rules cannot have the effect of "viewpoint discrimination" – the state cannot censor unpopular speech.

    One of the specialty plates says "I am a Realtor" – can anyone seriously believe that this is the speech of the State of Texas, as opposed to the speech of the person who owns the car? Two of the other plates are literally advertisements for RE/MAX and Pepsi-Cola – once again, obviously private speech.

    Alito explains: Texas has space available on millions of little mobile billboards. And Texas, in effect, sells that space to those who wish to use it to express a personal message — provided only that the message does not express a viewpoint that the State finds unacceptable. That is not government speech; it is the regulation of private speech. What Texas has done by selling space on its license plates is to create what we have called a limited public forum. It has allowed state property (i.e., motor vehicle license plates) to be used by private speakers according to rules that the State prescribes. Under the First Amendment, however, those rules cannot discriminate on the basis of viewpoint. But that is exactly what Texas did here. The Board rejected Texas SCV’s design, “specifically the confederate flag portion of the design, because public comments have shown that many members of the general public find the design offensive…"

    A proper understanding of the First Amendment begins with the realization that the First Amendment does not exist for the purpose of protecting popular speech. Popular speech needs no protection. The First Amendment exists for the purpose of protecting UNPOPULAR speech. To claim, as Breyer does here, that the First Amendment is instead a weapon that can be used by the government to censor unpopular private speech is nothing short of loony.

    By allowing states to censor private speech they deem offensive, today's decision is a step backwards for the First Amendment. — ACLU

    “Speech that some people deem ‘offensive’ is still protected speech,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United [For Separation Of Church And State]. “Today’s ruling could make it harder for members of some groups, such as unpopular religions and atheists, to use license plates to express messages.”

  • 23. wes228  |  June 19, 2015 at 6:20 am

    I agree with you Ian. I think Alito gave the more compelling argument in his dissent.

    This must have particularly stung for him given that the majority relied almost exclusively (and, in my opinion, erroneously) on Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, an opinion that Alito himself wrote.

  • 24. Boce3  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Ian, I agree that this was not an easy case. It is easy to focus on a shared desire to censor speech we disagree with, especially in light of the horrific events in South Carolina. Though many Southerners may disagree, the confederate flag remains for many an enduring symbol of our nation's shameful legacy of slavery and racial discrimination. Many people, rightfully, have a strong desire to censor the symbol from government property for that reason and believe that state governments should have that right.

    However, imagine that this case was instead about a gay couple's right to put a rainbow flag on their license plate in South Carolina. Will this opinion now provide conservative states with the opportunity to determine what symbols are appropriate and which symbols are not? How can we determine whether a government entity is engaging in unlawful viewpoint discrimination by allowing certain symbols and disallowing others? It is a difficult case because of the natural bias that many people share based on the subject matter in question and a shared desire to find a legally logical way for a state government to censor the confederate flag. However, it will be interesting to see how the holding could potentially be used in future First Amendment cases against more progressive groups.

  • 25. JayJonson  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:42 am

    The license plate case re gay rights came up in an Indiana. A gay nonprofit sought a license plate from Indiana and was denied. It sued and won the case. I think it may have been settled at the Indiana Supreme Court. Maybe someone will remember more details than I do right now.

  • 26. Boce3  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Jay, thanks for that. It would be interesting to see if the new SCOTUS holding now places the Indiana Supreme Court holding in question now.

  • 27. wes228  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:47 am

    If the Indiana Supreme Court based their decision on the 1st Amendment (as opposed to some free speech guarantee in the Indiana state constitution), that decision is effectively overruled.

    A state is not required by the federal constitution to offer any sort of pro-gay license plate, even if they offer blatantly anti-gay plates (e.g. "Marriage is One Man + One Woman" with a picture of a happy heterosexual couple traipsing through a field smiling at the fact that there are no icky gays around them).

  • 28. Boce3  |  June 19, 2015 at 10:16 am

    You may be right Wes. However, Alito and the conservative justices in this case could have potentially provided gay rights supporters with a stronger First Amendment argument for those cases (like you I have not read the Indiana opinion so I can only speculate). Here, the Court's desire to achieve a specific result may limit the scope of future First Amendment arguments in state courts.

  • 29. Boce3  |  June 19, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Interesting that a case that Ian listed as *off topic* might actually be more on topic as an LGBTQA equal rights case than any of us realize today.

  • 30. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 19, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Indiana only has rear license plates, leaving the front plate space open for showing support for the local high school, a college fraternity, sorority, political party or candidate, etc. This is one reason there is an Indiana law that REQUIRES cars to park front end only. This supposedly helps police officers roll by parked cars, noting any that are 'out of date' or whatever. Otherwise, they would have to get out of their cruisers to see all the license plates (heaven forbid that they would be forced to burn at least some of the calories from those donuts they ate!). The law does not have exceptions for out of state requirements for front and back plates. (Makes one wonder if Indiana thinks there are no out of state cars that travel to Indiana. Ohio has front and back license plate requirements, and shares a long state line with Indiana with several major communities within 25 miles of that state line [on the Indiana side], such as Fort Wayne, Richmond, Auburn, Connersville, etc.)

    I don't know if the state of Indiana or localities have any restrictions on the 'front plates'.

  • 31. Fortguy  |  June 19, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Interesting. Indiana police would still have to get out of their patrol cars to verify the vehicles of Texas visitors. Although vehicles registered in Texas are required to have identically numbered front and back plates, the state many years ago moved the annual vehicle registration sticker from the back plate to the inside bottom driver's-side corner of the windshield. This provided two means of theft prevention: 1.) most crooks would not bother to steal a sticker from a locked vehicle, and 2.) the penalty for theft increases from a mere misdemeanor for stealing from the exterior plate to a felony as theft with the aggravating circumstance of breaking and entering regardless of whether or not the vehicle was locked. One would think Indiana cops on registration patrol would appreciate such vehicles being parked back end first.

    As an aside, beginning this year proof of inspection within the previous three months is required when registering a vehicle now obviating the need for a second windshield sticker for vehicle inspection.

  • 32. JayJonson  |  June 19, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Actually, the case was adjudicated by an administrative law judge. It will not be affected by the Supreme Court ruling in the Texas case. The judge ruled that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles did not treat the gay youth group that applied for the license plates fairly.

  • 33. Eric  |  June 19, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Isn't losing a war a simple metric to use? It's no different than wanting a flag from any of our other war opponents. Putting the Confederate flag on a license plate is no different than a Nazi or Taliban flag.

  • 34. Waxr  |  June 19, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Not always. Although the Confederate flag is often seen as a symbol for state rights, others see it as racist. Likewise the swastika is often used as a symbol of antisemitism and would certainly be rejected on a license plate.

  • 35. Eric  |  June 19, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Yes, a symbol of the state's right to engage in black slavery, over an individual's right to liberty.

    Of course it is racist, the flag being flown is the one popularized by the KKK, not any of the flags authorized by the CSA Congress.

    It's really more akin to flying the SS flag, than the Nazi flag.

  • 36. Fortguy  |  June 20, 2015 at 1:08 am

    Ironically, the state could have avoided this legal–may I say constitutional?–crisis if the specialty plate program stayed true to its original intention. When first introduced, the program was designed to generate revenue to state departments and institutions with only a handful of plates available to choose from.

    These included plates with slogans such as "Protect Texas Wildlife" (or Hunting/Fishing, etc.) with pretty wildlife pictures and with proceeds directed toward the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department responsible for maintaining state parks, natural areas, and wildlife management preserves. The department also enforces anti-poaching and other hunting regulations through its game warden division.

    At the time, they also included plates supporting public universities with the proceeds assisting the individual schools.

    From the beginning, the Legislature got greedy and decided to expand the program to the seemingly bumper sticker outcome it has today:

    Not all state agencies had such a marketable appeal. Imagine plates for the Comptroller of Public Accounts (Support Texas Tax Collectors!) or the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (Support Criminal Offenders!)
    The state's two big behemoth universities were the first to get their own plates, Univ. of Texas at Austin and TexasA&M Univ., but they were the ones who needed the revenue the least. Most of the schools in their two respective university systems enjoy oil and gas royalties from lands belonging to the Permanent University Fund while public universities from the other four school systems and the independent schools never have access to those funds. None of the other schools have enrollments nor alumni bases to generate anywhere near as much money has the Big Two no matter how deserving.

    The Legislature got greedy and opened the program up to non-profits whether or not their cause was political such as anti-choice groups using pro-life phrases to the run-of-the-mill special interest whose interests seemingly contradict our own. Specialty plates for alumni of the Oklahoma Sooners and the Arkansas Razorbacks? When I first heard that, I thought, please, shoot me now. Of course, the Legislature limited the payout to whatever cause sponsored specialty plates, even the chronically underfunded TPWD, in order to flush more of this money into general revenue.

    Needless to say, the specialty plate program was expanded to include not only vanity plates allowing you to replace the numbers with your adolescent nickname with no directed beneficiary to any of the proceeds, but now you can have the most garish color combinations, as well. White text on hot pink? No problem!

    I'm surprised the fight is over the Sons of Confederate Veteran's battle flag instead of the rainbow flag. Either way, it only came to this because the Lege expanded the program to ridiculous proportions rather than reform the more noble program they began with.

  • 37. JayJonson  |  June 19, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Despite your disparagement of those who disagree with you, Ian, I happen to have a pretty good understanding of the First Amendment and I agree entirely with Breyer's opinion. (Concerning the names on the opinion, my only surprise is that Thomas joined the majority here.) Admittedly, the issue is a close one, but there is nothing loony about the majority opinion. It derives seamlessly from the Pleasant Grove decision.

    Alito is stunned because he has been hoist on his own petard. If he can say that a monument of the ten commandments donated by a religious organization is not really an infringement of the separation of church and state because it is government speech, then certainly a confederate flag on a license plate is also government speech. I disagree with the tortured analysis in Pleasant Grove City, but if it can be used to justify a religious monument on public property, then certainly it can be used to deny a confederate flag on a license plate.

    All your talk about the First Amendment protecting unpopular speech is irrelevant here. The First Amendment simply does not apply. The government does not prohibit the Confederate flags or other confederate emblems on private property. The Constitution does not require the government to be the vehicle for transmitting the images if it has a plausible reason for not doing so.

  • 38. wes228  |  June 19, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Plesant Grove City did *not* have anything to do with the Establishment Clause. ("Establishment Clause issues have been neither raised nor briefed before us" Breyer, concurring).

    It was litigated on Free Speech Clause grounds: if the government lets groups X, Y, and Z donate monuments to put in the park, does it violate Group W's right to freedom of speech if they refuse their monument? The answer to that is clearly no, just as it would not violate Nazi Germany's right to free speech if the government refuses their "Statue of Fascism" while accepting France's Statue of Liberty.

    "This does not mean that there are no restraints on government speech. For example, government speech must comport with the Establishment Clause." (majority opinion). Whether or not the already existing 10 Commandments monument violated the Establishment Clause was not at issue in that case.

    There are many reasons why the license plate program is different than permanent monuments, which Justice Alito thoughtfully outlines in his dissent.

  • 39. JayJonson  |  June 19, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Yes, Pleasant Grove did not have anything to do with the Establishment Clause. That is what was wrong with it. Alito got around the Establishment Clause by arguing that the government could decide whether to accept monuments.

    As Breyer explains, "In Summum, we considered a religious organization’s
    request to erect in a 2.5-acre city park a monument setting forth the organization’s religious tenets. See id., at 464–465. In the park were 15 other permanent displays. Id., at 464. At least 11 of these—including a wishing well, a September 11 monument, a historic granary, the city’s first fire station, and a Ten Commandments monument—had been donated to the city by private entities. Id., at 464–465. The religious organization argued that the Free Speech Clause required the city to display the organization’s proposed monument because, by accepting a broad range of permanent exhibitions at the park, the city had created a forum for private speech in the form of monuments. . . . This Court rejected the organization’s argument. We held that the city had not “provid[ed] a forum for private speech” with respect to monuments. Summum, 555 U. S., at 470. Rather, the city, even when “accepting a privately donated monument and placing it on city property,” had “engage[d] in expressive conduct.” Id., at 476. The speech at issue, this Court decided, was “best viewed as a form of government speech” and “therefore [was] not subject to scrutiny under the Free Speech Clause.” Id., at 464. "

    The Court made a mistake in the Pleasant Grove City case, and Breyer is now enjoying showing how such rulings have unintended consequences. Alito liked being able to circumvent the Establishment Clause by concocting a runaround, but is now unhappy because the same runaround leads to consequences he doesn't like.

    Similarly, a lot of people pushing the religious freedom bills will also find that, when they enacted, they will have unintended consequences as well. The same people who to protect the sincerely held religious beliefs of Christians are not going to be happy when the laws will be used to protect the sincerely held religious beliefs of Muslims or atheists or members of the Church of Cannabis.

  • 40. wes228  |  June 19, 2015 at 8:21 am

    The government speech doctrine is not a run-around of the Establishment Clause. Government speech, unlike private speech, is limited by the Establishment Clause. Because that 10 Commandments monument was ruled to be government speech, someone could now sue alleging that it violates the separation of church and state (although they would likely fail on those grounds with a Van Order v. Perry type ruling).

    The question here is if these license plates ("Drink Dr. Pepper!" "I am a realtor", "Rather be golfing…") is official government speech on behalf of the State of Texas, or if Texas is using its license plate program to operate a limited public forum for private speech.

    What if, as Alito proposes, the government put up large billboards on the side of the road, with half the space devoted to messages warning motorists of construction or to buckle their seatbelts (clearly government speech) and the other half, to raise revenue for the state, was rented out to individuals to post their own messages? Is the second half of the billboard, even though it is owned by the government, speaking for the government? As if ads for Pepsi, campaign posters for political candidates, and mindless minutiae ("I'd rather be golfing…") constituted official communication by the government to its citizenry.

    In that instance it would be clear that the government is opening up a limited public forum.

    The majority attempts to shoehorn a case dealing with obtrusive, permanent monuments into the more modern and lax program that is Texas' specialty license plate program. The government takes much more time and care in selecting monuments as they are dealing with finite space and monuments have for millennia been understood as a form of government communication with its citizenry. The license plates issued by Texas are so inane and contradictory (for instance, with plates available for rival, often out-of-state football teams) that the reasonable observer could not possibly construe them to be official communication from the government.

  • 41. JayJonson  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:06 am

    It is a close case, but there is nothing "loony" about Breyer's majority opinion. My problem, admittedly, is more with Pleasant Grove City, and I am glad to see where a loony decision like it leads to. You say "Government speech, unlike private speech, is limited by the Establishment Clause." I say, "Thanks to Pleasant Grove City, not enough."

    Yes, Alito gives lots of hypotheticals of horrors that could ensue, but they are only hypotheticals, and in fact the majority opinion rejects the idea that the government is opening up a limited public forum. Those horrible of hypotheticals would result from the limited public forums that Alito wants, not from the majority opinion, which gives the government the power (thanks to Pleasant Grove City) to regulate its own speech. That the government does not do so very well in some instances is not to say that it does not have the power to do better.

  • 42. wes228  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:39 am

    I can't imagine how Pleasant Grove City could have been decided any other way (and indeed it was a unanimous decision). If the government accepts just one monument from somebody, they must then accept any and all permanent monuments lest they violate someone's right to free speech? Our parks and streets would be cluttered beyond recognition.

    The government gets to say what it wants. Putting up a sign on the highway reminding people to buckle their seatbelts does not obligate them to post a sign saying seat belts are over-rated. The government speech doctrine makes perfect sense and was not invented by Pleasant Grove City v. Summum.

    The problem with the majority opinion (as illustrated by Alito's hypotheticals) is that it widens the government speech doctrine and in turn restricts the limited public forum doctrine. If a state puts up billboards by the side of the road and sells some space on them to the general public to post their own messages, this is now no longer a limited public forum but government speech, even though this speech is so inane, varied, and oftentimes contradictory (with one billboard advocating for one sports team and the next advocating for their rival) that it should never be reasonably construed as being official communication by the government. It broadens the ability to censor speech by private individuals, because it's no longer private speech; the definition of "government speech" has been expanded.

  • 43. JayJonson  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:50 am

    It should have been decided on the grounds of the Establishment Clause. The City of Pleasant Grove has no business endorsing the Ten Commandments.

    A government endorsing the tenets of a particular religion is a far more serious breach of the First Amendment than a government not allowing a Confederate flag on a license plate.

    Government speech was expanded by Pleasant Grove City. That is the case that civil libertarians should be denouncing.

  • 44. Waxr  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:53 am

    The way I see it, the state has not obligation to let any message be put on the plates, so why can't the state havve the right to reject messages which it objects to?

    It is not interferring with free speech, because the car owner can always get a bumper sticker which will say the same thing in even larger letters.

  • 45. Eric  |  June 19, 2015 at 10:34 am

    The two locations are not equivalent. One is government endorsed, the other is not. The only way the two would be equivalent would be if one could send any digital asset to the DMV for printing on the license plate without state review.

  • 46. guitaristbl  |  June 18, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Off topic but I kind of enjoyed this strongly worded (at leqst from Thomas's side) dispute between Kennedy and Thomas in the Ayala capital punishement – jury exclusion – harmless error case on the issue of solitary confinement. Both must feel very strongly about the issue.

  • 47. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Does Partnership Registration Mean Taiwan Is Ready for Marriage Equality?

    Partnership registration in two major cities in Taiwan is purely symbolic, but activists say it sends a message. Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, has begun allowing same-sex couples to register their partnerships, a month after another large city in the nation did the same, which some activists see as a sign that Taiwan is ready for same-sex relationship recognition on the national level.

    The Taipei city government began accepting registrations from same-sex couples from Wednesday, 17 June 2015, reports the news site "Focus Taiwan." The government of Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s biggest port city, made the same move a month ago.

    The registrations, available at no cost, are symbolic and confer no benefits, but they may be helpful in providing proof of a relationship in the case of legal disputes, some activists pointed out, adding that they send a message to the national government that same-sex relationships are now accepted in Taiwan.

    Lu Hsin-chieh, who is running for a seat in the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s national lawmaking body, said the Yuan and the Ministry of Justice should take note of this acceptance and consider a national marriage equality law, "Focus Taiwan" reports. A study released last year by the Institute of Sociology of Academia Sinica likewise indicates that the Taiwanese population would approve of equal marriage rights, she said.

    She also said the Taipei and Kaohsiung city governments could go further by making spousal benefits available to registered partners of city employees, and by sharing all household registration data with the National Health Insurance data system so that partners can make medical decisions for each other. Right now, unmarried partners can do this if they sign an information-sharing agreement with hospitals, courts, and police, "Gay Star News" notes.

  • 48. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Mexico Approves Marriage for Same-Sex Couples Across The Country

    According to the Constitution of Mexico, the battle is over.

    On 13 June 2015, the Supreme Court of Justice in Mexico made history when its recent decision took official effect, and thus became binding: the marriage codes that used to ban marriages for same-sex couples in the country have been declared unconstitutional in all the states across Mexico.

    See/read more in a photo montage showing multiple marriage ceremonies between same-sex couples in Mexico, interspersed with an article on the subject which has been translated from Spanish:

  • 49. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Jalisco: Reading the Handwriting on the Wall

    In June 2014, PRI congressman Héctor Pizano Ramos introduced legislation to amend the Civil Code of Jalisco and endorse same-sex marriage, which otherwise, for an entire year, went nowhere.

    Suddenly, after a national ruling from the SCJN on 3 June 2015 labeling all bans and heterosexual definitions of marriage unconstitutional, it was announced on 17 June 2015 that Jalisco would begin work on amending the Jalisco Civil Code after the ruling's official publication in the judicial gazette. They don't have much time remaining. Jalisco's case is next-up before Mexico's Supreme Court.

  • 50. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Nuevo León: Reading the Handwriting on the Wall

    On 17 June 2015, the Nueva Alianza party of Nuevo León announced their intention to introduce a same-sex marriage bill into the Nuevo León state legislature.

  • 51. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Chihuahua: Retroactively Reading the Handwriting on the Wall

    On 16 June 2015, the President of the Chihuahua state legislature announced that the state would debate the legal codification of the court ruling before the end of June.

    In the meantime, marriage for same-sex couples has come to Chihuahua by gubernatorial decree. Despite this, the Chihuahua marriage code still needs to be up-dated to reflect gender-neutral terminology.

  • 52. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    More Mexican States Reading the Handwriting on the wall

    Bills to legalize marriage between same-sex couples have already been introduced into the following additional state legislatures throughout Mexico:

    Aguascalientes (by the state's governor)
    Baja California
    Baja California Sur (by the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court)
    State of Mexico (by the state's governor)

  • 53. guitaristbl  |  June 18, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Again a small number given the number of states remaining without binding ME on state level and the determinitive nature of the supreme court's decision…Plus nobody guarantees those will go through..

  • 54. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Guitar, read it the other direction. This is the deck of cards beginning to collapse, one state after the other after the next. This is always how it happens in Mexico. The Supreme Court has to produce 5 rulings on the same matter, using the same language, before binding precedent is set. After that, all the state codes need to change,– and we're already seeing the beginning of that process.

    Count it this way. Five of 32 are already in conformity: Federal District, Quintana Roo, Coahuila, Colima, and Chihuahua. I've just accounted for 10 more, now in process. That's almost half. Plus San Luis Potosí (see below), Sinaloa, Tabasco, and Veracruz, also in process. That's more than half. And there may be others for which I do not have information. (By the way, you replied to me before I had finished my list. Thus, it was shorter than I had intended it to be)

    There will be obfuscation. And speaking of which, Yucatán's case, wherein which the state's Constitutional Court upheld Yucatán's discriminatory marriage code, will follow behind Jalisco's, and will be roundly slapped down as contrary to Mexico's Supreme Court's new binding precedent.

  • 55. scream4ever  |  June 18, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    What exactly is the situation with Colima? I keep hearing that it's legal there but Wikipedia isn't including it on their lists.

  • 56. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Scream, Colima is a small, quiet state with a small population. They've been allowing same-sex couples to join together, first in civil unions, and now, to marry (on a de facto basis), since very early in 2013. As best as I can determine, no one has yet been refused. In fact, same-sex couples in Colima who were first joined together in "civil unions" are now eligible to be "upgraded" to marriage.

    Apparently, though, the Colima Civil Code has not kept pace. Plus, it was their "separate but equal civil unions for same-sex couples" which was just struck down by Mexico's Supreme Court as the 5th case, giving us the nationwide binding precedent. (Chihuahua's, since then, was the 6th case).

    Colima hit its 5 injunction limit fairly early on, and has been marrying same-sex coupes who requested, without injunction, it ever since (precisely as per my understanding of Mexican law and the "amparo" process). I count it as being in compliance, certainly on a de facto basis. Others look at Colima's Civil Code, and say, "No, the code still needs to be changed. De facto isn't enough."

  • 57. scream4ever  |  June 18, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Ah. So in Chihuahua the Governor was able to amend the civil code with a simple order?

  • 58. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    No, he issued an executive order allowing same-sex couples to begin marrying statewide, effective immediately. The Civil Code of Chihuahua still needs to be up-dated to reflect that change.

    So yes, as you're hinting, if Chihuahua is to be counted as being in compliance (as it rightly should be), never mind the old wording in their civil code (as they also went way over the 5 "amparo" limit, thus setting aside the old wording in the code), then so too should Colima. At least, that's how I see it. The only difference? There was no grand pronouncement in Colima by the state's governor back in 2013, or even more recently.

  • 59. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    San Luis Potosí: Reading the Handwriting on the Wall

    On 8 August 2014, the Deputy Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights and Gender Equity, Miguel Maza Hernández, said that analysis of a proposal, a citizens initiative to change the laws in favor of same-sex marriage, would begin.

    On 17 June 2015, Hernández, announced the state's commitment to extending marriage to same-sex couples and stated that deliberations would happen after a June 2015 national Supreme Court ruling declaring all laws against same-sex marriage unconstitutional is published in the judicial gazette.

  • 60. VIRick  |  June 21, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Tamaulipas: Reading the Handwriting on the Wall

    According to Deputy Olga Sosa Ruiz, lawmakers in the state of Tamaulipas, in which the cities of Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, and Tampico are located, are presently working on a marriage equality bill that will remove all discriminatory terms from the Tamaulipas marriage code. They expect to consider the issue of marriage for same-sex couples in their upcoming legislative session, at which time she indicated that the new law would be passed.

  • 61. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Central Ohio Courts Prepared if Gay Couples Get OK to Marry

    Central Ohio probate courts say they’ll be ready to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of those unions. Same-day service is likely, court officials said, providing the decision is effective immediately and doesn’t come down late in the afternoon or evening.

    “This court will have the gender-neutral licenses available,” said William Reddington, the administrative magistrate in Franklin County Probate Court. “It will be business as usual.” Probate officials in the six surrounding counties (around Columbus) — Delaware, Fairfield, Licking, Madison, Pickaway and Union — also said they will have new applications and licenses ready or will be able to modify existing forms that use "bride" and "groom" or "Mr." and "Ms." Words such as "applicant" or "spouse" are likely substitutes.

    “I suspect this will be a very long decision,” said Judge David Hejmanowski of Delaware County. “ We will need a little bit of time to read through and make sure we understand the decision correctly.” If it’s favorable to gay marriage, he said, “there will be people who immediately want a license. And we will comply.”

    None of the area courts contacted said it was planning extended hours. But in Franklin County and probably others, staff members will stay to serve people who are there and waiting by the end of the business day. “Everyone who is in line by 4:30 p.m. will be served,” Reddington said. He encouraged Franklin County couples to fill out their applications online to help speed the process. Applications remain in the system for up to 30 days; the licenses, which are issued in person after the application is processed, are valid for 60 days.

    Ohio’s 88 county probate courts list their marriage-license requirements online or make the information available by phone. Officials recommend that same-sex couples consider the requirements carefully to make sure they have all the documentation, forms, and fees they need in order to leave with a license on what might be an historic day for them.

    Few expect major snags in Ohio if Justices overturn the state’s ban. “This is not Alabama,” said Licking County Probate Judge Robert Hoover.

  • 62. RemC  |  June 19, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Love the slap to Alabama by Hoover. Standards by which to measure…

  • 63. VIRick  |  June 20, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Rem, that was my favorite line in the entire article. It has become obvious to me that within certain legal/judicial circles that that quote, "This is not Alabama," has already become a catch-phrase for measuring performance.

    Georgia's Attorney-General very specifically used it when describing his state's intention of complying with the up-coming Supreme Court ruling. And now, here, we see it quoted again in describing Ohio's intentions of immediate compliance with the same ruling.

  • 64. davepCA  |  June 18, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    A few days late, but I just found this really nice video of the vote in Ireland. Enjoy!

  • 65. JayJonson  |  June 19, 2015 at 6:20 am

    Thanks for finding this wonderful video. I thought I had seen them all, but this one I missed, and it is special.

  • 66. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 18, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    I think the headline says it all:
    "POLL: Bad News for Indiana Governor, Good News for LGBT"

    To read the details, you can go to:

  • 67. A_Jayne  |  June 18, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Unfortunately, per this post on Daily Kos (, the anti-LGBT people in Indiana apparently feel empowered by the uproar. (My guess is that many of them thought LGBT people were protected in Indiana, but now know they are not, so they're taking advantage…)

  • 68. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 18, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Most people who are not part of the GLBT community believe GLBT people are protected in every state. Just as in hiring and firing, those of us in the GLBT community know this is not true in most states.

    (The GLBT community also includes our heterosexual friends of the homosexual community.)

  • 69. ebohlman  |  June 18, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Last time I saw a poll, a little over half of GLBT people wrongly believed that there were nationwide employment protections. Not as bad as straight people (I think almost 75% thought so), but not good.

  • 70. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 18, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Which means a LOT of education needs to take place among a LOT of people. And depending on how it reads, the expected favorable SCOTUS ruling on ME might not help us at all except for ME.

  • 71. josejoram  |  June 18, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Today in Italian senate are being discussed more than 2000 ammendments proposed by right wing opposition parties. They amounted initially to more than 4000.

  • 72. Christian0811  |  June 18, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    After looking through the case law in Italy, I think now is a good time to reapproach the constitutional court there. I believe the make up of the bench has changed enough to now successfully bring a claim and reverse the rotten 2010 decision which was written with literally no regard to the constitution.

    Skip the humiliating and lengthy process of trying to get second rate "civil partnerships" or whatever they'll call it, getting marriage by court decree looks like the faster route anyhow.

  • 73. josejoram  |  June 19, 2015 at 2:28 am

    I agree with you. But perhaps this path is remote hence current polítical situation, with Renzi in a minority government supported by the center-right, does not allow room for hope.

  • 74. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 19, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Too bad that Italian politics has more or less stabilized.

    Gone are the days that if an unpopular government came to power, there was an excellent probability that within a few days or weeks, a new government would be formed, or new elections would need to be called.

    Made for some frustrating times, but Italian politics was always fun to watch because of all the new governments that they had. For instance, in 2008 the Italian electorate went to the polls to elect the 62nd government since World War Two. And in that time period, only one government was in power the entire time of it's authorized time in power (five years) – Berlusconi as PM from 2001 – 2006 (and he had to temporarily resign the office at least once during that time period).

  • 75. SethInMaryland  |  June 18, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    is there anything the Italian gov can do to scrap off some of the amend? 2000 amends is just crazy

  • 76. josejoram  |  June 19, 2015 at 2:22 am

    The only thing, I thnk, is a decree (remember Italy is a parliamentary democracy) but Prime Minister Renzi does not consider perhaps this option because one of the right wing parties blocking civil unions is his partner in the government, the "nuovo centro destra" ( the new center- right). Monica Cirinna, the senator who presented the Bill in senate, will propose extra nightly sessions to finish debates on the Bill during july and getting its final aproval before autumn.

  • 77. josejoram  |  June 19, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Can anybody explain to me the difference between "freedom" and "liberty". I think English is the only language where this distinction is made.

  • 78. mu2  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Liberty is the condition or status in which freedom is protected. Freedoms and rights exist under the umbrella of liberty. (That's just my opinion, and off the top of my head…but it's what I believe)

  • 79. VIRick  |  June 21, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    I've always taken the two words to be interchangeable, one being derived from the Latinate root, (liberté in French, libertad in Spanish, liberdade in Portuguese, libertà in Italian) and the other from the Germanic root (Freiheit in German, vrijheid in Dutch, frihed in Danish, frihet in Swedish), neither of which are in any way related to Finnish ("vapaa käyttöoikeus jhk" or "vapaapääsy jhk") where the word for "oppress" (sortaa) or "to be oppressed" (on sorrettu) comes much easier than "freedom".

  • 80. guitaristbl  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:01 am

    The Texas Supreme Court upheld the divorce in the case before it (after more than a year and a half..) ! :

    Its limited and on procedural grounds (state intervened too late) but its something.

    The ruling :

    I am holding the last part :

    "Like JUSTICE DEVINE, we would appreciate the opportunity to address the merits of this issue of critical importance at this crucial juncture in our nation’s history. Yet we must respect the bounds of our jurisdiction by addressing only the questions immediately before the Court."

    What I make out of it is "we want to rule against ME but have more sense than Alabama."

    The dissents (given at seperate files) seem more interesting, going through the 1st one right now..!

    Judge Willett dissents joined by Justice Guzman and Justice Devine :

    He says :

    " In my view, the State’s chief legal officer—sworn to “preserve, protect, and defend” Texas law— should in fact be permitted to preserve, protect, and defend it. I would allow the attorney general to make his argument that Texas law imposes an absolute jurisdictional constraint and constitutionally prohibits a judge not only from performing a same-sex marriage but also from dissolving one.
    The attorney general may be right. He may be wrong. But he should be heard."

  • 81. jm64tx  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:42 am

    "The State finds support for its arguments in the Dallas court of appeals’
    decision in In re Marriage of J.B. & H.B., 326 S.W.3d 654 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2010, pet. dism’d).
    That court held that (1) “[t]he Texas Constitution and section 6.204 . . . forbid the State and its
    agencies from giving any effect whatsoever to a same-sex marriage” and thus “preclude[] a trial
    court from giving any legal effect to [a same-sex] petition for divorce,” (2) “neither comity nor the
    place-of-celebration rule overcome the jurisdictional bar of section 6.204(c)(2),” and (3) “Texas’s
    laws providing that its courts have no subject-matter jurisdiction to adjudicate a petition for divorce by a party to a same-sex marriage do not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Id. at 665–66, 669, 681. Today, we have dismissed the petition for review in J.B. & H.B. as moot, because one of the parties died after the petition was filed. Because the State lacks standing to appeal here, we lack jurisdiction to address these issues, which leaves the Dallas court’s opinion as the only currently existing Texas law on these issues."

    "Although we cannot address the issues here, what we can do and have done is confirm that,
    as the parties agree, the trial court’s divorce decree in this case is not binding on the State. As a
    non-party to this litigation, the State is not required to recognize the validity of this (or any other)
    same-sex divorce decree, and the Constitution and Family Code may in fact prohibit the State and its agencies and political subdivisions from doing so. If the State’s arguments are correct, then under Texas law Naylor and Daly are neither married nor divorced, and neither the State nor any agency or political subdivision can treat them otherwise."

    Thus, J.B. and H.B. is the law in Texas … no same sex marriage.

  • 82. mu2  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:49 am

    In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University.

    On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully.

    He got down on one knee, inspected the elephant's foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

    Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

    Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

    Probably wasn't the same fucking elephant.

  • 83. BillinNO  |  June 20, 2015 at 8:10 am

    The problem of elephant-related violence in Chicago is not going to go away by itself; it will be with us until we as a community confront it head-on. Trumpeting loudly is a form of hate speech; we need to stand firm in the face of this monstrous injustice, and remember the victims across Chicago who…etc. etc.

  • 84. RobW303  |  June 20, 2015 at 10:15 am

    The elephant was attacking Christianity!

  • 85. VIRick  |  June 20, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    "Probably wasn't the same fucking elephant"

    That definitely qualifies as the "thought-of-the-day!" LOL

  • 86. guitaristbl  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Now that the usual troll has ruined my ability to update my post, I have to make a new one..So on the dissent, furthermore :

    "The legal airtightness of a same-sex couple’s divorce cannot hang on a reed so thin and
    fortuitous as whether the attorney general got wind of the case and was timely heard by the court. His awareness is irrelevant to the core issue: whether the dissolution implicates and invalidates Texas law. Can a court dissolve a marriage, same-sex or otherwise, without first recognizing and validating the marriage? A couple may adamantly dispute whether they are disputing constitutionality. That is likewise irrelevant to the core issue: whether the dissolution implicates and invalidates Texas law. Again, if the attorney general is correct that Texas courts lack jurisdiction, then this “divorce” is void and forever challengeable. Even those with polar opposite views on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage must agree: That sort of legal purgatory benefits nobody.
    On matters of this consequence, when there is such hard-wired incentive for artful pleading, semantic gamesmanship, and tactical shortcuts in order to evade adversarial presentation and judicial review of momentous jurisdictional and constitutional issues, I would banish all uncertainty. Does Texas law allow same-sex couples to divorce or not? And if not, does that violate the United States Constitution? Let us decide once and for all and be done with it."

    "Litigants should not be able to camouflage constitutional questions through artful pleading. State law is sensibly designed to facilitate intervention by the attorney general where the trial court might possibly declare Texas law unconstitutional, and the parties (and the court) are all too happy to leave the law unmentioned—and undefended."

    Additional dissent by justice Devine goes on to uphold the marriage ban as constitutional all together :

    The fact that only one judge was tempted to directly do that is a positive suprise given this is the texas supreme court.

  • 87. RemC  |  June 19, 2015 at 10:00 am

    I must admit to being in a particularly blue funk this morning. I'm deeply saddened and troubled by the shootings in Charleston, and the social/cultural implications of having so many people like this killer in America. We are also so vulnerable, all of us…This troubling sadness extends over to the continuation of the JONAH trial. At bottom, these stories are about people internalizing shame to such a a degree that they are willing to fix what can't be and doesn't need fixing. The most recent transcript includes statements from the Ferguson in the trial's title, a Mormon who developed a romantic/sexual relationship with one of the JONAH program's "leaders." After moving back to Salt Lake City, he met two of the men who were eventually featured in "My Husband's Not Gay," Jeff Bennion and Pret Dahlgren. Here's an excerpt, where Ferguson is being questioned by his lawyer (slightly edited to shorten):

    Q. Can you describe for us the first time you met Jeff and Pret?

    A. Yes. Jeff and Pret would hold activity nights. So one of them was over at Jeff's, Jeff Bennion's house. It was just a little mixer in his basement.

    Q. What did you think the purpose of that meet and greet was?

    A. That one was just an opportunity for men who were same sex attracted and also Mormon to get to know each other.

    Q. Did you go to any other kind of events at Jeff Bennion's house?

    A. Some of the activities were a movie night. One was a sports night. One was a touch and a holding night.

    Q. What was [movie night] about?

    A. Jeff and Pret had a group over to watch the movie "Gladiator." There were probably 15 of us. So this is all in Jeff's basement. We turn the movie on and they then, during the movie, Jeff and Pret would push pause at different points in the movie. In the movie there are…men had six pack abs and big pecs and we would stop it and talk about their bodies.

    Q. You mentioned something called a sports night? What was that?

    A. That was a night where we watched a football game and they had invited a college football player to come over and teach us what football is. (RC comment: because only straight guys like sports, right? I need to tell my husband…)

    Q. Again, the participants in these nights, who are they? What kind of people? Who are they?

    A. Men who are gay who are Mormon, who are trying to overcome same sex attraction.

    Q. You also mentioned a touch night? Tell us about that.

    A. So the touch night was also in Jeff Bennion's basement. There were probably 330 men who were there. All of them were same sex attracted. This particular night not all of them were Mormon. There were some Catholic guys, some Protestant guys. We were instructed to look around the room, find someone who created a charge, and then to ask them — the phrase we used, if they would give us golden father energy. (RC comment: golden father energy comes from the gay-to-straight weekends in the woods).

    Q. Who was doing the instructing on that night?

    A. Jeff and Pret.

    Q. And you used the word charge. What does that mean?

    A. Charge is also one of those code words that you learn on Journey into Manhood and it's a replacement word for same sex desire.

    Q. Did you receive any kind of holding that night?

    A. From Jeff Bennion.

    Q. How long did that last?

    A. It — I would guess it was about 30 minutes or so…

    Q. Were you ever nude with either Jeff or Pret? Tell us about that.

    A. I had a roommate. His name was Craig. He went to the gym a lot, so he was a really muscular guy. When I introduced Craig to Jeff and Pret, they were really excited to spend some time with him, to hang out with him, so they suggested that we go work out together, so we went to the gym…We went to the gym and spent a lot of time swimming and lifting weights and most of the time was spent in the steam room and in the showers.

    Those poor, self-deluded fools…The damage…Ugh.

  • 88. davepCA  |  June 19, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Well their mental and emotional state sure must have been messed up and extremely uncomfortable, but I gotta say it sounds like these guys were getting more action than most gay men I know…. Just sayin'.

  • 89. Rick55845  |  June 19, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Especially with 330 of them crammed into Jeff Bennion's basement! He must have one hell of a big basement, or those guys would be exchanging lots of that "golden father energy", or some kind of energy, whether they wanted to or not. Kind of sad that they can't embrace their own selves (and their neighbors) without feelings of guilt.

  • 90. RemC  |  June 19, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Rick, I googled the guy and up came a picture of him with his wife in front of their house. It's mucho big.

  • 91. NetAmigo  |  June 19, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Here's a link to the photos.

  • 92. guitaristbl  |  June 19, 2015 at 10:13 am

    This testimony is so…sad. I really can't find words to explain it..these men are in dire need of proper psychological support to accept themselves, they are severely damaged by religious indoctrination…

  • 93. davepCA  |  June 19, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    It's more than just sad. Personally, I find these descriptions of what transpired and the terms they use to be extremely cultish and creepy. 'Touch and hold' nights for men who claim to be trying to AVOID acting on their same sex attractions?? Cruising the crowd and looking for that guy who 'gives them a charge'? Getting some "golden father energy"?? That is just disturbing. Makes you wonder what bizarre phrases they create to describe what's happening when they are actually having sex, in order to allow themselves to pretend they are doing something other than having sex.

  • 94. RobW303  |  June 19, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Reminds me of the "guidance" Catholic priests sometimes give to their young charges (often with hands tugging on their ears to impart to them, what, "the pure white elixir of divine rapture"?)

  • 95. RemC  |  June 19, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Just noticed that Pret Dahlgren testified yesterday. That should be interesting reading, to say the least, when the transcript is released.

  • 96. wes228  |  June 19, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Should I be worried that the Court has not added additional days for next week yet?

  • 97. scream4ever  |  June 19, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Not at all. They could easily release the remaining decisions over the remaining two scheduled days, or else add days in the week before the Forth of July.

  • 98. flyerguy77  |  June 19, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    last Day is 30th…… they can add additional days….. They Why are you worry? no worrying unless it's a negative decision. 🙂

  • 99. wes228  |  June 19, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    I just want this done with!!! They have 11 opinions left. They can issue 5 on Monday, 4 or 5 next Thursday, and then the 30th can be their final day. I do NOT want this going into July!!!

  • 100. tigris26  |  June 20, 2015 at 6:50 am

    I share your feelings – this last week before the ruling has been especially hard! I am trying to occupy my mind as much as possible to make the time go by faster.

    Nevertheless, I feel confident that there won't be any additional days in July. Someone on SCOTUSblog, either Amy Howe or Tom Goldstien, said that most of the Justices take vacations in July and so they like to wrap things up by the end of June.

    So, at the latest, I'm thinking the last of the decisions will be June 30th. We may have extra days next week – for instance Thursday – which I am hopeful for our ruling because it's closest to the other gay rights decisions in the past. 😉

  • 101. flyerguy77  |  June 19, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    They won't go into july!! thats a fact.. Think about it.. they average 2 to 4 decision a day.. if they have 11 left.. 3 on Monday, 3 on Thursday if they add days, 29th, 2, and 4 on the 29th……. who knows..

  • 102. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 19, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    NOT a 'fact' until it becomes a …


    "Throughout the term, but mostly during the last months of the term—May, June, and, if necessary, July—the Court announces its opinions."
    (… )

    From SCOTUS itself:
    "A Term of the Supreme Court begins, by statute, on the first Monday in October. Usually Court sessions continue until late June or early July."
    ( )

    It is not usual for SCOTUS to extend 'meeting time' for the announcement of decisions into July, but it is very much possible (for example, "in July 1974, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to overturn Roth.").
    (… )

    SCOTUS decisions in July? Rare, but not impossible.

  • 103. VIRick  |  June 19, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    "They won't go into July!! That's a fact."

    No, the court's term is complete whenever the last decision is announced. Attempting to place a fixed date upon that event is futile.

    Breathe. Then see Mike's succinctly correct comment in reference to July immediately above.

    The remainder of your comment, and its internal figurings, is not understandable.

  • 104. Dann3377  |  June 19, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Lawrence v Texas 26 June 2003, United States v Windsor 26 June 2013. Does anyone think that 26 June 2015 will be the date?

  • 105. scream4ever  |  June 19, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    I'm hoping, plus it would be a great start to Pride weekend!!!

  • 106. flyerguy77  |  June 19, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    I think they don't release decision on Fridays.

  • 107. Raga  |  June 19, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    No, they don't. They're fond of adding Thursdays as extra opinion days because they normally already have to meet for conference on Thursdays. However, there have been occasions where they've sometimes added a Tuesday or a Wednesday during the last (nearly) full week of June, instead of or in addition to a Thursday. Stats for the last two years:

    2014: June 30 was the last Monday of the term and the last four opinion days were Mon(23), Wed(25), Thu(26), Mon(30) and they released 3,3,2,2 opinions in those four days. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby came out on the last day, June 30.

    2013: June 24 was the last Monday of the term and the last four opinion days were Thu(20), Mon(24), Tue(25), Wed(26) and they released 3,6,3,3 opinions during those days. Windsor and Hollingsworth came out on the last day, June 26. Perhaps the Justices wanted a long weekend, and since there wasn't a conference scheduled that Thursday(27), they decided to add Tuesday(25) instead.

    So, yes, adding a Friday next week seems unlikely. It is more likely they'll add a Thursday next week. (And perhaps a Wednesday as well like last year if necessary.) And most likely, King and Obergefell will be released sometime on the last or penultimate opinion day.

    That said, if they do add a Friday (perhaps unprecedented) next week, then it'll be a very curious move indeed, and would almost surely be for the sole purpose of handing down a sweeping decision in Obergefell.

  • 108. JayJonson  |  June 20, 2015 at 6:30 am

    The fact that it would be unprecedented for a Friday decision would make it even more special. I hope they do so. June 26 is our lucky day at SCOTUS.

  • 109. Waxr  |  June 20, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Nope. The sooner the better. This month is already taking too long.

  • 110. VIRick  |  June 19, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    The French government has issued a wonderfully apt travel advisory to its citizens who might be planning on visiting the USA:

    The French shouldn’t be too French when they visit the U.S. That’s the advice being doled out by the French government to its citizens visiting America. Along with warnings about slower speed limits, higher drinking ages, and hurricanes in Texas, the French foreign ministry adds a note of warning against being too “Latin.” “It’s recommended to adopt a reserved attitude toward those of the opposite sex,” it says. “Comments, behavior, and jokes, which might be harmless in Latin countries, can lead to criminal cases,” the ministry’s website says. Reinforcing French views of American prudishness, the website notes that even minors can be accused of sexual harassment, and asks that children use toilets reserved for their sex in the U.S. Among other advice to the French in America: “keep calm in all circumstances” since some states authorize the carrying of weapons. It also asks visitors to avoid raising their voice or making sudden or aggressive gestures at the police.

  • 111. mu2  |  June 19, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Views of American prudishness aren't restricted to the French. Most all civilized nations understand that humans, like all mammals, are born naked and they occasionally need to expel extraneous fluids and digested organic matter. They don't find it to be 'nasty' like we do. That damn talking snake sure has caused a lot of problems.

  • 112. VIRick  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    I think the real reason I posted this is because in France (and many other Latin countries) parents think nothing of taking their kids into public restrooms with them. As a result, a man will escort a little girl into the men's room with him, while a woman may take a little boy into the ladies' room. Given all the ridiculous anti-trans bathroom phobia currently underway in the USA, the French are already being advised by their government not to be too French in the USA in this regard.

  • 113. A_Jayne  |  June 19, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Depending on the child's age and the parent's confidence in the environment, in the US, many parents still accompany young children of the opposite sex into restrooms the parent would otherwise use. The safety of a child rises above anything others may think.

  • 114. RnL2008  |  June 20, 2015 at 4:48 am

    I have to say that in my opinion ANY Candidate running for the Presidency who signs this Pledge or the Moral Clause put out by NOM WON'T get my vote……the President is to NOT only represent this Country, but the Citizens as well…..ALL of the Citizens……NOT just the straight ones. Here's the Pledge by the Anti-Gay Church Leaders:

    Folks, you might want to put protective gear on when reading this so called Pledge……it's so full of Manure……it stinks!!!

  • 115. RnL2008  |  June 20, 2015 at 5:09 am

    The ummm, article in World Nut Daily clearly shows why Evangelistic Fundamentalists are rather crazy people……..they somehow believe that it's okay to tell NOT only the Justices of SCOTUS but every person that their religious beliefs TRUMPS the Constitution…….for lack of waiting on REAL news… the article and the Pledge:

  • 116. Waxr  |  June 20, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Consider this. With 16,000,000 members, the Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant body in the United States. At their convention last Wednsday the current SBC president stated:

    "Consequently, we will not accept, nor adhere to, any legal redefinition of marriage issued by any political or judicial body including the United States Supreme Court. We will not recognize same-sex "marriages", our churches will not host same-sex ceremonies, and we will not perform such ceremonies.

    "While we affirm our love for all people, including those struggling with same-sex attraction, we cannot and will not affirm the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior or any behavior that deviates from God's design for marriage. We also believe religious freedom is at stake within this critical issue – that our first duty is to love and obey God, not man.

    "Therefore, we strongly encourage all Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, educators, and churches to openly reject any mandated legal definition of marriage and to use their influence to affirm God's design for life and relationships. As the nation's largest non-Catholic denomination with over 16 million members, we stake our very lives and future on the Truth of God's Word."

    Of course the law doesn't require churches to do any of those things, but the sound bites get people excited. Local SBC churches are pretty much left alone to do as they wish, and as soon as they learn that ME does not harm them, and that there is money to be made by performing SSM ceremonies and renting rooms for the parties, most local SBC churches will come around.

  • 117. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 20, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Mr. SBC President?

    Can you tell me the last time the SBC condoned a wedding at an SBC church, a wedding using ONLY the Jewish tradition for weddings?

    Can you tell me the last time the SBC condoned a wedding at an SBC church, a wedding using ONLY the Hindu tradition for weddings?

    Can you tell me the last time the SBC condoned a wedding at an SBC church, a wedding using ONLY the Buddhist tradition for weddings?

    Can you tell me the last time the SBC condoned a wedding at an SBC church, a wedding using ONLY the Muslim tradition for weddings?

    The history of the SBC only goes back to May 1845, or less than 200 years, not like the approx. 2000 year history of Catholicism, the approx. 1400 year history of Islam, the approx. 4000 year history of Judaism, etc.

    Oh, and ME has existed in several countries and states for more than a decade now, and those countries and states are still in existence and apparently doing well (even thriving).

    So what's your problem? You think it's 'icky' and you think everyone should believe as you? That's not how it works. Your beliefs end when they interfere with my rights.

  • 118. RnL2008  |  June 20, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Hey Mike,
    Are these questions for me? Or towards the article? I hope you'd know I wasn't trying to attack you…..I have a good deal of respect for you.

  • 119. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 20, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    I addressed them to the SBC President, not to anyone on this site. That's why I started my comment with "Mr. SBC President?".

    So, unless you are a Mr. and President of the SBC (and I am pretty sure you are neither), no the questions were NOT directed at you.

  • 120. RnL2008  |  June 20, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    I thought that was what you meant……but I also don't want to take your comment for granted……..I do like your questions and it would be nice if somehow we could mail them to that person.

  • 121. RnL2008  |  June 20, 2015 at 5:12 am

    I've got my new avatar up and am hopeful SCOTUS will do the right thing NO matter how many religious folks threaten to set themselves on fire if SCOTUS doesn't rule the way they want them to!!!

  • 122. mu2  |  June 20, 2015 at 5:57 am

    I will donate as much lighter fluid as it takes.

  • 123. RnL2008  |  June 20, 2015 at 6:01 am

    I'll help…….where do these people come from that they think their chosen religious beliefs trump the laws of this Country? I mean I believe in God, but I left formalized religion roughly 25 years ago…….and the older I get, the more certain people just seem to have nobody home in the brain department.

  • 124. RemC  |  June 20, 2015 at 7:24 am

    I've seen Joe at joemygod point out on occasion that his blog gets read by opponents and they like to leap on threats of violence. Want to suggest that this kind of commentary might not be appropriate and helpful. That said, the SBC president's announcement is as ridiculous as it is damaging.

  • 125. mu2  |  June 20, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Assisting someone to self-immolate isn't a threat of violence, it's an act of christian charity.

  • 126. gay_avenger  |  June 20, 2015 at 8:44 am

    More than happy here to donate a couple gallons of high octane and new Zippo to any self-righteous cherry picking hypocritical bigot wanting to self-immolate.

  • 127. ianbirmingham  |  June 20, 2015 at 7:49 am

    mu2 offered a generous donation to people who seem to be interested in dramatically expressing their own viewpoint without harming anyone else. This method has often been used before (especially by religious people) – in fact there is a very long and active history of self-immolation which continues into the present day.

    But in this instance, all sides seem to be speaking metaphorically. So on multiple levels there is no genuine cause for concern about mu2's commentary.

  • 128. RemC  |  June 20, 2015 at 7:25 am

    Rose, where did you get that? I'd like to use it myself.

  • 129. RnL2008  |  June 20, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Go out to a Google Search and type in "Rainbow Supreme Court"…….there are a few!!!

  • 130. RemC  |  June 20, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Got it as you can see. Thanks!

  • 131. RnL2008  |  June 20, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    You're welcome….by the way, looks great.

  • 132. RnL2008  |  June 20, 2015 at 5:54 am

    More Stupidity by anti-gay folks in Michigan:

  • 133. Sagesse  |  June 20, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Weekend reading while waiting… more, or less, patiently. Always liked Judge McShane.

    Gay marriage: 5 things Judge Michael McShane says about his landmark ruling []

  • 134. ianbirmingham  |  June 20, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Delray Beach is a little closer to enacting a LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinance, though not without a ton of legwork from Rand Hoch and the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. On Tuesday, City commissioners voted 5-0 on first reading to enact a public policy that Delray Beach would officially oppose discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, genetic information, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, pregnancy, familial status, or age.

    But the vote itself almost didn't go through, highlighting the extra work Hoch, president of the PBCHRC, and his group have to go through. Hoch tells New Times that he and the group waited at the city meeting from 6 p.m. until just after 11, when the meeting was winding down and the once-overflowing crowd had dissipated to a handful of people. Every agenda was covered except the civil rights ordinance, until the very end. The commissioners were forced to extend the meeting in order to hold a vote. …

    Of the 28 municipalities in Palm Beach County, only four — Boynton Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth and West Palm Beach – have enacted am LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinance. "There are 31 in municipalities in Broward, and two have LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinances," Hoch adds. The two municipalities are Oakland Park and Wilton Manors. In all, 57 counties and 394 municipalities across Florida have yet to move forward with prohibiting discrimination against the LGBT community, Hoch points out. "Clearly much work needs to be done," he says.

    Part of the issue is that many think the LGBT community is covered in civil rights laws. "Congress has refused to pass a bill since 1974, and Florida has failed to do so since 2007," Hoch says. "So all the work needs to be done on the local level — and it still isn't being done in so many parts of the state."

    Hoch has been diligent in trying to get ordinances passed throughout the state, even while meeting with some form of resistance or another at times. In March, for example, Boynton Beach staffers confused the civil rights ordinance with an Equal Benefits Ordinance, which became an issue because the civil rights ordinance doesn't call for businesses to provide benefits. Hoch had to scramble and send out emails to city officials to get the mistake fixed. Ultimately, the ordinance passed, though Mayor Jerry Taylor voted against it, citing a New Times article that he claimed featured some "derogatory comments" from Hoch.

    As for Delray Beach, the PBCHRC has the mayor's backing. "Delray Beach is a first-class city with a diverse community," Mayor Cary Glickstein says. "This ordinance lets people know that Delray Beach is open for business for everyone and that we oppose prejudice and discrimination of all kinds." The final hearing to pass the ordinance will be on July 7.

  • 135. VIRick  |  June 20, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    As of this coming Monday, 22 June 2015, Mexico should be at full-throttle toward marriage equality nationwide, and could well prove to be a very interesting prelude leading up to full marriage equality in the USA in another week.

    Mexico's Supreme Court decision of 11 June 2015, in the Chihuahua case, the 6th ruling on this same matter using the same language, was duly published in the official Judicial Gazette yesterday, 19 June 2015, and thus, will become effective nationwide as of Monday, 22 June 2015. This ruling standardized the procedures for judges and courts throughout Mexico to approve all applications for marriage between same-sex couples and has also made said approval mandatory.

    And as a prelude as to what to expect next week within Mexico itself, we have this report:

    On 18 June 2015, as a walk-in test, four same-sex couples applied for marriage directly with the Civil Registrar of Veracruz and were denied due to constitutional prohibitions, given that the state of Veracruz has not yet hit its limit of 5 successful "amparos" having been granted by the federal courts. Instead, and as a result, the civil registrar advised the couples that they must still file an "amparo" through the court to apply for marriage.

  • 136. VIRick  |  June 21, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Here's some of the language expressed in Mexico's most-recent Supreme Court decision, officially published in the Judicial Gazette on 19 June 2015, and effective from tomorrow, 22 June 2015:

    On the question of dignity and equality, the ruling stated: “The exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of marriage perpetuates the notion that same-sex couples are less deserving of recognition than heterosexuals, offending their dignity as people and their integrity.”

    The court also rejected the argument that marriage is necessary for procreation.“To link the requirements of marriage to the sexual preferences of those who seek to access the institution of marriage with procreation is discriminatory. It unjustly excludes same-sex couples from accessing marriage who find themselves in similar conditions as heterosexual couples. The distinction is discriminatory because sexual preferences are not a relevant reason on which to make the distinction in relation to the constitutional mandate. As the purpose of marriage is not procreation, there is no justifiable reason that the marital union should be heterosexual, nor should it be described as ‘only between a man and a woman.’”

  • 137. Fortguy  |  June 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Pitcairn Islands adopts ME becoming the first British overseas territory to do so. I don't expect this to become a movement. Most permanently populated UK territories are in the Caribbean where British colonial rule has left a long hostility toward LGBT people.

  • 138. SethInMaryland  |  June 20, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    haha look who beat the US and Mexico, Pitcairn Islands: doesn't matter matter the size though , still another country

  • 139. VIRick  |  June 20, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Here's an excellently well-written, extended article from the "Louisiana Advocate" answering the following question, one which is unique to Louisiana:

    "If the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, how soon could Louisiana couples marry?"

    Advocates for same-sex marriage in Louisiana are openly betting that by the end of this month the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in their favor. But even if the decision they expect comes down, it’s up in the air whether gay and lesbian couples across the state waiting to cement their partnerships with a wedding will get immediate satisfaction. Legal experts offer different answers, estimating it could take days or even months after a favorable opinion for same-sex marriages to move forward in the state.

    Part of the likely delay is due to the usual questions about interpreting a court decision and the time local and state officials could need to parse the ruling. In addition, though, there is a possible hiccup unique to Louisiana, legal experts say, because this is the only state where a federal district court judge in recent years has upheld a statewide same-sex marriage ban.

    “There’s a slightly different route for Louisiana because we lost at the trial level,” said Kenneth Upton Jr., senior counsel with Lambda Legal, the attorneys representing gay couples in the Louisiana case. The federal appeals court “would send it back to the court in New Orleans with instructions to enter a judgment for the plaintiffs. That could take some time.”

    Still, the excitement surrounding a landmark Supreme Court ruling of this type could spark a rush on clerk of court offices, the local agencies that typically hand out marriage licenses. If gay marriage is legalized, any clerks who decide to immediately dispense licenses to same-sex couples would be on firm footing, Upton said. But if any balk, there could be some breathing room.

    The political scramble might be just as dramatic. What would be the reactions of state leaders like Gov. Bobby Jindal and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, who have staked out positions adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage? And what about local clerks — themselves politicians, although ones not normally in the spotlight?

    “Until we know what the ruling says, we really can’t know what we’re going to do. Between what our legal counsel advises us and what the attorney general advises us, that’s what we’ll do. I’m sure the question is: Does Louisiana law supersede a federal law or decision that’s handed down?” said Debbie Hudnall, executive director of the Louisiana Clerks of Court Association. “Believe me, we’re all very anxious to know which way (it goes),” she said. “Whatever we do, we want to be consistent and make sure we’re doing the right thing.”

    Upton said the Feldman ruling and pending 5th Circuit case could complicate implementation if the Supreme Court sides with same-sex couples’ ultimate goal: marriage in every state. Both the 5th Circuit and Feldman would need to act — the appeals court issuing a ruling and Feldman overturning his — after a favorable Supreme Court decision, he said. It would be Feldman’s final judgment that’s needed to bring enforcement against any official who refuses to abide by a new rule of law, he said.

    This time gap means clerks who refuse to issue licenses to gay couples could “have cover” during a limbo period while the matter works its way through the courts, he said. “I think by the time you get past the summer, as you get toward September, I think anybody who’s not issuing licenses (to same-sex couples) is on shaky ground,” Upton said.

  • 140. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 20, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    "Does Louisiana law supersede a federal law or decision that’s handed down?”

    I guess Ms. Hudnall hasn't read the US Constitution.

    Article III establishes the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS), says that SCOTUS's job is to interpret laws to see if they are in accordance with the US Constitution, and says that Congress shall establish 'inferior' courts as needed.

    Article VI, Section 2, states that, among other things, the US Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land, "anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

    In other words, the US Constitution establishes SCOTUS, and establishes that the job of SCOTUS is to interpret laws to make sure they are in accordance with the US Constitution. The US Constitution also says that the US Constitution (and thus SCOTUS) rules, no matter what any state's constitution or laws say.

  • 141. VIRick  |  June 20, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Plus, I think Ms. Hudnall, the executive director of the Louisiana Clerks of Court Association, was being deliberately stupid. But then, that's all part of Louisiana being Louisiana, just as Alabama loves being Alabama. The only difference is that in Louisiana they're got cover from the Feldman ruling at federal district court level upholding the state's marriage bans (at least until that has been reversed).

  • 142. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 21, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Except Feldman, as a Federal District Judge, is part of an 'inferior' court under SCOTUS.

    The US Constitution established SCOTUS, and gave Congress permission (but not an obligation) to establish 'inferior' courts to SCOTUS.

  • 143. VIRick  |  June 21, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Mike, agreed. But there's still a practical on-the-ground methodology which will need to be followed to un-do the original upholding of Louisiana's ban, as that district court decision in Louisiana still needs to be reversed by the same federal district court in Louisiana (but not necessarily by Feldman himself). And since the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals chose to wait to issue its decision until after SCOTUS' ruling, the procedure (which will take some time) will be as follows:

    1. SCOTUS ruling
    2. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in accordance with SCOTUS
    3. Louisiana federal district court reversal

    For comparison, look back at the situation in Nevada after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, as the original federal district court decision in Nevada still needed to be reversed (in order to be in accord with the 9th Circuit) by the same federal district court in Nevada before marriage equality could begin there.

  • 144. guitaristbl  |  June 21, 2015 at 5:53 am

    Any bets Feldman recuses himself when the case is remanded with instructions to enter judgment for the plaintiffs (if that hopefully happens etc etc) ?

  • 145. A_Jayne  |  June 21, 2015 at 6:58 am

    I certainly wouldn't bet against it – especially after Judge Robert Jones (R – Mormon) refused to issue a different court order when the 9th Circuit overturned his decision upholding anti-gay marriage law in Nevada. If that happened here, in a purple state, it will surely happen in any red one…

    Feldman will have to prove himself at least as big a bigot as Jones…

  • 146. Zack12  |  June 22, 2015 at 1:42 am

    If you want to see a biased judge, Robert Jones was certainly it.

  • 147. JayJonson  |  June 21, 2015 at 6:42 am

    There is also a decision pending from the Louisiana Supreme Court. A state judge declared the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. It was appealed by the state to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The court could rule at any time. (Admittedly, the Louisiana Supreme Court is not known for either its perspicacity or its courage, so the chances of getting justice from it is not good.)

  • 148. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 21, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    The saving grace of rulings from a state supreme court is that they can be appealed to SCOTUS. If SCOTUS issues the ruling expected by most here, is there any doubt that it would send any appealed ruling back down to the LA SC to reconsider in light of SCOTUS's recent ruling?

  • 149. davepCA  |  June 20, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    Wow. I just saw an amazing commercial on TV, from Tylenol. It begins with the announcer asking "When were you first considered a family?" and shows short clips of various families. The announcer then asks "When did you first FIGHT to be considered a family?" and shows more clips, including an interracial couple, a couple with kids who are different races,and some same sex couples, some with their children. It ends with the statement "Family isn't defined by WHO you love, but HOW". Then the Tylenol logo briefly at the end. That's it.

    This isn't just throwing a one-second shot of a same sex couple in with shots of other people using some product, it's a VERY direct statement about the issue itself, and nothing else, and only mentioning the company name to tell you who is delivering this message.

    You can see it here:

  • 150. whistleblower1  |  June 20, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Good post. It is remarkable how things are moving so quickly.

  • 151. VIRick  |  June 20, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    More on Preparations for Marriage Equality on Announcement Day in Georgia:

    Georgia Equality has events in the works all across the state to celebrate a decision favorable of gay marriage.

    Fulton (Atlanta) Commission Chairman John Eaves say his county has been working for weeks to prepare for possible gay marriage in the state. "We don't want it to be a chaotic experience," said Eaves. He says the county is making adjustments to paperwork to and coordinating plans with judges to perform mass ceremonies in the county's assembly hall.

    "The day of the announcement, because of the historic significance, we're going to set aside a period of time for people to get the marriage licenses, number one," said Eaves. "Then number two, to have the mass ceremonies performed in the afternoon."

    With the date and time of the court's decision unknown, the county say it has an action plan in place and will make adjustments as needed. If the courts reverse the ban, Eaves says Fulton County will be ready to make it a positive and memorable day for those wishing to marry in their own communities.

  • 152. allan120102  |  June 20, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    In your opinion which do you think will be the last of the states to allow gay marriages? I am betting Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota (because it haven't had its ban struck down and it haven't say it would follow the ruling like Georgia.), or Kansas remaining counties as the federal judge in there is super slow. one of those four will be imho.

  • 153. VIRick  |  June 20, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Just like Fulton County (Atlanta) GA, or that entire cluster of counties in central Ohio, certain counties in Texas will be good-to-go on Announcement Day. At a bare minimum, count on Travis County (Austin), Bexar County (San Antonio), Dallas County (Dallas), and El Paso County (El Paso), as well as a lump of them in South Texas. North Dakota's ban (in effect) will be struck down when SCOTUS rules, so there should no longer be any impediment there. But unlike in Georgia, I've not heard of any plans to immediately begin with marriage in that state,– although they certainly should be able to.

    So, that leaves us with Louisiana and its adverse district court ruling which would still need to be reversed, and Kansas with its ignorantly confusing mess, both of which also have equally ignorant ass-hats for governors, and AGs who are no better.

    Also watch out for Tennessee, as the clerk for Washington County (Johnson City), way in the eastern part of the state, has already publicly complained about the complete lack of guidance or direction from state authorities in Nashville come Announcement Day.

    On the other hand, every decision day since last week, a certain same-sex couple, wishing to be the first-to-marry in Mississippi, has been staking out the county courthouse in Jackson MS with that purpose in mind.

  • 154. ianbirmingham  |  June 21, 2015 at 5:43 am

    I'll place my entire bet on Alabama.

    Is there a separate pool on whether or not Chief Justice Roy Moore self-immolates?

  • 155. DeadHead  |  June 21, 2015 at 6:58 am

    If he self-immolates I hope the winds are blowing south towards the Gulf. I certainly don't want any of his toxic smoke over my neck of the woods.

    "Is there a separate pool on whether or not Chief Justice Roy Moore self-immolates?"

  • 156. DACiowan  |  June 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    I'm picking Kansas. If they've ignored binding circuit precedent for this long, I have a feeling they'll have no qualms about ignoring the Supreme Court.

  • 157. gay_avenger  |  June 21, 2015 at 3:46 am

    That lobbying group has done very little in recent years it is just another cash cow raising money for its founder who doesn't organize much of anything. Most of the lgtbq political events in Georgia are organized by various other PACs.

    "Georgia Equality has events in the works all across the state to celebrate a decision favorable of gay marriage."

  • 158. tigris26  |  June 21, 2015 at 11:35 am

    This brought a smile to my face amidst the grueling wait for this week's ruling, so I thought I'd share it.

    Rolling Stone: "Marriage equality advocates are rooting for Justice Kennedy to channel his inner Whitney Houston"

    My favorite bits of the article: {Predicting how Kennedy will vote requires us to probe the beliefs he's expressed in the past about gay rights. And you could say – stay with me here – that his beliefs are well expressed by Whitney Houston lyrics. You see, Kennedy has authored each of the high court's three major gay rights decisions over the past two decades, and in those cases he's returned to the same themes: "the children are our future," and the law "can't take away [gay people's] dignity."}

    {During oral arguments in April, he did this once again, peppering the lawyers defending the same-sex marriage bans with questions about how children of gay and lesbian couples are harmed by denying their parents the right to marry, and how gay and lesbian individuals lose their dignity by not being able to marry. Once again, he seemed this close to breaking into "The Greatest Love of All."}

    LOL!! Yes, indeed! Let's hope Justice Kennedy channels his inner Whitney Houston and add a fourth gay rights victory to his legacy.

    Here's the full article:

  • 159. Raga  |  June 21, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    "The Best For Last" – recent scholarly paper in the Duke Law Journal on the timing of SCOTUS decisions:

    "…the end-of-term clustering of the most important cases may tend to diffuse media coverage of and other commentary regarding any particular case, and thus spare the Justices unwanted criticism just before they leave Washington for their summer recess." Really?

  • 160. RemC  |  June 22, 2015 at 6:24 am

    I've read this kind of commentary before. In fact, I referenced it at a dinner party On Saturday.

  • 161. guitaristbl  |  June 21, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Big anti gay demostration in Italy :

    It's weirdly good this happened, it reminded us to stay vigilant and not settle down. They will fail of course (it's one of those set up demostrations from american evangelicals and the Manif pour tous from France anyway), the government will pass the civil union bill. It now has more of a reason to do that they were reminded how much animus is still alive.

  • 162. VIRick  |  June 21, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Guitar, in direct counter-point, we also have this:

    Thousands Attend High-Profile LGBT Pride Event in Latvia

    RIGA, Latvia — Up to 5,000 people on Saturday, 20 June 2015, participated in a high-profile gay pride event in the capital of Latvia, a former Soviet country. Participants in colorful outfits waved rainbow flags and standards from Spain, Britain, Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia, among others, as they marched and danced to loud music in central Riga.

    The event is aimed at raising awareness of LGBT rights in eastern Europe, where there is marked intolerance of LGBT groups. Organizer Alexander Ivanajevs said the event shows LGBT people “are similar people to everybody else.”

    “It’s my duty to support them. They are as human as I am,” Latvian member of parliament Veiko Spolitis told the AP during the parade.

    A few onlookers booed along the route while a small counter-demonstration of up to 30 people held up different signs with anti-LGBT messages. Police say three people from the counter-demonstration were arrested for trying to throw eggs and for illegal picketing. No other incidents were reported.

  • 163. RnL2008  |  June 21, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Happy Father's day to all of the dads who post here!!!

  • 164. josejoram  |  June 22, 2015 at 6:27 am

    Many thanks. I am a father and grandfather.

  • 165. flyerguy77  |  June 21, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Last night I have had a dream on SCOTUS' decision. There were 2 decisions and different votes. I remember 5 to 4 on Question 1 and everybody had a sense on 2nd question there were more than 5 to 4 votes maybe 6 to 3 or 7-2.. I woke up before they announced their decision on Q2

  • 166. VIRick  |  June 21, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    " I woke up before they announced their decision on Q2."

    Oh nuts, I was expecting we were going to have a major revelation here! LOL

  • 167. flyerguy77  |  June 21, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    keep dreaming lol

  • 168. JayJonson  |  June 22, 2015 at 6:03 am

    You may be a psychic, flyerguy. Your dream seems entirely plausible to me.

  • 169. Fortguy  |  June 21, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Many have posted about how various states such as Louisiana and Georgia will react to a positive Supreme Court ruling. Regarding Texas, Houston blogger Charles Kuffner posits a very plausible scenario: Don’t expect the Harris County Clerk to be ready for the SCOTUS same sex marriage ruling.

    The federal judge whose name escaped him in the post is Judge Orlando Garcia. In summary, there will be resistance from insecure politicians that have to demonstrate to everybody how straight they are. AG Ken Paxton, whose short tenure has been plagued by bad press from numerous investigations due to his very low ethical standards, will use ME to show how committed he is to forcing his fellow Texans to maintain very high moral standards as defined by the Christian Jihad to whom he incessantly panders. Most county clerks will seek a quick resolution. State law forces them to be elected on partisan ballots. Most will tell you that they seek office to serve as dedicated public servants. They would rather be reelected or defeated based upon their competency, effectiveness, and satisfaction of citizens who enter their office in need of their services rather than larger partisan issues outside their control. They choose which party to seek candidacy based upon which partisan winds govern their county's electorate, not upon their views regarding the war against ISIS, Obamacare, the Denton anti-fracking resolution, or how public education should be funded.

    Yes, every state has its wingnuts. In Texas, there are more of them and they do have more political power than elsewhere outside the South and the central-tier Plains States, like Kansas, that quickly are becoming the "New South". Despite this, their efforts to pass laws enabling the state to put up a long, dramatic fight against the Supreme Court died this past legislative session because leaders of their own party had no stomach for that fight.

    In the end, the Supreme Court will rule. The usual suspects will throw a tantrum like a five-year-old in the cereal aisle of the grocery store. A procession of judges, one after another, will take them to the woodshed and give them their long-overdue spanking. In some counties, people will get married Day 1. Everyone can get married before August. The state's ban on same-sex marriage will remain in the Constitution and statutes with a hatnote indicating they are unenforceable just as the anti-sodomy laws remain twelve years after the Lawrence v. Texas decision.

    No problem. I can live with unenforceable hatnoted laws. Demographically, the state is changing, the laws will be repealed, and the old guard are clueless how to stop it. Everything will work out just fine, and we won't have to be the ones explaining to future generations why we treated our fellow citizens with such hatred and contempt.

  • 170. wes228  |  June 22, 2015 at 4:39 am

    Good morning everyone. The Supreme Court will announce opinions in argued cases today beginning at 10:00AM EDT, with providing a live blog as they come down.

    Today and next Monday are the final scheduled days of the term. There are 11 opinions remaining, and since they did issue 6 opinions last time, they might be able to make it. Although it is also likely that they will add at least one additional day (probably this coming Thursday).

  • 171. TDGrove  |  June 22, 2015 at 5:05 am

    I would assume we don't get Obergefell or King today. My guess is we get a few of the other remaining ones and that they add Thursday. If they really wanted to tip their hand and piss Scalia off, they'd add Friday (which would be 6/26 to match the dates of Loving and Windsor). I don't think they'll be that theatrical though. Instead, as a nod to the date, they'll issue it on 6/25 and save King for 6/29.

  • 172. wes228  |  June 22, 2015 at 6:26 am

    I wish they would just wrap this up this week…why drag it out into next week? Don't the Justices want their summer break already???

  • 173. Waxr  |  June 22, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Major Yahoo documentary on history of Gay persecution in the U.S.
    "Uniquely Nasty: The U.S. Governments War on Gays"–the-u-s–go

    I'm watching it now.

  • 174. Waxr  |  June 22, 2015 at 6:07 am

    The Documentary, "Uniquely Nasty: The U. S. Governments War on Gays" is worth while. The Website containers numerous little known government documents demonstrating the extent of the governments involvement.

    The first part of the documentary tells the story of Charles Francis, once a close friend of George W. Bush, who helped Bush build up support among the Gay community, only to be thrown overboard as Bush rode the anti-SSM wave to victory.

    It was primarily Charles Francis who in turn dug up the documents referred to in the documentary.

  • 175. JayJonson  |  June 22, 2015 at 6:31 am

    Wow! Thanks, Waxr, for calling attention to this marvelous documentary. It should be watched by everyone interested in gay history.

  • 176. Waxr  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:58 am

    I will add the additional documentary "Behind 'Uniquiely Nasty'":

  • 177. davepCA  |  June 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Just watched it. Thank you! This is really good.

  • 178. guitaristbl  |  June 22, 2015 at 6:09 am

    If they issue 5 or 6 opinions today they may not need to add Thursday although they may still do so that the big ones do not get crowded with others.
    That said I would not expect anything very big today. The texas housing case may come and a couple of small ones from february and march.

  • 179. RemC  |  June 22, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Whoa. Take a look at this exchange on SCOTUSblog:

    Amy, do you have a pool in the office on what the last case released for the term will be?
    Jonathan Clayton

    Amy Howe
    Truthfully, we don't. I think we are too busy. Plus we would all say SSM.

  • 180. TDGrove  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:15 am

    No Obergefell decision today

  • 181. SethInMaryland  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:15 am

    dang only four

  • 182. Zack12  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:17 am

    No gay marriage ruling today.

  • 183. wes228  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:19 am

    How many rulings does that leave us with now? SCOTUSBlog said one case was a G&R (grant and remand?) so is that part of the count?

  • 184. TDGrove  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:20 am

    I believe so, which means we went from 11 to 7. The case involved was one of the list of 11.

  • 185. wes228  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Amy Howe just listed them. The rest are pretty much all major ones!!

    Texas Fair Housing Act
    Arizona redistricting commission
    King v. Burwell
    Michigan v. EPA
    Johnson v. US
    Obergefell v. Hodges
    Glossip v. Gross

  • 186. OctaA  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:26 am

    The G&R SCOTUSBlog was referring to, stands for Goldstein and Russell, the name of a law firm who specialise in Supreme Court cases. Several members of that firm are members of SCOTUSBlog, so they will mention whenever one of their cases is brought up.

  • 187. wes228  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:28 am


  • 188. guitaristbl  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Patents, raisins, pre trial detainees and hotel registers today. Alito, Roberts and Thomas dissented in 3 of the 4.
    Seven to go, 6 of the major according to scotusblog. Going to be tough from now on.

  • 189. ebohlman  |  June 22, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Patel, the hotel-register case, would have been a very significant one for the gay community if it were 15 or more years ago. It struck down a Los Angeles ordinance allowing police to inspect hotel guest registers without a warrant or any other justification. I imagine that in times/places where gay sex was illegal, such a provision would have been used to hunt us down.

  • 190. guitaristbl  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:28 am

    More opinions on Thursday !

  • 191. wes228  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Thursday is added!!

  • 192. SethInMaryland  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:28 am

    getting opinions thursday

  • 193. MichaelGrabow  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:30 am

    SCOTUSBlog comment:

    Does the Horne decision at least confirm that an 8th Amendment violation arises when raisins are in cookies, especially when a person is expecting chocolate chips?

  • 194. wes228  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:30 am

    I think we are looking at a decision one week from today. 7 rulings remain. I think 4 will come down on Thursday and the remaining 3 on Monday. (I'm guessing Glossip v. Gross, Obergefell v. Hodges, and King v. Burwell saved for last!)

  • 195. Raga  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Great! So seven cases left and Thursday and Monday should be enough. Though, they could add Tuesday (30th) but we probably won't know until Monday about that.

  • 196. guitaristbl  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:33 am

    One thing is for sure : Kennedy has A LOT of writing to do..At least 3 of the remaining opinions should be by him.

  • 197. SethInMaryland  |  June 22, 2015 at 7:39 am

    I do think Kennedy will rule with the conservatives in the lethal injection casw

  • 198. MGinPA  |  June 22, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Interesting on criminal justice issues Kennedy has consistently sided with the liberals.

  • 199. ianbirmingham  |  June 22, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Don't be so sure. Have you seen Kennedy's positions in 4th Amendment cases?

  • 200. brandall  |  June 22, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Hobby Lobby decision: Did recognizing business entities as personalities allow Wal-Mart to become more outspoken?

    "With Hobby Lobby citing religion to justify its opposition to the Affordable Care Act’s HHS Mandate, Walmart took a stand on issues materializing at the opposite end of the civil rights spectrum, speaking in favor of same-sex marriage and other LGBT-related concerns."

    IMHO, for every action there is a reaction. Would we be on the verge of an ME decision if the states had never passed their bans in the first place? I think we would not be here if they had not embedded their discrimination into law.

  • 201. brandall  |  June 22, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Adding to my comment above…it is not just ME that major corporations are speaking up about.

    "Remove the Confederate flag from the SC Capitol: Salesforce CEO Benioff"

  • 202. mu2  |  June 22, 2015 at 8:28 am

    I do not think hiding history erases it. At some point we have to stop trying to ban everything that has the possibility of offending someone.

  • 203. JayJonson  |  June 22, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Why should a government intentionally insult its citizens? That is exactly what states that insist on flying the Confederate flag does to its African American citizens. It is also exactly what states that refuse to remove their unconstitutional sodomy laws and soon to be declared unconstitutional same-sex marriage bans do their glbtq citizens.

    Removing the Confederate flag from state property does not hide history. The flag should be preserved in historical museums and history books, not flying over state capitols and other state land as though it is a sovereign symbol.

  • 204. mu2  |  June 22, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Every state flies its own flag as if it's a sovereign symbol. I don't believe for a moment the state of SC is intentionally insulting anyone, but to the degree that's the perception, I'll add my own bitch: the US government is insulting me by putting "in god we trust" on my money…my own beliefs do not include imaginary deities and I don't appreciate the state acting in my loco parentis.

    I think there is way too much whining in this pussified country nowadays, what the fuck happened to the long venerated principle of "I may disagree with what you say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it"? Bah.

    ETA: I don't really give much of a shit about this particular flag thing, I'm addressing the general principle of political correctness gone amok. I do not like it.

  • 205. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 22, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Removing the CSA flag (be it the Stars and Bars, battle flag, or whatever) from state land is NOT hiding it. Does any proposed legislation call for the citizens to not display any such flag? Prove that any such proposed legislation does.

    What the proposed legislation does is prohibit the promotion of flying and/or display of any CSA flag on state property, with the exception of a historical display in a museum or other such appropriate location.

    Is that 'HIDING' history?

    You may not know this, but the US Civil War is considered a watershed event in US history, since before the war, citizens considered themselves as citizens of individual states (with hardly a thought of the nation) and after the war, citizens considered themselves as residents of a nation, then a state. General Lee, when offered the leadership of the Union Army by Lincoln, declared that he could not do that, because he could not raise his sword against the state of Virginia. He thought of himself as a Virginian, not a citizen of the US.

  • 206. ebohlman  |  June 22, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Not hiding it. Keeping it out of a position of honor. It's not about avoiding offending people (which I agree can get ridiculous); it's about not officially celebrating something that in no way deserves to be celebrated.

  • 207. MGinPA  |  June 22, 2015 at 9:15 am

    My prediction in Obergefell, 5 to 4 majority on Question 1 in favor of Obergefell written by Kennedy on the basis of due process and fundamental liberty interest in marriage (no equal protection). Roberts and Alito concur in part, dissent in part on Question 2. Scalia writes a hysterical dissent joined by Thomas and Alito and Roberts in part.

    In King v Burwell, Roberts joins the liberals in upholding subsidies. Kennedy writes a separate concurrence. Alito dissents joined by Scalia and Thomas.

  • 208. lengriff  |  June 22, 2015 at 9:32 am

    I hope you are correct.I believe the vote might be 6 to 1. I believe Roberts knows this will be an historic case and will want to on right side in the arch of history. Just who he will assign to write the opinion, Kennedy or himself is the question.

  • 209. MGinPA  |  June 22, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Sadly based on Roberts' dissent in Windsor and his comments that gays want to "redefine" marriage instead of join it makes it logically impossible for him to rule in favor of marriage nationwide.

  • 210. lengriff  |  June 22, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Yes, you may be right, but logical thought has nothing to do with it. He voted for the ACA and I and I bet you did not think he would find a way.

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