Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary: July 2013 July 2013 | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

July 26, 2013

NYC Politics: A Kosher Weiner Is Revealed To Be A Pig

Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin chat before a press conference.

During the years that I lived in Manhattan, on election day, I’d walk about 100 feet to Macdougal Street, cross the street, and head for the lobby of an NYU dormitory. They had at least a dozen voting booths set up. You’d enter the booth and pull a giant lever to close the musty stale  curtain, which ensured your privacy as you voted.

I was an independent, so I never voted in the party primaries. I voted Republican back then, and remember voting for Rudy Giuliani for mayor, in the last city election I voted in, as a resident of New York.

New York city politics never had enough intrigue and drama to capture my attention. I was attuned to what was happening in Washington, and didn’t devote any time to what was happening at City Hall in lower Manhattan.

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn
I don’t know much about New York city politics today. I’ve paid attention to the fact that Christine Quinn could be the first female mayor, and the first gay mayor, of America’s largest city, and I think that’s fantastic.

When I heard that Anthony Weiner was running in the Democratic primary, I was surprised. While I was aware of Weiner’s ambition to be New York city mayor, I thought it might be too soon since he resigned from Congress, because of his sexting scandal.

Normally I think a politician deserves a second chance (Eliot Spitzer). If Weiner was contrite, and didn’t continue to lie to anyone, or engage in self-destructive behavior, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt.

In the months since Weiner announced his candidacy, he’s admitted to at least 3 online relationships, since he gave up his seat in Congress.

I watched Weiner’s press conference, and listened to his wife’s prepared remarks. I think their candor about receiving counselling is admirable, and there’s no question that  Huma Abedin (Mrs. Weiner) is an intelligent and honest woman, who loves her husband very much.

In my view, Weiner’s arrogance, and the disrespect for his wife and marriage, rules him out as a credible candidate for any office. His impulsive and compulsive behavior, after the scandal that forced him out of Congress, doesn’t just reflect poor judgement, it also shows that he has an outsized ego, and a blatant disregard for himself, his family, and New York voters.

If you live in New York city, I hope that you’ll give serious consideration to Christine Quinn, when you go to vote.

Anthony Weiner needs free time, so that he can get more counselling.

straight talk in a queer world.         jiveinthe415.com              
© 2011 - 2013 JIVEINTHE415.COM All Rights Reserved

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July 8, 2013

United States v. Windsor: The Court Says DOMA Discriminates. Duh!

How does this ruling impact me?

Washington, DC - - - Most observers of the Supreme Court of the United States characterized the rulings in the two gay marriage cases they considered this term, as “historic” decisions. After having some time to read the opinions, and digesting what they chose to do, I would say that one opinion is historic in scope, and the other was a non-decision.

In the Proposition 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, the court took the easy way out, and ruled that the petitioner’s didn’t have legal standing to act on behalf of California. While the ruling had the desired effect of reinstating gay marriage in California, the court didn’t consider the validity of gay marriage bans.

In United States v. Windsor, the case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) enacted by Congress, the Supreme Court concurred with lower court rulings that found DOMA unconstitutional.

The historic majority opinion was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy wrote:

The class to which DOMA directs its restrictions and restraints are those persons who are joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State. DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper. DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others. The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment. This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is affirmed.
When he wrote that “this opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages,” the court mandated that gay marriages performed in a state that sanctions and recognizes same-sex marriages, must be recognized by the federal government as such. Federal recognition of gay marriages confer over 1,100 benefits to same-sex partners (including health insurance benefits, hospital visitation and social security death benefits).

Edith Windsor, the pettioner in the United States v. Windsor challenge to the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA), was victorious when the Supreme Court ruled that DOMA discriminates.

Edith Windsor, 84, the grand marshall of New York’s Gay Pride Parade this year, is the widow who filed suit against the Federal Government when her wife and life partner, Thea Spyer, passed away. Edith was assessed $363,053 in estate taxes because the government didn’t recognize her lawful marriage. Straight married couples don't have to pay the estate tax, and the court found that this violated the principles of equality embodied in the US Constitution.

Justice Kennedy wrote about state’s rights, and their motivation for sanctioning and recognizing gay marriages. [emphasis my own]

By its recognition of the validity of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions and then by authorizing same-sex unions and same-sex marriages, New York sought to give further protection and dignity to that bond. For same-sex couples who wished to be married, the State acted to give their lawful conduct a lawful status. This status is a far-reaching legal acknowledgment of the intimate relationship between two people, a relationship deemed by the State worthy of dignity in the community equal with all other marriages. It reflects both the community’s considered perspective on the historical roots of the institution of marriage and its evolving understanding of the meaning of equality.

DOMA mandated that the Federal Government could NOT recognize same-sex marriages. The court found that DOMA “violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government.” There are gay marriage bans currently in 32 states, and I would think that those bans violate the Fifth Amendment too.
The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.
What about the stigma placed upon the residents of states with a gay marriage ban?
DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state sanctioned marriages and make them unequal. The principal purpose is to impose inequality, not for other reasons like governmental efficiency.
These states have codified discrimination in their state Constitution’s by banning gay marriages. The effect of these bans render same-sex committed relationships as unequal to comparable opposite-sex committed relationships.
DOMA undermines both the public and private significance of state sanctioned same-sex marriages; for it tells those couples, and all the world, that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition. This places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage. The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects, see Lawrence, 539 U. S. 558, and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.
The Supreme Court’s historic decision in United States v. Windsor  will have an impact far beyond Edith Windsor justly receiving her $363,053 refund from the IRS. In fact, we may not fully understand the full effects of the ruling for many years to come.

The immediate effect of invalidating DOMA confers Federal recognition of gay marriages, and the accompanying Federal benefits, for the very first time.

The court acknowledged that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experience discrimination, which violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The court also articulated that when government fails to recognize our committed relationships, that they are treating us like second class citizens.

That’s what makes this decision historic, and a landmark ruling. And that’s why right-wing extremists are up in arms, and furious with the court.

Those who are unhappy with the court would be much better off, and less displeased, if they heeded the words of a comic that’s one of my personal favorites, the terrific “out” comedian Wanda Sykes, who says that “If you don’t believe in same sex marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex.”

Right-wing extremists would be well served if they would heed Wanda’s wisdom, and read and digest the court’s wise words.  

The US Constitution prohibits denying any citizen the equal protection of the laws, and that includes those of us who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. If you don’t like it you’ll have to get over it. And by all means - don’t marry someone of the same sex.

straight talk in a queer world.         jiveinthe415.com              
© 2011 - 2013 JIVEINTHE415.COM All Rights Reserved
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The Court Regrettably Punted On Hollingsworth v. Perry

A data map of the United States of America that reflects the states that recognize gay marriages and gay civil unions in July of 2013. jiveinthe415.com

The Prop. 8 Supreme Court decision means that 44% of the population in the United States now live in a state that recognizes gay committed relationships.

Washington, D.C. - - - When the Supreme Court issued their marriage equality decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry,  the case that challenged the validity of California's gay marriage ban under Proposition 8, and found that the petitioners in the case didn’t have legal standing to defend a state law, they rejected the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, and remanded the case back to the District Court.

After a lengthy trial that began in January 2010, it was August of 2010 when Vaughn Walker, the well respected chief judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional “under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses” of the Constitution.

Judge Walker was prescient in his order, as he questioned whether the proponents of Proposition 8, who were private citizens, had legal standing to represent the state of California. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown had refused to enforce the gay marriage ban, and the ugly forces behind the ballot initiative used their vast financial resources to pursue their anti-gay agenda in court.

In the Court’s opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority:

We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to. We decline to do so for the first time here.
Because petitioners have not satisfied their burden to demonstrate standing to appeal the judgment of the District Court, the Ninth Circuit was without jurisdiction to consider the appeal. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit is vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
Californians affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling rejoiced when they heard the news from the Supreme Court. Here in San Francisco, cars honked in celebration, and there was dancing in the streets of the Castro district. San Francisco’s City Hall was illuminated like a rainbow, and the War Memorial Opera House across the street, mirrored the lights at City Hall.

Most observers of the Supreme Court expected the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift their stay of the District Court ruling at the end of July, and were surprised when the Court acted swiftly, and complied with the higher court’s order within a matter of days.

A table with US population data that illustrates that 44% of Americans live in a state that recognize gay committed relationships through marriage or civil unions. jiveinthe415.com

Before gay marriages were reinstated in California, there were 12 states and the District of Columbia that recognized same-sex marriages, representing 18% of the US population. In addition, 7 states recognized  gay civil unions or the equivalent, comprising 13% of the US population.

When same-sex marriages were restored in California, which is the nation’s most populous state with 38 million inhabitants that represent 12% of the US population, nearly 44% of the American people are now living in a state that recognize the validity of gay committed relationships, in one form or the other.

While I’m glad that the Supreme Court was able to reach a decision that resulted in Proposition 8 being invalidated, I was very disappointed that they didn’t rule on the heart of the case. They punted the ball, and didn’t consider the merits at all, as they failed to consider whether state gay marriage bans violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses in the Constitution, as Judge Walker and the Ninth Circuit concurred that they do.
That means that the Proposition 8 proponents are back at the drawing board to devise a new legal strategy to challenge the validity of gay marriages in California. The anti-gay movement will get another hearing in the public square, and more press coverage, as well as another day in court. They won’t win, and they’ll use the same old homophobic arguments to substantiate their bigotry, while the LGBT community has to endure more uncertainty in another court battle.

The anti-gay Proposition 8 proponents might have deep pockets to pursue endless legal challenges, and we’ve gotten used to that. I personally hope they go broke spending money on attorneys and legal appeals, because that’s what they deserve with their ugly behavior.

Remember that we have something very valuable that they don’t. The LGBT community has the majority of public opinion on our side, which even the folks at Mastercard would have to acknowledge is priceless. That’s why I know that we will ultimately prevail, regardless of what they decide to do in court. We have public opinion and equal protection under the law on our side, and that’s a winning combination no matter how you slice it.

straight talk in a queer world.         jiveinthe415.com              
© 2011 - 2013 JIVEINTHE415.COM All Rights Reserved

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