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May 6, 2009

Five states and counting
Posted by Patrick at 01:14 PM * 157 comments

Maine governor John Baldacci signs same-sex marriage into law:

“In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Baldacci said in a statement. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”
Comments on Five states and counting:
#1 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 01:21 PM:

10% and counting. Yay for Maine!

#2 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 01:24 PM:

And hooray for Governor Baldacci, who has allowed facts to influence a political decision! May it be increasingly and ever thus.

#3 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 01:24 PM:

My kindest regards to all the citizens of Maine who spoke to their Representatives, Senators and Governor on this. I'm so happy for you!

(5 down, 45 to go...)

#4 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 01:42 PM:

Seems like New Hampshire might become Number Six before too long. Anyone know whether the governor there is actually going to sign the law?

#5 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 01:50 PM:

Oh, yes.

Just a few weeks from now will mark the 40th anniversary of Stonewall. In my lifetime, we've gone from hiding to living freely.

Twenty years ago I started a collection of clippings, for every article that mentioned gay men or lesbians in even a slightly positive way. I collected the articles on known or suspected gay men and lesbians in the news, reading between the lines like a master of propaganda in the soviet union. Now unions and marriages are listed in the daily newspapers, and I gave up on collecting several years ago, when positive articles grew so numerous I couldn't possibly collect them all.

This past weekend my parents visited us. We all stayed at the hotel, to have a little mini-vacation; the hotel had a corporate sibling next door which -- as my mother said -- had lots of nice space for a wedding. My brother's already married, so I nudged my partner. If Maryland goes positive, I think we'll go jump over the broom.

#6 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 01:50 PM:

Excellent.

#7 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 01:55 PM:

Ginger @ 5... I nudged my partner. If Maryland goes positive, I think we'll go jump over the broom.

Don't forget to set up a wish list for gifts.

#8 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 01:59 PM:

Serge @7: Welcome back from your trip! As for our future wedding-if-it-happens, I think we already have everything we could ask for. After all, we have at least two toasters, lots of glassware and silverware, and plenty of towels.

#9 ::: sehlat ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:02 PM:

Now THIS is the way to do a major social reform peacefully. Instead of just making law from the Supreme Court Bench (Roe vs. Wade), do the hard march from legislature to legislature, gathering public support.

Do it that way, and the change lasts.

#10 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:03 PM:

Yay! We're getting there. And congratulations to Governor Baldacci for listening to reason.

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:05 PM:

I got a robo-push-poll anti-gay-marriage phone call here in New Hampshire yesterday.

It came from "CAMPRES09" 1-202-461-3460

Area code 202 is Washington, DC.

#12 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:10 PM:

"One by one, without any fuss, the stars were coming out." Forty-five (and a small diamond shape) left to go.

I know, there's *some* fuss, but after the rhetorical hurricanes swirling over California during election season... this is quiet. The idea that it was politically impossible, that any success would be tenuous and in constant fear of being overturned... just deflated.

Finding my nation suddenly familiar -- is somehow strange.

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:18 PM:

Ginger @ 8... There's got to be more to weddings than toasters, lots of glassware and silverware, and plenty of towels.

#14 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:20 PM:

Excellent!

Now, if we can just get the New York Senate to pass it, the Assembly and the Governor (who initiated the legislation this time around) are on board.

#15 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:20 PM:

Holy cow, this means New Hampshire is now TOTALLY SURROUNDED BY TEH GAY. Horrors!

#16 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:24 PM:

Bruce, there are a couple of DINOs in the Senate opposing it.

Meanwhile, I don't know what's keeping New Jersey. We got our blue-ribbon panel report on the failure of Civil Unions back a long time ago.

#17 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:26 PM:

I did not think this would happen in my lifetime, and now I believe I am going to be proved wrong. (Though I suspect that the southern states will take longer to accept this change.) I am so glad.

#18 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:27 PM:

Hooray for Maine and its citizens; boo (again) to Hawai'i's legislature for stalling similar legislation in committee this session.

These are the same clowns who won't stand up to the fireworks distributors despite overwhelming support for banning the damned things. That's not to say the two issues are equivalent, just that my already-low opinion of our elected public officials keeps dropping, year by year and session by session.

#19 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:28 PM:

Oh, yay. That's that New England commonsense coming out. Or something.

Come on, New Hampshire. Get with the program.

#20 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:35 PM:

Unintentionally funny mirroring of the Neandertal view are the titles of the last two posts, to wit: Five states and counting - ruining it for the rest of us. Since this post is so short, it kind of jumped out at me on the page.

I get all teary seeing the happy wedding photos from e.g. San Francisco, of people who've waited so damn long to get married, and finally can.

Ginger, go do it. My wife and I are coming up on our twentieth anniversary. We originally got married as a formality -- the only way we could persuade governments to let us live in the same country at the same time -- but we grew into it. It does make a difference, even if you don't go all in for the gifts and fancy clothes and consumerism.

#21 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:36 PM:

@ # 14 - unless some Republicans jump the aisle, the anti-SSM Democrats are going to block that from happening. And it's not upstaters either, it's 3 from the boroughs. Espada, Diaz and Kruger *spit*

#22 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:37 PM:

Ginger @ 8 and Serge @ 13, indeed. I would personally pitch in for some awesome kitchen gadgetry if that's your thing, or a really nice [bottle of wine/item of gourmet food/other edible indulgence]. Or you could register for books!

(I'm attending a straight wedding this summer. They have registered for so many towels. Full sets in six different colors. I am at a real loss as to how two people could possibly use so many towels.)

But back on topic, I am enjoying checking this off against Nate Silver's schedule. I hope that we can hurry North Carolina along a bit, though. (2019?!)

#23 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:38 PM:

And D.C. Passed a law recognising same-sex marriages. Pelosi says if they want to allow them (which is supposed to happen this summer) they can.

We shall see what happens.

#24 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:44 PM:

Defenders of Marriage

Hey, New Hampshire is working on it. If it weren't on the way no one would pay for push-polls.

#25 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 02:56 PM:

If nothing else you can register for books. The thought makes me want to get married again, actually.

This is such wonderful news. I can't wait to see what state goes for it next.

#26 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 03:03 PM:

Well, you know there's that old political saying "As Maine goes, so goes the nation."

I was talking to my brother-in-law in Bangor about some business, and mentioned this; he hadn't heard it yet. He commented that from what he could tell, the governor had been in hiding up until the moment he signed the bill; those who are against, while a minority, are a very shrill minority, who haven't had many other things go their way lately either. However, the majority had staked out a position somewhere between "If people are fools enough to want to ruin their lives by getting married, they may as well"; "If the new law doesn't affect my marriage, why do I care?"; and ""If people want to get married, that's their business," which expresses so much of the Typical Maine Attitude to Life in a single sentence you might as well inscribe in it letters of gold on a stone monument in front of the capitol in Augusta, except that would be extravagant.

#27 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 03:12 PM:

Ginger, register for poetry.

With the scary levels of talent around here, I think you should have a beautiful book made for the both of you, with their thoughts for your union in original poetry, puns, what have you. Way better than a fondue pot.

#28 ::: robert west ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 03:12 PM:

Every time a state legitimizes gay marriage, it brings tears of joy to my eyes.

And each passing victory brings me more confidence that we Californians can repeal our albatross next year.

#29 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 03:13 PM:

Xopher @16 and Josh @21: Unfortunately, I know about them. They almost prevented a majority-Democratic State Senate from having a Democratic Majority Leader. I'd love nothing better than to have them chucked, but their polls are much too high for that.

Still, there's hope. But it would be nice if we had some stronger arm-twisters on the D side of the aisle in Albany.

#30 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 03:18 PM:

That's really cool - just this morning I read that the gov. hadn't decided if he'd sign it or not.

(I think I read that the voters can still do some sort of referendum to remove the law from the books - actual Maine...inites? can correct me if I'm wrong. And perhaps speculate on the likelihood of that happening.)

DC probably won't be far behind, but they've got that Congress thing to worry about. Still, probably good, because it either pushes the SSM debate to the national level or heightens the inequality of DC voting rights, or both. And eventually it passes anway.

VA still has a pretty far way to go, but my mom's gotten irritated enough by the "defense of marriage" people to start campaigning for SSM in MD. (As she keeps saying, "if you're not the one getting married, why do you care?") I don't think she even knows anyone who's gay; she just thinks the DoM people are stupid.

#31 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 03:45 PM:

Meanwhile, here in Washington state, a Christian hate-the-gays group has already filed suit to reverse a law that hasn't even been signed yet. And all that the law does is make civil unions have all the same benefits and obligations of marriage.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/6420ap_wa_domestic_partnerships.html

If the initiative gets enough signatures, it would go on the ballot in an off-year, giving the religious crazies plenty of time to energize their fellow haters.

#32 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 03:48 PM:

I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.

Yes. This. "Separate but equal" never has been, and never will be.

#33 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 03:49 PM:

sehlat, #9: "Now THIS is the way to do a major social reform peacefully. Instead of just making law from the Supreme Court Bench (Roe vs. Wade), do the hard march from legislature to legislature, gathering public support. ...Do it that way, and the change lasts."

I used to take this line myself, but a series of well-argued posts by blogger and law professor Scott Lemieux changed my mind. Certainly one can point to cases where legislation-from-the-bench created popular backlash, but on balance, there seem to be as many cases where court rulings created space for social change that the voters were actually ready for, but which the political system was too ossified to provide. And while the people who believe that change-by-court is always bad news constantly cite Roe v. Wade in evidence, claiming that the country was on its way to a reasonable accommodation regarding reproductive rights before the Supreme Court inflamed abortion opponents, Scott makes a very good argument for the idea that this is phony history, and that in fact the anti-abortion backlash was already well under way in multiple state legislatures well before Roe.

Certainly it's cheerful to look at Vermont, where same-sex marriage was legitimized by whopping majorities in both houses of their state legislature. But in the same week, Iowa did it through its state supreme court, and Iowans seem pretty much equally content with the results.

#34 ::: Wakboth ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 03:57 PM:

"Certainly it's cheerful to look at Vermont, where same-sex marriage was legitimized by whopping majorities in both houses of their state legislature. But in the same week, Iowa did it through its state supreme court, and Iowans seem pretty much equally content with the results."

I think if same-sex marriage comes about through legislature rather than through courts, it's harder for the bigots to argue against as undemocratic and not reflecting the will of the people.

Not that it will stop them, of course, but they will look even worse doing so.

#35 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 04:01 PM:

I have come to think that "not that this will stop them" is the most pertinent phrase.

#36 ::: Scott Lemieux ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 04:06 PM:

"Now THIS is the way to do a major social reform peacefully. Instead of just making law from the Supreme Court Bench (Roe vs. Wade), do the hard march from legislature to legislature, gathering public support. ...Do it that way, and the change lasts."

My question -- in what sense has Roe not "lasted"? Are you seriously arguing that the status quo for reproductive freedom would be better if abortion were illegal in many more states?

#37 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 04:17 PM:

I think if same-sex marriage comes about through legislature rather than through courts, it's harder for the bigots to argue against as undemocratic and not reflecting the will of the people.

Not that it will stop them, of course, but they will look even worse doing so.

Oh, it hasn't stopped them one little bit. They're just complaining that it wasn't a direct popular vote, instead of complaining about "unelected judges".

#38 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 04:20 PM:

Patrick @ 35: Yes, sadly so.

#39 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Wakboth, it didn't stop them. They decried the Vermont victory as undemocratic, because they didn't "take it to a straight up-or-down vote of the people" or some such nonsense.

Funny how these Republicans have forgotten what a republic is.

#40 ::: Scott Lemieux ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 04:27 PM:

Yep--after anti-SSM forces couldn't even get 25% of the vote in the MA legislature, Ben Wittes complained that the only legitimate route to SSM was a referendum. It's an endless shell game; there's no coherent democratic theory there, especially given that in American democracy courts scrutinize the constitutionality of legislative enactments. (And note that the discriminatory initiative that the Court struck down in Romer v. Evans was the result of actions by city councils, not courts.)

#41 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 04:36 PM:

#33--
yeah, i was letting #9 go unanswered, because i didn't want to spoil the festive mood.

but the fact is, sometimes grave affronts to civil rights have to be addressed by the courts even before the majority of the citizens have come around to see them as such. the case of miscegenation laws is a case in point. those were an affront to civil rights, and struck down as such, long before majorities of people in all 50 states agreed.

it would be nice to think that the people always breathe the spirit of the bill of rights. but they don't.

it's also worth remembering that a future roe v. wade for gay marriage is far from precluded. at the time roe was decided, some states already had abortion laws that were more liberal than others. that is to say, in some states, the gains made by roe were already in place, without court intervention.

but when other states (texas, as it happened), restricted abortion rights, it became a federal case.

it may still happen with marriage: even after 49 states have legalized it, a federal case may be required to vindicate the legal right in that 50th state. let's hope it doesn't happen that way, of course. but if it does, what should we do? sit around hoping that moral suasion will work on the citizens of state 50? even when we are convinced that the constitutional rights of its citizens are being violated?

#42 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 04:37 PM:

Hooray! And I, for one, don't care whether it happens by legislation, court decision, direct vote, or constitutional reform. It's the right thing to do and and as long as the process follows the rule of law that's a win.

#43 ::: Chris W ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 04:46 PM:

I suppose looking at the history of other social changes (schools going coed in the early 70's e.g.) I shouldn't be surprised at how quickly things like this can happen once a consensus is reached, but I'm still a little stunned. I love the metaphor that Andrew Sullivan used: "justice slowly seeping up like a rising water table that becomes a mighty and joyous flood." And it looks like New York at least is getting ready to join the fun. (I thought it would be decades before I saw an embattled, unpopular governor bring up legalizing gay marriage as a way to divide the opposition and give his approval numbers a goose.)

While we're talking about things that surprise and delight me, I love the way mentioning certain people's names in these threads is like invoking some mythological demon. Every 3rd or 4th thread someone mentions some writer and 5 posts later we get "Actually what I meant when I wrote that was..."

It's like getting peek into the secret back room where all the cool people hang out, or sitting at a restaurant and realizing that the people sitting at the next table are, in fact, The Algonquin Round Table.

#44 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 05:00 PM:

Late to the gate here in Augusta, ME, but I don't read blogs from work.

Yes, it's passed both houses and got Ol' Baldy's autograph on it (sorry, the moniker is irresistable; worried-looking politicians with thinning hair shouldn't have the misfortune to be named Baldacci).

Now the nutjobs bigots opposition have 90 days in which they may attempt to gather enough signatures (somewhat over 55,000) to place a referendum on the ballot for what is locally called "People's Veto".

If they don't get enough valid signatures to force a referendum, the measure becomes law.

If they do, implementation is delayed until after the referendum, which would most likely be in November, assuming the referendum fails.

If the hypothetical referendum passes, it could either go back to the legislature to be passed through two houses and a guv'nor AGAIN, or - I think - someone could bring a lawsuit through the state courts in an effort to find the result of the referendum unconstitutional (at the state level). I'm not sure about that part. It is my fervent hope things won't get that far.

#45 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 05:03 PM:

Wakboth @34, as Patrick and Xopher have both pointed out, it actually doesn't stop them. Anti-marriage crusader Maggie Gallagher complained that Vermont didn't offer a state-wide referendum, and used the word "impose" to refer to the Vermont legislature's recognition of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Of course, she makes a healthy living off the donations people send her for her bigotry and scare-mongering, so it's not in her financial best interests to be fair or rational.

#46 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 05:51 PM:

I'm fascinated by the anti-equal rights crowd. Judicial decision is undemocratic. Legislative statute is undemocratic. What happens the moment a referendum endorses an equal rights statute? The government should repeal the people?

#47 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 05:52 PM:

She's not the only one to have made that argument. A lot of people have forgotten that Schwarzenegger (whose reputation as a moderate is overblown) wasn't just an innocent bystander here in California. He vetoed a bill to legalize same sex marriage, and his excuse for the veto was exactly that: it wasn't legitimate to do this through the legislature, but only by a court decision or a ballot initiative.

#48 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 05:57 PM:

To continue only slightly in the pileup against comment #9, by my count 15 states (plus DC) allowed abortion in at least some circumstances at the time Roe v. Wade was decided.

So how long do you think it'll take to get ten more states on board? (come on Trenton, we can still make the first 5! Vermont's new marriage law doesn't take effect until September)

Of course, we have now a very different supreme court than we did when either Roe v. Wade or Loving v. Virginia were decided.

#49 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 06:04 PM:

My bad; 19 states (plus DC) had abortion legal under some circumstances prior to Roe. So we need 14 more.

Hey, wouldn't it be something if one of the "big sky" states of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, or the Dakotas followed next?

Despite their solid red state reputation, I see these as possibilities primarily because of the comparatively low proportion of Evangelicals among the population. Unlike with abortion, I don't think we're going to get an even vaguely progressive outcome in Georgia, Alabama or South Carolina with regard to gay marriage until it's impossed from on high.

#50 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 06:09 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 46:

Dare I suggest that this question might result in some prime reading material for you if you asked it of your students?

#51 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 06:21 PM:

Patrick says: I have come to think that "not that this will stop them" is the most pertinent phrase.

But of course. They are the Enemy. Do the Daleks get nicer when you beat them back a bit? Do the Cybermen deduce that they should stop attacking the Earth (in six-cyberman teams because of a shortage of suitable Earth-attack suits) because they've lost a few rounds, and technically Mondas isn't the Tenth Planet anymore, it'd be the Ninth if it qualifies, which it probably does, since early imagery suggests that it's just a badly painted twin of the Earth photographed upside down?

I think not!

#52 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 06:22 PM:

Dilemma: if Maggie Gallegher were Michael Gallegher, my response to #45 would be "So he's not just an asshole. He's an actual whore."

But if I say that about Maggie people would assume I'm talking about her sexual conduct, and take me to task for being sexist. I can't think of a way to convey the concept without using such terms, however. "She's for sale to the highest bidder" still carries some of that connotation.

Well, suffice it to say that she lacks any modicum of integrity, and leave it at that.

So does Ahnuld, by the way. I think part of what we outside of CA should be saying about Prop 8 and the like is "Well, it's not that surprising. We're talking about a state with a dumbass body-builder for a governor (even calling him an actor is an exaggeration: he can't even do accents). Gotta have at least a simple majority of duh-heads for that to happen."

Sorry Californians. If you're here, you can obviously read and probably you can think; but the voting record of the state is clear. The majority of the electorate of California is easily swayed by recognizable faces and slick ads, and not good at detecting lies and misrepresentations.

Come to think of it, I know 49 other states where that's pretty true too...

#53 ::: Sarah W ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 06:23 PM:

Patrick @33, I don't know how relatively 'content' Iowans are compared to residents of the other five states, but at least those in fearful opposition will have to wait a couple years before they can make a formal challenge (the officials having timed out at the end, bless 'em).

And of course, the fact that neither the world nor the 'sanctity' of marriage will have come to an end (or any more so) by that time will not assist them in their case.

Kelly @ 42: Yes Ma'am!

The first legally-recognized same sex wedding in my county was performed last Thursday, a mere three day waiting period after the first license was issued by the courthouse. A church here had 10 weddings last Saturday---one of those newlywed couples has been together for over 40 years.

#54 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 06:35 PM:

PNH@33:

I still have philosophical leanings towards having these decisions made by the legislature, as in Maine and Vermont, rather than the courts, as in Iowa and California, and I would like to feel that there is a difference between a court finding that a proposed new law is unconstitutional and a court finding that a law from the distant past has been unconstitutional for years without anyone objecting until recently.

Like you, I have largely been persuaded by Scott Lemieux, but I'm still not completly happy about my reasons for being in favor of `judicial activism' as practiced by the Iowa court but not as practiced by, say, the Roberts Supreme Court. In the end, my reasoning seems to come down to "because we're right and they're wrong". Now, we ARE right, and they ARE wrong, but still...

#55 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 06:39 PM:

Xopher @ 52:

When people think of California they think of LA and Berkeley and San Fransisco, then wonder why such a progressive state could vote in Prop H8. They don't think of places like Bakersfield where a former coworker nearly got assaulted by the kind, loving locals for having the temerity to pull up some yes posters to throw in a ditch.

I still really want that stain off my state.

thomas @ 54:

"Judicial activism", in my experience, is code for "a judge applied the actual, existing law in a way I don't like to strike down something illegal".

#56 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 06:45 PM:

KeithS #55: As I'm grading finals right now (and will be tomorrow), all I can say is "horrors!"

And also: please take a look at the open thread in a few minutes.

#57 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 07:12 PM:

Fragano @46:

I'm fascinated by the anti-equal rights crowd. Judicial decision is undemocratic. Legislative statute is undemocratic. What happens the moment a referendum endorses an equal rights statute? The government should repeal the people?

Then, I suspect, they start howling about the "tyranny of the majority", and how they're having their freedom of religion and right-to-discriminate violated by state recognition of relationships they don't approve of, and that -- yes -- the government should protect them from such actions of the people.

That, or they go straight to armed insurrection. I'm really not sure which.

#58 ::: robert west ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 07:13 PM:

He vetoed a bill to legalize same sex marriage, and his excuse for the veto was exactly that: it wasn't legitimate to do this through the legislature, but only by a court decision or a ballot initiative.

And then, when a court made a decision, he didn't support the decision and defend it in the court of public opinion.

There are a lot of things Governor Schwarzenegger has done which have disappointed me ... but this is the one I'm pissed at him for: he wants credit for being a social liberal, for being an ally of gay people ... and he's unwilling to stand up and fight on the things that matter.

Prop 8. was close. Had he campaigned, the outcome would almost certainly have been different. So why didn't he?

#59 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 07:16 PM:

Avram, #45: May I just say that I absolutely love the phrase "hate-gay-for-pay industry"? So many levels of nuance in just a few syllables...

KeithS, #55: My take on "judicial activism" is stronger than yours. I mostly see it used as code for "a judge refused to IGNORE the law in favor of something I want done." Genuine judicial activism, such as that which produced the pro-torture memos in complete defiance of a century of legal precedent, generally gets a free pass from the people who like to wave that phrase about.

#60 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 07:16 PM:

Sarah @53, I've seen some interesting quotes from Iowans who aren't happy with the decision but aren't trying to get it overturned, either -- the attitude is more one of "what will those idiots do next", from people who are used to disagreeing with their government, than of a tantrum from people for whom this is a tremendously important issue. I think that the far right just isn't having as much luck swaying the not-so-far right to care.

#61 ::: Dr. Psycho ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 07:35 PM:

Regarding justice and whether it should roll down from on high or seep up like a rising water table, a line I heard awhile back comes to mind: "It is a lot easier to cry, 'Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream' than it is to build the irrigation system."

But one way or another...one way or another...let justice be done.

#62 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 07:47 PM:

"Many waters cannot quench Love, neither can the floods drown it...Love is strong as Death."

#63 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 08:07 PM:

Thomas @ 54: a court finding that a law from the distant past has been unconstitutional for years without anyone objecting until recently.

In the case of Iowa, the distant past was 1999.

#64 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 08:18 PM:

How do two people use so many towels?

  • Some of them are grabbed to quickly clean up a nasty mess and are never the same again.
  • With two people doing the laundry, parts of a matching set get out of synch and are never clean at the same time.
  • Some wear out really really fast.
  • The same gremlins that steal an odd number of socks also break up sets of towels.
  • A beloved pet dies on a towel, and even though it could be washed clean, it goes into the memory chest.
  • Some sets go on a group camping trip, and even if the same number come home, they no longer match.
  • One member of the couple has an apartment in another city during the work week, and takes nearly all the washcloths with him.
  • At least one towel has been adopted as a beach towel and lives in the trunk of the car all year round.
  • Some are stuffed into leaky windows to stop a draft.

That's why my partner and I ask for towels every Christmas. We also have trouble keeping matching sets of sheets and pillowcases.

#65 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 08:26 PM:

Xopher: That's not really fair (though perhaps moreso in this case than in a lot of others). Most of the wacky things which make it past the referendum are introduced in off-year elections. Some of them are brought out in off-year, off cycle elections. It doesn't take a whole lot of people to carry the day when not more than 12 percent of registered voters show up (Prop. 8 is different, in that it was in a presidential year. Then again, the supporters had lots of outside money, the opposition was silly, and it was still a near run thing).

thomas: I agree, but I don't. It would be far better were the people, or the legislature willing/able to see the changes in the world. They don't always. Social inertia is a powerful thing too. Nothing is static, not even what is moral. Part of the courts' role is to spot those things and fix them as soon as it becomes apparent an injustice has been allowed to persist. It's like lancing a boil... best done soonest, lest it begin to fester.

#66 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 08:39 PM:

lorax #57: I suspect the secession option will come first, since we've heard that one mooted already.

#67 ::: Matthew Daly ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 08:58 PM:

I think that the judiciary absolutely has a role in affirming social justice, even if (especially if?) it is revolutionary. If the People wrote marriage rights and an equal protection clause in their state constitution, then the courts are exactly the place to analyze how to balance those rights.

Indeed, it is public referendums written to deprive a class of citizens from their full rights that is contrary to the American system of government. The United States does not (and do not) adhere to the principles of pure democracy, and we went to a lot of trouble to thwart the tyranny of the majority.

#68 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 09:02 PM:

David Ogden Stiers came out of the closet.
Good for him.

#69 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 09:06 PM:

I also am happy to see this happening by legislation in many places. Having it sometimes happen by court decision and sometimes by legislation is fine, but if it only happens by court decision, it makes for a very easy complaint about judges imposing their values on the country. (And the general pattern of judges deciding that longstanding laws should be overturned, and inventing a constitutional justification for it, strikes me as bad even when the results are good. Among other things, it's a weapon that could very easily be turned the other direction, as everyone who watched the addition of Roberts and Alito noted, and as everyone will again be considering if the economy re-tanks and we get a Republican back in the white house in 2013.)

More fundamentally, court decisions imply that you have the law (or some of the law) behind you. Legislative decisions imply something more like having the community or the society behind you. That's where I'd like the country to be w.r.t. gay marriage--not "we'll recognize it because otherwise the feds will mess with us," but rather "we'll recognize it because everyone expects us to and not doing so will bring massive outrage and a guaranteed defeat in the next election."

All IMO.

#70 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 09:34 PM:

#64--

why is it, blackadder, that no matter how many millions of pairs of socks i buy, i never seem to have any?

#72 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2009, 11:03 PM:

Xopher @52, I don't think she's "for sale to the highest bidder". I think she does actually believe more or less what she says -- that extending marriage rights to same-sex couples will have some kind of deleterious effect on the culture, or on religious people, or will make the baby Jesus cry, or something.

It's not her opposition to SSM that's insincere, it's her invocation of democratic values. If 70% of the populace supported SSM, she'd still argue against it, but she'd drop the talk about legislatures and referenda, and instead talk about how the Constitution protects minorities against majoritarian whim, or something.

#73 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 12:32 AM:

I'm keeping the faith for N. H. I think they'll do the right thing.

Can't be havin' Massachusetts and Maine makin' us look bad.

#74 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 01:09 AM:

Daniel Martin @ 49: "Hey, wouldn't it be something if one of the "big sky" states of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, or the Dakotas followed next?

"Despite their solid red state reputation, I see these as possibilities primarily because of the comparatively low proportion of Evangelicals among the population."

Evangelicals as such, not that much, but there are still lots of theologically (and socially) conservative congregations in these states, expecially in the smaller cities and rural areas. More importantly, check out the distribution of LDS stakes (and Temples), especially in Idaho. ISTR that one of Our Hosts would be well qualified to elaborate, should she feel inclined to do so.

OTOH, "Let 'em go to hell in their own way, if they want to" is not an entirely unfamiliar sentiment within certain of the more conservative parts of the political spectrum, in that part of the world.

#75 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 01:11 AM:

Re sock unpairings

Allan @64, and some towels belong to the Emperor; &hellip

#76 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 03:09 AM:

To those voicing unease about the role of the courts in striking down unconstitutional law: Are you proposing that the Constitution be amended/changed to remove that role from the courts? Or are you arguing that recent judicial rulings such as that in Iowa recently, or Texas not long ago (striking down sodomy laws) are unconstitutional? I'm confused.

#77 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 03:13 AM:

Allan Beatty @64:
How do two people use so many towels?

Clearly, someone was testing Xopher's comment @62 (Many waters cannot quench Love, neither can the floods drown it...) and you needed to clean up afterward.

#78 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 03:40 AM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @ #76, I think the concern about courts-only policy is political rather than Constitutional. It's easier for opponents to complain about "unelected judges putting their own beliefs ahead of the people" if the courts alone decide. If legislatures do, then elected representatives of the people have decided, thus making it harder (although not impossible) for opponents to complain. A referendum is the demand that follows legislation, I suppose, since only with that will "the will of the people truly be expressed."

#79 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 04:02 AM:

Nicole:

I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm very uncomfortable with the situation in which, say, the supreme court decides that some law which has existed for a very long time has suddenly become inconsistent with the constitution, without any intervening changes in the constitution. The reason I'm uncomfortable with this is that it offers the court a lot of power to more-or-less decide to get rid of laws it doesn't like, and more broadly to change laws it doesn't like. There is no reason I can see to expect that the court will always or even usually do this to good ends.

Now, when a state supreme court decides that gay marriage must be permitted in some state, I'm glad to see a good policy come to that state. But I'll admit, as someone who is not at all a constitutional or legal scholar, that I'm pretty skeptical that the state constitution has really required gay marriage for all the years it has existed, but nobody noticed before. Instead, what that looks like to me is that some political appointees decided to move policy in a direction that they and I like, by stretching their role quite a bit. This seems analogous to all kinds of other power grabs or places where different parts of government stretch their role to increase their power--like when the federal government threatens to withhold highway money to states that don't make desired changes to their laws, or when the executive branch uses its ability to appoint and fire prosecutors to influence the way the legal system is used in politically interesting cases, or when the police use domestic surveillance powers to gather information on congressmen who are voting on their funding for next year. This is broadly a bad pattern, even when it leads to specific bits of good policy.

If what I'm saying doesn't make sense, imagine that McCain had won the election, and that he was even now lining up another very conservative justice to replace Souter. What sort of "reinterpretations" of the constitution and the law would you expect as a result? What sort of reinterpretations of the constitution and the law w.r.t. torture would you expect from the war criminal currently serving on the ninth circuit? Or on the limits of executive power in matters of national security?

At an entirely different level, legislative victories imply something more like broad support for gay marriage. That seems like a good thing on all kinds of levels, in a way that a state supreme court decision just doesn't.

#80 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 04:34 AM:

albatross: But the founders stated the document was a living thing (I forget the quotation, but Jefferson was pretty pithy on it after his presidency).

So too is the understaning of society. It's quite possible for the understanding of what the thing means to change. The extant laws will all be based on the previous understandings.

Can this be bad? Yes. Santa Clara v Union Pacific comes to mind. It's part and parcel of the courts' functions that, when the legislative inertia hasn't caught up to the change in understanding, they accelerate the process.

#81 ::: Wakboth ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 04:48 AM:

PNH, Xopher, Avram: You are certainly right that the bigots won't stop complaining and fighting against equality no matter which way it is achieved.

I just hope that having same-sex marriage legislatively approved in some states(instead of through the courts) will make more potentially persuadable people see how stupid their position really is.

#82 ::: Matthew Daly ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 07:10 AM:

Terry Karney @80: Jefferson expressed the opinion that the Constitution should be re-written every twenty years. AFAIK, he was an outlier in this belief among the founders, and perhaps it should be factored in that Jefferson didn't have a hand in its construction, being our minister to France at the time. But I'm certain there are more fully informed scholars among us than I.

albatross @79: You make a fair point, but I am concerned that we would still be waiting for desegregation or a repeal of anti-miscegenation laws if we waited for social enlightenment to come to a majority of every political structure in the nation. Justice delayed is justice denied. Plus, I'm not prepared to accept the solipsistic argument that people in opposite marriages are losing any rights here. We need to slightly rework marriage licenses and create a few new generic wedding cake toppers and you might need to book the best caterer in town further in advance, but that's pretty much all of the actual impact from liberalizing the marriage pool.

#83 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 08:32 AM:

Ginger @ 8

Alternative wedding list for those who already have two toasters etc.: Good Gifts. It worked for us, although we had to put a list together ourselves - now they offer it as an option on the website. We enjoyed choosing the gifts (and four charities), our guests enjoyed choosing from the options (as several of them told us), we got commemerative cards telling us about the donkeys etc. and several guests have since used the same system for high-figure wedding anniversaries and birthdays.

#84 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 08:46 AM:

Ginger @ 8 ...
Perhaps you'd be interested in starting a toaster collection... :)

#85 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 09:17 AM:

xeger @ 8... Perhaps you'd be interested in starting a toaster collection

I'll take the Grace Park model.

#86 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 09:24 AM:

Late to the party here, but I observe that none of this seems to have damaged my 30+ year, Catholic marriage. Gee, what a surprise.

#87 ::: sandra willard ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 09:38 AM:

I got the same robo-call here in NH the day before yesterday that James McDonald received. Only, the question was whether I thought marraige between one man and one woman should be legal in NH.... no word "only" in it. Answer yes or no or repeat my answer or be disconnected (I had hesitated thinking what if it's not followed by whether I support same sex marriage). I asked, "repeat question please" and was disconnected. I looked it up in google and found someone had posted receipt of same call, answered yes and the only other questions were demographic and there was no room for comment. National Organization for Marriage, he said, was identified at the end of the call. In this mornings comments section at the local paper - under the article for the House passing the legislation, someone posted that CPR had conducted a survey of all NH homes and that 60% approve marriage ONLY between one man and one woman... and listed the question as containing the word "ONLY" - well two of us received something different.

#88 ::: Arwen ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 09:54 AM:

Xopher @16: Meanwhile, I don't know what's keeping New Jersey. We got our blue-ribbon panel report on the failure of Civil Unions back a long time ago.

According to the Star-Ledger (article here), there seems to be some push in that direction. Nothing imminent, unfortunately.

#89 ::: Sarah W ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 10:05 AM:

Iorax @60: I think that the far right just isn't having as much luck swaying the not-so-far right to care.

You may be right about that. The verbal far right is pretty much off the logic map around here---no just on this topic, but they've been outdoing themselves lately---and all that foaming at the mouth appears to be keeping even potential allies at a distance.

I decided Monday that I will never have enough Sanity Watchers points to safely read through the comments on our local newspaper's website. On any topic---the anonymity of the Internet sure has a strange effect on some people . . .

#90 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 11:14 AM:

Gift for those with an excess of toasters:

Hardware Wars

(How times have changed. I first saw this in a darkened room at a convention. Bearded projectionist...)

#91 ::: robert west ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 11:40 AM:

I'm pretty skeptical that the state constitution has really required gay marriage for all the years it has existed, but nobody noticed before.

I don't think this is actually what is being claimed.

The basic equal protection claim is that the state may not discriminate between its citizens using improper criteria. Everyone agrees that race is an improper criterion; everyone pretty much agrees that gender is an improper criterion. But it's totally unclear what else is an improper criterion: at the federal level, the list includes national origin, alienage status, and bastardy.

What these cases are saying is that sexual orientation is also an improper criterion. Nobody is claiming that the authors of the state constitution would have believed it to be an improper criterion; but that doesn't matter ... because the rule "you shall not discriminate among your citizens using improper classifications" is not limited to what the framers would have thought was improper.

#92 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 11:47 AM:

Matthew Daly: I don't know that a complete rewriting is what he had in mind: The quotation actually reads: "Let us provide in our constitution for its revision at stated
periods. What these periods should be nature herself indicates. By the European tables of mortality, of the adults living at any one moment of time, a majority will be dead in about nineteen years. At the end of that period, then, a new majority is come into place; or, in other words, a new generation. Each generation is as independent as the one preceding, as that was of all which had gone before. It has then, like them, a right to choose for itself the form of government it believes most promotive of its own happiness; consequently, to accommodate to the circumstances in which it finds itself that received from its predecessors; and it is for the peace and good of mankind that a solemn opportunity of doing this every nineteen or twenty years should be provided by the constitution; so that it may be handed on, with periodical repairs, from generation to generation, to the end of time, if anything human can so long endure."
Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816.

Which goes along with his statement about Rebellion:

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain
occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be
exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at
all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the
atmosphere."
Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1787.

and:

"I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms are in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people, which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is medicine necessary for the sound health of government." Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Jan. 30, 1787.


Mind you, 20 years later, his opinions on that were a little different; When he was president he said :

"In a country whose constitution is derived from the will of the people directly expressed by their free suffrages, where the principal executive functionaries and those of the legislature are renewed by them at short periods, where under the character of jurors they exercise in person the greatest portion of the judiciary powers, where the laws are consequently so formed and administered as to bear with equal weight and favor on all, restraining no man in the pursuits of honest industry and securing to every one the property which that acquires, it would not be supposed that any safeguards could be needed against insurrection or enterprise on the public peace or authority. The laws, however, aware that these should not be trusted to moral restraints only, have wisely provided punishments for these crimes when committed." Thomas Jefferson: State of the Union 1806.

I don't know that he meant a complete reworking of the document. I wish I had a better sense of the location of various comments in the Federalist Papers about how the consitution; through interpretation, be kept current. I am certain at least one of them discusses this.

#93 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 11:51 AM:

robert west: Yes, a much clearer explanation than any of mine have been.

#94 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 11:58 AM:

You could argue (and I have seen it argued) that banning SSM is a form of gender discrimination. If a man can marry a woman, why can't a woman do the same thing? And vice versa.

#95 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 12:45 PM:

Matthew, #82: Not to mention that I probably still wouldn't be able to vote! There's a balance between social change pushing legal change and legal change making space for social change -- neither process works as well on its own as they do in tandem.

Terry, #92: The average lifespan back then was considerably shorter. While it's still true that a generation is about 20 years, there are a lot more generations co-existing now than there were when he wrote that. OTOH, 20 years does still seem to be enough time to bring about major social changes that would justify revisiting parts of our founding documents to see if they're still valid as written.

I found what appears to be a traditional-conservative blog's take on the gay-marriage issue. Short form: Younger voters, by and large, don't care, and if the Republicans don't ease up on this issue they are going to lose pretty much the whole upcoming generation. Politicians like Bobby Jindal need to take note; while hard-line opposition to gay marriage may score them short-term gains, in the long run it's likely to be a serious CLM.

I was also impressed with the relatively low level of toxicity in the comments on that article; either they've got a good moderation policy in place or they just don't attract frothing-at-the-mouth types.

#96 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 01:29 PM:

I can sympathize with the unease that judicial review can result in bad law as easily as good, but so too can a direct vote. Direct vote can result in bad law even more easily because voters are not constitutionally required to justify that they're voting for something constitutional. I think any tool can be wielded for good or ill; the question is, does the good outweigh the ill? I would be very reluctant to give up judicial review; should my equal rights as a U.S. Citizen be unpopular, what else stands to preserve them?
Put another way: it would be silly of me to insist that civil rights should only be granted if the people vote them in, given that without the courts upholding the unpopular (at that time) civil rights of women, it might still be illegal today for me to vote!

I think robert west has already explained why "they suddenly discovered a constitutional requirement for gay marriage?" is not an accurate way to describe what happened in Iowa. I'd like to add to his take on it that "well, no one's complained all these years!" is a bad reason to dismiss a complaint of a law's unconstitutionality. It can take a long time to get a complaint together and bring it before the courts. Victims of an unconstitutional law must know that the law is unconstitutional, and they need legal representation, and they need money, and they need time. And, in some cases, they need to be able to stand up to potential reprisal from that tyrant majority we hear so much about.

Do those who distrust that unelected process, judicial review, have a preferred alternative? When a majority of citizens or of their elected representatives, in direct defiance of a constitution that says this is not to happen, votes in a law explicitly stating that some people are not to receive the full protection of certain laws--then what recourse should those people have? Or should they not? Is it not actually the courts that are being distrusted, but in fact the system we have now of constitutional restraints on what kinds of laws we can make?

#97 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 03:55 PM:

Nicole:

I'm not suggesting giving up judicial review--I don't see how else constitutional restrictions on government actions would have any teeth. And I'm not any kind of legal scholar, so I probably can't defend my problems with this well.

Here's what I see as the problem: We as a society have gotten used to kicking a lot of our hard moral problems up to the supreme court, rather than hashing them out through some kind of legislative process or discussion. Politicians seem to me to be quite comfortable signing laws they know are unconstitutional, with the assumption that the supreme court will eventually sort it all out. (Think of Clinton signing the CDA, or various bits of campaign finance law which basically require regulating political speech.) When the Bush administration decided to arrest a US citizen on US soil, hold him incommunicado several years, and probably torture him to get information, it wasn't the people or the congress who responded. We kicked the question up to the supreme court, who kicked it back down the chain in a way that gave the administration time to file charges against Padilla and avoid an explicit ruling.

Maybe the congress and people can't be expected to make good decisions in such cases, but if not, it seems to me that this undermines the whole point of having democratically elected governments, at least for any big or important decisions. The question of whether we should have a death penalty, frex, strikes me as a policy question that ought to be settled democratically, rather than by the political balance on the supreme court. (Note that the constitutionality of the death penalty has changed a couple times.)

Along with that, again stressing that I'm no legal scholar, a whole bunch of court decisions look obviously like political decisions to me, because they change what is forbidden or required or permitted by the constitution, with no intervening change in the constitution. For example, antisodomy laws were upheld as constitutional in 1986, and overturned as unconstitutional in 2003. Which affirmative action laws/policies are permissible seem to me to have been changed several times by court cases, and are likely to change again given the different balance of the court for the Ricci case.

Now, I'm sure there's some convoluted justification for each of these decisions. But somehow, the decisions typically track passably well with policy preferences of the presidents who appointed the justices. This is the whole point of the intense fights about court appointees, and why the world looks very different now than it would if Souter were about to be replaced by a McCain pick, probably someone about as conservative as Roberts or Alito. And as a result, the constitution would, in practice, somehow change its meaning on various issues.

Now, that doesn't change the fact that recognition of gay marriage is a good thing, or that this will have a huge positive impact on a lot of peoples' lives. But there's something about this method of making big political decisions that doesn't seem right to me--that evades any kind of accountability to voters, that kicks hard questions up to the courts so the politicians don't have to dirty their hands with such things, that concentrates huge amounts of power for good and ill in the hands of a small number of people with lifetime appointments.

All IMO.

#98 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 05:06 PM:

As mentioned above, the DC City Council has voted 12-1 to recognize same sex marriages performed elsewhere and I hope they'll soon take the next step and legalize SSM in the District of Columbia.

Congress, with its power to overturn DC laws, may not be the problem this time. Influential ministers of the black community are organizing opposition to legalizing gay marriage.

The Washington Post's DC Wire blog had this interesting tidbit:

"Attorney Mark Levine said his analysis of District law found that the same-sex marriage question cannot be put before voters. He noted that local election law forbids a vote on a matter that violates the District's Human Rights Act. The act states that the government cannot 'limit or refuse to provide any facility, service, program, or benefit' to any individual on the basis of sexual orientation."

#99 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 07:15 PM:

re towels: They have 3 bathrooms, and they want one set of towels to use and one to wash for each bathroom.

#100 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 07:16 PM:

Lee: I suspect (with all sorts of experiential generalisations), that the moderate nature of the blog-owner keeps the more "typical", "C"onservative types away.

A wee bit of moderation, and a strong disinclination to the sort of reason he's expounding and the self-selection is probably about as good as it is here.

#101 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 07:24 PM:

Xopher @ 62

Love is strong as Death.

Love is stronger than Death. Love survives Death.

And a hearty W00T! to the people of Maine. If enough more states do this, maybe the people of Oregon will be ashamed of their "defence of marriage", and will overturn it, and turn the professional gay-bashers out. Our problem here is the same as in California: strong support for completely equal rights in the Portland Metro area (where 1/3 of the state's population lives), and strong anti-gay activism in the rest of the state, with the average small-town / rural straight voter persuaded more by the "don't let those city people tell you what to do" argument than by real bigotry.

#102 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 07:56 PM:

albatross: Part the first is mores evolve. Part the second is that the court (in theory, and usually in practice, though Bush v Gore is a blatant exception) can't answer questions not presented to it.

One of the things my Procedures class (I once entertained the idea of being a paralegal) went into was pleadings. If the pleading doesn't include it, the court can't consider it. This usualy bites people acting pro se/in pro per, because they don't know how to ask for generic consideration from the court (basically including a request; in addition to the specific request for damages/penalties, "Or such other remedies as the court may decide," but I digress).

So a lot of things never get to the court, because no one asks the question. The next thing to consider is that the questions (say the difference between the Georgia and Texas sodomy cases) may have changed slightly (or grossly) because of intervening laws.

Right now the court has granted cert to two cases of life sentences to minors. One would expect them to be joined (or that only one would be heard), but they are going to use some of the scant time they have to review them. Which means there is; to them, some sublte, but important, difference in the two cases (probably one of age; one plaintiff was 13 at the time of sentence, the other 17). It's also possible the are looking at reasonableness. One was for homicide, the other for robbery while on parole/probation (I forget which).

The law isn't, actually, all that hard to understand, it's just that it has a lot more accretion, and the shorthands take time to understand (give, bequeath and devise are different, though to the layman they all look to be pretty much the same). It's because there have been a lot of edge case, in need of fine distinction.

It's (usually) edge cases which make it to the Supremes. There are levels in-between, meant to keep the "no-brainers" from getting that far. Which means there may be (though there is less than one might expect) some big swings, as things change (Plessy v Ferguson becomes Brown v Board of Education).

With more people, some of the questions are going to be visited more often. There are just more chances for someone to have an ox gored.

#103 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 08:05 PM:

albatross: Oops, I forgot to add the question of known bias. This court is one which folks hoping for the Supremes to solve the SSM dilemma don't want to take the issue to. Odds are they will engage in some strange sophistries (as with the way they said women can't be trusted to be non-emotional about abortions) to come to a conclusion which is worse than not addressing the issue.

So Equal Protection arguments tend to not be made to them. That's what makes Bush v Gore such a standout case of actual judicial activism. Neither side introduced any real argument about Equal Protection. There was (IIRC) nothing more than a dismissive throwaway, meant to forestall a Gore argument; one that said this wasn't an Equal Protection issue.

The argument wasn't introduced, and the justices didn't bring it up in the oral arguments; but WHAM, it was the core of the decision.

And the five who supported it can be found to be contradicting themselves, left, right and center.

I think that's the real reason they made it a "non-precedential" ruling. If they hadn't they'd gutted years worth of shoving the 14th Amendment into a smaller and smaller box.

So the makeup of the court not only shapes the decisions, it changes the nature of the questions; which is why some things can seem to flip so radically.

#104 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2009, 10:30 PM:

Ginger @5 and others

Anyone interested in GLBT history might want to look at the website of the Tretter collection at the University of Minnesota: http://special.lib.umn.edu/rare/tretter.phtml

Ginger, Tretter might want your clippings, if they are for sources he doesn't have.

#105 ::: Matthew Austern ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 12:08 AM:

It's not unreasonable to say that all else being equal the courts should defer to the legislature, and it's not unreasonable to say that all else being equal the courts should defer to existing practice. But, you know, all else never is quite equal.

Sometimes it's possible to find a law that's been around for a long time and that seems to be an absolutely clear violation of our constitution. How could everyone have been mistaken for more than a century? Well, sometimes people just are mistaken, and sometimes it takes a while for mistakes to be noticed. You shouldn't find it so very unthinkable.

Sometimes it's even possible to understand why people in the past were mistaken, why they failed to see the now self-evident conflict between what they were doing and the principles they thought they believed in. Maybe their legal reasoning was based on a factually incorrect view of the world. (Facts matter! Even to judges.) Maybe nobody thought to ask the right questions, and once the questions were asked it became obvious that there was no principled defense of the long-standing practice. Maybe people were so blinded by their own self interest or their own visceral instincts that they weren't able to ask the right questions.

You can probably come up with your own explanations for why, every once in a while, it might turn out that a long-standing law really does violate our constitution. And if you study your 18th century history you can probably come up with an example or two of your own. If a law is clearly inconsistent with the words of the constitution, arguing that it's an old law just isn't good enough. It's one consideration, but it doesn't trump everything else. You still need an argument.

#106 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 11:12 AM:

Bruce 101: I agree. I was quoting.

#107 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 11:40 AM:

Re; towels:

I was thinking in terms of these being the "nice" towels. We have randomly acquired, mismatching, pre-faded and pre-stained beach towels for use in all kinds of non-standard towel-requiring situations. Perhaps this couple doesn't, though.

Three bathrooms for two people? I suppose it's possible -- or they are planning ahead for a large family.

I don't know. In my house we have 2 sets of towels (a "set" meaning two bath towels, 2 hand towels, and 2 washcloths), one for each bathroom. This means we have enough towels for ourselves and two houseguests, or two weeks' towels for us if for some reason we need to shower before the first weeks' are out of the laundry. They are all the same color (a neutral beige) so getting them mixed up in the wash doesn't matter. We have four randomly acquired, mismatching towels in addition: one lives in my gym bag, one lives in his gym bag, one is presently in my car trunk for some reason and is covered in fertilizer since I was transporting a bag that turned out to be punctured, and the fourth -- often used as padding in the cat carrier when we go to the vet -- is clean and folded in the top of the linen cabinet.

This has historically been more than enough for the two of us and two cats. I'm not sure what we would actually do with 6 sets of nice matching towels.

Allan Beatty does raise several excellent points, though. If they are presently under-toweled (as admittedly two people living alone might be), 6 sets might be a good choice.

And really, you can't be too prepared in the event of Vogon invasion, can you?

#108 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 12:23 PM:

I'm starting to wonder why there aren't a lot of extremists doing damage and getting themselves thrown in jail over this issue; surely they must be stewing in their own juices at this point. Maybe they're all slouching away to the piney woods to revitalize the Patriot movement or something.

#109 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 12:39 PM:

Caroline, #107: We have tons of towels, most of which "match" by virtue of having been used multiple times as underlayers for tie-dye sessions. (Any towel which has been thru that process a few times eventually becomes more or less uniformly blackish-green with bits of other-colored highlights.) They may not be pretty, but at least we don't have to worry about them being stolen at the beach!

#110 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 12:39 PM:

Magenta @ 104: Wow! I'll have to go find my binder and files before I promise anything to anyone, but this gives me a great reason to do just that. (And clean up a bit of the basement..)

Re: Towels -- You never can have too many towels, especially when you have at least one dog and at least one child. And cats.

Earl @ 108: Or they're full of sound and fury, but have no substance. IOW, they can talk the talk but they can't walk the walk.

#111 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 12:47 PM:

Ginger @ 110... And you can't have too many pillowcases either, especially when you are in charge of a cat genius.

#112 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 01:50 PM:

Serge @ 111: Someday, Serge, I shall show you the scars on my hands from Cats Who Protested, and Mary will tell you the story of "BT Climbing The Drapes". She was not a happy cat that day.

And then I will tell you the story of "How Mom Climbed the 40-ft Ladder to Retrieve The Cat From the Top of the Tree, with Salami, After a Long Day of Work and a Hot Drive Home with No AC".

#113 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 01:55 PM:

Ginger @ 112... Did I ever tell you of the time I confined a much younger and much thinner Cat Genius to one bathroom one evening, only to be woken up in the middle of the night when said CG found itself trapped in the airvent's exit in the other bathroom?

#114 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 03:01 PM:

Serge @ 113: I suppose I haven't already told you about the time Salem climbed the bookshelves, shoved the books out of her way, got into the ceiling, and thence made her way out of Dad's office in the basement? She would sit quite smugly on the shelves outside the locked door, while her sister and nephews gazed at her with puzzlement and jealousy.

#115 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 03:15 PM:

Ginger @ 114... It sounds like we should have both called our kitties Schrödinger. Maybe they are entangled pawrticles.

#116 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 03:33 PM:

Earl #108:

Alternatively, maybe this issue just doesn't have the visceral impact, even to the most dedicated base, that something like Burton or gnu control does? ISTM that the burning issue of the Dire Civilizational Threat of Gay Marriage is more-or-less synthetic, whereas those other two issues get a hell of a lot of people very worked up, without any massive PR campaign. And also that one of the reasons that gay marriage is moving forward is that the pro-side cares a great deal more about the issue than the con-side.

#117 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 03:46 PM:

albatross: Burton?

I think the reason gun-control gets people more worked up than SSM is that people who aren't homosexual don't (by and large) think it affects them.

Both gun-owners, and non-gun owners have a dog in the fight, which changes a lot of the dynamic.

#118 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 04:25 PM:

Yes, Burton. The reimvowelling of brtn.

#119 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 04:27 PM:

Serge @ 115: Or perhaps we have Schroedinger's LOLcat?

#120 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 04:29 PM:

Xopher: Got it. Parsing error. brtn would have worked, but I did the same sort of RPG thing. Didn't get the frame of reference.

#121 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 05:14 PM:

One aspect of the expansion of SSM which doesn't get a lot of mainstream news attention, but is very painful to many SSM couples, is the U.S. federal government's refusal to recognize state-authorized SSMs for federal tax purposes. Specifically, the IRS does not accept "married, filing jointly" tax returns from same-sex couples, even if the couple has been validly married under state law. (And yes, the specific examples I am thinking of are all from Massachussetts.)

Since the U.S. federal tax treatment (including effective tax rate) of "married, filing jointly" couples with certain common income patterns is significantly more favorable than that extended to such couples who file separately, this can be quite financially painful to those affected. Even worse, many U.S. states (and cities) which assess their own income taxes do so based on the income amounts reported on the taxpayer's federal tax return for the same period. (Generally, there is no provision for taxpayers to report their income for federal tax purposes on the "married, filing separately" basis, and then make their state/local tax report on a "married, filing jointly" basis.)

So, a SSM couple who want to claim the more favorable tax treatment they are legally entitled to as a married couple are not only prohibited from doing so at the federal level, but may also -- depending on the fine points of their state's tax laws -- be unable to do so at state and/or city levels. This in turn suggests an "equal protection" argument in favor of extending identical tax treatment to couples (of same or opposite sexes) who are otherwise similarly situated. Also, a good attorney should be able to identify several strands of federalism arguments which could be followed to, I suspect, some rather interesting destinations.

Come the beginning of tax filing season next January, we should see some very interesting requests for preliminary injunctions, declaratory judgements, and leave to file motions for accelerated appeals on these and related topics.

#122 ::: Johnathan Knutson ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 06:24 PM:

I discovered Making Light from a link on a good friend's personal blog, and it's a bit "full circle" for me that when I read this entry, I immediately thought of a quote from one of his blog posts:

Sexuality Discrimination isn’t just wrong, it’s disappointing. A constitutional ban on gay marriage isn’t just wrong-headed, it’s damaging to the future. Our children and our children’s children won’t understand the arguments we’re making today. They simply won’t comprehend a world where people refused to tolerate one another based on genetics or ideology or really old books.

I personally believe that it's the best result of electing someone to an authority position when they actually prove that they can make the right choice.

Sure, I'd rather have a Supreme Court ruling that makes a supreme and lasting statement about personal rights; but in the mean-time I'll settle for individuals collectively getting it right.

#123 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 06:53 PM:

Ginger @ 119... Shouldn't it be a quantum litterbox?

#124 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 07:25 PM:

Caroline, #107, I have a set of towels I use (and wash every time I use) plus a handtowel for each of both bathrooms, but I have two closet shelves stuffed with older towels of different colors and sizes. I use them much more often than I'd like considering I have only two cats.

#125 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 09:08 PM:

I have a set of towels I use (and wash every time I use) — Marilee @124
*boggles* A loss in translation? One shower/day +more in summer (typical in Oz) = 7 towels/week or 7 washes/week for 1 person; seems unusual. (Please ignore if too personal.) My stash somewhat less.

#126 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 10:26 PM:

Matthew@105: Maybe their legal reasoning was based on a factually incorrect view of the world. (Facts matter! Even to judges.)

ISTM that this is the essence of the matter. There were no relevant changes to the Constitution between Plessy and Brown; what changed was the "facts". (It's analogous to the number of human chromosomes: everybody agreed the pictures showed 48, but when someone looked more carefully, not just the new picture but many of the old ones clearly showed 46. Judges are human; they don't always see what's in front of them that they don't expect to see.)

Earl@108: possibly because they're blowhards? Verbal terrorists who expect people to fold when threatened? Just sane enough to conclude that <TheirView>a faggot might proposition them but is too swish to take their guns away</TheirView>? (Yes, that's unsympathetic. There's some ugliness I've just run out of tolerance for.) They might get worked up to violence over the idea that gays are child-molesters, but that meme seems to be dying -- or maybe since it's clearly not happening as frequently as brtn, it doesn't have the staying power.

#127 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 10:41 PM:

"Love is stronger than Death. Love survives Death." — Bruce (#101)

So do Hate, and Fear, surely, too? If my understanding of what's meant is right. Coming up to VE Day, which has some connection there.

Congratulations to the State of Maine, and all who sail in her, nevertheless; and my hopes for further in future.

#128 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2009, 10:41 PM:

Okay, maybe the hubby and I are the weird ones in this crowd? We each use a fresh towel each time we shower. If I wash my hair, I also use one for that since my hair is long and thick, though occasionally I have been known to then re-use that towel later for body towel after another shower. I was brought up this way, and he usually did the same thing when he was growing up. I also change out the washcloth I use on my face about every other day (cuts down on breakouts - stupid midlife acne) and put up a clean hand towel (which we share) at the same time. Between the two of us, we generate on average one large washload of towels per week in winter, more in summer. This seems normal to us.

#129 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2009, 11:33 AM:

Mez @ 127

Oh, certainly, the fact that humans are such strong timebinders, the strongest we know of, makes it possible for any of our great external drivers¹ to transcend death. We continue to love, even when the object of our love is dead, for instance.

¹ The internal drivers I'm talking about are hunger, pain, loneliness, etc. External are love, fear, hate, ...

Summer Storms @ 128
I join you in weirdness. My wife and I use bath towels once, then wash them. In the winter (wet, cold, air dry is uncomfortable) I would like to use 2 towels after a shower, 1 for my hair, which is quite long, but I only do that if I'm in a hurry to get ready for some important group function.

The amount of wash we do as a result, even with the kids long gone and out in the world, makes us very careful about the energy and water usage of the appliances we buy.

#130 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2009, 04:58 PM:

Epacris, #125, the doctors only let me shower every other day because my skin is too fragile, and growing up, we lived in the Ring of Fire where your towels never dried by themselves and grew mold before the next day. I still have that mindset.

#131 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2009, 09:45 PM:

Marilee@130: which part of the ring of fire was so moldy? The term I've heard covers most of the Pacific coast; I'd expect at least the several hundred miles of coast near LA to be hot&dry enough not to encourage mold.

#132 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 05:34 PM:

CHip, Guam, Japan, the Philipines, etc. Navy enlisted housing didn't have air conditioning. We had light bulbs on all the time in closets so dry clothes wouldn't mold.

#133 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 05:52 PM:

albatross, thank you for your thoughtful responses to my questions.

I think I often make an error of imputing the wrong motivation to people who express concerns such as yours: I tend to assume that these concerns imply a positive assertion of an alternative way of running things. Hence, I hear "I'm concerned about the legitimacy of having the Supreme Court decide this..." and I assume the speaker thinks we'd be better off without the Supreme Court, or without the Supreme Court playing that role. When of course it's totally possibly to express concern without being able to suggest ready solution (for me to try to poke holes in).

I think the flip side of that assumption is, I cannot entirely deny the validity of your concerns, but I remain passionately in favor of the Supreme Court and judicial review because I can conceive of no better solution to the problem of the tyranny of the majority and keeping teeth in the Bill of Rights. Which passion leads me back to being instinctively suspicious of anyone who expresses concerns about the Supreme Court and judicial review. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Clearly I could use more nuance in my thought-processes.

Right now I am not nearly clear-headed enough to address your points. All that comes to mind to say is: If legislators are perfectly happy signing laws they know are unconstitutional, I'd say that's evidence of the need for a Supreme Court. I mean, I could wish that all legislators felt more responsible for the constitutionality and justice of the laws they sign, but since I can't rely on them to do so, I'm damn glad we've got the Supreme Court to smack 'em down... when and if the question of this or that particular law makes it onto the court docket.

(When, oh when, will someone challenge DOMA? Did I blink and miss it? Will it be next year, as Leroy suggests?)

#134 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 02:35 PM:

Six! California's back.

"The majority opinion, by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, declared that any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation will from this point on be constitutionally suspect in California in the same way as laws that discriminate by race or gender, making the state's high court the first in the nation to adopt such a stringent standard."

There is another initiative in the works, of course. It's not settled business yet, either way.

#135 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 02:42 PM:

abi @ 134: What wonderful and unexpected news!

#136 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 02:44 PM:

abi @ 134:

Check the date; it's from last year. The ballot proposition the article is talking about is Prop 8.

#137 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 02:44 PM:

Yay!

#138 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 02:51 PM:

Crap, I just read the article. It was a year ago.

Which is a pity, I had a post ready to go, with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing the Hallelluia Chorus.

Oh well, I can plan to use it when the time comes.

#139 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 02:51 PM:

Well, nuts. That's the last time I trust a certain Tweeter.

It's also a sign that my fever has climbed to intelligence-frying levels. I'm off to bed.

Sorry 'bout that.

#140 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 02:57 PM:

abi @ 139:

It's not like minuscule, light gray on white text for the date is easy to spot. Don't be too hard on yourself.

#141 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 03:22 PM:

What caught me was the, "Paving the way for couples to get married in June"

That was when I spotted the year, but all the othe stuff is current to today. Was not easy to spot.

#142 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2009, 12:42 AM:

OTOH, New Hampshire is close to being #6; the governor has said he'll sign the bill if ]religious institutions[ can be protected against having to act against their faith (i.e., marry gay couples). (IIRC, enough more specific that he'd have a hard time blocking the bill if the exceptions are passed.) So the local reactionary said -"That's just a mask; what about all the small businesses that will have to serve gay couples?"- It is so tempting to invite them, as they once invited liberals, to move to some place more congenial to their beliefs -- I hear Iran has been especially hard on gays recently....

#143 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2009, 01:19 AM:

A small-business owner who doesn't want customers? I think he or she should seriously consider a career change. (And here we are back at the "they said that about serving black people, too" arguments yet again.)

#144 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2009, 06:40 AM:

CHip@142

I suspect the governor doesn't actually WANT to block the bill at this point.

#145 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2009, 10:11 AM:

If you look at the changes he wants in the bill, they allow the kind of discrimination that church in New Jersey was doing a while back: they had a space they rented out for all kinds of events, and they refused to rent to a Lesbian couple for a civil union. They got sued and lost; that's against NJ's antidiscrimination law.

ISTM reading the changes the governor wants that they would protect that kind of discrimination. I say he can shove it.

#146 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2009, 12:06 PM:

Lee @ 143:

Discrimination doesn't make economic sense, but human beings are hardly rational economic actors.

Xopher @ 145:

I'm perfectly happy with churches deciding who they want to marry. I think that if they rent out their own facilities for commercial purposes, then they have to follow the laws of the land on commercial transactions. Seems simple enough to me.

#147 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2009, 01:39 PM:

KeithS, that's exactly how I feel, and that's exactly the law in New Jersey. IANAL, but looking at the governor's proposed changes it seems like he's trying to broaden the churches' protection to include their commercial activities.

There's also some distinctly vague wording there about "and their affiliates"—what's that mean, that if you go to an anti-gay church you're allowed to refuse gay couples at the hotel you own?

#148 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2009, 02:08 PM:

Xopher @ 147:

I would guess that it's talking about church-run charitable organizations and support groups.

#149 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2009, 06:09 PM:

I think it needs to specify exactly what an affiliate is. Remember, there's absolutely no reason to trust the anti-gay forces to play fair—or to stay within the law, of course, but at least when they go outside the law, the law is on our side.

#150 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2009, 01:30 PM:

Rixo posted the following on her blog today:

Today is the 30th anniversary of the White Night Riots, which occurred when Dan White was given a ludicrously low sentence for the murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone. Tomorrow is Harvey Milk's birthday. He would have been 79.
#151 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 08:25 PM:

Make that SIX states and counting. Hurray for the Nude Hamster state!!

#153 ::: Benjamin Wolfe sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 01:45 AM:

Absolutely spam. Not even leavened by cleverness.

#154 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 02:21 AM:

Daniel Martin, #48: So how long do you think it'll take to get ten more states on board?

As it turns out, less than 5 years.

I continue to be both gobsmacked and delighted with the momentum of this arc toward justice.

#155 ::: P J Evans sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 11:45 PM:

I don't know what it's trying to promote, though.

#156 ::: Xopher Halftongue sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 11:46 PM:

spam

#157 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 11:47 PM:

Probably just a probe, P J. If they come back and it's still here they'll put in something with a payload.

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