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    gay marriage Tag

    George Bush did not "lie us into war," no matter how many times the media and Democrats claim it was so. But Barack Obama did lie himself into office, when he falsely claimed to oppose gay marriage on religious grounds during the 2008 campaign: In fact, we now know as a fact what we always suspected, that Obama's 2008 position was purely political, so as not to alienate the religious black community, whose enthusiasm and turnout was critical to Obama's campaign. What used to be just a "right-wing" tag line about Obama not being honest about his faith, now is proven by Obama's key confidant and political advisor, David Axelrod as reported in Time, Axelrod: Obama Misled Nation When He Opposed Gay Marriage In 2008 (emphasis added):

    Back in early October, pundits and marriage activists on both sides of the issue were left stranded at a fork in the road after the Supreme Court declined to hear oral arguments on several high-profile gay marriage cases. Some lawyers, including myself, weren't particularly shocked by this given that there was no circuit split in the lower courts. The latest decision by the Sixth Circuit, then, could be a gamechanger. Yesterday, a three judge panel upheld same sex marriage bans in four states. The judges writing for the majority banked their opinion not on the merits of same sex marriage, but whether or not the decision to allow same sex marriage should be left to the states and the people, or to judges applying the Constitution generally. Now, we have a "circuit split," and an even greater likelihood that the Supremes will take on the issue and resolve the question. via SCOTUS Blog:
    At this point, the decision conflicts directly with federal appeals courts in the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits — precisely the kind of division of judgment that ordinarily will lead the Supreme Court to step in to resolve the split, especially on an issue of fundamental constitutional significance. So far, the Court has passed up review of any of the lower-court decisions striking down state bans that it has considered, and it has even refused recently to put lower-court decisions on hold until appeals could be filed and decided by the Justices. In widely reported public comments, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has indicated that the main reason the Court had bypassed the cases up to this point was that there was no current split among the courts of appeals. Now there is a split, and it is a stark one. In one sweeping decision, the Sixth Circuit has given all of the states in its geographic region a victory for their bans on both initial marriages of same-sex couples and official recognition of such marriages performed outside of the couples’ home states. By contrast, other federal courts have nullified identical bans in thirteen states just over the past few months, with the prospect that the number would soon rise to sixteen — for a total of thirty-five states, plus Washington, D.C., allowing such marriages.

    Many if not most observers expected the Supreme Court to take at least one of the cases for which review was sought in which the issue of whether same-sex marriage bans were constitutional was squarely presented. None of the Supreme Court's decisions in DOMA or the Prop. 8 litigation decided that issue. But the Supreme Court did not take any of the cases, leaving in place Court of Appeals decisions that seem to clear the way for same-sex marriages in numerous states. ScotusBlog reports:
    The Supreme Court had issued the first round of orders from the September 29 Conference last Thursday, adding eleven new cases to its docket for the new Term.  Many people had anticipated that one or more of the same-sex marriage petitions might be on that list, but the Court did not act on any of them at the time.  Last month Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had suggested that the Court might not step into the controversy at this point, because there was no disagreement among the lower courts on that issue.  Today her prediction proved true, with the Court denying review (without any comment) of the seven petitions:  Bogan v. Baskin (Indiana); Walker v. Wolf (Wisconsin); Herbert v. Kitchen (Utah); McQuigg v. Bostic (Virginia); Rainey v. Bostic (Virginia); Schaefer v. Bostic(Virginia); and Smith v. Bishop (Oklahoma).
    The NY Times explains the impact:

    The Supreme Court will sit for their first long conference of the October session on Monday, and SCOTUS watchers are anxious to find out whether or not the Court will decide to wade once more into the murky waters of the marriage equality battle. There are seven gay marriage cases set to be discussed during the Monday conference, and each of them offers a slightly different variation on the argument that has been raging since before this writer even began to think about the possibility of attending law school. Via U.S. News and World Report:
    The Supreme Court will not only be considering the matter of timing. What case or cases it ultimately hears will help determine the scope of its eventual ruling, both as it pertains to marriage itself – will its ruling apply to the ability of gay couples to get married in all states or just whether states have to recognize the same-sex marriages of other states – and the decision’s implications outside the issues of marriage. “The court is going to have to decide how much it is going to put on its plate,” said Gregory Garre, a former U.S. solicitor general and now the chairman of the Supreme Court and Appellate practice at Latham & Watkins, at a panel sponsored by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. Bans in Utah and Oklahoma, both overturned in separate decisions by the 10th Circuit, were decided on the basis of due process, meaning that denying gay couples the ability to wed deprives them of their fundamental right to marry. The 7th Circuit decision finding Indiana’s and Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional did so on the grounds of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, with the unanimous panel arguing that same-sex marriage bans discriminate against one’s sexual orientation. If the Supreme Court decides on a case that invokes the equal protection clause, how it interprets the 14th Amendment could affect judicial rulings on other questions of LGBT rights and discrimination. Those on both sides of the argument say they can win on either grounds.

    S. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, died today at the age of 93. The Wall Street Journal reports:
    Mr. Cathy, an entrepreneur from an early age, built Chick-fil-A from a small diner founded in an Atlanta suburb 68 years ago into the top fast-food chicken chain in the U.S. Known for its grounding in the tenets of the founder's religious devotion as well as for its fried-chicken sandwiches, the closely held company has expanded to more than 1,800 stores in 40 states. Its sales have grown for 47 straight years, to $5 billion last year, Chick-fil-A says.... After some early setbacks, Mr. Cathy invented the original Chick-fil-A sandwich in 1964, considered to be the first fast-food chicken sandwich, and opened the company's first restaurant in Atlanta in 1967, according to a timeline on the company's website. He expanded the company in part by setting his restaurants in suburban shopping malls. Throughout, Mr. Cathy emphasized Christian values. The chain's locations are closed on Sundays and play religious-themed music. Mr. Cathy founded a youth-ministry organization, WinShape Foundation, in 1984, which provides leadership training and college scholarships to young people. Through the foundation, 13 foster homes have been created to provide long-term care for foster children in a family setting.
    Chick-fil-A drew attention when activist groups and local politicians tried to force Chick-fil-A out of some cities because of its founding family's views on marriage and charitable donations. There never was an allegation of discrimination in the workplace -- this was pure political retribution, a precursor to purges such as that against Brendan Eich. We had extensive coverage of the anti-Chick-fil-A movement, including these posts: The anti-Chick-fil-A protests turned ugly at times, as Anne's video showed when this street preacher wa "chaulked": We covered Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day with many reader pictures, such as these:

    A federal judge has rejected the reigning judicial trend and held that Louisiana has the right to define marriage as one man, one woman. This is the first time since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 that a federal judge has upheld a state-level ban. From the opinion, via the Washington Post:
    “It would no doubt be celebrated to be in the company of the near-unanimity of the many other federal courts that have spoken to this pressing issue, if this court were confident in the belief that those cases provide a correct guide,” Feldman wrote. “Clearly, many other courts will have an opportunity to take up the issue of same-sex marriage; courts of appeals and, at some point, the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision of this court is but one studied decision among many.”
    You can read the full opinion here. In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman makes the point that most legal scholars have been---until now---unwilling to make: that the Supreme Court has never held that sexual orientation constitutes a protected class. Because of this inconvenient technicality, proper brief writing challenging same sex marriage bans should focus on whether or not the ban came about as a result of some sort of animosity toward gay people. This, of course, was not sufficiently proven:

    Last month, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down as unconstitutional Virginia's same sex marriage ban. This week, however, the Supreme Court put a hold on that ruling, meaning that for the time being gay marriages are blocked in Virginia:
    While nearly all federal and state courts have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage since the high court issued two landmark decisions in June 2013, judges have blocked nearly all such marriages while the cases are appealed. The justices had stepped in once before, in Utah, to do just that. If the court declines to hear the Virginia appeal, the stay would be lifted and couples could begin getting married. Otherwise, those marriages would have to wait until the case is ultimately decided. "The Supreme Court is making clear, as it already did in the Utah marriage case, that it believes a dignified process is better than disorder," said Byron Babione, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the Virginia court clerk opposed to same-sex marriage.
    Virginia Attorney General Mike Herring, who has decided not to support the new ban, actually asked the Supreme Court to issue a stay on the Fourth Circuit's ruling, citing concerns over the impact an eventual negative ruling could have on families and businesses.

    In all of this past week's flurry IRS news: Lois Lerner and other IRS' officials hard drives crashing, emails showing Lerner targeted Sen. Chuck Grassley, and the IRS Commissioner telling Congress they've done nothing wrong -- some news got lost in the shuffle. The IRS did do something very wrong, admitted it and paid a significant fine to resolve it.
    Two years after activists for same-sex marriage obtained the confidential tax return and donor list of a national group opposed to redefining marriage, the Internal Revenue Service has admitted wrongdoing and agreed to settle the resulting lawsuit. The Daily Signal has learned that, under a consent judgment today, the IRS agreed to pay $50,000 in damages to the National Organization for Marriage as a result of the unlawful release of the confidential information to a gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, that is NOM’s chief political rival. “Congress made the disclosure of confidential tax return information a serious matter for a reason,” NOM Chairman John D. Eastman told The Daily Signal. “We’re delighted that the IRS has now been held accountable for the illegal disclosure of our list of major donors from our tax return.”
    This admission by the IRS goes back to the vicious fight over the Prop 8 vote in California where HRC and its allies resorted to releasing donation information of individuals and harassing those traditional marriage supporters at their homes and businesses.

    Joan Biskupic writing for Reuters reports on the fear in the legal community that has caused large law firms to refuse to take on clients who support keeping the "one man, one woman" definition of marriage, U.S. law firms flock to gay-marriage proponents, shun other side (h/t @AdamLiptak):
    As U.S. lawsuits seeking gay-marriage rights move toward a likely showdown at the Supreme Court next year, major law firms are rushing to get involved — but only on the side of the proponents. A Reuters review of more than 100 court filings during the past year shows that at least 30 of the country's largest firms are representing challengers to state laws banning same-sex marriage. Not a single member of the Am Law 200, a commonly used ranking of the largest U.S. firms by revenue, is defending gay marriage prohibitions. These numbers and interviews with lawyers on both sides suggest that the legal industry has reached its Mozilla moment. The software company's CEO, Brendan Eich, resigned in April after being denounced by gay marriage supporters for a donation he had made in support of California's since-overturned gay marriage ban. Now in a similar vein, attorneys at major law firms are getting the message that if they want to litigate against gay marriage they should do so elsewhere.
    None of this will come as a surprise to Legal Insurrection readers. We wrote in April 2011, how the large law firm of King & Spalding withdrew its representation of the House of Representatives on the DOMA litigation after the Human Rights Campaign started contacting King & Spalding clients unrelated to the litigation,  and threats were made to hold protests at clients' offices.  King & Spalding did not, however, simultaneously drop its representation of radical Islamic Gitmo detainees who promote societies that treat women and gays as subhuman. I wrote at the time that there was A Hostile Environment For Pro-Traditional Marriage Views At King & Spalding, such that the expression of any contrary view was a potential career ender.  We now know how true that can be, as the Brendan Eich case demonstrated.

    Whether it's Trigger Warnings, disinviting campus speakers, or the Shut-Up Culture, the closing of the campus mind is a frequent topic here. Among many topics as to which the debate is closed on campus is anything related to LGBT issues. No deviation is allowed. Differ even as to constitutional or other legal analyses, and you will be attacked with the fury visited on non-academics such as Brendan Eich, and before him, the law firm of King & Spalding, Mormons, and Chick-fil-A, among others. And now a University of Virginia Professor is in the cross-hairs for arguing that an Arizona law proposed to accomodate religious objections to performing some types of services was a lawful extension of the existing federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That caused LGBT students to target the professor and file a FOIA request for his emails, as detailed by UCLA Law Professor Stephen Bainbridge The Purge Arrives at the University of Virginia: PC Thugs versus Douglas Laycock (quoting in part from a local Virginia newspaper report).
    Through the activist group Virginia Student Power Network, GetEQUAL found two UVA students willing to take up the cause of calling out Laycock: rising fourth-year Greg Lewis and now-alum Stephanie Montenegro. Last week, the pair sent an open letter to Laycock asking him to consider the “real-world consequences that [his] work is having.” They also submitted a Freedom of Information Act request seeking e-mails between Laycock and various right-wing and religious liberty groups. Lewis said they’re not trying to smear Laycock, and they’re not trying to undermine academic freedom. They just want a dialogue, he said.
    Bullshit. You don't start a dialogue with FOIA requests. This is a blatant effort at deterring public participation by anyone who does not hew 100% to the most radical version of the gay rights movement.

    The people at Mozilla may yet live to regret their decision in cooperating with the forcing out of Brendan Eich. Apparently the internet giant has been getting a lot of negative reaction to its jettisoning of Eich for his contribution in support of California's Proposition 8 back in 2008. Whether or not this will actually end up hurting Mozilla, one wonders whether Mozilla even anticipated the possibility. The folks at Mozilla travel in a world in which PC thought dominates, and if you don't believe me, take Nate Silver's word for it (and after the 2012 election, I'm inclined to take Nate Silver's word for just about anything):
    I checked the records for some of the largest technology companies in Silicon Valley: specifically those that were in the Fortune 500 as of 2008. The list includes Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Cisco Systems, Apple, Google, Sun Microsystems, eBay, Oracle, Yahoo, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Symantec. I limited the search to donors who listed California as their location. In total between these 11 companies, 83 percent of employee donations were in opposition to Proposition 8. So Eich was in a 17 percent minority relative to the top companies in Silicon Valley... At Intel, 60 percent of employee donations were in support of Proposition 8. By contrast, at Apple, 94 percent of employee donations were made in opposition to Proposition 8. The opposition was even higher at Google, where 96 percent of employee donations were against it, including $100,000 from co-founder Sergey Brin.
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