Today’s “We, the PEOPLE!!“ was supposed to be about why the USA hasn’t got a leg to stand on when demanding that China, Russia or any other country we have verbally attacked on civil and/or human rights issues turn over Edward Snowden, the ex-CIA employee and private security employee who has severely damaged the USA’s intelligence gathering capabilities. Why? Because no one (internationally) is buying our “Do as we say, not as we do” reality.
But then the US Supreme Court (a.k.a, the Supremes) issued their intensely-awaited rulings on two ground-breaking case regarding same-sex marriage. The first was on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA) which was passed by a republican congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, who has recently opposed that law. DOMA only recognized marriage as a legal contact between a male and a female human, denying same-sex couples over a thousand protections and benefits that opposite-sex married couples enjoy.
The second ruling regarded a California District Court ruling that struck down California’s 2008 proposition 8 (prop 8), which prohibited same-sex marriage in California.
In the first and most significant of the two, the Supremes, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection and due process clauses of both the 5th amendment to the US constitution, which states, in pertinent part: “No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law“;
…and more importantly the 14th amendment to the US constitution which states in pertinent part: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws…“
The Supremes have long held that these “due process” and “equal Protection of the laws”provisions of the 5th & 14th amendments guarantee that all citizens will be treated equal in all matters of law. Since marriage under government law is a matter of law, and the law must be equally applied among all citizens in accordance with the “due process” and Equla protection” provisions of amendments 5 & 14, the government cannot pass a law that causes a group of citizens to be discriminated against by being denied rights that every other American enjoys under these provisions.
The striking down of the DOMA law, which the Obama administration didn’t support in the first place and which the republicans in congress attempted to defend in the Supreme Court anyway, is a watershed moment in American jurisprudence. While this ruling only applied to the federal DOMA law, it is clear that any future challenge to any of the 32 anti-same-sex marriage state laws in the USA is likely to prevail. And if the challenge is properly framed before the Supremes, their ruling is likely to strike down ALL 32 anti-same sex marriage laws in one fell swoop.
The Supremes issued their second ruling on California’s prop 8. Prop 8 supporters, i.e., people who do NOT support same-sex marriage, were the plaintiffs. They challeneged a California District Court’s ruling that prop 8 violated both the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the United States Constitution.
The Supremes ruled that the plaintiffs in the case (supporters of prop 8) did not have legal standing to present the case, and the case was remanded back down to the decision by the California District Court that declared prop 8 unconstitutional. That accomplished two distinct goals: First, it automatically made the California District Court decision the standing decision, meaning that same-sex marriage is now legal in California. Second, it did not impact in any way the other 31 states that have anti-gay-marriage laws or state constitutional provisions.
Needles to say, pro-religion-in-government forces such as the fundamentalist Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and everyone’s favorite hate-mongering lunatic bin, the Westboro Baptist Church are absolutely LIVID over this decision These extremist fundamentalist right-wing organizations have recently have been chipping away at a woman’s right to choose in numerous states. But now they must divert their attention and their resources to fighting what will surely be a further battle to strike down the direction of the Supremes in the DOMA and prop 8 decisions. The handwriting on the wall clearly says that this issue will be over in 5 years or less, and that those groups that are bent upon imposing their morality on the rest of us have got to be shaking in their flop-flops.
Additionally, there’s another dynamic in play here that doesn’t bode well for the anti-equality fundamentalists:
The under-30 crowd supports gay marriage 70%-25%. Someday they will be the only voters left standing.
When that happens it will suck to be you if you’re still a bible-thumper. Even more than it does now. 🙂