From wedding to retirement plans: Maggie just has ideas about all milestones, huh?

Screen Shot 2010-09-30 At 6.23.03 PmThis speculation/activist view of the court comes from our ol’ two step partner Maggie Gallagher:

How could Judge Walker exhibit such gross bias and deliver such an injudicious opinion? The answer appears to be, in part, that it was his swan song. He’ll leave the bench famous, a hero in his hometown, and a hot commodity in whatever private venture he moves into.

Compare that to where Judge Walker would be if he had done what a lower level federal judge probably should have done: found that Baker v. Nelson is binding precedent, even if he also felt compelled to state why he believed it should be overturned by the Supreme Court.”

Judge Walker’s Swan Song [NRO]

Right. Because that’s exactly the principle in which Judge Walker crafted his 146 page decision: Fame. Instant Celebrity. A thirst for his 15 minutes. In fact, didn’t he actually study at the Kim Kardashian School of Law?

Oh, and as for Baker v. Nelson (as much as we’d like to continue talking about reality TV instead): These social conservatives really need to stop acting like that case went completely unacknowledged at trial! Because Walker quite pointedly brought up that 1972 case (which SCOTUS dismissed with a one-sentence “for want of a substantial federal question” order), leading Ted Olson to even more pointedly explain why the current matter before the court was/is different:

THE COURT: Well, now, the Supreme Court in the Baker vs. Nelson case, decided that the issue which we are confronted with here was not ripe for the Supreme Court to weigh in on. That was 1972. What’s happened in the 38 years since 1972?



MR. OLSON:
Well, a great deal has happened. Among the things that have happened is the Romer case. Among the things that have happened is the Lawrence vs. Texas case. You know what those cases involve. A lot of other things have happened. Changes in the ballot propositions. California has adopted something completely different than the state — I guess it was Minnesota or Michigan, involved in that case. So there are a lot of factual situations that are different. This case is very different.

And, by the way, the Supreme Court rejected the opportunity to take a miscegenation case. Now, I think it was — Dr. Cott testified to this. I think it was 1955. And then they took the case, the Loving case, in 1967.

CONTD: Closing Arguments [AFER]

As Olson aptly mentioned: The reality of both the world and the law has greatly changed since 1972. Romer v. Evans. Lawrence v. Texas. DOMA and anti-LGBT ballot initiatives, which while anti-equality, certainly raise new legal questions about the constitutionality of bias that did not exist in 1972. Plus the undeniable reality that is five U.S. states and one jurisdiction in our nation’s capital with equality, as well as the many other countries with marriage equality abroad. Oh, and the civil unions and domestic partnerships that are spread all over, including in California.

Baker would only be binding if the current court was deciding the precise issue that it examined almost four decades ago. But things have undeniably changed, regardless of how much the Maggie Gallaghers of the world think the Earth’s trajectory is dependent on their team’s heels alone!




Good As You

—  John Wright

HIV-Positive Man Wasn’t Thrilled When Arkansas Retirement Home Kicked Him Out

The Rev. Dr. Robert Franke — who should add some initials to the end of his name, because he's seriously lacking in credentials — was kicked out of an Arkansas assisted living facility after it realized he's HIV-positive. Guess who sued and scored? As August's trial approached, seems a certain somebody was all interested in discussing settlement options: "Lambda Legal announced today it has settled its lawsuit on behalf of an HIV-positive retired university provost and former minister against Fox Ridge, a North Little Rock assisted living facility. The Reverend Dr. Robert Franke relocated to Little Rock to be closer to his daughter, Sara Franke Bowling, and moved in to Fox Ridge after fulfilling residency requirements that included submission of medical evaluation forms from a local physician. The next day, however – after realizing Dr. Franke is HIV-positive – Fox Ridge officials abruptly ejected Dr. Franke from the facility. With the assistance of Lambda Legal, Franke and Bowling sued under the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and similar state laws. 'While we can't discuss the specific terms of the settlement, I can say we're quite pleased to have settled this matter,' said Dr. Franke. 'We firmly believe that as a result of our having brought this lawsuit, retired people in Arkansas who have HIV are less likely to face this kind of discrimination in the future.'"


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Queerty

—  John Wright

Letters • 08.20.10

Why do we fight for a word?

This week the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down its decision to halt the granting of same-sex marriage licenses in California until it considers the constitutionality of the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

So, here we go with round 2, or 200, or 2,000 — I have long ago stopped counting and stopped worrying about “The Battle.”

You see, I don’t believe the battle was fought correctly and therefore lost its direction.

Marriage. Really? Why are we so determined to have a word?

That’s all it really is, a word. I really thought the fight was for rights. Is getting “married” the only way to do that? Aren’t we worried about legal rights?

Seems to me we are. I mean after all, we are conducting our fights in the legal system.

How far along do you think we would be if perhaps instead of focusing on the word we focused on the prize — equal rights. Give them the word; give me the rights.

You can call the process established to grant the rights whatever — civil union, partnership agreement, legal arrangement or supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I don’t see where that matters.

Also, just think of the possible additional troops we could recruit — straight couples that also desire the rights but don’t want the whole “married” thing.

The more the “marry-er,” as they say.

What does matter, at least in my opinion and world, is that I can make medical decisions for my partner when needed (or hell, just be able to see him in the hospital), that we can receive the retirement or social security benefits of the other just the same as any spouse, that we can buy property together and that property passes to either of us at the death of the other — you know, the important things, the rights.

I am all in for that fight, but not this word fight. Honestly I have to admit, I am not a fighter at heart so the thought of a tougher battle to achieve the goal is very unattractive to me.

So, hate me for being a man who is gay and doesn’t want to be in this battle.
It is your right.

David Dupuy
Dallas


Touched by TCC’s  national anthem

Last week I was driving out to DFW Airport very early in the morning, just before 7 a.m. I tuned my car radio to KEOM FM 88.5, which is the Mesquite Independent School District station, which mainly plays a format of 1970s and ’80s music.

Well they had just signed on for their broadcast day and played what I thought was one of the most beautiful renditions of the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” that I had ever heard.

It was so good, I wanted to know who performed it.

So I called the morning station DJ, thinking that it must have been one of the military academies or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Imagine my sheer delight to learn that it was Dallas’ own Turtle Creek Chorale.

It was truly magnificent. If you have never heard the TCC’s performance of the national anthem, make sure you make the effort to do so.

Bravo gentlemen!

Jay Narey
Dallas

……………………

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Robert Gates Seeks Retirement in 2011

Defense Secretary Robert Gates will be stepping down from his cabinet post in 2011.
Daily News

—  John Wright

Hutchison to vote against Kagan because she supported the gay ‘social agenda’ at Harvard

Ever since Kay Bailey Hutchison was whalloped in the Republican gubernatorial primary by Rick Perry, some have been holding out hope that our senior U.S. senator might get better on LGBT issues. After all, Hutchison may be eyeing retirement instead of re-election in 2012, so what does she have to lose politically? Given her moderate views on other social issues, such as abortion, some suspect Hutchison is personally more gay-friendly than her abysmal voting record indicates. She’s only voted against us consistently for the last 15 years, they say, because that’s the only way to get re-elected as a Republican in Texas.

Well, so much for that theory. Hutchison’s office never responded to our months-old inquiry about her position on the amendment that would repeal “don’t ask don’t tell,” but she’s been sending letters to gay constituents indicating she’ll oppose it. And now, she’s announced that she’ll vote against Elena Kagan’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Why? Well, because Kagan supported the gays when she limited access to military recruiters at Harvard University based on her opposition to DADT. From Hutchison’s statement:

“Her decision on military recruiters while at Harvard gives evidence of her personal views instructing her professional decisions in order to promote a social agenda. I simply cannot reconcile Ms. Kagan’s sparse record and my concerns about whether she will be an impartial arbiter of the law and so I will oppose her appointment.”


—  John Wright