Monday, June 29, 2015

Equality, The New Normal



Glenn Greenwald doesn't write on gay rights very frequently because he feels that he is too close to the issue.

Thankfully he's made an exception here.
By a 5-4 majority, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that laws denying same-sex couples the right to marry violate the “due process” and “equal protection” guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. With or without the court ruling, full-scale marriage equality was an inevitability thanks to rapid trans-ideological generational change in how this issue was perceived; today’s decision simply accelerated the outcome.
All the legal debates over the ruling are predictable and banal. Most people proclaim — in the words of Justice Scalia’s bizarre and somewhat deranged dissent — that it is a “threat to democracy” and a “judicial putsch” whenever laws they like are judicially invalidated, but a profound vindication for freedom when laws they dislike are nullified. That’s how people like Scalia can, on one day, demand that campaign finance laws enacted by Congress and supported by large majorities of citizens be struck down (Citizens United), but the next day declare that judicial invalidation of a democratically enacted law “robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.”
Far more interesting than that sort of naked hypocrisy masquerading as lofty intellectual principles are the historical and cultural aspects of today’s decision. Although the result was expected on a rational level, today’s ruling is still viscerally shocking for any LGBT citizen who grew up in the U.S., or their family members and close friends. It’s almost hard to believe that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. Just consider how embedded, pervasive and recent anti-gay sentiment has been in the fabric of American life.
This part really struck a chord with me. 
In the 1970s — just 40 years ago — the existence of gay people was all but unmentionable, particularly outside of small enclaves in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. If your first inkling of a gay identity took place in that decade, as mine did, you necessarily assumed that you were alone, that you were plagued with some sort of rare, aberrational disease, since there was no way even to know gayness existed except from the most malicious and casual mockery of it. It simply wasn’t meaningfully discussed: anywhere. It was so unmentionable that Liberace, of all people, long insisted to his fans that he was a “bachelor” due to his inability to recover from his tragic break-up with his fianceĆ©, the Norwegian figure skater Sonja Henie. With exceedingly few exceptions, openly gay figures in politics, sports, or entertainment were nonexistent (that is one reason why one of my childhood heroes was Martina Navratilova, who in the early 1980s came out as a lesbian despite being a young female immigrant from the Soviet bloc to the U.S., faced with the certainty of losing enormous amounts by being one of the few public figures to do so: she even had a trans woman as her coach).
 You can read the rest here. Thanks for the eloquence Glenn! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Equal!


Back in December I had to go into the hospital for some minor surgery. "Who is this," one of the hospital workers said to me, looking at my husband. "This is my health care surrogate," I said. Being a legally savvy man in an unrecognized marriage, I did what I had to do to give my partner, my husband of 15 years, the right to make decisions for me should anything go wrong, and even the right to see me in the recovery room.

These basic rights that most take for granted have been denied to families like mine for too long and now those dark days are over.
WASHINGTON — In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a nationwide right to same-sex marriage.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the 5 to 4 decision. He was joined by the court’s four more liberal justices.
The decision, the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of same-sex marriage.
Justice Kennedy said gay and lesbian couples have a fundamental right to marry.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family,” he wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
“It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage,” Justice Kennedy said of the couples challenging state bans on same-sex marriage. “Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”



There is more to come for sure! This decision isn't going to solve all our problems. But the two major forms of discrimination that members of the LGBT community faced in my generation — the military ban on gays (DADT) and prohibition on same-sex marriage — are now history and that is a wonderful, beautiful thing!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Obama Cares! 6 to 3!


If I like my Obamacare, can I keep my Obamacare? Hopefully now the answer is yes!
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday by a 6-3 vote that more than 6 million Americans, including 1.3 million Floridians, can continue to receive subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to buy health insurance through the federally run exchange at HealthCare.gov.
Ruling in the case of King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court upheld the Obama administration’s interpretation of the health law that allows billions of dollars in health insurance subsidies — including an estimated $389 million a month for Florida residents — to be distributed in the 34 states where the federal government operates the insurance exchange because the state decided against it.
Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged that the challengers' "arguments about the plain meaning . . . are strong."
But, he noted: "Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them."
From the majority opinion: "In this instance, the context and structure of the Act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase."
The plaintiffs in King v. Burwell had challenged the government’s authority to provide those subsidies to individuals who buy health insurance on the federal exchange. They argued that a literal interpretation of the health law meant subsidies could only be given to consumers who bought plans on an insurance exchange established by a state.
Florida is one of 34 states that has not established an insurance exchange under the health law and instead relies on the federally-run marketplace at HealthCare.gov.
Looks like SCOTUS just saved the GOP from a massive amount of butt-hurt. Repealing the subsidies would have been a public relations nightmare.
A few months ago, Ben Sasse, the junior Republican Senator from Nebraska, focused on the horrible actual and political consequences for his party should Republicans resist acting to restore the subsidies. Sasse pointed to “Chemotherapy turned off for perhaps 12,000 people, dialysis going dark for 10,000. The horror stories will be real.”
Lastly, let me state the obvious. The reason that we are now 5 years out from the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and still have no counter proposal from the Republican Party is that Obamacare is their plan. It always has been. It's not a big government takeover of the health insurance industry. I wish it was. Instead it's the last best chance for the private health care market to survive. Instead of attacking it any further, they should be championing it and hoping that it survives. The only viable alternative is single payer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

3d DCA Watch -- This is the End, My Only Friend (Well, Until August)!


As I mentioned earlier, I plan to take a sabbatical for at least a few weeks (maybe more) so I can recharge my batteries and look at life from a new perspective get soused on Gibsons and engage in various life-shortening but pleasure-extending activities!

(You guys should give it a try too!)

So this will be my last 3d DCA Watch for a while, let's make it a good one:

Teitlebaum v. SF Water District:

You don't hear much about a takings theory premised on "condemnation blight."

Apparently the 3d DCA doesn't think much of it either.

State v. FL Worker's Advocates:

I hate when this happens:
The initial claims and parties in this case at its inception in 2011 were transformed by the present appellants and their counsel into a completely different set of claims and parties over the three years which followed. In the process, the case lost (1) the essential elements of a justiciable “case or controversy,” (2) an identifiable and properly-joined defendant, and (3) a procedurally proper vehicle for the trial court’s assessment of the constitutionality of section 440.11.
Double Park v. Kaine Parking:

Is the 3d DCA a court of first impression?

Let's ask Judge Logue:
I do not join the remainder of the opinion, however, because it addresses issues that were not decided by the trial court. Those issues are best resolved in the first instance by the trial court in the context of a full factual record developed at the evidentiary hearing which we are ordering. This approach respects the prerogative of the seasoned trial judge, honors our role as an error-correcting court, and avoids the unintended consequences that might result from the doctrine of the law of the case.
Just what is he trying to say?

HAPPY HUMP DAY SEE YOU SOON!!

Burn Baby, Burn!


One way or the other we're going to get a marriage equality ruling by next Monday at the latest. I'm optimistic that the court is going to settle this matter once and for all and side with equality. SCOTUS has allowed the number of marriage equality states to double in the last 2 year and to undo all of that now, throwing families like mine into limbo and chaos, would be judicial malpractice of the highest order.

But if we lose we simply keep fighting until we reach our goal. It will be a setback but it won't be the end of the world. We've already won the battle of public opinion. Even young conservatives are supportive. It's only a matter of time.

If you're thinking that the other side is going to be just as magnanimous, you'd be wrong. Many are riding the crazy train.
But in the contest for crazy one really stands out.
Rick Scarborough, the antigay Texas pastor who already made headlines with a full-page newspaper ad announcing that he had at least 44,500 followers who pledged to go to jail to defend so-called traditional marriage, is now threatening to set himself on fire to stop marriage equality.

“We’re simply being preemptive and saying, no matter what the cost, we are not going to bow, we are not going to bend, and we will burn,” said Scarborough on a recent National Emergency Coalition conference call hosted by fellow antigay preacher E.W. Jackson.

Pastor Scarborough, The Trammps have a little message for you...


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Unbelievable!



It was one level of shameful the way Fox News and other conservative media outlets bent over backwards to protect the narrative that racism is over by claiming that the clearly racist attack on a Charleston church was instead an attack on Christianity. But Miami attorney AJ Delgado took denialism to another level by questioning not just the motives but the race of the perpetrator.


Well let's see what the subject looks like.


Blond hair, blue eyes, fair skin – sure looks like a member of the master race to me. Let's not leave out the part about how he self-identifies

You can't blame this on pure stupidity. The right is heavily invested in the idea that we are a post-racial society and people like Delgado refuse to see or acknowledge any evidence to the contrary. 

The Twitter storm was so intense even Michelle Malkin couldn't protect poor AJ who has since closed her Twitter account. Good riddance.

Monday, June 22, 2015

With Great Royalty Checks Come Great Legal Fees!


The waiting is the hardest part! No ruling on Obamacare or marriage equality today so we just have to settle for some Spiderman Easter Eggs from Justice Kagen.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan knows that with great power comes great responsibility.
Kagan was tasked with writing the opinion in the court's ruling on Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, which addressed the payment of royalties for the use of a patented invention after the patent's expiration date. The case specifically addressed petitioner Stephen Kimble's toy that imitated Spider-Man, allowing kids to shoot a foam string from the palms of their hands.
Kagan took it upon herself to drop some Spider-Man Easter eggs into her opinion, referencing the Marvel hero's popular theme song and one of the most quoted pieces of advice from Spider-Man's Uncle Ben:
 Elena, you will always be my Spider Gwen!

Spence Exposes His "Secret Weapon"!

Note: it involves Skype and Facetime!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Pagan Daddy's Day!


Happy Father's Day and Happy Solstice fellow pagans! Make someone happy!

Friday, June 19, 2015

One Thing



Sometimes there is no thing.
We need not add anything to the district court’s opinion.
Whatever you do, find your thing. And never, ever get terrorized and flattened by trivialities.

Have a great weekend.