NOM Not Happy About Utah Marriage Ruling

As I’m sure you’ve heard, a federal judge struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional last week and, predictably, the Christian right is freaking out over it. Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage phoned in the same old platitudes:

“This ruling is a travesty of justice,” said Brian Brown, NOM President. “The voters of Utah made their will in this matter perfectly clear less than 10 years ago when adopting an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. This ruling should concern every American who cares about the rights of citizens and their involvement in determining the laws that govern us. This trend of vetoing the voters from the bench must be stopped.”

which is what judges are supposed to do. That’s the entire point of judicial review. Just like the courts overturned laws against interracial marriage regardless of the “will of the people.” And laws against interracial marriage. And laws mandating racial segregation. The fact that a judge overturns the “will of the people” is absolutely irrelevant to the question of whether that ruling is correct or not.

Do you remember Brian Brown throwing a tantrum when the Supreme Court decided that the “will of the people” of California was irrelevant and the federal government could continue to enforce laws against the use of medical marijuana even though a referendum passed that law? Or when the Supreme Court struck down gun control laws in Washington, DC? Yeah, neither do I. He’s perfectly fine with the courts overturning democratically-passed laws when he disagrees with those laws. When he agrees with them, ZOMG! It’s tyranny!

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  • MikeMa

    I wonder how Brown feels not just knowing, but actively watching, his life’s work going down as crap?

    His legacy does him no credit.

  • cptdoom

    But, but the judge in Utah used Scalia’s reasoning to come to his decision. That should make Bri-Bri very happy.

  • hunter

    Brown’s press releases are starting to look like they’re all from the same template. Maybe he just has a selection of standard expressions of outrage — “activist judges,” “will of the people,” etc. — on one of those “refrigerator poetry” sets, and just tosses them against his refrigerator periodically, then copies them down.

    It starts to sound like that, anyway. But that’s the problem with being a “conservative,” social or otherwise — you can’t really come up with anything new, or the teabaggers will take your ID card away.

  • http://atheist-faq.com Jasper of Maine

    I don’t know why this is hard to understanding. The founding fathers were wise enough to recognize that, not only is there a problem with the Tyranny of the Dicator, but there’s also a problem with the Tyranny of the Majority. Therefore, both have checks and balances against them.

  • Michael Heath

    cptdoom writes:

    But, but the judge in Utah used Scalia’s reasoning to come to his decision. That should make Bri-Bri very happy.

    This makes no sense. Justice Scalia has repeatedly signaled he:

    a) will not vote to defend the rights of gay people and,

    b) will not apply the equal protection of the clause of the 14th Amendment.

    The ruling in Utah predominately relies on the 14th amendment: Here’s the entire text of the judgment (not the opinion):

    IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED

    that judgment be entered in favor of the plaintiffs as follows: the court finds that the amendment known as Amendment 3 to Utah Constitution is unconstitutional because it denies the plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The State of Utah is enjoined from enforcing § 30-1-2 and § 30-1-4.1 of the Utah Code and Article I, §29 of the Utah Constitution to the extent these laws prohibit a person from marrying another person of the same sex.

    I’ve long argued gay rights supporters and the media do a grave disservice by not always putting the gay rights debate within the context of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The former because it’s the best argument we have by far. The media fails us because not putting the clause into articles guarantees their readers will be misinformed by the arguments made by anti-gay bigots because they falsely act as if the equal protection clause doesn’t exist. It does and its language is directly applicable, clear, and unambiguous.

  • alanb

    My favorite response to Utah was a comment on Free Republic: “Well FRiend, it should be very clear now that you and I no longer live in a Constitutional Republic.” Yep, a judge upholding a constitutional principle is a sure sign that the Constitution is dead.

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    Of course. The judge applied that principle to stuff icky people do! Only non-icky people, as defined by said Freeper, count.

  • raven

    I wonder how Brown feels not just knowing, but actively watching, his life’s work going down as crap?

    He is feeling a bit broke about now.

    It’s mostly a scam. Brown et al. are frantically trying to find another group to hate. Most likely it will be Moslems and atheists.

    I expect to see Brian Brown on a busy street someday. Holding up a sign. Will hate for money!!!

  • cptdoom

    @Michael Heath #5

    Actually, the judge in Utah quoted Scalia’s dissents in both the Windsor and Lawrence cases in his decision. An example:

    The court agrees with Justice Scalia’s interpretation of Windsor and finds that the important federalism concerns at issue here are nevertheless insufficient to save a state-law prohibition that denies the Plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection under the law.

    I got that quote from this link: http://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/Judge-Completely-Trolls-Justice-Scalia-In-5083368.php but there are many other sites out there that also found the quotations. It may be the first example of a judicial decision trolling a dissenting Supreme Court Justice, but I find that irony rather delicious.

    • hunter

      @cptdoom #9:

      Actually, I’m waiting for a whole chorus of “We told you so” from the “Christian” right doomsayers — maybe even starting with Scalia himself.

  • Michael Heath

    hunter writes:

    I’m waiting for a whole chorus of “We told you so” from the “Christian” right doomsayers — maybe even starting with Scalia himself.

    Well that’s what the Utah judge is quoting in his opinion; J. Scalia’s “dire” warnings in his dissents of Windsor and Lawrence. That if those two rulings hold, then federal protection of gay marriage is inevitable.

    That’s not the same as arguing the Utah judge used, “Scalia’s reasonings” to make his case. He didn’; contrary to cptdoom’s original claim. J. Scalia was not in the majority of either of the holding precedents but instead dissented. Instead the Utah judge is referencing Scalia’s predictions are becoming true in spite of Scalia’s objections to the logic used by the majority in both holding cases and used here by the Utah judge. Where Scalia still rejects 14th amendment protections for gay people as noted in recent interviews.

    If the Utah judge isn’t acting out of spite to rhetorically stick it to J. Scalia, but instead thinking strategically, then it appears he’s hoping to box Scalia in. That Scalia would have to over-turn at least Windsor and Lawrence in order for the Supremes to deny gays federal protection of their right to marry if his case or a similar one reached the Supremes.

  • John Pieret

    Michael Heath @ 11

    it appears he’s hoping to box Scalia in. That Scalia would have to over-turn at least Windsor and Lawrence in order for the Supremes to deny gays federal protection of their right to marry

    More like he is trying to box in the majority justices in Windsor (and the remaining justices from Lawrence, Kennedy, Ginsberg and Breyer). Scalia is a given to vote against Federal protection of the right to same sex sex marriage. Judge Shelby is basically saying that Scalia is right that you can’t be consistent and not apply the reasoning in Windsor and Lawrence to state laws banning SSM OR overturn both those cases.

    And, as an additional incentive, he is reminding them that Scalia will be particularly scathing toward the majority if there is any inconsistentcy.

  • cptdoom

    @ John Pieret #12- those were my thoughts exactly. Scalia took both the Lawrence and Windsor decisions to their logical conclusions in his dissents – something the majority in those cases was unwilling to do at the time the cases were decided. Certainly Scalia thinks those logical conclusions are a horrible ending, because he believes that mere animus should be sufficient grounds for discriminatory laws, but his logic in those dissents is pretty much shared by progressives who are in favor of marriage equality (Rachel Maddow had a field day with the Lawrence dissent on her show after the DOMA decision came down). I also find it wonderfully ironic that when the same-sex marriage version of the Loving case comes to the Supreme Court, which is inevitable IMHO at this point, any pro-equality decision could almost lift the wording from the Scalia dissents to write a majority opinion. I have no doubt that Scalia will dissent again (assuming no fatal coronary or stroke has occurred in the meantime), and will again predict the end of civilization, but he will be hoisted on his own legal petard at that time, and will well deserve it.

    Meanwhile, you would expect Brian Brown to be thrilled with any same-sex marriage court decision that quoted those dissents, but this decision didn’t use them in quite the way he would have wanted. It was really an early Christmas present from the Utah court.

  • busterggi

    “Brown’s press releases are starting to look like they’re all from the same template.”

    Well it has been quite a few years since the last edition of Mab-libs was produced.

  • whheydt

    I’ve been following this tempest in a teapot since the ruling came down (ah…the smell of schadenfreude in the morning…).

    Turns out that the 10th Circuit–where the appeal will go–also covers Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Assuming the indications so far are correct and the 10th Circuit upholds the decision, it would then be a precedent that applies to those states as well (and heads will explode all across at least two of them).

    Since the 10th Circuit denied the application for a stay (Emergency? What emergency?), the Utah government’s next attempt is applying to the Supreme Court Justice that oversees the 10th Circuit…Sonia Sotomayor. (The final stop in the process, assuming J. Sotomayor turns them down, is to the entire USSC.)

    There won’t be any side issues about standing this time.

    In the mean time, the County Clerk of Utah County has been being willfully stupid. Not only has he been denying licenses to same-sex couples, but when one woman wanted to talk to him about it, he slammed his office door in her face. She has filed a notice of intent to sue.

    I’m going to be watching the news for new developments in the days to come. Popcorn futures are up sharply.

  • marcus

    Fuck You Very Christmas Brian Brown!

    (You asshole.)

  • chilidog99

    Whhetdt, the latest reports are that all Utah counties are now issuing SS marriage certificates.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    How the Christian fundamentalist mind works:

    1) Gay marriage made legal

    2) Gay people get married

    3) ??????

    4) Human-goat orgies taking place 24/7 on every street corner in the United States

    5) All heterosexual marriages instantaneously become invalid

  • chilidog99

    The most ironic thing about this is Utah’s totall inept handling of this issue since last Friday’s decision came out. The four bungled appeals for emergency stays are completely the result of the fact that the state’s total, single party dominance has done nothing more that elect a bunch of incompetent boobs into office. The elected AG was booted for corruption a few months back, and apparently the interim replacement is either secretly in favor of gay marriage, or he is so inept, he needs both hands and a flashlight to find his own ass.

  • whheydt

    Re; Chilidog99 @ #17…

    Not very surprising. The AG office told them they risked contempt charges if they didn’t issue licenses to SSM couples.

    One surmises that the Utah County Clerk finally woke up and smelled the coffee.

  • raven

    are completely the result of the fact that the state’s total, single party dominance has done nothing more that elect a bunch of incompetent boobs into office.

    How competent do you have to be to find out what the Mormon church wants and give it to them.

    This has to freak the Mormon church out.

    They think they own Utah. Which is more or less correct. They aren’t used to losing. They are losing big time here.

  • John Pieret

    A bit more on Judge Shelby’s use of Scalia’s dissent … it was addressed in his denial of the state’s request for an emergency stay. One of the most important factors in whether or not a stay should be granted is whether or not the party requesting the stay has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits. Utah mostly just repeated its arguments from the underlying case, to which the judge basically said “Duh! If I thought it was error to rule that way, I wouldn’t have done so in the first place.” He went on:

    The only new argument the State makes to challenge the court’s reasoning is its assertion that the court misconstrued the case of United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), because the court cited portions of the Honorable Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion. The court is not persuaded by the State’s argument. Although Justice Scalia clearly disagreed with the outcome in Windsor and believed the majority of the Supreme Court had decided the case wrongly, his opinion about the reasoning underlying Windsor and the possible effects of this reasoning in future cases is nevertheless perceptive and compelling. The court therefore cited Justice Scalia’s dissent not as binding precedent, but as persuasive authority.

    http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Shelby-order-denying-stay.pdf

    Maybe only to a lawyer … but hee!

  • Christoph Burschka

    NOM Not Happy About Utah Marriage Ruling

    This is easily the most surprising headline I have read in a while! =)