Speed Read: Speaking of Dred Scott

UTAH DRAWING BIG COMPARISONS: The three judges of the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals hearing a case challenging Utah’s ban on same-sex couples marrying asked about comparisons between the current conflict and those in such historic cases as Dred Scott, Loving, and Windsor. They challenged attorneys to define animus and marriage. And in the end, at least one LGBT legal activist in the Denver federal courtroom felt “things went extremely well” for marriage equality supporters. Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the state’s hired counsel “was not really able to supply a satisfactory answer” when pressed to explain why the Supreme Court’s precedent in Loving v. Virginia would not apply in this case, Herbert v. Kitchen. The judges will hear one more lawsuit challenging a statewide ban –Smith v. Bishop from Oklahoma. In both cases the district court struck down state ban as unconstitutional.  An audio recording of the one-hour proceeding in Kitchen is available on the Tenth Circuit’s website. The Bishop case will be heard April 17.

COURT RULES FOR INDIANA COUPLE: A federal judge in Indiana Thursday granted a motion by Lambda Legal to secure a temporary restraining order that will require the state to give recognition to the out-of-state marriage of one of their plaintiff couples. Lambda sought the emergency order on behalf of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler to protect Sandler’s rights to care for and make decisions for Quasney who has late stage ovarian cancer. The couple, who were married in Massachusetts and have two children, is part of a pending lawsuit Lambda has filed on behalf of a number of same-sex couples in Indiana. Judge Richard Young (a Clinton appointee) is expected to consider a request for a preliminary injunction against the state ban and then to rule on the ban’s constitutionality.

MINIMUM WAGE IMPACT: The UCLA-based think tank and research center for LGBT issues released a report Thursday saying that an increase in the minimum wage could help more than 300,000 LGBT people. The Williams Institute analysis concludes that “at least 20,000 people in same-sex couples would no longer be poor” if the minimum wage were to be increased to $10.10, as President Obama has proposed.

TWO GAY HOUSE DEMS VOTE NO: Two of seven openly LGBT members of the U.S. House voted “No” on increasing the minimum wage. In the vote, taken Thursday, Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Sean Maloney (D-NY) were among 31 Democrats to oppose the increase, included as part of an overall budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015. All seven voted against a smaller Republican proposed budget, which passed.

OBAMA ADDRESSES CIVIL RIGHTS SUMMIT: Delivering the keynote address at the last day of the Civil Rights Summit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, President Obama noted that the landmark 1964 law helped “Not just blacks and whites, but also women and Latinos; and Asians and Native Americans; and gay Americans and Americans with a disability.”

COMMENTATOR CRIES DOUBLE-STANDARD: Conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer had this to say in a column Thursday regarding the push by LGBT activists to oust Mozilla CEO Brenden Eich because he donated $1,000 in 2008 to support California’s Proposition 8: “…why stop with Brenden Eich….,Six million Californians joined Eich in the crime of ‘privileging’ traditional marriage. So did Barack Obama…. In that same year, he declared that his Christian beliefs made him oppose gay marriage… the man whom the left so ecstatically carried to the White House in 2008 was equally a bigot.”

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One Response to Speed Read: Speaking of Dred Scott

  1. There is so much dishonesty in Krauthammer’s attempt to turn libersls into totalitarians. He blames “activists” for a grassroots effort by Mozilla employees and developers. He ignores the legal and constitutional issues at the core of the marriage equality fight and prrtends it is all moral and philosophical–because the religious bullies on his side of thr aisle are determined to cast themselves as victims. He pretends that Obama had the same position as Eich in 2008, but Obama opposed Proposition 8. I was not happy with Obama’s position back then, and criticized his slowness to “evolve” on the issue; but ballot measures were a key battleground, and Obama opposed their use to attack gays. Krauthammer’s argument on climate change is not with Obama but with scientists, who (despite his tendentious cherry picking) overwhelmingly agree that human activity played a role in it. And he mocks the reference to “change” instead of “warming” as if it is an evasion, when it more accurately reflects the science, which does not claim uniform effects. Here Krauthammer flirts with those who confuse weather and climate, though he knows better. What is the point of all this furious and smug propagandizing? It is to make the relentless assault on gay families look like a mere dinner table argument, and to make those defending themselves against the assault look like the aggressors. And it is to deflect attention from plutocrats like the Koch brothers who use fights on social issues to distract people from the harm being done to their own interests. So their compatriot Art Pope uses his money to hijack North Carolina and install an aggressive minoritarian government. Just get everyone arguing over free contraceptives and women being sluts, and somehow the women whose reproductive freedom is under aggressive assault become the aggressors. All of this would be hilarious were it not so pernicious.

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