The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Thursday, May 12, 2005


In the first time that a federal judge has struck down a state constitutional provision limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon on Thursday declared void a provision of the Nebraska constitution that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman and that banned same-sex civil unions, domestic partnerships and other similar relationships.

Bataillon declared in his ruling that under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Nebraska cannot ban same-sex marriages and civil unions.

The ruling may call into question similar provisions in other states’ constitutions.

Nebraska voters enacted the provision five years ago, with 70 percent approving it.
And this oughtta piss off the theocons:
Bataillon, who was nominated to the federal bench by President Clinton in 1997 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, based his ruling on two Supreme Court decisions, Romer v. Evans in 1996 and Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, with the majority opinion in both written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Even better is that... If Frist and his buddies even think of criticizing a Federal judge for intervening in state law, we can tell them to take the ad hoc Schiavo legislation they passed, which attempted to undermine a state court decision, and stick it where they tell us not to.

What makes this ruling politically interesting is that it will be the first test-case to see how the public at large reacts to the homophobic right post-Schiavo. In 2004, espeically in the context of the election, the conventional wisdom was that putting same-sex marriage front and center was politically harmful to the Democrats, and that the right had a stranglehold on those "traditional heartland values", so often the subject of figurative auto-erotic stimulation among the major tv talking heads.

But now, the arrogant, theocratic invasiveness of the fundie right has been bared for all to see, through the grandstanding of DeLay, Jeb and most of all Bill Frist in both the Schiavo story and the "Justice Sunday" stuff. The Democrats have an opportunity to hard-wire the fundy GOP's opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians to the greater narrative of fundamentalist home invasion and perversion of the United States Constitution. Surely this is not lost on Howard Dean.

On the other hand, it is lost on John Kerry, who continues his useless straddling on the issue.


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