Over the last two days, the Supreme Court has been hearing oral arguments about gay marriage. Tuesday was the Prop 8 case in California, and yesterday was DOMA. Trying to predict the outcome based on the questions asked by the justices is always a fools game, but - playing the fool - I am going to guess that Prop 8 will be struck down on narrow procedural grounds, and section 3 of DOMA will be ruled unconstitutional.
There were some interesting questions asked and statements made by the justices. Elena Kagen broke court tradition by referring to the House Judiciary report
and attacking the rationale for the creation of section 3 in the first place. The lawyer defending DOMA (Paul Clement - hired by John Boehner, since President Obama wasn't willing to defend it) responded that the motivations for creating it do not play into whether it is constitutional or not.
The justices also discussed just dropping the Prop 8 case
"You might address why you think we should take and decide this case," Kennedy said to lawyer Charles Cooper, representing opponents of same-sex marriage.
One might have thought the court had already crossed that bridge.
But now the justices were openly discussing essentially walking away from the case over California's Proposition 8, a voter-approved ban on gay marriage, without deciding anything at all about such unions.
Scalia sought to counter Kennedy's comment, and a similar one from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, that maybe the court should get rid of the case.
"It's too late for that, too late for that now, isn't it? I mean, we granted cert," Scalia said, using the legal shorthand for the court's decision to hear a case. "We have crossed that river, I think."
The creme-de-la-creme moment, however, was Ruth Ginsberg's comment yesterday
"You are really diminishing what the state has said is marriage," Ginsburg said to Clement.
"There's two kinds of marriage, there's full marriage and then there's sort of skim milk marriage," continued Ginsburg, referring to Clement's argument.
"[Marriage benefits] affect every aspect of life," Ginsburg said.
Indeed they do. DOMA specifies over 1000 federal "benefits" associated with married couples
, and then specifies they are only for heterosexual couples. This is why the case is before the Supreme Court. The plaintiff was assessed over $300K in inheritance taxes because her dead wife was not considered her spouse.
What do the right-wing haters think of all this? Rush Limbaugh and FOX Nation show their stunted knowledge of medical terminology by equating homosexuality with pedophelia
. Does anybody still buy this? Probably. Hell - a teacher in Idaho is in trouble for using the word "Vagina"
in a high school biology class while discussion human reproduction. They really DO wallow in their own ignorance, don't they?
At least Bill O'Reilly is facing the inevitable. He has come forward to disagree with Bill O'Reilly (of several years ago) and saying that gay marriage proponents argue rights and opponents only have the Bible
. While that is essentially true, it's funny to see him pretend he wasn't one of those thumpers in the past.
The ruling won't be forthcoming for a few months. Until then, the pundits will go over the transcript
and the audio and try to milk this for whatever they can.
Will that be whole milk or skim milk?