July 10th, 2010
I know. That headline is heresy. But there’s the thing: the two rulings declaring the “Defense of Marriage Act” unconstitutional only apply to Massachusetts. It’s a great win for LGBT couples living in the Bay State, but it’s meaningless everywhere else.
As it stands, there are only three ways to get rid of DOMA nationwide. Barring appeals by Obama’s Department of Justice, the first option is to get another forty-nine sets of similar rulings by federal judges in forty-nine more states. While it’s true that these Massachusetts rulings would serve as a precedent for subsequent rulings by other federal judges, those judges aren’t bound by them in the same way they would be a Supreme Court ruling. So the practical message the Obama administration would be sending if they chose not to appeal this case would be, “Congratulations, now go win 49 more. (And keep going if you want D.C., Puerto Rico and the other territories.)” I just don’t see that happening.
The second option is to overturn DOMA in Congress. I think that would be the preferable solution, but we know how controversial that would be. As archaic as everyone thought anti-sodomy laws were, they were still in force in 14 states just seven years ago before Lawrence v. Texas finally struck them down. Hate crimes legislation and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” are also non-controversial according to public opinion polls, but we still see how difficult that has proven to be in the most LGBT-friendly Congress in history. We hardly need to remind ourselves that same-sex marriage is in a whole different league of contentiousness, as every single public referendum on the issue has painfully shown us time and time again. With the next Congress likely to be much more hostile to LGBT issues as this Congress, I’ve got lottery tickets with better odds than Congress repealing DOMA.
So that leaves the U.S. Supreme Court as the best option. Not a great option, but the best one. The path is still tricky, and it’s unclear how a majority might be put together to support these decisions. But these decisions are the marker against which future appeals will be decided, and that will happen only if those appeals are heard. The next step is the 1st Court of Appeals, then the Supreme Court, with the hope that the Supreme Court agrees to hear the cases should the Appeals Court overturn the lower court’s decisions. This could be Bowers vs. Harwick all over again, or it could be another Lawrence. But wherever it goes, the train has left the station. We’re either on board or not.
Update (Jul 11): Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), the folks behind Gill v OPM has released a thorough set of FAQs (PDF: 264KB/8 pages) answering many of the questions asked by BTB readers in comments.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.