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Who defended may have played a role in OK ruling

Timothy Kincaid

January 15th, 2014

As we have seen over and over, when it comes to marriage cases, who has standing may play an important role in the outcome. In the Oklahoma decision handed down yesterday, the case may have also hinged to some extent on who could defend the state’s constitutional amendment.

The case started nine years ago and has gone through a number of procedural hurdles since that time. The first of which may have been unexpectedly important.

In 2004, two lesbian couples filed a complaint against the Oklahoma Governor and the Oklahoma Attorney General seeking that the Federal DOMA law and the Oklahoma Defense of Marriage constitutional amendment be overturned.

The Governor and the Attorney General argued that as the issuer of marriage licenses was the County Clerk and that in Oklahoma the clerks are part of the Judiciary branch of government, the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue them. The court disagreed, but in 2009 the Tenth Circuit bought that argument and the Governor and Attorney General were dismissed.

Along with the state’s legal department.

However, the court allowed the plaintiffs to amend their case to name as defendants the Attorney General of the United States (for the federal DOMA side of the case) and the Tulsa County Court Clerk and the State of Oklahoma. The court then dismissed the State of Oklahoma as a defendant leaving only Eric Holder (for the US) and Sally Howe Smith, the clerk.

In 2011, Holder informed the court that the Justice Department would no longer defend the Federal DOMA case, and the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group stepped in. And, if this case is in any way similar to comparable cases, BLAG’s defense was likely nominal.

As the Hollingsworth and Windsor cases were advancing to the Supreme Court, the judge held the case in limbo until SCOTUS was heard. Upon announcement, the BLAG defense filed to have the Federal side of the case found moot and for their participation to be dismissed.

Which left the only counsel defending the amendment those who are described in the ruling as

Smith is represented by the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office and attorneys with an organization known as the “Alliance Defending Freedom.”

So it appears that the county, having found themselves way over their heads in defending the state and federal constitution, calling in the specialists, ADF. And it is true that when it comes to gay issues, the ADF has a truly impressive record. Astonishing, really.

Well, that is, if you look at things from my perspective. The Alliance Defending Freedom (nee Alliance Defense Fund) are losers on a colossal scale. Over and over. State after state. Case after case.

And yet they are trotted out with their tired old disproven defeated arguments to be the best defenders of “tradition” and “children”. For which I am thankful.

Comments

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jpeckjr
January 16th, 2014 | LINK

And you know what, Timothy? It is just fine with me, just fine, I tell you, that the ADF is defending these cases. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you — because they are completely inept, they are losers (as you noted), and so I fine, just fine, with them continuing to be the “go to” group for these cases!

Like you, I am thankful for their efforts!

jutta
January 16th, 2014 | LINK

The length of the trial played also an important role IMO. If it had been decided in 2004 or 2005 the result would have been different, I guess.

Lord_Byron
January 16th, 2014 | LINK

IS the ADF involved in the UT case?

NancyP
January 16th, 2014 | LINK

ADF is a scam, with ridiculously high salaries for the boss and his relatives. Its major activity is dredging up cases that can be used for fundraising purposes. It would be counterproductive for them to actually try to win cases, though. If they won a case, they would lose a fundraising story and lose the “discrimination against Christians” claim that underlies their cases. Oops! Fundraising tanks, the ADF folks might have to get a real lawyering job in taxes, estates, real estate, etc

etseq
January 16th, 2014 | LINK

If they are as smug, condescending and self-righteous in court as they are in the media, that would explain the dismissive reference the judge made to them in his decision. In a federal court with no jury, the judge is basically God and he is most certainly a jealous one :)

Lord_Byron
January 17th, 2014 | LINK

Actually met a member of the adf at a debate that was being held at my college about contraception coverage in the afa. He was very smug and annoying.

Ben in Oakland
January 17th, 2014 | LINK

Macy, I’ve said much the same elsewhere about the professionally antigay. They really don’t want to win, as their income stream would be cut off.

Basic sociology.

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