Thursday, 6/20/13, Public Square

“Sometime soon — possibly as early as today, and certainly by the end of the month — the Supreme Court will announce its decisions on two cases about same-sex marriage that might very well reframe the way an entire country thinks about the institution. They will do so in large part because of one woman: Edith Windsor, who, at eighty-three, is the plaintiff in a case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act.  Below, a link to a slide show featuring important moments in Windsor’s life — not just those before the nation’s highest court but also scenes from the forty-two-year-long love story she shared with her wife, Thea Spyer, who died in 2009.”


Slide Show: Edith Windsor’s Life and Love


Filed under The Public Square

38 responses to “Thursday, 6/20/13, Public Square

  1. Compassion for your fellow man, dignity for all.

    I’m trying to remain hopeful on these two decisions. I’m pleased at the speed gay rights has gained acceptance but not so confident SCOTUS will be all in yet.

    “…Justices Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg focused on equal protection and anti-gay animus—the way that DOMA carves out a class of married same-sex couples, those who were legally married in the state where they live, and excludes them from federal laws and benefits accorded married heterosexual couples. As Kagan put it at one point, “when Congress targets a group that is not everybody’s favorite group in the world,” the Court is supposed to examine any resulting laws with heightened scrutiny, to make sure they have a basis other than mere prejudice (or for that matter, moral disapproval or the upholding of tradition, both of which the Court has rejected as justifications for discrimination). As Justice Ginsburg put it, in a memorable new locution, DOMA had created two classes of marriage—“the full marriage and then this sort of skim-milk marriage.”

    I read that Thomas has unwavering dedication to his own interpretation of the ideas of dead men. He’s an ‘originalist,’ ruling exclusively by the letter of what he views as the Founders’ original intent in writing the Constitution. Since white men who were landowners were the only ones that were offered all respect … But then, he is a big state’s rights supporter, so … Alito is a bible thumper. I’ve begun to think Scalia likes attention in his later years so who knows. Roberts seems unduly concerned with his Court’s reputation. Kennedy. Well, that is the question, isn’t it?

    I just wish the decisions would be made so we all know where we are, what we’re dealing with, what’s left to be done.

    Maybe today.

  2. I’m dreading this decision. Ever the pessimist, I am quite sure SCOTUS will punt and rule as narrowly as possible. This is yet another consequence of SCOTUS selecting bush as president. Al Gore would have appointed a very different chief justice and justice, and the balance would be in our favor for a sweeping, landmark decision favoring marriage equality.

    As it is, we’ll limp along and hope like hell the next POTUS will be a democrat. But the way the mood of the country is, and the lack of intelligent voters, I’m not so sure a democratic POTUS is a lock. Money for the repukes could trump all.

    I guess well know in at least ten days what SCOTUS has to say about marriage equality, and, just as importantly, voting rights. Let’s just say I’m not buying any bubbly to pop a cork for equality any time soon.

    Besides, Kansas, Brownback, and the legislators of Dumbfuckistan are routinely thumbing their noses at the laws and constitution anyway. Hell, if we got a broad ruling for equality, they’d still have to send in federal troops a la Little Rock to force equality on Kansas. Nothing short of federal troops will free the queers in Brownbackistan.

    • You know it will be narrow. The Roberts Court isn’t all that different from others throughout history (the Warren Court was quite the exception in several areas). I see it boiling down to finding DOMA unconstitutional as it refuses to recognize marriages valid under state law, it being the province of the several states to legislate on this issue. Prop 8 will be upheld on the state law analysis.
      I state the above with great trepidation, as I have an unenviable poor record in predicting the action of any court.

  3. Oops, hit send too soon.

    As regards kansas, I mean, come on. Pastor Sam and his church ladies refuse to remove the sodomy laws from the Kansas books, “office of the repealer” not withstanding! And those sodomy laws were declared unconstitutional by SCOTUS ten years ago. So… tell me again, no matter how SCOTUS rules, what the fate of Kansas Kweers will be?

    Political and legal weather prediction is still for storms and clouds to rain on equality for gay people in Kansas!

    • Well, Kansas never repealed its patently unconstitutional capital punishment statute, just waited until the dust settled years later and then amended it. Just sayin’.

  4. Oh, and thank you, Fnord and everyone else here, for your unwavering support for social justice and equality for everyone in Kansas, including my people. Your collective commitment to equality is appreciated.

    • You’ve got my support …. But, I have never understood why this should even be an issue.

      But…..I was in the midst of that Fundy Baptist Church Movement back in the mid 1970’s..

      I do find it rather amusing to hear these folks demonize homosexuals as abnormal – when I’ve known quite a few of these folks’ own sexual endeavors – which I consider definitely abnormal.

      But….they get to hide their sins under the cloak of that perceived righteousness.

      Maybe this is why so many of these folks are Republicans?

      If their perceived enemy does something – it is wrong.

      If they do the same thing – it is okay.


    • rick liebst

      That is the key word Pond “Equality” it demands logic and reason and both has to be thrown out the window in order to deny equality. To quote you when it is denial in the excuse of religion ” Jesus wept!”.

  5. Would this stop Kobach? Will it require loads of our tax money in a court case, or maybe UNelecting this incompetent SoS? Will Kobach simply tell Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt what Schmidt’s opinion is? As prairie pond points out, Kansas republicans in charge seem unconcerned about legality or whether or not something is constitutional.

    (from the link): Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, made a request for a formal attorney general opinion about the state’s proof of citizenship requirements for registering voters after the justices ruled 7-2 that federal law squelches similar requirements in Arizona.

    Hensley’s attorney general request mirrors one suggested by former Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, who said Monday her research has found more than 5,000 voter registrations in the state’s four largest counties currently on hold because of the Kansas proof of citizenship requirements.

    Hensley requests A.G. opinion on voter registration

  6. From the past but must still pertain —

    Reporter: “Why don’t you distribute your more significant cases over a period of weeks instead of the last few days, so we [the press] would have more time to write about them.”

    Chief Justice Rehnquist: “You can write about them over the course of several weeks even if we release them all on the same day.”

  7. Yesterday, I was sitting in a surgery waiting room with my daughter and her mother-in-law and her husband.

    My SiL had both a fracture in one knee and the meniscus scoped in the other knee.

    I know my daughter’s mother-in-law and her husband are religious – which is absolutely no problem with me. My problem is when people use their religion as a weapon to make others feel hurt and degraded.

    The television was on and the daily shows are nothing but crappola – IMHO.

    Then there were a few trailers of upcoming shows – that one with Joan Rivers swapping lives with Bristol Palin and then some new show about the MIstresses.

    Well – that brought up the topic of how our society has become very shallow and that television offers very little in way of positive entertainment.

    The mother-in-law had a home day care and my daughter works for a pre-school in town.

    We all agreed that the kids in our country are not valued – although we hear of how great our Christians are here – we still have homeless, hungry, sick, unable to go to the doctor and uneducated kids – so how the hell is that supposed to be loving and caring for our kids?

    Anyway – then the husband speaks up about how he thinks there is a directed and intentional agenda in our society to make homosexuality ‘normal’.

    While I let this guy finish his speech – my first question to him was – do you have any family or friends that are homosexual?

    He replied – absolutely not.

    I then asked – are you so sure you don’t know of any?

    That is when his face changed – and I continued on with my turn to speak.

    I told him that I know several normal people and some are homosexual and some are heterosexual.

    And – frankly – I don’t give a damn what anybody does in their sex life. It does not bother me one bit. – so why should it bother you?

    I did state one thing that infuriates me – and that is when any person molests and harms any child.

    And – from where I we are sitting today – in a Catholic hospital – am I to assume these Catholics here are ‘normal’ people just because they are such good church people – or should I be condemning them because they continue to support the Catholic Church leaders who MADE the CHOICE to cover up the crime of child molestation?

    That is when I finished with this – I have known church people that are pure evil and I have known people that never darken the door of any church that live better Christians lives than these so-called church people.

    So – perhaps the same is about homosexual people? So – let’s not be so quick to judge others – just because you think homosexuality is ‘not normal’.

    I’ll take the homosexual couple raising kids next to me than a church-going couple that beats their kids into submission – or worse, molests their kids in the name of their so-called God.

    The man gave me a look like – WTF – but he never brought up the issue of what is normal and not normal after that.

    But – before I ended the conversation – I also said …look around you here, which person here is a homosexual – can you tell?

    Later on – the conversation turned back to the television shows. His wife said that she loved the Brady Bunch show.

    I quietly said – did you know that the Brady Dad was a homosexual in real life?

    They were both shocked….

    I then added….. and he looked so normal – didn’t he?

    My daughter sat by my side the entire time and just shook her head in agreement …

    Sometimes, I wonder if these people who are so upset about homosexuality are really the haters – or does this come from their church preachers?

    • The haters are those people, whose preexisting biases are reinforced by their preachers (hey, the preachers have to eat, too) on Sunday. Hmm, I wonder if they knew Rock Hudson was a homosexual, too.. .
      Snark off (for now).
      The most wonderful, loving couple I’ve ever met was a lesbian couple whose children attended TIS when my wife worked there. Many heterosexual couples should have been paying attention and learning from them; there might have been a reduction in number of problems with their students and, in some cases, their marriages had that occurred.
      There’s a very long story about my attitudes on this subject, which I shall share some day. It arises not from my family, etc., but my practice. Hypocrisy at its finest.

      • Even with the haters still hating we’ve come a long way. It hasn’t been any time at all since most people stayed in the closet. It still happens, of course, but coming out also happens. There are still racists, but they aren’t as public or as loud and certainly not as ‘acceptable.’ I have high hopes the homophobes will be forced to be quieter about their hate or be seen as exactly who they are if they don’t. Maybe we’re even at that point. Maybe only the haters don’t recognize and admit who they are to themselves even tho all the rest of us see it clearly. Maybe the haters will stay in the closet and feel fear, shame, unacceptable? Intolerant of hate seems more just than hating a person for something they can’t change.

      • I hope you are correct, but am dubious this will go the same way as race.

      • 6176 – I reminded them about Rock Hudson being gay – and they knew about him……..but not the perfect Brady Dad?

        Ah, come on…….

        I think it is selective memory – or selective means to hate certain people?

        But – I did find it interesting that this woman just loved the Brady Bunch show – and then when told the truth about that perfect dad – she was shocked.

        So – tell me again how homosexuality is not normal?

        Hell – my son is an artist – he has always marched to a different drummer. Does that make him abnormal?

      • I worked a temporary job for a lawyer many years ago.

        I remember this one particular sad case. An elderly woman died and the two grown kids were squabbling – and paying lawyer fees – over the pettiest of stuff.

        The cherry on top of that disgusting sundae was this – these two grown children were paying lawyers to fight for their right to Mom’s – Dollar General plastic wastebasket.


        I have a friend who has worked in a divorce lawyer’s office for years. And the stories she tells me……would curl your hair..

        What is it that drives people to just madness – and cruelness?

      • Fnord – I love your optimism – but I concur with 6176.

        I think the haters of homosexuals justify their hatred because they believe that homosexuals make the choice to be gay.

        Hmmmm….so that takes me back to why do these homosexual haters then continue to support the Catholic Church leaders who made the choice to cover up the crime of child molestation?

        Surely – if these haters think homosexuality is a sin – then isn’t molesting young boys right up on their sin list?

        And those who cover up a crime – are just as guilty as those who committed the sin – IMHO

      • I know, indy. And, the tooth fairy is real, there is no republican war on women, man doesn’t contribute to global climate change, Jesus would take food out of the mouths of the undeserving, blastocysts at fertility clinics aren’t destroyed out back in the incinerator, earth is somewhere around 8,000 years old and, tax cuts for the rich create jobs … yeah, I know about those people who believe sexual orientation is a choice.

  8. An FBI search that will interest me! 🙂

  9. I just found this…….what are your thoughts?

    BTW – Which group is more hated by these churchy haters – Atheists or Homosexuals?

  10. A bit of true wonk, and some economic theory all for digestion. The conclusion by the staffer is accurate, but not stated politely.

      • Hey – you’re not lost – you’re with me……LOL

        sorry 6176….did we both miss something along the way?

      • The discussion concerns immigration reform, and the effect (or lack thereof) on U.S. unemployment is one for wonks. The discussion about complementary versus substitution of labor is something only an economist would love.
        The aide said, in essence, there are jobs Americans won’t do, and immigration reform will not adversely affect unemployment given that these jobs would be done by immigrants. That’s not what he said (“Some Americans can’t cut it” was what I recall he said), but that’s in essence what he meant. HTH.

  11. Interesting issue to think about… does this woman’s story ring true for every working woman – or just certain high-profile careers are more affected by the women choosing to leave to be the stay-at-home mother?

    • Both, more on the latter. Sad, but true.

      • My wish is for every woman to make the choice that is best for her – and if that is a stay-at-home mom – then that work should be valued just the same as the working for pay mother ..

        I know, I know….who is going to pay the stay-at-home mom a paycheck?

        I just wish that our society would value whatever choice the woman makes – but in our country, we proudly boast that we love our children – but when it comes right down to it – do we?

        On the other hand – I know a lot of kids with mothers that worked full time – and they turned out great.

        So….does it make a difference on whether the woman is a stay-at-home mom or does it depend on the situation?

        Rather than having to make a choice – either/or – I do wish there was a policy in our country of having plenty of living-wage jobs for couples who want to have the mother stay at home to make that possible.

        And – for Gods’ sake – let’s get this notion of health insurance provided through your workplace .

        We need universal health care…..and we NEED it now.

      • correction:

        let’s get RID of this notion of health insurance provided through your workplace.

      • The huge flaw in the ACA; reliance upon employer provided health insurance. Universal coverage is the only way that makes sense, mandatory coverage that begins at birth.
        There’s no doubt the value of the stay-at-home mother (or father; there are some) is considerable, but how to calculate it? There are economists who will write about it, but it’s always in terms of hiring people to perform the tasks, i.e., working out of the home women (or men). On the living wage jobs, I agree, but to do so will require a very large contraction in the economy. I say that because to accomplish your desire, costs of stuff (houses, cars, etc.) will have to come down, because wages aren’t going up. Why? A statistic I read earlier this week demonstrates the problem: world wide, 3 Billion people need jobs. There are 1.3 Billion “good” jobs. There is no rational reason to increase wages in this scenario.

      • Agree 100% ….6176

        Another factor is this Equal Pay for Women issue. I remember when the big fight was over the E.R.A. – and how many people fought the notion that women wanted to be in the workplace, making a paycheck.

        But in today’s world – a majority of women HAVE to work just to pay the bills. And when women still make less than men for the same job – how is that helping?

        I know…I know…..the incentive to pay higher wages is just not there at this moment. Too many people needing jobs.

        I might believe these corporations could not pay more wages IF their CEOs and their lobbyists were not bringing in the multi-million dollar paychecks.

      • indy, it’s not they can’t (if you leave out the threat of shareholder litigation), they don’t have to. Simple.

      • BTW – I also agree there are a lot more stay-at-home dads than people realize.

        I remember when our son was born. My husband had changed jobs and we were within that 3-months period before the new insurance was to kick in.

        Well…..wouldn’t you know it, I got pregnant during that last month of the three.

        Which meant that we had to foot the entire bill.

        When our son was born, I found a job working 5pm to 1am and my husband worked 7am to 4pm – and we managed to get all those pre-new insurance bills paid.

        The very day I paid the last bill – I quit the night job.

        We were both about run ragged…..but we did what we had to do.

        But…we were the lucky ones – LOL. We had each other and we both had jobs.