Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Supreme Court and the Skim Milk Marriage of Doom

In today’s Supreme Court discussions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Kennedy says that “what has always been thought to be the essence of the state Police power, which is to regulate marriage, divorce, custody.” Who exactly has always thought that?

He also talked about “questions of the rights of children,” which seems to contain an implicit acceptance of the idea that having parents with similar genitals somehow infringes those “rights of children.” At any right, I’d be curious to know what Justice Kennedy sees as the rights of children. Maybe a list.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that DOMA creates two kinds of marriage, full marriage and “then this sort of skim milk marriage.” Ginsburg doesn’t know exactly what the gays get up to in their bedrooms, but she’s pretty sure it has something to do with low-fat dairy products.

Roberts, Scalia and Alito all claimed amazement that the Obama administration was still enforcing DOMA at the same time it was claiming that it was unconstitutional (Roberts said Obama should have exercised “the courage of his convictions”), because the justices evidently don’t understand the whole “separation of powers” thing. Alito: “The President’s position in this case is that he is going to continue to enforce DOMA, engage in conduct that he believes is unconstitutional, until this Court tells him to stop.” Yes, because it’s the law of the land until the Court rules otherwise, that’s how that fucking works.

John Roberts was also baffled by how so many straight people have mysteriously come to support gay rights in the period since DOMA was enacted in 1996, repeatedly asking the lawyer how The Gayz had managed it: “I suppose the sea change has a lot to do with the political force and effectiveness of people representing, supporting your side of the case?” “You don’t doubt that the lobby supporting the enactment of same sex-marriage laws in different States is politically powerful, do you?” “As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the argument.” (“Falling over themselves” is probably some kind of kinky gay thing). “Well, but you just referred to a sea change in people’s understandings and values from 1996, when DOMA was enacted, and I’m just trying to see where that comes from, if not from the political effectiveness of -- of groups on your side of the case.” The lawyer responded by talking about “a moral understanding today that gay people are no different,” but it’s like Roberts just can’t understand that people form their opinions of social issues in any other way than through the sphere of politics and politicking: “I understand that. I am just trying to see how -- where that that moral understanding came from, if not the political effectiveness of a particular group.” It’s kind of weird, like he has never in his life had any conversations with normal people. Roberts’ questions also suggest that he doesn’t understand that equality of marriage might be a matter of concern for people who are not gay.

Roberts is.... kind of weird, is what I’m saying.

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  1. How on earth does the issue of HOW people changed their opinions matter to the constitutionality of the law?

  2. There was some question about legislative intent when DOMA was enacted -- did Congress act from a concern for the uniformity of marriage laws throughout the US, or did they act from moral disapproval.