Hey, just havin’ a little fun. Here’s lookin’ at you, Bill “I’ll sue the governor” Howell:
I am a strong supporter of traditional marriage. There are many Virginians who agree with me and some who do not.
Some who do not just kicked your side’s butt, Bill. Deal with it.
(And thanks again, Attorney General Mark Herring!)
And quite a few other places. Legal Times reports that (in a bit of a surprise) the US Supreme Court has chosen not to hear appeals from the various federal circuits that have decided this case. While they are allowed to do so, the Supremes often do not hear a case when the issue has been consistently decided one way across different circuits. When a split occurs, that’s when they are most likely to step in and settle a question for the whole country. That can still happen here, as some circuits have yet to weigh in. So far, however, all appeals have been decided in favor of gay marriage. That includes a decision in favor of gay marriage by the Fourth Circuit, earlier this year. The case arose in Virginia, so today’s decision by the Supremes effectively affirms that gay marriage cannot be banned in our state (nor in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, or West Virginia, the rest of the Fourth Circuit’s states).
Theoretically, a decision against gay marriage from another circuit could lead to affirmation of that decision by the Supremes in the future, which would reverse the effect of today’s denial. Pundits and commentators are already at work, making predictions about that. However, for now, Legal Times says this:
The denials of review mean that same sex marriages will be legal in Virgina (sic), Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Indiana.
Welcome to equality, Virgin
[And, on a personal note from FirewallNovaLeft to Delegate Robert G. Marshall, I would simply like to say this: Eat me, Bob.]
In their continuing commitment to making sure we cannot deny full knowledge of the fact that “GA” stands, in Virginia, for “GOP Asylum,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch issued surgical gloves and masks to its printers and ordered them to publish a deranged editorial by NoVa’s own Bob Marhsall. In it, he decries (brace yourself) gay marriage. It is, to date, the best documentary proof yet that Delegate Marshall has simply lost his mind:
NBA team owners will be forced to sell their basketball franchises for supporting natural marriage in their private conversations.
Barack Obama, since his post-election conversion, now supports homosexual marriage, confusing sexual behavior with race.
pastors who refuse to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies will be sued.
That last one is fascinating, because it quietly assumes what has been quietly assumed since the start of the current wave of gay-marriage controversy: that marriage should be regulated. Marshall and his far-right friends (if he has any; we’re hearing more and more that even the most ardent Republican members of the Asylum are increasingly sick of him) howl at the very thought of government telling us what we are and are not allowed to do. Except here. A purely private choice, affecting no one but the parties involved, is not only prohibited by constitutional law in Virginia (pending final judgment), it actually requires a license. Thought about objectively, that’s absurd. One commenter to Marshall’s screed put it brilliantly:
We don’t permit the State to regulate baptism or confession, do we? So why do we allow them to mess with marriage?
Why indeed? What’s next? A constitutional ban on gay boyfriends? Will Virginians need to take out a “dating license” before going to the movies (or will licenses only be required after heavy petting)?
You’re crazy, Bob. All of you thumping this drum about state control over love are just crazy.
Bob Marshall (R-13) has issued a statement about Judge Wright-Allen’s decision, striking down his eponymous Marshall Amendment to the Virginia constitution, that bans gay marriage. One can hardly be surprised that he disagrees, and at least one of his enumerated points of complaint has a bit of merit to it (that the judge read the Equal Protection clause of the constitution as though it were more closely worded like the Declaration’s guarantee of universal equality, instead of merely delivering on that guarantee’s promise). But he just can’t seem to help himself, sputtering almost apoplectically (maybe not almost, come to think of it) about the fact that, since things have always been a certain way, that God therefore meant they would stay that way forever. And who are we to argue with God? (If you need to know what God has to say on all this, by the way, the statement makes it clear that you can, when in any doubt about His Word, just ask Delegate Marshall. He’ll tell you What It Is.)
It must be particularly frustrating for a man who has devoted so much of his life to oppressing others that, on the eve of his efforts to become a federal legislator, his signature achievement in government is declared to be an unconstitutional form of discrimination. The rest of us could see that coming, of course, and polls even show that his amendment would not pass today. But Bob Marshall has never cared about today. As his statement shows, Bob Marshall is all about the past.
Perhaps the time has finally come, to leave him there.
UPDATE: The preliminary draft of Judge Wright-Allen’s decision referred to the constitution as the source of the promise that “all men” are created equal. The updated version released today identifies the Declaration of Independence as the source. Guess anyone can make a mistake, eh Bob?
All we have so far are Mark Herring’s tweets, but they make it pretty clear:
The governor and attorney general of Nevada have today announced that they will no longer defend their state’s constitutional prohibition on gay marriage. The AP story buries the reason, but it is found in an oblique reference to another case in the same (Ninth) federal circuit that only recently decided gays could not be excluded from jury service on the basis of their sexual orientation. Nevada’s top lawyer thinks this kills their defense because, until now, only race and gender were wholly barred as reasons why a person could be excluded from jury duty. Apparently, the new ruling means that gays, minorities, and women all share the same status as protected classes under the Equal Protection clause of the federal constitution. This is the argument Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring made when he previously said he would not defend Virginia’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.
Herring’s opponents say he is derelict in his duty. No doubt, some in Nevada will say the same thing about their own AG. Regardless, it appears the end is near for bans on gay marriage, and that Mark Herring isn’t the only state attorney general who can read the writing on the wall (or on the constitution).