Monthly Archives: March 2009

Can’t you see Neal and David doing this Steve?
NPHDB

Meanwhile as you ponder a rewrite . . .
This Just In!

“Concord – The New Hampshire House narrowly passed a bill today that would allow gay couples to marry.
The final vote on HB 556 was 186-179, and came after nearly three hours of debate.
The bill now moves to the Senate.
Those who pushed for passage of the bill said it was a matter of equal rights and that it will bring an end to discrimination against homosexuals. They said the state’s civil unions law, passed in 2007, is not the equivalent of marriage.
Opponents said the bill upends thousands of years of tradition and religious practice that reserves marriage as a bond between a man and woman.
Gov. John Lynch does not support same-sex marriage. His press secretary Colin Manning said, “The civil unions bill he signed into law prevents discrimination and provides the same legal protections to all New Hampshire families to the extent that is possible under federal law.”
The bill was amended today to state that no clergy of any religion could be required under the bill to officiate at a same-sex marriage.
Rep. David Pierce, D-Etna, in arguing for passage, told House members, “Both sides of this debate believe in the institution of marriage,” said. “We all want the same things during our time on earth. It doesn’t matter if you’re straight or gay.”
Rep. Laura Gandia, R-Litchfield, warned it will make children of this and future generations “guinea pigs in a massive social experiment that is irreversible.”
Democrats were joined by about a dozen Republicans in passing the bill.
The final vote followed a 193-182 vote against passing the bill, an unsuccessful 177-189 attempt to kill it, and a failed effort to postpone it for more work.”

Meanwhile A “Civil Unions” bill fails in Hawaii, and in darkest Vermont Governor James H. Douglas kicks James Neiley right in the cojones. . .

“The urgency of our state’s economic and budgetary challenges demands the full focus of every member and every committee of this Legislature. Ensuring that the federal recovery money is spent wisely, that the state budget is balanced and responsible, and that we do all we can to help our employers compete and create jobs is my top priority.
However, I recognize that legislative leaders have different priorities. So long as same-sex marriage consumes the time and energy of legislators, I will urge lawmakers to act quickly so they can turn their full focus to the economic needs of Vermonters as soon as possible.
The question of same sex marriage is an issue that does not break cleanly as Republican or Democrat, rural or urban, religious or atheist. It is an intensely personal decision – a decision informed by all of those things and many more – an amalgam of experience, conviction and faith. These beliefs are deeply held, passionately expressed and, for many legislators, infinitely more complex than the ultimate ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ required to fulfill the duty of their office.
For those on either side of the vote to sternly judge the other’s morality and conscience is the only true intolerance in this debate and is a disservice to all Vermonters. I have Republican friends who will vote for this bill and Democratic friends who will vote against – and regardless of their vote, they will still be my friends and have my respect when this issue is resolved.
Vermont’s civil union law has extended the same state rights, responsibilities and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. I believe our civil union law serves Vermont well and I would support congressional action to extend those benefits at the federal level to states that recognize same-sex unions. But like President Obama and other leaders on both sides of the aisle, I believe that marriage should remain between a man and woman.
As you know, it’s been a policy of mine not to announce whether or not I will veto a bill before it reaches my desk. But during these extraordinary times, the speculation about my decision has added to the anxiety of the moment and further diverts attention from our most pressing issues – and I cannot allow that to happen.
For those reasons and because I believe that by removing any uncertainty about my position we can move more quickly beyond this debate, I am announcing that I intend to veto this legislation when it reaches my desk.
On such an intensely divisive issue as this, I expect all members will vote as their individual conscience indicates and in the best interest of their districts, and not as the political leadership dictates. That said, I’m sure that legislative leaders would not have advanced this bill if they did not have the votes to override a veto. I will accept the outcome of their vote either way.
In the meantime, I will turn my attention and energy away from this issue and back to the issue that matters most to Vermonters: to growing our economy and creating good jobs.
I respect the passionate opinions of individuals on both sides of this debate and hope that when the Legislature makes their decision, whatever the outcome may be, we can move our state forward, toward a bright future for our children and grandchildren. We still have a great deal of work ahead of us and Vermonters are counting on us to work together to get the job done.”

This is of course specicous nonsense. The legislature is perfectly capable of tap-dancing and chewing gum at the same time. Moreover same-sex mariage would be a bonanza for the state’s coffers. Meanwhile on a related front Barney Frank gets specific on Antonin Scalia’s homophobia citing two fascinating passages from his dissents on important Supremes decisions.

Re. Lawrence vs. Texas:

“One of the most revealing statements in today’s opinion is the Court’s grim warning that the criminalization of homosexual conduct is “an invitation to subject homosexual persons to discrimination both in the public and in the private spheres.” Ante, at 14. It is clear from this that the Court has taken sides in the culture war, departing from its role of assuring, as neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed. Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive. The Court views it as “discrimination” which it is the function of our judgments to deter. So imbued is the Court with the law profession’s anti-anti-homosexual culture, that it is seemingly unaware that the attitudes of that culture are not obviously “mainstream”; that in most States what the Court calls “discrimination” against those who engage in homosexual acts is perfectly legal; that proposals to ban such “discrimination” under Title VII have repeatedly been rejected by Congress, see Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 1994, S. 2238, 103d Cong., 2d Sess. (1994); Civil Rights Amendments, H. R. 5452, 94th Cong., 1st Sess. (1975); that in some cases such “discrimination” is mandated by federal statute, see 10 U.S.C. § 654(b)(1) (mandating discharge from the armed forces of any service member who engages in or intends to engage in homosexual acts); and that in some cases such “discrimination” is a constitutional right, see Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000).”

Re. Romer vs. Evans:

“First, as to its eminent reasonableness. The Court’s opinion contains grim, disapproving hints that Coloradans have been guilty of “animus” or “animosity” toward homosexuality, as though that has been established as un-American. Of course it is our moral heritage that one should not hate any human being or class of human beings. But I had thought that one could consider certain conduct reprehensible–murder, for example, or polygamy, or cruelty to animals–and could exhibit even “animus” toward such conduct. Surely that is the only sort of “animus” at issue here: moral disapproval of homosexual conduct, the same sort of moral disapproval that produced the centuries old criminal laws that we held constitutional in Bowers…..
But though Coloradans are, as I say, entitled to be hostile toward homosexual conduct, the fact is that the degree of hostility reflected by Amendment 2 is the smallest conceivable.”

In light of these statements it’s rather surprising that Scalia would allow himself to share the same stage with an admitted homosexual (!)

But he did just that back in 2005.

S&S

Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court made an unusual appearance at the Juilliard School yesterday and defended the government’s right to deny funds for art it disapproves of, elaborating in person on what he has written on the bench.
He told reporters that choosing what art to subsidize is no different than the stances the government takes all the time in other areas.
“The First Amendment has not repealed the basic rule of life, that he who pays the piper calls the tune,” Justice Scalia said. “When you place the government in charge of funding art, just as when you place the government in charge of providing education, somebody has to pick the content of what art is going to be funded, what subjects are going to be taught.
“The only way to eliminate any government choice on what art is worthwhile, what art isn’t worthwhile, is to get the government totally out of the business of funding,” he said.
In a 1998 decision, Justice Scalia wrote a concurring opinion upholding a Congressional decency test for grants awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was at the center of a furor over grants to Andres Serrano, Robert Mapplethorpe, Karen Finley and others.

Yadda, yadda, yadda, then —

The tone was often jocular and nonconfrontational, but with a genteel strain of debate between Justice Scalia and Mr. Sondheim.
It began at the news conference, when the justice was asked to follow some generic comments by Mr. Sondheim about the difference between “Art with a capital A” and “art with a small a.” “I concur,” Justice Scalia said simply. “I take it back,” Mr. Sondheim quickly rejoined with a smile.
Later, Justice Scalia returned to the idea that denying funds to some artists was unavoidable, because choices must be made. When Mr. Polisi said that National Endowment grants were peer-reviewed, Mr. Sondheim said, “The problem with choices is who does the choosing, and who chooses the choosers, and that’s where you get into a thicket.”
In response to a question from the audience on how to increase arts attendance by minorities, Justice Scalia said that a “large number” of minority children come from broken homes and do not have the parental attention they need to push for interest in the arts. But race has nothing to do with it, he said.
Mr. Sondheim said the cause was also economic. “Tickets are expensive,” he said.
They even parted ways in a discussion of the definition of art. Mr. Sondheim said one element was a work’s ability to endure. Justice Scalia said that the Abbott and Costello routine “Who’s on First?” would certainly last a long time. But “it will never be art!” he said.
The composer took issue with the example, saying it was not that old and that half the people in the theater probably did not even know it. Justice Scalia called for a show of hands, and many shot up. “Ask anybody under 30,” Mr. Sondheim said. “They won’t know.”

Maybe not. But they know who Johnny Depp is Steve.

Forewarned is forearmed. Right Mr. Scalia?