Well that’s today’s Big News: The Unspeakably Fabulous Edie Windsor
Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy turned down at midday Sunday a request to stop same-sex marriages from occurring in California. Without comment, and without seeking views from the other side, Kennedy rejected a challenge to action by the Ninth Circuit Court on Friday implementing a federal judge’s ruling allowing such marriages. The plea had been made on Saturday by the sponsors of California’s “Proposition 8,” a voter-approved measure that permitted marriage only between a man and a woman.
Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court had ruled that the measure’s backers did not have a legal right to defend the measure in either the Supreme Court or, earlier, in the Ninth Circuit Court. While the Supreme Court considered that case, the 2010 decision by a federal judge in San Francisco striking down “Proposition 8″ had been on hold. It was that hold (or “stay”) that the three-judge Circuit Court panel lifted on Friday. Very soon after that, gay and lesbian couples started getting married in ceremonies across the state. Thousands of such couples have now obtained marriage licenses from officials in the state.
Since Justice Kennedy offered no explanation for denying an application claiming that the Ninth Circuit panel had no authority to lift its stay, there is no way to know what legal rationale he had used. It could have been that the sponsors of the measure lacked a legal right to pursue their challenge further, that even if they had such a right it was without legal merit, that the lower court did have the authority to decide for itself when to lift the stay, or perhaps that events had just moved too rapidly in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that it would be inappropriate to try to roll them back.
Although attorneys for the ballot measure’s sponsors have been creative in finding new ways to try to press the challenge, the brief action by Kennedy on Sunday may have removed the final barrier to the full achievement of marriage rights for gays and lesbians in the nation’s most populous state. California is the thirteenth state where same-sex marriages can occur now, or soon, when new laws in a few of the states take effect this summer. The District of Columbia also allows such marriages.
Actually, what is occurring now in California is a resumption of such rights; there was a brief interval, as the court battles over “Proposition 8″ unfolded, when gays and lesbians could marry. During that interval, some 18,000 couples took advantage. There were indications on Sunday that perhaps that number had already been exceeded since Friday, at least in the volume of new marriage licenses issued.
If there was some irony in Justice Kennedy’s action, it was that he was among the four dissenting Justices who would have allowed the measure’s backers to press their defense of the same-sex marriage ban. However, they had been out-voted, five to four.
Meanwhile on Press the Meat
In the news of late there’s been some undue pearl-clutching (mostly on the part of Patient Less Than Zero) over –
What I’d like to know is are we ever going to get one from –
concerning remarks he’s made about –
Buju Banton had his 2011 gun conviction overturned this week, though the reggae singer may face a retrial as he remains in federal prison for drug charges.
A federal judge this week tossed out Banton’s gun conviction after finding that a juror did independent research before the trial began. Banton is in federal prison after being convicted of cocaine conspiracy and trafficking charges that came after a 2009 arrest. The gun charge brought him an additional five years.
US District Judge James Moody said it would be up to the US government to decide whether to retry Buju Banton on the gun charge. The judge added that jury foreman Terri Wright should face a criminal contempt charge for researching the federal Pinkerton rule, which pertains to the actions of conspirators during a crime.
The Pinkerton rule played a factor in Banton’s trial, specifically the gun charge.
In 2011, Buju Banton was sentenced to ten years in federal prison on drug charges. Sentencing for the reggae star brought out many celebrities to speak in his favor, including a former Jamaican government official, an NBA player, and other reggae artists. Actor Danny Glover was
one of those to weigh in on the sentencing, calling Banton “role model, philanthropist and spiritual leader in the community.”
“Your honor, Mark Myrie is not a drug dealer,” Glover wrote, using Banton’s given name. “Society would not benefit from his incarceration.”
Banton was convicted of intent to participate in potential drug deals and conspiring with a Drug Enforcement Agency informant. He went through an initial trial, but the jury deadlocked and a judge declared a mistrial.
But Buju Banton was convicted in a second trial on counts of “conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.”
Buju Banton (born Mark Anthony Myrie 15 July 1973) is a Jamaican dancehall, ragga, and reggae musician. Banton has recorded pop and dance songs, as well as songs dealing with sociopolitical topics.
He released early dancehall singles in 1991, but came to prominence in 1992 with two albums, including Mr. Mention, which became the best-selling album in Jamaican history upon its release. Banton signed with major label Mercury Records and released Voice of Jamaica the following year. By the mid-1990s, Banton had converted to the Rastafari faith, and his music undertook a more spiritual tone. His 2010 album Before the Dawn won Best Reggae Album at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards.
Banton gained international notoriety early on in his career for the anti-gay track “Boom Bye Bye”, as well as for his 2009 arrest and conviction in the United States on drug conspiracy and firearms charges, for which he is currently serving a ten-year federal prison sentence. He is scheduled to be released January 2019.
Banton has attracted criticism over his anti-gay lyrics in his hit “Boom Bye Bye”, written when he was 15 years old and released in 1988, contains lyrics allegedly supporting the murder of gay men. In 2009 gay rights’ groups appealed to venues around the United States not to host Buju Banton.
In 2004, Banton and 12 other men are said to have barged into a house in Kingston near Banton’s recording studio, and allegedly beat six men believed to be homosexuals. One of the victims lost use of an eye in the beating. Banton was charged after complaints from international human-rights groups. However, the charges were dismissed by a judge in January 2006 because of a lack of evidence against Banton.
In 2007 Banton was allegedly among a number of reggae artists who signed a pledge, the Reggae Compassionate Act, created by the Stop Murder Music campaign, to refrain from performing homophobic songs or making homophobic statements, but he later denied that he had made any such commitment
And here’s what he didn’t “walk back”!
If you want to learn more about Mark Anthony Myrie and his ilk see Isaac Julien’s superb documentary The Darker Side of Black
But enough of such garbage. It’s Gay Pride. And that means it’s time for The National Anthem