Sarah Palin can see gay marriage from her house

With last night’s news that a federal judge had struck down Alaska’s ban on gay marriage, it looks like Sarah Palin will soon be seeing gay marriages from her house.

Alaska is the latest state in a virtual tsunami of (pro) gay marriage court decisions since the Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act in the US v. Windsor decision less than a year and a half ago.

That decision was written in a way that almost appeared somewhat narrow at first. One could argue that the Windsor decision simply said that “if” a state wants to recognize gay marriage, the federal government should not refuse to recognize that marriage for the purposes of federal benefits (and federal programs more generally).

Alaska state flag, via Shutterstock.

Alaska state flag, via Shutterstock.

In fact, Windsor was a gay marriage time bomb set to explode in teeny tiny increments over the coming years.

The court recognized that it didn’t want another Roe v. Wade on its hands. Meaning, a decision which caused so much social strife that it risked dividing the country, and undermining the legitimacy of the court. But how to rule in favor of gay marriage without overtly ruling in favor of gay marriage?

The answer was to write Windsor in such a way that no lower court could ever rule against gay marriage in the future. So rather than the Supreme Court ruling that gay couples had a nationwide right to marry, the court issued a ruling that would force lower courts, on a state-by-state basis, to give gays a nationwide right to marry.

Gay couples could only win the right to marry by suing in each state (or each federal appellate region), citing Windsor, and waiting for each court, on its own timeline, to rule in their favor. This guaranteed victory, but it guaranteed it would be slow, and piecemeal: that individual state victories would happen on different dates, so as to give the American people time to get used to the idea, and sense its inevitability.

And that’s what happened. Since Windsor, we’ve had 43 wins and only 2 losses in state and federal courts. Before Windsor, 12 states (plus DC) permitted gay couples to marry. Now, including Alaska, the number is going to be 30.

In the last week alone, we saw pro-gay rulings affecting more than a dozen states. Rulings that pretty much guarantee that marriage equality (as we like to call gay marriage, which is really just “marriage,” but if you write just “marriage,” it’s confusing, not to mention it makes for a lousy Google search) will become the law of the land in each state soon.

I’m still amazed at what the Supreme Court did, and how it handled all of this. It’s really quite brilliant.

I’m also rather amazed that I’ll have the right to marry, nationwide, in my lifetime. That was something most gays never imagined. We grew up “knowing” that our love would never be legally sanctioned. And now, it pretty much has.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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41 Responses to “Sarah Palin can see gay marriage from her house”

  1. Kissmagrits says:

    Actually, Sarah can see gay weddings from two houses.

    She bought a 1.7 million dollar cottage in Scottsdale with her speaking fees from working the rubber chicken circuit.

  2. Badgerite says:

    Hey. Typos happen.

  3. Beth Holbrook Stafford says:

    That’s cause she was speaking at a Christian school in North Dakota yesterday. Two things she knows nothing about-oil and christianity.

  4. emjayay says:

    I think it’s dot com, not dot come.

  5. olandp says:

    The proper response to Tony Perkins’ absurd comment about Social Science is, “No Tony, Social Science research has found that children do better with two parents present from birth. It has shown that the gender of the parents is irrelevant, it is two and from birth, period.”

  6. olandp says:

    Great headline!

  7. KaylaHepperate says:

    I’ve be­en ma­king $80/hour working freelance jo­bs over the internet. Before this i was without a job for 7 months but last month my paycheck with big f­at bonus was $11000 just wo­rking on the la­ptop for a few hours. Here’s what i have been doing>INTERNET BASED BUSINESS

  8. hendrfc says:

    The Catholic Church today kinda gave the old boys on the court an out today. Let’s hope they take it.

  9. hendrfc says:

    it’s all about re-election. two weeks after this coming election, when the politicians can stop pandering to their religious whacko base, there will be 35 states with marriage equality.

  10. hendrfc says:

    check out this link from the 9th’s website. Notice of Intent to Appeal and a Motion for Stay Pending Appeal

  11. hendrfc says:

    Amazing that a Fox News moderator took on the religious wacko. A thing of beauty to watch.

  12. hendrfc says:

    well said

  13. sonoitabear says:

    She and Todd are throwing kitchen utensils at each other (and the fridge) again, no doubt…

  14. Thom Allen says:

    Nah, it was because Willow stole Track’s boyfriend.

    Fortunately, little Tripp was in the stretch Hummer with the chauffeur and didn’t have to see all the nasty gayness.

  15. Thom Allen says:

    I’m really getting worried about Sarah. It’s been over 24 hours since Alaska got marriage equalized and she’s been totally silent on Facebook and Twitter. Not sure if she’s having another drunken brawl with her neighbors or if her head really DID explode this time.

  16. nicho says:

    I don’t think there’s anything “crypto” about Opus Dei. Fascist to the core.

  17. nicho says:

    And Citizens United — that brilliant piece of fascist jurisprudence.

  18. jomicur says:

    If he really does belong to Opus Dei, that may be the key we need. All we have to do is convince him the S/M part of our community is better at torture than the piddling little cilice he was given by the priests. :-)

  19. Indigo says:

    I wish . . . but I don’t really think so. He’s embedded in Corporatism, opportunistically Catholic and alleged to be a member of the crypto-fascist Opus Dei. In his defense, however, I’d point out that he’s a strict consitutionalist and possibly recognizes that all citizens have equal rights. Possibly.

  20. Naja pallida says:

    They’re the kind of people who can’t ever be on the wrong side of history, because if they are, they’re automatically victims.

  21. FLL says:

    Yes, it’s a creative dodge rather than a forthright statement of principle. This circuit-by-circuit strategy might be a way of making the holdouts in the Deep South and Great Plains feel like the walls are slowly closing in on them, and there is no escape, so they may as well bow to the inevitable.

  22. judybrowni says:

    If only — except in the case of Marriage Equality, of course.

  23. nicho says:

    I’m not sure it was a “scheme.” It may just have been a happy accident. People are fond of saying that we shouldn’t ascribe anything to conspiracy that can just as well be explained by stupidity. I think the same sentiment holds here.

  24. BeccaM says:

    Actually, my money is on Ginsburg.

  25. BeccaM says:

    Yep, on all counts… And I do wish the “children do better with a male and a female parent” lie was called out. As with the climate change deniers, the ONLY “science” (sic) supporting their position are a couple of flawed studies, and other studies that have been misrepresented.

    Children have better outcomes in stable homes where they’re not abused, where they have enough to eat, have their basic physical and emotional needs met, and are loved. There’s nothing about a same-sex marriage that makes those things less likely…and as we know here, denying marriage rights does create harm. Plus, well-adjusted gay people aren’t going to straight-marry just because that’s the only legal alternative.

    What’s really going on with Perkins and the rest of the bigots is they want to indoctrinate children to hate gay people. To say things like Cardinal Burke does, who seems to want to connect the words “gay” with “disordered” and “suffering”, and not have those words of bigotry refuted by the reality of a happy gay/lesbian-headed family living next door.

    I mean, it’s clear to me what the haters want and are pining for is a return to the days when it wasn’t just legal to make gay people suffer — the law actually HELPED make it happen. As I’ve said with the anti-abortion crowd, scratch the surface and you’ll discover what they actually want is for women to be unable to prevent pregnancy, that they want to ban contraceptives as well as abortion rights. Well, with this crowd — bigots like Perkins and Burke — is they don’t just oppose marriage rights for gay people. What they want is for Lawrence to be overturned.

  26. 2karmanot says:

    ‘that it risked dividing the country, and undermining the legitimacy of the court.The Supreme Court lost all legitimacy with Gore V. Bush.

  27. Badgerite says:

    Well, you are not alone.

  28. nicho says:

    I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the boys in the Vatican to do anything. They’re still hung up on divorce and remarriage and contraception.

  29. nicho says:

    And just because Todd wanted to marry his fishing buddy.

  30. SkippyFlipjack says:

    This was awesome (and painful), from the past couple of days — attorney Ted Olson and Chris Wallace team up on Tony Perkins and his disingenuous arguments on gay marriage. The painful part is listening to Perkins make the same discredited points without having anyone say “now you’re just f*cking lying”. Example: Perkins says yet again that “research” has shown that children do better in homes with a male and female parent. He’s wrong of course, and when Olson points this out by saying the courts disagree, Olson’s rebuttal gets sort of lost, which is that the courts don’t do research. No, Tony, but they make decisions based on analysis of research, and they’ve decided over and over that the stats you keep citing are bullsh!t.

    I do like that Wallace presses him on: “What’s the harm to you?” The best Perkins can come up with is that his kids will be taught in schools that gay families are normal. In other words, the harm is that his kids will learn that they’ve been raised by a hateful dishonest bigot, and may hold it against him. Well, yeah.

  31. Hue-Man says:

    “I’m still amazed at what the Supreme Court did, and how it handled all of this.”

    Which justice do you think was the architect of this scheme? I would assume we can exclude the gay-haters on the right and the gay-friendly on the left. That leaves Kennedy and/or Roberts. My money is on Roberts, either directly or indirectly through Kennedy.

  32. rerutled says:

    I can find no information on a request for a stay on appeal. Such stays are granted when it is judged they have a possible (reasonable? I’m not sure what the legal standard is) chance for success on appeal.

    In the wake of SCOTUS’ denial of cert last week, this is the most interesting legal question just now: will Federal Circuit Courts or Courts of Appeal (or even SCOTUS) grant stays to States who appeal their losing position?

  33. jomicur says:

    Roberts himself has been something of a puzzle. I remember reading that he did some pro bono work for the gay side in Romer v. Evans. Once he reached the high court, he has certainly toed the conservative/corporatist line. But I think (hope) he might ultimately be reachable by the side of good. Here’s hoping.

  34. Indigo says:

    I agree with that understanding of the decision. I find it fascinating how some state attorney generals, Florida’s own Pam Bondi among them, are so fixated on pleasing the reactionary T- Party fanatics that they slide right over the obvious to secure their place in the History of Stupid.

  35. nicho says:

    My take on the Windsor decision, even at the time, was that the actual ruling was narrow, as it should have been because the question before the court was narrow. However, the text of the ruling reiterated over and over and over that bans on same-sex marriage were unsustainable. That was a warnin shot across the bow of lower courts that they weren’t going to succeed in sending bans up to SCOTUS. You’d have to be pretty dense as a lower court to do that. Not a good career move.

  36. Don Chandler says:

    I think the rush to pass all those bans was done with ‘false’ studies and demogoguery in a climate of hate. It’s uplifting to read all the judge’s opinions overturning the bans; they are scathing. And just reading the comments sections of blogs and news articles around the internet, I’m struck by how easy it is to argue against the bigots. LGBT folk are on a higher ground and Gay/human rights leaders have been remarkable and diligent. Poor Sarah, she is licking her wounds Today.

  37. Badgerite says:

    Law, like politics, can sometimes be an art. Sometimes, you don’t want to foment change that results in a back lash rather than moving the issue forward. I think that is what John was saying. And in this case, the Court is in line with a demographic shift that is gradually taking place on this issue. Did you even think that this level of success in terms of this issue was possible in 2008? Think back. DOMA was the law of the land and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ( the stupidity of that phrase says a lot about the stupidity of the policy) was in force in terms of military service. If you step back and think about it, the changes have been dramatic.

  38. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Gay marriage is clearly destroying marriages in Alaska. Look at what happened to the Palin family two weeks ago when they went to that birthday party. Brawling, cussing, arguing, ultimately fleeing. What caused it? Gay marryin’ for sure.

  39. caphillprof says:

    Yes. Several thoughts:

    In coming years many law review articles will be written on the interaction (intersection) of Windsor and the Proposition 8 case. Basically in Windsor the Supreme Court held that the federal government violated equal protection of the laws when it sought to tax Windsor as if she were not married. It was explicitly economic justice (and anti tax at that). Technically, the Proposition 8 case was not decided because of a technical lack of standing for disgruntled traditionalists to challenge a legal decision of which they were not actually parties. It is terribly important to establish that one minority cannot deny civil rights to another minority, but the decision was also necessitated because the plaintiffs and their counsel had created a superb factual record which revealed the hogwash in the arguments of the antigay opponents. The standing decision basically permitted the District Court’s decision on the merits to prevail.

    Equal protection of the laws was the great gift of the Civil War. It was intended to assure that former slaves would be citizens and that struggle has been incredibly slow and continues But meanwhile, it was not written in terms of former slavery but in terms of general citizenship. There was never a good reason for the states and the feds to provide all sorts of benefits tied to a marital status denied to many domestic couples. In terms of denying benefits to same-sex couples, the argument always boiled down to — well, we’ve always discriminated. And that simply is untenable under Equal Protection.

  40. Indigo says:

    “Brilliant” might exaggerate the timid duplicity of the Roberts Court. After all, equal rights marriage is embedded in the concept of equality which is embedded in the Constitution and even John Roberts can’t quite find a way around that.

    “Brilliant”? I would call it a creative dodge that concedes, however reluctantly, that all people actually have equal rights. After all, this is the court that decided that corporations have equal rights as pseudo-people so it’s difficult for the court to deny equal rights to actual humans.

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