Judge Strikes Down Virginia’s Ban On Gay Marriage, Ruling STAYED

The Virginia ruling today that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional is mandatory reading for everyone. The decision is stayed pending appeal, but it’s a thing of beauty: it starts out with a quote from Mildred Loving, plaintiff in the 1967 case that took down all bans on interracial marriage in the U.S., and just gets better from there.

Some choice quotes:

“Our nation’s uneven but dogged journey toward truer and more meaningful freedoms for our citizens has brought us continually to a deeper understanding of the first three words in our Constitution: we the people. “We the People” have become a broader, more diverse family than once imagined.”

“Counsel for Intervenor-Defendant McQuigg proclaimed at oral argument that “[P]laintiffs are asking this court to . . . strike down the marriage laws that have existed now for 400 years… and make a policy in this state that mothers and fathers [do not] matter.” …This is a profound distortion of what Plaintiffs seek. Plaintiffs honor, and yearn for, the sacred values and dignity that other individuals celebrate when they enter into marital vows in Virginia, and they ask to no longer be deprived of the opportunity to share these fundamental rights.”

“Almost one hundred and fifty four years ago, as Abraham Lincoln approached the cataclysmic rending of our nation over a struggle for other freedoms, a rending that would take his own life and the lives of hundreds of thousands of others, he wrote these words: “It can not have failed to strike you that these men ask for just… the same thing — fairness, and fairness only. This so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.”

“The men and women, and the children too, whose voices join in noble harmony with plaintiffs today, also ask for fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as it is in this Court’s power, they and all others shall have.”

Seriously, go read it. It’s very happy-making, coming from a judge that totally, TOTALLY gets it: she destroys the “for the children” argument and the “traditional marriage” argument, which were the ones put forth by the state.

Virginia has not only a state Constitutional Amendment that declares marriage only to be between a man and a woman (the same type of amendment MN defeated in 2012), it goes even further: it has laws that declare that ANY type of civil union or contract or domestic partnership that even looks like marriage is illegal. Both of these have been declared unconstitutional.

As a side note, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Wright Allen on May 11, 2011 in a 96–0 vote. She was nominated by President Obama.

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MN Caucus Time!

Minnesota friends and AU members: find your caucus.  Attend.

The major party caucuses are tomorrow, Tuesday Feb 4th, and there are fewer better ways to participate in your democratic form of government than attending… other than actually, you know, *voting*.  It’s where the agenda for the parties is set at the local level.

To provide further incentive, we have received 3 emails today from right-wing fundamentalist groups urging their members to attend in order to push their major agenda items for this year, and all of them call for passing resolutions to reduce church and state separation, including:

  • Gutting the Safe Schools bill by allowing bullying if the bully is “expressing a sincerely-held religious belief”
  • Pushing through laws that allow people to deny services to same-sex couples (or anyone else) based on religious objections to their lifestyles
  • Pushing laws that make abortions harder or impossible to get in MN, regardless of the impact on women’s health, the viability of the fetus or exceptions for abuse and rape, thanks to religious definitions

Does that sound like an agenda you want to see promoted, or given to your local politicians as the supposed will of the people they represent?  Then please attend your local caucus, and make sure the agendas YOU want to see, those that support separation of Church and State, are the ones that are represented.

Instead of the above, let’s have conversations and resolutions about:

– The minimum wage
– Closing racial and economic gaps
– Reforming the criminal justice system to improve equal treatment
– Single payer healthcare
– Making sure the right to vote is maintained (no voter ID, and keep same-day registration)
– Improving access to life-long education

Find your local caucus at this link.

See you there.