Monday, May 19, 2014

Tony Perkins edits his cut-and-paste for Oregon

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins, head of the hate group Family Research Council, has reacted to a judge's decision in Oregon. Earlier today, US District Court Judge Michael McShane ruled that Oregon's ban of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The effect is that same-sex marriages will begin (or have begun) immediately. Mr. Perkins is displeased. In an email blast titled “Oregon Marriage Ruling Disregards Rule of Law, Voters” Perkins claims:
This is another lawless decision that the Supreme Court has not provided any precedent for. The Supreme Court has said nothing that would give a federal judge the right to redefine marriage. In fact, the Supreme Court has granted stays in comparable cases which this judge failed to do.

Apparently Mr. Perkins is unaware of United States v. Windsor. That aside, the reason that there is no stay is because there is no one to appeal the decision as Oregon's governor and attorney general have exercised their discretion to not defend the law. National Organization for Marriage attempted to intervene. Judge McShane ruled that NOM did not have standing and a last-ditch appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th District was (as expected) denied. As I noted earlier today the matter of standing was resolved by the Supreme Court in the Proposition 8 litigation.

As for the rule of law, that is for judges to decide. Judge McShane did just that. Tony is simply unhappy with his decision. Perkins continues:
The judge's disregard for the rule of law and for the voters of Oregon is breathtaking. The state's failure to defend its own constitution, and the failure of an openly homosexual judge to recuse himself, demonstrate that this decision is without basis.
On that basis, any straight judge could be called upon to recuse himself or herself from hearing a same-sex marriage case. As a society it has been our practice to trust the rulings of judges regardless of their personal feelings. In this case, given that there was no opposition, the decision was pretty much a foregone conclusion. And then it's back to Roe v. Wade which has become an obligatory Christianist reference:
If the courts believe they are going to resolve this issue once and for all by forcing a redefinition of marriage on the American people, they are wrong. The far reaching decision in Roe v. Wade was intended to resolve the issue of abortion, which 41 years later we know conclusively it did not. The definition of marriage, like the sanctity of human life, is seen in the natural or moral law. The decisions of courts can ignore it, they can even attempt to suppress it, but they will never eradicate it," concluded Perkins.
The problem with that logic is that there is never a compelling interest in overturning marriage equality. Once enacted residents realize that it has no effect whatsoever on their opposite-sex marriages. Indeed, the last state that tried to reverse marriage equality was New Hampshire in early 2012 at NOM's urging. It was a colossal failure. I would also remind Perkins that Roe v. Wade continues to be the law of the land and there is nothing that right-wing Christians can do to alter that fact.

Tony is just going to have to accept the fact that he is having a real bad day.
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