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02/25/2013

75+ Prominent Republicans Sign Brief Urging Supreme Court to Strike Down Proposition 8

More than 75 current and former GOP elected officials including former Reagan and Bush cabinet members, former governors, and key GOP consultants and strategists have signed on to an amicus brief to be filed on Thursday urging the Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8.

See a summary and excerpts from the brief obtained by Towleroad, below....

MehlmanAmong those signing the brief, according to organizers, are former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman, former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, former U.S. Deputy Atty General Jim Comey, Mary Cheney, Senior Romney Adviser in Iowa Dave Kochel, Reps Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Richard Hanna (R-NY), and Bush National Security Advisor Steven Hadley.

Many of those who signed it have never before made public their support of marriage equality.

UPDATE: Here's the full list (so far) of signatories.

The brief argues that "there is no legitimate, fact-based justification for different legal treatment of committed relationships between same-sex couples," arguing that marriage equality promotes conservative values:

Amici start from the premise—recognized by this Court on at least fourteen occasions—that marriage is both a fundamental right protected by our Constitution and a venerable institution that confers countless benefits, both to those who marry and to society at large.  …  It is precisely because marriage is so important in producing and protecting strong and stable family structures that amici do not agree that the government can rationally promote the goal of strengthening families by denying civil marriage to same-sex couples.

It also argues that there is no credible social science behind the arguments pushed by Prop 8's proponents:

Deinstitutionalization.  No credible evidence supports the deinstitutionalization theory.   …  Petitioners fail to explain how extending civil marriage to same-sex couples will dilute or undermine the benefits of that institution for opposite-sex couples … or for society at large.  It will instead do the opposite.  Extending civil marriage to same-sex couples is a clear endorsement of the multiple benefits of marriage—stability, lifetime commitment, financial support during crisis and old age, etc.—and a reaffirmation of the social value of this institution.

Biology.  There is also no biological justification for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples.  Allowing same-sex couples to marry in no way undermines the importance of marriage for opposite-sex couples who enter into marriage to provide a stable family structure for their children.

Child Welfare.  If there were persuasive evidence that same-sex marriage was detrimental to children, amici would give that evidence great weight.  But there is not.  Social scientists have resoundingly rejected the claim that children fare better when raised by opposite-sex parents than they would with same-sex parents.

And although the law is consonant with firmly held beliefs, it does not sustain its Constitutionality:

Although amici firmly believe that society should proceed cautiously before adopting significant changes to beneficial institutions, we do not believe that society must remain indifferent to facts. This Court has not hesitated to reconsider a law’s outmoded justifications and, where appropriate, to deem them insufficient to survive an equal protection challenge.  The bases on which the proponents of laws like Proposition 8 rely are the products of similar thinking that can no longer pass muster when the evidence as it now stands is viewed rationally, not through the lens of belief though sincerely held.

Finally, the brief encourages court to protect the fundamental right to marry by offering it to same-sex couples:

Choosing to marry is also a paradigmatic exercise of human liberty.  Marriage is thus central to government’s goal of promoting the liberty of individuals and a free society.  For those who choose to marry, legal recognition of that marriage serves as a bulwark against unwarranted government intervention into deeply personal concerns such as the way in which children will be raised and in medical decisions.

Amici recognize that a signal and admirable characteristic of our judiciary is the exercise of restraint. Nonetheless, this Court’s “deference in matters of policy cannot … become abdication of matters of law.” The right to marry indisputably falls within the narrow band of specially protected liberties that this Court ensures are protected from unwarranted curtailment. Proposition 8 ran afoul of our constitutional order by submitting to popular referendum a fundamental right that there is no legitimate, fact-based reason to deny to same-sex couples.  This case accordingly presents one of the rare but inescapable instances in which this Court must intervene to redress overreaching by the electorate.

Said Mehlman to the NYT: "“We are trying to say to the court that we are judicial and political conservatives, and it is consistent with our values and philosophy for you to overturn Proposition 8."

Posted Feb. 25,2013 at 11:13 PM EST by in Federal Prop 8 Trial, Gay Marriage, News, Proposition 8 | Permalink | Comments (35)


Towleroad Talking Points: A Gay Oscar Night

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BY SAM GREISMAN

A look back at the top stories from today

OSCARS

The 85th Academy Awards were held last night and Argo walked away as the big winner, taking home three Oscars including Best Picture which was handed out by the First Lady. Lead acting honors went to Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence, who manages somehow to even make falling look adorable

Oscar host Seth MacFarlane received decidedly mixed reviews. His opening bit about a potential hosting nightmare had its funny moments. Overall, the producers planned a musically intensive night

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WINGNUTTERY

The Onion put its foot in its mouth last night when it tweeted about young nominee Quevenzhane Wallis and used some rather inappropriate language. It seems that Manti Te'o's catfish situation may harm his potential NFL career, as scouts at the Combine are apparently wondering if he is gay but are too afraid to ask. I'm sure everyone can sympathize with the pain and agony of missing one's flight, but this certainly is not the way to handle it

Chris Hayes of MSNBC was invited to speak at CPAC but has decided that he will not attend because of the group's lack of support for gay rights. NOM has announced that they will plunk down a whole ton of cash to fight any lawmakers who try and support gay marriage in Minnesota. Uggh. Just give up already! Even Mitt Romney's lead strategist says that his disdain for gay rights hurt him. Also the UK's top Catholic priest will step down amid rumors that he is gay

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ENTERTAINMENT

After much deliberation Ellen has finally decided on her first male underwear model. There was hardly a wrong choice to make. And new tracks from both Little Boots and Frank Ocean

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VIDEO OF THE DAY

Students from Santa Monica High School prove that hate is no match for love as they out-protest the Westboro Baptist wingnuts

Posted Feb. 25,2013 at 10:35 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (4)


Santa Monica High School Outprotests Westboro Baptist Church: VIDEO

Sweetbrown

Now that's school spirit.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

The L.A. Times adds: "In response to the planned protest, the school district’s Board of Education adopted an open letter to the community last week, reaffirming the school board’s 'unwavering commitment to teach tolerance, acceptance and compassion for others.'"

Posted Feb. 25,2013 at 6:45 PM EST by in Los Angeles, News, Westboro Baptist Church | Permalink | Comments (22)


Ellen Crowns Her First Male Underwear Model: VIDEO

Ellen

As you may or may not be aware, Ellen DeGeneres has been in the process of choosing her very own male underwear model. Today, he was chosen after a runway show, questions and answer session, and not-so-brutal game of Know or Go.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Undies

Posted Feb. 25,2013 at 5:52 PM EST by in Ellen DeGeneres, Models, News, Underwear | Permalink | Comments (29)


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1314

YOU HAVE A PURPOSE: Gays and allies launch a campaign in Indiana in response to homophobic teacher Diana Medley.

CUPCAKE MOUTH CATCH: Like a boss.

RYAN GOSLING: Embarrassed by a dish towel.

SETH MACFARLANE: Jimmy Kimmel visits him backstage at the Oscars and discovers that he's a hoarder.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.

Posted Feb. 25,2013 at 5:05 PM EST by in Indiana, Jimmy Kimmel, News, Ryan Gosling, Towleroad Guide to the Tube | Permalink | Comments (2)


News: Llama Farmer, Spider-Man, Nevada, Peter Tatchell

RoadMichael Goff: Twit and wisdom of the late Spencer Cox.

RoadMixner: House Republicans strip LGBT issues out of the Violence Against Women Act.

LlamaRoadMeet Kevin, the gay Kentucky llama farmer struggling to get by after being fired from his teaching job for being gay. "He sued for wrongful termination and, though the judge agreed that he had been treated unfairly, there is no Kentucky state law regarding anti-gay discrimination at the workplace. More than a year later, Kevin is still out of work, exhausted, and behind on bills and legal fees. He continues to work on the animal sanctuary he runs on his 18-acre property."

RoadDlisted on the Kristen Stewart disaster...

RoadSeems KStew couldn't even get her audience shot right.

RoadRick Perry to speak at CPAC: "Governor Rick Perry has been successful in leading Texas with strong fiscally conservative policies," said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. "We look forward to welcoming Governor Perry back to the CPAC stage in March."

RoadAnti-gay NY state Assemblyman Dov Hikind dons blackface at Purim party.

SpidermanRoadComing Soon has a look at the new Spider-Man suit.

RoadThe Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada finds home in Las Vegas: "Staffers and volunteers are putting finishing touches on The Center's new $4 million digs in a freestanding building in downtown Las Vegas. The 16,000-square-foot Robert L. Forbuss Building, in a residential neighborhood on Maryland Parkway at Lewis Avenue, is set to open early next month. The fully renovated facility is a far cry from The Center's previous home - a cramped storefront next to a swingers club in Commercial Center - and represents a coming of age for the organization."

RoadWill Hillary Clinton clear the 2016 field?

RoadVIDEO: Justin Timberlake performs "Mirrors" live on the German show Wetten Dass.

RoadBritish nurse takes on Archbishop of Westminster in marriage equality debate: “I sometimes despair of this church, this institution. It seems to me in my reading of the Gospels that Jesus had no problem whatsoever with those who were considered outsiders or exceptions. He appears to have happily shared meals with prostitutes, drunkards, lepers, Gentiles and I do not doubt with people of same-sex orientation since such an orientation has existed since time began. The church seems much happier with its version of order over compassion and love towards the so-called exceptions. It has an appalling history of excluding and torturing those who do not think or subscribe to its definition of ‘right’. “

RoadTexas Republicans file bills threatening funding for schools with pro-LGBT policies.

RoadMale model fix: Matt Merrell.

Purim_madonnaRoadMadonna, Brahim, and Lourdes dress up for Purim.

RoadA lost continent has been found under the Indian Ocean: "The slab, dubbed Mauritia, was probably formed around 61-83 million years ago after Madagascar split from India, but eventually broke up and became smothered by thick lava deposits, they said."

RoadLesbian writer Ali Smith a finalist for  the £30,000 Sunday Times short story prize, the world's richest award for a single work of short fiction.

RoadUK activist Peter Tatchell on Cardinal O'Brien's resignation: "Cardinal O’Brien condemned homosexuality as a grave sin and was a long-time opponent of gay equality. He supported homophobic discrimination in law, including the current ban on same-sex marriage. In the light of these allegations, his stance looks hypocritical. He appears to have preached one thing in public while doing something different in private...The Vatican is shamelessly championing homophobia and the denial of legal equality to gay people, while hosting a hotbed of secret, guilt-ridden clerical homosexuality."

Posted Feb. 25,2013 at 3:35 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (5)



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