gay marriage

Today in Liberty: Americans believe Obama will fail, final stage set for $1 trillion farm bill

“I have a question, a question for the president: Do you hate all rich people, or just rich people who don’t contribute to your campaign? Do you hate poor people or do you just hate poor people with jobs?” — Ron Paul

— Most Americans believe Obama’s policies will fail: Just 37% of Americans believe that President Obama’s polices will be a success, according to the latest CNN/ORC poll via the Washington Examiner, while 56% say that they will fail. The Examiner notes that those figures “were almost reversed” from last year.

— FreedomWorks to endorse in North Carolina Senate race: The Hill reports that FreedomWorks PAC will endorse Dr. Greg Brannon, a Republican looking to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), today at a rally in Raleigh. Brannon has already been endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). A Rasmussen poll released last week found Brannon holding a 4-point lead over the vulnerable Democrat. NC House Speaker Thom Tillis leads Hagan by 7 points.

— C’mon and take a free ride: Members of Congress and staffers took some 1,900 privately-sponsored trips in 2013, according to a report from Legistorm. In all, the trips cost $6 million, the most since 2007.

Oklahoma lawmaker wants to separate marriage and state

With the state’s same-sex marriage ban recently struck down by a federal court and currently under review by an appellate court, an Oklahoma lawmaker has floated the idea of getting the government of the marriage business, entirely:

The idea stems from a bill filed by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Edmond). Turner says it’s an attempt to keep same-sex marriage illegal in Oklahoma while satisfying the U.S. Constitution. Critics are calling it a political stunt while supporters say it’s what Oklahomans want.

“[My constituents are] willing to have that discussion about whether marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all,” Turner said.

Other conservative lawmakers feel the same way, according to Turner.
Turner admits his idea makes a lot of people uncomfortable. He also says, “I accept that.” Turner plans to wait until the federal appeals process plays out. The fight over Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage will now head to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

The Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), for example, isn’t happy about the proposal. And it’s already being spun as an attempt to “ban” or “prevent” marriage. That’s inaccurate.

But, despite the spin, those who are religious can still have a ceremony at a church and those who wish to enter into a binding union will be able to do so. Presumably, the state will simply end tax-deductions and other statutes related to marriage.

Even though the motives are less than ideal with the idea that this state legislator is kicking around, the government simply shouldn’t be involved in marriage. It shouldn’t have been to begin with. Marriage is for lovers, not for government.

Biggest Stories of 2013: Supreme Court Partially Strikes Down DOMA

Throughout New Year’s Eve, we’ll be going through the 10 biggest political stories of 2013 as selected by United Liberty’s contributors. Don’t forget to chime in on the biggest stories of the year on our Facebook page.

Supreme Court

When 2013 started, only nine states in the United States recognized same-sex marriage, including three that did so just two months earlier on Election Day. As the year went on, three additional states joined the list via legislation.

The biggest moment in the history of the marriage equality movement to date, though, occurred in June when the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in United States v. Windsor which declared Section 3 the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional.

DOMA, of course, had been passed by Congress with huge majorities in 1996 in response to the very first steps toward attempting to give gays and lesbians the right to marry and was the beginning of a push back against same-sex marriage, and Section 3 was the portion of the law that defined marriage for purposes of federal law as being only between a man and a woman. This was the start of a “traditional marriage” movement that was hugely successful for the next twelve years as laws or constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage passed in the vast majority of the states, typically by large majorities.

Piers Morgan wants to limit the First Amendment

Let’s just get this out of the way. The First Amendment protects popular and unpopular speech from government regulation. This recognized and protected fundamental civil liberty should be celebrated.

But the right to free speech is also a two-way street. In short, you have the right to express an opinion, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re free from criticism or derision from those who disagree.

A&E is a private company and can do what it wants, provided it’s within the terms of contractual agreements, just as MSNBC seemingly forced out Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir. With that said, if you don’t agree with its decision to suspend Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty, you don’t have to watch the network or buy from its advertisers. Indeed, the free market is a great thing.

Enter Piers Morgan.

The CNN talk host weighed in on the controversy on Thursday with this tweet:

Now it’s a free speech issue.

Understanding the difference between the Free Market and Free Speech

Phil Robertson

By now, even people who don’t watch Duck Dynasty know who Phil Robertson is. The patriarch of the Duck Commander family recently got himself into a bit of controversy regarding an interview he gave to GQ regarding homosexuality. Now, supporters of Robertson are yelling about free speech after A&E decided to put Robertson on hiatus.

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” told Drew Magary, the reporter conducting the interview. “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Now, I’m not going to get into the meat of what Robertson said. That’s a matter of theology, and I’m hardly worthy of debating that against a man who has most definitely read the Bible more than me.

However, what I do want to do is address the people screaming about Robertson’s First Amendment rights.

You see, Robertson’s rights haven’t been violated. A&E, a television network, opted to not air more of Robertson as a means of protecting their profit margin, but Robertson still has the right to say whatever he wants.

What this is really about is a case of the free market, something most conservatives – the group most supportive of Robertson and his comments – say they agree with. A television network is either a corporation or part of a corporation. That means they need to make moves to protect their profit margin. If they’re worried that a personalities comments will alienate a significant portion of their viewership, then they’re going to make moves to prevent that.

Media takes Rand Paul’s DOMA comments completely out of context

Shortly after the Supreme Court’s rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) joined conservative talk show host Glenn Beck to discuss the cases and the role of states in defining marriage.

Beck expressed a measure of concern that altering the definition of marriage would lead to polygamy.

“I really don’t care — you get married, you don’t get married; you have homosexual marriage or whatever,” said Beck. “First problem with this is if you change one variable — man and a woman to man and man, and woman and woman — you cannot then tell me that you cannot logically tell me you can’t change the other variable: one man, three women. Uh, one woman, four men.”

“Who are you to say, if I’m a devout Muslim and I come over here and I have three wives, who are you to say if I’m an American citizen, that I can’t have multiple marriages,” he added.

Paul expressed agreement with Beck’s comments, adding that there is a role for state governments to have basic some laws on marriage, without which, he said sarcastically, could lead to unusual arrangements.

Supreme Court avoids Proposition 8 ruling

In a ruling issued this morning, the Supreme Court essentially decided to punt on Proposition 8, finding that supporters who had defended the measure had no standing to legal challenge to lower court rulings.

The decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry came with an unususal paring of conservative and liberal members, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for a majority that included Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan.

In 2008, voters in California passed a constitutional amendment, known as Proposition 8,that defined marriage as one man and one woman. The measure was in response to a state Supreme Court ruling earlier that year that legalized same-sex marriage. In January 2010, a challenge to the constitutionality of Proposition 8 went to trial in federal court. In August 2010, Judge Vaughn Walker struck down the measure, which legalized same-sex marriage in California. The State of California did not defend the Proposition 8 in any of the challenges.

In today’s decision, the Supreme Court did not weigh the merits of same-sex marriage. They did determine, however, those who brought the case forward had no legal standing to do so.

Supreme Court strikes down federal provisions of DOMA

In the first of two cases dealing with the issue of gay marriage, the Supreme Court ruled this morning struck down the federal provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) while maintaining the prerogative of states to define marriage on their own terms.

The Court’s opinion in the case, United States v. Windsor, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, ruled that Section 3 of DOMA, which codified the definition of marriage as one man and one woman into federal law in 1996, violates the Equal Protection Clause of Fourteenth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways. By its great reach, DOMA touches many aspects of married and family life, from the mundane to the profound,” wrote Kennedy for the majority. “It prevents same-sex married couples from obtaining government healthcare benefits they would otherwise receive. It deprives them of the Bankruptcy Code.”

“The power the Constitution grants it also restrains. And though Congress has great authority to design laws to fit its own conception of sound national policy, it cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment,” added Kennedy. “What has been explained to this point should more than suffice to establish that the principal purpose and the necessary effect of this law are to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage. This requires the Court to hold, as it now does, that DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.”

Why conservatives should support gay marriage

Okay, so I lied.  I have no particular reason why a conservative, especially an evangelical conservative, should support gay marriage.  Well, I do, but those arguments have all been rejected time and time again, no matter how much validity I believe them to have.

However, there is a reason why conservatives should support the government at least getting the hell out of way.

My Facebook feed is routinely peppered with people who claim that the idea of seperation of church and state (which they note has no specific mention in the Constitution) had absolutely nothing to do with keeping the church out of government, but existed solely to keep government from having any sway over what churches do or say.  Now, I personally adhere to the belief that it’s really a two way street, but that’s neither here nor there.

So, Christian conservatives do not want Uncle Sam telling the First Baptist Church of Podunk, Mississippi what they can and can’t do, correct?  Well, guess what?  I agree with that completely.  I can’t think of a single contributor to this site that doesn’t feel the same way.  So, we’re all on the same page, right?

Now that we’re at least looking in the same basic direction, I’m forced to ask why conservatives are comfortable letting the government determine which ceremonies performed by a church are valid, and which aren’t?

You see, there are churches in this country that don’t seem to have any issue with performing marriage ceremonies for gay or lesbian couples.  However, the government of the United States refuses to accept those ceremonies as valid, even in states where the law allows them.  In is insinuating itself into the internal actions of a church by declaring its sacraments less valid in some circumstances than others.

Cato Institute New Media Lunch: “The Republican Problem”

This post is a reminder about tomorrow’s new media lunch at the Cato Institute.

This year’s election served as a shock to Republicans, and now they’re scratching their heads trying to figure out what went wrong. With more Americans expressing viewpoints consistent with personal liberty — including marijuana legalization and support for gay marriage — the conservative movement, which makes up a chunk of the Republican-base, must now adapt to the changing political atmosphere or continue to suffer at the ballot box.

So what is a path forward for the Republican Party? In short, they need to become more libertarian. Tomorrow, our friends at the Cato Institute will host a new media lunch, featuring a panel on this very subject at its Washington, DC campus.

Panelists will include:

  • Walter Olson, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute
  • Alex Nowrasteh, Immigration Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute
  • Jason Pye, Editor at United Liberty (that’s me!)
  • Rob Kampia, Executive Director at the Marijuana Policy Project

The event begins at noon and will run until 1:30pm. Zachary Graves, Director of New Media at the Cato Institue, will moderate the discussion.

You can RSVP and check out the details by clicking here.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.