Thursday, August 05, 2010

Wisdom and Ignorance


Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
- ARTICLE XIV of the United States Constitution

Rights are not subject to a vote. The nine don't get to vote on the rights of the one. That's why it's called a right. The conservative "rights for white Christian heterosexuals only" crowd saw their self-righteous opinions fall flat against the rule of law, reason, and solid academic research. Regarding California's mean spirited Proposition 8, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker analyzed all of the legal issues, thoroughly examined the evidence and the arguments, and wrote a very careful and well written 136 page opinion.

1. Marriage is a fundamental right.
2. Gender roles are not specified in the institution of marriage.
3. Denying individuals the right to marry without cause is a direct violation of the Constitution.

There is NO CAUSE for denying rights to same gender couples.

Congrats to those fighting the fight for real equality under the law.


Speaking of the 14th Amendment, conservatives are choking on the first sentence after being whipped into a frenzy over the notion of anchor baby birth centers where the brown people conduct "baby drops."

Quantities, people. The few with enough sense to consider numbers are citing the Pew Hispanic Center (but not providing a link) that the TOTAL number of births to the illegal immigrant population is in the range of 300,000. Right wing SB1070 supporting FAIR puts the number at 425,000. It is no higher than that, and that's ALL births to families lacking papers, the vast majority having been here for years.

So how many are pulling the pop in, squeeze a pup, and pop out?

About 10,000 / year. MSNBC suggested about 8,000. Those on the right all fuming still only come up with 20,000 or a little more.

We are a nation of 310,000,000 people, and these characters want to modify the US Constitution to stop 10,000 baby drops, one drop per year for every 3.1 million people. That's TWO (yes, 2!!) baby drops in a state the size of Arizona. OK, fine, let's say Arizona gets TEN times the national rate.

20 babies.

OK, fine, let's say it's children of ALL illegal immigrants.

600 babies. Do you really think this is about 600 births a year in a state of 6 million people?

Even if the numbers above are off by 30 or even 100 percent, it's clear that this is not about the actual impact of the phenomenon. This is about the racism that has erupted like an ugly and hideous boil now that a certain set of white people are incensed that they have an African American President.

Said more accurately, this is about hate and fear mongering for financial or political gain now that a certain set of white people are sheep ripe for fleecing. It speaks volumes about the hypocrisy of both the shepherds and the sheep who profess with such energy their commitment to the US Constitution, until, of course, they see an opportunity to score a short term gain by throwing parts of the Constitution under the bus.


Anonymous Observer said...

The judge was brilliant. His facts are indisputable. Good luck trying to argue that any of these are false:

1. Marriage is and has been a civil matter, subject to religious intervention only when requested by the intervenors.

2. California, like every other state, doesn't require that couples wanting to marry be able to procreate.

3. Marriage as an institution has changed over time; women were given equal status; interracial marriage was formally legalized; no fault divorce made it easier to dissolve marriages.

4. California has eliminated marital obligations based on gender.

5. Same-sex love and intimacy "are well-documented in human history."

6. Sexual orientation is a fundamental characteristic of a human being.

7. Prop 8 proponents' "assertion that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of the evidence."

8. There is no evidence that sexual orientation is chosen, nor than it can be changed.

9. California has no interest in reducing the number of gays and lesbians in its population.

10. "Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital union."

11. "Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals."

12. Domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage, and marriage is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the United States.

The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships.

13. Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages.

Only the old and the idiotic haven't figured this out yet.

8/05/2010 7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The judge has made it very difficult to mess with his findings. Sure, the Supreme Court can still just bully its way over the thing, but they are going to look ridiculous and go down in history like the other ludicrous decisions now reviled by history.

The anchor baby concept has a legitimate root, where Europeans or other foreigners of means travel to the US, intentionally to give birth, and then that child, now a citizen, can at 18 or 21 bring the parents over. It works but, hey, 21 years?

x4mr is right to talk numbers. Yes, there are anchor baby set ups, but they cost money (15 to 20 thousand for lodging, medical care..) and occur in insignificant numbers (less than 1000).

Real solutions to real issues involve the hard work of comprehensive reform. This noise is hype and hysteria just like death panels and birthers, garbage that only gains traction because this group is so f***ing STUPID.

8/05/2010 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Dustin said...

Observer, thanks for that synopsis of Judge Walker's opinion. When spelled out that way, it seems pretty obvious.

I saw on some of the comment boards around the tubes that there was quite a bit of moaning about judicial activism negating the will of the people. I think that this is what judicial branch is supposed to do. Imagine the uproar if the majority of the state had voted to outlaw the bible or something? I imagine it would not be considered judicial activism if the judge struck something like that down.

Is it really that hard to let things go? I mean, it's not like the two guys down the street getting married will dissolve my marriage. Besides, we're talking about the protections and rights as guaranteed by the state, not forcing churches to perform the ceremonies.

8/06/2010 5:34 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

Well, now this is getting choice. The kooks are now screaming that the judge is gay, and therefore should be impeached for not excusing himself from the case.

I don't know if he is gay, but if he is, so what? Does that change the facts of the case Observer listed above?

Are they suggesting an African American cannot preside over a civil rights case? A woman cannot reside over a case involving gender bias?

So a homosexual judge is biased on sexual preference, but a heterosexual judge ISN'T!!!!!

These lugnut IQ'd xenophobes are locked, rigid, and adamant that they ARE RIGHT, 100% RIGHT, and any sentiments differing in the slightest ARE WRONG and invalid.

Republicans should be shocked, appalled, and mortified that some of those in their party are ginning up this disgusting "anchor baby" nonsense.

8/06/2010 8:46 AM  
Blogger Casey DeLorme, APR said...

X4MR, care to extend your number crunching a little to look at the original Prop. 8 vote? Reaction sentiment here would indicate the vast majority of Calif. is breathing a sigh of relief that this one was struck down. And I live in Calif.'s self-proclaimed "conservative" city. I get the sense that the effort to pass the thing in the first place was a very loud minority doing an exceptional job of "getting out the vote". This resulted in shock that it passed in the first place, followed by a lot of hand-wringing that Prop. 8 was NOT what Calif. really felt. The collective "cheer" was palpable when the news of the judge's ruling first started hitting everyone's phones/texts/Twitter. Even the Governator coming out to indicate support of the ruling was a mild surprise, as he'd been publicly neutral on the issue.

If you listen to the pro-8 responses to the decision (soundbites on the news), you hear rallying cries of "we're gonna appeal" with a haunting background of "we know we've been beat".

Can I encourage you to amend your post here with a quick statistical look at the poll numbers to see if they indicate it was that vocal minority who pushed the thing to passage during the election?

8/07/2010 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Casey is spot on, and what happened then is a warning to the rest of the country of what can happen when voters get complacent on election day. Regarding CA's Prop 8, of course most of the state is against it. The Mormon Church and other fanatics spent a ton of money and poured massive effort into passing Prop 8, and unfortunately there are still enough stench heads out there to get something like this through if too many sane people stay home.

On same sex marriage, I am now optimistic. Internationally, the tide is also gaining momentum. Canada, Belgium, and Holland recognized it years ago as did Spain and believe it or not, South Africa. Norway came on board in 2008 as did Sweden in 2009. In 2010, Portugal, Iceland, Mexico (ceremony has to be in Mexico City but it's valid for whole country), and Argentina fully recognized same sex marriage. All of Europe will be on board within a few years.

That's full blown same sex marriage. Tons of countries have same sex union arrangements that provide for most of the legal bonds and rights associated with marriage.

Judge Walker knew this was a SUPER important opportunity, and he put a lot of effort into creating what will be studied for years in law schools. His 136 manifesto is brilliant.

It will be interesting to watch the Supreme Court find cause to deny equal rights to same sex couples without defying the 14th Amendment.

8/07/2010 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intelligent blog.

The 14th Amendment stuff is just Republican posturing for sake of boosting voter turn out this fall, like its base isn't already motivated by the hatred they have inflamed towards a black president.

To truly change the Constitution requires not only 2/3 support in Congress but also 3/4 state support for ratification.

Go for it, Republicans. Try getting 3/4 of the states given this country's demographics.

We couldn't ratify equal rights for women.

Republicans are just yanking the strings of the puppets in their flock.

8/08/2010 1:27 PM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

Not to rain on any parades, as I am thrilled with the judge's ruling. However, I do believe any thought prop 8 was passed in the first place because of voter apathy is revisionist thinking. Turnout for the vote was 79.4%, which is a pretty massive number.

It's true outside organization (primarily the Mormon church) poured tons of money into the state in support of the proposition, but the fact remains it passed by a 4.6% margin (nearly 600K votes). However you slice it, I would argue the proposition represented the views of a majority of Californians at the time it was passed.

It's possible all the hooplah since then has caused some large number of them to change their views ... it's also possible there is a variation of the Bradly effect in play.

8/08/2010 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

Rights are not subject to a vote. The nine don't get to vote on the rights of the one.

X4mr is exactly right, and Sirocco's remarks point in the same direction. Sexual preference is the last front (in terms of a group) on the war against intolerance because of the numbers. It's more like the 97% voting on the rights of the 3%.

The fact that same sex orientation is such a minority is why the propositions against them are not so difficult to pass. I think Casey is right that those who "really care" are a relatively small minority, but there are large numbers of straight people who while not hostile, remain "unsympathetic" and in the privacy of the ballet box, go ahead and vote conservative.

Biology rather powerfully makes the gender of one's preference attractive and the idea of sex with the non-preferred gender repulsive. Unfortunately, since heterosexuals are a 97% majority, it is easy for the weak minded to transfer this repulsion to a moral judgment.

I agree with the comments here that we are moving in the right direction and that it is a question of when, not if, we will reach a level of maturity to acknowledge different sexual orientations and grant equal rights for all.

8/08/2010 3:29 PM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

Great stuff from David Boies, one of the lawyers who argued the case to overturn Prop 8:

"It's easy to sit around and debate and throw around opinions [that] appeal to people's fear and prejudice, cite studies that either don't exist or don't say what you say they do. In a court of law you've got to come in and you've got to support those opinions. You've got to stand up under oath and cross-examination. And what we saw at trial is that it's very easy for the people who want to deprive gay and lesbian citizens the right to vote, to make all sorts of statements and campaign literature or in debates where they can't be cross-examined.


But a witness stand is a lonely place to lie. And when you come into court, you can't do that. And that's what we proved. We put fear and prejudice on trial, and fear and prejudice lost."

8/09/2010 8:47 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Thanks, Sirocco.

I can understand the what is usually considered Republican sentiments to keep the government from impeding sound and reasonable business opportunities. I can get Joe Higgins wanting to see small businesses succeed in Tucson.

What I find disappointing is that the GOP doesn't have the chutzpah to tell stupid to take a walk. By stupid I mean racism, homophobia, denial of global warming, desire to rule the world (invade! rule! invade!), and faith in the mega-corporations that threw this country over a cliff.

I wish all of the nonsense could face the rigor of the witness stand and the power of the sworn oath.

Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, Michele Bachman, etc. would find themselves tongueless and paralyzed.

8/09/2010 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pew just released a comprehensive study and the number pretty close to what you said here.

340,000 births to parents without papers in 2008. You said it was between 300,000 and 425,000.

Thought I'd just put that in to give you kudos.

x4mr is VERY good with his numbers. I trust the numbers at this blog more than I do the regular media.

8/11/2010 3:02 PM  

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