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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thoughts in the Interlude

While we await this morning's Supreme Court hearing on the DOMA case, United States v. Windsor, here's some incidentally related things to refresh your mind with.

Your Head Trucker remembers seeing many signs like
this one in the legally segregated South of his childhood.
Little did he suspect that as a gay man, he would spend
most of his adult life shoved aside in just such a waiting room.

  • Everyone has heard of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board, 1954. But have you ever studied it? Do you know what pro and con arguments were used at that time about racial segregation, or what reasoning the Court used in ruling it unconstitutional? Just as we saw in yesterday's hearing on the Prop 8 case, the justices were not of one mind, and had to work their way through a swamp of legal and constitutional entanglements, and considerations of original intent of the Fourteenth Amendment about equal protection and due process, in order to reach a decision - so in that sense, Brown is highly relevant reading for us today. If you like, here's the Wikipedia article, with lots of links to primary sources, as well as the actual ruling of the court. And also revealing of the mixed mood of the times, read Governor Leroy Collins's courageous refusal to sign and remarks at the end of the Florida Legislature's Resolution of Interposition, 1957, which declared (unsuccessfully) the Supreme Court's desegration order "null, void and of no force or effect in Florida."

  • The more I think about Justice Alito's lame-brained demand for "scientific evidence" that gay marriage is not harmful to society, and Justice Scalia's assoholic demand to be told "when the Constitution changed" - the more my blood boils.  But do read this sweet, cooling essay by a proud daughter:  "What Makes a Family."  Excerpt:
Two gay, Catholic Jesuit psychologists raising a multiracial daughter in San Francisco: it sounds like Hollywood’s next sitcom, but in many ways my life is just like yours. When the Supreme Court hears oral arguments next week on marriage equality, I want the country to know the love that exists in families like mine, and how my upbringing is in many ways an American success story. . . .

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