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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Super Saturday

The kiss seen round the world.

Three great news stories yesterday: first, Austrian drag performer Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision song contest with her rendition of "Rise like a Phoenix." Now the bearded-lady look doesn't do much for your Head Trucker; frankly, I think it's silly, show-offish, and extremely unattractive - but Putin and his evil homo-bashing thugs in Nowheresville are all pissed off by this, so fuck him - up with Conchita!

Second, Arkansas became the first Southern state where same-sex marriages were performed, following state circuit judge Chris Piazza' ruling late Friday that the state's marriage ban is unconstitutional.  In a very learned ruling that cited other recent rulings in Virginia, Utah, and Okalahoma, as well as the Windsor and Loving rulings, and even the Dred Scott Decision, Judge Piazza wrote:
Regardless of the level of review required, Arkansas’s marriage laws discriminate against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because they do not advance any conceivable legitimate state interest necessary to support even a rational basis review. . . .

Furthermore, the fact that Amendment 83 was popular with voters does not protect it from constitutional scrutiny as to federal rights. The very purpose of a bill of rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. W.Ya. State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette,319 U.S. 624,638 (1943). The Constitution guarantees that all citizens have certain fundamental rights. These rights vest in every person over whom the Constitution has authority and, because they are so important, an individual’s fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections. Id. at 638. . . .

It has been over 40 years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished and she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the same-sex couples. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it.
The county clerk in Eureka Springs, a gay-friendly resort town up in the Ozarks, issued 15 marriage licenses yesterday.  The state attorney general plans to appeal the ruling, so it's not yet known when or whether other Arkansas counties will follow suit on Monday.  KARK in Little Rock reports:

And in neighboring Missouri, my fellow Texan Michael Sam made some fabulous history by becoming the first openly gay player in the NFL when was drafted by the Saint Louis Rams yesterday - and kissed his boyfriend, Mizzou swimmer Vito Cammisano, live on ESPN, which broadcast a number of instant-replays of the smooch.  It's quite a moving moment, if you haven't seen it yet:

Afterwards, Sam received congratulations from, among others, President Obama.  BTW, his story is even more moving when you consider that Sam is the first of his troubled family to attend college; read about his very difficult upbringing near Galveston in this NYT report.

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