Friday, February 06, 2009

Utah animus

"Its sheer breadth is so discontinuous with the reasons offered for it that the amendment seems inexplicable by anything but animus toward the class that it affects; it lacks a rational relationship to legitimate state interests." -- Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996)

While Justice Kennedy was talking about an amendment before Colorado voters, he might have well been talking about the rationale behind the shooting down of each piece of the Common Ground initiative that has come to a vote this year at the legislature.
Common Ground foes argue that extending rights to same-sex couples or recognizing sexual orientation as a protected class undermines Utah's constitutionally enshrined edict that marriage is only between a man and a woman. They warn that even seemingly benign gay-rights measures put Utah on a "slippery slope" toward a court ruling that would legalize same-sex marriage, like in California last year.

"I don't use this word lightly: That's false," says Clifford Rosky, a family law professor at the University of Utah's law school. "Utah courts can't ignore the Utah Constitution."
Even though they know there is no way that these bills effect the same-sex marriage ban in the constituation, they want to claim otherwise because these "traditional marriage supporters" really just think gays and lesbians are icky to some degree. Enough that they believe homosexuals shouldn't be able to visit their partner in the hospital when the partner is sick, or sue when their partern gets hit by drunk driver, or collect on insurance from their partner.

And the Sumpremes have said not liking a group of people is not good enough reason for denying them rights that other people have.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

like 1993 all over again

Obama hasn't even been in the Oval Office a month, and I am beginning to see Bill Clinton's disasterous beginning repeated.

I read George Sephanopolis' book "All too human" this summer and was struck by how many early mistakes the Clinton Administration made and how that limited their ability to get their agenda through. Some was self-made stupidity like making an off-hand comment about gays in the military and letting it spin out of control during the transition, then handing the keys over to Colin Powell on the issue. But many were Republican made, like "nanny-gate" that did in many designates for cabinet posts.

16 years later, it was bad tax filings. Not that Republicans made these nominees file erroneous taxes or hire illegal aliens for nannies, but that in the overall picture, these issues are not that important to these candidates qualifications. And the true goal in both situations was not to get a better qualified nominee, but to make the new Democratic President look bad and weaken him.

Republicans remember 1994 and 2002, the lesson they learned was not to compromise with Democrats and the American voter will reward them.

Obama needs to learn the lesson of 2005, if you stand up and ask what the American people think, you can stop silliness like social security privitization. He has high approval ratings and a large majorit of people want this stimulous bill done NOW not in general, so press your case Mr. President.