50 Years After Selma, Biden Ties Gay Rights to Civil Rights

Gays and lesbians are fighting for the same rights to equality that African Americans fought for decades ago, Vice President Joe Biden said Friday, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the historic march in Selma, Alabama.

An early supporter of gay marriage, Biden sought to draw parallels between the gay rights and civil rights movements as he addressed a summit of the Human Rights Campaign, a major gay rights group. Just as he could never have imagined serving alongside a black president, Biden said, he never anticipated seeing a time when gays would serve in the military openly, the Supreme Court would strike down anti-sodomy laws and a majority of U.S. states would legalize gay marriage.

"Selma and Stonewall were basically the same movement," Biden said, invoking the 1969 Stonewall Inn riots in New York that marked the symbolic start of the modern gay rights movement.

Biden’s remarks come the day before President Barack Obama and surviving marchers were to gather at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to commemorate half a decade since white police officers beat civil rights protesters who were fighting segregation in the South. Reflecting on the number of southern states where gay marriage is still banned, Biden said the next step for activists is to help bring gay rights to the South.

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HRC and Marriage Plaintiff Jim Obergefell Deliver People’s Brief to Supreme Court
Today, HRC delivered its historic “People’s Brief” — with 207,551 signatories calling for full nationwide marriage equality — to the US Supreme Court. The People’s Brief has more signatories than any amicus brief ever submitted to the Supreme Court, and it has required four days of round-the-clock printing in order to complete the 50 copies required by the Court. With all of the signatures, each brief is approximately 3,500 pages long, for a total of approximately 175,000 pages. Read more: http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/hrc-and-marriage-plaintiff-jim-obergefell-deliver-peoples-brief-to-supreme

When Peggy Young, a delivery driver for UPS, found out she was pregnant, her midwife recommended she avoid lifting more than 20 pounds. But UPS refused her request — even though the company provided accommodations to people with disabilities or on-the-job injuries. They even accommodated people who lose their license because of drunk driving. But Peggy got put on unpaid leave and lost her paycheck and health coverage when she needed it most. She sued and her case is going all the way to the Supreme Court. We’re standing with Peggy – will you join us? http://bit.ly/14H8hPX

Alabama just gave SCOTUS the finger by halting marriage equality there despite federal orders. Couples, let’s respond! Whether gay or straight, post a photo on FB or Twitter giving AL the “wedding finger” and tagging  #LuvUAlabama. Tag your state (e.g. #NY) to join our nationwide map!

Big business has come out in favor of same-sex marriage.

Exactly 379 corporations and employer organizations urged the Supreme Court to strike down state bans on gay marriage, according to a friend-of-the-court brief obtained by The Huffington Post. The document was expected to be filed late Thursday morning.

“Employers are better served by a uniform marriage rule that gives equal dignity to employee relationships,” reads the brief, filed by global law firm Morgan Lewis. “Allowing same-sex couples to marry improves employee morale and productivity, reduces uncertainty, and removes the wasteful administrative burdens imposed by the current disparity of state law treatment.”

The list, provided in full below, includes corporate behemoths such as Coca-Cola Company, Goldman Sachs, Google and Morgan Stanley. It also includes brands like Ben & Jerry’s, a division of Unilever, and sports teams such as the New England Patriots, the San Francisco Giants and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Here is the full list of companies that have signed the amicus brief.

"During the interview, the justice also affirmed a position she took on abortion during her Clinton-era confirmation hearing, suggesting the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was a better grounds for justifying abortion on demand than the "right to privacy."

“The basic thing is that the government has no business making that choice for a woman,” Ginsburg told the Times.

In 1993, she told the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearing:

“(Y)ou asked me about my thinking on equal protection versus individual autonomy. My answer is that both are implicated. The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices.”

The Court legalized abortion under Roe v. Wade based on a “right to privacy” that it found in the 14th Amendment—-and not the Equal Protection Clause.  In doing so, it said the state had an interest in protecting the unborn child that increased as pregnancy progresses. Ginsburg’s position that women have an equal right to abortion as a result of their gender would appear to allow for no state restrictions on abortion.”


More Notorious R.B.G. awesomeness

My sense is that the Supreme Court is about to make a shift, one that I welcome, which is to recognize that—having hit a critical mass of states that have recognized same-sex marriage—it doesn’t make sense for us to now have this patchwork system, and that it’s time to recognize that under the Equal Protection Clause of the United States, same-sex couples should have the same rights as anybody else.
For more than a decade, Ginsburg has worked with a trainer in the Supreme Court’s small ground-level exercise room. Recently, Breyer used a machine that Ginsburg had been using; she set it at six, while he could handle only five. Kagan uses the same trainer as Ginsburg, and when the younger Justice struggles with fifteen-pound curls the trainer says, ‘C’mon! Justice Ginsburg can do that easily!’
—  From the archives: Jeffrey Toobin profiles Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Supreme Court will rule this June on whether same-sex couples have the right to marry nationwide.

The justices will look at a ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November that kept bans on same-sex marriages in Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and Ohio, four of the 14 states in the country that still do not allow same-sex couples to marry. Other federal appeals courts had turned away anti-gay marriage laws, in effect legalizing same-sex unions in more than 30 states.

The Supreme Court ducked the question of nationwide gay marriage in October. At that time, all the federal appeals courts that had ruled on the issue had struck down state bans. But after the 6th Circuit’s ruling in November, the divide in opinion at the appellate court level made it more likely that the Supreme Court would take on the issue once and for all.

The Supreme Court would have to choose whether the Constitution provides the right for same-sex couples to marry everywhere, or if states can choose to bar the unions.


This video of Ruth Bader Ginsburg talking about feminism is even better than you hoped

  • RBG on the sheer staggering dumbness of overt sexism: “In the U.S. Attorney’s office, women were strictly forbidden in the criminal division. There was one woman in the civil division. And the excuse for not hiring women in the criminal division was ‘they have to deal with all these tough types and women aren’t up to that.’ And I was amazed! I said, ‘have you seen the lawyers from Legal Aid who are representing these tough types? They are women!’”
  • RBG on how we’ll know when there are enough women on the Supreme Court: "When there are nine!"


Watch the video here - it’s only 1:50 mins!

BREAKING: The Supreme Court will finally decide the fate of same-sex marriage 

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear four cases challenging state bans on same-sex marriage, in a decision that will likely decide the future of marriage equality in America.

While the court had previously expressed a desire to leave the issue to the states, they were compelled to take these cases when the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld marriage bans in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee. That ruling clashed with other federal appeals courts, setting up the coming constitutional showdown.