Mexican soccer fans who yell “puto,” the Spanish for “faggot,” at the other team’s goalie every time there’s an important kick—need not worry. Soccer authorities have decided the word is not offensive in this “context.” … What exactly is it about a soccer game that turns the “f” word into a harmless catcall? You tell me.
TENTH CIRCUIT VICTORY; INDIANA MARRIAGE BAN STRUCK
As my deadline expires, indeed as I was about to send this column off to the editors, came news that a federal judge in Indiana has knocked off the Hoosier marriage amendment. The decision come a couple of weeks or so after a similar ruling in Wisconsin. Both Wisconsin and Indiana fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Then, ten seconds after Indiana, the blockbuster. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit just ruled in our favor in the Utah case, although they also issued a stay on the decision. Presumably the same panel will shortly issue another victory in the Oklahoma case that was argued at roughly the same time.
FANTASTIC GAY RULING WILL STAND
Here’s some excellent news out of San Francisco, where the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has refused to revisit last January’s landmark decision declaring gay bias presumptively unconstitutional.
The 2-1 panel opinion was not appealed at the time, leading to much rejoicing in LGBT legal circles. But then, alarmingly, one or more of the 29 judges asked the full court to consider a review. Time passed with no information, until happily, the court announced on June 24 that no further action will be taken. Three conservatives signed a dissent, which I haven’t read. I’m not in the mood for depressing antigay essays right now. It’s summer for God’s sake!
With no more surprises in store, it is now binding law throughout the Ninth Circuit’s nine-state jurisdiction that sexual orientation discrimination will be subjected to high legal scrutiny, much like cases of race or gender bias. The new standard means that it will virtually impossible to defend antigay laws and policies in Montana, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii or on the West Coast. Down will go the marriage laws in Nevada and Idaho which are presently on review before the Ninth Circuit. Oral arguments in those cases are set for September.
BIG DAY FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
But before we get to those oral arguments in the Ninth, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit will hear five marriage cases in consecutive arguments on August 6. The cases include two related marriage recognition rulings from Ohio, marriage recognition victories in Kentucky and Tennessee, and a marriage equality win from Michigan. The arguments will be heard by the same three-judge panel, to be announced July 23. Ten of the 15 active judges on circuit are GOP appointments, but we’ve convinced our Republican brothers and sisters on the bench of our merits before, so there’s no need to panic.
Plus, win or lose in the Sixth, we expect the marriage cases to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court, probably in the upcoming session. Remember as well that we’re waiting for appellate rulings out of the Tenth (which just arrived on the morning of June 25) as well as the Fourth (arguments on Virginia heard in May).
I just got an email from Freedom to Marry, celebrating the one year anniversary of the High Court’s ruling in Windsor, by the way. According to the group, there have been over 20 state and federal marriage rulings in our favor since Windsor was decided. I knew there were a bunch, but I had lost count. Too bad most of them are on hold.
HARM YES, FOUL NO: ANTI-GAY SLURS OK FOR SOCCER FANS
I’m watching Wimbledon this morning. I’ve never liked Andy Murray because he seems sullen and strange. But I’m also annoyed by his interview style. He doesn’t make eye contact. Never smiles. He mumbles platitudes. And he compulsively runs his hand down the side of his face. Maybe he’s shy or nervous. I actually might like him more if that were true.
Speaking of sports, you’ve probably read about the Mexican soccer fans who yell “puto,” the Spanish for “faggot,” at the other team’s goalie every time there’s an important kick. It’s not just a few fans, it’s all the fans. So I guess there was an investigation by the soccer authorities, who decided the word was not offensive in this “context.” And there’s no argument about the definition of the term, so what exactly is it about a soccer game that turns the f word into a harmless catcall? You tell me.
I also read somewhere that Mexican soccer leaders were trying to convince the fans not to use the word when the team was playing on foreign soil for fear of generating a penalty or sanction of some sort. So these guys know full well that the practice is Not Okay. But apparently they had nothing to worry about after all.
THANK YOU BARRY, BUT I STILL CAN’T STAND ENDA
In other news this month, the President is planning to sign an executive order requiring all federal contractors to protect workers against gay and trans discrimination. That’s very very nice, although most federal contractors already have such protections in place. It’s still nice. Thanks Barry.
And the Presbyterians have voted to approve same-sex marriage by a wide margin. Makes you wonder how long our adversaries will be able to insist on all kinds of religious loopholes in antidiscrimination policies, doesn’t it? A couple of weeks ago, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Transgender Law Center both came out against the Employment Nondiscrimination Act due to the Swiss cheese accommodations it includes for religious objections. Needless to say (for long time readers) I was delighted since I can’t stand ENDA, with its second rate protections for gay and trans people. Instead of fighting for a stand-alone bill, we should amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender along with race, sex, religion and national origin.
With all this in mind, keep an eye out for the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, an opinion that may well have been released by the time you read this issue of THE FIGHT. The case basically asks whether private companies can bypass federal statutes based on the religious views of their owners. Although it involves contraception insurance, the premise applies equally to an employer who claims his or her faith condemns homosexuality. If you haven’t followed it, look it up now to see what the Court said.
And now, dear readers, I am off on a road trip to Kansas with my wife and my two pugs in a large black convertible Chrysler that we just bought last month. (We got a great deal.) As I write, the little dogs are sleeping peacefully in their den beds, unaware that they are about to be swept away through Texas and Oklahoma, their ears flapping back in the wind, Big Macs for lunch and vast wheat fields to explore. Knowing them as well as I do, I suspect they would beg to stay in Austin if they knew what was coming.