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February 04, 2005

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*applause*

There are anti-gay monsters? You would think that monsters would be sensitive to the problems of being different.

*cheers*

Good. Better than good. Is it entirely at the city's discretion whether there's an appeal? If so there's going to be no small amount of political pressure on Bloomberg not to. I'm afraid there might be a catch though.

There are anti-gay monsters?

Yes, there are. Truly horrible creatures. They live in caves of misperceptions and refuse to come out into the sunlight of compassion. They feast upon the hopes and dreams of otherwise ordinary citizens and terrorize the countryside with their ghastly howling and cries of doom. If cornered, they strike out viciously, deflecting all logic like psychotic banshees. Avoid if at all possible.

If so there's going to be no small amount of political pressure on Bloomberg not to. I'm afraid there might be a catch though.

I've already emailed him.

I'm afraid there might be a catch though.

It will accelerate the FMA movement?

Edward: Avoid if at all possible.

Do not move to Virginia.

Cookie Monster hates Ernie, reportedly, but I think it's just a competition for resources thing and not to do with sexuality.

Hooray, hooray :)

Hooray, hooray :)

Ecek sen evlendirme beni, askim?

I heard that Ernie and TinkyWiny were an item.

"Ecek sen evlendirme beni, askim?"

Well, it's not disemvowelled...

It's Turkish, I believe.

probably very bad Turkish, but I believe Murat will understand.

happy weekend all!

Well, its a start.

awww. it is indeed bad turkish (try benimle evlenecek misin?), but very sweet regardless. cok tebrikler to you both, and hooray for NY.

or evlenir misin, i think...

cok tebrikler

teşekkür ederim, elizabeth...and thanks for the lesson!

So exciting.

From what I heard on WNYC, the decision seems to have been made on the basis of gender discrimination, not positive rights for gays. I remember reading suggestions from bloggers that the gender-discrimination route would be an easier constitutional argument. Anyone know more about this?

Eddie--although this is a court decision, electoral politics is going to become very relevant very fast:

Under state law, the city clerk’s office in New York has jurisdiction over the issuance of marriage licenses here. Licensing elsewhere in the state is overseen by Albany. Accordingly, the defendant in this case was Victor Robles, the city clerk, not the state of New York. State Attorney Gen. Eliot Spitzer was invited to file a motion in the case, but declined.

Given the jurisdiction that Ling-Cohan has, her order for now applies only within New York City. If her decision is challenged, but eventually upheld by the State Court of Appeals, it would apply to marriage license bureaus across the state.

Should the city decide not to appeal the ruling, same-sex marriage licenses could be issued within 30 days. Should the city not appeal, the state could mount an appeal on its own.

(source)

So, it doesn't sound like the anti-gay marriage groups can appeal. But the city can (a decision I assume is in Bloomberg's hands), and the state can (a decision that is in Spitzer's hands.)

If I remember correctly, Bloomberg has said he is in favor of civil unions and marriage is up to the legislature. But he was being asked about it back when Newsom and Vest were giving out licenses on their own. This changes things--he doesn't have to do mayoral civil disobedience, he just has do let it happen. And he's up for re-election this year.

Spitzer has said he is in favor of gay marriage, but he may feel obligated as Attorney General to defend the constitutionality of the state's law. That is probably also the safer move for the gubernatorial race--I think he has the Democratic nomination locked up in any case, and he could try to split the difference by promising to push for civil unions or gay marriage legislation if elected governor. But I don't know. He is very pro-gay rights, more so than anyone I know of in the Democratic party at his level (as everyone's just assuming he's going to be elected governor), and since this ruling would only apply in New York City, there's some chance....

the more pressing issue is Bloomberg. The NYC gay community & supporters need to get organized, fast. I trust this is underway.

oops, further complications, from the same (now updated) link:

"Should Bloomberg decide he is more interested in appealing to Democrats and progressives, he might choose not to appeal. That, in turn, would put Attorney Gen. Spitzer into a bind. He has consistently voiced his support for gay marriage, but has argued the state’s case against constitutional challenges filed upstate. Going to court to overturn a pro-marriage ruling likely to generate widespread celebration within the state’s gay community, however, might carry a political cost for the Democrat who has already announced his plans to seek the governorship in 2006.

If Spitzer, too, decided against an appeal, Republican Gov. George Pataki would likely have the statutory authority to appoint special counsel to stand in the attorney general’s place in arguing that the state’s DRL is constitutional."

For the moment anyway I find overheardinnewyork hilarious.

I almost feel sorry for Bloomberg. I hate to think what kind of pressure the GOP might put him under. Still, he's a bizillinaire; he'll land on his feet.

As far as the mayoral race goes: not appealing won't hurt him locally, I don't think, while appealing could hurt him. His serious mayoral challenges will be coming from the left. I know there are a few people talking about challenging the primary, but he'll win it.

Katherine, the quote in your post puts the three actors in some kind of strange competition. They're all seen as ambitious, but they're not all on the same schedule. Spitzer has announced a gubernatorial campaign for the next election; Pataki has announced that he won't seek another term; Bloomberg's ambitions are local, for now. Spitzer and Bloomberg have built their careers on their reputations of doing as they see fit. Pataki's career, as I gauge it, is probably over. New York City people hate him, most New York state residents don't care about him, and as a Rockefeller Republican, he's out of step with mainstream GOP values. I HOPE he won't launch a land-stand effort to endear himself to the GOP by coming down on this decision.

I'm sure some version of this joke has been said ad nauseum on this site, and it most likely won't be appreciated, but here goes anyway, since it popped in my head.

So Edward, isn't it time for you to settle down with your boyfriend and get married? You've been living in sin too long!


(Out here is SF, I actually had a gay friend, when the weddings were happening, start complaining that his Jewish mother started pestering him with the same questions. She was so fixated on seeing her son AT a wedding, GETTING married, she really didn't care about the gender of the "marriagee" as it were)

Pataki officially announced he's not running? Wow, how did I miss that one?

Good. I seriously, seriously do not like Pataki. Give me Schwarzanegger--give me Romney, even--before Pataki.

I don't think Bloomberg has a real problem with gay marriage personally, and I think it' a net political gain for him to be supportive--he's not going to be elected as a Republican anywhere else in the country no matter what he does. But maybe he's afraid of being knocked off in the primary.

Updated Times story here. No word from Bloomberg yet. Two democratic mayoral candidates are urging him not to appeal. Two primary challengers are urging him to appeal. The Republican party is very unlikely to win the mayoral race if they knock off Bloomberg in the primary, but I don't know if that will dissuade voters. Bloomberg could also run as an independent, I guess. I don't know what his chances would be then.

Spitzer seems inclined not to appeal:
"State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office said through a spokeswoman that it would not intercede, asserting that the ruling pertained solely to New York City."

It's going to go the state Court of Appeals eventually, one way or the other. But the political dynamics of this change when people actually start getting married. If they start getting married in 30 days, that might not affect the court's decision, but it's not impossible that it could, and it will certainly affect the way politicians respond.

Bloomberg's appealing.

Damn it.

Lame, lame excuses too:

The mayor said that while he believes such marriages should be permitted, "If we did not appeal this I think we would have chaos in this city. ... There would be tens of thousands of people coming here."

Oh my God! Ten of thousands of people! In New York City! It'd be chaos! That's like...well, every Yankee game.

This from the man who made sure to land the G.O.P. convention, making the city an even bigger terrorist target than it already is, drawing thousands of delegates and journalists and God knows how many angry protesters, and shutting down a huge section of Manhattan.

Of course, half the city did leave that weekend, so I guess it was okay--just as long as New York City isn't dangerously full of people.

(And yes, the people getting their marriage licenses would have blended in a little bit better than Republican convention delegates (or for that matter than Democratic convention delegates--fewer wacky hats.))

He said he wanted the issue to be settled in the state's highest court or in the Legislature because "the public deserves the finality."

Referring to a short-lived wedding spree in San Francisco after the mayor there granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Bloomberg said, "What you do not want to have is a repetition of California, when many people for a month were misled into thinking they could get the union they so much wanted. ... Their great joy was snatched away."

The overwhelming majority of those couples in San Francisco knew exactly what they were getting and what the risks were. The couples in New York would too. And when the marriage licenses are actually issued, the political situation shifts to the advantage of the couples granted them. (Not nationwide, but within a state--yes. We've seen it in Vermont with civil unions and we've seen it in Massachusetts.) If Bloomberg wants to protect the feelings of the city's gay community, maybe he should walk to Chelsea or Christopher street, or ride the subway to Park Slope, and ask them what they want.

But lame as it is, I guess that sounds better than "Sorry, but my Republican primary challengers would flip out over this, so once again I will put my political party above my constituents."

Katherine, I've read in another blog that Bloomberg's appeal might be a good tactic for gay marriage, as the Appeals Court would almost certainly uphold the NY Supreme Court's decision, thus legalizing gay marriage in the whole state rather than only in NYC.

Poor Bloomberg...he had to attend a Human Rights Campaign dinner that same night...actually that was rather brave of him.

I hope those other folks are right CaseyL. The factor most likely to cause undue anxiety at this point is how long it takes the state's Court of Appeals to resolve the issue.

The scariest part of that, though, is that Pataki has been packing New York's Court of Appeals with more and more conservative judges...four of them are now his.

The real loser in all this, even before the case goes to the higher court, is Bloomberg, who's up for re-election. It's easy for his opponents (both Dems and Republicans in what promises to be a nasty primary) to spin this against him.

I like the result, of course -- but the method is the wrong one. It'll also be ultimately counterproductive, if the Appellate Court upholds the decision.

Better not to appeal, I think.

Still: cheers.

Better not to appeal, I think.

And just let NYC have gay marriages? That's not a particularly comforting idea for me...what if I buy a place upstate to summer in...will I be legally married in the city but not in the country? Weird problems there.

Yay. I hope it survives appeal, And Edward: do we get to have an ObWi shower? ;)

First, I second the idea of an ObWi shower.

Second:

And just let NYC have gay marriages? That's not a particularly comforting idea for me...what if I buy a place upstate to summer in...will I be legally married in the city but not in the country? Weird problems there.

Well, no. A trial court opinion is not binding on any other trial court, so, if there's no appeal, this judge's decision is merely this judge's opinion. (Under principles of comity, it's "persuasive," not binding, authority on other NY trial judges -- i.e., they'll look at it but they don't have to.)

I'm more concerned that a NY-wide gay marriage opinion will directly result in an acceleration of the anti-gay marriage amendment. It may also allow the amendment's passage, as Democrats with national aspirations (see, e.g., Hilary Clinton) and moderate Republicans are forced to either reduce their opposition or come into line.

I firmly believe that history is on "our" side (meaning the pro-gay marriage side). We will eventually win -- because it's the right thing to do. But, at the moment, the anti-gay marriage forces have the upper hand. Although I suspect it won't last for long, the anti-gay marriage folks can do tremendous damage in the short term -- damage that will been extremely difficult to undo.

I want a lasting victory, not a passing or Pyrrhic victory. Going slow, at least for the moment, is the way to achieve it.

"they'll look at it but they don't have to."

Boy, I'm doing a good job at omitting important words from sentences this morning. I mean:

"they'll look at it but they don't have to follow it."

Going slow?

The pro-gay-marriage side isn't moving at all except to complain each time Bush sells us out.

I guess I can see that letting Massachusetts demonstrate that straight marriages haven't been negatively impacted there by gay marriages is moving forward, but other than that, any slower and we'd be moving backward, no?

And Edward: do we get to have an ObWi shower? ;)

A virtual shower for a gay marriage...how uber-chic! ;-)

I guess I can see that letting Massachusetts demonstrate that straight marriages haven't been negatively impacted there by gay marriages is moving forward, but other than that, any slower and we'd be moving backward, no?

Unfortunately, that's true. But there's great merit in not moving backward -- and I fear that an NY-wide decision, if it goes our way, will move us ultimately backward.

I can understand why that's not a satisfactory answer. It wasn't a satisfactory answer in 1901 to say: at the moment, poor segregated black folks, we should move slowly and try to lay the groundwork for a lasting victory. But it was the answer for the moment. (There are huge differences between the CRM and the current gay marraige debate, but the strategic concerns are similar.)

von

Edward -- who said anything about virtual?

Edward -- who said anything about virtual?

Oh...well, sure!

Speaking of things wedding related...I'm going to be the best man in a good friend's wedding in DC this September. Anyone who lives there have any recommendations for a location to have his bachelor party? His fiancee probably wouldn't appreciate it being too wild, but I'd like it to be a guy's sort of place all the same...

"Katherine, I've read in another blog that Bloomberg's appeal might be a good tactic for gay marriage, as the Appeals Court would almost certainly uphold the NY Supreme Court's decision, thus legalizing gay marriage in the whole state rather than only in NYC."

Really? I actually applied to clerkships at the NY Ct. of Appeals, and IIRC there were just three democratic appointees out of seven, and one more just retired, so five out of seven would've been appointed by Pataki. Now, Margaret Marshall and Judith Cowin were appointed by Republican governors. But George Pataki is no William Weld.

I disagree with von's political analysis of the situation. It is only because of Massachusetts that civil unions--once enough to score you death threats in Vermont--are now a majority position nationwide. And this is without any Democrats to the right of Ted Kennedy supporting gay marriage. It takes 34 Democratic Senators to block a constitutional amendment, and when I actually do the count I think we're okay. (Also, I can't see Lincoln Chafee caving on this one, and probably not Olympia Snowe either.) Those are not the Democrats whose seats are vulnerable, either. If there was a federal court decision saying other states have to recognize gay marriage, that could throw it all into question, but a second liberal state? I doubt it.

Other states have passed their constitutional amendments--that's not a huge step backwards though; gay marriage wasn't legal in any case. There have been notable jumps in support for hate crimes bills including sexual orientation in the polls. (Orrin Hatch(!) recent co-sponsored one in the Senate and told his House colleagues to, quote "grow up." Not they did, naturally.) There have been notable jumps in support for letting gays to serve openly in the military (though that probably has more to do with the war than gay marriage.) Moderate opponents of gay marriage want to be able to say "I'm not homophobic, but....)

I've seen the process in Massachusetts and I've read all about it in Vermont. There IS a backlash, between when the court decision comes down and when the first marriage licenses are issued. But then the pendulum swings back the other way, and then some. Newsom was right about putting a human face on the issue.

The only argument I'd buy for why it would be better to wait in New York is that our likely future governor (phone home, Eliot) is a pretty charismatic, well-liked guy, not an extreme leftist--and he actively supports gay marriage. If it could happen through the legislature and not the courts, that would be great--it would undercut the (largely phony, for most people who make it though not the ones on this site) "activist judges" angle. But for that to happen the Democrats need to retake the state Senate. That's not impossible--they picked up a lot of seats in the last election, and while upstate remains solidly Republican, the suburbs around N.Y.C. are moving left. But it's not particularly likely either.

It wasn't at the turn of the century that people told the civil rights movement, "wait, let's lay the groundwork." That just didn't happen. It was moving steadily BACKWARDS until the 1940s. And then, through the 1940s and 1950s and 1960s, there were constant calls to just wait until the time was right.

I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "An Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely rational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this 'hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to 6e solid rock of human dignity.

That's from "Letter to A Birmingham Jail." Not that I have any right to quote King here, but he makes the argument better than I could.

There is such a thing as going too fast. I wouldn't recommend a lawsuit in Arkansas or Utah, no matter how liberal the court was. I wouldn't recommend going before the Supreme Court, either. But I think New York can handle it.

"And just let NYC have gay marriages? That's not a particularly comforting idea for me...what if I buy a place upstate to summer in...will I be legally married in the city but not in the country? Weird problems there."

Edward--it would have inevitably been decided by the Ct of Appeals in the end. There's also at least one lawsuit upstate, and I think there might be two, and those are going to be appealed upwards. And even if they're not, there would be a couple that moved upstate soon enough. What would be accomplished by not appealing would be that:
1) people would actually get marriage licenses, which seems to change the political dynamics in favor of gay marriage supporters.
2) it would be hard to say that this was purely a matter of activist judges, if the reason the ruling was not stayed was because the mayor of a city of 8 million decided not to--in an election year no less. Sort of a combination of Massachusetts and San Francisco: people couldn't say, as they did in Massachusetts, that activist judges were imposing their will on an unwilling public; nor could they say that a rogue mayor was flouting the law. It would be a mayor--a Republican mayor no less--obeying a court order and the wishes of a majority of his constituents.

After I thought about it longer, Bloomberg's stated concern that people not end up getting jerked around is actually legitimate, though I think he could remedy it by saying: "look, a higher court could take this away from you and I want you to understand that"--not everyone is a law dork like me, the city-state thing is confusing. I don't think people were misled in San Francisco but they could have been in this situation. It was the "tens of thousands of people" remark from Mr. Jets Stadium-Olympics-RNC that was so weak, it made everything he said sound utterly insincere to me.

Anyone who lives there have any recommendations for a location to have his bachelor party? His fiancee probably wouldn't appreciate it being too wild, but I'd like it to be a guy's sort of place all the same...

Right here. Kick back, light up a cigar, and open up a thread on how Bush is using his political capital from Iraq to screw up Social Security Reform. Guarantee y'all will be up all night ;)

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