During the past 48 hours, we have learned that the Uganda legislature has passed what is one of the most draconian anti-civil rights bills targeting sexual minorities in the world – bookended between announcements that two more US states – New Mexico and Utah – are constitutionally prohibited from excluding same gender couples from civil marriage.
A federal judge in Utah Friday struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.
“The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby. “Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”
Meanwhile, Bryan Fischer, spokesperson for the American Family Association, was tweeting this about the situation in Uganda. I don’t know that we could have had a more timely and chilling reminder of the fact that as LGBTI people in the US move closer to attaining full civil rights, anti-gay activists who are rapidly losing ground here are focusing more of their lethal attention on our sisters and brothers in other countries.
It’s what many marriage supporters have been trying to point out for months: The redefinition of the institution could pave the path to legalized polygamy.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem filed a legal opinion Thursday basically saying that a man who married another man in another state, may obtain a marriage license — with a woman — in North Dakota. That’s because same-sex marriage is not recognized in North Dakota.
Quite true, that last part. North Dakota was one of the states to pass a constitutional amendment back in 2004 restricting civil marriage to “man-woman couples” (we may wish to return to a discussion of how that happened).
But it’s this framing, quoting a Breitbart columnist, that really impressed me with its capacity for expressing the exact opposite of reality by stating bald, incontrovertible facts. This is a work of art.
ACTIVIST JUDGE LEGALIZES POLYGAMY, JUST AS WE WARNED, screams the latest email from certified hate group “American Family Association” (mainly known at this time of year for their lucrative “war on Christmas” scam, in which they solicit donations by pretending the world will end if store clerks say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”).
Not so fast, cupcake. U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups ruled on Friday that a family, “reality TV stars Kody Brown and his four ‘wives’,” can’t be prosecuted under Utah’s anti-polygamy law. But what does this actually mean?
The AFA’s hysterical email notwithstanding, here is what it clearly does not mean: the “redefinition of marriage” in Utah.
Judge Waddoups explicitly ruled that the prohibition of bigamy – “the fraudulent or otherwise impermissible possession of two purportedly valid marriage licenses for the purpose of entering into more than one purportedly legal marriage” – is not overturned.
Furthermore, the plaintiffs were not even seeking legal recognition for plural marriage. I am tempted to wonder here whether the bright legal minds over at AFA even bothered to read the opinion…oh, never mind. Of course they read the opinion.