Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The crazy in brief

Over the past 6 or 7 years, I’ve read dozens and dozens of legal briefs filed in various court cases dealing with marriage equality, including briefs from both sides. The cases being considered together by the US Supreme Court have brought out the most bat-shit crazy briefs yet.

In the video above, Matt Baume highlights some of the silliest and most bizarre argument made against marriage equality. It must have been very difficult to choose, with so very many options. Of the choices he made, he notes; “Some are full of mistakes, others have baffling arguments. And at least one is incredibly sexist, and signed by a member of Congress.”

Early this month, I wrote about how Kentucky’s lawyers revived a discredited and reject racist argument to say that same-gender couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry. It was shocking mainly because a state thought it was a good idea to echo the worst of racists’ attitudes in a new context.

However, that same argument has been made in many of the briefs before the Court, in part because opponents of marriage equality can’t find a non-religious justification for excluding same-gender couples from marriage. While we expect that nonsense from professional anti-gay groups, we didn’t expect it from a state.

Other states have tried other bizarre rationales for denying marriage equality, and Matt Baume highlighted a few of those in the video I also posted. It’s clear that for sheer idiocy, the various anti-LGBT amicus briefs have no equal.

In addition to the nutty anti-gay arguments that Matt highlights, here are some more from anti-gay briefs I’ve read: One brief spent virtually all its pages attacking Kinsey and his work, because apparently they think that our demand for equality rests entirely on him (or something…). Another guy claimed that marriage equality was bad because gay people were being mean to him on the Internet (yes, seriously!), another just listed the bible as their “legal” source (in making their arguments, amicus briefs generally cite other court rulings, laws in force, as well as people they consider relevant experts on the matter before the court, or, at least, on an aspect of it the amicus bases an argument on). Still other briefs have tried to argue that gay people are disgusting, sick, doomed to hell, and so on and so on and so on.

We’ve heard all these anti-gay smears and defamation plenty of times over the years. Even though the radical right may have raised the volume of their shouting, no one outside their small segment of society is actually listening, a fact that probably makes them potentially dangerous as they get more angry and frustrated at their mounting losses and inability to convince the mainstream to agree with them (a topic in itself).

Still, I’ve often said that when the dust settles, and the USA has 50-state marriage equality, we’ll have the radical right to thank for it happening so quickly. By being so mean-spirited and even vicious in their opposition, they did more to quickly win over the hearts and minds of mainstream people than our side could have done without the radicals’ inadvertent assistance.

The work for equality is far from over, and marriage equality alone—important as it is—isn’t the end-point in the struggle for full equality, but it will be an important milestone. One thing we can be certain of, though: The radicals won’t stop being crazy or doing and saying crazy things once they’ve lost. Their history so far, as demonstrated by their amicus briefs—with their silly, out-dated and rejected “arguments”—prove that.

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