Philip Morris International Inc. cut its profit outlook for the year and expects lower pretax earnings in the first quarter after a subsidiary and other tobacco companies lost a major legal appeal in Canada. WSJ.com: US Business
The Justice Department appealed a trial judge’s ruling last month that allowed AT&T to acquire Time Warner, setting the stage for a second round of legal proceedings in a blockbuster antitrust case. WSJ.com: WSJD
The Justice Department appealed a trial judge’s ruling last month that allowed AT&T to acquire Time Warner, setting the stage for a second round of legal proceedings in a blockbuster antitrust case. WSJ.com: US Business
It’s been less than 50 years since the Stonewall riots and the foundation of the modern LGBT liberation movement. And here we are, with marriage equality newly-recognized from coast to coast. It’s amazing.
But June isn’t just the anniversary of Stonewall. It’s the anniversary of the ruling that overturned the federal marriage ban, and the ruling that ended the criminalization of homosexuality. And it’s close to the anniversary the ruling that for the first time extended equal protection to LGBTs.
All of those cases were written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. And now, he’s given us a decision that establishes the freedom to marry as a fundamental right. Five justices agreed with Kennedy, and four disagreed for various reasons that really do not hold up. Let’s take a look at how Kennedy’s decision works, and then talk about why the dissent is so wrong.
Kennedy’s ruling is based on four ideas: freedom includes the freedom to choose who you marry, marriage is vital for relationships, marriage protects kids and families and marriage is a cornerstone of American society.
Central to Kennedy’s ruling is this:
The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.
In other words, the Constitution’s set up so that as we become a more enlightened society, we can improve our own laws to reflect that enlightenment.
Ultimately, Kennedy wrote,
Marriage allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations. The Constitution grants … that right.
Five justices agreed, four didn’t.
Essentially, the dissenters believe that marriage isn’t a fundamental right, or that it is for everyone except same-sex couples, which is very convenient.
Roberts calls marriage bans a “decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history,” and an “unvarying social institution enduring over all of recorded history.”
Well, that’s just wrong. As we know, marriage has varied a lot. Virtually nothing about marriage has persisted throughout every culture. It is in a state of constant change and, though gradual, improvement.
Thomas has what may be the strangest dissent. He says that human dignity is innate and can’t be granted or taken away by the government. And here’s where he goes with that:
Human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity … because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity…
Did Thomas just mean to defend slavery? Probably not, but he also probably didn’t mean to suggest that banning marriage is similar to slavery and internment.
What he means, is that if you only acknowledge the personal, internal aspect of dignity, then yeah, no one can take that away. But dignity has external qualities as well. Slaves were definitely deprived of something, for example their freedom and very recognition of their humanity. And it seems like some amount of dignity would go along with that.
Roberts, meanwhile, admits that marriage changes, writing “the ‘history of marriage is one of both continuity and change,’ but the core meaning of marriage has endured.”
And there’s the fundamental disagreement. The core meaning of marriage. Is it, as Kennedy says, an embodiment of “the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family”?
Or, is it as Alito says, “the one thing that only an opposite-sex couple can do: procreate.”
I don’t know. Between those two — love fidelity devotion sacrifice and family, or procreate — which sounds more like a wedding vow to you?
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The NFL Players Association has filed a lawsuit against the NFL in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, challenging an arbitrator’s decision made Friday to uphold Adrian Peterson’s suspension by the league. ESPN.com – NFL
BOSTON (AP) — In the decade since the highest court in Massachusetts issued its landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, 14 other states and the District of Columbia have legalized it, with Illinois poised to become the 16th in a few days.
Such gains were considered almost impossible before Massachusetts opened the door on Nov. 18, 2003, with a Supreme Judicial Court ruling that declared a ban on gay marriages unconstitutional. Opponents made doomsday predictions about how gay marriage would damage traditional marriage and lead to problems with children raised in same-sex households. But as the years have passed, public opinion has shifted. Supporters have won in the courts, in state legislatures and on state ballots amid intense lobbying, activism and advertising campaigns filled with gay couples’ personal stories.
“With more same-sex marriages, you saw more people changing their minds,” said Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director at Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and the lead attorney on the lawsuit that resulted in the gay marriage ruling in Massachusetts.
“Seeing gay people with their extended families, seeing the commitment, that’s what has turned this around.”
Opponents have shifted tactics as more and more states have legalized gay marriage. Initially, opposition focused on the predicted erosion of traditional marriage, but in recent years have pushed concerns about school curriculums and religious objections.
In New Mexico, the state Supreme Court ruled in August that an Albuquerque business owned by gay marriage opponents violated a state anti-discrimination law when it refused to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony. A law firm representing the business has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal.
Opponents say they plan to do a better job of telling similar stories of people who believe their religious freedoms have been infringed upon by the legalization of same-sex marriage.
“I think we still have to do litigation, we still have to do legislation, but we also have to do education as well,” said Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of the Christian legal group Liberty Counsel.
Since same-sex marriages began in Massachusetts in 2004, approximately 100,000 gay couples have gotten married across the U.S., said Lee Badgett, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. At least 16,000 of the marriages have taken place in Massachusetts.
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, said 38 percent of Americans will live in states where same-sex marriage is legal once Illinois’s governor signs the bill on Wednesday. The group has a goal of bringing that up to more than 50 percent by the end of 2016.
“What we have to do — like other civil rights movements and social justice causes — is win a critical mass of states and a critical mass of public support, which together creates the climate for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution,” Wolfson said.
Wolfson said Oregon is expected to be a key battleground in 2014 as supporters hope to repeal a constitutional ban on gay marriage passed in 2004 during a rush of similar amendments in other states after the Massachusetts’ ruling.
But Staver said he believes the momentum of the gay marriage movement will slow.
“Same-sex marriage represents a classic conflict with religious freedom,” he said. “I think there will come a tipping point where the pendulum will swing the other way as people begin to see the impact of same-sex marriage.” Weddings – The Huffington Post
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