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Your Kindness Will Never Be Forgotten

The past couple of weeks for us have been, how should I say this, hectic. Bonny and I are safely back home in Maine, and for that we are grateful. The passing of Bonny’s mom and uncle in the same week was somewhat surprising, but in all likelihood, we realize that other families go through similar, if not worse situations on a daily basis. It is a common experience that we all share.  In any event, these last several days have allowed for many hours of reflection.

As we all age, we realize that things like hope, kindness and good cheer do not smooth out the wrinkles, but can keep the heart refreshed. Honored age gives one the authority to ignore authority. You learn to forego your age or at least not dwell on it, to be happy to just be alive to have earned that privilege. If not years to your life, why not life to your years? Our human spirit is remarkably sturdy and resilient, allowing us to get past the hardships as long as we differentiate the little from the big, and find a way to smile through it all. Sometimes when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated. This is not necessarily the way that it has to be, as to lose a dearly loved one is also an opportunity for us to learn.

You learn that you cannot step twice into in the same river and expect things to be the same, for the waters behind you continue to flow. There is no time for stagnation as the flow of change goes on. So, let the past drift away with the flowing waters, but never forget the laughter, the sounds, the joys and the loving memories that you shared with loved ones. Extract the most from those memories. As sadness and pain creep in, realize that sadness and gladness succeed each other, both of which will be followed by spring.

So when the time comes, whether in a storm or calm, let down the sails and join quietly the waves.

On behalf of Bonny and I, we thank all of you for the outpouring of empathy, sympathy and inspiration that you have showered upon us and our family during these difficult times. Your kindness will never be forgotten.

 

By: raemd95, richardaevansmd.com, July 22, 2016

July 21, 2016 Posted by | Family Values, Marriage, Seniors | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Steve King Unveils Radical Court Scheme”: GOP Radicalism Stripping Federal Courts Of Jurisdiction To Hear Cases Related To Marriage

Under the American system of government, elected legislators are responsible for writing laws. If those statutes are legally controversial, they’re challenged in the courts and evaluated by judges. It’s Civics 101.

But once in a while, some far-right lawmakers decide they’re not entirely comfortable with separation of powers and the idea of judicial review. Yesterday, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), usually known for his fierce opposition to immigration, issued a press release announcing a new proposal related to marriage equality.

Congressman Steve King released the following statement after introducing his bill “Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act of 2015.” This bill strips federal courts of jurisdiction to hear cases related to marriage.  The effect of the bill would prevent federal courts from hearing marriage cases, leaving the issue to the States where it properly belongs. […]

“My bill strips Article III courts of jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court of appellate jurisdiction, ‘to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, any type of marriage.’”

The “Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act” has already picked up seven House co-sponsors – all of them Republican – including some familiar names like Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).

And that’s a shame because, even by 2015 standards, this idea is just bonkers.

This came up a couple of weeks ago when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), soon after launching his presidential campaign, told an Iowa audience “he would prod Congress to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over the [marriage] issue, a rarely invoked legislative tool.”

As we talked about at the time, it’s “rarely invoked” because the approach – known as “court-stripping” or “jurisdiction-stripping” – is so radical, it’s just too bizarre for most policymakers to even consider.

The idea isn’t complicated: under this scheme, Congress would pass a federal law effectively telling the courts, “We’ve identified a part of the law that judges are no longer allowed to consider.”

To reiterate what we discussed two weeks ago, let’s say you live in a state with a law that discriminates against same-sex couples. You decide to challenge the constitutionality of the law, get an attorney, and go to court. Under Steve King’s bill, the judge would have no choice but to ignore the case – the courts would have no legal authority to even review lawsuits related to marriage equality because congressional Republicans say so.

Whatever one thinks of marriage equality, court-stripping is itself ridiculous. The constitutional principles of “separation of powers” hasn’t disappeared just yet, so the idea that the legislative branch will dictate to the courts what kind of cases judges are allowed to hear is more than a little crazy – it undermines the very idea of an independent judiciary.

And it sure as heck isn’t “constitutional conservatism.” Indeed, it’s effectively the congressional version of “legislating from the bench” – King and his cohorts want to adjudicate from the legislature.

To be sure, this isn’t entirely new. Back in the 1980s, Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) repeatedly tried to prevent federal courts from hearing cases related to school prayer. About a decade ago, Sam Brownback and Todd Akin (remember him?) worked on similar measures related to the Pledge of Allegiance. Now, a handful of House Republicans are dipping their feet in the same radical waters.

As a matter of history, Congress has never actually passed a court-stripping scheme – we can only speculate about the constitutional crisis it would invite – and even if the GOP-led House tried to pursue this idea in 2015, there’s simply no way it’d overcome a Democratic filibuster in the Senate or get President Obama’s signature.

But the fact that several members of Congress are pushing such a proposal – all while Ted Cruz expresses interest in the same idea – speaks to an ugly strain of radicalism among Republican lawmakers.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, April 23, 2015

April 24, 2015 Posted by | Judiciary, Marriage, Steve King | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Something Is The Matter With Kansas”: When Does The Madness End?

Kansas State Representative Keith Esau has introduced a bill that would eliminate no-fault divorce in the Sunflower State. He has some interesting ideas on matrimony:

“No-fault divorce gives people an easy out instead of working at it,” Esau told The Wichita Eagle on Friday. “It would be my hope that they could work out their incompatibilities and learn to work together on things.”

…Esau disputed the suggestion that bill was an example of government overreach. He said the state gives benefits to married couples, such as tax breaks, so couples shouldn’t enter into the institution of marriage lightly.

Moreover, he said, the state has a vested interest in supporting “strong families,” and divorce undermines that.

“I think we’ve made divorce way too easy in this country,” he said. “If we really want to respect marriage it needs to be a commitment that people work at and don’t find arbitrary reasons to give up.”

Of course, one of the immediate effects of this law would be that couples seeking a divorce would have to face-off in court and point fingers at each other. Either that, or one of them would have to accept the blame for their failed relationship.

Divorce is tough on kids, but nasty divorces are toxic.

But this isn’t even the worst bill that was considered in the Kansas House this week.

On Tuesday, the Kansas House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a measure designed to bring anti-gay segregation—under the guise of “religious liberty”—to the already deep-red state. The bill, written out of fear that the state may soon face an Oklahoma-style gay marriage ruling, will now easily pass the Republican Senate and be signed into law by the Republican governor. The result will mark Kansas as the first state, though certainly not the last, to legalize segregation of gay and straight people in virtually every arena of life.

If that sounds overblown, consider the bill itself. When passed, the new law will allow any individual, group, or private business to refuse to serve gay couples if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Private employers can continue to fire gay employees on account of their sexuality. Stores may deny gay couples goods and services because they are gay. Hotels can eject gay couples or deny them entry in the first place. Businesses that provide public accommodations—movie theaters, restaurants—can turn away gay couples at the door. And if a gay couple sues for discrimination, they won’t just lose; they’ll be forced to pay their opponent’s attorney’s fees.

Unlike Rep. Esau’s idiotic no-divorce bill, the anti-gay measure will actually become law. Most likely, the federal courts will strike it down as unconstitutional, but that won’t prevent Republicans in Kansas from wasting money defending it.

 

By: Martin Longman, Washington Monthly Political Animal, February 15, 2014

February 17, 2014 Posted by | LGBT, Marriage | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Marriage Con”: The Stabilizing Force In Society For “The Socialization” Of Men

The talk of marriage these last few weeks—whether about same sex marriage, young marriage or, most hilariously, Ivy League marriage—reminds me of a fight I had with a high school boyfriend. We had just gotten back together after a brief break up, during which time we both saw other people. He felt very strongly that I had done something wrong by dating someone else. He, of course, was in the clear.

When I pointed out the double standard, he explained his position thusly: If both women and men went around hooking up and having sex, society would be besieged by sexually transmitted diseases. It was up to women to be monogamous and sexually conservative in order to ensure that this wouldn’t happen. (Apparently men are incapable of such a feat.) The health of society, he argued, was dependent on women’s sexual decisions and relationship trends. No readers, I did not date Ross Douthat.

His teen boy logic—as baffling as it was—is actually not far off from conservative culture’s last grasp at saving marriage as they imagine it. And the core of these death throe attempts to hold onto a version of marriage that never really existed is the idea of women—chaste women—as a stabilizing force in society.

Take Focus on the Family’s “talking points” on marriage. Under the headline, “Marriage is Essential to a Thriving Society,” the organizations says straight marriage is necessary because it “socializes men.”

A society’s most serious problem is the unattached male, and marriage links men to women who help channel male sexuality and aggression in socially productive ways. Marriage and parenthood socialize men to care for and respect their wives, other women and children.

See, ladies? We need to be married so that men won’t go raping and pillaging. And let’s not even get into how single moms are told they’re a scourge on society—as if their relationship choices (or non-choices) determine the wellness of the country.

But marriage isn’t just for men’s and society’s benefit of course—if women don’t want to be sad and alone, we’ll hurry up and get a husband as soon as humanly possible. After all, there’s nothing more important a woman can do than be a good traditional wife. Even if you are a literal rocket scientist, the lede of your life will be about your commitment to your husband or your beef stroganoff recipe.

If traditional marriage benefited everyone—not just men and their pesky unsocialized ways—there wouldn’t need to be quite so much cajoling women about how fabulous it all is. (I will never forget the laugh I had when David Brooks assured women that “power is in the kitchen.”) The truth is that this desperate nostalgia for traditional marriage and antiquated gender roles will never be stronger than women’s will to be free from constraining norms.

Conservatives need to understand that what they’re pushing for is an impossible sell: Women’s subservience to the domestic as a cultural grounding force, while men get to work and explore and create? No thank you. We don’t want the good of society on our relationships’ shoulders.

There will always be wistful, wishful-thinking articles hoping to turn the tide on women’s sexuality and partnerships. But there will also always be more women thinking, “good riddance.”

 

By: Jessica Valenti, The Nation, April 12, 2013

April 14, 2013 Posted by | Marriage | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Political Whiplash”: On Gay Marriage, GOP Is Damned If the Court Does, And Damned If It Doesn’t

However the Supreme Court rules on the question of gay marriage, Prop 8, and the Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA, as it’s widely known), the rapid shifts in how the country views same sex marriages is giving the GOP a case of political whiplash, as some leaders try to go with the flow and others scream “stop.”

On the one hand you have Karl Rove envisioning a pro-gay-marriage Republican presidential nominee in three years; on the other, you have former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee predicting a cataclysmic split in the Republican Party if that happens. If Republicans do flip on gay marriage, Huckabee said last week, “they’re going to lose a large part of their base because evangelicals will take a walk.”

So the immediate question facing conservatives is what outcome they should be quietly rooting for when the Supreme Court hands down its decisions. I think Hot Air’s Allahpundit has it about right:

I’ve read a bunch of pieces lately claiming that SCOTUS striking down gay-marriage laws will actually be a gift to GOP politicians because it’ll take this issue off the table. Rubio and Paul and Jindal et al. won’t have to squirm over whether to endorse SSM, back a federalist approach to the issue, or oppose it on the merits. They can just shrug and say “The Court was wrong but whaddaya gonna do?” and move on to other business. Take it from Huckabee: That won’t happen. Abortion’s technically been “off the table” for 40 years and yet it’s still an absolute litmus test for any potential GOP nominee (and any potential Democratic nominee too).

He goes on to argue that the best case for Republicans is for the court to hold up Prop 8, allowing pols to oppose it but say it should be up to the states. (It’s a rule of politics that in most cases when federal candidates insist a tough issue be left up to the states, they’re trying to avoid pissing off an important constituency.) Note that the “best outcome” is still pretty bad for the GOP: Young voters, who overwhelmingly favor gay marriage, and—oh yeah—voted in greater numbers in 2012 than seniors, will see through a pol trying to play both sides of the issue.

It’s also worth noting here that the Roe parallel works, but only to a point. As Media Matters’s Lara Schwartz wrote yesterday, the notion that the 40-year-old decision polarized the issue is nonsensical. As Yale Law School’s Linda Greenhouse (who used to cover the court for the New York Times) and Reva Siegel relate, “To the question of whether one can avoid conflict over such issues by avoiding courts, the answer from an accurate pre-history of Roe v. Wade is: no. The abortion conflict escalated before the Supreme Court ruled.”

 

By: Robert Schlesinger, U. S. News and World Report, March 26, 2013

March 27, 2013 Posted by | Civil Rights, Marriage | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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