About time, Oregon


Where will this all lead? I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries. To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other…and rise.

That’s the concluding paragraph to the federal judge’s decision that the same sex marriage ban in Oregon must be struck down. I’m glad to see this happening all across the country — the rights of the minority should not be subject to majority vote.


  1. sparks says

    We’re just a smidge slower out this way, but we usually get there eventually.

  2. ck says

    It’s just a pity it takes this bloody long for things to actually change. And of course, things aren’t done yet. The pious will come back with new laws to attempt to re-ban this with their flimsy secular-sounding reasons for why it cannot be allowed.

  3. EvoMonkey says

    Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other…and rise.

    Nice. Is that a quote from somewhere? It certainly will raise dome peoples’ hackles.

  4. Sili says

    How’s that saying? America will always do the right thing.

    Just as soon as all other possibilities have been exhausted.

  5. says

    I think a much stronger quote is the next-to-last paragraph of the ruling:

    I believe that if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families. Families who we would expect our Constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure. With discernment we see not shadows lurking in closets or the stereotypes of what was once believed; rather, we see families committed to the common purpose of love, devotion, and service to the greater community.

  6. Shatterface says

    Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other…and rise.

    That’s really quite magnificent – even if it does remind me of the end of The Thing From Another World

  7. madknitter says

    Today is my birthday, and marriage equality in Oregon is the best birthday present I could have gotten.

    I live in MA, where we just celebrated the tenth anniversary of marriage equality. The sky hasn’t fallen, straight people are still getting married, babies are still being born, and none of the ridiculous things the opponents said about marriage equality have come true.

    Congratulations, Oregon!

  8. Alverant says

    Why does it have to be federal judges that have to do this? Why can’t there be elections? I’m glad the judge made the correct decision and all, but you know the anti-equality crowd are going to whine about “judicial activism” and “going against the will of the people” and other such nonsense to put fear into the hearts of their followers.

  9. beergoggles says

    @Alverant: Because some people need to be dragged kicking and screaming into modernity and they need a beatdown when they think civil rights can be put up for popular vote.

    @madknitter: Fellow masshole here, and I got hitched a few days after it became legal here – all this hoopla makes it so that I can’t easily forget the anniversary.

  10. beergoggles says

    @madknitter: gah, I meant to post Happy Birthday in the previous comment and forgot. Now you know why I need constant reminders. Happy Birthday!

  11. David Wilford says

    @ 11:

    Why does it have to be federal judges that have to do this?

    Because the majority doesn’t have the right to impose unjust laws on the minority. Jim Crow-era laws come to mind.

  12. Crimson Clupeidae says

    The wingnuts are already whining about judicial activism. Just goes to show their hypocrisy as far as I’m concerned. Well done, OR.

    Funny, I was living in WA when it passed there, now I’m living in OR…..

    Think I’ll move to AZ next. ;-)

  13. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why does it have to be federal judges that have to do this?

    The fourteenth amendment to the US constitution with its equal protection and due process clauses seems to be the reason. Essentially the states have to defend their unequal treatment of any citizens in a court immune to the whims of elections, and with solid skeptical methods in place to test the claims of unequal treatment not being bigotry.

  14. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Alverant, #11:

    Why does it have to be federal judges that have to do this? Why can’t there be elections? I’m glad the judge made the correct decision and all, but you know the anti-equality crowd are going to whine about “judicial activism” and “going against the will of the people” and other such nonsense to put fear into the hearts of their followers.

    I feel the same way about the civil rights movement. Seriously – does anyone believe that crap about federal judges creating progress? They just created bad feelings. It would have been so much better for Black southerners if the judges would have just gotten out from between Bull Connor and his firehoses and let whites slowly educate themselves by beating future congress critters to within an inch of death on some bridge or other down there.

    The white folk would have democratically overturned Jim Crow eventually, and there wouldn’t be such bad feelings about it now. In fact, I’m sure racism would have ended sooner (which, of course, is whenever I was old enough to get used to the world in that moment as “normal”) if it hadn’t been for the uppity activists and unaccountable federal judges.

    I’m glad, glad, glad to have you on my side in this one, Alverant.

  15. Jim says

    #11 and #18, I can see where you’re both coming from on this – while these changes are unquestionably a win, they’re a win against a strong tide of negative opinion I can see how it would just simply feel better if the changes happened because the majority of the people supported it and made it happen.

    I’ll take victory by political expediency, though. I am, after all, Canadian, and it’s the only way we ever seem to see it.

  16. rq says

    Congratulations, Oregon!
    That quote (and the second-to-last paragraph, too) are tear-worthy. Just plain beautiful, and true, and so obvious, it hurts to know that people choose to see otherwise.

  17. dianne says

    The governor here (PA) is being very, very quiet about this issue, probably in the hopes of not provoking a court case. But we have a chance of dumping him this year so maybe by this time next year we’ll join the civilized world.

  18. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Sorry, sir, for breaking your sarcasm detector.

    In fact, I was taking an opposite position to Alverant’s comment.

    Though, to be fair to Alverant, after I posted my #18 it occurred to me that Alverant (who has posted many things with which I agree) may have been simply saying

    “It would be more satisfying if this news came today as a result of an election”

    rather than
    “I would be willing to wait an unspecified number of tomorrows so that this news can come as a result of an election.”

    I still strongly disagree with the comment as written, but it’s possible that the literal reading of the comment isn’t what Alverant meant to convey…

    …in that limited sense it would be not unlike my comment, actually.

  19. unclefrogy says

    Crip dike
    I hope you were trying to be funny about all negative feelings on the part of the whites I think we had waited long enough for civil rights to eventually be “granted” that by the 1960’s courts and judges had to say that the waiting for democracy was over NOW IS THE TIME it is still time we are waiting but no longer sitting silently. in hopes that the tyranny of the majority (I doubt they are really a majority) will give up and let democracy work.
    uncle frogy

  20. says

    As an added bonus, there is good news out of Utah.

    Judge: Utah must honor same-sex marriages performed during 17-day window

    A federal judge ruled Monday that Utah must recognize all same-sex marriages performed in the state during a 17-day window when such marriages were legal.

    In a written ruling, U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball ordered Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes to honor and acknowledge all gay and lesbian marriages performed in the state after a historic ruling on Dec. 20 overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex unions.

    Kimball noted these marriages cannot be made illegal retroactively, despite a U.S. Supreme Court stay that halted such weddings.

    Not as good as the Oregon news, but hey, THIS IS UTAH.

  21. says

    There’s good coverage of the Oregon news on The Maddow blog. Excerpt below:

    A decade ago, Oregon voters approved a ballot measure changing the state constitution to ban same-sex marriages with 57% support. As of today, that ban is no more.

    Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriages was struck down Monday by U.S. District Judge Michael McShane, who ruled that the prohibition violated the federal constitutional rights of gays and lesbians.

    Jubilant couples who anticipated a favorable decision from the judge began the rush to officially wed at locations around the state. McShane allowed his order to take immediate effect.

    There have been quite a few legal challenges to these state bans, especially in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year against the Defense of Marriage Act, but the Oregon case was a little different than most. In this case, the ostensible defendants – state officials, represented by state by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) – agreed with the plaintiffs and urged Judge McShane to strike down the anti-gay law.

    The far-right National Organization for Marriage tried last week to intervene, hoping its lawyers could defend the law the state government no longer supports, but the court rejected the effort, concluding that the group had no standing in the case.

    NOM quickly appealed to the 9th Circuit, which also turned the organization away. […]


  22. Jeff says

    Why does it have to be federal judges that have to do this?

    Justice Robert H. Jackson in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943):

    One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.

    Because, under the US Constitution, federal judges say what fundamental rights are, federal judges say the right to marry is a fundamental right, and fundamental rights including the right to marry may not be submitted to vote.

  23. says

    Coverage from Slate:

    […] The road to McShane’s ruling was surprisingly rocky. First, Oregon’s attorney general refused to defend the ban in court, insisting that it violated the federal constitution—leaving McShane to defend it himself. Then, the National Organization for Marriage filed a motion to intervene at the last minute, in a blatant attempt to prolong the hearings as long as possible. (The group also suggested McShane shouldn’t rule on the case, as his orientation “rais[es] troubling questions about his impartiality.”) Wisely, McShane rejected NOM’s dilatory intervention and ignored its impugning of his judicial objectivity. And now he’s dealt the group a stinging blow, dismissing its anti-gay arguments as constitutionally unfounded. […]

  24. says

    From a May 16th article that appeared in Slate comes the worst excuse for banning gay marriage ever:

    […] Gay people should not be able to get married because Pocahontas married John Rolfe.

    This argument was actually made in federal court Tuesday, before the judges of the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. They were hearing a challenge to Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. The argument is hands-down the worst argument ever offered against same-sex marriage. […]


  25. Hatchetfish says

    I wouldn’t have minded it going to an election, for the sake of the whiners shutting up about ‘activist judges’, and for the state to symbolically admit its mistake ten years ago (not for the sake of those who changed their mind but because it’s the closest there could be to an apology to those the state harmed) but I’d much rather see my friends getting married* today or as soon as possible, however it happened, and to hell with the whiners, and the state will have to live with the judicial rebuke. The excellent editorial in the judgement is just a bonus.

    *Facebook makes that an interesting process, I’ve been getting updates all day as they progress from hopeful to taking work off to waiting in line to headed off to celebrate.

  26. U Frood says

    Yes, it would be better if the legislatures or public referendums made these changes, rather than judges. But do we really want to wait for public sentiment in these states to change enough to repeal amendments to state constitutions?

    If a court case in Massachusetts hadn’t started the ball rolling by legalizing same sex marriage there, how long would we have had to wait for Vermont and New Hampshire and Washington to do it through the legislature?

  27. mikeyb says

    I am surprised it didn’t happen sooner. Oregon is pretty progressive overall. But having lived there, the entire eastern portion as well as southern portion is a haven for tea party like nutttery ever bit as intense as anywhere in the conservative midwest or south.

  28. plainenglish says

    madknitter @ 10: happy birthday! I am acknowledging another year too, 62 today…. and cannot knit a stitch but my wife wrangle-tangles together amazing shoulder-bags and I like to think that somehow I am involved in that… at least by saying, LOOK what she can do! I wish you wonderful freedoms this year, whether the sluggard laws publish your right to freedom or not. We move along slowly but my B.C. ain’t bad: (from Wiki)
    “Same-sex marriage in British Columbia became legal on July 8, 2003, becoming the second region in Canada (as well as the second jurisdiction in North America) to legalize same-sex marriage, behind Ontario, after a series of court rulings which ultimately landed in favour of same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses.[1]
    Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage with the passage of Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act, which made same-sex marriage legal in the remaining provinces of Alberta and Prince Edward Island and the remaining territories of Nunavut, the Northwest Territories.”
    The more freely we allow ourselves to live, the more we feel a drag in laws and affirmations from above and beyond…. I used to think my kids had to attend some church and go to school both, that this was a natural way of being. Now, no church, and only the schooling they choose to pursue as their interests and passions tell them. We are free to choose our way but we must see a way to choose before claiming it.
    That is not offered first by laws, not ever. Laws are the squiggle lines drawn from shadows left by real folk, by those who push the envelope, and ask why… Choice is offered in places like this, in free ideas and sharing… the laws comply as time goes on. Most folks reading Pharnygula are long aware that same-sex marriage is every bit as valid as any marriage. Most folks reading Pharnygula know and have for some time that a woman’s body belongs to a woman and not some external power. Most folks reading this blog have found their way here because they recognize the voices in this place. They sound familiar, challenging, not entirely safe perhaps and not entirely lawful if the law is an ass. So I celebrate Oregon today because a judge has some sense to say the obvious, and because madknitter and I are one big year-day older. How old is Pharnygula now? Is there a birthday to celebrate?

  29. Numenaster says

    I wish my wife had lived to see this. We stood in line together at Multnomah County in that brief window back in 2004. We exchanged vows 4 separate times in different jurisdictions with different rules, with never a divorce between. We cried together when Multnomah County sent back our license fee after the constitutional amendment rendered us legally unmarried again. And then five years ago she died and I became the first registered domestic partner for which Washington County had to process next-of-kin paperwork.

    Each time it became possible for us to marry in a new place, we got more hopeful that someday all the extra hassle wouldn’t be necessary any longer. We each carried a folder of papers everywhere we went: living will, medical directives, copies of the most authoritative marriage certificate from our collection, and the all-important power of attorney. We knew that even with all that, my ability to be her medical advocate rested on the whim of hospital staff and could be denied at any point. It happened to plenty of others, but never to us while she was alive. We were lucky. Now I can imagine a day that nobody will have to rely on that luck.

    I thank everyone who has continued working all these years to show people that the sky will not fall when people can marry whoever they choose. And all happiness to the many new couples. May you have years and years to enjoy your newfound freedoms.

  30. says

    Is it really better if a referendum or elected officials instituted this change? What would stop people from changing their mind at some point in the future and changing it back? It would be nice in a way, because it would make it quite clear that the majority, at least those that take part in the process, back marriage equality, but a ruling such as this clearly indicates it is unconstitutional. They are going to have a hard time turning back the clock. When it comes to people’s rights, the backing of the majority is nice, but in the end I really do give a damn what they think.

  31. nich says


    I took the comment how you took it as well. The first sentence of Alverant’s comment@11 could be interpreted more charitably, but something about the last sentence or two made it sound like they think gay marriage ought to happen on a time table that makes the homophobes more comfortable. Gay marriage is sorta like introducing your kids to a prospective step-parent. We can’t spring it on Junior until he is comfortable with the idea or he might throw a fit! But this late in the game, fuck that. You have people who are suffering real legal consequences as they wait for homophobes to come around to something they probably aren’t coming around to any time soon. Junior has had a enough time to get used to the idea that mommy isn’t going back to daddy.

    And frankly, I don’t like the idea that it would be better if gay marriage happened because it was granted by referendum rather than a judge ruling it exists whether my bible thumping neighbor likes it or not. It lends credence to the idea that gay rights are up for a vote and only exist at the whims of the populace.

  32. nich says

    Now if a state wants to take the time to show the world they are not majority homophobe by voting to officially remove these laws from their books, sorta like Alabama finally getting rid of its anti-miscegenation laws in 2000*, great, but to say it is somehow better than a judge doing it peeves me.

    *Albeit with FORTY percent voting to keep it on the books, but still…

  33. greg hilliard says

    Crimson Clupeidae, we have room for you and any other sane, rational people. Bring some with you, OK?

  34. David Chapman says


    Albeit with FORTY percent voting to keep it on the books, but still…

    Bloody Hell.

  35. magistramarla says

    The judge’s opinion was downright poetic and made me smile.
    Numenaster @ 34 – Your post brought tears to my eyes.
    Your love for your deceased wife is apparent in what you wrote.
    No two people who love each other should have to go through so much simply to be considered their loved-one’s next-of-kin.
    I hope that soon no more couples will ever have to go through what you did.

  36. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    @Alverant #11:

    Why can’t there be elections?

    Because the majority can’t be trusted to actually increase civil rights, particularly for minority groups, hence why so many states have laws banning same-sex marriage. How many voters would recognize the Bill of Rights, much less vote to approve it? I can imagine even gun lovers getting suspicious over that “well regulated Militia” part of the 2nd–that’s a slippery slope to big government!

  37. =8)-DX says

    I’ve just read the whole opinion. It a strong one-sided opinion (of course), while still bringing up and responding to all the main points/objections. To quote:

    the defendants concede that Oregon’s marriage laws banning same-gender marriage are unconstitutional and legally indefensible, but state they are legally obligated to enforce the laws until this court declares the laws unconstitutional.

    He goes through all the issues, deferring hightened scrutiny to future decisions of the SC, mentioning however that basic scrutiny is sufficient, since there is not legitimate state interest to ban marriage for anyone.

    The opinion is a great read, fair in all legal points while acknowledging the reality of gay and lesbian families, parents, community. In some points I thought it could have gone further, but it was correct to a fault, and without significant bias.

    The part at the end that got me was here:

    On a darker level, that same worldview led to an environment of cruelty, violence, and self-loathing. It was but 1986 when the United States Supreme Court justified, on the basis of a millennia of moral teaching, the imprisonment of gay men and lesbian women who engaged in consensual sexual acts. [..] Even today I am reminded of the legacy that we have bequeathed today’ s generation when my son looks dismissively at the sweater I bought him for Christmas and, with a roll of his eyes, says: “dad that is so gay.”

    I think he gets it.

  38. PDX_Greg says

    A great day for all citizens of Oregon. It is generally acknowledged that an election held here today would go the correct way anyway, but now that ridiculous expense is not needed, thanks to a judge who recognizes that sexual orientation does not in any way serve as a basis for determining who is a worthwhile person, and who is deserving of rights.

    Numenaster @ 34, I’m so sorry. We as a state owed you and your departed wife much more than both of you received. Some consequences of ignorance can never be undone.

  39. neverjaunty says

    Numenaster @34: I am so sorry.

    People musing about ‘but why did it have to be courts’ need to go back and review that whole three branches of government, checks and balances thing from basic Civics.

  40. mirrorfield says

    I personally find this sort of “judicial legislation by decree” to be counterproductive in regards of minority relations, arrogant and profoundly undemocratic.
    Note: This is not any sort of condemnation of the issue in question itself.

    In the end, you can only show the door to people and they must themselves walk through it. You (very, very fortunately) cannot force people to think in certain way. You have to persuade them and, in the end, wait for “biological solution” with old geezers whose thinking is too ossified to change.

    In general, recall your own reactions to court-mandated prayer. Now think what would your opinion be if you knew that most people opposed it, but a vocal minority “On a Mission From God(tm)” had managed to persuade enough judges to go against the will of the people?

    Given the human nature and given the previous, these sorts of judicial fiats generate tremendous ill will both towards judiciary and minorities themselves, seriously polarizing public opinion. Instead of letting the old embers of hate to die out quietly, we are adding more fuel and blowing into them.

  41. diby sursch says

    Alverant, because they tried elections and they lost. So after the people rejected it by vote, these fascists used the courts to overturn it. It’s happening all across the country. We aren’t a democracy anymore. The state makes our decisions for us. It’s tyranny.

  42. Ichthyic says

    Ok, now that Dibsy has escaped the assylum, I vote banhammer.

    no way does this place need a replacement for Pilty.

    dibsy… stay in your cage where you belong.

  43. Ichthyic says

    The state makes our decisions for us. It’s tyranny.

    that word… it doesn’t mean what you think it means, you racist fuckwit.

  44. diby sursch says

    Just curious about this Pilty fellow I keep hearing about. Was he a Catholic or a Protestant?

  45. says



    Looked in the mirror?

    Alverant, because they tried elections and they lost. So after the people rejected it by vote, these fascists used the courts to overturn it. It’s happening all across the country. We aren’t a democracy anymore.

    So, how would you feel if a majority voted to dissolve all catholic marriages and ban catholics from marrying? After all being catholic is, unlike being non-straight, a life-style choice. I mean, if all the non-catholics in the USA decide that this is right it must be so, right? Or would that be different again because of catholic?

  46. playonwords says

    @ 53 diby – no Pilty was a twonk with an added measure prat, a bit like you really

    But onto much more important things

    Numenaster – I’m so sorry your wife missed this and I am so sorry that you lost your love {{hugs}}

  47. Don Quijote says

    @diby sursch

    Doesn’t matter what religión he was, he was a cabronazo just like you.

  48. says

    I’ve been rather ignoring Diby — as long as he stayed in Thunderdome, I figured he was quarantined. I just reviewed his history, though…and Jebus, what a bigot.

    He won’t be comin’ round here no more.

  49. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @=8)-DX #44

    It was but 1986 when the United States Supreme Court justified, on the basis of a millennia of moral teaching, the imprisonment of gay men and lesbian women who engaged in consensual sexual acts.

    WHAT!? For fuck sake. I always find it incredibly disheartening when I learn just how fucking backwards supposedly “enlightened”, “First World” countries were just a few decades ago. I mean for fuck sake, that was only 4 years before I was born!

  50. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @Diby Sursch #50

    The state makes our decisions for us. It’s tyranny.

    No, that’s government. Moron.

    I know he’s gone, but I couldn’t let the stupidity of that statement slide past.

  51. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    Just curious about this Pilty fellow I keep hearing about. Was he a Catholic or a Protestant?

    Why the fuck would that amtter? *scratches head*

  52. omnicrom says

    FWIW, diby has been droning on and on in the Dome about the evils of protestantism and the virtues of catholicism.

    More specifically diby has unilaterally classified everything they agree with as “Catholic” and everything they disagree with as “Protestant” or “Puritan”. Quoth diby “everyone knows atheists are protestants. Don’t pretend like you don’t know that”. Similarly Bill Donohue isn’t Catholic in the dibyverse, he is a “puritan fascist”. It’s all very head-scratching stuff.

    Of course what’s not head-scratching at all is diby’s flagrant bigotry. When you start by saying the Spanish Inquisition was justified because of the creeping terror of Muslims and Jews you make clear certain things about yourself.

  53. says

    I think it’s sad that gay marriage bans are even considered, so it’s bad that it had to go to court. However, it’s a good thing we had the court there to prevent the government from giving into mob rule anarchy and the winds of fashion. The legislature did a horrible thing by imposing limits on a minority’s rights just because an arbitrary and amoral course of action had popular support. The courts acted as a check, maintaining the precedent that people have rights no matter how unpopular they are. If the courts weren’t there, we’d all have reason to fear the unbridled tyranny of an unprincipled mob might someday turn against us. That fear would encourage rigid conformity and kill all the freedoms and benefits of a diverse society, ultimately to everyone’s detriment.

    I don’t believe in electing judges because it makes them so much more vulnerable to the appeal of the mob.

  54. says

    Conservative activist and rabid fool, D’Souza, has pled guilty (not to being a rabid fool, unfortunately):

    The nation’s campaign-finance laws aren’t exactly stringent. Thanks in large part to conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court, the system is woefully lax, making it difficult to actually run afoul of the law.

    But right-wing provocateur Dinesh D’Souza, best known for his activism and racially charged rhetoric, stood accused of breaking the law anyway. As Rachel reported in January, D’Souza was charged with using straw donors to make illegal third party donations to a candidate for Senate in 2012. According to prosecutors, D’Souza encouraged others to contribute to a candidate and then reimbursed those donors for the contributions – in effect, using others to exceed campaign-finance limits.

    After the charges were initially filed, D’Souza insisted he’d done nothing wrong. Today, D’Souza changed his mind. […]

    In a statement, D’Souza’s attorney said, “Mr. D’Souza agreed to accept responsibility for having urged two close associates to make contributions of $10,000 each to the unsuccessful 2012 Senate campaign of Wendy Long and then reimbursing them for their contributions.”

    It’s not yet clear what kind of criminal penalty, if any, the far-right personality will face as a result of his guilty plea. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 23. […]


  55. says

    Whoops, I posted the D’Souza info in the wrong thread. Sorry. I’ll hasten over to the Lounge and post it there. Then I think I’ll sit down and drink some grog. I obviously need a break.

  56. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    In general, recall your own reactions to court-mandated prayer. Now think what would your opinion be if you knew that most people opposed it, but a vocal minority “On a Mission From God(tm)” had managed to persuade enough judges to go against the will of the people?

    Mirrorfield, you simply don’t have any basic understanding of the constitution, constitutional government, or the contractarianism upon which all modern government is based. It’s appalling that we can get students through public schools without learning this, but it’s also unfortunately very, very common.

    This is NOT an issue of majority vs minority. This is an issue of majority vs majority.

    Stop peddling disingenuous nonsense.

    @Nerd, #42:

    Over half the voting public doesn’t know the bill of rights.

    Hrm. I take issue with this, despite the factual accuracy.

    Your link describes more than 1/2 the voting public being unable to recognize a description of the bill of rights when it stares them in the face.

    I’m betting more than 90% of lawyers don’t even *know* the bill of rights, not even in the sense of being able to paraphrase accurately the rights contained therein.

    Frankly, I’d be shocked if more than 20% of people reading this thread could correctly guess how many rights are specifically enumerated in the 1st amendment, and I’ve already strongly hinted at that in this comment. Having 20% of people reading this thread actually list all those rights from memory might be so stunning as to force me to leave a comment of less than 25 words in length.

    @numenaster, 34

    I’m sorry for your loss. I was there with you on the multnomah country registrar’s office grounds. I was at the courthouse. I formally witnessed the marriage between two truly dear friends, signing the document. I informally witnessed thousands more marry. My rabbi was one of the volunteer officiants marrying anyone who stepped up.

    Now I am here to hear your story of life, love, and loss.

    We may not know each other, but I’m glad that we were able to share some significant days.

    My best to you,


    PS… is that a wedding photo as your avatar?

  57. says

    This is good news for L and I, although we’re not certain what officializing things would do to our benefits (such as they are), so we’re holding off until we work that out. L is also talking about having another celebration w/family and friends.

    I’m so sorry. All my condolences.
    I can reliably summarize them, although I tend to lose track of the delineations between the 6th/7th, as both relate to trials. The First guarantees 4 or 5 rights, depending on how you parse it; Press and Speech can be construed as the same right or separate ones, and the First also covers freedom of religion, assembly, and petition to the government for redress of grievances.
    2:Militia/bearing arms
    3:No Quartering soldiers
    4:No unreasonable search/seizure
    5:No self incrimination
    6:Right to speedy trial, assorted rights related to said trial
    7:Right to jury trial for some class of civil cases, I think. Not certain. Appears to have a lot of overlap w/6
    8: No cruel/unusual punishments
    9:There are other rights, not mentioned here
    10:The state governments can also do stuff not specifically enumerated here.

  58. Numenaster says

    Thanks to everyone for the kind words. Today is definitely better than yesterday was for me, and you folks are part of why. Xanax also has its role.

    Crip Dyke, that’s not a wedding photo, it’s me juggling at TAM 8 with a friend who is quite happily married to a lovely lady who took the picture. I wish I had met you back then–perhaps I’ll get a chance someday now, since I’m still in the area.