Thursday, January 29, 2015

Q Toon: Contempt of Court

In discussing last week's "Ground Hog Day" cartoon, I mentioned that state lawmakers were proposing new anti-marriage laws in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality.

The Texas legislature is considering a bill by Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Waller Co.) to garnish the salary of any government official who issues a marriage license to a same sex couple or in any way respects the rights of such a couple married out of state.

In Oklahoma, well-known homophobe Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) has vomited forth bills that states that “No employee of this state and no employee of any local governmental entity shall officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license and continue to receive a salary, pension or other employee benefit at the expense of taxpayers of this state.”

Kern's bills are on such constitutionally shaky ground that they include a provision demanding that state courts automatically dismiss any legal challenge to them. (Why, if only Obamacare or McCain-Feingold had had such a provision!)
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Jan 29, 2015
Kern's fellow representative Todd Russ (R-Cordell) tries another tack around the court with a bill prohibiting government officials from issuing any marriage licenses -- and nobody but "an ordained or authorized preacher or minister of the Gospel, priest or other ecclesiastical dignitary of any denomination" would be allowed to perform marriages and issue "marriage certificates." If you're agnostic or atheist couple, you're shit out of luck (but then, living in sin shouldn't bother you anyway.) You can bet that there's something in the bill's language to disallow certificates of same-sex couples even if signed by clergy.

When I initially proposed this week's cartoon idea to the editors at Q Syndicate, I had the TV host wondering whether there was something unconstitutional about the laws proposed by my fictional state lawmaker, Jim Beautron (R-Menda City). I realized that I needed to take a different tack when I read that Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is pushing a constitutional amendment prohibiting American courts from overturning anti-marriage laws.

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) likes Cruz's idea. On the flip side of the coin, presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee (R-AR) thinks states should just give American courts the finger and ignore any ruling that they don't like. I guess if you think that the Constitution is irrelevant, why bother amending it?

Of course, I know that these elected officials (R-Wherever) don't think the Constitution is irrelevant. They still believe that the Constitution explicitly prohibits whatever President Obama does from the milk he pours on his breakfast cereal to the pajamas he wears to bed. And it will be no different if Hilary Clinton is president.

But these you-can't-challenge-my-law provisions and let's-pretend-courts-don't-matter arguments are pretty clear signs that the Republicans making them know they don't have a legal leg to stand on.

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