The Utah Same-Sex Marriage Decision in Two Editorials:
On Friday, in a surprise decision that made the bones of Brigham Young reach for his scalping knife, Judge Robert Shelby ruled that Utah's 2004 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. He did so without a trial because, as his decision makes clear, why the fuck bother? Is there really anything new to add to the argument? Does someone have evidence that gay dudes marrying is a secret conspiracy to castrate the straights? No? Then, to paraphrase Shelby, "Go fuck yourselves instead of fucking with the rights of others."
County clerks around the state started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and there was much muff-diving and cock-gobbling in celebration, especially after Sunday, when a federal appeals court refused to issue a stay of the decision.
It's all still up in the air, with hearing going on now to get Shelby to stay his judgment pending appeal, but two editorials in two Salt Lake City area newspapers pretty much lay out what's at stake.
Pounding the ground like a Fox "news" talking points-spouting gorilla, the Deseret News sets the tone for the anger at Shelby: "The essence of judicial tyranny is when a single, unelected federal judge declares the laws and constitution of an entire state null and void with an opinion clothed in the barest of legal precedent." It's probably useless to note that the Deseret News was cheering for the unelected judges on the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
But the most mind-blowing line is a logical twist that's the rhetorical equivalent of dislocating your hips so you can give yourself a rim job: "Gays and lesbians are not deprived of any rights they are due in a liberal democracy when a state, like Utah, through open democratic processes insists that marriage is between a man and a woman." You got that? You are not deprived of rights as long as people vote to deprive you of rights. Somewhere in Alabama, an old white man is looking at his fields and thinking, "If I could just get people to vote for it..."
Meanwhile, over at the Salt Lake Tribune, the angels of rationality are offering the idea that Utah should shut the fuck up and join the 21st century. They even couch it in economic terms, which is gonna confuse the fuck out of some conservatives: "Utah may be unique among states, but it’s still a state. If the governor wants to see real chaos, it would be a return to pre-Civil War America where states can define their own rights for individuals. Utahns work very hard to attract out-of-state workers and visitors, and that work is seriously undermined if we tell them they won’t have all their due-process rights when they get here."
First of all, "Utahns"? Huh, never knew that.
Secondly, the editorial is responding to its governor and the entire states' rights argument, that bullshit "let's let states determine what's best for them" thing you hear so often, which means, really, "As long as we can still discriminate, you go right ahead and become neo-Gomorrahs." Unfortunately, the U.S. Constitution won't let you do that. The Tribune offers the obvious but not stated enough counter-argument: We're a goddamned nation, and time moves forward. You may need to play catch-up, but you cannot say, "Fuck it. I'm heading back to the 1950s."
And that goes no matter what happens with the Utah marriage decision today.