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GOP on Sidelines While Judges, President, Pressler, Weiland Promote Marriage Equality

My Republican neighbors like to complain about "activist judges" and President Obama's executive orders.

But when it comes to gay rights, these conservative complainers should take a chill pill. By overturning gay-marriage bans and extending benefits to same-sex couples, judges and the President are saving Republicans' necks:

One Democrat makes a smart point to me this morning: In many ways, executive actions and the courts are saving Republicans from themselves on gay rights. A lot of the work is getting done without them having to lift a finger. They are increasingly going mute on the issue in the face of announcements such as the one promising executive action to end gay workplace discrimination [Greg Sargent, "Another Test for Republicans on Gay Rights," Washington Post: Plum Line, 2014.06.20].

Republicans deserve no plaudits for standing on the sidelines instead of actively obstructing civil rights, maybe just fewer rotten tomatoes. More praise goes to brave politicians like Independent Larry Pressler, who in the midst of running for Senate in blood-red South Dakota, filed an amicus curiae brief this week in Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard, the lawsuit seeking to overturn South Dakota's same-sex marriage ban:

Pressler Amicus Curiae Rosenbrahn v Daugaard 20140618 p1 Pressler Amicus Curiae Rosenbrahn v Daugaard 20140618 p2

Pressler expressed similar moral and practical sentiments prior to his candidacy. In April 2013, Pressler argued publicly that forbidding gay marriage could cause South Dakota to lose Ellsworth Air Force Base and other economic development opportunities. He consistently defended that position after he declared his Senate candidacy when he opposed the vile gay-discrimination SB 128 floated in the South Dakota Legislature in February 2014. And as we see above, Pressler says that civil marriage is a "fundamental right" and that conservatives ought to be all about protecting civil rights and the equal opportunity they provide for every citizen.

Democrat Rick Weiland has also vocally and fearlessly supported marriage equality throughout his campaign. Weiland and Pressler deserve credit for their active support of civil rights. Their Republican opponents deserve derision for at best ignoring civil rights while the judges and President they deem evil do the work of equality for them.


  1. Jerry 2014.06.20

    Thanks to this blog post, the two senate candidates are getting the acknowledgement of that support. Kudos to them both as they are in the main stream of what thinking adults have regarding the rights of all of our people.
    The Presbyterian's, of which there are many here in South Dakota, don't seem to be having a problem with it.
    Of course, Rounds is a Catholic and has his bishop around his neck like an anvil and Howie is lion poacher, so that is the way that is.

  2. Tim 2014.06.20

    Democrats do a lot of heavy lifting for republicans on a national level, I have no problem with that, somebody has to do it. I have always said dems should bring all of it to a vote before they lift it, that way there will be no mistake what republicans stand for.

  3. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.20

    I'm curious about what arguments Jackley plans to make in support of SD's same-sex marriage ban. If he makes the same arguments that other states have made and lost, what is the point of a South Dakota challenge?
    The good part of this argument is that there seems to be more and more mainstream Republicans coming to their senses and supporting gay marriage.
    Those that still support the SD ban are more caught up with labeling, is gay marriage marriage, or same-sex unions acceptable? Regardless what anyone chooses to call it, it will be universally accepted as gay marriage.

  4. Jerry 2014.06.20

    The Presbyterians are on a roll with directives in addition to gay marriage. They are standing up against Israel along with those who supply the means to them to ignore international law towards the Palestinians If I am not mistaken, I believe that Mike Rounds headed over yonder to Israel sometime back to get his road map walking papers for part of the 9 million he thinks he needs to smell clean.

    I have always believed that for real change to occur, you must have the clergy behind it to make it happen. Now only the republicans and Catholics and fundies are sitting on the fence watching a large religious denomination declare that there is enough hate and have the gumption to do something concrete about it. That should be a message to all of us.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.20

    Today President Obama extended the Family Medical Leave Act benefits to all 50 states, not just those that have sanctioned gay marriage.

    It seems that South Dakota Republicans would start to wise up and see the light, with each state that approves gay marriage or loses a gay marriage ban and President Obama's activism, this is a losing battle for them.

  6. Tim 2014.06.21

    RC, their radical base won't allow it. They let themselves get pulled so far to the right by the crazies they have no choice but to live with it now. Stuck until the elections.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.06.21

    Roger, for Marty, the only point of resisting the challenge is the technial fulfillment of his duties. He is hired to be the state's lawyer. When the state gets sued, he has to defend. I can't imagine he'll come up with any novel defense. As I've said before, I wouldn't be disappointed if, in this one case, he didn't do his job well.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.21

    Here's to Jackley doing an even worser job on the gay marriage ban than he did on GOED/Benda investigation.

  9. bearcreekbat 2014.06.22

    Cory, what about those AG's who have declined to defend their state's bans? These AG's claim to have objectively evaluated the legal landscape and have found that such defenses are without merit. Is it your view that an AG should simply defend whatever goofy provision his or her state has adopted without regard to the objective legal analysis? And since such a defense ultimately will cost the state not only taxpayer dollars to defend, but also will require the state to pay the other side's attorney fees and costs when the state loses, isn't that a factor?

    I like Marty and knew him before he became AG. I think he was an honest lawyer, but lately he seems to have placed his wise legal judgment on the back burner and has started doing whatever he apparently thinks is politically expedient in SD. Thus, I question the excuse you state for defending any state law that appears objectively invalid. As an extreme example, I doubt Marty would defend a new SD law setting up concentration camps for the homeless or food stamp recipients to be used to execute them as undesirables - is it your argument that he would be required by his oath of office to defend such egregiously unconstitutional laws? If not, then why should he defend anti-gay marriage laws, or laws that are unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade? And if you argue that such laws might be overturned, why would that not also apply to concentration camp type laws?

  10. Keith Pullman 2014.06.23

    There is no good reason to deny that we must keep evolving until an adult, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, monogamy or polyamory, race, or religion is free to marry any and all consenting adults. The limited same-gender freedom to marry is a great and historic step, but is NOT full marriage equality, because equality "just for some" is not equality. Let's stand up for EVERY ADULT'S right to marry the person(s) they love. Get on the right side of history!

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.06.23

    Consent is a tricky concept when wrapped into family dynamics. No Senate candidate in South Dakota is advocating consensual incest the way Mr. Pullman does, and I don't expect any Senate candidate to do so.

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