IT IS SO ORDERED

Equality and the Supreme Court, Rich Paschall

While the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage was expected by some, it was a total shock to others.  Nevertheless, people took to the street to celebrate their activism.  Many had demonstrated in front of the Supreme Court in recent weeks. People carried signs and waved rainbow flags.  Politicians made speeches about what the Supreme Court should do.  There were articles and editorials.  The rhetoric on the topic hit new highs (or lows, depending where you are) and social media exploded with cute (or not so cute) graphics (internet memes) in support of one side or the other.  None of this mattered, nor should it have.

In the Spring of 2013 when two landmark cases were about to be decided (Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 12-144 and Windsor v. United States, No. 12-307), the Sunday Night Blog offered an opinion on another important case U.S. Supreme Court v. Public Opinion.  The first case dealt with California’s Proposition 8 which eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.  The court could have side-stepped that one easily, and in a way, they did.  They ruled that those who had brought the case had no legal standing as they were not harmed.  In essence, they told the Ninth Circuit “the appeal to the Ninth Circuit should have been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction” as there was no harm to those who brought the appeal.  Same sex marriage resumed in California.  Interestingly, Judge Kennedy dissented.

In the other case Edie Winsor, whose marriage to Thea Spyer was recognized in the state of New York, found that her marriage was not recognized by the federal government when her partner died.  She lost everything for her lack of being able to inherit from her partner.  This was due to the highly controversial Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  It seems the federal government could not declare on one hand that whoever a state recognizes as married is married, and then say it does not apply to all people. DOMA was a clear violation of states’ rights as well as civil rights. Here Judge Kennedy wrote for the 5-4 majority, stating  “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”  While the ruling tossed out DOMA, it left gay marriage to the states.

Taken April 28, day of oral arguments to Supreme Court, CC License

Taken April 28, day of oral arguments to Supreme Court, CC License

In the court of Public Opinion, the people have no standing when it comes to the Supreme Court.  It does not matter how many people show up with rainbow flags or protest signs.  It does not matter how many politicians or activists  make speeches from the court-house steps.  It does not matter how many presidential candidates come out for or against the issue.  In fact, it is likely few candidates actually read the case or the court’s ruling.  The movement of public opinion in favor of gay marriage should actually have nothing to do with the court’s opinion.

The Supreme Court is there to rule on the law as it applies to the Constitution.  They are not there to rule in favor of shifting opinions.  They are not there to write laws.  They are not there to grant new freedoms.  They are there to hear how the case before them is to be considered in light of the law of the land, The United States Constitution.

In the case of Obergefell v. Hodges (14-556), Director Ohio Department of Health and similar cases from three other states, the justices were asked to take on the matter of same-sex marriage as being protected under the Fourteenth Amendment in all states. It became clear that any ruling by the Supreme Court would impact same-sex marriage nation wide.  So the question became, does the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution mean same-sex marriage should be recognized and legal everywhere?  When the court took on these cases as one, there was no opportunity to side step the issue.  The justices had to decide two fundamental questions.  Does the 14th amendment require states to license same-sex marriages?  Does the 14th amendment require states to recognize those married in other states?

The debate outside was not important to the court case.  The important debate was inside the Supreme Court.  What was said? These debates are not held in secret and in fact, you may hear the oral arguments of question one here and question two here. If you have the time to listen, you will hear the often debated issue of the definition of marriage being raised.  Is the court redefining marriage?

In the end, the court is not changing institutions on us or rewriting the law, they are strictly dealing with the protections of the 14th amendment.  Justice Kennedy again wrote for the 5-4 majority.  His opening line of the decision in fact stresses the law of our land is being upheld: “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.”

But is the court working against the writers of the Constitution?  Do they have the right to offer an opinion that takes away the right to define marriage at the state level?  Are they working within the framework of their assigned duties.  Again, Justice Kennedy for the majority: “The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.”

So, they addressed it head on.  Many will celebrate while many, who have not read or considered the legal matters here, will bemoan the state of our nation and the Supreme Court.  Chief among the complainants is the Chief Justice himself: “Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law. Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept.”  To call the majority of the justices “five lawyers” shows a level of disrespect this decision is likely to see for decades to come.  The battle for equality will continue.

SECOND OPINION VS. KNOWING EVERYTHING

You’re probably shocked to know that there is another opinion other than mine which might be worth hearing. It turns out, I’m imperfect. I hate to admit it, but there it is. Life marches on, but consider the alternative.

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conversation 1: THE THERMOSTAT

My thermostat no longer works. It started with menopause, but didn’t end there. Although my husband is … a man … and not subject to the full Monte of mind and body altering experiences that this special Time of Life engenders, he seems to have a broken thermostat too. Apparently it’s another of the many fascinating things that happen as we age. Neither of us is sure if it’s hot, cold — or us.

version A:

“Is it hot or is it me?”

“It’s hot.”

“Oh, good. I’ll turn on the fan.”

VERSION B:

“Is it hot or is it me?”

“It’s not hot. It’s a bit chilly.”

“Maybe it’s hot and you are chilly.”

“Possibly, but you asked. All I can tell you is what I feel.”

“I’m turning on the fan.”

“I’m putting on a sweatshirt.”

You can see how important it is to get a second opinion.

CONVERSATION 2: What?

“What did he say?”

“What did who say?”

“The guy, the one with the hat.”

“The guy on the left?”

“No he’s not there anymore. The one who had the gun. Before.”

“They all have guns.”

“Oh, never mind.”

Aside from these minor details, I know everything. Okay, nearly everything. Ask my husband. He will tell you. “She knows everything. Ask her.”

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015-9: BITE OF THE SPIDER

SERENDIPITY PHOTO STORY PROMPT

WEDNESDAY – June 10, 2015 #9

Welcome, again, to Frisbee Wednesday. Today I have wonderful pictures of my favorite local dam. And a story to go with it. Two of the best pictures were taken by Garry.

You may write about any of these pictures. Or any of your pictures or someone else’s picture. Write a little, write a lot. At your pleasure.

The picture for this week is by Garry Armstrong, who is coincidentally, the subject of today’s story.

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Please add your own ping back (links) or put your link in a comment, then link back to this post so other people can find you and me. My effort for this week follows.

BITE OF THE SPIDER
Garry as John Ford

Garry as John Ford

Garry has been feeling unwell. Something happened and it started with a bug bite. My first guess would be a brown recluse spider, but according to the authorities, that’s impossible because “they don’t live here.” We do have black widows … even the experts admit that … and giant wolf spiders (let us hope I never encounter one because I would probably die of fright) …  but no brown recluses.

Whatever it was, the bite was painless and the culprit got away. The experts get to retain plausible deniability for their contention “it didn’t really happen.”

Only the spider — if it was a spider — knows for sure, and he isn’t talking. Yet.

Garry started to feel not-so-good shortly after Kaity’s graduation. He was energetic during the event, the picture of a proud grandfather with field producer experience.

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The day after The Big Event, a different story emerged. His left leg hurt. Shooting pains. He was limping. Both of us assumed (never assume) this was because he’d pushed too hard the previous day.

That wasn’t it, because it got steadily worse. On Thursday, while towelling off post-shower, he noticed something nasty on the back of his left calf, down near the ankle. He showed me.

Garry at Manchaug

It was an ugly wound. Two areas affected, the larger one had two big gray-blue, oddly shaped blisters surrounded by dark red inflammation plus a smaller version lower on the ankle. I lanced the blisters, cauterized everything with surgical iodine, slathered it with antibiotic ointment and bandaged him like a wounded soldier on the battlefield.

He said he felt better. Friday passed, but on Saturday morning, I didn’t like the way it looked. It seemed redder and the area of redness had expanded. I called the doctor. Drove him there.. Brought him home, then went out to the pharmacy for antibiotics. It was the first time I had driven since before the heart surgery in March 2014.

Just a day later — Sunday — the weather being fine and Garry feeling a little better, I suggested an airing. Manchaug. I’d drive. It would be low impact.

The shot for which life and limb were imperiled.

The shot for which life and limb were imperiled.

I should have known better.

I left with Garry, my husband, but arrived in Manchaug with director John Ford. Squatting in the tall grass to get that great shot of the dam with the wild daisies in the foreground, leaving me wondering if he’d be able to get up — as I pondered how many biting insects were hiding in that grass. I would have thought he’s had enough of getting bit. But it’s not about me. Who am I to keep an artist from his moment?

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The doctor was worried about Lyme. Although I saw no evidence of a tick, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t bitten by one or several. Ticks drop off when they’ve completed their meal and Lyme is endemic to this region.

I’m counting on it not being Lyme. Or anything serious. Because the maestro needs his space — and I need the maestro.

HAPPY EVER AFTER – MOSTLY

HAPPILY EVER AFTER? GIVE OR TAKE A LIE OR TWO.

We’ve coming up on anniversary number 25, which is a big one. We have plans. These plans involve baseball. And a bit of traveling. I digress because I wanted to make sure I include all the facts and nothing but the facts.

A note from a long and much-married woman: No marriage is happy all the time. There are fights, times when one of you is snippy, snarky, unhappy, frustrated and you take whatever is bothering you out on your partner. Marriage is a never-ending negotiation to achieve perfection. Finding perfection is impossible, but trying to achieve it can be fun.


I was 18 when I married the first time. It was my senior year. I was working at the college radio station. Jeff was the Station Manager. Garry, my once and future husband, was Jeff’s second-in-command — the Program Director. The two were also best friends. Most of the people I came to consider real friends worked there, too. We were having a great time doing weird, creative stuff. Life as a permanent party … or so it seemed.

Gar and Mar in Dublin 2000

Aside from the stuff we did at the station, we held an annual Fall of Sauron Day party — scripted, costumed, with special effects. We were young, healthy, could party all night, yet rise up and go the work the following morning. Looking barely the worse for wear. Ah, youth.

I married Jeff in August 1965. I spent the next year finishing my B.A. and having my spine remodeled, so it was a few years before I got on with life. Owen Garry was born in May 1969, Garry being his godfather. Fast forward through a non-acrimonious divorce from Jeff. I later realized if you just give up everything and walk away, it’s easy to remain amicable. It’s also something you will probably regret — eventually.

Off to Israel I went with The Kid. Not too long thereafter, I married in Israel. The less said about this mistake, the better. In 1983, a state visit from the ex and (now) current husband (they rode together), showing up right in time for war in Lebanon. It ruined our plans to visit Mt. Hermon and the Galilee, but created great anecdotes which Garry and I tell after dinner around the fire. I have one (fuzzy) picture of me, sandwiched between Jeff and Garry, all arm-in-arm, the Dead Sea behind us. The picture was taken by husband number 2 (the one I don’t want to talk about).

August 1987 – THE RETURN

I’m back! Garry and I are an item. Having been apart for so long brought us closer together than we’d imagined possible. The previous decade hadn’t dealt kindly with either of us and we saw one another with new eyes. I think we’d always been a little in love, but there were an endless number of reasons why it wasn’t the right time to do something about it.  Now, shortly after my Israeli divorce from husband number 2 was finished, Garry and I got married.

Here’s the back story. Give or take a lie or two.

I’d been away for two weeks in California on business. I had come back early because I got sick, came down with the flu. Just as well, because an earthquake — the one that stopped the World Series — occurred the following day and if I’d stayed, I’d have been crushed under the collapsed highway.

Garry was glad to see me … until I coughed. Then he wasn’t so glad. If you want to know the definition of “mixed emotions,” it’s a man overwhelmed with joy to see the woman he loves — but knowing the first kiss will include influenza. The definition of true love? He kissed me anyway. And got the flu.

So after we both stopped coughing, Garry took me out to dinner. He was nervous. He was driving and we went around Leverett Circle at least half a dozen times. He kept missing the turn off. Meanwhile, he was explaining how he’d had a conversation with his pal about real estate, and how prices were down, and how maybe we should buy something. And live together. Like maybe … forever? Was forever okay with me?

So having listened for a pretty long time, I said: “So let me see if I’ve got this right. You want to buy a house? Move in and live together? Forever? As in married?”

“All of that,” he said, and drove around the loop one more time.

“I don’t know about you,” I said, “But I definitely need a drink.”

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The following morning, I asked Garry if I could tell my friends. He said “Tell them what?”

“That we’re getting married,” I said.

“We are?”

“You said we should buy a house and live together forever.”

“Is that a proposal?”

“It is where I come from,” I assured him. Wouldn’t you think that was a proposal? I had to remind him about buying a ring, too but eventually, he got into the groove, realized all he had to do was tell me what he wanted and show up in a tux and he’d be a married guy. Piece of cake.

We got married 6 months later having known each other a mere 26 years.

I declined to have my first ex-husband as best man at my third wedding. We did, however, have the “real” reception at his house. There was the official one at the church, but the fun event, with all the friends, music, wine and sharing … that one was over at the old house where I used to live with Jeff.

Garry and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary next September. When you find the right one, time flies.

LOVE IN OLDER WAYS

Love is a big bouquet of dark red roses on my birthday and a WRITER sweatshirt that I said I wanted.

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Love is hauling my tired old butt into the kitchen every night to make a tempting meal, even though the last thing I want to do is cook. Because he won’t eat if I don’t prepare dinner.

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Love is remembering the great times we had and being satisfied because we did what we wanted and enjoyed it completely.

Love is watching movies you don’t much like and sports you barely understand so you can have something to talk about.

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Love is him learning the new geeky computer-speak ’cause if he doesn’t, he can’t talk to my in my language.

Love is driving me all over the place because I’m not up to driving anymore.

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Love is realizing how ridiculous life is and laughing about it together.

Love is knowing you’re in the right place with the right guy. And being smart enough to realize how unbelievably lucky you are to have this man, who loves you, in your life.

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Love is being totally fed up with everything and still being happy because we are together and that’s enough.

(The dogs are great, too.)


I Want to Know What Love Is

SNOWPOCALYPSE

Although almost every television outlet has adopted “Snowmageddon” as the correct noun to use when describing the end of the world by snow, personally, I favor “Snowpocalypse.” Call me old-fashioned, but when I look out on the Siberian landscape we call home, I think apocalyptic thoughts. I think “We’re will be trapped here. We will die and the dogs will eat us.”

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Garry and I discussed it last night. It was a loud conversation, not because of any disagreement, but because he had removed his hearing aids.

“We have to get better,” he suggested, referring to the Cold That Will Not Go Away.

“Or we could die,” I pointed out.

“Thanks for that image,” he said.

That was when he suggested the dogs would probably eat us. I thought it possible Owen might notice our non-communicative state before we fully rotted. If not, then the smell.

“Also,” I pointed out, “We might not get better, and we might NOT die. We could just stay like this. Forever. Coughing, wheezing, sneezing. While the snow turns glacial and consumes the house and us with it.”

“It sucks,” said Garry.

“Definitely sucks,” I agreed.

Then we went to bed. To sleep, perchance to dream. With the hope that morning would bring a better day.


The Daily Prompt: Play Lexicographer – Create a new word and explain its meaning and etymology.

TO CHANGE A LIFE

On my way out the door to the doctor. This is obviously a rerun, but I think it’s appropriate and no time today to do an original. See you all later!!


I had been married about a year. It was probably the thousandth recital of my tale of woe. How I had been beaten, abused, molested, bullied from my earliest memories until my jailbreak at age 17.

That day, my husband looked at me and said: “You’ve told me this before. Often. I hear you. It was bad. Your father belongs in jail. But you don’t live there anymore.It’s time to move on. Let it go. Stop dwelling in the past. Go forward without all that crap hanging all over you.”

the doctor is in

There were a lot of ways I could have answered. I might have gotten angry. I could have pointed out he could take his own advice. But I didn’t. I could have told him it isn’t so easy, letting go of the past, dumping baggage. I didn’t say that, either.

What I said was: “You’re right. I’ll try to do that.”

I did try and eventually, succeeded. I can’t say I never looked back. I looked back plenty. But I never went back into those bad old memories and dwelt there. I never again let those memories dominate me. Getting completely free of all the awful stuff took long years. Half a lifetime and then some. While I worked it out, I didn’t let it control me. It was a piece of advice I needed to hear and heed.

I give to anyone who might need it, the same advice. In the end, no matter how horrible your childhood, no matter how traumatic your life was, unless you want the people who hurt you, molested you, mistreated you, or abused you to rule you, your only choice is to let go and move on.

There is no other way. When you are deep in the morass of painful memories, full of rage and pain at those who hurt you, the suffering you are enduring isn’t hurting them at all. You are hurting only yourself. Haven’t you been hurt enough? Why grant the bad guys power over you? Why would you want to do that?

No one needs to tell me it’s easier said than done. I know that. It wasn’t easy, but I got it done. So can you.

Sometimes, I get to give people who need it, a bit of good advice. That’s my little gift. Maybe I help. Someone, somewhere.


Be the Change – What change, big or small, would you like your blog to make in the world?