Monday, March 2, 2015

Nebraska gay marriage ruling brings out the ugly side of Gov. Pete Ricketts

During his campaign for governor, Pete Ricketts was relentlessly positive, smiling constantly through an avalanche of ads that only a scion of the $1.5 billion TD Ameritrade fortune could afford.
     The dirty work — the attack ads — were done by outsiders that Ricketts claimed not to know.
     Today, in a joint press conference with Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, Ricketts' mien matched what many have long suspected is his genuine nature.
     He was tunnel-minded, dismissive and relentlessly on point, by which we mean repetitive, as he had only one point.
     At times he looked just plain angry, presumably at the impertinance of Federal Judge Joseph Bataillon, who dared to sock it to a state which has been denying due process and/or equal protection to its gay couples for fifteen years, under the color of the law resulting from Initiative 416, which in 2000 inserted the following language into Nebraska's Constitution:
Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Nebraska. The uniting of two persons of the same sex in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar same-sex relationship shall not be valid or recognized in Nebraska.
     Ricketts' answers to questins about the dubious legality of Nebraska's so-called Defense of Marriage Act all were variations of this pronouncement:
The appropriate way to address this is through the constitutional process and that's the way we addressed this in 2000. We passed a constitutional amendment. It's the law of our state. And that's what we're going to uphold.
     And there was. The "A" word, used by Arrogant Asses the English-speaking world over.
     Ricketts may think that judicial review of laws which attract lawsuits like wet floors is not "appropriate" but judges aren't the only people who think the law he embraces, stinks.
     Ricketts may not think anyone else remembers the disdain for Initiative 416 among many thoughtful people at the time it was passed, but the Internet never forgets.
     Here's part of what the Omaha World-Herald, neither a fan of gay marriage 15 years ago nor now, said about Ricketts' beloved constitutional sop to bias, masquerading as guardianship of The Family.
Tuesday, October 17, 2000
The Problem of the Second Sentence

     ...Initiative 416 , if approved, would amend the Nebraska Constitution to say that only a male - female marriage would be valid, but the Orr - Ramsey statement ignores significant other issues pertaining to the initiative.
     Chief among those issues is what is becoming known as the problem of the second sentence.
     ...Civil unions would not be authorized. Domestic partnerships could not be established.
     ...Lawyers, in a Sunday World - Herald story, discussed a second question posed by the appearance of the initiative. Could the amendment, reflecting the punitive spirit of denying any accommodation to the targeted group, be used in court to attack contracts with which gays and lesbians attempted to secure protection for their relationships? Could an estranged parent barge into probate court, waving the amendment and demanding to break a will in which one partner attempted to make the other partner his heir?
     ...Any society that loses its respect for private contracts is a step closer to tyranny. That's something about which voters, no matter how they feel about homosexuality, ought to think deeply.
     We're not saying that people like Pete Ricketts embrace a small lurch toward tyranny. The state's biggest paper did it for us.

     Actually, it dissed 416 twice, fricasseeing it a few days later, in an op-ed endorsement (or lack thereof) recap:
Whether marriage, as an institution, ought to be opened to some combination other than a man and a woman is a legitimate cultural and, yes, religious concern. However, whether accommodations that have a similar legal effect should be perpetually banned without the opportunity to consider them in any future circumstances is another matter entirely. Opponents say this vastly overreaching proposal is motivated by bigotry. We would like to believe that it isn't true. But we sense from listening that, at least in some cases, it is true. 
 Hey, if the shoe fits, Governor, wear it.


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