Equal Under The Law, Ha!

According to Planetout, the 3rd U.S. Circuit court of Appeals ruled that it’s legal to discrminate against gays. The ruling reads, in part:

The court didn’t even rule on the merits of the case; it was dismissed out of hand. In effect, the court is saying that there is no legal protection for homosexuals. One hopes that the Supremes will overturn this dastardly ruling, but given that the current court has 5 Republican droogs on it who can be counted on to support anti-gay discrimination, fat fucking chance.

SDMB homophobes, don’t ever say again that existing laws protect gay people from losing their jobs because that’s a lie.

I can understand your feelings, but surely you must understand the basic principle that the court based its ruling on. A court cannot arbitrarily declare something to be illegal. Only Congress can do that. If Congress has not passed a law outlawing something, then it is legal, however repugnant you may find it. You may need to look for a legislative solution, rather then demand a judicial one.

Nonsense! If it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex, it follows that it is illegal to discriminate against sexual orientation, one being a subset of the other.

Yes, it would be nice if Congress would pass a law specifically outlawing anti-gay discrimination, but that will happen the same day pigs fly.

I beg to differ.

You would, wouldn’t you? :rolleyes:

Yeah! Because they haven’t been doing much since Diana Ross left. [sub]Okay, I’ll shut up now[/sub]

Then you have two options, IzzyR:

  1. Prove otherwise.

  2. Go away/shut up/recant the statement.

And as for courts not being allowed to declare something illegal (arbitrary, being a function partially of opinion, has little place in fact), did not the Supreme Court declare segregated schools to be illegal? http://www.nationalcenter.org/brown.html

Just a clarification. If you replace the word sex, with gender, then you are restate:

If it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender, it follows that it is illegal to discriminate against sexual orientation, one being a subset of the other.

IMO, sexual orientation is not a subset of gender. Irrespective of gender, one may have any of a set of sexual orientations.

BTW, also in my opinion, discrimination based on sexual orientation should be illegal. But sadly in most places it is not.

Sadly, I also are not so articulate

I dunno…ENDA’s been getting closer and closer to passage every year. I’m not saying it’ll happen this year or the next, but don’t give up hope.

And Izzy, the courts can decide that actions violate a constitutional right, or an action is already covered under existing law. In this case, the appeals court hasn’t done so, but it’s within its capabilities to do so.

I don’t really see how sexual orientation is a subset of gender. Just because I’m female doesn’t automatically mean I prefer having sex with men, or vice versa. Please prove me wrong if you can, but I just don’t get it.

And if I don’t reply today, it’s because I’m just getting off work and don’t really read the Dope anywhere else. I’ll see it tomorrow!

No. They declared them to be unconstitutional.

goboy, I’m not sure that this is a logical statement, since just about every possible combination of gender/sexual orientation exists.

What I’m saying is that the two are utterly unrelated, except in a statistical sense (i.e. I believe most people are heterosexual, therefore gender can be tied statistically to sexual orientation.)

None of which means that it’s any less of an unacceptable decision.

I also don’t understand the logic here. (And I’m behind you 100%, so don’t take this as an affront to your position.)

Depends on how hard we work for education.

I don’t see where the conclusion comes from that sexual orientation is a subset of gender. Do gay males belong to a different group that heterosexual males? I don’t think so. A male is a male. So on the basis of that, I have to essentially agree with what the court says; there is no law preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation, and that’s a totally different thing than sex (in this context, obviously reffering to gender.) The solution here is to work towards getting Congress to pass a law making discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal. The court has no power here.

Certainly not. They declared laws which discriminated based on race to be unconstitutional. That is a very different thing than declaring an action to be illegal. The former is the job of the judicial system, the latter is the job of the legislative system.

I am very unclear what is meant by this. Does anyone know of ANY instance where this reasoning has been used in a court case - not just in the US but Anywhere in the world? Gender and sexual orientation have very different definitions. I could quote from the dictionary here but I think you see what I mean.

This is NOT to say that I am in favor of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation… I am gay after all. However I don’t think you can use laws aimed at protecting from discrimination on the basis of gender to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Frankly I am amazed that so many people seem surpassed. This interpretation is not new. It is the status quo. In Georgia several years ago the states attorney general fired an employee because she had a same sex commitment ceremony. She took him to court.

She lost.

[nitpick] The Court of Appeals didn’t dismiss the case out of hand; the district court did. The function of the court of appeals is to determine whether the district acted correctly.[/nitpick]

Not “in effect” - in actuality, there is no legal protection for homosexuals, other than that which applies to all persons, or that which has been put in place by certain local and state jurisdictions. In one bit of good news, the Supreme Court a few years back made it more difficult for states to overturn local ordinances providing protection for homosexuals.

Quite frankly, we should hope that the case doesn’t get appealed to the Supremes. Now, the ruling only has effect in the Third Circuit - Pa., N.J., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If the Supreme Court affirmed (which they probably would, on the basis of current law), it would have effect throughout the U.S.
BTW, the ruling isn’t “dastardly” - had the 3rd Circuit ruled otherwise, the case probably would have gone to the Supremes, with the end result being that an anti-gay rights ruling would have national effect.

In some jurisdictions there are, and that’s a good thing.

Putting aside the logic or illogic of this position, the law does not agree. If this were true, we wouldn’t be pushing for gay-rights laws in Congress or in the states - the protections afforded against discrimination based on sex would already protect homosexuals.

Sorry for going lawyer-speak on yas, but I don’t think it’s fair to condemn judges for doing what they are required to do under the law. Judicial activism is a very scary concept right now, with all the Reaganite and Bushie judges on the bench. If those judges could ignore the law, can you imagine some of the scary decisions we would get?


And here’s two options for you, iampunha:

  1. Let this be a learning experience, and in the future devote at least a minimal amount of thought before posting.

  2. Have a high percentage of your posts be as foolish as this one.

Your call.

Yes, but they cannot do this arbitrarily. IOW the fact that a judge may want something to be the law does not make it so.

OK, I feel a bit sheepish in a calmer light at having written such a foolish statement like the gender/ subset/sexual orientation post. I swear it made a lot more sense when I was angry. :slight_smile:

Sua, as always, you are the voice of reason, and you’re correct that, as the Court’s composition stands now, it would be better for the Supreme Court not to rule on this case.

However, in some jurisdictions laws do exist that protect homosexuals from discrimination, but, as in Maryland, there are religious hate groups working hard to get those laws repealed. Until ENDA is passed, I stand by my statement that equal protection under the law doesn’t apply to gays, amended with in most states.

I do question this statement

Judges have fairly broad latitude to interpret the Constitution. In 1896, the Supremes ruled in *Plessy vs. Ferguson * that racial segregation was Constitutional as long as the facilities were equal. In 1954, the Court reversed itself in Brown vs. Topeka. The Court ruled in Minersville vs. Gobitis in 1940 that schools could compel children to salute the flag. The Court reversed itself in West Virginia vs. Barnette a mere three years later. To my simple, backward intellect, the 14th Amendment, Section 1, reads, in part:


…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without the due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. It doesn’t say “this doesn’t apply to homos.”
Gay people are persons within the jurisdiction of the several States; where’s the equal protection?

So is it legal for a gay company, Falcon Films, say, to fire a straight guy for sleeping with…gasp… a WOMAN?

Unless there are specific state or local laws protecting from discrimination, then absolutely, one could be fired for being straight (or bisexual). Also, slightly off topic, but in a similar vein, in a state such as Georgia ( I am not sure about other states) one does NOT have to give a reason for firing someone. The only reasons you CAN’T use to fire someone are race, religion, sex, disability and a few others that are specifically spelled out. In other words, one can be fired because one smokes, or because one doesn’t smoke. One can be fired because one is over or underweight (as long as it does not constitute or originate from a disability). One can also be fired just because One’s boss doesn’t like one.
[sub] Does saying “one” instead of “you” just make me sound pretentious? [/sub]

This is one argument that many people use against protection on the basis of sexual orientation. That is, if you can be fired because you are clumsy (Even if being clumsy has no direct impact on your job- say if you read books for books on tape as opposed to say, a ballerina.) or whatever, then why shouldn’t you be able to be fired because you are gay. I don’t buy it, because I think discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is pervasive and wrong, and needs legislation or judicial action to counter it because of it’s pervasive and insidious nature.[sub] some or my friends say I have a hard time getting off of the fence. I wonder why?[/sub] I really wish I could dismiss the people who oppose ENDA and it’s like as ignorant assholes. Some of them aren’t - some are quite articulate. Some are even gay. [sub] I am sure some will be along shortly [/sub] Log Cabin republicans anyone?