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‘The Supreme Court just did the Republican party a huge favor’

U.S. Supreme Court

Dale Carpenter is a well-known University of Minnesota civil rights and constitutional law professor whose book, “Flagrant Conduct,” is about the first major Supreme Court decision on gay rights, Lawrence v. Texas.

Carpenter is also a gay-rights activist and a Republican — and he believes that his party only stands to gain from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling recognizing same-sex couples’ right to marry.

“The Supreme Court just did the Republican party a huge favor,” he said.  “This allows Republicans to put the issues behind us. It has been a losing issue and it’s good to get it off the table.”

As proof, he referred to a statement issued by GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush. Like his Republican competitors, Bush said he believed the decision on same sex marriage should be left to the states but, Bush said, “I also believe it is time for us to move forward respectfully and as one people.”

“Move forward” was the theme of many of the statements issues by GOP presidential candidates Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Marco Rubio. Others, however — including Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, and Scott Walker — were less measured in their responses, blasting the decision as an assault on religious liberty. 

The Minnesota Republican party, in a statement from chair Keith Downey, also expressed concern about religious freedom. “The implications of this ruling are as yet unknown in practice, but it must not undermine our freedom of speech and religious liberty, nor coerce churches or other religious institutions into performing marriages that their sincerely held religious beliefs do not recognize,” Downey said.  “We should respect the views of fellow citizens as we move forward from this ruling.”

carpenter photo
MinnPost photo by James Nord
Dale Carpenter

Carpenter feels like even those nuanced differences of opinions are progress, though. “I think ten years ago, every single Republican candidate would have made a statement supporting a constitutional amendment [to overturn the decision],” he said.

The national Republican party platform and many state GOP platforms, including Minnesota’s, have opposition to same sex marriage as one of their tenets. Carpenter says the Supreme Court ruling may spur efforts to remove that language. 

Downey said he couldn’t predict changes in the state party platform. “That is a very organic process which starts with platform resolutions and flows through to the state convention,” he said.  “Irrespective of the court’s rulings, platforms haven’t changed. It’s not a clean cause and effect.” 

But Downey noted that the state convention last year passed a resolution directing a review of the platform, with a request for a more condensed document. A task force working on trying to clarify the platform could take a look at the same-sex marriage issue, he suggested.

Regardless, Carpenter believes the issue is now is moot. “The platform doesn’t make a substantive difference because a Republican candidate is not going to run on banning gay marriage,” he said. 

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Comments (74)

  1. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/29/2015 - 10:27 am.

    Two Favors

    The Obergefell ruling lets Republicans stop talking about gay marriage, so there is no longer the issue of alienating either the base, by going “soft” on the issue, or the majority of voters, who approve of gay marriage.

    The other favor was the Burwell ruling. If the Court had ruled for the plaintiffs, Republicans would have been tasked with coming up to a real alternative to the ACA. Now, they can go back to their ritual of symbolic, yet ultimately meaningless, votes to repeal without offering an alternative (and no, vague comments about “patient-centered reforms” are not an alternative).

    • Submitted by John Eidel on 06/29/2015 - 12:43 pm.

      But Will They?

      The ruling definitely ALLOWS Republicans to stop talking about gay marriage, but I have seen no indications that they will. When there are 13+ Republicans at last count running for president, the candidates need to do anything possible to differentiate themselves from the others. This is especially true at the bottom rung (see Huckabee, Mike.) In this case, that means slathering screeds against unelected judges and proposed constitutional amendments.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/29/2015 - 01:52 pm.


        They will shut up about it. Sure, the candidates at the bottom will try using it as a wedge issue. I think, though, that they will falter on the question of “what do you propose to do about it?”

        The so-called moderates–Bush, Christie, Rubio–will welcome not having to talk about it.

  2. Submitted by John Appelen on 06/29/2015 - 11:09 am.

    Excellent Points

    I think most people are somewhat fiscally Conservative, so if the GOP can stop the anti-LGBT rhetoric and contain their pro-Life comments, I think the 2016 election cycle could be really good for the GOP.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 06/29/2015 - 01:42 pm.

      Conservatives have no qualms

      about spending money, so lets dispense with that myth right there. The fact is that the GOP has positioned itself as the moral arbiter of this country and I don’t see them abandoning that tactic anytime soon.
      I think the GOP loses and loses BIG in 2016.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/29/2015 - 10:19 pm.

        Moral Arbiter

        I think both the Left and Right enjoy using the government to force their morals on others.

        The Left seeks to rob from the rich and middle class to give to the poor. They have decided that it is okay for a Mother to stop their baby’s heart beat for most any reason. They have decided that the Teacher’s wants are more important than the needs of the unlucky students.

        The right seeks to stifle LGBT behavior and abortions. The right deems that personal property rights are more important than societal property rights.

        It will be interesting to see what happens in ~17 months.

  3. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 06/29/2015 - 11:19 am.

    And yet…

    …declared candidate Cruz and candidate-in-waiting Walker have waded into the issue, which thanks to the SCOTUS decision, really shouldn’t be an issue. I doubt it will be much of an issue in the GOP once the primaries are over, but I’ve been wrong before.

  4. Submitted by Mike Davidson on 06/29/2015 - 11:54 am.

    Except that it isn’t over…

    Ted Cruz’s NPR interview – he states that marriage and healthcare will be the main focus of his 2016 campaign. Texas AG Paxton has said state employees are not required to follow the law if it conflicts with their deeply held religious beliefs, even though they are public employees paid by taxpayers. Rick Snyder signed three bills into law in Michigan on Friday saying that taxpayer funded state adoption agencies can discriminate based on religious beliefs. The ACA ruling, yes, was a favor to the Republican Party – the marriage ruling was not.

  5. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 06/29/2015 - 12:30 pm.

    Moving Forward

    I doubt the ruling will really change much of anything in the Republican platform. That’s because the right wing reactionary ultra religious people still run the party and not the moderates. While the core issue of whether or not gays should be allowed to marry is off the table, they’ll still use the issue as a dog whistle to bring in the party faithful and tell them to Be Afraid at all costs.

    The message practically writes itself: “listen to us! Vote for us! Look what happens when you don’t!” They’ll then circle the wagons even tighter, grip their guns harder, and wait for a new assault on the social order from the Other. Much of the GOP message is based on keeping people afraid of one thing or another, whether it’s ISIS, Obamacare, gun laws, or some other perceived boogeyman.

    At the end of the day has the issue really gone away? Or is it just the same message with a different subject?

    In the immortal words from “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension”, “no matter where you go, there you are.”

  6. Submitted by James Hamilton on 06/29/2015 - 01:09 pm.

    Republican base revitalized?

    The new theme appears to be “protection of religious beliefs”, which seems to translate into “You don’t have to do business with gays, even if you work for the government.”

    If I were a cartoonist, I’d be busily sketching scenes of government offices with separate windows labeled “Gay”, “Not Gay”, and “Don’t Care”. I’m not sure how government janitors with religious objections are going to manage the restrooms, though.

  7. Submitted by Nathaniel Finch on 06/29/2015 - 01:58 pm.

    Cognitive dissonance

    “…a gay-rights activist and a Republican.”

    Seems a litte like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 06/29/2015 - 05:17 pm.

      Seems like …

      Seems like a person with the mental capacity exceeding that of a one issue voter.

      Perhaps, you’ve not heard of the Log Cabin Republicans.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/29/2015 - 10:23 pm.


        The concept of a fiscal conservative who supports pro-choice and LGBT marriage does seem to confuse folks around here. The us /them perspective seems much easier for folks to sanction.

        • Submitted by Nathaniel Finch on 06/30/2015 - 09:15 am.

          Republicans fiscal conservatives?

          I don’t see much fiscal conservatism coming out of the Republican party. I see George W. Bush cutting taxes and then spending a trillion borrowed dollars on wars. That doesn’t seem to be conservative to me. In this state I see Republicans attempting to cut taxes and letting the roads and bridges go to hell. That doesn’t seem conservative to me either. And need I mention that most of the tax cuts go to people who already have much more than they need to live on.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/30/2015 - 09:52 am.

            Please Remember

            The GOP worked to stop tax increases, and they tried to introduce legislation to promote effectiveness, productivity and cost savings in the Public Employee sectors. Unfortunately the DFL stopped those efforts and chose to force more money to be given to the Public Employees, the Bureaucrats and their Unions..

            And tomorrow Dayton is set to give his staff big raises…

            I whole heartedly agree that the GOP has it’s problems, however it is definitely more fiscally Conservative than the DFL. Please remember the DFL’s answer to having more tax revenues than needed. “We should spend more because we have it…”

            • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 07/04/2015 - 11:04 am.

              Raise, Please!

              The staff hasn’t had a raise in twelve years. Can you imagine someone in the private sector going that long without a bump in pay? As it is, they could easily leave the public realm and get a 50% bump in pay overnight. If you want to attract the brightest and the best and stop the revolving door between the public and private sectors, then you need to address this issue.

              As for the hand wringing about higher taxes, we’ve tried the Grand Experiment in both Minnesota and Kansas and the results are stark. Here in the Great Frozen North we raised taxes and we have one of the lowest unemployment rates and best business climates in the country. In Kansas they did the exact opposite that we did and got the exact opposite results that we did.

              How much more of a cold plate of reality do you need for dinner?

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/08/2015 - 09:00 am.

                Grand Reality

                Most of the government bureaucrats on Dayton’s staff are already making $120K per year. If they could make 50% elsewhere, they would likely be elsewhere. If the door revolves, then people go from public to private and private to public. Are there a great many vacancies in the state government?

                Yes unemployment in Minnesota (3.8%) is lower than in Kansas (4.4%). That is the conclusion to what you call the “Grand Experiment”. I am unfamiliar with that term.

                Kansas Labor Information Center:


                Kansas has added 8300 private sector jobs since last year.

                California, the 3rd highest tax burdened state, including the 2nd highest personal income tax has 6.3% unemployment, two points higher than Kansas.

                The ten states with the highest taxes:


                With such high taxes, how has California (and other states) failed to tax themselves into prosperity?

        • Submitted by jason myron on 06/30/2015 - 04:16 pm.

          No confusion here…

          we just don’t see any of them and you’re not claiming to be one I hope. After the elaborate scenarios you’ve painted to defend discrimination against same sex couples, alongside your constant characterizations of a large segment of the population as shiftless and lazy, your references to democrats wanting to make it easier for a woman to stop their baby’s “beating hearts” and your suggestion that people should be made to pick up trash to earn their unemployment benefits, I would hardly call those moderate positions.In fact, I would characterize them as right in line with most other far right ideologues.
          Don’t get me wrong, you’re certainly welcome to those positions and probably have no choice but to harbor them or risk being labeled a quisling and drummed from the party, but don’t attempt to portray yourself as above the us/them perspective.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/30/2015 - 11:25 pm.


            I support Gay Marriage and Religious Freedoms.
            I am Pro Choice, yet I think the abortion should be completed in the 1st trimester.
            I support helping those in need, yet I think they can work for some of their benefits.
            I acknowledge that some people are shiftless and lazy, and taking advantage of the tax payers. I think the number I came up with was <3% of the population. Do you think every person is law abidng and working to their full potential?
            I believe we need to make early education for unlucky kids a priority if we want them to be more successful than their parents.

            I don't think the far right is going to accept me as their poster child anytime soon. In fact they typically say I am way to Liberal... Go figure...

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/30/2015 - 09:27 am.

        Seems like . . .

        A person who can compartmentalize very well, and who ignores the fact that the party often rides to victory demonizing him/her (see, Bachmann, Michele, political career of).

        I also wouldn’t rule out self-loathing.

      • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 06/30/2015 - 09:35 am.

        And those Log Cabin Republicans are repeatedly blocked from participating in conservative events. The question remains, why support a party that hates you?

  8. Submitted by Mark Iezek on 06/29/2015 - 05:40 pm.

    Really the worst thing for Republicans

    With 13 candidates and more entering every week, the Republican candidates are desperate to chase after every possible primary and caucus voter. Since the Republican primary voters are more conservative, the candidates like Cruz and Walker who will call for a constitutional amendment against the Supreme Court decision in the debates will get a boost. That issue will not go away and will come up in the debates and ads. The less conservative candidates will have to at least talk about the issue. The less conservative candidates will risk losing primary voters if they waffle and it will drive the entire debate on marriage to the right. By the time the primaries are over and a candidate emerges, that candidate will have debated gay marriage enough to have either alienated the Republican base or alienated the general electorate.

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/30/2015 - 08:18 am.

    Twisted Logic

    Republicans NEVER stop talking about their hop buttons, I think they still submit a bill to make it illegal to burn an American flag every year. This is a hand grenade thrown into the republican field and a huge favor for the democrats. You can already see almost every candidate racing to issue hysterical and long winded statements denouncing the supreme court, it’s ruling, and the decline of American “democracy” at the hands of “activist” judges. The more these guys rail on about marriage the more irrelevant they become. Thank you Supreme Court.

  10. Submitted by Jim Million on 06/30/2015 - 08:18 am.

    Unsettled Stomachs

    How patently pathetic seems the derision by those who must support their egos through continued mastication of leftovers, when critical social issues are finally “settled” by official decisions. One may only hope these are the last jaw grindings as members of the herd bring up their favorite bits of emotional nutrient to chew again and again.

    Food for thought is vital to a society hungry for emotional nutrition.

    Constant regurgitation of old fodder adds no weight to the argument while mainly producing cultural methane.
    Will such tidbits eventually lose their flavor? Will the toxic emissions finally abate? Will the air finally clear? One can hope. In the meantime, sensible folk should avoid partisan feedlots.

  11. Submitted by Tim Walker on 06/30/2015 - 03:57 pm.

    Downey’s statement is utter nonsense

    He says we need to be sure that the ruling does not “coerce churches or other religious institutions into performing marriages that their sincerely held religious beliefs do not recognize.”

    This is complete “jiggery-pokery” (to use a phrase du jour), because right now a priest, pastor, rabbi etc. can refuse to perform weddings for any reason whatsoever … and it raises no issues whatsoever.

    Are rabbis forced to marry Catholics? Are priests forced to marry Muslims? Will a rabbi be put in jail because he won’t marry a couple who he saw chowing down at Famous Dave’s all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet? Will a pastor get into trouble with the law if she won’t marry a couple because she’s going to be on vacation that week? No, no, no, and no.

    This completely fabricated fear that all of a sudden clerics will be forced to perform weddings to anyone and everyone who simply shows up at the front steps of the temple, church, or minaret is just nonsense.

    But it’s red meat to the religious right, so that’s why what Downey said is exactly what is being said by a ton of other Republican leaders right now. It’s almost as if they have s cheat sheet or something to crib off of.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/01/2015 - 09:27 am.

      This one is from last year.

      It’s not just bakeries, florists, and photographers, it is wedding chapels too.


      “On Friday, city officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, informed Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers and proprietors of the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, that they would be required to perform gay weddings or face fines or possibly jail time under the city’s “public accommodations” statute. Their religious views are expected to adjust to the edicts of the state.

      So it’s official: a new religious orthodoxy is sweeping across the nation, imposed by government and backed by force. It’s a religious orthodoxy required by secular authorities for a secular purpose, but no matter. Heretics will be found out and forced to recant.

      No one ever expects the Secular Inquisition.

      Except that we actually did expect it. In fact, it’s inherent in the fundamental basis of the left’s arguments for gay marriage.”

      • Submitted by Tim Walker on 07/02/2015 - 07:24 am.

        Outdated and false outrage

        Steve: Thank you for the link to this October 20, 2014, story.

        I look forward to your comments on this October 24, 2014, article in the Coeur d’Alene newspaper that quoted from a city press release:

        “After reviewing the allegations and investigation, the (city) prosecutor has declined to pursue criminal charges because the Hitching Post is a religious corporation that is exempt from the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.”

        This article has a good timeline of events: Anatomy of a Right-Wing Fabrication: No Threat to Idaho Wedding Chapel

        And after you comment on this, I look forward to reading another example of the “Secular Inquisition” you fear so much. I’m sure you can find one that is based on facts, and not Mike Huckabee’s fevered rantings.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/02/2015 - 09:36 am.

        Good News!

        It turns out that the story you quote (really, just a bunch of catchy talking points) is nothing more than male bovine-derived organic fertilizer Spread it on your garden.

        The City of Coeur d’Alene never received any complaints about the Knapps (who, before gay marriage was legalized in Idaho, were content to operate their chapel as a for-profit business performing civil or religious marriages). The Knapps brought suit against the City, claiming all manner of threats, but the City said that they had received no complaints, so there was no reason to take action.

        A woman from Massachusetts made a complaint with the police against the Hitching Post for discrimination (kind of like calling 911 because the drive-through person got your order wrong). The City refused to take action, saying that the chapel was exempt from the non-discrimination laws as a non-profit religious organization.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/02/2015 - 10:56 am.

        A look at the Court Documents

        Excerpt from the Verified Complaint filed with the United States District Court:

        12. This past summer, after the Idaho district court enjoined Idaho’s marriage laws,
        City officials told Mr. Knapp twice that Ordinance §9.56 required him to perform same-sex
        wedding ceremonies if same-sex marriage became legal. Deputy City Attorney Warren Wilson
        then publicly declared the City’s position when a journalist asked him about the Hitching Post:
        “For profit wedding chapels are in a position now where last week the ban would have prevented
        them from performing gay marriages, this week gay marriages are legal, pending an appeal to the
        9th Circuit… If you turn away a gay couple, refuse to provide services for them, then in theory
        you violated our code and you’re looking at a potential misdemeanor citation.”

        The city repeatedly threatened the plaintiff in this case, and the city only backed-down when a complaint was filed with the Court. Hardly a case of nothing-to-see-here.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/02/2015 - 03:12 pm.

          I Don’t Know if You’re Aware of This

          But anyone can say anything in a complaint, verified or otherwise. A complaint is not evidence. Back in 1971, Gerald Mayo of Pennsylvania filed a verified complaint with the US District Court that said that Satan had placed deliberate obstacles in his path and caused his downfall. Do you believe him?

          You can look all you want, but there is nothing to see here. The Knapps are now basing their lawsuit on a claim that the City should pay them for income they lost when they shut down voluntarily because they “thought” the City would make them perform same-sex marriages. In other words, “We thought you would do something, but you didn’t and now you have to pay us.”

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/02/2015 - 09:45 pm.

            Did Satan Challenge the Verified Complaint?

            Deputy City Attorney Warren Wilson is an attorney in the state of Idaho, a man familiar with the courts. Had his actions been misrepresented in the Verified Complaint, he would certainly have made his own complaint to the court. However, he did not.

            This is not about a “thought”, it is about what the Plaintiff was told (as stated in the Verified Complaint).

            The line you quoted above, “”We thought you would do something, but you didn’t and now you have to pay us.”, is attributable only to you.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/03/2015 - 03:13 pm.

              Verified Complaint

              All complaints filed in federal court are “verified.” It does not, however, mean that anyone goes out to investigate them. It just means that the person who filed the complaint says that the matter is true (it may surprise you to find out that not everything someone says in a complaint is true).The City Attorney’s “remedy” was to file an answer denying the allegations in the “verified complaint.” Looks like he did just that. Since he is, as you point out, a man familiar with the courts, he knows that he does not file his own complaint at this stage.

              “We thought you would do something, but you didn’t and now you have to pay us” is my restatement of the Knapp’s legal theory. Captures it well, don’t you think?

              The complaint against Satan was dismissed for failure to include instructions to the US Marshall for serving the complaint on the defendant (I am not making that up: U.S. ex rel. Mayo v. Satan and His Staff, 54 F.R.D. 282 (W.D. Pa. 1971)).

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/05/2015 - 08:20 pm.


                Please provide a link to the city attorney’s answer; I haven’t seen one.

                Again, it was not a “thought”, it was a statement from the City Attorney. Therefore, the fabricated quote does not capture it well.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/06/2015 - 11:23 am.

                  Sorry, No Link

                  You will have to get a free PACER account from the Administrative Office of US Courts to view it, unless someone else has put it online.

                  I did not “fabricate a quote,” and your accusation that I did so is entirely unwarranted. I paraphrased the plaintiff’s theory of recovery, and never said it was a “quote.” A statement in quotation marks is not necessarily a “quote” unless it is represented to be an exact repeat of another’s words. You may wish to ponder that distinction.

                  Incidentally, has it occurred to you that the Knapps may also have trouble discerning the meaning of what another person says?

                  • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/06/2015 - 01:19 pm.


                    Still not understanding the distinction between a thought and a statement? A paraphrase is expressing the same meaning with different words. With a different meaning, it is clearing not a paraphrase. With a different meaning, the quotation marks only add to the already nebulous nature of the sentence.

                    If you cannot source your statement attributed to the City Attorney, then I am left to disregard it.

                    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/06/2015 - 02:04 pm.

                      That’s weak

                      No all legitimate sources exist in the form of a postable online link.

                      What if I cited source material that I found in an old out-of-print book on the restricted shelves in the archive of the Public Library? I could give you the name of the book, its author and date of publication, ISBN number and even card catalog number. The one thing I could NOT give you would be an online link.

                      Would it be accurate to then declare it does not qualify as a “source” based simply on the fact that you couldn’t call it up by typing a URL into the address bar of your browser?

                      RB told you where his source is located. Just because you choose not to follow it up does not deem it unreliable or nonexistent.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/06/2015 - 04:23 pm.

                      Then perhaps a quote

                      Even an out-of-print book can provide a quote. He has shown familiarity with quotation marks. If he doesn’t have one, perhaps it is because it doesn’t exist. This verified complaint was only filed last fall.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/06/2015 - 06:40 pm.

                      Gosh My Ears Are Burning

                      Again, Mr. Rose, I NEVER represented my comment as being a quote from anyone. It was my take–and only MY take–on the legal theory someone is relying on in a lawsuit.

                      Think of it as being like “If same-sex marriage, then polygamy.” You know, the “simple proposition” that, despite being in quotation marks, is nothing said by Chief Justice Roberts, even though it was implied to be such.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/07/2015 - 04:26 pm.

                      A literary device …

                      A literary device popular with those on the left, like writers for Slate? The difference in this case, is that it is accurate; the CJSCOTUS was referring to polygamy.

        • Submitted by Tim Walker on 07/02/2015 - 05:19 pm.

          Seriously? While this was going on, the wedding chapel changed its mission statement on its website to re-cast itself as a primarily Christian organization, and therefore made itself exempt from performing gay weddings.

          See Snopes:

          Now, some would say that this post-facto retrofitting was a little shady, but regardless, the city then viewed it as more like a church than a non-religious business that was subject to “public accommodation” laws that govern, for example, restaurants, which can’t discriminate by refusing to serve blacks, or gays, or Muslims, or Jews, or evangelical Christians.

          Since the city’s anti-discrimination law only affected non-religious organizations under public accommodation laws, there was no longer any conflict … and the Knapps were NOT forced to perform weddings for gay couples.

          You’d think that right wingers would cheer this turn of events, and be comforted with the knowledge that no one’s religious convictions were infringed upon. But no, they’d rather keep spouting their tired old talking points that were long ago proven to be untrue.

          So sad.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/02/2015 - 09:30 pm.

            Thanks for the Snopes link

            Snopes rated it “Mixture” which seems fitting and in conflict with all other recent comments on this topic.

            Meanwhile, in other easily foreseen and vehemently denied unintended consequences, yesterday Montana polygamist family applies for marriage license.


            • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/03/2015 - 07:45 am.

              So what?

              Big deal. They applied for a license. And it will be denied. So what’s the big deal?

              It doesn’t rise to the level of “unintended consequences” until and unless that license is granted (and something like that would have to successfully wend its way through the court system – no small undertaking).

              The hand-wringing here is seriously premature.

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/03/2015 - 09:39 am.

                No Cause for Hand Wringing

                Any argument that can be made for same gender marriage can be made for polygamy and for polyamory. Love wins.

                Do you have a problem with other alternate marriage forms between consenting adults? While it may seem creepy to you, it is liberty to for them.

                • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/03/2015 - 01:52 pm.

                  So let them make their arguments. That is what our system is for, right?

                  • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/03/2015 - 02:32 pm.

                    There are no new arguments to make. All the same arguments apply to all alternate marriage forms between consenting adults.

                    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/03/2015 - 08:50 pm.


                      If they think they have a case and are willing to invest the time and the money (and if the courts will consent to hear it) then why would they have any less right to make those arguments than anyone else?

                      I’m not a lawyer and don’t know on what basis courts accept or decline to hear any given case, but are you implying they somehow don’t even have the right to try if they’re willing to go through all that?

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/06/2015 - 02:37 pm.

                      No, I neither stated nor implied that; actually, the contrary.

                      Now that marriage has been redefined to include genderless marriage, all other marriage forms between consenting adults must also be accepted; let’s proceed without delay.

                      I made this statement on the MinnPost comment board in 2012

                      You may not like polyandry, polygamy, polyamory, etc., but they cannot be denied due to abuses that have occurred in those forms of marriage. It is no secret that abuses have occurred in heterosexual and homosexual marriages too. You have to come up with more than that to deny equality to consenting adults that desire to enter into those marriage forms. Either marriage needs equality or it does not.


                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/06/2015 - 02:46 pm.

                      Again–Big Deal

                      Please tell us what in the Obergefell opinion merits the conclusion that “all other marriage forms between consenting adults must also be accepted; let’s proceed without delay.” Let’s see the exact language that would justify such a conclusion (just so you know: dissents are not a part of the ruling).

                      For the record, that part in the quotation marks was a quote from your post.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/06/2015 - 03:14 pm.

                      Thanks for the Opening

                      In his dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts connects the dots: “If same-sex marriage, then polygamy.”

                      PS: I am not quotation challenged.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/06/2015 - 03:31 pm.

                      Challenged Quotation

                      What is the source of that remark? Nowhere in his dissent does the Chief Justice use the term “polygamy.”

                      Did you know that a dissent is just an expression of opinion by a Justice who disagrees with the majority? Did you know that dissents have no legal force?

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/06/2015 - 03:49 pm.




                      “In his wide-ranging dissent in the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on same-sex marriage, Chief Justice John Roberts set out a simple proposition: “If same-sex marriage, then polygamy.” Indeed, the chief argues boldly that it would have been less of a stretch if the Supreme Court had embraced not same-sex but plural marriage, declaring, “[F]rom the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.””

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/06/2015 - 04:18 pm.

                      So . . .

                      It’s just editorializing by the Chief Justice. It’s not really a part of the Court’s holding.

                    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/06/2015 - 06:00 pm.

                      You asked …

                      You asked what merits the conclusion regarding other alternate marriage forms?

                      My answer remains, the words of the CJSCOTUS. I think that we can agree that what he has to say carries more legal weight than the words that you and I can add to this message board.

                    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/06/2015 - 03:50 pm.

                      Seriously – why should I care?

                      As long as no one is harmed, and if it does not affect me, why should I care? (And I make that statement to apply both to “me” as and individual as well as the collective “me” that is all of society.)

                      If those who wish to practice some form of plural marriage want to make their case in the courts (and take the attendant risks that are involved) then I say more power to them. They have the right to try just like anyone else.

                      It won’t be an easy road, and they’re certainly not guaranteed success. The final decision is likely to be made by someone far above my pay grade (or yours, I suspect).

                • Submitted by jason myron on 07/03/2015 - 06:23 pm.

                  The only handwringing that seems to be happening

                  is from religious zealots who, inexplicably, think that same sex marriage affects them in some way or somehow tarnishes their own marriages. It’s baffling…

                  • Submitted by Steve Rose on 07/06/2015 - 07:57 am.

                    To him who has ears, let him hear

                    All others will be baffled.

                    In a commencement speech at Howard University in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson said, “The family is the cornerstone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child.”

                    Being a post-progressive (we have arrived) society, we are infinitely wise and we can redesign marriage and it will work because we say so. In the process, we kicked the door open to all marriage forms between consenting adults, regardless of gender and quantity.

                    Before the ink has dried on the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, retaliatory calls for an end to tax exemption status for religious institutions, echo through the land. Here is one from the New York Times:


                    Once the state gains access to the assets of the church, what other church and state separations will cast aside by secular zealots?

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/06/2015 - 02:08 pm.

                      Before the Ink Dried, I Tell You!

                      There have been calls for ending tax exemptions for religious institutions for years. Here is the discussion of the issue that really did appear in the New York Times (better be careful what you attribute, and to whom):

                      Christian Century magazine has called for an end to tax exemptions for religious organizations since at least the 1940s.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 07/06/2015 - 01:48 pm.

                      Uhhh, so?

                      Wake me when some guy who writes an opinion piece for the New York Times equates to actually changing government policy. Until then, my tyranny meter will continue to read zero.

  12. Submitted by jason myron on 07/02/2015 - 12:18 pm.

    Meanwhile, in current news….
    An East Tennessee hardware store owner decided to express his beliefs following the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex marriage by putting up a sign that reads, “No Gays Allowed.”

    Jeff Amyx, who owns Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies in Grainger County, Tennessee., about an hour outside of Knoxville, added the “No Gays Allowed” sign on Monday, because gay and lesbian couples are against his religion.

    Amyx, who is also a baptist minister, said he realized Monday morning that LGBT people are not afraid to stand for what they believe in. He said it showed him that Christian people should be brave enough to stand for what they believe in.

    “They gladly stand for what they believe in, why can’t I? They believe their way is right, I believe it’s wrong. But yet I’m going to take more persecution than them because I’m standing for what I believe in,” Amyx said.

    On Tuesday, Amyx removed the “No Gays allowed” sign and replaced it with a sign that says: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who would violate our rights of freedom of speech & freedom of religion.”

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 07/04/2015 - 08:03 am.


      It sounds like he did it to raise the issue, not to stop selling shovels to gay people.

      “”They gladly stand for what they believe in, why can’t I? They believe their way is right, I believe it’s wrong. But yet I’m going to take more persecution than them because I’m standing for what I believe in,” Amyx said.”

      His point being that the “tolerant” LGBT supporters would persecute him into bankruptcy while demanding that people should have the right to live as they wish. Which is the same point I have been making.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 07/04/2015 - 06:13 pm.

        That’s what it “sounds like” to you?

        “No gays allowed” is pretty self explanatory. That means don’t come in, you’re not welcome. He was in no danger of being persecuted into bankruptcy before he put up that sign. All he had to do was to extend goods and services to everyone which is why he went into business in the first place. Now, he just painted a very large target on his back, and I look forward to reading about the closing of his business in the weeks to come. I’m sure that if he has any kids, they’ll be very forgiving of the fact that he’ll no longer be able to send them to college because he decided that a segment of society was beneath him.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 07/05/2015 - 11:59 pm.


          ” he just painted a very large target on his back”

          I think that is what he meant by he would be persecuted for standing up for his beliefs.

          And that is why I say that the supposedly tolerant, freedom matters and open minded people certainly aren’t very tolerant, freedom supporting or open minded. They have a lot more in common with the religious right than they would care to admit.

          • Submitted by jason myron on 07/06/2015 - 02:11 pm.

            So what?

            People pay for their actions every day. Since when did the “deeply held religious convictions” crowd become immune to that? If a person wants to stand up and display his opinion, no matter how repugnant or ignorant, have at it…just don’t whine about the inevitable backlash. Once again, how do these people decide which sins are more egregious than others? Why doesn’t he tack a sign in the window that says “No sodomites allowed?” Or will that decimate too much of his heterosexual demographic and affect his bottom line?

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/06/2015 - 04:35 pm.


            So I should support a business that actively opposes things with which I agree?

            When a hardware store owner posts a “No Gays Allowed” sign on his door, he is just “raising the issue,” or “acting on his sincere religious convictions.” If I choose not to shop there because I disagree with him, I am being not “very tolerant, freedom supporting or open minded.”

            Why am I not allowed to act on my convictions? That strikes me as being not “very tolerant, freedom supporting or open minded.”

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 07/06/2015 - 06:23 pm.

              Please feel free to exercise your right to not shop there. Just don’t work to villify and bankrupt him.

              That freedom to associate with some customers and not associate with some customers based on their behaviorial choices is all the religious right business owners seem to want. Just as you apparently want the freedom to associate with some businesses and not associate with others.

              Seems pretty simple. “Live and Let Live” in the spirit of tolerance and freedom.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/07/2015 - 08:46 am.

                “Just don’t work to villify and bankrupt him.”

                So don’t shop there, but tell no one why.

                How are we going to “let the market decide” if no one knows?

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 07/07/2015 - 10:54 pm.

                  Sharing News vs Villifying

                  Interesting comment. If a gay man lived in a small town, how would you want people to communicate to others about his beliefs and life style?

                  Actively spreading the word with anger and judgement, or discussing it with people while respecting his choice and beliefs?

                  • Submitted by jason myron on 07/08/2015 - 12:06 pm.

                    The gay man’s sexualtiy and lifestyle is his business.

                    Why would his personal life need to be “communicated” to the rest of the town?

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 07/08/2015 - 04:10 pm.

                      Same for a Business

                      Why would a small Mom/Pop’s business’ beliefs need to be “communicated” to the rest of the town?

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 07/08/2015 - 08:32 pm.

                      Aren’t they the ones

                      putting up the signs? They’re targeting themselves. If being in business that serves the public is too much for their tender sensibilities, then I guess opening one was a mistake. The hardware store owner brought his own troubles on by loudly announcing that no gays were allowed in his store. Now he can reap the benefits of that decision and deal with the negative press and social media attention that’s destroying him and his business as we speak.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/06/2015 - 09:44 am.

          Target on His Back

          I don’t think he will suffer for this. There will be some customers who don’t care either way, or who agree with hi. There will also be a certain number of people who will make a special effort to patronize his establishment.

          These two groups may not be enough to sustain the business, but that wasn’t the point. On some level, he had to know what a dreadful business decision this was. That is where part 2 comes in. The store owner can move on to that higher aspiration for right-wingers, Holy Martyr to Political Correctness. Donations will pour in, he will be the featured guest on a couple of Fox News programs and radio call-in shows, and he will double or triple his income for no better reason than posting a mean-spirited sign in his store window. There is no one more exalted in the conservative world than the victim of liberals, and he can ride this one with glory.

          The only problem is, the shelf-life of the right-wing martyr is relatively short. What do you hear from Joe the Plumber lately?

    • Submitted by Bill Willy on 07/06/2015 - 07:10 pm.


      Every time the phrases “religious freedom” and “based on deeply held religious beliefs” come up I find myself wondering which religion and which religious beliefs people are talking about.

      In America it’s Christianity, of course: “I am a Christian and my deeply held religious beliefs make it impossible for me to bake a cake for, take pictures of, sell hammers and duct tape to gay people, or pay for my employees health insurance if it covers contraception,” etc..

      And that’s where the second part of that question always comes up: “Which deeply held religious beliefs are those, and what are they based on?”

      Seeing as how Christianity is the religion, that would mean that a Christian’s deeply held religious beliefs would need to be based on something in the Bible. I’m not Bible scholar, but I’ve never been clear on exactly where it says, “Thou shalt not use contraceptives,” or “Thou shall not do business with gay people,” or even “The only marriage that God recognizes as legitimate is the marriage of one man and one woman performed by a certified Christian minister in a Christian church of your choice; and any other marriage or form of intimate relationship is illegitimate in the eyes of God and comes with a ticket to hell.”

      (So much for Hindus, Buddhists, Islamists, Native Americans, or anyone on Earth that is not member of the one and only conduit of God Almighty: The Christian Church… Oh well… They’ve gotten “The Good News” somewhere along the line, no doubt, so they can’t say they didn’t get their chance or warning.)

      But to get back to the question of “What Would Jesus Do?” and those deeply held religious beliefs all these Christian business owners are wrestling with all of a sudden, and to follow up a little on what Jason (M) has been saying, even though I’m no Bible scholar I’m pretty sure that most Christians have a deeply held religious belief that Jesus Christ died for their sins (and everyone else’s).

      The story goes that Jesus was in Jerusalem for one of the big religious celebrations (Passover? Palm Sunday? Not sure, but a big one.) Naturally, he went to The Temple where he found the Money Changers doing what Money Changers always do (to this day), and it really ticked him off. So much so that he had to go down by the river where he “made a whip of reeds” (think about how long that must have taken when it comes to the idea of, “When you’re mad about something, count to 10 before you spout off”) which, some say, he brought back with him to the temple where he started swinging it around while he kicked over the tables of the Money Changers and reading them the Wrath of God riot act for turning his Father’s House into a pig sty with their greedy filth and, in general, making an extra big scene that made a lot of people nervous (including his friends who hustled him away).

      And, some say, it was that series of actions based on his deeply held religious beliefs that was the last straw that got him hauled before the Roman Pilot who sentenced him to death by crucifixion which he experienced after being forced to drag his half-ton crucifixion cross through town and up to the top of the hill he died upon.

      So my question is, would that devout part-time Baptist minister/hardware store owner with the deeply held religious convictions (based on something in the Bible?) be willing to accept the death penalty for putting up that sign? Would the reluctant wedding cake bakers and wedding photographers? Would all the politicians being so devoutly concerned on the campaign trail and in the media be willing to go to the ultimate mat for their deeply held religious beliefs and protection of the “religious freedoms” related to the same sex marriage question (or anything else)?

      I doubt it. From all appearances they aren’t even willing to give up their trade, much less their lives. I mean, if you feel so strongly, so religiously conflicted, so soul-torn about customer service… If you perceive it as putting your eternal soul in jeopardy, it’s a no-brainer: You get out of the business. You stop participating in the “soul corrupting activity” that is causing you such torment, the same as you would “repent” of participating in any other eternal life threatening activity.

      But, apparently, that’s too simple (or frightening or hard) for many of today’s Christian people who seem to think it would be better if everyone ELSE stopped doing whatever it is that’s causing their devout soul burn: “I don’t believe in same sex marriage or gay people so go buy your hardware somewhere else so I can fulfill my commitment to God.”

      And then the guy goes over to “his church” on Sunday, gets up in the pulpit in his sacred robe (or costume of choice) and gives the sermon that says Jesus said one of the two most important commandments is to love our neighbors as we would love ourselves which, he would tell you, is absolutely one of his most deeply held religious beliefs that he would gladly die for if need be.

      And, of course, he would also be able to explain why it is Jesus would have put up the same sign in his window if he had owned a Carpenter’s Hardware store (to supplement his meager full-time preacher’s income).

      “Not to discriminate against them,” he might say. “Lord no! He’d do it because He LOVES them just like God loves ALL his children. He’d do it to SAVE them! And that’s why I did it. Hallelujah, yes indeed! Surely, that is what Jesus would have done. Amen, Brother. Let us pray for America.”

  13. Submitted by Jim Roth on 07/06/2015 - 03:20 pm.

    Gay Marriage and the Republican Party

    With all due respect to Professor Carpenter, I think the view that the Republican Party can and will now move on to other issues is mistaken and/or based on tunnel vision. There is a close relationship between gay marriage and discrimination issues that is already flourishing in many states as well as nationally. Unless there are laws prohibiting discrimination by private citizens and businesses on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity private persons and businesses are allowed to continue to discriminate against LGBT persons. There is no federal law prohibiting discrimination against LGBT persons except in extremely limited circumstances.

    Professor Carpenter is a tenured professor who lives in a state where such discrimination is prohibited. Even in those states where discrimination against LGBT people is now prohibited including Minnesota there are existing efforts to pass legislation in the guise of “religious freedom” that would permit anyone professing to have a “sincerely held religious belief” to discriminate against anyone. The U.S Supreme Court ruling does not touch upon these efforts. Religious institutions cannot be forced to marry anyone including gays because of the First Amendment and religious exemptions to existing discrimination laws. Nevertheless Republican legislators and others are fueling the belief that expansive and overreaching “religious freedom” laws must be passed. Perhaps Professor Carpenter views these as separate issues but many including me disagree.

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