Monday, October 13, 2014

Let's lower the bar!

Just some of the planet's 7,267,055,683
people.* Keep up the good work Texas.
Are you ready to have your mind blown? You are? Good. So do you remember Greg Abbott? No? Good, he's kind of a dick. Read this, it'll catch you up. He's the Texas Attorney General who was appealing the ruling that Texas's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. His rationale is that the State has an obligation to encourage opposite-sex marriage and ban same-sex marriage because only straight couples can make babies. And then only when joined in the bonds of holy matrimony. Because in Texas, that's how science works.

Anyway, Abbott's back with a new tactic: this time he openly accepts that his justification for keeping the ban on same-sex marriage is baseless, but that it shouldn't matter because, get this: the law, he says, doesn't have to make any sense.
"I don't see what everybody's problem is. The courthouse is over there, while
the giant stone tablets with the Ten Commandments are over here. On the lawn.
They're not actually touching, so church and state are separate. See? I'm a lawyer."

-Greg Abbott, Texas AG, candidate for Governor
and one of the many reasons I'll never live in Texas
-Some Judge ruling
on the gay marriage thing
According to the brief, the ban was thrown out because it fails something called a rational basis review. A rational basis review (yes, I looked this up on wikipedia, what's your point?), asks whether or not a "government action is a reasonable means to an end." In this case, is there a legitimate reason to ban same-sex marriage or is it just some red-state horseshit put on the books by a bunch of Republicans trying to lock-up the ignorant homophobe vote? A federal judge ruled that it was the horseshit thing and blamo: the ban is unconstitutional. Sounds pretty simple right?

Every conceivable rationale? But
doesn't it kind of come down to:
sometimes people are assholes?
Because it's not. It never is. According to Abbott's appeal, the State doesn't actually have to show that the ban was doing anyone any good. Instead, according to Abbott:

"...the plaintiffs bear the burden of negating every conceivable rationale that might be offered for Texas's marriage laws--regardless of whether those rationales appear in the State's appellate brief."

-Texas AG Greg Abbott

Above: Because gay people.
I'm not a lawyer so bear with me here, but this kind of sounds like he's saying that Texas doesn't need to have a rational reason to ban same-sex marriage, just the desire to do so. If anyone wants to challenge it, then all they have do is address every imaginable scenario in which the law might possibly make sense. Even ones they haven't thought of yet. It's like he's trying to lower the bar so that ridiculous rationales for the ban like, 'encouraging straight people to breed' and 'gay marriage causes hurricanes' are taken seriously.

So is it just me, or is this like an incredibly dangerous precedent to set? The only way to over turn a bad law would be to show undeniable proof that it's completely useless in every possible way in all possible parallel dimensions throughout the multiverse and for all time. Unless we're prepared to stack the Supreme Court with Time Lords (not in itself a bad idea), I don't see how this shit is going to fly.
To be clear: Greg Abbott could say that letting gay people get married would summon Gozer
and bring about the end of the world, and it's on you to prove in a court of law that it wouldn't. 

*Here, click on this for the current population. Spoiler alert: it's gone up.

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