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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Supreme Court gay marriage decision vindicates Jack Baker and W. Dorr Legg 50 years later

 June 26, 2013 Supreme Court TV coverage phone call from Obama to HRC head

PHOTO: The June 26, 2013 live over-the-air TV coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage as seen on (top) an ABC network TV broadcast network from a San Francisco pro-gay marriage event, which ironically was still waiting to hear the decision on CNN, which could be seen behind San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom while ABC was interviewing him about his reaction to the decision ABC had reported many minutes before CNN. When CNN finally reported the decision, the crowd applauded loudly, prompting the Major to explain the crowd's belated reaction as the fault of a network he would not name on ABC. Also (bottom) on MSNBC the head of the gay lobby Human rights Campaign jumped into the middle of two of an interview with the California Prop 8 plaintiffs to let them talk to President Barack Obama who was calling from Air Force One. They graciously thanked him for having changed his position and supporting their case. The HRC had shamefully refused to support gay marriage for many years claiming it would jeopardize their insider lobbying position in Washington, D.C.

Watching the TV news coverage this morning was fascinating because of how the mainstream press chose to tie gay marriage to the earlier sodomy decision by Justice Kennedy, while ignoring the story of the 1972 gay marriage Supreme Court case of Jack Backer and others who paved the way for gay marriage, such as the former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg.

My sister asked me why Baker's case was being ignored and I reminded her of the history of how Legg and Baker were angrily dismissed by fellow homophile and gay liberation activists in the 1950s and 1970s. Also, I reminded her how feminists denounced marriage as an obsolete institution they wanted to replace with free love, open marriage and sexual liberation. This jogged her own memory of having questioned whether or not she should get married in the 1970s and support an obsolete institution that had traditionally been used by men to oppress women. (P.S. my sister is still happily married to the same man.)

I was able to DVR multiple news channels and compare cable news channels Fox, CNN, MSNBC, along with the over-the-Air TV network ABC Good Morning America, which all carried live coverage of the Supreme Court's decision during the 7 AM Pacific Time West Coast edition of Good Morning America, (The Supreme Court's decision was announced at 10 AM East Coast time in Washington, D.C. that is 7 AM on the West Coast.)

Even though CNN belatedly reported the gay marriage decisions many minutes after ABC and MSBC, the FOX News network appeared to be spending all their time on blaming the Obama administration for the classified military leaks and other unrelated news. Finally, within the hour, FOX reported the gay marriage decision and spun it as being a victory for their state rights political ideology because the court had decided the California Prop 8 gay marriage case in a way that did not apply across America and it did not "create a new right for gay marriage in the Constitution." In a significant shift from the past, Fox News gave only some token time to the anti-gay right wing Christian republican political groups. Hopefully, this is a sign that the Republican Party believes public opinion is shifting in favor of gay marriage equality. Of course, the anti-gay marriage folks whined about how they are victims of the Supreme Court imposing gay marriage on religious folks, despite the fact the court did not such thing and nobody is advocating such a thing.

ONE Magazine Aug. 1953 'Homosexual marriage?' cover headline PHOTO: the research journal ONE was ahead of its time when in 1953 it mentioned the idea of "homosexual marriage" long before "gay marriage" or same-sex marriage had become the a cause of a few gay liberationists, such as Jack Baker. The former Oregon State University Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture W. Dorr Legg was one of the major contributors to the ONE homophile magazine and he was also a Christian conservative who probably saw gay marriage as being a conservative value whereas others didn't want gays obligated to get married like straight people were traditionally expected to do. (See James T. Sears, PhD, "1953: When ONE Magazine, Headlined 'Homosexual Marriage,'" posted Aug. 11, 2003 and my previous posts Gay marriage pioneer Jack Baker starts blog (confirmed) (4/4/12), OSU W. Dorr Legg homosexual marriage 1953 vs. CA Prop 8 2010 (8/22/10), Oregon same-sex marriage vote and Pope resigns hits front page (2/21/13), "Would former HP CEO have wanted voters to decide women's rights in the 1950's?" (3/22/13) and Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," posted April 30, 2010 for my history of OSU.

May 18, 1970 Michael McConnell and Jack Baker married by Hennepin County Minnesota Justice of the Peace

PHOTO: May 18, 1970 Michael McConnell and Jack Baker were married by Hennepin County Minnesota Justice of the Peace. As a law student, Baker brought his gay marriage case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Baker V. Nelson case, which was dismissed with a boiler plate ruling the court frequently used back then to avoid having to seriously decide a case. Jack Baker says, "In 1970, Minnesota laws did not forbid a marriage contract issued to a same-sex couple. A license lawfully obtained in Blue Earth County was signed by the Rev. Roger Lynn. The Grand Jury refused to approve the indictment requested by Hennepin County Attorney George M. Scott. No court has ever invalidated the contract. Even though courts refuse to 'recognize' what was issued by a Clerk of Court, the first legal gay marriage remains in effect." (Source: personal email communication dated May 31, 2013 and copied to me from Jack Baker to Don Jorovsky) See previous post Jack Baker says it would be unlawful if he married under new Minnesota gay marriage law (6/1/13)

See my previous posts and other related links:

UPDATE: June 29, 2013 both the Friday and Saturday morning network news cycles have been filled with stories about the gay marraige ruling and the unexpected court decision that allowed gay marriages to take place now instead of an indeterminate amount of time later. Here are are some interesting links I've read: