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Heller Decision: Gay Rights’ Victory

Welcome Instapundit Readers!! — While you are visiting, check out the election news GayPatriot broke earlier this week.

While Ann Althouse finds in yesterday’s Supreme Court Heller decision overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban a victory for women’s righsts (via Instapundit) as the overturned law banned certain guns which are easier for women to use, I see it as significant advance for gay rights victory .

Indeed, I believe this decision is the best ruling for gays in many years, perhaps even more significant than Lawrence v. Texas, the decision overturning sodomy laws. Few states enforced those laws whereas many jurisdictions enforce gun bans. Both these pro-gay rights’ rulings were handed down on June 26, Heller this year, Lawrence in 2003. Given that day’s proximity to the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, we can celebrate all three events during Pride month.

With this ruling, gay people will have greater and more ready access to handguns and so be better able to defend ourselves against gay-bashers. With such a victory for gay rights, I thought I’d check the sites of the various gay organizations to see how they’re celebrating, acknowledging how the constitutional freedom enshrined in the Second Amendment benefits us. Nothing on the websites of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) or the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Silence on such an important victory for gay rights?!?!?

Log Cabin, however, devoted the better part of its homepage to a press release heralding the ruling. At least one gay group gets it. (Note to self: renew Log Cabin membership.) Organization President Patrick Sammon understands how this decision benefits gays:

Unfortunately, too many LGBT Americans still face the threat of anti-gay violence. . . We’re happy the Supreme Court has affirmed the right for us to protect ourselves and our families from harm. Self defense is not a privilege, it’s a right.


Tammy Bruce celebrated the decision on her blog, calling it “good news,” but warning that the 5-4 decision “is far too close for anyone’s comfort.” (Make sure to check out this piece where she builds on her celebration — and her warning.)

In my posts on gun control (here and here), I have set out why Patrick and Tammy are right, that this decision is indedd a cause for celebration.

Dale Carpenter, another gay person who likes the Heller result, has two great pieces on the decision at the Volokh Conspiracy, offering his initial impressions here and commenting on the prospects for originalism in the wake of this ruling here.

I have read a number of insightful blog posts and articles on the decision, but wanted to single out two: Randy Barnett’s Wall Street Journal piece on how the Constitution means what it Says and Glenn Reynold’s New York Post editorial where, like Tammy and I, he expressed delight about the decision but concern about the margin.

The margin may indeed be too close for comfort, but this is a significant victory for gay rights, making it easier for us to protect ourselves in our own communities, a victory indeed for all Americans.

UPDATE: My friend Rick Sincere reminds me that Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty (GLIL) and Pink Pistols, submitted a friend of the court brief on behalf of Heller and the Second Amendment. They understand how overturning the ban benefits gays.



  1. The “Well Regulated Militia” is to be regulated how?
    To prevent tyrany, the founders made damn sure the populace would always be able to prevent it by force if need be.
    The Liberal Left, which is currently decrying certain percieved loss of rights under “The Evil GW Bush” would just love to see this Right removed, forever leaving Themselves open to permanent loss of all rights.
    Cliche it may be, but the Second really is the protector of the other nine.
    The Bill Of Rights was amended onto the Constitution to ensure forever what the founders first thought obvious. But some people would circumvent that which they though obvious, and even after writing the obvious down, FOUR(4) Justices decided “The Right Of The People” does not mean “The People”. . .Us. . you and me. If it did not (thanks to Kennedy getting this one correct), then what about the First? The Fourth? The Fifth?
    What about those that never mention “The People”?

    So, without this Right, just this question to the “Living Document” supporters:
    How do you intend to keep any Rights if you are willing to give up that which allows you to protect those Rights?

    Comment by JP — June 28, 2008 @ 6:53 pm - June 28, 2008

  2. How do you intend to keep any Rights if you are willing to give up that which allows you to protect those Rights?

    There’s a group of people who would gladly swap all their rights for “free” health care and/or a piece of paper from a government bureaucracy validating their same-sex living arrangement as a marriage.

    Comment by V the K — June 28, 2008 @ 7:02 pm - June 28, 2008

  3. #40 Dave claims to be misunderstood by certain (me) readers here. Here is a random quote from his post:

    Every single person (person=judge in this construct) will be influenced by their political views. There is no way humanly possible not to be. Yes they must “rule ON THE CONSTITUTION AND THE LAW. Period.” But that will be subject to the way they think. Period.

    My reading of this is that Dave is telling us that judges must rule on the Constitution and the law, but they will rule according to their political views. He emphasizes the point by writing the one word sentence: “Period.”

    Dave scolds Bruce that:

    It’s beyond stupid to say that the Constitution should be read in the context in which it was written.

    Let’s forget that you must be beyond stupid if you disagree with this definitive statement.

    Perhaps some folks do not understand what the word “context” means. The Constitution can not be read in any other way than in the context in which it was written.

    I will not put words in Dave’s mouth, but perhaps there is some confusion here over the age old debate of “original intent.” There are some weasel words in the Constitution such as “due process” and “cruel and unusual” and “good behavior” and “probable cause.” They continue to cause debate and context is not really helpful, so there is a reason to examine “original intent.”

    The Constitution says nothing whatsoever about “the pursuit of happiness” and it makes no mention of our economic system. But, am I to believe that if 9 Communists get appointed to the Supreme Court that they get to rule according to their extreme socialist political whims?

    Enough of this. I have been overexposed to pseudo-intellectualism in underthinking and misunderstanding the brilliance of our Constitutional form of government and the ingenious checks and balances that have allowed us to pretty much ignore it.

    As Franklin reportedly said when asked what kind of government had been created: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

    Judges ruling on the basis of political bias is sure death to our republic.

    Comment by heliotrope — June 28, 2008 @ 7:09 pm - June 28, 2008

  4. […] Heller Decision: Gay Rights’ Victory […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Gay Man Challenges San Francisco Gun Ban — June 28, 2008 @ 7:18 pm - June 28, 2008

  5. #18 – “… allowing gay people to use firearms, just like allowing anyone else to use them… ” is a straw man; there are no laws that I know of preventing a person from having a firearm where the reason provided is due to his sexual practices. I may be wrong on this as I haven’t reviewed/researched it, but if you can point out to me a law that says otherwise, please do.

    I’m against group politics, that much should be clear from my limited comments here. As for whatever reason my would-be assaulter would have or not as he approaches in his attack, I really don’t give a s@*t what it is… The absolute truth is that I’m tappin’ that sumb%&th twice in center mass, then putting a security round in his eye socket – and the issue of where I choose to stick my virile member has absolutely nothing to do with that truth.

    Comment by Juan — June 28, 2008 @ 8:06 pm - June 28, 2008

  6. Juan #55, if you take a gander at this blog, you’ll see that we too are against group politics. I call heller a victory for gay rights because it has particular benefits for gay people. Even if it doesn’t offer spell out protections for us as a group, it benefits us as individuals.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — June 28, 2008 @ 8:27 pm - June 28, 2008

  7. “9 Communists get appointed to the Supreme Court that they get to rule according to their extreme socialist political whims”

    If 9 Communists got appointed that would likely mean that the President support communism and enough of the legislatore do also in order to confirm them. In that case I would say that the Constitution has probably already been given up as a guide to how to run the country.

    I am not advocating judges ruling based on their political beliefs I am saying that it is virtually impossible for them not to. And I ask again, if political beliefs don’t enter into it then the best person for the job should be nominated no matter where they stand on the political spectrum. How often has that happened in the history of this country? Bush chose people that would appease his conservative base and every other President who had the chance to nominate someone has done the same, in my opinion. I welcome any examples (true ones) that will prove me wrong.

    Comment by Dave — June 28, 2008 @ 11:14 pm - June 28, 2008

  8. Dave,

    The Constitution is a legal contract. Nothing more, nothing less. The only reason we exist as a country is because our forebearers hammered out a contract that the states could agree on. Have you ever heard of a “living, breathing” mortgage or business contract where the parties can just change how they “interpret” the contract? No, of course not. Legal contracts don’t work that way.

    Words have meanings. The constitution is very clearly written and requires almost zero “interpretation”, it requires only application. And when the Constitution does require interpretation, it is very easy, through the writings of our Founders such as the Federalist papers, etc, to figure out precisely what they meant.

    IF circumstances arise where we think modern life necessitates a changes to the constitution, then the constitution has an amendment process for changing it. Changing the Constitution by the Amendment process is the ONLY way we can change the meaning and still call ourselves a representative democracy. What liberal justices love to do is circumvent that amendment process and substitute their own policy preferences for that of the elected branches. Which is, of course, is tyranny, antithetical to everything this government of the people, by the people, and for the people stands for.

    If any of the founders suspected that a group of unelected elites would change the contract they all worked so hard to make agreeable to all the states with the stroke of a pen, they never would have ratified it.

    A “living breathing” Constitution would be just as ridiculous as a lving breathing business contract. It would be meaningless. It would mean only what the people in power want it to mean. Which is precisely why liberals love the concept. It allows them to force their policy on a public that won’t approve it at the ballot box. Conservatives understand that if we are to remain a free country, if we are to remain self-goverened, the constitution must mean exactly what it says, and must ONLY be changed by the people and their elected representatives.

    If so then why not just have one judge, the almighty Scalia,

    That would be HOT since he is one of the four justices who understand that the PEOPLE make the laws, the PEOPLE agreed to the Contitution, and the PEOPLE, not judges, are the only ones who can change it. And if you would read your constitution, you’d also find it would be entirely Constitutional. The Constitution calls for a Supreme Court, it leaves the number of justices, as well as the number and make up of lower courts, to the congress.

    Comment by American Elephant — June 28, 2008 @ 11:38 pm - June 28, 2008

  9. Dave said: “Bush chose people that would appease his conservative base and every other President who had the chance to nominate someone has done the same, in my opinion. I welcome any examples (true ones) that will prove me wrong.”

    Ford (R) –> Justice Stevens (1975)
    Reagan (R) –> Justices O’Connor (1981) and Kennedy (1988)
    G.H.W. Bush (R) –> Justice Souter (1990)

    That’s two of the current big libs and the swing vote, his Imperial Majesty Justice Anthony McLeod Kennedy, all nominated by Republicans.

    With a minimal amount of research you are once again proven wrong Dave.

    The people who should be nominated to the courts are those noble enough to acknowledge their beliefs and honest enough to recognize when the plain language of the Constitution does not support those beliefs and rule accordingly. More often than not it is the conservative Justices that fit this mold. The ones who will dig desperately for to find support for their own personal biases within “penumbras of emanations” are the ones to be avoided, whether they come from the left or the right, although they are more often of the left.

    Comment by Hoth — June 29, 2008 @ 1:57 am - June 29, 2008

  10. Also Dave, you ought to be careful what you wish for. If the Constitution is really to be the malleable document you seem to favor, and its meaning dependent on the balance of bias on the court, remember that America is still very much a center-right nation. As Hoth touched upon, seven of the nine Justices have been appointed by Republicans. Five of the last seven presidents have been Republicans and Americans, according to polls, prefer conservative justices. If Oligarchy is what you want, keep in mind it would most likely be a conservative oligarchy for, probably the rest of your lifetime at least.

    Comment by American Elephant — June 29, 2008 @ 6:38 am - June 29, 2008

  11. 26: Thanks for keeping the level of debate up to such high standards, you moron

    Comment by Kevin — June 29, 2008 @ 8:58 am - June 29, 2008

  12. Hoth, thanks for the info. Yes I could have found it but I know that many on here are better students of history than I and could answer it quickly.

    “The constitution is very clearly written and requires almost zero “interpretation”, it requires only application”

    Exactly AE, I have misused the word interpret in place of apply. To me that application must be tempered by modern circumstance. On the topic of guns, I don’t see how one can advocate total freedom to own any weapon that exists but if you’re going to focus on 5 words “the right to bear arms” there’s little argument.

    You love Scalia, fine. I think he’s one of the judges who has made it HARDER for “the people” to get justice in this country. Who has put the “rights” of corporations ahead of the people and other things. Of course I have to be honest my distaste of him probably comes more from the fact that every word I have ever seen him utter has made me want to slap the smarmy bitch silly.

    Anyway, I don’t expect anyone to agree with me and most of you have stated your case quite well. I think we are closer than it seems but the way I write things doesn’t always clearly state what I’m thinking. Whatever, I agree that the Constitution has stood the test of time and will always need to be the basis of our gov’t for the USA to survive. I get my back up when folks say how conservatives are better at sticking to the original concepts when it is a conservative administration that has and will continue until the last day to try and bypass the checks and balances that exist. I think “the people” need to pay a lot more attention to who the are voting into office or the day will come when the Constitution and the justice system will be only a fond memory. And that threat comes from both side.

    Comment by Dave — June 29, 2008 @ 12:48 pm - June 29, 2008

  13. Dave,

    The “strict constructionist” (conservative) justice finds the basis of his rulings in the Constitution and his written opinion spells out how he reached his conclusion, based on the Constitution.

    The “loose constructionist” (liberal) justice finds “guidance” in the Constitution or even the laws and customs of other lands to reach his desired conclusion.

    The Congress writes the laws. The people can make themselves heard. The Constitution can be amended. These are the tools of a true republic. The legislature writes the laws, the executive carries out and enforces the laws. The Judiciary settles disputes arising under the laws. It is a fairly simple concept. Except, liberals are more and more depending on the courts to create law.

    Too many liberals are looking at the courts as a short cut around the obligation of making your case and getting the people behind you in a free and open system of representative government. The extent to which liberals are ignorant of the harm they are doing to the system of republican government is alarming.

    Comment by heliotrope — June 29, 2008 @ 6:16 pm - June 29, 2008

  14. I don’t see how one can advocate total freedom to own any weapon that exists but if you’re going to focus on 5 words “the right to bear arms” there’s little argument.

    No one is arguing that anyone has the right to nuclear arms, only that the government cannot disarm the people altogether.

    You love Scalia, fine. I think he’s one of the judges who has made it HARDER for “the people” to get justice in this country. Who has put the “rights” of corporations ahead of the people and other things.

    I do love Scalia, although I prefer Roberts. Nonetheless, if I may be so bold, I suspect you think Scalia has made it “harder for ‘the people’ to get justice” because you have a skewed idea of what justice is. Justice is not favoring the little guy over the big guy. Justice is not favoring whichever side pulls at your heartstrings more. Justice is applying the law as it is written. And like it or not, often the law is on the side of “big, evil,” corporations. And when it is, Justice requires finding in their favor. If the law is wrong, change the law — but change it democratically. If you empower unelected judges to change the law because they don’t agree that the law as written is just, then you cease to live in freedom.

    I get my back up when folks say how conservatives are better at sticking to the original concepts when it is a conservative administration that has and will continue until the last day to try and bypass the checks and balances that exist.

    I’m sorry, but thats simply not true. You are being misled by Democrats who want want you to believe that because they desperately want to get back in power. And here is the proof:

    1. In every single instance, the administration has complied with all court rulings, even when they disagreed with them. That is not bypassing checks and balances, that is yielding to them.

    2. Are you aware (I am willing to bet you are not) that in the recent ruling on illegal enemy detainees, that the Bush administration’s policy was following long-settled Supreme Court precedent? A precedent that the liberals on the court had to overturn in order to reach their outrageous decision? What happened to all that talk about the importance of stare decisis(let the decision stand)??? In both Roberts and Alito’s confirmation hearings we were ceaselessly battered with the proclamation that precedent must never be overturned, especially “super” or long-standing precedent. And yet the Bush administration has been smeared as disobeying the law, and, as you say, of trying to bypass checks and balances. And yet here they are, complying with a decision that they disagree with and that overturns long held precedent.

    3) and finally, are you aware that the President’s sole powers as Commander in Chief are bestowed by the Constitution, and that Congress can no more take away his powers in this area by writing a law, than he could take away their constitutionally mandated powers by writing an executive order. And yet Democrats have been doing exactly that/ It is Democrats that have been trying to usurp powers that the Constitution grants to the executive.

    You have a very misinformed and erroneous opinion of the power-plays that have been taking place and who it is that has been behaving extra-constitutionally.

    Comment by American Elephant — June 29, 2008 @ 11:43 pm - June 29, 2008

  15. Kevin, as a MA resident and a straight man welcoming gay marriage, I find it disgusting and a comment on the modern American legislative system that the Supreme Judicial Court here had to legalize gay marriage, while the douchebag “Progressives” in the Legislature (85% Democrat here) didn’t have the courage to stand on their alleged principles.

    Comment by Brutus — June 30, 2008 @ 12:58 pm - June 30, 2008

  16. I’ve been saying for years that gun-rights advocates should have been focusing on groups most likely to be victimized as being excellent candidates for handgun ownership.

    Comment by Roderick Reilly — June 30, 2008 @ 5:50 pm - June 30, 2008

  17. […] to a pair of blog posts lionizing Antonin Scalia as a champion of women’s rights and gay rights in virtue of his Heller decision. Inasmuch as the right to own a gun not only trumps every other […]

    Pingback by The Art of the Possible » Blog Archive » Glibertarians! — July 1, 2008 @ 10:54 am - July 1, 2008

  18. modern war guns…

    Do you have a newsletter to sign up to?…

    Trackback by modern war guns — July 12, 2008 @ 5:09 pm - July 12, 2008

  19. hi iam from palestin / gaza … and iam sure you know whats going on in gaza .. my name is M.H.M.A
    iam gay and living in country like this mean alot and i know you understand what i mean .. i didnt want to till you that iam look like Beggars and i need any Straw to Hold it or some one to safe me all i want is some one to hear me .. is it you !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by m — August 6, 2008 @ 5:20 pm - August 6, 2008

  20. […] Just under a year ago, we contended the that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller decision was a gay rights’ victory:  “With this ruling, gay people will have greater and more ready access to handguns and so […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Concelead Carry Laws Further Gay Rights — June 10, 2009 @ 4:46 pm - June 10, 2009

  21. Can you explain law of slavery? Jesus said to be a good slave in Mathew? Why,is it wrong if it was okay by Jesus word of scripture? How come I can’t have many wives like old testament? Im lost can you help me understand scripture? Old Testament or God Laws were updated by Jesus New Law? Why, is wrong to be gay? Old Law? Jesus said, Love all man unconditional? Why, is it wrong for gay’s to marry. Old Law of God? New law of Jesus unconditionaly? Is this not double jepardy? We don’t do it today’s law, except with Gay people?Is this not double jepardy? A Double standard? I dont get it. I guess this is why so many say it contradicts! We say Love equal than say you can’t get Married? Justify with old law when Jesus said, Love all man and old testament says love all man? If, so can I use it in Law today? Sounds good to me.I can have slaves? Updated law dont mean anything? We can still use old laws and new laws? What is Human Right. Is this not to be equal.What is unconditional then.I looked in dictionary and says without conditions. Is this not double jepordy? To say I love you unconditionally,except if your Gay.What about Gay Christians that dont want to sin by Adultry. We say we love them equal with limitations.Then use old scripture or Laws and say No? How is this fair? I’m lost? If we just got rid of Old Testament it wouldn’t be confusing? Like our old Laws.We no longer use Old laws with new. Old Law of God,One Book.Law of Jesus another Book of laws. Do you see where I’m going. If a man stole a cow we used to hang them. Why not today? You do it in the Bible, it must be okay for us today? We can just make laws to fit us? So if I have many wives I can Justify with Old Laws like Old Testament. Why keep old law if new ones take its place? Thus old test. law and new test. law. Jesus said, Unconditionaly.And also said Meant to be between Man and Woman. Can I justify having two wives by old law? What does word Meant mean. I looked in dictionary it say Soposed to be. So I can have many still? Meant in law mean today. Did it change of something? Meant, man and woman. Does it say not man and man? Where is the limitations on it. Surely not in old law?Updated law of today dont allow that.Why would God make it differant, Is he not fair?Does he love one more than the other? Jesus said under no condition and we say yes we are then no you cant. What is that? Two most important Commandments,Mathew said Jesus Updated the Law and we use old law of God. No wonder people say, It contradict. Do you see where Im going. How is a lesser law hight than More important law. I know the truth! I just wanted you to see it. You would do better without old law of Moses, Just used Jesus New Testament Law. To use both wouldn’t stand up in court. Unless Prejudiced? Do you catch my meaning.We do it to Gays and then use old law to justify over new law. You Guy don’t even see it.Blind and now do you see!!I have been trying to tell people won’t but won’t listen? I just hear justification of old law of Moses.So Moses law more importand than New updated law?Im trying to tell the world something and get blown off. I know I had been going around it wrong.I just don’t know what God’s meaning is behind it.Something Im positive of. God gave me the gift of scripture yet I did not know how to tell anyone without thinking I’m crazy. I hope this one get’s taken seriously. I know without a dought what I’m soposed to do but don’t know how to tell ya.This is my best bet to use parable as Jesus to get point across without putting up a wall. I was blind and now I see. I was a Christian for long time to. I’d thought someone was crazy if opposite situation. Can’t blame them plus it is for some reason. God only know though.I will see soon. I’m trying to tell them he’s comming. Like a thier in the night. Lot shorter than you think. More like now.This is the Alpha of omega. I know you think, huh? He wants you to be ready. Think 2012 calendars stop. You think ah,maybe. I say no for sure. If you knew what I do you’d go nuts as anyone else in my shoe. He hints then I wait then bang out of know where I just jump and as high as I can. He is real. You know he’s real. Forget the old Testament. Like old law of society.Read word for word in bible truth of scripture only new law not moses’s. Read Mathew at least. Then read Rev. the same way. No more contradiction and you will see his comming. Pleas try it he does love you.Believe in him you shall not parrish but have eternal life.If you don’t catch on to this message you safe. Wouldn’t like a little less burden. “Justice is mine says”, The Lord. I can maybe help you if you missed the meaning.It is for reason all is for reason. God’s Ordained Rev. Parker 3

    Comment by charles — January 28, 2010 @ 9:17 am - January 28, 2010

  22. […] bit of news for gay Americans since the Supreme Court handed down the Lawrence decision (though the Heller decision making it easier for us to defend ourselves against gay bashers was also pretty […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Are Barney’s Days Numbered? — January 28, 2010 @ 4:18 pm - January 28, 2010

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