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South Carolina justifies same-sex marriage ban by arguing that women once lacked basic rights

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South Carolina officials filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court that argued banning same-sex marriage was constitutional because the Fourteenth Amendment originally did not prohibit states from discriminating against women, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stein reports.

The amicus brief — filed by amicus curiae, or “friends of the court,” meaning people who are not a party to a case but who have a vested interest in a particular outcome — addressed the question, “Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?”

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The answer, according to South Carolina, is that it does not — because although the anachronistic “views of the Fourteenth Amendment’s framers are not those of the State today…such evidence is, nevertheless, reflective of the Amendment’s original meaning which we believe controls this case.”

The state is interpreting the Amendment in accordance with the “originalist” school of judicial interpretation, which privileges the intent of the authors at the time a law was written. According to the state, then, because the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly allowed states to determine whether married women could own property or sign contracts without their husband’s consent, it also granted states the right to determine who could be married — so long as they didn’t discriminate on the basis of race.

“The framers,” the state claims, “insisted upon leaving untouched those state laws depriving women of basic rights upon marriage to a man.” The only marriage-related Fourteenth Amendment restriction, South Carolina argues, involved cases of miscegenation. It “barred racial discrimination, certainly, but its dicta regarding the fundamental right to marriage does not suggest anything about same-sex marriage.”

Because the Amendment’s equal protection clause only originally applied to matters of race — and didn’t even apply to married women in some states — South Carolina argues, as Stein put it, that “[i]f the Fourteenth Amendment permits discrimination against married women, it surely also allows discrimination against gay people who wish to wed.”

“In fact,” he added, “according to South Carolina, the Fourteenth Amendment forbids only racial discrimination, leaving states free to disadvantage women and gays in any way they wish.”

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As outrageous as Stein’s summary of the state’s position might sound, it is, in fact, the argument being proffered by South Carolina’s highest legal authorities.

“The Fourteenth Amendment framers went to considerable lengths to preserve the traditional family unit, even insisting upon the subordination of married women,” they write. “With this in mind, they did not, by any stretch of the imagination, contemplate that same-sex marriage was required by the Amendment or its Due Process Clause.”

“If states wish to authorize same-sex marriage, they certainly may, but the Fourteenth Amendment does not mandate they do so,” they conclude.

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‘Not appropriate at all’: GOP senator admits it was wrong to gas protesters for Trump’s photo-op

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The decision to gas protesters so President Donald Trump could hold a photo-op holding a Bible were criticized by a Republican senator on Friday as cracks start to emerge in Republicans' support for the president.

"As you know, outside the White House when protesters were peacefully exercising their rights, there were rubber bullets and tear gas, they were disbursed so he could go for the pictures, the photo-op at the church," CNN's Erin Burnett reported.

She noted criticism by former General Mattis and asked Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) if he agreed.

"I would say no question the scene that I understand occurred there with the tear gas and rubber bullets was unnecessary, not appropriate at all," he replied.

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GOP Senate candidate complains schools are teaching too much ‘multiculturalism’

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On Friday, the Huffington Post reported that Corky Messner, a GOP businessman running for Senate in New Hampshire, complained that schools are teaching kids too much "multiculturalism" at a virtual town hall.

“We are essentially up against multiculturalism and the values that we know that are being taught in our public schools and universities that are not part of the values and beliefs that made this country great,” said Messner at the event, which took place on Wednesday and was flagged by Democratic super PAC American Bridge. “So we have a battle on our hands.”

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‘A coward and a commander’: New Lincoln Project ad contrasts Trump with James Mattis

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On Friday, the conservative anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project released a new attack ad against President Donald Trump — this time using the criticism of his former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and comparing and contrasting their leadership ability.

"This is the story of a coward and a commander," said the ad's narrator. "The coward Trump dodged the draft. Jim Mattis led American troops for forty years. While a frightened Trump hides from protesters in a deep bunker firing off tweets, Jim Mattis does what he's always done: Leads. While Donald Trump angrily attacks, General Mattis' words deserve to be heard by every American."

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