Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

January 10, 2014

Supreme Court moves raise eyebrows

Gay marriage, contraceptive health coverage at issue

TAHLEQUAH — The U.S. Supreme Court rang in the new year by handing down a pair of orders that have raised eyebrows across the country – and that includes Cherokee County.

A temporary injunction issued at the 11th hour by Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor blocks a requirement under the Affordable Care Act to insure birth control procedures, which a Denver-based congregation of Catholic nuns was fighting.

The second order, issued Monday, blocks same-sex marriages in Utah. The ban was struck down Dec. 20 by Judge Robert J. Shelby, and since that time, roughly 1,000 same sex couples had been married. The state warned couples their marriages could be in danger as it sought legal redress, but had begun granting newlyweds benefits afforded to heterosexual couples.

Tony O’seland, a veteran, local resident and lecturer at Northeastern State University, believes the Supreme Court may be contradicting itself in issuing the stay in the Utah marriage case.

“It seems, at least to me, to abrogate the already existing law of the land that was established when SCOTUS originally ruled on the legality of same-sex marriage,” said O’seland.

 “[The court] declared that preventing same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, and Utah, well-known for its homophobia and general lack of tolerance to anything not based on the predominant religion coming out of that area, is attempting to overturn the SCOTUS decision based on its own moral code, not on the legality of the item in question.”

O’seland said the Utah issue baffles him.

“For a state that turns a blind eye to polygamy, to throw a temper tantrum about same-sex marriage appears, to me, to be one of the greatest logical fallacies of our time,” said O’seland. “If you belong to the unofficially state-sanctioned religious group you, if you are male and ‘found worthy,’ can marry as many women as you like; but if you like the same gender, you are an ‘abomination’ and have no rights. Much like being a different color or ethnicity in most of the rest of America.”

The battle over birth control

O’seland says the birth control issue and order is similar, in that it caters to special interest groups.

“Much is being discussed over the finer points of Justice Sotamayor’s ruling freezing portions of the Affordable Care Act, and again, it’s all based on one religion and a lot of obfuscation by the media and both sides in the argument” said O’seland. “The particular case mentioned most in this portion of the ACA argument was brought on behalf of a group of a dozen Catholic nuns who didn’t want to pay for birth control under ACA.  And again, religion, with massive support from the far right and the manipulation of the media by handlers and spin doctors, attempts to trump law.”

O’seland believes the answer to the ACA problem is an easy fix.

“The answer is frighteningly simple:  In the ACA sign-up, opt in or opt out for birth control,” he said. “The half-pence that coverage would cost across the board can be deducted from the total cost of your ACA coverage and you don’t have to have the debate over birth control again.”

O’seland said neither argument should be an issue, in the grand scheme of things.

“The main point is that both of these are non-issues created by one special interest group or another, shepherded through the media to carefully ‘expose’ the logic of their arguments, and little more than, as Shakespeare put it ‘a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’”

Patrick Barkman, an attorney, said stays of this nature are more process than substance.

“I don’t think you can read too much into those decisions,” said Barkman. “Stays are typically granted to preserve the status quo until the appeal is heard. They aren’t an indication necessarily of how SCOTUS will rule.”

Barkman said the stay in the Utah marriage case prevented settling the issue before it could be heard on appeal.

He also has an opinion about the contraception issue.

“The contraceptive mandate case is a Trojan horse for big corporations, anyway; the nuns were already exempt,” he said.

 “They are claiming, very weakly, that even the act of claiming the exemption violates their religious beliefs. Ludicrous. Using that logic, all churches should be taxed, lest they be forced to sign an infamous tax exemption form.”

Shannon Grimes, local chiropractor and chairman of the Cherokee County Republican Party, reiterated Barkman’s comment about the process of the court.

“The main thing I would point out is that the SCOTUS has not made any rulings or decisions on these matters,” said Grimes. “The actions taken by some of the justices basically put things on hold for further review.”

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

To read about Supreme Court cases that could have an impact in 2014, go to www.tahlequahTDP.com.

tsnell@tahlequahdailypress.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • plane-crash-1-a.jpg Plane crash victims recovering

    Two Arkansas men remained in a Tulsa hospital Monday after the plane they were flying crashed into a wooded area in Cookson.
    According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the 1946 Ercoupe 415 crashed under “unknown circumstances” about a mile from the Tenkiller Air Park in Cookson Saturday morning.
    The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 75-year-old John McCreary and 85-year-old Albert Demarco Jr., both of Ozark, Ark., were flown from Cookson to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • walker-terrance.jpg Man taken for blood sample confuses hospital with hotel

    Tahlequah police say an Austin, Texas, man stopped Saturday mistook a local hospital for a hotel when he was taken to have his blood drawn.
    Officer Cory Keele’s affidavit says 20-year-old Terrance Walker was driving south on Muskogee Avenue at about 2 a.m. Saturday, swerving from one line to another.
    Keele tried to stop the car near Muskogee and Chickasaw, and Walker eventually slowed to a stop near South Street.
    Walker opened the car door as Keele approached. The officer said Walker had dilated pupils.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • ennis-scottie.jpg Knife-cutting incident lands man in jail

    A Tahlequah man jailed for allegedly cutting a woman with a kitchen knife was released on a recognizance bond Monday.
    Scottie Lee Ennis, 42, was arrested after Officer Austin Yates was sent to Tahlequah City Hospital late Friday night.
    There, Yates spoke with Jennifer Pennell, who had apparently suffered a stab wound to her arm.
    Pennell told Yates she and her husband, Ennis, had gone to Dewain’s Place earlier in the evening, and while at the bar, a man bought her a drink.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • hawley-jeremy.jpg Tahlequah man bonds out after arrest for assault

    A 22-year-old Tahlequah man bonded out of jail Monday after his weekend arrest on domestic assault charges.
    Jeremy Hawley was booked into jail Sunday for domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interfering with a 911 call.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cherokee Nation law eases restrictions in gaming facilities

    The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council on Monday night voted to reduce regulations in its gaming facilities, but to conform to National Indian Gaming Commission minimum internal control standards.
    The measure ultimately passed 9-7, with District 1 Councilor Joe Byrd abstaining.
    Before discussion, Councilor Lee Keener moved to table the item, saying neither he nor members of the gaming commission had sufficient time to review the act. Councilor Cara Cowan-Watts seconded the motion, with a friendly amendment.

    April 15, 2014

  • Boy again caught with stolen items

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies say a juvenile caught with stolen property several times in the past was recently discovered to have more missing items.
    Deputies took a report over the weekend from a man who said his garage was burglarized while he was away from his home for an extended time. A number of items were taken, including an air compressor, leaf grinder, leaf blower, extension cords, drill-bit kit, a cordless drill, antique tools, a pressure washer, a machete, an aluminum ladder and a butane lighter torch.

    April 15, 2014

  • hughes-james.jpg Muskogee man caught with drugs at casino

    Cherokee Nation marshals arrested a Muskogee man Sunday after he was allegedly caught with drugs at the Cherokee Casino.
    Deputy marshals were called when security at the casino noticed a man drop a bag of a white, crystal-like substance.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tahlequah man charged with hitting vehicle, fleeing

    Prosecutors have formally charged a Tahlequah man accused of hitting another vehicle in downtown Tahlequah and leaving the scene.

    April 15, 2014

  • sp-symposium-Child.jpg Child discusses survival of Native communities

    When Dr. Brenda Child, Ojibwe/Red Lake, tells people she is from the reservation at Red Lake, Minn., she explains, “We’re the ones who didn’t lose our lands.”
    Her tribe’s story is unusual among Native Americans, many of whom have been displaced throughout history. But history is complicated, she said. That’s why, as a historian, she is interested in “the small stor[ies].”
    “I’m someone who can’t really get a grasp of the big picture ... unless I look at the individual stories of people on the ground. How were they living? What shaped their lives?” she asked.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-Symposium-Leeds.jpg Developing food security, sovereignty

    When the Cherokees rebuilt their nation 150 years ago following the Trail of Tears, they immediately went to work re-establishing a government, along with higher education and court systems.
    Stacy Leeds, Cherokee citizen and dean of the College of Law at the University of Arkansas, said that while history reveres the Cherokee judges, scholars and lawmakers of the time, most Cherokee citizens were farmers.
    Leeds gave a presentation Friday about tribal governance, land use, food and agriculture police and economic development during the 42nd annual Symposium of the American Indian at Northeastern State University. The luncheon was hosted by the NSU Chapter of American Indian Students in Science and Engineering, and Leeds offered the AISES students food for thought about where their careers could be going.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Stocks