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.”


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


Text Only
Local News
  • ts-NSU-MAIN.jpg Fledgling RiverHawks arrive

    Over 200 incoming freshmen took part in orientation class at Northeastern State University

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-TCP-jump.jpg Tahlequah Community Playhouse revving up for new season

    Tahlequah Community Playhouse is kicking of its 41st season with a nod to friendship and aging.
    TCP finished auditions for its first play of the season, “The Dixie Swim Club,” on Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Infant mortality dropping in county

    When a mom-to-be is expecting a healthy, happy baby, every week of pregnancy is crucial.
    Short gestation, or premature births, is a leading cause of infant mortality. Any child born before reaching 37 weeks of gestation is considered premature.

    July 23, 2014

  • Board considers combining tourism, chamber positions

    Members of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the local Tourism Council are discussing the possibility of combining two jobs into one.
    Chamber President Steve Turner encouraged board members Tuesday morning to be prepared next month to decide how it will begin a search for a new executive director.

    July 23, 2014

  • New chamber board members nominated

    Three new board members will likely be installed during the regular August meeting of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce.

    July 23, 2014

  • ts-camp-cherokee-main.jpg Camp Cherokee

    About 500 area youth attending popular camp for tribal citizens.

    In reality, two camps are taking place at the Camp Heart ‘o the Hills: a day camp for children in first through sixth grades, and a residential camp for those in middle and high school.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • leatherman-chad.jpg Man gets 20 years for robbing local Walgreens store

    A Tahlequah man accused of robbing a local Walgreens this year has received a 20-year sentence.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-orphan-train.jpg ‘Orphan Train’ authors visit Tahlequah

    Imagine, for a moment, being a child whose parents could not care for him, and the only alternative was to ride the rails across the country, hoping to find a new family and home.
    For local resident Peggy Kaney’s grandfather, this scenario was a reality.
    Alison Moore and Phil Lancaster shared the stories of over 200,000 children taken from New York City and then given away to families in western states from 1854 to 1929, at the Tahlequah Public Library on July 17.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • City council gives family deadline to rehab property

    Tahlequah’s city council is giving a family with local ties a little more than a month to develop and submit rehabilitation plans for two pieces of property containing six dilapidated structures in the 400 block of Lee Street.
    Members of the city’s abatement board recommended the homes be demolished, according to Tahlequah Building Inspector Mark Secratt. City officials then sent a certified notice as required by law, but the letter was returned.

    July 22, 2014

  • Man ‘howling like dog,’ arrested for APC

    When a Kentucky man pulled into an area convenience store over the weekend and began “barking and howling like a dog,” sheriff’s deputies checked on him and eventually hauled him to jail on alcohol-related charges, an arrest report shows.

    July 22, 2014


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return