Good Wednesday morning. We’ve got a big show planned with full coverage of the latest events in Baltimore and the monumental day at the Supreme Court yesterday. As usual, I’ll be updating and adding content to this post as the morning progresses. If you miss any of the show you can get it at BillBennett.com. Here’s our guest lineup on Morning in America this morning:

6:30am EST: Matthew Franck analyzes the arguments before the Supreme Court yesterday concerning gay marriage.

7:30am EST: Peter Kirsanow assesses the situation in Baltimore and what should be done to institute lasting, positive change.

8:30am EST: Ryan Anderson returns to provide an inside-the-courtroom look at yesterday’s Supreme Court hearing on gay marriage.

The Future of Marriage: I’ve listened to the audio or read most of the transcript from the oral arguments before the Supreme Court yesterday and I’m not optimistic for the preservation of traditional marriage. I’ll provide some more of own my thoughts, but first, here’s a summary of the day from USA Today. Its report believes that the justices appeared conflicted and cautious. I’m not so sure, but here’s part of its report:

Justices appear cautious, divided on same-sex marriage

The Supreme Court appeared both cautious and deeply divided Tuesday on whether to change an opposite-sex definition of marriage that several justices noted has existed for “millennia.”

Finally addressing head-on the question of whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry nationwide, the court’s key conservatives indicated that a victory for same-sex couples would not come easily.

Their ambivalence about leading the country into largely unknown territory highlighted a 2 1/2-hour oral argument that was among the most consequential in the court’s 226-year history. Faced with an uncertain future, it seemed, several justices would prefer to leave marriage laws to the states.

Justice Kennedy: As usual, most Supreme Court experts believe that Justice Kennedy will be the swing vote in this marriage case. I agree, and I think he will be the deciding vote in favor of same-sex marriage. Remember, Kennedy wrote the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and most Court experts said he was tantalizingly close to flat out endorsing a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Given how far this train has already moved down the tracks, I don’t think there’s any turning back. Anyways, here are some highlights from Kennedy’s exchanges.

Kennedy Questions the Court’s Wisdom: Kennedy raises the question of whether the Court knows better than thousands of years of history.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: This definition has been with us for millennia.  And it ­­— it’s very difficult for the court to say, oh, well, we ­­— we know better.

Mary L. Bonauto: Well, I don’t think this is a question of the court knowing better. When we think about the debate, the place of gay people in our civic society is something that has been contested for more than a century.

Kennedy Pushes Back: In this exchange, Kennedy shows his true colors. He frequently uses the word “dignity” in describing the rights of same-sex couples and I think this reflects his real attitude towards the issue:

John J. Bursch: We’re ­­— we’re talking about something that’s going to change the meaning of the institution over generations.  And ­­— and, you know, you have things like no­-fault divorce where we tweaked what marriage means, and it had consequences over the long term that some people didn’t expect. … Ideas matter, Your Honors, and —­­ and, you know, the out­-of­-wedlock birthrate —

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: But that ­­— that assumes that same-sex couples could not have the more noble purpose, and that’s the whole point.  Same-sex couples say, of course, we understand the nobility and the sacredness of the marriage.  We know we can’t procreate, but we want the other attributes of it in order to show that we, too, have a dignity that can be fulfilled.

War on Christians: Perhaps the most consequential moment in yesterday’s arguments came when Justice Alito asked Solicitor General Verrilli about the future of tax-exempt religious institutions if same-sex marriage becomes a Constitutional right. This is a remarkable admission from Verrilli and a foreshadowing of the coming battle over religious freedom.

Obama’s Lawyer: Religious Institutions May Lose Tax-Exempt Status If Court Rules for Gay Marriage

Religious institutions could be at risk of losing their tax-exempt status due to their beliefs about marriage if the Supreme Court holds that gay couples have a constitutional right to wed, President Obama’s attorney acknowledged to the Supreme Court today.

“It’s certainly going to be an issue,” Solicitor General Donald Verrilli replied when Justice Samuel Alito asked if schools that support the traditional definition of marriage would have to be treated like schools that once opposed interracial marriage. “I don’t deny that.”

Baltimore: The situation in Baltimore dramatically improved last night. Curfew was enforced relatively easily and it appears that no major rioting or looting broke out.

Baltimore Quiets as Curfew Takes Effect Under Blanket of National Guard

Scattered outbreaks of resistance flared as an overnight curfew settled over Baltimore, but they were largely quelled within an hour Tuesday night as thousands of local, state and federal law enforcement officers blanketed the city.

Shortly before midnight, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts reported 10 arrests, most of them for simple curfew violations.

“The curfew is, in fact, working,” he said. “I’m very pleased with the community, with the citizens, with the residents.”

Authorities had said they were confident they would prevent a repeat of Monday night’s rioting and looting, and except for the handful of flare-ups, they appeared to be succeeding.

Pres. Obama Weighs In: Pres. Obama decided to weigh in on the situation in Baltimore yesterday. The link to the audio is HERE. Overall, his remarks were fairly good. He was tough on the rioters and looters and the nation needed to hear that.

PRES. OBAMA: “Point number three, there’s no excuse for the kind of violence we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive when individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot.

They’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing. When they burn down a building they’re committing arson.

They’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities that rob jobs and opportunity from people in that area.

So, it is entirely appropriate that the Mayor of Baltimore, who I spoke to yesterday, and the Governor, who I spoke to yesterday, work to stop that kind of senseless violence and destruction.

That is not a protest. That is not a statement.  It’s people — a handful of people — taking advantage of a situation for their own purposes. And they need to be treated as criminals.”

Blaming Republicans: Of course, however, Pres. Obama couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a shot at Republicans.

PRES. OBAMA: “If we are serious about solving this problem, then we’re going to not only have to help the police, we’re going to have to think about what can we do — the rest of us — to make sure that we’re providing early education to these kids; to make sure that we’re reforming our criminal justice system so it’s not just a pipeline from schools to prisons; so that we’re not rendering men in these communities unemployable because of a felony record for a nonviolent drug offense; that we’re making investments so that they can get the training they need to find jobs.  That’s hard.  That requires more than just the occasional news report or task force.  And there’s a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now in that.

Now, I’m under no illusion that out of this Congress we’re going to get massive investments in urban communities, and so we’ll try to find areas where we can make a difference around school reform and around job training, and around some investments in infrastructure in these communities trying to attract new businesses in.” 

Worst Moment of the Day: The President’s attack on Republicans definitely wasn’t the worst thing said yesterday. That prestigious award goes to Brooke Baldwin of CNN.

CNN Anchor on Baltimore Riots: Some Veterans Are Coming Home ‘Ready to Do Battle’

Speaking from Baltimore, where vicious riots have torn through the city, CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin pointed to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as the reason behind increased violence in the United States.

“I love our nation’s veterans, but some are coming back from war, they don’t know the communities, and they’re ready to do battle,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin indicated that veterans who become police officers when they return home seek out violence.

Rebuilding Baltimore: How’s this for contrast? We all saw the heart wrenching images of the senior center in Baltimore burning to the ground. In response, an Indiana company has offered to help rebuild the senior center.

Indiana Firm Offers Help to Rebuild Burned Down Baltimore Senior Center 

An Indiana architecture firm on Tuesday offered to help restart the work on a senior housing center in east Baltimore that was consumed by flames Monday night.

Sponsored by the Southern Baptist Church, the center, which would have also included 60 affordable housing units, was about nine months from opening.

Officials said they are still investigating whether the blaze was an arson linked to Monday’s riots.

Pastor Donte Hickman said the $16 million project was meant to be “a catalyst development for more redevelopment in this community.

 

Photo credit: http://tinyurl.com/nmdaqd3