Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Woefully underinclusive

I wrote yesterday that the 4th Circuit ruling in Virginia's same-sex marriage case prompted the AG in North Carolina to stop defending his state's ban. Not so in South Carolina. The AG there has essentially said full steam ahead. No need to change course until the Supremes rule.

Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin delves into the ruling from the 4th Circuit. The state had said the vote of the people matters. The court replied that the people's will does not warrant depriving same-sex couples of a fundamental right. The state brought forth history and tradition as good reasons. The court replied, nope. The state pulled out safeguarding the institution of marriage. The court said that allowing committed same-sex couples to marry strengthens marriage. The state tried "responsible procreation." The court replied the current law is "woefully underinclusive" – you let straight sterile couples marry. The state claimed that straight couples offer "optimal childrearing." The court said that claim has "overbroad generalizations" and the law must have a means that corresponds to its end. Therefore denying marriage to same-sex couples is a violation of the 14th Amendment.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Virginia! (round 2)

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The 4th Circuit covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North and South Carolina. If this ruling isn't appealed it will apply to all five states.

This is the second Circuit Court to agree that same-sex marriage is a good thing. Last month the 10th Circuit struck down the bans in Utah and Oklahoma.

Shortly after the ruling the Attorney General of North Carolina said he would no longer defend that state's same-sex marriage ban because such effort would be "futile." There are four cases challenging the NC ban.

The three-judge panel that wrote this ruling was not unanimous. Judge Paul Niemeyer dissented. The majority opinion is familiar: Marriage is a fundamental right (which the Supremes have affirmed over 15 times). And it is a violation of the 5th and 14th Amendments to deny that right to same-sex couples.

While good hand helpful that opinion is not all that interesting. Which is why Ari Ezra Waldman takes a look at the dissenting opinion. Niemeyer was appointed by Bush I. The basic idea of his opinion is: Yeah, marriage is a fundamental right. But same-sex marriage isn't marriage. It is something new. Therefore it isn't what the Supremes talked about as a fundamental right.

Waldman says this reasoning was tried in the sodomy cases that went before the Supremes. There's sex and there's gay sex. And the first case said there is no right to gay sex. But the second ruling said looking at just the sex is crass. The actual rights are about freedom of association, freedom to love, and freedom of expression.

So there is a very good chance the Supremes will disagree with Niemeyer's dissent.

There are now two Circuit Courts who have affirmed same-sex marriage. Both will go to the Supremes. But since there is no conflict between these two rulings the Supremes don't have to take the cases.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Motown Mission, the finished product

The Motown Mission leader with the camera gave me a CD of 40 photos of our week. I'll share three of them with you. This first one shows the community garden where I worked in the first day and some of the team worked in all week. I'm wearing brown in about the middle of the photo. I and one of the youth are building trellises out of twine for the tomato plants. The whole garden is about an acre.

This photo shows the rebuilt back porch with the new steps. A handrail would eventually be added to the steps.

This final photo shows the team (minus a couple leaders) who built the porch, steps, and the railing with gate around the deck. From the left is Austyn, James, Catrina, myself, Alaija, Freddy, Trevor, and Pastor Jeff (who did more cheering than work). They were a great team.

This morning during the worship service we saw a video showing scenes from the week and the kids telling what the week meant to them. Very nice.