Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kinder, gentler smackdown

The 9th Circuit Court heard oral arguments in the Idaho and Nevada same-sex marriage cases. Hawaii was supposedly in there somewhere too, though didn't get much of a mention in the news. The 9th Circuit was a kinder, gentler version of the 7th Circuit oral arguments and ruling that came out a week ago. But it was just as devastating to out opponents. An example of the exchanges: Allowing gays to marry violates the "bonding" right of children to be raised by biological parents. Say what! That's ridiculous.

This hearing allowed Ari Ezra Waldman of Box Turtle Bulletin to do a comparison with the hearing before the 9th Circuit of the Calif. Prop 8 case from a couple years ago. One of the judges was a part of both cases.

The last time was all about narrowing the focus of the case so the Supremes might take it and not appear to be too far ahead of the mood of the country. So the 9th Circuit said that case was all about Calif. having marriage equality and voters taking it away. The Supremes ruled on standing instead of the central issue and Calif. got marriage equality anyway. This time...
The judges' questioning was direct and they expressed a similar, though less visible, frustration with the misdirection and misleading statements from the anti-equality attorneys as Judge Posner. The tone of the hearing suggested that marriage equality supporters are finally out of the closet, following a tidal wave of an emerging consensus of the legitimacy and morality of marriage freedom for all.
Judge Posner wrote the recent ruling from the 7th Circuit.

The old argument that same-sex sex marriage deprives a child of a father and a mother came around again (maybe not before the 9th Circuit but it has appeared many other places). And a child needs both for the complementary parenting styles. This time Judge Barzon declared that old line to be sexist, based on old ideas that women nurture and men discipline, and unconstitutional as a reason to discriminate.

There's the argument that we're just not really sure that kids raised by same-sex couples do as well as kids of straight couples. Another smackdown – one reason why kids of same-sex couples might not fare as well is because you are denying their parents the benefits and protections of marriage.

This consistent rebuttal of the same, now stale, arguments prompted commenter Pete in SFO to suggest other judges start of the case by asking, Dude, do you have anything new? No? Then let's all go home.

The various state arguments, including here in Michigan, have all been about the children. But it is good to see someone spell out what is really behind it all these crazy arguments – it is all about a religious view of morality. We can thank the Foundation for Moral Law for the clarity.

The Supremes have put the various same-sex marriage cases on their agenda for their conference on Sept. 29. Cases have been filed from Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin, all of which have been through the Circuit Courts. There are three possible outcomes from that meeting: they'll take one or more of the cases, they'll refuse to take the cases, or they'll put off a decision on what to do. They may put off a decision until January and still release a ruling in June. By January we should hear from Circuit Courts about the cases in Michigan and Idaho, and maybe even Arkansas and Texas.

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