Thursday, September 4, 2014

Louisiana – without the exclamation point

Federal district judge Martin Feldman broke our long winning streak of federal court victories over the last year. He said Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage is just fine with him. He seems proud to be bucking the trend. A quote from the ruling:
The Court is persuaded that a meaning of what is marriage that has endured in history for thousands of years, and prevails in a majority of states today, is not universally irrational on the constitutional grid.
Apparently he doesn't remember all those descriptions of polygamy in the Bible.

And a bit from the Huffington Post article:
The court "hesitates with the notion that this state's choice could only be inspired by hate and intolerance"
Hesitate all you want.

Rob Tisinai of Box Turtle Bulletin has a look at the ruling. Tisinai is very good at dissecting the logic of the anti-day side. But in this case he doesn't see a lot of logic.

If social change is to come from the ballot or legislature and not the courts, Tisinai says it is "an invitation never to find any law unconstitutional, no matter how great an affront to the Constitution it may be." Feldman says this case is different but doesn't explain why it is an exception. Ah, yes, the kids. But Feldman's comments explain why the state should support straight marriages. That doesn't explain why same-sex marriages should be banned. Tisinai, who had reminded us he isn't a lawyer, concludes:
To my untrained eye, this decision looks easy to challenge on appeal.
Feldman uses the old chestnut of the slippery slope argument. If we don't ban gay marriage then people will begin to think polygamy is good too. Commenter Nathaniel settles that one. If you can't justify a ban on its own merits, then using the need to ban one thing to justify the need to ban another only shows the weaknesses in the arguments for both bans.
If maintaining your ban on polygamy is your justification for banning same-sex marriage, one must question if you even have good reasons to ban polygamy.

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