Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Utah and the Tenth Circuit

The Tenth Circuit court literally reduced to kindling the shaky edifice that was Utah's defense of its gay marriage prohibition struck down by the district court.

"We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a  family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may  not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union."

The state advanced four justifications for banning same sex marriage contending that it furthers the state's interest by:

(1) “fostering a child-centric marriage culture that encourages parents to subordinate their own interests to the needs of their children”;
(2) “children being raised by their biological mothers and fathers—or at least by a married mother and father—in a stable home”;
(3) “ensuring adequate reproduction”;
(4) “accommodating religious freedom and reducing the potential for civic strife.”

The court immediately made the point that the first three are in fact all based upon a "link between marriage and procreation."

The court then went on to say:

"The common thread running through each of appellants’ first three arguments is the claim that allowing same-sex couples to marry “would break the critical conceptual link between marriage and procreation.”

"The challenged restrictions on the right to marry and on recognition of otherwise valid marriages, however, do not differentiate between procreative and non-procreative couples. Instead, Utah citizens may choose a spouse of the opposite sex regardless of the pairing’s procreative capacity. The elderly, those medically unable to conceive, and those who exercise their fundamental right not to have biological children are free to marry and have their out-of-state marriages recognized in Utah, apparently without breaking the “conceptual link between marriage and procreation.”

In other words, just cut the crap already.

As for the fourth justification:

"Appellants contend that a prohibition on same-sex marriage 'is essential to preserving social harmony in the State' and that allowing same-sex couple to marry 'would create the potential for religion related strife.'"

I find it incredible that they actually put this on the table. Obviously they're as delusional as Tony Perkins and the morons that thought they were going to get 10 million people to show up to force Obama out of office.

"Even assuming that appellants are correct in predicting that some substantial degree of discord will follow state recognition of same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court  has repeatedly held that public opposition cannot provide cover for a violation of  fundamental rights."

In other words, screw you, bring it on.

I can hear the Religious Freedom howls already from the wing nuts. But the court also said this:

"We also emphasize, as did the district court, that today’s decision relates solely to  civil marriage."

"Plaintiffs must be accorded the same legal status presently granted to married couples, but religious institutions remain as free as they always have been to practice their sacraments and traditions as they see fit."

Stack up one more precedent for the good guys on the road to the Supreme Court.

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