Thursday, February 12, 2015
A Little Bit of History
This week, HRC launched an historic effort to give every American a chance to share their support of marriage equality with the Supreme Court of the United States.I have read the brief and it is well written, cogent in its arguments and effectively counters the decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal that upheld state bans of same-sex marriage or the recognition of same-sex marriages even if they were entered into in states that allowed them.
By signing onto your name will go down in history, and on this landmark document, as a supporter of marriage equality.
In signing it, you do have to swear that you have read the brief, which is 47 pages long, but it is not so onerous as that may sound. You can skip or skim the preliminary matters (the meat begins on page 13) and, of course, you do not have to read or check the numerous case references.
I thought the brief was particularly effective in its refutation of the Sixth Circuit's claims that states have a right to "wait and see" and the argument from "tradition." I thought this bit was particularly good:
Referring to the fact that marriage for gay people has been legal in Massachusetts since 2004, the Sixth Circuit asserted that "[e]leven years later, the clock has not run on assessing the benefits and burdens of expanding the definition of marriage." But under this logic, when would the clock have run? In 2054, after 50 years? In 2104, after a century? ...But the brief, literally, saved its best shot for last.
These relationships and families have not sprung up overnight, as if they were somehow the abstract creation of political activists. Rather, gay couples have been supporting each other, raising children together, and facing the same quotidian joys and burdens ("in sickness and in health") faced by other married couples for many years. ... States and local governments, in addition to private employers, have been formally recognizing such relationships since at least 1984. ... No state may excuse its failure to respect the equal dignity of its gay citizens on the ground that it has been caught unaware or that it needs an unspecified amount of additional time to see what might hypothetically happen in an imaginary world where straight couples' stability and sense of self-worth and commitment somehow depend on the continued existence of de jure discrimination against gay couples and their children. [Citations omitted]
Finally, it is not insignificant that petitioner James Obergefell from Ohio merely seeks to have the state correct the facts asserted on the death certificate of his late spouse, John Arthur. The two men were, in fact, married under the law of Maryland where their marriage was performed. It is absurd to contend that refusing to certify that a decedent was "married" to his spouse at the time of his death could possibly influence child rearing, or the willingness of straight couples to marry, or even offend tradition. But actions speak louder than words. Ohio insists that there must be a blank space on Mr. Arthur's death certificate where Mr. Obergefell's name should be. Not content to deny these men the equal protection of the law in life, it also seeks to deny them dignity even in death. Ohio's decision to reject this reasonable request to correct a factually inaccurate death certificate speaks volumes about what is really going on, leaving no doubt that the true motivation behind these laws is constitutionally impermissible animus against gay people.I was proud to put my name to that brief and I hope that every person of good will do the same!
Even some non-American living in that "Nineveh of the North" where LGBT people have had the right to marry for ten years now?
Unless, of course, you guys are willing to become a territory of the US ... but, frankly, I wouldn't recommend it!
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