Overruling Marriage Equality Will Come With a Cost, Warns Arkansas Judge

By: Saturday May 10, 2014 9:16 am

Arkansas Circuit Court Judge Christopher Charles Piazza struck down Amendment 83 to the Arkansas state constitution and a parallel state law known as Act 144 of 1997 which limit marriage to opposite-sex couples. Piazza, like the judges who have similarly ruled in courts around the country, brings his own style to his ruling — in his case, it’s the very pragmatic and practical language of a judge on the front lines of the state judicial system. Piazza not only rules on the case before him, but notes for the sake of the judges that will look at his ruling on appeal that should they choose to overrule him, that will come with a cost. A very steep, very personal cost.

 

Judicial Sarcasm Takes Down Michigan’s Anti-Marriage Equality Amendment

By: Saturday March 22, 2014 9:05 am

As I’ve watched the series of marriage equality cases move forward, I’m struck by how each ruling has its own flavor. Mark Cady in Iowa wrote movingly about the illogic of restricting marriage while proclaiming equal protection. Vaughn Walker in California was meticulous in getting facts into the record and weaving together the legal logic to take down Prop 8. Arenda Wright Allen in Virginia was powerful in her use of Loving v Virginia to lift up the role of the courts to forge justice “from fires of indignities and prejudices suffered”. Now comes Judge Bernard Friedman of the US Southern District of Michigan, who brought a sense of wit and sarcasm to bear on the target-rich environment of those opposed to marriage equality in the case of Deboer v Snyder.

It’s not just the ruling striking down Michigan’s Marriage Amendment [MMA] that makes me happy, but the withering way in which Friedman took on the arguments presented by the defendants. . .

Marriage Equality Moves Ahead, Thanks to Virginia Federal Judge Wright Allen

By: Saturday February 15, 2014 9:05 am

The push toward full marriage equality took another big step forward in Virginia on Thursday evening, just in time to make Valentine’s Day that much more happy for LGBTs and their allies. In a very readable, very well-written 41 page opinion, US District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen (Eastern District of Virginia) struck down Virginia’s prohibition on same sex couples getting married in Virginia and those who were married elsewhere having their marriages recognized within the state.

The whole thing is great, but the very best parts of her opinion were in the footnotes . . .

Marriage Equality, Nullification, and Impeachment, Missouri Edition

By: Saturday February 8, 2014 9:06 am

After the Supreme Court struck down DOMA in US v Windsor, same sex couples in states like Missouri that discriminate against them are treading through a maze of conflicting state and federal laws and regulations. In Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon has issued an executive order to cut through this mess with respect to filing state taxes, and the Missouri GOP has reacted in very predictable ways.

Can you say “articles of impeachment”? Sure you can.

Post-DOMA Questions, College Student Edition

By: Saturday June 29, 2013 9:00 am

Edith Windsor has a big tax refund coming, and other LGBT married couples have won a victory for their relationships with the recent SCOTUS ruling in US v Windsor. But lots of questions remain in the wake of the demise of DOMA. For example, consider life for a college student in a same-sex marriage who attends a state where the state constitution says only opposite-sex marriages “shall be recognized by the state as entitling the parties to the rights or incidents of marriage.”

There’s still a lot of work to do. Just ask LGBT sort-of-but-not-really-married students at places like the University of Kansas.

Waiting With Pride, Dignity, and Hope

By: Saturday June 15, 2013 9:03 am

Several times in the next two weeks, the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States will file into their ornate Washington DC courtroom at 10AM, and issue their judgments on a variety of major cases that have been under consideration during the past 9 months, including Hollingsworth v Perry (Prop 8) and US v Windsor (DOMA). SCOTUS watchers have been parsing the legal filings by both sides. Scholars have been dissecting the oral arguments, to see which points of law seem to be at the center of these cases. Pundits have been predicting how the court might rule for months. Soon, the opinion will be released, and the follow-up analysis will begin.

Meanwhile, we wait.

And for many, that waiting is done with increasingly powerful pride.

Prop 8, DOMA, and South Carolina Cupcakes

By: Saturday March 30, 2013 9:00 am

This has been a big week in both religious and legal circles. As the US Supreme Court took up Hollingsworth v Perry (the Prop 8 case) and US v Windsor (the DOMA case), the Jewish community began their celebration of Passover and Christians were in the midst of Holy Week preparations for Easter. But outside of the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court, the push for marriage equality continues to move forward. Deep in that liberal hotbed of South Carolina, a famous cupcake bakery is making more news with their icing-covered statements in favor of marriage equality, and the campaign twitter feed of SC-01 Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch agrees that “It’s not holy to hate.”

Now *that’s* a sermon.

God Laughs at Prop 8 and DOMA

By: Monday January 7, 2013 6:30 pm

SCOTUS made one of their periodic announcement of the schedule of arguments for upcoming cases for which they had granted a hearing, and I could not help but hear God laughing in the background. Let me draw your attention to this portion of the announcement, via SCOTUSblog…

Marriage Equality and the Choice Before the Supreme Court

By: Saturday December 8, 2012 9:00 am

SCOTUS has a choice before it in the two marriage equality cases they have agreed to review. Will they follow the logic of Plessy v Ferguson and its doctrine of “separate but equal” or Brown v Board of Education and a clear declaration of “equal”? Will they choose the logic of Dred Scott v. John Sandford and its “blacks have no citizenship rights” or that of Loving v Virginia and its “states have no discrimination rights”?

Judges elsewhere, like Mark Cady in Iowa and Vaughn Walker in California, have chose the path of Brown and Loving. Will John Roberts walk that same path, or will he and his conservative colleagues choose to be remembered like Roger Taney for sending Dred Scott back into slavery?

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