Gay Primary Source

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Louisiana Court Strikes Down State Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

"... This court acknowledges that in deciding an equal protection claim, the Supreme Court recognizes that the 14th Amendment does not deny states the power to treat different classes of people in different ways. However, the statute which created different classes by treating some people different must be related to the objective of that statute. We find in this case that Louisiana’s laws banning same-sex marriage is entirely unrelated to the objective of those statutes. Therefore the court finds that the state’s laws prohibiting the petitioners’ same-sex marriage and the adoption of --- are due to the sole reason that this couple is of the same gender, and thus those laws are arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory, and unrelated to any legitimate state interest...

The court... hereby declares that La. Const. Article XII, Section 15 (the Defense of Marriage Act/DOMA), and La. Civil Code Articles 86, 89, and 3520(B) are unconstitutional because they violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article IV, Section 1, the Full Faith and Credit Clause, of the United States Constitution. Louisiana’s Revenue Bulletin No. 13-024 (9/13/13) is likewise declared unconstitutional as it violates the petitioners’ rights guaranteed by the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Hence,... the Secretary of the State of Louisiana Department of Revenue, is hereby ordered to... allow the petitioners to file their state tax returns as a couple whose marriage is valid and recognized in Louisiana... The court hereby enjoins the State from enforcing the above referenced laws to the extent that these laws prohibit a person from marrying another person of the same sex..."

Judge Edward D. Rubin, 15th Judicial District Court, Parish of Lafayette, September 22, 2014.

     click here to read entire decision (not quite primary source)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Appeals Court Upholds Wisconsin & Indiana Same-Sex Marriage Decisions

Our pair of cases is rich in detail but ultimately straightforward to decide. The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction - that same-sex couples and their children don’t need marriage because same-sex couples can’t produce children, intended or unintended - is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously. To the extent that children are better off in families in which the parents are married, they are better off whether they are raised by their biological parents or by adoptive parents. The discrimination against same-sex couples is irrational, and therefore unconstitutional even if the discrimination is not subjected to heightened scrutiny, which is why we can largely elide the more complex analysis found in more closely balanced equal-protection cases.

... Indiana’s government thinks that straight couples tend to be sexually irresponsible, producing unwanted children by the carload, and so must be pressured (in the form of governmental encouragement of marriage through a combination of sticks and carrots) to marry, but that gay couples, unable as they are to produce children wanted or unwanted, are model parents - model citizens really - so have no need for marriage. Heterosexuals get drunk and pregnant, producing unwanted children; their reward is to be allowed to marry. Homosexual couples do not produce unwanted children; their reward is to be denied the right to marry. Go figure.

... A degree of arbitrariness is inherent in government regulation, but when there is no justification for government’s treating a traditionally discriminated-against group significantly worse than the dominant group in the society, doing so denies equal protection of the laws. One wouldn’t know, reading Wisconsin’s brief, that there is or ever has been discrimination against homosexuals anywhere in the United States. The state either is oblivious to, or thinks irrelevant, that until quite recently homosexuality was anathematized by the vast majority of heterosexuals... Although discrimination against homosexuals has diminished greatly, it remains widespread. It persists in statutory form in Indiana and in Wisconsin’s constitution.

... Tradition per se therefore cannot be a lawful ground for discrimination - regardless of the age of the tradition. Holmes thought it “revolting to have no better reason for a rule of law than that so it was laid down in the time of Henry IV.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr... (1897)...

... If no social benefit is conferred by a tradition and it is written into law and it discriminates against a number of people and does them harm beyond just offending them, it is not just a harmless anachronism; it is a violation of the equal protection clause, as in Loving...

... To return to where we started in this opinion, more than unsupported conjecture that same-sex marriage will harm heterosexual marriage or children or any other valid and important interest of a state is necessary to justify discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As we have been at pains to explain, the grounds advanced by Indiana and Wisconsin for their discriminatory policies are not only conjectural; they are totally implausible.

... The district court judgments invalidating and enjoining these two states’ prohibitions of same-sex marriage are AFFIRMED.

Judge Richard A. Posner, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, September 4, 2014.

     click here to read entire decision

Monday, September 1, 2014

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Florida

"The founders of this nation said in the preamble to the United States Constitution that a goal was to secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity. Liberty has come more slowly for some than for others. It was 1967, nearly two centuries after the Constitution was adopted, before the Supreme Court struck down state laws prohibiting interracial marriage, thus protecting the liberty of individuals whose chosen life partner was of a different race. Now, nearly 50 years later, the arguments supporting the ban on interracial marriage seem an obvious pretext for racism; it must be hard for those who were not then of age to understand just how sincerely those views were held. When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination. Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.

The Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year. United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013). Since that decision, 19 different federal courts, now including this one, have ruled on the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage. The result: 19 consecutive victories for those challenging the bans. Based on these decisions, gays and lesbians, like all other adults, may choose a life partner and dignify the relationship through marriage. To paraphrase a civil-rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was first struck down, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.

These consolidated cases are here on the plaintiffs’ motions for a preliminary injunction and the defendants’ motions to dismiss. This order holds that marriage is a fundamental right as that term is used in cases arising under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, that Florida’s same-sex marriage provisions thus must be reviewed under strict scrutiny, and that, when so reviewed, the provisions are unconstitutional...”

Judge Robert L. Hinkle, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida Tallahassee Division, August 21, 2014.

     click here to read entire decision (not quite primary source)