Thursday, August 05, 2010

'Equal protection' - heard of it?

New York Times (August 5, 2010)

Marriage Is a Constitutional Right


‘The historic decision by a federal judge in California, Vaughn Walker, that said his state’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the 14th Amendment’s rights to equal protection and due process of law.’

‘Reasoned denunciation of all forms of irrational discrimination, the latest link in a chain of pathbreaking decisions that permitted interracial marriages and decriminalized gay sex between consenting adults.’

‘Dismissed the idea that discrimination is permissible if a majority of voters approve it; the referendum’s outcome was “irrelevant,” he said, quoting a 1943 case, because “fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote.” ’

‘Dismantled, brick by crumbling brick, the weak case made by supporters of Proposition 8 and laid out the facts presented in testimony. The two witnesses called by the supporters (the state having bowed out of the case) had no credibility, he said, and presented no evidence that same-sex marriage harmed society or the institution of marriage.’

‘Traditional notions of marriage can no longer be used to justify discrimination, just as gender roles in opposite-sex marriage have changed dramatically over the decades. All marriages are now unions of equals, he wrote, and there is no reason to restrict that equality to straight couples. The exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage “exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage,” he wrote. “That time has passed.” ’

‘No rational basis for discrimination was presented at the two-and-a-half-week trial in January, he said. The real reason for Proposition 8, he wrote, is a moral view “that there is something wrong with same-sex couples,” and that is not a permissible reason for legislation.’

“Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and women.”

The New York Times posts the full decision
Link to the NY Times post

Link to NY Times articles


No comments: