Same sex marriage is on the way to the Supreme Court, thanks to California’s 9th Circuit Court. The ruling, though, is super narrow -- it’s unlikely to create a federal right to same sex marriage. More likely, it’s going to allow states to continue the march toward same sex marriage equality and to create greater barriers to referendums rescinding legislature-approved same sex marriage laws. (The majority, by the way, makes explicit appeals to swing Justice Stevens while the dissenting judge clearly aims at Justice Scalia in his opinion.)
But the best, best part of the ruling is the straight forward, no nonsense way the majority opinion slashes through the arguments against same sex marriage to assert that, fundamentally, Prop 8 was designed to hurt a particular group of people.
Here are some words of wisdom straight from the majority opinion:
“Proposition 8 serves no purpose and has no effect other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.”
“Proposition 8 operates with no apparent purpose but to impose on gays and lesbians, through the public law, a majority’s private disapproval of them and their relationships, by taking away from them the official designation of ‘marriage,’ with its societally recognized status. Proposition 8 therefore violates the Equal Protection Clause.”
“It is implausible to think that denying two men or two women the right to call themselves married could somehow bolster the stability of families headed by one man and one woman.”
"We do not celebrate when two people merge their bank accounts; we celebrate when a couple marries."
The dissent from N. Randy Smith is pretty spectacular for its leaning on views of marriage as the support beam of procreation. He writes:
“The family structure of two committed biological parents -– one man and one woman -– is the optimal partnership for raising children.”
He argues that marriage between one man and one woman “preserves the fundamental and historical purpose of marriage.”
Just a bit of irony from the sitting Mormon judge on the 9th district.
For a look at the decision its entirety, click here.