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Diatribe: When It Comes To Marriage Equality, Leaders In Kansas, Montana and South Carolina Aren’t Following The Law.

10/20/2014

Freedom to marryWhen I was in grade school there were about one hundred children in my class and we were separated into four “home rooms” of about twenty-five students.  We spent the day with the same group of kids throughout the school year and mingled with the other children during lunchtime, recess, assemblies, band and choir or afterschool functions.  School rules were applied evenly and fairly from one class to the next but I remember one big scandal that rocked our little junior high world.

Students were allowed quiet play time in the classroom during scheduled recess periods on days when the weather prevented us from exercising outdoors.  For the longest time, we were allowed to bring games from home, like Go Fish or Connect Four, to pass the time with classmates until one day, some rotten kid in one of the other classes ruined it for everyone.  As I recall, there was a disagreement during playtime that resulted in a fistfight, someone got hurt, parents were involved and quiet play time became an absurd stay in your seats and close your eyes and put your head down with your thumb up stupid game that everyone hated.

The powers that be had determined quiet play time on rainy days in one home room was no longer the law of the land.  Consequently, quiet play time was no longer allowed in any of the home rooms.  The law of the land had changed and everyone was expected to follow the new law.

Last week, leaders in the states of Kansas, Montana and South Carolina chose to defy the law of the land after the 10th, 9th and 4th Circuit Courts of Appeals ruled in favor of marriage equality by refusing marriage certificates to same sex couples.

KansasIn Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback has been speaking out against same-sex marriage as the state’s Supreme Court has halted the marriage process in what is clearly defiance of the 10th Circuit Court’s ruling.  Kansans in favor of so-called “traditional marriage” are hopeful that an amendment to the state’s constitution banning same-sex marriage passed in 2005 will hold.  Why they might think so in light of the 10th Circuit Court’s ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent inaction on similar cases boggles the mind.

MontanaIn Montana, plaintiffs in a marriage equality case have filed a motion for summary judgment.  Montana is the only state in the Ninth Circuit without marriage equality.  It’s the only home room in this grade that’s still refusing to follow the new rules.

SCSouth Carolina still has a marriage equality case in the pipeline.  Since South Caroline is the only state remaining in the Fourth Circuit without marriage equality, lawyers argue that precedent requires immediate judgment for the plaintiffs.  South Carolina is the only homeroom in this grade that’s refusing to follow the new rules.

In grade school when someone broke the rules they went to the principal’s office.  I’m curious to see what will happen to the governors, attorneys general and even the state Supreme Court justices who act with blatant disregard of the rulings of the district courts.  These men and women are leaders in their communities … politicians who should have a superior understanding of the law and an ability to explain rulings that their constituents might find unfavorable in a way that they will understand.  Instead, they appear to be inciting unrest … whining and pouting and crying and shouting … like the big kids a home room filled with children whose quiet play time has been suddenly taken away.

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6 Comments
  1. I have a feeling the reaction from the Tennessee, Alabama or Georgia legislatures will be just as disrespectful, though I don’t see Gov. Haslam putting on a Sam Brownback-style performance. I fear that inevitable judicial dissent over the anti-marriage amendments in one or more of these states will push SCOTUS into acting–and who knows what that will bring?

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    • Your fears could be justified. There’s, clearly, something holding back a ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals who heard oral arguments in August. Of course, there are many who believe SCOTUS feels it has already ruled on the issue with the Windsor decision in the summer of 2013. Meanwhile, the discrimination felt by same-sex couples and their families in eighteen of the “united” states is all the more apparent.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Like

  2. In NC, our Speaker Thom Tillis, who is running for US Senate, and the NC Senate Leader Phil Berger are going to appeal the decision, which everyone admits is a futile activity at taxpayers’ expense. It is entirely to appeal to a base. They both say 61% of NC voters favor a continuation of the ban, but when you unpack that statement, 61% of voters who chose to vote in a purposefully selected May primary where turnout would be low, favored a law called Amendment One which reiterated same-sex marriage was illegal. But, as I have shared with my mother, it is discriminatory to deny the right to marry to same-sex couples. And, what I recalled from the Case Against Prop 8, the people in favor of Prop 8 could not show there was any harm to them if others were allowed to marry. So, it is time to board the train for marriage equality.

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    • I believe you recall correctly. No federal court has found that allowing same-sex couples access to the rights provided by civil marriage brings harm to anyone anywhere and, in fact, the opposite holds true.

      The fact remains that it doesn’t matter what 61% of voters say if the courts say otherwise.

      Justice Ginsberg just this weekend said during an interview that she saw no need for SCOTUS to get involved and just this morning, in a recent interview with The New Yorker magazine, the President himself was quoted as saying the Constitution guarantees the right of same-sex couples to enjoy the protections of civil marriage. It’s time for marriage discrimination to end on a national level.

      Thanks for writing. I always enjoy reading your perspective.

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  3. In SC, I am a board member of The Will of the People Fund, raising money–and awareness–for the non-attorney costs for the case of Bradacs v Haley, et al.
    The judge in the case is asking for briefs from both parties this Thursday and she may rule instantly, and if she follows the precedent, and the law, it’s all over but the wedding bells in SC!!
    Fingers crossed! We just got married last week in Washington state, but it sure would be nice to have a wedding in our own backyard so to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

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