I imagine many of my readers are well aware of the critical lack of good sense and logic presented yesterday in the 6th circuit court decision (readers outside the US may be less aware, but you’ll get it soon).
I wanted to quote the meat of what one of the judges said on the matter which showed an acute misunderstanding of the purpose of the courts in this country. It’s covered by the dissenting judge’s statement, but I wanted it for the contrast. I can’t find it now, and while I can find the PDF of the decision, it’s very long and I got a headache trying to find what I wanted.
In any case the bans were upheld because the judge said that it is a matter of social change that the people seeking that change should find through conversation in the political sphere and therefore is none of the court’s business.
Because, of course, it’s none of the court’s business to uphold the constitution and overturn unjust or unconstitutional law!? The main reason I wanted to quote the statement was because it was such complete bullshit that it was staggering. I almost felt that the only way the two judges that upheld the ban could possibly have said anything so inherently stupid was just to force the issue to be handled by the US Supreme Court.
The dissenting opinion really covers the matter very well, so I present it here:
Thursday’s decision by the Sixth Circuit upholding four states’ ban on same-sex marriage humored many of conservatives’ favorite arguments, but the 2-1 decision included a fiery dissent by Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, a Clinton appointee. While Daughtrey’s opinion challenged many of the majority’s arguments, she made an overall point that encapsulates what’s lacking — and harmful — about the most modern arguments against marriage equality.
“In the main, the majority treats both the issues and the litigants here as mere abstractions,” she wrote. “Instead of recognizing the plaintiffs as persons, suffering actual harm as a result of being denied the right to marry where they reside or the right to have their valid marriages recognized there, my colleagues view the plaintiffs as social activists who have somehow stumbled into federal court, inadvisably, when they should be out campaigning to win ‘the hearts and minds’ of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee voters to their cause.”
That’s the biggest divide between the two sides on same-sex marriage: is it an issue, or is it about people?
She specifically talks in detail about the Michigan plaintiffs, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a lesbian couple who have been together for eight years and are raising three children, two of whom are now categorized as having “special needs.” Each of the children is only legally adopted by either DeBoer and Rowse, because Michigan prevents them from co-adopting as a same-sex couple. Daughtrey said she’d have no problem upholding the district court ruling in their favor, noting that “the State of Michigan allows heterosexual couples to marry even if the couple does not wish to have children, even if the couple does not have sufficient resources or education to care for children, even if the parents are pedophiles or child abusers, and even if the parents are drug addicts.”
- The Most Important Marriage Equality Point Made In The Sixth Circuit’s Fiery Dissent (thinkprogress.org)
- Supreme Court, here we come: 6th Circuit rules against marriage equality (dailykos.com)
- US appeals court upholds gay marriage bans, reversing trend (christiantoday.com)
- Court Upholds Marriage Bans in Four States (rss.nytimes.com)
- DeBoer v Snyder, et al Decided by 6th Circuit (jeannehannah.typepad.com)