Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Disastrous day in court cripples gay marriage opponents

Marriage equality opponents apparently had an awful day in court in their attempts to defend gay marriage bans in several states. According to the Washington Blade:

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday skewered state attorneys defending bans on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin and Indiana. The judges who heard the lawsuits — one seeking to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin, the other in Indiana — consisted of Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee; Ann Claire Williams, a Clinton appointee; and David Hamilton, an Obama appointee. Based on the skepticism these judges expressed regarding marriage bans in these states, the panel seems headed toward deciding 3-0 in favor of marriage equality. Posner was most aggressive in the questioning of attorneys defending bans on same-sex marriage.

  . . Posner asked why sterile opposite-sex couples should be allowed to wed. Posner was similarly frustrated with Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson when the lawyer couldn’t answer why allowing same-sex couples to wed might have a negative impact other than by observing the institution of no-fault divorce led to an increase in the dissolution of marriages. When Samuelson said he wasn’t prepared for the question and could respond later in a brief, Posner retorted, “How can you brief it, if you don’t know anything about it?”

Twice during the arguments, Posner cited a friend-of-the-court brief from the LGBT group known as the Family Equality Council, pointing out the harms faced by children with same-sex parents because their parents don’t have access to marriage. The judge brought up a statistic that between 200,000 and 250,000 children are without guardians and eligible for adoption. Speaking later of same-sex marriage during the arguments, Posner said, “We think, or at least I think, it’s good for the kids.” 

Chris Geidner of Buzzfeed called today's deliberations "the most lopsided arguments over marriage bans at a federal appeals court this year . . ."

He also said:

From the start of the arguments over Indiana’s ban at a little past 9:30 a.m. until the end of the arguments over Wisconsin’s ban at 11:11 a.m., 7th Circuit Judges Richard Posner, Ann Claire Williams, and David Hamilton pounded the two lawyers defending the bans with dismissive, incredulous questions about the basis and purpose for their respective states’ bans.

For the lawyers representing the same-sex couples, the judges almost assumed that the bans violate the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws. The only question in the hearing Tuesday was whether the bans also violated due-process guarantees because marriage is a fundamental right.

In other words, get ready for more weeping and whining about "activist judges" from the religious right. I can almost hear that lovely music now.

1 comment:

GaryGDW said...

And, once again I can count on Alvin to break down the story, provide relevant commentary / documentation. . .with a sense of humor.

I'm listening to the audio from the hearing. . .sad sad day for bigots.