Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Uninequality: 10th Circuit Ruling on Same Sex Marriage




The 10th Circuit has sustained the Federal District Court's overturning of Utah's same-sex marriage ban.  Here is the court's written opinion.



In the Court's words:

We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.

Why are we here?   According to the plaintiffs:

Being excluded from the institution of marriage has caused Kitchen and Sbeity to undertake a burdensome process of drawing up wills and other legal documents to enable them to make important decisions for each other. Even with these protections, however, the couple cannot access various benefits of marriage, including the ability to file joint state tax returns and hold marital property. Sbeity also states that the legal documents the couple have obtained “do not and cannot provide the dignity, respect, and esteem” of marriage. The inability to “dignify [his] relationship” though marriage, Kitchen explains, communicates to him that his relationship with Sbeity is unworthy of “respect, equal treatment, and social recognition.”

I support Utah's appeal of this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The law cannot compel or conjure "dignity, respect, and esteem" in an individual.  These are earned attributes that transcend legal constructs.  I am afraid the plaintiffs will be disappointed in their expectations and unfulfilled by the results if the ban is ultimately overturned at the Supreme Court.

Since a society founded on the freedom of conscience cannot guarantee these earned characteristics to individuals, will the suppression of that freedom be next?  Will the honest voices of disapproval be silenced and marginalized?  Will an inquisition attempt to purge a dissenting ethos from our culture?

We shall see.

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