Obama admin to urge Supreme Court to strike down gay marriage bans …

19 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

12 key moments that led to the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage case.

After dodging the issue in 2013, the Supreme Court on Friday signaled that it will finally decide whether bans on same-sex marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, accepting appeals to four lower court rulings that struck down such bans as unconstitutional. With these 11 words, the Court dismissed, without oral arguments, the appeal of two Minneapolis men, Richard John Baker and James Michael McConnell, who argued that a clerk’s refusal to issue them a marriage license violated their federal constitutional rights. (Source: Courting Justice, Gay Men and Lesbians v.THE US Supreme Court decision on Saturday to take up the unsettled question of whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage has thrown up a spectrum of possible outcomes ranging from decisive to messy.

If the high court resolves the issue as expected in June, it could deliver a decision that has the benefit of largely neutralizing a debate that a majority of Americans believe Republicans are on the wrong side of — and well ahead of the party’s 2016 presidential primaries. To have the question disposed of and dispensed with, many Republicans say, could make their opinions on the matter largely moot, providing a political escape hatch that gives them an excuse to essentially say: “It’s been settled. Hardwick, a landmark case challenging the constitutionality of a Georgia law criminalizing homosexual sodomy, Powell, then 78, made this observation to one of his law clerks, Carter Cabell Chinnis, Jr. The cases, from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, are all appeals of a ruling last November by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the same-sex-marriage bans in those states. Chinnis didn’t tell Powell that Chinnis was himself gay, as he knew many of Powell’s previous clerks had been, but wondered if Powell suspected it.

In most corners of the party — and, notably, from those who are likely to seek the Republican presidential nomination — there was silence late last week. Powell looked for a compromise position in the case, but couldn’t find one, and voted in the end to uphold the felony statute. [Sources: Justice Lewis F.

In various dissents to rulings that were favorable to LGBT rights, Scalia has railed against the “so-called homosexual agenda” and criticized his colleagues for “grim, disapproving hints” that Americans have been “guilty of ‘animus’ or ‘animosity’ toward homosexuality, as though that has been established as Unamerican.” In his dissents to both Lawrence v. The desire to calibrate unremarkable and inoffensive responses shows how the debate over same-sex marriage significantly departs from other major constitutional questions on social issues like abortion and why, unlike abortion, it may not endure as an issue.

Such an outcome would shut the door to gay marriage in those four states for the time being, said University of Minnesota constitutional scholar Dale Carpenter. A quick e-mail and phone call to Evan Wolfson, the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, put me at ease. “The bottom line answer to your question is that while states regulate marriage, they do so under the Constitution.

Wade was decided in 1973, anti-abortion groups were galvanized to overturn what the court had done through either a constitutional amendment or the appointment of like-minded jurists on all levels of the federal bench. Homosexual sodomy was a capital crime under Roman law. … [Eighteenth century English jurist Sir William] Blackstone described ‘the infamous crime against nature’ as an offense of ‘deeper malignity’ than rape, a heinous act ‘the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature,’ and ‘a crime not fit to be named.’” Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion of the Court for a 6-3 majority. Should the court uphold state bans in the cases before it, it could unleash a new round of litigation among the roughly 20 other states whose bans were struck down by federal courts. The only outstanding question is how much spittle the court’s staff will have to clean up if Scalia decides to read his dissenting opinion from the bench.

After several cities and villages in Colorado had passed ordinances banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, Colorado voters passed, by referendum, a state constitutional amendment banning and invalidating those ordinances. Justice Clarence Thomas has been quieter about his opposition to same-sex marriage — he even wrote a short concurrence in Lawrence distancing himself from Scalia’s homophobia — but he’s joined all of Scalia’s key opinions and will not break from Scalia here. Those cases, and the Supreme Court’s decision not to review them, not only sent a powerful message to the federal judiciary but also increased the number of states where same-sex marriage is legal. Justice Samuel Alito is an even more consistent conservative party-liner than Scalia and Thomas, and argued in his own Windsor dissent, “The Constitution…does not dictate that choice [of whether to recognize same-sex marriages].

In any scenario, most legal observers say they think it’s unlikely that gay marriages that have already taken place would be invalidated, with the thinking that courts would be reluctant to forcibly divorce thousands of couples, said Professor Carpenter. It leaves the choice to the people, acting through their elected representatives at both the federal and state levels.” He’s a certain third vote against same-sex marriage rights. But I had thought that one could consider certain conduct reprehensible–murder, for example, or polygamy, or cruelty to animals–and could exhibit even ‘animus’ toward such conduct. Previously, some had expressed concern that a Supreme Court mandate for same-sex marriage would get out ahead of public acceptance. (Margaret Talbot wrote about this issue five years ago.) Thirty-six states would seem to be a large enough majority to assuage these fears. Surely that is the only sort of ‘animus’ at issue here: moral disapproval of homosexual conduct, the same sort of moral disapproval that produced the centuries-old criminal laws that we held constitutional in Bowers.” 7. “The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives.

While the effect of Barack Obama’s postmature support for gay marriage tends to be overstated, it has played a decisive role in making that position an unshakable part of mainstream liberalism. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.” In this landmark ruling, the Court, 6-3, overruled Bowers v. On Saturday, there was some speculation that, with the phrasing of the second question, the Court may have reserved for itself the option of a more limited ruling, one that stops short of requiring every state to perform same-sex marriage. Kennedy continued: “[A]dults may choose to enter upon this relationship in the confines of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons.

When sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring. Kennedy has a long history of sympathy for gay and lesbian rights — it was one reason conservatives distrusted him when Ronald Reagan gave him the nod. Gore, in 2000, worked together on an ambitious attempt to make marriage equality the law of the land, even as marriage-equality activists argued over whether the Court was ready for a broad ruling. Kennedy has also written landmark opinions striking down anti-LBGT state initiatives, “sodomy” laws, and key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act.

This year is different. “It is time for our nation to take another critical step forward to ensure the fundamental equality of all Americans—no matter who they are, where they come from, or whom they love,” Holder’s statement concluded. The impact of a decision allowing gay couples to marry could also echo beyond that narrow question, prompting greater demands on the right for commitments from candidates about who they would or would not appoint to the bench. “A decision redefining marriage will highlight even more the importance of Supreme Court appointments,” said Russell Moore, a senior official with the Southern Baptist Convention. “Evangelicals and other social conservatives will want to hear from candidates what sort of judicial philosophy they will look for in making appointments. Will nationwide marriage equality lead in time to full nationwide acceptance, or will they discover, like many civil-rights activists before them, that there is a big gap between legal rights and true equality?

Still, there’s an outside chance that Kennedy and Roberts could compromise by reading the Constitution as requiring states to recognize valid same-sex marriages, but not that they have to license their own. The effects of such a ruling would be similar to a more sweeping affirmation of gay marriage, but would place a burden on poor couples in some states who would have to travel across state lines to become legally married.

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