Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

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Martin Blank
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Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by Martin Blank » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:46 pm

In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision of a lower court judge to strike down California's Prop 8 ban on gay marriage. Rather than ruling that gay marriage bans themselves are unconstitutional, the court instead ruled that removing the right to marry a member of the same gender served no legitimate purpose other than to marginalize a class of people.

The decision was immediately stayed pending appeal, which both parties promised if the decision went against them.

I'm still reading over the decision (and probably will be for a while--it's 133 pages), but it seems to me that the majority was trying to frame it narrowly using broader terms. In deciding whether Prop 8 served a legitimate purpose, they looked at many of the same items that would be presented in a broader decision: procreation and child rearing, religious freedom, or parents' rights to control their child's education. Here's a quote from the summary:
Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for "laws of this sort."
I'll try to get through it this week. I suspect that in nearly 80 pages of majority decision and 39 pages of dissent, there is a lot of interesting line-walking going on.
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Re: Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by Jamie Bond » Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:45 pm

Cool. I was saddened by prop 8. I am not familiar with US court systems - how many more appeal attempts do these bastards get?
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Re: Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by collegestudent22 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:07 pm

Supreme Court is their only recourse, IIRC.

Also, this is good news, I think. Although I'd be much happier with a ruling that said that ANY government control of marriage serves no purpose.
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Re: Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by Deacon » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:12 pm

As many as it takes, basically, unless/until it winds up in the Supreme Court and they actually rule on it one way or the other. But since apparently this isn't being challenged on Constitutional grounds, I don't know that the Supreme Court would even be where it ends up.

I'm curious as to what sort of argument one could possibly make for Prop 8 on the grounds of religious freedom. It seems like the only argument one could make regarding religion would be against Prop 8 since it could potentially restrict the religious freedoms of those wishing to marry their congregation's members.

Though I do have a question: in California, if a particular church or another decided they wouldn't officiate mixed-race marriages, they wouldn't be forced to do so, would they?
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Re: Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by collegestudent22 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:18 pm

Deacon wrote: Though I do have a question: in California, if a particular church or another decided they wouldn't officiate mixed-race marriages, they wouldn't be forced to do so, would they?
No church would be forced to, anywhere in the US, as far as I can tell. Justices of the Peace, on the other hand, would be required to, even if for some ridiculous reason they didn't want to.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
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Post by Martin Blank » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:47 pm

Cool. I was saddened by prop 8. I am not familiar with US court systems - how many more appeal attempts do these bastards get?
They have two options. They can appeal to the Ninth Circuit for an en banc hearing of 11 judges, or they may appeal to the Supreme Court directly. The Ninth Circuit can itself also order an en banc hearing, but this is a rare maneuver usually only undertaken when the rest of the judges feel that there was a major error in reasoning.

There are several constitutional issues that are at stake here, but they fall mostly under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, so the Supreme Court does have something to work with. Most people believe that it will come down to Kennedy in a 5-4 decision, but it's also possible to see a 6-3 decision depending on how certain conservative justices rule. They don't always go the way one would expect.

Churches cannot be forced to perform ceremonies that do not match with their beliefs. You can't force a Catholic church to perform a Jewish wedding, or a religious organization to officiate the marriage of two atheists. It is possible that a justice of the peace who felt strongly against gay marriage would be able to recuse himself in favor of another, though that's a much weaker position that may bring up Due Process issues.

cs22: You're not going to get a ruling like that anytime in the next few decades. The right of the government to regulate marriage has a very, very long standing in US law and, before it, English common law. Overturning something like that would be unprecedented. With some of those I've seen turn to this position, I wonder if it is a sign of them giving up a fight they know they're losing and trying to get a small win out of it.
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Re:

Post by collegestudent22 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:14 pm

Martin Blank wrote: cs22: You're not going to get a ruling like that anytime in the next few decades.
Oh, I know. I don't really expect to see rulings that actually increase freedom - even when rulings and legislation actually does that, it sneaks in provisions that drastically increase its power in areas it should never have been and has no Constitutional authority over (the Civil Rights Act's infringement on private property, for example - the rest is great, but that one provision has wrecked private property rights across the board since).
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
Count Axel Oxenstierna wrote:Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?

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Re: Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by Deacon » Thu May 31, 2012 4:33 pm

Interestingly, it appears the First Circuit Court out of Boston ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. But not because it denies gay couples equal rights. Instead, apparently it was rejected because it interfered with the individual states' rights to define marriage.

Check it.
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Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by ampersand » Thu May 31, 2012 10:21 pm

So...I suppose I should expect an invitation to my father's wedding in Iowa. He'd have to divorce my mother first, but doesn't stop him.

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Re: Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by collegestudent22 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:57 am

Deacon wrote:Interestingly, it appears the First Circuit Court out of Boston ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. But not because it denies gay couples equal rights. Instead, apparently it was rejected because it interfered with the individual states' rights to define marriage.
What? It pretty much does the opposite of that - the definition of marriage included in DOMA is entirely only related to federal provisions. The other section basically says states don't have to agree on the issue, and can decide (but are not forced) not to recognize gay marriages, no matter where performed.

Stupid to have marriage be up to the government at all, but it is also stupid to demand all sorts of special favors from them for being married.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
Count Axel Oxenstierna wrote:Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?

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Re: Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by Deacon » Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:34 pm

Wait, special favors for whom?
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Re: Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by collegestudent22 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:32 pm

Deacon wrote:Wait, special favors for whom?
Married couples get special tax breaks, etc. On the order of 1,400 legal rights are conferred upon married couples in the U.S. Many of them are things that should be privately contracted for in, say, a private "marriage" contract (i.e. visitation rights as next-of-kin, power of attorney rights, etc.) and many shouldn't exist at all, IMO. The government, certainly, shouldn't be involved.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
Count Axel Oxenstierna wrote:Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?

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Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by Deacon » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:12 pm

It's a whole lot easier to say "spouse" rather than some poor hospital having to comb through pages of a contract trying to figure out whether or not to allow your contractual partner(s) to approve medical decisions while you're unconscious on the gurney. That's the ridiculous part of that particular argument. It's impossible to write laws guaranteeing rights and defining responsibilities of people who may or may not be in some degree or another of varying contractual entanglement with other parties.
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Re: Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by spikegirl7 » Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:41 am

get special tax break
Still waiting on those, btw. Been married two years and I still pay more in taxes than I did before I got married. We make the same amount, but because we file jointly we move up an income bracket and have to pay a higher percentage. And I can't file as HoH for some odd reason, since both of us work.
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Re: Ninth Circuit upholds decision allowing gay marriage

Post by collegestudent22 » Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:18 am

Deacon wrote:It's a whole lot easier to say "spouse" rather than some poor hospital having to comb through pages of a contract trying to figure out whether or not to allow your contractual partner(s) to approve medical decisions while you're unconscious on the gurney.
And nothing would change there. There is no reason why a standard contractual set of rights and obligations for marriage would not exist without the government administering it. The only difference would be that people (of any sexuality) wouldn't have to go to the government, hat in hand, and beg for their marriage to be recognized.

You would think marriage didn't exist at all before government took control over it. The first marriage license law in the United States was passed in 1867 in Massachusetts. This law came about because a black man wanted to marry a white woman. Before 1867, no one in America had needed or even thought to need a marriage license. The marriage license is the last vestige of Jim Crow - and it should be eliminated entirely.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
Count Axel Oxenstierna wrote:Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?

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