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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Voices for Equal Marriage

I.  From Towleroad, Ted Olson, speaking in New York last week:

II.  From Box Turtle Bulletin, reporting on some of the many amicus curiae briefs that have been filed in the Prop 8 case, Perry v. Schwarzengger, now under appeal to the Ninth Circuit federal court of appeals:
172 - Howard University School of Law Civil Rights Clinic – Howard is among the oldest and most revered of the traditionally black universities. They spoke from a history of civil rights and made comparisons that the gay community on its own dare not claim. Read this brief. The conclusion is truly touching:

In the final analysis, there is nothing new in the arguments against same-sex couples having the freedom to marry. However much opponents of marriage for same-sex couples may insist “this time it is different,” there remains an appalling familiarity to the refrain that allowing same-sex couples the same human dignity as everyone else will threaten social order, degrade individuals, and harm children. We suffered through the same awful dirge when slave owners sought to preserve the ban against slave marriage and segregationists opposed interracial marriage. Then, as now, some claimed with all sincerity and unwavering conviction that, if African-Americans were accorded full human dignity, our society, our morality, and our faith would come to grief and lay in ruins.

But the certainty and monotony with which some will always sound the death knell for society, morality, and faith, just because two adults choose to marry cannot obscure the reality that we heard virtually the same arguments for almost three hundred years to justify preventing two black people from marrying and then a black man from marrying a white woman. Nor, when all is said and done, can these jeremiads about how marriage equality for same-sex couples will lead to our final slouching toward Gomorrah obscure the reality recognized long ago by the great African-American gay writer, James Baldwin, that it is “an inexorable law that one cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one’s own.”

Continued after the jump . . .

158 – Legislators from the United States Jurisdictions that have legalized same-sex marriage – These politicians – prominent and obscure, local and state-wide – from Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Iowa, and the District of Columbia submitted numerical evidence that the “parade of horribles” which anti-gay activists fear have no basis in reality.

Since the legalization of same-sex marriage in their jurisdictions, these legislators have witnessed none of the harm to marriage and families claimed by opponents of marriage equality. They submit this brief to document the absence of any ill effects of legalizing same-sex marriage in their jurisdictions, in order to refute the argument made by the proponents of Proposition 8 and their amici that legalizing same-sex marriage results in a series of deleterious effects on heterosexual couples, the institution of marriage, and children reared in jurisdictions where same-sex couples are permitted to marry.

176 – The Commonwealth of Massachusetts – not only have they not had problems, marriages have become more stable.

Since same-sex couples began marrying here in 2004, Massachusetts‟ marriage rate has remained stable, its divorce rate has declined, and its nonmarital birth rate has remained well below the national average. Marriage equality has also led to greater acceptance of gays, lesbians, and their children, increased stability for gay and lesbian families, and improved public health outcomes.

182 - Anti-Defamation League – perhaps drawing on the “you can blend in” experiences of Jews in our history this ardent opponent of anti-Semitism made an odd but interesting argument.

Discrimination and hate crimes against gays and lesbians are all too prevalent in our society and the segregated system required by Proposition 8 puts gays and lesbians who wish to enter state-recognized committed relationships at risk because it forces them to disclose their sexual orientation in situations where it is completely irrelevant and potentially unsafe to do so. Extending the right to marry to same-sex couples would remedy the constitutional infirmities of the segregated system and also leave the decision of when and where to disclose one‘s sexual orientation to the discretion of the individual.

183 – NAACP Legal Defense  Education Fund, Inc. – as with Howard University, they draw on the history of marriage discrimination. Mildred Loving would be proud.

Over 40 years ago, in Loving v. Virginia—a case in which LDF participated as amicus—the Supreme Court was confronted with the constitutionality of prohibitions on interracial marriage, which persisted in sixteen states nearly one hundred years after the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted in 1868. In a significant step forward in our nation’s progress toward a “more perfect Union”—one that was the subject of bitter controversy, but now seems obvious—the Supreme Court tore down this lasting and notorious form of discrimination, holding that anti-miscegenation laws violate the Constitutional guarantees of Equal Protection and Due Process.

The basic Fourteenth Amendment principles addressed in Loving are not limited to race, but must be universally applied to any state action that denies a person the right to marry the person that he or she loves.

196 – The Southern Poverty Law Center – this civil rights icon added to the voices unashamed to discuss marriage in terms of the continuum of forms that discrimination has taken.

199 – Asian American Justice Center, Asian Law Caucus, Asian American Institute, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, API Equality, California Conference of the NAACP, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, Korematsu Center at Seattle University, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Zuna Institute – remind the court that all minorities are threatened when the majority is unlimited in its ability to deny fundamental rights.

Amici are concerned that enactment of Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage allows a bare political majority to enshrine discrimination into the California Constitution against a class of persons otherwise accorded heightened judicial scrutiny under California law. Amici believe the use of the referendum process to deprive gay men and lesbians of a fundamental right without the protection of heightened scrutiny raises the likelihood that other classes protected under California law—including classes defined by race, ethnicity, national origin or gender—may be similarly deprived of long established civil rights. Amici share a common interest in ensuring that the fundamental right of protected classes to be free from discrimination is not at the mercy of an electoral majority’s whims.
Your Head Trucker could almost get choked up, reflecting on this amazingly broad support and understanding from all quarters of society.  Something that was simply unfuckingthinkable for most of my lifetime.


Ray's Cowboy said...

I hope people go out and vote. It does make a difference.


Russ Manley said...

I second the motion.

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