Supreme Court To Rule On Marriage Equality
- New York 01/17/2015 by Alan A. Katz (WBAI)

The Supreme Court has finally agreed to decide a quartet of Marriage Equality cases - the four that were overruled by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a tortured and head-scratching justification, Judge Sutton basically stated that Federal Courts should not determine whether state laws are Constitutional - despite the fact that the Constitution itself specifically assigns that task to them.

The signs are very hopeful:

1) There are four solid Liberals openly in favor of Marriage Equality.

2) Anthony Kennedy is the swing vote, which is a good thing when you consider that his ruling in United States v. Windsor has served as the primary precedential basis for the near-unanimous rulings by Federal Courts in favor of Marriage Equality.

3) Kennedy has also been the author of almost all the major pro-gay Supreme Court rulings over the last couple of decades, including Lawrence v. Texas (overturned sodomy laws), Romer v. Evans (ruled it unconstitutional to try to legislate away LGBT citizens' rights and ruled that laws based on animus cannot stand) and United States v. Windsor (ruled it unconstitutional for the Federal Government to discriminate against legally married LGBT couples).

4) Kennedy also expanded the basis for determining if laws against gay families were constitutional. In Windsor, he wrote eloquently that laws designed to harm the dignity of LGBT families and their children violate both the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Constitution. .

5) Through its refusal to overturn lower courts' rulings, the Supreme Court has been responsible for 19 additional states enjoying (or not enjoying, in a few particularly bigoted states) Marriage Equality. The Court knew exactly what it was doing - queuing up the states so that the Court would not be getting ahead of the people, as they did in Roe v. Wade, and matching, almost exactly, the conditions they required before ruling on Loving v. Virginia. The parallels are inescapble.

6) As recently as a couple of weeks ago, the Supreme Court refused to extend a stay  in Florida (in keeping with what they have done in every other state), even though the case had not yet been adjudicated by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court would have to be certifiably insane (known to happen, occasionaly - think Citizens United) to enforce Marriage Equality in 19 additional states and then turn around and say "whoops".

7) The Supreme Court, up to this date, has been unable to muster even the four votes necessary to take on any of the States' appeals. Perhaps we will even see a 6-3 ruling on Marriage Equality. Loving v. Virginia was unanimous. What justice wants to go down in history as a bigoted idiot? I mean, aside from Scalia and Thomas, who are both self-admitted homophobes?

8) All of the arguments against Marriage Equality have been disproved in court after court and, in many of them, thrown out as absurd on their face. In order to rule against Marriage Equality in the 6th Circuit, Judge Sutton had to rely on a 40-year-old precedent that clearly no longer applies, and some very strange logic along the lines of "plaintiffs, go away, it's not this Court's job to judge on the constitutionality of laws - go hire a lobbyist". There is no way the Supreme Court will buy either of these rationales. In fact, just by taking on the cases, it has demolished them both. After those two non-issues, there is just nothing left to defend the bans.

9) Unless Kennedy loses his mind or a Liberal Justice dies before the end of June, I suspect that this is a done deal. One can only hope.

It's about time. Equality delayed is equality denied.

headline photo