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Religious Tolerance logo

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage(aka gay
marriage) across the U.S. in its ruling of The Obergefell v. Hodges
case from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee.

Part 44: 2015-JUNE-26 to 30:
More confusion about -- & opposition to --
the High Court's ruling in the Deep South:
in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, & Texas.
Conflict resolved in LA, MS, & TX.
Results of a "states rights" poll.
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We use the term "gay marriage."to represent the marriage of two persons of
the same sex. We prefer "Same-sex marriage," a more inclusive term that
includes spouses with a bisexual sexual orientation, but it would make this web
site harder to find.
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals.
"LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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In Alabama: Chief Justice Moore promises resistance to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling:

Roy Moore, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court plans to resist the High Court ruling. He is well known for his earlier refusal to obey a federal court order to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building. He was dismissed from office for that act. The voters re-elected him as Chief Justice in 2012. During 2015, he headed the opposition that successfully stalled marriage equality in Alabama by opposing the actions of the U.S. District Court.

Although he remains opposed to same-sex marriage in Alabama, same-sex couples are able to obtain marriage licenses in the main metropolitan areas of the state. This situation is expected to spread to other counties until all or almost all such couples should be able to obtain licenses in their state or their next state.

This is a problem facing individuals and groups who are trying to prevent marriage equality. All it takes is one Probate Judge willing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and the logjam is broken in the state. More details.

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Confusion extends to Louisiana:

On 2015-JUN-26, Governor Bobby Jindal (R) attacked the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized gay marriages across the country. Within minutes of the ruling's release, he issued a statement saying:

(R) said that gay marriages will not be recognized in Louisiana right away. He is waiting until the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals confirms the High Court's ruling before allowing gay marriages in the state or to recognize marriages legally solemnized out-of-state.

He attacked the High Court's ruling, saying:

"The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states' rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.  Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that. 

This decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty.

The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage to participate in these ceremonies. That would be a clear violation of America's long held commitment to religious liberty as protected in the First Amendment.

I will never stop fighting for religious liberty and I hope our leaders in D.C. join me." 1

Webmaster's note: [Bias alert]

The governor's comment would make a lot of sense if the United States were a theocracy, and its laws were determined by the conservative Christian denominations. However, many sincere, intelligent, thoughtful, devout Christians have analyzed the six "clobber passages" that are often interpreted by religious conservatives to condemn same-gender sexual behavior and have found them to be accepting of the LGBT community. The religious freedom that Governor Jindal.

However, spokesperson Mike Reed in the Governor's office said:

"Our agencies will have no choice but to comply with the Supreme Court's decision when the 5th Circuit Court orders the ruling into effect – even though we disagree with it and believe it was wrongly decided, and has nothing to do with the Constitution." 2

The 5th Circuit court had accepted for review a gay marriage case, but decided to not proceed until the U.S. Supreme Court released its ruling. The 5th Circuit is expected to issue its own ruling shortly that will require gay marriages to proceed in Louisiana. Attorneys representing seven Louisiana same-sex couples have already filed a motion asking the 5th Circuit to issue such a ruling.

The Louisiana Clerks of Court Association and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell (R) have both recommended that court clerks in the state not issue marriage licenses at this time.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) criticized both the Governor and Attorney General for their reluctance to proceed. He issued a statement saying: 

"We are a nation of laws, and Louisiana is no exception. The State has no legal authority to delay issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples even a moment longer. ... It is time for Gov. Bobby Jindal and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to stop denying committed, loving couples in Louisiana their constitutional right to marry. They've waited long enough." 2

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2015-JUL-01: Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas: Resolution of the impasse, at least in three states:

In the deep South, where opposition to marriage equality is the most intense, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over three states: Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The Administrations in all three states agreed that, under the circumstances, the 5th Circuit Court should implement the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court by issuing an order. It would instruct various District Courts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas to issue orders legalizing same-sex marriage within their state.

On JUL-01, Circuit Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th Circuit sent three orders -- one each to federal District Judges in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. It instructed them to issue their final rulings on or before JUL-17 to legalize gay marriage in their states. Gay marriage should come to all three states in mid-July.

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2015-JUL-01: New Rasmusson poll on "states rights:"

On the topic of "states rights":

  • 33% of likely U.S. voters believe that states should have the right to ignore federal court rulings if their elected state representatives agree. This is an increase from 9 percentage points in a February poll.

  • 52% disagree. This is a decrease of 6 percentage points in February. 3

The survey was conducted among 1,000 likely voters from JUN-30 to JUL-01. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points. This poll was taken a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Obergefill v. Hodges case. The polling results were probably influenced by the Court's controversial decision to overturn state constitutional amendments and state statutes that banned gay marriage in 14 states.

It will take a long time to determine if these results represent a temporary "blip" or a long-term shift.

Behind these data is a fundamental conflict between two visions of what the United States should be:

  1. A pure democracy, in which any referendum passed by a public vote automatically becomes law even if it were to violate the state or federal Constitution.

  2. A constitutional democracy in which the highest law is not a public vote, but the federal Constitution as interpreted by courts.

During the early days of America, political theorists debated whether the public was sufficiently mature to to handle a democracy. They were concerned about the "tyranny of the majority" in which the majority of the public might restrict the civil rights of an umpopular minority. The answer was to put a strong constitution in place that protected certain rights so that they could not be voted upon.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Bobbly Jindal, "Governor Jindal Releases Statement on Gay Marriage Ruling," Bobby Jindal for President, 2015-JUN-26, at: http://www.bobbyjindal.com/
  2. "Bobby Jindal administration says Louisiana won't recognize gay marriage yet," The Times-Picaynne, 2015-JUN-26, at: http://www.nola.com/
  3. "Support Grows for States to Ignore the Federal Courts," Rasussen Reports, 2015-JUL-03, at: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/

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How you may have arrived here:

Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2015-JUN-30
Latest update: 2015-JUN-30
Author: - Robinson
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