The U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of appeals of 4 SSM cases:
one each from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee.
Part 9: 2015-MAR:
Some of the points raised in briefs
which advocate marriage equality as
to the U.S. Supreme Court
We use the acronym "SSM" to represent "same-sex marriage."
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
"Times can blind us to certain truths. Later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact only serve to oppress. As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles
in their own search for greater freedom." This was written by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on 2003-JUN-26, for the majority opinion of the case Lawrence v. Texas. This ruling legalized consensual same-gender sexual behavior in private everywhere in the U.S. 1
2015-MAR: Points raised by briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that favor same-sex marriage:
As noted in the previous essay, the U.S. Supreme Court will be holding hearings on 2015-APR-28. The case is called Obergefell v. Hodges which is a consolidation of four same-sex marriage lawsuits from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. Briefs in favor of marriage equality were requested by the Court to be filed on or before MAR-06.
Some random excerpts from the briefs filed with the high court:
- The plaintiffs in the Michigan case, DeBoer v. Snyder, filed a brief which stated, in part:
"Marriage is a commitment like no other in society. It announces to the world a union that society understands. It grounds couples. It is a vow, recognized by the State, to stay together when times are hard. It provides a social safety net of reciprocal responsibility for the less affluent of two spouses -- security for homemakers and stay-at-home parents -- in the event of death or divorce. Marriage brings stability to families. It tells children that they have, and will always have, two parents. For children of same-sex parents, allowing their parents to marry dispels the notion that their families are inferior, 'second tier.' Marriage brings dignity to adults and children alike.
The State’s exclusion of Petitioners from the fundamental freedom to marry, and denial of their equal right to marry, violates both due process and equal protection. 2 As the trial record in this case demonstrates beyond all doubt, the injury caused by the laws challenged here is wide-ranging, profound, and persistent. Its impact is felt by adults and children every day the bans remain in place. The State’s approach to this case, even posing the question of whether it is a “good idea” for same-sex couples to raise children and marry, ignores the central reality that there are same-sex couples who love and commit to one another, and there are same-sex couples raising children in their families. There are more than 650,000 same-sex couples in the United States, of whom an estimated 125,000 are raising an estimated 220,000 children under the age of 18. ... These families are indistinguishable from others in all ways that matter in terms of this Court’s jurisprudence and children’s welfare. The question before this Court is whether it is constitutionally permissible to treat these couples and their children like second-class citizens and deny them the dignity, security, status and respect enjoyed by opposite-sex couples. The answer to this question is manifestly 'No'." 3
- The Human Rights Campaign, is the leading non-profit promoting equality for the LGBT community in the United States. They commented:
"When laws and constitutional amendments banning marriage equality were passed, many voters and legislators really were blinded by the times. They did not realize that they knew LGBT people personally. They did not recognize the contributions that LGBT people and their families make -- as employees, as neighbors, as part of the social fabric in every community in America. Some saw the LGBT community as strangers, not as people with the same hopes and dreams as anyone else.
In many respects, those oppressive times are behind us. In poll after poll, the broad majority of Americans now support marriage equality. Many people who once opposed it are unafraid to admit their views have evolved. Why? They've simply met LGBT people in their own lives.
In other words, the laws challenged in this case are more than fundamentally unfair. They were also adopted in at a time that utterly failed to take into account LGBT Americans as individuals deserving of dignity. The [U.S. Supreme] Court has recognized that dignity throughout its history — most recently in U.S. v. Windsor. But recognizing that dignity isn’t enough. It’s time to leave the blindness of the past behind, and guarantee the equal protection our constitution promises to every American." 4
- The Obama Administration filed a brief written by the Department of Justice which states, in part:
"Petitioners are same-sex couples who have been denied the privileges and responsibilities of civil marriage by the States in which they make their homes. Petitioners have formed, and seek legal recognition of, their committed relationships for the same reasons that opposite-sex couples do. But their home States persist in excluding them from the 'dignity and status' of civil marriage and the 'far-reaching legal acknowledgment of the intimate relationship between two people' that civil marriage represents. ..."
"The pervasive discrimination petitioners face because they cannot marry is reflected in their pleas for equal treatment: '[s]ome involve a birth, others a death'; [s]ome involve concerns about property, taxes, and insurance'; others involve 'rights to visit a partner or partner’s child in the hospital.' ... These cases thus require the Court to decide whether States may deny to lesbian and gay couples -- more than 700,000 families, including nearly 220,000 children -- equal participation in an institution that gives legal expression and protection to “one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness,' Loving v. Virginia. ..." 5
Animus toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people is the second-most common motivation for hate crimes. Indeed, from 1996 (the first year for which the FBI reported data) to 2013 (the latest year in which the FBI reported data), such hate crimes increased by 21%, even as hate crimes overall decreased by 32%. ..."
"Employers and co-workers continue to discriminate against lesbian and gay people in the workplace. A set of 15 studies conducted since the mid-1990s has found that significant percentages of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have experienced workplace discrimination, including being fired or refused employment; being denied promotion or given unfavorable performance reviews; being verbally or physically abused or experiencing work-place vandalism; and receiving unequal pay or benefits. ..."
"These cases present challenges involving 16 lesbian and gay couples residing in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee to laws in those States that bar them from the institution of civil marriage, and the dignity, rights, and responsibilities that marriage entails. ... the voters in each of those four States amended their own state constitutions to foreclose marriage for lesbian or gay couples, 6 even if the rights guaranteed under those state constitutions would otherwise have required it. ..."
"Some petitioners seek recognition in their home States for their otherwise-lawful out-of-state marriages; others are currently unmarried and seek marriage licenses. ... The refusal of their home States to recognize current or prospective marriages has prevented petitioners from realizing the wide range of tangible and intangible benefits that marriage provides. Among other things, the state marriage bans inhibit their ability to raise children in a recognized two-parent family. ... The adoption law in each State expressly provides for joint adoption by two parents only when the parents are married..."
The state marriage bans also deny lesbian and gay couples many other advantages under state law, in a wide rang e of areas, that opposite-sex couples may take for granted. Marriage affects contexts including taxation, ... intestate succession, ... inheritance rights of surviving spouse, ... workers’ compensation, ... income benefits for dependent spouse, ... wrongful-death actions, ... and the automatic right for deceased’s spouse to sue. And petitioners’ cases illustrate some of the myriad other ways in which same-sex couples who would marry in state if allowed, or whose out-of-state marriages are discounted, are disadvantaged. ... Beyond these tangible legal harms, petitioners also allege that the marriage bans inflict psychological and dignitary harms on themselves and their children. ..."
I continue to be amazed that today, over a decade after same-sex marriage was first legalized in the U.S., individuals and groups writing about same-sex marriage still do not recognize that some such marriages include one or two persons with a bisexual orientation.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Philip Chandler, "Lawrence v. Texas: Equal Justice Under Law," Do Ask Do Tell, 2003, at: http://www.doaskdotell.com/
- This is an apparent reference to the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that requires the federal, state, and local governments to treat individuals -- and thus couples -- equally. These clauses were the grounds used by the high Court to legalize interracial marriage. 5
- "Peoplesbrief.org," Domains' Knowledge Database, 2015-JAN-22, at: http://knowledge.naturaladconcept.com/
- Text of "The People's Brief," by the Human Rights Campaign, 2015, at: http://www.hrc.org/
- This paragraph is a quotation from the ruling in "Loving v. Virginia" -- the 1967 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared bans against interracial marriage to be unconstitutional.
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Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2015-MAR-15
Latest update: 2015-MAR-31
Author: B.A. Robinson