TX judge strikes down gay marriage ban

Federal Judge Orlando Garcia in the deeply-conservative state of Texas has ruled the state’s ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional, arguing the ban as no “legitimate governmental purpose” and demeans their dignity.  Judge Garcia has stayed his decision until it makes its way through the lengthy and expensive appeals process.

“Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution,” Garcia wrote in his decision.  “These Texas laws deny plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex.”

Texas is the latest in a growing list of states that have finally decided to embrace true freedom and remove arbitrary and nonsensical bans on certain marriages.  Judges in Utah, Virginia and Oklahoma have ruled similarly, all decisions that await legal appeals.  The Supreme Court will likely be the deciding factor.

Read more from the Houston Chronical: http://www.chron.com/news/article/Texas-ban-on-gay-marriage-ruled-unconstitutional-5270241.php

AZ bill did not give businesses a license to discriminate

Arizona Gay RightsAlthough Arizona Governor Jan Brewer eventually vetoed the hotly-contested bill that would have given businesses the right to use “religious freedom” in a court of law, the bill was completely misrepresented as legislation that would legalize discrimination.

The media’s attempt at improving their ratings by stirring up maximum controversy worked, and worked well.  The legislation was widely referred to as the “anti-gay” bill, described as a piece of legislation that would essentially give businesses a license to discriminate against homosexuals.

Naturally, instead of reading the actual text of the bill, emotionally-charged people jumped on-board the media bandwagon and began fighting against a bill that was entirely misunderstood – at best, and intentionally misrepresented – at worst.

This bill did not legalize discrimination.  In truth, the bill was much more simple and instituted very little actual change to discrimination lawsuits in the state.

Arizona law allows certain religious institutions to claim “religious freedom” as a legal defense in a court of law.   AZ 1062 would have expanded the use of “religious freedom” to include individuals and businesses – or any legal entity recognized by the state of Arizona.  This bill would have equalized legal religious protections.

Removing the emotional element from the debate, this bill was in no way “anti-gay”.  If Governor Brewer signed the bill into law, businesses could still get sued.  The new law would allow them to legally use the  “religious freedom” defense, but the decision remains in the hands of the jury.  Guilty verdicts remain very possible.

Like our tax system, loopholes exist today in current discrimination law that already allow any business to discriminate against any person, for any reason.  However, regardless of established law, discrimination lawsuits are expensive and rare.  No business wants to spend months fighting off discrimination lawsuits with high-priced attorneys and negative publicity.

Discrimination is bad for business.

This was a hotly-contested, politically-polarizing, completely and utterly meaningless piece of legislation that successfully got people’s attention for, honestly, no good reason.

The law did not give businesses a license to discriminate. Businesses could still get sued. Businesses would still need to spend resources for defense attorneys in court. This law MAY have given the business a slightly better shot at winning, but the money it takes for a business to fight off discrimination lawsuits remains steep.  AZ 1062 would have removed none of that, and regardless of the legal outcome, businesses never truly “win” a discrimination lawsuit.  The free market ultimately wins that decision.

Law or no law, no business wants to get sued, period.

New Jersey to allow gay marriage

Republican governor Chris Christie lost his bid to delay gay marriage in his state as the New Jersey State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that marriages between two same-sex partners can begin October 21st.

A lower state court had previously ruled that the state must allow same-sex marriages.  Anti-marriage-freedom governor Christie requested a stay of the decision.

The court’s decision is a victory for freedom-loving Americans who recognize that governments have no legitimate place regulating who can marry.  Treating all people equal under the law is a tenant ingrained in the culture of the United States, even though several states stubbornly remain in control of the social issue.

New Jersey becomes the thirteenth state to officially recognize same sex marriages.

 

Marriage is a state issue, not a matter of federal law

Of course gay marriage should be left to the states. Indeed, all marriage should be left to.  the states. Search the U.S. Constitution from start to finish, and you will find no reference whatsoever to marriage. You will, however, find the 10th Amendment, which reads as follows: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Marriage is not commerce, war, or taxation. It is unrelated to money, the post office, the patent system, or any of the other enumerated powers of the federal government. Its regulation is neither necessary nor proper in pursuit of those powers.

At the drafting of the Constitution, the states all had marriage laws of one kind or another. There were wide disparities among them, both then and now, and such disparities have existed at all times in between.

The founders had no desire to settle such matters, and they did not wish a future Congress to do so either. The Constitution they wrote left only two choices: Either allow the states to regulate marriage (with, perhaps, federal consequences to follow) — or else return marriage to the people, to individuals, families, churches, and communities. Either approach would be consistent with the Constitution. The Defense of Marriage Act, however, is not.

Speaking personally for a moment, I am in a same-sex marriage. Some states recognize it, including my home state of Maryland. I am happy that they do, and I wish more of them would. But just as Congress can’t prohibit same sex marriage, I must conclude that Congress can’t establish it, either.

Whether the states must all recognize same sex marriages as a matter of civil rights law, unrelated to the 10th Amendment, is a question the Supreme Court may soon address. But I find it implausible that the Court would do so now. The Prop. 8 case by no means requires it. And it’s still less plausible that the Court would make the sweeping judgment required to say yes. In the meantime, I am content both to support same sex marriage and to advocate for it on the state level, where public opinion is rapidly shifting in its favor, and where the good fight is still to be fought.

Article originally published at the Cato Institute: http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/marriage-should-not-be-regulated-federal-government

Boy Scouts uphold ban on gays

After holding a series of secret meetings amongst the organization’s top brass, the Boy Scouts have decided to uphold and support their ban on homosexuals in the organization and will dismiss all challenges to the policy and its discriminatory nature.

The meetings consisted of 11-members, both full time Scout representatives and volunteers, who voted unanimously to continue the ban.  “The review included forthright and candid conversation and extensive research and evaluations – both from within Scouting and from outside of the organization,” read a statement released by the committee.  The Boy Scouts believe that the majority of parents who have children participating in the organization support the ban.

The ruling will surely fire up gay rights and civil liberties organizations to continue their push to change the Boy Scout’s policy to include people of all preferences.

Through Change.org, one formerly-ousted parent of the Scouts has managed to amass nearly 80,000 signatures in support of a change to the policy.

Despite the fact that I was a good den leader and parents in the community supported me and urged me to take on the role, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) now say that I do not “meet the high standards of membership” that the BSA seeks, and will no longer allow me to participate in scouting,” said the petition’s statement.