Saturday, June 7, 2014

'Speed is through the eyes of the beholder.'

WaPo's Katie Zezima recently interviewed Margaret H. Marshall, former chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court and author of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the decision that legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. Particularly intriguing is Marshall's response to claims that the success of same-sex marriage has come quickly since her 2003 decision.

It is often people who have had access to these rights and responsibilities who think of it as speed, but for those who have not had access to these rights and responsibilities they may view it differently, and they do view it differently. Because the time between 2003, when the Goodridge case was decided, [and now] -- it did not change the law outside Massachusetts. And now it is a decade later. So think of it through a child’s eyes. A couple wants to adopt and raise a child. And they must wait for 10 years, then file a lawsuit. That’s a long time for a couple to wait. It might be that the woman is 35 and she’s now 45. That’s a biological challenge. It might be that there’s a particular child a male gay couple wants to adopt and the child is 2 or 3 or 4 and the child is now 12 or 13 or 14. Speed is through the eyes of the beholder. And the first legal case raising a right of access to marriage for same-sex couples was filed close to 50 years ago.

According to Freedom to Marry, 19 states now allow same-sex marriages. In eight others, judges have struck down same-sex marriage bans, but marriage equality in those states generally awaits appellate review of those decisions. 

Most recently, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb struck down Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban yesterday as violative of the "liberty and equality" rights of same-sex couples.  She wrote:

I conclude that the Wisconsin laws prohibiting marriage between same-sex couples interfere with plaintiff’s right to marry, in violation of the Due Process Clause, and discriminates against plaintiffs on the basis of sexual orientation, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

14th Amendment, Same-sex marriage | Permalink


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