Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Plessy v. Ferguson and Same Sex Marriage

"A potentially groundbreaking legal battle over Connecticut’s exclusion of gay people from the state’s marriage law has catapulted the debate over same-sex marriage to a new level.

Appearing last month before the state’s highest court, a lawyer representing eight same-sex couples led a spirited attack on Connecticut’s refusal to grant gay couples the freedom to marry. He also challenged the notion that civil union laws — like those enacted in Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, and most recently New Hampshire — are a constitutionally adequate alternative.

The plaintiffs’ argument was laced with references to Plessy v. Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court’s notorious 1896 decision which justified racial segregation under a deplorable standard of “separate but equal.” Although startling, the analogy is apt. In establishing civil unions two years ago, Connecticut lawmakers created a separate and inherently inferior institution that continues to deny gay couples the equality they seek and deserve."

N.Y. Times Editorial Link to Article (last visited 6-7-07 NVS)

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You state that the analogy to Plessy is apt, but I believe that the vast majority of black civil rights leaders would be incensed that homosexuals are attempting to equate their situation with the racial discrimination suffered by African-Americans. It's apples to oranges at best. Lastly, I couldn't disagree more with your statement that gay couples deserve equality with heterosexual couples in the marriage arena. Same-sex unions are a mockery of the institution of marriage.

Posted by: Dan Nunley | Jun 8, 2007 8:10:56 AM

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