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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

More judges for Rapert to impeach: Marriage bans struck down in Indiana and Utah

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 11:36 AM

click to enlarge JACK WAGONER: Fighting for marriage equality in Arkansas.
  • JACK WAGONER: Fighting for marriage equality in Arkansas.
I've mentioned this earlier on the Ted Olson item, but the galloping progress of freedom merits its own item.

Two courts today struck down state bans on same-sex marriage: A federal district judge in Indiana and the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on a Utah law. Said the 10th Circuit:

We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.

Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said precisely the same thing in striking down the Arkansas ban on same-sex marriage. For Piazza's devotion to the Constitution, state Sen. Jason Rapert has spoken approvingly of those who'd like to impeach him and he's made clear he'd like a recall law to go after such judges himself.  The recall effort has a growing number of judges to deal with.

Speaking of the Arkansas law: Don't miss David Koon's profile of Little Rock lawyer Jack Wagoner, who's hip-deep in state and federal challenges of Arkansas's discriminatory marriage laws. I think David has captured the essence of Jack, whom — DISCLOSURE ALERT — I consider a friend. His father was doctor to my mother in her final years. Jack clerked for my wife. His impetuous Facebook post on marriage equality led to his work in the cases. Nonprofit groups with which I'm associated soon after contributed financial support to the federal court case. 

PS — If you track these things, the three judges on the 10th Circuit case included one appointee each from George Bush, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The decision was 2-1, with George Bush appointee Paul Kelly deferring to state's ability to set rules.

PPS — In addition to the state case now on appeal, plaintiffs are challenging the Arkansas law in federal court. I asked Jack for a progress report. He said:

We hope to have our motion for summary judgment filed before the holiday next week and will request a hearing date as soon as it is filed. 

The U.S. Supreme Court's ultimate decision — not a given by any means — may be hastened by the rising tide of opinions.

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