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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Marriage equality: Tradition doesn't justify discrimination, judge says

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 6:48 AM

click to enlarge 'HORRIBLE STUFF': Judge Richard Posner on discrimination against gay couples in marriage.
  • 'HORRIBLE STUFF': Judge Richard Posner on discrimination against gay couples in marriage.
States attempting to defend discrimination against gay couples in marriage had a tough time in arguments yesterday before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. Commentary from Judge Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee, was particularly sharp. When Wisconsin tried to defend the "tradition" of excluding gay couples from marriage, Posner responded sharply:

"It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry — a tradition that got swept away," the 75-year-old judge said. Prohibition of same sex marriage, Posner to the Wisconsin attorney, derives from "a tradition of hate ... and savage discrimination" of homosexuals.

…At one point, Posner ran through a list of psychological strains of unmarried same-sex couples, including their children having to struggle to grasp why their schoolmates' parents were married and theirs weren't.

"What horrible stuff," Posner said. What benefits to society in barring gay marriage, he asked, outweighs that kind of harm to children?

States also attempted to argue that encouraging heterosexual marriage was a proper state purpose because same-sex couples "do not make babies." Together, no. But individually and by adoption, of course, they do make families. Judge David Hamilton also had a dry observatiion on that.

"I assume you know how that has been working out in practice?" Judge David Hamilton responded, citing figures that births to single women from 1990 to 2009 rose 53 percent in Wisconsin and 68 percent in Indiana.

With indications like these and the mounting toll of decisions everywhere else, isn't it time for state and federal judges in Arkansas to get cracking and opine that the U.S. Constitution still holds meaning in Arkansas, too?

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