Tuesday, May 13, 2014

4th Circuit judges seem divided on Virginia gay marriage ban

A panel of judges at the Fourth Circuit seemed sharply divided today in oral arguments on the matter of whether Virginia’s Marshall-Newman amendment and total ban on legal recognition of same-sex relationships is constitutional.  The story by Robert Barnes is here.. 

One of the judges, Gregory, said that “the essence of marriage is the freedom to marry the person they choose”.  To say that marriage serves a higher collective purpose is the thinking of a totalitarian state, he reportedly said, as if to make a veiled allusion especially to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.  The idea that anti-gay laws are associated with totalitarian states and religious fundamentalism may be starting to reach even more conservative jurists.

The idea of marriage as a fundamental right (perhaps subject to due process jurisprudence as well as equal protection) is interesting. My own “Our Fundamental Rights” booklet (1998) does not list marriage as a fundamental right, but does list parenthood.   

Also, late May 13 the Washington Blade reports that a federal judge has struck down Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage, link.

Picture, Pocatello (Wikipedia link), only visit was in 1990.

Update: May 16

A county judge in Arkansas struck down the states' ban on gay marriage, and refused to stay it for appeal (USA Today story here.)
Later information indicates that the Arkansas state supreme court stayed the implementation of the ruling. 

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