In a matter of just two weeks, three states have had their constitutional amendments that recognize a man and woman as being essential to a marital relationship struck down in whole or in part as unconstitutional. First, Kentucky was told they had to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages as marriages in the state of Kentucky. Then, Virginia’s constitutional amendment recognizing natural marriage as the only valid form of marriage was struck down. Now, on February 26, federal Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that Texas’ constitutional amendment that recognizes a man and woman as being essential to a marital relationship is unconstitutional. Like Virginia, however, the ruling does not go into effect immediately. Judge Garcia determined not to enforce his ruling until two similar cases are decided by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
March 6, 2014
February 26, 2014
Judge rules KY must recognize out-of-state SSMs
Seventy-five percent of Kentucky voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 that recognized the necessity of opposite-sex partners for a marital relationship. No other union was recognized as a marriage, which would include same-sex marriages solemnized in other states where same-sex marriage is recognized.
On February 12 United States District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that the state of Kentucky must recognize the relationships of same-sex couples who had their marriage solemnized in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, as marriages. He stopped short, however, of declaring Kentucky’s marriage law unconstitutional. For the time being, Kentucky is “only” being required to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages as legitimate marriage; they are not (yet) required to solemnize same-sex marriages in their own state.
January 15, 2014
I don’t know how I missed this news story, but on December 20 U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby declared that Amendment 3 in Utah’s constitution – which defined marriage as between a man and woman, and the voter’s passed in 2004 – is unconstitutional. Same-sex marriages began immediately. Utah appealed to the SCOTUS for a stay, which was granted by Justice Sotomayor on January 6. In the 17 days before the stay, ~1300 same-sex couples were married.
Then, there’s Oklahoma. Similar story. On January 14, Judge Terence C. Kern of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma ruled that Oklahoma’s constitutional ban of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because it is based on a moral disapproval of homosexuality and has no rational basis. In light of what happened in Utah, however, Judge Kern stayed his own ruling. It is almost certain that Oklahoma will appeal the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, CO – the same court where Utah’s appeal will be heard.
January 13, 2014
AZ enacted a law in April 2012 banning abortions at 20 weeks and later (measured from last menstrual period) due to evidence that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. This was ruled unconstitutional by the 9th Circuit Appellate Court in San Francisco because Roe protects a women’s right to abortion before a fetus is viable, and a fetus is not viable until ~24 weeks. The SCOTUS refused to hear the case, and thus the ruling stands.
Judge Kleinfeld, from the 9th Circuit court, had said, “Were the [AZ] statute limited to protecting fetuses from unnecessary infliction of excruciating pain before their death, Arizona might regulate abortions at or after 20 weeks by requiring anesthetization of the fetuses about to be killed, much as it requires anesthetization of prisoners prior to killing them when the death penalty is carried out.”
January 3, 2014
One of the reasons many conservative Christians tend to vote for Republican politicians is due to the party’s moral conservatism: pro-life, pro-family. Several people have argued, however, that this is not a worthwhile reason to vote Republican because most Republican politicians only pay lip service to the pro-life position for political purposes, and/or they don’t really do anything to limit or abolish abortion (or can’t really do anything due to Roe).
I’ve always found the psychoanalysis claim to be dubious. It’s very difficult to prove that someone does not truly believe what they say they believe. Pro-life Republicans could make the same claims about pro-choice Democrats: They don’t really believe abortion should be permitted, but pay lip service to the pro-choice position for political purposes. I think it’s best to avoid the psychoanalysis, and just take people at their word unless we have good reason to doubt their sincerity.
November 9, 2013
Earlier this week, Hawaii’s senate passed a same-sex marriage bill. Yesterday, the House approved a similar bill. It needs to go back to the senate for reconciliation, and then on to the governor for signature (who will sign it). This will make Hawaii the 15th state (not including D.C.) to approve same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriages will begin in Hawaii on December 2, 2013.
11/14/13 update: Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the bill into law on Wednesday, November 13, 2013.
November 8, 2013
In recent days, I’ve reported on a florist who was sued for not providing flowers for a same-sex wedding, a baker who was sued for not providing a cake for a same-sex wedding, and a wedding photographer who lost a case in New Mexico’s Supreme Court because she would not photograph a same-sex wedding. Many who support same-sex marriage applaud this phenomena, reasoning that people should not be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples. But what about personal liberty? What about the liberty to follow one’s conscience in these matters? Why is it ok to require people to violate their conscience, or lose their livelihood?
Can you imagine the outcry if a homosexual printer was forced by the government to either print anti-homosexual propaganda, or get out of the printing industry? What if a homosexual filmmaker was sued for refusing to direct a film arguing that homosexuality was immoral or harmful, and forced to either direct the film or find a new line of work? What if a screenplay writer who was also an anti-gun activist was forced to write a script for a movie promoting the use of firearms? Would this be acceptable? No! No one should be forced by the government to lend their services to projects or events they believe to be immoral, and which run contrary to their conscience. Yet this is exactly what the government is requiring of its citizens when it comes to same-sex marriage, and many same-sex marriage advocates are applauding this. If you support people being forced by law to violate their conscience, don’t be surprised if one day the government forces you to violate your conscience as well. It’s ironic that those who argue for more liberty in the case of same-sex marriage are willing to take liberties away from those who disagree.
November 6, 2013
In 2011 Illinois created civil unions. Now, just two years later they are on the cusp of creating same-sex marriage.
The IL Senate had approved a bill in February to allow same-sex marriage, and now yesterday, the IL House approved the bill with minor changes. It’s been sent back to the Senate for reconciliation, and will be signed by the governor. Illinois will be the 15th state (not including D.C.) to approve same-sex marriage, beginning June 1, 2014.
UPDATE: Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill into law on November 20, 2013.
October 25, 2013
In 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the NJ legislature must give same-sex couples all of the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex couples, but did not demand that the state amend its marriage laws. The legislature responded by creating civil unions that had identical benefits to marriage.
Fast forward seven years, and Judge Mary C. Jacobson of the State Superior Court ruled on September 27, 2013 that this is not enough – the state must call same-sex unions marriage as well starting Monday, October 21, 2013. Governor Christie vowed to appeal the decision to the NJ Supreme Court, but when that court refused to block the law while Christie challenged it, and made it clear that they would not rule in his favor, he decided to withdraw his appeal, meaning NJ is now the 14th state to offer same-sex marriage.
August 27, 2013
If we are being asked how any particular same-sex couple setting up house and having their relationship called a “marriage” will personally affect me, the answer is probably, “Not much.” But this question is too narrow, and misses the real significance of same-sex marriage because it focuses too much on the individual and not enough on wider social implications. The real question is how changing marriage law to say there is no difference between opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples will affect society as a whole.
March 8, 2013
Bill Clinton has written an op-ed in The Washington Post throwing his support behind the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act — a bill he signed into law 17 years ago. His timing is clearly political, given the fact that the Supreme Court will hear arguments for overturning DOMA on March 27. While the justices should not be influenced by his opinions, his actions carry symbolic weight that the Supreme Court justices cannot help but to notice. After all, if the very President who signed the bill into law no longer supports it, that speaks volumes.
I find it interesting that he justifies his signing of the law in 1996 on the grounds that “it was a very different time” then, but also claims that the law is “incompatible with our Constitution.” Has the Constitution changed? No. So how could a law be constitutional 17 years ago but unconstitutional today? It’s because Clinton subscribes to the “living document” view of the Constitution in which the meaning of the Constitution changes with the culture, though the words remain the same. I think this philosophy of Constitutional interpretation is flawed. The Constitution means what its drafters intended it to mean, and what its signers and ratifiers understood it to mean. The meaning of a document does not change over time. If the Constitution can mean whatever we want it to mean, and if the Constitution can be interpreted in light of cultural changes, then the Constitution cannot protect any of us because it doesn’t mean anything in particular. It is just silly putty in the hands of the judiciary.
February 12, 2013
First Britain, now France. France has allowed civil unions that confer many of the benefits of marriage since 1999. Today, France’s National Assembly – its lower house of parliament – approved a bill (329-229) that would define marriage as contract between two people regardless of their sex, and allow same-sex couples to adopt children. Now it goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass as well. If it does, France will become the 12th country to legalize same-sex marriage following:
November 1, 2012
This is crazy. A mentally handicapped women is pregnant. While both she and her parents want to give birth the baby and give it up for adoption (6 couples are already waiting to adopt the baby), a judge is considering forcing her to have an abortion and undergo sterilization. Outrageous!
October 24, 2012
When it comes to voting, I am persuaded that our goal should be to make an actual difference in the world, not merely to make a statement concerning our political ideals. So if there are three candidates — A, B, and C – and if elected, candidate A’s stated policies will result in a 50% increase in evil, candidate B’s policies will result in a 30% increase in evil, and candidate C’s policies will result in a 10% increase in evil – and yet candidate C is a 3rd party candidate who will not be able to secure more than 10% of the popular vote – then we ought to vote for candidate B even if candidate C more closely resembles our political ideals.
Why? Because voting for C will result in more evil. How? Since candidate C cannot possibly secure enough votes to win the election, every vote cast for candidate C makes it more unlikely that candidate B will be able to beat candidate A (assuming that the nation’s political makeup is roughly evenly divided, as in our nation), and thus more likely that candidate A will win the election and cause the greatest amount of evil in the world. In a very real sense, then, a vote for candidate C is an unintentional vote for candidate A, which is a vote for more evil in the world. If our goal is to act in such a way so as to limit evil to the best of our ability, then we should vote for candidate B. The time to vote your conscience and make statements concerning your political ideals is in the primaries, not the general election.
October 5, 2012
Every election year we hear a lot about “undecided voters.” After debates, everyone is talking about how the debate might have influenced the undecided voters. Why are voters undecided? It seems to me that there are only three reasons someone might be undecided:
- They are political novices
- They don’t know the positions of the candidates/parties
- They haven’t developed a taxonomy of values
Anyone who has a developed taxonomy of values knows which issues are the most important, and anyone who is not a political novice knows where each candidate/party falls on those issues because the two parties are at opposite ends of the spectrum on almost all issues: economic, foreign policy, domestic policy, and moral/social.
September 6, 2012
Why do people vote for a political party and political candidates? Tradition, not issues, may be the answer.Posted by jasondulle under Politics
In my last post I referenced a 2010 exit poll which found that people’s views on abortion had little impact on their selection of political candidates. Other data from the poll, however, may shed some light on why people vote for the parties and candidates that they do.
In the comments section of a previous post (Opposed to abortion? Your politics may say otherwise) I put forth my opinion that many pro-lifers vote for Democrats out of financial concerns. Contrary to my theory, however, they did not find that one’s vote had much to do with one’s present economic circumstances. Indeed, it didn’t even have much to do with their religious affiliation (or lack of one), age, gender, or level of education either.
September 6, 2012
In my opinion, abortion is the greatest moral issue of our day. Nothing is more unjust than depriving innocent human beings of their God-given, inalienable right to life simply because we are inconvenienced by them. For that reason, the issue of abortion figures prominently in my political affiliations and the way I vote. While I am not a one-issue voter, and while I do not think it is always wrong to vote for a pro-choice political candidate (there are some political offices for which one’s personal views on abortion are irrelevant on a practical level), I will almost always vote for the pro-life candidate even if I have fundamental disagreements with him on other matters. It’s not that I think economic issues do not matter, or that foreign policy does not matter, but that I think the moral injustice of abortion is much more important than these others.
That is why I was disheartened to read the results of two polls which sought to determine what voters think the most important issues are when choosing the candidates they will give their vote to.
June 28, 2012
That is what some Christians and secularists suggest. They think marriage should be a private institution handled by churches and others, while the government sits by as a neutral observer. That may salve over the current political and cultural debate over the definition of marriage, but is this a good idea? Jennifer Roback Morse thinks not, and wrote a three-part series explaining why (1, 2, 3). She argues that privatizing marriage is not only impossible in practice, but that it would result in more state power and would unnecessarily hurt children.
June 28, 2012
My faith that we are still a republic ruled by a Constitution and still have a federal form of government is hanging by a threadPosted by jasondulle under Politics
I woke up this morning hotly anticipating the SCOTUS decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare, fully expecting it to be ruled unconstitutional. To my dismay, it was upheld (and Roberts, rather than Kennedy, was the deciding vote). I was happy to see that SCOTUS rejected the government’s claim that Obamacare was a valid expression of Congress’ ability to regulate interstate commerce (although Ginsberg, unsurprisingly, thinks it is), but I was blown away that they considered it a tax. Seriously? Talk about legal and semantical obfuscation! As Wesley J. Smith wrote, “It appears that the Supremes have rewritten the law in order to uphold it.” With this approach to law and constitutionality, anything can be made legal…the constitution be damned.
Apparently now the federal government can require us to buy whatever they want so long as they call it a “tax” (something Obama and the Dems specifically said it was not). Calling something a tax doesn’t make it one. Perhaps we’ll all be required to buy, I mean pay a tax for tofu next year.
When Congress can pass such a law, and SCOTUS can uphold it as being constitutional, I fear that we are no longer being ruled by a Constitution but by the whims of those who hold office. Federalism is dying. Power is shifting away from the states and to the federal government. Who needs state governments when the federal government can regulate all of American life? I fear we are no longer the United States of America. We are simplyAmerica.