High court is looking for an easy solution to gay marriage debate

I listened closely to the arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage, concerning California’s Proposition 8 ban and the restrictions placed on gay marriage through the federal Defense of Marriage law. ┬áIf the court’s majority is consistent, a majority will end the DOMA restrictions under review and uphold Prop 8.

That doesn’t mean that a majority of the court approves of banning gay marriage. Frankly, I see six supporting gay marriage rights. However, I only see, at most, four willing to declare a constitutional right to gay marriage. Such a decision would overturn California’s law and laws banning gay marriage in 30-plus other states. The justices want to defer to federalism, or the idea that states should be allowed to decide whether gay marriage is legal or not.

Nevertheless, I don’t think the court will allow California’s Prop 8 to stay in effect. At least two of the justices, John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy, seem inclined to try to craft a compromise decision that upholds the lower courts’ striking down Prop 8. How they would do this would declare that the arguments for Prop 8 are disqualified because they are not from the state of California. California, dominated by Democrats, has refused to argue for Prop. 8. The same thing has occurred with DOMA, with the Obama administration refusing to defend DOMA. These examples set a bad precedent, where governing bodies can refuse to do their job based on how political winds blow, but it is a reality today that any Democrat who does not publicly support gay marriage has no future politically.

It’s distressing that the high court seems to be leaning toward taking an easy solution by disqualifying those arguing for Prop 8. It’s far better for the high court to take a stance, or in other words, do its job. It can either declare that there is no constitutional right to gay marriage, and uphold the right of the states to decide the issue, or declare that denying marriage to gays and lesbians is unconstitutional and invalidate the laws in California and many other states.

As I have mentioned, based on what I heard, the court is leaning toward the former, that states have supremacy, but is looking for a way to invalidate California’s Prop 8. What’s ironic is that if Prop 8 was to stand, it would almost certainly be reversed via a vote next year. In fact, the trend toward gay marriage rights is likely moving nationally as well.

I haven’t mentioned much about DOMA, but it’s a goner. I see at least six justices agreeing that the feds have no business denying benefits to couples married in states that have gay marriage. In this case, the federalism argument comes without the squeamishness of Kennedy and Roberts that may doom Prop 8.

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11 Responses to High court is looking for an easy solution to gay marriage debate

  1. D. Michael Martindale says:

    It’s nice to see the Supreme Court worrying about federalism for once. But it’s tragic and wrong-headed that they picked this issue to do it with, because this is a genuine rights issue that should be decided at the Federel lavel, like civil rights for different races was.

    Basic rights should not be at the whim of states.

    • Doug Gibson says:

      Should the Supreme Court had worried about extending abortion as a constitutional right? I’m not drawing a comparison of the two issues, except to wonder if the momentum toward allowing gay marriage will be curtailed it there’s the type of broad ruling you call for.

    • Steve says:

      This is a truly silly article. Full of this kind of egregious stupidity (this is an actual quote from the piece):

      “Of course, predictions are hard, especially about the future.”

      Yeah, predicting the past is much easier. The rest of the article is almost this well thought through.

      • Bob Becker says:

        As often happens at The Daily Beast, this essay attempted to tackle a serious subject and to make a serious point, but to do it with some humor. The line you quoted was, I think, meant to be humorous.

        It’s mostly pop sociology, but along the way it makes an interesting observation or two. And a point or two worth chewing over. For example, his contrasting the latest gaggle of GOP hopefuls with some of the last batch. But he’s pretty selective in picking. Romney so far as we know is a faithful-to-first-wifer. ( I will NOT make a snarky aside about “first wife” meaning something different in Utah. I will NOT!). And the cynic in me wonders if his new batch of squeeky clean faithful candidates simply haven’t strayed YET, or just haven’t been caught. Yet.

        • Neal Cassidy says:

          The new crop of Republicans may very well remain faithful to their wives but that is not the real problem. Most people accept the fact that people sometimes stray from being faithful. However the GOP made it worse by having candidates run on moral values and religious ideals and then be shown as hypocrites when failing to live up to their self proclaimed high moral standards.

  2. Libertarian says:

    No matter how the government defines marriage, it will be wrong. The government should not be the power that defines spiritual and cultural terms. That right should reside with the individual. If two men want to go to an institution that will recognize and honor them as a married couple, that should be their individual right. No marriage certificate from the government. Religious freedom means that the government will allow individuals to choose their religion. I believe defining a religious term like marriage prevents religions from defining the term themselves. That limits religious freedom.
    If government does not define marriage, it will have no power to force gay marriages on churches who do not want to recognize gay marriage. Because of religious freedom, those churches will be able to believe that god does not allow gay marriage and define the term in that way in their institution.
    If we would get government out of our churches and bedrooms everyone would be able to live their beliefs. For the LDS reader, Satins plan was to force morality on us. Jesus plan was to allow people to make their own choice. Going by that, we should not tell gay people their marriage is illegal.

    • Steve says:

      Satin…so silky…so shiny…how do I resist his plan?

      • Redwingedangel says:

        You don’t; just slurp it up and lick your lips Steve! Yummy. There is no divine morality. The only truth is what society will tolerate.

      • Michael Trujillo says:

        Give it up, Steve. You’re being much too subtle in pointing out that the guy misspelled the word “Satan.” On the S.E. blog comment pages, you have to say things very plainly or the locals don’t get it.

        Personally, I prefer Denim’s plan over Satin’s. But don’t even get me started on Tweed’s plan. Ha.

  3. Humberto Reis says:

    Libertarian, are you defending “no marriage certificate from the government” for a man and a woman too? Because your whole argument falls to the ground if you are not.

    You also say “I believe defining a religious term like marriage prevents religions from defining the term themselves”. Well you are free to believe whatever you want, but you are incorrect on this one. Whatever the court’s decision, no religion or church will be forced to marry anybody. Man to man, woman to woman or man to woman religious marriages are the choice of each religion.

    And by the way, if the government does not define what a marriage is what stops me from getting married to my dog?

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