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Apr 17 2014

Same-sex marriage cases update

As he promised, US District Court judge Timothy Black issued a ruling on April 14 in favor of four same-sex couples who had been married in other states, saying that Ohio had to recognize those marriages.

The state of Ohio asked for a stay while they appealed and yesterday he agreed to their request but the stay did not apply to the four couples who had won the case in his court. He said that the state must issue birth certificates for the four children of the couples, three yet to be born, that list both parents on the birth certificates.

The issuing of a stay depends upon whether one or other party is likely to suffer an immediate and irreversible injury. The judge clearly felt that while a stay would be better to avoid confusion if his verdict were overturned on appeal, the four children would suffer immediate harm if a stay were not granted. The judge also seemed to feel that the state’s chances of winning the appeal in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals were slim, so that the four children’s status would be secure.

Meanwhile the second case in which the right to same-sex marriage has reached a higher court has gone before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and oral arguments were heard today. This case is from Kentucky but is before is the same Appeals Court and the same three-judge panel that heard the case from Utah last Wednesday, giving the judges another chance to explore this issue. It will be interesting to see if they revisit the question of the appropriate level of scrutiny.

3 comments

  1. 1
    Chiroptera

    *sigh*

    And then it all ends up in the US Supreme Court where Scalia will bring his Magic Eight Ball Originalism to bear on the question and Kennedy will somehow convince himself that somehow someone somewhere might have to pay for an abortion.

  2. 2
    gshelley

    Very similar to the other case, and as with that, it will depend on what extent the judges will accept totally irrational reasons as the “rational basis”. IMO they will be demonstrated to be irrational, that no reasonable person could genuinely hold them and that they are really just a smokescreen to allow the state to discriminate, but that might not be enough.
    Of course, they could decide that the intent – having more heterosexual couple’s marry because this provides the best environment for children is a rational one (despite all the evidence that there is no link between wanting to have children, actually having them and getting married and the state doesn’t care at all about other factors that lead to better or worse outcomes) and that banning same sex couples from getting married somehow increases the prestige of married and makes it more valued. I would hope that people who are judges, who are supposed to have some critical thinking skills wouldn’t go with those arguments

  3. 3
    Mano Singham

    gshelley,

    The US District Judge in the Michigan case looked closely at the argument that heterosexual couples are best for children and dismissed it quite severely. I am not sure what influence that verdict will have on the Appeals Court though.

    Interestingly, he used the ‘rational basis’ as the standard and still found it wanting.

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