Saturday, December 1, 2012

Calm down, Princess Clara: My thoughts on the Nevada marriage ruling

As you may know, a federal judge in Nevada has ruled against marriage equality in that state. The opinion shows the intellectual dishonesty that so often characterizes 'phobes. For example, the judge tries to distinguish the case at bar over Loving v. Virginia,, which struck down laws against miscegenation, in the following manner:
Here, there is no indication of any intent to maintain any notion of male or female superiority, but rather, at most, of heterosexual superiority or “heteronormativity” by relegating (mainly) homosexual legal unions to a lesser status. In Loving, the elements of the disability were different as between Caucasians and non-Caucasians, whereas here, the burden on men and women is the same. The distinction might be gender based if only women could marry a person of the same sex, or if only women could marry a transgendered person, or if the restriction included some other asymmetry between the burdens placed on men and the burdens placed on women. But there is no distinction here between men and women, and the intent behind the law is to prevent homosexuals from marrying.
Here the judge puts words into the Loving court's mouths, since he emphasizes an argument that the Loving court explicitly declined to consider:
Appellants point out that the State's concern in these statutes, as expressed in the words of the 1924 Act's title, "An Act to Preserve Racial Integrity," extends only to the integrity of the white race. While Virginia prohibits whites from marrying any nonwhite (subject to the exception for the descendants of Pocahontas), Negroes, Orientals, and any other racial class may intermarry without statutory interference. Appellants contend that this distinction renders Virginia's miscegenation statutes arbitrary and unreasonable even assuming the constitutional validity of an official purpose to preserve "racial integrity." We need not reach this contention, because we find the racial classifications in these statutes repugnant to the Fourteenth Amendment, even assuming an even-handed state purpose to protect the "integrity" of all races.
The opinion also includes the following rant, which works best if you imagine that it is being read in a Princess Clara voice:
Should that institution be expanded to include same-sex couples with the state’s imprimatur, it is conceivable that a meaningful percentage of heterosexual persons would cease to value the civil institution as highly as they previously had and hence enter into it less frequently, opting for purely private ceremonies, if any, whether religious or secular, but in any case without civil sanction, because they no longer wish to be associated with the civil institution as redefined, leading to an increased percentage of out-of-wedlock children, single-parent families, difficulties in property disputes after the dissolution of what amount to common law marriages in a state where such marriages are not recognized, or other unforeseen consequences.

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