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Debates Forum

  1. 18 Oct '12 22:23 / 3 edits
    A panel of the Second Circuit agreed (2-1) today with the executive branch general conclusion that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

    http://www.chron.com/news/us/article/NY-appeals-court-nixes-Defense-of-Marriage-Act-3960117.php

    NEW YORK (AP) — Saying the gay population has "suffered a history of discrimination," a divided federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled Thursday that a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional, adding fuel to an issue expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court soon.

    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seemed interested in adding its voice to several other rulings already at the high court's doorstep by issuing its 2-to-1 decision only three weeks after hearing arguments on a lower court judge's findings that the 1996 law was unconstitutional.

    In a majority opinion written by Judge Dennis Jacobs, the 2nd Circuit, like a federal appeals court in Boston before it, found no reason the Defense of Marriage Act could be used to deny benefits to married gay couples . . .


    Interestingly, the panel apparently gave homosexuals as a class a heightened level of judicial scrutiny.

    . . . saying discrimination against gays should be scrutinized by the courts in the same heightened way as discrimination faced by women was in the 1970s. At the time, he noted, they faced widespread discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere. The heightened scrutiny, as it is referred to in legal circles, would mean government discrimination against gays would be assumed to be unconstitutional.


    Republicans in the House are not happy. Plus, the president of the National Organization for Marriage called the decision "yet another example of judicial activism and elite judges imposing their views on the American people," and with regard to the Supreme Court, stated that "The American people are entitled to a definitive ruling in support of marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the decision echoed testimony before his committee that showed the law "has damaging effects on the lives of thousands of American families who are denied the same federal protections as millions of other Americans."
  2. 18 Oct '12 22:31
    On a personal level as an observer of the gay "issue" generally, I have never seen American society move and change so fast on a social/class issue. Just a short 20-years ago, the country was so much more anti-gay. The fast evolution away from that is refreshing. Much of the credit apparently is due to young people.
  3. Standard member vivify
    rain
    18 Oct '12 23:24
    I think America's gradual move away from religion is partly responsible. Without religous views, there's no reason for gays to not marry.
  4. 19 Oct '12 00:27 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by vivify
    I think America's gradual move away from religion is partly responsible. Without religous views, there's no reason for gays to not marry.
    You must mean that without condemnatory religious views, there's no reason for gays not to marry. If that's what you mean, I couldn't agree more. But if we continue in this vein, the thread belongs in Spirituality, which was created as a place for discussion based on religion.
  5. 19 Oct '12 06:22
    This was an interesting line;

    " Plus, the president of the National Organization for Marriage called the decision "yet another example of judicial activism and elite judges imposing their views on the American people," and with regard to the Supreme Court, stated that "The American people are entitled to a definitive ruling in support of marriage as the union of one man and one woman." "

    Talk about having no respect for the law, to this person, the judiciary process is apparently only there to give a seal of approval to what he wants, not to uphold the law.
  6. 19 Oct '12 20:44
    Originally posted by moon1969
    On a personal level as an observer of the gay "issue" generally, I have never seen American society move and change so fast on a social/class issue. Just a short 20-years ago, the country was so much more anti-gay. The fast evolution away from that is refreshing. Much of the credit apparently is due to young people.
    Since as you observe the population and culture are evolving in favor of gays, why is intervention of the courts required? How did the Court rationalize any notion of unconstitutional?
  7. 19 Oct '12 20:47
    Originally posted by vivify
    I think America's gradual move away from religion is partly responsible. Without religous views, there's no reason for gays to not marry.
    That seems so simple, however marriage in cultures all over the planet tend to be more religious than secular. Marriage becomes secular in our culture due to attempts to socially engineer through the tax code, and employment law. Without those previous invasions by government, gays would not give a hoot about being married either.
  8. 19 Oct '12 21:41
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Since as you observe the population and culture are evolving in favor of gays, why is intervention of the courts required? How did the Court rationalize any notion of unconstitutional?
    The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution scrutinizes laws that discriminate against classes of persons. Since DOMA discriminates against same-sex couples, the law is subject to review under the 14th Amend. The question confronted by the court was what level of scrutiny should be applied.

    Traditionally, courts have applied rational basis review to laws discriminating against homosexuals. Rational basis review requires the law be reasonably related to a legitimate government interest. This is a very low standard and the party challenging the law must disprove every conceivable basis that might support the law.

    Recently, however, courts have applied intermediate and strict scrutiny to laws discriminating against homosexuals. Intermediate scrutiny requires the law to be substantially related to an important government interest. The decision referenced in the OP applied intermediate scrutiny. You can find the pertinent parts of the court's discussion and application of intermediate scrutiny at pages 20 - 43 of the pdf.

    http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/436f323b-5e40-411a-9026-98fa59ffb645/1/doc/12-2335_complete_opn.pdf
  9. 19 Oct '12 21:42
    I think we've crossed the Rubicon on this issue.
  10. 19 Oct '12 21:50
    How about the government needs to get out of Religion Act?
  11. 19 Oct '12 21:59
    Originally posted by normbenign
    That seems so simple, however marriage in cultures all over the planet tend to be more religious than secular. Marriage becomes secular in our culture due to attempts to socially engineer through the tax code, and employment law. Without those previous invasions by government, gays would not give a hoot about being married either.
    Do you believe in inheritance?
  12. 19 Oct '12 23:22
    Originally posted by Eladar
    How about the government needs to get out of Religion Act?
    How about a religion gets out of govt ACT.
  13. Standard member vivify
    rain
    20 Oct '12 01:11 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by normbenign
    That seems so simple, however marriage in cultures all over the planet tend to be more religious than secular. Marriage becomes secular in our culture due to attempts to socially engineer through the tax code, and employment law. Without those previous invasions by government, gays would not give a hoot about being married either.
    Marriage started off as a secular, legal actions between families and tribes of people. For example, a king would give his daughter to a prince of another nation, as a political act. In other ancient cultures, you could sell your daughter into marriage for the exchange of cattle. Religion was added to it later.

    Religion is now going back to what it was originally: a legal action. So while it makes sense that gays wouldn't not "give a hoot" about an act that's merely religous (which more than likely are bigoted against gays), they have a right to want legal fairness for an act that is legal.
  14. 21 Oct '12 18:21
    Originally posted by vivify
    Marriage started off as a secular, legal actions between families and tribes of people. For example, a king would give his daughter to a prince of another nation, as a political act. In other ancient cultures, you could sell your daughter into marriage for the exchange of cattle. Religion was added to it later.

    Religion is now going back to what it was ...[text shortened]... re bigoted against gays), they have a right to want legal fairness for an act that is legal.
    According to your religious beliefs, marriage started off as secular. Please don't push your religous views on me.
  15. Standard member vivify
    rain
    21 Oct '12 18:52
    Originally posted by Eladar
    According to your religious beliefs, marriage started off as secular. Please don't push your religous views on me.
    According to historical fact, marriages started out as secular. I have no religion.