Thursday, February 27, 2014

A busy week in equality

Arizona's attempt to facilitate discrimination against LGBT people came perilously close to passing, before being vetoed last night by Gov. Brewer.  While many of the similarly-worded "okay to discriminate" laws have not made it, there are still a number in play.

Yesterday also saw another federal judge strike down an anti-marriage amendment, this time in Texas.  As is usual, there was an immediate stay pending appeal, so no one's getting married just yet, but this is the latest in a line of federal district courts applying the logic of the Windsor case.  So now, we've had rulings in Oklahoma, Virginia, Utah, and Texas.

The delicious thing about these cases is that Justice Antonin Scalia so often has provided the words.

From the HuffPo:
[Judge Garcia] chose to quote from Scalia's dissent in the landmark 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down the state's anti-sodomy law....
In explaining why tradition alone can't form a rational basis for a law, Garcia pointed to Scalia's argument in the 2003 dissent that the phrase "the traditional institution of marriage" is "just a kinder way of describing the State’s moral disapproval of same-sex couples." 
And in explaining why the biological ability of many opposite-sex couples to procreate doesn't justify denying equal rights to same-sex couples, Garcia cited Scalia, too. 
"[W]hat justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising 'the liberty protected by the Constitution'? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry," Scalia wrote at the time. 
Other judges have pointed at Scalia's words in his dissent to Windsor.
 Scalia wrote in that dissent that he believed the majority's logic would inevitably lead to other judges striking down same-sex marriage bans.

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