Wednesday, January 15, 2014


This seems like a good morning to hear the theme from Rodgers' and Hammerstein's 1943 musical, "Oklahoma!" --- considering U.S. District Judge Terence Kern's Tuesday ruling that the Sooner State's ban on same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution.

A pundit or two also noted that the ruling gave new meaning to another song from the musical, "The Farmer and The Cowman," since these two representatives of agricultural subcategories now legally can be substantially more than just friends.

There was no immediate rush to the altar in Oklahoma because Kern stayed the ruling pending appeal.

That did not happen in Utah, where a glitteringly incompetent acting attorney general simply forgot to ask for a stay after U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby issued a similar ruling on Dec. 20 and the state was left to twist in the wind until the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in to issue one. In the meantime, more than 1,300 same-sex couples were married in Utah, marriages now recognized by the federal government but not by the state.

The rulings in both Utah and Oklahoma were based in part on the U.S. Supreme Court's June 26, 2013, ruling in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional because it represented a, "deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the First Amendment." 

While that ruling did not address specifically bans on same-sex marriages imposed constitutionally in individual states, it did throw their legitimacy deeply into doubt.

As Judge Kern pointed out in his ruling, "The Supreme Court has not expressly reached the issue of whether state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage violate the U.S. Constitution. However, Supreme Court law now prohibits states from passing laws that are born of animosity against homosexuals, extends constitutional protection to the moral and sexual choices of homosexuals, and prohibits the federal government from treating opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages differently."

Most of the arguments against same-sex marriage simply don't hold water either because they're inaccurate or irrelevant --- including the old saw that gay marriage defies the will of God as expressed biblically. Utah, for example, was reduced in its request for a stay to the contention that a constitutional ban promoted gender diversity.

It never hurts to remember that Utah once was the home of both state- and church-sanctioned polygamy --- also among the biblical patterns for marriage.

The argument seems to be coming down increasingly to the contention that a majority of citizens have the right to deny rights to a minority --- just because it wants to. It doesn't seem like that's going to work either.

No comments: