Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Supreme Court Rulings for Marriage Equality

For those interested in learning more about same-sex marriage in light of modern democratic constitutions, may I suggest checking out the following links:

Canadian Supreme Court ruling

Constitutional Court of South Africa ruling

Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling

Iowa Supreme Court ruling (a unanimous decision)

California Supreme Court ruling

Connecticut Supreme Court ruling

Each respective Court reached the same conclusion:  denying same-sex couples the right to marry serves no legitimate state interest.  The rulings are compelling and definitely worth reading, for proponents and opponents alike.

Additionally, while not a supreme court case, the August 4, 2010, ruling issued by US Federal Judge Vaughn Walker is an extremely significant ruling and is in many ways more important than a state Supreme Court ruling.  (A state ruling effects that particular state only, whereas a federal ruling has possible implications for whole districts containing many states, and may eventually impact the entire nation.)

Judge Walker's decision effectively found California's Proposition 8 (which banned same-sex marriage), as unconstitutional in accordance with the US Constitution.  His ruling reverses the ban.

The Judge's individual findings may be just as significant as the ruling itself, including:

•"Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as a characteristic of the individual. Sexual orientation is fundamental to a person's identity and is a distinguishing characteristic that defines gays and lesbians as a discrete group. Proponents' assertion that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of the evidence."

•"Individuals do not generally choose their sexual orientation. No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation."

•"Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital unions. Like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples have happy, satisfying relationships and form deep emotional bonds and strong commitments to their partners. Standardized measures of relationship satisfaction, relationship adjustment and love do not differ depending on whether a couple is same-sex or opposite-sex."

•"Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals."

•"Same-sex couples receive the same tangible and intangible benefits from marriage that opposite-sex couples receive."

•"The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships."

•"Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages."

It can be read in its entirety here:

Prop 8 Ninth Circuit Federal Ruling


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