Thursday, January 23, 2014

Could we please dispense with "Windsor" mythology?

National Organization for Marriage
This afternoon Brian Brown, head of National Organization for Marriage, wrote:
2014 has started with a bang... a few days before the end of last year, an activist federal judge in Utah issued a ludicrous decision striking down that state's constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

He did this despite the Supreme Court ruling last summer (in the Windsor case) that clearly upheld a state's right to define and regulate marriage.
We see this frequently from groups like NOM and Family Research Council. It is utter nonsense. Let's examine what Justice Kennedy actually wrote, for the majority, in United States v. Windsor:

In order to assess the validity of that intervention it is necessary to discuss the extent of the state power and authority over marriage as a matter of history and tradition. State laws defining and regulating marriage, of course, must respect the constitutional rights of persons, see, e.g., Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S. 1 (1967) ; but, subject to those guarantees, “regulation of domestic relations” is “an area that has long been regarded as a virtually exclusive province of the States.” Sosna v. Iowa, 419 U. S. 393, 404 (1975).
 That seems perfectly clear if not exquisitely simple. While states have the authority to define marriage it must do so without violating the constitutional rights of its citizens. We contend that marriage (including same-sex marriage) is a constitutionally protected right. Federal judges in Utah and Oklahoma have reached the same conclusion.

It's not all that complicated.
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