Sunday, November 9, 2014

Some hopeful opinion from an unlikely source

Richard Myers - Ave Maria Law
Today there is an interesting article in Aleteia which is, essentially, the Vatican's social networking site1. The author is Richard Myers (a Defender of the Faith2) who is a law professor at Ave Maria School of Law3. Myers also serves on the Aleteia Board of Experts. Myers concludes:
Since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 in United States v. Windsor, many lower courts have addressed the constitutional issues raised by state laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. Most of the decisions have invalidated such bans. On October 6, 2014, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear cases from several federal courts of appeals that had invalidated state bans on same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear those cases allowed same-sex marriage in the states involved. As a result, same-sex marriage is now permitted in over 30 states. This reality is likely to be relied upon by the Court when it considers DeBoer v. Snyder.
In other words, national marriage equality is inevitable. He places the "blame" on judicial activism combined with judicial arrogance. Myers, not unexpectedly, wanders into Roe v. Wade comparisons as the engine for social activism as a hypothetical force to continue to oppose marriage equality. I find the comparison ludicrous given that same-sex marriage is inconsequential to everyone else.

We have endured a difficult week. The loss at the Sixth Circuit was widely anticipated — nevertheless it was painful. Likewise, electoral calculus indicated that the GOP would control the United States Senate next year but we had hope. I did expect Charlie Crist to win the Florida gubernatorial race. I am disappointed. As I said, we had the voters but lacked the votes due to a 17% turnout.

ENDA is DOA for another two years at least while the fight for marriage equality progresses. On the positive side, marriage equality helps set up ENDA by demonstrating that we are citizens, taxpayers and families who aren't all that different from everyone else.

The Democrats have two years to improve things in the House (at least see a marginal return to sanity). We, on the other hand, will start or continue work tomorrow. Not only to secure the freedom to marry but to fight for the safety of gay kids (as well as the children of gay parents) in our public schools and to obtain some basic dignity for the transgender part of our community. In spite of the lack of ENDA we can continue to press for state and local non-discrimination laws.

Whatever limitations we have are self-imposed.

1 Aleteia is a privately run project developed under the patronage of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. It was organized by the Foundation for Evangelization through the Media.

2 Myers is a graduate of Notre Dame Law and has co-authored two books: The Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science and Social Policy and; St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law Tradition: Contemporary Perspectives.

3 Ave Maria Law has a long way to go to become a serious institution. Only 55 of the 159 (35%) 2013 graduates are employed as full time lawyers; Mostly in small firms with 2 to 10 lawyers. Compare that to Georgetown Law where 540 of 645 (84%) 2013 graduates are in full time employment as attorneys. 210 of those are working at 500+ lawyer (“brand name”) firms.

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