Gay Marriage

Michigan Ban on Gay Marriage Recognition Struck Down

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I have run out of pithy observations about gay weddings. Sorry.
Credit: Tamas | Dreamstime.com

It's another victory for unions in Michigan. A federal judge has struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage recognition, meaning gay couples can form a union of two people legally acknowledged by the government. Get it? Get it? Because, you know, "unions"?

Sorry.

Anyway, it's getting harder to write these kinds of posts without just taking an old one and replacing the state. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, after a two-week trial, has declared that Michigan's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage recognition is unconstitutional.

The trial revolved around whether the state had any legitimate interest in banning same-sex marriage recognition, which meant experts were trotted out to talk about studies about parenting and children to fight out this debate over who raises children best. No, I don't believe anybody argued that even if heterosexuals were better parents, it doesn't justify government involvement. The judge does note in his ruling, though, that the state is not permitted to evaluate the parenting abilities of heterosexual couples before granting them licenses:

Even today, the State of Michigan does not make fertility or the desire to have children a prerequisite for obtaining a marriage license. As defendant Lisa Brown testified, Michigan county clerks are not authorized to consider a couple's stability, criminal record, ability to procreate, parenting skills, or the potential future outcomes of their children before issuing a marriage license. … County clerks may only evaluate the age and residency of the license applicants and whether either of the applicants is currently married.

Controversial sociologist Mark Regnerus (whom I've written about here) was brought in to trot out his problematic study to argue that heterosexual parents were better. The judge took a dim view of the study and questioned Regnerus' impartiality:

While Regnerus maintained that the funding source did not affect his impartiality as a researcher, the Court finds this testimony unbelievable. The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged. Additionally, the NFSS is flawed on its face, as it purported to study "a large, random sample of American young adults (ages 18-39) who were raised in different types of family arrangements" (emphasis added), but in fact it did not study this at all, as Regnerus equated being raised by a same-sex couple with having ever lived with a parent who had a "romantic relationship with someone of the same sex" for any length of time. Whatever Regnerus may have found in this "study," he certainly cannot purport to have undertaken a scholarly research effort to compare the outcomes of children raised by same-sex couples with those of children raised by heterosexual couples. It is no wonder that the NFSS has been widely and severely criticized by other scholars, and that Regnerus's own sociology department at the University of Texas has distanced itself from the NFSS in particular and Dr. Regnerus's views in general and reaffirmed the aforementioned APA position statement.

The judge concluded that the ban on same-sex marriage does advance any legitimate state interest and is discriminatory. He declared the ban unconstitutional and enjoined the state from enforcing it. You can read the ruling here (pdf).

It's not clear yet whether this means gay marriages will be able to begin immediately, though the judge does not appear to have put a stay on his own ruling like has happened in other states.

NEXT: Pennsylvania Attorney General Shifts Blame for Botched Bribery Investigation to Previous Administration, Lawyers Up For Possible Lawsuit Against Newspaper

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  1. Michigan Ban on Gay Marriage Recognition Struck Down

    Stimulus!

    Note how happy all the people are in the picture.

  2. OT: Yahoo Sports – Only 16 perfect brackets left

    Duke players weren’t the only ones to have their dreams dashed by Mercer on Friday afternoon.

    Mercer’s huge upset over the traditional college power also laid waste to countless perfect brackets in the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge. The 78-71 stunner combined with Stanford’s upset win over New Mexico on Friday leaves only 16 perfect brackets as of 4:33 p.m. ET.

    1. I picked Stanford, but fucking Mercer? That should put K on the hot seat.

  3. So what’s next after gay marriage? My guess trans rights or the emancipation of house pets.

    1. I can’t even imagine what state-granted right will be invented so that the next generation can have its own civil rights issue.

      1. Food, water, shelter and health care are nearly locked up; I predict transportation as our next inalienable right.

        1. Not if the TSA has anything to say about it.

      2. Companion Animal Protection and Affordable Veterinary Care Act

      3. Rights aren’t state-granted. Removing an illegal discrimination is not granting a right.

        Granting a right would be something like giving special privileges and tax breaks to heterosexual couples.

      4. The state-granted right of marriage was invented long before there was a right to even be gay in private.

        Apparently “I’ve got mine, fuck you” applies to all levels of politics.

        1. I think marriage was around before being gay was a problem.

        2. I don’t have it and don’t want it and don’t want anyone to have it. Why? Because it will always be a benefit the state is granting to an exclusive group. It’s unfair to those who choose to live their lives contrary to what the state approves of.

    2. Government subsidized therapy for transsexual house pets. We called our tomcat “Ava” for two weeks before we discovered he was a male. The therapy bills are enormous.

      1. YEah, my “Cleo” turned into “Otto” when his little balls popped out. I was a kid. It was my first cat. Learned a lot I didn’t want to know….

    3. Emotional justice. Everyone has the right to not feel uncomfortable by someone’s speech or displayed content.

      1. Your font is othering me.

      2. This already exists pretty much everywhere.

    4. Female President, derp-expert.

    5. So what’s next after gay marriage? My guess trans rights or the emancipation of house pets.

      Unisex bathrooms? Banning urinals and forcing people to sit while peeing?

      1. Swedish progs tried 2 years ago:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..90572.html

        1. Yep, it’s already started. How long will it take for bathroom equality to become the next Social Justice movement? And how long will it take for Reason to support it?

          1. Exactly. Once an idea is advocated by a crackpot who’s a member of a small party of crackpots representing a small county of a small country then Hong Kong police patrolling Main Street USA is right around the corner.

  4. Tonight on PBS: Thighs on the Prize: The heroic struggle of the Fat Rights movement.

      1. 1969, the height of the Civil Rights Era and well before the Internet was in every home.

        So… it was obviously in the homes of fat people.

  5. The authority of an individual state to determine its own marriage laws without the interference of the federal government is so 2013.

    1. Yet conservatives want an all-reaching binding federal tort law.

      1. You know who else wants all-reaching binding federal tort laws?

        1. The Roman Catholic Church?

          1. No, silly, RuPaul.

    2. As a condition of becoming a state, every state (no exceptions) agreed to recognize the official and public acts of all the other states. Such acts include (but are not limited to) wills, contracts and marriages.

      A state is perfectly free to define marriage, but they run into trouble in two constitutional areas.

      The first one where they run into constitutional trouble is that they don’t want to have to recognize marriages from other states — This is plain and simple unconstitutional.

      The second problem area is that state and federal governments grant extra privileges and rights to those who are married. Tax breaks, for example. Even the right to visit a spouse in the hospital is important. But creating such a privileged class of people is unconstitutional — If a state wants to require that all marriages be heterosexual, sooner or later a court will strike down all legal benefits of being married.

      So long as even one state allows same-sex marriages, ALL other states are required to recognize those marriages, even if same-sex marriages are not legal in that particular state. The constitution mandates it.

      1. It’s not nearly as open and shut as you seem to think, evidenced by the fact that there are many, many other state-issued licenses that are not accepted with reciprocity in other states. For example, occupational licenses, driver’s licenses, and the firearms licenses that you pooh pooh’d.

        1. Mind you, you’re not wrong about what the constitution actually says, that’s just not the way it’s been interpreted by the courts and is not the basis on which any of the federal rulings on gay marriage have been decided.

          1. Well then hell, let’s push for those things too.

            It would be hella nice for shithole states like New York and California to be forced to recognize my CCH (when I finally get one) or my Architectural License (when I finally get one).

      2. “As a condition of becoming a state, every state (no exceptions) agreed to recognize the official and public acts of all the other states.”

        Arguably, that subject to Congress’ discretion, which is covered in the part of the federal DOMA that still stands as law.

    3. Equal protection of the laws is so 1868.

      1. Nothing says “equal” like expanding a privileged class by 1.

      2. Prove that homosexual relationships are equivalent to heterosexual ones. Otherwise you are begging the question.

  6. A law prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states is especially problematic constitutionally because as a condition of becoming states, every state without exception agreed to recognize the official public acts of all of the other states. Such acts include (but are not limited to) wills, contracts and marriages.

    If even one state allows same-sex marriages and all 49 others prohibit it, those 49 are still required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in that one state as valid. Any statute that disagrees is unconstitutional, pure and simple.

    1. every state without exception agreed to recognize the official public acts of all of the other states. Such acts include (but are not limited to) wills, contracts and marriages.

      Come ooooooon fifty state CCW reciprocity.

      1. Well, no actually. States are not required to recognize eachother’s firearm permits.

        The stupid thing is that the reason why such permits are not considered public acts is we have a constitutional amendment saying that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, therefore our founders saw no need to require states to honor permits nobody would ever need because such a permit is unconstitutional.

    2. “If even one state allows same-sex marriages and all 49 others prohibit it, those 49 are still required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in that one state as valid.”

      Federal DOMA says no and that aspect us still law.

  7. I think Shackford lost the office pool and now has to write all these gay marriage articles.

    1. This is not his pet issue?

  8. Can we just ban banning things?
    BANNED!

  9. Who cares? The Sanchize is on the market! LET THE BIDDING WARS BEGIN!

    1. Related: Can neither Vick nor the Jets afford better than a Bic Round Stic pen? This is ridiculous.

      http://espn.go.com/new-york/nf…..chael-vick

      1. Thank Jeebus they got rid of Sanchez. Vick isn’t a bad choice, though at least Geno was trying.

  10. I have run out of pithy observations about gay weddings. Sorry.

    Another date in court.. Wrecked ’em again.

    1. Speaking of court dates, has robc given his story yet?

      1. Yes, it’s in the PM Lynx.

        1. thank you

  11. You have no idea how crazy it sounds to say that nobody noticed until now that a state has to have a “legitimate interest” in saying “the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.”

    1. Courts have recognized that such a legitimate interest exists as late as four years ago. See In Re Marriage of J.B. and H.B., 326 S.W.3d 654 (Tx. 5th Ct of Appeal 2010)

  12. While Regnerus maintained that the funding source did not affect his impartiality as a researcher, the Court finds this testimony unbelievable. The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged.

    Lol. So we can look forward to the overturning of about 200 EPA regulations that cite the IPCC on the same grounds?

  13. Haha, he wrote “pithy” in the alt text when he meant “pissy”, I get it!

  14. Let he people be happy, thats all that matters.

    http://www.Anon-VPN.com

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