Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to email@example.com; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
Update: The original reports only had links to .pdf files that I had some trouble downloading -- on my home computer, some just plain don't load very well. Here is a good "Scribd" copy that is often available but was not at first in this case.
Note, e.g., in the facts how not being a spouse led to failure of visitor's privileges. Such things are much less likely to happen these days, but being "married" or a "spouse" still has a certain social (and at times legal or official) cachet that even "civil union" or the like does not. Likewise, even when possible, certain things cost more time and effort. By now, these facts are old news ... though for some, I don't think they are.
I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights. I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about.
Loving v. Virginia held that the right to marry cannot be denied on grounds of race. Replace "race" with "sex" (or "sexual orientation," which hits to the motivations and intents of the laws, "sex" explicitly the classification made) and the case can be made to include same sex couples. Some strongly dispute that. I'm with Mildred Loving.
I didn't see reports until now, good timing really, but a federal district judge out of Virginia added to the stream of rulings holding that same sex couples have the right to get married by the state. Like the judge out of Utah, she saw it as a "right to marry" case -- the couples “ask for nothing more than to exercise a
right that is enjoyed by the vast majority of Virginia’s adult
citizens.” Meanwhile, equal protection is also not met, even using a lower level of scrutiny pursuant to current circuit law.
The state, after the recent elections, did not defend the law -- two state clerks who issue marriage licenses stood in to made the case. The state from my understanding supported a stay (with was granted) to avoid recent actions where couples rushed to get married until one was granted by a higher court. It would be likely the 4th Circuit, one of the more conservative ones, would grant one -- even noting the 10th Cir. did not (state bumbling helped), the later move by the USSC there (if without comment) would probably be informative. No federal appellate court has dealt with the issue on the merits post-Windsor though the 2nd and 9th have granted heightened scrutiny to sexual orientation.
The opinion starts with a quote from Loving's statement. Happy Valentine's Day to all, black or white, young or old, gay or straight.