Tuesday, March 15, 2005

California Judge Rules California Law that Keeps Marriage Between Men and Women to be Unconstitutional and Lacks Rationale

CNN's reporting of the ruling is here.

California Superior Court Richard Kramer's decision can be found in PDF format here

Kramer writes, "It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners." He claims that those in favor of same-sex marriage have demonstrated that California's law keeping marriage between a man and a woman has no rational connection to a legitimate state interest and therefore fails the "rational basis test."

Kramer also quotes the Supreme Court ruling Lawrence v. Texas on sodomy:

(T)he fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice; neither history nor tradition could save a law prohibiting miscegenation (marriage between men and women of different races) from constitutional attack.

Would Kramer also rule that laws against polygamy have no rational state interest? What about consensual bestiality? Or killing disabled infants that only have a few days to live? The main reasons for these laws isn't necessarily "rational" - they're more emotive and tradition-based.

Kramer also says that California's laws which provide "marriage-like rights" to same-sex couples "actually cuts against the existence of a rational government interest in for denying marriage to same-sex couples" and "points to the conclusion that there is no rational state interest in denying them the rites of marriage as well." Think about that the next time same-sex "unions" are given as a "middle ground" or "compromise."

The oddest part of Kramer's ruling in my opinion comes when he discusses whether the law limiting marriage to people of different sexes discriminates based on gender. Kramer writes, "To say that all men and all women are treated the same in that each may not marry someone of the same gender misses the point. The marriage laws establish gender classifications (same gender vs. opposite gender) and discriminate based on those gender-based classifications. As such, for the purpose of an equal protection analysis, the legislation creates a gender-based classification."

If that is true then don't laws against incest create "relational-based" classifications (related vs. not related)? Or do laws against bestiality created "species-based" classifications (human vs. non-human)? Do laws against polygamy create "numbers-based" classifications (two vs. three or more)? Do laws against necrophilia create "living-based" classifications (living vs. dead)? If so, then aren't these laws unconstitutional as well? Don't these laws discriminate based on a variety of classificationss?

Later on, Kramer asserts that it is reasonable for states to outlaw incest and put age limitations on those that marry "because such limitations on the fundamental right to marry would further an important social objective by reasonable means and do not discriminate based on arbitrary classifications."

Huh? Age and familial relationships aren't arbitrary classifications but gender is?

Kramer also goes on to again compares laws against same sex marriage with previous laws against interracial marriage.

He fails, however, to recognize that the actual rights for two groups (white men and black men) are the different same while the rights for the other two groups (heterosexual men and homosexual men) are the same.

For example, under laws that barred interracial marriage black men were allowed to marry black women and white men were allowed to marry white women. These are different rights - the ability to marry black women is not the same as the ability to marry white women. These are clearly different rights. While heterosexual men are allowed to marry women and homosexual men are allowed to marry women. These are the exact same rights. Homosexual men understandably don't enjoy or like these rights as much as heterosexual men but that doesn't mean that the rights are unequal or different.

Stand to Reason's blog has more.

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