According to reports by the AP, the defenders of the ban against marriage equality in Indiana and Wisconsin have had a hard time before a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago.
Attorneys general in both states asked the appellate court to permanently restore the bans, which were ruled unconstitutional in June.
“Often-blistering questions” were asked of the attorneys representing the two states, with “one Republican appointee judge comparing them to laws, now defunct, that once outlawed weddings between blacks and whites.”
The AP reports that, “Judge Richard A. Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, hit the backers of the ban the hardest. He balked when the Wisconsin assistant attorney general, Timothy C. Samuelson, repeatedly pointed to tradition as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage.”
Judge Posner said, “It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry — a tradition that got swept away.” Prohibition of same-sex marriage, he said, derives from “a tradition of hate” and “savage discrimination” of gays.
Think of those words from a conservative judge . . . derives from “a tradition of hate” and “savage discrimination” of gays. What clarity of the overall situation.
The AP writes that Posner ran “through a list of psychological strains that the children of unmarried same-sex couples could face, including having to struggle to grasp why their schoolmate’s parents were married and theirs were not.”
“What horrible stuff,” he said. What benefit to society in banning same-sex marriage, he asked, outweighs that kind of harm to children?”
Judge Posner questioned the state’s attorneys with such insight that one could only feel pride for the man.
By all accounts Posner shredded the attorneys representing Indiana and Wisconsin and he became the darling of our community, well, at least those of us who follow such things.
It appears that Posner will not restore the state bans as requested by the states on the grounds of equal protection and his arguments will only support our position as marriage equality now races to the Supreme Court.
The AP reports that the 10th Circuit, in Denver, declared same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma to be unconstitutional, and the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., overturned Virginia’s ban. In each case, application has been stayed pending appeals to the Supreme Court. The Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, has heard arguments on marriage restrictions as well, but it has not yet issued a decision.
The arguments put forth by states who are defending their bans on marriage equality will not withhold scrutiny, as Judge Posner proved that in his questioning. And for that we should be very grateful.