Thursday, June 26, 2014

oh happy day

Yesterday was a big day in the state of Indiana. The District Court for the Southern District of Indiana declared Indiana's laws banning same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. If you don't agree that this is a wonderful thing, go away now. I have no tolerance for you.

I just read the opinion (which can be found here, if you're a law nerd like me), and it was wonderful. In so many places my heart just swelled. Here are some of the highlights:

"Here, Defendants proffer that the state’s interest in conferring the special benefit of civil marriage to only one man and one woman is justified by its interest in encouraging the couple to stay together for the sake of any unintended children that their sexual union may create. The court does not weigh whether or not this is a sufficiently important interest, but will assume that it is. 
Defendants have failed to show that the law is “closely tailored” to that interest. Indiana’s marriage laws are both over- and under-inclusive. The marriage laws are under-inclusive because they only prevent one subset of couples, those who cannot naturally conceive children, from marrying. For example, the State’s laws do not consider those post-menopausal women, infertile couples, or couples that do not wish to have children. Additionally, Indiana specifically allows first cousins to marry once they reach the age that procreation is not a realistic possibility. 
On the other hand, Indiana’s marriage laws are over-inclusive in that they prohibit some opposite-sex couples, who can naturally and unintentionally procreate, from marriage. For example, relatives closer in degree than second cousins can naturally and unintentionally procreate; however, they still may not marry.  Most importantly, excluding same-sex couples from marriage has absolutely no effect on opposite-sex couples, whether they will procreate, and whether such couples will stay together if they do procreate. Therefore, the law is not closely tailored, and the Defendants have failed to meet their burden."

"Defendants respond that the marriage laws do not discriminate against same-sex couples because they may marry just like opposite-sex couples may marry; the law merely impacts them differently. The court rejects this notion."

"Defendants proffer no reason why excluding same-sex couples from marriage benefits opposite-sex couples. The court concludes that there simply is no rational link between the two."

"It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage – not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such."

"Having found that Indiana Code § 31-11-1-1 and the laws in place enforcing such violate the Plaintiffs’ rights under the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause, Defendants and their officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and those acting in concert with them are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from enforcing Indiana Code Section 31-11-1-1 and other Indiana laws preventing the celebration or recognition of same-sex marriages. 
Additionally, Defendants and officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and those acting in concert with them, are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from enforcing or applying any other state or local law, rule, regulation or ordinance as the basis to deny marriage to same-sex couples otherwise qualified to marry in Indiana, or to deny married same-sex couples any of the rights, benefits, privileges, obligations, responsibilities, and immunities that accompany marriage in Indiana."

And here's a local news story, showing people getting married. Seriously, makes me teary-eyed. (Except for the bigots. They make me ragey.)

13 WTHR Indianapolis

So congrats to all those couples who are able to get married today. Hopefully the judge won't grant a stay of the order. (Fingers crossed!)

1 comment:

  1. After reading the parts that you shared, I'm speechless. Truly. My favorite part was how they addressed the argument about same sex couples not being able to have children. Bravo, Indiana! Sadly I think I will have moved out of Virginia and to a state where same sex marriage is legal before something like this ever happens here...