Main | Monday, January 11, 2010

The New Yorker On Prop 8 Trial

The New Yorker has published an excellent recap of how we got to Perry v. Schwarzenegger and its potential ramifications, whichever way the decision goes. An excerpt:
If the Perry case succeeds before the Supreme Court, it could mean that gay marriage would be permitted not only in California but in every state. And, if the Court recognized homosexuals as indistinguishable from heterosexuals for the purposes of marriage law, it would be hard, if not impossible, to uphold any other laws that discriminated against people on the basis of sexual orientation. However, a loss for Olson and Boies could be a major setback to the movement for marriage equality. Soon after Olson and Boies filed the case, last May, some leading gay-rights organizations—among them the A.C.L.U., Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights—issued a statement condemning such efforts.

The odds of success for a suit weren’t good, the groups said, because the “Supreme Court typically does not get too far ahead of either public opinion or the law in the majority of states.” The legal precedent that these groups were focussed on wasn’t Loving v. Virginia but, rather, Bowers v. Hardwick, the 1986 Supreme Court decision that stunned gay-rights advocates by upholding Georgia’s antiquated law against sodomy. It was seventeen years before the Court was willing to revisit the issue, in Lawrence v. Texas, though by then only thirteen states still had anti-sodomy statutes; this time, the Court overturned the laws, with a 6–3 vote and an acerbic dissent from Justice Antonin Scalia, who declared that the Court had aligned itself with the “homosexual agenda,” adding, “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”
Read the entire article.

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