Main | Tuesday, August 26, 2014

AP Reports On Seventh Circuit

Via the Associated Press:
Federal appeals judges bristled Tuesday at arguments defending gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin, with one Republican appointee comparing them to now-defunct laws that once outlawed weddings between blacks and whites. Judge Richard Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, was dismissive when Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson repeatedly pointed to 'tradition' as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage. "It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry — a tradition that got swept away," Posner said. Prohibition of same sex marriage, he said, is "a tradition of hate ... and savage discrimination."

Posner frequently cut off Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fischer, just moments into his presentation and chided him to answer his questions. At one point, Posner ran through a list of psychological strains of unmarried same-sex couples, including having to struggle to grasp why their schoolmates' parents were married and theirs weren't. "What horrible stuff," Posner said. What benefits to society in barring gay marriage, he asked, "outweighs that kind of damage to children?" The answer has to do with "procreation," Fisher answered. "All this is a reflection of biology," Fisher said. "Men and women make babies, same-sex couples do not... we have to have a mechanism to regulate that, and marriage is that mechanism."

The ACLU and Lambda Legal have essentially reiterated their equal protection arguments in appeals court filings, arguing that the bans deny gay couples state and federal legal protections and benefits that married straight couples enjoy. "The freedom to marry is a core aspect of personal liberty for all Americans," the ACLU said in its briefs. There was some levity during the hearing. As Samuelson struggled to offer a specific reason for how gay marriage bans benefit society, he suddenly noted a yellow courtroom light signaling his allotted time was up. "It won't save you," Williams told him, prompting laughter in court. Samuleson smiled, saying "it was worth a try."

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