On Tuesday, November 25, federal district court Judge Kristine Baker made it a week to be thankful for among same-sex couples in Arkansas when she ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. She stayed the effect of the ruling pending appeal, which as I've noted several times is the usual course of things.
However, the Arkansas state Supreme Court is considering a different case which also challenges the ban. If that court rules against the ban and upholds marriage justice, the suit in federal court will become moot.
What's more, just hours later, federal district Judge Carlton Reeves issued a lengthy, fiery ruling striking down Mississippi's discrimination against same-sex couples who just want to get married. That ban, he declared, is not only unconstitutional, but also, quoting the ruling, “common sense tells us that the application of Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.”
I've remarked before that it often seems that every one of the pro-justice has some wording, some turn of phrase, worth noting. This, while rather longer than a phrase, is Reeves': He laid out seven questions, which were:
Can gay and lesbian citizens love?He then said the answer to each of those questions is “Yes.” Which, he wrote "leads the court to the inescapable conclusion that same-sex couples should be allowed to share in the benefits, and burdens, for better or for worse, of marriage."
Can gay and lesbian citizens have long-lasting and committed relationships?
Can gay and lesbian citizens love and care for children?
Can gay and lesbian citizens provide what is best for their children?
Can gay and lesbian citizens help make their children good and productive citizens?
Without the right to marry, are gay and lesbian citizens subjected to humiliation and indignity?
Without the right to marry, are gay and lesbian citizens subjected to state-sanctioned prejudice?
By the way, I said a few weeks ago in a slightly-different context that the real bigots on this, the real dead-enders, won't give up but that others among their number will at some point give it up as a lost cause and focus their bigotry somewhere else. There are signs that precisely that is happening:
On November 19, the infamously anti-gay, anti-lesbian, anti-LGBT-rights, and bizarrely-misnamed National Organization for Marriage released its 2013 tax filings. They showed a 50% drop in income from the year before, with just two donors accounting for more than half of what the group did raise. It's so-called "Education Fund" fared even worse, showing a 70% drop from 2012. The group ended the year more than $2.5 million in debt. The investors in hate are moving on to another campaign.
Finally on this, a quick sidebar: On November 28, Finland became the 18th nation to allow same-sex couples to marry nationwide.
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