Clown Award: South Carolina
Now for our other regular feature, the Clown Award, given for meritorious stupidity.
This week, the Big Red Nose goes to the state of South Carolina, which has filed what may be the most ridiculous brief yet among those submitted to the Supreme Court in the attempt by some states to maintain their bigoted rejection of same-sex marriage. Oral arguments on the case before the Court about same-sex marriage are to be heard on April 28.
In it's brief, South Carolina argues that the 14th Amendment - which guarantees "equal protection of the laws" to every "person" - was not intended to provide equal protection to every person. Specifically, it was not intended to have any effect on marriage laws. It "left marriage laws untouched," says the brief.
But in many states at the time of amendment's adoption, married women were not permitted to own property or enter into contracts; indeed, they had no legal existence apart from their husbands'. That was part of those states' "marriage laws."
Which means, according to South Carolina, the framers of the 14th Amendment explicitly preserved the rights of states to deprive a married woman of the ability to function independently from her husband.
Therefore, the argument goes, if the 14th Amendment permits discrimination against married women, if it provides no protection for married women, which is what South Carolina is claiming, it surely, the state contends, also allows for discrimination against same-sex couples who wish to wed. In fact, according to South Carolina, the 14th Amendment forbids only and solely racial discrimination, leaving states free to discriminate against women and LGBT folks - and assorted others - in any way they wish, so there.
If the issue was not so serious and immediate, this would be funny. Instead, it is just creepy.
The state of South Carolina: clown.
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