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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gay marriage decision by SCOTUS resolves 1972 Baker v Nelson case

book by Michael McConnell with Jack Baker The Wedding Heard 'Round the World, America's First Gay Marriage,' University of Minnesota Press, Jan. 2016

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) publisher's flyer for the new book on the history of gay marriage by Michael McConnell with Jack Baker, As told to Gail Langer Karwoski, "The Wedding Heard 'Round the World, America's First Gay Marriage," University of Minnesota Press, Jan. 2016. See previous posts:

The U.S. Supreme Court of the United States gay marriage case "Obergefell v. Hodges" October Term 2014 decided Jun. 26, 2015 as posted at (PDF 429 KB 103 pages) was made on the same day of June that two other key gay rights decisions were made, Lawrence v. Texas and United States v. Windsor. (See post by Paul Smith, "Symposium: A fair and proper application of the Fourteenth Amendment," posted Jun. 27, 2015)

"The five-to-four decision was based firmly on the Constitution, and thus could be undone only by a formal amendment to the basic document, or a change of mind by a future Supreme Court. Neither is predictable. Explicitly refusing to hold off deciding the issue to see how other parts of society may deal with the rising demand for gay acceptance and legitimacy, the Court declared that two clauses in the Fourteenth Amendment mean that a "fundamental right to marry" can no longer be denied because the partners are of the same sex. It did not create a new right, but opened a long-existing one to those partners." (Quoted from Lyle Denniston, "Opinion analysis: Marriage now open to same-sex couples: Analysis," posted Jun. 26, 2015)

Arthur S. Leonard, a professor at New York Law School since 1982, explained how the 1972 Baker v. Nelson case was resolved by this SCOTUS decision:

. . . By fitting coincidence, the opinion was issued on the second anniversary of Windsor and the twelfth anniversary of Lawrence. . .

. . . the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, which reversed the trial courts in an opinion by Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton. Sutton held that the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in 1972 that a challenge to the Minnesota ban on same-sex marriage did not present a "substantial federal question" remained binding as precedent on lower federal courts, but went on to reject the plaintiffs' constitutional arguments, opining that the question whether same-sex couples could marry or have their marriages recognized was one to be resolved through the democratic process, not through litigation. In granting the plaintiffs' petition to review that ruling, the Court ordered argument on two questions: whether same-sex couples have a right to marry, and whether states are obligated to recognize same-sex marriages. A majority of the Court has now answered both of those questions in the affirmative.

(Quoted from Art Leonard, "Supreme Court Issues Historic Marriage Equality Ruling," posted Jun. 26, 2015)


Also see the following links of interest: