Justice Denied

I actually felt suicidal when I saw the news. Literally.

I am not a particular fan of the New York Times, but its editorial today speaks for me. Which is all I can say right now.

New York’s highest court has harmed both the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and its reputation as a guardian of individual liberties by denying same-sex couples the right to marry.

The 4-to-2 ruling by the Court of Appeals, which left standing the state’s discriminatory marriage laws, comes at a time of intense debate over gay marriage. It leaves the highest court in Massachusetts as the only appellate court willing to require recognition of same-sex marriage.

The ruling involved some twisted legal reasoning. Judges on both sides agreed that marriage is a fundamental right entitled to the highest level of constitutional protection. But the majority decision, written by Judge Robert S. Smith, an appointee of Gov. George Pataki, said this fundamental right applies only to heterosexuals. It said limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples could be based on a sense that children benefit from being raised by two natural parents, even without any hard evidence to show that.

Chief Judge Judith Kaye noted in her dissent that encouraging opposite-sex couples to marry could be good for the welfare of children, but said that does not mean that denying marriage to same-sex couples serves the interests of children in any fashion. She predicted that future generations would consider the new decision “an unfortunate misstep” and look upon barring gay marriage as akin to the laws that once barred interracial marriage. We agree.

But the immediate impact of the decision is to shift the battleground over gay marriage from the state courts to state lawmakers. Those who favor gay marriage need to quickly move past this week’s disappointment and get energized. That also applies to those in the other states where courts have failed to uphold the rights of all Americans.

Focus on the lawmakers… focus on the lawmakers… Good advice.

Problem is, we can’t trust the lawmakers. And we certainly know now that we can’t depend on courts to protect the rights, liberties, and equality of American citizens.

Bad, bad day. I wish there existed within me some sense of hope or positivity, but right now, if it lives it cannot be mustered.

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One thought on “Justice Denied

  1. I hear you, Natalie… This is at least, VERY DISCOURAGING.
    Here in PA, we are trying to go the route of lawmakers, but they prove to be unattentive to real people at the moment. They are so afraid that some gay couple will bring a lawsuit to bear, that they are trying to make it impossible for real people to even discuss having their God-Given Civil Rights.
    We’ll find a way…


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