Rules Government Has Interest In Keeping Marriage Between Heterosexual Couples
A federal judge in Nevada has ruled against a same-sex couple’s attempt to win marriage equality, claiming that the state of Nevada does have a legitimate interest in reserving marriage to heterosexual couples. The couple stated denying them the institution of marriage violated their equal protection rights.
Judge Robert Clive Jones, 65, appointed by George W. Bush, is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
In his decision, below, Judge Jones claims that in decisions like Romer, where animus was at the center of the state’s decision to deny marriage to same-sex couples, the law can overturn that attempt.
But in this case, Sevcik v. Sandoval, the judge explained his refusal to rule in favor of the plaintiffs:
Because the maintenance of the traditional institution of civil marriage as between one man and one woman is a legitimate state interest, because the exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of civil marriage is rationally related to furthering that interest, and because the challenged laws neither withdraw any existing rights nor effect a broad change in the legal status or protections of homosexuals based upon pure animus, the State is entitled to summary judgment.
Overall, the judge’s ruling is clearly filled with religious-themed beliefs not based in the law, or equality, but in the Bible.
Judge Jones noted:
The conceivable benefits to society from maintaining a distinction between traditional marriage and same-sex domestic partnerships provide a rational basis for the State of Nevada to maintain the distinction, even if one result of the distinction is the stigmatization of same-sex relationships or if bias was one motivating factor.
Because the family is the basic societal unit, the State could have validly reasoned that the consequences of altering the traditional definition of civil marriage could be severe.
[T]here are additional reasons to promote the traditional institution of marriage apart from mere moral disapproval of homosexual behavior, and these reasons provide a rational basis for distinguishing between opposite-sex and same-sex couples in the context of civil marriage. Human beings are created through the conjugation of one man and one woman. The percentage of human beings conceived through non-traditional methods is minuscule, and adoption, the form of child-rearing in which same-sex couples may typically participate together, is not an alternative means of creating children, but rather a social backstop for when traditional biological families fail. The perpetuation of the human race depends upon traditional procreation between men and women. The institution developed in our society, its predecessor societies, and by nearly all societies on Earth throughout history to solidify, standardize, and legalize the relationship between a man, a woman, and their offspring, is civil marriage between one man and one woman.
The State has not crossed the constitutional line by maintaining minor differences in civil rights and responsibilities that are not themselves fundamental rights comprising the constitutional component of the right to marriage, or by reserving the label of “marriage” for one-man–one-woman couples in a culturally and historically accurate way.
Noting the case “will likely be appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,” Scottie Thomaston at Prop 8 Trial Tracker adds:
Judge Jones seemed skeptical in general about allowing any such expert testimony, saying that to do so would require him to sit “as a legislature” (14). ”This area you’re talking about,” he said, “is so broad it’s across the entire United States. You’re asking them to summarize thousands of incidences.” Attorneys, he said, should tell courts what the law is, and he specifically questioned the course of action taken by Judge Vaughn Walker in the Prop 8 case in California with regard to allowing expert opinion on the changing shape of marriage in the United States and the difficulties faced by LGBT individuals.An attorney for the state of Nevada raised the point that there are currently several petitions pending with the Supreme Court on the issue of marriage equality and the Defense of Marriage Act, to which Judge Jones responded, “It makes sense to get this decided and off with the circus train.” In particular, Judge Jones noted that the Ninth Circuit’s decision in the Prop 8 case, in which it singled out the fact that California had extended and then withdrawn equal marriage rights from gay and lesbian couples, differentiated that case from Sevcik, since Nevada had never extended such rights.
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