Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Friends of the Court

We are in the phase of amici, or "friends of the court" briefs being filed with the Supreme Court in advance of the upcoming arguments on Proposition 8 (which rescinded the right of same sex couples to marry in California) and on DOMA, the mis-named Defense of Marriage Act (which prevents the Federal Government from recognizing legal marriages between same sex couples).  

Long time readers of this blog will know that I am legally married to another woman.  We married during that blessed summer of love, the 5 months  during 2008 when marriage between same sex couples was legal, before Prop8 (or as we in California call it, Prop H8) passed.  We remain legally and joyfully married, but our marriage is not federally recognized, which leads to all sorts of difficulties.  So we are quite interested in the upcoming arguments on the Constitutionality of both these laws, which I follow a little bit here and a lot on my other blog, Gay Married Californian.  (My Episcopalian friends may also be interested to know that yesterday was an anniversary, not of our wedding in 2008, but of the blessing of our civil marriage in 2011.  But enough about me.)

Among the surprises in the recent amici briefs were submissions against Prop8 and DOMA by a large number of companies, and also a brief from a large number of Republicans arguing that Prop8 should be overturned.  (Cynics will note that these are generally politicians out of office, and pundits--politicians still in office are afraid to piss off the loud minority opposed to equality.)

Still, it's important progress, and we hope will be noticed by the Court.  David Frum, one of the Republican signatories, explains his change of heart here
I signed it as a long-time opponent of same-sex marriage, worried by exactly the arguments advanced by the Californians who passed Proposition 8 to stop it: that the spread of same-sex marriage would change the way men and women thought about marriage in ways that would discourage them from forming married families. 
Since 2009, we have seen a sharp decline in this country in both marriage and childbearing. But that decline obviously has little or nothing to do with same-sex marriage. It has obviously everything to do with the economic crisis—and the long previous years of persistent decline in the wages and opportunities of Americans, especially young Americans. 
As a conservative concerned with stabilizing families to rely less on government aid, I have been convinced: I've been worrying about the wrong thing. Stopping same-sex marriages does nothing to support families battered by economic adversity. Instead, it excludes and punishes people who seek only to live as conservatives would urge them to live. Treating same-sex partnerships differently from husband-wife marriages only serves to divide and antagonize those who ought to be working together. 
....The America of the future is rising all around us. It will be a different and often surprising country. It will be a country that judges personal relationships not by the chromosome pairing of any given couple, but by that couple's mutual commitment and shared responsibility. This is a future that Republicans should welcome—and are welcoming. It's why this amicus brief is gaining signatures every day—and why the party of individual freedom can give voice to gay equality.
 Final amici briefs for overturning Prop8 are due tomorrow.

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