Aug 26, 2014

Judges Hostile to Anti-Marriage Equality; Hate as Tradition Is No Argument

Carol Schumacher and Virginia Wolf
Hear the oral arguments in which brilliant legal minds lecture a Wisconsin DOJ attorney. Enter 14-2526 for orals in Virginia Wolf v. Scott Walker.

The we-don't-like-gays argument because of tradition meets cold reception in oral arguments in before an appellate court this morning.

All the Republican Party has in its legal arguments is hate and bigotry, backed by "tradition."

"Do you have anything besides tradition," asked Judge Posner at the Nine-minute, eight-second mark.

Later Posner asked: "... "The tradition is based on hate, isn't it. You don't think there is a history of rather savage discrimination ... ?"

Posner asked, "What is the rational basis for a legislative choice for denying same-sex marriage?"

Posner ripped into Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson throughout the oral arguments.

"Look, answer my question, who is being helped by this law?" demanded Posner.

A federal court panel hearing the gay marriage equality case before the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit was hostile this morning to hate as "tradition," ala Loving v. Virginia (1967) as legal argument.

Reports Annie Sweeney and Meredith Rodriguez from the Chicago Tribune:

Judge Richard Posner waited just seconds before interrupting the solicitor general from Indiana, beginning a line of questioning about why children of same-sex couples should not be allowed to have legally married parents, as do children of heterosexual couples.

To press his point, Posner told a fictitious story of a 6-year-old forced to go to school and see that he is different from his classmates.

Reports Patrick Marley from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

A three-judge panel from a federal appeals court on Tuesday closely questioned Wisconsin and Indiana's bans on same-sex marriage, with one judge calling parts of the Great Lakes states' arguments "absurd" and "ridiculous."

"These people and their adopted children are harmed by your law," Judge Richard Posner said of gay and lesbian couples who are barred from getting married. "The question is what is the offsetting benefit of your law. Who is being helped?" ...

Posner, who at times appeared to lecture the attorneys defending the bans, focused on the ability of same-sex couples to adopt children. He noted adopted children would benefit if their parents could claim the tax breaks and other perks of being married.

"These children would be better off if their parents could marry, no? It's obvious," Posner said.

The Associated Press' Michael Tarm offered a similar report:

Judge Richard Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, was dismissive when Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson repeatedly pointed to 'tradition' as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage.

"It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry — a tradition that got swept away," Posner said. Prohibition of same sex marriage, he said, is "a tradition of hate ... and savage discrimination."
Posner frequently cut off Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher, just moments into his presentation and chided him to answer his questions.

At one point, Posner ran through a list of psychological strains of unmarried same-sex couples, including having to struggle to grasp why their schoolmates' parents were married and theirs weren't.

"What horrible stuff," Posner said. What benefits to society in barring gay marriage, he asked, "outweighs that kind of damage to children?"

The answer has to do with "procreation," Fisher answered.

In purely political terms, Scott Walker and J.B. Van Hollen would do well to drop the case, Walker v. Wolf (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel document), as pro-marriage equality is spreading like wildfire.

Scott Walker apparently feels he needs the religious right on the issue facing a tough reelection bid, and Walker remains a religious right extremist in his own ideology expressed throughout his political career.

As for Judge Richard Posner, I feel deeply moved by this mind.

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