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By now, you have no doubt heard the big news of yesterday: that the New York Court of Appeals has ruled against full citizenship for gays and lesbians, denying marriage rights to same-sex couples in that state by a 4-2 vote. What nobody is really mentioning in the coverage of this story is that the Court, knowing it couldn’t rationally uphold unequal marriage under the New York Constitution, had to resort to the same old debunked lies homophobes like to tell about us — I mean, honestly, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell couldn’t possibly write a majority opinion that is any more full of shit. (When you get to that page, you’re looking for case numbers 86-89; you can read or download the full 85-page opinion in either WordPerfect or PDF format.)
(A quick New York State court note: In most states, the “Court of Appeals” is a mid-level appellate court, and the highest court in the state is called “Supreme Court.” However, New York does it the other way: “Supreme Court” actually refers to the lowest level of the court system, which would be called “district court” in most states, and the Court of Appeals is New York State’s highest court.)
Injustice Robert S. Smith was especially swayed by Falwellian bullshit:
The idea that same-sex marriage is even possible is a relatively new one. Until a few decades ago, it was an accepted truth for almost everyone who ever lived, in any society in which marriage existed, that there could be marriages only between participants of different sex. A court should not lightly conclude that everyone who held this belief was irrational, ignorant or bigoted.
… To support their argument, plaintiffs and amici supporting them refer to social science literature reporting studies of same-sex parents and their children. Some opponents of same-sex marriage criticize these studies, but we need not consider the criticism, for the studies on their face do not establish beyond doubt that children fare equally well in same-sex and opposite-sex households.
You’re just admitting your own prejudice and bigotry with that lie. Those studies have, in fact, resoundingly proven that children of same-sex couples do just as well as children of hetero couples.
Protecting the welfare of children is a legitimate governmental interest, and we have shown above that there is a rational relationship between that interest and the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples.
This is a lie. Smith had only stated earlier in his opinion that heteros can have “accidents” that cause children and gay people can’t; he is pulling this “we have shown … a rational relationship” bullshit out of his ass.
A person’s preference for the sort of sexual activity that cannot lead to the birth of children is relevant to the State’s interest in fostering relationships that will serve children best.
How so, ignoramus? Even if you believe sexual orientation is a choice (as you indicate with the use of the term “preference”), good parenting skills exhibited by any type of couple — gay or straight — constitute “relationships that will serve children best.” Merely being hetero has nothing to do with it.
The document is riddled with statements implying that because marriage has always been hetero-only, that that is how it should stay. This is yet another (utterly meaningless) argument of Wacko Satanic Anti-American Righties like Smith. Under that kind of logic, just because we used to be able to enslave black people, enforce Jim Crow laws on them, and refuse them their full civil rights, that means it’s time to sell the niggers back into slavery. This is the logical extension of what Smith and the other three activist Reich-wing judges on the Court of Appeals believe.
Here’s yet more (il)logical diarrhea from Injustice Victoria Graffeo:
… [T]o ignore the meaning ascribed to the right to marry in these cases [hetero-only] and substitute another meaning in its place [equality] is to redefine the right in question and to tear the resulting new right away from the very roots that caused the U.S. Supreme Court and this Court to recognize marriage as a fundamental right in the first place.
(I put the two bracketed bits of text in there to clarify the meaning of the whole thing.) What Graffeo has just pulled out of her ass is the “fundamentalist ‘Christian’” scare tactic that tells people that allowing same-sex marriage will be the death blow for hetero marriage. What this crazy bitch can’t wrap her tiny, closed mind around is the fact that Britney Spears and the 55% divorce rate have already been the death blow for hetero marriage.
Victoria Graffeo, thank you for playing “You’ve Totally Missed The Point”:
Regardless of sexual orientation, any person can marry a person of the opposite sex.
This may be true. However, because of your stupidity, bigotry, and total misinterpretation of the New York Constitution, not everybody has the right to marry the one person with whom he or she wishes to spend the rest of his or her life. This is the meaning of marriage. And, oh by the way, Graffeo isn’t done spouting anti-Christian homophobia:
It is not irrational for the Legislature to provide an incentive for opposite-sex couples — for whom children may be conceived from casual, even momentary intimate relationships — to marry, create a family environment, and support their children. Although many same-sex couples share these family objectives and are competently raising children in a stable environment, they are simply not similarly situated to opposite-sex couples in this regard given the intrinsic differences in the assisted reproduction or adoption processes that most homosexual couples rely on to have children.
How many times do I have to remind you morons that the way the children are created has absolutely nothing to do with their welfare after birth? There are plenty of kid-beating heteros, and plenty of excellent gay parents. Apparently, Graffeo believes that the ability to have “accidents” is a necessary precondition for the granting of almost 1,500 state and federal legal rights. What fucking ever.
Thankfully, Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye gets it:
It is no answer that same-sex couples can be excluded from marriage because “marriage,” by definition, does not include them. In the end, an argument that marriage is heterosexual because it ‘just is’ amounts to circular reasoning.
… The claim that marriage has always had a single and unalterable meaning is a plain distortion of history. In truth, the common understanding of “marriage” has changed dramatically over the centuries.
… The long duration of a constitutional wrong cannot justify its perpetuation, no matter how strongly tradition or public sentiment might support it.
… Correctly framed, the question before us is not whether the marriage statutes properly benefit those they are intended to benefit — any discriminatory classification does that — but whether there exists any legitimate basis for excluding those who are not covered by the law.
… The purported “right” of gays and lesbians to enter into marriages with different-sex partners to whom they have no innate attraction cannot possibly cure the constitutional violation actually at issue here.
… [W]hile encouraging opposite-sex couples to marry before they have children is certainly a legitimate interest of the State, the exclusion of gay men and lesbians from marriage in no way furthers this interest. There are enough marriage licenses to go around for everyone.
… In holding that prison inmates have a fundamental right to marry — even though they cannot procreate — the Supreme Court has made it clear that procreation is not the sine qua non of marriage.
… The State plainly has a legitimate interest in the welfare of children, but excluding same-sex couples from marriage in no way furthers this interest. In fact, it undermines it. Civil marriage provides tangible legal protections and economic benefits to married couples and their children, and tens of thousands of children are currently being raised by same-sex couples in New York. Depriving these children of the benefits and protections available to the children of opposite-sex couples is antithetical to their welfare, as defendants do not dispute.
… I am confident that future generations will look back on today’s decision as an unfortunate misstep.
In answer to Wacko Satanic Anti-American Righty lies about how “powerful” and “rich” we are, Kaye smacks them down with the truth:
Defendants contend that classifications based on sexual orientation should not be afforded heightened scrutiny because, they claim, homosexuals are sufficiently able to achieve protection from discrimination through the political process, as evidenced by the Legislature’s passage of [the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, or SONDA] in 2002. SONDA, however, was first introduced in 1971. It failed repeatedly for 31 years, until it was finally enacted just four years ago. Further, during the Senate debate on the Hate Crimes Act of 2000, one Senator noted that "[i]t’s no secret that for years we could have passed a hate-crimes bill if we were willing to take out gay people, if [we] were willing to take out sexual orientation.”
Still, because of the anti-Christian, anti-American, anti-constitutional personal bigotry and prejudice of Robert Smith, Victoria Graffeo, George Smith (no relation to Robert Smith), and Susan Read, GLBT New Yorkers remain second-class citizens. In fact, given much of the homophobia entered into the record by these four Injustices, and the legal principle of stare decisis, this second-class citizenship will likely persist for decades to come.
In all honesty, if this is the official position of what is supposedly one of the “bluest” states in the country, we’re fucked everywhere. The Wacko Satanic Anti-American Righty campaign of lies and anti-gay propaganda that began after Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health has clearly had a chilling effect on the pursuit of equality, and in light of this result and the precedent it creates, Massachusetts may well remain the only state with equal marriage for the rest of my lifetime — assuming the Christofascists can’t manage to overturn even that much with a constitutional amendment either in that Commonwealth or on the federal level.
As far as I’m concerned, this decision pretty much cements my eventual move out of the United States to Canada, a nation that still lives by the principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution. (Yes, I know the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the relevant document in Canada, but the basic principles of freedom and equality in both documents are, by and large, the same.) Our fascist Reich-wing governments here have turned away from the Constitution and toward this twisted notion of majoritarianism, under which the majority decides who gets what rights, and no rights are inalienable — this development no doubt has Thomas Jefferson doing 360s in his grave.
You know, I’m almost mad enough about this decision to try to track down home addresses and phone numbers of these four injustices of the New York Court of Appeals, and proceed to post them here, but then I would just be doing the same thing as the fascists. Then again, maybe we need to fight fire with fire.