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08/05/2014

Utah AG very worried pro-discrimination side will be seen as discriminatory

by Jeremy Hooper

With a federal court overturning Utah’s discriminatory same-sex marriage ban back in December of 2013 and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding that decision earlier this summer, Utah’s Republican attorney general, Sean Reyes, has officially filed his appeal asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the marriage case at the heart of the progress, Kitchen v. Herbert. And while the filing (the writ of certiorari) is loaded with the standard bull malarkey that typically fills such filings (e.g. gays will hurt kids, damage straight marriage, cause legal polygamy, etc.), intrepid G-A-Y reader "Str8Grandmother" tips us to this particularly silly argument from page 28:

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 At 3.39.29 Pm
[Herbert v. Kitchen Petition and Appendix via Equality Case Files]

First of all, it's downright disingenuous to act like those who oppose marriage equality are going to be appeased if done by vote rather than court. This has not been the case in any of the states where voters did, in fact, approve marriage equality, whether directly or by the elected legislature. The same groups who play the "victim" card continue to play it. And, to be fair, these same equality advocates who might let their gloating get the best of them and rub victory in the face of those opposed still have the same set of circumstances whether by court of by vote. Equality is what it is. The public perception will be shaped by merit, public display, growing familiarity, and education, not by the path toward freedom.

But beyond that, it is unconscionable for Attorney General Reyes, a man of law, to deny the court's crucial role in this. I know that anti-equality conservatives hate when we draw comparisons to Loving v. Virginia, the landmark case that struck down the nation's anti-miscegenation laws, but there is a direct and undeniable comparison to be made here. Should a fear that those who opposed might be viewed as "acting out of prejudice" have stopped the Supreme Court of 1967 from issuing that historic ruling? The same could be said for any number of cases where the fair and independent judiciary carried out its necessary duty of keeping laws in check.

And finally, it's just plain insulting to suggest that the debate, as AG Reyes calls it, should go on so that people like him, who oppose these crucial rights for a certain slice of American taxpayers, might have a little more safeguarding between their chosen acts of resistance and the public response to their lifestyle choices. How offensive. I mean, know that the anti-LGBT movement is one of the most egocentric in American political history, but this is on a whole other level. And again, it won't even work. Most who are dead set on portraying themselves as "victims" whenever they are called out for their efforts to exalt personal faith above shared public policy are unlikely to change course simply because a vote took place. They'll just blame outsized spending on the pro-equality side, low turnout, a campaign that duped the public, or some other convenient "out" that tells them they didn't—they couldn't!—lose on merit. We have several states where this has already happened.

The bottom line, though, is that this is not a mere disagreement—it's a matter of unfairly denied justice. And this is not some election year "social issue" to loving same-sex couples—this is life! The court will weigh in on this, as courts have always done, because human civil rights are meant for a standard higher than public popularity contest. Thankfully we LGBT folk are largely winning this popularity contest, now. But that doesn't even matter. The courts will have a say because the courts should have a say. The anti-equality movement hates that fact because they much prefer venues where their spin goes unchallenged.

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