Rulings Could Press Justices on Gay Marriage ; Striking Down Bans, Trial Courts May Force Issue of Constitutionality

By Liptak, Adam | International New York Times, February 15, 2014 | Go to article overview

Rulings Could Press Justices on Gay Marriage ; Striking Down Bans, Trial Courts May Force Issue of Constitutionality


Liptak, Adam, International New York Times


Recent trial court decisions could force the Supreme Court to examine the constitutionality of same-sex unions long before it had wanted to.

The recent spate of trial-court rulings striking down bans on same-sex marriage is a lesson in judicial physics.

A decision last June from the Supreme Court revived the argument that gay couples are entitled to equal treatment, and the lower- court decisions that have followed will now put hydraulic pressure on the justices to decide the momentous question they ducked last summer: whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

"The pace of change has perhaps outstripped the court's preferences, but the momentum is tremendous," said Suzanne B. Goldberg, a law professor at Columbia University.

In striking down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage on Thursday, Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the Federal District Court in Norfolk relied heavily on the Supreme Court's decision in June in United States v. Windsor, in which it ruled that the federal government must provide benefits to same-sex couples married in states that allow such unions. The Windsor decision also figured prominently in rulings from federal judges striking down bans on same-sex marriage in Oklahoma and Utah.

Judge Wright Allen's decision bore the markings of haste. It was issued late in the evening, which was curious in light of the fact that it was stayed pending appeal. And its first paragraph attributed the phrase "all men are created equal" to the Constitution, though it is in the Declaration of Independence.

Her decision also did not adopt the only plausible reading of Windsor, which contained doctrinal crosscurrents. Indeed, Judge Wright Allen quoted a long passage from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy extolling the central role of states in defining marriage. That would seem to support allowing Virginia to decide whom it will marry.

"Notwithstanding the wisdom usually residing within proper deference to state authorities regarding domestic relations," Judge Wright Allen wrote, prompt action from the courts is required. "When core civil rights are at issue, the judiciary must act."

To be sure, there was also plenty of support for her reasoning in Justice Kennedy's opinion in Windsor. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Rulings Could Press Justices on Gay Marriage ; Striking Down Bans, Trial Courts May Force Issue of Constitutionality
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.