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Friday, March 21, 2014

Courts - More on "Federal judge strikes down Michigan ban on same-sex marriage"

Updating this earlier ILB entry, here is SCOTUSblog's Lyle Denniston's report on the Michigan DeBoer v. Snyder opinion, headed "Michigan same-sex marriage ban falls." Denniston points out:

There have been two other trials in history on the validity of same-sex marriage bans — one in Hawaii in 1996 (a state where same-sex marriage rights have since been alternatively banned and then granted), and the trial in federal court in California in 2010 that led to a decision striking down that state’s “Proposition 8″ ban. The California ban ended when the Supreme Court refused last June to decide the merits of an appeal by the ban’s ballot measure proponents.

Judge Friedman had heard testimony from sociological experts on both sides of the same-sex marriage question. He wound up giving “great weight” to the testimony of experts whose studies generally provided support for same-sex marriage, and flatly rejected as unsound the testimony of experts claiming that such marriages would harm children raises in such households.

State officials had defended the Michigan ban with three arguments, and the judge rejected all of them, finding that none provided any justification for the ban. He applied the most easily satisfied constitutional test — “rational basis” — in doing so.

Those arguments by the state were that the ban helped preserve an “optimal environment” for child-rearing, that it was based upon the need to proceed cautiously before abandoning opposite-sex marriage as the standard, that it supported both “tradition and morality,” and that it was based upon the state’s basic authority to define who may marry.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 21, 2014 08:01 PM
Posted to Courts in general