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May 13, 2005

Nebraska Gay Marriage Amendment Overturned

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

It's nice to see that the US Constitution still has some power.

Link: A federal judge on Thursday struck down Nebraska's anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment, which also banned recognition of gay domestic partnerships and civil unions.

"The court finds [the Nebraska constitutional amendment] is a denial of access to one of our most fundamental sources of protection, the government," Judge Joseph F. Bataillon wrote in his decision.

"Such broad exclusion from an almost limitless number of transactions and endeavors that constitute ordinary civil life in a free society is itself a denial of equal protections in the literal sense."

The Texas version is stalled in the Senate as it has no sponsor yet. And in any case, the Texas version is just as poorly worded (if not worse, possibly knocking out our Commen Law marriage system). Hopefully this won't be the last of these amendements to be killed off.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at May 13, 2005 10:04 PM | TrackBack


Actually, this is likely to get appealed up the line and if the Supremes take it up it could mean legalizing gay marriage federally. While that would be a great result, the process will just piss off the religious right more and create a huge backlash that will hurt Democrats for a long time. I'd almost like to see this overturned not at the Supreme Court, but one level lower so that it will give us some hope, but will still require legislative change when more people are ready. If Congress had passed the legalization of abortion rather than the courts, we wouldn't have much of a pro-life movement today, as Europe and other countries suggest. When people are ready, it will happen. It might take a generation, but it will happen.

I'll still be happy if the courts legalize it, as they very well might, but I'll be worried about the political consequences.

Posted by: Andrew Dobbs at May 13, 2005 11:11 PM

Well, this case in particular won't make a "federal" case out of marriage since the decision deals primarily on the grounds of access to the politcal process and expressly disavows itself on the merits of recognition of same sex marriages (see footnotes 1 and 11, esp). I think it would be OK for this to be upheld all the way up since this is more about overly vague prohibitions of marriage like situations. The bans in Nebraska, Ohio and Virginia come to mind as particularly bad. In Ohio, the vague language of the hate amendment they ratified into their constitution last November has become the basis for declaring the state's domestic violence law for unmarried couples, regardless of sex, to be unconstitutional. A guy beating up his live-in girlfriend can now only be charged with misdemeanor assault rather than felony domestic violence.

Posted by: Craig at May 13, 2005 11:31 PM

Little by litte, step by step. It just takes keeping this in the public eye.

Posted by: GT at May 14, 2005 02:05 AM

Ironically, I think the push for gay marriage in this country via "radicals" like the San Francisco mayor, etc. have HURT the movement, not helped. In such an explosive issue such as gay marriage, it probably would have been better to have taken baby-steps (first "light" civil unions then strengthen them, then - through time, they become "marriage").

Unfortunately, my far-left gay brethren ruin it for us all by shoving peas down the throats of babes that can't eat solid food yet. They naturally cry horribly and throw up the peas then start strong movements to amend the federal constitution.

Posted by: gayinmidland at May 14, 2005 08:08 AM

I agree with Dobbs. "It's going down."

Posted by: Jim D at May 14, 2005 08:17 AM

I don't think it's going down, I think they just pass a less stringent amendment next election.

Posted by: Kevin L. at May 14, 2005 10:51 AM

I put up a diary about Ronnie Earle from a four page story in the L.A. Times Magazine section of the paper. If anyone cares to stop by and and a local perspective to the story for the benefit of all us Left Coasters and Eastern Elitist Liberals, swing on by: The Man Who Is Dogging DeLay

Posted by: Gary Boatwright at May 15, 2005 12:46 PM

Before the Mass. SC decision on Gay Marriage in '04 there were, I think, 3 states w/ amendments prohibiting gay marriage, Nev., Neb., & Ak.

Now there are at least 18 (and at least that many more pending) and all these passed w/ huge majorities (BTW I think Neb. passed w/ 70% of the vote).

So are 70% of Nebraska voters members of the religious right?

Posted by: Burt at May 15, 2005 01:34 PM

No, 70% of Nebraska voters are intolerant, ignorant, or members of the religious right.

Posted by: Damon McCullar at May 15, 2005 08:14 PM

I am glad about the recent vote to uphold equality and justice. However, Nebraska has a ways to go before gays and lesbians have full rights in the state.

The Nebraska legislature voted down a bill that would have banned discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation.
This is a huge setback for progress made in civil rights and anti-discrimination policy.

Whether it is lack of domestic partnership benefits or unwarranted dismisal of gay employees, including some businesses in Nebraska, there is daily discrimination directed against gay Americans. Without the strongest legal protection, there is little to prevent injustices from permeating the work place. Aside from immoral, this is just bad business.

I applaud State Senator Ernie Chambers and the Nebraska Federal Court for their courage, integrity, and open-mindedness to fight for the safety and equality of all Nebraskans. I urge the other legislators to stand up for human dignity.

Posted by: Ken Seifert at May 17, 2005 02:25 PM
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