So, the same-sex marriage debate is heating up, especially in Colorado where Senate Bill 11 allowing civil-unions was recently passed. In a few days, the Supreme Court will finally hear two cases regarding the government’s Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. Oyez.org is a wonderful site that tracks SCOTUS‘s activities and right now they have a special page about same-sex marriage cases. The law expert videos are quite informative. At least check out the first two where the essential arguments of both sides are explained.
I just watched the oral arguments from the February 2012 case when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down Proposition 8. If anything, be sure to watch part two, where the defense focuses on the controversy of the Northern District of California judge who first ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional, claiming that he should have been asked whether or not he had an interest in marrying his same-sex partner, as the answer would have weighed heavily on his impartiality. Some of you may remember that controversy and Judge Walker’s superbly written opinion. Try to get through the whole hour so that you can see a very passionate closing rebuttal by the defense counsel. The point of contention was that the plaintiffs insisted that Judge Walker’s interest in (heterosexual or homosexual) marriage is as irrelevant as any other judge’s would be, and that to argue that his sexuality made it relevant was an act of discrimination. The defense was of the view that Judge Walker’s homosexuality put him in a unique position of possibly “sitting in judgment of his own case”, especially if he was in a long-term relationship with someone of the same sex.
All fascinating debate, and I look forward to us moving past this and not caring too much about who is marrying who, unless you’re, you know, in love with the person or something.
Just as an aside, check out this very amusing, in my opinion, memorandum from Justice Scalia from the 2004 Cheney vs. District Court of D.C. case where J. Scalia denies the motion to recuse himself.