DeBoer v. Snyder; Tanco v. Haslam; Obergefell v. Hodges; Bourke v. Beshear (Same Sex Marriage)

Posted: May 17, 2015 by beguide in case summaries, Equal Protection, Federalism, Religious Freedom

WHAT HAPPENED: The Petitioners in this case are private same sex couples (“same sex marriage” for purposes of this summary) who seek the equal State-specific marriage rights as traditional couples of a man and a woman (“traditional couples” for purposes of this summary). The Respondents are States who want to refrain the term “marriage” only to couples with a man and a woman.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT: There are two key Constitutional arguments at play. The first is federalism, which is the concept that State governments have the freedom to craft their own laws independent of the federal government. Those who oppose same sex marriage being on equal footing as traditional marriage argue that forcing States to recognize both marriages as equal quells the State’s natural right to determine issues of marriage and family law. The second issue is equal protection under the 14th Amendment, which prevents State or Federal governments from treating people differently without just cause. Proponents of same sex marriage argue that there is no legitimate reason to treat the two types of marriage differently, nor is banning same sex marriage related to that purpose.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS DECISION: Hellfire and brimstone if you were reading this twenty years ago, but in a practical sense, nothing that extreme, which is why the Petitioners will probably win. If you remove morality out of the equation, there are few consequences in permitting same sex marriage outside of the erosion between the link between religion and the government’s definition of marriage.   On the flip side, allowing same sex couples to be on equal footing would provide tax and estate credits, real estate benefits, and evidentiary privileges that are currently restricted to only traditional marriage.

WHAT WAS THE RULING: No ruling as of yet.

YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR SAME SEX MARRIAGE IF YOU: Like to see stodgy government institutions evolve against their will.

YOU SHOULD ROOT AGAINST SAME SEX MARRIAGE IF YOU: Just arrived in a time machine from twenty years ago. Btw, how crazy are things right now?!?! Isn’t weird how much we like football??

WHO WAS RIGHT: Brett and Nazim both believe that we are going to get a 6-3 decision, although Nazim covered his butt and said that it’s possible we get a 5-4.

  1. […] King v. Burwell is the Obamacare case, Obergefell is the gay marriage […]


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