Friday, November 7, 2014

Official Statement on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision (Bourke/Love vs. Beshear)

This decision is a temporary setback in the march to equality and true justice for the LGBTI community, and we encourage all civil rights activists within the states of the district (Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan) to continue the fight for equality.  At this point, it appears that the issue of marriage equality must addressed by the Supreme Court, which has so far dodged the issue.

"The decision is filled with blatantly self-serving and speculative premises and reasoning," said Kentucky Equality President Joshua Koch.  "It is extremely callous, ignores the needs of a much-wronged segment of the population, and upholds partisan-tinged, fictional needs of the well-being of the court system over the needs of the populace that supports the courts with its tax dollars.  This may be the most blatant recent example of a government institution hiding behind an argument of cowardice to defend its decision not to relieve injustice it is causing.  Governor Beshear's legacy as an active oppressor of the LGBTI community in Kentucky has now been solidified by a decision which echoes Chief Justice Taney's rationale for enslaving entire classes of people in the 1857 Dred Scott decision."

"The ruling in the 6th Circuit is disappointing," said Kentucky Equality Federation Board Chairman Brandon Combs.  "While this will likely catapult Marriage Equality to the Supreme Court of the U.S., it will likely be 2016 before the issue will be addressed. In the mean time, all the loving, committed families effected by this ruling will continue to have their rights' diminished. We must continue to work towards developing allies. There is no guarantee SCOTUS will rule in favor of Marriage Equality."

Media outlets are encouraged to take note that the U.S. Circuit Court uses similar rationale to pro-slavery Supreme Court opinions in the 1857 Dred Scott case, where the court effectively grants states the protection to remove human rights protections from classes of people, as long as the classes aren't recognized.



From Chief Justice Taney's statement supporting a pro-slavery verdict in 1857:  "The legislation of the States therefore shows, in a manner not to be mistaken, the inferior and subject condition of that race at the time the Constitution was adopted, and long afterwards, throughout the thirteen States by which that instrument was framed; and it is hardly consistent with the respect due to these States, to suppose that they regarded at that time, as fellow-citizens and members of the sovereignty, a class of beings whom they had thus stigmatized; whom, as we are bound, out of respect to the State sovereignties, to assume they had deemed it just and necessary thus to stigmatize, and upon whom they had impressed such deep and enduring marks of inferiority and degradation; or, that when they met in convention to form the Constitution, they looked upon them as a portion of their constituents, or designed to include them in the provisions so carefully inserted for the security and protection of the liberties and rights of their citizens.  [Source]"

From the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court opinion denying marriage equality in 2014:  "There is another impediment. The Supreme Court has never held that legislative classifications based on sexual orientation receive heightened review and indeed has not recognized a new suspect class in more than four decades. There are ample reasons for staying the course. Courts consider four rough factor s in deciding whether to treat a legislative classification as suspect and presumptively unconstitutional: whether the group has been historically victimized by governmental discrimination; whether it has a defining characteristic that legitimately bears on the classification; whether it exhibits unchanging characteristics that define it as a discrete group; and whether it is politically powerless. See Rodriguez, 411 U.S. at 28.
...
The States’ undoubted power over marriage provides an independent basis for reviewing the laws before us with deference rather than with skepticism. An analogy shows why. When a state law targets noncitizens—a group marked by its lack of political power and its history of enduring discrimination—it must in general meet the most demanding of constitutional tests in order to survive a skirmish with a court. But when a federal law targets noncitizens, a mere rational basis will save it from invalidation. This disparity arises because of the Nation’s authority (and the States’ corresponding lack of authority) over international affairs. Mathews v. Diaz , 426 U.S. 67, 84–85 (1976). If federal preeminence in foreign relations requires lenient review of federal immigration classifications, why doesn’t state preeminence in domestic relations call for equally lenient review of state marriage definitions? [Source]"

We argue the contrary:  No government entity, state or federal,  has the authority to deny rights to a class of citizens or people, and no branch of government, when asked to review such a grievance, has the right to hide behind its own self-serving interests as a premise for denying justice. 

-> Posted by a volunteer Community Blogger of Kentucky Equality Federation. This is the official blog of Kentucky Equality Federation. Posts contained in this blog may not be the official position of Kentucky Equality Federation, its volunteer officers, directors, management, supported organizations, allies or coalitions, but rather the personal opinions or views of the volunteer Community Bloggers. The opinions or views expressed in the blog are protected by Section 1 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky as non-slanderous free speech; blogs are personal views or opinions and not journalistic news sites.

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