Maybe Justice Anthony Kennedy was remembering the words of All You Need Is Love when he wrote his decision to extend same-sex marriage to all 50 states. Then again, maybe he just listened to the arguments, pro and con, and decided, based on his interpretation of the constitution, that it is high time to stop states from performing as laboratories of destruction when it comes to the privileges and benefits inherent in marriage.
GOP Smoked Again
For the second day in a row, Republicans like Ohio Gov. John Kasich and another baker’s dozen who want to be in the demolition derby called the GOP primary race got terrible news.
Yesterday they learned that so-called Obamacare, aka The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is standing and stronger than ever, despite their obsessive attempts to repeal it in spite of having nothing to replace it with, that doesn’t bring back the terrible old system they cried about because it was bankrupting the nation.
Upholding 14th Amendment
On Friday, in a 5-4 decision, the court held: “The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State,” according to the decision authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who joined Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, Bader-Ginsburg and Bryer.
The plaintiff, Mr. Obergefell, lives in Cincinnati, located in a state that didn’t recognize his marriage to his late partner, conducted in Maryland, a state that doesn’t ban same-sex marriage. The couple flew to Maryland, got married there, then returned to their home in Ohio. Ohio’s governor, John Kasich, now running for president, and state attorney general Mike DeWine, challenged the case. Gov. Kasich is opposed to gay marriage as is Mr. DeWine. The name of the case, OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL., shows how central the Buckeye State was to the case.
Gov. Kasich appointed Rick Hodges as health director even though he was a public relations guy, and not in any way a doctor, a requirement for the job. Criticized roundly for appointing a public relations point man to a public health position, Hodges’ appointment by Mr. Kasich was clearly an end-around scheme. Mr. Kasich and helpful lawmakers created a secondary position to Hodges that would be filled by a qualified health professional.
Gov. Kasich was asked to comment or respond to today’s court ruling. There has been no response from his office so far.
Others whose voices haven been stronger in supporting same-sex marriage than Gov. Kasich limited attacks against it, didn’t waste time speaking their mind. Jim Obergefell, whose husband John died 20 months ago, said, “Today, for the first time, any couple — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender — may obtain a marriage license and make their commitments public and legal in all 50 states. America has taken one more step toward the promise of equality enshrined in our Constitution, and I’m humbled to be part of that.”
FreedomOhio co-founder and Executive Director Ian James praised the court’s ruling. “Today, we celebrate a future in which every American can marry the one they love, honor and cherish until death do they part. We are incredibly touched by Ohio’s own Jim Obergefell and his late husband John Arthur, who took a stand for all Americans to have the freedom to marry. Their hard work and that of millions of others, means that loving and committed couples will be permitted to live and enjoy America’s true promise of freedom.”
Ted Strickland, former governor now leading Sen. Rob Portman in next year’s senate race, said the victory is for more than Mr. Obergefell. The victory, he said, is for equality and a victory for all Americans. “And it’s long overdue. That’s why I am urging Ohio Governor John Kasich and Governors across the country to act quickly to right this wrong and implement the Court’s decision immediately. Too many couples in Ohio and across the country have waited far too long to marry who they love, and they shouldn’t have to wait a moment longer. This has been a long road. And I’m thrilled America is one BIG step closer to the day when everyone is treated with respect and given equal rights under the law, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. But, there is still more work to do to reach full equality under the law.
Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) wasn’t shy about embracing the decision. “Today the United States Supreme Court confirmed what we have known all along: that all families are equal and all families deserve to be treated equally under the law. This is a day to celebrate an historic victory for love and equality. I call upon Governor Kasich and Attorney General DeWine to respect the court’s decision and to act swiftly to make sure every Ohioan can marry the person they love. Today is a day for celebration. But tomorrow it’s back to work.”
Then came voices who are against exercising a right of freedom embedded in the Constitution, whose statements demonstrated to voters of the future why they are no longer suitable leaders for the future.
Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester), whose approval rating is close to single digits, released this statement: “All human beings are created equal by God and thus deserve to be treated with love, dignity and respect. I am, however, disappointed that the Supreme Court disregarded the democratically-enacted will of millions of Americans by forcing states to redefine the institution of marriage. My views are based on my upbringing and my faith. I believe that marriage is a sacred vow between one man and one woman, and I believe Americans should be able to live and work according to their beliefs.”
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who helped fight the case on behalf of Ohio, wasn’t very helpful either. “The Attorney General’s Office has an obligation and duty to defend the constitutionality of Ohio laws, including constitutional amendments passed by Ohio voters. Ohio’s involvement in this case has been to defend the voter-passed amendment. While Ohio argued that the Supreme Court should let this issue ultimately be decided by the voters, the Court has now made its decision.”
Justice Kennedy wrote, “These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the institution. Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations. The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed. Applying these tenets, the Court has long held the right to marry is
protected by the Constitution … The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest.”