Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Monday — the second appellate court to rule on the marriage issue.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Virginia, said the state’s laws “impermissibly infringe on its citizens’ fundamental right to marry.”
The three-judge panel voted 2-1 to strike down the ban.
“We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws. Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security.
“The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance,” the court said.
In June, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals based in Denver voted 2-1 to invalidate Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. Last week, Utah officials said they planned to appeal that ruling to the US Supreme Court.
The Tenth Circuit court also last week reached a similar conclusion regarding Oklahoma’s ban on marriage for gay couples.
I can’t imagine that John Roberts – self-appointed guardian of the Supreme Court’s “reputation” (whether his efforts violate the Constitution or not) is looking eagerly forward to this sack of burning dog crap arriving on his desk.
I expect he’ll duck and dodge as hard as he can, hoping that a majority, hopefully all, of the circuits will end up ruling one way, but I doubt that’s happening, and at some point SCOTUS is going to have to take this up.
Even though it’s likely to be the Roe v. Wade of the 21st century.
My prediction? It’s likely all over but the shouting. But – oh, my – the shouting…
Addendum: given the minuscule impact of gay marriage on straight marriage, especially as compared to no-fault divorce, unmarried motherhood, the welfare state, and feminism, I’ll echo Glenn Reynolds and say that I’ll believe supporters of straight marriage are really serious when they start acting like they are serious, and start attacking the real assaults on heterosexual marriage. Absent that, all that’s left is mostly anti-gay bigotry.