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Away From Home

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Down with the Nebraska gay marriage ban!

Nebraska's gay marriage ban was struck down today. I think this is the first one to be shot down.

From the AP:

A federal judge Thursday struck down Nebraska's ban on gay marriage, saying the measure interferes not only with the rights of gay couples but also with those of foster parents, adopted children and people in a host of other living arrangements.

. . .

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon said the ban "imposes significant burdens on both the expressive and intimate associational rights" of gays "and creates a significant barrier to the plaintiffs' right to petition or to participate in the political process."

Bataillon said the ban beyond "goes far beyond merely defining marriage as between a man and a woman."

The judge said the "broad proscriptions could also interfere with or prevent arrangements between potential adoptive or foster parents and children, related persons living together, and people sharing custody of children as well as gay individuals."


For those of you scoring at home, there are now 17 states with similar bans in their state constitutions. Kansas is one of them.

Nebraska's law fell because it was overbroad. In legal parlance, it was not narrowly tailored to achieve its goal. This is the same problem that I have with the Kansas gay marriage ban. It goes way too far.

In case you have forgotten, the Kansas ban not only says that marriage is only between a man and a woman, it also says that none of the benefits of marriage may extend to other relationships.

Think about that for a second. Does that mean that opposite-sex couples that have lived together for decades cannot have any of the privileges that married couples enjoy? What about parent-child relationships?

The ban is intended to prevent civil unions or domestic partnerships. However, it also means that an opposite-sex couple that has lived together for decades (but never got married, perhaps for religious or tax purposes), had children together, and behaves as if they were married, cannot make medical decisions for each other, cannot be considered next of kin, and cannot enjoy any of the other benefits that married couples do.

Two people should not have to be legally married in order to enjoy these things. Marriage, these days, cannot be considered a privilege. It is far closer to being a right. Too many rights and benefits come attached to the label of "marriage" for the state to be able to say "You want these things? Fine -- just get married," let alone be able to say "Just get married -- but not to him."

2 Comments:

  • It's only a matter of time till Kansas follows suit. I'm just saddened that in order to do something right, we have to follow Nebraska's lead. This hurts my state pride.

    By Blogger Logan C. Adams, at 5/13/2005 11:55:00 AM  

  • You have state pride? And you live in Kansas? What kind of strange creature are you???

    But yeah, I'm sure this will happen here as well...

    By Blogger Mela, at 5/13/2005 03:15:00 PM  

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