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New York and Georgia High Courts Rule Against Gay Marriage

This is not good news for the gay marriage movement.

New York's highest court ruled Thursday that gay marriage is not allowed under state law, rejecting arguments by same-sex couples who said the law violates their constitutional rights.


The Court of Appeals, in a 4-2 decision, said New York's marriage law is constitutional and clearly limits marriage to between a man and a woman.

Any change in the law would have to come from the state Legislature, Judge Robert Smith said.

"We do not predict what people will think generations from now, but we believe the present generation should have a chance to decide the issue through its elected representatives," Smith wrote.

Gov. George Pataki's health department and state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office had argued New York law prohibits issuing licenses to same-sex couples. The state had prevailed in lower appeals courts.

Also the Georgia state high court reinstated its gay marriage ban:

The state Supreme Court reinstated Georgia's constitutional ban on gay marriage Thursday, just hours after New York's highest court upheld that state's gay-marriage ban


The Georgia Supreme Court, reversing a lower court judge's ruling, decided unanimously that the ban did not violate the state's single- subject rule for ballot measures. Superior Court Judge Constance Russell of Fulton County had ruled that it did.

Seventy-six percent of Georgia voters approved the ban when it was on the ballot in 2004.

These rulings are very important to the preservation of traditional marriage. However, the pro-gay marriage groups aren't going to shrug their shoulders and accept these defeats. One of the couples who lost in the NY court vowed that the fight isn't over.


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Comments (25)

I think in the long run thi... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

I think in the long run this helps the pro-gay marriage side. Another court saying there was a constitutional right would have given a lot of impetus to a US constitutional amendment (which while hard to enact would likely be as hard to reverse). If the only way they can establish gay marriage in the face of overwhelming voter numbers where it has come up to the ballot is through judicial rulings, then the political firestorm of the backlash would likely see the courts powers dramatically reduced and a specific amendment to quash any implied ones found dancing in the shadows of the constitution.

Of course I doubt most of the gay marriage supporters will be able to take the long view and see the upside in the decision.

I hate to pit a nit, but it... (Below threshold)

I hate to pit a nit, but it is about same-sex marriage.

There is no sexual-orientation requirement for a marriage license.

argh"pick a nit"</... (Below threshold)

argh

"pick a nit"

YetanotherjohnI ag... (Below threshold)

Yetanotherjohn

I agree. Marriage is a public institution where the parameters are defined by a consensus of The People.

Redefining marriage to include same sex couples needs to be left to the voters if it is to have any legitimacy.

Definition of marriage:... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Definition of marriage:

The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.

If a gay couple wants to stand up before God and/or friends and family, then they need to come up with a another word for it.

For instance, you can have wedding ice cream instead of wedding cake. Or wedding sorbet. Or wedding tofu. However you can't call ice cream, et all a "cake" because it is not a cake.

Brilliantly stated, Vag.</p... (Below threshold)

Brilliantly stated, Vag.

Why do gay couples reject t... (Below threshold)
Palmateer:

Why do gay couples reject the concept of civil unions, and then bitterly complain that overthrowing the legality of gay marriage deprives them of legal rights?

VagaBond:Good poin... (Below threshold)
Doug:

VagaBond:

Good point (but I'm not quite sure how God, friends, and family have anything to do with a "legal union").

Would it be okay if we rename all legal marriages to "legal union" and reserve the term "marriage" strictly to religious unions. That would mean heterosexual couple as well as homosexual couples would have "legal unions" and these couples would all have the same rights (e.g., automatic inheritance) and responsibilities (e.g., the "marriage tax - which I guess we would have to call the legal union tax).

Correct me if I am wrong bu... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Correct me if I am wrong but I believe civil unions have all of those benefits.

Why redefine what already exists? A peach pie is not an apple pie but both are pies.

Besides marriages can happen at sea by a captain, in court, etc. It is not a religious union by definition (see above).

VagaBond:my unders... (Below threshold)
Doug:

VagaBond:

my understanding is that

1. not all states have civil unions
2. any law that makes a reference to "marriage" would need to be updated to now include "civil union"
3. civil unions don't have the same "protection" at the federal level (e.g., automatic recognition across states and social security death benefits)

So, at the moment, a "civil union" is not legally equal to a marriage.

Doug

yetanotherjohn I a... (Below threshold)
Matthew:

yetanotherjohn

I agree with you and disagree with Kim's opening line that this decision is bad news for the proponents of gay marriage. Any time that judges in this country recognize their limitations and leave the decision to the people, the better. Now, the New York Court has just told the legislature what it needs to do if it wants gay marriage: "Do not abdicate your responsibility for setting social policy by relying on us."

Wouldn't it be easier to ge... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Wouldn't it be easier to get civil unions accepted in all states since some states have them already? Then the next step would be to get the federal government to handle the issue of social security death benefits.

Then again, wouldn't a will handle those issues? I don't process to be a legal wizard (Or a grand wizard for that matter).

I'm going to get a lot of p... (Below threshold)
Mark:

I'm going to get a lot of people annoyed at me here, but I personally believe that government should get out of the marriage business.

Marriage for a long time existed for one simple reason. It was a familial alliance in regards to the raising of children. Brides were usually purchased or purchased a husband (dowries) and the concept of "love" didn't enter into it. These were financial and generational contracts.

Of course a lot of that was because government didn't take care of you when you retired, and the lower technology levels meant that a woman alone had a very hard time of it. (and god forbid she tried to work while pregnant. She'd have starved.) Its only in the last 100 years or so that increasing technology has made it possible for a woman to do the same work as a man in most fields (since its now more about knowledge than strength.) That is also why we see more single mothers, because the increase of technology has allowed women to survive alone while raising a kid.

Let's let marriage be what it was. A private contract between a man and a woman wherein the woman guarantees the man that any children she bears will have his DNA, (he'll be the father) and he guarantees that he will protect and assist in the raising of the children until they reach maturity.

Do that and all this talk of "same-sex" marriages goes out the window, and you can keep religion out of it completely.

The immediate way to solve ... (Below threshold)

The immediate way to solve the SocSec issue to is allow one's SocSec account actually belong to that person. Right now, if you die and you have anything of your contributions unused via benefits received and you are not married or you don't have minor kids...sorry, nada, no go. All that $$$ is gone. The government keeps it. The SocSec TAX is not your property. So either make it property that is inheritable or just have the Feds expand who can get the benefits to one other designated adult.

Otherwise, there is not one benefit (inheritance, medical visitation, etc) that cannot be taken care of via legal will or such instruments as power of attorney.

this decision is only bad for same-sex marriage as it shuts off judicial fiat for SSM advocates to achieve what they haven't been able to by appeal to their fellow citizens.

Back to the legitimate drawing board, people.

VagaBond:I'm not a... (Below threshold)
Doug:

VagaBond:

I'm not any kind of wizard either, but wills only solve part of the problem. There's insurance, power of attorney, hospital visitation rights, and a host of other privileges that automatically come with legal marriage. (Granted, the insurance one is less of a problem these days.)

Most of these can be accomplished with various legal documents, but they take time and money to prepare. Heterosexual couples gets these for the lower price of

Doug

Well that will teach me not... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Well that will teach me not to use the "preview" button...

My previous post should have said "Hetersexual couples get these for the low price of (insert your state's marriage license fee here)."

Doug

Seems like it would cost le... (Below threshold)
Vagabond:

Seems like it would cost less to do all of this via civil unions which is accepted in some states than by redefining marriage which is not accepted in any states.

therefore it leads to upgrading civil unions, not redefining marriages.

Vagabond:I'm not s... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Vagabond:

I'm not sure which would be most cost effective: making civil unions truely equal to marriages in terms of priviledges or redefining marriage to include same sex couples. Personally, I kinda like Mark's idea of getting government out of the marriage business.

Oh and one slight nit pick: you said "redefining marriage which is not accepted in any states", "any" should be "most" since Massachusetts currently allows same sex marriage.

Doug

Darleen,"contribut... (Below threshold)

Darleen,

"contributions unused by benefits"? No such concept exists in social security, and few other Ponzi schemes.

It seems to me that the biggest financial inequity is the Gift & Death Taxes. There is a marital deduction for US citizen spouses. Yet another reason to get rid of it.

You are correct Doug (and y... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

You are correct Doug (and you spelled Mass. correctly. Something I am not going to try.) but the other states don't recognize it. So it appears it's in name only. Just because they pass a law to say an apple is an orange does not make it an orange.

Besides the Mass. law was kinda trumped by S. J. RES. 1 on January 24, 2005.

If the government was out of the marriage business would the clerk of courts (or whoever does that) still have the power to marry two people?

VagaBond:We digres... (Below threshold)
Doug:

VagaBond:

We digress, but ...

1. I had to look up the correct spelling of Massachusetts ("Misspellers of the World Untie!")

2. I vaguely recall that by law, a tomato is a vegetable, so I guess an apple can be an orange if congress says it can

3. I guess if the government stopped sanctioning marriages, anybody could perform a marriage ceremony

Doug

Has anyone seen the text of... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Has anyone seen the text of the NY ruling? Just curious as to whether it ruled that gay marriage is unconstitutional or whether it is simply not guarenteed under the constitution...

Anyone with a link to the text? Thanks...

RichardEasier just... (Below threshold)

Richard

Easier just to get rid of death tax and let the owner dispose of the property that has already been taxed over and over again, decide his/her heirs.

BTW you realize I didn't say that SocSec DID allow ownership of contributions?

See, as a government worker, I do NOT pay into SocSec, but have a qualifying private retirement program. If I die before I use up all my contributions, my heirs (who I can designate) get the balance.

Here in California, we have... (Below threshold)
Scott in CA:

Here in California, we have had Domestic Partnerships for about five years. Same sex couples can enter into DP status, which grants them "spousal rights" for state law but does nothing for federal law. Hetero couples can also enter a DP union if one of them is 62 or older. This was allowed so that older people who are receiving federal survivor's benefits will not lost those benefits by entering into a Domestic Partnership here. DP unions here have full community property and inheritance rights, just like married couples. This was all passed into law by our state Legislature and signed by the governor. An "upgrade" was passed a couple of years ago and was signed by Arnold. The courts had nothing to do with it.

Publicus - Link to text - <... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Publicus - Link to text - pdf.




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