Kentucky, Idaho Beseiged By Judges Ramming Equality Down Their Throats
Two more red states have been victimized by judges who took away their precious right to make sure citizens are only as equal as Jesus wants them to be. In Kentucky, a federal judge ruled that the statemust recognize same-sex marriages from outside the state, and in Idaho, the state Supreme Court said that adoptions cannot be rejected on the basis of the adoptive parent's sexual orientation. Rightwing cultural warriors shouldn't worry too much about any of this, since it's probably just a fad and will just go away eventually. (Let's just keep telling them that until they age out of the voting population, OK?)
So in Kentucky, the issue wasn't exactly an attempt to get licenses for gay marriages, but rather a suit brought by four couples who had been married in other states that have marriage equality. The decision by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II said that Kentucky's marriage laws "treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them," and that the law was invalid because it "discriminates against a class of people without other reasons."
"The Court concludes that Kentucky's denial of recognition for valid same-sex marriages violates the United States Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law, even under the most deferential standard of review. Accordingly, Kentucky's statutes and constitutional amendment that mandate this denial are unconstitutional."
Especially delicious, as Mark Stern at Slate points out, is that Heyburn's reasoning in the decision plays off of Antonin Scalia's dissent in last summer's case that struck down DOMA. Scalia mocked the U.S v. Windsor decision, saying it could be extended to overturn state bans on gay marriage; and Heyburn retooled passages from Windsor that Scalia objected to, converting a sarcastic reply into an actual decision. Nicely played!
The Kentucky decision only applies to couples married in other states, but Heyburn's decision also said that if the gay marriage ban were directly challenged, “there is no doubt that Windsor and this court’s analysis” would lead to its being overruled. You've got to bet that by sometime in the next, say, four minutes, another suit will be filed to seek exactly that.
Needless to say, there was the usual apocalyptic reaction from a "pro-family" spokesman who is only pro-some-families:
The decision was blasted by Paul Chitwood, executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, who described it as both "tragic and disappointing."
"As Heyburn declares that the Commonwealth must recognize gay marriages performed in other states, the Constitution of Kentucky is being undermined. This decision moves us down the slippery slope toward launching Kentucky into moral chaos and depriving children of their innate need of both a father and a mother.
God Almighty, on the other hand, did not see fit to smite the state, but is undoubtedly going to cause an earthquake or tornado somewhere else in a few months as a sure sign of His dissatisfaction.
In Idaho, it's not a federal judge overturning state law, but the state's Supreme Court clarifying Idaho law. Boise couple Darcy Drake Simpson and Rene Simpson have been together since 1995, and got married in California last year. Rene Simpson has two sons, and Ms. Drake Simpson filed to adopt them as well. An Ada County judge had denied Drake Simpson's petition last September, ruling that it was invalid since the couple's marriage was not recognized in Idaho. In her decision, she wrote,
"(T)his court concludes that the legislature's intent in relation to adoptions is that the petitioner must be in a lawfully recognized union, i.e. married to the prospective adoptee's parent, to have legal standing to file a petition to adopt that person's biological or adopted child."
Well, that's just like, your opinion, judge. In Monday's decision, the state Supreme Court threw out the county ruling since Idaho's adoption law says only that "'any person' may adopt a minor child." The statute doesn't place any restrictions on adoptive parents -- neither for sexual orientation or for marital status, which shouldn't be too surprising since one of Rene Simpson's sons is adopted -- and she had no problems doing that as a single lesbian. (Sounds to us like that there Ada County judge was doing a little judicial activism of her own!)
The Supreme Court decision explicitly rejected the earlier contention that a "lawfully recognized union" was a prerequisite to adoption:
"In sum, the magistrate’s interpretation of Idaho law is simply not supported by the plain text of the statute. In light of the unambiguous language in I.C. 16-1501 that allows for 'any adult person residing in and having residence in Idaho' to adopt 'any minor child,' and because chapter 15 contains no provisions that limit adoption to those who are married, Idaho’s adoption statutes plainly allow Jane Doe to adopt John Doe and John Doe I."
Pretty darned awesome if you ask us. Yr Doktor Zoom is inspired by this, especially because he now has a wider pool of potential adoptive parents to threaten Kid Zoom with next time the boy stays up all night playing video games.
Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter, or he'll put you up for adoption and hide your computer. KIDDING! But seriously, go the fuck to bed, you.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.