Was it just this morning that I read about Arizona’s ludicrous argument against same-sex marriage saying it shouldn’t be legalized because it’s never been legalized?
Yeah, and I thought that was lame, until I stumbled upon Wisconsin’s attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, who says that while the U.S. Constitution doesn’t require states to grant rights — such as the right of same-sex couples to marry — it does bar states from depriving citizens of fundamental rights —such as the right of same-sex couples to marry. So, Wisconsin is not required to allow Carlos and me the right to marry, but Wisconsin cannot deprive me of that right. Huh?
Van Hollen, arguing in a brief filed with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is appealing a federal judge’s decision that declared Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional saying the decision amounted to the creation of a new right of gay marriage, and that allows the feds more control in an area traditionally controlled by states.
Here’s the deal: it’s not a new right of same-sex marriage, because same-sex marriage is no different than opposite-sex marriage; it’s simply allowing same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples. Same-sex marriage will be no different than opposite-sex marriage … except it might be more fabulous.
But then Van Hollen put on his Fonzie leather jacket, went to Hollywood with the Cunninghams, and jumped the shark by comparing marriage equality to abortion:
“Although the constitutional right of privacy protects a woman’s right to obtain an abortion and precludes government from prohibiting or punishing her exercise of that right, there is no corresponding obligation on government to affirmatively endorse or support her exercise of the abortion right.”
My right to marry has absolutely nothing to do with a woman’s right to choose; an abortion is not a marriage, but I guess if you’re a Republican attorney general then it’s best to throw abortion into the mix to rile up the base.
Adding another argument to his case — because so far his reasons are lame and ridiculous — Van Hollen said that sexual orientation has not been declared a “suspect class” subject to heightened protection like gender or race so it doesn’t deserve the same kind of deference in equal protection claims.
But sexual orientation is just like gender and race in that it isn’t a choice; it just is, and should be treated the same.
And finally, because all the lame arguments were used up, Van Hollen went all Arizona on us and said that Wisconsin has historically defined marriage as between a man and a woman, and voters supported that in a 2006 amendment to the state constitution and so it should just stay the way it is.
So, he’s willing to let the people decide on the rights of others? That might be his undoing because the tide is changing and one day, unless, and when, Wisconsin’s marriage ban is overturned by the courts and the ruling stands, the good people of Wisconsin will realize that same-sex marriage hurts no one, but banning it hurts a great many people.
And for no good reason.