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Appeals judges question right to sue in Oklahoma gay marriage case

Same panel that heard Utah appeal raises similar questions

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  • News2use Sandy, UT
    April 23, 2014 10:52 p.m.

    Marriage came about because it was in the interest of the state to get involved due to the unique procreative ability of the heterosexual relationship.The state did not want the burden of caring for illegitimate children.It is not necessarily in the interest of the state to promote all relationships in the same manner. (It would require the appreciation of nuance to understand this notion, which isn't possible with the inflammatory reaction surrounding gay issues).

  • News2use Sandy, UT
    April 23, 2014 10:51 p.m.

    David
    Centerville, UT

    It seems to me that who or what you love is not protected by the US Constitution. But race is protected because we do not look upon race as a defining characteristic. Rather, we speak of "all men are created equal". But we do not see in the Constitution, nor can we imagine, that "all love" is protected.

    We can overcome all of the legal considerations (health decisions, hospital visitation rights, HIPAA rights, inheritance, etc without destroying traditional marriage. It seems that gays want to "punch" and destroy marriage and religious people more than they want to secure benefits.
    I find this interesting too. Since civil unions came about before gay marriage why haven't "gay rights" activists pushed to expand their benefits and preserve their differences through civil unions? Presumably, because their goal is not marriage per se, but rather to "mainstream" homosexuality. The "love" campaign - fueled by anger, hate speech,bullying, victimology, rogue administration and judges legislating from the bench-did just that. It could not have come about in a fair and rational way.

  • Testimony Philadelphia, PA
    April 21, 2014 4:29 p.m.

    Mr. Coltakashi,

    You seem to be confusing sex with marriage. Ask anyone who's either single or married or divorced and they'll tell you that you can have one without the other, and lots of people do.

    If by "homosexual activity" you mean gay and lesbian sex, that ship sailed several years ago when the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that adults are entitled to privacy and that sodomy laws violate the U.S. Constitution.

    So, if marriage is not about sex, what is it about? Maybe it's different for different people, but for me it was for building a life together, supporting and being supported by somebody you love, choosing who you want to grow old with. My wife and I have been married for over three decades, so we obviously chose well. I'd say it makes no difference to us if a same-sex couple wants to get married, except for one thing. We can't stand to see unjust laws like Utah's get in the way. What's the point? Other than serving doctrinal religious prejudices, we don't see any, and we don't share your religion.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    April 21, 2014 3:17 p.m.

    When Congress and the states enacted the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, absolutely none of them thought that it entitled homosexual activity to be treated the same as marriage. The idea is an innovation, and claiming that it is a right based on the 14th Amendment, and binding on all the states, is flat dishonesty and judicial tyranny. If the courts do not obey the constitution, they are not entitled to our obedience.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    April 21, 2014 9:55 a.m.

    @SeldomSeenSmith: You're right. Our country has no monolithic culture. This is a multi-cultural country, and I wouldn't trade it for a million dollars. Within a leisurely ten minute walk from my front door, besides American and fast food restaurants, and ten pizza shops, I have authentic Mexican, Fujianese, Kosher, Halal, Puerto Rican, Szechuan, Cantonese, Ecuadorian, Turkish, Thai, Uruguayan, Vietnamese, Malaysian, and a couple of fusion joints.

    My part of NYC is also known as The Borough of Churches. Every religion on the planet is here, and if there are any alien ones, they're probably here, too. We don't all love each other, but we all love Brooklyn and its ability to accommodate us all, and we live in peace.

    It doesn't bother me to see Hasidic Jews on the street, or Syrian Arabs, or Buddhist monks, or tattooed butch lesbians holding hands with their wives, pushing a stroller.

    Our commerce and nightlife are booming. Our churches are full on Sunday, Saturday, or Friday, depending on the denomination.

    Anywhere else would be boring. And less free.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 21, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    @Seldom Seen Smith
    "Marriage is essentially meaningless, citizenship is meaningless, family is meaningless.

    Our country has no cultural norms, America is disintegrating."

    Another Cassandra, sure that the sky will fall if his religious views of marriage aren't codified into law. Since you're certain that this country is falling to pieces, better look for a place where religious doctrine is the law. Unfortunately, your choices will be quite limited, mostly in places where Shariah (Islamic) law rules the land. In the meantime, since you've decided marriage and family are meaningless, it appears that you're free to date again without concerning yourself about your wife and children, yes?

    For the rest of us, we're just as married as we were before this court case, and we'll be just as married after the Supremes rule on it. We heard the same cries of doom when women were given the right to vote and own property, when desegregation became the law, when miscegenation laws were tossed out and when the courts ruled that homosexuality was legal, and that wailing was just as silly and misguided then as it is now.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 21, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    If the purpose of marriage is to "channel naturally procreative relationships into committed unions", how would they deal with couples who are past the age of childbearing but want to get married, those who are simply not fertile, and those who do not wish to have children? How are those groups of people differently situated than same sex couples from a procreative standpoint? Until and unless the State is prepared to both limit marriage to those who can and will produce children, and to require pregnant women to marry the biological father and remain married to him, this remains a specious argument with more holes than an aged Swiss cheese.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    April 20, 2014 4:47 p.m.

    I just listened to the oral argument period from last Thursday on the Oklahoma case. I doubt anyone will be able to predict how the Court will rule, just from listening to the arguments. The filed briefs are probably much more predictive.

    I will say this, though. I find it very difficult to believe that Courts will allow any state to deny recognition of the marriages of couples conducted in another state. The Windsor (DOMA) ruling by the Supreme Court has pretty well paved the way for that.

    And, if Oklahoma or Utah has to recognize all marriages performed in other states, and can't ban its own citizens from getting married elsewhere, then it's pretty much game over for banning same-sex marriage. Even if the Court allows the states to define marriage in a way that bans same-sex couples from getting an in-state license, that will be a difference without much of a distinction.

  • Candied Ginger Brooklyn, OH
    April 19, 2014 3:31 p.m.

    @Rustymommy

    When I was 8 my mom started working. During the school year she was home by the time we got off the bus, over that summer we needed a sitter.

    She interviewed a college girl from down the road who was going to be home. My brother and one of my sisters spied on them.

    My brother said, "She's so pretty. I want to marry her!"

    My sister said, "She's so pretty, I wish I could look like her."

    And I was thinking, "I don't care if I look like her, but I want to marry her, too."

    It was the first time I really realized I was different.

    In middle school and high school I didn't look at the boys, but I was always aware of the girls. I tried a few dates, and it was weird. The first boy who asked me out thought I liked him - I had a crush on his sister.

    I came out in college and never looked back.

    I want my relationship and family to have equal treatment under the law.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    April 19, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    @Rustymommy

    Do you want to marry a woman? Of course not, you are straight. You want to marry a man to whom you are attracted and with whom you want to share your life in every way, from intimacy and companionship to the activities of daily living and planning a joint future.

    Me too. I mean, yes, I could marry a woman. In fact, I did. A couple of times. Tried to make it work and it was miserable for both of us. When I finally admitted the problem and moved into honesty, I found a relationship that works very well. We are solid and happy and look to the future.

    You are telling me the only kind of legally recognized relationship you think I should have is one that experience tells me will not work. At the same time, you are telling me you get to have the kind of relationship you really want and that you find fulfilling and yours gets to be legally recognized.

    Somehow, that does not seem right.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    April 18, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    David says:

    "Many traditional marriage and religious believers worry that normalization of gay marriage will cause more experimentation among rising generations."

    --- So? Not a valid reason to deny mariage to LGBT.

    " For a religious believer, such as myself, the gay lifestyle is sinful."

    --- Then don't do it.

    "Elder Holland, ...spoke of ..."

    --- We are not a theocracy; Elder Holland has no standing nor any say in other people's lives.

    @Rustymommy;

    You can believe in any religion as long as it is Methodist. How does that sound to you? You're offering a choice that really is no choice at all.

  • Rustymommy Clovis, NM
    April 18, 2014 2:39 p.m.

    "We just want to be treated like other Oklahomans."? Well that is exactly what happened. Every Oklahoman who applied for a marriage license was required to meet a specific criteria. The issue isn't whether a gay person can get married or not. Certainly they may. The issue is that the law of the state requires that marriage partners be of opposite sexes. They were treated the same as every other Oklahoman who applied; their request was considered but refused because the marriage partners didn't meet the state's specific criteria.

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    April 18, 2014 2:32 p.m.

    @David
    You said: "normalization of gay marriage will cause more experimentation among rising generations...for a religious believer, such as myself, the gay lifestyle is sinful."
    Your comment is fine as a personal belief but it cannot be the basis of U.S. law.
    The U.S. Constitution protects an individual's rights to make moral and sexual choices--including the choice to engage in the "gay lifestyle." Since Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, same-sex sexual activity has been legal in all the U.S. A law designed to inhibit an individual from exercising that right is in violation of the constitution.
    The moral beliefs of any number of other citizens cannot prevent another US citizen from being gay.
    The right to marry is another protected right guaranteed by the law. The current debate is about whether or not the state has a rational basis for prohibiting one class of people (homosexuals) from marriage. That rational basis needs to be more than moral disapproval or "ick" factor. Laws designed specifically to disadvantage and stigmatize homosexuals for no other rational purpose are not legal.

  • Nungwa WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    April 18, 2014 1:33 p.m.

    If you do not approve of marriage to someone of the same gender, no one will force you to do so. This isn't a matter of religious freedom - no religious officiant is required and therefore none can be compelled to perform a marriage ceremony.

    Just as you wish your religious beliefs to be honored, it should be noted that others believe differently and have the same right to that belief as you.

    Marriage equality will not affect the marriages of opposite sex couples - at least not those who have been living authentically.

  • fact based Salt Lake, UT
    April 18, 2014 1:21 p.m.

    @ David.

    Hundreds of studies dating back to the 1950's conclusive show that ones religious view can actually be changed. For example, many folks over centuries have changed their religious view in order to marry. One the other hand, sexual orientation, homosexual, bi-sexual and heterosexual are for most people, shown to be fundamental immutable characteristics of ones identity and person-hood, like, race, gender, eye color etc.

    Would changing ones religious view produce a better outcome in civil marriage law, rather than focusing on the natural behaviors than come from ones individual sexual orientation?

  • Willem Los Angeles, CA
    April 18, 2014 12:24 p.m.

    Attorney Charles Cooper, a former opponent of same-sex unions, learned while defending the ban in court on Prop 8 in the state of California that one of his children is gay, according to an upcoming book written about the battle for marriage equality. He said his stance on the issue is evolving as he helps his stepdaughter Ashley plan her wedding with another woman!

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    April 18, 2014 12:13 p.m.

    @ David, Why should your view of sin be codified into civil marriage law. What about others moral truth and their Proclamation?

    "LGBT men and young women will continue to be vulnerable to the sins of homophobia and heterosexism, to the violence of hate and fear until we in the church can say to homosexuals now what it has said to heterosexuals for 2,000 years. Your sexuality is good. The church not only accepts it. The church celebrates it and rejoices in it. God loves you as you are, and the church can do no less." -2014 Episcopal Proclamation, National Cathedral.

    @ RedWings. Do you think it reasonable for the government to require someone to change their sexual orientation (heterosexual, bi-sexual or Homosexual) in order to civil marry? If so, what is the nexus (specific cause and effect relationship and result) or state interest in doing so?

  • David Centerville, UT
    April 18, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    Many traditional marriage and religious believers worry that normalization of gay marriage will cause more experimentation among rising generations. For a religious believer, such as myself, the gay lifestyle is sinful. Please do not hyperventilate and attack me with your hate language now. Because I believe the behavior is sinful does not mean I hate the sinner.

    Elder Holland, in the April 2014 general conference, spoke of Christ as one who loved all people, but never once condoned sin. He taught that even the thought of a sinful act was already a degree of sin (sounds pretty serious to me, and not dismissive of any type of sinful behavior). We are all sinners to some degree. So we are commanded to forgive and love all people, but not to condone sin.

    So if I, as a religious believer, am living in a society that allows and condones gay marriage, I worry that the youth may experiment with this type of behavior.

    Same it true for marijuana, which was legalized in CO. This week a young man threw himself off a balcony to his death, under the influence of "legal" marijuana.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    April 18, 2014 11:09 a.m.

    equal protection: "we should also have freedom of sexual orientation protected as a fundamental right in the constitution, no?"

    I believe this has been protected with the elimination of the sodomy laws. No one is advocating making homosexuality illegal. Personally, it is against my religious beliefs, but I also respect others rights and agency.

    Again, we are confusing behavior with characteristic. Marriage is a behavior. No one is forced to marry anyone. To your point, if sexual "orientation" is changeable, then the right to marry would be available to all. I know formerly gay men who are not attracted to any other women but their wife. They are married, have kids, and are blissfully happy with no desire to return to their former lifestyle. Not everyone will have this, but it is possible.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    April 18, 2014 11:07 a.m.

    @RBB: "Moreover, this is not just about the right to marry."

    If you are going to provide services for weddings, then provide services for weddings. If you want to discriminate against a group of people then perhaps your business would work better in Russia or Pakastain or some other place that does not have constitutional rights.

    The photographer broke a state law that was imposed on all businesses. She sued trying to convince the state that she should be able to break the law based on her religion. She lost because this is not a theorcracy.

    @David:

    The Constitution may have said "all men" but what at the time that meant wealthy white protestant males. Only. Over time the courts have found that it includes all races, both genders, all religions, and now Gays and Lesbians. You know. "All."

    And I am not punching marriage. I want you to stop kicking my relationship down the stairs and out the door.

    @RedWings:

    Religion is a choice. You can't tell dirty jokes at work, and you can't limit my relationship because of our belief in a bronze-age tribal deity.

  • Candied Ginger Brooklyn, OH
    April 18, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    @David

    "What our society does has consequences. It matters how we define marriage."
    _________________

    This isn't theory. Your life and marriage wont change in any way if SSM is legal.

    For us it is reality. Marrying my partner means for the cost of a marriage license we get about 1,400 legal protections and benefits for our relationship and our family. Some of those benefits can be had now, but at a high cost for lawyers and paperwork.

    If we get married you feel like marriage is "punched."

    If we can't get married it has real effects on our family, on my two kids.

    Southern whites said "separate but equal" was fair and worked great. Southern blacks lived it and knew better and the courts finally struck it down.

    You can't convince me that it would work any better for marriage, that my family would be treated just like your family under some "not-marriage-but-equal" plan that would make us second class.

    It has consequences. If it passes you are offended. Not passing it hurts my family and my kids.

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    April 18, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    @ RedWings "homosexuality is genetic and unchangeable. This is not proven by fact or scientific evidence." Neither is your own sexual orientation. If sexual orientation is indeed a choice and changeable, like going to a different church each week, then we should also have freedom of sexual orientation protected as a fundamental right in the constitution, no?

    What we do know, is that a right to marry one other person for which there is NO attraction or desire of intimacy, is quite frankly NO right at all.

    @ RBB, a mother and daughter already have a legally family recognized relationship. Marriage establishes a legally recognized relationship with same-sex and opposite sex couples a long with a presumption of intimacy.

  • Candied Ginger Brooklyn, OH
    April 18, 2014 10:02 a.m.

    @RBB
    "What is interesting is that numerous people who support gat marriage are opposed to polygamy."

    I support Gay marriage, and I am not opposed to polygamy. Or, as it generally called, polyamory. I am not interested in participating in it, but I have known people in poly relationships.

    Some worked very well, some were very unstable. The most stable were the ones that were open about it with friends, family, at work, etc. Not sensationalist, just open. The least stable were secretive and borderline cheating, where there was not openness and equal power in the situation.

    These relationships are about adults making choices of their own free will, not about religious coercion where women are treated like property and children are abused.

    Should polyamory be legal? Yes, when it is illegal it is hidden and abuse happens. Should it be legalized as a form of marriage? That is harder, because it means complicated legal relationships and outcomes. It would take a lot of work to make it workable.

    Incest has nothing to do with marriage. A mother and daughter already have a legal relationship, visitation, property laws and etc.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    April 18, 2014 9:28 a.m.

    Gay rights are about behavior, not a characteristic (like race). Same-sex attraction may be a characteristic, but acting on it sexually is always a behavior choice. For the courts to extend anti-discrimination protection to behavior opens a door I don't think a lot of people have thought of:

    - Can a business refuse to hire a candidate who has a full-arm tattoo?
    - Can a food manufacturing business terminate an employee for getting facial piercings?

    We have along history of restricting freedoms that infringe on others' rights. For example, I cannot tell sexual jokes in the workplace if others are offended. My free speech does not precluse their rights. It is unfortunate that society skipped over the basic argument in favor of immediate protection of a behavior many disagree with and are offended by....

    Courts are veering off this standard with SSM, mainly due to the propoganda in the press and entertainment culture that homosexuality is genetic and unchangeable. This is not proven by fact or scientific evidence.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    April 18, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    What is interesting is that numerous people who support gat marriage are opposed to polygamy. If it is really about people should be able to marry the one they love then polygamy should be legal, as should incest (assuming both are consenting).

    The ultimate question is should the state have power to say that certain relationships deserve more protection than others. Why should two gay men have greater rights than a mother and daughter who have chosen to live together? Why can't they be "married" so they can have the same legal rights re property, visitation, etc.

    You have to draw the line somewhere or literally anything goes. Moreover, this is not just about the right to marry. As soon as guy marriage is legalized, those who support it will push antidiscimination laws that will force people to participate in celebrating conduct that they find morally objectionable. Just ask the photographer in New Mexico who lost a lawsuit for refusing to photograph a gay wedding.

  • BJMoose Syracuse, UT
    April 18, 2014 7:38 a.m.

    I agree with equal-protection's comment: "There is no parental fitness test in civil marriage law either, even the most horrific of abusers and other felons are allowed to civil marry (structure of the rearing of children)." One need look no further than at Nathan and Stephanie to find a prime example.

  • AmPatriot Taylorsville, UT
    April 18, 2014 4:47 a.m.

    Not only should they question the right of gays to challenge the states Constitution in federal courts we must question the right of federal and supreme courts to challenge state Constitution once they have been written and voted on by the citizens of the state to become a state then ratified by the congress cannot be challenged by federal courts without challenging the authority of the Congressmen.

    Once a state Constitution is ratified by the congressmen the Courts do not have the right to make a state rewrite there Constitution for personal and political threat. Blackmail and political Courts oppression are crimes of treason.

    The federal courts nor supreme courts can ratify nor De-ratify or question a state or federal Constitution or law. They obey the laws as intended and make sure laws do not contradict the Constitution or each other. Civil laws are not the jurisdiction of federal courts or the president.

    Congress can override the Supreme Court and federal laws just as they have written and repealed many laws without the consent of the Courts, its Congress job, not the President or Supreme Court to challenge or write our laws.

  • Bob K portland, OR
    April 18, 2014 2:42 a.m.

    David
    Centerville, UT
    "We can overcome all of the legal considerations (health decisions, hospital visitation rights, HIPAA rights, inheritance, etc without destroying traditional marriage. It seems that gays want to "punch" and destroy marriage and religious people more than they want to secure benefits."

    ---Suppose the law decided that mormonism, which is a choice (once you are an adult) was outside mainstream Christianity so far that lds people should call themselves sealed, and could not legally call themselves married?

    ---Do you see that you want Gay people not to call themselves married because you cannot stand the thought of their having equal status to you?

    ---If Utah had offered "the back of the bus" 10 years ago, Gay folks would probably have accepted it. Now, they have seen the promised land, and those who insist on inequality come across like the people who chased mormons out of the Midwest, or worse.

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    April 18, 2014 1:11 a.m.

    @ David "What our society does has consequences. It matters how we define marriage."

    Exactly how has excluding same-sex couples made opposite sex couples do something different than they did before same-sex couples were able to marry? Can you provide some specific examples? 1.. 2... 3... 4... 5.. 6.... etc. Otherwise, you've only made a sky will fall assertion without any facts or evidence.

    There is no parental fitness test in civil marriage law either, even the most horrific of abusers and other felons are allowed to civil marry (structure of the rearing of children). Your issue seems to rest better with the legal requirements in adoptive, reproductive and family law for same-sex couples that determine actual parenting and not civil marriage law. Moreover, all Americans have a fundamental constitutional right not to procreate, even same-sex couples.

  • Seldom Seen Smith Orcutt, CA
    April 18, 2014 12:20 a.m.

    Marriage is essentially meaningless, citizenship is meaningless, family is meaningless.

    Our country has no cultural norms, America is disintegrating.

  • tedward55 Little Rock, AR
    April 17, 2014 10:54 p.m.

    @ David
    There is nothing about SSM that destroys OSM. That is just an old argument meant to scare people and legislators into continuing this discrimination that does not have a rational basis.

  • David Centerville, UT
    April 17, 2014 10:10 p.m.

    It seems to me that who or what you love is not protected by the US Constitution. But race is protected because we do not look upon race as a defining characteristic. Rather, we speak of "all men are created equal". But we do not see in the Constitution, nor can we imagine, that "all love" is protected.

    Our country was built upon religious principles. Traditional, historic (millennia) marriage has been between a man and a woman. A father and a mother constitute the best form of organization, council, and structure for the rearing of children. Current PC and liberal "enlightenment" cannot create a better organization for the rearing of children, nor the most basic structure of a family, than a father and a mother, a man and a woman as the head of the family.

    What our society does has consequences. It matters how we define marriage.

    We can overcome all of the legal considerations (health decisions, hospital visitation rights, HIPAA rights, inheritance, etc without destroying traditional marriage. It seems that gays want to "punch" and destroy marriage and religious people more than they want to secure benefits.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    April 17, 2014 9:56 p.m.

    @ Lovely Deseret: if they had punted on Utah your conclusion might have the potential to be realistic - but since your conclusion totally ignores a completely different treatment of the Utah case, I feel it safe to say you are mistaken.

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    April 17, 2014 9:15 p.m.

    Punt on standing? To me that says there is no clear Constitutional right to redefine marriage but they don't want to go against the media or the establishment so they punt based on standing.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    April 17, 2014 7:58 p.m.

    I think I see now why this case has taken ten years. If you listen to the audio it sounds like one panel of judges told them to do one thing, and now this panel is suggesting that was a mistake.

    In the meantime, Judge Kelly, who most people thought was in favor in the marriage ban during the Utah hearing, sounded completely different in this case. He was very hard on the Oklahoma's case, even though it sounded identical to what Utah presented.

    I guess you shouldn't try too many conclusions from the questions the judges ask.