Comments about ‘10th Circuit Court ruling: Reasonable people can have good-faith disagreements’

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Published: Sunday, June 29 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Unreconstructed Reb
Chantilly, VA

Reasonable people certainly can have good-faith disagreements. But the wave of judicial decisions over the last year suggest that one side's reasonableness is doing far better than the other's.

Stormwalker
Cleveland , OH

From Wikipedia: When courts engage in "rational basis review," only the most egregious enactments – those not rationally related to a legitimate government interest – are overturned.

The Ninth said it was animus. The Tenth, more politely, said maybe it wasn't animus but that there isn't any rational reason for this law. Rational basis is the lowest level of scrutiny used, it doesn't even need the targets of the law to be identified as a special class needing protection.

We can split wording hairs all day, but the reality is that the two decisions appear to have been reached by logic that is close and comparable.

As for the poll? "...only 48 percent in favor of gay marriage..." Really? Almost half is "only"? Margin of error? Compared to other polls? And, since when are civil rights put to a vote?

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

There are significant concerns with courts deciding matters best left to the representative branches of government. There are no concerns on my part, however, with courts protecting individual rights when representative branches of government try to usurp them. Reasonable people can have good faith disagreements, to be sure. So you're going to have to be reasonable when same sex marriage prevails.

micawber
Centerville, UT

The conclusion makes no sense to me. If a Court believes the 14th Amendment applies to same sex marriage, it does not have the option to defer to state legislatures or state constitutional amendments. Courts don't choose which cases come before them (except Supreme Courts, which may decline certiorari). It's the court's job to decide issues, even when the decisions are hard or controversial. That's part of our democracy, too.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

"…same-sex marriage is a complex, sensitive, and difficult subject about which reasonable people can have good-faith disagreements."

The problem, though, is that there is nothing "reasonable" about the anti-SSM argument. Its basis is a religious belief that SSM is harmful, yet this claim has been all but given up in the legal realm. Note this op-ed's silence on the subject. And Judge Kelly, the lone dissenting voice so far, says only that it's possible for the State to believe that hetero households are best for children. "Possible to believe" v. "we know this to be true." That's a pretty weak hook on which to hang your hat. In contrast, proponents have demonstrated a multitude of evidence that harm arises from discriminating against gay couples and their families.

I do give SSM opponents the benefit of the doubt that their objections are in good faith. I believe they mean no harm (even though this IS the effect, and the State concedes this). But I cannot agree that opponents' claims and concerns are reasonable. The evidence simply demonstrates otherwise. Faith is the only thing obscuring this truth.

Robert Johnson
Sunland, CA

Nice try Michael, however you are simply wrong. The bigots who opposed inter-racial marriage and extending civil right protections to minorities in the 50's-60's wanted to believe that they also were "reasonable" people. However, they were wrong and history proved them to be wrong. The bigots of today want to hang their hat on their "religious" belief, however, religion cannot be used as a shield. As an attorney, I am surprised that you fail to address the fact that the overwhelming number of Constitutional scholars, even the most conservative, freely admit that opponents of marriage equality are fighting an uphill battle even under a rational basis analysis. You might want to pretend that the war is not over (why do you point to an outlying pool when the vast majority of polling out there say the exact opposite)...and you may try to convince the few desperately clinging on that the battle isn't over. But as Scalia said in his vitriolic dissent, the writing is on the wall.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

This column is revealing.

After going winless at the federal court level, Equality opponents now are counting on a divided Supreme Court either giving them victory, or the basis for undermining the ruling (because it would be 5-4). Then they go on to undermine federal judges ruling on social issues, accusing them of not following law.

If the Supreme Court rules against SSM, 5-4, the proclamation would be we need to support court decisions. Reasonable, indeed.

The assertion is made that SSM is not at all like Loving V Virginia, which overturned bans on interracial marriage. Anyone with a sense of social dynamics and history knows better. Exposing this lie are the arguments used in court to oppose SSM. It's the very same arguments, almost verbatim!

If the cases are all decided one way, the Supreme Court may not even hear the case, as there would be nothing coming up from the appellate level for them to resolve. If this were to occur, or the Supreme Court was split 6-3 or 7-2, opponents of Equality would be even more defiant and angry.

dave
The OC, CA

Nice job cherry picking poll results. You state that only 48% support gay marriage. What you conveniently failed to disclose it that poll was people 65 and over.

Tiago
Seattle, WA

Ericksons - I always appreciate your reasonable and conversational approach to this topic, even while I disagree.
You've argued that those in favor of equal rights for gay people should gently persuade, rather than punish, those who oppose them. I agree.
However, I unfortunately don't see you applying this reasoning to your own position. You believe that a majority of citizens should be able to use legal means, without judicial review, to withhold rights and benefits from minorities who they disagree with in order to incentivize them away from choices you regard as sinful. That same-sex relationships are sinful is your "end in mind," and opponents of SSM have shown that they will use any argument, even false arguments, and any legal means to reach that end. The entire basis of opposition to SSM is to try to maintain a stigma about gay people and make sure their lives are not normalized or tolerated. You think this will keep young people from "turning" gay. I think the strategies employed by opponents of gay rights will turn young people, especially LGBT people and those who know them, away from conservative religions. I think this is a shame.

Kevin J. Kirkham
Salt Lake City, UT

Those opposing SSM do so due to religious beliefs regarding homosexual conduct and/or their personal revulsion toward it. There are no OBJECTIVE reasons to oppose it. Opponents have tried to justify their position by saying that kids would fare better in a traditional home. The studies indicate that that isn't true, but even if it were, we know that denying those kids the legal rights and protections received from having parents who are legally married OBJECTIVELY harms them. Whether or not SSM becomes legal, SS couples will continue to raise children and those children are harmed by SSM bans. No child is helped, yet plenty are harmed.

Opponents try to rationalize their position by saying that marriage benefits are about procreation, which benefits society. Yet gay couples, like many traditional ones, use artificial means to bear children. We also know that many traditional couples (re)marry well beyond childbearing age. Why should those couples be given marriage's legal benefits if they aren't fulfilling the rationale (procreation) for granting them?

Good people can disagree, but when they evaluate the above, they realize that there is no rational objection that justifies denying SSM.

Really???
Kearns, UT

Reasonable discussions mean that we actually listen to each other. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening very often on these boards. A reasonable discussion also means that we seek to understand one another, and that also doesn't occur with much frequency.

When we truly listen to reason, we check out the sources that the other party provides, and we then search our minds and our hearts to see if the words and ideas that have been shared make sense. Being reasonable means that we need to take a hard look at our actions to see if what we say and do actually cause harm to others. If the answer is yes, then a reasonable person will make those tough decisions to change--even at the expense of offending others who they see to be authority figures.

Ranch
Here, UT

"Reasonable people can have good-faith disagreements"

--- Good-faith disagreements don't include taking away someone else's rights.

--- “animus” doesn't necessarily mean hatred.

"That’s significant in light of the bullying of Brendan Eich, former Mozilla CEO, who was pressured to resign for his support of Proposition 8. "

--- LGBT citizens can STILL be fired in Utah, simply for being gay. Until you address that elephant in the room, Brendan Eich is meaningless.

"Regrettably, Wednesday’s opinion by the 10th Circuit continues to make inaccurate comparisons to interracial marriage"

--- Actually the comparison is 100% accurate.

@Jenet and Michael Erickson;

"it continues to be an issue best resolved through deliberative, representative branches of government. "

Do your rights get to be deliberated? No? Then neither should those of LGBT citizens.

MargaretToigo
Dunedin, Pinellas, FL

The Politico poll was broken down by age, and while it is true that overall support for marriage equality is 48%, among those under the age of 35 it's 61% -- and that's only going to go up.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

And the Missouri Mobs were in the majority,
and the KKK and lynch mobs in the South were in the majority,

It doesn't [shouldn't] matter what whatever cherry-picking poll you site,
Constitutional rights apply to ALL citizens --
if when it's ONE vs. the 349,999,999

Amendment 3 was struck down not for banning SSM,
but by banning any and all Constitutional Equal rights being established otherwise in any other fashion, or by any other name.

All-or-Nothing means - All-or-Nothing.

MoNoMo
Fair Oaks, CA

After starting things like Prop 8 and Amendment 3 and losing 20 Federal Court rulings in a row - Now they want to call it "good-faith disagreement."

Ranch
Here, UT

"Reasonable people can have good-faith disagreements"

--- Good-faith disagreements don't include taking away someone else's rights.

--- “animus” doesn't necessarily mean hatred.

"That’s significant in light of the bullying of Brendan Eich, former Mozilla CEO, who was pressured to resign for his support of Proposition 8. "

--- LGBT citizens can STILL be fired in Utah, simply for being gay. Until you address that elephant in the room, Brendan Eich is meaningless.

"Regrettably, Wednesday’s opinion by the 10th Circuit continues to make inaccurate comparisons to interracial marriage"

--- Actually the comparison is 100% accurate.

@Jenet and Michael Erickson;

"it continues to be an issue best resolved through deliberative, representative branches of government. "

Do your rights get to be deliberated? No? Then neither should those of LGBT citizens.

Tiago
Seattle, WA

Effective discussion requires sincerely seeking understanding and dealing with the difficult and complex realities.
I lost respect and patience for the opponents of same-sex marriage in Utah, including this paper, this week when they promoted an event called "From Gay to Straight" with "ex-gay" activist Janet Boynes. They said it would "cut through the confusion."
The strategy: To minimize the experience of SSA, they showcased a former drug dealer and bisexual who has become an Evangelical and calls herself straight because she no longer has relationships with other women. Based on her experience, they say the "truth" is that SSA is caused by childhood trauma and anyone can change from gay to straight through faith-based therapy.
Conveniently, this "truth" is perfectly designed to support their political goals with the least amount of cognitive dissonance.
Never mind that their "truth" contradicts science, mental health understanding, and the experiences of millions of LGBT people. Excuse them for playing fast and loose with facts and vocabulary. Don't worry that they proclaim certainty about things that even LDS church leaders have said are complex and uncertain. Never mind it seems, anyone but themselves and their political goals.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Don't know about the poll cited here, but Gallup says 52% of Americans support SSM as of today. That's a majority. And if you break it down further, you'll find that only the elderly white population now opposes it in any numbers.

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

When you say "supporters of traditional marriage," that's really code for "opponents of marriage for gay people." Claiming support of something is totally disingenuous. No one is opposing marriage for "traditional" couples. Marriage for these couples is not under threat and doesn't need a clarion call for support. No, you're opposing something, specifically equal rights for same-sex couples. Cloaking your opposition in verbiage that "supports" something is essentially dishonest.

By the way, today was the giant NYC gay pride march. More churches and religious organizations than ever participated. I counted 21 distinct organizations. More and more followers of Christ are following His message of Equality and Peace. Your church's doctrine of condemnation and exclusion is your church's and you're welcome to it, but don't expect others to follow after they've truly understood His message of Love.

ordinaryfolks
seattle, WA

The notion that the populace can express its disapproval of a minority, or animus, or religious objections via a popular vote that is violation of the US Constitution turns the idea of Constitutional government on its head. The Judiciary is charged with interpreting law, and its compliance with Constitutional principles. In this way we are all protected from the tyrannies of the majority. And this issue dramatically demonstrates the very notion. The vast majority of judges, both right wing and left, have found the Utah style prohibition of same sex marriage unConstitutional.

That this paper still holds that the vote of the people of Utah to take away the ability of same sex couple to have the same rights, responsibilities and privileges as their heterosexual siblings is unintelligible. It has been demonstrated that same sex couples are a distinct minority who have been discriminated against for no good rational reason. The preponderance of evidence offered by those against same sex marriage was either religious or based on false information.

I wonder just what part of "equal protection under the law" is so hard to understand.

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