Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-12-11
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Senate Holds Hearings on Judicial 'Activism'
by Bob Roehr

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision on gay marriage was the subject of a hearing by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on March 3. Its title, 'Judicial Activism vs. Democracy,' was an indication of how subcommittee chairman John Cornyn, R-Texas, viewed the subject.

'Renegade judges (and some local officials) are attempting to radically redefine marriage. Marriage laws have already been flouted in Massachusetts, California, New Mexico, and New York' and lawsuits on the subject have been filed in 13 other states, Cornyn said in his opening remarks. 'This is no longer a state issue, this is a national issue ... requiring a national solution.'

'Two words: activist judges,' are the reason why a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages is needed. Cornyn asserted, 'The institution of marriage was not created to discriminate or oppress—it was established to protect and nurture children.'

That claim—that marriage was all about children—would be repeated incessantly by foes of gay marriage, most of whom emphasized a religious connection with marriage.

It does not square with the ancient historical roots of marriage as a property claim of the husband over one or more women, nor with the last half century of marriage law in the U.S. that includes children but also continues to expand far beyond that limitation.

The social conservatives offered no new arguments in their testimony and little more than feelings and anecdotes of the destruction that they believe gay marriage will wreck upon American society

Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington Bureau of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said they 'strongly oppose the so-called Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) and all other proposals that would use the Constitution to discriminate and restrict rather than expand and protect the rights for any and all persons.'

The NAACP has not taken a position on the question of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

'We strongly oppose the notion of addressing this issue of social policy in our nation's governing document,' said Chuck Muth, president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative organization with a libertarian bent.

He downplayed an absolutist notion of democracy, saying, 'Even if 85% of people polled thought that bringing back slavery or taking away the right of women to vote in a particular state was a good idea, the Constitution simply doesn't permit it.'

Muth also fears that 'this effort could be the first step toward the federalization of family law,' an area heretofore solely the jurisdiction of the states. 'Under the guise of a homosexual crisis, can we expect a Federal Department of Family Affairs at the cabinet level by decade's end?' He used the example of education, which until recently had been seen as a strictly local and state responsibility.

Yale law professor R. Lea Brilmayer dismissed fears of social conservatives that the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution would be used to impose gay marriage upon the country. 'To my knowledge, [that clause] never in a single case been read to force one state to recognize a marriage entered into in another state, that was contrary to the local policies of the [second] state.'

She said the 'public policy doctrine' gives the state a right to not enforce a legal action, such as marriage, that is entered into in another state. With regard to marriage, there is more than a century of case law recognizing that states do not have to recognize other state laws when it comes to questions of first cousins marrying, age of consent, recent divorces, and other issues.

'This problem is as old as the hills, and it's not much of a problem. It's never caused any type of constitutional crisis,' said Brilmayer. 'That leaves me scratching my head and thinking what is all of this about?'

Responding to a question from Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., Brilmayer said there has never been a constitutional amendment 'to correct one state interpreting its own law in a way that people outside the state think to be erroneous.'

Feingold was troubled by the labeling of the hearing 'because it is not only a gross mischaracterization of the current legal landscape, but it sounds as though advocates of a constitutional amendment think that judges should have no role in our constitutional democracy.'

In proposing a constitutional amendment now, and foreclosing options to the states, its proponents are the ones 'who threatened to take this issue away from the American people ... . Do we want to launch what amounts to a pre-emptive strike on our Constitution?' Feingold did not.

Richard Durbin, D-Ill., defended the 'judicial activism' that struck down racial segregation in education, laws that banned inter-racial marriage, and allowed for contraception and family planning. 'Does anyone argue that these did not promote democracy in America?'

'If we are going to adopt the premise that religious values should enshrined in the Constitution, then I think we are moving into perilous territory,' said Durbin. 'We get into dangerous territory, when we go beyond the question of legality and into sanctity.'

Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massa., said, 'By endorsing this shameful proposed amendment, in a desperate tactic to divide Americans in an attempt to salvage his faltering re-election campaign, President Bush will go down in history as the first President to try to write bias back into our Constitution.'

'Too often, this debate over the definition of marriage and the legal incidents of marriage has overlooked the very personal and loving family relationships that would be prohibited by a constitutional amendment. Increasingly large numbers of children across the country today have same-sex parents. What does it do to these children and their well-being when the President of the United States says their parents are second-class Americans?'

Speaking with reporters after the hearing, Cornyn said he anticipates having another hearing on language of a possible constitutional amendment at the end of the month when Congress returns from its March recess. A handful of possible amendments have been mentioned. As chair of the subcommittee, he has maintained a position of neutrality on the options.

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


State rep candidate reveals connection to Gacy 2019-12-11
Memoir profiles lesser-known sides of Edie Windsor 2019-12-11
WORLD Marriages in Brazil, chemsex, couple attacked, Gus Kenworthy 2019-12-10
GOP offers answer to Equality Act; LGBTQs criticize measure 2019-12-06
Lambda Legal to 11th Circuit: Schools Must Provide Trans Students Equal Restroom Access 2019-12-05
Johnson retires after Lightfoot fires him 2019-12-05
Pritzker strengthens state's cannabis law 2019-12-04
WORLD Haitian activist dies, New Zealand spot, teens admit guilt 2019-12-02
LGBTQ groups to Supreme Court: Strike down unconstitutional abortion law 2019-12-02
NATIONAL Activists' honor, N.J. attorney general, gay bar closes, Warhol display 2019-12-02
CPD's Johnson fired weeks before retirement 2019-12-02
Center for Disability and Elder Law launches 'Proud to Thrive' 2019-11-30
Ceremony held for lesbian U.S District Judge Mary Rowland 2019-11-30
Raoul among attorneys general to argue trans students should use restrooms of gender identities 2019-11-27
NU professor talks about delving into the heart of 'Infectious Blackness' 2019-11-27
WORLD Danger index, Canada anniv., gay dads split, Cyndi Lauper 2019-11-26
Illinoisans among 39 Victory Fund endorsements for 2019/2020 2019-11-26
ABA names Stonewall Award honorees for legal profession's LGBT advancements 2019-11-25
Lightfoot, officials announce 'Cannabis Facts' campaign 2019-11-25
461,000 LGBT people in Ohio are vulnerable to discrimination 2019-11-21
HRC Foundation releases 2019 Index rating cities on LGBTQ inclusion 2019-11-21
Lambda Legal Denounces the Advancement of Lawrence Van Dyke's nomination 2019-11-21
Smollett files malicious prosecution countersuit 2019-11-20
AMA supports laws protecting youth from conversion therapy, NCLR responds 2019-11-20
Report identifies best practices in management of LGBTIs in correctional settings 2019-11-20
Cook County Clerk's office celebrates marriage equality milestones 2019-11-20
State of LGBTQ Equality in nine Illinois cities detailed in HRC's index 2019-11-19
HRC plots course ahead at 2019 Chicago gala 2019-11-18
HRC Foundation releases report on anti-trans violence 2019-11-18
Palatine school district to back trans access to restrooms, lockers 2019-11-15
Lambda Legal decries Menashi's confirmation to lifetime judicial appointment 2019-11-14
CDEL starts program for LGBT elders 2019-11-13
Center for Law and Social Work gives LGBTQ families equal footing 2019-11-13
Historic human-rights group to relaunch in Chicago 2019-11-12
WORLD Movie premiere, Argentina's president, jail sentences in Malaysia 2019-11-12
FBI report shows rise in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes 2019-11-12
LGBTQ veterans denied honorable discharges regain NY state benefits 2019-11-12
NATIONAL Manhattan sculpture, Pulse memorial, TrevorLIVE LA, unsolved murder 2019-11-12
Former L.A. chief to temporarily lead CPD 2019-11-08
Same-sex marriage overturned in Caymans 2019-11-08

Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.