Thursday, January 22, 2015

Q Toon: Phil? Hey, Phil? Phil! Phil Connors?

Last year, the Supreme Court surprised everyone by declining to hear a marriage equality case. Without explanation, the court decided to ignore appeals from Republican state Attorneys General who were trying to overturn marriage equality rulings in Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia.

Suddenly, marriage equality was the law of the land!

Well, no, not quite.

The court's non-ruling came about because after it had found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional (U.S. v. Windsor, 2013), all lower courts had consistently ruled in favor of marriage equality. Then, the contrarian Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the same-sex-marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Jan 22, 2015

And the issue came right back to the highest court in the nation. The Supremes now have a chance to decide this issue once and for all!

Again, no, not quite.

If they rule to uphold the Sixth Circuit decision, it could throw the marriages of those of us who got married in Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia into legal limbo. At the very least, marriages from any of the 36 states where they are now legal would be nullified any time we'd move to or even travel through marriage discrimination states.

And if they overturn the Sixth Circuit decision, several Republican state legislatures have proposed or passed "religious liberty" laws creating a "right" for employers, insurers, municipal clerks, hospital employees and whoever else feels like it to treat married couples as unrelated strangers.

Texas is even considering a law, House Bill 623, that says, "State or local taxpayer funds or governmental salaries may not be used for an activity that includes the licensing or support of same-sex marriage" -- meaning that even a gay-friendly clerk who issues a marriage license to a same-sex couple is in danger of losing her job.

So sit back and wait to see how this issue eventually turns out. The Supremes have plenty of time to learn how to play the piano, carve ice, and recite French poetry.

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