Can you name the U.S. Supreme Court Justice?
1. It must have brought a Flood of emotions: his clerks wrote him a card on Valentine’s Day, 1985, that read “Respondents are red, petitioners are blue. We’re very lucky to have a Justice like you.”
2. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.” It’s no mystery that this passage comes from the closing paragraph of the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), authored by this Justice.
3. Rush Limbaugh’s wedding to the “Jacksonville Jaguar” Marta Fitzgerald, was held at this Justice’s home in 1994. As the officiant, the Justice may have been required to ask a question or two. Alas, the couple ending up splitting a decade later.
4. Toxic love triangle: Carol Anne Bond was excited when her closest friend announced she was pregnant. Excitement turned to rage when Bond learned that her husband was the child’s father. Bond went to the former BFF’s home at least 24 times in order to spread toxic chemicals on surfaces her nemesis would touch; she was prosecuted under federal law for her actions. In ruling that the Chemical Weapons Convention did not apply, this Justice explained why he was not upholding the mandate in this case: “The global need to prevent chemical warfare does not require the Federal Government to reach into the kitchen cupboard.” Bond v. United States (2014).
5. This notorious Justice penned the majority opinion in Sole v. Wyner (2007). The case involved a rebuffed attempt by Wyner to assemble nude individuals into a peace sign on a Florida beach, on Valentine’s Day, 2003.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
The right of same-sex couples to marry triggered decades of intense conflict before the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it in the 2015 decision Obergefell v. Hodges. Some of the most divisive contests shaping the quest for marriage equality occurred within the ranks of LGBTQ advocates. In the Brooklyn Law School Library copy of the encyclopedia-like 441-page book Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America (Harvard University Press, April 2017), author Nathaniel Frank, internationally recognized authority on LGBTQ equality and public policy, tells the dramatic story of how an idea that once seemed unfathomable became a legal and moral right in just half a century.
Awakening begins in the 1950s, when millions of gays and lesbians were afraid to come out, let alone fight for equality. Across the social upheavals of the next two decades, a gay rights movement emerged with the rising awareness of the equal dignity of same-sex love. A corps of lawyers soon began to focus on legal recognition for same-sex couples, if not yet on marriage itself. It was only after being pushed by a small set of committed lawyers and grassroots activists that established movement groups created a successful strategy to win marriage in the courts. Marriage equality proponents then had to win over members of their own LGBTQ community who declined to make marriage a priority, while seeking to rein in others who charged ahead heedless of their carefully laid plans. All the while, they had to fight against virulent anti-gay opponents and capture the American center by spreading the simple message that love is love, ultimately propelling the LGBTQ community immeasurably closer to justice.
See the YouTube video about the book.
In mid January the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear four new cases on the issue of same-sex marriage. The focus of the Court’s review is a decision issued in early November by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. That decision upheld bans on marriage or marriage-recognition in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.
The cases in question are Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky); DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan); Obergefell v. Hodges, (Ohio) and Tanco v. Haslam, (Tennessee). These cases are linked and being argued as Obergefell v. Hodges. Arguments began on Tuesday, April 28th.
The questions the high court is considering are
- Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
- Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
For a good analysis of the arguments before the court, check out the SCOTUSblog.
For further background information check out the book, Same-sex marriage in the United States: the Road to the Supreme Court, which tells the story of the legal and cultural shift regarding this social issue and how it has evolved over the past 15 years.
The justices will issue their decision by the end of June. We all await this decision.