Reagan Appointed Judge Strikes Down Michigan Gay Marriage Ban

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by GatorBen, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    Yep. Jurists of all stripes now making sure they'll still be toasted at all the right social events. Follow the crowd at chow time.

    Oh, as a constitutional matter? Complete pants, especially the tiddlywinks played with the types of scrutiny to avoid wanton misfeasance. Guess it is a good thing we have a living reanimated undead Constitution that can just mean whatever the hell it has to that day. Will Michigan birth certificates now get to join those other states in making a de jure fact our of an absolute metaphysical and biological impossibility? Probably. Does listing parents on a birth certificate serve any independent, self-explanatory purpose anymore? Not really, but in fairness that has been in drift for a while as a result of the dependent legal significance it has, particularly for men.

    Why is it always that courts come down on the lack of study that there is any social good advanced by a heteronormative family structure, but don't require any empirical data whatsoever by which to treat sexual orientation as being any more legally significant than any other sexual fetish or preference between consenting adults? Because all they are doing is contriving a legal rationale for a preferred outcome.
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  2. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    The procedural posture of this case was fairly interesting.

    Plaintiffs had initially challenged only the Michigan law barring them from joint adoption. Michigan defended that claim by asserting that it wasn't because plaintiffs were of the same sex that kept them from joint adoption, it was that they were unmarried and no unmarried couple qualified for joint adoption under Michigan law. Once that defense was raised, the judge granted plaintiffs leave to amend and add a challenge to the constitutionality of the Michigan Marriage Amendment since the state had asserted that being unmarried was what barred plaintiffs from joint adoption and the Michigan Marriage Amendment made it impossible for them to satisfy the pre-requisite for joint adoption of being married.
  3. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    Because nothing about the legal question requires anyone to prove anything about the nature of homosexuality, it just requires the plaintiffs to prove that there is no rational connection between the state's asserted justifications and a legitimate state interest. This case used straight up, everyday rational basis. It wasn't even rational basis plus. As such, there isn't any need to demonstrate that there is anything special about homosexuality, the question begins and ends with "does the law treat otherwise similarly situated people differently?" "yes" "has the state articulated any reason with rational support for doing so that somehow furthers a legitimate state interest?" "no." In that instance, even if homosexuality were no different than any sexual fetish it wouldn't matter. If Michigan had instead said "couples who are together because of a fat fetish can't get married," that would fail rational basis analysis too.

    Or, to answer your question more briefly, relevance.
  4. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    Nothing? An equal protection case turns pretty significantly on the nature of the classification, at least on paper -- I mean, sure, the undignified horse squeeze that is "rational basis plus" doesn't, but the whole thing is an end around to give homosexuality the benefit of higher scrutiny without scrutinizing where it deserves it.
  5. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    As I noted, this wasn't rational basis plus. This was straight rational basis. It explicitly runs through the "any basis the lawmakers could have rationally considered, whether they actually did so or not" explanation. The only explanations anyone could come up with in this case were "child rearing," "wait and see," and "tradition." The court correctly noted that "wait and see" and "tradition" aren't state interests to start with, and made very detailed findings of fact as to why a ban on gay marriage could not be seen as rationally related to furthering a state interest in the "optimal child raising environment."

    That's the same analysis any classification, even if it not an inherent trait, would get. It's the exact same analysis that a ban on electricians getting married, or whatever other nonsense restriction you could come up with, would be subjected to.
  6. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    That a court can't see a rational basis speaks a lot to our social devolution, a collective apathy or even antipathy, to our own anthropology. What could be more unambiguously true than to say that, all else equal, the ideal circumstance for a child to grow up in will be with a mother and a father both involved? And that endorsing institutionally legal states that make that unlikely at best is therefore bad public policy? Not like they are banning single parenthood or divorce or anything, just so far as to say we don't want people legally checking out from even the possibility of that ideal state without needing a divorce or severance of a parental right then recognized.

    How is any of that irrational and of only an illegitimate state interest? Easy -- when scrutinized by a judge who already knows what the answer is going to be but needs a gloss of legal reasoning.
  7. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    Those would be the factual findings I mentioned. There's like 20 pages of factual findings in this opinion going to the point that there's not any evidence to support that "unambiguously true" conclusion, at least when comparing child-rearing outcomes of two parent same-sex households with two parent straight households.
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  8. asuragator
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    asuragator Well-Known Member

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    This was a nice take down of the bs study designed to find exactly what the losers in this case wanted to find. Judge nails Regnerus on it.

  9. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    It took 20 pages of undoubtedly insipid declarations to rationalize his way around it, maybe. Unless this judge, or anyone else, is going to say there are, and postulate which, circumstances they would say "dammit, if only this child hadn't had a present and stable male and female role model in his/her life, things could have turned out better", he can eat his prostrations against there being any rational or legitimate value to the heteronormative nuclear family.
  10. asuragator
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    Because it's not unambiguously true. You just assume it is.
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  11. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    It's a post-trial order containing factual findings. It's not like a federal judge is just going to write the conclusion in one sentence and move on in a post trial order, it has to summarize the witness testimony and explain why he found certain evidence credible or not credible.

    The only evidence put forward supporting the idea that children in same-sex couples had less optimal child rearing outcomes was the Regnerus study. As the findings of fact note, even Regnerus noted in his expert report that his study did not allow one to tell whether it was the fact that a child had gay parents or some other factor that led to worse outcomes. And, as the judge noted, the Regnerus study didn't even study what it purported to find. It purported to draw conclusions about children raised in households with same-sex parents, but nearly all of the participants in his study were children of broken heterosexual households where one parent subsequently had a homosexual relationship, and over half of the children he considered as being "raised by same-sex parents" didn't even live with the gay parent when that parent was in a homosexual relationship, which made it impossible to draw any conclusions from it. Further, it noted that the Regnerus study wasn't credible because it was funded by and produced on a very fast turn around for the sole-purpose of trying to produce some evidence to use in gay marriage cases that would dispute the scientific consensus that a same-sex household does not present a sub-optimal child rearing environment. Also noted that even his own department doesn't find his study credible, as UT's sociology department has noted that his methodology was not reliable and you can't draw reliable conclusions from his study.
  12. g8orbill
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    the fact that he is a Reagan appointed judge means little after this amount of time-once again for 3% of our population way too much time and effort is spent on them when we sure as hell have a lot greater problems than trying to redefine what a marriage is-give the little sweeties a civil union and move on-but a MARRIAGE will always only be between a man and a woman
  13. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    So, if it isn't ideal, something better does ontologically exist, right? Maybe not even in practice, but if the heteronormative nuclear family, marital household isn't as good as it gets barring the pitfalls any setting might have like abuse, something, somewhere, on paper is.

    So, lay it on me. What's the best possible setting for child-rearing, be it real or imagined? What is the thing that, if only in concept proves that better can be done?

    The argument is always between those who say the traditional two parent heteronorm is better and will argue why, and those who say "nuh uh".

    I would submit that it is rationally related to a legitimate state interest to shape public policy in favor of -- not mandated, but special treatment -- the legal institution that makes up the idea family setting. So whatever that setting is, marital law preferential to it should pass rational basis. Would you agree?
  14. asuragator
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    asuragator Well-Known Member

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    But you haven't argued why, you just assumed it's better because the numbers show it to be normative. I get that it is common practice among some to raise the structure of the family as the most important facet, but this ignores two crucial features. First, interpersonal familial relationships, and second, the crucial role of socioeconomic status. So the ideal about the best possible environment is predicated upon one family feature without taking into account two other critical features in determining outcomes for children. For instance, the single most significant and consistent factor determining whether a child will become delinquent, graduate high school, and/or go on to college etc..., is not the structure of the household, but whether there is at least one adult who makes a really strong, vested effort in seeing the child succeed.

    What the research does not show and what the judge deftly pointed out are hetero parent households being superior to gay parent households. The sole study which purports to find worse outcomes for children with gay parents relative to hetero parents was so poorly constructed by Regnerus and likely biased by the funding organization that it had no credibility in the eyes of the court (and no scientific merit in the eyes of academia). It was a junk study designed to find the outcomes the funding organization wanted. OTOH, there is a growing body of credible research showing that children of gay parent households having similar and sometimes better outcomes than children of hetero parents.

    Anyway, to answer your question, I would say the state has some rightful interest in promoting more ideal settings for children, the problem though is that you are threatened by the thought that gay parent families can be found to be as ideal as hetero parent families, and by focusing exclusively on family structure while ignoring the nature of familial relationships and the socioeconomic status of such families, you miss way too much about what would objectively make an "ideal" setting
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2014
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  15. LittleBlueLW
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    LittleBlueLW Well-Known Member

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    And since Justice Roberts was a Bush appointee I guess we can put aside the stupid argument that Presidents appoint Justices to rule in line with partisan ideals.
  16. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    They definitely do appoint justices to rule in line with their partisan ideals, they just frequently do a rather poor job of it.

    And, as a side note, Roberts is a pretty dang conservative jurist. There just happen to be at least 2 (possibly 3) on the Supreme Court more conservative than him right now, but in most courts historically he would be viewed as a very conservative judge.

    If you want an example of a president appointing a judge who in retrospect was seen as a bit of a disaster because he wound up disagreeing with the nominating president's partisan ideals a lot, you're looking at the wrong President Bush. David Souter is sitting somewhere in New Hampshire waving hello.
  17. Lawdog88
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    Everything is gay, and everything is about homosexuality and homosexuals. I mean, they are just better, brighter, and more sensitive than the breeders, so whatever they want to do has got to be more than OK with everybody else.

    In fact, it - and them - has to be accepted as normative, worshiped, and cherished.

    Don't ya'll get that by now ?

    Geez. Wake up.
  18. asuragator
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    asuragator Well-Known Member

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    You might be on to something... :D

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  19. Lawdog88
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    Happy times, indeed.
  20. fastsix
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    Sounds like somebody needs (a completely heterosexual, platonic) hug.

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