Friday, November 30, 2012

Lincoln and Same-Sex Marriage

Kyle and I saw Lincoln today.  We both agreed it was a great piece of cinema.  The acting a tour de force especially for Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.  Hal Holbrook also delivered a fine performance.  Although sprinkled with Spielberg's usual "fairy dust," asKyle calls it, the film was done with a lighter touch and the expected heart-wrenching, tear duct stressing coda, was toned down.

Both of us agree about the irony of watching the beginning of the end of slavery as SCOTUS was deciding how to the deal with gay and lesbian equality was on our minds.

Today the Supreme Court of the United States was expected to release its decisions to review, or not to review, 10 pending cases on marriage equality.  The basic premise of these cases challenge the constitutionality of DOMA (the so called "Defense of Marriage Act), Proposition 8 in California.  Indeed no action was announced kicking the can down the road until at least Monday... and perhaps beyond.

Great sources for information are found at  AFER.ORG, the website of the organization that is challenging Proposition 8.  This site has many informative videos and links.

If you choose to dig further, I commend to you a four part investigation of how this may be handled by the The Supreme Court at SCOTUSBLOG by Lyle Denniston.  Part I tackles the constitutional standard, Part II, the arguments for, Part II the argruements against and the final part the court's options.

The last read of interest is a opinion piece which argues that this is the most important decision that these nine justices have faced or will face." Tom Goldstein says,
Our country and societies around the world will read the Justices’ decision(s) not principally as a legal document but instead as a statement by a wise body about whether same-sex marriages are morally right or wrong.  The issues are that profound and fraught; they in a sense seem to transcend “law.”  Given the inevitability of same-sex marriage, if the Court rules against those claiming a right to have such unions recognized, it will later be judged to be “on the wrong side of history.” 
The real irony of watching Lincoln as the court decides is personified in Justice Clarence Thomas. The only African-American currently on the court (and also in an "inter-racial" marriage) is one that will assuredly come down on the wrong side of history. His position is due completely to people who came down on the correct side, including Abraham Lincoln.

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