States Prepare to Defy Supreme Court Marriage Ruling

Sometimes I just marvel at how utterly clueless the Christian right can be. A bunch of states, including my own, are working on legislation to put up roadblocks to prevent gay people from being allowed to get married even if the Supreme Court says they have to.

The U.S. Supreme Court is now weighing arguments in the same-sex marriage case it heard on April 28 that could lead to a landmark decision requiring all states to acknowledge the unions.

But don’t count Texas out without a fight.

State lawmakers are considering at least five bills designed to block same-sex marriages, which are currently illegal in the state, and some state leaders say they’ll battle to bar the unions regardless of any Supreme Court decision…

Texas joins a handful of states, including Alabama, Michigan and Louisiana, that are considering legislation that would throw up roadblocks to gay marriage in apparent anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling. Indiana and Arkansas recently backed down on similar bills.

In Louisiana, lawmakers are studying the “Marriage and Conscience Act,” which, if passed, would allow employers to deny same-sex spouses marriage benefits and give state contractors the right to refuse to hire gays and lesbians who marry.

The funny thing to me is that they think this will actually work. The Louisiana law might work for its limited purposes because there are no anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people at either the state or federal level, but the Texas plan to cut funding for same-sex marriages is simply absurd. If the Supreme Court rules that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry, that law would be just as unconstitutional as the state’s ban. It would be struck down in a matter of minutes upon being challenged in court. They can’t just find some other way to keep it from happening.

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  • roggg

    Being a Canadian and all, I’m a little ignorant of some of the demographic oddities in the US, so can someone explain this to me.: When did Michigan become a bible belt state? Isn’t it generally a blue state?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Look, us Conservatives will do whatever we have to do defend the Sanctity of Marriage.

     

    Yes, it makes us look like petty, spiteful, small-minded, puritanical hypocrites, but on the other hand that’s what we are.

  • kenn

    When did Michigan become a bible belt state? Isn’t it generally a blue state?

    Michigan banned the licensing and recognition of same-sex marriage from other jurisdictions in 1996. A gay marriage ban was enacted in 2004. You don’t need to live in the south to be a homophobic bigot.

  • abb3w

    Louisiana has no law generally protecting marital status nor sexual orientation. As such, once someone is known to be in a same-sex marriage, the (non-federal government) employer could simply fire them.

    Contrariwise, I’m not sure the Louisiana law would stand muster; by crafting a statute explicitly denying equal protection under the law, and allowing discriminatory differentiation of benefits because of the type of marriage, the Louisiana law would seem likely to face a high hurdle, and might even help build momentum to correct that former omission.

    Nohow, I’m not a lawyer.

  • Chiroptera

    …and give state contractors the right to refuse to hire gays and lesbians who marry.

    Holy shit! Am I reading this right? It’s not just the right to not hire gays and lesbians (which they probably already have under Louisiana law), but this specifically gives a big “fuck you” specifically to those those who marry?

  • abb3w

    @1, roggg:

    When did Michigan become a bible belt state? Isn’t it generally a blue state?

    My impression is that it’s more a “LaFollette” sort of blue; it seems populist rather than liberal per se. While not as strong in religiosity than the south, it’s still “Average America” religious — which is thus pretty religious, compared to Canada.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    The funny thing to me is that they think this will actually work.

    It’s working pretty damn well for states determined to defy Roe v. Wade

  • doublereed

    In Louisiana, lawmakers are studying the “Marriage and Conscience Act,” which, if passed, would allow employers to deny same-sex spouses marriage benefits and give state contractors the right to refuse to hire gays and lesbians who marry.

    I thought marital status was also a criteria for which you couldn’t discriminate.

  • whheydt

    This is a good example of why, if SCOTUS decides that SSM is a Constitutional right, the question about requiring recognition of out of state SSMs *isn’t* moot. At the very least, it will give same-sex couples some breathing room while they fight the specific laws, if the bills pass and are signed. Really…when you get right down to it, these bills are merely delaying tactics.

    I’m mildly surprised that states aren’t looking at tricks like high minimum ages, such as the Ohio (IIRC) law that permits first cousin marriages, but only if the couple is too old to have their own kids. One can just see the justification…”Please try a “real” marriage, and if that doesn’t work out by the time you’re over 60, then we’ll–reluctantly–allow you to marry the same sex partner you want to.”

  • fusilier

    Didn’t Andrew Jackson say something like, “The Supreme Court has made their decision, now lot them enforce it.” as the Cherokee were forced off their homes?

    fusilier

    James 2:24

  • fusilier

    Errrm “let them”. Sorry

  • grumpyoldfart

    The funny thing to me is that they think this will actually work.

    You may be right but I have a feeling that they know it will fail – but at least they will have a story to tell the voters at the next election: “See how much I tried to help Jesus when I introduced that bill against the gays. I really do deserve another term don’t I?”

  • John Hinkle

    …and some state leaders say they’ll battle to bar the unions regardless of any Supreme Court decision…

    Not only are we going to defy the Supreme Court and keep gays under our heels, but we’re also going to bar unions too! Try and stop us, liberals!!!!

  • eric

    The funny thing to me is that they think this will actually work… It would be struck down in a matter of minutes upon being challenged in court. They can’t just find some other way to keep it from happening

    This is a rearguard action and it may work successfully as a rearguard action. You are right that they have no chance in court (assuming SCOTUS rules the way we think they will). First, because if SCOTUS rules for SSM, these legislators can still point to a law that’s on the books and get political points for it, even if its unenforceable in the long run. Second, because each suit over these laws will take months to get to court and that will probably not happen in parallel, but in series, so the bigots buy themselves a season or half year or year by doing it. Unless there is a proactive judge that decides to fast-track the suits and issues a stay (I mean preventing the law from being applied; not sure whether that would be a stay or not a stay) while he/she considers the case.

  • abb3w

    @8ish, doublereed

    I thought marital status was also a criteria for which you couldn’t discriminate.

    Protection varies from state to state, and federal employees are protected. Louisiana looks to be one of the states where it’s legal for a private employer to fire someone for getting married, if the boss damn well feels like it. (The boss would need to be consistent, though; otherwise, that raises questions as to whether marital status was an excuse for firing someone in a protected class.)

  • whheydt

    Re: eric @ #14…

    IANAL…but I think that would be called a “preliminary injunction” and that seems to be pretty common where a law is challenged after passage and before going into effect. If those challenging such a law win in the end, a permanent injunction barring enforcement of the law would be issued. As I understand it a “stay” is when a judicial ruling is placed on hold pending some action like an appeal.

  • llewelly

    These laws will function to transfer money from state coffers to the lawyers that defend the laws. Are the lawyers that are likely to defend the laws connected to the legislators that push for laws?

  • whheydt

    Re: llrwelly @ #17…

    One rather hopes so. That way the defense lawyers will be picked on the basis of connections rather than on the basis of skill and competence. What is rather more likely is that such lawyers will be picked because they show up and promise a pro bono defense…which will still leave the state holding the bag to pay the plaintiffs lawyers when the plaintiffs win.

  • footface

    Sure, but… conscience?

    Like, they have a duty to prevent people from living their own lives?