Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cohen: Same-sex couples deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

Cohen in WaPo, via "There are exactly 316 benefits of marriage. I learned that from the decision of New York's highest court upholding the ban on same-sex marriage, which means that the often-wed Elizabeth Taylor has enjoyed these benefits 2,528 times, while a lesbian could not have any of them, despite having a stable relationship and a child or two. If it pleases the court, your decision is just plain idiotic.

I choose Taylor because she is everything this very important court (New York, after all) did not take into account in upholding its touchingly Victorian version of marriage. The majority decision, written by Judge Robert S. Smith, more or less said that marriage has traditionally been between opposite sexes --- and, until the Legislature decides differently, it should stay that way. Reading the decision induces vertigo from page after page of circular reasoning.

More compelling, more logical, more humane is the dissent of Chief Judge Judith Kaye, who likened the ban on same-sex marriage to the one that once prohibited interracial marriage in 30 states. When, at last, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 finally outlawed this racist prohibition in the 17 states that still retained it, its defenders argued that it was unnatural and contrary to the will of God. For some reason, he did not file an amicus brief."


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