Wisconsin and Indiana are the latest states to join the nation’s movement for the recognition of marriage equality. Recently, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously to strike down the states’ ban on same-sex marriage.
In his recently issued Opinion Judge for the 7th Circuit, Richard Posner, “The argument that the states press hardest in defense of their prohibition of same-sex marriage is that the only reason government encourages marriage is to induce heterosexuals to marry so that there will be fewer ‘accidental births,’ which when they occur outside of marriage often lead to abandonment of the child to the the mother (unaided by the father) or to foster care. Overlooked by this argument is that many of those abandoned children are adopted by homosexual couples, and those children would be better off both emotionally and economically if their adoptive parents were married.”
Judge Posner, “Many people disapproved of interracial marriage, and, more to the point, many people strongly disapproved (and still strongly disapprove) of homosexual sex, yet Loving v. Virginia invalidated state laws banning interracial marriage, and Lawrence v. Texas invalidated state laws banning homosexual acts.”
In response to Wisconsin’s argument that marriage should be dictated by what has been traditionally accepted, Judge Posner states,” Laws forbidding black-white marriage dated back to colonial times and were found in northern as well as southern colonies and states. Tradition per se has no positive or negative significance. There are good traditions, bad traditions pilloried in such famous literary stories as Franz Kafka’s ‘In the Penal Colony,’ and Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery,’ bad traditions that are historical realities such as cannibalism, foot-binding, and suttee, and traditions that form a public-policy standpoint that are neither good nor bad (such as trick-or-treating on Halloween). Tradition per se therefore cannot be a lawful ground for discrimination -regardless of the age of the tradition.”
As this nation heads into unknown territory concerning the consequences of recognizing same-sex marriage, Loving v. Virginia gives us insight into how our legal system has evolved and continues to do so to protect the basic freedoms of this nation’s people. Thoughts from the past, how ever archaic and prejudiced they may have been, should not be forgotten. In his argument that marriage should be kept between people of the same race, a trial judge stated, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriage. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”