Hobby Lobby Wins

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by Jason Smathers on June 30, 2014

HobbyLobbyStowOhioUS Supreme court says the HHS contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion and that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to companies such as Hobby Lobby.
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Indiana State CapitolDefining marriage as a union between one man and one woman violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause according to today’s ruling from Judge Richard L Young of the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana.

The court addressed Indiana’s law which states “Only a female may marry a male. Only a male may marry a female.” Further, Indiana does not recognize marriages that do not meet this requirement conducted elsewhere: “A marriage between persons of the same gender is void in Indiana even if the marriage is lawful in the place where it is solemnized.”

The ruling likens prohibitions on same-sex marriage to that of interracial marriage. Judge Young rejects the argument that same sex couples are seeking a new right and quotes another case in saying they seek “simply the same right that is currently enjoyed by heterosexual individuals: the right to make a public commitment to form an exclusive relationship and create a family with a partner with whom the person shares an intimate and sustaining emotional bond.”

Young further rejects the argument that Indiana’s marriage law serves the purpose of procreation. Indiana permits the marriage of first cousins, but only if they are over the age of 65, thus unable to procreate. Therefore, Young concludes prohibiting same sex couples the ability to marry because they cannot procreate is inconsistent with permitting cousins to marry only if they cannot procreate.

Judge Young, in his conclusion, observes that a phenomenon is spreading throughout the federal court system, forcing states to permit and acknowledge the marriage of same sex couples:

The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue. In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions – laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage – not as same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such. Today, the “injustice that [we] had not earlier known or understood” ends.

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Image by Massimo Catarinella, used under creative commons license.

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