Watch Sen. Kelvin Atkinson Propose To His Partner Onstage (Before Justice Kennedy Messed It All Up)
It's been a huge couple of days for marriage equality in the United States, so it's no surprise that many people in committed, loving relationships are finally moving to tie the knot after all these years. And it's never better than when someone in the political spotlight — that is to say, someone who might never have been elected while openly gay in less-enlightened years gone by — can shout out their commitment for everyone to see. For example, Nevada State Senator Kelvin Atkinson proposed to his partner Tuesday, immediately following news that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
You can watch the video here. It's wonderful, and the two plan to marry as soon as possible. But now their marital vows may have to go back on ice, because Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy messed it all up.
Kennedy signed a Supreme Court order Wednesday morning blocking same-sex marriage from going into effect in two different states, Idaho and Nevada, because of an appeal being brought by Iowa, trying to avoid losing its right to legalized sexual discrimination. If that sounds harsh, well, there's really not much else to say.
But because the bans were struck down by the Ninth Circuit, which combined the Iowa and Nevada same-sex marriage ban challenges into one case, the Supreme Court granting Idaho's request for a stay effectively blocks same-sex marriages from happening in Nevada, too. Nevada itself didn't mount any challenge, or demand the Supreme Court step in, but thanks to its neighbors to the north, its LGBT citizens still don't have marriage rights.
The order reportedly came with nearly no time left to spare; Idaho was just 10 minutes away from having to start issuing licenses. Which is kind of as cruel a way to let this play out as possible. While there's little doubt that marriage equality will arrive in both Nevada and Idaho in due time — "whether you like it or not," in the immortal words of former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom — the inevitability of it, given the abysmal time its detractors have had in courts of law lately, makes this tug-of-war seem especially pointless.
It's honestly getting harder and harder to view these dead-end appeals as anything but stalling at the very best, and trolling at the very worst.
According to USA Today, the assistant dean of George Mason University's School of Law, Richard Kelsey, was enthusiastic about Kennedy's decision.
In the coming week, we may all find out how one man holds gay marriage, the 14th Amendment, and the life of the 10th Amendment in his hands. This matter ought to be heard by the full court, and this instance presents it with a unique opportunity to step up and do its job, just days after it refused to do so. The Supreme Court has a mulligan on this issue, and now it ought to tee this matter up.
And so, while the Supreme Court waits to "do its job," so, too, must the LGBT citizens of Nevada and Idaho wait to achieve full marriage equality.
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