Puerto Rico's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Isn't Going Anywhere, And It's The Supreme Court's Fault
I thought we were seeing a wonderful, wonderful trend of equality! We've seen so many overdue victories for marriage equality in the last month, but this one might snap us back from our rapidly changing reality: Puerto Rico's gay marriage ban was upheld Tuesday after a judge dismissed a challenge to the four-decade old law on.
U.S. District Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez said that he dismissed the challenge because the U.S. Supreme Court has not overturned itself in its decision to allow states to have same-sex marriage bans. Until then, Pérez-Giménez said, Puerto Rico's ban is A-OK.
Lawyers for the same-sex couples bringing the challenge have already made plans to file in the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals. The First Circuit hasn't made a ruling on a state's right to ban gay marriage yet, but four of the states in its jurisdiction — Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island — have made gay marriages legal.
In his 21-page decision, Pérez-Giménez also had some, erm, colorful interpretations on the state of gay marriage in the rest of the country, comparing it to polygamy because OH YEAH THAT'S THE SAME. And of course he couldn't leave us without a shout out to traditional marriage:
[Traditional marriage is] the fundamental unit of the political order. And ultimately the very survival of the political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in traditional marriage.
So, pretty much, we should ban all marriages if you don't want to have kids, too?
For all of the crazy in this decision, Pérez-Giménez does bring up one good point. SCOTUS hasn't made a decision overturning the state-ban on gay marriage, so while it does violate fundamental human rights, it is legal in the U.S. This is what has given gay rights advocates pause to celebrate, even while the state bans have been falling like dominoes — SCOTUS has, as of now, refused to take up a case that would federally ban states from stopping gay marriages.
I don't think that SCOTUS is stepping back and saying, errr nope, don't want anything to do with it. It's always more of a game than that with those sneaky, sneaky justices. The likely rationale is that conservative justices feel that they don't have enough votes to keep the ban, and could be holding out for a ruling if the next president shifts the make-up of the Supreme Court.
So for now, gay marriage is legal in 32 states, the District of Columbia and, unfortunately, no U.S. territories.
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