Thursday, February 11, 2010

Roundup of recent news and commentary


In Gill v. Adkins, No. 09-3-01572-1 (Wash. Clark County Super. Ct.), Judge Scott Collier dissolved the marriage of a same-sex couple who were wed in Vancouver, even though state law doesn't expressly allow or preclude same-sex divorces. The judge found persuasive a memorandum filed by counsel for the petitioner. "The memo outlined a number of examples supporting the legal validity of the case. Among them: Judges traditionally grant dissolutions of marriages from foreign countries, as well as common law marriages, even though common law marriages aren’t legally recognized in Washington." (The Columbian)


Minnesota has a DOMA, but does not have a DOMA amendment to its constitution. "OutFront Minnesota is pushing a bill in the Legislature that would make laws regulating marriage gender-neutral." (Star Tribune) The legislation is SF1210 / HF1644. The state Senate and House bills appear to have stalled in committee. Why? Prior legislation to allow same-sex marriage has failed due to Governor Tim Pawlenty's opposition.

Perry case

At the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Ashby Jones discusses a comment on the case that he received from Alliance Defense Fund attorney Brian Raum, who represents the Prop. 8 proponents. Raum accuses the plaintiffs of having "focused unabashedly on a systematic attack of orthodox religious beliefs." Plaintiffs' attorney David Boies has responded to Raum's accusation.

The ad hominem attack on Judge Walker has led to a call for recusal from Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel. (Catholic Online). Liberty Counsel sought to intervene in the case last year on behalf of the Campaign for California Families, but Judge Walker rejected the intervention motion. Debra Saunders, a SF Chronicle columnist, contends that Walker may have the appearance of a conflict of interest. A SF Chronicle editorial, however, defends his impartiality.

Margaret Talbot has covered the Perry case for the New Yorker. Does Walker's sexual orientation matter? She says, "Well, yes and no."

Constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky explains why Judge Walker's sexual orientation represents an "open, irrelevant secret." Among other of his arguments, Chemerinsky claims that if Prop. 8 proponents are right that same-sex marriage would harm the institution of marriage, "there is no judge who would be unaffected by the constitutionality of Prop. 8."

No comments:

Commentators, Subjects and Cases