Yesterday, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments defending the bans on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin and Indiana — and things are looking good for the pro-equality side.
Both marriage bans were ruled unconstitutional earlier this summer, and attorneys general in both states asked courts to permanently restore the bans. But as marriage equality racks up one legal victory after another, it’s becoming harder and harder for opponents to make a convincing case.
Here are some highlights of judges totally destroying anti-marriage-equality arguments:
Richard Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, hit the backers of the ban the hardest. He balked when Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson repeatedly pointed to “tradition” as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage.
"It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry — a tradition that got swept away," the 75-year-old judge said. Prohibition of same sex marriage, Posner to the Wisconsin attorney, derives from "a tradition of hate … and savage discrimination" of homosexuals. …
At one point, Posner ran through a list of psychological strains of unmarried same-sex couples, including their children having to struggle to grasp why their schoolmates’ parents were married and theirs weren’t.
"What horrible stuff," Posner said. What benefits to society in barring gay marriage, he asked, outweighs that kind of harm to children?
"All this is a reflection of biology," Fisher answered. "Men and women make babies, same-sex couples do not… we have to have a mechanism to regulate that, and marriage is that mechanism."
Samuelson echoed that, telling the hearing that regulating marriage — including by encouraging men and women to marry — was part of a concerted Wisconsin policy to reduce numbers of children born out of wedlock.
"I assume you know how that has been working out in practice?" Judge David Hamilton responded, citing figures that births to single women from 1990 to 2009 rose 53 percent in Wisconsin and 68 percent in Indiana.
BOOM. No decision just yet, but this is definitely a good sign.