By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Same Sex Marriage & Divorce on Friday, June 26, 2015.
The Supreme Court just decided Obergefell, ruling that the Constitution recognizes a right to same-sex marriage. This impacts Florida’s same-sex marriage and divorce problem.
I’ve written about same-sex marriage and divorce cases often. In Obergefell, Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion for the majority:
First – The right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy.
Second – The right to marry is fundamental because it supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals.
Third – marriage safeguards children and families.
Fourth – Marriage is a keystone of our social order.
The majority holding:
The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them. Baker v. Nelson must be and now is overruled, and the State laws challenged by Petitioners in these cases are now held invalid to the extent they exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.
Chief Justice Roberts is the primary dissenter:
Petitioners make strong arguments rooted in social policy . . . But this Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be.
Justice Scalia advocated judicial restraint:
Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.
This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.
Justice Alito adds a twist:
[Today’s decision] will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. . . The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.
Obergefell v. Hodges can be read here.