Wednesday, March 19, 2014

When It Comes to Gay Marriage, the State Attorney General Just Admitted He Wants to Lose Slowly

Posted By on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 5:30 AM

State Attorney General Robert Cooper's memorandum explaining why he wants the Court to issue a stay on recognizing the three same-sex marriages that were declared "real" marriages on Friday is well worth your time to read (warning: pdf).

He has a lot of reasons why, specifically, Valeria Tanco and Sophie Jesty's marriage shouldn't be recognized, even though they want to make sure they're protected and able to care for each other during the birth of their baby. Basically, he argues that, if they wanted the same legal rights as married people, they could just figure out all the rights that marriage grants a couple and then do the legal legwork involved to give each other those same rights. Cooper writes "This may well be 'time-consuming and expensive,' but the harm is not irreparable."

Bwah ha ha ha hah. This is such a Haslamite approach to the world. You can have all the rights you want, gay people, if you can afford to pay for them. I almost feel bad for Cooper, having to make that argument. I mean, you know no Southern lawyer wants to be standing in front of a judge talking about how anyone can have their rights for enough money. Just sounds too much like the bad old days.

But the part of the memorandum I find remarkable is right at the beginning, when Cooper argues that the Court could issue a stay because "Movants seeking a stay pending appeal 'need not always establish a high probability of success on the merits' but instead must show, at a minimum, the existence of 'serious questions going to the merits.'"

That sound you hear is Cooper lowering the bar. He doesn't need to be making a case with a "high probability of success." He just needs to show serious questions about the merits of the case. Ooo, pray tell, what are these serious questions? He thinks it's not on the state to prove why we have to deny gay people the right to get married, but on gay people to prove why they should get to get married.

Everyone in this great country has the right to pursue happiness. If the state is going to deny gay people that right through denying them access to legal marriage, damn straight (no pun intended) it's on the state to justify curtailing gay people's foundational rights.

This memorandum just makes the state seem petty and mean-spirited. They all but acknowledge that things are changing, they just want the judge to give them the right to dig their heels in a while longer. And to what end? They could just appeal the ruling without trying to screw the plaintiffs over in the meantime.

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