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7-1-2015


Court ruling favors
same-sex marriage
Recorder: No same-sex marriage
licenses issued locally as of yet

by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark assistant editor

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled Friday that same-sex marriages are allowed in all 50 states.

The landmark decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry became law on a 5-4 vote of the court.

Because of what can be perceived as a growing acceptance of same-sex couples across the nation, the decision does not come as a huge surprise to many same-sex couples.

In recent years, 11 states revised their code to allow same-sex couples the privilege to marry. When same-sex couples who were lawfully married left their state of origin, their marriage was no longer recognized.

Bob Walton, a former Kansas City resident, provided his reaction to The Landmark:

"I live in Des Moines, IA. Gay marriage has been legal in Iowa since 2009.
I lived in Kansas City, MO for around six years. I still consider Kansas City my home. I'm surprised and disappointed Missouri hadn't legalized gay marriage before the monumental Supreme Court decision," he said.

"The first few days after the decision was announced, my eyes would well up with tears of joy. My smile is now more radiant. Thomas Jefferson's quote (from the Declaration Of Independence) keeps entering my mind: ' "All Men Are Created Equal,"' Walton said.

Jim Obergefell, a plaintiff in the case decided by the Supreme Court, stated with gusto that the country “has taken one more step toward the promise of equality enshrined in our Constitution.”

“Couples across America may now wed and have their marriage recognized and respected no matter what state they call home. No other person will learn at the most painful moment of married life, the death of a spouse, that their lawful marriage will be disregarded by the state. No married couple who moves will suddenly become two single persons because their new state ignores their lawful marriage,” wrote Obergefell.

A majority of the nine Supreme Court judges interpreted case law that maintained excluding same-sex couples from the right to marry was in violation of their constitutional right.

“The identification and protection of fundamental rights is an enduring part of the judicial duty to interpret the Constitution,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The court acknowledged the unique bond of marriage and ruled that men and women, no matter their sexual orientation, are seeking the same gratification of a marriage.

“It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right,” states the opinion of the court prepared by Justice Anthony Kennedy and joined by Justice Ruth Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Elena Kagan.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts and three conservative Supreme Court Justices wrote dissenting opinions.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “As a result, the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginian and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?”

In Justice Antonin Scalia's dissent, he indicated the decision to allow same-sex marriage should not have been placed in the hands of the Supreme Court.

“And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation,” wrote Justice Scalia.

Samuel Alito echoed Scalia's dissent. He wrote, “To prevent five unelected Justices from imposing their personal vision of liberty upon the American people, the Court has held that 'liberty' under the Due Process Clause should be understood to protect only those rights that are “'deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition.'” And it is beyond dispute that the right to same-sex marriage is not among those rights.”

NO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
APPLICATIONS LOCALLY

Since Friday's ruling, no same-sex couples in Platte County have exercised their new right to marry. Last year, there were 601 marriage licenses issued in Platte County. Gloria Boyer, Platte County recorder, said she does not expect a large influx of applicants seeking a marriage license as a result of Friday’s ruling.

To obtain a marriage license in Platte County, both parties need to appear together at the recorder's office. They must present a driver's license or a valid identification. The cost associated with obtaining a marriage license is $51 in cash. The marriage license will expire 30 days after issuance unless a marriage ceremony is performed in the state of Missouri within 30 days.