Citizens of Wisconsin take note: we don't need the amendment. Courts have gotten the message.
About the case from New York's highest court:
The decision called the idea of same-sex marriage "a relatively new one" and said that for most of history, society has conceived of marriage exclusively as a bond between a man and a woman. "A court should not lightly conclude that everyone who held this belief was irrational, ignorant or bigoted," the decision stated.Fine. This is an issue that needs to be worked through the political system over time to reach a stable conclusion. I appreciate the arguments that have been made for same-sex marriage as a constitutional right, but these arguments work well -- work better -- in the political arena.
"There are at least two grounds that rationally support the limitation on marriage that the legislature has enacted," the court said, "both of which are derived from the undisputed assumption that marriage is important to the welfare of children."
First, the court said, marriage could be preserved as an "inducement" to heterosexual couples to remain in stable, long-term, and child-bearing relationships. Second, lawmakers could rationally conclude that "it is better, other things being equal, for children to grow up with both a mother and the father."
"Intuition and experience suggest that a child benefits from having before his or her eyes, every day, living models of what both a man and a woman are like," the court said.
The court rejected parallels to laws barring interracial marriage, and the claim that sheer homophobia lay at the root of current law. "Plaintiffs have not persuaded us that this long-accepted restriction is a wholly irrational one, based solely on ignorance and prejudice against homosexuals," the court said.
UPDATE: The Georgia Supreme Court just issued a decision reinstating the state constitutional ban on gay marriage:
Seventy-six percent of Georgia voters approved the ban when it was on the ballot in 2004. Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case had argued that the ballot language was misleading. The ballot measure asked voters to decide on allowing both same-sex marriage and civil unions, which [the lower court judge] determined were separate issues about which many people have different opinions.