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Creep of the Week: Jeffrey Sutton and Deborah Cook

By |2014-11-13T09:00:00-05:00November 13th, 2014|Creep of the Week, Opinions|

I was driving home after picking up my son from school when I heard the news that the 6th Circuit Court had upheld the anti-gay marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. It felt like a punch in the gut.
I looked in the rearview mirror at my 5-year-old boy and thought, “Well, it’ll be at least a couple of more years now before you have two legal parents.”
Of course, I didn’t say this out loud. As far as he is concerned he has two parents. Two moms, to be specific.
But only one of us is legally recognized since Michigan, the state we live in, doesn’t recognize my wife and I as legally married (we are and have the documents from San Diego to prove it) and thus we are not allowed to adopt jointly as a couple. Thus, according to the state of Michigan, and just affirmed by the 6th Circuit, I’m just some stranger who lives with a woman and her son.
Considering this legal-parent-limbo was just the issue that prompted the plaintiffs in the Michigan marriage case, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, to file suit in the first place, the 6th Circuit ruling is especially galling.
The majority opinion by Judges Deborah Cook and by Jeffrey Sutton asserts that the anti-gay marriage side is ultimately going to be the losing side in this battle. Which I believe to be true. But in the opinion, written by Sutton, he goes on to say that the decision to let same-sex couples get legally married should be left up to the people, not to judges.
When addressing whether anti-gay marriage laws were inspired by animus (a.k.a. hostility toward icky gays), Sutton wrote, “Animus? Hardly! Who can blame all of these decent people for thinking that bull dykes and fags were going to use the courts to take marriage away from heterosexuals forever?” (I’m paraphrasing a little bit.)
And at the end of his ruling he paints a fantastical picture of a world where gays and straights assemble on a hilltop together and sing, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.”
Which, of course, leads me to point out that civil rights should not be subject to popular vote. But to Sutton, the issue of civil rights doesn’t seem to register. In fact, he doesn’t seem to notice that there are people involved in these matters at all.
Personally, I’m a little in love with Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey who wrote a scathing dissent to the majority opinion.
“Instead of recognizing the plaintiffs as persons, suffering actual harm as a result of being denied the right to marry where they reside or the right to have their valid marriages recognized there, my colleagues (Sutton and Deborah Cook) view the plaintiffs as social activists who have somehow stumbled into federal court, inadvisably, when they should be out campaigning to win ‘the hearts and minds’ of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee voters to their cause.”
In other words, Daughtrey understands that there are real people being harmed by discriminatory laws here and dismisses Sutton’s claim that homos who want to marry should be campaigning (a.k.a. “begging”) their neighbors to let them.
Daughtrey goes on to destroy the totally bullshit reasoning of the majority. So much of the anti-gay argument rests on hypothetical harm done to hypothetical children by hypothetical heterosexuals. But the real harm being done to real children by real same-sex couples is ignored.
And while the 6th Circuit ruling means that the Supreme Court will finally settle the matter, families like mine are left in an unprotected limbo. And it sucks.

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