"Parade of empathy" halted by same-sex marriage ruling

Carolyn Moynihan
5 September 2014
Reproduced with Permission

There's something to be said for longevity. At 80 years of age you can say what you want to say and go down with all guns blazing. That's my impression of a US federal judge who broke ranks with dozens of his brethren on Wednesday to defend the meaning of marriage, and ruled that Louisiana has no obligation to recognise same-sex unions as marriage.

USA Today reports :

The ruling came from District Judge Martin Feldman, 80, who was named to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan more than 30 years ago. He echoed the two judges - both in their 70s and appointed by President George H.W. Bush - who dissented from recent rulings against Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia gay marriage bans in the 10th and 4th Circuits.

There might be other septuagenarians and octogenarians in the judiciary who have joined the majority's Mexican wave in favour of gay marriage, but intimations of mortality must be a help if you feel you really ought to fold your arms.

And Feldman did more. He dismissed the 20-plus federal rulings in favour same-sex marriage since the Supreme Court's Windsor ruling last year "a pageant of empathy". He said the traditional meaning of marriage - still maintained in the majority of states -- was not irrational. He upheld states' rights to regulate marriage, and the democratic processes that involves.

Some quotes:

His decision is being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, perhaps the nation's most conservative appellate court, and from there it could go, with others, to the Supreme Court.