Same-sex marriage news and notes

A few recent events on the same-sex marriage front:

  • Argentina has approved same-sex marriage. (There was some interesting wrangling over adoption issues, due to Argentina's unusual laws about heterosexual adoption, but those appear to have been resolved.) According to the BBC, the changes will go into effect within the next couple days. Wikipedia now lists ten nations that allow same-sex marriage, including three in the past six weeks (Portugal, Iceland, and now Argentia).
  • A few months ago, around the time that Washington, D.C. decided to allow same-sex marriage, anti-same-sex-marriage people there proposed that the question should be decided by ballot. The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics refused to allow the initiative on the ballot, on the grounds that it would violate the District's Human Rights Act. The initiative's sponsors, of course, appealed. Today, the D.C. Court of Appeals has narrowly agreed with the elections board that the Board was within its rights to reject the initiative. The initiative people are planning an appeal to the Supreme Court, but I'm hoping that the locals will have time to get used to the way things are.
  • Interesting piece in the Atlantic pointing out (among other things) that many of the judges who've written rulings supportive of same-sex marriage (or gay rights in general) lately were appointed by Republicans. A slightly simplified and streamlined list is in the table below. Note that not all judges share the political views of those who appoint them. (Side note: The Atlantic piece has a kind of muddled conclusion that suggests modern conservative judges are much more conservative than old-school ones, but I don't think the article supports that. I would prefer to conclude that you can't always tell what a judge's rulings are going to be like based on who appointed them. I've seen other sources that I think suggest that conservative appointees to SCOTUS often tend to drift leftward over time.)
Judge Ruling Appointed to Current Position By
Anthony Kennedy Lawrence v. Texas (2003) Reagan
Margaret Marshall Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (MA 2003) Republican governor William Weld
Ronald M. George In re Marriage Cases (CA 2008) Republican governor Pete Wilson
Richard Palmer Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health (CT 2008) Republican-turned-independent governor Lowell Weicker
Mark Cady Varnum v. Brien (IA 2010) Republican governor Terry Branstad
Joseph Tauro Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services (MA 2010) Nixon
Vaughn Walker Perry v. Schwarzenegger (CA 2010) Bush Sr (after being nominated by Reagan)

Of course, Walker hasn't yet ruled, so shouldn't really be included in the above table; call it a hope.

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