Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Does anyone else see a gap in this story?

The Tennessean ran this story today about illegal immigrants/undocumented immigrants having the right to marry. I guess any time there is a story about marriage, the GLBT community could complain about being left out of it. But there were lines just too obvious in this piece to ignore. I checked my reaction with a few folks and, sure enough, they had the same response. Here's a sample:

1. "This is a very big deal," Nashville immigration lawyer Linda Rose said. "This is very good news for the immigrant community because now it restores a fundamental right. … It gives due respect and credit to the institution of marriage."

2. The suit claims Saenz was denied her "fundamental right to marry the man of her choice under color of state law." It claims citizens trying to marry people who can't possibly obtain Social Security numbers
are being denied equal protection under the law.

3. Multiple state and federal courts have upheld that the government can't bar a person from marrying simply because they or their partner are a member of some specific group, said James Blumstein, a Constitutional law professor at Vanderbilt University. "There was a case rather appropriately called Loving v. Virginia that settled that matter," Blumstein said about the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case that struck down laws barring interracial couples from marrying. He said the government has to prove a marriage it opposes would have a negative impact on the country.

4. Arriola, elected clerk in 2006, said he never wanted to turn couples away over immigration-related paperwork. "That was the state law, and I was obligated to uphold it," he said. "Personally, I think anyone should be able to marry."

5. "Truly, everybody should have the right to get married, and the state should not have any rules or regulations against that," [The Rev. Joseph] Breen said. "What we've been doing here is a real shame. So we wanted to help these couples."

6. "Marriage is a human right, and I believe in families," she [Theresa Harmon of Tennesseans for Responsible Immigration Policy] said. "But I've had to do some hard soul-searching on these kinds of issues.

So to recap, we've got "fundamental right," "equal protection under the law," the idea that you can't bar partners from marrying because one of them is from "a specific group," the fact that the "government has to prove a marriage it opposes would have a negative impact on the country," a clerk who thinks "anyone should be able to marry," a priest who agrees, and the idea that "marriage is a human right" UNLESS YOU AND YOUR PARTNER ARE OF THE SAME SEX!

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