In news that will surprise no one, Attorney General Tim Fox is attempting to
defend Montana’s law defining marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. It’s equally unsurprising just how terrible his arguments are.
Fox argued that this just isn’t a case of sex discrimination:
Additionally, Fox said in documents that the plaintiffs can’t state a claim based upon sex discrimination “because men and women, regardless of sexual orientation or preference, are treated the same. Neither men nor women can marry persons of the same gender.”
It may not be sex discrimination, but it’s certainly discrimination. Before the Loving v. Virginia case that struck down anti-miscegenation laws, I’m almost certain that racists in the South would have argued their laws weren’t discriminatory “because neither blacks nor whites could marry people of a different race.” In fact, that’s exactly what Virginia did argue–and it’s astonishing that Attorney General Fox is using the same odious logic that was unanimously rejected by the Supreme Court over forty years ago.
Fox also argued that restricting marriage to those who are straight doesn’t create a second-class of citizens:
“Montana’s recognition of marriage as between one man and one woman does not constitute or impose an unconstitutional stigma or second-class citizenship on persons in same-sex relationship.”
It’s hard to imagine how Fox’s team of attorneys plans to defend this argument: the Montana law they refer to explicitly tells a group of people that they cannot marry the person they love, for no other reason than the moral view of some who oppose gay marriage. It violates the dignity and rights of those who seek to marry a partner, rights that the Court recognized in 1967 as essential to our survival and fundamental to our existence:
The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival.
It’s time for Attorney General Fox to realize that it’s morally indefensible to continue this war against gay marriage, a war that has seen a dramatic shift in attitudes in just the past few decades. What Fox is trying to do is not only wrong, but increasingly unpopular.