THE HIGHEST COURTS of New York and Georgia last week moved in the opposite direction of history and justice on same-sex marriage.
By a 4-2 vote, the New York Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the state Legislature's limitation of marriage to heterosexual couples was a "long-accepted restriction" not based solely on "ignorance and prejudice against homosexuals."
Adding insult to injury, an opinion signed by three of the judges in the majority ruled that it was rational for the Legislature to ban same-sex marriage in the interests of protecting children. Noting that "an important function of marriage is to create more stability and permanence in the relationships that cause children to be born," Judge Robert S. Smith wrote that the state could "offer an inducement -- in the form of marriage and its attendant benefits -- to opposite-sex couples who make a solemn, long-term commitment to each other." Never mind that childless heterosexual couples also receive legal benefits from civil marriage -- or that many gay couples are raising children.
The Georgia Supreme Court decision, also handed down Thursday, was narrower but still disappointing. The court rejected technical objections to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage that was approved by state voters in 2004.