US Supreme Court Decision Rules on Same Sex Marriage

Submitted by Charles Knighton
Senior Law Lecturer Jeff Cumberbatch

Senior Law Lecturer Jeff Cumberbatch

In next Sunday’s Advocate, Mr. Jeff Cumberbatch has promised a discussion of last Friday’s US Supreme Court decision sanctioning the constitutional validity of same-sex marriage for its “shock value and legal reasoning ” rather than its local relevance. I particularly look forward to his treatment of the legal reasoning underpinning this decision, for in my opinion it was not based on a dispassionate reading of the Constitution.

Rather, this 5-4 ruling was a reflection of the political orientation, values and visceral feelings of each justice; as their “questions” (actually pronouncements) showed during oral arguments, every justice except perhaps Anthony Kennedy came into this case with his or her mind made up.

Each side  presented elaborate rationales to justify its views, but legal merit did not determine which side prevailed. This ruling simply represented the results of a mini-election on a court as nakedly partisan and polarized as the country itself—a court with four “blue” justices, four “red” justices, and one swing vote. It is becoming increasingly difficult to contend with a straight face that constitutional law is not simply politics by other means, and that justices are not merely politicians clad in spiffy robes.

It was not always thus. Until recent decades, the court’s landmark decisions often came in one-sided rulings (Brown v. Board was 9-0) Presidents sometimes nominated distinguished jurists with indistinct ideologies, such as Byron White and David Souter, whose philosophies evolved over time. That hasn’t happened since Ronald Reagan appointed Kennedy, and it isn’t likely to happen again. We need to drop any remaining pretense that the justices of the US Supreme Court are impartial arbiters calling “balls and strikes” on the major issues dividing America today. To me, they call them as they prefer to see them.

As one of Mr. Cumberbatch’s nine loyal readers, I look forward to his take in next Sunday’s Advocate.

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28 Comments on “US Supreme Court Decision Rules on Same Sex Marriage”

  1. Simple Simon July 7, 2015 at 1:54 AM #

    I’ll read Jeff’s column next Sunday as well. But I am not familiar enough with the U.S. Constitution and its amendments to determine whether or not “the justices of the US Supreme Court are impartial arbiters”

    However the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court has no validity outside of the United State, so essentially it is none of our business. And in any event as I’ve argued previously Barbados unlike the United States has a relatively low rate of formal legal marriage and a relatively high rate of common law or traditional unions, and unlike the United States where common law unions have no standing before the law, Barbados’ law has recognized common law unions and the children born of such unions for many decades now., and has made arrangements for spouses in common law unions and for children in such unions to have the same rights as the children brn into formal marriages..


  2. De Ingrunt Word July 7, 2015 at 9:28 AM #

    Simple Simon, please remember that the US is comprised of separate states who have different laws. A state law cannot contravene a federal law but in the absence of a federal statute then the state law is valid.

    That being said to comment that common-law marriage does have standing in some states in the union that is the United States of America!


  3. Bush Tea July 7, 2015 at 11:14 AM #

    “This ruling simply represented the results of a mini-election on a court as nakedly partisan and polarized as the country itself….”
    A very perceptive and accurate assessment.

    This will be the USA’s “CLICO”….and just as ours was perpetrated by a class-less, moral-less joker, and supported for political reasons by clueless leaders at the highest level, theirs is a reflection of the poor moral quality of their society.

    We have now reached the ‘sargassum level’…and continue downwards…
    The USA will very likely pass us on the way down with such momentum, that our decline will be accelerated by their fall.


  4. De Ingrunt Word July 7, 2015 at 11:47 AM #

    Bushie surely you jest with “this will be the USA’s “CLICO” “. A strange hypothesis.

    This ruling at its core is a CIVIL RIGHTS matter that allows couples that – as SS alluded to- were living in ‘common law marriages’ as they were not recognized at the Federal level now have all the rights and civil abilities related to property, pension issues for spouses/partners, right of visit in hospitals, rights of partners at death etc etc.

    This is a culmination of years and years of same sex unions and marriage throughout the length and breadth of the US particularly in the last 10 -15 years. At the time of this ruling there were almost 40 of the 50 states where some degree of same-sex marriage or union was recognized.

    Good lord, four of the five SCOTUS judges were vehemently against this and that split basically mirrors -very closely – the US society in general on this topic.

    So what exactly now makes THIS the capstone to some final descent into hell. If you want to go down that road it would be more accurate to say that the US is well along that road and has been for years. This is a mere mile-marker.

    It is beyond amazing to suggest this can be equated to the debacle of blatant, deep corruption and descent into moral decay that was seen with CLICO in Barbados. What civil rights did that validate?????

    Surely you can’t be serious with that line of argument.


  5. De Ingrunt Word July 7, 2015 at 11:57 AM #

    And yes Mr Knighton your comments are very well stated..


  6. Simple Simon July 7, 2015 at 1:38 PM #

    @De Ingrunt Word July 7, 2015 at 9:28 AM “common-law marriage does have standing in some states in the union that is the United States of America!”

    True. And thanks for the correction.


  7. SuckaBubby July 7, 2015 at 2:05 PM #

    Greece was once the pinnacle of the known civilized world , encouraged this foolishness en masse and look where it is now.Take heed USA.


  8. Simple Simon July 7, 2015 at 2:13 PM #

    You know that Greece is a series of islands with a rugged landscape. You know that there were no contraceptives in those days to put a brake on the population. You know that if a certain % of a population is exclusively homosexual it put a brake on the population. You know tha tin those days the Greeks id what they had to do to ensure that they could survive in their smal space. What would you have had them do otherwise.

    Remember that Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, Paul and them fellas had not yet walked the earth…so what religious rules were the Greeks disobeying?

    Are you telling me that your God was punishing the Greeks for breaking laws which had not yet been given? And that your God continues to punish them thousands of yeas later?


  9. Simple Simon July 7, 2015 at 2:16 PM #

    I suppose that you think that the Ancient Athenians were breaking the Levitical laws.

    I am certain that you do not understand that the Levitical laws had not yet been given…those laws were first written centuries after some Greeks practiced homosexuality.


  10. David July 7, 2015 at 2:23 PM #

    Here is a question for Peter Wickham, what makes Barbados a homophobic country and not the USA given the almost 50:50 vote from the Supreme Court.


  11. Bush Tea July 7, 2015 at 2:59 PM #

    @ Dee Word
    Bushie will argue with you in an area of which you are so clearly ignorant….
    Indeed we need not argue at all…
    let’s just wait a bit….
    It won’t be long now….

    The fact that someone does not grasp the intricacies of nuclear fusion does not make them immune from the consequences of it’s misuse….

    Do you think that those who partook of, …and enjoyed, the CLICO sweets understood the SEVERITY of the consequences of their deeds? Shiite fella, they actually thought that is was a well conceived business arrangement …and that they were doing the RIGHT things….just like the USA bullers and wickers are thinking…

    Unfortunately for wunna, there ARE spiritual REALITIES out there that override and trump ALL of the temporary, physical, soon-ending shiite forces which our physical senses allow us to recognise…

    Let’s review this situation in a year or so….


  12. Bush Tea July 7, 2015 at 3:00 PM #

    @ De Word
    Bushie will NOT argue….


  13. Kevin July 7, 2015 at 3:54 PM #

    Homophobia goes deeper than just what a court rules. Its peoples attitudes, reasoning and tolerance of the LGBT community.


  14. De Ingrunt Word July 7, 2015 at 3:59 PM #

    Bushie I plead ignorance so in your astute wisdom please clarify for me.

    You are aware, or can Google it, that same sex unions were approved in states in US since 15 years. Couples have been living together, adopting children, going to PTA meetings as the child’s two mummies or two daddies for several years now. That a same-sex couple were married in Canada in early 2000’s and major changes in Western Europe also .

    So please advise as I asked originally, ‘what exactly now makes THIS the capstone to some final descent into hell’.

    What will happn in 1 year from this ruling that will bring your rapture? Although we are now well on from key seminal moments.

    I am confused. The US has been charging along this path for the last 15 years, and even before, but you are defining this court ruling as a special moment.

    What is that sir? No argument just a simple question.

    And on this issue of ignorance (of word of God, I presume) why do devout Christians who accept God, accept all his creations of autism or blindness or any ‘non-standard’ aspect of humanity speak with such disdain and hate to a creature made by the same God who clings to his/her own sex; often based on the same quirks of nature that is the foundation of any other ‘problem’.

    How do these devout Christians validate the deep south racism; burn churches, bomb little girls and the like. Strange sort of obedience to the word of God!



  15. David July 7, 2015 at 4:00 PM #

    It is being said the five to four US Court ruling reflects the view of US society. This is the point!


  16. SuckaBubby July 7, 2015 at 4:02 PM #

    Simple Simon July 7, 2015 at 2:13 PM # 2:16 PM #


    It is inconsequential to me whether Greeks were a collection of islands or not.Similarly I could show you that the Greeks were exposed to and knew about contraception but that would be an academic back and forth not worth pursuing.

    I do not know what god I am a custodian of and it is presumptuous of you to say what are my spiritual beliefs are, when I didn’t even mention anything of religion.

    All I have to say is that I stand by what I have said.The Obama administration poised itself on being the herald of a post racial America.The LGBT movement with the ‘Gay is the new black” positioned itself to fight for their constitutional rights.That I do not have a problem with.Thats their business.

    But, their success is based on the civil rights movement whereas the problems of institutionalized racism and police brutality against minorities still remain unaddressed.

    If the USA continues to tout itself to be a great country upholding itself to be a land of justice and does not address the pressing matter of racism, then expect its downfall.


  17. lawson July 7, 2015 at 4:10 PM #

    just throwing this out there SS ……have the greeks stopped?


  18. millertheanunnaki July 7, 2015 at 4:36 PM #

    @ SuckaBubby July 7, 2015 at 2:05 PM #
    “Greece was once the pinnacle of the known civilized world , encouraged this foolishness en masse and look where it is now.Take heed USA.”

    So too were the Sumerians, Phoenicians, Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Romans, the Byzantines, Ottomans, the Spanish, the French and the British!

    Now what do you mean by “encouraged this foolishness en masse”? Are you referring to conquest by war and the ensuing murder, pillage and rape?

    We can guess that when you refer to the “known civilized world” you are purposely excluding the great ‘civilizations of the Far East. Oh, we see! No China, no Japan, no India in this great mix making up the civilized world?

    Have you ever heard of Genghis Khan?

    “I am the punishment of God…If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”- Genghis Khan

    “The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities
    reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.” – Genghis Khan


  19. dotcomlive July 7, 2015 at 7:34 PM #

    so they can or they cant?

    i skimmed inconclusively but i seen some kinda score 5-4 im assuming in favor. crazy that close, especially considering no matter how much gay butt sex there is married or not they cant reproduce so why would it matter?


  20. dotcomlive July 7, 2015 at 7:35 PM #

    like… to the hate groups.


  21. ac July 7, 2015 at 9:40 PM #

    So why does it matter if gays can reproduce or not that is inconsequential to the back bone of. the argument on which the decision was formed one of equal rights based on rights given to heterosexual married couples who can make life or death decisions on behalf of their spouses and which has been denied to gay couples who were living outside the bonds of marriage. This also a confirmation made by the court that marriage although ordained by the church..the church does not have any right or privilege to stand in the way or obstruct an individual their equal rights


  22. Bush Tea July 7, 2015 at 9:41 PM #

    @ Dee Word
    There have always been politicians and businessmen who stole from the public too…and there are people with even more abnormal sexual orientations than gays….

    Mean you can’t see the difference between a society where such depravity if considered ABNORMAL, illegal, and NOT RIGHT, …and a society where such things are institutionalised, legalised and endorsed at the highest national level?

    Do you REALLY not understand the implications to the country of PM Froon saying (and acting) as if a known hood is his ‘esteemed’ friend…and not a leper? …and of the High Court covering up the crime…?

    Do you understand the effect of the speaker of the highest court in the land being formally found to have stolen property …and receiving a slap on the wrist and a wink in response…?

    Lotta shiite Boss… Crossing a SERIOUS line… Sargassum, downgrades, social chaos, layoffs…should NOT be surprising.

    It would take a while to explain the sanctity of marriage …and you may not get it anyway… But you can DEFINITELY trust Bushie on this…. the consequences of such desecration on the personal scale is bad enough…. On the National level …suicidal!!!

    Life is funny Dee…
    When someone comes to understand quadratic equations he may feel empowered to solve complex mathematical problems… but it is only when he advances to integral calculus and gauss seidal iterations that he gets to understand how little he knew at the quadratic stage – and how complex mathematics can be …. even at the Gauss Seidal stage….


  23. ac July 7, 2015 at 11:13 PM #

    What ever the consequences BBE style the Facts are that We as a society have to life in the PRESENT until a better form of life is constructed that does not constrain or put restraints that are impediments to human life, The supreme court ruling is without doubt a good one as it removes barriers while constraining as well as restraining the churches role in the individual life for equal rights which is the basic tenants in the pursuit of life liberty and happiness
    It is dumbfounding that those who oppose the ruling does not have the wherewithal to recognize that this ruling has a positive effect in that it gives the freedom of movement to the homosexual to be among themselves whereby the homosexual does not have to make a pretentious mistake of crossing over into the heterosexual world and trying to remove stigmas in order to fit in and in the process does the unthinkable of getting married only to be exposed years later resulting with devastating ramifications which destroy the lives of household and innocent people.
    That one barrier along with others are the keys which helped to form and shaped an outstanding decision by the USA supreme court, a great day for gaysYes and also a great day for heterosexual who lives might be spared the trauma of “once upon a time being married to a homosexual”


  24. Bush Tea July 8, 2015 at 11:34 AM #

    Truly AC…as SSS has emphasised…
    You are a c….. (Rabbit of the brass bowl female variety…)


  25. ac July 8, 2015 at 12:48 PM #

    Again let me emphasize that dupreme cour was a good ruling which gave the homosexual the freeom of transparency and not have to be a hypocrite hiding under the cover of darkness pretending to be other than what Nature designed him/her to be it. It is a freedom that is desrving of all

    Btw deputy dawg alias bush shit wuh u barking at yet wid them rubber teet .yuh think sme body scared uh u .well i take that back cause yuh ugly as sh….te. Keep barking yuh mangy rubber teet dawg..sooner or later yuh ass going end up in the dog pound


  26. Zoe July 9, 2015 at 12:18 PM #

    How can something be a Civil ‘Rights’ contention, when in essence these very ones claim there is no such thing as ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’? A value FREE, Value NEUTRAL society, amoral to the height of debased filth!


  27. ac July 9, 2015 at 2:25 PM #

    A civil Right/s is/are defined and written in USA constitution as to be a humane quality of life that has inheritedand entitled purposes to the overall quality to a persons life .no if,s or buts.Those who sit in moral or high judgement to deny others such rights does so by a persausion soley indoctrinated byreligious teaching.the separation of church law and state law by democratic rule does not give or permit the church interference where such laws would deny a person their “civil rights.In this ruling which is a very good one the Supreme Court in it,s wisdom took at all individual rights across the board and there impact on individual rights and closed a door and the desire of the church to influence state law.


  28. Kiki July 9, 2015 at 2:45 PM #


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