Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

FAST TURNAROUND IS FAIR PLAY Mansfield Fox: always ready to demonstrate the problems of pontificating on court opinions you haven't actually read. Apparently SCoMa did not "remand" the gay marriage issue to the legislature. (A friend asks: "can courts do that?" I reply: These days, courts can do pretty much anything they damn well please.) It seems that they rather took it upon themselves to read the definition of civil marriage in Mass. as "the voluntary union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others" and ordered the lower court to issue a decision consistent with their ruling, but then stayed entry of the judgment for 180 days. In that time, the legislature can act to institute same-sex marriages (or maybe civil unions? it's still unclear, but I'm growing more dubious). But if, after those 180 days have elapsed, the legislature hasn't done anything, then the court's decision goes into effect and county clerks (or whoever hands out marriage licenses in Mass.) won't constitutionally be allowed to deny them to same-sex couples any more. (I base my analysis on the words of the right-wingers over at NRO. If I'm wrong here, blame them. Blame me only for relying on them a little too much.)