• 82°

Court keeps its own counsel

Sometimes remaining silent makes a powerful statement.
That’s what many are reading into the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week on same-sex marriage. Lower federal courts had struck down bans on same-sex marriage in five states — Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia — and their rulings were appealed. By refusing to hear those appeals, the Supreme Court allowed the lower court decisions to stand. The states’ same-sex bans remain struck down, and a similar ban in North Carolina could be headed for the ash heap of history.
How could a court go against a ban supported by 61 percent of North Carolina voters? Simple. Equality and fairness are seldom issues of majority rule. The majority does not always treat the minority fairly. It’s the job of our courts to ensure constitutional rights are protected for all. The religious aspects of the marriage issue may continue to be debated in various faiths and denominations — and many churches are struggling with that. But the courts look at it as a legal issue, and several courts have found no constitutional grounds for treating same-sex couples differently.
The Supreme Court may be done with this issue for now, but the national debate will continue. The justices could take up a future appeal regarding same-sex marriage; and pundits speculated Tuesday that the court is waiting for the right case, whatever that might be. Meanwhile, politicians will keep this on their agenda as a hot-button issue. Gov. Pat McCrory released a statement Monday saying he disagreed with the court’s decision. Leaders of the N.C. General Assembly, Sen. Phil Berger and Rep. Thom Tillis (candidate for U.S. Senate) have vowed to “formally defend” the state’s ban and hire private counsel to do so.
But state Attorney General Roy Cooper, a probable gubernatorial candidate in 2016, has said he will no longer defend the N.C. ban since, in his words, “there are really no arguments left to be made.”
While the constitutionality of banning same-sex marriage can’t be decided by majority rule, it’s worth noting that public attitudes on the subject have been changing rapidly. To an increasing number of Americans, the only “hot-button” aspect of same-sex marriage is the unfairness of the ban. Several local same-sex couples have wed in states that recognize that right, and Tuesday two of them went to the Rowan County Register of Deeds Office to have their marriages recorded. “Our marriage validated us as a couple, as people in this community,” said Tamara Sheffield, who has been with Maryja Mee nearly 25 years. By rejecting the states’ appeals, the Supreme Court gave same-sex couples validation, too. The court was silent, and that said a lot.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Man charged with killing 28-year-old found dead in crashed car

Crime

68-year-old woman identified as Jackson Street murder victim

Crime

Man arrested in Jacksonville for Salisbury murder

Local

Rowan-Salisbury Schools finalizes normal, five-day schedule for fall

Local

Council to vote on budget, consider permit for child care center near downtown

Landis

Landis adopts budget with reduction in residential electric rates, no tax increases

Local

Political Notebook: Budd campaign touts boost in voter support after Trump endorsement

Local

Seventh Dragon Boat Festival scheduled July 24

News

NC rights groups say GOP bills impede voting access

Local

Sgt. Shane Karriker’s funeral procession travels through downtown Salisbury

Crime

Blotter: June 14

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will front entrance to courthouse reopen?

Coronavirus

As COVID-19 cases wane, vaccine-lagging areas still at risk

Crime

Blotter: Man faces litany of charges for fleeing sheriff’s deputies

Granite Quarry

‘Race to the Dan’ brings Revolutionary War back to Rowan

Local

‘Unity in the Community’ event brings together Salisbury Police, NAACP

Crime

One killed, two others shot on South Jackson Street in Salisbury

Crime

State examining Davidson County emergency alert received in Rowan, other counties

Local

Cleveland Rodeo packs house for 10th year

News

Salisbury’s Jacques Belliveau talks mental health, filming during premiere of ‘Reggie: A Millennial Depression Comedy’

News

Sen. Ford backs new set of election-related bills

Business

Downtown Salisbury bullish on potential for more residential space

Business

Biz Roundup: Wine about Winter set for June 18

Business

Local artists draw in adventurous travelers with eclectic Airbnb rental downtown