The idea struck even Baker as odd at first, but he promised to find a way and decided to go to law school to figure it out.
When the clerk rejected Baker and Mc Connell’s application, they sued in state court.
It was the product of the decades of activism that made the idea of gay marriage seem plausible, desirable, and right.
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“We were just as right then as we are now,” she said.
“But there was a complete lack of understanding of the existence and common humanity of gay people.”Friday’s decision wasn’t solely or even primarily the work of the lawyers and plaintiffs who brought the case.
He likened the situation to that of interracial marriage, which the Supreme Court had found unconstitutional in 1967, in Loving v. “Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his sweeping decision in Obergefell v. “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.
The Constitution grants them that right.”The plaintiffs’ arguments in Obergefell were strikingly similar to those Baker made back in the 1970s.
Obviously, he told them, marriage was for people of the opposite sex; it was silly to think otherwise. He and Mc Connell, a librarian, had met at a Halloween party in Oklahoma in 1966, shortly after Baker was pushed out of the Air Force for his sexuality.
From the beginning, the men were committed to one another.
The decision, he wrote, was “nothing less than a tectonic shift, a fundamental realignment of the landscape, possibly the biggest lesbian and gay rights legal victory ever.”Wolfson pestered his bosses to let him get more involved in the case, and they relented, allowing him to join Foley as co-counsel. In a result that astonished the world, they won: The judge, Kevin Chang, concluded that the state failed to prove that the public interest was served by denying marriage to same-sex couples..
(No marriage licenses were issued as the state supreme court considered the state’s appeal.) In September 1996, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Defense of Marriage Act, a law defining marriage as between a man and woman for purposes of federal law, and President Bill Clinton signed it.
The first time their audacious idea had not been laughed out of court.