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Berkeley Professor Claims Justice Kennedy Old Fashioned

A UC Berkeley Law Professor thinks that the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case mischaracterized marriage by referring to it as the supreme human relationship.

Melissa Murray favored the gay marriage ruling, reported SFGate, and she is reluctant to rain on anyone’s Pride parade. Nevertheless, the constitutional expert observed that the decision was much too strong in its wording.

“It was a love letter to marriage that makes everything outside of marriage look second-rate and wrong,” Murray insists.

Clearly the Berkeley professor was referring to passages from Justice Anthony Kennedy’s remarks in his majority opinion:

The annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage. …Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations… “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union… Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions… They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The progressive professor espouses that we should be more respectful of “different kinds of family forms in making things good for children of single-parent homes.” 

Murray added, “a Supreme Court opinion that venerates marriage sends the message that everything outside of marriage is not worthy of dignity.” Justice Kennedy in this context is old fashioned suggests the Berkeley professor. “Even in his most progressive moment, Kennedy is a throwback,” she argues.

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