Tag Archives: responsible procreation

Mississippi: Same-Sex Marriage and the Rational Basis Argument

Any minute Mississippi will be in the national spotlight.

At issue are two pending Federal Court cases attempting to strike down the ban on Mississippi’s Constitutional restriction against same-sex marriage, and a state law prohibiting same-sex adoption.  The arguments have been made and the matters are in the “bosom of the Court.”

The question that the Court is deciding is whether there is a “Rational Basis” for the State (Governmental entity) to restrict the rights of citizens eligible for marriage to one another.

The Rational Basis review tests whether a governmental action is a reasonable means to an end that may be legitimately pursued by the government. This test requires that the governmental action be “rationally related” to a “legitimate” government interest. Under this standard of review, the “legitimate interest” does not have to be the government’s actual interest. Rather, if the court can merely hypothesize a “legitimate” interest served by the challenged action, it will withstand the rational basis review.

During the arguments the Judge asked what is the State’s rational basis in preventing these persons from marrying and adopting.  The State’s response was “responsible procreation.”  Based on that response the Court’s ultimate task is to determine 1) is “responsible procreation” something the State has a legitimate interest in, and 2) are the State imposed restrictions rationally related to that goal.

A ruling should come swiftly and the early indications, based on the Judge’s questions and the reception of the arguments presented, are that Mississippi will be the next State to recognize and allow same-sex marriage.

Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Family Law Attorney, Adjunct Professor of Law -Domestic Relations and is closely following these pending cases and the impact they will have on Mississippi Family Law.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

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Mississippi & Same Sex Marriage; The End or the Beginning?

Think about this question posed by Federal Court Judge, Carlton Reeves, yesterday:

“What is the state’s rational basis that same-sex couples can’t marry … and its prohibition of same-sex couples from adopting children when all a child wants is to be loved, and they don’t care by whom?”

At least two instances of persons challenging Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage and adoption are now pending before the Federal District Court. A number of Federal Circuit Courts have struck down similar state bans and the trend is growing.

The response to the Judge’s inquiry was “responsible procreation.”  However the days of “having” to be married to procreate have gone out the window. Additionally, it has no bearing on infertile couples, elderly couples or even prisoners, all of whom still have the legal right to marry so long as it is a person of the opposite gender.

Mississippi’s ban, I predict, is the next to be struck down. There’s not a rational basis for gender discrimination when it comes to marriage.  There are arguments on a religious basis and tradition, but neither of these arguments will carry the day, nor will responsible procreation. These cases and the Mississippi law really turn on same-gender arguments and whether there is a rational basis, the legal standard required, to place limitations on the rights of same-gender couples as opposed to purely sexual orientation arguments. Stay tuned.

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Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Family Law attorney, Adjunct Professor of Domestic relations, admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court (pictured above) and predicting a change in Mississippi law very soon.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms