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Young knows gay marriage ruling upset some

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The federal judge who struck down Indiana's gay marriage ban said he's well aware his decision upset some people, but that federal judges can't let public opinion sway their decisions.

U.S. District Judge Richard Young said it's for the common good that federal judges are immune to political pressure, indifferent to opinion polls and not beholden even to the politicians who appoint them. That freedom allows them to concern themselves only with the cases before them, he said.

"You determine the facts, and you apply the facts to the law," he told the Evansville Courier & Press. "Our forefathers, in determining that federal judges have lifetime tenure and should be isolated from politics, turns out to be a very wise decision."

Young ruled last Wednesday that Indiana's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. His ruling allowed hundreds of gay and lesbian couples around the state to obtain marriage licenses around Indiana, and many of them were wed.

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay Friday putting Young's ruling — and county clerks' ability to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples — on hold.

Young said his office received "a significant number of calls" after his ruling, but staff members handled those calls.

"I haven't talked to anybody, but they call in and, you know, we're here to serve the public and we can't ignore those calls. We have to answer them, talk to them, and listen," the judge said.

Young has a ready answer for anyone who might believe his ruling was judicial activism at its worst.

"They call it judicial activism if they don't agree with the decision," he said. "If they agree with the decision, then it's certainly not judicial activism. That means the judge is following the law and doing the right thing."

Young began his career not in courtrooms but in Democratic Party politics, when he helped with then-Sen. Birch Bayh's 1976 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The 61-year-old Iowa native has voted in Democratic primaries several times during his 24 years on the state and federal benches. He cast his last such ballot in 2008, the year Indiana's Democratic presidential primary assumed a pivotal role in the nomination battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"Coming in to Evansville, not knowing a whole lot of people, becoming involved in politics was a way for me to meet a lot of people with similar interests," he said Friday.

Young was nominated for the federal bench in 1997 by then-President Bill Clinton to succeed retiring federal judge Gene E. Brooks. He took office in March 1998 after approval by the Senate.

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  • no classes etc etc
    someone said "You can't grant some people certain rights and leave a group out." One the contrary! Many such examples exist to the contrary. Such as for minors. Or other types of incapacity based on age, felony conviction status, mental incompetence, citizenship, all of these "discriminate" between groups......... laws protecting property rights discriminate between the owners and non-owners..... shall we get rid of all those too? How about laws "discriminating" between prisoners serving sentencing in jail, and others not? Damn near every law has some kind of discrimination involved in one sense or another. So the notion that laws should not "discriminate' is linguistically meaningless. It's a whole lot of malarkey, some kind of naïve Rosseauvian Enlightenment sophistry, a verbal parlour trick to befuddle well meaning people into acquiescing to the extreme social engineering agenda of the radical homosexual lobby.
  • NOT
    the constitution does not say anything about "laws shall not be passed for purely religious reasons." that is not the first amendment. If we look at the First amendment it says in fact that "CONGRESS" shall make no laws and early American states were much involved with religion, democratically so. http://undergod.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=69 Oh America its all about getting its citizens to die with a mouthful of sand for O. I. L. and "democracy" and then not get to have it at home.
  • egregious
    What is even worse, discrimination piled upon animus, is that currently, under the unjust law as it is now, only women can have babies. Well president snow will not have it so. I hereby decree it every man`s right to have babies. So let it be written, so let it be done.
  • Legal Status of married couples and civil rights
    The legal status of Married can currently only be bestowed on opposite couples. that is a violation of the civil rights of same sex coupes. It would be like if the state of Indiana said it's perfectly legal for everyone in Indiana to smoke weed,...except white people. You can't grant some people certain rights and leave a group out. Also, you can't enact a law for purely religious reasons. That is a violation of the 'establishment clause'. Laws may only be enacted for secular reasons only. If you ask the average guy on the street why gay marriage should be banned and he will tell you that's what the bible says, and at exactly that point you lose the legal argument.
    • whatever
      well to be fair to the judge, he has to follow the US supreme court which already ruled how they ruled. so the fix is already in. but the idea that the constitution of 1787 or the fourteenth amendment prohibits a definition of marriage as confined to heterosexual couples would have been unthinkable to the framers of either. so I guess now the constitution just means whatever we want it to, whatever is popular with the kinds of lobbies that are active in filing these kinds of social engineering lawsuits, and calling all traditional and religious institutions bigotry. OK, whatever, as the teenagers say

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    1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

    2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

    3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

    4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

    5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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