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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. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

    2. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

    3. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

    4. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

    5. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

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