The Mouths of Babes

Yesterday’s gay marriage decision offered up enough controversial nuggets to keep both sides of the debate yammering for weeks to come. But one that really seems to have people buzzing this morning seems to be Judge Smith’s argument that one could “rationally believe that it is better, other things being equal, for children to grow up with both a mother and a father.”

We aren’t lawyers, so we can’t provide much in the way of legal dissection here. (And besides, we’re tired of hearing from lawyers.) But, in one of those weird twists of coincidence, we do happen to know the daughter of one the five plaintiff couples in Hernandez v. Robles. (She is the close friend of one my young cousins).

Her name is Aliya Shane. She is 17 years old. She has, needless to say, followed her parents’ case closely. (“I went to the website and read the whole decision online. I’ve read a lot of legal things, so I kind of get the language now,” she said.)

Here is a little of what she had to say about the outcome:

“I’m really sad that the decision was 4-2 and not a 3-3 tie. I’m surprised by that, because I thought it would be a little closer. And I’m sad that the judges couldn’t really see that my parents are being discriminated against. And I just kind of expected more from New York because we are such a progressive state. So I was surprised by that, and I’m actually really disappointed.

“I mean, it just made me really angry, some of the arguments that they used. Because, they kept saying it’s for the legislature to decide, but aren’t the courts here to make sure people’s rights aren’t being violated, that people have equal rights?

More after the jump…

— Lizzy Ratner

Her thoughts on the judges:
“You could really tell who was going for us and who was going to go against us … just by some of the questions they asked. Some judges – you know Judge Judith Kaye, she was just more respectful, her questions were more respectful. I feel like she was actually asking us stuff, and I feel like some of the other judges were telling us stuff or hinting at their opinions in some way.

“The one who actually wrote the decision, Judge Robert Smith, I feel like he was going on and on about procreation, and I just felt like he kept cutting off our lawyers. But I mean, I guess that’s what they’re supposed to do. And at one point he said something like, you have the whole dawn of western civilization against you, and stuff like that. That’s one quote I remember.

“I just felt like maybe their decisions were made up before the argument went.”

On the argument that it is better to grow up in a mother-father home:
“This decision is really showing the children of same sex couples that they’re second class citizens, and we shouldn’t be telling children that. It’s the children of same sex couples who want their parents to be married, who want their parents to have the same protections [as heterosexual parents].

On what comes next:
“I think we’re going to push the legislature to pass a bill saying that we can get married, but the NY legislature is pretty slow at things so I don’t know how that’s going to do. The Mouths of Babes