On Monday a federal judge struck down Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban as a violation of the United States Constitution’s equal protection clause, ordering the state to begin recognizing gay marriages on March 9. A day later Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson petitioned the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to put the judge’s ruling on hold. According to Peterson, the plaintiffs suing for the right to marry have no pressing need to obtain marriage licenses—despite the fact that one plaintiff, Sally Waters, is currently dying from stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. The district judge held that Waters should be permitted to marry her partner before she dies. Here’s Peterson’s response to that ruling:
[T]he district court’s conclusion that there is a “real possibility” that Ms. Waters will not live to see the issue resolved is simply a “possibility” which was not supported by any medical evidence. Moreover, the district court’s conclusion is inconsistent with the ample provisions in Nebraska law which would provide that, in the event Sally dies during the pendency of this litigation but Appellees ultimately prevail, an amended death certificate would be available which would address this concern.
Much of the conservative opposition to marriage equality has, of course, always been motivated by a startling lack of empathy, compassion, and human decency. Peterson’s brief, however, takes this callousness to a stunning new level.