Yesterday, George W. Bush-appointed Judge Robert Jones upheld Nevada’s practice of denying marriage equality to gay couples. Like a similar decision by a Reagan-appointed judge in Hawai’i, Judge Jones goes out of his way to resolve any uncertainties in the law in the light most unfavorable to equality — although, in fairness to Jones, his hands were at least somewhat tied by a 22 year old anti-gay precedent.
Precedent aside, however, Jones’ opinion will be very difficult to defend on appeal. He attacks gay rights in ways that undermine basic protections for racial minorities and women; and he displays an almost quaint naivete about how politicians present their sexuality to the public. By the end of the opinion, the reader is not simply left with the impression that Judge Jones has never actually met an openly gay person, but that Jones does not spend much time observing heterosexual relationships either.
The most dangerous part of Jones’ reasoning is a section where he claims that, because gay people made significant cultural and political progress in recent years, this somehow deprives them of their ability to seek the full protection of the Constitution:
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