Friday, April 07, 2006

Father Time To Rule on SSM

On same-sex marriage, will Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas E. Connolly be the proverbial once-burned/twice-shy? Four years ago, he ruled against Goodridge et alii. He is almost certain to get the case on whether Rhode Island and New York same-sex couples can marry in Massachusetts.

There's an elegant symmetry in the SJC handing this to judge whose outdated vision of marriage led directly to SSM here. Connolly is known in the biz as Father Time because of his harsh, long sentences. The name is apt too because his SSM ruling is really from another era. It might be 20th Century, but more likely 19th. For example, he concluded, "Recognizing that procreation is marriage's central purpose, it is rational for the Legislature to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples who, theoretically, are capable of procreation."

He also did the Pontius Pilate and wrote to send it to the General Court.

A nice futures piece in today's Boston Globe notes that more up-to-date Judge Carol Ball is going off the bench for her three-month rotation and Connolly is up. In light of his record and hoary coating, he is the likely choice of the anti-SSM forces. We can be sure that they'll try to get their filings ready so that he hears this one.

Connolly won't comment.

The article did not ask him or anyone involved whether he learned anything from his reversal and the lengthy, specific refutation of his views by the SJC. Even though he was apparently unaware of the trends of straight couples choosing not to have kids and the many of them who are physically incapable, he is likely cognizant that his previous ruling didn't cut it legally.

We could see a chastened jurist coming into the 21st Century on this one.


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