July 26, 2013

A federal judge’s ruling that Ohio must recognize the Maryland marriage of James Obergefell and John Arthur prompted criticism from the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg [“Judge rules for two Ohio men married out of state,” news, July 24], but that criticism betrayed a misunderstanding of the ruling.

Mr. Sprigg asserted that the circumstances of the marriage — the couple flew to Maryland so that the dying Mr. Arthur could marry his soul mate — was part of a tactic of making “emotional appeals rather than rational ones.” But the basis for the Supreme Court’s recent United States v. Windsor decision, upon which District Judge Timothy Black relied, was very rational: There is no legitimate basis for government to discriminate against legally married gay couples.

The emotional appeal of the situation was not a way of avoiding the rationality of the legal precedent; it illustrates why that legal precedent will enable gay couples to have full dignity under the law. This is not an example of hard cases making bad law, but of easy cases making good law.

David S. Fishback, Olney

The author is advocacy chair of the Metro DC Chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.