US

NYT, federal judge overruling gay marriage ban confuse Constitution for Declaration of Independence

Photo of Katie McHugh
Katie McHugh
Associate Editor

Both federal judge Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen and the one-time newspaper of record confused the Constitution for the Declaration of Independence during their haste to celebrate the overturning of Virginia’s gay marriage ban Thursday night.

“Our Constitution declares that ‘all men’ are created equal. Surely this means all of us,” wrote Allen in a tautological pronouncement that cited a unilateral assertion of sovereignty penned in response to 18th-century British abuses of power, rather than the supreme law governing the U.S.

The New York Times gave no indication it noticed Allen’s glaring error, dedicating most of its 761-word article to sniffing at opponents of same-sex marriage.

“[S]o far, the justices have not decided the basic issue raised by the new decision in Virginia and similar recent decisions by federal district courts in Utah and Oklahoma: whether any sound constitutional reason exists for a state to deny gay and lesbian couples an equal right to marry,” reporter Erik Eckholm wrote, who declined to mention whether the Declaration of Independence gave gay and lesbian couples an automatic legal right to marry.

Instead, Eckholm praised the U.S. District Court for its ruling, lauding Allen’s language as “lofty.”

“The judge often used lofty language in declaring that Virginia’s marriage ban violated the Due Process and Equal Protection provisions of the 14th Amendment,” he wrote. “In summing up the decision, she wrote, ‘We have arrived upon another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect.’”

Follow Katie on Twitter and Facebook