Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wikipedia on Marriage

Posted by Teresa at 10:36 AM
Hey, you know what's a good resource when you want to redefine marriage?
Wikipedia. No, seriously:

The 84-page opinion legalizing same-sex marriage in Connecticut
included scores of citations: legal precedents, friend-of-the-court
briefs — and Wikipedia.


It was a simple fact — the number of gay Congressmen — that easily
could have been passed off to a clerk or page. Instead, Justice Richard
Palmer attributed it to the free online user-generated encyclopedia.


The passing reference stood out in an inevitably controversial
decision. While Internet sources have become increasingly common
in legal opinions, legal experts said Wikipedia still comes as a surprise.


“They could have done better; I’m a little disappointed,” said Kenji
Yoshino LAW ’96, a constitutional law professor at New York University
who used to teach at Yale. “I hope we’re not devolving into the days
of a wiki-constitution quite yet.”


Connecticut Supreme Court staff are not commenting on Friday’s
decision.


A search of all federal and all state court decisions ever made revealed
that 247 have cited Wikipedia. That number could continue to grow
as the encyclopedia becomes more mainstream, although Wikipedia’s
accuracy remains controversial. “Wikipedia acknowledges that it
should not be used as a primary source for serious research,” according
to, naturally, Wikipedia.


So people can't use their religious beliefs or the Bible to cite their opposition to
same-sex marriage because that's mixing religion and state. Alright. However, the
Connecticut Supreme Court can use Wikipedia when redefining marriage? My
professors during college probably wouldn't let me cite Wikipedia on a simple
paper about the polarization of cable news viewing (I was a journalism major).
I wouldn't even try it.

I want to know what exactly they cited on Wikipedia?

Update: I did a quick search of the Connecticut ruling and this is what I found attributed
to Wikipedia:

No openly gay person ever has been appointed to a United States
Cabinet position or to any federal appeals court,41 or served in the
United States Senate, and only two currently serve in the United
States House of Representatives. See ‘‘Current Members of the
United States Congress,’’ available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_United_States_Senators.
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