A WI statute provides that residents who have children not in their custody and who they have an obligation to support may not marry unless they receive permission from the state.
To gain permission, they must show that they prove their compliance with the support obligation and demonstrate that the children are not likely to become public charges.
Redhail filed for a marriage with Zablocki but was denied since he owed child support and his child was a ward of the state since her birth.
SCOTUS held law unconstitutional.
Is the right to marry a fundamental right?
When is a right so infringed upon that heightened scrutiny is required?
The right to marry is a fundamental right.
Is it a fundamental right?...
In Meyer v. Nebraska, SCOTUS recognized that the right to marry, establish a home, and bring up children is a central part of the liberty protected by the DPC.
More recent decisions have established that the right to marry is part of the fundamental right of privacy implicit in the 14th Amendment's DPC.
Does the statute significantly interfere with the right?...
Reasonable regulations that do not significantly interfere with decisions to enter into the marital relationship may legitimately be imposed.
Ex. Califano v. Jobst - upheld provision of SSA that terminated benefits for disabled children, who were covered as dependents of wage earners, at the time they got married.
Acknowledged that the termination of benefits might have an impact on a person's desire to marry.
However, a general rule is not rendered invalid simply because some persons who might otherwise have married were deterred by the rule or because some who did marry were burdened by the rule.
The classification here, however, clearly does interfere directly and substantially with the right to marry.
Some of those in the affected class will never be able to obtain the necessary court order to get married.
These persons are absolutely prevented from getting married.
Many others, able in theory to satisfy the statute, will be sufficiently burdened by the statute that they will in effect be coerced into forgoing their right to marry.
Even those who can be persuaded to meet the statute's requirements suffer a serious intrusion into their freedom of choice in an area in which we have held such freedom to be fundamental.
When a statutory classification significantly interferes with the exercise of a fundamental right, it cannot be upheld unless it is supported by sufficiently important state interests and is closely tailored to effectuate only those interests.
State proffers two interests, both of which are legitimate, but the means used to achieve the interests is not narrowly tailored.
Furnishes an opportunity to counsel the applicant as to the necessity of fulfilling his prior support obligations.
The statute as originally introduced included counseling; at the end of counseling, permission to marry would be granted automatically; this did not make it into the final law.
Protects the welfare of the out-of-custody children.
With respect to individuals who are unable to meet the requirements, the statute merely keeps the applicant from marrying without delivering any money into the hands of the children.
The state has numerous other means for exacting compliance with support obligations.
There is also the suggestion that the statute protects the ability of marriage applicants to meet support obligations to prior children by preventing the applicants from incurring new support obligations.
Underinclusive - does not limit in any way new financial commitments by the applicant other than those arising out of the contemplated marriage.
Overinclusive - possible that the new spouse will be in a better financial position, could help them meet their support requirements.
Court discusses using the EPC, DPC of 14th Amendment should be used.
A state may significantly interfere with and even completely restrict the right to marry.
No incest, no underage, no bigamy, etc.
However, it is settled that the DPC of the 14th Amendment embraces marriage as a liberty to be protected.
The WI law does directly abridge the right to marry.
The fact remains that some people simply cannot afford to meet the statute's financial requirements.
To deny these people permission to marry penalizes them for failing to do that which they cannot do.
Insofar as it applies to indigents, the state law is an irrational means of achieving the objectives of the state.
Marriage is not the sort of fundamental right which must trigger heightened scrutiny.
Under the EPC, need only pass rational basis test; under the DPC, need only be shown that it bears a rational relation to a constitutionally permissible objective.