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Gay marriage and the fragile tyranny of the minority

In my posting on gay marriage yesterday, a few commenters questioned the sincerity of my belief in gay marriage, saying that subsuming it to public opinion gave me an "easy out." That's a valid question, and one I believe deserves a sincere answer.

My position is often stated in idealism -- support for democracy -- but is rooted in the deepest pragmatism.

The issue of gay marriage came up in Massachusetts several years ago, when the case that ultimately brought it about began wending its way through the court system. Many at the time saw just what a huge issue it would become, and tried to get the state Constitution amended to address it. Time and again the legislature used its power to block such moves. Even when the Supreme Judicial Court formally told them to "crap or get off the pot," they evaded the issue. Many observers at that time strongly suspected which way the Court was going to come down saw that as a clear warning, but it was still ignored.

So the Court issued its landmark decision, and gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts.

And as predicted, the opponents of gay marriage were incredibly energized. They had just been handed a huge defeat. Four judges, with the complicit help of a few leaders in the legislature, had forever changed the nature of marriage in the Bay State. The pro-gay-marriage side had managed to change the law with the assistance of less than two dozen people (I'd estimate).

This was a tremendous victory for their side (the side I support), but it's also incredibly shaky. The way the change came about was by four judges interpreting the state Constitution, and several lawmakers in key positions preventing the other side from fighting back. And opposing them are the three other judges on the Supreme Judicial Court, along with a tremendous number of ordinary citizens.

Citizens also known as "taxpayers" and "voters."

They've been fighting back, and their weapon of choice is the ultimate "big gun" in state politics -- a Constitutional amendment. If they can push through such an amendment, the court's ruling will be struck down and the justices rendered powerless to rule otherwise. This would be a huge defeat for gay marriage, as it would set back decades of progress and be almost impossible to overrule.

The process to amending Massachusetts' Constitution is spelled out here, but let me give you the relevant parts: any amendment proposed by petition has to receive the approval of at least 25% of the legislature in two consecutive sessions. The sole defense the pro-gay-marriage side has is to keep it from getting that vote, or preventing a vote entirely. And that depends on them keeping a leash on the legislative leaders -- people that can be voted out of office quite easily. And if the leaders themselves can't be kicked out of office, then they can at least be defeated in their leadership roles.

The people who oppose gay marriage know this, and they're acting. They're lining up opponents for the leaders in their races, and they're working to get other legislators elected as leaders within the House and Senate. If they're successful, then that Amendment will pass, and gay marriage will be dead in Massachusetts for the foreseeable future.

At the same time, they keep electing governors who oppose gay marriage. And it's the governor who nominates judges to the Supreme Judicial Court.

So yeah, I support the democratic principle here, out of idealism. But also out of sheer practicality -- the way the system works, if enough people are sufficiently pissed off about the way gay marriage was instituted in Massachusetts, they have the means to kill it now and for a long time to come. All they need is the proper motivation -- and they've got that in spades.


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Comments (133)

Let's borrow Jay's closing ... (Below threshold)
McCain:

Let's borrow Jay's closing line so that we can apply such pragmatism to other civil rights examples....

if enough people are sufficiently pissed off about the way bans against interracial marriage were instituted in Arkansas, they have the means to kill it now and for a long time to come.

if enough people are sufficiently pissed off about the way segregation was instituted in Alabama, they have the means to kill it now and for a long time to come.

Since when was pragmatism any reasonable basis for ducking the moral challenge to provide equal rights under the law? What a fantastically convenient excuse to leave others at the back of the bus.

McCain: You examples are di... (Below threshold)

McCain: You examples are disgusting. Homosexual DOES NOT equal black.

Jay Tea: I am pro-traditional marriage but I must say that I respect your position. If the voters of my state approved gay "marriage" I would not go running to SCOTUS. Even though I would disagree and attempt to persuade the voters of their error, I would live with the decision. Unelected Judges are not kings!

Totally agree with your tak... (Below threshold)
LiveFreeOrDie:

Totally agree with your take, Jay.

I do think many on the left think everyone right of center who mentions proper process or ideals is just using it as an excuse.

Its not an excuse. It dangerous to allow the changing of contitutional definitions by activist courts.

It unleashes the powerful.

It's tough to remain princi... (Below threshold)

It's tough to remain principled when what springs for you from that principled core is trampled by the process you uphold.

But I disagree with your "shaky" assessment, and I offer the humble example of Roe v. Wade.

We ned to put a curb on the... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

We ned to put a curb on the power of these judges they are abusing the power of office its time to can a few especialy those put in by bill clinton

Lemmie see if I can figure ... (Below threshold)

Lemmie see if I can figure this out. Millions of blacks were brutally enslaved and oppressed for hundreds of years. They were beaten, lynched, jailed, told they could not use "white" facilites, denied equal protection under the law, placed in poorly funded schools, and generally downtrodden until only a few decades ago. These people did not choose to be born black; it happened without their consent.

Homosexuals aren't allowed to marry each other in almost every state. There is no solid scientific evidence suggesting that homosexuality is genetic (show me the "gay gene" and maybe I'll change my statement, but until then...). Active homosexuality is a choice.

Some are stating that the black civil rights movement is equivalent to the pro-homosexual marriage movement.

Moral equivalence, anyone?

- Since the phrase "Gay Mar... (Below threshold)

- Since the phrase "Gay Marriage" would seem to be at best, a rather strange conjugation, owing to the norms of the long standing definition of marraige, what is so wrong with the words "civil union". Since the real purpose of all this public caterwalling, and intense effort to press for legal standing, has a great deal more to do with government doles and money/property rights than any real issues of morality ect., why not just set up a category for all other unions aside from hetero, and be done with it. That way if an Uncle wants to marry His niece, all the hassle and child protection laws will be safely skirted, and we could all be proud of our Democratic values, albeit taken to an insane extreme, just to mollycuddle a tiny vociferous minority. Jefferson would be proud....

Equal protection under t... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Equal protection under the law is not an absolute. The military draft is a good example. At times in our history some citizens were compelled into military service while others were left to enjoy the benefits of American life, all based on a person's age and gender. Equal protection under the law is established in the state and federal constitutions, and as such, is subject to change through the lawful process of amending these constitutions. There's nothing unconstitutional about a new amendment limiting the scope of an exiting amendment or even repealing an existing amendment. Case in point is Prohibition established by the 18th amendment and repealed by the 21st amendment. The right of the people to amend the constitution is the most fundamental right of our system of government. To do otherwise is to forever suffer the tyranny of past generations upon current and future generations. Let the people vote!

Well SilverBubble and a ver... (Below threshold)
McCain:

Well SilverBubble and a very disgusted Steven Kelso Jr:
They surely were born black but they CHOSE to marry white girls. That was illegal, don't you know. And yes, that is equivalent to this issue, and obviously so. That is, assuming you stop avoiding the evidence that homosexuality is at least partly nature rather than nurture.

Marriage is conferred by so... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Marriage is conferred by society onto a couple. You can't force the public to give its blessing on that union if it doesn't want to. Otherwise you make it an empty blessing.

The underlying principle an... (Below threshold)
-S-:

The underlying principle and basis for deep seated differences on this issue is rooted in the issue that the Holy Bible declares that homosexuality is an abomination to God, that homosexuality is abominable. No where else to my knowledge does God use that harshest of condemnation about anything, not even limiting His condemnation to sin, but deeming it abominable.

There IS no proven, biological basis that proves homosexuality as being an inate characteristic of or by any humam being, no more than there can be proven that bestiality or sexual abuse is "inate" as an individual characteristic. There IS information established to support that certain brain differences can and do produce an increased willingness to commit impulsive acts by way of decreased control over impulsivity, but that's about it. Including homosexuality and other forms of sexual deviances as to behaviors in these considerations is understandable to most, while it's refuted based upon opinion and opinion only by those who cannot -- in their very own experience -- control their need, compulsion, to engage in homosexual behavior (and to blur the lines even further as to what that itself is and how it's manifested).

Thus, the earlier medical and socio-religious understanding that homosexuality represents disordered thinking -- to quote Pope Benedict here -- is substantiated within the scope of what's proven biologically while the very recent trend to present homosexuality (and various permutations of that, including sexual contact with children, sexual relationships with a range of partners, and more) as "normal" is entirely based upon OPINION and driven by the opinion at that of those who are engaged in the behaviors.

People attempt to accommodate most others and in a free society, generally to be tolerant to a point of indifference as long as their own lives aren't negatively taxed, impacted by the 'freedoms' of others, and when the accommodations reach a point of taxing those who accommodate, the flexibility approaches (if not reaches) a conclusion.

The entire concept of marriage has been and throughout human history has been a sanctified, if not "holy", organization between two persons of the opposite sex inorder to enable an organized sexual relationship that protects the two involved, enables offspring and a family, and protects and defines various relationships for all involved. It's a basis upon which civilization has been established and maintained.

Yes, problems with marriage as we've known it but it isn't enough to abandon the concept, BUT, to move the concept from what's sensible and familiar socially, sociologically, religiously and legally into some area of unfamiliarity -- even into areas that includes problematic behaviors that most of society has protected against for a long, long time now and for good reasons -- is violating to many the general organization of what and who our society is.

The entire accommodation -- what's "democratic," what's "a right" and who has what among those because of why -- is just the lid. The container is all the rest.

A footnote here: more than eighty percent of sexual abuse inflicted upon children by Catholic so-called 'priests' (I don't regard them as such, is my point here) has been committed by male homosexuals. In violation of their religious vows, in violation of the "rights" of other and vulnerable human beings, and in violatio of all that society, our civilization, holds dear. This speaks volumes as to the far higher than usual degree of impulsivity and compulsivity that those who call themselves homosexuals experience and who they target through their disordered process. To enable "marriage" for "gay people" is mere sanction to disordered processes, but it does not thereby make it "democratic" to accommodate. It just makes it rationalized.

My take on marriage is that... (Below threshold)
LouisianaLightning:

My take on marriage is that it's purpose is to create an optimal environment for children. That's the State's stake in it. Otherwise why not call any bonding of 2 or more people or people/animals marriage? Where does the line get drawn? Why should those groupings be illegal?

I personally believe in civil unions to protect the Business/Legal rights of 2 people to formalize a relationship, but calling it marriage is a little too much for me.

Just my $.02

Today marks our 28th annive... (Below threshold)

Today marks our 28th anniversary. I was 100 pounds lighter and the hair was a few shades darker. But my love for my wife is 100 times more today than it was on Oct. 7, 1977.
You wanna explain to me how two dudes marrying -- or two women -- or a dude and his horse -- or some Cletus and his sister marrying -- how any of that crap has anything to do with our Marriage.
Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law. The day I need Bill Clinton to defend my marriage is the day I lose my will to live.
But hey, knock yourselves out nosing into someone else's personal life.

Let's see how Silverbubble'... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Let's see how Silverbubble's (and others') argument would have gone before bans on interracial marriage were declared unconstitutional.

Blacks and whites aren't allowed to marry each other in many states. There is no solid scientific evidence suggesting that relationships between blacks and whites are genetic (show me the "interracial gene" and maybe I'll change my statement, but until then...). Interracial relationships are a choice.

People all have equal rights to marry, meaning they all have the right to marry a member of the opposite sex who is of the same race. If we allow different races to marry, what will stop men from marrying their daughters, or women from marrying dogs? Where will these rights stop?

-----

Allow me to quote the Supreme Court's decision in Loving v. Virginia for all those who quibble about marriage being a "right":

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

Some of you may wish to argue with Justice Warren that marriage is not a right, but something tells me you would be a little out of your league.

Suzy, you make a fine argum... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Suzy, you make a fine argument for keeping gay marriage out of your church. What exactly does that have to do with the state?

Wait, when did I say a damn... (Below threshold)

Wait, when did I say a damned thing about interracial marriages?

Don't put words in my mouth.

In 1996, <a href="http://ww... (Below threshold)

In 1996, President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage to be a "legal union between one man and one woman." Many other political leaders, Republicans and Democrats alike, have aligned themselves with both Presidents Bush and Clinton.


Defense of Marriage Act. Why hasn't the SCOTUS struck this law down?

- mantis. This whole gay is... (Below threshold)

- mantis. This whole gay issue is just a pile of polemic bullshit. Just another thread in the relentless ongoing effort to normalize abberent behavior among a small minority so they can feel "good" about themselves, and the typical kind of "cause" the left is constantly trying to align itself with in order to add to its voter base. Why not just openly advertise that "Any one person, or group of people out there, with any sort of "cause", no matter how off the wall or full of agenda, just align with us and we'll back you in exchange for your vote...."... at least that would be honest and fit the reality of things....

- The problem is sport, when braindead moonbats like code pinko stands out in public and openly defiles our military men and women for defending their country in a cause they believe in.... When mother Sheehan calls our comander in chief a muderer.... When Scream Dean and Killer Kennedy go on national television and pander to the anti-American rabble.... When leftist MSM cartoonists publish openly racist/bigoted rot, unlike anything seen since the hard days of slavery.... When these things happen then its clear you don't really care about a damn thing besides finding some way, any way, back to power.....and the reason you can't get away with it anymore is precisely the medium you're righting this garbage of yours in right at this moment.... just no place to hide anymore....

- "writing" not "righting" ... (Below threshold)

- "writing" not "righting" - PIMF

BBH,Care to give a... (Below threshold)
mantis:

BBH,

Care to give a substantive rebuttal to what I actually wrote, or would you rather continue blaming me for Code Pink, Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, cartoonists, and Cindy Sheehan (none of whom have I voted for, spoken to, or been in any other way related with)? Tell me why you think what I'm writing is "garbage", instead of pushing some guilt by association angle, especially since there is no association.

While you're at it answer this question: how am I trying to get in power, let alone "back to power"? The only power I hold or desire to hold is my voice, in the form of a vote. If you think the internet is going to take that away from me, well, keep barkin' moonie.

Some of you seem to think g... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Some of you seem to think gay marriage is not a civil rights issue because you claim homosexuality is not immutable like color or race. For a few reasons, I don't think that argument hold up.

I don't know whether homosexuality is immutable or not. I don't know the science, and I doubt the state of today's science knows the answer. But, I would think if a gay person could choose to be straight, then a straight person could choose to be sexually attracted to the same sex. I, for one, could not make that choice no matter how hard I tried. I do, however, believe the testimony of gays who have converted.

Now race is clearly immutable (with the exception of Michael jackson). Perhaps the racial civil rights examples are not a perfect analogy, since some people claim to have converted.

So, what's a better analogy? How about religion? We know it's protected by the equal protection clause. We know that people convert to and from Catholicism, Islam and Judaism evey day. Then, there are the "born again Christians." We can't discriminate based on any of those personal choices. It seems to me, swaping religions is much easier than swaping sexual preferences. Why not afford sexual orientation the same protections?

Of course, if anyone followed my posts on a sister thread yesterday, I remain bewildered why and how anyone could rationally deprive homosexuals of the ability to enjoy the same legal status as heterosexuals.

It seems like lots of peopl... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

It seems like lots of people are missing an important point. The political move in Massachusetts is to pass a definition of marriage amendment to the state constitution. My point is that a legally passed amendment cannot be ruled unconstitutional without infringing on the more fundamental right of the people to amend the constitution. Yes, I understand the and the U.S. Supreme court could rule a state amendment as unconstitutional under the federal constitution, but that’s not what Jay's piece is about. besides, an amendment to the Federal constitution could not be ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme court for the same reason. In that light the passage attributed to Justice Warren is irrelevant. Also, the state already regulates marriage in ways that would seem to be at odds with Justice Warren's writing. If you don't think so, try marrying your sibling.

Mark, I know you left the s... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mark, I know you left the sister thread from yesterday before I ask this question: Where does it say a person's motivation must be rational? As a Christian some would say that my entire belief structure is irrational, but are religious people excluded from voting and petitioning the government based on their beliefs? Not if you want to vote and petition the government based on your beliefs!

-S- said:" No wher... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

-S- said:

" No where else to my knowledge does God use that harshest of condemnation about anything..."

Actually abominations are common in Leviticus. Eating anything of the sea without scales is an abomination, as is mixing fabric in your clothes. I sometimes point out to Southern Baptists that if they eat shrimp and catfish while wearing a cotton/poly blend they may as well be sucking a....well we will leave the rest unsaid.^^

-S-"The underlying... (Below threshold)
Mark:

-S-

"The underlying principle and basis for deep seated differences on this issue is rooted in the issue that the Holy Bible declares that homosexuality is an abomination to God, that homosexuality is abominable. No where else to my knowledge does God use that harshest of condemnation about anything, not even limiting His condemnation to sin, but deeming it abominable."

So, please let me know if I understand your position correctly. Are you saying a valid purpose of our government, whether state or federal, is to impose your Holy Bible on everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs? Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, athiests, agnostics. The government is to coerse everyone to conduct their lives precisely in accordance with the Holy Bible? Really?

I sincerely hope that's not what you believe. If so, you are very very far out of touch with our Constitution, and all reasonable principles of government.

Mac Lorry,It doesn... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Mac Lorry,

It doesn't. What I really meant, but didn't quite say, is what rational STATE interest is there? I don't expect people to be rational. I do expect state actions to be rational.

The system of checks and balances are designed to ensure the governement behaves rationally and fairly. Hopefully one of the three branches of government will keep the populous in check when they collectively decide to act irrationally.

Mark,The phrase yo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mark,

The phrase you used "...keep the populous in check when they collectively decide to act irrationally" is counter to the ideals of democracy. If the vast majority of people want to alter the constitution it's their right to do so under that vary constitution. I submit that either the 18th or the 21st amendments to the U.S. constitution are irrational, being that one establishes Prohibition and the other repeals it. If PETA folks were in the vast majority, wouldn't it be their right to amend the constitution to prohibit eating meat? What about smoking and drug laws? It seems legislators can rationalize any position, so who decides what's irrational? The solution is to let the people vote.

To me this whole mess seems... (Below threshold)

To me this whole mess seems more like the government breaking into your house and putting a clock on the wall that you don't want. You might want a clock, you might even buy this same sort of clock if you saw it in the store and HAD YOUR OWN FREE CHOICE to buy it or not.

But you didn't have the chance to buy it, or the choice - it got shoved down your throat. I can sure understand why there'd be a LOT of folks pissed about that - I would be myself, and after what they pulled I wouldn't be too eager to vote 'yes' in a referendum.

As far as it goes, I'm for gay marriage, personally - as long as it's treated EXACTLY the same as conventional marriage. You want to get married? Fine by me. You want to split up? Then it's divorce time - most likely a 'no contest' divorce. Just observe the legalities - that's all I want to see.

And that doesn't include legal activist judges shoving what THEY think is a good idea into law.

J.

Whoa!Alot more hom... (Below threshold)
John:

Whoa!

Alot more homophobes here today than yesterday.

Good job, Jay!

But really he's not saying anything different than his other posts on the subject, is he? Nothing new here, move along. We're shrouding our hate under the guise of rationalizing laws barring certain civil rights to a class of people.

I'll give Jay a modicum of credit for continuing to insist he's for gay marriage. Bully.

Anytime I hear the terms Leviticus and abomination thrown around to dignify bigotry, I'm reminded of an exchange on West Wing:

President Bartlet (Martin Sheen): I like how you call homosexuality an abombination.
Jenna Jacobs: I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President, the Bible does.
President Bartlet: Yes, it does. Leviticus.
Jenna Jacobs: 18:22.
President Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophmore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? "Think about that, will you?

Mac L.The ideals o... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Mac L.

The ideals of democracy are just that; ideals. That's why this is a republic and not a true democracy.

If the people want to amend the constitution, they may. However, their abiltiy is strictly curtailed and a simple majority won't get the job done--nor should it. An additional check over state constitutions is the US Constitution. It's hard to get the job done, but you're right; it is possible.

Now tell me your honest opinion. Would you want PETA gaining sufficient control that they could deprive you of eating all forms of animal products? Including fish and milk and cheese? I was a strict vegitarian for about 15 years while I ran more miles and marathons than sane people should (perceived health reasons, not religious or philosophical). But even at my most fanatic, I would have strongly opposed efforts to prevent others from eating meat. Wouldn't you?

The analogy that everyone loves to deny is racism or sexism. For a long period of US history, the majority approved of slavery. Does that make it ok? Same with women's rights. Should the majority always get their way? Be honest. No.

You admitted that not all your feelings or actions are rational. All people have irrational moments. We know how groups can be worked up into irrational lathers to the point where there is no more accountability. Look at riots, looting, lynchings, etc. Look how the morons at Daily Kos, Atrios, and the DU work themselves into a froth over ridiculous shit. We can't trust our government to mob rule. Absolutely not. Do you disagree with this?

Dude, disagreement doesn't ... (Below threshold)

Dude, disagreement doesn't equal homophobia. I don't particularly care if it's passed or not, and if it's forced upon me I'll back folks who'll fight that legislation. If it's put to a vote, I'll likely vote for it - because I don't see any real reason NOT to have it. If it passes, fine. If it doesn't - again, fine. The people will have spoken, better luck next time.

But I want to have a CHOICE, not have it imposed by legislative fiat.

If raging advocacy is the only thing that doesn't equal homophobia in your eyes, then I feel pretty sorry for you. If you define a person only by what their sexual orientation is, then you're a bigot, no matter how you try to sugar coat it in acceptable PC flavors. (And using character dialog from a TV show to justify yourself? Wow.)

On preview: Mark - you've captured it. The minority shouldn't be allowed to control the majority. A consensus is one thing, a dictatorship of the minority is something else.

J.

JLawson:"And that ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

JLawson:

"And that doesn't include legal activist judges shoving what THEY think is a good idea into law."

Soooo, by that would you be refering to the SCOTUS examining the constitutionality of a state's marriage requirements? Because if that is what you consider activism, then you are condemning about 95 percent of what the Court does.

JLawson,You missed... (Below threshold)
Mark:

JLawson,

You missed something vital. Mac Lorry was suggesting that if PETA held a MAJORITY, that they should be able to ban meat for us all. I disagreed with that.

You also said this:

"Dude, disagreement doesn't equal homophobia. I don't particularly care if it's passed or not, and if it's forced upon me I'll back folks who'll fight that legislation."

You're right. But if you read many of the posts above, some smack of blatant homophobia. Not yours, but others.

Wait, when did I say a d... (Below threshold)

Wait, when did I say a damned thing about interracial marriages?

You didn't. It just so happens that this SSM-equals-interracial-marriage trope is the one they think can win this argument for them.

Don't put words in my mouth.

But they have to -- otherwise they can't push the SSM-equals-interracial-marriage trope in hopes of redefining the issue and trying to shame the other side into silence.

Indeed, let's just ignore t... (Below threshold)
McCain:

Indeed, let's just ignore the real arguments because you have no rebuttal. Our grandchildren will read about the George Wallace's of 2005. I do grant that it is human nature to elevate oneself above some boogeyman class of people. Always has been the case. We'll keep the blacks down, the chicks down, the jews down, the gays down, whatever. However, the individual is soverign in the final analysis. The inevitable progress of more and more freedom for individuals will eventually settle this issue correctly.

What really boggles my mind... (Below threshold)
Mark:

What really boggles my mind is this:

What does even the most dogmatic "Christian" anti-gay homophobe lose if homosexuals are allowed an equal set of legal presumptions, rights, and benefits that straight people receive?

What is that threat? How in the world would they even discern between a contemporary gay relationship, and one that has been anointed by "marriage?" How would the change affect the daily lives of straight people? What is the loss? Please tell me! Really, the burden is on YOU to retain the status quo of disparate treatment.

Ok, you'll argue everyone is treated equally to the right to marry the oposite sex. The more valid description is the "ability to marry the person you love."

Mark,I understand ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mark,

I understand your argument and no, I wouldn't like it if PETA was able to pass a constitutional ban on eating meat. Then again, lots of folks didn't like the ban on alcohol the 18th amendment established, but it was a fact of life in this country until passage of the 21st amendment. My point is that a super majority has the right to amend the constitution in any way it sees fit and marriage amendments have already passed in 11 plus states. Jay's piece is about just that, the people of Massachusetts working to define marriage through an amendment to their state's constitution. As such, arguments about what is or isn't rational are irrelevant. People are entitled to vote their own beliefs even if they come right out of the Bible, and if enough people vote for such an amendment, there's no authority within the state of Massachusetts that can override that decision.

I think Jay was alluding to the fact that it might have been better for Gays to make their case to the voters, where a simple majority could change the marriage statutes, rather than go through the courts and incur the wrath of voters in the form of a constitutional amendment that will take a similar super majority to overturn. I have always claimed that the voters will decide the issue of gay marriage, not the courts. Interference in the political process by the courts only hastens the decision by voters, but in a way the courts don't like; by taking it out of their hands.

Mac Lorry,I hear y... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Mac Lorry,

I hear ya, and generally I agree. But I also agree with some valid exceptions to your sentiments.

I'm curious about this one thing. Please don't flame me for comparing sexual orientation with color, but I think it makes for a valid, if limited, analogy.

Do you disagree with the Court's decision in Plessy v. Ferguson which made blacks seperate but equal? I'm not talking about the flaws with the decison compared to later decisions, but I'm talking about the Court's improvement of black's rights. Also, do you disagree with Brown v. Board of Education, which finally put blacks on an equal footing? Was it wrong of the Court to do that? Have you read the decisions?

If you support either of those decisions, then you must support the role of the court to uphold the constitution. You must support it's role in protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority, at least in some limited scenarios.

Are we together so far? If so, then I need to be clued in to the difference between Brown, and a future case involving gays. I understand the argument that gayness might be voluntary rather than an immutable characteristic--and I can deal with that. But what I'd like to know is, is there more?

Mark never did address this... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Mark never did address this in a previous post, so imma be lazy and cut and paste it here. Not trying to flame you either, just want to hear your 2 cents.

Mark said:
"I was hoping to hear some solid state interests in prohibiting gay marriage..."

Couple of issues, gay marriage is not necessarily prohibited by the state. There are people who will marry gay people in this country, and no one gets arrested, it is just not recognised by the state. Not recognising something is different than prohibiting it. Secondly, the state is the people, theoritically at least, so how the community views it is the issue here.

It seems increasingly to me what we have is a clash between the traditional view of marriage and the modern world. The concept of marriage into pre-history has been a man and a woman, founding a new entity greater than themselves: the family. That is what the word marriage has come to symbolise: two different things forming a union greater than the sum of the parts. A marriage of chocolate and peanut butter, for instance. No ad man worth his salt would propose a marriage of chocolate and chocolate.

But now marriage has increasingly become a legal entity, more concerned with benefits and tax advantages than children and families, and traditional society is upset. Traditional society is the "state" in this country, and I would repeat my asserstion that the problem I have with the idea is you are forcing society, or the state, to recognise a concept they are not ready for yet. I think a civil union compromise is the civil solution.

B Moe:"Not recogni... (Below threshold)
Mark:

B Moe:

"Not recognising something is different than prohibiting it."

Maybe "prohibition" is the wrong word, and I suppose you're right if you attach meaning to marriage beyond the legal benefits awarded by the state. I tend to look to religion or other spiritual sources, or just the relationship itself, to give marriage it's true meaning, and I look to the state only for legal benefits.

I think the kernal of injustice is that same sex unions or marriages are deprived of the same set of legal benefits afforded to opposite sex unions. That failure to recognize is the key issue, and to me it is tantamount to prohibition. Semantics aside, do you disagree with me so far?

You're right in that the state is the people. But the states confer legal benefits to people all the time without scrutiny or active participation of the people. The populous does not micro manage all the little things the government does. Why should they micro manage the little benefits attendent to marriage?

I was like you in thinking "civil union" would be adequate. After all, it serves all the purposes I look to states to fulfill in the context of marriage. But then I started thinking about the problems with "seperate but equal" from Plessy v. Ferguson. While I don't foresee gay civil unions being forced to the back of the bus, I suppose the semantics of "civil union" and "marriage" could matter to some people (not me). Why not give them equal titles? What do straight people have to lose?

Put aside the arguments against judical activism and in favor of popular vote. Put aside the arguments about whether homosexuality is a choice or something innate. Put aside the view that everyone is treated equal because both gays and straights are equally excluded from state recognition of same sex marriages. put aside the arguments that homosexuality is a sin. Gimme this one answer:

How does the legal relationship of strangers affect you? How does it affect your marriage? How does it affect your livlihood? How does it affect any part of your well being? How would you even know?

A little background. There ... (Below threshold)

A little background. There are two brands of homosexuals. There are some who have "sampled" both sexes, and for whatever reason simply prefer their own. There are others who have a psychological block towards intimacy with the opposite sex. The former is content to live and let live, having made a reasoned decision. The latter is an activist.

That said . . .

First, the government has no business recognizing a minority of choice.

Second, without the onslaught of moral relativism, homosexuals would still be able to receive counseling for their disorder, and overcome the problems associated with the self-loathing present within the "gay" community. As it is currently, none dare call it a "problem."

Third, to those who wish to equate gay activism to the Civil Rights movement, how much support have you gotten from blacks in that equivocation? Just curious.

Fourth, and the point most central to my philosophy regarding this issue, the government has no business prying into people's personal lives, legislating what a person can or cannot do in the bedroom. Conversely, however, a person has no business spreading the activities of their bedroom into the public eye. In a society with even a shred of modesty, that's the way that people of all sexual persuasions would behave.

"Conversely, however, a per... (Below threshold)
McCain:

"Conversely, however, a person has no business spreading the activities of their bedroom into the public eye. In a society with even a shred of modesty, that's the way that people of all sexual persuasions would behave."

So are you arguing for a ban of state-recognized hetereosexual marriage. If not, how is your statement relevant to homosexual marriage?

Mark asked:"H... (Below threshold)
B Moe:


Mark asked:
"How does the legal relationship of strangers affect you? How does it affect your marriage? How does it affect your livlihood? How does it affect any part of your well being? How would you even know?"

It doesn't, and that is why I don't care. I don't understand why polygamy is illegal for that matter, as long as all the parties involved are consenting.

But I do understand the problem some people have with redefining a word and a concept that possibly predates government. Why do so many gays balk at the compromise of civil unions and insist it be called a wedding and a marriage? I think it is because of the implicit acceptance of the "tribe" if you will that the words bring. And while my heart may ache for them, you cannot legislate acceptance by people that aren't ready for it yet. I fear instead it will cause a backlash of resentment that could set the movement back decades.



BoDiddly:"First, t... (Below threshold)
Mark:

BoDiddly:

"First, the government has no business recognizing a minority of choice."

Of course they do, and they do it all the time. Are there disparate laws for people whose favorite color is blue instead of purple? For people whose favorite music is rock instead of polkas? No. People are afforded equal protection under the laws unless there is a rational relationship between the disparate treatment and a legitimate government interest. That is the law. That is the Fourteenth Amendment. That, with few exceptions, is the world we've been living in for centuries.

So now sift through all the nice stuff you said, and direct me to the part where you expain what interest the state has in recognizing one form of relationship, and not the other. Because that is the key to this entire dilemma.

People have been spewing walls of text for two days here, and only 2 or 3 have honestly attempted to answer that one crucial question--and even they disagreed with the rationale they proffered. So what is it?

It's been two days now, and I can only conclude that the anti-gay marriage group is unable to articulate a legitimate state interest in declining to recognize the relationships. Prove me wrong.

Hmmm.Regardless of... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Regardless of this rather bizzare online version of Sunday school, I'm opposed to gay marriage because I'm tired of people abusing the judicial system to force their views on me.

They want to change America? Fine. Then do it the right way. The long term way. Through voters.

What judges can give, they can take away.

B Moe:With regard ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

B Moe:

With regard to your last paragraph, I don't know. I have not heard any criticisms of "civil union" or arguments for "marriage." As I said yesterday, I haven't really followed the movement.

However, I can only speculate that they want to avoid the stigma of being "separate but equal," and they feel entitled to the full enchilada. I could be entirely missing the boat here. However, it seems reasonable to label identical sets of legal benefits, with the same name. Where's the harm in that?

Hey, ed:"Regardles... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Hey, ed:

"Regardless of this rather bizzare online version of Sunday school, I'm opposed to gay marriage because I'm tired of people abusing the judicial system to force their views on me."

The thread through my questions is this: What is being forced on you?

Like it or not, gay relationships exist. You might think they're perverted, or deranged, or sick or sinful or whatever, but they exist. Maybe you resent queens flaunting it in your face, maybe they should keep it in their bedroom, whatever. But that situation exists and it's not going away as a result of any government or judicial activities. Accept that as a given, for a second.

Do you think an additional burden is forced on you, or that something is taken away, if those pre-existing homosexuals are afforded the same ability to confer the same benefits to their loved ones as straight people?

I'm asking because I am genuinely curious. Deep down, honestly, do you think you lose something if the state recognized gay marriages? I'm not saying you're wrong, I merely want to know what you think.

With regard to judges taking away what they giveth--that can be said about any body, right? Laws are passed and repealed. Constitutional amendments (prohibition) with through the same. Is there a difference?

Wow, I really need to proof... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Wow, I really need to proof read before I post. Typing hastily in little blue boxes, without proof reading, leads to pretty bizarre dropped words and grammer. Sorry.

Mark: The thread through my... (Below threshold)
Synova:

Mark: The thread through my questions is this: What is being forced on you?

Seriously?

What I think people miss is that, to a large extent, this is about the percieved purpose of the law as the definition of morality, right and wrong. Now, not everyone calls it morality, but it's common. Certainly common on the left, as anything "good" ought to be compelled and anything "bad" ought to be prohibited. School is good, so we make laws compelling attendance. Drugs are bad, so we make them illegal. Charity is good, so we make it a function of the State.

What many conservatives don't realize is that they are, just as much as liberals, prone to a Statist, paternalist, attitude. It may not be conscious on their part, but gay marriage is seen as something being forced on them because they have accepted, as definitions of right and wrong, legal and illegal.

When I was in the military overseas I realized to what extent law is a prop for virtue. There is no need for virtue when the law defines your behavior. What is different about overseas is that many of the laws don't exist. Some people are virtuous without law. Other people, many people, are not.

For a whole lot of people "conform not to the world" is answered by doing their darndest to make sure that the world is following the right rules so that they do not have to find virtue or strength to stand in non-conformity. This is true of the right *and* the left, only for different things.

Mark:Gay marriage ... (Below threshold)

Mark:

Gay marriage isn't about pre-existing homosexuals being "afforded the same ability to confer the same benefits to their loved ones as straight people." If it was, then civil unions would solve the problem. This is about a vocal, radicalized, minority-within-a-minority demanding approval and acceptance, rather than tolerance, of a lifestyle that most people find "perverted, or deranged, or sick or sinful or whatever." And using judicial fiat and the already battered civil and religious institution of marriage to do it. That's what has so many people up in arms.

Btw, the state does indeed have a compelling interest in defining marriage as a union between heterosexual men and women. It's called propagation of the species. And while no-fault divorce and the "who needs a piece of paper if you love each other" crowd may have weakened that argument, it is still there. Otherwise, why not allow poligamy, incestuous marriages, and and bestiality?

The states interest in marr... (Below threshold)
thomas:

The states interest in marrage is to insure that the terms of the contract is carried out. Propagation of the species not constitionally the perogative of the state. This leaves the state the same right to regulate who may or may not freely enter into a contract...why do two adults need the states permission to do this? Call it civil union contract if done for all parties(gay and sraight) and reserve marriage for whatever church you have it blessed by.

fatman,Gay marr... (Below threshold)
mantis:

fatman,

Gay marriage isn't about pre-existing homosexuals being "afforded the same ability to confer the same benefits to their loved ones as straight people." If it was, then civil unions would solve the problem.

Please list the states that have introduced legislation instituting civil unions for homosexual couples. How many are there? How many votes have such bills received? Have they solved the problem? Activists in this regard pursue their cause through the courts because we already have marriage, it doesn't need to be constructed as civil unions would, and haven't. They don't exist. Btw propogation of the species is not the reason that we have civil marriages, otherwise how do couples unwilling or unable to bear children get married?

Mark,I do agree wi... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mark,

I do agree with the court decisions that gave equal protection to all races. In fact it matches my Christian beliefs. I understand the claim that if sexual orientation is an immutable in-born trait, then it should be treated the same as race. I know you reject the counter claim that it already is treated the same in that homosexuals can marry someone of the opposite sex just like heterosexual can. In fact, many gays have done so and raised families, and in doing so, received a form of fulfillment they would never have experienced had the state embraced their desires.

Currently marriage is based on two fundamental principles, procreation biology and equality of the partners. The state grants special rights to procretion couples in return for future good citizens, without which society as we know it would collapse. Love between partners is irrelevant to that purpose. Not all heterosexual couples can procreate, but the state deals with people by type rather then as individuals. For example, someone of the type "65 or older" receives an extra exemption on their tax return regardless of their income or financial status. Further proof that marriage laws are instated for the purpose of procreating future generations of good citizens is demonstrated by the prohibition of marriage between close relatives of the opposite sex. Not all heterosexual couples can marry the person they love.

When you consider tax, pension and property laws, marriage is an expensive grant to individuals by the state. By type, homosexual unions serve no purpose in providing the state with future generations of good citizens. Given limited resources, the state has a compelling interest in restricting marriage to procreation couples.

None of these arguments are really relevant to what's happening in Massachusetts as it's now a political contest for votes. Some will vote for a marriage amendment based on their religious beliefs, while others will do so because they don't like the way a vary small minority has circumvented the normal political process, or how gays have mistreated the Boy Scouts, or how they organize resistance to military recruiters on college campuses, or how they parade through the streets of cities like San Francisco. It's these negative images that have formed super majorities in many other states and may do so again in Massachusetts.

Hmmmm.@ Mark... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

@ Mark

"The thread through my questions is this: What is being forced on you?"

When people go to the state and federal Supreme Courts and other judicial jurisdictions to enact laws based on court rulings *instead* of going through the legislature, then that is by definition imposing their views on me.

It doesn't matter one whit what those views are.

If people want laws enacted, then they should go through the various legislatures.

If people want attitudes changes, then they should go through the effort to changes people's minds.

And I'll note that this viewpoint is completely consistent with my other views on the US Constitution, the Supreme Court and judicial activism.

...

Frankly for a long time I was either ambivalent about gay marriage or in favor of it. Since I'm a hetero it really doesn't mean much to me personally as I'm not offended at public displays of affection by people. Hell if people can kiss their dogs in public, why should'nt two loving people kiss in public? Why shouldn't they get married and then have the wonderful opportunity to go through divorce court.

But then gays started manipulating the courts and thats when my mind changed. And, as of this moment, I am implacably against gay marriage and would sign onto any effort to amend the Constitution to ban it. Judicial activism cannot, must not, be rewarded in any way, shape or form.

This is a danger gay activists should be aware of in their quest to manipulate the American public. The enemies they make are not inconsequential and have a far reaching effect.

Hmmm."With regard ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

"With regard to judges taking away what they giveth--that can be said about any body, right? Laws are passed and repealed. Constitutional amendments (prohibition) with through the same. Is there a difference?"

Laws are rarely repealed and are generally superceded by new laws. But in doing so there is an opportunity for public debate and consideration within the both the public and the legislature. With the passing of laws the public has someone to hold to account, those legislators that voted for the new laws.

In the case of judicial activism the ruling comes with little public input and very little warning. And the effect of these rulings take place immediately. Look at Kelo. It hasn't been a single month since the ruling and look at how many stories there are about public takings.

And I remind you that federal judges must be impeached to be removed from the bench. Little things like making bizzare, crazy and irresponsible rulings aren't generally enough. It requires actual breaking of the law to justify removing them.

New York City spends over $1 billion dollars per year to house homeless people. This wasn't due to a state law. This wasn't due to a city law. This wasn't due to any law at all. It was due to the ruling of a judge.

And so every single year, year in and year out, the citizens of New York have to pony up massive amounts of money to house homeless people because a federal judge thinks it should be so, and because it probably makes her feel better about herself.

Abuse of the judiciary, by ANYONE and for ANY reason cannot be rewarded. Additionally judges that are complict in such activities must be removed from the bench.

And, in an alternate vein, this is also one of the reasons why I am so absolutely pissed off at Bush and the GOP.

What an exhuasting exercise... (Below threshold)
Fran:

What an exhuasting exercise.

A big argument has been about gays manipulating other peoples lives through the court system.

I wonder how many of the people who value a non-activist court, tried to stop those activizt judges and cops when gays were getting beat up all the time?

Maybe gays are getting in the face of society...the same society that marginalized them and didn't apply the rules equally. Not about marriage...about jobs and school and housing.

Things change and they take time but that doesn't mean that the conscience of our nation is clean.

Yes, the majority of the people who founded this nation were christians. But after witnessing the destructive force of sectarian violence for centuries they tried to create a nation that went beyond the views of the bible.

They weren't entirely successful though, as I do remember something about some people being counted as 3/5ths of a person.

Mark, I know it was purely ... (Below threshold)

Mark, I know it was purely intentional, as I feel a person of your intelligence must make a conscious decision to avoid the intent of my statement.

"Recognition of a minority" by the state is wholly different than providing "equal protection under the law." You know that, but you avoid the point. It was, I concede, an artful dodge to the issue. A minority, entitled to specific protections because of minority status, cannot be defined by behaviour alone. Some factor, beyond the control of the individual, must exist. Consider whether I could apply for handicapped benefits because I choose to sit in a wheelchair.

Mark, I'll appeal to your knowedge of the law in posing a slightly different question than the one you propose. What was the original intent of those men who established marriage as an institution recognized by the state, and of those who, through the years, have penned and legislated laws that give preference to married couples in areas of privacy, inheritance, adoption, and taxation? Was the purpose of those laws directed towards state recognition of a romantic bond, or towards fostering a more favorable environment for the traditional family to exist and thrive? What interest of the state was served by its recognition of heterosexual marriage?

In that light, what interest of the state would be served by extending this privilege to homosexual unions?

Good points Bo, one ... (Below threshold)
B Moe:


Good points Bo, one could go further with what are the benefits to the state of recognising any marriage based on "romantic love" rather than procreation and stability. Historically the notion of romantic love having anything to do with marriage is a very recent development.

Hah!Finally people... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Hah!

Finally people are beginning to talk about legitimate state interests, and BoDiddly hit the nail pretty squarely on the head (as did a few others). After two or three days of this, It seemed all I would get would be more "gays are icky" or "gays are sinful" or "I'm for gay marriage as long as everyone else backs me up."

Say what you want about judicial activism (I detest it, personally). But if you people didn't start articulating some state interests, then the SCOTUS would likely have been REQUIRED to strike down state marriage laws, if such a case came before them. (Ok, I'm glossing over the definable class aspect here, and I will continue to for a moment). If the Court were faced with state laws that treat two different groups differently, and if no state justification were offered, then the Constitution requires this result. That is far from activism; that is exactly what the Court was created to do.

The opportunities for activism arise in 1) defining and recognizing a class, and 2) weighing the legitimacy of the state interests. Until this morning, this thread of comments offered nothing to weigh so the Court's hands would have been tied.

Yes, there is still the huge question of whether a legitimate class exists. As many of you have already said, that will, in part, be determined based on whether homosexuality is simply a matter of choice or something less voluntary. I dont know the science, but I am aware several of you do think you have this answer. I'm skeptical. Personally, I think I could craft a better argument in favor of the class than against it, but I'm not inclined to spend the time to do the research and noodle this any longer. After all, this issue doesn't affect me personally, so I'll let those who truly care do the work.

BoDiddly, your last two paragraphs raise all the good questions, and they culminate with this:

"In that light, what interest of the state would be served by extending this privilege to homosexual unions"

The Court would not address that question as it stands. It needs to be converted into "what interests of the state would be served by NOT extending the privilege..." You raised several good reasons for states to recognize marriage, but you didn't specifically address reasons why they should NOT recognize gay marriage, except to say one element of marriage, procreation, is absent with gays. I'd like to hear how you'd restate that paragraph with that emphasis.

Finally, is procreation really the best state interest here? In the days of in vitro fertilization and adoption and overpopulation? And, isn't a family unit headed by two people of the same sex equally entitled to the same protections of the state? After all, many homosexuals have their own kids from natural birth, adoption, or whatever. Isn't it about protecting the kids?

Gotta add one more thing be... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Gotta add one more thing before real life intervenes:

I'm a divorced father of two. For four years I've been "living in sin" with my fiance, who is a divorced mother of two.

My fiance changed jobs about 18 months ago, and we were looking at her insurance options with an eye toward insuring each other and our kids. You probably already know what we discovered, but we were taken by surprise this at the time:

In California, unmarried domestic partners of the same sex qualify for insurance. However, unmarried domestic partners of the oposite sex do not. Are the straight being discriminated against? I guess my situation can be cured by tying the knot, but the same cannot be said about homosexual relationships--yet.

Grrr,Sorry for the... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Grrr,

Sorry for the typos--I really need to proof read before posting.

So to sum up:Jay a... (Below threshold)
John:

So to sum up:

Jay and his defenders are for gay marriage. Except when a court agrees with them, then they are implacably against gay marriage and would sign onto any effort to amend the Constitution to ban it.

toggle Marty Feldman eyes.

Mark, my point is that the ... (Below threshold)

Mark, my point is that the court may actually have to rule upon my question, rather than upon yours. It's not simply a clear-cut challenge to the status-quo.

I think the argument (and potentially the ruling) would be significantly different depending upon which scenario is in question. If a party petitions the court from the perspective of a state not granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples, there is a reciprocal question as to whether the Federal government has within its constitutional rights to determine whether a state must issue such licenses (this argument may well come through as very similar to the interracial marriage question, though as I've stated, I believe that to be a fallacious equivocation) If, however, the question is regarding reciprocity, the argument must turn its attention to whether a state is constitutionally required to recognize a license granted by another state, and the ruling is likely to be in support of non-reciprocity (a parallel is seen within gun laws and concealed-carry licenses).

As to the overall picture, the question of purpose in the issuance of marriage licenses to any couple must be addressed. As I remarked above, it significantly changes the debate if it's accepted that the preservation and advancement of the traditional family is foremost in the purposes of the legal preferences extended to that entity.

Consider, too, the complexities that you raise within the question of same-sex couples raising children. Will the couple "train" homosexuality, thereby tearing down the "inborn" claim, will they allow their children to be heterosexual and in so doing giving a nod to the "natural" argument against homosexuality, or will they discourage hetersexuality, and in so doing put their child under the same pressures to be gay as they claim to have endured as society tried to make them "straight?"

And just to state the obvious, the notion of a pair of card-carrying NAMBLA members adopting a little boy is simply sickening.

"Defense of Marriage Act. W... (Below threshold)
Mark:

"Defense of Marriage Act. Why hasn't the SCOTUS struck this law down?"

Because the issue hasn't come before the court, as far as I know. Do you know how a case rises to the SCOTUS? There has to be an actual, real, live lawsuit between real parties. Then one of those parties has to lose. Then the case has to rise up through the appellate court system until it is ripe for the SCOTUS to review. Then one of the parties has to petition the Court to have it reviewed--the Court has discretion on whether to take it. This takes years, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in legal fees to get a case to this level. DOMA is less than 10 years old, and it often takes longer than that for a case to reach the SCOTUS.

BoDiddly,Forgive m... (Below threshold)
Mark:

BoDiddly,

Forgive me, but I'm lost. I'm not quite sure what you're saying in those first three paragraphs. I concede I killed a few brain cells last night, and I haven't had my coffee yet.

I don't know if this addresses what you said, but here it is. The recognition of marriage by states is well settled, and we agree that there are legitimate state interests in protecting the institution. If a civil rights case were brought before the SCOTUS, the question would need to be framed in terms of what legitimate interest is there in EXCLUDING same sex relationships.

In response to that question, you seem to suggest that some of the pillars of justification for marriage are absent in the gay context. In other words, I think you're saying there is a weaker case for gay marriage than there is for straight marriage. But that doesn't directly address the question.

The question is, what positive reasons are there to make a disctinction and exlude on that basis? What HARM is being prevented by the state's position of disparate treatment? That would be a large portion of the Court's inquiry, and that would not be satisfied by simply claiming there is a lesser justification for gay rather than straight marriage. Do you see the distinction? It is a very important disctinction for constitutional analysis.

Mark, why are you engaging ... (Below threshold)
John:

Mark, why are you engaging this poster-boy for homophobia aka BoDiddly? By legitimizing his baseless rants as coherent arguments you convolute his clear bigotry. That is his goal.

He thinks gays have either chosen their lifestyle, or are sick. Strike one.

He has no problem putting a picture of his wife on his desk at work, yet if a gay man puts a picture of his significant other in the workplace, it's shoving gay sex down his throat. Strike two.

He says all gays are card-carrying pedophiles who have no business rearing children. Strike three.

You can bet that the one thing he fears the most is that his kids (assuming he as the masculinity required to have kids) turn out gay.

Years from now his granchildren will read stories about the homophobes who worried that homosexuality was contagious, while probably not knowing their grandfather was one of those who perpetuated the bigoted myth.

My daughters, on the other hand, will always know that their father & mother taught them that is perfectly OK to be gay, and they should have every right the rest of us have. We have taught them that you cannot use the term "fag" in a derogatory manner, and if someone at school is being ridiculed for perceived gay behavior, stand up for them. We have taught them that gays are not sick, evil or otherwise any different from their mother and father.

John,You may be ri... (Below threshold)
Mark:

John,

You may be right. But whether they're shallow homophobes or not, I'm curious to see whether they can articulate the type of valid, coherent argument that a court could use to rule in their favor. A few, including BoDiddly, are starting to actually argue along those lines. Not saying they're done fleshing it out, or that their reasons are compelling, but the arguments are beginning to take the proper shape. That's a good start.

One thing is clear, all these purported "supporters" of gay marriage are working hard to sling every piece of junk obstacle they can into the path of equality. Kinda makes ya wonder, eh?

It also seems clear that nearly every SCOTUS decision based on the Bill of Rights would be considered "judicial activism" by these people--whether rights were denied or advanced.

As I stated before, marriag... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

As I stated before, marriage benefits are expensive, not only for the state, but for third parties like private pension funds. The state's very existence requires future generations of good citizens and currently all people are a product of heterosexual reproduction (notice I didn't say sex). Anyone can raise a child once it's born and we have stories in our literature of wolfs and apes doing so, but historically what's best for children is being raised by their natural parents. Given the expense of the marriage grant and the limited resources of the state, the state has a compelling interest in limiting marriage benefits to the procreation couple.

Traditional marriage is based on the principle of procreation biology and equality of the partners. Should these traditional principles be breached, then by what principle will the state be able to limit the marriage grant? Shouldn't two siblings who share their property have the same rights as two homosexuals, or is the state going to require them to commit incest before they can obtain the same benefits as homosexuals? What about three adults? What harm is there in allowing any number of adults to marry? Sometimes the slop really is slippery.

Allow me to introduce the n... (Below threshold)
John:

Allow me to introduce the next poster-boy for homophobia: Mac Lorry

He says only good citizens are heterosexual citizens. Strike one.

He equates homosexual parents to wolves and apes. Strike two.

He says marriage is based on procreation. Therefore, sterile heterosexuals cannot obtain a marriage license. Oh, wait that's false. Strike three.

Yep, the slop is getting slippery, alright.

Should 3 adults be allowed ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Should 3 adults be allowed to get married together?
If not, why not?

Ya got me, Les, why not?</p... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Ya got me, Les, why not?

I can only imagine the slippery slop in my bedroom if I had two wives.

Hey everybody! We... (Below threshold)
John:

Hey everybody!

Welcome a new member to the poster-boys for homophobia club: Les Nessman!

Generally it would take three strikes for entry into this esteemed, yet widely populated club, but I'm nominating Les for membership due to the huge, gaping hole in his arguement. And it only took him 2 sentences to make the grade!

While I'm sure many of you ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

While I'm sure many of you will answer Les's question, let me twist it a little as we slide down that slippery slop.

Leaving marriage out of the equation, should it be illegal for people to have threesomes? A little girl on girl action, with you, the dude, in the middle? Does that offend anyone here?

John, stop acting like an a... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

John, stop acting like an asshole.

It's a serious question, and you're evading it.

Why don't you just answer the question?

Mark, Is that a yes?... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Mark,
Is that a yes?

I don't answer straw-man qu... (Below threshold)
John:

I don't answer straw-man questions, poster-boy.

Allowing same-sex couples to marry does not change the restriction on the number of people who may contract a marriage. Furthermore, because of the reciprocal nature of many spousal rights and responsibilities, it would not be possible to give three-person groups equal rights and responsibilities as two-person groups.

In the jurisdictions throughout the world that have afforded legal recognition of same-sex unions, the dire consequences like bigamy, bestiality and incest have not come to pass.

And hey, I'm not acting like an asshole, I AM an asshole. And you're a homophobe. Revel in it, brother!

John:"I don't answer... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

John:
"I don't answer straw-man questions, poster-boy."

That's good to know. Of course, what I am asking is a real question.

"Allowing same-sex couples to marry does not change the restriction on the number of people who may contract a marriage."

Why not, exactly?

" Furthermore, because of the reciprocal nature of many spousal rights and responsibilities, it would not be possible to give three-person groups equal rights and responsibilities as two-person groups."

Not possible? I'm sure some arrangements could be made. But, assuming you are correct, what rights and responsibilities could a two-person group do that a three-person group cannot do?

Les, I'll type slowly so yo... (Below threshold)
John:

Les, I'll type slowly so you can understand me.

A straw-man argument is one which is presented for the sole purpose of being easily refuted.

Obviously you are aptly prepared to refute anyone who thinks bigamy could be a viable institution, therefore I will not entertain the argument.

You, however, have the burden of explaining to us why you are against gay marriage. If your only argument is that you are afraid of bigamy, let me be the first to set your mind at ease.

So tell us, Les, what's your real problem with gay marriage?

I see no danger inherent in... (Below threshold)
Synova:

I see no danger inherent in gay marriage, but, John, you're full of it.

Why not a three person marriage? Apparently there's been one just recently in Europe. So how is this not a relevant question? What about polygamy is so hard to comprehend? Having more than one wife is the norm in *many* cultures and having more than one husband has been the norm in only a few, but these arrangements have a long standing in History.

The restriction of marriage to two people only is a modern invention. Furthermore, polygamy involves a man and multiple women with whom he hopes to procreate... the whole idea is more children. This is biologically based. His genes are reproduced more often if he's got more wives. The opposite is also biologically based. Found in extremely harsh environments, more than one man may share a wife, supporting her and her children on the hopes that one or more of her children will be his.

While I believe that polyamorous arrangements have some inherent difficulties, I also believe that simply "living in sin" has inherent difficulties, yet people do it all the time. Sex before marriage causes all sorts of practical problems. Children outside of wedlock cause a whole passel more problems. Divorce is an unmitigated disaster, either because it really *was* necessary or else its provides it's own disaster.

And you figure that difficulties working out a three way contract make the issue *impossible?*

Now, if you don't call me a homophobe I'm going to be mighty disappointed.

John,Don't type sl... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

John,

Don't type slowly. You should read slowly. Because you obviously don't understand plain English.

My question is a real one. Why are you too frightened to answer it honestly?

"Obviously you are aptly prepared to refute anyone who thinks bigamy could be a viable institution, therefore I will not entertain the argument."
Actually, YOU are the one refuting bigamy, when you said : "Furthermore, because of the reciprocal nature of many spousal rights and responsibilities, it would not be possible to give three-person groups equal rights and responsibilities as two-person groups." Or have you changed your mind in the last 5 minutes?


But, assuming you are correct, what rights and responsibilities could a two-person group do that a three-person group cannot do?

John,Better than b... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

John,

Better than being moralphobic like yourself.

I didn't say good citizens are only heterosexual, that's a product of your own bigoted mind. Strike one.

I didn't equate homosexual parents to wolves and apes. Learn to read. Strike two.

Traditional marriage is based on procreation biology and the equality of the partners. What did you think it was based on? Had you read my earlier post that I alluded to you would understand that the state deals with people by type such as 65 and older individuals who get an extra exemption on their tax returns regardless of their actual income or financial status. Similarly, traditional marriage is based on procreation type couples regardless of their fertility. If you weren't a moralphobe you would understand why. Strike three and you are out!

Given the subject, "slop" is correct.

Les,Thats an "unde... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Les,

Thats an "undecided." I haven't spent any time noodling that one, except for a few private fantasies. But if pushed for an answer at this minute, let me say this: I can't think of any insurmountable problems at the moment. Althought I'm sure there would be plenty of complications, I can't think of any that can't be worked out.

One question I have for you is whether you're asking from pure intellectual curiosity, or whether you intend to bootstrap the responses into a rationale against gay marriage. I suspect you picked polygamy as being a notch downhill from gay marriage on a perceived slippery slope. There, you'll rally a base of supporting arguments and hoist them up that slope a notch, where you'll use the same arguments to support current state marriage requirements (i.e., opposite sex).

My hunch is it's the later, not that there's anything wrong with that. I suspect that's why John eagerly inducted you as a poster-boy.

Personally, I don't have a problem with straw man arguments. They're used by the SCOTUS all the time to good effect. As long as the analogies are logically sound, they are excellent analytical tools.

So Synova and Les both advo... (Below threshold)
John:

So Synova and Les both advocate bigamy. Cool.

I'm sure at some point they are going to tell us how this supports their view on gay marriage.

Sorry Synova, I cannnot nominate you to the homophobia poster-boy club just yet. Let me know how you think bigamy relates to the issue of gay marriage and I'll reconsider. Les was nominated because he brought it up first which made it clear to me he is a homophobe. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here and presume you are specifically answering Les and responding to my bullshit.

Just to be clear: Being against gay marriage, for whatever reason, is being against gays.

Oh, hey! There's Mac Lorry! Beat up any gays today, Mac?

John said:"Just to... (Below threshold)
Mark:

John said:

"Just to be clear: Being against gay marriage, for whatever reason, is being against gays."

I'm not convinced of this. That is why I've been trying to probe "legitimate state interests" in the constitutional context rather than directly eliciting biases and prejudice. It is conceiveable that there are legitimate, non-prejudicial, reasons to limit marriage to opposite sex couples, I just don't know what they are.

Wow, Mark.Nice try... (Below threshold)
John:

Wow, Mark.

Nice try to get into the club, but no dice. See, there IS no legitimate state interest. That's my entire point.

Anybody who argues otherwise is a homophobe. They can perform all the mental gymnastics they want, but trying to carve out a legitimate state interest in not allowing gays to marry in an exercise in bigotry.

Now if you even remotely agree with any of these knuckle-draggers that try to shoe-horn a state interest in gay marriage, I'm putting you up for nomination to the club.

John,"See, there I... (Below threshold)
Mark:

John,

"See, there IS no legitimate state interest."

You god damned flamer! I bet your ass resembles those swollen, beet-red orifices usually seen in the baboon cage at the zoo!

Just kidding.

I can honestly see states making arguments around procreation, and I can see portions of the Court taking those seriously. Not that the weight would tip the scales in favor of bigotry, but at least there would be an honest debate.

Mark:"One question I... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Mark:
"One question I have for you is whether you're asking from pure intellectual curiosity, or whether you intend to bootstrap the responses into a rationale against gay marriage."

Both.

I haven't heard one argument for gay marriage that can't be used to argue for 3 people getting married together.

Are there any arguments that can be used exclusively for gay marriage?

Let's walk down this procre... (Below threshold)
John:

Let's walk down this procreation path and see where it leads us:

Same-sex marriage retains enough moral underpinning to support the familial role marriage plays in society despite the absence of a direct procreative element. Also, the institution of marriage would be strengthened by making it available to more people.

Same-sex marriage would encourage gays and lesbians to settle down with one partner and raise families.

Heterosexual marriage no longer retains a procreative function of the government. For example, the government offers child tax-credits and assistance regardless of marital status.

Are there any arguments ... (Below threshold)
John:

Are there any arguments that can be used exclusively for gay marriage?

Um, because gays are asking for this right and bigamists are not?

Poster-boy. I knew it.

Les:"I haven't hea... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Les:

"I haven't heard one argument for gay marriage that can't be used to argue for 3 people getting married together."

But I think there are arguments against poligamy that do not apply to gay marriage. Isn't that a more important question?

"Are there any arguments that can be used exclusively for gay marriage?"

I can't think of any at the moment, but isn't the more relevant question this?:

What arguments for straight marriage can't be applied in the gay context? I can't think of any except for procreation, and I think that's a weak one.

But remember, at least in the context of constitutional analysis, the question put to the state is not, "why?" -- it's "why not?"

Who says that polygamists a... (Below threshold)
Synova:

Who says that polygamists aren't asking for the right? Heck, there's groups that publically advocate "loving" children. It would be a bit much to think there weren't groups that advocate polygamy as a legal option.

A threesome was married in Europe (Netherlands?) just recently. Obviously *they* wanted the right. I've got friends who are polyamorists... something quite different from people who just sleep around indescriminately. Might they want to get married for "real"... yes, they might.

What does this have to do with gay marriage? It's simply a data point of a variety of "marriage" that happens to have a stronger Historical and cultural basis than gay marriage does. Certainly quite a few people will bring it up as a "slipery slope" argument. Claiming that it's a non-issue, in your words "not be possible" isn't an answer to that argument. If gay marriage is not a slippery-slope, go ahead and explain why it's not.

Do I *advocate* polygamy? Not at all. As a common model I don't think it works in a situation of social equity. Cultures where a man has/had many wives are/were heavily paternalistic. The family model is/was stable because the husband is/was so much more the boss than even the senior wife.

This doesn't stop people from wanting to make a family of more than a couple. That I think it's a bad idea is immaterial. That I think it is immoral is my own business.

But quite frankly, I don't see the problem with allowing a category of domestic contract that incorporates "marriage" obligations and legal protections for other than heterosexual couples. Heck, I don't see why sex even has to come into it. Our lives used to be much more generationally intertwined. Why not "marry" grandma? Why not pool domestic resources together instead of splintering them apart?

Your view of the world is too narrow, John.

I want to amend my last com... (Below threshold)
Mark:

I want to amend my last comments to Les.

Yes, there is an argument for gay marriage that does not apply to polygamy. In fact, it is probably the ONLY argument the gay marriage movement needs in its favor. Here it is:

"Because two straight people can, and already do, enjoy the legal benefits of marriage."

Obviously that does not apply to polygamy.

Now, the rest of the analysis should be this:

"What is the distinction between gay marriage and straight marriage that justifies the refusal to recognize the former?"

Concerns of polygamy don't really apply, do they?

93 comments and counting. ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

93 comments and counting. Think Jay will award a prize to the 100th caller?

John: The only one making s... (Below threshold)
Inquiring:

John: The only one making straw-man arguments is you. You are also making ad hominem attacks. Either join the discusion seriously or leave, we already know your opinion of anyone who does not agree with you.

Ding ding ding ding!<... (Below threshold)
John:

Ding ding ding ding!

We have a new member of the homopobia poster-boys club: Synova!

-Gtatuitous mention of pedophila. Check.
-Gratuitous mention and advocation of marrying a family member. Check.
-Cloaking of the bigotry by attempting a reference that you are actually for gay marriage.
Check!

Actually I don't disagree with some of what you said, but we clearly disagree about whether gays should be married.

You people in the club need to stand firm and announce that you are either for or against gay marriage. Your equivocation is growing tiresome.

Mark:"But I think th... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Mark:
"But I think there are arguments against poligamy that do not apply to gay marriage. "

I don't think so. But maybe you are correct. So tell me, what are those arguments?

Taking another tack, you said this:

"Yes, there is an argument for gay marriage that does not apply to polygamy. In fact, it is probably the ONLY argument the gay marriage movement needs in its favor. Here it is:

"Because two straight people can, and already do, enjoy the legal benefits of marriage.""

Not true, Mark.

Gay people can already, and do already, enjoy the legal benefits of marriage. Just not to the same sex.

Les:"I don't think... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Les:

"I don't think so. But maybe you are correct. So tell me, what are those arguments?"

Well, some might be centered around the destabilizing effects of jealousy that could arise in the context of polygamy. I'm just guessing here, but I would imagine there are some pragmatic challenges that don't apply to a two-person relationship.

"Gay people can already, and do already, enjoy the legal benefits of marriage. Just not to the same sex."

You're right and I need to be more precise. I've been using "gay" and "Straight" as shorthand for "same sex" and "opposite sex." Yeah, it's sloppy, but it requires fewer key strokes.

More importantly, the issue should be defined as "the legal benefits of marriage TO THE PERSON OF THEIR CHOICE." Clearly, you can't claim that equally exists in the gay/straight context.

Mark,What interest... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mark,

What interest does the sate have in awarding marriage to anyone if it's not to gain future generations of good citizens? The first step in that process is always procreation, and baring future medical marvels, that step always starts with heterosexual reproduction. The natural family starts with one man and one woman.

One of the arguments for homosexual marriage used in the Massachusetts case was the many financial benefits the state bestows on married couples. Given limited resources, it follows that the state has a compelling interest in awarding those resources to the type of couples capable of procreation.

Financial limitations of the state has been used to exclude giving benefits to one group of people while freely giving them to another group of people. For example, someone who's 70 gets Medicare benefits regardless of their financial status, but someone who's 50 and can't afford medical care is denied these same benefits. That's age discrimination, but it's allowed because, given the limited resources, the state has a compelling reason to selectively award such benefits. It's the same with marriage.

Should the principle of procreation biology be discarded as a basis for marriage, then by what principle can the state deny marriage status to siblings who want the same financial benefits of marriage. Look around and you will find lots of adult siblings who have lived together for years; maybe more than the number of homosexuals couples. Once procreation biology is discarded there's no logic to limiting marriage to just 2. Because of the expense, the only recourse left to the state will be to abolish marriage as a state recognized status.

Mac Lorry:"Should ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Mac Lorry:

"Should the principle of procreation biology be discarded as a basis for marriage, then by what principle can the state deny marriage status to siblings who want the same financial benefits of marriage."

I think procreation-related concerns are the most expressed justifications for barring blood marriages. The claimed dangers of birth defects from inbreeding come to mind first. I say "claimed" because I don't know the biology or genetics aspects well.

But my problem with your procreation argument is that gays do procreate. Also, I think the benefits apply to the raising of the kid, not as an incentive to have more kids. Hell, we already have the welfare system to incentify crack whores to collect kids in efforts to increase benefits.

I'll give you an example from my life. My ex-wife's college room mate, and one of her best friends, had a baby around the same time my wife and I had our first. About five years later, she and her husband divorced because he was abusive. She eventually fell in love with another woman and they've been living together for the past 10 years or so. In fact, they moved to Jay's state of New Hampshire where they operate a bed and breakfast together. My friend's daughter now has two mommies, and they are excellent parents. The daughter is a very successful, well-adjusted, student and athlete, and she dates boys. Tell me, why shouldn't the two mommies of this great kid receive the same benefits her birth mommy would have if she remained in the abusive relationship?

Mark:"More important... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Mark:
"More importantly, the issue should be defined as "the legal benefits of marriage TO THE PERSON OF THEIR CHOICE.""

Person of their choice? Why not persons of their choice? Are you a polyphobe? heh.

So far I've only heard some vague noise about jealosy as a reason to oppose multi-marriage. If that is the argument, that is some very weak soup.

For all the reasons that the pro-gay 'marriage' side puts forth, if you are for gay 'marriage' and you are not for polygamy then you are a hypocrite.

Les:First, I wanna... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Les:

First, I wanna congratulate you for posting the 100th comment on this thread!

I really don't know the arguments against polygamy. I haven't followed the issue, and I haven't put more than 20 seconds of thought into it. If I were to devote some time, and perhaps do some reading, I might come up with some better arguments. Perhaps I wouldn't. I don't know and I really don't care.

Since I have not taken a stand against polygamy, it's hard to call my a hypocrite for supporting same-sex marriages. Although I concede to having been hypocritical about some things in my life (who hasn't?), I don' think its fair here.

Since not many have taken your bait, and I know you are in the midst of setting up a good argument, why don't you just tell us precisely where you stand on gay marriage AND polygamy. I am genuinely curious.

WAKE UP EVERYONE<b... (Below threshold)
Fran:

WAKE UP EVERYONE


Don't forget that the case gets decided based on the

"best interests of the state"...

FIND THAT IN THE CONSTITUTION...THINK SLAVERY MORONS

Re: Wake up everyone<... (Below threshold)
Fran:

Re: Wake up everyone

Now that I've had a minute to re-consider my position

...it's the same.


Both, the Declaration of Independence and the

Constitution allow us to be morons.

OUR CONSTITUTION PERMITTED SLAVERY...


...we are quite capable of denying gay marriage.

Mark,Gay 'marriage' ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Mark,
Gay 'marriage' and polygamy? Against 'em.

Civil unions of some sort? Probably for 'em.

More than likely, it'll all be moot in a few years as the geezers die off and the next generations take over. Then we will have gay 'marriage'. And polygamy.

Re: wake up...I se... (Below threshold)
Fran:

Re: wake up

...I see a past, (colored people, catholics, jews),

only to mention a few...denied full rights...

...based on fear and loathing...

...all denied the protection of the laws of this

country...why...because they weren't liked...

...all are now part of the country, mostly,...


...except for the part that seems to love the constitution...


...I have asked my son to be aware of this

political witch hunt, be aware that the same forces

were against any change in our past...


...shame...shame...shame...

Hmmm.@ Mark<... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ Mark

"Finally, is procreation really the best state interest here? In the days of in vitro fertilization and adoption and overpopulation?"

Ok. Holy crap this is a huge thread. I haven't read it all, and I might not even try. But I'd like to address this one point in isolation if it were.

Procreation is in the state's interest.

Look at Europe today. Every single country in Europe is facing a population implosion and all of them are offering huge incentives for their citizens to have children. In less than 50 years it is entirely possible that one or more european countries will, culturally, cease to exist.

As for the excess population meme, this may not be correct. There are still a lot of very poor people but the idea that there's a massive amount of excess population is only viable if you don't look at current and future demographics. Looking at future demographics many countries are facing severe population implosion issues. Even China is facing severe demographic issues stemming from it's cultural predisposition towards sons vs daughters and the long-term effects of the one child rule.

As an example in China the median age is 32. By 2025 China is expect to increase it's populat to 1.4 billion, adding about 100 million, but the number of elderly 65 and older will be about 15%. By 2050 China may add another 100 million or so to 1.5 billion, but the number of elderly 65 and older will be about 21%.

I.e. about 315,000,000 senior citizens that will soon require extensive nursing care and geriatric support. Even if you assume you could get by with 1 nurse to take care of 10 elderly, i.e. 1 per shift for 30, that'll be a need for 31.5 million nurses. The only problem of course is that there is still the one child policy in effect, which is continuing to skew demographics even further, and the continuing effects of the predisposition for sons vs daughters.

This last issue is so huge that in some industrial provinces the estimate is 148 boys for every 100 girls. And this discrepency is increasing due to the wide availability of ultrasound and the continuing export of baby girls to other nations.

Russia is expected to have it's population cut in half within the next 30-40 years. Perhaps even more. The same with Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, etc etc etc. Even the overall world average birth rate is continuing to fall as more nations become more prosperous. And as those prosperous nations lose more an more population *because* their citizens are indulging themselves rather than procreate, these nations will have to import/immigrate more people from poor nations to make up the difference.

So yes there might be an excess population now. But no there might not be in 25 or 50 years. And the decisions that are made today are the ones that won't fully be felt until 25 or 50 years from now.

As always YMMV.

Hmmm.@ John<... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ John

"Jay and his defenders are for gay marriage. Except when a court agrees with them, then they are implacably against gay marriage and would sign onto any effort to amend the Constitution to ban it."

It's not that the courts "agree". It's that they have no business making such decisions in the first place.

If you can't understand that, then who gives a rat's ass.

"We have a new member of th... (Below threshold)
Synova:

"We have a new member of the homopobia poster-boys club: Synova!"

Oh, goodie. Thank you. I felt so unloved and left out.

Look, Mark has made very good arguments. Ultimately I believe that gays should be allowed to marry. What I *can't* do, however, is see how that is fundamentally different from other domestic arrangements, if they involve sex or not. John apparently has problems with this.

The facts are that marriage is restricted in multiple ways, many of them arbitrary. The rules about who can marry whom aren't standard over time or cultures. Can you marry a first cousin? In regency England you could. (And is it ever strange to read Georgette Heyer sometimes.) Can you marry your widowed or divorced step-parent? In some places and times the relationsihps formed by someone elses marriage were viewed as more restrictive than actual close blood relations.

There is nothing at all about a genuine attachment between two people that *demands* that it be recognized formally. Claiming so, doesn't make it so. Neither is this proof the other direction. It's arbitrary. The rules change.

The benefit to society of promoting stable domestic partnerships is long term stability for raising children (and that's a bust, huh?) as well as promoting a situation where people have the expectation of having a personal support system for situations of sickness and age, the combining of resources and domestic division or sharing of labor. Someone to take care of things... the basic unit of social welfare. If two gay people provide that for each other it relieves some of the burden on the rest of us.

Hmmm.@ Mark, re: p... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ Mark, re: polygamy

"... Thats an "undecided." I haven't spent any time noodling that one, except for a few private fantasies. But if pushed for an answer at this minute, let me say this: I can't think of any insurmountable problems at the moment. ..."

Then what about a Group Marriage or a Line Marriage? link

Hmmmm.@ Synova... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

@ Synova

1. "There is nothing at all about a genuine attachment between two people that *demands* that it be recognized formally."

Which means that instead of a Tyranny of a Minority there is a Concensus of the Majority. If the majority considers one, or more, arragements acceptable then it either is so or becomes so. If it is not acceptable to the majority then it is not acceptable and won't be until the majority is altered in either viewpoint or composition.

I.e. such matters must be taken through the legislatures and not through the court systems otherwise all you'll end up with is a fragile temporary victory that accomplishes nothing but aggravating the majority.

Hence my distaste for over-reliance on judicial activists.

I love this business about ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I love this business about the tyranny of the minority. Someone please explain how this minority is tyrannical. What power do they have over you? How are they tyrants? What is being forced upon you and what are you being denied by this tyranny? There is no tyranny of the minority (except by certain government bodies, like the FCC), but there just may be a tyranny of the majority. I'm glad we don't live in a true democracy or the majority would have destroyed this country long ago.

If the majority considers one, or more, arragements acceptable then it either is so or becomes so. If it is not acceptable to the majority then it is not acceptable and won't be until the majority is altered in either viewpoint or composition.

Tell that to the slaves, ed.

Slavery is not the same sit... (Below threshold)
Synova:

Slavery is not the same situation as marriage. Marriage has always been subject to arbitrary limitations.

Our laws do change. That doesn't mean that all changing things are the same in some fundamental way.

Here's a somewhat related q... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Here's a somewhat related question: what do people think of Gonzales v Oregon, currently being argued in the Supreme Court? The state of Oregon ruled assisted suicide legal, by way of a voter referendum. In this case SCOTUS will decide whether the will of the people of Oregon will dictate the law of the land, or whether the federal government can override the state's law.

I'm curious how far the people in this thread will carry their "will of the people" argument. Should the laws of Oregon, as voted on by the people be upheld, or should (activist?) judges be allowed to overrule?

Hmmm.@ mantis... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ mantis

"Tell that to the slaves, ed."

How were the slaves freed mantis? Were they freed by judicial fiat or by the will of the majority *after* a transformative event called the Civil War? An event that both changed the viewpoint and the composition of the majority.

Was it judicial fiat? Or the will of the, then, new majority?

How is that little quip of yours either a new point or a refutation of my entire line of argument? How is it anything but a confirmation of my already enumerated points?

Frankly I expect better of you.

Judges, Supreme Court judges in particular, can only confirm those rights that the majority already believes exist. If there is a dissonance or a disconnect then it is the courts that must adjust or they will be forcibly adjusted by the majority. Either by removal and/or replacement or by amending the Constitution.

However during that period of time after a disconnected judgement and prior to the adjustment by the majority, there is a long enough time for a great deal of mischief.

Do I have to repeat myself again mantis?

Hmmmm.@ mantis... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

@ mantis

"I'm curious how far the people in this thread will carry their "will of the people" argument. Should the laws of Oregon, as voted on by the people be upheld, or should (activist?) judges be allowed to overrule?"

There is no basis for SCOTUS to overturn that law.

Frankly I don't know if I like the law. Examples in the Netherlands are showing up where the supposed safeguards are almost completely non-existent. Doctors there are calmly and routinely killing infants, children, teenagers, adults and the elderly with sometimes no authorization or approval from anyone. A psychiatrist there has recently been killing off patients that he has deemed chronically depressed.

IMHO this tells me that no set of "safeguards" will really be a safeguard. From very painful personal experience I can assure you that a great many doctor's already have a God complex. Give them the unrestricted, or restricted, privledge of killing people and you'll get a lot more than you bargained for.

But I don't think SCOTUS has any need or basis to overturn that law. I think the federal government's argument is, at best, ridiculous.

Hmmmm.On a lighter... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

On a lighter note. If anyone is in need of a good laugh:

Hall of Douchebags

One of my favorites:

Mount Douchemore

I might have posted this here before. Or everyone might already know about it. *shrug* YMMV.

ed:"Judges, Suprem... (Below threshold)
Mark:

ed:

"Judges, Supreme Court judges in particular, can only confirm those rights that the majority already believes exist. If there is a dissonance or a disconnect then it is the courts that must adjust or they will be forcibly adjusted by the majority. Either by removal and/or replacement or by amending the Constitution."

Neither Plessy v. Ferguson, nor Brown v. Board of Education were supported by the majority. Do you disagree with either of those decisions?

I've been partying and I'm only operating on a couple cylinders, so I won't try anything strenuous here. But there are a couple questions I've had since you revealed something about yourself. I find your views of the Constitution slightly ironic.

I know you're of Korean descent, and I know you were adopted at an early age. You grew up in the States, and you must have been subjected to anti-asian prejudices. We've had WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam. We've also had paranoia about trade imbalances with Asian nations. You live in a country of neanderthals who still, to this day, see slanted eyes and think, "cooley, nipper, slope, gook, chinaman", etc.

I'm a WASP, but one of the most uncomfortable nights of my life was when I escorted a couple of extremely talented Japanese design engineers to Shreveport, LA in the mid-90's. The locals received them as if they were three-headed monsters, and I was some evil being for leading them there. (That, and for making the mistake of trying to order beer on a Sunday night). I was astounded.

Surely you've been exposed to some of that. I am curious to know your age, and where you live, because that will tell me a little more about what you've endured. I'm thinking that could lead to some clues about your opinions on civil rights.

Heh, don't ask me the story of my trip to Birmingham, AL with two other Japanese engineers and we were brave enough (drunk) to eat sushi at a roadside diner. Suffice it to say that 90's Birmingham had no clue what was going on in Tokyo, Nagoya, LA or NYC with regard to raw fish. But I bet today they are still serving fish caught in the 90's.

OK, obviously my attention span is shot. I'll be back in the morning after coffee. Hasta!

Mark,Yes, homosexu... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mark,

Yes, homosexuals do procreate, but not with their homosexual partners, and that's the relationship the state is being asked to bestow marriage status on. There are always exceptions, but such laws need to be based on the typical rather than the extreme. There's no environment that can't raise a few kids into well adjusted adults, including documented cases of that happening in the death camps of WWII.. Lets not insert exceptions into this discussion.

You were concerned about siblings who might procreate, but what about two siblings of the same sex or who are past the age of reproduction? If homosexuals are allowed to marry, then by what principle will you deny the same benefits to such siblings? Once siblings can marry, what principle will stop three non-reproductive individuals from obtaining the same benefits. To use your question; what does it hurt?

My point is that once the fundamental principles of the traditional marriage are abandoned, there is are no other logical principles the state can use to limit marriage benefits. The cost will eventually result in the state having to reduce or eliminate marriage benefits.

Mac Lorry said:"Le... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Mac Lorry said:

"Lets not insert exceptions into this discussion."

In the next sentence he said:

"...but what about two siblings of the same sex or who are past the age of reproduction?"

Then I thought to myself:

"Hmm."

Re: exceptionsThat... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Re: exceptions

That's the problem with this entire subject. The whole gay 'marriage' issue is about exceptions. A tiny percentage of society wanting the laws changed and social approval for their abnormal behavior.


How were the slaves free... (Below threshold)
mantis:

How were the slaves freed mantis? Were they freed by judicial fiat or by the will of the majority *after* a transformative event called the Civil War? An event that both changed the viewpoint and the composition of the majority.

I'd rather we not have to go as far as war to resolve such issues. In any case, I somehow missed this part of your post:

I.e. such matters must be taken through the legislatures and not through the court systems otherwise...

and for this I apologize, my response was glib and wrong. I agree with you to a point that these matters should be resolved in the legislature by elected officials (and I wish they would resolve it. Where are the civil union bills?). However sometimes, as in Plessy and Brown, the legislature drags its feet (or passes unconstitutional laws) and the court has no choice but to alter the law.

Anyway, I'm impressed that you're commitment to federalism and the people's rule extends to laws you disagree with, as in the Oregon case. I imagine you're a rarity in that, but I may be wrong.

So no, you don't have to repeat yourself again, sorry for making you do it once.

Mark,I understood ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mark,

I understood as I was writing my prior post that it contained the seeds of an easy way out without addressing the fundamental questions. I was hoping that after days of your complaining that no one was offering rational arguments limiting marriage to traditional couples that you would take such arguments seriously when offered. Here's your chance to do the right thing.

My point about not inserting exception into this argument was in reference to your use of a specific case where a child raised in a non-traditional family was well adjusted. As I pointed out, that claim could also be made for children raised in WWII death camps, and so it's irrelevant. Historically, the best environment for child rearing is the traditional family. Of course there will be exceptions both ways, but should marriage laws be based on the exception or on the norm? If, however, you introduce the exception of homosexual marriage, then asking about other non-reproductive groups is fair game.

Assuming Massachusetts fails to pass a marriage amendment, what principle could be used to deny non-reproductive siblings the same marriage benefits as homosexuals? My assertion is that there are none, and if fact, once the underpinnings of traditional marriage are abandoned, the state will find it imposible to limit marriage benefit to any group. Because marriage benefits are costly to provide, the state will be forced to cut back or even eliminate such benefits for all. As a result, the state will no longer be able to promote the best environment for producing future generations of the good citizens that are absolutely vital to the survival of an orderly and productive society. Because of that, the state has a compelling interest in reserving marriage benefits to procreation couples, which is the natural family unit.

Mac,Sorry for side... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Mac,

Sorry for sidestepping you. I do appreciate your arguments, I think they are good ones, I think they are valid, and I take them seriously.

The truth is, I don't have any sure-fire arguments against you and I would have to do some bonafide research into the whole gay marriage movement for ammunition. I'm too lazy to do that at the moment.

However, I'm not persuaded by the one argument you seem to emphasize most: The slippery slope. I don't think the answer is, "we can't let gays do it, because soon their siblings will engage in polygamy with goats." I think we need to look at the marriage issue in terms of gays and straights only. If the goat threesome lobby rears its horny head, then lets address that when the time comes. That's not just a cop out on my part, I genuinely believe that.

I also don't buy into the fallacy of logic inherent in "incest is bad, therefore so is gay marriage." Perhaps I'm wrong, but I thought I detected that theme through some of your arguments.

Procreation. You make a helluva good argument. (Are you Caltholic by any chance?) I suspect you're correct in that State recognition of marriage is probably rooted, at least in part, in procreational interests. But are those interests as valid today as they were then? And don't the myriad exceptions of today water down the importance of that concept? And is it that much of a stretch allow gays to join the club as just another exception to the procreation rule? And does it really make a difference that gays must still resort to the heterosexual technology of reproduction? My bottom line (at the moment) is this: I agree that the state has an arguably legitimate interest in promoting procreation, but I don't see the banning of gay marriage as a rational means of protecting that interest--simply because gays often procreate, and the relationship between the ban and babies is not clear or direct.

Fiscal issues. I suppose the state loses money when people get married. But if yer gonna do it for breeders, why not homos? And really, has anyone ever researched the costs to the state of recognizing marriages? Can it be quantified?

Mac, without having researched any of these issues, and only operating off the same sets of hunches that have served me well for about 20 years, I think your arguments would get you into court and the judges would give them serious consideration. I hope you would lose, but that is far from clear. Thanks for playing along.

Mac: "Because marriage ben... (Below threshold)
Synova:

Mac: "Because marriage benefits are costly to provide, the state will be forced to cut back or even eliminate such benefits for all."

Actually, they are costly *not* to provide.

There is a heavy lobby to eliminate marriage tax breaks or even child tax breaks... I don't suppose it's all that successful, but it's there... on the theory that it's unfair to penalize unmarried people and parents *chose* to have children, after all. Why should we give them extra money for a choice they made freely? It seems logical enough.

Yes, marriage is about making sure children are cared for, yet we adapt to widespread single parenthood because we must. Clearly, single parenthood costs society *more* than marriage benifits cost society. Not all the cost is cash up front, but broken families cost more money than intact families cost us. It is in our best interests to encourage people to stay married. On the secular side of things that means all of those "expensive" marriage benifits.

But it's not just the need to support children. The family, nuclear, or even better, extended, is the basic unit of social welfare. I've got my husband to do for me and my kids, and me to do for them... my parents, my grandparents... my siblings... but primarily my husband. When I had surgery and needed the wound cleaned and packed (yes, more than anyone wanted to know, but I've got a point to this) daily and *I* couldn't reach it, my husband did the job. For weeks. What if I'd been single? How much would have a nurse cost?

The family unit provides a huge amount of free labor. The contribution of uncounted childcare labor to society is something we couldn't function without, true. But there is other caretaking labor that is entirely uncounted as well. When gays talk about marriage this is a central point... they want the legal *right* to take care of their partner.

There is no way that this *costs* us money.

Hmmmm.@ Mark... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

@ Mark

*shrug* if you want a bio. Ok. Frankly I think it's boring, but it's your dime.

1. Brown vs. Board of Education wasn't fought because most people accepted it. Do you really think the Civil Rights Movement was so isolated that it forced such views on everyone else? While not everyone marched. Not everyone travelled to discriminatory areas to force change. But a lot of people agreed with Brown vs. Board of Education.

If they didn't, they'd have amended the Constitution. A prime example is Massachusetts. They're not accepting gay marriage there so they are looking to amend the state constitution and perhaps even the federal Constitution.

2. "Surely you've been exposed to some of that. I am curious to know your age, and where you live, because that will tell me a little more about what you've endured. I'm thinking that could lead to some clues about your opinions on civil rights."

Hmmm.

Born 1964 in Seoul, South Korea to a South Korean woman who spent a lot of her time with American soldiers. No idea what her profession was, but in general most good South Korean girls didn't associate with American soldiers. My biological father is an American soldier so I'm technically an Amer-Asian. A rather bad thing to be in South Korea at any time, but most definitely in the post-WWII years.

If you think discrimination is bad here, try being an Amer-Asian.

At age 2 got shipped off to live with my very poor maternal grandparents because it was too difficult for her to take care of me. Until age 5 or so my maternal grandparents made ends meet by taking me to the Pearl S. Buck Foundation where they would get a regular stipend of rice.

Age 5 I brought back to live with my mother and then I got adopted by a very nice couple living in the same apartment building who were then moving to America. My adoptive mother was South Korean herself. My adoptive father is an American soldier, a W-3 in the US Army, who was retiring at that time to go home.

We relocated to Connecticut for a short time and then moved to a very very rural area of New Hampshire. I spent my summers with my aunt in a very small town with about 16 houses and a general store/post office/gas station.

I grew up living the very rural life in New Hampshire. We had a small house with a decent size property and a very large garden. Life was ok, but I wasn't very happy a lot of times, but then again what teenager is happy about anything.

Didn't graduate high school, *shrug* it bored the hell out me. Joined the US Marines. Spent some time as an infantryman in the absolutely shittiest posting the USMC. Got discharged, did some odd things and then decided to do computer programming as a profession.

Was there discrimination? Sure there was. I've experienced every kind of discrimination you can imagine from as early an age as you could ever imagine. I had my ass beat in South Korea because I was different. I had my ass beat in New Hampshire because I was different. I've had girls who would have sex with me, but wouldn't go on a date with me in public. etc etc etc.

Frankly life is hard, so you have to suck it up and deal with it. Did I have issues growing up? Sure I did. Most people do. Then I got over them. Do I experience the occasional discrimination? Maybe. Do I care? Not really. Frankly I've found most discrimination is in someone's mind. If someone has an issue, then it's that person's issue, not mine.

And if someone doesn't want to hire me based on my race? *shrug* it's their loss, their competitor is probably more than willing to hire me.

My view of the Constitution is simple. It's a piece of paper. So by itself it's worthless, meaningless. It's only value is as an idea. A compact. A social contract as it were between citizens. As citizens we all sign onto the Constitution as the governing principles with which we all agree upon. If we don't agree with it, then we change it. But that operative word is "we". Not "I". Not "You". "We".

*shrug* YMMV. I hope I didn't bore anyone and I hope that answered your question Mark. Just one thing though, don't do any psychological analysis based on this ok? Those things tend to really irritate me.

I do not think that the Ore... (Below threshold)
Synova:

I do not think that the Oregon law should be overturned by SCOTUS. I think it's a bad law but I don't see how, without a whole lot of twisting and turning, that the issue could be considered to be addressed by the US Constitution. But it's a dangerous law, no doubt about it. Those who think it can be on the books *safely* should step back just a moment and think about some of the stuff that "good" doctors and "loving" families have done out of the best intentions. One place to start is with all of the Native American teenaged girls checked into reservations hospitals to get their tonsils out, who ended up, unknowing, sterilized, because noble doctors *knew* that poverty and alcoholism were no way to bring up babies. Google it. Some NA groups are calling it attempted genocide. It's not even that long ago that it was happening.

The seriousness of the Oregon measure does not make it the business of the Supreme Court, though.

Hmmmm.@ mantis... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

@ mantis

"So no, you don't have to repeat yourself again, sorry for making you do it once."

And I apologise for being irritated. Sorry all, this whole Harriet Miers thing has my teeth on edge.

Mark,Thanks... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mark,

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. You make some good points about the complexity of the current state of marriage. I'm sure we'll continue to disagree on what points are strong and which are not, but that's to be expected when diverse people share their ideas. To answer your question, I'm a Christian, but not Catholic.

Synova,

You also make some good points. I certainly understand the benefits of being part of a family and why people yearn to belong. I agree that good marriages, just like good schools actually pay back to society more than society invests in them. Prudent investment is the key.

Ed,

What can I say other than you are a brave man to reveal so much about yourself. Not that it's worth anything to you, but you have my respect.

The Wizbang crowed is cool. This is the most civil discussion of this hot-button issue I have seen on the web in many years.

I seem to be having problem... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

I seem to be having problems with the letter "e" I meant crowd.

Is it time for a big sloppy... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Is it time for a big sloppy group hug? (Kidding)

ed, thanks for sharing. You won't hear any psychobabble from me. You've led a very interesting life, at least it's interesting to me.

Although I'm a WASP, I have an inkling of the types of discrimination you've endured, particularly among the Koreans. For years I ran the legal department for a Japanese-owned multinational product manufacture, and I saw the Japanese discriminate against their own far worse than the anti-asian paranoid whites would. Japanese-Americans were openly called "bananas" (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) (in Japanese, of course) and they were detested by those who worked here on visas. A female banana was about as low as one could be, except perhaps an interracial banana. These "traitors" were far worse than even us whiteys in their eyes. Of course, Japanese culture is much different from Korean, but I suspect there are also plenty of similarities.

Heh, NEVER make the mistake of taking a Japanese national to a sushi bar run by Koreans!

Hmmmm.@ Mark... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

@ Mark

"Heh, NEVER make the mistake of taking a Japanese national to a sushi bar run by Koreans!"

Yeah. There's 5,000 years of antagonism between Japanese, Koreans and the Chinese who spent all that time invading one another. The wierd thing is that it doesn't seem like the Chinese or the Japanese were all that interested in Korea, it was just the convenient way to get to either China or Japan. Made the Koreans pretty irritable though.

Frankly I'd like to point that my life has been pretty good in comparison to many others. During the Korean War my adoptive mother had to flee Pyongyang with her family as a little girl because of the advancing Chinese. She lost a cousin and two uncles to robbers during their escape.

I've also been fortunate enough to have avoided travelling 90 miles over open shark infested ocean trying to get to Miami from Cuba. I didn't have to survive a Soviet Gulag for 40 years. I didn't have to experience the killing fields of Cambodia. I haven't had to try and survive in the crime and drug infested shantytowns of Rio. I have never had to worry about being necklaced with a rubber tire and gasoline in South Africa. And I haven't had to worry about being sold as a slave to European sex tourists in Thailand. And I don't have any need to be concerned about maintaining the family's "ownership" of stretch of sidewalk in Calcutta. I've never had to worry about being chased down, caught, killed and eaten because some people think that they can get sorcerous powers by eating a pygmy.

In comparison, I've had, and still have, it really easy. My biggest decision tonight was the NY strip steak or the apple stuffed pork chops. A lot of people know they are fortunate, but I really know how fortunate I am. A lot of people play the various lotteries in the hopes of winning.

I won my lottery in 1969, in the most important lottery in the entire world.

ed,Yeah, that kind... (Below threshold)
Mark:

ed,

Yeah, that kinda puts things in much needed perspective. Gee, and I thought I had it bad because Wizbangers tend to hate lawyers and they like to pick on me. Sniff.

Sorcerous powers by eating a pygmy??? I think I wanna TRY that!

<a href="http://www.microso... (Below threshold)



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