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No Really It Will Only Be Massachusetts...

I'm pretty sure that was the argument made by Andrew Sullivan in dismissing the possibility that "activist judges" were something to worry about... From Newsday:

A Manhattan judge ruled Friday that the city clerk cannot deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples because a state law prohibiting such unions is unconstitutional.

State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan said the law violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the state and federal constitutions.

...The words husband, wife, groom and bride, as they appear in the law, "shall be construed to mean 'spouse' and all personal pronouns ... apply equally to either men or women," she wrote.

What judicial activism?


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Comments (28)

"Massachusetts" in my opini... (Below threshold)
John Robinson:

"Massachusetts" in my opinion.

You wany gay marriage... th... (Below threshold)

You wany gay marriage... then the moment that gay marriage is made legal anywhere, insurance and medical benefits for that gay couple that isn't "married" are immediatly revoked.

Such a sweeping delusion, i... (Below threshold)

Such a sweeping delusion, if not entirely pompous: the redefinition as "appear(s) in the law" of societal defintions and relationships. The judiciary isn't a fair and balanced fraternity, and I bet there's a trail of evidence to that effect in this woman's background. It is, after all, Manhattan that has allowed her to "rule" -- a sad reflection on a marginal perspective by some, truly, it is.

What a bunch of sad delusio... (Below threshold)
Krusty Krab:

What a bunch of sad delusional judges. How dare they think that our founding fathers intended for the judiciary to act as a third independent branch, fully invested with as much power as the other two!!! Never mind that part of their role, as envisioned by our founding fathers, would be to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority.

I find the argument of the right that somehow judges have less moral authority just because (in some cases but not all) they are not directly elected by the populace to be absurd. Just ask any military person who ran into trouble with Rumsfield whether Rumsfield has any constitutionally endowed authority over them (he does).

I have no doubt that if the tables were turned and the "judicial activism" favored pet right-wing political battles, that the conservatives would be cheering the decisions and the left would be decrying the judges as activists. The fact is that anger over this decision is based upon political rather than the ethics of the judiciary branch. Whether I agree or disagree personally with the judges decision is frankly irrelevant, what really turns my stomach is this hypocritical bullshit over "judiciary activism".

My prediction: this decision will be over turned in a higher state court. Potentially bad judicial decisions have their own checks and balances as well. Nice system, huh? Perhaps we might even consider keeping it, instead of railing against it every time a microscopic decision comes out against our personal sensibilities.

Why are they "activist judg... (Below threshold)

Why are they "activist judges" if they are merely applying the law?

It's not like they said "screw the law, we want this to happen."

Which is all the more reaso... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

Which is all the more reason Frist either needs to find some guts or turn his post over to some one that is not afraid of a fight. America need judges who work under America's Constitution !

America need judges who... (Below threshold)

America need judges who work under America's Constitution!

State judges ruling on state law, people this has nothing to do with the federal constitution and the founding fathers, it’s a state beef, not a federal case. This ruling has nothing to do with the federal constitution.

State judges ruling on s... (Below threshold)

State judges ruling on state law, people this has nothing to do with the federal constitution and the founding fathers, it’s a state beef, not a federal case. This ruling has nothing to do with the federal constitution.
Except the state judge's power in relation to the state constitution are not the same as the Supreme Court's power in relation to The Constitution.

State judges can overrule a state constitution based on their interpretation of the federal constitution. That makes it a federal case.

Your honor, may I approach ... (Below threshold)

Your honor, may I approach the bench; I've made a motion in my briefs.

This would just be poor jud... (Below threshold)

This would just be poor judicial activism if she simply knocked down the law. But to basically scratch out specific term put there for a reason and write in his own words, that is writing law by overwriting existing law.

The is the reason that the Left so wanted the Whitehouse. They are getting their way through a activist court system and the only barrier at the moment is a roughly split Supreme Court.

It seems the direction of t... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

It seems the direction of the courts is to allow same sex marriage in the near future.

If this is so, 10 bucks says a woman will sue to marry a man and a woman, or some such combination, within 5 years. Any takers?

What will be the argument against polygamy then?
Anyone have any ideas?

Les, you are absolutely rig... (Below threshold)

Les, you are absolutely right. It is a slippery slope. After polygamy, it will be pre-teen children.

Is this the "Theory of Devo... (Below threshold)

Is this the "Theory of Devolution" actualizing? Sounds like it. In NYC judges are not always elected or appointed. In NYC voters vote for party captains who, in turn, pick whomever they choose. I remember attending a seminar hosted by the NYC Bar Associtaion in 1993 entitled, "How To Become A Judge." The democratic leader spoke and stated that unless he was paid $50,000.00 don't even think about running. I couldn't believe what I had just heard; it was one of those surreal moments when I didn't know if it was real or a dream. Turns out it was very real. A few years ago several judges in Brooklyn, NY were busted for having made similar political contributions.
I don't think the appellate courts will affirm the Hon. Bling-Ling's decision.

The whole idea that marriag... (Below threshold)

The whole idea that marriage is a right is ridiculous to begin with. It's a privilege, limited by every state. If giving up your rights to decide the division of property in the event of divorce rather than deciding yourself is somehow a right in your estimation then get a contract that sets a property division before you settle in with your partner. If you want your partner to have legal rights sign a power of attorney. If you want your partner to get your estate in the event of your death have a will drawn up. That's what straight couples that live together without getting married do. Claiming something is or should be a right just doesn't make it so, our rights are laid out in the law, marriage is never mentioned. Neither is fishing or driving, you have to get a license to do both, just like you have to get a marriage license. Rights don't come by buying a license, privileges do.

The whole idea that marr... (Below threshold)

The whole idea that marriage is a right is ridiculous to begin with. It's a privilege,

And dammit, straight people should have privileges that gay people don't, because gays are baaaad! Let's ask this, how many fishing licenses are refused due to the applicant's sexual orientation? Driving licenses?

Where in the constitution d... (Below threshold)

Where in the constitution does is say that the federal government has the power to regulate marriage?

And again until the case gets to the Supreme Court, it’s a state beef regardless of where they get the support for overturning state law.

I’m amused at the notion that the right of two people to engage in a contract, which is the only real state interest in marriage, is being fought by those who purport to be against nanny-stateisum.

Marriage is priviledge conv... (Below threshold)

Marriage is priviledge conveyed by society. It is always a Priest, Judge, or Ship's captain that oversees the event. These are officials of our society. It is done because of the new relationship society should have with these two individuals. This includes social prohibitions against interfering with the relationship. There's a no go zone for many things once a couple is married.

Why is there protection for this relationship? Because these two are planning on forming a family. The basis for having children. If it wasn't for children, there would be no basis for marriage. A same sex couples can't have children without artificial intervention. There is no need for same sex marriage. Make do with a civil union.

I actually think this stuff... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I actually think this stuff is for the states to decide, but the problem is that the state justices are writing the law, and or telling the legistlature what they have to write.

This is something that needs to be debated in the state houses, not mandated by the judiciary, and what this judge did is essentially rewrite the law.

The one thing you can say for Vermont, is that at least the justices in that state, just said there was a problem, and left it to the legislature to work out the solution.

We should also do something... (Below threshold)

We should also do something about those activist judges who refuse to strip married heterosexual couples of their assets and children when adultery has been established. Marriage is between a man and a woman -- not a man, his wife and a girlfriend. It's a fraud on the state when you accept the financial and custodial benefits of marriage under such circumstances.

Raving A. may think he's be... (Below threshold)

Raving A. may think he's being snarky, but those of us who have seen families destroyed by that kind of thing aren't so sure he doesn't have a serious point...

Just sayin', is all.

I've never figured out the ... (Below threshold)

I've never figured out the controversy. Homosexuals have the same right to marry someone of the opposite sex as heteros. The law said marriage is man and woman. Didn't say they had to like each other. Personal feelings aren't necessarilly what defines marriage. So the "equal right to marry the love of your life" is a red herring.

What a bunch of sad delu... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

What a bunch of sad delusional judges. How dare they think that our founding fathers intended for the judiciary to act as a third independent branch, fully invested with as much power as the other two!!! Never mind that part of their role, as envisioned by our founding fathers, would be to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority.

There is no tyranny and there is no minority involved here.

Homosexuals fail every definition of a protected minority. There are three basic criteria that need to be met for a minority to receive special legal protection:

1) Societal disadvantage and oppression.

Homosexuals are not victims of organized persecution. As a matter of fact, they do so well in our society that as a statistical whole, they are much more affluent than any other previously recognized minority.

2) Political powerlessness.

Can anyone honestly argue that homosexuals have no political power today? Even if one uses the now debunked Kinseyian metric of 10% to enumerate their population, they are more than adequately represented in politics, from congressmen such as Barney Frank to many lobbyist and activist groups.

3) Innate/immutable characteristics.

Is homosexuality an innate (like race) or immutable (like disability) characteristic? There seems to be a preponderance of evidence that it's not.

Immutability: There have been many people who have changed their sexual preference from gay to straight (Anne Heche being a famous one), though the cases are underreported.

Innateness: The argument that "we're born that way" seems to have been more of a political ploy than a scientific finding. Two of the radical homosexual activists who engineered this entire legal and public relations onslaught had the arrogance to announce their plans in a 1989 book, After The Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90's.

One of the authors, Marshall Kirk, admitted in the book that homosexuality is not purely inborn. Kirk speaks from authority as a gay man and a neuropsychiatric researcher. Here is the relevant quote from the book (emphases mine):

We argue that, for all practical purposes, gays should be considered to have been born gay--even though sexual orientation, for most humans, seems to be the product of a complex interaction between innate predispositions and environmental factors during childhood and early adolescence.


To suggest in public that homosexuality might be chosen is to open the can of worms labeled "moral choices and sin" and give the religious intransigents a stick to beat us with. Straights must be taught that it is as natural for some persons to be homosexual as it is for others to be heterosexual: wickedness and seduction have nothing to do with it.

If you laugh whenever some freeper mentions the phrase "gay agenda," just pick up a copy of After The Ball. It's the playbook for the entire radical gay movement.

I think if you read the Con... (Below threshold)

I think if you read the Constitution carefully, it clearly states support for gay marriage.

I have always believed that... (Below threshold)

I have always believed that marriage was the spiritual/religious bonding of a man and woman according to whatever god they worshipped. It was around long before the United States was created. I could be wrong,but I do not know of any of the main religions(not the splinter groups please) that use marriage when the same sex is involved. Marriage licensing and registering is a contract between the states and the couple for material benefits. Civil Unions could be the same thing for the Homosexuals and the states without the homosexual couple hijacking "marriage".

So, is it safe to say that ... (Below threshold)

So, is it safe to say that the Wizbang group marriage scheduled for next Saturday has been called off?

I really don't care whether... (Below threshold)

I really don't care whether gay people get married or not. I'm sick and tired of people bitching about it. I'm not sure why there is this undebated consensus among conservatives that gay marriage is a "bad thing." I've never been presented with any actual reasons why it is considered a bad idea, well at least none that don't fall back on theology or some other equally dubious grounds.

As a straight man, I have no reason to care what gay men or women do. If they want to get married, fine. If they don't want to get married, fine. If they want to dress up in ballerina costumes and sodomize each other with rubber hoses, fine...just don't ask me to watch or participate. The things they do or don't do that have no direct affect upon the rest of the world are, by definition, irrelevant.

I'll admit I'm somewhat atypical for a conservative in that I don't really have any morals, or at least none based upon religion or tradition. When someone starts making purely theological arguments about what I like to call the "real world", I quickly add them to my bozo list and tune them out. The only value that religious or traditional morals have is based upon their practical value. If these values don't stand up to a critical evaluation of their consequences, then I toss them out the window with all the other bullshit I'm presented with everyday. Ideology, which is what you get when ideas take on a life of their own and replace objectivity as the basis for one's understanding of the world, is noxious in all forms.

In any case there are two issues that conservatives need to get over. The first is abortion and the second is gay marriage. Abortion is a good thing because it helps keep the gene pool clean. There is no preventing it as long as coat hangers exist. There are enough bastards and inbreds in this country, we don't need any more. Gay marriage is a non-issue. It is patently irrelevant. Wasting time fighting over something so pointless is nothing but a win for the left. It would be far better to say "Ok, you win" and be able to focus our attention and energies on things that matter, like defending the second amendment, or the freedom of religion clause in the first amendment. Compared to these issues, gay marriage or the lack thereof just doesn't matter. Fighting over abortion is a stupid and pointless exercise because abortion is ultimately of greater benefit to society than it is a detriment. Just think of all the welfare brats who didn't get born because of it. Think of all the teenaged girls whose lives were not derailed by having to take care of a kid. Most people understand these benefits. Fighting against abortion and working to ban it just encourages otherwise reasonable people to vote Democrat.

wow first I agree with sera... (Below threshold)

wow first I agree with serapheem, marriage should be marriage. second, Gay's are not socially oppressed? I'm sorry, they can't marry can't join the military and I think they can be rightfully removed and/or not served in a cowboy bar. Finally, my wife is a videographer and videotapes weddings, is no one a capitalist in here? ten percent more weddings and lots of videographers who won't do those weddings because "they don't serve their kind" all means $$$ for me.

Agree with a number of post... (Below threshold)

Agree with a number of posters who ask "what's the big deal?", but would actually like to know the answer. I think somebody, somewhere, has articulate, well-reasoned arguments against gay marriage that are not "God Hates Queers", but they get drowned out.

What's so special about marriage? Is there anything you get from being married that you can't get from a carefully prepared legal document? Sure, you can will your estate to your "partner", but can you give legal "spousal privledge" to them somehow? That is, if there's a gay man subpeonaed to testify against his lover, is there any way to quash that in the way that an order for a husband to testify against his wife could be? IANAL, so I don't know the answer to these things. I'm not even sure if the answer would change most people's opinions, but it doesn't hurt to have extra information.

The closest thing to a "well-reasoned" argument I've heard against gay marriage is that a) if we use the word "marriage", it furthers the mainstream acceptance of gays, to the extent that it might make it easier for them to have families, and b) children develop better with parental role models of both sexes therefore c) gay should not be allowed to marry. While I believe that (b) is probably demonstrably true, it doesn't change the fact that gay adoption is fairly commonplace now. So, at the risk of using "well it happens already anyway" as a justification, I can't come up with any good reasons to oppose it. Can somebody who *isn't* a frothing fundie help me out?






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