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Bush calls for same-sex marriage-ban amendment
February 24, 2004 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Bush calls for same-sex marriage-ban amendment Pres. Bush called for a constitutional amendment against gay marriage today, blaming "activist judges", the Massachusettes Supreme Court, and the mayor of San Francisco, among others, for attempting "to change the most fundamental institution of civilization."

How this call for an amendment plays out remains to be seen, but Bush is taking a strong stance on this issue, in what some see as another 'big headline' proposal during the election season. What will this mean for the civil rights of homosexuals in this country? And how will voters react in November?
posted by nyukid (377 comments total)

 
President Bush's comments made gay marriage sound like the coming of the apocolypse:

"On a matter of such importance, the voice of the people must be heard. Activist courts have left the people with one recourse. If we're to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America. Decisive and democratic action is needed because attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country."
posted by nyukid at 8:54 AM on February 24, 2004


A recent nationwide CNN poll found that by a margin of 64-32, those surveyed said gay marriages should not be recognized in law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages.

I bet it doesn't become a big election issue because Kerry can read polls too.
posted by Durwood at 8:55 AM on February 24, 2004


The supposed freakout over same-sex marriage by Joe and Jane Sixpack is a Weapon of Mass Distraction by Republicans desperate to divert the attention of the American electorate from the economy, the mounting debt, and the disaster in Iraq.

The Bush administration's cynical endorsement of the religious right's attempt to, as the New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg so aptly put it, "deface the Constitution with anti-gay graffiti," should be reason alone to send them packing.

There are a millions of other reasons.
posted by digaman at 8:56 AM on February 24, 2004


how do you spell wedge issue?
posted by matteo at 8:58 AM on February 24, 2004


I bet it doesn't become a big election issue because Kerry can read polls too.

Kerry says GOP may target him on 'wedge issue'
Gives his OK to civil unions, not marriage
posted by matteo at 8:59 AM on February 24, 2004


The plan is to move gay marriage and abortion to the center of the debate in 2004.

Free your mind.
posted by the fire you left me at 9:01 AM on February 24, 2004


Oh, in case you were keeping score, if made into law, this would be the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.

By the way, Constitutional Amendments require 2/3 majorities in the House and the Senate and then support from 3/4 of state legislatures to be passed.
posted by nyukid at 9:02 AM on February 24, 2004


in always thought i was missing something in all this gay marriage debate, and maybe someone can clarify this for me:

isn't marriage an institution defined by the church? aren't the rights of a married couple (taxes, insurance, etc.) bestowed upon them by the state after they get married in a church?

shouldn't it be up to the church to say who can be married and not the other way around???
posted by h00dini at 9:04 AM on February 24, 2004


If you feel strongly about this issue don't forget to send an email to your congressional representatives letting them know just what you think.

Personally, I'm worried for America.
posted by sdinan at 9:05 AM on February 24, 2004


I mentioned this in the fpp below too. :)
posted by dejah420 at 9:09 AM on February 24, 2004


How many times can our nation be on the wrong side of history?
posted by machaus at 9:10 AM on February 24, 2004


h00dini, I got married in October of last year, and it certainly wasn't in a church. Got a marriage license from my friendly local state court.
posted by crawl at 9:11 AM on February 24, 2004


If the American public was polled on the harmful effects of religion, and it was found that a majority of the people favored a ban on religion in any form, would that become a constitutional amendment?

And don't some human rights outweigh voting rights?

BTW, I like how he tried to pin the blame on the "activist judges" who managed to interpret the constitution properly.
posted by jon_kill at 9:12 AM on February 24, 2004


Do the people castigating Ralph Nader for possibly syphoning votes off Kerry grok that the gay marriage issue is much more likely to do that exact thing? Are the people who say: "We like you Ralph, but your timing sucks" saying the same thing about this in-your-face approach to change the marriage laws? Please note, I'm not commenting on the issue itself; just recognizing that it will be used (fairly or not) as a club to against the Democrats ... and a potentially devastating club from where I sit.
posted by RavinDave at 9:13 AM on February 24, 2004


I have to laugh that when Massachusetts courts declare the descrimination to be unconstitutional, it's the result of "activist judges" and "judges don't make the law, the people do". But when "the people" take to city hall in SF, it's all about how they're breaking the law.
posted by jpoulos at 9:20 AM on February 24, 2004


shouldn't it be up to the church to say who can be married and not the other way around???

Not as long as I can be married by a judge in a courthouse or a Carnival cruise ship captain without ever using the word "god."
posted by archimago at 9:21 AM on February 24, 2004


It is official. This administration is pure evil.
Voting for this appalling retched creature is synonymous with classifying yourself as a despicable asshole...
No ifs ands or buts about it
posted by EmoChild at 9:22 AM on February 24, 2004


If he has an issue with activist judges he should have let them select him president 3 years ago.
posted by terrapin at 9:23 AM on February 24, 2004


h00dini: what is being talked about here is civil marriage. In every state in the US, so far it's been upto each state to decide how to do it. In general, to get married in the US you have to get a marriage license (many states having a waiting period), and then you have some sort of officiant do the wedding itself. The state decides who can perform a marriage. Every state that I know of allows ordained ministers and the similar in other religions to perform a civil marrige; in addition to judges, mayors, and etc. But they are acting as an agent of the state to have you married.
posted by skynxnex at 9:25 AM on February 24, 2004


Very interesting matter, from a political point of view, because the very same kind of "political" statement concering judges are being made by one of Bush alleged "best pals" in the world, Prime Minister of Italy Mr. Silvio Berlusconi.

He too is using the pseudo-argument of "activist judges" to defent his own interestest and to incite his supporters and public opinion against the judges.

It looks like to me the same trick is now being used by his pal.

An useful link on the subject :
text of MSJC Court ruling on same-sex marriage

I guess SJC 08860 is the code for further searching, it's a very interesting read even for non-lawyers.

What's is very troubling for me is that the current President (it wouldn't matter if he was Rep or Dem, it really doesn't matter) said our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.

I guess sanctity is something that pertains exclusively to religions and I see no good coming from someone who wants to impose by Law whatever he believes is Saint on other people.
posted by elpapacito at 9:26 AM on February 24, 2004


this is the gayest bullshit.
posted by Peter H at 9:26 AM on February 24, 2004


This will never happen, thank God, and i pity the stupid conservatives who are happy with this, even though it's meaningless...the standards for getting a constitutional amendment passed are really really high for a reason (so that shit like this doesn't get through). Even with a second term, Bush will be back in Crawford while it goes from state-to-state being ratified (or not). And I second what other people have said about Bush having nothing else to run on. (I smell a repeat of 92's culture war)
posted by amberglow at 9:26 AM on February 24, 2004


jpoulos: "Laws are made by the people through their elected representatives in the legislature, not by standing in line at City Hall" is kind of a mouthful, you have to admit.
posted by kindall at 9:28 AM on February 24, 2004


Bush said our nation must DEFEND the sanctity of marriage.

so now it's official, homosexuals are terrorists!
seriously, could even Mad Magazine make a better parody of an administration?
posted by Peter H at 9:30 AM on February 24, 2004


skynxnex: But the concept is born in religion, and it's the effort of W to assert his beliefs in that regard on the concept of civil marriages as you have described. It is essentially state-mandated religion.

Can anyone provide a link/quote of W explaining why same-sex marriages are bad?
posted by ringmaster at 9:33 AM on February 24, 2004


George Bush:- If we're to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America.

Two words:- divorce industry.

Start with the family courts if you're interested in protecting marriage George. At the moment, they allow marriage to be a drive-thru experience, reward one person while punishing the other (hardly makes marriage attractive Mr Bush). There's little sanctity in an institution that has parasite industries leeched onto it such as the family courts, whom employ thousands, to the vast army of lawyers dedicated to fighting the family courts.

Both symbiotically depend on each other, but ultimately depend on marriages going bust. They reward the initiator of divorce (to make the divorce rate as high as it is) and punish the non-initiator (who will pay thousands for court orders to try and balance the injustice). If the family courts were fair in their judgements, and saw to it that they were enforced, thousands would be out of work overnight.
posted by SpaceCadet at 9:35 AM on February 24, 2004


I have no wrods for how heinous this is. Topix.net has great coverage from all the state/federal gay marriage cases.
posted by cpfeifer at 9:37 AM on February 24, 2004


Anything to keep people from noticing the body bags CIF Baghdad will do for this administration, apparently. The GOP has further refined itself from the party of the Elephant to the party of the White Elephant.
posted by clevershark at 9:40 AM on February 24, 2004


It's just so damn brilliant. Disgusting but brilliant. Of course Bush gets the base excited by this. But it has the dual effect of putting Kerry in a corner. If he throws his support behind gay marriage, he alienates the social conservatives in the middle who might otherwise consider him. If he supports only civil unions, many on the far left will drop support. Of course this amendment probably never happens, but it's a hell of a wedge. The Great Divider.
posted by blefr at 9:47 AM on February 24, 2004


Shouldn't this be a local issue?

The Republican party seems to love the ideal of local control over issues like abortion, gun rights, etc. Why not this issue as well?

If San Francisco wants to recognize life-long commitments between two people of the same sex then fine. If backward southern states want to prohibit it, then fine.
posted by bshort at 9:49 AM on February 24, 2004


Also, Kerry is playing the whole thing right by saying he has the exact same position as Cheney.
posted by bshort at 9:54 AM on February 24, 2004


Bush: "If we're to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed......."

Wait........ That's the agenda? Protecting the *meaning* of a word? We need a constitutional amendment to protect a word's meaning? This is the issue Bush wants to fight for? Can anyone say "smoke screen"?

Great. We've protected the dictionary, Iraqis can vote, we've decided to go to Mars (someday). Wonderful. Now can we deal with the jobs/education/debt trainwreck?
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:57 AM on February 24, 2004


Activist presidents are worse than activist judges. Activist judges at least went to law school and have some kind of legal foundation, however slight, for their opinions.

Bush, on the other hand, relies on fear and mythology.

And it stings even more to see somebody like Kerry, who we know in his heart thinks this is all bullshit, twist in the wind to appear more "moderate."

This is all total crap. Wake me up on election day.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:58 AM on February 24, 2004


I like how Bush came out and made this announcement just as the director of the CIA was testifying before Congress about intelligence.

Hey, everybody! Look over here! Them hommasekshuls are gonna eat your babies if you let 'em marry! Forget about intelligence problems compromising our national security and integrity! Gay people want to get married! AIIIEEE!!!

Christ. Why can't the Rapture happen and make all these assholes disappear? I think I'd rather take the Lake of Fire and the Tribulation and the rest of that Apocalypse Porn than have to listen to any more of this non-issue bullshit.
posted by RakDaddy at 10:00 AM on February 24, 2004


bshort ...

The trap is more subtle than that. It allows the Right to galvanize its base against gays, but it also takes aim at so-called "activist judges" at allow it. Two bugaboos for the price of one.
posted by RavinDave at 10:00 AM on February 24, 2004


ringmaster: I know what Bush is saying, but I was just addressing h00dini question about how things are in America right now. It is counterfactual to say that marriage, in America, does not have a civil event: the marrige license from the government. More pointedly, h00dini simply asked if states just accept who's married based on what the church says, and I said that's not how it works. The state has to say it's ok for a couple to be married (they issue the license). (Of course, different religions have requirements to be married by them.)
posted by skynxnex at 10:00 AM on February 24, 2004


The Republican party seems to love the ideal of local control over issues like abortion, gun rights, etc. Why not this issue as well?

The "full faith and credit" clause of the U.S. Constitution could be construed to require recognition of any single state's licensed marriages by all states. The federal Defense of Marriage Act contradicts this interpretation, of course, and it seems likely that if push were to come to shove on this issue, the U.S. Supreme Court would need to clarify the contradiction. An amendment would force the Court's hand.

The strange thing about the President's announcement today is that it comes before any Supreme Court decision on the DOMA. That really makes it seems more like simple political grandstanding than a realistic response to judicial action.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:01 AM on February 24, 2004


President Bush is right -- marriage is under attack. Would anyone like to join me in drafting a constitutional amendment that forbids divorce?
posted by rcade at 10:03 AM on February 24, 2004


i wonder if bush and co. have similar problems with the "activist judges" who put an end to racial inequalities such as segregation in the 60's? if we had waited for congress, or worse yet, local jurisdictions to address these issues, interracial marriage would still be illegal in alabama.
posted by Shike at 10:06 AM on February 24, 2004


if not for guns, abortion, and now gay marriage, would there be a republican party?
posted by mcsweetie at 10:06 AM on February 24, 2004


What's is very troubling for me is that the current President (it wouldn't matter if he was Rep or Dem, it really doesn't matter) said our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.

Exactly. "Sanctity" is an empty word. I'm a Reconstructionist Jew, and same-sex marriage is permitted in Reconstructionist Judaism. I think it's permitted in MCC churches, too. Basically, Bush is saying, "My religion is better than your religion." This sucks.

Also, here's what Andrew Sullivan has to say.
posted by Tin Man at 10:07 AM on February 24, 2004


to rip off Jon Stewart, if Section 1 of the 28th Amendment "defends" marriage by defining the sexes of its parties, Section 2 should further defend it, by making adultery a federal crime. Let's see how many Congresscritters vote for that one.

And bshort: the problem with localizing this is found in Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution: "Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state." The much-ballyhooed (Clinton-signed) Defense of Marriage Act, which was (I think) a reaction designed to keep homosexual couples from marrying in Hawaii, is pretty clearly in violation of that section, hence the need for an amendment.
posted by Vetinari at 10:10 AM on February 24, 2004


Or, had I actually read on preview, what mr_roboto said. :)
posted by Vetinari at 10:12 AM on February 24, 2004


As mentioned, this would be the 28th amendment, if something else doesn't come along and get adopted first.

Only 6 times in 215 years has an amendment been proposed and not adopted. Those 6 are listed here.

The most recent failed amendments are (1) authorization for Congress to regulate child labor (1926); (2) the equal rights (based on gender) amendment (1972); (3) voting rights (representation in Congress) for residents of the District of Columbia (1978).

The latter two failed because they were not passed in 3/4 of the legislatures within 7 years, a requirement tacked on by Congress in most cases since the 18th Amendment.

It is interesting that all three of these failed amendments would extend rights to, or protect, individual citizens; what is now proposed is an amendment that would deny individual rights to certain peope. On the other hand, nearly all of the 27 ratified amendments are expansions of individual rights. (The exception being Prohibition.)

The ratio of ratified to failed amendments (and the nature of the last three) is an indication that Congress is careful about what amendments it launches on the path to adoption. Especially in the Senate, the Constitution is not viewed as a venue for political action (with the exception of Prohibition and a failed 1861 states-rights-on-slavery amendment, no politically-charged and motivated amendment has gotten by the upper house). I would expect that getting this out of the Senate with 67 votes will not be a simple matter.
posted by beagle at 10:18 AM on February 24, 2004


Shouldn't this be a local issue?

I don't think it should be. If you are gay, live in a State that bans gay marriage and want to wed you are not as "equal" as someone who is able to in San Francisco. How is that fair?
posted by btwillig at 10:19 AM on February 24, 2004


You have to admire the right for having their shit so together when it comes to propaganda. The "activist judges" thing is rhetorical genius. They'll get nearly as much mileage out of it as they did out of "political correctness" in the 90s.
posted by boredomjockey at 10:21 AM on February 24, 2004


Actually, Vetinari, DOMA doesn't necessarily violate the Full Faith and Credit Clause. It's generally acknowledged that there's a public-policy exception to that clause. A state doesn't have to acknowledge another state's law if to do so would be so odious to that state's public policy. I'm looking for a link to explain where this exception comes from, but I can't seem to find it.
posted by Tin Man at 10:21 AM on February 24, 2004


OK -- here's an article about the public-policy exception as it relates to gay marriage.
posted by Tin Man at 10:32 AM on February 24, 2004


Also, instead of keeping gay people from marrying, shouldn't Bush do something about his brother Neil's nasty divorce? I mean, if you want to keep marriage sacred, you'd be doing something to make this kind of travesty never happens again, right?

Also, rcade said. Wanna protect marriage? Outlaw divorce. Or, better yet, why not take a written exam and a living test? We gotta do that before we can drive.

(Though, jebus, can you imagine having someone from the DMV come and take your marriage for a road test?)
posted by RakDaddy at 10:36 AM on February 24, 2004


Andrew Sullivan has an excellent write up on this from the POV of a gay conservative.

The president launched a war today against the civil rights of gay citizens and their families. And just as importantly, he launched a war to defile the most sacred document in the land. Rather than allow the contentious and difficult issue of equal marriage rights to be fought over in the states, rather than let politics and the law take their course, rather than keep the Constitution out of the culture wars, this president wants to drag the very founding document into his re-election campaign.
posted by phatboy at 10:39 AM on February 24, 2004


When (if) Americans wake up and realize that this proposed Amendment will fundamentally change the interaction between the Federal and State governments on a host of issues, I think all hell will break loose. As said above, this is only the second Amendment to the Constitution that expressly limits rights - the only other one was quickly repealed. I think this is good that Bush came out for this. It casts a direct light now, and forever, that the Republican Party has been completely taken over by Southern Evangelists who are bent on turning America into a theocracy. Take this bill add the Constitution Restoration Act of 2004 and you see what is in play. If I were Kerry/Edwards/Democrats, I would start to frame this debate as a basic civil rights case. The Right has long trumpeted "states rights" [which was just another term for allowing bigots to exist] and Federalism as the basic cornerstone of Conservatism. We can finally - without prejudice - call bullshit and finally show the Right's hypocrisy. Will the Press do this? Will the Democrats do this? I don't know. I want to know when the Freedom Rides are going to begin again, and where I can sign up.
posted by plemeljr at 10:43 AM on February 24, 2004


i wonder if bush and co. have similar problems with the "activist judges" who put an end to racial inequalities such as segregation in the 60's?

Yes. Read up on the Republican "southern strategy" for the long answer.

if not for guns, abortion, and now gay marriage, would there be a republican party?

Well, there would still be racism, creationism, public schools to hate, any non-defense evil government agencies, crony corporatism, destroying the environment, etc.

Feel the love.
posted by nofundy at 10:44 AM on February 24, 2004


Also, Kerry is playing the whole thing right by saying he has the exact same position as Cheney.

Just out of curiosity then, what is Cheney's position?
posted by JollyWanker at 10:47 AM on February 24, 2004


I've thought for a while that the larger question here is Why does the State have the right to "license" marriages? - I can certainly where it would be just and fair for the State to take upon itself the duty of 'registering' marriages (just as it registers births and deaths), but it seems to me that the current State role in licensing marriages -- and thus regulating them -- puts the State in an odd and awkward position of essentially regulating a quasi-religous rite

I would love to see some State attempt to get out of the Marriage 'license' business all together. Instead, replace it with a system whereby the State would license those permitted to perform marriage (as most already do), abolish most laws regulating who can and cannot get married (leaving, perhaps, some general material related to contract law whereby parties entering into the contract must do so of their own free will and 'competent' to enter into a binding contract) and get out of the business of regulating who can and cannot get married entirely. Instead, leave the choice to the person who is performing the marriage (some might choose to only marry those in a certain faith, others only those who have gone through certain classes, yet others will choose to marry anyone who asks), and have the State simply act as the registrant for the contract.

This system would get all the religous overtones out of what has become, essentially, contract law and would, I think, more closely mirror the role of the State in other life-altering transactions (birth, buying a house, buying a car, divorce, death, etc.)
posted by anastasiav at 10:49 AM on February 24, 2004


TinMan/phatboy, Sullivan's sense of betrayal is palpable. I'm a social liberal/fiscal conservative free market type, and as much as I dislike the moralizing and ignorance of the right wing, I'm traditionally a republican supporter because I find the socialism and class-warfare shtick from the democrats even more disturbing. Until today I had been planning to vote for Bush, despite many, many reservations, because I like the fundamentals of his foreign policy and I think tax cuts are important wherever we can get them. But you just don't do shit like this.

I never thought I'd say it, but if the dem nominee has the balls to stand up and at least oppose this amendment, hell, probably even if he doesn't, he's got my vote. No matter what a democrat administration might do, it can't be as bad as this. I'm livid.
posted by tirade at 10:51 AM on February 24, 2004


Bush's support for the "Marriage Amendment" was inevitable, but purely defensive, to hold onto the support of the pro-theocracy Republican base (while, in California, hard-core traditional Cons are revolting over Bush's immigration plans). He's not leading the charge, he's just jumping on the bandwagon (although the timing of the announcement was another stroke of Rovian Evil Genius).

As a "wedge" issue, it might just bring out more liberals who otherwise wouldn't have voted than conservatives (I think the right-wing churches already have most of their Christian soldiers recruited and ready for battle). And judging from the issue's ability to knock Andrew Sullivan out of lockstep with the other warbloggers, it might push a lot of Log Cabin Republicans to vote Democrat. And it's going to take a lot of work to keep it front and center to distract from Bush's "problems" (I prefer to call 'em high crimes) for the next nine months...


Of course, Britney's 55-hour marriage did more to undermine the institution than a million gay couples would, and while, from my point of view, anything that could destroy the institution of marriage is a GOOD thing, (I've been married, I've been institutionalized... Marriage is worse) allowing same-sex couples to marry won't do it, and I think it's an awfully cruel thing to inflict on gay people...
posted by wendell at 10:57 AM on February 24, 2004


President Bush is right -- marriage is under attack. Would anyone like to join me in drafting a constitutional amendment that forbids divorce?

Bah - I'm with the attackers. Abolish marriage; get the government out of the whole business. Civil unions for everyone. If you want a contract with your partner, go visit the courthouse; if you want a religious description for your relationship and a religious ritual to celebrate it, go bother some friendly local religious services franchise.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:57 AM on February 24, 2004


After hearing about Bush wanting to add a same-sex marriage-ban amendment, I was poking around, looking for more info on what has prompted amendments before. I looked through these sites:

http://www.findlaw.com/casecode/constitution/
http://www.usconstitution.net/constamrat.html

Amazing that this would potentially be only the 28th amendment since the constitution was ratified. One of those 27 amendments (number 21) was to repeal another (number 18 - prohibition). Scanning through the amendments, it seems that each one gives more rights to the people, protects minorities and advances the liberties of the people. I find it very telling that Bush wants to enact an amendment specifically to limit the rights of a minority group.

It's pretty inspiring, to me, to see some of the past amendments:

First Amendment - Religion and Expression
Second Amendment - Bearing Arms
Fourth Amendment - Search and Seizure
Fifth Amendment - Rights of Persons
Sixth Amendment - Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecutions
Seventh Amendment - Civil Trials
Eighth Amendment - Further Guarantees in Criminal Cases
Ninth Amendment - Unenumerated Rights
Tenth Amendment - Reserved Powers
Eleventh Amendment - Suits Against States
Twelfth Amendment - Election of President
Thirteenth Amendment - Slavery and Involuntary Servitude
Fourteenth Amendment - Rights Guaranteed, Privileges and Immunities of Citizenship, Due Process and Equal Protection
Fifteenth Amendment - Rights of Citizens to Vote
Nineteenth Amendment - Woman's Suffrage Rights
Twentieth Amendment - Commencement of the Terms of the President, Vice President and Members of Congress.
Twenty-First Amendment - Repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment
Twenty-Third Amendment - Presidential Electors for the District of Columbia
Twenty-Fourth Amendment - Abolition of the Poll Tax Qualification in Federal Elections
Twenty-Sixth Amendment - Reduction of Voting Age Qualification

So 20 out of 27 deal directly with giving people more rights and only one (18) took away rights. If passed, 28 would be the only standing amendment to limit rights of citizens.

I remember hearing during the 2000 election that there was questionable law about Bush/Cheney running together since they were both Texans. The 12th specifically says "The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves". Cheney got around this by filing taxes in Wyoming, which is certainly legal, but somewhat fuzzy on ethics.

The first ten amendments (Bill of Rights to you and me) were all ratified at once, with most states ratifying it 1790-1791 (except Mass, Georgia and Conn who didn't step up until 1939). Minorities weren't gauranteed a vote until the 15th amendment came along in 1869 (except in Kentucky who didn't ratify until 1976, and our own state didn't sign on until 1962). Women had to wait until 1920 for the 19th amendment before they had they right to vote. It took until 1964 for the poor to be granted unencumbered access to vote with the 24th amendment banning the poll tax. The voting age wasn't set to 18 until 1971 with the 26th amendment.

It's not suprising to me that Bush wants to turn the trend of amendments from granting rights towards limiting rights. I know it is not easy to amend the constitution with a requirement of 2/3 vote in the house and senate, and then a 3/4 ratification by states. this is spelled out in Article 5 of the Constitution:

http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Article5

So maybe Bush gets to use this to excite the religious zealots, knowing that it would be a tough road to go down.
posted by jonah at 10:58 AM on February 24, 2004


A recent nationwide CNN poll found that by a margin of 64-32, those surveyed said gay marriages should not be recognized in law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages.

Yes, but 58% of the people think each state should decide for itself, while only 38% favor an amendment. I think this could backfire on Bush. Naked bigotry is unattractive.
posted by callmejay at 11:03 AM on February 24, 2004


Tin Man: thanks for the link. I personally tend to agree with the interpretation that the clause "permits Congress to increase the amount of credit due sister state judgments, but not to decrease it. Under that interpretation, DOMA may be unconstitutional." (from the FindLaw article) -- but it's interesting to know that Full Faith and Credit isn't a cut and dried as it seemed.
posted by Vetinari at 11:08 AM on February 24, 2004


You have no soul if you can read this and still be opposed. Encouraging more people to love more people is never a bad thing.
posted by archimago at 11:11 AM on February 24, 2004


Only 6 times in 215 years has an amendment been proposed and not adopted. Those 6 are listed here.

For the sake of clarification, these six amendments are those which won in the Congress but which the states failed to ratify. This isn't the same as an amendment that has "been proposed"; various people are proposing amendments to the constitution all the time. Bush's proposed amendment won't belong to this category until it's supported by a 2/3 majority in both houses of Congress, which seems unlikely.

It's also interesting to note that the President has no constitutionally defined role in the amendment process: he's merely the occupant of the bully pulpit.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:14 AM on February 24, 2004


Naked bigotry is unattractive.

Not as attractive as those oiled-up muscle men having it on with each other and prancing around in the imaginations of every male politician these days, though. You're forcing them to deny the tingly feeling. It's making them mad. It's your fault this is happening. And Seinfeld's.
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:18 AM on February 24, 2004


You know, the idea of "State's Rights" being more significant than "activist judges" makes me laugh every time I hear it.

Four years ago, Alabama held a symbolic vote to strike their ban on interracial marriage from the state law (the law was, of course, invalid via the SCOTUS for decades, but the issue was acceptance of the ruling)

Over 30% of voters voted against the repeal.

I'll repeat that: in the year 2000, over 30% of Alabama publicly declared their opposition to interracial marriage, a construct that has been legal for over three decades.

God bless our activist judges, lest our nation lie in the hands of complete fucking morons.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:22 AM on February 24, 2004


I have a gut feeling that most Americans do not approve of gays marrying but do not want the constitution changed.
As for the "law," free and equal access? Why ought the majority impose its ideas upon a significant minority by amending the constituion? Poor Arnie doesn't want his constitutional amendment lost sight of, but since he is against gay marriage...screw him.
posted by Postroad at 11:26 AM on February 24, 2004


given the current events, a most unfortunate front page headline for today's FINANCIAL TIMES: "Bush urges overhaul of Fannie and Freddie"
posted by Peter H at 11:27 AM on February 24, 2004


I'm against gay marriage.
posted by Witty at 11:31 AM on February 24, 2004


Don't marry a person of your own gender, then.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:34 AM on February 24, 2004


It's also interesting to note that the President has no constitutionally defined role in the amendment process: he's merely the occupant of the bully pulpit.

The more I think about this it also seems to be a ploy to get Democrats and Kerry to overreact so that Bush can start calling him an extremist. Just an additional $.02. And in 1958, nine years before the Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that miscegenation laws were unconstitutional, Gallup polled people about interracial marriages. Guess what percentage of Whites opposed them.

That's right 94%
posted by plemeljr at 11:35 AM on February 24, 2004


gay marriages, clearly, Bush is against (as is witty, on preview - me, i'm for them, for the record) But what about Bush's stance on gay bars?
posted by Peter H at 11:35 AM on February 24, 2004


So, does this mean my wife and I, along with many other married atheists, are pretty much living on borrowed time? I mean if it's up to a church to decide whether our union is official or not, fuck it, we're marital outlaws.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:39 AM on February 24, 2004


anastasiav: guess you noticed an interesting point , how and why is the State supposed to -licence- (give permission
to sign a contract).

I guess that any State shouldn't impose any particular form of marriage contract, rather State should provide the framework of "marriage" contract (with room for amendments) made in such a way that the position of the two parties entering the contract is perfectly balanced in rights and obligations, imposing that amendments to the contract should not generate a significant unbalance (leaving the decision to the judge) or any unbalance at all (both parties enjoy exactly the same rights and mutual obligations).

One could see that as redundant given that private parties could prepare such a contract without any help from State ; indeed they can, but I'm thinking about people that have no legal system experience or don't have access to a lawyer (for instace because they don't have enough money).

It seems like it would make sense to provide a standardized marriage framework like the one I described, if not only for the purpose of letting less fortunate people enjoy a well formed contract, for the purpose of having a reference point of what marriage is from Law point of view.
posted by elpapacito at 11:44 AM on February 24, 2004


I'm against gay marriage.

And golly, Witty, you also don't have anything intelligent to contribute on the subject! Will wonders never cease!
posted by Epenthesis at 11:45 AM on February 24, 2004


I support the President on this; and if those who disagree were smart, they would wait for after November to make their stink. Bottom line: the more you protest this, the bigger Bush's margin of victory will be. Most people in the country oppose gay marriage: GET OVER IT.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:49 AM on February 24, 2004


Bah - I'm with the attackers. Abolish marriage; get the government out of the whole business. Civil unions for everyone. If you want a contract with your partner, go visit the courthouse; if you want a religious description for your relationship and a religious ritual to celebrate it, go bother some friendly local religious services franchise.

I completely agree with you regarding this unpopular position. :)
posted by thirteen at 11:51 AM on February 24, 2004


Paris: I consider your pretense of being a Democrat or offensive than your argument once again. Can anyone love a fifth columnist?
posted by thirteen at 11:54 AM on February 24, 2004


Most people in the country oppose gay marriage.

It is exactly for this type of situation that we have the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution. It's called the tyranny of the majority, and I'm sure you've heard of it.
posted by callmejay at 11:55 AM on February 24, 2004


"more offensive" not "or offensive"

foo="pendantry"
posted by thirteen at 11:55 AM on February 24, 2004



posted by Peter H at 11:55 AM on February 24, 2004


Grrr.

Who needs "activist judges" when you've got an Activist President?
posted by me3dia at 11:57 AM on February 24, 2004


nsfw
posted by Peter H at 12:00 PM on February 24, 2004


So let's argue semantics for a moment. Looking up "marriage" in the Webster's Dictionary we find the following: (n) 1 a: the state of being married b: the mutual relation of husband and wife: WEDLOCK c: the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family 2: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected; esp: the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities 3: an intimate or close union.

Now, based on this, if you want to argue semantics, then marriage IS between a man and a woman. However, the English language tends to be the 'language of least resistence' in that it adapts and changes as circumstances dictate over time. So, are we having a national debate over the definition of the term "marriage" (if so - and we don't care if homosexuals are 'united', then let's just provide a different term for homosexual marriages and call them 'unions', therefore providing the same rights and privileges). Or, is what the administration really is saying is: "we don't like homosexuals, we don't believe they should be afforded the same rights and we don't believe they are fit to raise families."

Interesting - I must say that if you are homosexual and want to uphold the sanctity of marriage, you're probably going to do a better job of it that the majority of people out there.

Okay, i think I just answered my own question, then - the Bush Administration is just being extremist on the issue, not semantic. Sad.
posted by tgrundke at 12:00 PM on February 24, 2004


newsfilter
posted by a3matrix at 12:01 PM on February 24, 2004


Best sign seen here in Boston: "My pedophile priest supports a gay marriage ban"

And I'm curious Paris. Give me one valid reason gays shoudn't be able to get married. And just to help; "That's the way it's always been", "It will lead to polygamy/bestiality/locusts" and "I don't like gays" are hardly valid.
posted by jalexei at 12:03 PM on February 24, 2004


I agree with Mars Saxman.

This whole thing is silly. Does the President really think that gay marriage is more important than Social Security, Education, Healthcare or any other improvements this country needs? Lets talk about those issues and not worry about other peoples personal lives.
posted by Akuinnen at 12:07 PM on February 24, 2004


Well, the House of Reps impeached a President because they said he lied when he claimed not to have had sex with a woman. Our government almost faced an unparalleled change over the definition of the word "sex" (or "is" if you enjoy the somantic gaming here).

So, since the only seeming difference between same sex couples and hetero couples appears to be how they have sex, why don't we amend the Constitution to defend the agreed upon definition of "sex". We can define it as the act of a couple, under the religious bonds of matrimony, wherein the male inserts his god-given penis into his wife's naturally bestowed vagina with the possibility that it will result in their having a child by such act. That way, there is no ambiguity, it clearly defines the role of sex, and solves several of the problems that the Christian right are having with society today. Also, instead of defining what a marriage can't be, it clearly defines what a marriage is for, the act of sex with the hope of procreation. It will give us the clear means to impeach future Presidents, should they have anti-constitutional oral sex, and succeeds in competantly acheiving the ultimate goal, which is getting rid of "gayness". Furthermore, marraige is completely defended without bringing up the sticky wickets of other belief systems about marraige, and we don't have to deal with the true threat to the sanctity of marraige, which is divorce. It's win-win folks.

Everybody could get married, they just can't have sex unless defined by the Constitution, so why would they bother getting married if those icky things they do are illegal? Marrige is preserved. I'm loving this plan!
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:08 PM on February 24, 2004


Most people in the country oppose gay marriage: GET OVER IT.

If individual rights become subject to majority whims, we're all in trouble.
posted by timeistight at 12:08 PM on February 24, 2004


I strongly believe Bush is right in this regard. I feel that the institution of marriage should be upheld and not degraded in this manner.
posted by Addiction at 12:10 PM on February 24, 2004


Is anyone worried that this might be a test of how easy it is to change the constitution?
posted by jon_kill at 12:12 PM on February 24, 2004


I'm a Republican. Bush just lost my vote.

I personally pledge to do whatever I can to see that this amendment fails.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:12 PM on February 24, 2004


I strongly believe Bush is right in this regard. I feel that the institution of marriage should be upheld and not degraded in this manner.

Okay, Addiction. Tell me why.
posted by stevis at 12:13 PM on February 24, 2004


I think gay marriage is grotesque, viscerally so, and no one is going to convince me, or most Americans otherwise. On the other hand, I'm not sure you can legitimately enshrine such a feeling in the Constitution--unless Congress and the President succeed in doing so; afterall, Prohibitiion made it in...

But my point was, the best method of minimizing this issue, of having it gain as few votes as possible for Bush, is to lay low.
You want to protest at the Republican Convention in New York? Congradulations, the protest will gain Bush another state or two. Or three.

Get real.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:14 PM on February 24, 2004


I have read several responses in this thread talking about how Bush will be "limiting rights."

Could someone please direct me to the clause in the Constitution that states there is a "right" to marriage? Could someone show me anywhere where a "right" to marriage enmanates from?

Because from my humble legal background, I never came across this "marriage right."



Also, to those of you snarkers who suggest that we go after divorce too, would this be MORE acceptable to you if it outlawed divorce as well? (Or is someone going to pipe up that there is a constitutional right to divorce, as well?)
posted by Seth at 12:15 PM on February 24, 2004


I support the President on this; and if those who disagree were smart, they would wait for after November to make their stink.

Who's making the stink? Seems to me it's the President who just got on national TV and ranted about protecting marriage by banning more of it. Do you expect us to just ignore him?

Bottom line: the more you protest this, the bigger Bush's margin of victory will be. Most people in the country oppose gay marriage: GET OVER IT.

No, thanks, I won't. This is a matter of human rights, and the opinion of the majority is irrelevant.

Thankfully for those of us on the side of truth, justice, and the American way of equality and fairness, Bush can only hurt himself with this move. It's an empty gesture, and can't buy him any votes he doesn't already have in his pocket. He had to do something to reassure his supporters that he was out there on their side putting those dangerous gay people out in San Francisco back in their place, and this was it. I'm sure he would rather have continued avoiding the issue, as he can only further antagonize and energize his opposition by pursuing this further.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:15 PM on February 24, 2004


If anyone can tell me how marriage is "degraded" by people who love one another, and have been together for decades, getting married, I'll listen.
posted by digaman at 12:18 PM on February 24, 2004


Mars,
I ask you the question.

According to you, now it is an issue of "human rights" to get married.
Please direct me to where you located this pronouncement.
posted by Seth at 12:18 PM on February 24, 2004


digaman,

If you being from the proposition that the family, consisting of a man and a woman and off-spring is the most fundamental building block of civilization, then anything that destroys that understanding is degrading to civilization.

Whether that is correct or not, do you at least understand the progression of thought?
posted by Seth at 12:20 PM on February 24, 2004


Addiction also adds a healthy bit of independent thinking and dialogue to the religious discussion on this complicated issue
posted by Peter H at 12:22 PM on February 24, 2004


Could someone please direct me to the clause in the Constitution that states there is a "right" to marriage?

Seems we have a few such mentions of equal treatment under the law, Seth.
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:23 PM on February 24, 2004


Could someone please direct me to the clause in the Constitution that states there is a "right" to marriage?

Seth: 14th Amendment. The equal protection part.

IANAL.
posted by callmejay at 12:24 PM on February 24, 2004


Because from my humble legal background, I never came across this "marriage right."

Let me introduce you to the Ninth Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
posted by plemeljr at 12:25 PM on February 24, 2004


See also: this page.
posted by callmejay at 12:26 PM on February 24, 2004


Could someone please direct me to the clause in the Constitution that states there is a "right" to marriage? Could someone show me anywhere where a "right" to marriage emanates from?

Seth, the explanation you're looking for is detailed in the Loving v. Virginia decision. A choice excerpt:

The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

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.


So there you go.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:27 PM on February 24, 2004


I'm still waiting to hear how gays being allowed to marry will hurt the country. I've been waiting for years.
posted by mcsweetie at 12:29 PM on February 24, 2004


If you being from the proposition that the family, consisting of a man and a woman and off-spring is the most fundamental building block of civilization, then anything that destroys that understanding is degrading to civilization.

Please direct me to where you located this pronouncement (and watch it be destroyed by the facts of history). You're slipping too much into the definition there Seth. Try this:

If you being from the proposition that the family, consisting of the extended tribe and clan, is the most fundamental building block of civilization, then anything that destroys that understanding is degrading to civilization.

Does your definition of what a family is make the statement any more true than mine? If so, please prove exactly how.
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:29 PM on February 24, 2004


For Seth, because he asked:

"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."

-- Loving v. Virginia, 1967

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

-- The Declaration of Independence, 1776
posted by Asparagirl at 12:34 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth -- sure, I understand the progression of thought, but I wouldn't employ that understanding to, say, create a Constitutional amendment to deny equal-protection rights to single mothers, or to anyone else who doesn't fit some cookie-cutter notion of what makes a family.

And ParisParamus, most white Southerners were once "viscerally" disgusted by the notion of black people drinking from the same water fountains, or swimming in the same pools, or riding in the same seats on the bus, as whites. Feel free to join them in the annals of history.
posted by digaman at 12:35 PM on February 24, 2004


So I've seen and heard this debate a long time. I'm failing to understand why the Republican Party is so opposed to Gay Marriage.

First I disagree the assertion that the majority of Americans oppose gay marriage and the reason for this is that I believe this whole issue is a debate about semantics. The questions that this debate boils down to are "What is a marriage?" and "Why can't Gay couples also have the same rights as heterosexual ones?"

In the second question I think that most people would think that Gay couples should have the same rights as heterosexual ones. Certainly just as there is the KKK or other discriminatory organizations and people some do not want there to be equal status for different people but I imagine the majority do.

If we look at the first question most people will say that marriage is a religious ceremony that joins couple in the eyes of God and their community. Aside from the religious aspect, marriage also is a legal definition where a whole slew of laws (contract, tax, criminal and more) suddenly change the definition of a couple in the eyes of the law and government. I think that most religious people oppose gay marriage because they assume it to mean that their church would be forced to either recognize gay marriage or even worse be required to perform it.

I think if you posed the question of "Would you support gay marriage if churches were allowed to maintain their own definitions and practices of marriage however they saw fit?", then a majority of Americans would be inclined to agree.

Ultimately I'm shocked and saddened at the biggest lie Bush has fed us. He was supposed to be "A Uniter not a Divider" and a "Compassionate Conservative". In his support for this constitutional amendment he has purposefully chosen to be a divider where compassion and understanding could and should have helped us come to a reasonable understanding.
posted by aaronscool at 12:35 PM on February 24, 2004


I feel that the institution of marriage should be upheld and not degraded in this manner.

Yes, this is soooo much less degrading than this.

Homosexuals would make a mockery of this sacred institution. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:36 PM on February 24, 2004


Andrew Sullivan's commentary is worth a read: War is Declared. Clear, concise, and to the point.
posted by alms at 12:36 PM on February 24, 2004


Seriously, could somebody please tell me how exactly a gay marriage threatens in any way a marriage between a man and a woman?

This appears to be Bush's core argument, and like most of his other arguments ("we'll invade Iraq because Saddam is dangerous. Saddam is dangerous because I say he's dangerous." or: "We'll fix the economy by depleting the federal treasury with tax cuts for the rich and spending billions on misguided foreign adventures.") it just makes no sense.

Is there something I'm missing?
posted by TBoneMcCool at 12:39 PM on February 24, 2004


Wow. We're up to four posters in support of the amendment, and still no argument worth a damn.

Seth, I don't care whether marriage is a human right or not; we'd probably get by all right if the state didn't recognize marriage at all. The point is that marriage is now recognized as a right only for some, unless you want to make the evilly pedantic point that everyone can just go ahead and marry someone -- anyone -- of the opposite sex.

And Paris -- counting on a socially conservative backlash to change the course of an election is an iffy idea when the economy sucks and we're at war. Ask Dubya's dad, who's probably had a few regrets about giving Pat Buchanan the best convention time slot in '92.
posted by Epenthesis at 12:41 PM on February 24, 2004


WolfDaddy beat me to the punch.

Is a wedding at 4:00 in the morning at a drive-through in Vegas by an Elvis impersonator sacred? No? Then we better outlaw it pronto!
posted by Hugh2d2 at 12:42 PM on February 24, 2004


If you being from the proposition that the family, consisting of a man and a woman and off-spring is the most fundamental building block of civilization, then anything that destroys that understanding is degrading to civilization.

I wish an anthropologist type would swing by here and blow away this myth with a little more authority than I can muster. Suffice to say, that in the majority of native American cultures, males would spend most of the year away from home on long hunting trips. Women would collectively raise the children and manage the business and politics of the tribe/village. Men would visit perioidically to drop of food, have sex, etc...

If native Americans don't count as civilized to you, and I'm going to make a wild stab and assume not, then this article briefly dissects the myth of the Puritan nuclear family. I know there are more and better examples out there, but this just isn't my field. This article is a brief outline of the history of gay marriage, which goes back pretty much to the dawn of Western Civilization in ancient Greece.
posted by badstone at 12:44 PM on February 24, 2004


I'm against people who are against gay marriage. Wow, I contributed!
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:48 PM on February 24, 2004


Oh crap, those articles were written by a woman and a gay man respectively, so I guess they probably don't count in the eyes of the Right. So, again, I'll appeal to someone who knows their anthropology to drop some references authored by people that Seth, Paris, and SpaceCadet are willing to acknowledge as human beings.
posted by badstone at 12:49 PM on February 24, 2004


If you being from the proposition that the family, consisting of a man and a woman and off-spring is the most fundamental building block of civilization, then anything that destroys that understanding is degrading to civilization.

Sorry Seth, still no point discernable in your reasoning, even if I agreed. How does gay marriage "destroy" that understanding? I'm married, I'm heterosexual, and I'm expecting a daughter any day now. If gay marriage were recognized by the state, I'd still be married, heterosexual, and expecting a daughter any day now. It's like you people think there are legions of straight men thinking to themselves: "We'll, I've been banging chicks all my life, but now that we can get married, I'm goin' gay!"

I respect people who say, "I believe it's wrong because of scripture" - beyond that (and given the fact that scripture isn't civil law) I'm still waiting for one sound reason that gay marraige is harmful to anything.
posted by jalexei at 12:53 PM on February 24, 2004


In the meantime, I'd like to invite all marriage-minded gay Metafilterians to come tie the knot in Vancouver. Let me know when, and I'll contribute a bottle of bubbly to the party.
posted by timeistight at 12:54 PM on February 24, 2004




Ok, so you located the Loving v. Virginia case.

The classic instance in which the US Supreme Court addressed marriage, or as they called it, the "freedom of marriage"---note, not a right.

But as noted in that case, marriage has always been thought of, legally, as a franchise.

Voting is a franchise.
Marriage is a franchise.

These differ from rights in that there they do not exist independent of the state. They are state granted institutions.

The explanation is this: if there was no government what would voting mean? Nothing. If there was no government, what would a marriage certificate mean? Nothing.

They are artifical institutions afforded by the state. The law has always recognized the right of the state to define when they think such franchises shouldn't be permitted to be extended.

Thus, we have laws which do not extend the franchise of voting to certain classes of people. We have many laws which do not extend the franchise of marriage to certain groups of people.

The test is whether society has a compelling interest in refusing the extension of the franchise.

Society might deem that 16 year olds or non-naturalized citizens shouldn't vote.

Society might also refuse to allow cousins to marry out of concerns about the harmful effects of in-breeding.

Or society might decide that decide that the concept of a strong nuclear family is worthy of protecting, and society might refuse to give the franchise to a group threatening the that concept of a nuclear family.


Fact: civilization's continued existence can be achieved between an inter-racial union. It cannot through a same-sex union. That is why Loving is what we callin the law "a distinguishable case." I.e, the same analysis does not apply. Loving was merely an issue of racial distinction; here, the function of a marriage (reproduction) is destroyed.



I have no stake in this battle. My personal view on this issue is remarkably ambivalent. From my perspective, I don't see what the big deal is. Everything that a man and woman has in marriage can be achieved through private contracts with the exception of the marriage penalty on taxes. And I can't imagine that is what a same-sex couple would be fighting for. Inheritance, legal possession... it all can be achieved through simple contract law.

But I caution that it is incorrect to suggest that there is a cognizable legal right to marriage.
posted by Seth at 12:57 PM on February 24, 2004


the family, consisting of a man and a woman and off-spring is the most fundamental building block of civilization

So any culture that does not follow that model is uncivilized, i.e., barbaric. I'm not so sure Bush should be using that word.
posted by archimago at 12:58 PM on February 24, 2004


Fact: civilization's continued existence can be achieved between an inter-racial union. It cannot through a same-sex union.

How in the world is that a fact?
posted by callmejay at 1:05 PM on February 24, 2004


callmejay: By "union", he means "hot sex".
posted by mr_roboto at 1:07 PM on February 24, 2004


To archimago and Badstone:

I recall reading a couple of books back in college in Sociology about the tribal cultures where every woman in the tribe is a mother and male figure is a father. In their civilization, the family is not he building block.


But, I didn't think I need to clarify myself when I spoke of civilization. Obviously, I spoke of our western civilization. A person more learned than I on the issue of family arrangements might be able to offer something about how we are more advanced because we have stronger and smaller family units or place a much higher value on the relationship between the mother and father.

To be honest, I don't know if the family structure is what makes us different, but I do know this:
The building block of THIS civilization is the union of a man and a woman and off-spring.

And you can NOT dispute this. The reason? Neither you, nor I, nor anyone else on MeFi would be here without that union.
posted by Seth at 1:07 PM on February 24, 2004


Fact: civilization's continued existence can be achieved between an inter-racial union. It cannot through a same-sex union.

So you're saying that gay marriage will somehow limit civilization's continued existence? I suppose that's correct if gay people, denied the right to marriage, will turn "straight" and start procreating. And if that's what your saying, it's nuts.

Should heterosexual couples who choose not to have children be outlawed?
posted by jalexei at 1:07 PM on February 24, 2004


callmejay: if you want to explain how a same-sex couple can procreate, please do.

And include pictures, please.
posted by Seth at 1:09 PM on February 24, 2004


Or society might decide that decide that the concept of a strong nuclear family is worthy of protecting, and society might refuse to give the franchise to a group threatening the that concept of a nuclear family.

But you've yet to explain how gay's marrying threatens the concept of a nuclear family. Simply because you say so, I suppose. Well, I say turkey sandwiches threaten the concept of a nuclear family. And like you I don't care how stupid saying so makes me look.
posted by dobbs at 1:09 PM on February 24, 2004


the function of a marriage (reproduction) is destroyed.

So you would also deny the "franchise" to infertile couples or those who choose to remain childless?

Or society might decide that decide that the concept of a strong nuclear family is worthy of protecting, and society might refuse to give the franchise to a group threatening the that concept of a nuclear family.

Last time I checked, I was a part of that same society. There are way more things threatening the nuclear family. Yet no one is going after those things.

the marriage penalty on taxes. And I can't imagine that is what a same-sex couple would be fighting for.

You're right. We are fighting for equality.
posted by archimago at 1:11 PM on February 24, 2004


For Seth.

(and on preview, for dobbs. More turkey basted sandwiches!!)
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:12 PM on February 24, 2004


callmejay: if you want to explain how a same-sex couple can procreate, please do.

And include pictures, please.


HIs point is that those people would not be procreating anyway. Joe fucking Frank doesn't hinder Sally and Tommy's ability to procreate. Neither does Joe marrying Frank. Is this really so difficult to grasp?
posted by dobbs at 1:12 PM on February 24, 2004


the function of a marriage (reproduction) is destroyed.
Is this the only function of marriage? Taken to its conclusion, all married couples without kids threaten the institution of marriage. Also, on preview, what Dobbs said.
posted by btwillig at 1:12 PM on February 24, 2004


fags are no differnt from arabs - they are all terrrists who want nothing more than to subvert our clean pure form of life. you all just need to realize that there can be no middle ground - there can be no compromise because "a compromise would compromise our strong and right position" and that would devalue all that is right -
so don't be a leftist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by fuq at 1:13 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth - So you're claiming homosexuals threaten civilization? Why? Are heteros going to suddenly go gay now that they can get married?

Get a grip.
posted by bshort at 1:14 PM on February 24, 2004


Fact: civilization's continued existence can be achieved between an inter-racial union. It cannot through a same-sex union. That is why Loving is what we callin the law "a distinguishable case." I.e, the same analysis does not apply. Loving was merely an issue of racial distinction; here, the function of a marriage (reproduction) is destroyed.

I dispute this fact.

First on the basis of your argument: Marriage is a creation of government therefore no government no marriage. If this is the case then allowing for gay marriage by government would have no impact whatsoever to the continuation of civilization as you put it. More importantly there is no legal or governmental rule that I know of that dictates that all married persons must reproduce or that you must be married in order to be allowed to reproduce.

Second on the basis that it is a pure falsehood that the sole function of Marriage is reproduction. It has long been socially acceptable to marry and produce no offspring. Also many people reproduce outside of marriage. It may certainly be a religious point of view that marriage means making babies but it certainly is not a legal, or even current social one. Furthermore gay couples have existed long before we've had government and yet we continue to reproduce and continue to thrive.

Ultimately I agree that there is no "right" to marriage for anyone. I do submit that if some people are able to be married then some definition of marriage exists and if gay couples fit into that definition there should be no legal obstacle to have the same privileges as others do.
posted by aaronscool at 1:15 PM on February 24, 2004


why is same-sex marriage so gay?
posted by gnutron at 1:18 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth: you are forgetting that the gay couples already exist. They're just asking to be recognized by the state with regard to marriage. The choice is not gay marriage vs. everybody is straight, it's gay marriage vs. gay couples who aren't officially married.

It's weird how gay marriage opponents pretend that gay couples don't exist.
posted by callmejay at 1:19 PM on February 24, 2004


I didn't think I need to clarify myself when I spoke of civilization.

Actually, those were Bush's words from the FPP. And if we are going to argue semantics about the word marriage, let's argue that Bush didn't say Western civilization.

Instead of wasting so much energy typing, Seth, just cut and paste this line: Things should never change because they've always been this way.

Because basically that is the root of your argument.

Same sex couple procreate by adopting (semantics!!!) or finding a fertile person of the opposite gender to help them. As mentioned earlier, what makes anyone think that allowing gay marriage is going to turn the whole world gay and stop having babies?
posted by archimago at 1:20 PM on February 24, 2004


Only 6 times in 215 years has an amendment been proposed and not adopted.

Nuh-unh. Constitutional Amendments proposed:
108th Congress, 107th Congress, 106th Congress
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:21 PM on February 24, 2004


The building block of THIS civilization is the union of a man and a woman and off-spring. And you can NOT dispute this. The reason? Neither you, nor I, nor anyone else on MeFi would be here without that union.

Actually, neither you, nor I, nor anyone else on MeFi would be here without a sperm and an egg. It's quite common now for the two to meet without any union of a man and a woman. And even more common without marriage being involved.

On preview: I'm slow. But not silent.
posted by ewagoner at 1:25 PM on February 24, 2004


The "QuickPoll" on CNN is currently 56% against an amendment.
posted by digaman at 1:25 PM on February 24, 2004


"We'll, I've been banging chicks all my life, but now that we can get married, I'm goin' gay!"

I think this may kind of get to the heart of things. Many conservatives really do believe that: 1) gay men spend all their free time thinking of ways to lure young boys into dark alleys to "turn" them gay. This meshes well with their belief that gay people have chosen their lifestyle.

I'm still trying to figure out when Conservatives changed the playing field by suddenly being for a bigger government that tells people how to live their lives. It used to be that was what they accused us liberal godless commies of after all. Did I miss a memo?
posted by terrapin at 1:28 PM on February 24, 2004


"Most people in the country oppose gay marriage: GET OVER IT."

That was before the nation wide public debate. In the past it's been easy to go with knee-jerk reactions to this question.

But the fact is that "That's the way it's always been", "It will lead to polygamy/bestiality/locusts" and "I don't like gays", are *in fact* the main reasons people oppose gay marriage. Toss in "Gays can't have kids" (which isn't even a reason they shouldn't get amrried) and you have pretty much the totality of the anti-marriage camp.

However, I've noticed that the more people argue about the issue in an open forum, the more moderate and libertarian their view becomes. The more this issue gets debated, the more people will realize gay marriage has zero effect on their lives and they just don't care that much.

Bush wants this issue to rally outrage and solidify support. When in fact most people just don't care. Once you make them think about it they'll realize it's none of their business.

So, much like apartheid it's not best to just GET OVER IT. It's best to set things right and give people equal protection under the law.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:28 PM on February 24, 2004


Everything that a man and woman has in marriage can be achieved through private contracts with the exception of the marriage penalty on taxes.

If I have a private contract with a foreigner, can I bring him in as a permanent legal resident?

Heck, if I even promise to have a contract with a foreign man, can I bring him in on a fiancee visa and, after we have a contract, have him become a permanent legal resident?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:31 PM on February 24, 2004


There is nothing in the Constitution about Marriage.

Keep it that way.
posted by ALongDecember at 1:35 PM on February 24, 2004


I am amazed at the amount of equivocation in this thread.


Ok, so to make everyone happy, if the Amendment says that only straight couples, who enter into marriage for life for the purpose of pro-creating and raising a family and agree to never be divorced, will be considered a marriage, would that be acceptable?

I suspect not.

So don't argue these straw men about frigid women losing the franchise too.

Society has to make some distinctions, at times. And if society deems it essential that marriage exist in order to foster the continuance of the species, and that such behavior is something we value and advocate, then that is the will of the people.

There is no cognizable RIGHT preventing them from doing so.
posted by Seth at 1:35 PM on February 24, 2004


It's likely that a big reason Bush made his speech today was because of politics. It's often been repeated that 4 million Evangelical Christians stayed home on Election Day in 2000 instead of voting for Bush. He's playing to his base so they'll come out and vote for him. That doesn't mean his speech didn't reflect his personal views, too, but I suspect that my fellow gay Americans and I are being used in a giant game of political football. We're being dehumanized, and it makes me sick.
posted by Tin Man at 1:35 PM on February 24, 2004


I've said it before and I'll say it again: people who are against gay marriage almost always (in my estimation) approach the question backwards: They start with the idea that gay marriage is BAD. They then work backwards from there, looking for reasons why this should be so. It's called rationalization, and arguing against it is trying to scoop up water with a sieve.

Actually, I don't know what exactly that analogy means, it just sounded good.
posted by deadcowdan at 1:37 PM on February 24, 2004


I just want to comment for Seth, and a few others that the nuclear family as described makes up only 25% of US households.
Also 33% of all babies are born to unmarried mothers. Only 34% of US households have children. (same source)
posted by bashos_frog at 1:40 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth: is there some drastic population problem that we don't know about? Also, will your Amendment turn gay people straight?
posted by callmejay at 1:41 PM on February 24, 2004


Ok, so to make everyone happy, if the Amendment says that only straight couples, who enter into marriage for life for the purpose of pro-creating and raising a family and agree to never be divorced, will be considered a marriage, would that be acceptable?

No, but I'd by that it "protects the nuclear family" as a reason for such an amendment easier than I will for the proposed amendment.
posted by dobbs at 1:43 PM on February 24, 2004


And if society deems it essential that marriage exist in order to foster the continuance of the species, and that such behavior is something we value and advocate, then that is the will of the people.

There is no cognizable RIGHT preventing them from doing so.


Maybe under the rational-basis theory of jurisprudence, society is allowed to do that. But this is a case of equal protection and/or fundamental rights, whether or not the Court has ever come out and said so. In Romer and Lawrence, the Court has come as close as possible to putting gays up there with blacks and women as a suspect class. As far as marriage as a fundamental right, I'll point you to Loving like several other people have.

So an anti-gay-marriage law would be subject to higher scrutiny. Not that jurisprudence matters when we're talking about a constitutional amendment, anyway.

Furthermore, you've mentioned "the will of the people" again, when some here have already pointed out that a minority does not have to ask "the people" permission for its rights.
posted by Tin Man at 1:43 PM on February 24, 2004


I'd just like to point out this bit from the N.Y. Times coverage of Bush's announcement:

The president, perhaps tacitly acknowledging the emotion that has accompanied the debate over gay marriage, closed by saying: "We should also conduct this difficult debate in a manner worthy of our country, without bitterness or anger. In all that lies ahead, let us match strong convictions with kindness and good will and decency."

Eradicate Gay Relationships With Kindness, Good Will, And Decency. It'd look good on a t-shirt, wouldn't it?

I don't think I've ever been angrier than I am today. EVER.
posted by logovisual at 1:44 PM on February 24, 2004


He's playing to his base so they'll come out and vote for him.

DING! We have a winner!

This is exaclty what this is about. Karl Rove....errr... Bush knows that this sort of amendment won't pass. But they also know that if they keep talking about how Bush will win re-election in a cake walk they won't get the foaming-at-the-mouth base to get out and vote. So what to do? A-ha! Tell the base that the liberals want to legalise gay marriage (beastiality/Saddam's birthday as a national holiday, etc, etc)! Then those folks will definitely show up!
posted by terrapin at 1:44 PM on February 24, 2004


Bush just committed a huge political blunder. He's going to lose a lot more votes than he's going to gain. Andrew Sullivan's take on this -- that the proposed amendment is bigoted and mean-spirited -- will become the majority opinion. People have seen the video of happily married gay people walking out of San Francisco city hall, and most folks don't like to think of themselves as people who would deny others that kind of happiness.

The Bushies live in a right-wing echo chamber in which all the TV sets in the West Wing are tuned to Fox News Channel. They don't realize that they have just denied themselves re-election.

Gay marriage's strongest opponents were going to vote for Bush anyway. Watching the TV news this election season, millions of swing voters will see one too many bigots wielding a "God Hates Fags" sign, and they're going to tell themselves that they're not like that, and they'll stay home Nov. 2 or vote for Bush's opponent.

Bush has made two huge political blunders in the past year.
Blunder No. 1: "Bring 'em on!"
Blunder No. 2: Supporting this constitutional amendment.

Buh-bye, George!
posted by Holden at 1:46 PM on February 24, 2004


. . . the family, consisting of a man and a woman and off-spring is the most fundamental building block of civilization. . .

Actually, the notion that the "family" is a building block of civilization is a fiction of the religious right. In fact, the basic building block of civilization is the free individual. A free individual has the right of freedom of association (a constitutional right in the US). By exercising the right to freely associate, a free individual may choose to participate in contractual or non-contractual relationships with other free individuals.

Marriage and the resulting families that sometimes occur are a result of this right of freedom of association.
posted by yesster at 1:47 PM on February 24, 2004




bashos frog,

Point out all the statitics you want.

And if those opposed to your view on the same-sex marriage thing thought tyhe could get away with it, they would outlaw divorce too and single-parent marriage.

So how does this justify permitting same-sex marriage?
posted by Seth at 1:48 PM on February 24, 2004


And if society deems it essential that marriage exist in order to foster the continuance of the species, and that such behavior is something we value and advocate, then that is the will of the people.

And yet it's interesting that when about 20,000 people die in an earthquake in Iran or something, nobody worries about civilization dying out.
posted by Tin Man at 1:48 PM on February 24, 2004


Question:

Why do same-sex people need state-sanctioned marriage in order to self-actualize?

I have been asked twice if by denying them marriage this country is denying that they exist.

They can exist and continue living their lives like they have been for the last 200+ years.
posted by Seth at 1:51 PM on February 24, 2004


Ok, so to make everyone happy, if the Amendment says that only straight couples, who enter into marriage for life for the purpose of pro-creating and raising a family and agree to never be divorced, will be considered a marriage, would that be acceptable?

No, you've completely missed the point: that it would not be acceptable; and that it's equivalent to what you're suggesting. Your position is that marriage "sustains" civilization through its procreative purpose, and that it's therefore legitimate to ban nonprocreative marriages. The counterargument to that was that there are a great many nonprocreative heterosexual marriages -- would you regard it as a legitimate use of the Constitution to ban those as well?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:52 PM on February 24, 2004


here's what the log cabins have to say.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:54 PM on February 24, 2004


"If you being from the proposition that the family, consisting of a man and a woman and off-spring is the most fundamental building block of civilization......"

We're not talking about that.

Seriously. We're talking about a marriage certificate. Even if the amendment is passed, I'd still be able to get a marriage license for the expressed purpose of setting a world's record for the most the most beetle larva consumed by a married couple. Followed by a quick divorce obviously.

If a female acquaintance and I go into the court house and tell them that we want to a marriage license just so that we can get divorced later in the day, they will give us that license.

If I appear dressed as Bubbles the bloody penguin along with my prospective bride, Tammy the kitten killer (dressed in diapers), and tell them we're going to be married by a member of Jim Jones' People's Temple, in Klingon, they will give us the license.

In fact, disgusting, degrading, loathsome, pointless and malicious marriages are allowed under current law and would continue to be allowed if a gay marriage ban made it into the constitution. So please stop telling me this is about civilization, or family, or preventing something degrading, because neither current law or the proposed constitutional amendment would support those things.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:54 PM on February 24, 2004


Having read some of the press following the announcement, I'm heartened. It seems like this announcement by Bush could really help gay marriage proponents in Massachusetts.

Suddenly national Democratic Leaders are repeating the talking points of our gay advocacy groups: don't put discrimination in the constitution. We have GWB pushing for a constitutional amendment, and we have John Kerry arguing against one.

While they are talking about the Federal constitution and the Massachusetts legislators are trying to tinker with the Mass State constitution, this national dialog will still frame the debate in all the television coverage for days. And the unpopular president will be arguing for the amendment, while the native son will be arguing against it. Perhaps the Mass constitution can be saved.
posted by alms at 1:55 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth, perhaps those statistics effectively show that the species will continue just fine without marriage.
posted by yesster at 1:55 PM on February 24, 2004


By the way, has anyone ever noticed that when the left talks about the good of society, the right counters with the rights of the individual; and when the left talks about the rights of the individual, the right counters with the good of society?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:57 PM on February 24, 2004


Sure -- and them slaves played banjos and shit, why weren't they happy?

Question, Seth: If Bush had just endorsed a Constitutional amendment against heterosexual marriage, would you be asking:

Why do heterosexuals need state-sanctioned marriage in order to self-actualize?
posted by digaman at 1:57 PM on February 24, 2004


Why do same-sex people need state-sanctioned marriage in order to self-actualize?

And Seth, when did you stop beating your wife?

This has nothing to do with "self-actualization." This has to do with inheritance, hospital visitation, raising children, and several hundred rights that married couples receive. As for putting inheritance in a will, wills can be challenged in court by, say, the deceased's parents.


I have been asked twice if by denying them marriage this country is denying that they exist.

They can exist and continue living their lives like they have been for the last 200+ years.


Sorry, but that's not good enough. Just because something has "been that way" doesn't make it right.
posted by Tin Man at 1:59 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth,
Why do Landless Men need state-sanctioned voting rights in order to self-actualize?

Why do Women need state-sanctioned voting rights in order to self-actualize?

Why do Black people need state-sanctioned freedom in order to self-actualize?

Why do Black people need state-sanctioned voting rights in order to self-actualize?

These groups [and others] had no rights at some point. Let's extend basic human rights to others.
posted by plemeljr at 1:59 PM on February 24, 2004


Why do same-sex people need state-sanctioned marriage in order to self-actualize?

Why do opposite-sex people need state-sanctioned marriage in order to self-actualize?
posted by callmejay at 2:00 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth--
There is no cognizable RIGHT preventing them from doing so

As I said before I agree there is no right for anyone to be legally married. However if you are allowing some to do it then you've set a precedent. The question then becomes why can some do it and others are not allowed?

Is it a health issue like with relatives?
Is it a coming of age/maturity issue like with children?

What is the reason that gays are not like heterosexuals such that they should not be allowed to marry?

If the answer is religion, we have a separation between church and state and this should not determine the law nor should the law try and change the actions of religion.

If the answer it something about family then we need to define what that is and ask ourselves whether or not het couples with no children, or single moms or any other contradiction to the nuclear 2.6 kids family are included.

Once again I pose the simple question: Why not?
posted by aaronscool at 2:01 PM on February 24, 2004


Tin Man,

I disagree with your constitutional analysis.
Romer v. Evans dealt with a Colorado constitutional amendment that refused to permit gays from recieved state protection. The analysis in the 5-4 decision was that it was discriminatory because there is a fundamental right to be recognized by the state. The Lawrence case is easily distinguishable from this argument, and it has been covered here recently.

So at times, when there was a fundamental rights issue, courts have applied strict scrutiny.

And in Loving, where the issue was a racial distinction NOT a fundamental right analysis, strict scrutiny applied.
I don't know why this Amendment would be pushed before letting the Supreme Court hear the case... their opinion would not prohibit a subsequent amendment.

But I severely doubt that a fundamental right/strict scrutiny analysis would apply if the S. Crt. heard this case. There have been forests that have fallen in the law reviews already arguing this point, so neither of us knows for sure.

As for the will of the people:

In our constitutional republic: the will of the people, articulated through legislature, is permitted unless it infringes on minority rights. So the will of the people is important. The question is whether there is a right at stake, and the Supreme Court has NEVER said that marriage is a right because it isn't. It is a franchise. Two cousins can't get married. Two men can't get married. An adult and a child can't get married. People without a license can't be married. You have to get a license to married. Ergo, by definition, IT IS NOT A RIGHT. Rights don't require licenses.
posted by Seth at 2:02 PM on February 24, 2004


"Fact: civilization's continued existence can be achieved between an inter-racial union. It cannot through a same-sex union."

Actually this would be a logical fallacy rather than fact.

1) No one is suggesting that all marriages be of the same sex variety. So procreation doesn't enter into it.

2) Many legal marriages now don't involve children. So procreation doesn't enter into it.

3) Civilization's continued existence can also be achieved by a ready supply of Viagra. That doesn't make Viagra all that important in relation to civilization's continued existence.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:08 PM on February 24, 2004


Just out of curiosity then, what is Cheney's position?

Oh, he's definitely a top.
posted by y2karl at 2:08 PM on February 24, 2004


Oh, he's definitely a top.

ROFL!!
posted by jpoulos at 2:09 PM on February 24, 2004


That makes sense, Dubya has "catcher" written all over him...
posted by JollyWanker at 2:11 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth what is the reason that Gays are excluded from marriage? I certainly understand the cousins, or underage issues but why not gay couples?
posted by aaronscool at 2:11 PM on February 24, 2004


Oh, he's definitely a top.

I'd say he's a backdoor man, myself! (both in business and private)
posted by Peter H at 2:11 PM on February 24, 2004


"Neither you, nor I, nor anyone else on MeFi would be here without that union."

Oops........ We missed that in the FAQ. Okay, new rule everyone:

MetaFilter Rule #4 - People born out of wedlock may not be MetaFilter members.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:13 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth:

Romer v. Evans dealt with a Colorado constitutional amendment that refused to permit gays from recieved state protection. The analysis in the 5-4 decision was that it was discriminatory because there is a fundamental right to be recognized by the state.

Actually, unless I'm remembering incorrectly, the rationale in Romer was that there was no rational basis for Colorado's amendment that denied equal protection to gays. The Court said that "animus" against a class of people was not a good enough reason for the amendment. And when you examine all the reasons given by people who oppose gay marriage, and see how easy it is to poke holes in them, and realize how flimsy (and ever-changing) those reasons are, you realize that this really comes down to animus as well.


the Supreme Court has NEVER said that marriage is a right

People have already noted Loving, so I don't know what else to say at this point. If marriage is not a right, why is it unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriage?
posted by Tin Man at 2:14 PM on February 24, 2004


One last comment:

I find it interesting that the Constitutional Amendment approach is being pursued.

The only reason is it is seen as the way to trump whatever a court says about the DOMA.

HOWEVER, there is another tactic:

The Constitution grants the Legislature the power to REMOVE jurisdiction from the courts on any issue.

So, the Congress could pass a law by simple majority that says no federal court could hear a case involving the DOMA or marriage.

This would effectively eleminate any threat to the DOMA and the Full Faith and Credit Clause issue.

That is what I would do if I was Congress instead of a Con. Amendment.
posted by Seth at 2:14 PM on February 24, 2004


"So don't argue these straw men..........."

..... says the man buried up to his eyeballs in straw.......
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:20 PM on February 24, 2004


We need a Constitutional amendment all right, but not this one. The purpose of the Constitution, as even Reagan understood (if his little set piece to Gorbachev is anything to go by), is to limit the powers of government. So how's this:
Congress shall make no law abridging the rights and privileges of any person on the basis of [categories of distinction to include sexual orientation with respect to gender].
The only sure way to end arguments about whether a thing is constitutional is to friggin' make it unconstitutional in so many words.

Personally I think the right to marriage is quite clearly enunciated in the Declaration of Independence; which may not be the Constitution but which is the other principal founding document, is of unimpeachable standing, and which is regarded as 100% congruent with our ethics of public governance. To wit: "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." I cannot imagine a definition of those terms which does not include the possibility of marriage, nor a definition of marriage which does not fall within those terms.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:21 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth: The Constitution grants the Legislature the power to REMOVE jurisdiction from the courts on any issue.

The Theocracy Specks - The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004. This Act would structurally change how the federal government intrudes into the states government.
posted by plemeljr at 2:21 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth do you really think it would be constitutional that the Legislature pass a law that would shield any other laws from the legal branch's scrutiny?

For the third time I've yet to hear any rational argument as to why gay couples should not be allowed to marry. How would it change or impact any of our lives if you are not gay and never wanted to enter into a gay relationship?
posted by aaronscool at 2:22 PM on February 24, 2004


IMO, the strongest, most family-oriented society in this country is the Mormons. If we go down this road, where protecting the family and propogating the species is our primary goal, it's just a slippery slope to polygamy.
posted by jpoulos at 2:23 PM on February 24, 2004


FWIW, here's what Kerry had to say today:
“I believe President Bush is wrong. All Americans should be concerned when a President who is in political trouble tries to tamper with the Constitution of the United States at the start of his reelection campaign.

“This President can’t talk about jobs. He can’t talk about health care. He can’t talk about a foreign policy, which has driven away allies and weakened the United States, so he is looking for a wedge issue to divide the American people.

“While I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, for 200 years, this has been a state issue. I oppose this election year effort to amend the Constitution in an area that each state can adequately address, and I will vote against such an amendment if it comes to the Senate floor.

“I believe the best way to protect gays and lesbians is through civil unions. I believe the issue of marriage should be left to the states, and that the President of the United States should be addressing the central challenges where he has failed – jobs, health care, and our leadership in the world rather than once again seeking to drive a wedge by toying with the United States Constitution for political purposes.”
I support same-sex marriage and am not a big fan of John Kerry, but this seems consistent with his position on the issue. Ultimately, it may be the best position for a Democratic candidate under these circumstances.
posted by subgenius at 2:24 PM on February 24, 2004


That would be Specks = Speaks
posted by plemeljr at 2:25 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth what is the reason that Gays are excluded from marriage? I certainly understand the cousins, or underage issues but why not gay couples?
posted by aaronscool at 2:11 PM PST on February 24


If you understand one, you understand the other. If you think marriage is a right, why do you forbid between cousins or underage people?


A constitutional amendment protecting marriage as being between a man and a woman is not a rule which is designed to ban, eleminate, enslave or do anything negative to same-sex people. What it is designed to do is protect society's decision that as a society, we ought to value a family based on the traditional sense of a man and a woman for purposes of procreation.

People here will argue me to no end on this, and bring up all kinds of straw men, but that is the distinction. Vast majority of people believe and VALUE such an arrangement.

Many of the same people who are demanding same-sex marriage as if it is the Holy Grail, are the same people arguing in the second hand about what a worthless and valueless institution marriage is. And here is the kicker: they are correct. Marriage is becoming a valueless institution, and a lot of people are seeing that. That is largely why people are trying to protect it from being even further eroded to the point of meaninglessness. If it is to mean something more than "civil union," than it must mean something that we value. And if it something that we value, people should try to protect it.
posted by Seth at 2:26 PM on February 24, 2004


"Why do same-sex people need state-sanctioned marriage"

They want to be treated equally. Just that. Others are allowed to marry the person they love and want to spend the rest of their lives with. They want to be able to do that. Just that.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:30 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth do you really think it would be constitutional that the Legislature pass a law that would shield any other laws from the legal branch's scrutiny?

For the third time I've yet to hear any rational argument as to why gay couples should not be allowed to marry. How would it change or impact any of our lives if you are not gay and never wanted to enter into a gay relationship?
posted by aaronscool at 2:22 PM PST on February 24


First, yes, it is ABSOLUTELY constitutional. Someone just put a link explaining it. It is rarely used, but Article 3, section 2 gives congress the authority to remove jurisdiction from the Courts.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

They have done this in the past, but I don't recall from my Con Law days when it was... I'll check into it.

For the third time I've yet to hear any rational argument as to why gay couples should not be allowed to marry. posted by aaronscool at 2:22 PM PST on February 24

Well, I have tried to explain the argument.

And aaronscool, I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.
posted by Seth at 2:33 PM on February 24, 2004


Actually, the notion that the "family" is a building block of civilization is a fiction of the religious right. In fact, the basic building block of civilization is the free individual.

Thank you, yesster. This is the core of the debate. I find Bush telling me that "it takes a family" just as repugnant and frightening as Hillary Clinton telling me "it takes a villiage". No it fucking doesn't. It takes a loving parent or parents. Any well adjusted, caring individual can raise another human being. We all have it in us, fundamentally, as humans.
posted by tirade at 2:34 PM on February 24, 2004


Village even. Proofread, proofread, proofread.
posted by tirade at 2:36 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth, "marriage" doesn't need protection.

You and your marriage have nothing to fear from Bob and Tom's marriage at all. If it is a strong marriage, it will continue to be so; if it is a weak marriage that will fail, it would have done so anyway.

There is no abstract thing called marriage. There is this marriage and that marriage. There is no institution.

No existing marriage is under threat from attempts to legalize same-sex marriages.

And society ought not to "value a family based on the traditional sense of a man and a woman for purposes of procreation." Instead, it ought to value free individuals who have the right to freedom of association, which is how it is expressed in the contitution of the US and related documents.

You really should examine why you feel threatened by this.
posted by yesster at 2:39 PM on February 24, 2004


Raise your hand in here if you didn't come from a mother and a father!!!

Help me dispprove this "fiction of the religious right!"
posted by Seth at 2:40 PM on February 24, 2004


aaronscool: well said, many times.

The constitutional amendment thing is being pursued (futilely, i'll add) because they realize that DOMA and all state laws forbidding same-sex marriage are actually and undeniably unconstitutional and so they have no other recourse. That darn constitution, huh?

Seth, if this bitterly partisan Congress dared do that, many of them would lose their next elections. And there'd be a filibuster the likes of which has never been seen.

(I'm also a gay man who came from a mother and father--funny how that works, no?)
posted by amberglow at 2:41 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth - a biological fact has nothing to do with marriage, as above statistics clearly showed.

Everyone here had a mother and a father, but not all had married parents.
posted by yesster at 2:46 PM on February 24, 2004


Raise your hand in here if you didn't come from a mother and a father!!!

What an absolutely idiot comment. Procreation can also occur between father and daughter....mother and son...sister and brother...etc etc. You might be aware that there are some "issues" of child health associated with those unions....but I don't want to take anything for granted given the level of Seth's arguments here.

Next up: Seth swoons and cheers for incest based on the fact that "we can come from that."

Duh.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:47 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth:
...That is largely why people are trying to protect it from being even further eroded to the point of meaninglessness. If it is to mean something more than "civil union," than it must mean something that we value. And if it something that we value, people should try to protect it.

See I agree with you that marriage is not a right but a legal construct of the state. I also agree that once whatever religious meaning is removed from marriage then the institution of marriage is nothing more than a civil union with certain state granted legal rights, protections and recognition associated.

My point is that if any religious organization does not want to recognize or perform same sex marriage then that is fine, more power to them. This does not give them or anyone else the right to disqualify another because they do not share the same values.

Near as I can tell the we do not discriminate based on values in our country, nor should we. In fact our country was founded on different values and the protection of those differences is the very core of the constitution. I am saddened that is your view that we need to use the constitution to try and dictate values. It seems to me that values are created and managed by the people who hold them not imposed in some authoritarian way by governments.
posted by aaronscool at 2:48 PM on February 24, 2004


Not to mention issues of coercion....but no doubt those are all well and good in Seth's world...because "we can come from that"!!!!!
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:48 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth, if this bitterly partisan Congress dared do that, many of them would lose their next elections. And there'd be a filibuster the likes of which has never been seen.

Um, check the polls.

It has majority support. As much as a small percentage is outraged, their outrage only counts as one vote.

(I'm also a gay man who came from a mother and father--funny how that works, no?)

So you came from a mother and father? Dammit. That is evidence supporting the "fiction of the religious right."

We're trying to disprove it, dammit.

Someone here stand up and admit you don't have a mother and a father! This "fiction of the religious right" must be disproven!!
posted by Seth at 2:48 PM on February 24, 2004


I think Bush could get himself in trouble with proposing the amendment, but then again maybe he's just trying to distract attention from his record. Even though a majority of Americans are against gay-marriage, they also do not want an amendment to the constitution on this issue.

There are bigger fish to fry this election year: job losses, Iraq, Afghanistan, energy, health care, climate change, etc... which are not looking so good for Bush so he's trying to change the subject with this wedge. From the look of this post, it's working.
posted by humbe at 2:49 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth, a mother and father are the only natural means of human procreation. You fail to understand that this does not make such a couple the only basic unit of society, or why certain free individuals should not be allowed to legally and officially share their lives with other free individuals because of their failure to produce offspring or have the kind of sex you want them to.
posted by tirade at 2:50 PM on February 24, 2004


As the excellent Discount Blogger puts it:
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES:

See? People in this country probably fall under the following categories:

* Hate gay people. Wish they were all dead
* Don't hate gay people, but don't care either
* Don't hate gay people, but want to keep marriage as-is
* Don't care
* Like gay people, but want to keep marriage as-is
* Fully support gay people in their quest for marriage rights
* And many others, most likely

But there is another group of people out there that I don't think the president and his advisors have taken into consideration:

* People who, under no circumstances want anyone fucking with their most sacred document for political gain

These people might like gay people. They might be indifferent. They may hate gay people.

But none of them wants the constitution of this land to be used as a political tool to garner votes. And I think president Bush has just lost a lot of these people.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:51 PM on February 24, 2004


A constitutional amendment protecting marriage as being between a man and a woman

Smooth verbal sleight-of-hand, there. "protecting marriage as being between a man and a woman" presumes that confining it to such "protects" it. Protects it from what? How does the marriage of two gay people harm my marriage, or anyone's marriage? How is marriage protected by its denial to couples who seek it with the best of intentions?

admit you don't have a mother and a father

Oh yeah, you're really above the use of straw men , aren't you?
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:52 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth, ding dong, listen:
I recall Thomas Jefferson saying something about "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." What I don't remember is any particularly good argument against those values.

They're sound ones, beautiful even, and when America makes me proud, it secures and extends them, on behalf of humanity. When America makes me writhe in shame, it seeks to deny them (if not deprive folks of them by main force).

Which America do you think Bush's stance represents? Which America is contained in Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin being legally wed after some fifty years of commitment? You tell me, genius.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:53 PM on February 24, 2004


There is no fiction in the fact that all offspring result from the mating of a male and a female of the same species.

No seth, the fiction is that the family, read as the marriage of a man and a woman plus their offspring, is the foundation of society. That's what you wrote, and that's what I quoted.


That it is a fiction is easily disproven:

1 Our legal system, from the constitution forward, recognizes the free individual as the basis of society.

2. The existence of marriages between men and women, in which no children result, is evidence that procreation is not necessary to the notion of marriage.

3. The existence of successful people - people who contribute to this society you wish to protect - that grow up with only one parent (for whatever reason) is evidence that a man-woman union is not necessary for the raising of good citizens.

You're the one creating straw men, here.

So try to be honest here --- throw off your concern for others for a while --- what are you really afraid of?
posted by yesster at 2:55 PM on February 24, 2004


"most white Southerners were once "viscerally" disgusted by the notion of black people drinking from the same water fountains, or swimming in the same pools, or riding in the same seats on the bus, as whites. Feel free to join them in the annals of history."

The problem with your argument is that sexual orientation is not race. Actually, I don't really have a dog in this fight. I don't care much if gays can marry or not--I suppose they should have to right, however stupid it really is. I'm not going to lose any sleep on this one; heterosexuals have screwed up marriage enough! My point was, simply, not to make a big issue out of this one, because it's just going to--no pun intended--backfire!

And do you mean annals, or anals?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:58 PM on February 24, 2004


"And if it something that we value, people should try to protect it."

and

"Many of the same people who are demanding same-sex marriage as if it is the Holy Grail, are the same people arguing in the second hand about what a worthless and valueless institution marriage is."

Again with the logical fallacies.

The amendment is not designed to protect marriage from being "eroded to the point of meaninglessness". And what we're discussing here is the amendment. The amendment is to protect the meaning of the word marriage. People who value the meaning of the word may have a reason to get behind the amendment. Those who want to protect the institution of marriage, not so much.

And,

First of all I've been divorced twice, so I feel qualified to speak about the institution of marriage. But to your point - I feel same sex marriages should be legal. I also think the institution of marriage is in many ways a farce. There is no contradiction here. One is about how the law should be applied in an equal manner, the other is my opinion about relationships.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:59 PM on February 24, 2004


Someone here stand up and admit you don't have a mother and a father!

There's always Rosemary's Baby and that Jesus hippie.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:01 PM on February 24, 2004


"Raise your hand in here if you didn't come from a mother and a father!!!"

Oh. Right. I thought we were talking about marriage. My bad.

So, what you are arguing with this is that you don't need a marriage to raise kids?
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:02 PM on February 24, 2004


For those supporting the amendment: Will there be genetic tests to make sure the couples have xx and xy chromosomes? What is the litmus test?

What about people who have had sex changes, hermaphrodites, chromosomal anomalies ? For hermaphrodites and those with chromosomal anomalies, these are natural variations in the genome. Do we amend the constitution with an exception for these people or bar them from marrying as well?
posted by humbe at 3:04 PM on February 24, 2004


Someone here stand up and admit you don't have a mother and a father!

It won't be long before same-sex couples will be able to reproduce on their own, in a laboratory. Then what will you say? That it's "unnatural"? Will you then go back and ban test-tube babies and artificial insemination?
posted by jpoulos at 3:05 PM on February 24, 2004


Since people seem to be mystified how one could even argue against same sex marriage without appealing to religious beliefs (understandable given the beliefs and rhetoric of Bush and most other opponents), I thought it might be illuminating to look at the arguments made by the Vermont and Massachusetts Attorneys General against same sex unions/marriage in the Baker and Goodrich cases.

I personally don't think any of these are particularly convincing (although some are more inane than others). But I thought they were worth posting, since they at least speak in the language of neutral principles (as opposed to moral beliefs). Anyway, here's what they argued:

1. the purpose of marriage is to promote "a permanent commitment between couples who have children to ensure that their offspring are considered legitimate and receive ongoing parental support." Same-sex marriage (SSM) "would diminish society's perception of the link between procreation and child rearing.

2. Legitimizing SSM would "advance the notion that fathers or mothers are mere surplsage to the functions of procreation and child rearing." In other words, it is not irrational to believe that it is better for a child to have a father and mother than two mothers.

3. Related to #2: banning same sex marriage would "promot[e] child rearing in a setting that provides both male and female role models"

4. Banning SSM "minimizes the legal complications of surrogacy contracts and sperm donors

5. Banning SSM helps to "bridge the differences between the sexes"

6. Banning SSM "discourag[es] marraiges of convenience for tax, housing or other benefits"

7. Banning SSM "protect[es] marriage from destabilizing changes"

8. Since marriage imposes financial costs on the government (by providing tax breaks, increased benefits, etc), SSM is too expensive, or at least, expensive enough that money-starved state legislatures shouldn't be forced to impose it against their will.

sorry if any of this repeats previous comments by others, I confess that I didn't read the entire thread.
posted by boltman at 3:12 PM on February 24, 2004


Why do same-sex people need state-sanctioned marriage in order to self-actualize?

I have been asked twice if by denying them marriage this country is denying that they exist.


Well, let's use a Heather has Two Mommies analogy:

What if the mommy who gave birth to her loses her job and her loses her health insurance? Now, in a few states her other mommy is allowed to adopt her and share custody with her birth mother, so she would be covered on her other mommy's health care plan. But, in many other states, like Florida, her second mommy cannot adopt her. Heather cannot access the same benefits that a child of a hetrosexual couple, either married or unmarried, could. Does that seem fair??

Sure doesn't seem fair to me. It's not about self-actualization, it's about having access to the same rights and benefits any other committed couple has. When I marry my honey, certain benefits are bestowed upon us without having to go to a lawyer and draw up a contract. Why should one couple by virture of their gender combination, be required to jump through a bunch of legal hoops to get the same rights another couple will get automatically when they marry?
posted by echolalia67 at 3:13 PM on February 24, 2004


If you understand one, you understand the other. If you think marriage is a right, why do you forbid between cousins or underage people?

cousins: raises the risk of birth defects slightly. Not really an issue with homosexuals.

"underage people": Minors cannot vote, yet voting is still a right. Minors are not full citizens. So unless you'd like to make homosexuals less than full citizens.
posted by 4easypayments at 3:14 PM on February 24, 2004


This argument is just going around in circles. I keep getting the same question over and over. So I'll try bullet-style and see if I can explain the argument.


1. Man and woman is the only known means of procreation, and, therefore, ensuring that civilization remains sustainable.

2. Thus, the union of a man and a woman is the basic building block of a society.

3. As such, our civilization has always recognized the importance of that union by valuing it.

4. We created state sanctioned marriage, which is different and apart of religious marriage (or marriage before God---the only real reason and form most religious people care about).

5. Since this a state franchise, it can be given to whomever society deems appropriate. It is not a right. It requires one to go get a license and meet a bunch of conditions (must be of age, un-related, not presently married, different genders, mentally competent, be a citizen [note: getting married oversees is a different consideration])

6. Society defines what attributes it requires in those that it will sanction to be married.

7. Society can choose who it wants to give the franchise to.

8. The vast majority of people think marriage is only between a man and a woman.

9. The reason the vast majority of people think marriage is only between a man and a woman is because people implicitly understand that marriage is something that leads to procreation and the preservation of mankind. Not just some social arrangement or club.

10. As such, people want men and women to married. If they don't have kids, then oh well. At least the possibility exists.

11. Same sex unions do not have the possibility of procreation, so they do not posses the necessary pre-condition upon which to value the institution of marriage.


That is the argument in a nutshell from those who oppose it.

Some oppose the amendment for various reasons in addition to that. The religious people articulate the rule as coming from the Bible, but it comes equally naturally from common sense. Hell, Freud's Pleasure Principle articulates it clear enough. That which leads to non-existence is bad; that which leads to existence is good. It's the Bible's teaching in other terms.


Whether you agree or disagree with the argument, it is incorrect (or at least, inconclusive as of yet) to argue that there is some RIGHT to marriage for anyone, much less same-sex people. There is a reason why the "pursuit of happiness" was not encorporated into the Constitution: it creates an unsustainable ruleset.
posted by Seth at 3:14 PM on February 24, 2004


What it is designed to do is protect society's decision that as a society, we ought to value a family based on the traditional sense of a man and a woman for purposes of procreation.

This entire argument from Seth an PP relies on the assumption that the majority is with them, so lets find out. Put forth the amendment proposal exactly as Seth has defined it: traditional sense of a man and a woman for purposes of procreation. We'll see how much support the amendment garners then, now won't we?
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:16 PM on February 24, 2004


on preview, it appears others have made many of these points. Oh well, more fuel for the fire.

You have to get a license to married. Ergo, by definition, IT IS NOT A RIGHT. Rights don't require licenses.

So even if we regard marriage as a privilege (like driving), that does not mean that the privilege can be denied a person for arbitrary reasons. I can be denied the privilege of voting if I am found unfit, I cannot be denied the right to vote because I like mayo on my fries. I can be denied the privilege to drive because I am found to be unfit based on objective, relevant criteria, not because I am left-handed. So sure, you can deny me the privilege of marrying by some criteria that is relevant to my ability to carry out the responsibilities of being married.

So what are the responsibilities of a married person? As near as I can tell, they are to remain faithfully committed to one's betrothed, respect the institution of marriage (not undertake it lightly), and possibly perpetuate the species.* Other than the last point, which is addressed below, how is a homosexual couple inherently unable to satisfy these criteria?

Or perhaps there is some other rational, non-arbitrary basis can it be shown that I am unfit for marriage as a homosexual? So far I have seen the following:

*1. The marriage will not produce off-spring.
This is easily reduced to absurdity. Will the state annul my current marriage because my wife and I will not be having children? What if I have deliberately elected to make it physically impossible that I could impregnate my wife? What if we entered our marriage covenant with the express intent of not procreating? On what basis then is my marriage distinguishable from a homosexual marriage? Is it because we could 'pass' as breeders on the street?

2. Civilization will collapse if homosexual marriage is permitted
An off-shoot of the previous point. Civilization will collapse because there will be no offspring. Again, how is my non-child-producing marriage any different from a homosexual marriage by this criteria? Further, would the state argue that if it were not for the prohibition on homosexual marriage, homosexuals would enter heterosexual relationships and procreate? Empirical evidence would seem to indicate otherwise.

3. The institution of marriage will disappear if homosexual marriage is permitted
Spurious at best. How can increasing the number of committed married couples weaken the institution? If we look at the state of heterosexual marriages today, an infusion of committed adult couples is desperately needed in order to save the institution, it would seem.

4. Homosexual marriage is an affront to a cultural institution
The same has been said about inter-racial marriage, Jackie Robinson and baseball, allowing women to wear pants, broadening the scope of public spiritual life beyond that of the Protestant, and really, if you want more, I guess you'll have to ask. The point being that cultural institutions are malleable—we adapt them to fit our culture. Cultural institutions exist, and exist in their present form, because that is the way that we wish to consider them. Culture is descriptive, not proscriptive.

5. Homosexual marriage, while not completely objectionable, is on a slippery slope toward polygamy|bestiality|incest|???
Fallacy. Objective interests of the state in not permitting these arrangements exist (except maybe in the case of polygamy--but then, is polygamy a bad thing either? Many cultures would suggest not).

6. World religions expressly forbid homosexual marriage (it is a universal constant)
Many world religions also expressly forbid the eating of pork, eating of meat en toto, and rights for women. Many world religions also demand animal sacrifice, mandatory financial contribution, and travel to specific locales. The state is not based upon these aspects of religion, what makes the religious conception of marriage different?

That's the arguments I've seen so far. If I've missed anything, please let me know. Barring some omission on my part then, there is no distinction between my non-child-producing marriage and a homosexual marriage other than my wife and I can pass as breeders on the street. Further, there is no objective, non-arbitrary reason for forbidding the extension of this so-called franchise to homosexuals. That being the case, designating marriage as a franchise and not a right is of little consequence in the end. Either way indicates homosexual couples ought to be recognized as having the same access to marriage as heterosexual couples. The difference being how we get there, I suppose.

And, as stated above, marriage is in greater danger from divorce and those who enter it without consideration of its import. Amending the Constitution to address these issues will do more to save marriage than permitting homosexuals to enjoy its comforts.
posted by Fezboy! at 3:23 PM on February 24, 2004


In fairness, I think Seth is only understanding this issue from a legal - not personal/social conscience - perspective. In my (not extensive) experience of dealing with lawyers, they're not especially clever, just capable of giving their interpretation of a particular legal text; they tend not to understand the meaning behind it, its implications or subtleties. Something to bear in mind when responding to Seth's comments.

For me, the real issue here is not whether or not marriage is currently enshrined as a right in the U.S. Constitution, but that there is the desire in the gay community to be granted the same opportunity to achieve their desires and aspirations.

The fact that gay people want marriage should be enough for this to be a non-issue.

I'm gay, but live in London so this debate has limited impact on me, however, I think it's great that a national debate is getting started in America. In the UK this issue isn't even being debated - even at a local level (putting aside Ken Livingtstone's "register" for the moment).

A question: in the UK, married couples avoid "Inheritance Tax" on their estate if one partner dies. Gay couples do not have this benefit even with some form of civil contract. Can gay American couples avoid this form of taxation in some way? If not, surely there is a legally definable form of discrimination here...
posted by Lleyam at 3:24 PM on February 24, 2004


Minors cannot vote, yet voting is still a right.
posted by 4easypayments at 3:14 PM PST on February 24




This is incorrect.

Voting is NOT a right.

Do some research on it; you might be suprised to find out the truth.

Voting is a franchise. There are numerous cases, law review articles and books about voting not being a right. Why do you think the term "disenfranchisement" is used? Because voting is a franchise and not a right.

Read Bush v. Gore. Read Alexander v. Minta. The poll tax cases. The literacy test cases. They all make clear that voting is not a right. There was a lot of discussion after the 2000 election about making a constitutional amendment guarenteeing the right to vote.

Hell, it'd suprise you to learn that we could impose literacy tests and poll taxes if we wanted to. The only reason they were over-turned in the first place was the disparately enforced against uneduacted freemen. But if that enforcement was neutral, we could impose them and remove the franchise from whomever didn't pass them.


Marriage is the same way. We can set the qualifications as we deem fit.
posted by Seth at 3:25 PM on February 24, 2004


The question is whether there is a right at stake, and the Supreme Court has NEVER said that marriage is a right because it isn't. It is a franchise. Two cousins can't get married. Two men can't get married. An adult and a child can't get married. People without a license can't be married. You have to get a license to married. Ergo, by definition, IT IS NOT A RIGHT. Rights don't require licenses.

Bullshit. You have the right to bear arms but need a license to do it. You have the right to vote over the age of 18 but still need ID to prove it. Licensing is meant to legitimize rights in a way that regulates them to prevent them from being abused. Every single thing Americans do are a product of their right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Rights don't just require regulation; if they didn't we'd have anarchy instead of Democracy.

You need a licencse to get married. You don't need a special license to marry a black person if you're white. When interracial couples went to get licenses, they needed the courts to clarify under the 14th amendment that equal rights meant no special discriminatory restrictions.

Ergo, by definition, you're proving your own argument. Forbidding two adults to marry based on race was outlawed. Forbidding two adults to marry based on gender will be soon as well.

And however their rights are given, they'll also have the right to free speech, so you might as well accept giving gays equal rights, since when two gay people get "civil unioned" they can call the procedure whatever the hell they want.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:26 PM on February 24, 2004


If you understand one, you understand the other. If you think marriage is a right, why do you forbid between cousins or underage people?

I think that issue of consent might be the tipper.

What does the meaning of marriage gain by the exclusion of same-sex couples? If marriage, as you say, is becoming meaningless, how does this ban reverse that trend?

on preview: Wow! Pile-on!
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:32 PM on February 24, 2004


Marriage is the same way. We can set the qualifications as we deem fit.

We're not really discussing setting qualifications here, are we, Seth? We're talking about justifying the qualifications that you think most would want. So I repeat, lets find out. If the qualification is man+woman+hopefully a child, then lets call it the "defense of marraige cause everybody hopes you procreate" amendment, and see how the voters react. Call it what it is, instead of a defense against the death of civilization, and have done.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:33 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth I disagree with these two statements:
8. The vast majority of people think marriage is only between a man and a woman.

9. The reason the vast majority of people think marriage is only between a man and a woman is because people implicitly understand that marriage is something that leads to procreation and the preservation of mankind. Not just some social arrangement or club.


I do not believe that somehow the majority of people support civil unions for gay couples would not also support civil marriages (non-religious marriages). I think that polls that simply ask are you for or against gay marriage do not make this distinction and if it were you would see a whole different story.
posted by aaronscool at 3:36 PM on February 24, 2004


XQ,

1. The Right to Bear Arms does not give you the right to buy a gun whenever and wherever you want. It means you can't be arrested for having a gun in your home. (But to assuage your venom, I didn't intend to suggest that registration alone is dispositive of the question of rights.)


2. As for the right to vote, YOU DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO VOTE. Ask anyone living in D.C. As anyone who think the Florida election was stolen because their vote didn't count. Ask anyone in a state when the state electors decide to not vote the way the state did in the electoral college. READ Bush v. Gore; the Poll Tax Cases; the Literacy Test Cases; Read Alexander v. Mineta: "the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote..."


3. There is no right to marriage, either.
posted by Seth at 3:43 PM on February 24, 2004


permitting denying
posted by Fezboy! at 3:44 PM on February 24, 2004


My turn ...

I'm for gay rights, but opposed to gay marriages. I believe that homosexuals can choose whatever lifestyle that is, but should not be granted marriage benefits.

Most of you have a very narrow view of the world and in this case, our nation.

Benefits for marriage are extending to heterosexuals because this is what is best for society. I'll explain ... society needs to set parameters on what is best for society as a whole. Gay marriage is definitely not one of those things, as a matter of fact, it's one of the topics that will lead to a society's decline. What is best for our society is to have one man and one woman marry and raise our society's future (our children).

Come on, do you guys really think that homosexuals really want to get married? No. They just want to shove something in the face of the white, christian males they see as the enemy. If "they" really wanted marriage so badly, why don't more homosexuals take advantage of Vermont's civil union laws? If you don't know what I'm talking about, it shows your lack of knowledge on this subject.

Enough of the divorce comments .. you can't say well, X is happening, so why shouldn't Y? Divorce and gay marriage should BOTH be dealt with. Neither of them is good for society.

As for activist judges ... if you think what the judges in San Fran are doing is correct, you need to clear you head a bit. Look at it another way: if judges were allowing people to carry concealed weapons down Market Street, would you be cheering them on, telling them they are doing the right thing? Probably not. Just because you agree with the judges in this instance does not make what they are doing just.

I know, you guys are going to label me as sexist/discriminatory/anti-Hillary, but I'm not. Ok, maybe anti-Hillary ;).
posted by jlachapell at 3:46 PM on February 24, 2004


If the qualification is man+woman+hopefully a child, then lets call it the "defense of marraige cause everybody hopes you procreate" amendment, and see how the voters react. Call it what it is, instead of a defense against the death of civilization, and have done.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:33 PM PST on February 24



Ok. I'm game.

I don't think it will change anyone's vote. I can't imagine adding the part about procreation in there would effect anyone's vote because it is implicit in everyone's thought on marriage.

Ask anyone who has been married. Shortly after you get married, the question quickly becomes recurrent: "When are you going to have kids?" That is the next question after people find out you are married.

People understand that. So when you ask the question in a poll if the majority support marriage as an institution between a man and a woman, the concept of procreation is wired into their heads.

So, I'd like to see Wulfgar.

Out of curiosity, would this be ok with the same-sex crowd? If it was explained that this has nothing to do with their orientation, it is only an movement to achieve something that they cannot, would it then be acceptable? Or is getting in the club all that is important?
posted by Seth at 3:50 PM on February 24, 2004


I normally avoid joining in pile-ons, but this is just too repugnant. I can't believe nobody has called Seth on this:

So don't argue these straw men about frigid women losing the franchise too.

"Frigid women"? Do you understand the meaning of words? Or are you under the misconception (shared by certain primitive peoples) that a woman who doesn't enjoy sex can't have children? Jesus.

And let me spell this out for you one more time, since you haven't gotten it yet: your "marriage is about procreation" theory doesn't only impact gays. My wife and I can't have kids. If gays shouldn't be allowed to marry on that account, neither should we. You want to tell me that? If so, I'll have something stronger than this to say:

Seth, you are a jerk.

I've never directly insulted anyone on MeFi before, and I hope I never do again. But some things are too much to ignore. I won't tell you to sit down and shut up; I respect your right to free speech. But if you spew venom, don't expect to be treated kindly.
posted by languagehat at 4:07 PM on February 24, 2004


"1. Man and woman is the only known means of procreation, and, therefore, ensuring that civilization remains sustainable."

Not true, as this is a logic fallacy. Civilization would/could be sustainable even if opposite sex marriage was outlawed. One does not lead to, or from, the other. This is extreme of course, but your assertion that man & woman = procreation = civilization is simply wrong.

"7. Society can choose who it wants to give the franchise to."

Not really. The "franchise" is based on law. And that law must abide by overriding principles. So, for example, a certain society could choose to make interracial marriage illegal. That society would be out of luck if it was it the U.S. What they wanted simply wouldn't matter, since more important principles (in this case equal protection) trump their choice.

"8. The vast majority of people think marriage is only between a man and a woman."

Time and civilization move on. Thank God for that. Not too long ago most people thought homosexuality was a mental disorder. Thankfully we now know this isn't true.

"11. Same sex unions do not have the possibility of procreation, so they do not posses the necessary pre-condition upon which to value the institution of marriage."

Tell this to the many same sex couples who have children. In fact if same sex marriages were legal then even more such couples would probably be raising kids. You cancel your own argument here.
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:07 PM on February 24, 2004


entire argument from Seth an PP relies on the assumption that the majority is with them, so lets find out

We will. That is why amendments need to be ratified.

I will do everything in my power as a U.S. citizen to ensure that this amendment doesn't sully our Constitution. If you agree, make sure you do too. Write your congressmen. Write you state legislators. Let them know what you think.

You can be sure your opponents will.
posted by moonbiter at 4:08 PM on February 24, 2004


"Come on, do you guys really think that homosexuals really want to get married?"

Yes. Having gay and lesbians friends who have been "married" I can say with total conviction that they wanted to be married in the traditional sense.
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:11 PM on February 24, 2004


Ask anyone who has been married. Shortly after you get married, the question quickly becomes recurrent: "When are you going to have kids?" That is the next question after people find out you are married.

*Laughing uncontrollably!!!* 'Been married 3 times. No one - EVER suggested there was anything wrong with us because my wives and myself didn't want children, and no ONE, until now has suggested that we didn't really have a societally acceptable marraige. Thanks, Seth, that alone was worth it.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:14 PM on February 24, 2004


" I can't imagine adding the part about procreation in there would effect anyone's vote because it is implicit in everyone's thought on marriage."

Not mine. Not the woman I'm engaged to. Hell, not even yours. You said above it was cool if married people didn't have kids.
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:15 PM on February 24, 2004


I have no stake in this battle. - Seth

So why only argue from one POV? For the sake of argument, Seth, and to show that you have 'no stake in this battle' what are any possible advantages to the case for gay marriages, or gay unions?.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:16 PM on February 24, 2004


Wonkette has obtained a rough draft of the document:
Peenies are for sticking in hoo-has. Also, hoo-has may not touch other hoo-has. Unless we're talking about two hot chicks. Like Naomi Watts and someone else hot.

The Bush Administration: Preserving the integrity of the Constitution as our Founders intended.


And given that there are more than 1000 rights and benefits contingent on being married, I doubt all of them can be done with a lawyer. (even if most could, why do we have to go to and pay for special legal documents to get things that straight couples get automatically?)
posted by amberglow at 4:21 PM on February 24, 2004


Ask anyone who has been married. Shortly after you get married, the question quickly becomes recurrent: "When are you going to have kids?" That is the next question after people find out you are married.

I'm with Wulfgar! et al.

I'm a heterosexual male. I want to get married to the woman I love. I do not want and will never have children. I have even undergone a surgical procedure to ensure that it will never happen.

So. Should I allowed to get married? If not, why not?
posted by moonbiter at 4:21 PM on February 24, 2004


There's absolutely no question that marriage is considered a fundamental right in American constitutional law. "The right to marry is part of the fundamental 'right of privacy' implicit in the Fourteemth Amendment's Due Process Clause." Zablocki v. Redhail, 98 S.Ct. 673 (1978). How much more clear could they be? If the Supreme Court calls it a right, the fact that some pundit in a law review article calls it a "franchise" means absolutely nothing.

That's not to say that there's no ambiguity as to the scope of the right to marry. But there is absolutely no question that the constitution places significant restrictions on the ability of the state to regulate who can and can't get married. If that doesn't constitute a right, I don't know what does.
posted by boltman at 4:27 PM on February 24, 2004


ObSimpsons:
I'm an amendment to be
Yes, an amendment to be
And I'm hoping that they'll ratify me
There's a lot of flag-burners who have got too much freedom
I want to make it legal for policemen to beat 'em
'Cause there's limits to our liberties
At least, I hope and pray that there are
'Cause those liberal freaks go too far
[Little Boy] But why can't we just make a law against flag burning?
[Amendment] Because that law would be unconstitutional
But if we change the constitution -
[Little Boy] - Then we could make all sorts of crazy laws!
[Amendment] Now you're catching on!
[Little Boy] But what if they say you're not good enough to be in the constitution?
[Amendment] Then I'll crush all opposition to me!
And I'll make Ted Kennedy pay
If he fights back, I'll say that he's gay
[Congressman] Good news, amendment! They ratified you!
You're in the US Constitution!
[Amendment] Oh, yeah! Door's open, boys!
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:36 PM on February 24, 2004


Maybe I'll chime in for a sec. I've got a couple of gay employees ... and there was a really interesting breakroom conversation last week. (My New York staff is largely 20 - 30 somethings with a high degree of tolerance). The conversation was no so much about whether or not gay marriage was right or not (the consensus is that it simply is) ... but rather about what the effects would be on relationships. Over half these folks are single ... and conversations commonly revolve around the weird NY dating scene, and the multiple permutations of relationships in the 21st century.

One guy (single and straight) started talking about the underlying dynamic of almost any relationship he'd ever been in ... a good deal of dating is for fun, but when you talk relationship, in most cases only a certain amount of time can go by before the question of "where is this going" ... i.e., marriage, comes up. This dynamic quite often dominates heterosexual relationships. In gay relationships, however, the underlying dynamic has always been that of togetherness in spite of (or sometimes actually assisted by) "outsider" status. Even if it isn't spoken, there's always the sense a good number of people just don't understand the relationship, and a not inconsiderable number of people disapprove. And the most total commitment possible is entirely interpersonal (i.e., there is no outside institution like marriage).

But what happens if gay marriage does become legal? How completely would it transform the fundamental nature of gay relationships ... that would suddenly find themselves equally subject to the "where is this going" paradigm.

Struck me as kind of an interesting question.
posted by MidasMulligan at 4:40 PM on February 24, 2004


But what happens if gay marriage does become legal? How completely would it transform the fundamental nature of gay relationships ... that would suddenly find themselves equally subject to the "where is this going" paradigm.

Interesting point, Midas. However, there are plenty of us gays who, whether or not marriage is legal, are looking for something permanent -- looking to eventually move in with someone, create a home together, create families. And there are plenty of gays who aren't looking for that right now. Admittedly, it's not as straightforward as "I want to get married someday" -- but it's "I want [the de facto equivalent] someday."
posted by Tin Man at 4:49 PM on February 24, 2004


Also, what will happen is that when parents talk of their children's future (and marriage is always part of what's envisioned--the general social path people are supposed to take), it'll be a possibility for all kids, and we'll actually be part of the larger picture for the first time. I see the benefits of this as paying off more for future generations than those of us adults now. Much of the drama and demonization that occurs now will be lessened, i hope by a certain normalization of our relationships and lives (if wanted, of course). But I realize that terrifies many bigots and haters.
posted by amberglow at 5:03 PM on February 24, 2004


For fun I went over to freerepublic to see what the freepers were saying. A few excerpts:

First... one of the stupidest things I've ever read:

"Some will argue that the constitution shouldn't be amended willy-nilly, and will play this theme to the American voters. However, the Constitution has been amended on avg. every 10 years."
--
"we need to change the terms of the debate from "Civil Rights" to the "Greater Good of our Children". Without this amendment, sooner or later our the message our government will be sending our children is that it makes NO DIFFERENCE whether you marry someone of the same sex or someone of the opposite sex."
--
"Some bimbo on ABC said the President backed a Constitutional ban on gay marriage. Gawd, what a twit. Anyway, it's about time he took a stand. LET's ROLL!"
--
The ultimate problem with conservatives is that they internalize everything:

"If anyone has young adult children who think gay marriage is ok and natural ask them how they would feel if Mom left Dad for another woman or Dad left Mom to unite in matrimony with another man. I think their liberal college brainwashed minds might rethink this if they had to think in terms of "in my house".

Some how "won't someone think of the children" has become "won't someone think of me and my prejudices... me-me-me!" And they say liberals are the whiny ones...
posted by wfrgms at 5:04 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth:And if those opposed to your view on the same-sex marriage thing thought tyhe could get away with it, they would outlaw divorce too and single-parent marriage.

And the more people that know this, the better. Fucking theocrats.

So how does this justify permitting same-sex marriage?
I don't need to justify permitting it, you need to justify banning it.
posted by bashos_frog at 5:20 PM on February 24, 2004


5. Since this a state franchise, it can be given to whomever society deems appropriate. It is not a right. It requires one to go get a license and meet a bunch of conditions (must be of age, un-related, not presently married, different genders, mentally competent, be a citizen [note: getting married oversees is a different consideration])

You missed the point. You can restrict a franchise, but not in a discriminatory manner. The government could not pass a law prohibiting gay people from voting. Same with marriage.
posted by tirade at 5:22 PM on February 24, 2004


The vast majority of people think marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Once again, the issue seems to be marriage as defined by the church versus marriage the state institution/franchise/whatever. My impression has been that there is more staunch opposition to same sex marriages when they're mixed up with capital-M marriage like you get in church, but when asked [as stated way above] "Do you think gay couples deserve the same state benefits as straight couples?" I think most people either don't care or say "Yeah, okay." If you call that partnership something else -- civil unions or whatever -- it makes tons of people more comfy with the whole thing. Few people want gay seniors to not be able to share Medicare and social security benefits with their lifelong partners, or want gay couples to be forced to testify against each other in court [just another of the thousand or so little perks to be afforded to straight married couples]. Sure some do, but fewer and fewer every day.

If "they" really wanted marriage so badly, why don't more homosexuals take advantage of Vermont's civil union laws?

Have you been here lately? They do. Vermont is crawling with happily "unionized" gay people but you can't really tell because most of them look just like you and I. Plus, the damned thing isn't worth the paper it's printed on outside of the state, thanks to DOMA.

I got married to someone I barely knew at a drive-up window in Las Vegas and presto, we had all sorts of societal benefits. We didn't have to live together, share a bank account, or even really know each other's last name except to write it on the form. We didn't even have to procreate, though I suppose we could have if we'd wanted to. Why? Because we're straight and [state] marriage laws really aren't about family or civilization or procreation, they're about property rights and taxes. Religious marriages are about sanctifying your union before God. They're different things, unfortunately in bed with each for other too long in the US.
posted by jessamyn at 5:23 PM on February 24, 2004


Well, ifin' y'all promise not to give me the Seth treatment for voicing a dissenting opinion, I'll promise to try and frame my concerns in a rational manner. You may disagree -- that's why they're called "discussions". First, given my posting history here, I really don't think I need to wave my liberal credentials. Nonetheless, I'm not comfortable with the manner in which the the "gay marriage" issue is unfolding and -- at the moment -- I lean against it.

When it comes to something that is so deeply woven into the fabric of Western civilization, carries such symbolic power and spiritual meaning to so many people, and stands at the cenozure of our art and literature -- I don't think it's wise to exploit a few legal technicalities to circumvent it in such an in-yer-face manner as we're seeing now. Society needs to define certain things for itself. It may very well make mistakes in the process (that's one of the ways we grow as a people), but it has to work through and ruminate on ideas which fundamentally change its icons and institutions. (And don't try to seek refuge in counterarguments about "slavery" or "child labour" -- both went through protracted periods of societal reflection before they were finally changed. The concept of "gay marriage" is still a novelty to the general population).

In short, I'm saying you're moving too fast. Too many people are against the idea. You need to whittle down those numbers a bit or you'll merely invite an overwhelming backlash that will quite possibly devastate your cause for decades to come. Am I the only one here old enough to marvel at the progress made by the gay community in a staggeringly short period of time? Consolidate those well-earned acheivements and press on in the effort to voice your case -- I suspect you'll succeed in the end. But I don't think the time is right at the moment.

PS. Yes, I know that counseling patience is poor solace to people who want immediate results and don't understand why their position isn't self-evident to everyone else -- but just as Carl Sagan said that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, so too do extraordinary changes demand extraordinary forethought and deliberation.
posted by RavinDave at 5:29 PM on February 24, 2004


If "they" really wanted marriage so badly, why don't more homosexuals take advantage of Vermont's civil union laws? If you don't know what I'm talking about, it shows your lack of knowledge on this subject.
...
As for activist judges ... if you think what the judges in San Fran are doing is correct, you need to clear you head a bit.

I'm for gay rights, but opposed to gay marriages. I believe that homosexuals can choose whatever lifestyle that is, but should not be granted marriage benefits.
...
I know, you guys are going to label me as sexist/discriminatory/anti-Hillary, but I'm not.


jlachapell, is this some sort of bizarre performance art? Are you trying to make some kind of post-structuralist point about the malleability and ultimate meaninglessness of language?
posted by mr_roboto at 5:29 PM on February 24, 2004



In short, I'm saying you're moving too fast. Too many people are against the idea. You need to whittle down those numbers a bit or you'll merely invite an overwhelming backlash that will quite possibly devastate your cause for decades to come. Am I the only one here old enough to marvel at the progress made by the gay community in a staggeringly short period of time? Consolidate those well-earned acheivements and press on in the effort to voice your case -- I suspect you'll succeed in the end. But I don't think the time is right at the moment.


We should wait for others to be comfortable and ready? Sorry. With that attitude, it'll never happen. Parents of schoolchildren weren't ready; servicemembers weren't ready, etc....The only way to succeed in the end is thru the courts, and this issue is being thrust to the forefront by the president's misguided and hateful attempts to change the constitution, and make this an election issue.
posted by amberglow at 5:35 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth, regarding cousins and underage people, I have just 3 words to say:
Jerry Lee Lewis
posted by bashos_frog at 5:39 PM on February 24, 2004


What is best for our society is to have one man and one woman marry and raise our society's future (our children).

Wow, talk about a narrow view of the world.

if judges were allowing people to carry concealed weapons down Market Street, would you be cheering them on, telling them they are doing the right thing?

Hell yeah. Mark me down as one of those gun-toting fag-lovers.

Also: Witty, Paramus, Seth, and 3/10 of Alabama - enjoy your slow, sad slide into insignificance. Progress happens, and when it does, the future will be pointing and laughing at you, along with those who used to call brown people "savages", and those who got all flustered at the sight of a woman's knee. Good luck, and good riddance.
posted by majcher at 5:40 PM on February 24, 2004


Well, ifin' y'all promise not to give me the Seth treatment for voicing a dissenting opinion, I'll promise to try and frame my concerns in a rational manner.
- Ravindave

It's not because he dissents, it's because he fails to persuade with rational arguments. The nearest he's come to success is in some folk conceding the rights/franchise definition - and then asking him why should the franchise be restricted in a discriminatory manner?

Listen, Dave, you say the progressives move too fast, but that implies that victory will come, eventually. Equal rights for non-whites did not eradicate racism, and equal rights for all regardless of orientation will not eliminate anti-gay bigotry.

One thing is for sure: I know how I'd like to answer the question 'What did you do in the [culture] war, Daddy?'
posted by dash_slot- at 5:46 PM on February 24, 2004


I'm still waiting to hear how gays being allowed to marry will hurt the country. I've been waiting for years.

Me too. If anything it'll do wonders for the tuxedo industry.

The most interesting thing about this thread so far, is how many self-decribed republicans and conservatives Bush is losing with this. He'd already alienated many traditional, small government conservatives with his deficit spending, and this will drive even more of them out. He'll probably lose the younger, urban-executive type repubs since they're bound to have some gay friends.

In his eagerness to pander to the extreme religious wing of the right, he's alienated the rest of his party. Smooth move, ex-lax.

I think Bush will be his own undoing here. Makes me feel not so bad about abstaining from voting.
posted by jonmc at 5:48 PM on February 24, 2004


I'm a bit thick this morning, could someone explain this to me?

If a gay couple get married, how does that stop a straight couple from having childeren, thus continuing the 'expansion of the species'?
posted by cheaily at 5:51 PM on February 24, 2004


RavinDave - So you oppose the constitutional amendment that would make same sex marriage forever impossible?
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:53 PM on February 24, 2004


something that is so deeply woven into the fabric of Western civilization

Well, part of the disagreement here is the conceit that marriage is somehow "deeply woven" into the civilization, that it somehow has some type of magical "sanctity" that has to be defended. I, and a lot of other people, consider this a crock, a rationalization trying to defend what, at it's core, is simply a prejudice based on gut feelings of discomfort (and in many cases, I'm sure, sheer revulsion).

But the bottom line for me is one of logic, and this amendment makes no sense.

I am a heterosexual. I will not -- and in fact can not -- have children. Still, if I want to marry the woman I love society will allow me. Besides the fact that the sexual act would be carried out in a slightly different fashion, how would my marriage be fundamentally different than that of a gay couple?

It simply makes no sense.

I have been embarassed and uncomfortable around explicitly gay men and women in the past. It's part of how I was brought up. But in the end it is just a stupid prejudice, and something reasonable, mature adults can and should overcome.
posted by moonbiter at 5:55 PM on February 24, 2004


If a gay couple get married, how does that stop a straight couple from having childeren, thus continuing the 'expansion of the species'?

I think the reasoning is that if gay sex is normalized and kids think it is okay, then soon everyone will be doing it. Apparently gay sex is far superior to heterosexual sex, although how this could be the case remains a mystery to me.

Oh, and it's an abomination to God's eyes or something like that.
posted by moonbiter at 5:59 PM on February 24, 2004


In short, I'm saying you're moving too fast.

Well, let's remember that what we do now will be remembered when we, inevitably, have this discussion yet again ... probably the day we can clone ourselves easily.

You'll wish we had moved faster.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:01 PM on February 24, 2004


Hey, this is fun.

Seth: "There is no right to marriage, either."

I'm not sold on that. There may actually be one, at least according to SCOTUS:

"Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival."

LOVING v. VIRGINIA, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)

The U.S. Constitution may also have something relevant to say:

"...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

14TH Amendment, Sec. 1

Then there is that whole thorny, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness business. Unless your homosexual?

The proposed amendment is no more than a political move to formally define marriage in an attempt to disqualify same sex couples from the above guarantees. It is exclusionary and, in fact, does seek to limit constituitional protections based upon sexual orientation. Play your word games and call it a priviledge or a franchise, but we may as well be discussing the meaning of the word 'imminent' or 'is' -- it would be no less political than discussing the word 'marriage' in the context of a constitutional amendment.

I'm no lawyer or scholar, but it's always been my impression that in a republic the judiciary exists to protect minorities from the whims of the masses.
posted by cedar at 6:02 PM on February 24, 2004


Oh yeah, I forgot this part.

LOVING v. VIRGINIA is relevant as it addresses marriage as a right. In this case it deals with mixed race marriage. Unless one accepts homosexuality as a conscious choice rather than an inherent trait, the principles are the same. If one insists that homosexuality is a choice and/or an aberration then the only rationale remaining for opposition is homophobia -- in which case he/she is just a bigoted asshat.
posted by cedar at 6:05 PM on February 24, 2004


moonbiter: I don't know what this 'god' thing is, can I be exempt from all this nonsense?
posted by cheaily at 6:09 PM on February 24, 2004


y6y6y6 So you oppose the constitutional amendment that would make same sex marriage forever impossible?

Yes, but for other grounds than you probably think. I don't believe it's properly addresses pro- or con- in the Constitution. Moreover, I've given the Constitutional angel very little thought, since I don't believe that it will be the ultimate battlefield -- except indirectly when a couple married in California comes here to Nebraska (say) and attempts to assert the "full faith and credit" clause. That will be fasttracked to the SCOTUS and will almost certainly be batted down. I don't think the SCOTUS has a legal foot to stand on, but that won't stop them from manufacturing a pretext.

That's will be part of the backlash I spoke of.
posted by RavinDave at 6:11 PM on February 24, 2004


my two cents:

the constitution was meant to limit powers of the gov't, not the people. A constitutional amendment is the wrong place to make his stand - foolish as it is...

on the subject of gay marriage - Assume that people choose to be gay because its really hip right now. It changes nothing.

THE PERSONAL FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS OF CITIZENS SHOULDN'T BE RESTRICTED UNLESS THEY CONFLICT WITH THE FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS OF OTHERS.

your concerns for the moral health of the country do not provide you with the grounds for depriving anyone of the same rights you enjoy.

Also - a mandate from the masses does not give you those grounds either. At one point, 95% of Americans felt black men shouldn't be allowed to marry our white women, and wasn't that a swell consensus?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 6:15 PM on February 24, 2004


In short, I'm saying you're moving too fast. Too many people are against the idea.

RavinDave, you make a good point, and it's one I've thought about a lot. I go back and forth on whether we should push for full marriage right now. Maybe we should just try for civil unions and let people get used to the idea.

On the other hand, that's what the pro-integration people tried to do. First they had law schools integrated, then colleges (or something like that), and then all schools. And yet people still didn't buy it. Ten years after Brown v. Board of Education, an incredibly small number of school districts in the South were actually integrated. Brown didn't do it alone -- it took a series of Supreme Court decisions from the mid-50s to the early 70s to make racial integration in schools a reality.

I'll admit, I'm scared of a backlash. Part of me does think we should hold back right now. And yet, there was an interesting column in the Boston Globe a couple of weeks ago:

Was it just a decade ago when domestic partnerships were considered so radical they were restricted to a few liberal hamlets? In 2000, when the Vermont Legislature approved civil unions, people in the Green Mountain State predicted the sky would fall, the milk would curdle and the maple sap would stop running.

Now civil union has become the moderate position. The argument over the rights of gay partners to marital benefits is nearly ceded. The debate is now about names.


This is not to say that I'd ultimately be satisfied with civil unions. As has been stated many times, civil unions offer no federal benefits. They should make T-shirts in Vermont that say, "I fought for gay marriage and all I got was this lousy civil union."

If that's all Vermonters got out of the marriage fight, what would have happened if they'd fought only for civil unions?

I know what I want. The question is, what's the best way to go about getting it? And I really don't know the answer.
posted by Tin Man at 6:18 PM on February 24, 2004


And how will voters react in November?

Mrs. Alums said it best, and rather vehemently at that: "This pretty much guarantees I won't be voting for his ass."
posted by alumshubby at 6:19 PM on February 24, 2004


Point-by-Point Rebuttal of Seth's arguments.
1. Man and woman is the only known means of procreation, and, therefore, ensuring that civilization remains sustainable.
This has nothing whatsoever to do with marriage. Marriage is unecessary for procreation and procreatio is unecessary for marriage.

2. Thus, the union of a man and a woman is the basic building block of a society.
Thus, this point makes no sense, either. If anything out constitution recognizes the free individual as the building block of society. There are no rights for couples, just rights for individuals who happen to be part of a couple.

3. As such, our civilization has always recognized the importance of that union by valuing it.
This is meaningless. It applies to everything, and therefore nothing. We've always recognized the importance of television by valuing it. See - it's easy.

4. We created state sanctioned marriage, which is different and apart of religious marriage (or marriage before God---the only real reason and form most religious people care about).
OK, this is true - we did institute marriage laws.

5. Since this a state franchise, it can be given to whomever society deems appropriate. It is not a right. It requires one to go get a license and meet a bunch of conditions (must be of age, un-related, not presently married, different genders, mentally competent, be a citizen [note: getting married oversees is a different consideration])
These conditions vary by state and as such are completely arbitrary. And citizenship is NOT a requirement, just ask my wife.

6. Society defines what attributes it requires in those that it will sanction to be married.
Bzzzt. Society defines nothing, the states, through the legislature and the courts, do.

7. Society can choose who it wants to give the franchise to.
Bzzzt, again. Individual jurisdictions can choose who may have the franchise.

8. The vast majority of people think marriage is only between a man and a woman.
Doesn't matter what the majority thinks. Just ask Al Gore. The constitution is designed to offer protection from the tyranny of the majority, anyway.

9. The reason the vast majority of people think marriage is only between a man and a woman is because people implicitly understand that marriage is something that leads to procreation and the preservation of mankind. Not just some social arrangement or club.
Objection! Pure speculation, your honor.

10. As such, people want men and women to married. If they don't have kids, then oh well. At least the possibility exists.
More speculation, and in any case it doesn't matter. Many people want women barefoot in the kitchen, too - doesn't make it right. I personally want people in love to get married - regardless of gender.

11. Same sex unions do not have the possibility of procreation, so they do not posses the necessary pre-condition upon which to value the institution of marriage.
If it was all leading up to this, it is kind of a letdown. It was established way back at point one that procreation has absolutely nothing to do with marriage, and vice versa.

Thanks for playing.
posted by bashos_frog at 6:23 PM on February 24, 2004


Interesting that Bush made this announcment the very next day after Nader annouced his candidacy.

Why? Because Kerry will lose more voters to Nader over this issue than Bush will lose mainstream voters (after gaining back Christian conservatives). Politics of division: it's all about who loses less. If a wedge issue drives a bigger wedge into your oppostion than into you, you run with it. Bush did the arithmetic (or more likely Rove did it for him), and seeing he came out ahead, made his announcment.
posted by jrbender at 6:32 PM on February 24, 2004


But who will Drudge vote for? I'm sure he'd like to settle down and marry a nice Chelsea boy.
posted by Slagman at 6:33 PM on February 24, 2004


RavinDave: Whether the time is right or not, President Bush's action today has moved things beyond that consideration. I think he's making a huge error -- more of the public is comfortable with gays than he recognizes, the amendment will never get out of Congress, and as people become accustomed to gay marriage over the next few weeks and months, the opposition from non-evangelicals and secular people will fade. All that he'll have to show for it is a reputation as the president who tried to enshrine discrimination into the Constitution.
posted by rcade at 6:40 PM on February 24, 2004


RavinDave: the Full Faith and Credit debate is by no means cut and dry. The text of the clause includes "And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof." As I understand it, it's still pretty unsettled what that last part actually means. Presumably a results-oriented Supreme Court will have little trouble coming up with a reasonably persuasive interpretation that allows Nebraska to not recognize a gay marriage in California.
posted by boltman at 6:40 PM on February 24, 2004


So, under this constitutional amendment, will a post-op transsexual female be able to marry a man? Who defines sex? What if the transgendered person is pre-op but identifies as female? Could she marry a gay man? These are the questions that must be asked at a national debate of both presidential candidates. We should also demand to know if either has ever had a homosexual thought or experience. This is the one last taboo in American political debate questions. We've asked every other thing of our candidates than that, and it's about time. What happened in those closed skull and bone wankfests, as described in the autobiography of your fellow "bonesman" Dick Cavettt, Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush? Was there any male to male touching?
posted by Slagman at 6:56 PM on February 24, 2004


In short, I'm saying you're moving too fast. Too many people are against the idea. You need to whittle down those numbers a bit or you'll merely invite an overwhelming backlash that will quite possibly devastate your cause for decades to come. Am I the only one here old enough to marvel at the progress made by the gay community in a staggeringly short period of time? Consolidate those well-earned acheivements and press on in the effort to voice your case -- I suspect you'll succeed in the end. But I don't think the time is right at the moment.

With all due respect - I think you are wrong ... this is precisely the time to push the issue, and make the strongest case possible. In fact, I suspect those trying to advance this amendment may look back several years from now and consider the biggest tactical mistake they've ever made.

Dig. America today has become a vast cauldron of conflicting causes. Protest has become formulaic and commoditized. Every cause is "vital" in the eyes of its proponents. Precisely because the American public is virtually overwhelmed with causes (left and right) that use increasingly emotional and inflammatory rhetoric, the public has become desensitized, and almost immune ... and the biggest issue facing any cause today is not a question of the legitimacy of the specific arguments, but rather of the attention of some critical mass of the public.

While the polls currently show the public leaning 2 to 1 against gay marriage, and the fundamentalists believe this indicates strong support for their position, I think they have badly miscalculated. I suspect that support may be wide, but is not deep. That is, because marriage is such an ancient and embedded tradition, the average American who has not thought through the issue will likely take a sort of "default" position if asked ... they'll just revert to the norm.

What this proposed amendment will do is invite widespread public discourse on the issue. Hell folks, PETA would fucking love it if someone proposed a constitutional amendment to permanently assign animals less-than-human status ... because for the first time, large numbers of Americans who only vaguely heard of the issue would be debating its merits in detail.

The people who are proposing this amendment are taking a big risk - bigger (I think) than they envision. First of all, it is an adherence to tradition that has resulted in the current poll numbers - but that same adherence to tradition that delivers those poll numbers will also make it very hard to alter the Constitution ... something that America does not do lightly.

My advice to my gay friends (and employees) is this: Carpe Diem. Recognize that the folks pushing this amendment have made a bad political blunder - they elevated your cause into the national spotlight. It has now become differentiated from the mass of causes du jour, and is about to command substantive national attention. Even further, the media - if used correctly - is likely to be an ally.

For the first time, large numbers of people who only reflexively (and often almost unconsciously) would answer "no" to a pollster, will be hearing sustained, reasoned arguments about the issue. Use this.

And as someone who is not exactly a political novice, I'd suggest this: Approach the American public not with angry rhetoric, nor condescension, nor with an attitude that dismisses them as being unenlightened ... but rather, with respect. Understand they are being asked to consider something that will push a lot of deeply emotional buttons, and help them work through it.

But most of all, always emphasize the fundamental truth of marriage - a permanent, commited, loving relationship that sustains itself "for better or worse". Please understand this ... if the issue is "gay marriage", those pushing the amendment will focus on the gay ... don't let them ... rather, vigorously focus on the marriage. On the immense benefits that accrue to society when any two people commit to love and care for one another, above all others, for the rest of their lives. In every public appearance, make certain that gay couples look like human adults simply wanting the right to codify that lifetime commitment, while the opponents look like sick, twisted children fixated on the sex and gender side of things.

You can make certain the folks pushing this amendment really screwed up. Politics is bloodsport. They will have an almost impossible task getting such an amendment introduced and passed, but when they lose, thjings will not just go back to the way they were. Many Americans will have heard, and thought about, the issues at an intellectual (rather than visceral) level. I suspect public opinion can be changed dramatically during the course of the debate (if the gay folks that want the right to marry are politically astutue, and really take advantage of the incredible opportunity they've just been handed).

Look at defeating such an amendment as "Phase 1" ... because once it is defeated, and public opinion polls swing in the opposite direction ... Phase 2 can take place in an environment in which politicians will have a hard time voting against laws thast permit gay marriage.

And even futher ... do not simply write off all conservatives. Just as RavinDave doesn't need to demonstrate his liberal credntials ... I suspect I probably don't need to assert my conservative credentials ... but I see no conflict in my position ... in fact, I take it as an expression of my conservative values. And even in the circles of the biggest businesses in the US, others agree with me. (I worked, a couple of years ago, for one of the biggest financial firms on the street. It offers partner benefits, quietly ... true story here folks ... its COO - who is a close personal friend of the CEO - is a gay man, who has been with the same partner since college ... his partner had severe heart troubles some years ago. In casual conversation, the CEO realized his COO, and dear friend, was paying his partner's medical expenses out of his own pocket. This CEO was a guy that had simply never really considered the issue, and one that probably would have said "no" on an opinion poll. But when the reality was brought home to him, and he had the issue personalized, well, suffice it to say that within a year that huge multinational was introducing partner benefits ...).

With all due respect, ignore RavinDave ... now is EXACTLY the time to prepare to make your case ... but please think deeply about how to make it ...

Shit folks - we all fight with each other perpetually in this coutry (and on MeFi). But marriage is way beyond the ordinary issue. The unbelievable good fortune of finding the right person in life is so damn precious that the gender that person comes dressed in is insignificant. The power, and strength of character it takes to commit to someone for a lifetime is so overwhelming that sex is minor in comparison ... it isn't even a damned issue.

Fight for the right to do so. Intelligently. Respectfully. And now. This is the time to go for it. And if you make your case politely, and forcefully, count of support coming from directions that will suprise the living shit out of you.
posted by MidasMulligan at 7:00 PM on February 24, 2004


I've given the Constitutional angel very little thought

This brings up a mental image of a white-clad spectral being with a face that morphs from Ben Franklin to Thomas Jefferson and back holding up the document under discussion, saying in a deep resonant voice, "Fuck with this at your peril. Remember those prohibitionists?"

I know, you don't need to say it: I'm an idiot.
posted by deadcowdan at 7:01 PM on February 24, 2004


Because Kerry will lose more voters to Nader over this issue than Bush will lose mainstream voters (after gaining back Christian conservatives).

I don't know. Tom Delay and David Dreier have just come out as being against the amendment. That can't look good. It's possible that Bush will lose swing voters who may be vaguely against gay marriage but not enough to amend the constitution, and who could be pissed off at seeing the prez expending time and political currency on an issue that even his party bigwigs can't agree on.

Meanwhile, the left get energized by an issue that isn't that big a deal either way for that middle 20% of the electorate.
posted by liam at 7:01 PM on February 24, 2004


I know most people don't really give a hoot about other countries... but has any republic/democracy/quasi-elected country recently banned gay marriage? Not any country where it isn't legal, but took steps to outlaw it? Just a question.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:03 PM on February 24, 2004


Fascinating discussion, gang o' mine ... but I gotta remember not to post longs speeches when I can't hang around for the aftermath. I gotta get some sleep, but I will tie up a few loose ends (and check back later).

Tin Man -- appreciated your thoughtful message and largely concur.

rcade -- I think you and several here overestimate the popular support base, but I guess only time will tell. For what it's worth, I'm rooting for you, but I'm a glass-half-empty kinda guy who fears the worse. The tightrope your side walks is this: Somewhere down the line, you are going to need a sympathetic SCOTUS, but the timing of this and it's effective portrayal as a "flaunting of tradition" coupled with the bogeyman of "activist judges" could very well galvanize the Right and Moderate America to vote in numbers ensuring that the High Court moves solidly to the Right and it will be a generation before you get that sympathetic ear.

boltman -- Good post.
posted by RavinDave at 7:10 PM on February 24, 2004


maybe Egypt?

Don't forget, everyone--the Musgrave amendment makes even civil unions impossible. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Ravin: it's moderate america that's very turned off by this. Many more people than you realize know, or work with, or live near openly gay people--it has changed attitudes.
posted by amberglow at 7:13 PM on February 24, 2004


For the record: I argued so vociferously in this thread because every time a comment is made in MeTa about the ass-patting in these kinds of threads, everyone responds back with, "instead of complaining, why don't you just present the otherside."


So, I tested their advice here. After saying that personally I was indifferent, but I would endeavor to present the argument for the other side, I began to address some particular rhetorical questions presented.

I cited to legal authority and basic genetic truths.

I never once said anything negative towards gays or said anything negative towards any person in this thread.

But I was welcomed with a torrent of insults.

I was called a "jerk," a prick, an idiot, a stupid lawyer, unclever. My posts were called Bullshit. I was accused of BEATING MY WIFE. I was called a redneck. I was told I was from Alabama.

So once again, we see that balanced discourse is impossible on MeFi. Anyone who presents a non-MeFi (read: lefty/progressive) is jumped on and talked down to like they are an idiot.

This dearth of respect for people's opinions is exactly why newsfilter/politicsfilter crap should be off MeFi. Because all it does is show the worst side of our membership.
posted by Seth at 7:17 PM on February 24, 2004


I agree with MidasMulligan. There, I said it.

On the other hand, although I pray that Bush has signed his own political death warrant today -- suicide by electorate -- I don't live in America, and I'm not entirely certain what the tenor is, recent rising media-darling status of gay folk aside. Perhaps pushing it in just the way that MM advocates now would alienate so much of the heartland that Bush would in fact squeak back in over such an issue. I just don't know.

I'd also note that it strikes me odd that MM was eloquently expressing his support for the maintenance of the status quo a couple of days back, but is advocating just the opposite here. Odd, but I'm inconsistent sometimes too, so I'll let it pass with a raised eyebrow if nothing else.

Also : jlachapell, is this some sort of bizarre performance art? Are you trying to make some kind of post-structuralist point about the malleability and ultimate meaninglessness of language?

Best Snark Ever.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:22 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth, perhaps I can help you out with one of those: the "beating your wife" is the most famous example of the loaded question form of argumentation. It might help to become familiar with some of these shorthand ways of referring to fallacies, as they crop up a lot here.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:27 PM on February 24, 2004


First off: I don't think you'll get any more support for gay marriage by saying "we're not forcing churches to support this". That's rather obvious in my mind. It's legal for a divorced person to remarry, but try getting a Catholic priest to do it some time. What's more, there ARE Christian denominations (and some other religious groups) that will perform marriage ceremonies between homosexual couples. The ONLY thing that's lacking is governmental approval. And yes, MOST of the legal rights of marriage can be obtained through a series of contracts, but that's hardly equivalent, since heterosexual marriage is a very small form to fill out and negotiating those contracts seperately would undoubtedly require professional legal assistance. It would also force corporations to treat gay couples in the same way it treats straight married couples, in the same way that the government enforces non-discrimination, which would provide important stuff like insurance and widow's pensions.

Yes, marriage was instituted for the birth and raising of children. But in reality, there are a lot of children already naturally born (and I don't think we, as a society, are lacking in sexual union between heteosexuals) who are in need of a couple people to nurture and raise them. And while I don't think this should be a prerequisite to any marriage, it's certainly a lot easier with two people around than it is with one.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:29 PM on February 24, 2004


MidasMulligan - Agreed for the most part, but I disagree that this will fail. For the reason that it was only put forward to be a smokescreen. Bush, and everyone else in Washington, knows this won't make it into the constitution. Hell, it will probably never go to a vote. But it will divert the nation's attention to something that has nothing to do with Bush's performance over the last three years. it's not a wedge issue, it's a giant clown running through the room singing showtunes.

But I agree it will bite them in the ass. As usual, Bush has screwed it up.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:36 PM on February 24, 2004


"Anyone who presents a non-MeFi is jumped on and talked down to like they are an idiot."

Not so. You are cherry picking. There were plenty of people who met you head-on in a polite manner. You, however, decided to engage the name callers.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:41 PM on February 24, 2004


But it will divert the nation's attention to something that has nothing to do with Bush's performance over the last three years. it's not a wedge issue, it's a giant clown running through the room singing showtunes.
*meet me in st. louis, louis, meet me at the fair...honk! honk!*

That brings up the timing issue then...if this is meant to distract (i think it is too), it'll only work for a few weeks at most--the election's not until november. What's next?
posted by amberglow at 7:43 PM on February 24, 2004


I was called a "jerk," a prick, an idiot, a stupid lawyer, unclever.

Nobody mentioned whiny?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:45 PM on February 24, 2004


This stuff some from "traditionalists" here about marriage being a building block is right, but not for the reason they give; procreation takes place outside of marriage on a daily basis, and always has. The reason marriage was so useful in preserving civilization is that it made for an orderly and official transfer of property from one family to another. That is, ownership of the bride was transferred from her father to her husband. I don't think most people in the US now think of marriage as a change in who owns a woman. So that's changed.

Marriage also established the husband as the exclusive holder of reproductive privileges w/r/t his wife. If it preserved civilization it was because it kept down on the number of jealous husbands committing murder and the revenge killings and inter-tribal feuds which might ensue, and not because people have ever needed the slightest incentive to have children. We have divorce courts now to sort these disputes out, and there ANY sex outside the marriage is legitimate grounds for divorce. See? The emphasis is on sex, not procreation.

So when we marry, we're not transferring deed of title on a woman from one man to another. Infidelity is settled with lawyers, not stonings and murder. Sex which can never result in pregnancy is grounds for divorce. I don't see how two woman marrying or two men marrying is incompatible with any of this.
posted by trondant at 7:58 PM on February 24, 2004


The problem with "deeply woven" into the civilization part is, if one surveys human cultures worldwide and pays attention to history, nothing is deeply woven at all. Marriage varies from culture to culture and in history but it's always is about the same thing--inheritance, who gets what and why while keeping it in the family, legitimate children. Who can be acquired through another nearly universal human institution: adoption

All cultures everywhere are in flux, mutating rapidly at a pace that follows the same asymptopic curve as technological innovation and no picture should need by drawn as to why that is.

That brings up the timing issue then...if this is meant to distract (i think it is too), it'll only work for a few weeks at most--the election's not until november. What's next?
What is truly deeply involved in civilization here is the concept of scapegoating. Scapegoats--find them, drive them out, stone them , even kill them, or a more refined and civlized level, keep them in their place, insist they perform their repulsive acts out of our sight, deny thme opur privileges. Rather than appealing to the angels of our better natures, this is more about throwing meat to the werewolves thereof...


That brings up the timing issue then...if this is meant to distract (i think it is too), it'll only work for a few weeks at most--the election's not until november. What's next?

Something about the governor of Texas?
posted by y2karl at 8:02 PM on February 24, 2004


Seth:
For the record I appreciate your input on this thread.

As I have said I still don't think I get the rationale for being against gay marriage unless it comes from some deep seated religious beliefs and I appreciate your trying to clarify it for me.
posted by aaronscool at 8:10 PM on February 24, 2004


y2k: now if Perry was going to come out and say he was marrying the sec. of state, you'd be in business! : >
posted by amberglow at 8:12 PM on February 24, 2004


Bush on Larry King talking about this in 2000: The state can do what they want to do.
posted by amberglow at 8:19 PM on February 24, 2004


"it'll only work for a few weeks at most--the election's not until november."

Huh? Are you following this thread? This can be dragged out till Hell freezes over. People *love* to argue about this. At length. All he has to do is mention it once a month and the debate will drown out everything else.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:25 PM on February 24, 2004


I'd also note that it strikes me odd that MM was eloquently expressing his support for the maintenance of the status quo a couple of days back, but is advocating just the opposite here. Odd, but I'm inconsistent sometimes too, so I'll let it pass with a raised eyebrow if nothing else.

Within the context of my own value system, I'm entirely consistant. Whether I'm consistant in terms of the categories others want to put me in - who cares? I think through every issue I address independently. The "status quo" I was talking about in that post related to business and taxation. I was just mentioning that Kerry was unlikely to alter much more than the fringes. He will not make his rich circle of friends poor.

But the same value system that leads me to conclude that society, on the whole, is better off when the people who become rich by building businesses are allowed to decide what to do with their money (instead of politicians having the right to do so) also leads me to conclude that society is better off when any two people that have the love, and grace, and courage to commit to each other for a lifetime are given the full support of the state to do so.

Respectfully, your raised eyebrow does not come from any inconsistancy in my value system, but rather from a cognitive dissonance between that value system and your incorrect (or at least partial) assumptions about it.

And the only reason I mention this is to try - again - to emphasize what I believe is an important point in the upcoming public debate on gay marriage. If you are for it ... do not make the mistake of believing your position is at odds with conservative values ... or simply assume all American conservatives will oppose you. You'll only serve to alienate people that - with but a slightly different approach - could easily be turned into powerful allies.

You want consistancy? I priviledge talent and merit above all else. I reward it richly and do everything in my power to draw it out of employees. I am what I'd consider an "Ayn Rand conservative" (which is very different from a "Jerry Falwell conservative"). Many of my friends are also. A good friend of mine - a fairly well-known and stauch New york Republican ... now agrees with me (for instance) on gay marriage. I stole his best saleswoman. Turns out he hadn't even realized she was gay ... and had unknowingly made offhand comments that pissed her off. I, on the other hand, had testified in court (as a character witness) on behalf of a friend of hers, who's ex-husband was trying to take her kids away because she left him for her gay lover. After a somewhat frank conversation one evening at the Tao in NYC, my friend kind of realized that he was simply being idiotic.

If my people are brilliant in the complex and specialized fields my firm works in, I don't care if they fuck goats. And "Ayn Rand conservatives" are increasingly reaching that conclusion. Bias - against race or gender - is not only unethical, it is just stupid ... and will increasingly produce a competative disadvantage.

Again ... to my gay friends ... do not lump all conservatives into a single category on the issue of gay marriage. Run the coming campaign tactically - and get rid of assumptions ... because you may find (counter-intuitively enough) that blue-collar workers on Detriot assembly lines become your fiercest opponents, and at least some Wall Street ultra-Republicans are fairly assertive supporters.
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:29 PM on February 24, 2004


Amen, Midas. Amen.*

(*note: "Amen" is not meant to connote a particular religious viewpoint, support for a particular religious denomination, or a particular stance on gay marriage)
posted by Tin Man at 8:57 PM on February 24, 2004


I *gasp* also *gasp* agree with MidasMulligan.

Way I see it, President Bush has given us an opportunity.

One changes the Constitution only by amassing the true, unmistakeable will of the people. Not a panicked, reactionary majority quaking in the wake of progress. Two-thirds of both houses of Congress in over three-fourths of the states in the union.

This is a rare chance to see what the true, unfettered will of the people really is. If this Amendment fails, then Bush can't refer to "activist judges" subverting democracy anymore. And if it passes, at least we know what America stands for, by and large, in her heart of hearts. And I will move to Vancouver.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 9:07 PM on February 24, 2004



posted by moonbird at 9:15 PM on February 24, 2004




Hey Seth, two girls can make a baby all by themselves. So, like, lesbian marriages are okay now, right?
posted by Hildegarde at 10:01 PM on February 24, 2004


See, Seth, you lose me when you start talking about "basic genetic truths," because that's sheerest nonsense: the banal stuff may be received in the genes, but literally everything important goes on at the level of social construction.

Say I have trisomy 21. Here in the States, in a relatively enlightened era, you'll probably find me tracked into a mainstreaming program, sweeping up at McDonald's, and patronized but protected and maybe even loved by most of the folks around me. In some other time or place, I'm "life unworthy of life." See what I mean? The extra chromosome is "basic genetic truth," but it's actually the least important determinant of my life chances. Which is why I find you continual harping on the theme disingenuous, like you had slept through the last thirty years.

I also find your stances on the "meaning" and "purpose" of marriage exceedingly reductionist and juiceless...yet you harp on them, too, like there's consensus on them.

That's why you get no respect: because your arguments are specious, your tone tendentious, and you lack the ability to recognize a common courtroom trope ("when did you stop beating your wife?"). Why would you expect otherwise?
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:01 PM on February 24, 2004


Respectfully, your raised eyebrow does not come from any inconsistancy in my value system, but rather from a cognitive dissonance between that value system and your incorrect (or at least partial) assumptions about it.

Equally respectfully, one can subscribe to any value system one finds harmonious with one's intimations and convictions about what is right and good, and it's possible further to hold a set of viewpoints within the context of that system that are inconsistent or downright contradictory. The smarter someone is, in fact, the likelier I think it is that that may actually turn out to be the case. I'm not saying this is the case for you, although in my experience many of my friends and colleagues in similar socio-economic strata to the one you remind us that you inhabit do often experience some (and I re-use your phrase deliberately) cognitive dissonance that stems from their difficulty in reconciling beliefs they hold that are inconsistent.

It is, however, in the expression in the external world of those values -- whether in the way one interacts with ones peers (or, more tellingly, others), the way one engages oneself in the democratic process, a multitude of acts as opposed to ideas -- that the rubber meets the road.

My understanding of your value system may indeed be incorrect or partial, which is not in any way surprising, given the almost complete lack of any relationship between us (and it may not in fact be that partial, given parts of my biography and career of which you are most certainly unaware, and which I have little to gain in trumpeting), but that's really neither here nor there.

Your actions and the arguments you produce, based on your beliefs as they must be, whether those beliefs are self-consistent or not, are what's important. Based on what you have to say in this thread, if not elsewhere, those would seem to be benign.

So I have no argument with you today.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:36 PM on February 24, 2004


Vote.com currently has a poll on the front page about the gay marriage amendment decision. Registration required, but on any vote your yes or no will be forwarded to the appropriate important people... I guess to give the voter the impression that those important people care deeply about their position and are waiting to hear from them.

The polling results usually tend to skew toward the right...
posted by emelenjr at 10:38 PM on February 24, 2004


(For instance, as of this writing the amendment supporters are leading 1,367 votes to 435.)
posted by emelenjr at 10:40 PM on February 24, 2004


I know most people don't really give a hoot about other countries... but has any republic/democracy/quasi-elected country recently banned gay marriage? Not any country where it isn't legal, but took steps to outlaw it?

I can't speak to "recent"...but as recently as the 1940's, they were forced to wear triangles and were sent away to death camps...Germany, doncha know. Did a lot of writing laws against "certain types" of people, the fascists did.

I'm rather frightened by this...but I too find myself agreeing with Midas. That can't be right. ;) And does anyone else wonder who Seth really is? I mean, which member's alter-ego he is?

After reading this tome of a thread, and considering what the opponents of gay marriage have to say...I still don't understand how anyone could be willing to deny another person the right to be in love and have a family just because the opposer is uncomfortable with the person's choice of partner. How can you even rationalize that in your mind...that you have the right to deny someone else basic joy because their bedroom antics don't match your blueprint? I just don't get it. Sure, be uncomfortable about it, if you must...but your discomfort doesn't outweigh the basic protections of the laws of the land.

Codifying an underclass is just wiping your ass with the Constitution. And it's too close to the Triangles for comfort.
posted by dejah420 at 10:43 PM on February 24, 2004


This isn't the first time I've agreed with Midas, nor likely to be the last. Well said, sir. y6y6y6, this is precisely the time to put it to the people. You know full well that I understand this as a smoke screen. You also know that this is a dismally crippled one, one that can intellectually bankrupt those that hold to idiotic stances well after they've been argued to dust. This is the deal breaker, where we see George the Second as the panderer, liar and anti-constitutional whore he is.

Like Schwarzeneger claiming that gay marraige is causing destruction to the civil society of California, Bush endorsing this amendment as the imminent threat of gay agenda program related activities just to terrorize the people will ring far more hollow than WMDs half way around the world. Only this time, the git can't show how happy we all are now that the gays have been deposed. Americans are far more ingrained with the inate idea of freedom than we are with the idea that marraige = babies, and this is one debate that Rove can't frame to his liking. People who want to share their lives in love will win this, and Bush will wear the mantle of impotence clearly on this issue.

I've stated elsewhere that this administration is like a bad software company, always promising that things will work as advertised after the next expensive upgrade. Not this time. The control is broken, and now is the time to expose that. The greatest threat to this administration is a populace that thinks, communicates and deliberates. Now is the time to foster that with a fundamental issue, and they are the ones who brought it to the forefront. The Bushies don't trust the American people, and the greatest mistake that could be made by those that oppose the Bushies is to do the same. So, as I indicated to Seth, all I have to say to those who support a Constitutional amendment to define words is: Bring it on!
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:43 PM on February 24, 2004


here's my

.

in support of gay marriage.

and while we're at it, here's another

.

in support of equal treatment under the law.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:05 AM on February 25, 2004


What Midas Said.

I am a Randroid for gay marriage.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:11 AM on February 25, 2004


also a bit on consistancy:

To those who always said that being part of society meant giving up a little for the greater good - but now support gay marraige: The masses to whom you pledge your allegiance have been very clear in that they are against gay marriage. Who are you to demand this freedom or that when society has deemed it necessary that you sacrifice that freedom for the greater good?

and to those who said they wanted a limited government that wouldn't needlessly interfer with their lives and limit their freedoms - but now oppose gay marriage: ..... seriously.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:25 AM on February 25, 2004


I still don't understand how anyone could be willing to deny another person the right to be in love and have a family just because the opposer is uncomfortable with the person's choice of partner.

You're not the only person conflating love, family, and marriage on this thread, and you won't be the last -- nor is the problem limited to one side of the debate. Understand that I'm replying to your message only because it was at hand.

That said: don't conflate love, family, and marriage; it only muddies the water.
posted by kindall at 12:46 AM on February 25, 2004


You can restrict a franchise, but not in a discriminatory manner. The government could not pass a law prohibiting gay people from voting. Same with marriage.

and

the constitution was meant to limit powers of the gov't, not the people.

Issue resolved. Next?
posted by rushmc at 1:28 AM on February 25, 2004


Go, Midas, go!

Also, since nobody has linked previously, DontAmend.com is up and running. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.
posted by wdpeck at 1:31 AM on February 25, 2004


Midas - very well said. I hope the people who wind up at the forefront of the resistance to this amendment will understand your strategy. I have always wished there was a socially liberal, fiscally conservative party that actually understood how to get ahead in politics. The Democrats just can't seem to figure it out. But they'll get my vote this year, regardless.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:25 AM on February 25, 2004


Midas, I need to ask you, as a self-professed Ayn Rand conservative, something that I have always been curious about: if you don't agree with the Christian Evangelical agenda, how do you feel about the Republican party assimilating it so thoroughly?

I have conservative friends who are not at all religious, who in fact react quite negatively to that culture strain in general, yet never doubt for a moment that they will vote for Bush. Does this mean that non evangelical conservatives are willing to accept this ever-growing religious component to their party platform to win elections?

Do you believe that this is just a "pragmatic" political move on Bush's part to rally a base of voters that in the end will never have their desires fufilled by this "crazy like a fox" president? If this is true, it seems to me that the AR conservatives are playing with religous fire and may be surprised that the America they wake up in tomorrow may be something out of the Rapture novels...

How do you reconcile this conflict on election day?

Just curious.
posted by sic at 3:53 AM on February 25, 2004


Midas, I need to ask you, as a self-professed Ayn Rand conservative, something that I have always been curious about: if you don't agree with the Christian Evangelical agenda, how do you feel about the Republican party assimilating it so thoroughly?

This is just politics. A person that gets elected President needs to assemble an enouromous - and by definition highly diverse - constituency. (The AFL-CIO just endorsed a guy that has voted in favor of almost every trade agreement that's come across his desk).
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:44 AM on February 25, 2004


"y6y6y6, this is precisely the time to put it to the people."

Listen to yourself. This is the time to vote on a constitutional amendment that would single out one group and deny them something we encourage the vast majority to enjoy.

There is never a good time for this.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:56 AM on February 25, 2004


This is just politics.

So you never get nervous about losing the farm to the religious fundamentalists? It's plausible you know and that would certainly change the status quo....
posted by sic at 6:28 AM on February 25, 2004


is this some sort of bizarre performance art? Are you trying to make some kind of post-structuralist point about the malleability and ultimate meaninglessness of language?

lol. No, it wasn't a bizarre performance, I was just writing quickly. :)
posted by jlachapell at 6:30 AM on February 25, 2004


Seth: If you don't want to be demonized, don't play devil's advocate.
posted by rcade at 6:32 AM on February 25, 2004


Seth: If you don't want to be kicked in he butt, remove the "kick me" sign.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:37 AM on February 25, 2004


"First of all I've been divorced twice, so I feel qualified to speak about the institution of marriage"

Umm.. what? ;)

In all seriousness, I don't really care if homosexuals marry. It will not impact western civilization (too small of a percentage) nor will it impact my life.

Thanks for the good discussion all.
posted by jlachapell at 7:54 AM on February 25, 2004


"Umm.. what? ;)"

Well, he was talking about how marriage was the foundation upon which western civilization rested. And he claimed people attacking this assertion were doing so third hand. My point was that, from my personal experience, marriage doesn't have anything to do with civilization. The implication being that if it *was* the foundation we'd have become uncivilized long ago.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:04 AM on February 25, 2004


I knew what you meant, I just thought I would try to point out how funny that sounded. No worries. :)
posted by jlachapell at 8:34 AM on February 25, 2004


I want to say something on this, but the arguments for gay marriages here and elsewhere seem much more eloquent. The frustration and fear of those trying to deny these marriages is almost a tangible thing. It makes me afraid of their zeal to put down this issue; and even if I wasn't already a supporter, I would vote for it merely because I fear them turning their righteous judgment on something I hold close. I may not understand all the laws connected to this issue, but I know what I feel is right and fair, and what scares me. Doing this just thing for those seeking validation is right and fair. My president scares me.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:48 AM on February 25, 2004


I totally agree with Midas when he says THIS is the time to fight for what you believe are your rights, I guess this is a once in a lifetime occasion.

For instace, look at this Herald Tribune article (depicts superficially , but accurately the situation) and at the Google News Cluster on the story.

In the Herald article, among other info, you can read:

The amendment should fully protect marriage, while leaving the state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage

It appears to me that Mr.Bush knows he's in deep shit. He must at the same time satisfy the so called Bible Belt Electorate and manage not to alienate the moderate conservatives with a show of zealotry ; indeed he leaves his options OPEN by -suggesting- a solution that is good form HIM ...that of letting the Constitution be modified and at the same time suggesting the creation of some "gay marriage alike contract".

He very likely doesn't care about the fact that he's suggesting to -add- something in the Constitution on the grounds of "sanctity" of something ; at best , people will not blame him , at worst he'll not win the next election but HIS life will not be influenced as fundamentally as your could be : so he doesn't give a flying fuck.

Mr.Bush also said (or was pressured to say but definitely agreed to say)

"America is a free society, which limits the role of government in the lives of our citizens.This commitment of freedom, however, does not require the redefinition of one of our most basic social institutions."

While one can agree that there must be reasonable limitations to freedom (pure total freedom = anarchy)
he's suggesting to limit individual freedom on the grounds that a contract (marriage) needs protection, -even if- you don't plan to marry anyone ; basically you're going to willy-nilly pay with your freedom for protection of a contract in which you may have no interest at all !

The media attention on the story will probably rise as the story hits many many important points to which americans are known to be sensible:

1) Constitution
2) Freedom
3) Limitation of Freedom (!)
4) President
5) Sexuality
6) Religious connotations

There are ingredients for many stories, and media like attention rising stories like that, even if their attention is often very superficial (so be aware to make your point clearly, don't abuse rethoric or extremely intellectual conversations that can reach only limited audience which probably already doesn't disagree with gay marriage)


On a tangent: the "alter the Constitution till we are in power" dangerous frenzy is affecting Italy as well ; interestingly enough both the houses of Parliament are now in numerical control of a group of political parties working under the name of "House of Freedom". The media is doing an -appaling- coverage of the work in progress (the fact that the major tv networks are now under factual control of House of Freedom doesn't help).
posted by elpapacito at 9:06 AM on February 25, 2004


This is just politics. A person that gets elected President needs to assemble an enouromous - and by definition highly diverse - constituency.

Ah, but this President is not exactly governing with a highly diverse constituency in mind. If packing the courts with hard right goons hellbent on overturning Roe v. Wade and gutting the Bill of Rights is just politics, the phrase has acquired new meaning.
posted by y2karl at 9:32 AM on February 25, 2004


Gay marriage is definitely not one of those things, as a matter of fact, it's one of the topics that will lead to a society's decline.

Please explain how gay marriage causes the decline of a society. Give examples, without resorting to fairy tales about an angry homophobic god.


Come on, do you guys really think that homosexuals really want to get married? No. They just want to shove something in the face of the white, christian males they see as the enemy.

I can't believe I'm reading this shit.

Do you honestly think that only straight people are capable of loving another person enough to make the ultimate committment to them?
posted by Foosnark at 9:38 AM on February 25, 2004


Probably the most interesting article I've read on the matter...
posted by aaronscool at 9:52 AM on February 25, 2004


Please explain how gay marriage causes the decline of a society. Give examples, without resorting to fairy tales about an angry homophobic god.

There have been many studies that show how the gay lifestyle/marriage is detrimental to society. Health risks and negative effects on children are two of the examples.

I'd like to ask you, how does gay marriage benefit society? And please don't resort to fairy tales about an angry heterphobic god. ;)

Do you honestly think that only straight people are capable of loving another person enough to make the ultimate committment to them?

No. When did I say that?

I'm not against homosexuals and/or the life they choose and really I don't care about gay marriage. I just wanted to raise the point that gay marriage is probably not good for a society.
posted by jlachapell at 2:00 PM on February 25, 2004


There have been many studies that show how the gay lifestyle/marriage is detrimental to society. Health risks and negative effects on children are two of the examples.

Links please.
posted by bshort at 2:07 PM on February 25, 2004


Homosexuality per se does not cause health risks. Promiscuity causes health risks. Also, how does homosexuality have a negative effect on children? I think there is one thing that harms both children and the institution of marriage, and that is divorce. Gay marriage either has no effect on children or can have a positive one (if a child is adopted who otherwise would have lived in a group or foster home).
posted by dagnyscott at 2:13 PM on February 25, 2004


jlachapell: But again you don't say how gay marriage is bad for society. You make a vague reference to "studies" without even mentioning how the conclusions of these "studies" are reached.

"Health risks"? "Negative effects on children"? How are people committed to a monogamous relationship creating a health risk? And what is the negative effect on children, exactly?

I'm sure they exist, your "studies" I mean, but I am equally sure that they used utterly bogus methodology and were funded by right wing evangelical psychopaths with a bible-thumping agenda.

But I guess that is enough to justify the bigotry of some people.
posted by sic at 2:15 PM on February 25, 2004


There have been many studies that show how the gay lifestyle/marriage is detrimental...

Name one peer reviewed and published study.
posted by aaronscool at 2:21 PM on February 25, 2004


There have been many studies that show how the gay lifestyle/marriage is detrimental to society. Health risks and negative effects on children are two of the examples.

Links please.


You know something's bullshit when it comes from a think tank with the word "family" in the name.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:33 PM on February 25, 2004


"There have been many studies that show how the gay lifestyle/marriage is detrimental to society."

No. There have not. You made that up.

See..... This is the problem. People assume as fact the idea that gays and lesbians are harmful to civilization and society. They aren't. Just as there are no studies showing such harm.

I double dog dare you to show us the peer reviewed sociological studies showing how gays and lesbians are harmful to *anything*.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:38 PM on February 25, 2004


dagny,

You're right, divorce has a huge negative effect on children. I'm sorry I don't have any links. ;)

Actually, here is a link that explains the point of view that many Americans have. It cites health risks, benefits of man and woman marriage, etc. It's a pretty good read, albeit long.
http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IF03H01&v=PRINT

You may also want to follow some of the links within the page, it has some good articles.

How are people committed to a monogamous relationship creating a health risk?
Only 4.5% of gay men are loyal to their partner. Compare that to "straight" men, which have a 75% loyalty rate. The difference in women is even greater, 90% of women are loyal to their spouse. I don't know the % of gay women that are loyal (sorry). If you read the article from the link I provided above, you'll see what I'm referring to.

And what is the negative effect on children, exactly?
See Above.

sic - you can't assume the studies are bogus. And if you read one of my first links, I knew somebody was going to call me a name (if only insinuating) ... I should have included bigot. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't make me a bigot. As a matter of fact, I'm completely tolerant of your point of view and expect only the same in return.
posted by jlachapell at 2:55 PM on February 25, 2004


"Only 4.5% of gay men are loyal to their partner. Compare that to "straight" men, which have a 75% loyalty rate."

Reread the text you just replied to. We're talking about the people who want to get married. People who want to get married don't cheat on the person they love 95.5% of the time.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:10 PM on February 25, 2004


Not agreeing with me does not make you a bigot, discriminating against homosexuals makes you a bigot.

The link you provide isn't working, but I did a google search on the frc.org, the Family Research Council, the description of which is: christian organization promoting the traditional family unit and the Judeo-Christian value system.

So, of course, I would expect totally unbiased "studies" from them on the topic of gay marriage.
posted by sic at 3:13 PM on February 25, 2004


Even if he can come up with such studies - which I doubt - it wouldn't change my opinion a bit. Divorce is quite frequently harmful to children (not always), but we permit it despite its harmful effects because we get the fact that the government should not be in the business of preventing people from making fundamental decisions about their lives and who they'll spend those lives with.

For the record, I have two children in my classroom who are being raised by gay parents. They are both doing just fine - well adjusted kids, strong students with lots of friends. I didn't need any of that kind of evidence either, any more than I needed peer-reviewed studies - but it's enough for me right there. If it can work for some families, the government has no right to take it away.

On preview: the Family Research Council's website is bigotry couched in reasonable language. They don't cite much other than other links on their own website, and what little external research they cite is carefully collected, designed to pick any studies which paint gays in a negative light while ignoring the mountains of research which portray them in a positive or (mostly) neutral light. If you want to cite "sources," you'll have to do better than that.
posted by Chanther at 3:16 PM on February 25, 2004


What Midas said. Really.

Though I do wonder whether it'll be possible for those wanting to see this proposal put through the shredder to have the civil debate that he calls for, as much as they'd want it themselves. The point being that you'll have GOP attack dogs throwing out soundbites about 'what next? incest? bestiality?' and since this is just a sop to the religious right, designed to distract from Bush's record and reignite cultural divisions.

Actually, that's the point. What Bush has done is cheapened the potential for debate, for all his talk of embracing 'the deliberative process' vs 'activist judges' -- which, as others have noted, is a buzzword much beloved by Silvio Berlusconi, who'd much prefer to appoint his own judges. And make his own laws.

(The British example shows that in a situation where the majority has control of the legislature, all sorts of shit gets past, and it takes eithet the unelected Lords or the unelected judges to deliver well-aimed slaps in the name of established law and common justice.)

And please: if '9/11 changed everything', and Bush is supposedly going into the re-election campaign as a 'war president', then doesn't making queer-bashing the heart of his campaign seem a little... strange? After all, the last century showed that wartime contributed to the expansion of rights -- for instance, the enfranchising of women and the working class -- because a situation of national crisis makes old divisions seem rather petty.

If anything, this makes the whole 'war' thing look like the bullshit we all expected.
posted by riviera at 3:18 PM on February 25, 2004


"you can't assume the studies are bogus."

I followed your links. And I still haven't found the studies. What studies are you talking about? Can you summarize any of them for me so I can try and track them down? I'm curious now. I really don't think you can come up with a valid peer reviewed study that supports the claim that same sex marriage would be harmful to society.

Come on. Throw me a bone here. I'm not calling you names. Give up the studies already.

Or, failing that, just give a good summation of what you think the studies say and how they support a "same sex marriage is harmful to society" theory.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:20 PM on February 25, 2004


sic,

Bigot: "One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ." See I'm not a bigot.

You're right that the studies/numbers they provide are (probably) bias, but any study is. The main reason for citing that as a resource for you to read so that you can see where the other side is coming from.

I'm not out to change anybody's mind, you can all believe what you like. My intent is to show you the other point of view so you can be tolerant of it.

y6y6y6,

On the other hand, a major study of homosexual men in "committed" relationships found that only seven out of 156 had been sexually faithful, or 4.5 percent.

That's what I was referring to.

FWIW - I also don't think a constituional amendment is the answer.
posted by jlachapell at 3:22 PM on February 25, 2004


You know, 156 people is a pretty small group to use to create a statistic you want to apply to a significantly larger group. I mean, if I have 100 heterosexual friends in committed relationships, and of them, 4 have been unfaithful. I would find it difficult to say the least to use that to state that 4% of all heterosexuals are unfaithful.
posted by Orb at 3:37 PM on February 25, 2004


y6y6y6,

Thanks for not calling me names.

Here is a link that shows why gay marriage is bad ..
www.michaelsavage.com ;)
Just kidding, of course.

Most of the negative effects on gay marriage are outlined on frc.org's site (I know the frc is bad yada yada). It outlines health risks, effects on children and the like. I think the best summary is the URL I linked to in the previous post. Another link: http://www.washtimes.com/national/20030711-121254-3711r.htm
This article talks about a Dutch study that was done and most other articles refer to the Dutch article also.

In reality, we really don't know. Gay marriage is a pretty new phenomenon for cultures. So, I guess it's unfair to say that it is bad for society.

Believe me, you guys/gals, I'm totally open to discussion and the posts here and talk in the office where I work have loosened my stance on the topic considerably.
posted by jlachapell at 3:40 PM on February 25, 2004


156 people is a pretty small group to use to create a statistic you want to apply to a significantly larger group

Correct.
posted by jlachapell at 3:42 PM on February 25, 2004


Here is a link that loosened my stance a bit ...
http://www.thehoya.com/viewpoint/022004/view2.cfm
posted by jlachapell at 3:45 PM on February 25, 2004


So denying a loving couple access to matrimony because as homosexuals they are a "health risk" and "dangerous to children" according to a christian fundamentalist "study" is tolerance? Interesting interpretation, however I don't buy it. Your agenda is camouflaged by false smiles ("see, I'm friendly and tolerant, I'm only trying to help you be tolerant too!") but it isn't hard to fathom what motivates you. Rest assured I fully understand your point of view and I reject it just as I would have rejected the anti-civil rights sentiment in the 50s and 60s if I'd been alive during that phase of the Civil Rights movement.

Perhaps you should try examining why you feel threatened by the inevitable recognition of homosexuals as equal citizens in every aspect.

on preview: I'm still not sure I believe you, since I don't know you outside of what you posted here, but if you are going to back off the frc official line, I'm willing take that on good faith as trying to be open.
posted by sic at 3:50 PM on February 25, 2004


From jlachapell's link above:
"Admittedly, society's interest in marriages that do not produce children is less than its interest in marriages that result in the reproduction of the species. However, we still recognize childless marriages because it would be an invasion of a heterosexual couple's privacy to require that they prove their intent or ability to bear children."

And yet invading the privacy of a homosexual couple's intimacy and expression of faith and trust in one another is socially acceptable. People sometimes make generalizations about "society" as though their "Christian" intolerance is the rock on which society rests. In fact, "society" is whatever it wants to be: not defined by any one group, but by itself.

"Many people who now identify themselves as homosexual have previously been in legal (opposite-sex) marriages. On the other hand, many people who previously had homosexual relationships have now renounced that behavior and married persons of the opposite sex."

I sincerely doubt that the two "many"s in this sentence are very close in terms of actual numbers.
posted by divrsional at 3:54 PM on February 25, 2004




The logic astounds me, here.

I'm not out to change anybody's mind, you can all believe what you like. My intent is to show you the other point of view so you can be tolerant of it.

My side: There is no reason whatsoever that same sex couples should be denied the same rights and privalages extended to different sex couples through the legal contract of marraige.

Their side: Queers are bad and dangerous, so let's not grant them rights as our Constitution provides for us to do; instead lets force them to change or begone.

And why exactly do you find value in tolerating that line of specious crap? Gays aren't dangerous, deseases are dangerous. Gays are sinful, as are we all. Please define tolerance, here. I understand where they're coming from, and I even understand why. Is calling their position "complete unadulterated bullshit" tolerant enough for you?
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:03 PM on February 25, 2004


There have been many studies that show how the gay lifestyle/marriage is detrimental to society.

No study *shows* anything. Studies, properly constructed, return data, which are to a lesser or greater degree open to interpretation as to which underlying theory of causation provides a better match.

You would have to show me multiple, peer-reviewed studies indicating unequivocally clear negative impact on "society" to overcome the burden of proof here. Convine me that this constitutes a clear and present danger to Western democracy.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:03 PM on February 25, 2004


"....... have loosened my stance on the topic considerably."

Which is my entire motive. It's been my experience over many decades that if you can get people to explain their reasons for opposing gay this or that, that they come away from it being much less opposed.

The frc.org stuff - Can we agree that these folks would never include on their website anything which opposed their agenda? I've read (I forced myself) much of the stuff you link to there, and found it wildly unbalanced. Not only is peer review lacking, I would say contrast of any manner is nonexistent. On top of that, what they are saying seems to argue towards the idea that gay men are bad. I don't see anything arguing that same sex marriages are harmful to society.

The washtimes.com link - I'm still missing the point here. Even if I grant you that 95% of gay couples aren't faithful, how does that translate into such relationships being harmful to society? Stay with me here...... You say 25% of hetero couples aren't faithful. Is this harmful? Since 25% of hetero couples is likely to be greater in number than 95% of same sex couples, isn't it the case that unfaithful hetero couples have a greater impact on society?
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:07 PM on February 25, 2004


Here is a link that loosened my stance a bit ...
http://www.thehoya.com/viewpoint/022004/view2.cfm
posted by jlachapell at 11:45 PM GMT on February 25

Linking to a well known Jesuit founded - and therefore not unbiased - university's student newspaper fails to convince, I'm afraid, jlachapell.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:09 PM on February 25, 2004


y6y6y6, I believe that you've misinterpreted what I replied to Midas and yourself. This is prescisely the time to put this issue before the people, because of public debate such as we're having here. The Amendment, on the other hand, will not go before the people, it will go before Congress, and if it survives that, then it will go before the 50 state legislatures.

Bush has made this an issue of public concern and debate in an election year, idiot that he is. WE don't get to vote on the Sanctity of Religious Procreation amendment, but we do get to argue its merits at a time when people are actually paying attention. I believe strongly that the amendment will die. This is the opportunity to bury its wrong-headed political supporters right along with it.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:14 PM on February 25, 2004


but it isn't hard to fathom what motivates you
ok, please tell me what motivates me.

if you are going to back off the frc official line, I'm willing take that on good faith as trying to be open
What exactly would you like me to do?

I am just trying to open dialogue, not trying to do whatever it is you think I'm trying to do. Don't insinuate that I have ulterior motives please. Frankly, I don't care if you thing gay marriage is a good thing or a bad thing. I just know what I have benefited from the discussion that took place here and that is what I am trying to accomplish.
posted by jlachapell at 4:15 PM on February 25, 2004


And, in addition, how is infidelity harmful to society? Because of the children yes? But the main (or one of the main) arguments here against same sex marriages has been that these couples can't have children. But.... isn't that were the harm would be from infidelity?

It seems disingenuous to argue that a part of their lifestyle is harmful, while at the same time arguing that object of the harm doe
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:18 PM on February 25, 2004


.......while at the same time arguing that object of the harm doesn't exist.

Read the preview damn it.
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:21 PM on February 25, 2004


y6y6y6,
The frc.org stuff - Can we agree that these folks would never include on their website anything which opposed their agenda?
Agreed.
My only caveat to that is that no study is going to be 100% unbiased. Agreed?

I also agree with you on your percentage comparison. Your talking sheer numbers, correct? For example, 95% of 1,000 is less than 25% of 100,000. As long as the volume/ratio stays the same, you're right. Good point.

dot_slash,
The point of linking to that article is that it loosened my stance on gay marriage, it wasn't intended to convince you of anything. I said that in my post "Here is a link that loosened my stance a bit ..."
Really, though, who cares if the guy is a Jesuit?
posted by jlachapell at 4:26 PM on February 25, 2004


Frankly, I don't care if you thin(k) gay marriage is a good thing or a bad thing.

This may be the most wrong-headed dichotomy of all. I would be willing to assert that the vast majority wouldn't argue gay marraige as a good thing, but rather as the right thing. I haven't seen anybody here arguing that gay marraige will be a blessing and boon to society, only that it won't hurt society, unless we choose to continue and codify this form of discrimination. I'll bet that in the long run, more people will feel that society is harmed by introducing discrimination into the Constitution than will feel that gay marraiges are bad.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:27 PM on February 25, 2004


Wulfgar!,

I agree with you on the constitutional amendment. I don't think it's a good thing.

The majority of Americans seem to be against gay marriage according to most polls, but that is irrelevant, really. Just because something has the majority behind it doesn't make it right.

I haven't seen anybody here arguing that gay (marriage) will be a blessing and boon to society, only that it won't hurt society
True.

Thanks a lot guys/gals, now I don't know where I stand on the issue. :/
posted by jlachapell at 4:43 PM on February 25, 2004


The nice thing about gay marriage is a gay couple will never accidentally have a child they are ill-prepared to take care of.
posted by turaho at 5:08 PM on February 25, 2004


On tolerance vs. respect.

I tolerate the bigots, but I don't respect them. The bigots don't have tolerance or respect, otherwise Bush would have never thought he could get away with this.

I'm not surprised that the majority entertain such nonsense. The next amendment should be the ERA, which had a reading last year in Illinois.

The last time it was heard was a little more dramatic and due to the efforts of George "Why should I want to watch those idiots?" Ryan and Phyllis Schlafly the time ran out for ratification in 1982.
In just the 21st day of the fast, the seven women had collectively lost 200 pounds. One of them was a nun. One was a grandmother. One was gay. One was blind in one eye. One of them, Sonia Johnson, the 46-year-old woman who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church and whose husband divorced her because of her pro-ERA stand, dwindled from 123 pounds to 99 pounds, collapsed repeatedly, and had to be taken to the hospital a number of times. Yet until June 23rd, the day after Florida voted down the ERA for the final time, when Speaker Ryan and Schlafly and the Mormon Church triumphed and Illinois said no to over half the population of the United States, denying us what we needed and wanted, Sonia Johnson sat hollowed-eyed and whisper-voiced in her wheelchair in the Illinois Capitol rotunda, telling us by her sacrifice that the spark of nobility does continue to glow in the human spirit. Telling us that we must not let what happened in this country after the Vietnam war happen again. Telling us that years of militant activity can sap our strength and weary us, but that just because a Watergate removes one thug from our view, that we must not be lulled into inactivity by the lure of too long a rest. When Nixon went, a soft GeraldFordlike hum, of the machine put into idle, settled over the land. And we rested too long, and kids today have no idea what all the angst of the Sixties and Seventies was about. And Nixon and Agnew finally had their way with us, even though they are off somewhere still getting fat and making a buck: they had their way with us because their clone-child Ronald Reagan rules the roost. Because we said, "I'm tired. I've been fighting for ten years. I need a break." And we went to our beds. And in the night they took the country from us.
-Harlan Ellison, from his column in the LA Weekly on June 24 1982 and reprinted in Edgeworks #1

Opponents claim that the ERA will open the door to gay marriage and I think this is the perfect way to fight one amendment with another.

For a bit of history about the person who wrote and fought for the ERA, Alice Paul, you can watch the new movie on HBO, Iron Jawed Angels.
posted by john at 6:03 PM on February 25, 2004


I haven't seen anybody here arguing that gay (marriage) will be a blessing and boon to society, only that it won't hurt society

Well, alrighty then.

1. Gay couples are part of society, and to the extent that they are allowed to enjoy equally the benefits of citizenship, society is better off. The benefits of marriage exist because families are valued, and we want to make life easier for them. Gay families exist. Shouldn't they enjoy the benefits of marriage, including the social legitimacy which marital status (rightly or wrongly) bestows? Why do opponents of gay marriage seek to deprive us of the instruments that society uses to promote the very sort of stable relationships they claim to value? Hmm.

2. GLB adolescents are, by most accounts, much more likely to commit suicide than their straight counterparts. To the extent that allowing gay marriage helps to create a climate in which GLB people and their relationships are viewed and treated as valued, equal, and legitimate, this is likely to reduce stressors which lead to suicidal ideations (e.g., verbal and physical abuse, instability at home, bullying at school, guilt feelings associated with being closeted), and other forms of self-destructive behavior (drug abuse, unsafe sex with multiple partners, dropping out of school, etc.) This is obviously a long-term historical process, but then, all drives for equal treatment are that way. What I'm interested in is reducing the number of times a gay kid, two generations from now, feels like shit because his father makes a homophobic remark. Legitimizing homosexuality by allowing gay marriage is one part of this much larger battle against prejudice.

3. Our (Western) societies are supposed to be founded upon the desire to defend freedom. If you agree that gay marriage won't hurt society, doesn't it follow that restrictions on that freedom are contrary to the spirit of society?
posted by stonerose at 6:04 PM on February 25, 2004


4. How could I forget? If the U.S. recognized gay relationships, my partner (American, three graduate degrees, and a helluva nice guy) and I (Canadian, and too modest to list my good qualities ;-) might have chosen to make our lives there, rather than staying in Canada, where the law sees fit to allow us to keep our family together.
posted by stonerose at 6:15 PM on February 25, 2004


The nice thing about gay marriage is a gay couple will never accidentally have a child they are ill-prepared to take care of.

The nice thing about heterosexuals is they maintain the human race.

It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it.
posted by SpaceCadet at 6:18 PM on February 25, 2004


Not to chime in late, but after 350+ posts, I figured I would add my .02 single, Boston, male, opinion. I would agree the "benefits of being married" are different than "being married". I would argue that the states can change the law and wording as they seem fit as to who gets what benefits. Other states on the other hand should not be forced to accept an unpopular lifestyle and gay marriage as other states have defined. Same goes with the legalization of drugs that some states have already voted on. I would also agree that most people here have pointed out that the constitutional amendment is not the way to go, and Bush is catering to win a voting segment.

As for the harm to society argument, I think everyone is trying to predict a future as to "what would be wrong if this happened?" rather than showing examples in history where this has happened before. Religious texts being only one of the sources. Has an eventual downfall of the way of life taken place? Not to argue that gay persons contributions haven't also benefited society. I would also argue that most citizens wouldn't care if the benefits were all the same, but the recognition of your sexual orientations should no matter. Sooner or later it will be required in a form or application.
posted by brent at 6:45 PM on February 25, 2004


The Daily Show chims in.
posted by john at 7:14 PM on February 25, 2004


"...... rather than showing examples in history where this has happened before."

You lost me. What are you talking about here?
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:29 PM on February 25, 2004


"Same goes with the legalization of drugs"

I notice that equal rights for lesbians and gay men often get lumped by those opposed into categories with bestiality, child molestation, and drug abuse.

Love and marriage, no matter how alien the concept may be to you, have no basis for comparison to self-destructive and inappropriate behaviors.

keywords: mutual consent, no demonstrable harm
posted by divrsional at 8:24 PM on February 25, 2004


3. Our (Western) societies are supposed to be founded upon the desire to defend freedom. If you agree that gay marriage won't hurt society, doesn't it follow that restrictions on that freedom are contrary to the spirit of society?

I gotta ring the buzzer on this one. First, this is an argument for why gay marraige is a rightious thing to support, but not an argument for it being a boon to society. Second, restrictions on freedoms are necessary if the freedoms restricted are those that would cause harm to society. Hence, you have the freedom to protest, but not to riot. As this debate has shown, blanket freedom is not always desirable or beneficial to society. Fortunately, same sex unions do not present any harm, and as such don't qualify either as a harm or a boon, given this plank of argumentation. Furthermore, it is this plank that is being twisted for the benefit of opponents to gay marraige (Gay agenda, their freedoms are actually special considerations, their freedom is harmful to societal and civic control (see Schwarzerneger), they want more freedoms than we have, blah blah blah). Personally, I'd leave this as: 3) ???

1 and 2, however, are actually quite good. And number 4 is indeed:

4) Profit!
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:27 PM on February 25, 2004


The nice thing about heterosexuals is they maintain the human race.

It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it.


And other than St. Paul, who misinterpreted Christ in counseling that nobody should get married at all, please show me one person, just one, who's trying to change that by supporting same sex marraiges.

By the way, folks, Jesse Taylor at Pandagon has a rightious smackdown of the argument that gay marraige is for the children.
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:47 PM on February 25, 2004


My only caveat to that is that no study is going to be 100% unbiased. Agreed?

I do not agree. Actually that's the point of peer reviewed and published mainstream science. To try and be as objective and fair about interpreting your data and drawing your conclusions as possible. Some studies may be flawed but overall I'd say the vast majority of peer reviewed published work is not biased.
posted by aaronscool at 10:43 PM on February 25, 2004


jlachapel, I want to take a moment to point out something about that Dutch study that you and the Washington Times article both referred to.

The article reveals a huge bias in the data -- namely, that the study "focused on transmission of HIV." With a focus on HIV transmission, which is largely propagated via promiscuous sexual activity, it's no wonder that the people studied were unfaithful.

So I submit that what we have is not a study that proves gay men to be unfaithful, but rather the presupposition that gay men are unfaithful, and an unrelated study which provides data that can help "prove" it.

Of course, it still remains to be said whether faithfulness or lack thereof should have any bearing on the legal recognition of these relationships. And on that note, I close with another quote from the article, from UCLA psychology professor Anne Peplau. "There is clear evidence that gay men are less likely to have sexually exclusive relationships than other people — but this is not typically harmful to their relationships because partners agree that it's acceptable."
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:57 PM on February 25, 2004


jlachapel, I also wanted to openly thank you for being one of the few people who has entered this debate with a "right-wing" viewpoint, and actually taken the time to honestly think about the opposing views presented. Whether or not you agree with them is irrelevant to me -- that you've paid as much attention as you have to them speaks volumes.
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:59 PM on February 25, 2004


I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me how a gay marriage is substantially different than a heterosexual marriage in which people cannot or will not have children (as mine will be). I get the impression that the people who oppose gay marriage really don't have a good argument beyond a general gut feeling of "eww -- kissing gay folk are gross."
posted by moonbiter at 11:55 PM on February 25, 2004


Er, not that I think that is a good argument either.
posted by moonbiter at 11:56 PM on February 25, 2004


Signorile chimes in, calling this "Wag the Fag," among other things.
posted by amberglow at 5:34 AM on February 26, 2004


Cray,

Thanks. You should also thank y6y6y6 because s/he's the only person who *patiently* tried to help me understand the "other side". Thanks y6y6y6.

Whether or not you agree with them is irrelevant to me


I agree. ;)
posted by jlachapell at 6:28 AM on February 26, 2004


I would imagine that infidelity rates among heterosexuals would be even higher than they are if so many of them weren't married.
posted by jpoulos at 7:44 AM on February 26, 2004


THE FMA (Federal Marriage Amendment, or 'religious right amendmnt) AS TROJAN HORSE: Memo to straights: you're next.

An email sent to Andrew Sullivan, which could be a scare tactic by the dems, true. Read the whole thing, and tell me that a future Bushite govt. would never implement these aims.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:39 PM on February 26, 2004


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