Join 3,495 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


I'll take the death. NO! LIBERTY! I meant I'll take LIBERTY!
June 3, 2009 4:39 PM   Subscribe

After rejecting then passing a bill on same-sex marriage, New Hampshire's governor today signed the bill into law.

The law officially will take effect on January 1st, 2010, and will recognize out-of-state civil unions as full marriages. The amended version of the bill allows religious groups to refuse to participate in same-sex marriages. Thus, not only need not one marry gay, one need not marry gays, either.

And if you don't like the newsfilter, this is a cause worth celebrating forty-four more times, methinks.
posted by kaibutsu (100 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, color me surprised. Given their right-wing slant, I always assumed the "Live Free or Die" on the license plates meant there were a whole lot of dead people in New Hampshire.

This is good news.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:43 PM on June 3, 2009


And if you don't like the newsfilter, this is a cause worth celebrating forty-four more times, methinks.

First Apple fans, then Google fans, now Gay fans. When's Gay Wave X 10.6 coming out?

Either it's good enough to post or it's not. Feeling the need to preemptively defend your post is usually a bad sign.

Anyway, yay for gay people. Let your not-particularly-freaky-marriage flag fly. Visit your sick partners in the hospital, inherit property and get spousal health insurance. File your taxes jointly.

Now that I write them down I can really see how truly insane your demands are.
posted by GuyZero at 4:45 PM on June 3, 2009 [19 favorites]


As originally cast, the legislation exempted members of the clergy from having to perform same-sex weddings.

Why is this necessary? Can't a church choose whom they wish to marry?
posted by smackfu at 4:46 PM on June 3, 2009


Why is this necessary? Can't a church choose whom they wish to marry?

Normally yes, but the fear was that such a decision about a gay couple would lead to a civil rights suit that ended up forcing churches not to refuse gay couples.
posted by fatbird at 4:47 PM on June 3, 2009


posted by smackfu Why is this necessary? Can't a church choose whom they wish to marry?

Probably because the state should not be involved in telling churches who they can and cannot marry.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:48 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


The amended version of the bill allows religious groups to refuse to participate in same-sex marriages

I bet all the religious nutters in the 5 other states are looking at each other like...wait, should we have...do we have to....ummmm?
posted by DU at 4:57 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Regarding dunkadunc's comment: the rightyness of New Hampshire's always been more of a libertarian than a security/Jesus bent. In the family that is the New England states, you can think of NH as the crazy possibly-drunk uncle who has some Theories regarding The Fucking Government.

That said, FUCK YES, GAY MARRIAGE!
posted by Greg Nog at 4:57 PM on June 3, 2009 [10 favorites]


I'm surprised too. Way to go you weird-ass flinty semi-Libertarians. If you can do it, maybe others will get the courage.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:57 PM on June 3, 2009


Come on, liberal states! You can do it. I'm lookin' at you, Minnesota. And you, Washington. And Oregon...
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:05 PM on June 3, 2009


...but the fear was that such a decision...

Yes, exactly. This was an irrational fear brought up by the creators of the wedge issue to get the maximum support for opposing gay marriage. They knew that a significant portion of the population is actually so dense that they would swallow this canard and did such a good job of selling it that the NH lege had to write into the law that this irrational fear was unfounded.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:08 PM on June 3, 2009


the NH lege had to write into the law that this irrational fear was unfounded.

Heh. They should have also added in something like "and NO, they are not trying to RECRUIT YOU into BEING GAY, you screechy dimwits."
posted by scody at 5:10 PM on June 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


Seriously though, on reflection, I wonder how much tax revenue is at stake if every gay couple started filing jointly. Could be close to... *pinky to corner of mouth* one million dollars!

And it's the dumbest, lamest argument ever, but for the record I thought of it first. Right-wing blowhards are welcome to license it for $5,000 per utterance.
posted by GuyZero at 5:10 PM on June 3, 2009


is anyone else surprised at how quickly these (admittedly long overdue) dominoes seem to be falling? clearly, eventually gay marriage will be recognized universally, but will we have a prolonged period of time where we have states on both sides? or will the momentum quickly change with even conservative states changing their tune relatively quickly?

or will the conservative states secede, causing a second civil war which will end only after Obama signs a gaymancipation proclamation which tips the military balance in favor of the union as gays enlist in the military in astounding numbers?
posted by snofoam at 5:11 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


the rightyness of New Hampshire's always been more of a libertarian than a security/Jesus bent.

Keeping in mind, too, that the security (we'll say hawkish)/Jesus bent 'rightyness' is a somewhat recent invention, and alienating northerners who would have traditionally voted Republican seems to be one of the Republican Party's major problems right now.
posted by blenderfish at 5:11 PM on June 3, 2009


12.5%! (I'm too lazy to figure out how many protectorates / districts and how they factor in). Good work!

The first link confuses the hell out of me. The Democratic governor is working to protect the churches from being forced to marry gays, while the Republican who's been pushing this bill is fighting that protection. I love seeing political parties being more complicated than their sound bytes.
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:12 PM on June 3, 2009


Let's hope they don't reverse their decision before the year's out like California.
posted by Malice at 5:16 PM on June 3, 2009


12.5%!

Huh?
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:18 PM on June 3, 2009


I think they meant 6 of 50 (states) or 12%
posted by snofoam at 5:22 PM on June 3, 2009


At a crossroads on gay unions

By John Lewis, 10/25/2003

FROM TIME to time, America comes to a crossroads. With confusion and controversy, it's hard to spot that moment. We need cool heads, warm hearts, and America's core principles to cleanse away the distractions.

We are now at such a crossroads over same-sex couples' freedom to marry. It is time to say forthrightly that the government's exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families. It denies them the basic human right to marry the person they love. It denies them numerous legal protections for their families.

This discrimination is wrong. We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I've heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.

Some say let's choose another route and give gay folks some legal rights but call it something other than marriage. We have been down that road before in this country. Separate is not equal. The rights to liberty and happiness belong to each of us and on the same terms, without regard to either skin color or sexual orientation.

Some say they are uncomfortable with the thought of gays and lesbians marrying. But our rights as Americans do not depend on the approval of others. Our rights depend on us being Americans.

Sometimes it takes courts to remind us of these basic principles. In 1948, when I was 8 years old, 30 states had bans on interracial marriage, courts had upheld the bans many times, and 90 percent of the public disapproved of those marriages, saying they were against the definition of marriage, against God's law. But that year, the California Supreme Court became the first court in America to strike down such a ban. Thank goodness some court finally had the courage to say that equal means equal, and others rightly followed, including the US Supreme Court 19 years later.

Some stand on the ground of religion, either demonizing gay people or suggesting that civil marriage is beyond the Constitution. But religious rites and civil rights are two separate entities. What's at stake here is legal marriage, not the freedom of every religion to decide on its own religious views and ceremonies.

I remember the words of John Kennedy when his presidential candidacy was challenged because of his faith: "I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish -- where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source -- where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials -- and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all."

Those words ring particularly true today. We hurt our fellow citizens and our community when we deny gay people civil marriage and its protections and responsibilities. Rather than divide and discriminate, let us come together and create one nation. We are all one people. We all live in the American house. We are all the American family. Let us recognize that the gay people living in our house share the same hopes, troubles, and dreams. It's time we treated them as equals, as family.

John Lewis, a Democratic congressman from Georgia, was one of the original speakers at the 1963 March on Washington and is author of "Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement."
posted by halekon at 5:25 PM on June 3, 2009 [17 favorites]


John Lewis rocks my world. 'Walking With the Wind' is an amazing book. Thanks for that, halekon.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:28 PM on June 3, 2009


I think they meant 6 of 50 (states) or 12%

I counted California's current "everything-but-name" as a quarter of 1 state. That or I can't count. Either way.
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:30 PM on June 3, 2009


clearly, eventually gay marriage will be recognized universally

Or the pendulum swings the other direction.

We could have violent Christian terrorists try to change the country's political leadership, such that civil rights progress halts or reverses.

Given that > 40% of Americans still voted for Palin despite her mental disabilities, it's tragically easy for things to go wrong in this country.

Our government already looks the other way while Mormons and other Christian organizations take advantage of their taxpayer-subsidized non-profit status to conduct political advocacy.

Things can change quickly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:30 PM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I feel like I should write an introduction to New England for all the people I know who assume that New England is a super-conservative area. It's also the place where we declared our independence from the King of England (not a very conservative thing to buck the hierarchy) and affirmed the rights of the individual.
posted by zippy at 5:30 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


NH actually turned almost completely Blue in 2006. The state legislature was majority D for the first time in like 70 years, the D governor is very popular, both Congresspersons are Ds and one Senator is. The other Senator, R, is up in 2010 and probably won't make it.
posted by DU at 5:37 PM on June 3, 2009


We are on the side of history here and it feels so good.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:39 PM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


the rightyness of New Hampshire's always been more of a libertarian than a security/Jesus bent.

Live free or die, as it says on the license plates.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:40 PM on June 3, 2009


OK, here's the 1,653th thing I don't understand about opposition to gay marriage. My husband and I couldn't get married in a Catholic church or a synagogue. Even the Unitarians made us do counseling first. How is it that churches are afraid they're going to be forced to gay marry people?
posted by JoanArkham at 5:41 PM on June 3, 2009


JoanArkham: "How is it that churches are afraid they're going to be forced to gay marry people?"

They know better, but apparently their religion does not prohibit them from telling baldfaced lies.
posted by mullingitover at 5:45 PM on June 3, 2009 [17 favorites]


Sexual orientation is not a "protect class" under federal law, nor most state's law. So churches, florists, etc. don't need to provide services until that happens. I'd imagine that religious freedoms will still trump the anti-discrimination laws for churches, but a florists in say CA who refuses gay customers faces has violated CA anti-discrimination law.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:48 PM on June 3, 2009


a florists in say CA who refuses gay customers faces has violated CA anti-discrimination law.

I'm not sure homophobia is a huge problem among florists, actually.
posted by EarBucket at 5:53 PM on June 3, 2009 [16 favorites]


Seriously though, on reflection, I wonder how much tax revenue is at stake if every gay couple started filing jointly.

If the sources cited here are correct in their predictions, the tax revenue lost due to joint filings will be more than offset by sales tax and increased overall incomes.
posted by Rykey at 5:55 PM on June 3, 2009


The other Senator, R, is up in 2010 and probably won't make it.

He's already announced his retirement, in fact.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:02 PM on June 3, 2009


Andrew Sullivan today started a post about the NH ruling with

I know some liberals will object, but the inclusion in a same-sex marriage bill of an explicit exception for religious organizations seems to me to be a powerful combination...

And I agree that putting in the exemption is strategically useful, if the right is going to use the dishonest TEH GAYZ ARE GONNA MAKE OUR CHURCHES ALL GAY argument. But are there any "liberals" who would really object to such a thing? Are people saying this?

Hell, even the florists and the photographers. I know in an ideal world, a photographer who refuses to work gay weddings would be considered to be discriminating--which is precisely what such a refusal is.

But are there really any gay marriage activists who are saying--right now, at this point in time: Nope, we won't won't accept the recognition of same-sex unions unless we can have the florist of our choice?
posted by neroli at 6:08 PM on June 3, 2009


He's already announced his retirement, in fact.

HowTF did I miss that? So who will be Shaheen's opponent? Nobody?

And I agree that putting in the exemption is strategically useful....

On the contrary, now it's the exception that proves the rule. "In NH, they had to specifically say that they couldn't force us to be gay, but this bill does nothing, your honor."
posted by DU at 6:12 PM on June 3, 2009


Nope, we won't won't accept the recognition of same-sex unions unless we can have the florist of our choice?

Does the guy who filed suit against eHarmony in New Jersey count?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:17 PM on June 3, 2009


Yes! Only more more state needs to approve same-sex unions and then my heterosexual marriage will be so diminished and devalued I'll finally be able to fuck that barista without guilt!
posted by Legomancer at 6:30 PM on June 3, 2009 [11 favorites]


I wonder how much tax revenue is at stake if every gay couple started filing jointly.

In related news --

Gay marriage equals money for states, new studies show.

Gay-onomics and the Marriage Debate
"Despite the tough economic times, no one's talking about profiting from the legalization of same-sex weddings. Perhaps they should be."
posted by ericb at 6:31 PM on June 3, 2009


...my heterosexual marriage will be so diminished and devalued...

Barney Frank on "Real Time With Bill Maher" (March 11, 2005):
"I try very hard to be a responsible citizen and as a gay man I try very hard to keep track of the marriages I have destroyed, and there really aren't that many. I may have some secret admirers out there and I may have wreaked more havoc than I realize, but they haven't called."
posted by ericb at 6:34 PM on June 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


The religious right, conservative Republicans are apoplectic!

Cheney: Same-sex marriage is OK by me.
posted by ericb at 6:38 PM on June 3, 2009


CONGRATULATIONS NEW HAMPSHIRE!!!!!!!!!
posted by Lizc at 6:39 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


learly, eventually gay marriage will be recognized universally

Son, you ain't spent much time in the South 'ave ya?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:40 PM on June 3, 2009


New Hampshire’s bill does not exempt photographers or florists, for example, from having to provide services.

Last I checked, refusing to provide goods or services to potential customers because of who they are (man/woman, black/white, gay/straight) is illegal. Let's be honest here, is there really anyone who's going to refuse to shoot a wedding because it's a same-sex marriage? Maybe they won't put the pictures up in their portfolio to show to later potential clients, but I imagine most folks are pragmatists to the point of not leaving good money on the table.
posted by explosion at 6:42 PM on June 3, 2009


HowTF did I miss that? So who will be Shaheen's opponent? Nobody?

Shaheen won last year, so she's got five more years left. Gregg is retiring, and the Democratic nominee seems likely to be Paul Hodes, possibly in a rematch against Charlie Bass, or maybe Sununu will take another shot.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:42 PM on June 3, 2009


I wonder how much tax revenue is at stake if every gay couple started filing jointly....And it's the dumbest, lamest argument ever, but for the record I thought of it first. Right-wing blowhards are welcome to license it for $5,000 per utterance.

Related -- RNC chief, Michael Steele, two-weeks ago:
"Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.

Steele said that was just an example of how the party can retool its message to appeal to young voters and minorities without sacrificing core conservative principles. Steele said he used the argument weeks ago while chatting on a flight with a college student who described herself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal on issues like gay marriage.

'Now all of a sudden I've got someone who wasn't a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for,' Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. 'So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money.'"
posted by ericb at 6:46 PM on June 3, 2009


Also, I've just noticed the highly amusing symmetry, particularly in this context, between Sununu and snu snu.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:46 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I kinda live in this world where there are gay people and they are my friends and my family and my coworkers and just the people that I see every day and so they're just folks, and I'm 33 years old and not a bigot and these just folks, my fucking folks, can't just have what I have as a legal citizen of the United States of America and I get all fucking kinds of enraged, because I don't actually believe in the myth of America, but I sure as shit believe in the laws of America and I'd like to know where equal protection under the law breaks down for my folks.


Dear Americans,

Please stop being shitty Americans and live up to your never forget bumper stickers and an eagle wearing a flag bandanna rear-window decals and recognize the universal human right of the pursuit of happiness and get over your backwards ass tedious notions of how people marginally different from you can't enjoy the legal protections you enjoy. Jesus is bummed out by you and so am I.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:50 PM on June 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


learly, eventually gay marriage will be recognized universally

Son, you ain't spent much time in the South 'ave ya?


He said "recognized," not "widely accepted by the populace." It's been decades since interracial marriage has been recognized, and it's still not accepted in some places.
posted by explosion at 6:50 PM on June 3, 2009


New Hampshire’s bill does not exempt photographers or florists, for example, from having to provide services.

See previous MeFi thread (Photographing gay weddings: a moral quandry?) involving Elane Photography which was found guilty of discrimination by refusing to photograph a same-sex marriage -- a service which was deemed a "public accommodation." Refusing such to a same-sex couple was found to violate New Mexico's Human Rights Act.
posted by ericb at 7:03 PM on June 3, 2009


clearly, eventually gay marriage will be recognized universally

You know, there was a time when Germany was a place where Jews fled to in order to escape from backward countries.
posted by rodgerd at 7:04 PM on June 3, 2009


Dear Americans,

Please stop being shitty Americans and live up to your never forget bumper stickers and an eagle wearing a flag bandanna rear-window decals and recognize the universal human right of the pursuit of happiness and get over your backwards ass tedious notions of how people marginally different from you can't enjoy the legal protections you enjoy. Jesus is bummed out by you and so am I.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:50 PM on June 3


Isn't religion mostly to blame for that?
posted by Malice at 7:05 PM on June 3, 2009


Or the pendulum swings the other direction.

I don't think so. The history of the United States is of the gradual expansion of equality. We get there eventually, even though other countries usually get there first, and once we change we don't generally go back. The advocates of marital inequality had their high-water mark in 2004.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:06 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


*does a little dance*

I went to college in New Hampshire. It's a weird and beautiful state.
posted by rtha at 7:09 PM on June 3, 2009


I have to say, it pleases me greatly that the state that gave the world GG Allin has redeemed itself in this fashion.

Also, "gayonomics" is a really stupid word.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:15 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


...but will we have a prolonged period of time where we have states on both sides? or will the momentum quickly change with even conservative states changing their tune relatively quickly?

Nate Silver (of fivethirtyeight.com) has a model which predicts when each of the 50 states will vote against same-sex marriage bans.
"The model predicts that by 2012, almost half of the 50 states would vote against a marriage ban, including several states that had previously voted to ban it. In fact, voters in Oregon, Nevada and Alaska (which Sarah Palin aside, is far more libertarian than culturally conservative) might already have second thoughts about the marriage bans that they'd previously passed.

By 2016, only a handful of states in the Deep South would vote to ban gay marriage, with Mississippi being the last one to come around in 2024.

It is entirely possible, of course, that past trends will not be predictive of future results. There could be a backlash against gay marriage, somewhat as there was a backlash against drug legalization in the 1980s. Alternatively, there could be a paradigmatic shift in favor of permitting gay marriage, which might make these projections too conservative.

Overall, however, marriage bans appear unlikely to be an electoral winner for very much longer, and soon the opposite may prove to be true."
posted by ericb at 7:22 PM on June 3, 2009


Sexual orientation is not a "protect class" under federal law, nor most state's law.

True. Hopefully, that will change on the federal level some time soon with the Matthew Shepard Act (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 or LLEHCPA), H.R. 1592 which has passed the House and has now moved onto the Senate.
posted by ericb at 7:32 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


that's an interesting prediction. was there drug legalization, though? or was the backlash against drug use?
posted by snofoam at 7:33 PM on June 3, 2009


a little knowledge for, y'all new hampshire's general court (state legislature) is the fourth largest in the world! I am from new hampshire for damn sure, it should not have taken this long.
posted by streetmackerel at 7:52 PM on June 3, 2009


The advocates of marital inequality had their high-water mark in 2004.

I sure hope so.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:07 PM on June 3, 2009


Gotta' love it. I just watched the 11:00 p.m. local Boston news (WCVB) and they devoted about 30 seconds to the news that New Hampshire now is the 6th. state to legalize same-sex marriage. That's it. 30 seconds. No big deal. We get it here in New England. Nothing to fret. No sky has fallen since Massachusetts legalized it five-years ago. Life goes on.
posted by ericb at 8:31 PM on June 3, 2009


In the family that is the New England states, you can think of NH as the crazy possibly-drunk uncle who has some Theories regarding The Fucking Government.

This is a theme worth expanding upon:

Connecticut is the self-absorbed sister who married into money and only acknowledges the family grudgingly and when it's convenient for her.

Maine is the dirtball cousin who still wears metal t-shirts and sells dime bags of ditch weed out of his rotted-out sedan, but occasionally shocks you with an astute observation.

Massachusetts is the pretentious, liberal brother-in-law who keeps issues of Wine Spectator on the toilet cistern and is secretly ashamed of his working-class parents.

Rhode Island is the interesting aunt who's done a million things, but everyone's worried about her because she's in early middle-age and still doesn't have a plan for herself.

Vermont is the hippy brother whom everyone thinks is just great in theory, but nobody's really that close with him because if you spend too much time together his schtick gets on your nerves.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:13 PM on June 3, 2009 [54 favorites]


Sounds like a Jonathan Franzen novel.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:18 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ha, ha Mayor Curley, I favorited you so hard for that one! I'm ashamed to admit, I've never been to New England. I fully intend to visit all states, but so far I've not made it to that region. When I get there (2 years from now, according to plan), I'll keep your post in mind (and going by the depiction in Hitchcock's "The Trouble With Harry" - I expect it to be physically spectacularly beautiful).
posted by VikingSword at 9:28 PM on June 3, 2009


Mental Wimp, from Minnesota: We get to ditch our Governor(not running again) who has presidential aspirations next year. I figure he is the main stumbling block right now irt any significant civil rights legislation be it unions or marriage in Minnesota. As annoying as it is I think we'll likely see a two step process here, first Civil Unions then eventually marriage.
posted by edgeways at 9:34 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm down for forty-four more celebrations.
posted by aniola at 10:09 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


The state legislature was majority D for the first time in like 70 years

Also, the state Senate is majority female! The first state-level-or-higher legislative body in our nation's history to have that honor.
posted by lunasol at 11:34 PM on June 3, 2009


Too bad NH's same-sex marriage likely came at the expense of anti-discrimination protection for transgender (and other gender non-conforming) people.
posted by jiawen at 12:14 AM on June 4, 2009


Oh shit, I'm Vermont. You've given me a lot to think about Mayor Curley.

Yay Gay Marriage!
posted by minifigs at 1:19 AM on June 4, 2009


Too bad NH's same-sex marriage likely came at the expense of anti-discrimination protection for transgender (and other gender non-conforming) people.

They already didn't have that protection, so it wasn't "at the expense of".
posted by DU at 4:26 AM on June 4, 2009


Too bad NH's same-sex marriage likely came at the expense of anti-discrimination protection for transgender (and other gender non-conforming) people.

How does another bill that was voted down around the same time an earlier version of this law was passed count as "at the expense of"? They're largely unrelated, really, with "discrimination protection" being the only (tenuous) tie. It's not like a political deal was struck to pass the one in exchange for blocking the other.

Transgender rights and protections are an important issue, but it seems strange that people are too often willing to tie it to gay and lesbian rights. They're similar, but not the same, and it's shitty to rain on this parade like that.
posted by explosion at 4:34 AM on June 4, 2009


Maine is the dirtball cousin who still wears metal t-shirts and sells dime bags of ditch weed out of his rotted-out sedan, but occasionally shocks you with an astute observation.

If by metal you mean Slipknot and Insane Clown Posse, then this description is spot-on.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:46 AM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


In Oregon 2012 looks good. . .the ban on same-sex marriage did not pass by THAT much (well it did but not a landslide) and with younger voters coming onto the rolls and older ones dying off, it seems inevitable at some point.

The legislature and governor have enacted Civil Unions, but, like Obama's current position on the issue, talking about Civil Unions no longer seems to cut it any more than separate but equal education based on race.
posted by Danf at 6:39 AM on June 4, 2009


"How is it that churches are afraid they're going to be forced to gay marry people?"

They know better, but apparently their religion does not prohibit them from telling baldfaced lies.


I don't know if I completely buy this. I think they have a credible worry here that they will be forced to marry gay couples eventually.

I do think that they are dead wrong about where the pressure will come from though. It won't be legal pressure; the change will happen from within. As time goes by and gay marriage becomes more common, the churches themselves will opt to change.
posted by ODiV at 8:44 AM on June 4, 2009


It won't be legal pressure; the change will happen from within.

Yeah, it's going to be this. I mean, a Catholic church is not required by law to marry just anyone. They don't have to marry Jews or Jehovah's Witnesses or Baptists. A Methodist church is not going to be forced to marry gay people if it doesn't want to, just like it's not now forced to marry non-Methodists if it doesn't want to.

I'd be interested in seeing if there's actual legal precedent out there in which a church has been legally forced to marry people it doesn't want to marry. The opponents of gay marriage haven't produced this info, as far as I know, so I'm assuming that, like a secular reason for "gay marriage is bad", it doesn't exist.
posted by rtha at 8:55 AM on June 4, 2009


Nthing what rtha said...

I think they have a credible worry here that they will be forced to marry gay couples eventually.

But why? This is what I don't understand. To get married in a Catholic church (as I understand it...I'm a lapsed Episcopalian) you have to be a "Catholic in good standing", not divorced, been to confession, etc. If you're "actively" gay you can't be a Catholic in good standing. Ergo, you can't get married in their church.

I'm not Catholic or Jewish or Mormon, so I can't get (straight) married in any of those faiths. How is it any different for gays?
posted by JoanArkham at 9:44 AM on June 4, 2009


I think you misread what I said.
posted by ODiV at 9:55 AM on June 4, 2009


Can a church refuse to marry you because you are black?
posted by smackfu at 9:55 AM on June 4, 2009


Presumably the crazy racist Christian Identity churches can.
posted by scody at 9:56 AM on June 4, 2009


(Incidentally, the idea of a black couple trying to get married at a Christian Identity church strikes me as sort of a lost "Mr. Show" sketch.)
posted by scody at 9:57 AM on June 4, 2009


As I understand it, the legal issue is not so much for churches that marry people within their own congregations, but for churches that rent out their facilities for couples who are not members to get married. I think a church in that situation could probably be sued for refusing to rent to couple on the basis of race, as it's no longer a religious rite the church is performing, but a business transaction. As sexual orientation isn't a federally protected class, they could probably still refuse to rent to a gay couple, although state discrimination laws might also apply.

On the whole, though, I think the New Hampshire language is a good thing. There's no good reason I can think of for a gay couple to want to get married in a church that thinks their relationship is an abomination, so nobody's losing anything here. Besides, the argument all along has been that we should keep the church and the state separated (as it should be!). That works both ways.

The only change I would have made would be a clause reassuring conservatives that nobody could force them to get gay married, just to emphasize how ridiculous the whole thing is.
posted by EarBucket at 10:08 AM on June 4, 2009


Mental Wimp, from Minnesota: We get to ditch our Governor(not running again) who has presidential aspirations next year.

Yeah, Paw-lenty's shtick plays well in MN, but I think it will look a little too smarmy on the national scene when compared to Obama's polish. Bring him on.

I think you're right about Tim-Paw's departure opening the door for civil rights expansion in MN. The DFL controls everything else, and the next governor will have to deal with them, because Pawlenty's tricks of pushing the debt forward has run out of room. I suspect that's the real reason he is demurring another term.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:39 AM on June 4, 2009


Ah, ODiV, I see what you meant. I was confused by your use of the word "forced"...is it forcing an organization to do something if a majority of their own members make it so?

I can definitely see where there could be more fractures in mainstream churches, as in the Episcopalian church.
posted by JoanArkham at 10:41 AM on June 4, 2009


As I understand it, the legal issue is not so much for churches that marry people within their own congregations, but for churches that rent out their facilities for couples who are not members to get married.

A church can not be forced to perform a religious marriage that conflicts with its tenets/beliefs. Separation of church and state. Period. To my knowledge there has never been a case where a church was found guilty of discrimination for not performing marriage rites to a couple.

Opponents of same-sex marriage (such as the National Organization for Marriage) like to "muddy the waters" by falsly citing the case of Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (New Jersey), claiming that same-sex marriages will lead to lawsuits against churches.

The facts of the case: Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a Methodist organization, refused to rent its boardwalk pavilion to a lesbian couple for their civil union ceremony. The couple filed a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.

Over the years the association has accepted public funds* for maintenance and repairs of the pavilion and rented it often to straight couples for their weddings. The pavilion "is apart from church premises and open to the public. In order to obtain a tax exemption, they entered into an agreement that specified that they would comply with New Jersey anti-discrimination laws."

The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights ruled that the boardwalk property was indeed open for public use, therefore the Methodist group could not discriminate against gay couples using it. The finding [PDF] was deemed "unlawful public accommodation discrimination based on civil union status."

As a result of the finding, the state's Department of Environmental Protection revoked a portion of the association's tax benefits.

* - "U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (Democrat), in whose Congressional district Ocean Grove is located, stated 'they've taken state, federal and local funds by representing that they are open to the public.'"
posted by ericb at 10:58 AM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


*falsely*
posted by ericb at 10:59 AM on June 4, 2009


ericb, I'm not a lawyer, but I think Bob Jones University v. United States suggests that, at the very least, the IRS could revoke a church's tax-exempt status for refusing to perform a wedding for an interracial couple. Whether that would be likely to happen is another matter, of course, and as I said, gay couples don't enjoy the same federally protected status as racial minorities.
posted by EarBucket at 11:34 AM on June 4, 2009


(That being said, I agree that the issue of religious freedom is a great big stupid smokescreen, which is why I think New Hampshire's calling their bluff is a good move.)
posted by EarBucket at 11:34 AM on June 4, 2009


But why? This is what I don't understand.

As somebody who has taught mandatory courses to college freshmen, let me offer my personal assurance that the depths of simple-minded credulousness out there are... well, they're deep.

So I'd guess that to the extent anyone actually believes it, it's because they've been taught that there's a RADICAL HOMOSEXUAL LOBBY!!!!! with a RADICAL GAY AGENDA!!!!! and that we have to resist their efforts for gay marriage because the NEXT STEP!!!!!! will be to require churches to marry gay couples, and the step after that when the churches resist will be to nationalize all the churches and declare the Bible illegal. I am mostly not bullshitting here.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:47 AM on June 4, 2009


the NEXT STEP!!!!!! will be to require churches to marry gay couples, and the step after that when the churches resist will be to nationalize all the churches and declare the Bible illegal.

This is absolutely the way a lot of Christians think. I grew up in a relatively moderate evangelical congregation, and even there we had a number of people who were utterly convinced the US government was secretly in league with the UN in a conspiracy to ultimately outlaw Christianity. I can't even imagine what they're thinking now that the president is a secret Muslim.
posted by EarBucket at 11:54 AM on June 4, 2009


I can't even imagine what they're thinking now that the president is a secret Muslim.

secret GAY Muslim.
posted by scody at 12:05 PM on June 4, 2009


Who was aborted. By a Jew.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:07 PM on June 4, 2009


And the abortion didn't even happen on American soil!
posted by scody at 12:22 PM on June 4, 2009


Plus, he's only half circumcised.
posted by ODiV at 12:28 PM on June 4, 2009


Congratulations, NH!
posted by five fresh fish at 12:32 PM on June 4, 2009


"Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.

I suggest the base be broadened by revoking the tax-free status of churches. There's a helluva lot more money lost to that than there will be in decades of gay couples filing joint returns.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:38 PM on June 4, 2009


The problem with that idea is they're tax-free only so long as they don't lobby politically. If they can be taxed, they can lobby much more aggressively. In addition, it's only likely to hurt smaller community-based houses of worship that are some neighborhoods' backbone of social services, while the megachurches will continue to do just fine.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:45 PM on June 4, 2009


[few comments removed - if there's an overarching site issue you have, it needs to go to metatalk, not screwing up every single thread. thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:37 PM on June 4, 2009


The suggestion wasn't intended to be any less crazy than Michael Steele's dumbass remark.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:06 PM on June 4, 2009


"you said death first! aaaahhhahhhaah!"
"no, i MEANT liberty!"
"oh, all right. you're lucky i'm church of new hampshire."

What were we talking about? Ah yes...may I present the flag of equal marriage.
posted by unregistered_animagus at 10:53 AM on June 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


How does another bill that was voted down around the same time an earlier version of this law was passed count as "at the expense of"? They're largely unrelated, really, with "discrimination protection" being the only (tenuous) tie. It's not like a political deal was struck to pass the one in exchange for blocking the other.
Did you read what I linked to? It looks very likely that a political deal was struck, getting the people who proposed 415 to vote against their own bill in favor of same-sex marriage. It seems someone thought there wasn't a way to pass both bills, so trans people would (as usual) have to be thrown under the bus.
Transgender rights and protections are an important issue, but it seems strange that people are too often willing to tie it to gay and lesbian rights. They're similar, but not the same, and it's shitty to rain on this parade like that.
They very often are the same. Gay and lesbian (and other) people get discriminated against quite often for gender expression rather than sexual orientation.

And it's shitty to throw trans folks under the bus at the expense of trans people, and it looks very likely that that's precisely what happened here.
posted by jiawen at 2:42 AM on June 7, 2009


That's it. 30 seconds. No big deal. We get it here in New England.

Don't pat yourself on the back too hard. Most likely the story got 30 seconds to make room for the real meaty stuff-- "What Happened on Idol Last Night," "Hey This Puppy Is Friends With A Rabbit!" or "Snow!" or, alternately, "Rain!" or "Sun!"
posted by Rykey at 1:05 PM on June 8, 2009


No. "We Do Really 'Get It' Here in New England!"

Come on Rhode Island. It's your turn now.
posted by ericb at 3:40 PM on June 8, 2009


« Older Jacob's Ladder. Jacob Zuma is a former goatherd, a...  |  Crescendo in the West Bank... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments