Civil Rights defeat in Maine
November 4, 2009 1:11 PM   Subscribe

Maine became the 31st state to block same-sex marriage through a public referendum Some said the loss was a sign that the state-by-state approach favored by the largest gay-rights groups had failed and that the focus should move to repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and which Congress can overturn without voter approval. Others argued that the defeat only reinforced the need to keep winning grassroots support.

Question 1 was approved as of November 4, 2009 at 2:05 a.m. EST. The fight goes on in the rest of the country, but for now, the focus is on legal measures.
posted by VikingSword (292 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
On the plus side, it appears that Washington state voters have approved Referendum 71 (previously), which upholds the legislature's "everything but marriage" law passed earlier this year.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:13 PM on November 4, 2009


I was surprised to see this; it is unfortunate. Eventually, cooler heads will prevail.
posted by oaf at 1:13 PM on November 4, 2009


Unfortunately, I can't say I was too surprised; after all, the people of Maine's decision was not without precedent. But that didn't make it any easier to stomach.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 1:18 PM on November 4, 2009


Others argued that the defeat only reinforced the need to keep winning grassroots support.

That is the best way. I am amazed at how far the country has moved on this issue in just a half decade or so. I am hoping that as soon as healthcare reform is accomplished that DADT gets the boot.
posted by caddis at 1:18 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


America: confusing equality with majority since 1776,
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:19 PM on November 4, 2009 [46 favorites]


I saw this when looking up the Nov 2009 election results for the still-active about the Congressional race in New York's 23rd district, and found an interesting post on why Washington's results matter. In short: outside of the urban centers, Washington is a largely conservative state, and this will be the first state to to approve gay equality by direct will of the people, rather than the court or legislature.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:20 PM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


Not that I really believe that large a portion of the population could be fooled or tricked by strange wording, but why are these questions always worded so that you have to vote "No" in order to say "Yes" to same-sex marriage?

I look forward to 2011: "Shouldn't we not discontinue banning same-sex marriage?"

-Yes
-No
-Huh?
posted by explosion at 1:21 PM on November 4, 2009 [32 favorites]


It might be the word "marriage" that is the stumbling block. A gay union is not the same as a hetero union. Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.
Legal recognition of the couple - for hospital visits, etc. - would be much easier to achieve without the in your face insistence of "marriage".
posted by Cranberry at 1:22 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


It might be the word "marriage" that is the stumbling block.

Maybe. I'm going to guess the actual stumbling block is homophobia, though.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:23 PM on November 4, 2009 [139 favorites]


A gay union is not the same as a hetero union. Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.

I just want to jump in and say that you are going to get intellectually eviscerated for this bit of illogic and rightfully so.
posted by Avenger at 1:25 PM on November 4, 2009 [47 favorites]


Legal recognition of the couple - for hospital visits, etc. - would be much easier to achieve without the in your face insistence of "marriage".

Yeah, all those in your face demands for equality. Who do they think they are, people?
posted by wildcrdj at 1:26 PM on November 4, 2009 [34 favorites]


It might be the word "marriage" that is the stumbling block. A gay union is not the same as a hetero union. Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.

Whoa there, cranberry. since when did marriage mean, "can have kids without a third party?" What about impotent/infertile hetero couples who adopt or surrogate?

I thought marriage was about love and commitment between two people. Since when is that different for gay couples?

If it is about the word 'marriage' its only because the far right homophobes are easily placated by a little - though meaningless - linguistic distraction.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:27 PM on November 4, 2009 [21 favorites]


It might be the word "marriage" that is the stumbling block. A gay union is not the same as a hetero union. Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.

Talk about narrow definitions. If one or both of a hetero couple are infertile/impotent, does that cast doubt on their marriage? What if they have genetic diseases they don't want to pass on? What if they just would prefer to adopt/raise foster children?

Oh, and this is not about whether gay people can marry. It's about whether people of the same sex can marry. People marry for reasons other than sexual attraction or a desire to raise a family. I know that the largest portion of people participating in same-sex marriage are homosexual, but there's a reason why the none of the laws actually call it "gay marriage," and that's because it's not really about homosexuality, but about gender discrimination in choice of spouse.
posted by explosion at 1:27 PM on November 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


A gay union is not the same as a hetero union.

Mostly because of people who think like you.
posted by Benjy at 1:29 PM on November 4, 2009 [19 favorites]


would be much easier to achieve without the in your face insistence of "marriage".

I think this argument probably held more water back when the legal definition of marriage did not include same-sex unions. But I think that it is fair to argue that the legal and societal definition of "marriage" has changed in the last decade or so to include same-sex unions. If "marriage," by definition, only includes opposite-sex couples, then the equality argument where "marriage" is concerned has less traction than if "marriage" can, definitionally, include same-sex couples and is then denied to those couples.
posted by The World Famous at 1:30 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.

Since when is "raising a family" a requirement of marriage?

Or, what, do you think all the single parents out there have secret spouses in Canada or something?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:30 PM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


It might be the word "marriage" that is the stumbling block.

I used to subscribe to this theory, but an experience last week changed my mind. My family was in town and we were visiting an aunt's friend who lives in Mill Creek (an exurban hell if I've ever seen one) and is quite religious. She had lots of Jesusy stuff on the walls and, sitting around the dinner table, she asked me if I was voting and how I'd be voting on Referendum 71. I momentarily froze since I knew she wasn't going to like the answer, but then I realized that my entire family was on my side and I've read enough Metafilter threads to know my way around this kind of debate should she decide to start one. "I'll definitely be voting yes on that one".

She sort of balked, then turned to my aunt and said "This bill - it would give these couples the same benefits they give to married people, but they're not actually married! How ridiculous is that?". It was at this point that I realized they're playing both sides of the same coin - you can't give marriage benefits to non-married couples because they're not married and you can't let their unions be marriage because marriage is for a man and a woman. Heads I win, tails you lose.

The people on the wrong side of this debate don't actually care about the "sanctity" of marriage. They care about enforcing heteronormity. When we try to back off and let them keep the magic M-word to themselves and just give same-sex couples the legal protections they deserve, suddenly you're giving Marriage benefits to Not-Married people and they're back at it with the same fervor. There's no escape, there's no compromise.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:31 PM on November 4, 2009 [106 favorites]


A gay union is not the same as a hetero union.

True. Because in one case people are gay, and in the other they aren't.

Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.

Wait, WTF?
posted by chunking express at 1:31 PM on November 4, 2009


Also, public referendum on a minority rights issue? America, stop being so fucking lame already. Jesus Christ people.
The will of the people, moreover, practically means the will of the most numerous or the most active part of the people; the majority, or those who succeed in making themselves accepted as the majority; the people, consequently, may desire to oppress a part of their number; and precautions are as much needed against this as against any other abuse of power. — John Stuary Mill
posted by chunking express at 1:31 PM on November 4, 2009 [17 favorites]


It might be a good idea to not turn this thread into an argument about Cranberry's comment. Just a thought.
posted by The World Famous at 1:32 PM on November 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


This is sad, but it doesn't change the fact that marriage equality is required by the Equal Protection Clause of the Maine constitution, just as it is required by the Iowa constitution, and just as it is required by the United States constitution. I hope ballot initiatives like these will encourage friendly Supreme Courts to take up this issue.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:32 PM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.

Neither can my wife and myself. Do you have an actual point?
posted by malocchio at 1:32 PM on November 4, 2009 [20 favorites]


In short: outside of the urban centers, Washington is a largely conservative state, and this will be the first state to to approve gay equality by direct will of the people, rather than the court or legislature.

It wasn't for equality. Separate but equal never ends up being equal.
posted by birdherder at 1:32 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


A gay union is not the same as a hetero union. Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.

I'm a straight male in a heterosexual marriage. Neither my wife, nor myself want children. It is by choice. What does that have to do with our being married? And what does that have to do with gay people's right to marry? Can you please explain what is the relevance of your statement? And when has it ever been relevant, except possibly in harem somewhere 500 years ago? So why the fuck are you bringing it up?
posted by VikingSword at 1:33 PM on November 4, 2009


Basically, a lot of money was funneled from out-state by the bigots who run NOM and other similar groups, which is why they are all scrambling in courts to keep the names of donors from being released.

These cowards were given the funds to run ads in radio and other media that basically called gays and lesbians pedophiles and subhumans without actually having the courage to do it to anyone's face.

I hope they lose and we find out which religious organizations gave them the money to run their hate and fear ad campaign. The more we learn, the easier it will be to argue for bringing these religious bigots into court for violating their non-profit tax status. The collection plate is not for political campaigning.

Sadly, the same special dispensation was given to bigots in Washington to keep signatures from being released (the only time such an exception has even been made for signers of any ballot measure in the state's history), by the same federal government that, on one hand, shows up at HRC fundraising dinners and opposes DOMA, while, on the other hand, leads the Department of Justice to vigorously defend it.

Thankfully, it looks like Stickney's hate campaign failed in this state. We'll see in a few weeks, once all the ballots are counted.

Ultimately, it may be up to the same Supreme Court that once ruled on Loving v. Virginia to make (gay) marriage a non-issue. Whether or not the Cranberry's of this great country have to be lead by the nose to get our rights recognized as matters of equality and fairness, we will one day get this done.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:34 PM on November 4, 2009 [17 favorites]


It might be the word "marriage" that is the stumbling block. A gay union is not the same as a hetero union. Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.
Legal recognition of the couple - for hospital visits, etc. - would be much easier to achieve without the in your face insistence of "marriage".


So sort of an equal but separate thing.
posted by EarBucket at 1:34 PM on November 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


Next you're going to tell me my relationship with my girlfriend is not like normal relations because of our fondness for freaky three-ways.

You may have a point at that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:34 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.

My baby-mama says that we might lose our government child support checks if the gays get marriage rights!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:34 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and this is not about whether gay people can marry. It's about whether people of the same sex can marry.

Thank you for this. I wish news outlets would switch to always calling it "same-sex marriage" rather than "gay marriage." (Example from today's NYT: "Maine Voters Repeal Law Allowing Gay Marriage.")

The idea that there's a law against "gays" doing something doesn't make a lot of sense, since the government doesn't keep track of who's straight or gay or bisexual or what. The government does, OTOH, keep track of gender, and that's the basis of the discrimination.

But let's give Cranberry the benefit of the doubt that she was discussing general public opinion and not trying to make an ideological statement of her own beliefs. I don't know what her actual views are about same-sex marriage, and I wouldn't leap to the conclusion that a Metafilter commenter is against it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:35 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Cranberry spends her days searching for wedding ceremonies of elderly, infertile couples, and when the priest says "Speak now or forever hold your peace" she says "YOU CANNOT PROCREATE! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!! YOU ARE DESTROYING MY MARRIAGE!!!!"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:35 PM on November 4, 2009 [15 favorites]


David Mixner: "...call this campaign against us what it is - Gay Apartheid."
Pam Spaulding: "A few words on Maine and the dying hog of homophobia"
Andrew Sullivan: Calls for outting Catholic priests.
posted by Craig at 1:35 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


The thing that surprised me about this was that generally, people in Maine pride themselves on not interfering in each other's private business. Even my age'd grandmother, after a brief chat on the phone with her about this, said "Well true, I don't suppose it is any trouble to me if those people want to get married." So seeing that the majority of voters in Maine actively want to interfere in their neighbors' life choices made me gnash my teeth.

Considering that it is an inevitability for me that I'll end up living up by Sebago in the family farmhouse, I give Maine ten years to get its act together. Until then, it's LGBTA-only barbecues every summer for our neighbors.

Sigh.
posted by Mizu at 1:36 PM on November 4, 2009


I don't know if I should be happy that I no longer live in Maine or sad that I no longer live in Maine.

Happy because I live in a state where there is gay marriage or sad that I could maybe possibly have made a difference with a vote in Maine.
posted by zizzle at 1:36 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


At least one article I saw today pointed out that Maine is the 31st state to reject gay marriage. But I am absolutely certain that within 10 years the trend is going to be in exactly the opposite direction. Washington state, for one, has made enormous gains in barely that amount of time, moving from rejection of a law against discrimination to popular affirmation of a law that guarantees "everything but marriage," as the link filthy light thief provided points out.
posted by bearwife at 1:36 PM on November 4, 2009


Legal recognition of the couple - for hospital visits, etc. - would be much easier to achieve without the in your face insistence of 'marriage'.

It's because of that darn pesky, in-your-face, Equal Protection Clause. Well, that, and we already tried "separate-but-equal" and it didn't go so well.

It might be the word "marriage" that is the stumbling block.

Then we can replace "marriage" with "civil union" (or whatever) in every local, state, and federal law. Or maybe learn the distinction between civil marriage and religious marriage.

Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.

Is every heterosexual couple capable of raising a family without the intervention of a third party or process? Should heterosexual couples who do have kids have to divorce once the kids are grown?
posted by kirkaracha at 1:37 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


The problem is not with hot heads, but with special interest groups (both inside- and outside-of Maine) really confusing the voters and folks not turning out to vote (either way). The same thing happened with the TABOR II referendum.

I read all the articles, viewed the web sites and scanned the digitized commercials that would have been aimed at me as a ME voter (we don't watch television) and could not believe how complicated both sides made the issue. Scare tactics from groups that oppose gay marriage and lack of a compelling campaign from those that don't.

If the state is going to grant special tax and legal privileges to two individuals who enter a legally binding relationship, what does it matter who they happen to be (besides US citizens and state residents)? The result of making it more open *may* be that the schools begin to modify curriculum, but if I'm not comfortable with that as a parent as a result of my religious/faith/worldview/etc, I should have that level-setting discussion (regularly) with my kids or put them into an educational setting that will or find a way to have it accommodated in the school without disrupting the educational process.

If anyone argues that the vote came from a core social conservative perspective, then the marijuana vote would have been smacked down as well. It wasn't. It was all about special interests scaring "regular" folk and getting their backers to the polls in better numbers.

People really need to take a stand against the vast amount of money coming in from out of state to support candidates & initiatives.
posted by hrbrmstr at 1:37 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


but why are these questions always worded so that you have to vote "No" in order to say "Yes" to same-sex marriage?

In this case, its because the legislature passed a law making same-sex marriage legal, then the anti-marriage folks used the 'People's Veto' process to gather signatures to overturn the law. The question was basically "do you want to overturn the law" - No, I don't want to overturn it, or Yes, I do.

Please trust me that of all the issues going on up here, I doubt anyone was confused by the wording.
posted by anastasiav at 1:38 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


It might be the word "marriage" that is the stumbling block

I agree with this statement.

Two people can appear before the State and have a set of special rights and privileges conferred on them. The State calls this "marriage."

Two people can appear before a priest/preacher/etc. and have God bestow a blessing upon their union. Religions call this "marriage."

There is no reason the above two things need to be called the same thing. They certainly aren't the same thing. People confuse the two. They think that if they allow the State to marry people, then their church or religion will have to marry people. Of course, that is not the case. If they used different names, then I suspect these votes would have very different results.
posted by flarbuse at 1:39 PM on November 4, 2009 [16 favorites]


This went as well as any majority vote on minority rights is destined to go.
posted by rollbiz at 1:41 PM on November 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


'Yes on 1' Pastor:
'God has given us this victory and it is very important for us to recognize that he is the one who put the energy into this campaign.'
posted by ericb at 1:41 PM on November 4, 2009


People really need to take a stand against the vast amount of money coming in from out of state to support candidates & initiatives.

I agree. Maybe I just don't pay attention to the right news sources, but here in California, I noticed a lot of people taking a stand against out-of-state montetary support for Prop. 8. Interestingly, I didn't notice any of those people taking that same strong stand against the out-of-state support against the money that came from out of state against Prop. 8.

I think it is very unlikely that people will take a stand against money coming from out of state to support a candidate or initiative that they support themselves.
posted by The World Famous at 1:41 PM on November 4, 2009


I think I'm going to go buy a pack of fresh, Argentinian blueberries on my way home tonight. I might even pick up a couple of nice Nova Scotia lobsters too.

Sure, I know it's an expensive indulgence, but it's the least I can do to support an industry that kicks Maine's economy in the crotch. Next summer, I think we'll just fly directly to the Maritimes to avoid giving our tourist dollars to bigots.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:42 PM on November 4, 2009 [11 favorites]


Why take a stand agAinst money coming in from out of state when large amounts of money go into DC to get legislation passed or stopped by lobby groups? It is the American way. What bothers me: asking citizens within a state if they would like or not like this or that. After all, do we get to vote now on slavery? intermarriage between color groupings, religion? If a couple (gay) marry in Mass, where it is legal, and move to Maine? or come from Maine and Marry in Mass and return to Maine? Is that legal? If they are from Canada, where I believe gay marriage ok, and relocate, is that legal? States rights seems very arbitrary since the Civil War. and marijuana?
the feds don't like it but increasingly states can decide. Why not abortion? Serving in the military?
posted by Postroad at 1:42 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry about jumping to conclusions there!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:43 PM on November 4, 2009


Since when is "raising a family" a requirement of marriage?

Pedantic Man to the rescue!

Strictly speaking, 'raising families' is in fact that traditional function of marriage. That's what it's always been for, first and foremost: Mating to raise pups.

Of course, even in the animal kingdom we can find examples of same-sex cooperation to raise pups....
posted by lodurr at 1:44 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it is very unlikely that people will take a stand against money coming from out of state to support a candidate or initiative that they support themselves.

Enforcing the open-disclosure laws on campaign donations would help make this a non-issue.

The sooner we put a stop to religious organizations doing money laundering, the sooner we can have an honest and fair discussion about this issue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:46 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


If they used different names, then I suspect these votes would have very different results.

I'd love to believe that this would be the case, but I can't. If the only problem folks had with #1 was that they didn't want gay marriages taking place in their house of worship, for example, specific adjustments were made to the legislation to assuage these concerns.
posted by rollbiz at 1:46 PM on November 4, 2009


...the focus should move to repealing the Defense of Marriage Act...

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at University of Maine: "President Barack Obama is still committed to repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell."
posted by ericb at 1:47 PM on November 4, 2009


Strictly speaking, 'raising families' is in fact that traditional function of marriage. That's what it's always been for, first and foremost: Mating to raise pups.

What about the economic and socio-political benefits of creating bonds between tribes/nations/families? Marriage has a long history of being a political tool in myriad ways.
posted by The World Famous at 1:47 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


I know that the largest portion of people participating in same-sex marriage are homosexual, but there's a reason why the none of the laws actually call it "gay marriage," and that's because it's not really about homosexuality, but about gender discrimination in choice of spouse.

You may be right from a legal and statutory-drafting perspective, but from every other perspective I can think of this issue is about homosexual marriage -- for both supporters and opponents. Is there a significant population of married, same-sex, heterosexual couples that I'm missing?
posted by brain_drain at 1:47 PM on November 4, 2009


flarbuse has a point (and several people make the same point every time this comes up): what we really need is to pry apart the civil and religious institutions of marriage. then religious zealots would have a much harder time confusing everyone about this.
posted by lodurr at 1:47 PM on November 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


.




For now.
posted by darkstar at 1:48 PM on November 4, 2009


Enforcing the open-disclosure laws on campaign donations would help make this a non-issue.

The sooner we put a stop to religious organizations doing money laundering, the sooner we can have an honest and fair discussion about this issue.


Really? If open-disclosure laws were more strictly enforced, would you take a strong stand against out-of-state donations in support of same-sex marriage?
posted by The World Famous at 1:48 PM on November 4, 2009


Strictly speaking, 'raising families' is in fact that traditional function of marriage. That's what it's always been for, first and foremost: Mating to raise pups.

Spare me. Marriage is to seal a pair bond. People don't automatically get divorced when their kids grow up, and they don't necessarily wait until marriage to have kids.

Couples who love each other very much often have kids and often get married. Don't confuse causation and correlation.
posted by explosion at 1:49 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wonder how well-stocked the food banks around Maine would be if all the money the churches spent on this campaign went there instead.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:51 PM on November 4, 2009 [32 favorites]


Here are some links for you Referendum 71 (WA) watchers. Watch those counts come in at the results page. (it's the second one) The schedule for the count.
And, the wording on the ballot (also has the statements for and against).
posted by Craig at 1:51 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


but from every other perspective I can think of this issue is about homosexual marriage

Well, one issue that might have been intended is bisexuals getting married? Not everyone who gets married to a same-sex partner is homosexual (and of course plenty of bisexuals do marry opposite-sex partners). The debate tends to ignore those in the middle (often the case with issues of race as well).
posted by wildcrdj at 1:51 PM on November 4, 2009


What about the economic and socio-political benefits of creating bonds between tribes/nations/families?

Sure, but first things first: no pups, no tribes/nations/families. And even if you've got them, if you don't raise them right, guess what: no tribes/nations/families.

But this is 2009. We got lots of babies what need raising and lots of people who'd be happy to raise them well (and in so doing do a good job of perpetuating our tribes/nations/families) who just happen to be, er. the same gender.

I think it's important not to gloss over what this institution, marriage, has traditionally been for. It can help us to understand that we don't need to be hidebound about how we deal with it going foreward.
posted by lodurr at 1:51 PM on November 4, 2009


Strictly speaking, 'raising families' is in fact that traditional function of marriage.

From what I've heard the primary functions of marriage was "... the perpetuation of the species, a system of rules to handle the granting of property rights, and the protection of bloodlines."
posted by ericb at 1:52 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


*were*
posted by ericb at 1:52 PM on November 4, 2009


Strictly speaking, 'raising families' is in fact that traditional function of marriage. That's what it's always been for, first and foremost: Mating to raise pups.

Bullshit. Pairings and cohabitation were structures in which families were raised from the time we climbed down from the trees and society slowly evolved. When marriage has been institutionalized, the cohabitation gained additional political and economic dimensions. You didn't need the blessings of the state or church to fuck and procreate and sustain families. "Marriage" is a superstructure created by forces outside of the family unit.
posted by VikingSword at 1:54 PM on November 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


Two charts posted today on The Baseline Scenario illustrate that Marriage Equality is only a matter of time.

Given this reality, I have made the following argument to conservatives repeatedly: If support for gay marriage is growing and will eventually overtake opposition, would your position not be better served by working out a compromise from your position of strength, rather than waiting until your position of weakness has been relegated to utter irrelevancy?

Furthermore, given that your position is predicated upon the assumption that the service provided by the Justice of the Peace and by your local minister are identical...and that any whackjob who gets an internet ordination is authorized to perform a ceremony that carries the same significance as your holy rite, would you not prefer to devise a system that protects the sanctity of precisely the type of marriage you wish to privilege from the incursions that are presently permissible?

Peter Gomes has noted repeatedly that the first marriage performed in the colonies was a civil, not religious ceremony--because the religious people did not want the government and religion to be mixed.

The solution--to me at least--seems simple: the government does not need to be in the business of marrying people. The government should assign itself only the duty of performing civil unions for any individuals who wish to be legally bound to one another. Apart from this, your religious/social/cultural community should perform the "marriage" that is considered most desirable to you and your community.
posted by jefficator at 1:55 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Would you take a strong stand against out-of-state donations in support of same-sex marriage?

Yes, when a) the law is enforced, and b) the violations are worthy of the attention. For example, there's no evidence that Unitarians in Philadelphia did any kind of whip-round to contribute to WAFST, but there's a lot of compelling evidence that NOM and the Mormon Church have been active in violations of the law in California, Maine, Iowa and elsewhere. In a justice system with limited resources, it pays to go after the worst offenders.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:56 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jesus, you people are so full of knee jerk reactions today.

So many of you people calling "bullshit" on my simple statement are really just rephrasing it and calling it a refutation.
posted by lodurr at 1:56 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


If they used different names, then I suspect these votes would have very different results.

Look, there is empirical evidence that this is not the case. Washington state's Referendum 71 was explicitly not-marriage ("domestic partnership" rather than "civil union") but will only narrowly pass in a state that is traditionally quite blue. It's really only a 4% swing difference from the results in Maine. The hypothesis that "a measure which doesn't call it marriage will get significantly different results from one that calls it marriage" has been completely disproven by a state-wide election.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:57 PM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


I think that same-sex marriage supporters have an expectation to win this fight quickly, and need to take a longer term vision. It would seem that the most important thing is to get equal rights through civil-unions (or some other non-marriage word). Then go for true equality and get the name changed to "marriage".

I think the results in Washington, California and Maine all indicate that the civil union fight is one that is winnable right now while the marriage fight is one that is going to take some time.

Yes conservatives will try to fight both, but I don't think their arguments against civil unions carry as much emotional power as their arguments against same-sex marriage.

The question is whether this is a fight we want to win or just a fight we want to fight.
posted by spaceviking at 1:58 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Whatever the primary functions of marriage were, marriage now carries a huge number of ancillary rights, including but not limited to inheritance rights, health care rights, tax benefits, and housing benefits. One of the arguments that finally resonated in favor of popular approval of R 71 here in Washington is that it is hard to articulate why those rights should be denied to unmarried partners, regardless of sexual orientation.
posted by bearwife at 1:59 PM on November 4, 2009


You didn't need the blessings of the state or church to fuck and procreate and sustain families. "Marriage" is a superstructure created by forces outside of the family unit.

Perhaps you might have a better conversation if you recognized that your interlocutors disagree with you on precisely this point?

If you go to a traditional wedding, the minister will state plainly that marriage was instituted by God. Empirically accurate though your presumption may be, please try to remember that your position is being opposed by people who don't believe that government can take a positivist position with regard to this particular institution.
posted by jefficator at 2:01 PM on November 4, 2009


So many of you people calling "bullshit" on my simple statement are really just rephrasing it and calling it a refutation.

You said the point of marriage was to pair off and make babies.

Others (myself included) pointed out that people have been doing that since before "marriage" was a concept, and that "marriage" is actually a societal overlay onto the "pairing off" part, and that the concept does not specifically require the "making babies" part.
posted by explosion at 2:01 PM on November 4, 2009


So many of you people calling "bullshit" on my simple statement are really just rephrasing it and calling it a refutation.

Your statement remains bullshit. "Marriage" is an officially sanctioned union. It came about after the family unit has already been established for millennia. People procreated within such social structures successfully since were were apes and before. "Marriage" is in no way necessary to procreate.
posted by VikingSword at 2:01 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is no reason the above two things need to be called the same thing. They certainly aren't the same thing. People confuse the two. They think that if they allow the State to marry people, then their church or religion will have to marry people. Of course, that is not the case. If they used different names, then I suspect these votes would have very different results.

Exactly. So call all civil unions "civil unions," and let churches and temples etc handle "marriages".

I like what Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler say on this subject in the book, Nudge. That is, that all unions sanctioned by the State be civil unions, while marriage is privatized by churchs, temples, whatall.

Here is the text. It is quite lucid and cogent.

Oh, and I hope Cranberry was being facetious or ironic. I really really do.
posted by humannaire at 2:03 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


... searching for wedding ceremonies of elderly, infertile couples, and when the priest says "Speak now or forever hold your peace" she says "YOU CANNOT PROCREATE! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!! YOU ARE DESTROYING MY MARRIAGE!!!!"

This is funny and a good argument, and I would have readily favorited it if the same comment didn't also try to drag a specific Metafilter user's username through the mud.
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:03 PM on November 4, 2009


You may be right from a legal and statutory-drafting perspective, but from every other perspective I can think of this issue is about homosexual marriage -- for both supporters and opponents. Is there a significant population of married, same-sex, heterosexual couples that I'm missing?

Hey, not all of us who are queer are gay. Bisexuality exists!
posted by homuncula at 2:04 PM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon:

Would you take a strong stand against out-of-state donations in support of same-sex marriage?

Yes, when a) the law is enforced, and b) the violations are worthy of the attention. For example, there's no evidence that Unitarians in Philadelphia did any kind of whip-round to contribute to WAFST, but there's a lot of compelling evidence that NOM and the Mormon Church have been active in violations of the law in California, Maine, Iowa and elsewhere. In a justice system with limited resources, it pays to go after the worst offenders.


I'm confused. For you, is it a question of whether donations are legal, or of whether they come from out of state? Out of state donations accounted for a sizeable amount of the No On 8 campaign, as I recall. Are you opposed to out-of-state political donations in general, or only to the extent that the support is for a cause that you disagree with or by members of religious organizations?

All other things being equal (legality, the source of the money, the political position advocated, etc.), are you opposed to out-of-state monetary support of political causes?
posted by The World Famous at 2:05 PM on November 4, 2009


See what I mean? All that emotion over a word such as "marriage". I did not post my opinion- I posted what I think is a stumbling block.
posted by Cranberry at 2:06 PM on November 4, 2009


Exactly. So call all civil unions "civil unions," and let churches and temples etc handle "marriages".

That isn't a solution, it's giving up on true equality. Also, as an atheist, I don't want a second-class term because some bigots don't want to budge on calling a marriage a marriage.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:07 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


And one other thing:

WE DO NOT VOTE ON CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Any questions?
posted by humannaire at 2:07 PM on November 4, 2009 [13 favorites]


I'm sad, and irritated, and annoyed at myself for not acting. Mostly I really resent having my civil rights put to popular vote. Mike Monteiro had the best comment I've seen on this, though, on the Twitter
In related news: Maine has passed a referendum that Maine coon cats will now count as three-fifths of a cat.
posted by Nelson at 2:08 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


It might be the word "marriage" that is the stumbling block.
"A loving man and woman in a committed relationship can marry. Dogs, no matter what their relationship, are not allowed to marry. How should society treat gays and lesbians in committed relationships? As dogs or as humans?"*
posted by ericb at 2:08 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


WE DO NOT VOTE ON CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Yes, we do. All the time.
posted by The World Famous at 2:09 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


WE DO SHOULD NOT VOTE ON CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
posted by EarBucket at 2:10 PM on November 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


Also, as an atheist, I don't want a second-class term because some bigots don't want to budge on calling a marriage a marriage.

Analogy: Everyone gets a birth certificate, but if you want to get a baptism certificate, you have to go to a church and get baptized. This seems fair to me?
posted by 0xFCAF at 2:10 PM on November 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


For you, is it a question of whether donations are legal, or of whether they come from out of state?

It's not either/or.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:10 PM on November 4, 2009


In short: outside of the urban centers, Washington is a largely conservative state, and this will be the first state to to approve gay equality by direct will of the people, rather than the court or legislature.

It wasn't for equality. Separate but equal never ends up being equal.


I won't pretend to speak for the Washington LGBT community, but my impression is that they are pretty happy with the (not perfect) "everything but marriage" law, and very happy that enough of the rest of us supported Ref 71 that it will pass. Supporters also did a good outreach and education job, since it followed the traditional sleazeball tactic of requiring a yes vote on an initiative that you were "against".

Washington isn't actually very conservative on social issues any more though, unless you're going by area rather than population. The population growth is entirely in the existing majority of younger, liberal urban residents.
posted by ecurtz at 2:12 PM on November 4, 2009


Also, I believe this particular fight should be taken care of on the federal level already. Why the taboo of going through the courts and legislatures? That's how we got the end of Jim Crow.

That's one function of our government - to protect minority rights.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:12 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Exactly. So call all civil unions "civil unions," and let churches and temples etc handle "marriages".

That isn't a solution, it's giving up on true equality. Also, as an atheist, I don't want a second-class term because some bigots don't want to budge on calling a marriage a marriage.


Actually, yes it is. You can get married. By whoever or where-ever does marry you. It just ceases to be the State's or electorate's business. And it becomes our own.

The challenge here is not semantics. It's equal rights under the law.
posted by humannaire at 2:12 PM on November 4, 2009


For you, is it a question of whether donations are legal, or of whether they come from out of state?

It's not either/or.


So, you're against completely-legal out-of-state donations in support of same-sex marriage?
posted by The World Famous at 2:12 PM on November 4, 2009


Exactly. So call all civil unions "civil unions," and let churches and temples etc handle "marriages".

The problem with this approach is that many will perceive it to actually take away longstanding rights. Opponents will say (wrongly) that the State is forcibly divorcing mixed-sex couples to give rights to same-sex couples.

Civil marriage has existed in this country since before our founding as a country. The "hey, lets call it something else" argument is a smokescreen behind which can hide the bigotry and homophobia that was exemplified by the YES ON 1's commercials, which were exclusively about "teaching gay marriage in schools" (whatever that means; I've never been clear on what, exactly, they found that danger to be). Marriage is an ancient and venerable institution that means something to people at a very basic level. Moving everyone over to civil unions might have a certain logic behind it, but the emotional reaction of millions of people to the gov't "taking away" their marriages (my own civil marriage included) should not be ignored.

Separate-but-equal civil unions are not ever going to be equal with marriage. If you want two things to be the same, you should make them the same. Not similar. Not equivalent. THE SAME. My husband and I were married at the courthouse, we never had a religious ceremony nor do we want one. Yet I don't consider myself "unioned" with him, I consider myself married. We were registered Domestic Partners prior to our marriage and I can tell you from experience that the two things will NEVER be equal, even if they grant the same rights.
posted by anastasiav at 2:13 PM on November 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


Two people can appear before the State and have a set of special rights and privileges conferred on them. The State calls this "marriage."

Two people can appear before a priest/preacher/etc. and have God bestow a blessing upon their union. Religions call this "marriage."


The first should be "marriage", and the second should be "mawwidge". Did nobody learn anything from The Princess Bride?
posted by inigo2 at 2:13 PM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


Well, one issue that might have been intended is bisexuals getting married? Not everyone who gets married to a same-sex partner is homosexual (and of course plenty of bisexuals do marry opposite-sex partners).

Fair enough -- I should clarify my point to be that the issue is about whether people who are attracted to others of the same sex should be allowed to marry others of the same sex. And again, I'm not aware of any same-sex marriages that involve people who are not attracted to the opposite sex.
posted by brain_drain at 2:14 PM on November 4, 2009


Yes, we do. All the time.

Rights, like those described in the 14th Amendment, are enshrined in the Constitution. If Congress makes laws to restrict behavior, the courts overturn those laws if they decide that said laws violate the Constitution.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:14 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Analogy: Everyone gets a birth certificate, but if you want to get a baptism certificate, you have to go to a church and get baptized. This seems fair to me?

Hence the existence of civil marriage.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:15 PM on November 4, 2009


So, you're against completely-legal out-of-state donations in support of same-sex marriage?

I'm trying to figure out your line of questioning before answering. Are you saying that what NOM and the Mormon Church are doing is legal?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:15 PM on November 4, 2009


Also, I believe this particular fight should be taken care of on the federal level already. Why the taboo of going through the courts and legislatures? That's how we got the end of Jim Crow.


Because SCOTUS right now would probably not overturn a ban.
posted by liketitanic at 2:16 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Or what anastasiav said.)
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:16 PM on November 4, 2009


FUCK. THIS. SHIT.

Yesterday my Aunts had to leave the country because my Aunt Judy can't sponsor my Aunt Karen for immigration. They're domestic partners in California but that means nothing because federal immigration doesn't recognize same sex marriages. I know there's a rational debate or conversation to be had somewhere in this giant pile of hate, bigotry and violation of the 14th fucking amendment, but I want nothing of it. I want to pick up a pitch fork and a flaming rag on a stick and raise hell. I'm tired of holding up snarky signs at protests. I'm tired of banging on doors of bigots begging for equal rights and picking up my phone to call congressmen. I want to play dirty, I want smear campaigns, intimidation and lies. The dark side won again today and I'm fed up with losing.

Sorry, for the vitriol, I just miss my Aunts. I'll send BAYMEC a check in the morning. I know we'll win, but I don't want to wait any longer.
posted by JimmyJames at 2:18 PM on November 4, 2009 [35 favorites]


WE DO NOT VOTE ON CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Yes, we do. All the time.


And then cooler heads prevail and we agree—by vote of judges—that we do not.

That is what will happen here.


So, all the bigots in the all the land can vote away against same-sex/LGBTI marriages.

It's a shame. And it's the process.

Then, in the US, and in this case, justice will out.
posted by humannaire at 2:18 PM on November 4, 2009


In a thread with this much passion this great link will keep being missed:

MARRIAGE EQUALITY IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME
posted by jefficator at 2:18 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


I know there's a rational debate or conversation to be had somewhere in this giant pile of hate, bigotry and violation of the 14th fucking amendment...

There isn't. That's what makes this so maddening. There is no reasonable or polite reason to oppose same sex marriage. At all. If you do, you're a prick.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 2:19 PM on November 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


Because SCOTUS right now would probably not overturn a ban.

Such measures would take years to get before the Supreme Court, if they ever do. It's reprehensible that an act of bigotry such as the DoMA could be squired in on unrelated piece of legislation and people don't want to fight for equality on a federal level. We can start with DADT.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:20 PM on November 4, 2009


I'm trying to figure out your line of questioning before answering. Are you saying that what NOM and the Mormon Church are doing is legal?

Just to clarify my question: you understand that the groups responsible for the majority of out-of-state funding against civil rights are religious in nature and have likely violated their non-profit status, right? (Even if the IRS will not pursue the matter.)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:20 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Why the taboo of going through the courts and legislatures? That's how we got the end of Jim Crow.

I think that's exactly why the taboo is there. The Republicans started ranting about "activist judges" because the courts were the ones to overturn Jim Crow, and allow interracial marriages. When they talk about activist judges, they're secretly referring to that - in much the same way that they're secretly talking about black people when they rail against social programs that will help all those undeserving, lazy poor people. You know the ones I'm talking about. And because the Democrats are pussies, they let the Republicans get away with demonizing the courts for doing what the courts are supposed to do, even decades after the actual logic behind it has been rejected by the vast majority of Americans.
posted by Anyamatopoeia at 2:21 PM on November 4, 2009 [8 favorites]



Such measures would take years to get before the Supreme Court, if they ever do. It's reprehensible that an act of bigotry such as the DoMA could be squired in on unrelated piece of legislation and people don't want to fight for equality on a federal level. We can start with DADT.

Right, but my understanding is that one reason national organizations have been reluctant to press a legal challenge that would end up before the Court is because of a concern about the Court's current ideological makeup and the sense that we don't know when, if ever, the balance will shift. In a way a SCOTUS hearing is a nuclear option. Some organizers don't want it to end up there until there's a chance of a more favorable outcome.
posted by liketitanic at 2:22 PM on November 4, 2009


Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.

Yes, the third party being a child.
posted by Kabanos at 2:25 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not aware of any same-sex marriages that involve people who are not attracted to the opposite sex.

Obviously you didn't see that *high-larious* movie involving Adam Sandler and the guy from "King of Queens."

In all seriousness, while I am 100% in favor of same-sex marriage, it does raise the question: Can two straight people who are roommates marry solely for the legal/tax benefits? I think the answer would have to be "yes": hetero people are not required to fuck in front of a judge to prove their marriage is anything more than a business arrangement, why should same-sex couples have to?

The inevitable end of this line of thinking is the (unpleasant for some) realization that marriage is a business contract, and we might as well dispose of it altogether in the legal sense. Then anyone who wants to stand in front of a priest/rabbi/imam/judge or whatever and make a commitment witnessed by their family and friends will be free to do so, but the commitment will just be that: A personal promise with no legal repercussions. (In the case of couples with children, some sort of legal architecture to determine custody rights would still be needed.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:26 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm glad that New York State Law defines 'Marriage' as a Civil Contract.
posted by mikelieman at 2:26 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Washington state's Referendum 71 was explicitly not-marriage ("domestic partnership" rather than "civil union") but will only narrowly pass in a state that is traditionally quite blue

"Traditionally" Washington is not a blue state. It hasn't voted for a Republican for president since George HW Bush in 1988 or a Republican governor since Spellman in 1980, but it sends four Republicans to the House, and the legislature has only recently been controlled by Democrats.

Before 2000 or so Republicans had a lot of power around here, and even though they kept throwing up terrible candidates for governor (Ellen Craswell, anyone?) the state party was nowhere near the wilderness.

This was an off year where the only things on the ballot were a less than compelling Seattle mayor's campaign, a King County executive race between a mediocre council member and a puppethead former TV news anchor, a few by-elections in the eastern half of the state for the legislature, and a stupid anti-tax initiative. Turnout is looking pretty low -- 50-55% (yes, that's low for Washington -- it was well over 80% in 2004 and 2008).

So, really, only the motivated were voting. And a 51-49 result is a good result in light of those circumstances.

When you add in that this is the first time in American history that a gay rights initiative has been approved on a state level (vs. voting to reject an anti-gay measure), it's really something.

Then when you are reminded that in 1997 Washington voted 60-40 against Initiative 677, which merely concerned banning employment based on sexual orientation, and that 12 years later you have something far broader getting approved, even if only 51-49, then you realize that what happened here in Washington yesterday was pretty remarkable.

It's not marriage, it may be "I Can't Believe It's Not Gay Marriage," but it became the first gay partnership initiative to survive a referendum challenge.
posted by dw at 2:26 PM on November 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


...the first marriage performed in the colonies was a civil, not religious ceremony--because the religious people did not want the government and religion to be mixed.

Yep.

For Massachusetts, a chance and a choice (by Peter J. Gomes | February 8, 2004)
"When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620, among the first things they did for the well-ordering of their new commonwealth was to institute the Dutch custom of civil marriage with which they had become familiar during their long sojourn in the Netherlands.

The Dutch made civil marriage the law of the land in 1590, and the first marriage in New England, that of Edward Winslow to the widow Susannah White, was performed on May 12, 1621, in Plymouth by Governor William Bradford, in exercise of his office as magistrate.

There would be no clergyman in Plymouth until the arrival of The Rev. Ralph Smith in 1629, but even then marriage would continue to be a civil affair, as these first Puritans opposed the English custom of clerical marriage as unscriptural. Not until 1692, when Plymouth Colony was merged into that of Massachusetts Bay, were the clergy authorized by the new province to solemnize marriages. To this day in this Commonwealth the clergy, including those of the archdiocese, solemnize marriage legally as agents of the Commonwealth and by its civil authority. Chapter 207 of the General Laws of Massachusetts tells who may perform such ceremonies.

This little bit of social and legal history should prove instructive in the current debate concerning marriage in this Commonwealth, and the controversial ruling thereon by the Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health. The petitioners did not address religious issues, and the court's ruling was not premised on religious grounds: Marriage, its definition, rights, and responsibilities, was understood here as a civil matter, as it has been since 1621.

Thus, while the legitimate interests of religious communities in what some of them regard as the sacrament of marriage are worthy of consideration, those interests must not be confused either with the civil law of the Commonwealth or the civil rights of the citizens under its constitution.

No clergy of any denomination are required to wed anyone of whose union they do not approve: There is no civil right to be married in church or with its blessing. The civil law is just that, and the distinction between it and ecclesiastical law is as important as the necessary distinction between church and state. Surely, after two years of protracted debate between church law and civil law in the child-abuse scandals we should appreciate the necessity of these distinctions.

It is to the civil rights of the citizens of Massachusetts that the Supreme Judicial Court responded in the Goodridge case, and this was no attack on the church, nor on religion. It was recognition that the social custom restricting marriage to heterosexuals, a custom long sanctioned by church and society, was no longer to be regarded as consistent with the rights of citizens under the constitution.

We have seen this before. When the courts eventually invalidated long-established laws sanctioned by church and society that forbade interracial marriage, the so-called 'miscegenation' laws that obtained in many parts of this country within living memory, the courts that did this were invariably maligned as interventionist, arbitrary, and usurpatious.

Most now would agree that those laws were wrong, indeed unconstitutional, and that the courts were right in their judgments on behalf of the petitioners
....[more]"
posted by ericb at 2:29 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


As someone who is religious but does not have an organized religious community, I'm right with cmgonzalez on the topic of keeping the word "marriage" right where it is and using appropriate adjectives to qualify it, like we do with other words in legal and religious usage.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:30 PM on November 4, 2009


Blazecock Pileon:

(my question): So, you're against completely-legal out-of-state donations in support of same-sex marriage?

(your response): I'm trying to figure out your line of questioning before answering. Are you saying that what NOM and the Mormon Church are doing is legal?

Just to clarify my question: you understand that the groups responsible for the majority of out-of-state funding against civil rights are religious in nature and have likely violated their non-profit status, right? (Even if the IRS will not pursue the matter.)


I'm not advancing any opinion about the legality or illegality of what anyone is doing. I'm asking you if you are against completely-legal out-of-state donations in support of same-sex marriage.

The issue raised above was whether people should speak out against out-of-state political donations. I'm not asking you whether you're opposed to religious organizations being responsible for out-of-state donations against same-sex marriage. I know your opinion on that already. In fact, I know that you believe that those donations are illegal. But I suspect taht you are opposed to anything anyone does against same-sex marraige no matter what it is, since you support same-sex marriage.

What I'm asking you is whether you are opposed to completely-legal donations in support of same-sex marriage that come from out-of-state. For the purpose of the question, I am asking you to assume the legality of the hypothetical donations in question.
posted by The World Famous at 2:31 PM on November 4, 2009


In all seriousness, while I am 100% in favor of same-sex marriage, it does raise the question: Can two straight people who are roommates marry solely for the legal/tax benefits?

Why does it raise the question? The endgame of same-sex marriage is that anyone can marry anyone else, presuming legal age and consent, for any reason they want, good or bad.

Y'know, equality.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:31 PM on November 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; 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.

Unless you're queer.

You know only 8 more states and they'll have the legislature numbers necessary to actually get that added to the end of the 14th amendment.
posted by Talez at 2:32 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Maine is an extremely xenophobic state. Opponents of gay marriage played on this very successfully by pointing that a "homosexual agenda" was being pushed by out-of-state interests.
New York, California and (gasp) Massachusetts corrupting Maine children!! Oh, the horror!

*sigh* Evolution is very slow.
posted by pentagoet at 2:34 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maine is an extremely xenophobic state. Opponents of gay marriage played on this very successfully by pointing that a "homosexual agenda" was being pushed by out-of-state interests.

Especially ironic considering that, through mid-October, only about 17% of YES ON 1's funding came from in-state sources. The largest single donor to the campaign was National Organization for Marriage, based in New Jersey, who gave the campaign well over $1.6 million dollars.
posted by anastasiav at 2:39 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


The inevitable end of this line of thinking is the (unpleasant for some) realization that marriage is a business contract, and we might as well dispose of it altogether in the legal sense.

I disagree. Marriage as a legal contract is essential to the functioning of this society.

But it's well past time we in the US separated the "legal" part of marriage from the "romantic" part of marriage. Let the government handle the legal aspects as civil unions. Let the churches and religious institutions handle "religious" marriage, let the bridal magazines and Vegas chapels handle "romantic" marriage, but let's stop conflating it all. They already do it in much of Europe, and last I checked they hadn't completely descended into anarchy, war, and cannibalism. I mean, sure, there's Millwall, but....
posted by dw at 2:42 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Marriage" is a superstructure created by forces outside of the family unit.

Very much so. Throughout history, marriage has been used primarily as a property agreement. The idea of marrying for love is actually pretty quaint, having only been around for ~200 years. The idea of marrying to have a family was to create heirs to pass down property - not to create happy little pups because you wuv your wuvvy duvvy so much.

There's actually a counter-movement of queers against gay marriage.

I'm not saying I agree with them. I believe that everybody should have the right to marry whoever they want, and as a member of the GLBTQWTFBBQ community I'm adamantly for gay marriage. But mostly because I believe that the legal rights provided by marriage should not be limited to oppositely sexed pairs*, not because I think that the institution of marriage is awesome.

*As a queer woman who was married to a man, who is now in a LTR with another man, I hate defining male-female marriage as "heterosexual," which throws a wrench into that whole brevity thing.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:43 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


and we might as well dispose of it altogether in the legal sense

I disagree. Well, I agree with your point that marriage is a business/legal contract. But I think it has real utility whether or not people fuck. Basically you agree to take responsibility and care for each other, and in exchange the state gives you legal authority to do so. I think it helps society to have people in these relationships, and I think it's necessary to make it a legal thing, otherwise you have to cover all the possible legal situations needed to replace it (so that your partner can share in medical/financial/legal/etc).

I don't care what it's called as long as it's the same for everyone. And I'm sure there are already mixed-sex married people who are doing it primarily as a means of support and not as a romantic relationship.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:44 PM on November 4, 2009


What I'm asking you is whether you are opposed to completely-legal donations in support of same-sex marriage that come from out-of-state.

I am opposed to completely-illegal collection and redistribution of money from non-profit tax shelters to affect the laws of other states.

I have no opinion about completely-legal donations that come from out-of-state for the matter of same-sex marriage, as I am not aware that such a thing exists beyond any marginal or hypothetical degree. If such a hypothetical existed, then I would expect the Public Disclosure Law (or its non-Washington equivalent, if it exists) to be followed. Which it was, in the case of WAFST and other similar groups that received large donations from Microsoft, Starbucks and other Washington-based businesses.

Again, my specific question to you with respect to Washington: Is there an out-of-state religious organization that contributed heavily through WAFST or a similar pro-Referendum 71 group to support same-sex partnerships, enabled to do so by collecting from its followers? I am asking you to assume the illegality of collecting donations in this manner. Is there a similar case in California, Maine, or Iowa?

In the case of Washington, specifically, the opponents of Referendum 71 did not follow the Public Disclosure Law. So it's not so much my "opinion" about the law on the books, that what was done was in violation of the law as it is written and published for all to see on the web.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:45 PM on November 4, 2009


Oh, and just if you were curious, CNN did a video thing about my Aunts a few months ago. It's worth checking out. They're adorable.
posted by JimmyJames at 2:45 PM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


I think this is a new version of the Bradley effect. Folks are too embarrassed to tell pollsters how they really feel, but they'll vote it. Sad and infuriating.
posted by AwkwardPause at 2:46 PM on November 4, 2009


WE DO NOT VOTE ON CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Sure we do. Effective civil rights for blacks, to the extent that they have been realized, happened because of two laws: the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (and etc) and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Rights, like those described in the 14th Amendment, are enshrined in the Constitution.

The 14th Amendment itself was approved by Congress, ie, voted upon, and then sent to the then-admitted states for their approval, again by voting.

I know where you're coming from, Mr. Blazecock (can I call you Mr. Blazecock?). It's unfortunate that the general umbrella of "equal protection" hasn't been extended to same-sex marriage, and unfortunate that as these things have come up state by state, people have moved to either prevent them or overturn them.

But I think you need to recognize that the reason we see these being overturned in the states and don't see, for example, the Civil Rights Act being overturned or prevented by voters is not that federal rights are, as rights should be, sacrosanct against the voters. The only reason they haven't been overturned or prevented by voters, at least sometimes, is that the federal constitution simply doesn't allow for referenda or initiatives.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:48 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


It might be the word "marriage" that is the stumbling block. A gay union is not the same as a hetero union. Gays cannot raise a family without the intervention of a third party or process.

Sooooooo those hetero couples using, say, IVF or a surrogate will have their marriages revoked under your conditions, right? And sterile couples and people who choose not to have kids, since their unions will be just like them homo unions, amirite?

Give. Me. A. Break.

Legal marriage is a contract between two people that mainly involves property and rights of access, can involve the raising of children, and has very, very little to do with what goes down in the bedroom. When it comes to religious definitions of marriage, you can be as homophobic as you want. When it comes to the legal definition of marriage, please check your bigotry at the door.
posted by Never teh Bride at 2:48 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


The largest single donor to the campaign was National Organization for Marriage, based in New Jersey, who gave the campaign well over $1.6 million dollars.

The exact funding source of the National Organization for Marriage is unclear, and many believe that it's a front for the LDS church. Californians Against Hate has been keeping an eye on NOM's shenanigans for a long time now.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:49 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Such measures would take years to get before the Supreme Court, if they ever do.

Scalia is 73 and could make it another 10 or more years on the Court. Roberts, Alito, and Thomas are 54, 59, and 61. That's four solid votes against gay marriage for a long time. Trying to get a case in front of the Supremes will be a very risky proposition for a long time.

There's also a school of thought that grass roots is better because it removes the protestations that activist judges are undermining democracy. It's an interesting point, but I don't find it convincing because it gives a great deal of power to people who don't understand that one of the purposes of the courts in this country is to prevent tyranny of the majority and to uphold the Constitution, no matter how unpopular.
posted by Mavri at 2:49 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I spent my early adult years thinking Maine was a pit that I escaped from. As I grew older, I developed some affection for my old state and learned to appreciate its good qualities and just accept and laugh affectionately at what I considered its less-appealing elements.

I was naive. Maine is a pit that I escaped from. I wish my parents would move so that I could completely disassociate myself from it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:52 PM on November 4, 2009


Maine is a fucking pit. If I ever went there for anything, I'd stop going now.

But yeah, no more lobsters or blueberries for me.

Piss on Maine.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:53 PM on November 4, 2009


via:
And yet---here comes the golden ray of sunshine---I'm HOPEFUL! In fact, it is impossible for me to get too down about this. First, what's done is done. Second, Bacardi---it’s what's for breakfast. And third, 47 percent of Mainers are cool with gay marriage---that's as high as it's ever been, and it ain't goin' down...we've already won this fight, it's just a question of timing...look at this result from last night:

Final numbers are in from University of Maine-Orono campus: 81% No, 19% Yes.
Having to wait for rights that should be yours in the first place sucks, having to wait because some damned heinous bigots get to decide for you sucks more. But I don't think the wait is going to be very long.
posted by tzikeh at 2:53 PM on November 4, 2009


ericb: "U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at University of Maine: "President Barack Obama is still committed to repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.""

You don't say.

Obama Campaign Arm Silent On Maine's Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

posted by Joe Beese at 2:56 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, Maine potatoes are completely nasty and full of those deep, nasty brown spots and white moldy stuff in the creases. PEI and even New York potatoes are much better and you should buy those. And there is no difference between a Massachusetts/New Hampshire/Maritimes lobster and a Maine one, except that the ones from Maine are more likely to have been plucked from the trap by a total asshole.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:56 PM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


Sorry to rain on the "yay Washington" parade, but part of the reason that ref. 71 passed was because of support for opposite-sex elderly couples. Here's part of the text from the voter's guide "Same-sex couples, or any couple that includes one person age sixty-two or older, may register as a domestic partnership with the state."

But, I don't really care why it passed! Yay!
posted by shrabster at 2:58 PM on November 4, 2009


Marriage as a legal contract is essential to the functioning of this society.

Why is that? I'm asking sincerely, not snarking or attacking. I am trying to think of why our society would stop functioning if the state removed itself entirely from having any say in how consenting adults choose to pair. I mean, for example in many European countries kids are being born outside of marriage and marriage rates are tiny compared to the U.S. - I don't see them collapsing, do you?I'm seeing all sorts of assumptions here, but I'm looking for hard nosed proof and ironclad evidence, not hand waving in support of that strange (to me) claim.
posted by VikingSword at 3:01 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Same-sex couples, or any couple that includes one person age sixty-two or older, may register as a domestic partnership with the state

The California civil unions have the same provision, which goes back to the point that marriages/unions are beneficial to society regardless of the romantic issue. (Although it also points out that "marriage" is, of course, generally considered a romantic issue -- since there was nothing preventing opposite-sex elderly couples from marrying except their own views on what marriage means).
posted by wildcrdj at 3:02 PM on November 4, 2009


This is a setback, but eventually we'll get there. As Martin Luther King said, "the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
posted by kirkaracha at 3:03 PM on November 4, 2009


I mean, for example in many European countries kids are being born outside of marriage and marriage rates are tiny compared to the U.S. - I don't see them collapsing, do you?

Also a genuine question -- how do they handle the legal issues there? If I'm sick my wife is legally entitled to make certain decisions for me. If we were unmarried in the US, she wouldn't be, unless I got specific legal documents (which don't hold up as well as marriage, especially when challenged by family members). Do couples in Europe form civil unions to deal with this, is the law fundamentally different, or what?
posted by wildcrdj at 3:04 PM on November 4, 2009


Just to clarify - the majority of kids born in Sweden and Norway are outside of the institution of marriage. It seems marriage could disappear tomorrow, and not much would change. I don't see Sweden or Norway as falling apart. Why would the U.S.?
posted by VikingSword at 3:05 PM on November 4, 2009


There goes our vacation in Maine. My girlfriend and I have resolved to only get married in a state that recognizes gay rights, and we were hopeful that we could use up some frequent flier miles on a trip to Maine this spring. I guess we could still hit one of the other New England states (Iowa doesn't sound nearly as inviting).
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:08 PM on November 4, 2009


"Sweden's marriage rates are much lower than the United States'. Although it's common and accepted for unmarried couples in Sweden to have children, child poverty and teen pregnancy are almost non-existent there. The claim that the institution of marriage needs to be rescued simply because no society has ever survived without it is simply inaccurate."

Again, what are the grounds for claiming the U.S. would fall apart without legal marriage?
posted by VikingSword at 3:10 PM on November 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


One of my daughters was in the workplace one day, and her particular workplace at that moment in time, there were a whole bunch of conservative, older men. And those guys were talking about gay marriage. They were talking about discussions going on across the country.

Any my daughter Kate, after listening for about 20 minutes, said to them: You guys don't understand. You've already lost. My generation doesn't care.

I think I learned something from my daughter that day, when she said that. And Ive talked with other people about it and thats what I see, Senator McKinley. I see a bunch of people that merely want to profess their love for each other, and want state law to recognize that.

Is that so wrong? I dont think thats so wrong. As a matter of fact, last Friday night, I hugged my wife. You know I've been married for 37 years. I hugged my wife. I felt like our love was just a little more meaningful last Friday night because thousands of other Iowa citizens could hug each other and have the state recognize their love for each other.
-- Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, April 6, 2009
posted by kirkaracha at 3:10 PM on November 4, 2009 [13 favorites]


Maine is a fucking pit. If I ever went there for anything, I'd stop going now.

47% of Maine's voters voted against the repeal. They're not all bad.
posted by brain_drain at 3:13 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think I'm going to go buy a pack of fresh, Argentinian blueberries on my way home tonight. I might even pick up a couple of nice Nova Scotia lobsters too.

Good luck with the Dean Koontz novels, though
posted by qvantamon at 3:13 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


"In all seriousness, while I am 100% in favor of same-sex marriage, it does raise the question: Can two straight people who are roommates marry solely for the legal/tax benefits?"

Sure. And while this may come as a shock to some people...there are actually hetero couples that have married SOLELY for these same benefits!


Even thought this has been dragged out ad nauseum, I think this "marriage" vs "civil union" thing should be examined once more, and one more point dragged out :

If marriage is something that 'belongs' to the church, why aren't marriages performed by churches that accept and perform same-sex marriages recognized? Are marriages between hetero couples that are Buddhist recognised in the US? Hindi?

I guess I don't understand how a large group of people can say "NO! Marriage comes from the will of GOD, not the state, and you can't poison it with your devil gayness!" and then when someone from a different faith says "Well, our GOD actually loves everyone, so we are cool with it" then the STATE gets to say " well, ok, we aren't going to accept that"

If my legally-recognized church marries two people of the same sex, isn't that an example of the state dictating the beliefs of the church?

I suppose teh counter-argument would be " ok, so what happens when some joker in a church marries a man and a fish?"

But even then...isn't that simply all the more reason to un-couple the terms?

Let ALL non-religious rights and benefits be tied to civil unions, and let ALL marriages automatically qualify for one. One more paper to sign, and then each church can go back to arguing about what a marriage 'really' is , and everyone else can get the equal treatment they deserver.

In short, if it is a civil issue, it should by uncoupled from religious terms and conditions
if it is a religious issue, it should be at the discretion of the Church. What is teh possible counter-argument to that?
posted by das_2099 at 3:14 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Just to clarify - the majority of kids born in Sweden and Norway are outside of the institution of marriage. It seems marriage could disappear tomorrow, and not much would change. I don't see Sweden or Norway as falling apart. Why would the U.S.?

Because the way we dispense health insurance in this country is by kinship. Your spouse and your kids are covered, but not your opposite-sex significant other.

There are certainly other rights out there driven by marriage, mostly having to do with kids and death and dying and splitting up, but until we have a health insurance system that guarantees coverage for all, marriage is the only way a heterosexual can guarantee their significant other will be covered by their insurance.
posted by dw at 3:14 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


The people on the wrong side of this debate don't actually care about the "sanctity" of marriage.

Oh, come now. You do know the same people who are against gay marriage are working just as furiously to ban divorce, don't you?
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:16 PM on November 4, 2009


Blazecock Pileon:

I have no opinion about completely-legal donations that come from out-of-state for the matter of same-sex marriage, as I am not aware that such a thing exists beyond any marginal or hypothetical degree.

Ok. That's all I was asking. (As a side note, though, since you say that you are not aware that "such a thing exists beyond any marginal or hypothetical degree," the San Francisco Chronicle reported with regard to California's Proposition 8 that Bruce Bastian, a Mormon and resident of Orem, Utah, personally donated $1 million in opposition to Prop 8, together with numerous other significant out-of-state donations, including $570,000 from the Human Rights Campaign, based in Washington, $200,000 from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, also from Washington, and $500,000 from David Maltz, a Cleveland businessman. I suspect that I am correct in assuming that the donations specifically enumerated in that article were not the only ones. I am also assuming that they were legal.)

Again, my specific question to you with respect to Washington: Is there an out-of-state religious organization that contributed heavily through WAFST or a similar pro-Referendum 71 group to support same-sex partnerships, enabled to do so by collecting from its followers?

Sorry, I must not have been reading carefully, because I did not realize that you had asked me this question previously. I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that question definitively. But a quick read of the Wikipedia page on Referendum 71 leads me to the preliminary answer of "no." I'm sure you'll correct me if my very quick skimming of that page did not lead me to the correct answer.

I am asking you to assume the illegality of collecting donations in this manner. Is there a similar case in California, Maine, or Iowa?

Collecting donations in what manner, specifically?
posted by The World Famous at 3:17 PM on November 4, 2009


Because the way we dispense health insurance in this country is by kinship. Your spouse and your kids are covered, but not your opposite-sex significant other.

Speak for yourself, my friend. I have domestic partner health insurance through my boyfriend's job without which I would have NO health insurance. They cover same-sex partners, too, and this is a major national corporation! I asked one of the company's HR people, who knits at the same place I do, why they chose to do that and she said look, it's a hell of a lot easier to just offer it than to police everyone's relationships and decide whether or not they're worthy.

I don't think voters should be in the position to decide whether or not their fellow citizens are worthy of the same rights they are.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:19 PM on November 4, 2009


In short, if it is a civil issue, it should by uncoupled from religious terms and conditions
if it is a religious issue, it should be at the discretion of the Church. What is teh possible counter-argument to that?


Sure. While we're at it let's make unions by black people "civil unions" and those by white people "marriages" and see if the US survives the racial war it would cause.
posted by Talez at 3:21 PM on November 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


Because the way we dispense health insurance in this country is by kinship. Your spouse and your kids are covered, but not your opposite-sex significant other.

There are certainly other rights out there driven by marriage, mostly having to do with kids and death and dying and splitting up, but until we have a health insurance system that guarantees coverage for all, marriage is the only way a heterosexual can guarantee their significant other will be covered by their insurance.


I agree that we should reform out health insurance system. But the existence of a bad health system should not control how we deal with marriage in this country. That would be pretty absurd. And you still retain kinship with your kids even if you are not in a legal marriage. And isn't it so, that some companies provide health benefits to live-in partners of their employees who are not married? Anyhow, all these "legal" issues can be resolved without having to cling hysterically to "marriage". It has been done in other countries, and they did not fall into a black hole. I think the U.S. would survive none the worse for wear.
posted by VikingSword at 3:26 PM on November 4, 2009


Collecting donations in what manner, specifically?

Specifically by the church's leaders asking its followers to donate time and money, so as to fulfill the church's stated or unstated political agenda through lobbying and similar activities:
A church or religious organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation... The IRS considers a variety of factors, including the time devoted (by both compensated and volunteer workers) and the expenditures devoted by the organization to the activity, when determining whether the lobbying activity is substantial.
It's little wonder NOM wants to keep their "donors" out of the courts and away from public disclosure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:27 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sure. While we're at it let's make unions by black people "civil unions" and those by white people "marriages" and see if the US survives the racial war it would cause.

I think you missed the point that EVERY marriage, retroactively, and every NEW one, would have a matching "civil union' that handles the 'benefit' part.

Either marriage belongs to the Church, or it belongs to the State .

If it belongs to the Church : it is at the discretion of the church. And that handy 'freedom of religion' thing means that it would have to belong to ANY church or denomination.

If it belongs to the state: the state cannot discriminate. Well, it shouldn't be able to . But it is.

I just have a hell of a problem with the idea that RELIGIOUS terminology dictates LEGAL rights. It drives me bonkers, is illogical as hell, and makes me pissed off at the sheer stupidity.
posted by das_2099 at 3:27 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder if, in a secret ballot type of setting more people would say that homosexuality is behaviour based as opposed to being defined by genetics.

It's one thing for the government to legislate and discourage certain bedroom behaviour, it's another for them to legislate a genetic trait / preference.

Not sure if that makes sense or not, but arguing over marriage almost assumes that people are comfortable with homosexuality to begin with. Almost a cart before the horse sort of thing maybe?

Just theories...
posted by rulethirty at 3:28 PM on November 4, 2009


Speak for yourself, my friend. I have domestic partner health insurance through my boyfriend's job without which I would have NO health insurance.

You're one of the few. Most companies don't.
posted by dw at 3:31 PM on November 4, 2009


Not sure if that makes sense or not, but arguing over marriage almost assumes that people are comfortable with homosexuality to begin with.

I see what you're saying, but someone who thinks homosexuality is simply a choice is just stupid. The behavior/trait distinction is not open to serious debate, and it is such a frustrating distraction to have to even address the argument. It's like arguing with a four year old who refuses to put on his shoes.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:33 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Marriage belongs to the state. Always has, always will.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:34 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I count myself lucky, dw, believe me. But as I commented above, I think it's more telling that private industry finds it less useful to interfere in people's private lives than the government does. Of course, if we had a real public insurance option, this'd all be moot, but that's not gonna happen at this rate, either. Sad. I'm just so fricking ANGRY today. I love Maine, I want to move there more than anything, and now this.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:34 PM on November 4, 2009


Legal recognition of the couple - for hospital visits, etc. - would be much easier to achieve without the in your face insistence of "marriage".

You are absolutely wrong. If marriage was not the stumbling block, something else would be the stumbling block. Opponents of same-sex marriage -- the ones who organize, gather ballot signatures, pour money into elections -- are using marriage as a Trojan Horse. They do not care whether the Trojan Horse is marriage or whatever they want it to be. If it were not marriage, it would be civil unions. If it were not civil unions, it would be something else.

They care only about ensuring that homosexual couples have nothing that approximates the rights that heterosexual couples have. They also care about rolling back any other rights that homosexuals have. They do not believe that homosexual relationships are viable, sanctionable relationships. Period.

I feel very safe in asserting that the Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints care very much indeed that homosexual couples not have any legal standing of any kind, because homosexuality, to them, is a moral disorder that is ruining the United States and needs to be deplored and punished, not rewarded or recognized. Otherwise, these churches would not be spending time and money on influencing the legislative process.
posted by blucevalo at 3:35 PM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


Do couples in Europe form civil unions to deal with this, is the law fundamentally different, or what?

Well, what often happens here (the UK) is that people move in together, have a couple of kids, then one dies or ends up on life support and only then they realise that if you're not married you don't get any rights.

This has had two results:
  • Increasing state recognition of "if you have kids together you're kind of married." So the state will pursue an absent parent for child support, for example. And mothers can have father's names put on birth certificates, which has some weight in things like next-of-kin decisions.
  • There is a general well-meaning movement to give people who co-habit the same rights as married people. I oppose this: would Juliet get any of my estate if I died from when we lived together as students fifteen years ago? What about Carol and Penny? I mean, we weren't sexual partners, but should that matter? What about Justin, if we're not going to be all heteronormative (I'm heterosexual)? Also, I believe "living together" and "getting married" are regarded as having different levels of significance by women and men, which makes it confusing.

    On the gay marriage front, we now have "civil partnerships" for same-sex couple, and "marriage" for different-sex couples. The state church will marry different-sex couples and usually bless civil partnerships. The rights granted are the same in law, but the process is different: for example, civil partnerships are not required to have witnesses, and the officiator does not check that each is consenting in the same way. I would support same-sex marriage, not "just" same-sex civil relationships, but most people don't care and civil partnerships are called "weddings" and "marriages" in popular culture (although scare quotes may be used in the homophobic tabloid press, and "partner" is used more commonly.) So the government here kind of agreed with the comments above, that the name of the institution is a distraction and politically contentious. I'm slightly ashamed of this, but I understand the argument.

    Finally, some people think we should have "civil partnerships" for straight people, so they can get the legal stuff without the usual expense and stress of a "wedding" with all its cultural baggage.

  • posted by alasdair at 3:36 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Speak for yourself, my friend. I have domestic partner health insurance through my boyfriend's job without which I would have NO health insurance.

    You're one of the few. Most companies don't.


    Well actually, I believe that over half (or close to that percentage) of fortune 500 companies do provide benefits to unmarried partners. It's just a matter of time. So why cling to a dying bad system as justification for the necessity of marriage? I don't see the logic in it. Again, where is the proof that the U.S. would fall apart without the official state sanctioned institution of marriage?
    posted by VikingSword at 3:36 PM on November 4, 2009


    Blazecock Pileon: I am asking you to assume the illegality of collecting donations in this manner. Is there a similar case in California, Maine, or Iowa? (You also asked about Washington.)

    Me: Collecting donations in what manner, specifically?

    Blazecock Pileon:

    Specifically by the church's leaders asking its followers to donate time and money, so as to fulfill the church's stated or unstated political agenda through lobbying and similar activities:
    "A church or religious organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation... The IRS considers a variety of factors, including the time devoted (by both compensated and volunteer workers) and the expenditures devoted by the organization to the activity, when determining whether the lobbying activity is substantial." (quoting the I.R.S. Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations).


    Given the factors that the I.R.S. claims to consider, no.
    posted by The World Famous at 3:37 PM on November 4, 2009


    It's one thing for the government to legislate and discourage certain bedroom behaviour, it's another for them to legislate a genetic trait / preference.

    It is actually a pretty serious constitutional problem if government legislates bedroom behavior.
    posted by bearwife at 3:41 PM on November 4, 2009


    Given the factors that the I.R.S. claims to consider, no.

    Based on the document I linked to and based on the significant contribution of time and money by the LDS and its front organizations to affect the laws of states around the country, I would disagree with your opinion about what the IRS considers a violation of the spirit of tax law, if not the word, at least.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:43 PM on November 4, 2009


    Also, I hate it when guys like Ross Douthat and Charles Cooper concede that there's no good reason to deny gay couples the right to marry beyond their personal ikcy feelings about it because in the meantime I still have to look at pictures of people who love each other crying because their fellow citizens told them that their relationships are worthless because of how they were born.

    To borrow a metaphor from another frustrating debate, the gay marriage train has left the station, and these guys are the cows on the tracks.
    posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:45 PM on November 4, 2009


    I saw on the front page of this morning's Herald the bigots from "Yes on 1" with such gleeful triumph in their faces. And I kept thinking, What the fuck do you care? In three hours you're going to completely forget about all of this. They had that same ignorant smirk on their faces that the anti-miscegenation groups had sixty years ago. I sure hope you feel proud to share the same ideologies as the KKK.

    And just like in the presidential elections, the same goddamned demographic emerges: the rural feeble-minded bigots outnumber the progressives 3 to 1. But come to the coast, and the numbers flip: Portland went 75% against the initiative. So once again, the backwater imbeciles poison progress and make our state look like Alabama in the '50s.

    Naturally, its the coastal cities that generate 90% of the revenue for the state. The trailer trash better be wearing gloves when they take our handouts, or they might catch the gay.
    posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:47 PM on November 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


    Based on the document I linked to and based on the significant contribution of time and money by the LDS and its front organizations to affect the laws of states around the country, I would disagree with your opinion about what the IRS considers a violation of the spirit of tax law, if not the word, at least.

    Yes, I already knew that you and are of differing legal opinions on that issue. You did, too. I thought it was strange that you responded to a comment about whether people should speak out against out-of-state political donations by pushing the discussion into an area where you and I are in (I suspect) solid and probably unchanging disagreement. The fact that the LDS church's headquarters is in Utah rather than Maine, California, Washington, or anywhere else that it has members does not, I suspect, play much of a role in your opinion that its position and actions regarding same-sex marriage are in violation of the Internal Revenue Code.
    posted by The World Famous at 3:49 PM on November 4, 2009


    Legal recognition of the couple - for hospital visits, etc. - would be much easier to achieve without the in your face insistence of "marriage".

    This is patent nonsense. If this is the case, then why are the various anti-gay marriage organizations against domestic partnerships and civil unions?
    posted by rtha at 3:50 PM on November 4, 2009


    Can two straight people who are roommates marry solely for the legal/tax benefits?

    They already can, if they're opposite genders. This doesn't open up another loophole. What, shoud sham marriages be denied to gay people, but not straight people?
    posted by spaltavian at 3:52 PM on November 4, 2009


    It's one thing for the government to legislate and discourage certain bedroom behaviour,

    Which they're not allowed to do, in the U.S., since the Supreme Court handed down Lawrence v Texas.

    If the government had waited for people to feel "comfortable" with racial integration, we might still be living under Jim Crow.

    On lack of preview: what bearwife said.
    posted by rtha at 3:54 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Sorry about jumping to conclusions there!

    OK, good, because the comment you were responding to was pretty clearly analyzing other people's views, and the commenter has posted a second comment to clarify that this is the case.

    People could just, you know, have the same-sex marriage debate without scapegoating one particular user, but I suppose that wouldn't be as viscerally satisfying.
    posted by Jaltcoh at 3:56 PM on November 4, 2009


    To: Maine
    CC: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

    Fuck you.
    posted by Sys Rq at 3:59 PM on November 4, 2009 [16 favorites]


    What, shoud sham marriages be denied to gay people, but not straight people?

    I hereby announce that I 100% support sham marriages for all consenting adults.
    posted by Joey Michaels at 4:00 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


    I don't think voters should be in the position to decide whether or not their fellow citizens are worthy of the same rights they are.

    Again, this is an indirect democracy. Voters ARE deciding this, just doing it through intermediaries called "elected officials."

    Whether voters should be DIRECTLY deciding it is another question, but we have initiative and referendum because the Progressive movement pushed for them -- too much of the political engineering of this country was bought and paid for by trusts and big interests. Referendum allowed the people to act as their own tribune, flipping laws they thought weren't beneficial to them. Over time, it meant that state governments listened to the people rather than just ignoring them completely for special interests.

    The open question then is whether initiative and referendum have outlived their usefulness. I don't think they have. They still serve as another way to check legislative power and have been useful in the past for undoing bad laws. The minimum thresholds probably need to be adjusted, though. Referendum 71 needed 120,000 signatures to make it on the ballot, or roughly 1/5 the population of Seattle. This in a state with 6 million people.

    And I think people forget we did have direct democracy during the Civil Rights movement. Seattle voted down an open housing measure 2:1 in 1964. There were other initiatives and referendums during the 1960s, but they're overshadowed by what the courts and Congress and Executive Branch did. They were mainly overshadowed because the courts and Congress were far more amenable.
    posted by dw at 4:00 PM on November 4, 2009


    in many European countries kids are being born outside of marriage and marriage rates are tiny compared to the U.S.

    In Iceland, it's certainly the norm to have children first, THEN get married. If you even get married at all. And oh yes, gay marriage is legal.

    And they elected an openly queer head of state! I think it's safe to say that their society is functioning ahead of ours with respect to marriage and gay rights.

    Their economy...? Well, I'd suggest buying Icelandic lobsters, but they're tiny. Try the skyr though! It's delicious!

    I guess we could still hit one of the other New England states

    ILOVERMONT. Seriously. Vermont is awesome. And not just because jessamyn lives there.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:04 PM on November 4, 2009


    DW, you shouldn't have a referendum on a minority rights issue. How does that even make sense?
    posted by chunking express at 4:06 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Maine is an extremely xenophobic state. Opponents of gay marriage played on this very successfully by pointing that a "homosexual agenda" was being pushed by out-of-state interests.

    Maine is made up of a minority of completely normal decent people who are seriously outnumbered by the nasty, bigoted small-minded twits who make Maine the absolute hole that it is. The success of Yes on 1 is symptomatic of a widespread affliction that's spread all across Maine.

    These people are the selectmen, the local business owners and a significant portion of the voters, and they are the ones who would rather their towns stayed absolute pits of misery with no jobs, nothing nice to do going on, and rampant teenage pregnancy if the alternative means that those small-minded twits might lose what little control they have. The reason Yes on 1 had so much out-of-state funding is because most of its in-state proponents don't have any.

    My friends here who didn't expect Yes on 1 to go through were surprised because they live in cities like Portland, gay-friendly islands in a sea of rather provincial dimwits who are afraid, nay, terrified of anything new or different. If you live in Portland or Belfast, you might not have thought that Question 1 had a snowball's chance in hell- but if you went to Brewer, or Sherman, or Milford, or most of Maine, it was a completely different story.

    I'm getting the hell out Maine as soon as possible. These twits don't deserve this state, but I'm not going to waste my time being miserable here. So long, suckers.
    posted by dunkadunc at 4:08 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I want my new America back.
    posted by borges at 4:09 PM on November 4, 2009


    Seriously - why was this done as a ballot initiative? Was it a cop-out by the state legislature?
    posted by borges at 4:11 PM on November 4, 2009


    From the article, Marie Gallagher:

    If they can’t win there, it really does tell you the majority of Americans are not on board with this gay marriage thing.

    I've discovered it's hard to read when you're experiencing a rage blackout. This gay marriage thing. Oh, civil rights, you old thing.

    This gay marriage thing. You can hear her holding her nose, can't you? Fingers pinched, arm away from the body, squinting and scowling as though she were gingerly holding a dirty diaper. Yuck, this equality thing, where's the bin.

    We're winning in Washington, Marie. In your lifetime, which I hope is long and uneventful so that you may bear witness, we'll win everywhere. India, finally, fully decriminalized homosexuality in July, and that's in spite of political and social pressure from a party so regressive and hateful it makes your buddies look like the Green Party. The British government apologized, finally, to Turing earlier this year. Later this month, two of my best friends will get to decide if they want to get married, and it won't have to be a point of political contention or their flag on the battlefield anymore; it can just be them, deciding for themselves, how to live their lives together. I wish you could have seen their faces as this old thing started passing and their eyes started shining. I'd like to think that you'd be able to see that our side is striving for happiness and your side is enforcing misery, but that probably wouldn't mean anything to you anyway.

    Marie Gallagher, your only remaining political purpose is to make the rest of us feel as hurt and angry as possible on your way down to unqualified failure. Fuck you.
    posted by Errant at 4:11 PM on November 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


    Is there a significant population of married, same-sex, heterosexual couples that I'm missing?

    There's certainly a population of married, opposite-sex, homosexual couples out there, if we're being honest; people who marry each other because their community frowns upon being unmarried and/or gay, and so they marry to raise their status in the community.
    posted by davejay at 4:14 PM on November 4, 2009


    By the way, bigots, we are going to find out each and every last one of your donors.

    I'm sure the businesses you work for will have no problem taking a hit to the pocketbook. Especially in this awesome economy.

    Prepare to bend over.
    posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:14 PM on November 4, 2009


    Seriously - why was this done as a ballot initiative? Was it a cop-out by the state legislature?
    posted by borges at 4:11 PM on November 4 [+] [!]


    The state legislature legalized gay marriage earlier this year. The ballot initiative was created to overturn that legislation.
    posted by Pantengliopoli at 4:14 PM on November 4, 2009


    Again, where is the proof that the U.S. would fall apart without the official state sanctioned institution of marriage?

    Marriage is strung through so many of our property laws in this country that to just up and end the legal aspects and rights of marriage tomorrow would cause massive upheaval. Community property laws. Taxation. Survivorship. Etc. The courts would be packed up for years trying to determine property issues that marriage contracts normally handle.

    You simply can't ban all marriages. You're going to have do a rewrite of American common law.

    OTOH, if we transitioned to civil unions for all and left only the legal aspect with the government, then things wouldn't change all that much. Then you just codify medical care as a right and institute a scheme to pay for it, and you're golden. And with that you can leave the "no gay marriage" question up to the churches and let people unite with whom they want to unite.

    Of course, there's also common-law marriage, but with only 11 states recognizing it and nearly half outright banning it (lest the gays use that as an end-around), that's a bit of a mess.
    posted by dw at 4:18 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]



    What, shoud sham marriages be denied to gay people, but not straight people?


    That argument was made (successfully!) on "Boston Legal."

    Analogy: Everyone gets a birth certificate, but if you want to get a baptism certificate, you have to go to a church and get baptized. This seems fair to me?

    This is an excellent comparison, and I intended to borrow it.

    DC is the next hope, if Republicans in Congress decide not to intervene (states' rights who?).
    posted by casualinference at 4:21 PM on November 4, 2009


    DW, you shouldn't have a referendum on a minority rights issue. How does that even make sense?

    If law is "of the people, by the people, and for the people," then yes, it makes total sense. It's up to the courts to determine whether or not the product of a referendum violates minority rights, just as it's up to the courts to determine whether a law is constitutional. Laws, mind you, that are voted on by legislatures that majority white male.
    posted by dw at 4:23 PM on November 4, 2009


    If law is "of the people, by the people, and for the people," then yes, it makes total sense.

    Well, my point is laws shouldn't be based on majority rule. And really, to have a proper democracy, one would think they shouldn't be.
    posted by chunking express at 4:26 PM on November 4, 2009


    Well, my point is laws shouldn't be based on majority rule. And really, to have a proper democracy, one would think they shouldn't be.

    ?!?
    posted by The World Famous at 4:28 PM on November 4, 2009


    If law is "of most of the people, by most of the people, and for most of the people," then yes, it makes total sense.
    posted by Sys Rq at 4:30 PM on November 4, 2009


    ?!?

    See the Mill quote up thread. Voting on everything isn't a democracy. For example, you end up with stupidness like this. You need to protect minority rights.
    posted by chunking express at 4:31 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I told you it was hard to read through a rage blackout. That should be Maggie Gallagher. Marie Gallagher, whoever you are, sorry about that. Maggie, you should apologize to Marie too, and the rest of us while you're at it.
    posted by Errant at 4:33 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


    See the Mill quote up thread. Voting on everything isn't a democracy. For example, you end up with stupidness like this. You need to protect minority rights.

    I agree that you need to protect minority rights. But laws passed by majority vote - either directly or by representation - is part of the very definition of a democracy.
    posted by The World Famous at 4:35 PM on November 4, 2009


    Winston Churchill said it: democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. As bad as biased majority rule is, it still has the potential to change, and if you are right, your position will win in the end. Gay rights are slowly winning out now. The only real danger is that advances in geriatric care will keep the old farts voting long after they should have been in the ground.
    posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:42 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    By the by, the afternoon tally update has R-71's approval widening slightly to 52-48. Over half the remaining votes are from counties that approved R-71, and King County, where it's passing 2:1, is roughly 60% of those votes.

    I think you can call it.
    posted by dw at 4:50 PM on November 4, 2009


    Well actually, I believe that over half (or close to that percentage) of fortune 500 companies do provide benefits to unmarried partners.

    Wait, what? Really? Same-sex partners, yes. Opposite sex? I find that hard to believe. I've worked for 2 large progressive companies (Microsoft and Google) and neither offers that benefit to opposite-sex unmarried couples. Many companies offer it for same-sex couples because they can't get married.
    posted by wildcrdj at 4:54 PM on November 4, 2009


    Marriage as a legal contract is essential to the functioning of this society.

    But it doesn't need to be. It probably shouldn't be. And if it weren't, I wonder whether this would even be a fight at all. I would much prefer systemic changes that deinstitutionalize marriage as a mechanism for dispensing benefits and sheltering civil protections.

    And yes, I say that as a happily gay-married Californian. I try not to turn down civil liberties when I see 'em.
    posted by liketitanic at 4:55 PM on November 4, 2009


    Do any of you anti-democracy folks have any real suggestions for how to change our system of government? The constitution, the supreme court all have substantial basis in democratic institutions and popular votes.

    I saw this blinking at me: "WE DO NOT VOTE ON CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA"

    I don't understand how the 14th amendment was not voted on?
    posted by Wood at 4:58 PM on November 4, 2009


    Even if you "fix" US law to not require marriage, I still think you should have to enter into a formal agreement before you have the rights of a married couple (for many of the reasons alasdair cited). I don't want the state guessing who I'm giving legal rights to or not. So I think there's a huge benefit to civil marriages / unions, whatever you call them. They say: hey, government/society, we agree to take responsibility for each other. That should be something that is a pro-active legal agreement, and basically that's what marriage is in the US now. There is no romantic or religious requirement. That's why denying it based on sexual orientation is so ridiculous.

    Those who oppose gay marriage because of the "sanctity of marriage" have a religious view of marriage which does not match US law (other than the religious motivation of some of the restrictions, like sexual orientation).
    posted by wildcrdj at 5:00 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    There are certainly other rights out there driven by marriage, mostly having to do with kids and death and dying and splitting up...

    Oh, yes. There are many rights that marriage bestows.

    Not a complete list, but a representative one:
    "Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.

    Creating a 'family partnership' under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

    Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.

    Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.

    Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.

    Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse -- that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf.

    Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.

    Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.

    Receiving public assistance benefits.

    Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.

    Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.

    Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.

    Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse’s close relatives dies.

    Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.

    Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

    Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.

    Making burial or other final arrangements.

    Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.

    Applying for joint foster care rights.

    Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.

    Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

    Living in neighborhoods zoned for 'families only.'

    Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

    Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.

    Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.

    Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.

    Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).

    Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).

    Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can’t force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.

    Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.

    Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.

    Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family."*
    posted by ericb at 5:01 PM on November 4, 2009 [17 favorites]


    Newsweek cover story | December 15, 2008: The Religious Case for Gay Marriage
    "Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side."
    posted by ericb at 5:03 PM on November 4, 2009


    In Iceland, it's certainly the norm to have children first, THEN get married. If you even get married at all. And oh yes, gay marriage is legal.

    Funny that we think of Maine as a low population state and it has four times the population of Iceland.
    posted by smackfu at 5:10 PM on November 4, 2009


    The constitution, the supreme court all have substantial basis in democratic institutions and popular votes.

    Not at all. Amendments, in particular, are most certainly not enacted by simple majority vote, but requiring either 2/3rds or 3/4ths of legislators issuing assent. Legislation isn't even enacted by popular vote of the electorate, but by representatives, which qualifies America's version of democracy as a "representative democracy". For the most part, we don't vote on our laws: Our representatives do. (Except when it comes to putting the queers in their place, of course.)
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:28 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I don't understand how the 14th amendment was not voted on?

    It was a legislative action. It was voted on by state legislators and/or conventions, but it was never presented as a ballot item to the population at large.
    posted by anastasiav at 5:33 PM on November 4, 2009


    Well actually, I believe that over half (or close to that percentage) of fortune 500 companies do provide benefits to unmarried partners.

    While not addressing directly the issue of benefits to unmarried and same-sex couples, there's the HRC Corporate Equality Index which "provides an in-depth analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees."
    posted by ericb at 5:36 PM on November 4, 2009


    Ah, the moment in the thread when it turns into a semantic argument about whether something other than a public referendum constitutes something being "voted on."

    Next, can we move on to what everyone really meant and whether we were justified in arguing about it? Because I bet that's the part of the argument where the whole same-sex marriage issue will finally and permanently be resolved to the satisfaction of everyone in America.
    posted by The World Famous at 5:37 PM on November 4, 2009


    Well thank goodness Maine rescued itself from the horrible hell that was visited upon Canada when it legalized teh gay marriages.


    And you can take that with a 4x4 In 'n' Out burger.
    posted by five fresh fish at 5:50 PM on November 4, 2009


    The Catholic Church was a leading supporter of the repeal campaign, even asking parishes to pass a second collection plate at Sunday Mass to help the cause.*

    So if I'm reading this thread correctly, this is illegal?
    posted by lalex at 6:31 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


    Denmark: Come for the Fjords, Stay for the Moral Chaos
    posted by sebastienbailard at 6:32 PM on November 4, 2009


    The Catholic Church was a leading supporter of the repeal campaign, even asking parishes to pass a second collection plate at Sunday Mass to help the cause.*

    So if I'm reading this thread correctly, this is illegal?


    Under Blazecock Pileon's interpretation of the I.R.S. Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations, yes, since direct solicitation of donations to the church for the purpose of supporting the political cause would be a significant step beyond what the Mormon church did in California. I have not seen any significant effort to strip the Catholic church of its tax-exempt status, though.
    posted by The World Famous at 6:45 PM on November 4, 2009


    The way the US works, the system can change in only two ways. The first is by a ground swell of public opinion that makes its way to the legislative bodies to be enacted into laws. The second is by the courts clarifying or interpreting pre-existing laws. I guess there is a *very* unlikely third way, namely legislators voting their conscience that goes against their electorate base. However, given the unfortunate fact that the majority of the US does not favor same sex marriage (yet), same sex marriage proponents will most likely be forced to use the courts.

    Now here's where those that have a stake in this fight need to think clearly about their goals and the means to achieve those goals. If the path taken is the courts, the odds are slim for grand sweeping changes. The courts tend to make minor, incremental changes and usually view grand changes (rightly imo) as the province of the legislators. Thus, if there is a lack of public opinion, a saner approach is to try and get something from the courts, which to have the highest chance of success should be on as strong of a legal base as can be managed. This would be the battle to gain incremental rights, a step at a time, setting legal precedent with each victory.

    There is a very valid moral argument against this approach, but the fact is that morality translates into laws only indirectly and that route most often lies through legislation, not adjudication. Demanding immediate equality is the moral high ground, but it might be helpful to maintain an awareness of how moral standing translates into societal change in a system based on rule of law.

    Note that the legislative path and judicial path are not mutually exclusive, one can work to get incremental advancements via the judicial path, while continually working the full court moral press on the public at large and their representatives. However, there is a balance to be struck (imo). Forcing the issue could easily result in reactive laws explicitly barring same sex marriage and its associated benefits. Striking down existing laws tends to be more difficult and time consuming. My opinion is that the best strategy is to push as hard as you can, but not so hard that you end up creating unnecessary obstacles.
    posted by forforf at 6:54 PM on November 4, 2009


    Forcing the issue could easily result in reactive laws explicitly barring same sex marriage and its associated benefits.

    I'm not sure what you mean here. The US already has just such a law and has for 13 years.
    posted by blucevalo at 7:02 PM on November 4, 2009


    I have not seen any significant effort to strip the Catholic church of its tax-exempt status, though.

    Well, no time like the present.
    posted by gimonca at 7:06 PM on November 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


    Next summer, I think we'll just fly directly to the Maritimes to avoid giving our tourist dollars to bigots.

    I think that's exactly the wrong approach. The primary line on which people divide on the issue of gay marriage is age, and hurting a state's economy just drives all the young, mobile people, the very people who support gay marriage, to move somewhere else.

    The way the US works, the system can change in only two ways. The first is by a ground swell of public opinion that makes its way to the legislative bodies to be enacted into laws. The second is by the courts clarifying or interpreting pre-existing laws.

    I think you missed the third way, the way it will actually change: old people will die, leaving the next generation, who overwhelmingly favor gay marriage, the majority of voters.
    posted by scottreynen at 7:06 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Not that I really believe that large a portion of the population could be fooled or tricked by strange wording, but why are these questions always worded so that you have to vote "No" in order to say "Yes" to same-sex marriage?
    I look forward to 2011: "Shouldn't we not discontinue banning same-sex marriage?"


    I noticed that too. Politically-loaded questions are the rule that allows public opinion numbers to not match the results of any poll.

    Clearly these guys are graduates of the "click here to opt-out of the new default" school of choice design. It's right up there with suppressing votes by not informing (or misinforming) potential voters about the place or time they should appear to vote.
    posted by rokusan at 7:12 PM on November 4, 2009


    Analogy: Everyone gets a birth certificate, but if you want to get a baptism certificate, you have to go to a church and get baptized. This seems fair to me?

    Favorited hard. What a great comparison.
    posted by rokusan at 7:14 PM on November 4, 2009


    >: Next summer, I think we'll just fly directly to the Maritimes to avoid giving our tourist dollars to bigots.

    Hey, I traditionally work in the summer service industry (that is, tourist industry) and I'm not a bigot. I'd go so far as to say my boss wasn't a bigot either. The crappy economy is just one of the things that makes people like me want to hightail it to elsewhere.
    posted by dunkadunc at 7:14 PM on November 4, 2009


    One Maine Editor had this to say:

    Editor, Fort Fairfield Journal
    Fort Fairfield Journal, March 16, 2005
    Introduction
    A marriage license is a three-party contract between the man, woman, and the State known as an adhesion contract. An adhesion contract is one which is extremely one-sided, grossly favoring the State. From weakness in bargaining position, ignorance, or indifference, couples are willing to enter into the marriage transaction controlled by this lopsided legal document.

    Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th edition defines license as:
    “A revocable permission to commit some act that would otherwise be unlawful.”
    (Note: Black's Law Dictionary (Hardcover). This book has all rights reserved and does not have a fair use license for copying definitions)

    Like 'marriage certificate'?
    Barron’s Dictionary of Banking Terms says:
    “a paper establishing an ownership claim.”

    So why exactly are parties wanting more Government in their life with an ownership claim or asking others to OK their commission of an unlawful act?
    posted by rough ashlar at 7:15 PM on November 4, 2009


    Yes, I don't think there's any point in decrying or condemning Maine as a whole. 47% voted against the repeal.

    At the same time, while Maggie Gallagher is wrong on the issue of whether same-sex marriage should be legal, she does have a point, and the more that advocates of same-sex marriage ignore it, the more they will be repeating the scenes of disillusionment and heartbreak that happened in Maine and California. Gallagher said, “Maine is one of the most secular states in the nation. It’s socially liberal. They had a three-year head start to build their organization, and they outspent us two to one. If they can’t win there, it really does tell you the majority of Americans are not on board with this gay marriage thing.” She's right about the tactical stuff. Advocates of same-sex marriage need to take a hard look at what they have been doing, because what they're doing isn't working. If you can't learn from failure, you are going to continue to fail.

    There needs to be new strategy that goes beyond hoping that TV ads showing loving, smiling gay couples as "your neighbors" are going to convince anyone other than those who are already singing in the choir.
    posted by blucevalo at 7:21 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Advocates of same-sex marriage need to take a hard look at what they have been doing, because what they're doing isn't working. If you can't learn from failure, you are going to continue to fail.

    That may be a bit harsh, blucevalo. Consider what the political climate for gay marriage was a decade ago. It was radioactive; it wasn't even a real consideration. Even civil unions were a radical prospect. Over the past decade, support for gay marriage has grown faster than even the most feverish optimist could have predicted. So it seems clear to me that what they're going is working - not as quickly as we'd hope, but still pretty shockingly quickly.
    posted by Anyamatopoeia at 7:34 PM on November 4, 2009


    Er, I meant what they're doing is working.
    posted by Anyamatopoeia at 7:35 PM on November 4, 2009


    That is a very good point. I may have been more than a bit harsh. You do have to take the long view, and your comment does exactly that. Deep breath .....
    posted by blucevalo at 7:36 PM on November 4, 2009


    Separate-but-equal civil unions are not ever going to be equal with marriage. If you want two things to be the same, you should make them the same. Not similar. Not equivalent.

    Like cash and checks, like four quarters and a dollar, like brothers and siblings.

    Look, the slogan from Brown vs Board is a nice rally point, but it's not dead on. There are classes of things that have minor distinctions without fundamentally different standings. No, Plessy vs Ferguson didn't create such distinctions, but that doesn't mean they don't or can't exist. Some distinctions may introduce stratified classes, some are functional and matter of fact.

    I am on board with the idea that everybody should have the legal means they need to build the domestic life of their choice, but trying to shoehorn it all into marriage is a hard, hard battle. By my observation, not just because of religious conceptions, but also because pretty fundamental and probably atavistic sense among no small number of people that marriage. just. is. gender heterogenous, that's what marriage means. Telling them that's an arbitrary or narrow definition -- even among people who agree with me on the ideas I just expressed about the law and the domestic life you prefer -- is like telling a mathematician you can redifine pi. Telling them they're bigots for thinking this way is going to have about the same result as telling them they're bigots because they don't call their male siblings "sisters."

    But you take away the specific institution marriage and for some of them, that effect disappears. In fact, maybe enough of them. Ref 71 looks like it's going to pass. If so, it will be the first popular democratic measure conferring domestic choice. And it will do it by expanding the class of legally recognized domestic relations rather than modifying one a whole lot of people are deeply invested in a particularly conception of.

    If it gets the job done, if it helps people who choose to live their lives together do that, then I don't see the problem. And despite Anyamatopoeia's point (a good one), my bet is that this the only way we'll see any kind of resolution that will turn to a stable front in the underlying culture clash in our lifetimes if not longer.

    By the way, bigots, we are going to find out each and every last one of your donors.

    I get the impulse, but I'd guess the most likely outcome of that road is going to be ugly -- ugly if/when the LGBT community discovers their own capacity for discrimination, ugly if/when the blowback shows up.
    posted by namespan at 7:41 PM on November 4, 2009


    My brothers and sisters, one day you will be free. One day you will be equal in the eyes of the law, one day you will enjoy the equal rights that the constitution of the United States is supposed to allow you and that you are currently denied. I'm so sorry that bigots and cowards are currently working against allowing you those rights, but your day will come. I sincerely wish that it comes in my lifetime, because nothing will make me happier than to see you afforded the rights that are due you as human beings. This news does nothing but strengthen my resolve and my commitment to work for universal human rights.

    I love you.
    posted by Divine_Wino at 7:42 PM on November 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


    Speak for yourself, my friend. I have domestic partner health insurance through my boyfriend's job without which I would have NO health insurance. They cover same-sex partners, too, and this is a major national corporation!

    My employer (not exactly a major national corporation, but you've heard of it) covers same-sex domestic partners and civil union partners, but specifically excludes common-law spouses.
    posted by oaf at 7:42 PM on November 4, 2009


    I have not seen any significant effort to strip the Catholic church of its tax-exempt status, though.

    Well, no time like the present.


    Yes, now is certainly the time to dedicate resources that might otherwise be used advocating for the legalization of same-sex marriage to instead try to take down the biggest and most powerful church on the planet - particularly now that that pesky Catholic Ted Kennedy won't stand in the way.

    (I respectfully submit that adding "and destroy the churches!" to the same-sex marriage cause will not make things easier.)
    posted by The World Famous at 7:47 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


    Under Blazecock Pileon's interpretation of the I.R.S. Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations

    Dude, is the church collecting money and support from its followers for political causes its leaders espouse illegal, or not? Because the IRS fucking says so in plain language, even if they won't go after churches that do violate the law.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:08 PM on November 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


    Under Blazecock Pileon's interpretation of the I.R.S. Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations

    Dude, is the church collecting money and support from its followers for political causes its leaders espouse illegal, or not? Because the IRS fucking says so in plain language, even if they won't go after churches that do violate the law.


    The answer to your question is "it depends." Also, the IRS Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations is not "the law."
    posted by The World Famous at 8:15 PM on November 4, 2009


    First off, I'm so sorry that justice lost in Maine. I had real hopes that those good ol' Yankees would reject the unnecessary meddling and plain mean-spirited bullshit. It's just been a goddamned bummer and I hope that in two years, they can get it back on the ballot and win when there's some real turnout.

    Second, this does highlight the basic problem with rights—The only work when a majority is willing to defend them. Having a right to equality means fuck all when the state doesn't recognize it. Likewise, privacy, expression, any number of "inalienable" rights. If it's just us humans here, there's no one else but us to make sure that justice is served. We should never have to vote on anyone's rights, but what anyone's rights are will always be a subject of contention.

    Third, and this is a tangent regarding out of state funds, I have no problem saying that I oppose all out of state funds for state political campaigns. Here in California, I think that the meddling from Pro-8 people was terrible. But while I'd say that I am also against the out of state contributions for the No on H8 campaign, I recognize them as a practical necessity. World Famous, it sounded too much to me like you were trying to get Blazecock on a hypocritical gotcha, instead of recognizing the arms-race necessity of funding. Sure, I'm against that too—it shouldn't be necessary.
    posted by klangklangston at 8:18 PM on November 4, 2009


    The answer to your question is "it depends."

    It depends on who is charged with enforcing the law, that's for sure.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:18 PM on November 4, 2009


    Also, the IRS Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations is not "the law."

    As for this nugget, no, it is not "the law", but is not spun out of whole cloth, either, and to insinuate that the IRS wrote that guide intending to encapsulate the exact opposite of where tax law is at this point in America's history — when it is posted fairly plainly on the IRS's web site as an up-to-date guide to religious leaders as to how they need to conduct their non-profit affairs, political or otherwise — is pretty insulting to any reader's intelligence.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:22 PM on November 4, 2009


    The answer to your question is "it depends."

    It depends on who is charged with enforcing the law, that's for sure.


    Dude, even the IRS document that you cited says it depends. It depends on interpretation of a significant body of case law and precedent, including the question of whether or not other churches in similar circumstances have had their tax-exempt status stripped from them.

    World Famous, it sounded too much to me like you were trying to get Blazecock on a hypocritical gotcha, instead of recognizing the arms-race necessity of funding.

    I did not intend that. I can see that it came across that way. Sorry about that.
    posted by The World Famous at 8:24 PM on November 4, 2009


    OK, thanks for the clarifications. There's lots of interesting questions about the virtue of direct democracy versus representative democracy but I'm not sure there's a lot of practical or moral significance to it.

    The courts are just as much of a crapshoot as the people; for every Brown there's a Plessy.
    posted by Wood at 8:34 PM on November 4, 2009


    Canada is fucking awesome, by the way.
    posted by chunking express at 8:36 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


    I respectfully submit that adding "and destroy the churches!" to the same-sex marriage cause will not make things easier.)

    Yeah, the World Famous, I hear you. I follow U.S. politics closely, I have worked in U.S. politics, and usually I am better at taking a pragmatic, long-term strategic view.

    I was following #marryme on Twitter last night as the results came in, and it was like watching a live feed of salt rubbed into a wound over. and over. and over again. Just raw, visceral pain from people who were forced to suffer the indignity of having their right to be treated as equal citizens voted on by their friends, their neighbors, their communities. And then losing.

    So, just for today, fuck NOM, fuck the religious organizations who participated, and an extra fuck you to Maggie Gallagher, who is an ignorant and hateful bigot of the first order.
    posted by lalex at 8:49 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


    And you can take that with a 4x4 In 'n' Out burger. Uh, In'n'Out is run by fundies.

    For those of you who want to boycott Maine, I say go and support pro-equality businesses.


    Maine produced Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who stood up to Joe McCarthy....and the first woman from a major USAian party to run for president.
    posted by brujita at 9:04 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Living in neighborhoods zoned for 'families only.'

    How is this kind of zoning legal?
    posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:15 PM on November 4, 2009


    Consider what the political climate for gay marriage was a decade ago.

    Gay (same-sex) marriage? Maybe. Gay people? In most places gay couples have fewer rights than they did 10 years ago. Look at Michigan. Look at Florida. Hell, look at most of the South. In, I think 2011 (hell make it 2012, 2013 two thousand fucking 20), Iowa citizens will be able to vote against gay marriage. Do you think they wont?

    Gay people have not gained much, if anything in the last ten years, really. Yeah, yeah corporate support for same-sex couples in health insurance. Who here has actually had to use such a provision -- to test it? Who here got the hospital to let them see their partner when they were dying (btw, if this was in MI or FL and you said "me", your hospital broke the law)?

    To be fair, Joe Beeses aside, I do think Barack Obama is trying to turn this bigotry aside, but if you don't see what we are up against, you are blind. Thirty-one out of 31 states have voted for anti-gay bigotry. The vast, overwhelming majority of the citizens of the United States of America are bigoted against gay people.

    And I don't have the optimism that others have that young people are not as bigoted against gays as older people. Young people get older and get socially conservative. Anti-drug insanity actually got worse when the boomers left college. It's only gotten better very recently. And even that is a fragile condition that, if it weren't for Obama (sorry Joe) wouldn't exist even in its current state.
    posted by dirigibleman at 9:35 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    BTW, yes, the Catholic Church openly broke tax law. Good luck getting even the IRS to remove the tax exemption of the single largest denomination of the citizens of the United States of America. They couldn't even get Scientology to pay taxes.
    posted by dirigibleman at 9:37 PM on November 4, 2009


    also, because it took me a while, #marryme is such a great hashtag. marryME; ME=Maine, clever!
    posted by lalex at 10:02 PM on November 4, 2009


    Iowa citizens will be able to vote against gay marriage. Do you think they wont?

    Yes, actually. 92% of Iowans say gay marriage hasn't affected them. While polling has been evenly split on voting to ammend the state constitution, it's only going to shift toward maintaining gay marriage the longer it's the status quo. I'd put my money on Iowans not voting to outlaw gay marriage.

    And I don't have the optimism that others have that young people are not as bigoted against gays as older people

    That's not optimism; it's statistics. Young people do get more conservative as they get older, but that doesn't generally change their positions. Their positions just become the status quo, and they conservatively continue supporting them. For example, people who supported interracial marriage back when it was a fight didn't start opposing interracial marriage when they got older. They're "conservative" now because they oppose gay marriage, but they didn't change their position; they never supported gay marriage.

    if you don't see what we are up against, you are blind

    Yeah, but if you don't see what we're not up against, you're also blind.
    posted by scottreynen at 10:23 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    My suggestion: give up the term "marriage" as lost to the religionists, and do a global replace of "marriage" with "civil union" in all legal documents. Everyone who wants to enter a legally-recognized adult pair "life" partnership has to get a civil union certificate from the goobermint. Everyone who also wants to enter a religiously-recognized partnership can get a marriage certificate from their church.

    The church document adds nothing whatsoever to the legal rights and obligations a couple has to one another. Let the religious think they own the "marriage" word. Truth is, as has proved out in Canada, is that most everyone calls partnerships of any lasting sort a "marriage."

    And in less than a generation none of it will matter, because most everyone under the age of, ooh, let's say forty doesn't really give a shit whether a couple has SpEcIaL PaPeRs. The only important things are love and commitment.

    In Canada, once you've shacked up long enough, you get most of the rights and responsibilities regardless whether you've got the government's stamp of approval on some stupid piece of parchment.
    regardless whether?

    posted by five fresh fish at 11:09 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Metafilter: you are going to get intellectually eviscerated.
    posted by captain cosine at 11:13 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


    It's up to the courts to determine whether or not the product of a referendum violates minority rights, just as it's up to the courts to determine whether a law is constitutional.

    In California, the California Supreme Court, which legalized same-sex marriage, later agreed with Ken Starr that the fact that a referendum violates minority rights doesn't violate the spirit of the equal protection clause and therefore cannot be struck down on constitutional grounds.

    That's a very important and scary point and it (understandably) gets lost in the emotion surrounding these hateful referendums, but it shouldn't be forgotten. If the California Supreme Court set a national precedent, then any state which has an equal protection clause might as well just rip that clause right out of its constitution.
    posted by treepour at 11:28 PM on November 4, 2009


    There's a theory on the vehemence against gay marriage that I heard Dan Savage talking about briefly on his podcast, and it's a bit out there but must have some truth to it.

    Here it is: a lot of these right-wing types are closeted gays themselves, and engage in homosexual behavior in secret, and get off on the fact that they're being dirty. "Being dirty" in that they're doing what was once illegal behavior, and is now simply taboo in many circles. But if you legitimize that taboo behavior and make it normal, then it takes away from their excitement, it makes their dirty behavior...suddenly not so dirty.

    Like I said, it's a bit out there but must be true of someone.
    posted by zardoz at 11:31 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    92% of Iowans say gay marriage hasn't affected them.

    I think we should take a moment to consider those poor 8% of Iowans whose marriages have been ripped apart; husbands forsaking their wives at the chance to legally shack up with hot hot man-flesh.

    "It, it was horrible. I turned around, and Stevie was running off to the chapel! And now they've got an apartment, and it's, it's so tastefully decorated!"
    posted by sebastienbailard at 11:33 PM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


    I can appreciate the sentiment that comes with the "get rid of the term 'marriage'" crowd. I think that on a philosophical level you're more or less right. On a pragmatic and political level, however, you are asking for the impossible.

    Americans will never give up the term "marriage" with respect to their allegedly permanent romantic relationships. No...yes...I know...no...even then. Marriage is the word we are saddled with in attempting to describe how we humans arrange our affairs. Gay people must be entitled to that word. Equal protection under the law demands no less.
    posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:35 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Maine produced Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who stood up to Joe McCarthy....and the first woman from a major USAian party to run for president.

    As someone who grew up in Maine, I think it's time to put Margaret Chase Smith's legacy in proper perspective. Senator Smith was in favor of escalating the Korean War by dropping nuclear bombs on the People's Republic of China. Seriously. So she was probably too stupid or cruel to be in the senate.
    posted by Mayor Curley at 2:11 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Your government has a legitimate interest in knowing your date of birth and by inference, your age. It doesn't have a legitimate interest in forcing you to hold, or denying you, a birthday party.

    The problem is that marriage confers a whole job-lot of disparate legal and cultural rights all at once in a very simple way. There are a lot of historical reasons, spandrels in the law, for any given one of those rights. Even when there's no crystal-clear logical relationship between two rights (eg, the right to make medical decisions on behalf of the spouse and the right to bind the spouse in a housing rental contract), by dint of being assigned at the same time by the same process, they have become conflated in people's expectations.

    So any change to marriage (straight, gay, or something else entirely) has to do something about those expectations. Even though people have historically been willing to vote to extend rights that they presently possess to others who do not, they are extremely reluctant to vote themselves a loss of rights, even when it is clearly in everyone's best interest that they do so. (This is one of the major flaws in democracy - people can and will vote in their own interests, even where that is against the interests of the democratic group.) In other words, deregistering straight marriage will not happen, even if it logically should.

    IMO the way to get this thing done is to go through that list ericb quoted, bit by bit, all at once, and attack each little right. Of course in the fullness of time sex-independent marriage will happen simply because there is no-one, absolutely no-one, who gains a clear, real benefit from its denial to same-sex couples specifically. There is an abstract benefit to, say, insurers in denying spousal coverage to a same-sex spouse or to immigration authorities denying spousal visas in the same way as they would benefit from, say, denying spousal coverage and spousal visas to persons whose surnames began with the letter J, but the overwhelming majority of the rights on the list are there not as a gimme to a heterosexual spouse, but in order to promote and maintain the wider social order.

    If Desmond Jones is sick, Molly Jones will be affected - she will want to take time off work to care for him, personally incur expenses as a result of his illness, etc. It's best for all concerned if she is able to do so with minimal disruption to her place in the world. If Desmond and Molly cohabit, their tax affairs, their business activities, their lives are going to be intertwined to a large extent. Businesses don't offer family discounts out of an abstract love of familial piety; a family discount is an encouragement to spend more. If it costs $10 per person to provide a service that a single person pays $50 to use, then offering that service at $30 each to five, who otherwise wouldn't use it at all (not even the initial one, because if he/she cannot go with family, he/she won't go at all) makes good business sense. If Desmond is forced to emigrate, Molly will most likely move hell and high water to emigrate with him. Unless Desmond and Molly are a net economic drain (which very few people actually are), it's better for the economy that they remain in the country in question. And so on: only the most stupid attorney would try to make Desmond testify against Molly in court - "hostile witness" is an inadequate description.

    At some point there'll be so few rights left unrecognized that the purpose of denying them will have disappeared. Some of these rights can be granted through contract and inheritance law and were I a lawyer with time to spare and a good marketing budget I would seriously look into parcelling up as much as is possible (obviously not everything, there are many rights conferred by legislation rather than contract) the rights of heterosexual marriage into a thick set of contract documentation, marketing that to same-sex couples, and defending against any breach of it with well-publicized legal battling. "Hack the system" as much as is possible.

    Absolutely nothing in any of this would prevent or detract from the wider moral battle for equality. Battles can be fought on multiple grounds.
    posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:44 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


    The Press Herald has crunched the numbers.

    The margin was just over 31,000 votes. This is a really small state.

    Cumberland County alone went NO on the repeal by 26,000.
    posted by miss tea at 2:51 AM on November 5, 2009


    All you Maine haters - our legislature passed same-sex marriage. Did yours? Sadly, over 50 % of voters were too afraid of change, too ignorant about sexual orientation, too swayed by the Catholic church and other churches. I'm sorry.

    Marriage is a legal structure. It governs inheritance, genealogy/family history, and responsibility for children. It defines how a marriage will be ended, and how property will be divided. Civil union could conceivably accomplish these tasks, but why have a new bureaucracy and set of policies when we have an existing structure? I'm fiscally moderate, and I think spending money on duplicating a legal structure is wasteful. People in gay marriages need the protections that the legal structure of marriage provides. A kid with 2 Moms needs the assurance that if there's an end to the parents' relationship, the child will have access to both parents.

    Gobs of money flowed into Maine for this campaign, on both sides. It was terrific for our economy. Thanks. The No On 1(allow the same-sex marriage bill) campaign was a model of a thoughtful, respectful, honest campaign. Their ads were on every commercial break on every station. The Yes on 1 campaign used a false accusation of "They're going to force gay marriage to our children in schools." They should be ashamed.

    There were a lot of same-sex families on the No on 1 ads who showed healthy, happy families. Lots of kids went to school and said "I have 2 Moms. So what?" This is a setback, but not an utter failure. The more people who are out, the more families who not only accept their gay son, but also their gay son-in-law, and the grandchildren, the more gay families at church and school, the sooner we will all accept homosexuality as natural, normal, and legal, and we can move on.
    posted by theora55 at 4:14 AM on November 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


    Well said, Theora.

    I'd also like to point out that a boycott would be counterproductive. Tourism dollars overwhelmingly help the part of the state that voted for same sex marriage. The more tourism dollars, the better our restaurants, bars, and boutiques do... the more open-minded people will thrive here.
    posted by miss tea at 4:26 AM on November 5, 2009


    was a model of a thoughtful, respectful, honest campaign

    Now I see the problem. When has that every worked?
    posted by smackfu at 5:49 AM on November 5, 2009


    This election has been such an emotional rollercoaster for supporters of equal rights. Signing the petitions after voting last year, seeing it enacted in legislature, then being accosted by haters at the post office trying to get signatures to get it on the ballot for reversal. Seeing my best friends, who happen to be gay, buy rings and go on a honeymoon even though they can't get married. Wondering what will happen if one of them dies, the children and siblings coming in and stripping the place of momentos, someone else making the decisions if one of them gets sick (very likely, since one of them has health issues). Planning a wedding in case the referendum passes, as they helped me plan mine. Yet both of them expressed doubts that this would pass in Maine. Like others have said, the rural areas are very conservative.

    I'm left with more questions than answers. What happens if a same-sex couple gets married in a state where it's legal and moves to a state where it is not? What will come of the lawsuit filed in California? Was that a good move or not, considering the current judges on the Supreme Court? How exactly do you protect the rights of a minority when the majority rules? Realizing it took 7 decades for women to get the vote, and less than 100 years ago, I would not have been able to vote on any issues, let alone this one. Anger and frustration at how agonizingly slow the wheels of justic turn in this country for civil rights, but hopeful that my children or grandchildren may live in a country where they too, can say, "can you imagine that 30 years ago, same-sex people weren't allowed to even get married? How quaint."

    Regarding knowing who the donors to the Yes On 1 campaign are, I'd like to know. I don't want to spend my money at businesses that support bigotry with their profits. They certainly don't have any qualms about lying or being deceitful, forcing their religious views down my throat, and saying they'll pray for my gay friends to see the light and come back into the fold of heterosexuality. Very few local people on my Twitter stream vocalized their support for Yes On 1, the few who did, will not get my money. The silence was deafening, and I wonder if it's because they know in their hearts that they are bigots.

    This whole thing is very shameful. And yet, I saw the No On 1 supporters being respectful in the face of hatred. Who has the "Christian" attidude there?

    So yeah, thanks all you rednecks and bigots, you just made me more determined than ever to fight for civil rights.
    posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:59 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


    The vast, overwhelming majority of the citizens of the United States of America are bigoted against gay people.

    Hyperbole much? About all you can accurately say about the majority of citizens in the U.S. is that they don't vote.
    posted by oaf at 6:12 AM on November 5, 2009


    Regarding knowing who the donors to the Yes On 1 campaign are, I'd like to know. I don't want to spend my money at businesses that support bigotry with their profits. They certainly don't have any qualms about lying or being deceitful, forcing their religious views down my throat, and saying they'll pray for my gay friends to see the light and come back into the fold of heterosexuality. Very few local people on my Twitter stream vocalized their support for Yes On 1, the few who did, will not get my money. The silence was deafening, and I wonder if it's because they know in their hearts that they are bigots.

    I'm with you on this. I'd really like to see a list of local businesspeople who supported the yes vote, and really hope somebody publishes it.

    On another note, I was looking at the town-by-town votes, and the small town we just moved from voted 52% yes, even though it was in Cumberland county. The town we live in now voted no by a slightly larger margin. It seems the farther you get from the coast, the larger the yes vote. This just supports the "two Maines" thing that people always talk about.
    posted by SteveInMaine at 6:43 AM on November 5, 2009


    The vast, overwhelming majority of the citizens of the United States of America are bigoted against gay people.

    Wrong. The vast, overwhelming majority of the citizens of the United States of America don't give a shit, one way or the other, for whatever reason. A very motivated and hate-filled minority does give a shit and raises money, puts propaganda on TV, and gets people who are even more frightened than they are out to the polls on election day.
    posted by blucevalo at 6:53 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


    A kid with 2 Moms needs the assurance that if there's an end to the parents' relationship, the child will have access to both parents. -- theora55

    What if one of the child's moms died? That problem could be even worse that what you describe above.

    There are sooo many implications when you deny somebody (or a group of people) the rights afforded to the rest of the population -- this alone should be a large factor in votes like this.
    posted by MustardTent at 7:05 AM on November 5, 2009


    I'd also like to point out that a boycott would be counterproductive. Tourism dollars overwhelmingly help the part of the state that voted for same sex marriage.

    Tourism and the Maine Economy
    "Tourism is one of Maine ’s largest and most important industries. Every year, millions of people visit Maine ’s beaches, lakes, and mountains. The money they spend during their travels ripples throughout Maine ’s economy, generating jobs, income, and tax revenue. In 2006, an estimated 10 million overnight trips and 30 million day trips were taken in Maine . Travelers spent nearly $1 billion on lodging, $3 billion on food, and $1 billion on recreational activities....The State Planning Office found that the economic impact of tourism in Maine is huge. In 2006 it generated roughly $10 billion in sales of goods and services, 140,000 jobs, and $3 billion in earnings."
    posted by ericb at 7:06 AM on November 5, 2009


    The inevitable end of this line of thinking is the (unpleasant for some) realization that marriage is a business contract, and we might as well dispose of it altogether in the legal sense. Then anyone who wants to stand in front of a priest/rabbi/imam/judge or whatever and make a commitment witnessed by their family and friends will be free to do so, but the commitment will just be that: A personal promise with no legal repercussions. (In the case of couples with children, some sort of legal architecture to determine custody rights would still be needed.)

    You realize this is already the case, correct? When you get married in a church, it doesn't legally mean anything to the state. Nobody, anywhere, is suggesting that same-sex marriage rights would require churches to change anything about what they currently do.
    posted by odinsdream at 7:41 AM on November 5, 2009


    The problem is that the whole "definition of marriage" thing is just a distraction as we saw in Washington where marriage wasn't even up for question. This is about rights: custody, adoption, medical and legal powers of attorney, taxes, equality in employment benefits.

    The war over marriage was initiated by conservatives in response to the very limited recognition of domestic partnerships in the 1980s and 1990s. Defense of marriage legislation and constitutional amendments was pushed through at the state level in response to employers offering domestic partnership benefits, and judges giving minimal recognition to gay and lesbian relationships. And these laws and amendments were pushed in jurisdictions where "marriage" wasn't remotely on the agenda.

    The rhetoric that conservatives are defending a definition that's under attack is either intentionally dishonest, or unaware of the history and legal context of the debate. Conservatives sought to define marriage as a weapon against domestic partnership benefits.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:02 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


    "The rhetoric that conservatives are defending a definition that's under attack is either intentionally dishonest, or unaware of the history and legal context of the debate. Conservatives sought to define marriage as a weapon against domestic partnership benefits."

    This was especially visible in Michigan and Ohio, where the laws were explicitly written to preclude domestic partnerships, with a clause about not recognizing anything that resembled marriage.

    But frankly, I can't think of a social conservative that I know who isn't either an idiot or a liar on issues like this. I know that comes across harsh to the couple of social conservatives that read Metafilter, and I'm pretty able to distinguish between their views on social issues and their broader opinions, but it's flatly true.

    The two avenues of opposition are either pretending that same-sex marriage would have deleterious effects, which is bullshit, or arguing that it's because of their religious convictions, which is stupid. Denying someone else their rights because of your interpretation of a holy script is simply wrong. If you don't want a same-sex marriage, don't marry someone of the same sex.

    When I worked at our campus newspaper and the Ohio ballot measure was underway, this is the closest to a fistfight that I ever got into, and I'm not even gay. I can't understand why more queers aren't beating the shit out of bigots over this.
    posted by klangklangston at 8:49 AM on November 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


    NOM President Maggie Gallagher Crashes DC Marriage Equality Rally One Day After Maine Defeat.
    posted by ericb at 8:54 AM on November 5, 2009


    Related:
    "When you watch this amazing video of Harvey Milk [in 1978], discussing the bigoted Briggs Initiative, that would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools, you see how far we haven't come. The public is still voting on our human rights."
    posted by ericb at 8:59 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Catholics Are the New Mormons
    "Catholics are strutting around boasting about their role in repealing Maine's gay marriage law. At least they're taking responsibility for it. Catholics are the new Mormons—which sucks for me because I was raised Catholic. Can I unbaptize myself? Can I do it in a hot tub? How many guys will it take?"
    posted by ericb at 9:02 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


    October 2009:
    Maine's Catholic Church donations to anti-gay campaign top $550,000.

    Where is the Catholic Church's mystery money for the anti-gay campaign coming from? The Mormons?

    The Catholic Church has become an anti-gay political operation in Maine.
    That's a half-a-billion dollars from one religious domination in the 39th. largest state with a population of 1,240,000!

    "Meanwhile, the Catholic Church in Maine continues to close churches while the numbers of both priests and parishioners continues to decline."*
    posted by ericb at 9:11 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


    *denomination*

    But, heck my misspellling is pertinent.
    posted by ericb at 9:12 AM on November 5, 2009


    As is my misspelling!
    posted by ericb at 9:13 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Analogy: Everyone gets a birth certificate, but if you want to get a baptism certificate, you have to go to a church and get baptized. This seems fair to me?

    Except that marriage has a long non-church-y history and civil unions generally include a secular ritual component. This is like saying that I have to celebrate 'period of winter festivity with pine and food' not 'Christmas', because I'm an atheist, even though the holiday was co-opted in the first place from my pale and hairy northern climate dwelling ancestors.

    My family’s been 'marrying' since back when religion was oral tradition and superstition, when you were Christian but you didn't need a priest involved, when priests became the norm, and now, after a few generations of atheism, I will still get married to someone. In a pretty dress, to someone I want to make a family with, and without any gods involved, but lots of good eats for the guests.
    posted by Phalene at 9:43 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


    That's a half-a-billion dollars...

    No, it's not! I'm an idiot. No more drinking before noon! ; )
    posted by ericb at 9:47 AM on November 5, 2009


    Except that marriage has a long non-church-y history

    But in the cultural context of this struggle, this history is unacknowledged or flat-out denied by those promoting the "defense" of marriage. In the U.S., the organizations pushing back against civil rights gains by glbt people are working from a specific right-wing religious agenda, in which marriage is framed as a sacrament that needs promotion and protection by the (supposedly secular) government.

    It isn't like saying you "have" to celebrate a secular version of Christmas. It's like saying everyone gets certain rights automatically, by virtue of being human; if you're the kind of person who needs a religious stamp of approval as well, go for it (if the religious institutions will grant you one, and it's entirely at their discretion), but you don't need that stamp in order to have the same rights as everyone else.
    posted by rtha at 10:09 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Voters in Maine need to support efforts to end another abomination before God: lobsters.
    posted by jefficator at 10:27 AM on November 5, 2009


    Everyone gets a birth certificate, but if you want to get a baptism certificate, you have to go to a church and get baptized. This seems fair to me?

    Actually, it's an analogy that clearly highlights exactly why legal rights shouldn't be based on ecclesiastical concerns. Baptism is still a topic that is a matter of significant doctrinal schism. Southern Baptists and others who hold that nothing less than voluntary, adulthood, full-immersion is sacred don't recognize the childhood baptisms performed by Methodists, Episcopals, and Catholics as legitimate. One of the tasks appointed to Henry II when he was given permission to invade Ireland was to quash Irish heresies including baptism with milk. And of course, historically proof of baptism was connected with citizenship and status as a way to exclude non-Christians or members of heretical sects. Governments today tend not to connect baptism with the legal rights of citizens precisely because there is no consensus regarding the doctrinal definition of it.

    The same is true of marriage. Historically, the issue of who could and could not define marriage has been a hot issue. The church's mandate to Henry II also included stricter rules regarding marriage among extended family. Tycho Brahe's common-law marriage to a middle-class woman resulted in him being denied communion, and was probably one of the multiple political tensions that led to his exile. Today, some congregations do recognize same-sex marriage, while other congregations don't recognize second marriages, interfaith marriages, or interracial marriages.

    The reason why we have strong constitutional barriers between Church and State is because these are issues that had contributed to centuries of warfare and civil strife across Europe.

    rtha: It's like saying everyone gets certain rights automatically, by virtue of being human; if you're the kind of person who needs a religious stamp of approval as well, go for it (if the religious institutions will grant you one, and it's entirely at their discretion), but you don't need that stamp in order to have the same rights as everyone else.

    The fight in Washington is entirely over whether LGBT couples should have those same rights. Likewise, when Clinton extended some rights to State Department employees, and Obama later extended some rights to all federal employees, conservatives who had previously lied through their teeth that it was about "marriage" and not domestic partnerships now howled that domestic partnership rights undermined the "sanctity of marriage."

    Nothing short of pushing LGBT people back into the closet will satisfy or placate the conservatives on this. It's an attack on marriage when LGBTs ask to be included in the legal definition of marriage. It's an attack on marriage when:
    * LGBTs get partnerships that are different and inferior in some respects
    * a lesbian with private power of medial attorney asks to see a partner in the hospital
    * books are not shelved behind the counter
    * gay characters appear on television
    * private corporations offer private benefits
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:31 AM on November 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


    Seconding wholeheartedly what KirkJobSluder is saying. We've all heard the "don't redefine marriage" canard plenty, so Washington State said, fine, we won't, we'll just give LGBT people these rights and call it something else. Cue much wailing, gnashing of teeth, and social / religious conservatives really going as far out of their way as possible to prove that they are lying liars who lie and lie. It's been made absolutely clear here that marriage is a smokescreen and there isn't a middle ground to come to on this issue, because the issue is "should LGBT people have rights" and their answer is "no". There's no compromise left there.
    posted by Errant at 11:28 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


    The most disappointing part for me, even though I understand it, is the Obama administrations "see no evil" approach to this vote. He's doing a really good job of alienating the people who voted for him, including me.
    posted by elder18 at 12:03 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I would like to offer my condolences to the people of Maine who fought against bigotry, and lost. There are plenty of us in California (and many other states) that know the disappointment you feel. In our state, it was painful to watch the T.V. advertisements that were full of fear, hatred and lies. It was crushing to wake up and find that a righteous cause had lost.

    But the war isn't over, by any stretch. We'll continue to fight, right along with you.
    posted by malocchio at 12:07 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Focus on the Family donated $115,266 to Maine gay marriage fight.

    Contributions from Catholic Dioceses around the country, etc. (w/ breakdown).
    posted by ericb at 1:05 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Washington Post: Gay Groups Say Loss Won't Alter Strategy.

    New York Times: Gay Rights Rebuke May Change Approach.
    posted by ericb at 1:10 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I decided to read Paul Martin's speech from a few years back again, since all of ericb's links are depressing as fuck. It's good: "If we do not step forward, then we step back. If we do not protect a right, then we deny it. Mr. Speaker, together as a nation, together as Canadians Let us step forward." Martin is a Catholic, and he voted against allowing same-sex marriages 4 years earlier. I'm waiting for a kick-ass speech from Obama.
    posted by chunking express at 1:18 PM on November 5, 2009


    AP has now projected R-71 will be approved. Margin of victory moved up again to 52.5-47.5.
    posted by dw at 5:07 PM on November 5, 2009


    I went and marched at the National Equality March in DC this past October. I was there with Key West activist Tom Luna, and international activists Cleve Jones, David Mixner, Gilbert Baker, and Kip Williams and Robin McGhee. Plus the 150,000 others.

    I escorted Tom Luna there because his partner had died two years prior and he was still trying to get the electricity switched over to his name. They had been together 25 years. Tom Luna represented us all, and my escorting him was the only way to get him to the march.

    Luna is of the previous generation, the one that fought to create the movement that has led to this present-day battle. He became an activist for this cause against his will: For two years, he has been emotionally distraught over the death of his partner and his treatment at the time. Specifically, police at the scene of the death (heart attack) treated the gentle and well-loved Luna not as a distraught spouse but rather as a suspect to foul play! There is no question the police here—even in Key West—handled the situation in a manner which removed any dignity from the proceedings.

    In our community, Tom Luna is legendary. He has given selflessly for as many individuals and organizations on this island as any other. Yet, when it was he who was in need of support and justice, the system failed him.

    At the march, Tom cried. He laughed and smiled and marched intensely, but when the speakers came to the podium, and each one shared their experience and their insight and support and inspirations and angers and losses, he cried for nearly every one. I'd say he was in some various state of tears for about three of the six hours.

    For some reason, until a few months ago I was not clear on what was going on here with this whole straight people okay, not-straight people not okay, we can marry, you can't thing. But a few months ago, I started giving it some thought, and it began to click in my head that "hey, our country is treating people who are LGBT the same way it used to unfairly legislate against people of color and people who are women".

    But the night before the National Equality March, in the same room with Mixner and Luna and Jones and Baker and Williams and all the others, it really hit me. I was there. This was real. People in this room, watching and cheering President Obama's support for gay and lesbian citizens, it was beyond belief. I was there. It was that moment people will talk about in the future. In history books. In movies.

    From that moment on, I knew. This was my fight. This was my battle. And it is called equality.
    posted by Mike Mongo at 5:43 PM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


    AP has now projected R-71 will be approved. Margin of victory moved up again to 52.5-47.5.

    It's probably best to wait until all of the opponents' faked signatures and ballots are counted. There's still plenty of time for Stickney's group to commit more fraud in the name of Christ.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:11 PM on November 5, 2009


    Watching Craig on the youtubes, and he made an insightful comment:
    [having sexy fun time with Fabio] Of course, not in Maine. [eyeroll] …Well, we could do it, we just couldn't get married [wtf baffled look]
    WTF baffled, indeed. That gay sex remains legal but gay couples can not have a relationship of full legal equality of same-sex couples makes no sense.
    posted by five fresh fish at 7:36 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I'm opposed to marriage as a state service, ideologically. Practically, though, I think the emotional baggage of the word marriage does people with less economic power and rights (generally women) to get legal protections (support, alimony, shelter, etc) from those with more. As long as we continue to have such systemic level inequality in economic opportunity, pay, and family care work, I think that maintaining "MARRIAGE" through the government is probably helpful (even if it also is and has always been a double edged sword for women, recent reforms have helped a lot). Part of the reason why lack of marriage does work well in some other countries is not just universal healthcare, bu also that there is much more gender equality. All of these fights go together.

    Whatever the government gives, no question it has to give to everybody. So my hope is that eventually it will also give people who are not in purportedly romantic/intimate relationships (and who perhaps don't even have the right to be, because for example, they're related) the right to choose a next of kin, sponsor an immigrant, establish economic mutual interdependence, etc, in a neat and cheap legal package.
    posted by Salamandrous at 6:38 AM on November 6, 2009


    I'm opposed to marriage as a state service, ideologically.

    You know, I'm no legal scholar or anything, but I think if locked-out same-sex couples (or single people, for that matter) challenged the constitutionality of their government bestowing additional rights on people who choose the married lifestyle—i.e. if they did what they're constantly accused of doing: destroying the institution of marriage—that might just get the ball rolling the right way again.
    posted by Sys Rq at 11:42 AM on November 6, 2009


    Gay marriage opponents win using kid card -- "Maine, Calif. parents swayed by talk of homosexuality in schools."
    posted by ericb at 12:59 PM on November 6, 2009


    ericb, yeah, a friend of mine took a bus down from Northern Maine the other day. She was waiting to change buses, and heard some guys talking about how they didn't want them teaching their kids that boys kiss boys in school. The children thing has been around for a long time, Anita Bryant used it, and it's a standard scare tactic used in anti-gay-rights campaigns.

    I grew up in an atmosphere of general tolerance, but I still heard lots of bigotry, ranging from racial to slurs against women and yes, lots of anti-gay talk. Then I moved out of my little town and met some real life gay people, people of color, and people from other countries. I was able to cast off my stereotypes and prejudices and pass those views onto my children. I don't know if the current judicial climate will decree wide-sweeping change. But I do know that the times, they are a changing, and sooner or later, equal rights will win. There's no way in hell this law would have been passed by Maine legislature when I was a kid, and no way in hell it would have been such a close vote at that time either.

    This is a long haul, folks. But here's a great site with info on the arguments against gay marriage, responses to the arguments, and thoughts on why people really oppose it.
    posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:41 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


    It's probably best to wait until all of the opponents' faked signatures and ballots are counted. There's still plenty of time for Stickney's group to commit more fraud in the name of Christ.

    That likelihood is extremely remote. 256,000 ballots left to count, 130,000 of them in King County (including mine), where it's now running 68-32 approve. Another 56,000 remain in Snohomish County, where it's 52-48 (and they report at 6 tonight). If those percentages hold, that means 45% of all remaining ballots in King + Snohomish are "approve" ballots. That would essentially mean the remaining 55% (which would include the King + Sno "reject" ballots) would have to break at least 80-20 reject for them to have a shot, probably higher but my math is bad.

    That's just downright impossible. Even declaring all the remaining Pierce ballots as "reject" wouldn't do it, and Pierce is the center of the Stickney movement.

    It's over.
    posted by dw at 5:38 PM on November 6, 2009


    That likelihood is extremely remote.

    Considering the massive fraud that Stickney's organization pulled to get this referendum on the ballot in the first place, and all the legal games he played to keep all the bigoted cowards who signed the petitions anonymous, waiting for the final results seems prudent. I'm reluctant for my partner and I to celebrate, just yet.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:56 PM on November 6, 2009


    OK, one more time, since I apparently like beating my head against the wall:

    The current MOV is 84074. There are 178956 ballots left uncounted. The ten counties voting "approve" account for 119214 of those ballots.

    If you assume the ten counties all continue to vote "approve" at their current rates, that would be go 73678-45536 yes for an additional margin of 28142. So the new MOV is 112216.

    But there are only 52474 ballots left uncounted from the counties that are voting reject. Even if they were 100% no, they still won't be enough to undo the victory.

    But, you say, isn't assuming current rates optimistic, given they could have stuffed the ballot box in all the counties? Well, yes. But you'd need the ballots to go roughly 61-39 no in the ten counties -- this after they've gone 62-38 yes so far -- and then it to go 97% no in the remaining counties.

    If all remaining ballots in Snohomish are "no" ballots, R-71 still passes. Heck, you could zero out all the ballots in every county but King and they'd still need to get 100% no in the no counties so long as King continued to be 60-40 yes. If the other nine counties stayed the same, King would have to go 67-33 no for the no side to win if they get 100% of the ballots in the no counties.

    In short, the level of fraud needed for Stickney and company to pull off this victory would be Iran-level, maybe even higher. And it would be as blatantly obvious as the Iranian fraud.

    So, if you want to sit here and wait for the election to be certified, go right ahead. But it's 2 minutes to go and the no side is down by five TDs and they don't even have the ball. It really is over.

    Until next year, if they manage to get enough signatures, which they probably won't.
    posted by dw at 4:37 PM on November 7, 2009


    R-71 margin of victory now 101K with 53K ballots left to count. It is now mathematically impossible for R-71 to be rejected.
    posted by dw at 4:42 PM on November 9, 2009


    The leading douchebag of Rhode Island Vetoes gay burial rights. Because letting teh gays ded bodys lie in the cold earth next to one another is somehow a threat to traditional marriage.
    posted by five fresh fish at 6:05 PM on November 12, 2009


    RI Governor's Gay Rights Veto Called 'Heartless' by Attorney General.
    posted by ericb at 6:36 PM on November 12, 2009


    Well, for anyone still following this thread, this is interesting (related chat). Good on David Catania.
    posted by lalex at 6:41 PM on November 12, 2009


    The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.
    Why, this is exactly what Jesus Christ would do. Hamburger.
    posted by five fresh fish at 7:07 PM on November 12, 2009


    "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Unless your city lets gay people get married. Then screw 'em."
    posted by EarBucket at 7:13 PM on November 12, 2009


    The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

    Oh no, please don't force us not to give you millions of dollars each year! What ever will we do? It's not like we have dozens of other bids on those contracts you were awarded!
    posted by Pollomacho at 7:29 PM on November 12, 2009


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