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"Let's challenge the homosexual movement to play fair on the playing field of democracy."
July 10, 2001 2:13 PM   Subscribe

"Let's challenge the homosexual movement to play fair on the playing field of democracy." This bit of Newspeak is courtesy of the coalition of religious leaders and so-called "family" groups calling for a Constitutional amendment saying that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. (Of course, this leads one to wonder what laws will be enacted in order to legally separate the men from the, uh, women.)
posted by maura (57 comments total)

 
Another choice quote from their spokesperson:
"If they want the benefits of marriage allocated to a wider circle of groups, they need to convince the majority of people that it's the right thing"

translation: if a majority of people don't like you, get the fuck out of this country or shut the fuck up and don't ask for "special" rights because we don't want to ever give them to you.

It's nice to see people openly wearing their hatred on their sleeves. Remember the 1950's in the US? I bet the majority of americans supported segregation, but thank god they didn't pass an amendment solidifying that fact in the US constitution.

I wish they could give me one good reason why they feel it's so important to make civil unions among same-sex couples illegal. One reason is all I ask.
posted by mathowie at 2:30 PM on July 10, 2001


Because they are afraid.
Loss of control is always frightening.
posted by nprigoda at 2:32 PM on July 10, 2001


hmm.. Don't you sometimes wish that religion was outlawed? Federal Legislation prohibiting all cult and cultist activities associated with religion or referred to as. heh.
posted by tiaka at 2:53 PM on July 10, 2001


There isn't a single religion, for example, that a "majority" of Americans is convinced is "the right thing". Catholics, Jews, Atheists, Presbyterians. All must go.
posted by jpoulos at 3:04 PM on July 10, 2001


I solved this problem - I believe - a while ago. I believe the problem lies in the word "marriage".

the government needs to get out of the religion business altogether and declare a marriage to be a religious union between two people.

the government then needs to convert their "marriage license" to a "license of union". the federal government will then determine what rights and responsibilities are to be given to couples that are legally united. I imagine that these rights and responsibilities would be identical to those now given to married couples.

if you want to get married, you would go to city hall to obtain a license of union and then to the religious officiant of your choice and get married.

if you just want a legal union, you get the license and the judge repeats the vows, just like it is now, only leaving that pesky word "marriage" to religious figures.

religious institutions could decide for themselves who was qualified to be married; the state would not interfere (except in the case of minors and the like).

however, the license of union, conferring legal rights and responsibilities would be granted to everyone qualified by law, equally. - rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 3:08 PM on July 10, 2001


again i am made sick...

rebeccablood has the answer i like.
posted by o2b at 3:11 PM on July 10, 2001


But what would make you think these people would be any less against "Unions" than marriages? Granted, they probably are pretty dumb, but could changing the name REALLY confuse them that much?
It's not that they're against gay marriage. They're against gay people.
posted by Doug at 3:17 PM on July 10, 2001


It's not that they're against gay marriage. They're against gay people.

Solution? Change the words, no more of that Gay, Queer or Faggot word stuff.
posted by tiaka at 3:23 PM on July 10, 2001


doug: But what would make you think these people would be any less against "Unions" than marriages

I think they'd be just as against it, so you'd have to frame the argument carefully.

but the constitution is clear; and so are the laws. basically, you just take the religious component out of the union, and there's nothing left to argue about. or if there is, then the religious right is forced to admit that they want to insert religion into the law of the land.

Granted, they probably are pretty dumb, but could changing the name REALLY confuse them that much?

I come from pretty conservative people myself, and they are not dumb, they have different opinions than I do.

but I think you can make a clear and compelling case for getting the state out of religion and religion out of the state by respectfully acknowledging that certain religions don't support a union between same-sex partners, and letting it stand at that.

and then respectfully acknowledging that the law applies to all people, and letting it stand at that. those who want a religious ceremony can have one if a religious practitioner is available; those who want the legal union can have a non-religious union. - rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 3:29 PM on July 10, 2001


rebecca's got my vote this time, too. What bothers me most about this whole "marriage" debate is the tax advantages available to male/female couples that are not available to families like mine (who would get married to take advantage of legal benefits, not because it would change our relationship in any way).
posted by m.polo at 3:49 PM on July 10, 2001


(may I ask what these tax advantages are? I keep hearing about them, then you also hear about the marriage tax, and I get really confused.)
posted by rebeccablood at 3:52 PM on July 10, 2001


rebeccablood: How do you enforce such a union, though? Would people living together be subject to tax penalties if they failed to comply with a formal union law? Oh well. I don't know exactly where the advantage is in living together anymore besides, unless you're doing the "trial period" thing or one or both members of the "union" want to keep their options open. Would you still have to split everything down the middle if the "trial" period didn't work out? Also, how do you decide who's the one wanting to keep the options open (not that some -- OK, many -- people don't look at marriage in the same way, but . . .)?

Meantime, married couples get a bigger check back this year from Uncle Sam, bigger than my widowed mother or single people (including me) who have to pay more for auto insurance in almost all cases, are more likely to be targeted for tickets if they are single, male and young or young-looking, etc., cannot receive the insurance benefits of any other party, are limited as far as housing due to the lack of affordable (tax deductible) mortgages (easier with two people), blah blah, the list goes on endlessly. For so many advantages, there should be some responsibilities. But where do they begin and end?
posted by raysmj at 4:03 PM on July 10, 2001


If I'm not mistaken, and I very well may be, but there really isn't a religious component to marriage. At least in NY, you are married completely by the state, but have a ceremony afterward which is often religious, and people think that it is there that they are married.
I find it hard to believe that the people who oppose gay marriage will really care, in that situation, that lawmakers call it a union, and not a marriage.
And from what I've seen, the religious right isn't really hiding the fact that they want to inject religion into american politics.
posted by Doug at 4:09 PM on July 10, 2001


raysmj: no, this is something you have to go out and do, just like a marriage license. you would need one of these to get married, but having applied for this license of union, you'd be recognized as a united couple under the law. you'd have the same rights and responsibilities as any other united couple (and married people would be a subset of united couples.)

but people living together would be the same as they are now - not in a legally binding union. - rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 4:12 PM on July 10, 2001


rebecca: Re tax advatages, this is all I know. My mother would received twice the amount of money back from the Uncle Sam 2001 rebate thing if only my father had stayed alive just a couple of years more. And she inherited everything he had. It's pretty freakin' weird.
posted by raysmj at 4:13 PM on July 10, 2001


the government needs to get out of the religion business altogether. Yes, absolutely, but it'll never fly. It means that religions would have to get out of the governing business.
posted by rschram at 4:16 PM on July 10, 2001


I find it difficult to take seriously anyone who thinks there is such a thing as a "homosexual movement".
posted by Mars Saxman at 4:26 PM on July 10, 2001


I'm still trying to think of occasions when religious organisations "played fair on the playing field of democracy". At least, I hope I get my polling card for the next Papal election...
posted by holgate at 4:28 PM on July 10, 2001


I'm completely with Rebecca on this one and said much the same thing in my journal [self-link] after my husband and I got our marriage license. It just strikes me as completely absurd that the state cares at all about the gender of the two people who wish to enter what, to the state, is a legally binding agreement. I would go even further and say that even the number 2 is arbitrary, and if N people want to enter a 'legal union' then that should be allowed, too.
posted by Medley at 4:38 PM on July 10, 2001


"...a harmful and antidemocratic revolution in American law."

Perhaps I am simple, but I do not see how affording all citizens the same rights/benefits would not be in keeping with the term "democracy." But then again, I am one of those the religious right seems so up in arms over.
posted by sillygit at 4:51 PM on July 10, 2001


rebecca has a good idea for sure.

i personally don't see why anyone gives a rat's ass who marries who. if they're doing something "evil".... great! then you don't have to worry about them taking up space in heaven b/c they'll be burning in hell with the rest of the sinners, right? it's all so absurd but the sad part is that we'll be long dead before religion loosens it's grip on the world.
posted by ggggarret at 4:53 PM on July 10, 2001


They ARE getting desperate.
Play fair? Like they have for hundreds of years?
These people still have a lock on sexual expression in our society. As we saw not too long ago, some police are even putting the pictures of arrested johns on the internet.
You can't hump this, you can't hump that, you can't even look at pictures ... all because of these bluenoses. For centuries they have spread FUD and created misery for millions of human beings.

If only they'd allow some democracy this idiotic plea wouldn't be so laughable.

posted by Twang at 5:12 PM on July 10, 2001


i personally don't see why anyone gives a rat's ass who marries who.

Jane Rule, a very well respected author and lesbian, uses that point to argue against "state-imposed definitions of relationship." Basically you're forced either to out or perjure yourself.

That said, I still think the better path is giving equal rights to everyone.
posted by spandex at 5:35 PM on July 10, 2001


This all goes back to the whole "the nuclear family is the best thing in the world." I keep hearing, "civilized society is based on the marriage of a man and a women."

One word: BULLCRAP. Let me say it again. BULLCRAP

The right for everyone to live... life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is what leads civilized society.

What makes me mad is people who say, "what is done in bedrooms is nobody's business," but people like this introduce themselves at Mr. and Mrs. Blahenblah. By doing this, they are saying marriage is a part of life. It's not what somebody does in their bedroom, but what their lives, their love, and their relationships are all about. If I want to be Mr. and Mr. Blahdeblah, then that should be my right.

But of course, I stand by the fact that marriage SHOULD NOT EXIST. If you want to get married in a religious context, more power to you. But the government should not be affording special rights to people just because they decided to sign a piece of paper, a paper which is restricted from 10% of the population.
posted by benjh at 6:38 PM on July 10, 2001


As a side note... it sure has been piss off the homosexual day in America, hasn't it? First Bush/Salv. Army thing, and then this. Sheesh.
posted by benjh at 6:38 PM on July 10, 2001


Rebeccas got my vote, Medley too. A few years ago I was approached by someone giving out flyers to vote for a measure that would 'defend the institution of marriage' - it seems that some straight people think that same sex marriages make a mockery of their dual sex marriage and everything it stands for. They think they are "protecting marriage" by not allowing gay people to call their union a marriage. There was already something on the books to only recognize male-female marriages, but the Knight Initiative prevented CA from recognizing same sex marriages legally recognized in OTHER states. Bleh. I mean really - don't these people have anything BETTER to do? ;-)
posted by thunder at 6:56 PM on July 10, 2001


Every day has been "piss off the homosexual day" since Bush went into office.
posted by jca at 6:58 PM on July 10, 2001


thunder: what you're talking about is unquestionably unconstitutional. It's not where the document's vagueness and living-document status or whatever comes into play. If such a stunt (as in, "Don't you ever pull such a stunt again as long as I'm alive, kid.") is pulled again, and a state refuses to back down, the Supremes, whatever their ideology, will almost certainly knock the law down 9-0 with an opinion of less than a page.
posted by raysmj at 7:49 PM on July 10, 2001


jca, if queer folk are second class citizens under Bush, they were only first and a half class citizens under Clinton. His initial bungling gays in the military policy (don't ask don't tell) and the election year "Defense of Heterosexual only Marriage" law he signed are enough to piss off any homosexual.

Regarding the tax benefits of marriage, it's a crapshoot, depending on what each person makes. Married people get a separate set of tax brackets from single people. I've read that the penalty applies mostly to lower income couples earning about the same amount. For example . . .

Lets say there's a couple, each making $25000 a year. (not everyone live in San Francisco)

If they're in non-legally binding relationship, they each pay 15% tax on their income for the year.

Now, if they're in a legally binding relationship (marriage) they have two options. If they file jointly, the first $43,850 of their combined income is taxed at 15%, and the remaining $6,150 gets hammered at 28%.

If they file separately the first 21,925 (each) gets taxed at 15%, while $3,075 gets the higher 28% . . . er, looking at that now, it's the same as filing jointly.

So, in this case, being married is bad.

However, although I can't seem to come up with a set of salaries that demonstrate it, there are times where being married does put more of your income in a lower bracket . . . of course, I pay someone to deal with this every year, so if a real life tax professional wants to pick this apart, please do.

It's not just the possible tax benefit that people are after. Things like 24 hour hospital visits that only family members can get, and the ability to make medical decisions when you're partner is incapacitated. I've heard of cases where one member of a couple dies and their family prevents his lover from making burial arrangements . . . or even hiding the location of the grave.

I suspect, as with much else, the rest of world will come up with some sort of legal union as rebecca (although probably exclusive to gays), and the United States will come kicking and screaming 50 years later.
posted by alan at 7:52 PM on July 10, 2001


"and the United States will come kicking and screaming 50 years later."

Too bad my boyfriend and I will be over 70 years old by that point, eh? Which is to say, almost dead. Not to mention many other parts of the world have come up with a solution to this (non?) issue.

Moving to another country becomes more appealing every day, it seems. I would gladly trade things like a higher tax rate and having to learn a second language if it meant greater personal rights.
posted by CrayDrygu at 9:09 PM on July 10, 2001


a few notes:
- legal and economic upside to marriage
- rebeccablood makes a powerful case for a sectarian union, leaving "marriage" to churches.
- as a married guy, very proud and happy to /be/ married, I'd like to vote that we not not bash male/female unions. They can be smurfy.
- as an athiest, I still feel that we need to strive for tolerance. people can believe any and all things they want to. as long as they keep their myths, beliefs, etc out of my laws I'm cool. I dig pork, I think marriage between any two people is cool if they can make a commitment to each other, I think women don't need to wear veils. All of these conflict with some religions. As long as folks don't force them on me I'm a happy camper. This is precisely the kind of intolerance being practiced by the clowns mentioned in the post. And just as bad is athiests who insist on berating and insulting folks of faith.

Those are my rambling 2 cents.
posted by artlung at 9:28 PM on July 10, 2001


oh i forgot!
rebeccablood for empress!
posted by artlung at 9:31 PM on July 10, 2001


That sould say "as rebecca has".

.5 tons goes fast.
posted by alan at 10:03 PM on July 10, 2001


What about polygamists? Can more than two people enter a civil union? Are communes among consenting adults valid civil unions?
posted by johnnyace at 10:11 PM on July 10, 2001


As Matt said before, there was a time when people didn't think schools should be integrated. We didn't change the nature of education, or schools. We didn't play word games and try to appease small-minded bigots. We confronted the racists and told them, basically, to fuck off. It was hard, and took a lot of effort from a lot of people, but the day came when blacks and whites attended the same schools together, and the right side won. That's what should happen here.
We don't NEED civil unions. There is no reason that gays should not be able to marry, in the same way that, and just as heterosexual couples can today.
If we want to drastically alter marriage laws because they're faulty, that is valid. But it is not necessary in this case. Marriage is done by the state, and this alone is enough to keep religion from interferring with it.
Rather than changing the natural of all marriages in America, which will never happen, we need to get enough people to vocally support gay marriage. Right now, there just aren't enough people supporting it.
posted by Doug at 10:39 PM on July 10, 2001


doug, I disagree. marriage is a sacred union, consecrated by God. in the Christian church, marriage is one of the sacraments.

legally, it's a distinct contract, with recognized rights and responsibilities.

let's choose another term for the legalities, and let the various religions work out who among them may marry.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:07 PM on July 10, 2001


Actually Doug, for all the reasons Rebecca stated, a new non-marriage ceremony would be the way to go. That way the state recognizes the couple as a single unit with all the rights and privileges that "marriage" carries with it, and it's free of all the religious baggage so the big religions can't say shit.

My wife and I would have gotten a civil union instead of a marriage if one were available, since we're areligious.
posted by mathowie at 11:25 PM on July 10, 2001


Gotta go with Rebecca on this, too. You can change laws a hell of a lot easier than you can change virtually every religion in the world. Laws are intended to be malleable; the inspired word of a deity is not.
posted by kindall at 11:32 PM on July 10, 2001


As far as the "non-religous marriage goes", what happens if you are gay and religious?

The proposed ammendment.
Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.

That only is so petulant, so childish, so full of hate.

Why are the religious right so utterly, utterly terrified of gay men. Is it the whole anal thing? Is it the lack of offspring thing? Is it because of Steps?

All I want to know is why? Just one of these people to sit down and look me in the eye and calmly tell me why it is wrong for two people in love to proclaim it to the world.

If there are any people who think that same sex marriages are wrong, could you be brave and post the reasons. I don't want to argue I don't want to fight, I just want to know why.
posted by fullerine at 12:11 AM on July 11, 2001


i think that the religious are afraid of homosexuality because it has to do with sex. i think fundies are afraid of sex, period, and probably hate having to think β€” let alone discuss with their children β€” any topic that relates to sex beyond "I am a boy, and you are a girl."

to me, their logic that the bible says that homosexuals are evil is flawed. paul wrote in the bible that women should wear shawls over their heads, lest the angels look upon their hair, but christians do not follow that rule, do they? they use the bible as a tool for what suits them.
posted by moz at 12:33 AM on July 11, 2001


You know how Jewish persons don't eat Pork, because its forbidden? That was detailed in the old testament. At no time did it ever say, "ok, you can eat pork again."

Now tell me why god-fearing, good, bible believing christians chomp down on a ham sandwich on a regular basis.

Some people insist on controlling what everyone does. Thinks rights should be restricted. If some of these people had there way, there would be an ammendment to the constitution making christianity the offical religion of the US.
posted by benjh at 4:57 AM on July 11, 2001


If there are any people who think that same sex marriages are wrong, could you be brave and post the reasons. I don't want to argue I don't want to fight, I just want to know why.

fullerine: Your request seems to be an honest one. As a Christian, I do believe that same-sex marriages should not be allowed. (Incidentally, though it is probably small comfort, there's no reason why "two people in love..." can't "proclaim their love to the world".) In any case, I'm swamped right now and don't have time to do the necessary research. I will try, however, to email you my reasoning after Friday. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

Since there's obviously a lot of people who are going to disagree with me on this one, I'd like to sincerely apologize to all those who I offend with my beliefs.

Also, I'd like to point out very specifically that I do NOT speak for all Christians on this. Neither my reasoning nor my knowledge of the Bible is perfect; I'm not infallible. It's just my opinion.
posted by gd779 at 5:30 AM on July 11, 2001


Moz and Benjh: Yikes. If you guys are going to trash a religion, at least be accurate about it. Sheesh.

Moz: The verse that you're referring to is I Corinthians 11:5. Try reading a couple of verses down to I Corinthians 11:16. Speaking of this issue, Paul makes it clear that this is NOT a mandate, but merely Paul's personal opinion (he does this at several other times in the bible as well):

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Now for benjh: Check out Acts 10:9 - 10:16.

...But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
posted by gd779 at 5:41 AM on July 11, 2001


My main concern is not religion, but people who say, "the bible is the word of god." God did not write the bible.
posted by benjh at 6:55 AM on July 11, 2001


mathowie: "translation: if a majority of people don't like you, get the fuck out of this country or shut the fuck up and don't ask for 'special' rights because we don't want to ever give them to you."

Ermm...isn't that democracy?
posted by jeb at 6:55 AM on July 11, 2001


Ermm...isn't that democracy?

Well, given the efforts of the writers of the US constitution to prevent the tyranny of the majority, no.
posted by holgate at 6:57 AM on July 11, 2001


Yeah, which was a sort of veiled subversion of democracy, which I believe Madison, etc., paid special attention to doing sort of sneakily(and thankfully, they succeeded), but as far as the definition of democracy goes, the one that americans always brag about and such, wouldn't the above behavior sort of fall in line? "Majority rules" and all that?
posted by jeb at 7:01 AM on July 11, 2001


"marriage is a sacred union, consecrated by God"
No, it simply isn't. It is a legal contract with the state that religious people feel has a "sacred" component.
What Rebecca is saying has merit, but basically it amounts to changing the name for "marriage" and hoping the religious people don't mind. If they have enough power to stop gay marriages, they have enough power to stop civil unions.
It would be a much bigger victory for gay rights if there were gay marriages, and not civil unions.
posted by Doug at 7:01 AM on July 11, 2001


gd779: "I will try, however, to email you my reasoning after Friday."

Nu-uh. You post here. Other people are interested, too, you know.

I'd love to know why you think my boyfriend and I shouldn't be offered the same legal benefits (tax stuff, hospital visitation, ability to make medical decisions for your spouse, inheritance, etc) as any heterosexual couple.

Key word: legal. Not religious.
posted by CrayDrygu at 7:54 AM on July 11, 2001


fullerine:
As far as the "non-religous marriage goes", what happens if you are gay and religious?

That's a problem for religious people and religious leaders to worry about, and a question that has little to do with the idea of a legal union. Rebecca's suggestion is a good one, I think: it leaves the religious questions to the religions, and the government just has to crunch the paperwork.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:20 AM on July 11, 2001


You know how Jewish persons don't eat Pork, because its forbidden? That was detailed in the old testament. At no time did it ever say, "ok, you can eat pork again." Now tell me why god-fearing, good, bible believing christians chomp down on a ham sandwich on a regular basis.

Most Christians look at the New Testament as obsoleting the Old, based on passages such as I Corinthians 13:8-10: "Whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away." That which is perfect of course being Jesus Christ's sacrifice, which cleanses mankind from sin forever, instead of only for a year as with the "imperfect" annual animal sacrifices, and the New Testament compact itself.
posted by kindall at 8:58 AM on July 11, 2001


Unfortunately they don't Kindall - they tend to pick and choose to back up whatever preconceived prejudices they happen to possess.
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 10:44 AM on July 11, 2001


but as far as the definition of democracy goes, the one that americans always brag about and such, wouldn't the above behavior sort of fall in line? "Majority rules" and all that?

Since when was America a democracy? It's not "majority rules." Rather, our system of government is about protecting individual rights, not the rights of the majority. I think that's pretty clear. If you have any questions about it, though, feel free to respond.
posted by daveadams at 11:47 AM on July 11, 2001


Well, I'm talking official dogma, not how it actually works in practice. But your point is taken, DI.
posted by kindall at 11:58 AM on July 11, 2001


marriage is a sacred union, consecrated by God. in the Christian church, marriage is one of the sacraments.

No, in the Roman Catholic church, matrimony is one of the sacraments as defined by the Council of Trent. Most Protestant sects rejected 5 out of the 7 sacraments, leaving baptism and communion as "true" sacraments (see the Westminster Confession). Of course, some Protestants retained none, 3 or several other combinations.

Marriage has varied as being regulated by civil, religious or social laws. Marriage licenses came into the picture rather late. In the US, marriage laws vary widely by state and are not really regulated on a federal level. (Only 16 recognize common law marriages.)

So, it's not strictly a religious/civil issue, that it has certainly been made out to be one. One of the big problems with it is the variety of forms of marriage we have and what each means.
posted by ahughey at 12:46 PM on July 11, 2001


doug: No, it simply isn't. It is a legal contract with the state that religious people feel has a "sacred" component.

you've got it backwards. our laws about marriage are recent; I think every culture has had a tradition of people publicly mating, and each one has had obligations and expectations that go with that. most religions have had ceremonies consecrating that union before their God.

in the present, all countries have some legally recognized marriage. I'll wager that the basis for all of them comes from whatever the dominant religion historically was practiced in the area.

but the legalities came later. the the laws concerning marriage nearly everywhere you go, were codified and recognized by the government later. in other words, this religious idea of marriage pre-dates the laws concerning marriage, everywhere in the world.

there are religious figures who will perform same-sex marriages, but they're not recognized legally. a *hetrosexual* marriage isn't recognized if performed by a pastor unless there is an accompanying marriage license. that's the legal part.

you can talk to God from where ever you are, that's not going to get you a tax break, even if it gets you to heaven. there are ministers who will perform unions for same sex couples, but as I said, having your marriage consecrated by God is not a matter for the state.
posted by rebeccablood at 1:19 PM on July 11, 2001


Valid things to amend the constitution for are the big F freedoms.

Assembly.
Religion.
The right to safety from unreasonable search and seizure.
The right to bear arms.

Without getting into a debate over whether what we have now is good or not, let's think about what these moral relativists are asking for.

They are asking for the entire country (well, the senate, congress, and two thirds of the governors) to agree that Marriage, a human convention (which will be discussed below) is akin to the right to communicate, defend oneself from intrusion against enemies foreign and domestic, and the right to follow ones own beliefs.

Just like the people who proposed an anti-flag burning amendment, these people miss the point of the constitution.

The constitution is the framework around which the countries laws are built. It is not the great big flyswatter when there are state rights that are inconvenient to certain belief systems (i.e. Hawaii's recognition of unions) Instead, the constitution sets the playing field and the laws articulate the specifics.

The implication, of course, is that marriage between a man and a woman is as intrinsic to the American way of life as the ability to speak. Literally. Speak||Heterosexual marriage.

That is simply unfathomable. Flag burning, similarly, was a subset of the First Amendment, and while it might get me wildly angry to see someone burning a flag and traipsing all over things that they don't understand, disgracing the memory of the hundreds of thousands who died protecting their very rights to burn said flag, the two things are not equivalent.

Heterosexual marriage is not covered in the constitution nor in the bill of rights nor subsequent amendments because it is, very simply, not intrinsic to a democracy. It is a social convention, and a very convenient one (sometimes) but not akin to speaking or the freedom to stand next to your friends or the freedom to worship as you see fit.

As to marriage itself, one of the advantages that is not tax is the defaults that it gives you. In some states (notably the community property ones) a spouse automatically owns a one half interest in anything belonging to the spouse that doesn't predate the wedding. It also gives a spouse greater access to an ailing spouse than without marriage, it gives the spouse the ability to dictate what happens to the estate in lieu of a will, it guarantees the spouse a portion of the estate should the other spouse predecease the surviving spouse and a handful of other benefits akin to those.

Many of them are things that you could theoretically have a lawyer take care of - give POA to your partner, write a will, name your partner your health care guardian, but that's far more expensive (lawyers cost a bunch of money) and the coverage is not automatic. You can't take an elective share if you're just a partner. Any committed couple simply does not receive the same treatment as a married couple.

This, of course, is the point. Deny people these rights, and perhaps we can "cure" them. Personally, it makes me sick to see groups attempting to stop loving couples from getting together, no matter what their makeup is. In the same way that ERA failed, this will quite definitely fail.
posted by swerdloff at 1:02 PM on July 12, 2001


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