A Federalist Case for Gay Marriage

Let each state decide the issue for itself

(Page 2 of 2)

Given the strong feelings about gay marriage, the local option is the best option. States that abhor the idea should be free to implement policies reflecting that sentiment. But the other side should have exactly the same prerogative: giving both heterosexual and homosexual couples access to marriage in full.

Our system, unlike Mao's China, is supposed to let a hundred flowers bloom. But for the best growth, the federal sun has to shine on all of them.

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  • ||

    I understand why Gays want legal Marriage instead of the often offered "Civil Unions"; no matter how broad and well intentioned any Civil Union law will require decades of lawsuits before the pinheads, bigots, and bean-counters get it through their skulls that "legally equal to marriage" means legally equal to marriage.

    That said, the Gays could help their case with the public an awful lot if they would stop playing "Shock the squares". It's a fun game; as a longtime SF fan I've played it too .... but it is massively counterproductive. If Gays want to be treated just like Heterosexuals they need to accept that they are going to be judged on the same basis as heterosexuals. And a heterosexual male who makes a great public fuss about his sexuality is a jerk. A heterosexual male who attends a public function, especially an ethnic- or political- pride function, in bondage costume that exposes his pierced nipples is a jackass. And when you ask the public to accept that a group that includes a number of high-profile jerks and jackasses is "just like regular folks", the regular folks tend to say "the hell they are".

    i don't want the Gay subculture to go completely button-down and Father Knows Best; just recognize that f you want what you do in the bedroom to be none of my business you need to stop advertising in public. When you hold a parade, tell the jackass with the nipple rings to put a shirt on. Tell the twit in the dog collar-and-leash to go home.

  • MNG||

    "Somehow they anticipated that people in Massachusetts would not want to live under exactly the same laws as people in Mississippi."

    It's even more complicated. The people in, say, Charlottesville VA don't want to live under exactly the same laws as those in Hanover County Virginia, and the people in College Park MD don't want to live under the same laws as the people on the Eastern Shore. A true federalism would have most powers at the municipal level I guess...

  • MNG\'s editor||

    people in Massachusetts would not want to live under exactly the same laws as people in Mississippi

  • Chapman\'s headline-writer||

    There's only one hitch.

  • Guy in a wife-beater shirt||

    Funny how no one wants to stop me from getting married though.

  • ||

    i don't want the Gay subculture to go completely button-down and Father Knows Best; just recognize that f you want what you do in the bedroom to be none of my business you need to stop advertising in public.

    Some of us gay men feel that one of the values of the gay subculture is that sexuality isn't something you keep under wraps until you're in the bedroom. Why would I want to be judged on the same basis as heterosexuals when I think the public standard for judging sexuality among heterosexuals is based on shame and hypocrisy?

  • Jerry Falwell||

    I heart parse.

  • jtuf||

    Great column, Chapman.

  • ||

    This isn't a very libertarian article, atleast that is if you believe in freedom to contract and individual rights. If so, then the question needs to be: why should states recognize any kind of marriage? Allowing a Federal entity, province, state, or a subdivision of any of the above to regulate private decisions is detrimental to individual liberty.

    Instead marriage licenses should be abolished, along with all the 'privileges' that come along with them. Why should single people not receive the same benefits? Do they not pay taxes also?

  • ed||

    [S]exuality isn't something you keep under wraps until you're in the bedroom. Why would I want to be judged on the same basis as heterosexuals

    Why would you want your sex life to be publicized, parse? That's not normal for anyone, gay or straight. Lots of men think with their balls, and gays are no exception. Why should a gay man who publicly flaunts his sexuality be treated any differently than a straight man? "Gay" marriage is a civil not a sexual issue. Public acceptance of it will be won through their minds, not their groins.

  • nle||

    Then why want the hetero definition of marriage. I'm gay ill say it. Keep those laws out of my bed.

  • Xeones||

    Yo, fuck the federal government, and a lot of state governments too.

  • ||

    Chapman, by and large I think you're a sensible fellow and I am inclined to agree with your article here.

    One thing though, can you or someone succinctly tell me the difference between anti-gay marriage laws and miscegenation laws? Why is it discrimination for states to prohibit inter-race marriage, but not same-sex marriage?

  • ||

    !!!!!!ENOUGH ENOUGH ENOUGH!!!!!!!!

    STOP RUNNING ASSHAT CHAPMAN'S COLUMN.

    Steve Chapman is a stupid ugly poopy pants.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
    STOP THE STOOOOOPID

  • ||

    One question; why would federalism want to see one state able to deny individual rights to its citizenry? Majority rule is bogus as it allows the legal trampling of rights that the unwashed majority may not like.

    This is where most state's rights supporters get tripped up....

  • The Mythical Canadian Libertar||

    parse:

    You're just putting group identity politics in a cheap tuxedo. If you feel you should be able to flaunt your sexuality, defend it on the grounds that it's what you, as an individual, want to do. That means taking individual responsibility when someone sees you and thinks you're being a jackass, rather than shrugging off their opposition as a broad and prudish hetero-strike on "the gay subculture." I'm sure that, as is the case with heterosexuals, there is no shortage of gays who like to advertise their sexuality, nor of those who are more reserved about it. Whether you're pro-flaunting or not, isn't it about time to start making that evaluation of the individual rather than of everyone else who shares his sexual preference?

  • robc||

    As any married hetero man will tell you, marriage has nothing to do with sex.

  • ||

    Uh ed, hate to break it to you, but we straights do flaunt our sexuality on a pretty regular basis. Anytime you hold hands with your wife/gf or are out with the guys and engaging in locker room banter or go to the strip club, that's pretty much what you're doing. Just because you're uncomfortable with gays doing doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to do it.

  • ||

    John Lee, avoiding the slippery slope completely, has the best answer.

    In any case, sadly, federalism is dead. As Thomas pointed out in his dissent in Gonzales v. Raich 2005, the federal government can now regulate pot luck dinners and basket weaving.

  • ||

    Dear Parse,

    In the first place, there's a little matter of consistency. If you want to say to people "What I do in the bedroom s none of your business", then you need to KEEP it in the bedroom, 'kay? If you want to be treated on the same basis as Heterosexuals you are gonna get judged on the same basis.

    If you DON'T want to be judged o the same basis, fine. But that isn't the road to acceptance. Maybe that isn't fair, but it is what it is.

    In the second place, in the absence of any participant you are personally attracted to, the sex act is at minimum a little disturbing. Don't think so? Then contemplate Aunt Nelly and Uncle Horace, nude and getting frisky. Kinda kills the appetite, doesn't it?

    The Heterosexual community gave open sexuality a try in the 1970's. It was a mess, and a lot of predatory males had a field day. In the end , the heterosexual community concluded, as I said in my first post, that a Hetero male who makes a great public fuss of his sexuality is likely to be a swine.

    Consequently if YOU make a great public display of your sexuality, you are likely to be judged a swine. It may not be fair, but it WILL happen. Deal with it. Make you political plans accordingly.

  • Free tip||

    "Same-sex marriage" is less ambiguous than "gay marriage."

    For example, I am not opposed to gay marriage but I am opposed to same-sex marriage.

  • Pat Robertson||

    I've recently talked to God and found out that the offices of Reason magazine will shortly be attacked by terrorist due to their support of gay marriage. If you add in support for pornography and freedom of speech then it'll be the trifecta to bring about a perfect storm worse than Hurricane Katrina, Hiroshima, and the last Nickelback album combined.

  • Ryan||

    I ditto Bob Dohmeyer: John Lee asks the correct question: why should government, state or federal, grant marriage licenses at all?

    This editorial is fundamentally statist.

  • ||

    This isn't a very libertarian article

    Of course not; Chapman wrote it.

  • ||

    As any married hetero man will tell you, marriage has nothing to do with sex.

    Good one. I like the "if conservatives want to cut down on gay sex they should support gay marriage" one as well.

    I remain unconvinced, however.

  • DavidW||

    John Lee:

    My thoughts exactly! Issues of personal relationships should never have been issues of the state to be involved in. The mistake was treating people unequal under the law through tax incentives. Not only is this unconstitutional, but it sets a slippery-slope precedent for future regulations to come.

    What's really ironic in the gay-marriage debate is that most people seem to not see that they are married to government, when they don't have to be.

  • A great trope to avoid when di||

    slippery-slope

  • ||

    Not mention:

    "salami-slicing"

  • ||

    I think there's some middle ground between "keeping sexuality under wraps" and "flaunting" it. And I'm not claiming that a committment to sexual liberation is the hallmark of the gay community--there's certainly a large streak of prudishness within the gay community, which seems to me to be driving the demand for gay marriage, which I see as a conservative impulse, rather than a libertarian one. I went to one of the protests after California's Prop 8 vote. It opened with a prayer and included a gay choral performance of "God Bless America." The theme of the whole affair could have been "Gay for God and Country."

    Again, the reason I wouldn't agree that judgement by the prevailing standards for heterosexual behavior should be the price to be allowed to live free of government interference is that I think those standards are restrictive of genuine sexual liberty. I don't like it when people smoke in public; I find it annoying. But that doesn't give me the right to curtail their liberty when there's no harm to me in their behavior.

    But as for the negative judgements for me based on my sexual expression--I don't give a fuck. So long as they don't legislate their distate into restrictions on my personal freedom, they are welcome to draw whatever conclusions they like.

    And as far as gay marriage goes--I agree that there's no genuine state interest in recognizing marriage of any kind. I have a personal opinion against it, but wouldn't stand in the way of anyone who wants to get married. A neutral position by the government seems intelligent to me.

    If legislatures want to craft "civil unions" as a way to package a number of contractual considerations into a single agreement that makes it more efficient for people to live as couples, I don't see a problem with that. But it's got fuck-all to do with the struggle sexual liberation, which is the only useful agenda for a gay identity that I can think of.

  • Shuttergeek||

    John Lee:

    While I agree with your general point, I don't think it's reasonable or productive to expect gay marriage advocates to climb that mountain in order to obtain equal rights.

    Having invested years (decades in a few cases) to reach the edge of having equal marriage rights it doesn't seem practical or fair to now tell them that they should invest in another, possibly even longer, fight to fundamentally change the legal nature of the institution itself.

  • LarryA||

    And as far as gay marriage goes--I agree that there's no genuine state interest in recognizing marriage of any kind. ... A neutral position by the government seems intelligent to me.

    Most of us live in the real world, where government rarely waits for "genuine state interest" and almost never acts intelligently.

    There's only one hitch: The federal government keeps getting in the way.

    That could pretty much be a generic last sentence for most Reason articles.

  • hmm||

    Why not? Because of a huge imbalance created by that longtime nemesis of state sovereignty-the federal government.

    You have been reported to DHS sir!!! You hate America.

  • ||

    Conveniently, the Founders also crafted the idea of minority protection from the "tyranny of the majority" (See: Madison's works in the Federalist Papers).

    The Federal government should get in the way so that the States cannot deny equal protection under the law to the LGBTQ population. That's the brilliance of the federalist system the Founders were so smart to create.

  • ||

    While I agree with your general point, I don't think it's reasonable or productive to expect gay marriage advocates to climb that mountain in order to obtain equal rights.

    But this isn't about equal rights, really. The gay activists have specifically repudiated civil unions that are the functional equivalent of marriage as an acceptable solution.

    For them, this is about societal acceptance and sanction, not equal rights.

  • ||

    The Federal government should get in the way so that the States cannot deny equal protection under the law to the LGBTQ population.

    The equal protection argument assumes its conclusion, namely, that marriage means a union between any two adults, not a union between a man and a woman. Once marriage is defined that way, then sure, its an equal protection question.

    Unfortunately, the argument is whether it should be defined that way, and who gets to define it that way. Personally, I think that the courts, which should be interpreting and applying existing law, not writing new law, are not the venue for resolving the underlying question of how to define marriage.

  • ||

    R C Dean,

    Why just two? An S corp can several shareholders.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    But this isn't about equal rights, really. The gay activists have specifically repudiated civil unions that are the functional equivalent of marriage as an acceptable solution.



    Isn't it equally valid to say that calling same-sex marriage a "civil union" is an unnecessary sop to social conservatives, who irrationally insist that gays can have any kind of legal arrangment they want as long as they don't call it marriage?

    Overall, though, you're right. Social conservatives refuse to surrender the term marriage, and gay-rights supporters won't accept an alternative with any other name. But both sides are being stubborn.

  • Craig||

    Somehow they anticipated that people in Massachusetts would not want to live under exactly the same laws as people in Mississippi. So they set up a system known as federalism, which allows different states to choose different policies.

    No, that wasn't what happened at all. The states pre-dated the Constitution they created as a compact between them. It wasn't as if a lawless land decided to form a government and wrangled over the forms -- they already had thirteen separate sovereign governments, and sat down to decide what minimal set of specific powers should be granted to the federal government. Never forget it.

  • Some Guy||

    Instead marriage licenses should be abolished, along with all the 'privileges' that come along with them. Why should single people not receive the same benefits? Do they not pay taxes also?

    I would actually prefer that my wife get to make medical decisions for me if I were incapacitated than having a bunch of single people get together and vote. 90% of marriage rights pretty much come down to "this is who I want to make decisions and get all my stuff if I die or close to it."

    But I'd be all for the government issuing civil union certificates to everyone and let the churches do whatever the hell they want with their precious word "marriage." Maybe that will buy them another few decades of relevance as most young people I know who go to church are only doing it so they can get married there to make the family happy.

  • ||

    Isn't it equally valid to say that calling same-sex marriage a "civil union" is an unnecessary sop to social conservatives, who irrationally insist that gays can have any kind of legal arrangment they want as long as they don't call it marriage?

    Sure. I'm not saying both sides aren't irrational. Hell, marriage is irrational. As is politics.

    But I'd be all for the government issuing civil union certificates to everyone and let the churches do whatever the hell they want with their precious word "marriage."

    I seem to recall some surveys showing majority support for civil unions side by side with majority opposition for gay marriage, so I suspect this is the majority position.

  • ||

    Why just two? An S corp can several shareholders.

    I say "two" because that is the position asserted by gay marriage proponents in their arguments for equal protection.

    Polygamy, of course, is the next logical move. Personally, I see no rational basis for limiting marriage/civil unions to only two adults.

  • ||

    # Matt | April 27, 2009, 9:12am | #

    # One thing though, can you or someone
    # succinctly tell me the difference between
    # anti-gay marriage laws and miscegenation laws?
    # Why is it discrimination for states to
    # prohibit inter-race marriage,
    # but not same-sex marriage?

    The miscegenation issue was resolved by saying, "marriage is between a man and a woman," then establishing that a man is a man regardless of race, and a woman is a woman. QED.

    Today, people try to resolve the same-sex marriage issue the same way: "marriage is between a man and a woman." But this is not acceptable to proponents of same-sex marriage, obviously because such a definition of marriage defines the marriages they favor right out of (semantic and legal) existence.

    (end of succinct response, additional comment follows)

    As mentioned by another commentator above, the issue here is not "equal protection," it is about the definition of terms. "Equal protection" cannot even be an issue until the definition admits the participation of actors who would then be subject to improper discrimination. Today's arguments for same-sex marriage assume a definition that is not yet accepted by a plurality of the population, much less and overwhelming majority. Should we change the definition in law and force people to accept it in practice? Or should we wait until society has changed the definition through natural social, historical, and linguistic processes, then clean up the law to make it consistent with the evolved definition? Usually, changes in the legal framework follow the latter path. Let's see what happens in this case.

  • ed||

    [W]e straights do flaunt our sexuality on a pretty regular basis.
    Anytime you hold hands with your wife...


    Uh, Mo, holding hands with one's wife isn't quite the same thing as wearing assless chaps to a public parade. I used the word "flaunt" for a reason.

    Just because you're uncomfortable with gays...

    I'm "uncomfortable" with very few things in life, Mo, but if The Gays­­™ want public acceptance of civil marriage rights, they might want to behave more civilly. Just sayin'.

  • Mike M.||

    I agree that there's no genuine state interest in recognizing marriage of any kind.

    I disagree with this. I think there is a definite state interest in having the ability to identify fathers and to inculcate in the father at least some modicum of responsibility for his woman and children.

    Women with children who are married are far less likely to depend on the welfare system for survival, and the children are far less likely to be a general burden on society.

  • ||

    R C Dean,

    I say "two" because that is the position asserted by gay marriage proponents in their arguments for equal protection.

    Polygamy, of course, is the next logical move. Personally, I see no rational basis for limiting marriage/civil unions to only two adults.

    Just a rhetorical question..I'm not a polygamist, not that there is anything wrong with that. Do the same sex proponents have a view on this?

  • ||

    I disagree with this. I think there is a definite state interest in having the ability to identify fathers and to inculcate in the father at least some modicum of responsibility for his woman and children.

    Marriage seems an unnecessary means of accomplishing this, given that there are many thousands of men responsible for supporting children born to women they are not married to.

    Also--the father has a responsibility for "his woman"? What does that even mean?

  • 1940 WASP||

    but if The Gays¬¬™ want public acceptance of civil marriage rights, they might want to behave more civilly. Just sayin'.



    Oh I know what you mean. The way those drunken Irish Catholics behave on St. Patrick's day is a disgrace. And Jews are OK, except for the kikey ones.

  • ||

    I know. When it comes to morals and ethics - everything is state rights ;-)

  • robc||


    90% of marriage rights pretty much come down to "this is who I want to make decisions and get all my stuff if I die or close to it."


    all of which can be handled contracturally, regardless of your relationship status.

    MF
    MM
    FF
    MFM
    FMF
    MFFFFFFFFF
    MFMFMFMFMF (

  • robc||

    Should we change the definition in law and force people to accept it in practice? Or should we wait until society has changed the definition through natural social, historical, and linguistic processes, then clean up the law to make it consistent with the evolved definition? Usually, changes in the legal framework follow the latter path. Let's see what happens in this case.

    This is exactly why I have suggested for the last 20 years getting the government the hell out of marriage altogether (I propose getting them out of the civil union business too). With that, we can all* be happy.

    My asterisk comment below is the problem. Not enough libertarians.

    *Except those who want to force someone else to accept their definition.

  • robc||

    MFMFMFMFMF (

    My Heinlein comment got eaten.

  • ||

    Do the same sex proponents have a view on this?

    I believe I've seen some handwaving that of course same-sex marriage doesn't open the door to polygamy, but frankly, I don't believe it.

    JAM - I posted a link over on the other gay marriage thread to a pretty detailed argument that is consistent with what you're saying.

  • ||

    Marriage seems an unnecessary means of accomplishing this, given that there are many thousands of men responsible for supporting children born to women they are not married to.

    Regardless, in many cases, of whether they fathered the children.

  • Mad Max||

    'One thing though, can you or someone succinctly tell me the difference between anti-gay marriage laws and miscegenation laws? Why is it discrimination for states to prohibit inter-race marriage, but not same-sex marriage?'

    I think this should be added to the *Reason* drinking game.

    Until that time, I will reply to these analogies by mentioning that Stalin was an atheist.

  • Jamie O\'Neill||

    "Somehow [the framers of the Constitution] anticipated that people in Massachusetts would not want to live under exactly the same laws as people in Mississippi."

    Not only that, but they anticipated there would be a state called Mississippi. Now, that's what I called anticipation.

  • Medic||

    parse. I agree. The sooner we air out the bedroom, the sooner we'll have a healthy out look on sex, Straight, gay or bent.

    If we keep treating fucking like it is some holy art, it will keep being trated as such.

    There is nothing nasty about sex. 3 billion have a vagina, 3 billon have a penis..and there are some who get a little more then the rest.

    Now common sense does prevail people.

    Don't wear your mommy fuck me's to a day care.

    :)

    -Doc

  • Mike Laursen||

    There's way more than only one hitch:

    a) So obvious that it apparently needs to be said, the whole states' rights thing didn't work so well regarding slavery. We libertarians can't just brush off that, in this particular real world case, the Federal government played the hero by overriding reprehensible state laws.

    b) As someone pointed out above, people within a particular state don't all want to live under the same laws, either. It would be a vast understatement to say that Californians who live in San Francisco and Californians who live in Orange County don't view gay rights.

    Ultimately, why the hell is a geographically-based government of any level getting involved in defining marriage, anyway? It makes sense for a geographical government to govern things like how the water in a watershed is distributed. But the human race has to evolve away from the idea that everybody in a certain area have to agree on matters of personal morality or all use the same money or a million other things that have nothing to do with WHERE you are at.

  • Some Guy||

    all of which can be handled contracturally, regardless of your relationship status.

    So it's only the simplicity that you don't like? I'm actually glad that it took me less than 2 hours to do the paperwork to get married last year, as opposed to say 2 months and lots of legal bills.

    Polygamy, of course, is the next logical move. Personally, I see no rational basis for limiting marriage/civil unions to only two adults.

    Because all of those 90% things break down immediately when more than one person is involved. What if wife A wants to pull the plug and wife B doesn't? Marriage as legal shorthand can only work with two people, otherwise you're better off with the massive series of legal documents.

  • ||

    Chapman approves of states being allowed to reject same sex marriages made in other states, but disapproves when the feds do the same thing? As long as there are federal laws mentioning marriage there needs to be a federal definition of marriage. Are the feds (or states) forced to accept polygamy if a Muslim American wants to bring over and naturalize his three wives that he married in Saudi Arabia? If that's allowed, then marriage for the feds becomes whatever any other country says it is. If marriage is whatever any state or country says it is, then marriage doesn't mean anything. More generally speaking, if governments "get out of the marriage definition business" then effectively you're married to whomever you claim to be on the basis of your claim, no evidence or anything else required except your claim. Under this system, marriage is also legally meaningless.

    It's also notable that the federal government forced Utah to eliminate legal polygamy as a precondition for being admitted to the union.

    This entire article's argument is completely ill conceived.

  • Syd||

    Because all of those 90% things break down immediately when more than one person is involved. What if wife A wants to pull the plug and wife B doesn't?

    What if a child is dying, and Parent A wants to pull the plug and Parent B doesn't? Is this an argument against multiple parents?

    What if a parent is dying, and Child A wants to pull the plug and Child B doesn't? Is this an argument against having more than one child?

  • ||

    Because all of those 90% things break down immediately when more than one person is involved. What if wife A wants to pull the plug and wife B doesn't? Marriage as legal shorthand can only work with two people, otherwise you're better off with the massive series of legal documents.

    I don't think arguments from probability and convenience trump the Equal Protection clause, Mike. Besides, I don't think these are all that hard. We have centuries of partnership law to draw on for property issues, and we can always fall back on majority vote for binary issues, like pulling the plug on somebody.

  • ||

    Ultimately, why the hell is a geographically-based government of any level getting involved in defining marriage, anyway? It makes sense for a geographical government to govern things like how the water in a watershed is distributed. But the human race has to evolve away from the idea that everybody in a certain area have to agree on matters of personal morality or all use the same money or a million other things that have nothing to do with WHERE you are at.

    Justice O'Conner:
    "Federalism promotes innovation by allowing for the possibility that "a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country..."

    In addition to the benefits of competitive laboratories, federalism, unlike a single final equally imperfect federal authority, poses less risk to liberty in that you can either wait for a constitutional amendment or move to another state.

  • ||

    I am a 67 year old heterosexual married male. What is happening currently is very much like the 60's when black equality was the issue. A burning question back then in the upper midwest was should multiracial couples be allowed to marry? Religious nutcakes back then cited biblical references in defense of same race marriage, just like religious nutcakes now are doing.

    Clearly the country has moved past the racial issue. It is time for the country to move past the sexual orientation issue. My feeling is that all of us have a civil union or all of us are married. Inequality is unacceptable for any reason.

  • Mike Laursen||

    "Federalism promotes innovation by allowing for the possibility that "a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country..."

    You could make the same argument, though, for just having 50 different states with no "rest of the country". (And I actually think it would be a good thing if the United States were broken up into a bunch of smaller countries that would, individually, have less ability to stir up trouble.)

  • ||

    I certainly have no problem with allowing the individual states to do as they wish on virtually anything and everything that's not specifically delegated to the United States or that which is reserved "to the people". And while I could care less whether gays or straights or whoever want to live with each other in any form or fashion that might please them, I do have great difficulty in having the United States or any state deciding that a man can marry a man, or a woman can marry a woman. I actually am somewhat offended by the notion that a "state" is involved with the act of "marrying" a man and a woman; but inasmuch as government usurped this prerogative from "the people" many years ago, it probably is going to be very difficult to wrest this authority from their grasp. But it should be done, as marriage, I strongly believe, is one of those prerogatives that was reserved "to the people" under the 10th amendment.

    My concern and my argument is this (now all you people who don't have much if anything to do with God better fast-forward, because I absolutely believe that "marriage" is a God thing). People of any sexual orientation can fornicate without being "married" all they want to as far as I'm concerned; as it is not for me to judge them right or wrong. But I do believe that "marriage" is a sacred act that is entered into between a man and a woman that is blessed by God-not the Justice of the Peace-but God. Government, at any level, has absolutely no right to be involved with that sacred agreement in any way.

    I say, therefore, that the various states should be forced to abandon their usurped power of "marrying" anyone; be they straights or gays or men or women. The institution of "marriage" should be returned to its rightful possessors-the churches, the temples and other places of worship that recognize God. Let the authorities in these religious Houses of Worship be the ones to "marry" as each see fit. As Jesus said somewhat analogously, "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. Marriage is God's.

    But please understand that if two people of any sex (man and woman, man and man, or woman and woman) decide that they want to live together; and for whatever reasons decide that they need this relationship "blessed" and sanctioned and enforced by the government, that's fine with me. If its okay with them and its okay with government, I say go at it. And while I might say that I really don't care what they call this arrangement, that's not entirely true, as I don't want them calling it a "marriage". Call it anything else, but don't call it a marriage. I say this for two specific reasons: first, and most importantly, as I've said above, the term marriage is a specifically defined sacred act that has been blessed by God-not the state; and second, the use of the term "marriage" by the state is what has caused all this brouhaha to begin with. The gay community says that they want to be treated as equals with straights by the states in every way. And whether one agrees with that point of view or not, it is certainly reasonable and understandable as far as I'm concerned. Nevertheless, I oppose this "gay marriage" movement at every level of government, and I would hope that all other God-fearing individuals in this land, also would strongly oppose the state or anyone else turning the sacred act of "marriage" into something entirely different than was ever intended by the Lord,

    Tomsbar

  • Some Guy||

    What if a child is dying, and Parent A wants to pull the plug and Parent B doesn't? Is this an argument against multiple parents?

    It is a large drawn out legal battle, hence my statement that it all breaks down when multiple parties are involved. For this case, there's not much to do about it.

    What if a parent is dying, and Child A wants to pull the plug and Child B doesn't? Is this an argument against having more than one child?

    That's a great argument for having a document that says which child (or whoever) should make these decisions. A marriage certificate serves this purpose by default.

    I don't think arguments from probability and convenience trump the Equal Protection clause

    Under my argument for what marriage should be, it does because it's simply a convenient catch-all contract as far as the state is concerned, nothing more.

  • MJ||

    "Under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Virginia has complete authority to deny the privileges and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex partners. But Iowa doesn't have the complete authority to grant them."

    I don't think Chapman quite understands the concept of "federalism" here. Iowa has the authority to grant legal status under Iowa law, it does not necessarily have the authority to coerce any other governmental entity equal or superior to it in the US to recognize Iowa's peculiar arrangements. The "1,100 rights and privileges" the federal government bestows on husbands and wives are not Iowa's to give.

    The federal DOMA was an example of federalism working to preserve the ability of Mississippi to have a different marriage law from Massachusetts.

    Federalism is a strange thing to be criticicizing the people against same-sex marriage for anyway. The pro-same sex forces certainly do not want federalist solution to the issue, if they could impose same-sex marriage on all the states, simultaneously, by whatever method, they would. In fact, the arguments they have used demand that a fedarlist answer is unacceptable. If, as they argue, the matter is one of equal rights then any jurisdiction that maintains that marriage is a relationship between opposite sex couples is in the wrong.

    Yet Chapman is not castigating the same-sex marriage advocates for their anti-federalism stand. It appears that Chapman's argumnet boils down to trying to get a side in the debate to unilaterally disarm. Why should they?

  • MJ||

    "Not so with same-sex unions. Under DOMA, the federal government insists that some marriages are not marriages."

    Because same-sex relationships are not, and can never be, marriages. Even if seven fools in black robes say they are.

  • ||

    "And the feds? They have consistently observed a policy of staying the hell out."
    This is a rational argument? I don't think so. It sounds like an adult with extra 'feeling' genes wrote this.
    "Magically becomes single…" So much for state rights, which only seem apropos when Steve Chapman needs them as an argument to make his points. Here he indicates state rights must conform to other states behavior even when that state believes 'some marriages are not their cup of tea.
    Our system is suppose to let a hundred flowers bloom? Since when. Since Steve laid in bed with his lover making this crap up? 'Bloom' as in blooming idiot.

  • Ben||

    > regarding slavery. We libertarians
    > can't just brush off that, in this
    > particular real world case, the
    > Federal government played the hero
    > by overriding reprehensible state
    > laws.

    They played the hero? You mean by taking the authority to create slaves and indentured servants unto themselves? The 13th amendment:

    Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.



    Now, combine that with the fact that you can be convicted for just about any action, any time, and are you still feeling smug about the feds being heroes? Ever see a chain gang? Ever see a shank-ridden, rapist-run license-plate manufacturing line?

    The feds never abolished slavery. Don't believe for a second that they did. You'll do what you're told, boy, or you'll go in the hole. Or maybe we'll just cut privileges to your cellmates and see what they do about your behavior. The fact that you need to be convicted (of one of millions of crimes, some of which you are surely guilty of) is tactically no different than Negroes needing to be captured from Africa. Well, it's easier, in fact. Either way, those in power decide you're in the slave class, and there you are.

    Slavery is alive and well. For all of you who dismiss it as "oh, well, but it's for THOSE people", that's exactly what they said before the civil war. There are certainly evil folk in jail, but there are also those "guilty" of things like smoking pot or screwing their long-term girlfriends (and soon for running a state-approved medical facility), and even beyond that, there are people in there who have been wrongly convicted, who didn't do what they were accused of doing.

    Involuntary slavery is wrong. Too bad the government still glories in the role of massuh.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Ben, I wasn't being smug. I was repeating a standard argument that is made against states' rights, to point out that Steve Chapman's article ventured into oversimplification by not addressing this standard argument.

    I agree that the rate of imprisonment in this country is tantamount to slavery.

  • Conservative Carlos||

    As a conservative my initial reaction to gay marriage was a definite no. As time went on though I started to re-think my objections and they were completely religious. The government should not enforce mine or any other religious beliefs. I believe this because I do not want them inserting themselves into my church which is the next step. I now believe that the Government should accept Gay Marriage as it is the most humane thing to do. My church should also accept this as a right of the government so long as the church does not have to accept it. This should not give them the right to demand to be married in churches or other religious venues where gay marriage is not accepted nor should the churches stop preaching that it is wrong and against religious teachings.

  • ||

    It's funny, the US is the polar opposite of the UK on this issue. In the UK, gays and lesbians got civil partnerships which are identical to marriage in all but name. If you have a civil partnership you have control over who inherits your property, you have access to your incapacitated civil partner, you can sponsor your foreign civil partner for immigration, etc. The days of hospital and funeral tragedies, forced deportation and forced exile are over for gays and lesbians at last. And people avoided a big part of the rage simply by changing the word.

    In the US, people went through the whole battle over the word "marriage". But most of the worst inequalities between gays and straights remain, even in Massachussets and Iowa, because of DOMA. Only when DOMA is repealed can the gays of Mass and Iowa begin to have control over their own private lives

  • ||

    How about the Jim Crow laws (separate but equal), let each state decide for itself.

  • Epicurus||

    Conservative Carlos: "As a conservative my initial reaction to gay marriage was a definite no. As time went on though I started to re-think my objections and they were completely religious. The government should not enforce mine or any other religious beliefs."

    Thanks for pointing this out. Were it not for the homophobia and harsh punishment for homosexuals expressed in the Bible and the Torah, gay marriage wouldn't even be an issue and there wouldn't be any prejudice against homosexuals. People would recognize the obvious fact that sexual preference is hardwired and not a choice as the "believers" are forced to conclude from the Bible and Torah.

    Religion poisons everything.

  • Epicurus||

    "How about the Jim Crow laws (separate but equal), let each state decide for itself."

    Or free speech or establishment of religion, as the Founders originally intended ("Congress shall make no law . . ."). We couldn't buy a condom in many places if each state could decide for itself (see Griswold v. Connecticut).

    Many states would be intolerable places to live if everyone's rights were left up to them.

  • Epicurus||

    For all you lovers of federalism and states' rights, read "Slavery by Another Name" which describes how the southern states after reconstruction concocted laws like vagrancy (the crime of not having a job) which were enforced almost solely against blacks. Blacks were routinely found guilty of these so-called crimes in the temples of southern justice so they could be sold as laborers to private industry. In return the companies paid off the trumped up fines of the victims.

    You want to trust your rights and freedom to the states? Think again.

  • nike shox||

    is good

  • ||

    When states don't allow same-sex couples to get married, that's just a form of bigotry. This is a civil rights issue that MUST be handled on a national level, or else no real progress will ever be fully made

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