Junior Bridal Suite

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New at Reason: Jacob Sullum looks at the history of marriage and wonders when it became an institution that needed a constitutional amendment.

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  1. “Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.”

    Can anybody explain the meaning of that sentence?

  2. Lefty,

    I think it means that if you’re not married then you aren’t married. But that seems like just a tautology. Maybe if you’re not already married, too late, you can’t get married. Kind of like a last call. Get those beer goggles on and start looking boys, you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.

  3. i could buy this fear people have of homosexual couples adopting kids if supply was less than demand.

    people against homosexuals adopting kids are essentially promoting the denial of these children homes and any type “family” upbringing. I guess, to the homophobe, the fear of this child perhaps experiencing some sexual confusion (which is very unproven) is enough to warrant their continued existence in foster care. That, to me, is sickening.

    not to bring up the whole nature vs. nurture debate, but i can only assume that people who have this fear consider homosexuality some type of contagious mental illness and not a genetic disposition. it is quite hilarious to hear their fear of gay rights…almost as if the more rights that exist for gays in america, the more of us that will be “converted”. oh, and the innocent children that will be suckered into it…give me a break.

  4. Let’s avoid the whole genetics angle please.

  5. They’d be much better off in the loving embrace of the Florida DYS.

  6. Parents who put their kids up for adoption have some control over whom the kids go to, right? If a parent fears that the kid might end up going to a homosexual home and be “contaminated” or whatever, then they (or she) can demand that the kid go to a straight home. Nobody else should have any say in this matter.

  7. Most homosexuals grew up with straight parents, and yet that didn’t “intice” them to be straight.

  8. To paraphrase Chris Rock: Gay people can’t get married and they can’t get drafted. Who’s got it better than that?

  9. It was only a matter of time.

    After having granted government lawyers the power to intervene in economic transactions in the marketplace, which might as well have given rise to a mock amendment such as this . . .

    “Mergers in the United States shall consist only of the union of a corporation and a limited partnership. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that merger status be conferred upon independent businesses, sole proprietorships, or consortia.”

    . . . it will be just a hop, skip, and a jump for government lawyers to intervene in personal relationships — giving rise to yet another such caricature amendment.

  10. No, but then neither did Womyn’s Suffrage.

  11. Frist claims to be a Protestant and thinks marriage is a sacrament? Did he sleep through Sunday School? Has he heard of the Reformation? If our masters want to introduce theology into public policy is it too much to ask that they get their theology right?

  12. I’m a little disturbed by this leap from gay union to legal polygamous marriages. Gay marriage would work my tax dollars as much, in paperwork and court time, as het marriage. However, once you try to have county courts running interference for a whole herd, that?s a little unwieldy. It?s bad enough trying to buy a house when the kids are fighting over the estate?

    And, as the article points out, couple marriage has a long history. Group arrangements, despite what grotty hippies like to believe, harems and multiple wives and group marriage arrangements do not have such a track record.

  13. The proposed constitutional amendment is completely unnecessary. The Article IV comity clause is based on the international law of comity, which includes the right of a given state to refuse to enforce the law of other states when they are morally repugnant to its value system. Had not the fugitive slave clause been inserted to modify the international law of comity, the New England states would have refused to honor the “property” laws of the south. And any state today is arguably entitled to recognize the validity gay marriages in Hawaii or Vermont, or wherever.

    So what the GOP establishment really wants is to overturn the right of states to make their own decisions on the matter. It’s pretty consistent with what neocons mean by state’s rights–relative administrative autonomy, until “conservatives” decide they want to use federal law as a social engineering tool in regard to gay marriage, euthanasia, medpot, and the “No Child’s Behind Left Unviolated Act.”

  14. Jacob makes some good arguments, especially to the affect that gay marriage doesn’t negatively affect me, even if I dislike homosexuals.

    But there’s one flaw: gay adoption. If I find homosexuality disgusting, I certainly wouldn’t want to condemn a helpless child to this life. This would seem to me the one exception of the libertarian “no harm to others” rule.

    If you don’t find them disgusting, then it’s a non-issue, or you can argue that it’s better for orphans to have gay parents than none, but still, it’s something for society to decide…unless we privatize orphanages.

  15. Yeah, I don’t see why you can’t buy and sell babies.

  16. B,

    It’s true that many people find homosexuality disgusting and wouldn’t want to condemn children to that life. They should band together and adopt as many children as possible…or shut the hell up.

  17. the proposition of creating symbiotic relationships between religious sacraments and government is dangerous.

    this gives me visions of a Catholic going to confession and receiving a court mandated penance for his sins.

  18. In Catholic School, the sisters taught us that matrimony was a sacrament, while marriage was a civil contract, and that the two were not the same thing.

  19. If you’re afraid of letting your children go up for adoption, not knowing who the parents might be, you can always abort them. Or, here’s a novel one, fuckin’ raise ’em.

  20. The important part of the amendment is “…or the legal incidents thereof.” This would not just preclude marriage, but also inheretence, medical decisions, etc., if a state were to pass laws granting those rights piecemeal.

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