Gay Marriage OK in Bay State

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Massachusetts? Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday opened the door for marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples, ruling that the state may not deny them licenses.

Article here.

Update: decision here.

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  1. Abu Hamza,

    Licensing of marriages does not, even now, prevent syphilitics, et al, from cohabiting or having sex. For that matter, it does not prevent them from going to an agreeable clergyman to perform a ceremony and call it marriage. Unless you want them to resurrect the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s penal code provisions concerning “fornication,” and require a government license for sexual relations?

    Peter and Citizen,

    I’m pretty sure licensing of marriage came about, in Christendom anyway, during the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It was a way for countries with an established church and a “subversive” religious minority to prohibit marriages outside the state church. It was used in France against Huguenots, and in England against Catholics.

  2. Citizen,

    Thanks for the note! So, beyond the additional granting of state priviliges, the marriage surely entails emotional attachments and (maybe religous) vows, which currently are conducted in a separate entire milieu than the civil certificate portion. The last marriage I attended the couple was married before the state 3 days before they were married before the preacher. Gay couples presently are able to and have exchanged vows and rings entirely separate from the portion of the marriage definition that is vested by the state, which is ass because it’s a vaguely unsatifying shadow marriage. I’m glad that Massachusetts is on the road to eliminating the distinction.

    To modify my original post, there’s surely the religious/emotional-vow component, which the state presently has nothing to do with; and the economic melding and family-powers component which is what the state vests.

    As an aside: So how come no one ever used the loophole of having a cruise-ship captain perform gay marriage on the high seas? Maybe under a Dutch flag… calling Holland America Lines…

  3. From the decision:

    a person who enters into an intimate, exclusive union with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership in one of our community’s most rewarding and cherished institutions.

    With a 50% divorce rate, I wonder exactly how rewarding or cherished the institution of marriage really is. Statistically the element of forsaking all others til death do you part is a coin toss.

  4. I’m a straight man who married a woman in the Catholic Church 5 months ago. I go to Mass every Sunday. By any statistical measure I should be against gay marriage. But I’m not. Here’s why:

    The state has no power over the spiritual/moral aspects of marriage. When my wife and I made our sacred promises to love, honor, and cherish we were married. Had we not signed any papers for the government our promises still would have been morally binding.

    What we got from the government was a piece of paper to make our lives easier. We legally codified the fact that we will share everything we have and responsibility for one another (i.e. joint property, power of attorney, and all the other things that a legal contract can cover). We didn’t sign a legal contract to love one another because the government doesn’t really have the ability to adjudicate such a promise. Would anybody want that idiot Roy Moore in Alabama to determine whether or not a couple is in love?

    OK, so the legal marriage contract doesn’t form the social/spiritual/moral bond of marriage, just the legal arrangements that facilitate it. So here’s the obvious question: Why shouldn’t any two (or more, in Utah 😉 people be able to share property and responsibility? It’s their property, it’s their lives, they can share it with whomever they want to.

    Doesn’t mean that anybody else has to like their arrangement. People are still free to say “Those two guys are fornicating and sinful!” The rest of us should be free to say “Hey, have 8 stay-at-home-wives and 30 kids, but don’t ask us to pick up the tab.” (the fact that such an idiot can get public assistance means we should change our welfare system, not that we should ban polygamy) We can criticize non-traditional marriages, we can refuse to associate with such couples, we can do anything we want.

    We just can’t force them to arrange their lives according to our wishes. It’s their property, it’s their decisions, they can do it as they see fit.

  5. “Group marriages can be very beneficial relationships for everyone involved.”
    Maddog, first you’ve got to show me when and where this is true. A handful of rich vegans is not statistically important, especially when stacked against libraries full of historical and anthropological evidence.

    Second, why should employer insurance programs go for it? Who all can I go after when one partner in this marriage owes me $$$$? Do the benefits of adding this deal offest the significant cost of the record-keeping costs?

  6. In France we dealt with this issue democratically; a law covering what you would call “civil unions” was passed and enacted into law in 1999. This made gay people happy, heterosexuals who wanted to avoid marraige happy, and while it did piss off conservative Catholicsm they were ahppier with this than the alternative – – the word marraige applied to the union of two homosexuals. BTW, France is the first Catholic country to buck small-minded bigots that run the Vatican.

    The Danish Parliament 1989 passed similar legisation.

    The Dutch have gay marraige; enacted by their legislators. In Belgium all couples living together for two or more years enjoy the fiscal benefits of married couples.

    Hungary also passed a civil unions law; passed in 1996.

    And people talk about a “demoracy deficit” in Europe. Despite all the fine words about America as an anti-authoritarian paradise, I am afraid that its Europe that leads the way on this issue.

  7. “Do four politically connected lawyers have the legitimate power to do this to the people of Mass, or should this radical change occur by the people themselves through amending the constitution, ballot initiative, or by the legislature? I think it’s best when the four un-elected politically connnected lawyers don’t have that power.’

    We have a checks and balances system, under which a judicial branch can strike down abhorrent laws by the legislature, or nullify policies enacted by the executive, if those laws or policies violate the constitution. You gotta problem wit dat? Should there be no one to enforce limits on the ambitions of the law giving and enforcement branches? Should we trust them to police themselves? Now that you’ve answered “Of course not,” we need to come up with a system in which a body that is removed from the passions of electoral politics, and which owes its loyalty to the law and constitution, can compel the executive and legislative branches to remain within the bounds set for them. I know – how about we add a third branch, made up of judges!

    And that “four connected lawyers” bit – Bravo! Because, Lord knows, the people who end up in leadership positions in the legislature and executive are neve well-connected lawyers.

  8. “To modify my original post, there’s surely the religious/emotional-vow component, which the state presently has nothing to do with”

    Perhaps then, that is what my problem is with the idea of state licensed marriage. Freely making contracts is reasonable and lawful; and if the govt wants to confer privellages to this, I may not like it, but so be it. Yet, like the convservative Catholics in M’s post above, I object to the state using what is a religio-social term to describe a legal arrangement. Calling civil unions marriages seems equivilant to calling a primary school promotion a bar mitzvah.

  9. The nuns at Bishop Feehan were very precise in describing the differences between marriage, the civil institution, and matrimony, the sacrament. I do not know if Baptist or Lutheran or Muslim theology recognizes a difference, though.

  10. We have a checks and balances system, under which a judicial branch can strike down abhorrent laws by the legislature, or nullify policies enacted by the executive, if those laws or policies violate the constitution.

    And determining constitutionality is the unchecked and unbalanced judicial branch. Either way, you’re still banking on the benevolence of glorified lawyers in ominous black robes. What is unconstitutional in 1971 might not be so by 1973; what violates the constitution now in 2003 might not have in 1930 (a rock in a court, for instance). The same people who praise the consitutionality of Roe v. Wade might blast the constitutionality of Bush’s election and CFR.

  11. Point being that just because they say it’s so, doesn’t make it so, it just means that that’s how much leeway the government is going to have to behave badly in the name of that dried out piece of paper in Philly.

  12. Would you rather have decisions about constitutionality made by people who worry about reelection? Obviously, when we’re talking about people who are deciding what is good, and what is smart, in terms of policy, than democratic accountability is necessary. But restraining the government from majoritarian tyranny is an important thing to build into the system.

    The referees can’t be throwing penalty flags based on the crowd noise.

  13. >Merovingian sez: And people talk about a “demoracy deficit” in Europe. Despite all the fine words about America as an anti-authoritarian paradise, I am afraid that its Europe that leads the way on this issue.

    I agree that Europe is leading the way on this (hurrah for you!), but democracy alone is not the issue. If this issue went to a referendum here in the states, it would not pass in most places.

    Was this issue passed in referendums in Europe? How did it get passed? I am curious. And too lazy to google it right now.

  14. >rst says: And determining constitutionality is the unchecked and unbalanced judicial branch.

    In practice, the Supreme Court is extremely reluctant to overturn its precedents.

  15. What’s the big deal about gay marriages? As long as they’re not mandatory, I can’t find a reason to care.

  16. In practice, the Supreme Court is extremely reluctant to overturn its precedents.

    Checked by its own reluctance? Hardly compelling. “Oh don’t mind the cannibal, he’s full.”

    The referees can’t be throwing penalty flags based on the crowd noise.

    Every once in a while we agree. That fact notwithstanding, however, looking at gay marriage from a constitutional standpoint is much like looking at it from the standpoint of words on a certain rock. Constitutionality isn’t decided based on the Constitution anymore; only in such a sad state of affairs could actual legislation that has real impact on people’s lives, like the Patriot Act, pass like Olestra through your colon while people waste their time getting hung up on poems, rocks, flags and fags. The SC can call it unconstitutional to deny gay marriage if they want; nothing is stopping the legislature from rewriting the constitution. Then what do the lefties and other progs have to fall back on? Something about nazis maybe.

  17. If you weren’t allowed to visit your wife in her hospital bed because her father didn’t like the shape of your genitals, I think you’d recognize that the denial of marriage rights to gay people has real impacts on people’s lives.

  18. “Mark S: Speaking of polygamy and the bible, didn’t many bible characters have multiple wives? (checks google…) yup.”

    Excellent point, it does. This ultimately begs the question why modern christians are so dead-set against the notion of ploygamous/ployanderous relationships.

  19. Here’s to hoping that my wife’s father can only speculate as to the shape of my genetals.

  20. OK, as I understand it, the right of any two (or more in Utah 😉 people to marry is a matter of individual liberty. Most libertarians would (I hope) say that the state should either stay out of the marriage business altogether (and let people draw up their own contracts to handle joint property and whatnot), or at the very least let any and all consenting adults get marriage licenses.

    So permitting gay marriage seems like a pretty libertarian goal.

    But, some people get upset when courts rule in favor of individual on this or various other issue. They start talking about the dangers of judicial tyranny and whatnot. If it’s a federal court they get even more worried about federalism. OK, fair enough.

    If a state court ever overturns a gun law, or a tax (some state constitutions have limits on taxation, or at least procedural hurdles that must be cleared before a tax is enacted), I’ll be looking to hear all of the people hear complain that courts meddled with the legislature’s decision to restrict gun ownership or levy taxes.

    I’m sure everybody will get upset at the way the legislature’s prerogatives were ignored. Right?

    Or do real libertarians only care about guns and taxes?

  21. Good Luck,

    And opinion polls concerning gay marraige, civil unions, etc., reveal that in the current member states of the EU, between 50%-85% of the populations of those countries (in Ireland, Austria and the UK its ~50%, in Denmark and the Netherlands its ~85%, in France its ~60%, etc.) support gay marraige or some form of civil union. In the accession nations (the thirteen nations that will become part of the EU or want to become part of it) its much lower; I think the average is ~25% – with a range between ~50% to ~10%.

  22. I’m not sure I buy the theory, but one case I have heard against polygamy is that it creates a surplus of single men (since it will invariably be more common than polyandry). This surplus of men without families/wives will have a tendancy to destabilize the culture. I don’t really buy it, but it is a case against it that’s not based on the icky/against my religion factor.

    Let’s not forget there’s all sorts of incest in the Bible too. Of course, having to repopulate the world a few times will lead to that.

  23. Polygamy: multiple spouses
    polygyny: multiple female spouses
    polyandry: multiple male spouses

  24. I’m starting to think they’d have done better to get rid of marriage altogether.

  25. good. the fucking moralists on the christian right are damaging this country more and more every day. Way to go Mass! The concealed-carry law was an excellent first step. This is the second. Will legalizing drugs be third? We can only hope.

  26. Holy snerk. Can anyone find link to the decision? Reporting on these decisions is usually terribly simplistic, so I’d like to know if the decision bears any relationship to the news coverage. But… wow.

    As a married straight with plenty of gay friends, I have to say, I feel incredibly validated right now. And as a libertarian techie whose job depends on the willingness of other (disproportionately socially liber{al,tarian}) techies to live in the Bay State, I can feel my job security re-inflating. First we get a fiscally sensible governor, now we get gay marriage, there amy be hope for this state yet.
    –G

  27. … stay tuned for the political rebuttal, consisting mostly of teeth-gnashing and wailing

  28. Someone in the know says the decision might be on http://www.socialaw.com/sjcslip/Nov03.html by early afternoon. Then we can find out what was actually decided.
    –G

  29. This is good…assimilation is good, it’s just up to Andrew Sullivan and his ilk to clean out the “queer theorist” extremist minority who have claimed they will use rulings like this to undermine and destroy the institution of marriage.

  30. Well, guess I’ll have to renounce hetrosexuality and leave my wife. Durn the Gay Agenda!

  31. Mike, Bostonian — thanks! Took a while for the decision page to load, but they did eventually — guess there must be a lot of interest 🙂
    –G

  32. What the court actually did was tell the legislature to do something to correct the inequality. Wouldn’t it be great if the legislature responded by getting the state out of the business of issuing “licenses” for these arrangements called marriages? Or repealed all laws discriminating for or against people according to whether they are married? Or repealed all laws requiring anyone other that the contracting parties to recognize the contract of marriage?
    Of course, that won’t happen. But I mention this to illustrate that any moralist opposing the decision has long acquiesced in the laws which provide it with its likely impact.

  33. We’d be better off still if the state stopped “licensing” what is simply a religious and/or social contract that they allow us to break anyway with consent of only half the involved parties and for any or no stated reason.

  34. Crap, two minutes behind Peter, I need to reload more often.

  35. What will the Mass Supremes do when they get the case of two people applying for a marriage license who were denied because they were related? The marriage license statute also bans them from marrying. Or what about the case of the polygamist, who wants to marry two women? The marriage license statute would ban them from marrying, and indeed Massachusetts has a criminal statute against polygamy. And it will happen. I think people who want polygamy will move to Massachusetts, because that is the only state with a supreme court that has held that it violates the state constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman. If one man and one man can marry, or one woman and one woman can marry, why cannot one man marry two women? Or three women all marry? Seriously. If it is a violation of due process and the equal protection clause to tell two men they cannot marry, how is it okay to tell three men they cannnot marry? Or how can two cousins not marry? Or how can a widowed father not marry his daughter? After all, the Mass Supremes have enlightened me and told me that the traditional definition of marriage which has been around for thousands of years, is outdated and in fact a violation of due process and equal protection under the laws. I thank them for this enlightenment. Now I just need clarification. Because it is unconstitutional for marriage to be defined as “the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life” I need to know why it is okay for the definition to be revised to say “the union of one man and one woman, or one man and one man, or one woman and one woman, to the exclusion of all others for life” but it’s okay to leave the other discriminatory provision “to the exclusion of all others” in there. And to prevent those with syphilis from marrying, or relatives, or the polyamorous, is just as discriminatory as the now-defunct ban on same-sex couples.
    That is all.

  36. ?huh? i guess the “lather. rinse. repeat” is also valuable for you.

  37. Abu, “the traditional definition of marriage which has been around for thousands of years,” that is, the transfer of ownership of a woman from her father to her husband, was voided decades ago in this country. Not through the passage of a bill in the legislature, but by the reading of the law without the vesigal blinders left over from earlier stages of civilization.

    And the SJC did not say the right to marry was absolute. Virtually every right is subject to a balancing test involving the consideration of the public good – which is why you’re not allowed to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater. So, the court could very easily rule that preventing an increase in incidents of birth defects (close relatives marrying) outweighs the right to marry, while still holding that the hysterical nightmares of backwards-assed bigots do not.

  38. Wow, they quote Lawrence quoting Casey.

    Here’s a link:

    http://www.masslaw.com/archives/ma/opin/sup/1017603.htm

  39. Abu: (or split lip, as I like to call you) don’t forget about the animals. People are gonna be trying to marry their syphilitic gerbils in Mass before the weekend.

  40. So if they go all the way in MA and issue a full marriage liscence to same sex couples, what if you already have a civil union in Vermont? Can you have both? If you separate, do you have to get a divorce in both states?

  41. is that you Jean Bart trying to rabble rouse again? 😉

    Abu – these Laws are “For the Children”. Do not forget them either.

    And isn’t that “Fire” reference a misquoted urban legend: You are allowed to yell it, but you are not absolved from the consequences of performing that act, right?

  42. Citizen and Peter,

    The marriage license is actually the state granting special rights against the state to the participants; it’s not just a scrap of paper.

    First, I make the assumption that all private parties in private contracts (in general) look to the court system as the final arbiter in the event of disagreement. I’m not enough of an anarcholibertarian to countenance a different regime. As a part of this, I believe that courts and governments have the right to define their contract procedures – that there are certain components that must be included for the contract to even be enforced within the state’s regime. So I believe that states do have a duty to deliniate “this is a marriage contract; this is what it entails and here is the procedure by which we create and dissolve them”

    Second, I believe you could currently construct an economic contract between two or several people that would enable property/asset sharing; survivorship rights, power of attorney privilges (including end-of-life decisions — qv that Terry Sciavo case), and other trappings of a marriage.

    But the missing pieces that only the state can grant are rights and priveliges against the state:
    – the privelige to file “Married, filing jointly” with the IRS
    – the privelige to not testify against a spouse in some jurisdictions
    – automatic assumption of power of attorney and decisionmaking in areas not explicitly covered in my hypothetical
    – and the not-insignificant efficiency of a contract form that states already understand and have training and infrastructure to deal with in an effective matter. What I outlined in point 2 is theoretically possible, but not cheap or simple. And in the event of a contract dissolution, I fear my example would have more procedural friction than even a Divorce Court.

    You can surely argue that the state shouldn’t be granting special rights to married people in general. I’d get behind that, especially vis-a-vis the IRS. I believe this argument is one of the stated agendas of an extreme faction of the gay-rights movement, and probably some anarcholibertarians as well.

  43. Equal protection grounds and Individual rights grounds. Marriage, including choosing who you wish to marry, is a civil right, and civil rights cannot be denied to people based on their sexual orientation. Marriage is so crucial in defining one’s individual identity, that interfering with it violates one’s right to pursue happiness.

    Nice decision.

  44. “If one man and one man can marry, or one woman and one woman can marry, why cannot one man marry two women? Or three women all marry? Seriously. If it is a violation of due process and the equal protection clause to tell two men they cannot marry, how is it okay to tell three men they cannot marry?”

    So what? Many religions allow polygamous relationships. The Mormons did up until the U.S. government arm-twisted them into abandoning it. (A clear violation of the establishment clause if ever there was one.) Like gay marriage, I don’t see what actual harm polygamy can cause. If anything, there are quite a few benefits: Multiple spouses means multiple sources of income going into one family. Polygamous relationships allow for greater genetic diversity for offspring and a stable family structure that doesn’t suffer if one spouse leaves or dies.

    Can you tell me again what’s the RATIONAL argument against polygamy? And please, arguments that involve “God” or The Bible don’t qualify as being reasonable.

    “Or how can two cousins not marry? Or how can a widowed father not marry his daughter?”

    Normally I’d write this one off as a typical right-wing straw man, but I’ll call your bluff. Again, so what? As long as everyone involved in the relationship is a consenting adult it shouldn’t really matter how and with whom people associate? Besides the obvious genetic concerns of offspring from incestuous relationships, what actual harm is done? As much as the idea revolts you (and it does me), I don’t think it will happen all that much, and I’d rather live in a society with one or two Deliverance-wannabes than have the State tell me with whom I can take to bed or make a home with.

  45. Can you tell me again what’s the RATIONAL argument against polygamy?

    Multiple women with your charge card.

  46. “Abu: (or split lip, as I like to call you) don’t forget about the animals. People are gonna be trying to marry their syphilitic gerbils in Mass before the weekend.”

    Animals are property. As gross as bestiality is, if property rights mean anything, you’d have to allow it yet as long as it’s YOUR goat your fucking and not your neighbors (unless he gives you permission).

  47. Why is polygamy illegal? Stupid I get (of course, right honey?), but illegal? Especially in light of this decision.

    Would my three wives and 8 kids all get insurance, etc?

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

  48. “Multiple women with your charge card.”

    Funny, but it hardly qualifies as a rational arguement.

    “Would my three wives and 8 kids all get insurance, etc?”

    Well, if the states don’t get in the way they could. The consumer proposes and the free market (usually) disposes.

  49. Um, cause polygamist families tend to become wards of the state? 15-20 kids and one guy to pay all the bills? I dunno, not a very convincing argument.

  50. Mark S.: Well no one has a problem with you fucking your own goat, the question is, do you have the right, in Mass, to do the right thing and make her your bride. (BTW I was trying to respond sarcastically to “Abu’s” troll.)

  51. do you have the right, in Mass, to do the right thing and make her your bride.

    Well, if not, then you should fight it. Because after all, the state has no right to tell you that you can’t marry your goat. Hooray for state-adopted religious institutions! And here you people are worried about a rock in the bible belt.

  52. Crap, two minutes behind Peter, I need to reload more often.

    Use high-capacity magazines, my friend, and you will need to reload less often. Nothing says “listen to what I have to say” like a double-stack .45.

  53. Actually, the decision does a good job demonstrating that legal marriage is a civil, not a religious, institution.

  54. Funny, but it hardly qualifies as a rational arguement.

    It wasn’t supposed to be. What besides the additional rights the state grants you with their marriage license presents a rational argument to get married in the first place?

  55. the decision does a good job demonstrating that legal marriage is a civil, not a religious, institution.

    Only because it was adopted as such.

  56. Don’t Worry Joe: RST is bitter that he was passed over for the first offstage sheep in the Manger scene back in the second grade. RST: We’re more worried about the fucking assholes who worshipped that rock and the crap printed on it. THAT’S the worry. THAT’S what was defeated here. THAT’S why we’re happy.

  57. Horror stories of multiple wives who are knocked up then essentially abandoned abound in the “rebel Mormon” parts of Utah. Though I wonder if these problems are caused by the black market nature of such marriages, just as many so-called drug and immigration problems are.

  58. Mathilda: I’m not worried by fucking assholes worshipping anything. My only concern is when they want to force others to worship their particular rock, to the exclusion of all other rocks.

  59. RST is bitter that he was passed over for the first offstage sheep in the Manger scene back in the second grade.

    Aw, you remembered. How sweet.

    We’re more worried about the fucking assholes who worshipped that rock and the crap printed on it.

    The fucking assholes didn’t worship the rock. It was another of their stupid symbols, like a cross beneath a circle or a pink ribbon. Everybody kneels to something…people will not stop being religious. They will not stop cramming it down your throat. You don’t have to like it, but there ain’t shit you can do about it.

  60. “I’m not worried by fucking assholes worshipping anything.” As a Christian, I’m disappointed by their need to find the most visible street corner and pray in the loudest voice, and be seen doing so.

  61. RST: Then why were you so up in arms about allowing this rock and its message to stay in Alabama? Because if you allow for the default to be the {null} with private, non state sanctioned {fill in belief of choice}, then that would also default to {no rock}. Should this not be similar to the “celebrate diversity” (i.e., be anti western, straight, white male) at colleges or having “Jennie has Two mommies” on mandated school reading lists? Or even forcing creationism to be taught side-by-side with science?

    Same here in Mass: just because some people have some bible thumping reasons not to like homosexuality or such, is about as logical as farsical aquatic ceremonies being the basis of government. The default state setting vis-?-vis religion should be {NULL}.

    I apologize if I mis-understood and subsequently mis-represented your views.

  62. I’ve read the whole majority opinion now, and the concurring opinion, and the three dissents. It’s a 4-3 decision. It’s weird. The court uses rational basis review, yet still strikes down the law against same-sex marriage. The concurrence wanted to say same sex marriage is a fundamental right and use strict scrutiny review. There’s a lot of silly things in the majority and concurring opinion and I’ll pull out some money quotes later.

    joe, please, don’t you think it’s silly to say people who oppose same-sex marriage are “hysterical backward-ass bigots”? Marriage has been changed over time in that women are not the property of their husband, but the opposite sex attribute of marriage has not changed and the Mass Supremes make a radical change to the institution. Do four politically connected lawyers have the legitimate power to do this to the people of Mass, or should this radical change occur by the people themselves through amending the constitution, ballot initiative, or by the legislature? I think it’s best when the four un-elected politically connnected lawyers don’t have that power.

    And Mark S., my hypothetical questioning how it can be okay under the equal protection under the laws right to disallow cousins to marry or the polyamorous to marry was not a right wing straw man. Three women might all love each other just as much and be just as committed and devoted to each other as two women, so how can the state justify not letting those three women choose to marry? And the bar against relatives marrying is just borne from the same discriminatory animus as is the now-defunct bar against same-sex marriage. It was driven by hysteria about birth defects and hatred. It is common in arab countries for cousins to marry. People who defend the disgusting ban on cousins marrying are just imposing their cultural and religious biases on others.

    That is all.

  63. Joe: It might disappoint me too, but it’s their right, just as long as it ain’t subsidized.

  64. when they want to force others to worship their particular rock, to the exclusion of all other rocks.

    Yes, but Mathilda’s problem is the rock and everything it represents. She does not want you to be free to worship that, because she thinks it’s bad for you.

  65. “RST is bitter that he was passed over for the first offstage sheep in the Manger scene back in the second grade.

    Aw, you remembered. How sweet.”

    I was always jealous that you were better in school plays 🙂

    Being forced to lip synch, this was of course in the Milli Vanilli days, during chorus was also a sad day. Maybe that’s why I pursue riding motocross while dressed as a Banty Rooster.

    I again object to the presence of said fucking symbol down to which they bow in a courtroom that should be secular. And there is shit I can do: that fucking rock is gone. And there’s NOTHING they can do. I don’t see how you are blind to the fact that allowing that rock is de facto sanctioning religion there.

  66. Mark S: Speaking of polygamy and the bible, didn’t many bible characters have multiple wives? (checks google…) yup: http://www.biblicalpolygamy.com/

  67. Sorry. that last one was me.

    And it has nothing to do with being free to worship a rock or not to worship a fucking rock. It has to do with being free FROM worshipping a rock in a court. On my drivers license test no mention of god or religion or anything like that was there. Freedom to organize labor is second to freedom NOT to organize. Same with religion.

    You have no idea what my religious preferences are. I do object to the fact that this form is crammed down our throats in a public area that should be separated from religion. On our commons during holiday time we see different celebratory monuments to these religions. That is different than having specific guidelines for practicing religion in a courthouse.

    What are you afraid of? Sh’Ma’h Israel being chanted before school and as an official greeting in your state?

  68. Then why were you so up in arms about allowing this rock and its message to stay in Alabama?

    Because Moore, not the rock, was the problem. A rock is a poster is a mural is a painting is a piece of freakin artwork. The popular reaction to it defined a subjective meaning, and the SC reacted to the popular sentiment and not to the merits of the case. There was no reason to believe that a rock in a lobby is a state endorsement of religion any more than public school rooms with east-facing windows reserved for Muslims to pray is the same. Congress made no law; the rest of “separation of church and state” is SJC rhetoric as Constitutional as Bush’s election.

  69. Keith, that’s a great response to my post.

    But as rst (and others) pointed out, those special rights are not the cause of marriage but were granted as an after thought. If, as joe claims, marriage is a civil contract, what purpose does it fulfill other than to benefit from these state-granted special rights? Generally, Anna Nicole Smith’s marriage to An Old Wrinkled Rich Man is sick because … well the physical implications … but also because we know she’s just in it for the money. If the “civil contract” theory is right, then not only is that a just end to marriage, but it’s also the only rational reason for marriage. I’m not particularly comfortable with that.

    Having said that, I think we would be better off losing the benefits (and having to negotiate some of them back with our insurers, lawyers, etc) than allowing the state to have any place in the chapel, synagauge, drive-in stall, sacred circle, whatever.

  70. Mathilda: You said “We’re more worried about the fucking assholes who worshipped that rock and the crap printed on it. THAT’S the worry. THAT’S what was defeated here. THAT’S why we’re happy.” Now, I see that you are backing off and claiming it’s a church/state separation argument, but you said it. THAT’S why I pointed out your rather anti-religious bias.

  71. “Yes, but Mathilda’s problem is the rock and everything it represents. She (sic) does not want you to be free to worship that, because she thinks it’s bad for you. ”

    What a raging pile of bullshit. You are so fucking stupid and blind to your fucking religion that you equate it’s elevation to top dog in this country to being “free” to practice. What whiney crock of steaming fresh shit on the pure Rocky Mountain Snow. And it’s from this melted snow we get Coors. Ah ha. The connection.

    And this would be a worry if it were a Hindu or Muslim or Jewish or Anamist or Wicca icon as the predominant, outspoken pillar of a JUDGE’s belief. When the defense of the constitution gets trumped by something like that, YES, they are fucking unable to serve. KEEP THE FUCKING RELIGION OUT. Keep it private. Isn’t that what your (or maybe others’ if you don’t) precious book dictates? KEEP it off the courtrooms. I think a christian prayer is equally inappropriate in congress. Keep that stuff out of that process. As “Head of State”, I don’t have a problem with Holiday-bound symbols appearing on the Chief’s lawn. But I would have probelms with that at Head of Government’s. If we lived in a system where those were different.

  72. On my drivers license test no mention of god or religion or anything like that was there.

    Got a dollar bill on you? Flip it over and read the back.

  73. You are so fucking stupid and blind to your fucking religion that you equate it’s elevation to top dog in this country to being “free” to practice.

    You have no idea what my religious preferences are.

    Resolve. Then get back to me. If you think I’m a Christian, you’re not paying attention.

  74. X-ray – it is not backing off at all.

    Don’t like that on the dollar either. However, it is not proscriptive for practice of law or morality.

    What the hell is this with “east facing windows” in schools? Where is that news? In a public school, yes, that should be out, too. No favor no thought. Colorblind and religion blind.

    All of these things point to
    1) keep government out of schools
    2) keep religion out of government

    And if that freedom from religion and no favor towards any religion that all religions are equal and not favored is anti religious? What is your stance on affirmative action and quotas? Why not live in that world, too?

  75. ’twas I, btw.

    KEEP THE FUCKING RELIGION OUT.

    That’s your interpretation of the following statement: Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion, nor the prevention of the free exercise thereof. Congress, the federal body, shall make no law.

    Where in there does it say something so absolute as “KEEP THE FUCKING RELIGION OUT”?

  76. However, it is not proscriptive for practice of law or morality.

    Neither is a rock.

  77. Mathilda you seem to have a lot of anti-religious rage in you. Hating religion and religious believers is your right, but it’s not a very good principle on which to build your political philosophy. I’ll pray for you.

  78. Group marriages can be very beneficial relationships for everyone involved. It’s only the religious wackos that practice it today that give it a bad name – marrying minors, forcing the women not to work and going on welfare. I think if it were widespread, you’d have one person staying home, taking care of the family’s children and home, while the other two (or more) can work. You get two professional incomes, plus loving parental care at the same time, without anyone needing to juggle their schedules. And of course, who says it has to be polygamy? Polyandry and any other combination would be fine too.

  79. Oh right. RST is not religious. He’s an athesist and thinks that religion should NOT be a part of law making or enforcing or interpreting process. That’s right. ALL religions should be involved. Okay. Who mentioned Wicca or Jedi the other day? As a flesh eating male, you’d be toast in someone’s courtroom whose religious practices influenced their views. KEEP THE RELIGION OUT. Stay true to it personally, but yawn. Dont care. don’t wanna know. The rainbow flag in a courtroom would cause me to react this same way. The established iconography of law in this country are just fine.

  80. I think Mathilda has some priest-altar boy issues.

  81. And you have some rejection issues from your pet rock.

    X-ray — thank you for the prayers. Will include you in my personal strength giving thoughts as well. 🙂 even if that was sarcastic mine was not.

    Time to go and celebrate America: the place where we can disagree with each other on this. And dammit, I would fight to keep it this way. That’s the long way of saying “off to the post office”

  82. Madog: Mmmmm…polyandry.

    rst: “I think Mathilda has some priest-altar boy issues.” …Who doesn’t?

  83. Mathilda, I was only half kidding, so thanks, and same back to you, it’s nice to let off a little steam.

  84. Oh right. RST is not religious.

    You blathering fool, I opposed moving the rock because like weed and gay marriages it does no harm. The rock did not write decisions. The rock is not a central figure to the religion(s) in question. Would it have made you feel better if Moore kept the ten commandments scratched into his bench instead? The problem was not the rock, the fix only worked and partially because Moore was coincidentally removed, the left counts it a victory, and thousands of right wing judges …minus one… are still busy stuffing crucifixes up defendants arses. But hey, good thing the rock is in a different part of the building.

  85. Thank god for sleep.

  86. When it comes to polygamy in a modern western society you pretty much have to rely on theory. All of the historical and anthropological examples come from societies where women were no where near equal to men. In the West today, women are much more equal, so you wouldn’t have the same situation.

    As for surplus males, that depends on the structure of group marriages, whether most would be one man and several women, or whether men would accept co-husbands. In that case there would be two wives and two husbands who would create a household. (And no, it doesn’t mean everyone has to be gay).

    The way things seem to be headed though is people are opting for a series of medium-term relationships of 3-8 years. It would be nice if there was some sort of civil union for heteros, I’ve been with by girlfriend for over 3 years, and don’t plan to get married for several more, I would like to be able to put her on my insurance, etc.

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