Mmm, She Ain't Lookin' Too Married

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Forced to legalize either gay marriages or civil unions, the New Jersey legislature (run by Democrats) has chosen civil unions.

The civil unions bill passed the state Assembly by a vote of 59 to 19 and the state Senate by a vote of 23 to 12. [Gov. Jon] Corzine has said he will sign it. The law will create a 13-member Civil Union Review Commission, which will study how well the unions work, evaluate similar statutes in other states, and recommend changes to improve the law. 

Traditional marriage stalwarts are tickled by New Jersey's decision, since if the legislature had gone a little further gay marriage would now have a toehold in two states. But really, think of how far gay marriage advocates have come. What was a radical position in Vermont six years ago is now a mainstream compromise. Lawmakers in Canada and Massachusetts, given a chance to roll back legal gay marriage, have decided against it (Flip-floppin' Mitt Romney's disgusting preening all for naught).

NEXT: WMDs

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  1. Civil unions were radical just six years ago? Ha, and now homophobes WELCOME them. I wonder who TRULY is the victor here.

  2. As leaving the status quo on marriage in New Jersey as is was on the table by ordr of the state’s court, how on earth can this be thought of as a compromise? Much less a mainstream one? The legislature clearly was choosing the lesser of two evils, not coming to a legitimate consensus position.

  3. Even more interesting than the gay issue itself, is the idea that the NJ Sup Court felt it had the power to TELL the Legislature what it had to do.

    My own take. They could just as easily have done nothing. (That’s not what I favor; I actually favor what they did.)

  4. It is amazing how quickly the whole “acceptance of gays as just regular folk” meme has captured the public imagination — quicker than the “smoking is bad” one, I’d wager.

    Which presents an interesting question (especially for libertarians): do you think that the enactment of public laws (albeit in some minor provinces of the Republic,) helped push public attitudes in this direction? And if so, is that a legitimate function of government? Some might argue that the true libertarian would say, “No,” and top it off by saying that the state should get out of the marryin’ business. (Where’s Randy Barnett when you need him?)

  5. Enough already.

    This whole Gay Marriage issue is the biggest overblown non-issue of our time. Who the hell cares? If two Gay people want to get married, let them get a friggin’ lawyer, have some ceremony in a public park, and Vallah! As they say in Peoria… “just don’t scare the horses.”

    Go for it. Get married. Just stop throwing it in my face every single mother-‘f’ing day.

    For the life of me I can’t understand how some of my fellow libertarians think this such a big deal.

    They just OUTLAWED INTERNET POKER!!! Now what is a more relevent issue to Mainstream America? What is more of a winning issue for the libertarian movement?

    Gay marriage or repealing the Internet Gaming Ban.

    Wake up fellow libertarians. Stop talking about non-issues pushed by the San Francisco/NYC crowd, that few Americans in middle America care about.

    Eric at http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com

  6. It is amazing how quickly the whole “acceptance of gays as just regular folk” meme has captured the public imagination

    And the comment below yours proves how far there is to go…

  7. Wow, Eric, if I hadn’t visited your sight, I would think that your post was a complete joke.

    Guess what? Getting married-or not doing so-is a big choice in the life of every (heterosexual) individual. Much more so than whether or not to play internet poker. Look at the obituary of your local, hometown newspaper. Every obit will mention the marital status of the deceased, almost none will mention whether they went to internet gambling sites.

    You say that gays should stop “throwing it in your face” but if you mention your wife around the watercooler, is that “throwing” heterosexual marriage in people’s faces? Or is it just mentioning something that is a big part of your life arrangement?

    Finally, there’s the false dilemna. Either we stand up for people’s right to marry someone of the same gender, or we stand up for their right to pursue their hobby on the internet. But why not both? What about gay people who want to gamble on the internet (perhaps taking on their spouses)?

    I understand that your basic point is that internet gambling is likely to be an easier sell. Fine. I might even agree with you.

    But claiming that marriage is a non-issue is absurd.

    There isn’t a single libertarian set of talking points. We can and should defend both rights. We can walk and chew gum simultaneously.

  8. I couldn’t care less if gays get married.
    Dress up. Have a ball. Just don’t bill me for it.
    That’s as libertarian as it gets.

  9. I remember reading comments from liberals on Atrios and Kos decrying John Kerry’s mushy half-measure when he came out for civil unions. There were people who spent the early primaries swooning for Howard Dean for being such a wonderful progressive on the issue.

    Eric Dondero certainly is passionate, considering how little he cares about the issue. 😉

  10. This is going to completely undermine the sanctity of my brother-in-law’s non-marriage to his live-in girlfriend in New Jersey.

  11. What the hell is going on at hit and run, Civil Unions, ACLU fighting with government, some P.J. O’Rourke book for people who are too stupid to read Wealth of Nations, but nothing about Ahmet Ertegun’s death? Reason is officially getting slack.

  12. Eric,
    I think that people would quit “throwing it in your face” if they could actually do it. Think about it: no more complaints about hospital visitation, inheritence, child custody, family health insurance benefits…
    Here is an idea, take all of that stuff away from heterosexuals just as an experiment to see if they complain or if they would see it as “no big deal.”

  13. hospital visitation – I would like to see the statistics of the number of hospitals who don’t let gay lovers visit. That is a reach.

    Inheritence – Everyone has inheritance issues, get a will. If you write a will you can leave everything to whomever you want, the only people that have forced shares are spouses or step kids.

    Child custody. Deal with that through adoption laws. If two people can adopt and be the legal parent of a child, then what is the problem? Ultimately, only parents have gaurenteed rights to custody and you don’t have to be married to have those rights.

    Family health insurance benefits – that is a private issue. Lots of companies offer insurance to unmarried partners of any sort. Why is it the government’s responsibility to force companies to? Moreover, a lot of people like say churches object to homosexuality. Force them to give benefits to married gays and the sollution will be just to end family benefits alltogether. Beyond that, health insurance is a private issue. If you don’t want to risk loosing gay employees by not offering benefits to their lovers, that is your choice.

    Truthfully, it isn’t that big of a deal. Hell more and more hetrosexuals are not getting married. It is more about principle than reality.

  14. no more complaints about hospital visitation, inheritence, child custody, family health insurance benefits…

    I spent two weeks in a hospital this summer in San Francisco and had no problems with anyone coming in to see me, regardless of relationship, pretty much regardless of the time of day. None of my neighbors appeared to either. Maybe because I was in an enlightened town.

    As far as inheritance that is easily solved, write a will. Child custody can’t be any worse than it already is in a contentious divorce. And finally, health insurance…that’s where this whole thing starts to hit the fan. Too much government interference and employer subsidization in the first place. Add in to that Civil Unions of convenience and it starts intruding into my life.

  15. It should be civil unions for everyone, gay or straight. That’s all the state should recognize. It should be nothing more than a contract that legally binds two people – or more if you’re into the Big Love thing. After you file your paperwork, if you’re so inclined, you can head over to your local church, synagogue, mosque, temple, coven or Scientology Center and receive the ceremonial title of married or whatever the fuck else you want to call it. It’s not the state’s job to make things right with your god/gods/alien overlord.

  16. Yes there are other legal arrangements gays can make, but they cost thousands of dollars in lawyers to do what two drunk heterosexuals in Vegas can do in a couple of minutes for a handful of cash. And the fact is those legal arrangements only cover about 5 of the 1000+ protections afforded to government-married heterosexuals. It’s not that simple.

    Gays HAVE been denied access to their loved ones in the hospital. It’s been documented time and again. The links following this post are a good summary of the very real issues involved here. I really wish it was as simple as you guys said, but for that to happen government needs to get out of the marriage business. Gays are more likely to be allowed to get married before that ever happens, so if we’re really the party of individual rights we need to support that instead of wiping our hands clean of it.

    http://www.republicoft.com/2006/10/26/the-economics-of-equality/

    http://www.republicoft.com/2006/08/06/what-rights-should-same-sex-couples-have/

  17. Ack, apparently those posts aren’t up any more apparently. Try the Google Cache versions by searching for “site:republicoft.com economics of equality” and “site:republicoft.com what rights same sex couples should have” It’s a liberal blog but he makes some great posts on the subject.

  18. Burr,

    I don’t think that it is any harder for a gay couple to write a will than a straight one, or more expensive. I’ll take your word and assume there are 1000+ protections for married couples that gay couples don’t have. As you said, that is a reason to scrap the government protection not to write more laws.

    I am sure that gays have been denied access to their loved ones in a hospital just like I am sure heterosexuals have too. The solution is simple, less government intrusion not more. Hospital visitation can be solved in the market much cleaner than at the legislature.

  19. I wonder if the “I’m not a bigot but just don’t throw it in my face” argument was equally popular back when it was interracial marriage that made everybody all hot and bothered. “I don’t care if you want to marry a nig–uh, black guy–but stop throwing it in my face every day!”

  20. It really wouldn’t be writing any more laws. Actually it takes more laws and bureaucracy to put civil unions in place than just letting two people of the same gender marry.

    I do agree with you that the end game should be to get government out of it, but do we tell gays “sorry guys you’re just going to have to suffer for several more decades until get government out” or do we at least finally give them their 14th Amendment rights for now?

  21. Civil unions are fine if you just want your relationship to be tolerated. I’m cool with civil unions.

    Anyone who rejects civil unions and demands the magic word “marriage” isn’t looking for mere tolerance – they want their relationship to be celebrated.

  22. Notice the nonsense about creating a commission. Another waste of money and way to dispense favors to political friends.

    Legislative committess are supposed to study how well laws are working and recommend changes.

    America is obviously going to approve civil unions. Whether the word ‘marriage’ will be legally altered remains to be seen.

    The solution is to privatize the word. Why should government define ‘marriage’ at all?

  23. For me, it is a purely economic issue.

    For $28, I can now make sure the following will happen by virtue of a NJ civil union (previously, the contracts, wills, and other legal arrangements would have cost me over $21,000):

    1. Upon my death, my adopted sons will have an automatic parent. His “I do” to me equals an “I will support you” to them.
    2. Upon my death, whether I have a will or not, my partner will inherit all my assets.
    3. No insurance company in this state will be able to deny coverage to my partner (survivor benefits, etc.)
    4. I will have grounds to sue the federal racket (sorry, “government”) for similar benefits.
    5. Whether I have a so-called “living will” (which, btw, is really just a legal fiction in most states designed to provide more income to shysters) or not, my partner (and not anyone else) will have the power to decide whether to unplug that “feeding” tube should the occasion arise.

    Since I have already spent many thousands of dollars arranging these things, when heteros could easily do so in Vegas for a few bucks, I demand compensation.

    Yes, government should get out of the business of marriage,

    BUT, so long as government IS in the business, then I will throw my gay ass in your face until I can do for $28 what straight people can do for $28.

    So fuck off if you don’t like it in your face. And, whether you like it or not….

    You’re invited to my civil union ceremony (everyone who reads this is, really, next June, email me for details).

  24. correction entered

  25. Anyone who rejects civil unions and demands the magic word “marriage” isn’t looking for mere tolerance – they want their relationship to be celebrated.

    talk about missing the point…

    It’s more than just the word chosen to describe it. It’s about what rights you have when you are part of a “marriage”. If marriage was completely interchangeable with civil Unions I would agree that arguing over a word would be silly, but they aren’t and it isn’t.

    From this article in the NY Times

    The most likely problems, they say, will arise beyond the state’s borders – beyond the reach of its Supreme Court and the Legislature. The biggest among many unknowns is how New York will treat the unions, no small question in New Jersey, which has 335,000 residents who work in New York. (An additional 117,000 work in Pennsylvania.)

    The answer seemed clear when the New York Attorney General’s Office said in an advisory opinion in 2004 that New York should recognize a same-sex marriage “or its legal equivalent” from another state.

    But last fall, in a case involving a gay couple from New York who had entered a civil union in Vermont, a New York appellate court refused to recognize the surviving partner as a spouse for the purpose of filing a wrongful death suit. The court pointed out that the Vermont Legislature created a separate institution rather than allow gays and lesbians to marry, implying the couples can be treated differently.

  26. “Anyone who rejects civil unions and demands the magic word “marriage” isn’t looking for mere tolerance – they want their relationship to be celebrated.”

    Or maybe they don’t want to settle for second-class “separate but equal” treatment. Or they don’t want the government wasting money on a whole new set of forms and laws that would accomplish the same thing as just letting same-sex couples marry.

    Anyone who demands the magic word marriage stay only for heterosexuals is being even more selfish and prideful, IMO. It’s a pretty childish “neener neener but you’re not REALLY married” stance if you ask me.

    How come people don’t realize the “it’s just a word” argument cuts both ways? Marriage used to mean a non-interracial coupling where the woman had no say in any household issues or finances, could not choose her husband, but was sold away by her family and used as a political/economic pawn.

    Definitions change. Live with it.

  27. but do we tell gays “sorry guys you’re just going to have to suffer for several more decades until get government out” or do we at least finally give them their 14th Amendment rights for now?

    Come, join the rest of us suffering at the feet of the almighty state, it is good for the soul and lonely at times. And as has been said by Jerry Falwell so many times with regards to Constitutional protection, gays are just as free to marry someone of the opposite gender as straights. In fact it appears to go on all the time. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  28. BTW, I really hope a short, bitchy, ex-stripper, ex-teacher from CT will attend my civil union orgy/party…..we could use some exotic entertainment…..

  29. Civil unions are fine if you just want your relationship to be tolerated. I’m cool with civil unions.

    Hey R C , no one really gives a rats ass what you and your ilk can “tolerate” or are cool with. The people agitating for equality on this issue aren’t looking for your condescending tolerance or care if you are “cool with it”.

    It’s about what is right and what is moral — and what is moral is having the same rights as everyone else without it being stigmatized as a separate institution or a compromise that gays should be counting their blessings about because people like you so graciously “tolerate” it as long as they accept secondary status.

  30. I will throw my gay ass in your face until I can do for $28 what straight people can do for $28.

    Dude, have some sense and throw it in the face of the right people instead of pissing off potential allies. The ACT-UP routine is boring.

  31. “And as has been said by Jerry Falwell so many times with regards to Constitutional protection, gays are just as free to marry someone of the opposite gender as straights.”

    http://www.idrewthis.org/comics/idt20060329equality.png

  32. swillfredo, you don’t seem like much of a potential ally so much as a condescending jackass.

  33. swillfredo,

    point taken, and my apologies if my current happiness has made me somewhat, erm, “edgy.”

    I have tried to be a good Log Cabin Republican for a long time. I like straight people and straight marriages–my parents have been happily married for 46 years, and the institution appears to have served them well.

    But sometimes I feel like an Uncle Tom. Sometimes I get frustrated with having to look around in Central Park before I kiss my partner of 6 years. Sometimes I get tired of having to be reasonable and circumspect.

    Sometimes it feels nice to say “fuck you.”

  34. So why is “gay marriage” a constitutional right all of a sudden. The constitution from 1789 to 2002 had no such right. was there an amendment of something I missed?

  35. So why is heterosexual marriage a constitutional right all of a sudden either?

  36. The ACT-UP routine is boring.

    Yes, better to remain quiet and humbly accept whatever table-scraps the rest of us eventually choose to grant you.

  37. JMoore and Burr,

    I am pretty sure we are on the same side on the issue. There is not an act between two or more emancipated and consenting adults that should fall under the purview of the Federal Government. I just don’t think the 14th Amendment or Log Cabin Republicans are on the path towards the solution.

    better to remain quiet and humbly accept whatever table-scraps the rest of us eventually choose to grant you.

    I bet if you tried real hard you could think of a position somewhere between that and chaining yourself to a pillar in the lobby of a building that belongs to someone else.

  38. Anyone who rejects civil unions and demands the magic word “marriage” isn’t looking for mere tolerance – they want their relationship to be celebrated.

    Oh please… don’t tell me you “celebrate,” much less care about, every couple fool enough to get themselves hitched. I certainly don’t. Hell, I didn’t want to go to my sister’s wedding last year. It was scheduled the same weekend as a gaming convention I wanted to go to, I had to spend an entire hot August afternoon in an un-air conditioned church (another annoyance to this stalwart atheist)wearing a wool tuxedo that I couldn’t take off even AFTER the ceremony lest the bride throw a fit, and was treated at the hotel reception to one of the worst meals I ever had. Worst of all, I couldn’t say a gorram word about it or else I hurt the feelings of my spoiled-brat sibling and bring down the wrath of the rest of my fucking family!

    But I digress…

    The point is, it’s not up to Dean, and certainly not up to the State, what people chose to celebrate as long as no one’s life, liberty, or property is damaged in the pursuit of such “happiness.” (If you want to call marriage that.) Marriage is a religious ceremony, pure and simple. That leaves it up to he churches, and thanks to the first amendment if the more progressive leaning churches want to marry homosexuals, they should have just as much legal standing as hetro unions. Under that same first amendment, the hard-core bible-beater congregation will still be free to deny gays and lesbians that sacrament if they choose, they just will have to put up with the rest of civilized society pointing out what (in the immortal words of Bruce Campbell) primitive screwheads they are.

  39. Swillfredo is willing to see the rights of marriage apply to phoney, loveless arrangements cooked up by people who have no chance of physical, emotional, or spiritual intimacy, and who will never raise a family; but he is dead set against denying it to people who enter into a lifelong commitment to be each others’ spouse in every way, including the raising of children together.

    Sham marriages entered into for the purpose of achieving a legal status, absent an actual family union being formed, aren’t marriages. Just ask any immigration judge.

  40. The ACT-UP routine is boring.

    Yes, better to remain quiet and humbly accept whatever table-scraps the rest of us eventually choose to grant you.

    Truly, Rhywun.

    Seriously, acknowledging gay people’s humanity and equality is -not- some big favor that straight people should pat themselves on the back over. Tossing out little token gestures and then wondering why gay people aren’t entirely pacified with them is the height of arrogance.

  41. BTW, I really hope a short, bitchy, ex-stripper, ex-teacher from CT will attend my civil union orgy/party…..we could use some exotic entertainment…..

    What kind of exotic entertainment could such a female provide to a gay male gathering? Maybe we could all sit around and get drunk, and I could tell some jokes about how obnoxious men can be when you date them. And then y’all can serve as my agreeable Greek chorus.

    JEN: Men can really suck sometimes.

    GREEK CHORUS: Oh, no she dint!

    JEN: I just can’t understand their minds.

    GREEK CHORUS: Oh, no she dint!

  42. Fucking HTML. Goddammit.

    Hell, I shouldn’t be here anyway. I have to go Christmas shopping.

  43. “I bet if you tried real hard you could think of a position somewhere between that and chaining yourself to a pillar in the lobby of a building that belongs to someone else.”

    Agreed with that, too. And I like I’ve said before, ideally the government would be out of it entirely, but some of us have lives and relationships we’re going through right now at this very moment, and don’t have time for the rest of the world to “catch up” to us. To me personally it’s far more expedient to at the very least obtain entrance to the same system as heterosexuals so that I can exercise some of the vitally important rights denied to me. I just don’t see the more principled and logical, puritan libertarian stance of no government marriage at all catching on any time soon, especially with all the other government programs and benefits it’s entangled with. If only people realized how bad government marriage is even to heterosexuals who simply choose not to marry and join the one-size-fits-all club, then maybe that problem would be solved more quickly.

    In that vein, I am certainly not going to complain about only getting civil unions in New Jersey. Since the court has mandated they be equal regardless of name, this opens up a door in the future were if segregation does occur, then gay marriage will be the only solution left.

  44. Hey ChicagoTom – If you are looking for more than mere tolerance from me for your lifestyle, you are demanding more from me than mere equality, and are demanding more than you have any right to.

    Or maybe they don’t want to settle for second-class “separate but equal” treatment.

    Where on earth did I say that there should be anything but civil unions for everyone? There’s no separate but equal if gays and straights have the same civil union.

    Oh please… don’t tell me you “celebrate,” much less care about, every couple fool enough to get themselves hitched.

    I don’t, but try to read what I write, not whatever is scrolling across the inside of your eyelids. I am talking about the political activists who are rejecting civil unions. They are the ones insisting that society not just tolerate their individual choices, but actually approve, support, and celebrate them.

    No, thanks. Do what you want. I don’t care. And if you want me to do more than not care about your choice of where to stick your willy, well, it aint gonna happen. Get over it.

  45. “gays are just as free to marry someone of the opposite gender as straights. In fact it appears to go on all the time.”

    Yeah, and blacks were just as free to marry someone of the same skin color as whites. It turns out that argument was bullshit then and your version of it is still bullshit now.

  46. Seriously, acknowledging gay people’s humanity and equality is -not- some big favor that straight people should pat themselves on the back over. Tossing out little token gestures and then wondering why gay people aren’t entirely pacified with them is the height of arrogance.

    Well said! The next moron who talks about how “good fags have it in this country” before, during, and/or after a diatribe decrying the “gay agenda” should have to walk into certain bars and say that out loud to the patrons.

    My money is on the crowd of very angry looking, yet tastefully dressed, men coming to discuss the matter further… with clubs.

  47. “…where you stick your willy…”

    That’s exactly what defined the relationship between a man and his spouse.

    Well, for teh gays, anyway. They don’t have emotions and spirits like normal people.

  48. I am talking about the political activists who are rejecting civil unions. They are the ones insisting that society not just tolerate their individual choices, but actually approve, support, and celebrate them.

    Dishonest bullshit. How are pro-gay marriage people insisting that you “support and celebrate” their relationships? Show me just ONE instance of a gay activist proposing a law requiring straight people to attend gay wedding parties or buy gay wedding presents.

    “I’m getting gay married next week and you WILL come to our ceremony and reception, or else! I’m registered at Tiffany’s and you WILL buy me a gift from the list OR ELSE! Celebrate! Wish me happiness! Tell me you think my partner and I are a perfect match! OR ELSE!”

  49. “Where on earth did I say that there should be anything but civil unions for everyone? There’s no separate but equal if gays and straights have the same civil union.”

    There’s some subset of anti-gay marriage people who claim to want gays and straights to be equal and claim this will happen by only allowing gays to have civil unions, as part of some vague implied plan that eventually straights will be limited to civil unions as well. But since everyone with half a brain in their head knows that this has zero chance of happening in the foreseeable future, it’s hard not to view this argument as anything other than extremely disingenuous.

  50. “Where on earth did I say that there should be anything but civil unions for everyone? There’s no separate but equal if gays and straights have the same civil union.”

    I didn’t read that in the post I was responding to, but sorry for the misunderstanding. That would be totally fine solution with me as well, but unlikely to happen with all the whiners over the “marriage” word out there. They wouldn’t want to lose their special recognition I bet, as meaningless as it is. Sort of like the outrage that occurs when Christmas trees are taken down to satisfy religious minorities.

    The other problem however is the sheer ignorance factor. Many people are not aware of new laws and may discriminate against those who are in “civil unions” as opposed to marriage, thinking the forms are bogus. This too has happened in Vermont and other places that have resorted to this compromise.

  51. They are the ones insisting that society not just tolerate their individual choices, but actually approve, support, and celebrate them.

    Evidence, please. Show us an instance where an advocate of gay marriage demands that the rest of society “celebrate” their choice.

    While Dean is doing that, let’s turn it around for a second: If gay marriage is “insisting that society not just tolerate their individual choices, but actually approve, support, and celebrate them…” why can’t we say the same as hetrosexual marriage? Why is it OK for one sort of union to insist upon itself, but not another?

    No, thanks. Do what you want. I don’t care. And if you want me to do more than not care about your choice of where to stick your willy, well, it aint gonna happen. Get over it.

    No one is asking you to give a damn about anything. Not straights who want to get married, not gays who want to do the same. If anyone needs to get over anything, it should be yourself.

  52. I know that when I meet people who oppose on principle the existence of a federal income tax, I can count on the fact that they won’t support cuts in marginal tax rates, or a move to a flat tax, or the elimination of market-distorting tax credits and write-offs.

    So I trust that the people who oppose the recognition of gay marriages because they want the government to stop recognizing all marriages aren’t throwing out a convenient excuse at all.

  53. Swillfredo is willing to see the rights of marriage apply to phoney, loveless arrangements cooked up by people who have no chance of physical, emotional, or spiritual intimacy, and who will never raise a family; but he is dead set against denying it to people who enter into a lifelong commitment to be each others’ spouse in every way, including the raising of children together.

    Spectacular job missing the point Joe, deliberate? I think you meant to say I am dead set against conferring it to people who enter into a lifelong commitment, but that would be wrong too. What I would see is that the state got out of the business of conferring spousal rights to anyone. My wife shouldn’t have a right to my social security benefits anymore than JMoore’s young man should have a right to his. (My apologies for assuming your gender JMoore but I am going to go out on a limb that your name is Joseph and that you are a man). Absent that civil unions seem reasonable. It isn’t a marriage because a marriage means something else.

    Sham marriages entered into for the purpose of achieving a legal status, absent an actual family union being formed, aren’t marriages. Just ask any immigration judge.

    Right on. The same goes for sham civil unions entered into for the purpose of acquiring group health benefits right?

  54. swillfredo paret0, 11:12 AM:

    “And as has been said by Jerry Falwell so many times with regards to Constitutional protection, gays are just as free to marry someone of the opposite gender as straights. In fact it appears to go on all the time.”

  55. just as free to marry someone

  56. I remember reading comments from liberals on Atrios and Kos decrying John Kerry’s mushy half-measure when he came out for civil unions. There were people who spent the early primaries swooning for Howard Dean for being such a wonderful progressive on the issue.

    And the rest of the Democrats, including almost any with influence in the party or with public office, turned into more diplomatic versions of RC Dean:

    Civil unions are fine if you just want your relationship to be tolerated. I’m cool with civil unions.

    Anyone who rejects civil unions and demands the magic word “marriage” isn’t looking for mere tolerance – they want their relationship to be celebrated.

    He’s being rightfully savaged over this, so I’ll leave my contribution to the chorus as “Love is a wonderful thing, you twit.”

  57. E.D., jkp: may your uvula get a nasty case of jock itch.

    Internet gambling? As this midwesterner ganders over Lake Michigan, that doesn’t seem like an issue that’s big here. Fois Gras, on the other hand! Internet Gambling? Golly!

    Thank you Mr. Steven Crane. All the best to you and your fiance, JMoore. (This citizen happily joins you in the “fuck you” yell.)

    Keep fighting the good fight, Burr. Akira, you’re the man, and you’re alright, even for a cheezhead! Will we be seeing you here on Sun?

    The others, you know who you are, may you be trapped in Canada at a dinner-theater musical production of “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” starring that lovable scamp, Ted McGinley.

    1/2B says it nicely. Love is a wonderful thing, you twit. YEAHHHHH!
    (but howard dean is a twaddlenock of the highest order. He hasn’t returned my leather-bound copy of “Heather Has Two Mommies” (the one with the sweaty pillow fight scene on page 69) yet. bastard.)

    /makes manly grunt. Ambles off contentedly.

  58. oshit, the moose posted!

    /plays “The Boys Are Back In Town”

  59. I’m glad you’re admitting to making the claim that the freedom of gay people to enter into sham marriages means they are being treated equally under the law. If you’re going to make a statement like that, you should admit to having made it without being prodded like this.

    Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, any response to my objection – that being allowed to enter into a sham marriage is not equal to be allowed to enter into a real one?

    Any at all?

  60. d’oh!

    isn’t the headline for this thread from Springsteen’s “One Step Up and Two Steps Back”?

    Mr. Crane: grin.

    “If we shadows have offended,
    Think but this; and all is mended
    That you have but slumbered here
    While these visions did appear
    And this weak and idle theme
    No more yielding but a dream.
    Gentles–do not reprehend
    If you pardon, we will mend.
    And, as I am an honest puck
    If we have unearned luck.
    Now to scape the serpents tongue.
    We will make amends ere long
    Else the puck a liar call.
    So–goodnight unto you all.
    Give me your hands if we be friends.
    And [this Moose] shall restore amends.”

  61. Well said! The next moron who talks about how “good fags have it in this country” before, during, and/or after a diatribe decrying the “gay agenda” should have to walk into certain bars and say that out loud to the patrons.

    along these lines, AM, there aren’t too many things I find more crass than when I’m sitting in Spin attempting to quietly enjoy a beer and in walks a freaking BACHELORETTE PARTY. yeah, it’s real cool that you’re being heterosexual tourists who go to the gay bar because “nobody knows how to party like gay boys!”.

    why don’t you parade how awesome it is that you’re getting married in front of everyone who can’t. you wanna talk about “throwing it in people’s faces”? that’s throwing it in someone’s face.

  62. While I’m not going to get involved in the tolerance vs. celebration debate, I will say that if two people find love and want to spend their lives together, it’s a good thing, regardless of the gender of the couple.

    The use of the term marriage is not just semantic. It matters, for the same reason that I don’t refer to my fiancee as my girlfriend. She’s the person I want to spend my life with, the one I want to wake up next to every morning, and the one I want to grow old with. Using the term “girlfriend” while accurate in one sense, would fail to recognize what the relationship really is. By the same token, if two men, or two women, have the same feelings and make the same commitment, then they are married. Saying that they are united by a civil union diminishes that relationship. In this case, the terminology does matter.

  63. Saying that they are united by a civil union diminishes that relationship

    Must not be much of a relationship if mere words can tarnish it.

  64. If you are looking for more than mere tolerance from me for your lifestyle, you are demanding more from me than mere equality, and are demanding more than you have any right to

    Actually what most pro-gay marriage people are looking for is institutional acknowledgment and acceptance of the fact that they have a right to get married to a partner of their choosing without being limited to members of the opposite sex whom they are not attracted to.

    Honestly, no one gives a shit if bigots decide to “tolerate” what other people do in their lives.

    Where on earth did I say that there should be anything but civil unions for everyone? There’s no separate but equal if gays and straights have the same civil union.

    R C — marriage exists. Maybe in a perfect world there would be no marriage in the eyes of the state — but we don’t live there. As it stands they are in fact creating a separate but equal situation and the ruling that I posted by the NY courts reinforces that.

    Since the government currently recognizes marriage it should recognize marriage for same sex people as well as for opposite sex people.

    No one is asking anyone to “celebrate” anything. But your comments about those who are unwilling to accept “civil unions” proves ultimately undermines your denials of anti-gay marriage bias.

    You were correct in one thing though…they aren’t looking for “tolerance”. Tolerance is something that a superior grants to an an inferior. Take your “tolerance” and shove it.
    What people are demanding is fairness and equality.

  65. Saying that they are united by a civil union diminishes that relationship

    Must not be much of a relationship if mere words can tarnish it.

    then why are you so interested in policing the words yourself? cuts both ways, that statement does.

  66. Saying that they are united by a civil union diminishes that relationship

    Must not be much of a relationship if mere words can tarnish it.

    Cute, but unconvincing. No one is suggesting that the relationship itself is changed, but that it’s demeaning to use an inaccurate term to refer to that relationship.

    Like Stephen Crane, I have to wonder why policing those words is important. The only reason I can see is to maintain the idea that gay relationships are somehow less valid than straight ones. If that’s your agenda, just say so.

  67. I don’t care what you call it. It’s just a word. What’s important is equal civil rights, which I support. Insisting on calling it “marriage” is a kind of me-too-ism that irks a lot of heteros and sidetracks more pertinent concerns. Insisting that calling it anything else somehow diminishes the relationship is unsupportable. Bigots will be bigots and will disregard the relationship no matter what you call it.

  68. Just an ironic postscript:

    When a man introduces his male spouse, does he say, “This is my wife, Harry” or “This is my husband, Harry”? Or does he reject traditional nomenclature altogether (by using “partner” or “significant other”) while insisting on keeping the traditional “marriage”? Is this akin to have your wedding cake and eating it too?

  69. “I don’t care what you call it. It’s just a word. What’s important is equal civil rights, which I support. Insisting on calling it “marriage” is a kind of me-too-ism that irks a lot of heteros and sidetracks more pertinent concerns.”

    Except that the name obviously is important too, including for legal reasons. This has been pointed out repeatedly, including on this thread. To quote from Chicago Tom above, who was quoting from a NYTimes article:

    “But last fall, in a case involving a gay couple from New York who had entered a civil union in Vermont, a New York appellate court refused to recognize the surviving partner as a spouse for the purpose of filing a wrongful death suit. The court pointed out that the Vermont Legislature created a separate institution rather than allow gays and lesbians to marry, implying the couples can be treated differently.”

    As long as there are “separate but equal” categories of marriage and civil union, these sorts of games will go on. The only sure-fire way to do away with them is to call everything marriage or everything civil union. Since the latter obviously isn’t going to happen any time soon, that leaves gay marriage.

  70. I don’t care what you call it. It’s just a word. What’s important is equal civil rights, which I support. Insisting on calling it “marriage” is a kind of me-too-ism that irks a lot of heteros and sidetracks more pertinent concerns

    It’s not just a word. It has a legal definition and a legal meaning. Sure in casual conversation it’s just a word, but in the eyes of the state and in the eyes of courts it is more than just a word. Again I have to refer you to this section of the NY times article I cited above:

    But last fall, in a case involving a gay couple from New York who had entered a civil union in Vermont, a New York appellate court refused to recognize the surviving partner as a spouse for the purpose of filing a wrongful death suit. The court pointed out that the Vermont Legislature created a separate institution rather than allow gays and lesbians to marry, implying the couples can be treated differently.

    How can you honestly look at this ruling and with a straight face insist that it’s just a word and it doesn’t matter? It seems to me that it does matter quite a bit in the eyes of the law.

  71. Ha ha, I beat you to it.

  72. Ha ha, I beat you to it.

    Damn you sparky. Damn You!!! 🙂

  73. “Must not be much of a relationship if mere words can tarnish it.”

    It is unlikely to diminish the relationship itself, at least in the short term, but it certainly diminishes the social significance of the relationship, which can erode the relationship itself over the long term. There’s a reason we use the term “…before God and Man.”

    Don’t you think people would get a different impression if your wife was referred to as your girlfriend? Outward symbols buttress our inner lives.

  74. it certainly diminishes the social significance of the relationship

    Not with me it doesn’t. I don’t necessarily regard married couples as superior to unmarried couples. I don’t necessarily regard hetero relationships as superior to homo relationships. All that matters is that they are equal under the law. What does diminish the argument is childishly stamping your foot and insisting that the world acknowledges and respects your “marriage.” What’s next: targeting “civil union” as hate speech? Gimme a break and get over it already.

  75. You’re the childish one. We’re giving you the legal arguments of why it’s important, but you don’t care, you just want marriages to be exclusive to yourself, people’s rights be damned.

    Nobody said anything about hate speech. Hate speech and hate crime laws are stupid. Crime is crime. Speech is speech.

  76. Insisting on calling it “marriage” is a kind of me-too-ism that irks a lot of heteros

    We mustn’t have that.

    All that matters is that they are equal under the law.

    Because separate-but-equal has proved a workable solution for so many other quandaries in the past.

    Someone’s childishly stamping their foot, but I don’t think it’s gays.

  77. “All that matters is that they are equal under the law.”

    WDo you plan to make any effort at all to respond to the point that “marriage” and “civil union” aren’t equal under the law, and that it would be extremely difficult to make them so (again, see the NYTimes story)?

  78. “Anyone who rejects civil unions and demands the magic word “marriage” isn’t looking for mere tolerance – they want their relationship to be celebrated.”

    yeah, when i got married, my wife and i were all like “hey, you, fuckface! celebrate our union! FUCKING CELEBRATE IT YOU PIECE OF SHIT OR I WILL TURN YOU INTO A LAMPSHADE!”

    man, you better fucking believe people celebrated our union. they celebrated that shit like their life depended on it.

  79. Whoa, dhex – stay away from the shift key.

  80. I will say this about the gay-marriage debate…It sure picks out the crypto-conservatives among the libertarians.

  81. Moose:

    You do realize you’re quoting “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in a debate on gay marriage.

  82. “Whoa, dhex – stay away from the shift key.”

    i like to switch things up a bit.

    maybe santorum’s right and i only support gay marriage because i want to take a shot at the neighbor’s dog. always wagging her tail like a fucking bitch…

  83. Whoa, whoa, whoa…the dog’s a chick dog, right? OK, that’s cool.

  84. maybe santorum’s right and i only support gay marriage because i want to take a shot at the neighbor’s dog. always wagging her tail like a fucking bitch…

    Wasn’t Santorum the one who actually said country boys learn sex by schtupping farm animals?

  85. Wasn’t Santorum the one who actually said country boys learn sex by schtupping farm animals?

    No, that was another advocate of X-ian values.

  86. Ah, gotcha. Thanks, Akira.

  87. Hi Akira!

    You betcha! 🙂 Good catch! I thought it would be better than my other standby the “No I am not Prince Hamlet nor was meant to be” from “Prufrock”. 🙂 grin!

    Dhex: not gonna touch the lampshade comment. grin. not gonna. walk on by. yessirree! (heiter ohne zu verletzen)

    or: “maybe they didn’t know about the elevator”.

    Is the headline from that Springsteen song? Or is this another Moose fantasy….?

  88. All rational debate erodes after 5 p.m. in the blogosphere.

  89. ed,

    I don’t understand your position. You say you don’t care what they call it. You say it’s just a word. So why are you objecting so strenuously that they’re calling it “marriage”? Let them! It’s just a word (like you said)!

  90. It seems pretty clear that ed has no interest in actually confronting the fact that “marriage” and “civil union” are demonstrably not equal under the law. He’s just going to shut his eyes, put his hands to his ears, and shout, “Equal equal equal!” whenever someone points out the problems. That way he can at least maintain some superficial plausibility for his claims of concern about equality.

  91. I will say this about the gay-marriage debate…it certainly shows how irrational and intolerant of dissent social liberal libertarians are.

  92. “It is unlikely to diminish the relationship itself, at least in the short term, but it certainly diminishes the social significance of the relationship, which can erode the relationship itself over the long term.” -joe

    In other words, if society does not grant approval of homosexual relationships by giving them the moral sanction connotated by the word “marriage”, then homosexual relationships will be stressed to the breaking point. That also implies that no influential institution in society (such as the Catholic Church) can be allowed to express disapproval of homosexual relationships.

    If you favor marriage for homosexuals rather than civil unions and agree with what joe wrote above, then you are looking for society to approve and celebrate gay relationships. Otherwise, you are deluding yourself about what you are working for.

  93. That also implies that no influential institution in society (such as the Catholic Church) can be allowed to express disapproval of homosexual relationships.

    Where the hell are you getting that implication from? If two divorced people marry each other, they still call it “marriage” and the Catholics are still perfectly free to say “this couple is not married in the eyes of our church.” Influential institutions are free to disapprove of divorcees, and they can disapprove of gays just as well. The issue here is government discrimination.

    If you favor marriage for homosexuals rather than civil unions and agree with what joe wrote above, then you are looking for society to approve and celebrate gay relationships.

    Ask yourself what is wrong with your position, that instead of defending it you can only thrash about and lie in regard to what your opponents want. I’m not looking for society to “approve” or “celebrate” anything; I’m looking for the government to stop awarding rich benefits to straight couples but withholding them from gays.

  94. I got that implication from joe’s post that I quoted from. If you think what he wrote does not imply that, please explain how.

    Secondly, do you agree with what joe wrote in that post? Because if you do not, I was not really addressing your position.

    I believe society grants certain benefits to heterosexual couples because society has an interest in seeing heterosexuals form permanent relationships. This reasons for this interest do not apply to homosexuals by definition. So while you can say the restriction of marraige to heterosexual relationships is discrimination, it is discrimination based of the fundamental inequality of the two types of relationships and therefore not improper.

  95. I believe society grants certain benefits to heterosexual couples because society has an interest in seeing heterosexuals form permanent relationships. This reasons for this interest do not apply to homosexuals by definition.

    Ah, yes, you’re talking about the kiddies here. And yet, if marriage these days were solely or even primarily for the purpose of having children, we wouldn’t give marriage licenses to women past menopause, and we’d rescind the licenses of those couples who have been married for a certain amount of time without producing progeny. Because marriage is all about baby production, right? It has nothing to do with two people wishing to make their lives together.

    it is discrimination based of the fundamental inequality of the two types of relationships and therefore not improper.

    You mean, “and therefore I, MJ, feel that it is not improper.”

  96. “I will say this about the gay-marriage debate…it certainly shows how irrational and intolerant of dissent social liberal libertarians are.”

    So wait.. fighting for INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS and FREEDOM is being IRRATIONAL and INTOLERANT? For God’s sake, WTF are you doing on a LIBERTARIAN BLOG??

  97. “In other words, if society does not grant approval of homosexual relationships by giving them the moral sanction connotated by the word “marriage”…”

    No one here is asking for “society” to grant approval; the debate is about government granting equal recognition. It has nothing to do with moral sanction, and everything to do with equal treatment under the law. This is another claim repeated over and over even though it clearly isn’t true. At some point confusion about the debate becomes willful ignorance and intellectual dishonesty.

  98. Jennifer, I am saying that’s the reason why society cares enough about the long term stability of heterosexual relationships to have developed the institution of marriage in the first place. If sex had nothing to do with reproduction, why should society care enough about human relationships based on sex enough to create a legal institution for them?

    If marriage is all about “…two people wishing to make their lives together.”, why should marriage exist at all as a legal relationship? There is no argument for homosexual marriage that does not undermine the argument for why marriage should exist in first place.

    “… we wouldn’t give marriage licenses to women past menopause, and we’d rescind the licenses of those couples who have been married for a certain amount of time without producing progeny.”

    Because such would be difficult to police, and circumstances could change. The short answer is: it’s less of a headache not to.

    “You mean, “and therefore I, MJ, feel that it is not improper.”

    That’s cute, I suppose, but meaningless. Your position can easily be characterized as how just you feel as well.

  99. Burr,

    Thank you for your comment. It shows precisely the attitude I was criticizing in that post.

  100. If marriage is all about “…two people wishing to make their lives together.”, why should marriage exist at all as a legal relationship? There is no argument for homosexual marriage that does not undermine the argument for why marriage should exist in first place.

    Likewise, I’ve seen no argument from you that doesn’t boil down to either “that’s just how things are” or “that’s just how things should be.” Come on–you claim that marriage is all about children, yet we don’t refuse marriage license to sixty-year-old women because “it would be too much of a headache?” Your argument keeps shifting.

  101. Jennifer, it is an argument from practicality, not a change in the general principle.

    I’ve also noticed you completely avoided the question about whether you agreed with joe’s quote, or why society should care whether homosexuals have permament exclusive relationships.

  102. MJ, as to why society should care, how about “people in permanent exclusive relationships, regardless of orientation, result in lower STD transmission rates”?

    or, even better, society does not equal government. let individuals discriminate, but not the government.

  103. Jennifer, it is an argument from practicality, not a change in the general principle.

  104. Jennifer, it is an argument from practicality, not a change in the general principle.

    No, it isn’t; if practicality were the main issue we wouldn’t give marriage licenses to dried-up old women who haven’t a chance in hell of procreating. Granted, it would be a huge headache (and a major violation of privacy) to subject women to fertility tests before granting marriage licenses, but if we simpy refused to grant a marriage license to any woman above the age of 55 that would work perfectly well. (Granted, a 55 cutoff age would still allow some women to marry despite their inability to procreate, but no system is perfect.)

    I’ve also noticed you completely avoided the question about whether you agreed with joe’s quote, or why society should care whether homosexuals have permament exclusive relationships.

    Interesting how you use “society shouldn’t care about homosexual relationships” to justify discriminating against them, whereas I’d use “society shouldn’t care about homosexual relationships” as a reason why they should NOT be discriminated.

    But Biologist has already given one societal reason” lower rates of STDs. But I’d rather ignore altogether such a line of discussion, as it is very dangerous indeed to suggest that the only people who desrve the full rights and privileges of citizenship are those for whom “society” would benefit by doing so.

    EDIT: I just discovered, quite by accident, that if you replace a bracket with a question mark, while doing HTML code, everything after said question mark disappears. Huh.

  105. MJ,

    Thank you for [i]your[/i] comment as it proves how ridiculously twisted your own mindset on libertarianism is.. Apparently it’s about making the majority feel good and only granting rights and freedoms to others when they’re “ready.”

    I’ve seen far more irrational and intolerant individuals support drug legalization (which I also support), than I have for gay marriage. How is citing concrete legal example after example of how important it is to recognize marriage properly instead of creating a Demorepublicratic “feel good” compromise in any way irrational or intolerant? It is simply the most principled position out there.

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