Massachusetts Keeps Gay Marriage

|

The Bay State's legislature has voted to keep a gay marriage amendment off the November 2008 ballot.

Because fewer than 50 of the state's 200 lawmakers supported the amendment, it will not appear on the 2008 ballot, giving gay marriage advocates a major victory in their battle with social conservatives to keep same-sex marriage legal in Massachusetts.

Opponents of gay marriage face an increasingly tough battle to win legislative approval of any future petitions to appear on a statewide ballot. The next election available to them is 2012.

The movement for a gay marriage ban fulfilled at least one of its goals—Mitt Romney got some truly awesome photo-ops out of it. But does anyone think there'll be less of an appetite for legal gay marriage five years from now? The pro-amendment movement might stir and moan in a persistent vegetative state for a while, but it's basically been vanquished.

Reason's been all over the gay marriage issue: Gay Marriage author Jonathan Rauch made the case against the Federal Marriage Amendment here. Gay libertarian journalist Jamie Kirchick argued for Massachusetts scheduling a gay marriage amendment vote back in February, in Brainwash.

UPDATE: A statement from Mitt:

Today's vote by the State Legislature is a regrettable setback in our efforts to defend traditional marriage. Unfortunately, our elected representatives decided that the voice of the people did not need to be heard in this debate. It is now even more important that we pass a Constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage. Marriage is an institution that goes to the heart of our society, and our leaders can no longer abdicate their responsibility.

Odd argument: Seven months ago Massachusetts voters had the chance to elect a legislature and governor who would have opposed gay marriage or supported a vote on the ban. They chose to elect a bunch of pro-gay marriage Democrats.

NEXT: Mr. Fancy Pants

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Shouldn’t libertarians be against gay marriage, considering that legalizing it will increase the scope of government, who has no buisiness regulating private relationships in the first place?

  2. “Unfortunately, our elected representatives decided that the voice of the people small minority of radical fundamentalists did not need to be heard in this debate.”

  3. More importantly, a wedge issue is off the table for 2008. This had nothing to do with keeping gay marriage legal–the amendment would fail by popular vote now, let alone in another 17 months

  4. It depends on what school of thought you choose to follow. If one is in favor of equal rights, might favor allowing gays to get married while marriage exists are recognized by the government. Of course, one might be against state marriage altogether, but I guarauntee that many libertarians have been married by the state in the past and will continue to be in the future – that’s because state marriage isn’t going anywhere.

    When most people make the argument that they are against gay marriage because they are against state marriage, I usually doubt that’s the real reason they’re against it… it’s a lot easier to be against something that doesn’t really exist yet – like gay marriage – than to passionately argue against state marriage, which is something I’m sure that people against gay marriage don’t regularly do.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

    Anyway, I’m gay, and I’m a libertarian, and I’m all for marriage.

    I wonder what would happen if the state were to roll back all marriages to merely civil unions. That would separate the church/state conflict and annul the entire argument of gay-marriage opponents – except for the bigots who are against civil unions as well.

  5. Uh, Dan, marriage licensing (by definition) is state intrusion into a person’s life.

  6. Dan, many libertarians are against state-defined marriage. If “marriage” were just a contract, then anybody, gays included, could participate, and all types of relationships could be carefully delineated in the contracts. This could even include three-or-more person relationships, covens, anything.

    However, since it is highly unlikely that the state will get out of the marriage business, the next best option is legalizing gay marriage for equal treatment under the (stupid) law.

    That wasn’t so hard, was it?

  7. Enforcing contractual law is a legitimate function of government, he who cannot be named.

  8. Since the Massachusetts State Constitution requires equal rights as far as marriage is concerned according to the SJC, who like State Supreme Courts everywhere, they decide on any Constitutional disputes that are brought before them, as this was.

    The opponents of Gay Marriage are just having to do what anyone trying to make a Constitutional change has to do, get at least 25%(50 out of 200) of the State Legislature to vote in two consecutive sessions to put it on the ballot. Last year they succeeded with 62. The problem is since then, in actual practice, people are not finding any problems with letting Gays marrying. It didn’t effect my marriage or my life in the least, the society did not collapse and hellfire did not fall upon us, so the opponents have been losing support.

    In today’s vote, the opponents came up short. They could only muster 45 votes thus defeating any attempts to change the Massachusetts Constitution on this until 2012.

    It sounds like Democracy to me. And we did start this country remember, I think we know how to do it as well as anyone, thank you.

  9. “And we did start this country remember”.

    I beg to differ.

  10. Poor Romney.

  11. Not gay…support the gay marriage thing

    The only reason’s gay’s want these type of “special protections” is b-cause they are “especially” targeted by bigots, religious people, nosy bodies, etc.

  12. Jill wants to marry Sue. Joe wants to marry sue. The state will license Joe to do what it forbids Jill from doing, and it discriminates solely on the basis of gender. No way that isn’t a violation of equal protection.

  13. Dan, many libertarians are against state-defined marriage. If “marriage” were just a contract, then anybody, gays included, could participate, and all types of relationships could be carefully delineated in the contracts. This could even include three-or-more person relationships, covens, anything.

    People can already do that. I know gay couples who consider themselves married.

  14. The state will license Joe to do what it forbids Jill from doing, and it discriminates solely on the basis of gender. No way that isn’t a violation of equal protection.
    In a state with Civil Unions, how would it be a violation to get two identical legal statuses with different names?

  15. Considering yourself married doesn’t help collect on the life insurance policy, doesn’t let you make the big decisions at the hospital bedside, and nixes any semblance of intestate justice, just to name a few. What’s the deal, your brain on vacation today?

  16. “People can already do that. I know gay couples who consider themselves married.”

    That’s still not a solution to the real problem at hand here, which is that the government is discriminating against homosexuals when it comes to the legal status of marriage.

    Yeah, you don’t need government approval to get married personally, but you do need it to get married legally.

  17. Shouldn’t libertarians be against gay marriage, considering that legalizing it will increase the scope of government, who has no buisiness regulating private relationships in the first place?

    By George, I think he’s got it!

    Seriously, that’s correct as far as I’m concerned. I mean, not so much of the increasing the scope of government part as the part where if we didn’t have taxes and all that, it wouldn’t matter if you were married or not. I guess the only legal thing I can think of for it to matter is with visiting rights, eligibility of insurance benefits, and authority to make decisions on the others behalf in the case of emergency. I’m not a lawyer though, so I’m not entirely sure how those situations would pan out without a marriage institution entirely.

  18. I consider myself married to Jessica Alba. Sometimes twice a day if I’m feeling rambunctious.

  19. Shouldn’t libertarians be against gay marriage, considering that legalizing it will increase the scope of government, who has no buisiness regulating private relationships in the first place? … People can already do that. I know gay couples who consider themselves married.

    I like this Dan – honest questions, albeit dim witted. Snarky Dan; I’d like to punch in the crotch.

    Even though allowing homos equal protection under the law would increase the scope of government, this is the kind of government libertarians grudgingly accept. Now, if or not the kinds of perks the state confers on married folks are appropriate is another matter. But as long as the heteros get them, so should everyone else.

  20. I guess the only legal thing I can think of for it to matter is with visiting rights, eligibility of insurance benefits, and authority to make decisions on the others behalf in the case of emergency. I’m not a lawyer though

    Isn’t this what documents such as Powers of Attorney and Wills ought to cover? I’m no lawyer either, so I don’t know how much of your ass you can cover w/out the marriage license.

  21. Oh, and Mitt is a douche bag. Traditional marriage … thfpt.

  22. Dan, many libertarians are against state-defined marriage. If “marriage” were just a contract, then anybody, gays included, could participate, and all types of relationships could be carefully delineated in the contracts. This could even include three-or-more person relationships, covens, anything.

    People can already do that. I know gay couples who consider themselves married.

    Considering themselves married and actually being conferred the recognition of such by the state are two completely different things. A lesbian couple I know recently discovered that if you are not condoned by the state to be “married” it is very difficult(read impossible) to visit your sick partner in the ICU ward of a hospital. Despite a living will, “Family only” doesn’t apply to a couple who has been together for over a decade but is not recognized as being “married”.

    I think bourgeoiscowboy said it best:
    “Of course, one might be against state marriage altogether, but … state marriage isn’t going anywhere.”

  23. Gather round while I preach on the correct libertarian position on marriage.

    As fas as the state is concerned. Marriage is a special contract between two people. It comes with a package of rights, privileges, and responsibilities. It is an abomination that the state has claimed the power to aprove and sanction such partnerships by issuing licenses. However, it is entirely appropriate for the state to recognize the legal status of such unions. Therefore, in a libertarian world the state would register, not license, marriage. A couple wishing to, receive and be bound by, the package of rights, privileges, and responsibilities that is marriage, would register with the state, much as you register your vehicles.

  24. Fair enough on the legal marriage vs. “considered” married issue. I concede the point.

    It does bring up another question, however. If the state got out of the marriage business altogether, who would be allowed to visit you in the ICU and make decisions on your behalf?

    And before you answer “the people you contract with do be allowed to do so”, how is the hospital going to know who that is?

  25. Odd argument: Seven months ago Massachusetts voters had the chance to elect a legislature and governor who would have opposed gay marriage or supported a vote on the ban. They chose to elect a bunch of pro-gay marriage Democrats.

    Dave, you sound like Dan T. The fact that a majority of the legislature takes a certain position does not necessarily mean that the people who elected them feel the same way. Perhaps the voters thought other issues were more important when they were voting for a representative.

    Also, keep in mind that the legislature didn’t legalize gay marriage on its own, it was forced to do so by the courts. So, since a majority of the legislature previously didn’t want to legalize gay marriage, does that mean that MA voters didn’t want gay marriage before, but want it now?

  26. Aw jeez. nuther symbol.

  27. People can already do that. I know gay couples who consider themselves married.

    Yes, but what they consider themselves probably doesn’t help when they want to add their spouse to their employee paid health insurance.

    Right now, in order to enjoy the full benifits of marrage, you need to get a legal document from the state to say that you are married. Now, I would prefer the government to not issue those legal documents, and completly eliminate any legal basis for marrage. That would be the libertarian choice. But so long as we need this government piece of paper to fully exercise certain rights, denying that piece of paper to gay people unfairly discriminates against them… understand?

    Look, if gay people didn’t pay any taxes, then maybe you could argue they are less deserving of a marrage licence. But so long as they are having half their income stolen at gunpoint, just like the rest of us… they deserve a crappy piece of paper that says they are married, just like the rest of us.

  28. And before you answer “the people you contract with do be allowed to do so”, how is the hospital going to know who that is?

    For that matter, how is the hospital going to know who you’re really married to? I believe if you’re heterosexual, they just take your word for it. Or do you have to show your marriage license?

    Anyone have insight into this?

  29. Cool, our first “at gunpoint” reference.

  30. Marriage is a special contract between two people.

    So is a Civil Union. In fact, it’s an identical contract, except for the title.

    I will never understand why certain members of the gay lobby feel that it is a worthwhile political exercise to fight for the word “Marriage”, as for example they continue to do in CT years after the establishment of Civil Unions.

  31. Gay libertarian journalist Jamie Kirchick

    That TNR warmonger is a libertarian?

  32. Yes, but what they consider themselves probably doesn’t help when they want to add their spouse to their employee paid health insurance.

    This is interesting because I Do receive my husband’s health insurance, and we don’t have a marriage license. Of course, we’re heterosexual; I’m not sure the company would treat gay couples with as much validity.

  33. So is a Civil Union. In fact, it’s an identical contract, except for the title.

    No, it’s not. A civil union only gives state-level rights, while civil marriage gives a host of federal-level rights (or it would, if said rights weren’t being denied by DOMA).

  34. Dave, you sound like Dan T. The fact that a majority of the legislature takes a certain position does not necessarily mean that the people who elected them feel the same way. Perhaps the voters thought other issues were more important when they were voting for a representative.

    At the risk of sounding like myself, you’re correct that the majority of people may not necessarily hold the same views as their elected representatives.

    But that’s sort of irrelevant – the elected representatives are the people whom the majority entrusted to decide policy issues on their behalf.

    So it’s fair to either say that the people of Mass. are in support of gay marriage or they are in support of leaders who are in support of it. To me, that’s more or less the same thing.

  35. How old is the ‘updated’ statement from Mitt? He may have changed his mind by now.

  36. Dan T. | June 14, 2007, 3:08pm | #

    Fair enough on the legal marriage vs. “considered” married issue. I concede the point.

    Just wondering…has this ever happened before? If not, some sort of award / celebration is deserved…:)

  37. “At the risk of sounding like myself,”

    And Dan T. wins the thread!!!

  38. Lamar,

    Mitt has updated his position. He now believes that all gay people should be put in double Gitmo.

  39. *Marching bands start playing*
    *children laugh playing ball in the street*
    *Old men have a toast to Dan T. in the local Irish pub*

  40. Just wondering…has this ever happened before? If not, some sort of award / celebration is deserved…:)

    I’ve done it a few times, actually.

    Not often, though! 🙂

  41. I’m sure I will get pigeon-holed into some egregious category for this, but what the hell….Dan, I think you are a hoot. I get a giggle everyday over at least one thing you spew (especially the “social contract” bit). That shit is precious.

  42. I trust Mitt Romney will support my efforts to place on the ballot proposals to forbid Republicans from owning land, and Mormons from holding public office.

    Look, I’m just saying, the people should have the right to vote.

  43. “I will never understand why certain members of the gay lobby feel that it is a worthwhile political exercise to fight for the word “Marriage”, as for example they continue to do in CT years after the establishment of Civil Unions.”

    Assuming that this is even correct (which it’s not), how exactly can you justify the idea that separate is equal? Didn’t we learn that this was untrue during the original Civil Rights movement?

    To keep gay marriage under a separate title is still stigmatization, however you choose to look at it.

    I’m fine with civil unions, really – baby steps and all. But ultimately, if one right – the right to MARRIAGE – is extended to heterosexuals, I think it should be extended to homosexuals as well, lest society condones and promotes separation and stigmatization.

  44. if one right – the right to MARRIAGE – is extended to heterosexuals, I think it should be extended to homosexuals as well, lest society condones and promotes separation and stigmatization.

    YES!!!!!!!

    (sadly people do indeed want such separation and stigmatization. They don’t understand what love is.)

  45. (or it would, if said rights weren’t being denied by DOMA)

    Yes but they are being denied. Such is the way of Federalism. So it’s silly to say they aren’t equivalent except for the fact that they are.

    the right to MARRIAGE

    There is no right to marriage. There’s a right to a package of legal rights that a couple is entitled to when they are married. When this same package is available to same sex as well as opposite sex couples, where is the issue?

  46. crimethink,

    “So, since a majority of the legislature previously didn’t want to legalize gay marriage, does that mean that MA voters didn’t want gay marriage before, but want it now?”

    Funny you should bring that up. For about six years in the late 90s/early 00s, a bill was introduced in both houses of the Massachusetts legislature to create Civil Unions. For most of those years, a majority of both houses actually signed on as co-sponsors.

    The Senate passed the bill easily every single year. However, the conservative Democrats who controlled the House (Speaker Tom Finneran, Ways and Means Chairman John Rogers) killed the bill in committee, refusing to let it even come to a committe vote, nevermind a floor vote.

    You know what the “we just want to hear the voice of the people” jerks were doing during that time? Slapping Tom Finnerand and John Rogers on the back, thanking them for protecting traditional marriage, and writing checks to their campaign funds.

    So no, there isn’t even a pro-democracy reason to side with the homophobes over my state’s gay marriage law.

  47. When this same package is available to same sex as well as opposite sex couples, where is the issue?

    So why not call it “marriage” then? If it the same why use a different phrase to describe it?

  48. I agree with bourgeois cowboy when he writes, “To keep gay marriage under a separate title is still stigmatization, however you choose to look at it.” I support gay marriage, and think it is better than civil unions, even when they provide for all of the same rights, for exactly that reason. It is nothing more than petty, neanderthal prejudice to stigmatize homosexuals like that.

    However, I disagree with the Goodrich ruling, insofar as it defined this stigmatization as a violation of the equal protection clause – even though I agree with Brown vs. Board in its renunciation of seperate-but-equal.

    In the case of Brown, black and white kids really were kept seperate. They were sent to different schools, meaning they grew up in different social circles. When they grew up, they had different sets of social and professional contacts, which led to unequal opportunities. Even if the schools were of equal quality, they really weren’t providing the kids with equal protections and benefits.

    That’s not the case with calling gay people’s marriages “civil unions” in the lawbooks. Union-ed gay couples would have exactly the same opportunities, meet the same people, have the same contacts, and live the same lives than if their marriages were referred to by the correct term.

    In the Goodrich decision, the justification for why civil unions were inferior was defined as “some people will feel differently about a gay couple if their union is called a civil union instead of a marriage.”

    Well, I don’t think that cuts it. Equal opportunity, equal membership in society, those are protections under the law. They way people feel about you? That’s not protection under the law.

    I don’t think such stigmatization serves any good purpose, and I do support gay marriage over civil unions, but I disagree with the decision on that specific question. I think it would have been better law, if not better politics, for the SJC to issue a Vermont-style ruling.

  49. If libs really believe the majority want gay marriage, then why not put it on the ballot? Wouldn’t that be a political victory for them? Is gay marriage only palatable to libs when it’s part of a Democrats larger platform?

  50. So why not call it “marriage” then? If it the same why use a different phrase to describe it?

    Because people are homophobes.

    I’m not saying that it’s not silly to have Civil Unions just to “preserve marriage”. I’m saying that I don’t see why certain members of the gay lobby think that it’s worthwhile politically to fight for “Marriage” when a Civil Union option has been established.

    And I’m not buying this “Oh my, I’m stigmatized!” argument either.

  51. If libs really believe the majority want gay marriage, then why not put it on the ballot?”

    1. Because a furious, highly motivated minority is much more likely to turn out at the polls than a less-motivated majority.

    2. Because putting people’s civil liberties up for a vote is a disgusting violation of the principles of a liberal society, no matter how the vote turns out.

  52. The question begs: If you can get all the benefits of marriage without the state recognizing the name of it, can’t YOU still call your life parter your “husband” or “wife” or whatever? Only a serious asshole who already hates you would be like “no, he’s not your husband, he’s your ‘life partner.'”

  53. “Marriage is a special contract between two people.”

    it’s an extended liability partnership in many states, if not all of them.

    in some ways it is incredibly fucked up.

  54. VM,

    I don’t understand this human emotion you call “love.”

    Anyway, while I’ll never understand the pure hatred the gay marriage issue engenders on the “anti” side, it does have one useful function. It’s a fine litmus test for loonies. Against gay marriage? Boom, no need to speak with you any longer. Gay marriage is an expansion of human rights* that has virtually no externalities to society. Opposing it is nothing but rank bigotry.

    *Yes, yes… government doesn’t grant rights, I know… work with me here, people.

  55. I will never understand why certain members of the gay lobby feel that it is a worthwhile political exercise to fight for the word “Marriage”,

    Because when I meet the person that I love and want to spend the rest of my life with as a partner in a government sanctioned contract, it shouldn’t have a different name if they have a pee-pee or a hoo-hah, considering that the contract is the same in every other way.

    Joe makes good arguments about the legal right to have it called marriage, but I think the feeling and the movement is valid. Suppose, for example, the government started calling female military members “almost-soldiers” or adopted kids “non-biological children” or such. “Oh, but you have the same rights!” Yes, but if it’s not the same name, there’s a pretty strong implication that it’s not the same thing, and worse, that it’s a second-class, “You gays should be happy with what we gave you, so stop whining” substitute. Sure, it’s all feeling and perception. That’s still worth fighting for.

  56. MP – “There is no right to marriage. There’s a right to a package of legal rights that a couple is entitled to when they are married. When this same package is available to same sex as well as opposite sex couples, where is the issue?”

    According to the Supreme Court: Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival.

  57. there’s a pretty strong implication that it’s not the same thing, and worse, that it’s a second-class

    And “African-American” is not? I mean, we’re all Americans, right? Don’t arbitrary racial classifications (and yes, they are entirely arbitrary) make for second-class citizens?

    Oh…that’s right…they don’t…because they are treated the same. The are just classified differently.

    Of course, you can argue that labeling someone as an African-American makes them feel bad (and it actually might, depending on their ancestry). But last I checked, Equal Protection wasn’t all about making us all shiny happy people holding hands.

  58. Sugar Free: that’s for sure.

    Between pro torture people and those who fear gay marriage (or those who can’t understand LOVE) or get icked out, we have a coupla strong tests.

    What Ellie said.

  59. basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival.

    Yeah…yet another Loving lover…too bad they were talking about same sex marriage.

  60. What I want to know is, when will a gay couple that married in MA and moved to another state file its own (pardon the term) “Dred Scott case”? It seems to me open-and-shut that states have an absolute obligation, imposed directly by the Constitution, to recognize each other’s marriages, and therefore Congress’s attempt to remove that obligation by passing the Defense of Marriage Act is null and void on its face.

    Maybe the ACLU can redeem its tattered pro-liberty credentials by representing the plaintiffs in such a case.

  61. ferdotted this:

    *sends Ellie basket full of little kittens.

  62. (sorry…edit…were talking about opposite sex marriage)

  63. ‘Only a serious asshole…’

    I’m going to stop you right there, Reinmoose. This is Massachusetts we’re talking about.

    Ellie, I think the feeling and movement is valid, too. I hope there’s no confusion about that – I’m on the same side of the political question.

    As far as my legal quibble – y’know, I can live with it. Just fine.

  64. I also want to make it clear that I am in support of full marriage rights for homosexuals. I don’t mean to come across otherwise.

    Yes.. Mass-holes 🙂

    Ditto on the loony litmus tests

  65. MP,

    “The are just classified differently.”

    No, they are not. “African-American” is a term applied to a category of “Americans.” The equivalent term for gay people’s legal unions would be “gay marriages” – that is, a type of marriage – not “civil union” – that is, something that is not a marriage.

  66. If the state got out of the marriage business altogether, who would be allowed to visit you in the ICU and make decisions on your behalf?

    And before you answer “the people you contract with do be allowed to do so”, how is the hospital going to know who that is?

    Finally I see someone besides me who doesn’t forget the judiciary fx of gov’t, and who therefore realizes gov’t can’t duck the question of deciding who’s married.

    Since the meanings of words in common use are adopted by custom, custom alone should direct the court in deciding whether the term “family” or “spouse” in someone’s legal document (such as a hospital’s rules regarding visitors) includes same sex couples — not legislation, not considerations of “equal rights”, etc. What did the hospital mean when they put that rule into effect?

    Atempts by sovereigns to redefine the meaning of words which are not the sovereign’s terms of art are tyranny.

  67. 2. Because putting people’s civil liberties up for a vote is a disgusting violation of the principles of a liberal society, no matter how the vote turns out.

    Supposed civil liberties that have been on the books for a few months in one state, you mean. So, because you finally found one court that agrees with you on this issue, its ruling cannot be questioned.

  68. The equivalent term for gay people’s legal unions would be “gay marriages”

    “civil union” and “marriage” are both subsets of “partnership contracts”.

    However you want to define the set/subset relationships, “Civil Union” is a classification that carries equivalent legal protection.

  69. Also, I find it interesting that several of the same people who were dissing the US Flag as being “just a symbol” on the other thread, are here saying that homosexuals civil liberties are being violated if you don’t let them use the word “marriage” to refer to their relationships.

    Just an observation.

  70. MP – What would your reaction be if say California voted (by referendum) to allow gay unions to be called Marriage but defined Heterosexual unions as “civil unions”

  71. What would your reaction be if say California voted (by referendum) to allow gay unions to be called Marriage but defined Heterosexual unions as “civil unions”

    I wouldn’t care if they changed the word “Marriage” to be “PreDivorce”

  72. Ruling smuling crimethink.

    Marriage is a civil right, and it was a civil right long before the Massachusetts SJC got around to recognizing it, or that it applied to gay people, too.

  73. MP,

    “However you want to define the set/subset relationships, “Civil Union” is a classification that carries equivalent legal protection.”

    I agree, but we weren’t talking about their legal protection. We were talking about the semiotics of the terms “African-American,” “American,” “marriage,” and “civil union.”

    I’m totally with you on the legal-protection angle – I wrote that above, and you yepped me. You brought up a different point, about the meaning of the words.

  74. However you want to define the set/subset relationships, “Civil Union” is a classification that carries equivalent legal protection.

    Someone familiar with the matter help me out here: Do civil unions extend fifth amendment protections the way marriages do? That is, back when I was married, I couldn’t be compelled to testify against my wife. Does the same thing hold for parties to a civil union?

  75. Vermont Civil Union FAQ

    laws relating to immunity from compelled testimony and the marital communication privilege;

    Google is your friend.

  76. Google is your friend.

    Touch?. I feel compelled to point out, though, that that section is titled, “Other laws that may apply to parties to a civil union” [emphasis added].

  77. Different Civil Union bills provide for different rights.

  78. joe,

    So, now having a semantically pleasing term for your relationship is a civil right?

    Forget about your side devaluing marriage. Now you’re devaluing civil rights.

  79. “Goin’ to the chapel / And I’m gonna get civilly unioned” doesn’t flow very well.

  80. Forget about your side devaluing marriage.

    When I someday get separate-but-equally civil-unioned, I promise to value your marriage just as much as you value it yourself!

  81. I’ll probably lose my libertarian decoder ring for this, but I see problems with the state getting out of the marriage business completely. Unfortunately, many people are irresponsible and will not enter into the necessary formal contracts. A marriage contract provides a legal framework for resolving inheritance disputes in the absence of a will. In the absence of a formal power of attorney, it provides clear rules in the event a person becomes unable to make decisions. It provides a framework for parental rights.

    I’m sure there are more, but this is what I can think of right now.

  82. what a treat. double the dickhead today.

  83. I thought that the purpose of government santioned marriage was to create little future taxpayers.

    Maybe it should be policy that only child bearing people should be able to be married. Heterosexual couples who can’t or won’t make with zee babymaking will just have to give up being married. If you can’t concieve, you must co-habitate.

    Seriously, I would be on board with government sanctioned gay marriage, if and only if the gays have to go through the same hell when they get a divorce, including alimony, marriage counseling and community property division.

  84. Hark! What is that in the distance?

    Forget about your side devaluing marriage.

    Yes it is! It’s the dulcet trill of the North American purple-throated bigot!

    Please, sweet bird, please enumerate the externalities that gay marriage will lard onto your narrow shoulders. Will you no longer be able to get it up for your wife when gays can marry? Will you have no way to keep the dread homosexuals from turning your lawn into a leather club on Friday nights? Will you have to learn how to dance?

    Go back to your church steeple, sweet bird, and nest in your precious Bible.

  85. I’ll probably lose my libertarian decoder ring for this, but I see problems with the state getting out of the marriage business completely.

    Nobody’s asking the state to get out of the mutual contract enforcement business.

  86. Not the purple-throated, yellah bellehed bigot!

    *jarring chord

  87. Nobody’s asking the state to get out of the mutual contract enforcement business.

    That wasn’t my point. My point was that there will be disputes that have to be resolved somehow. e.g. Who is the executor of a person’s estate in the absence of a will?

  88. “Shouldn’t libertarians be against gay marriage, considering that legalizing it will increase the scope of government, who has no buisiness regulating private relationships in the first place?”

    Got it? No way. What if the Klan proposes banning blacks from areas where the state has no business being, like government schools, public sidewalks and roads, and denying them access to the post office, stripping just blacks of social security, and every other program we consider bad. By this logic we would have to praise them for proposing a giant leap forward for liberty! Absurd. Get the state out for sure. Until that happens access must be equal.

    By the way I found it bizarre that Romney is defending traditional marriage. But whose tradition? His great grandfather had five wives, his great-great grandfather had 12. His father was born in a polygamist community in Mexico. I put this information up on freestudents dot blogspot dot com.

  89. VM, I wouldn’t go to grylliade for a while if I were you. They know now who led the miserable dickhead to their hideout.

  90. I said to forget about devaluing marriage.

    But you guys just keep remembering.

  91. crimethink,

    “So, now having a semantically pleasing term for your relationship is a civil right?”

    I am surrounded by idiots today! NO, YOU BLEATING MORON, I WROTE EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE!!! READ MY COMMENT AT 3:50!!! READ IS, YOU JIBBERING IMBECILE!!!

    Jesus effing Christ, what the hell?!?

  92. Not only do I have to put up with pinheads reading shit I never wrote into my comments, I have to put up with them reading a very detailed, reasoned elucidation of my beliefs and chiding me for arguing exactly the opposite the position!

    It’s sort of a chicken-egg situation: does disagreeing with me about politics make on a moron, or do morons just disagree with me about politics?

  93. OMG! joe – wtf.

    Your 6:25 comment – why the hell are you speaking out against puppies? That’s totally not fair.

  94. joe,

    Like Nietzche said, contend not with morons lest you become a moron.

    Sorry, I was coming to the discussion late as I was otherwise occupied, so I was going off a later post where you seemed to be taking a different stand.

  95. That’s ok.

    Got a little carried away there.

    Ahem, “I belive you may have misunderstood my position. My post at 3:50 addresses the very issue you raise, If you’d be so kind…”

  96. I’m not saying that it’s not silly to have Civil Unions just to “preserve marriage”. I’m saying that I don’t see why certain members of the gay lobby think that it’s worthwhile politically to fight for “Marriage” when a Civil Union option has been established.

    “Gay lobby” huh? Using the same logic, if in some state only Caucasians were allowed to get married while Blacks were only allowed to have Civil Unions, you think the “black lobby” should just accept that? Got to love the “separate but equal” nonsense.

  97. “I’m saying that I don’t see why certain members of the gay lobby think that it’s worthwhile politically to fight for “Marriage” when a Civil Union option has been established.”

    Maybe they’re hoping that society-wide acceptance of their humanity and equality will lead to fewer of them being fired from jobs, denied housing, and having their heads stomped in by hooligans.

  98. But, joe, can society-wide acceptance be brought about by legislation or court order?

  99. If semantics is the only issue, then why not let the gays and other undesirables use the term “marriage” and the uptight homophobes can pick some new title to describe their pure, higher authority approved unions. Maybe something like Christ Unions would work, then it would be impossible for the large numbers of gays, secular and childless couples to defile the sanctity of the real bond between straight, god fearing, procreating men and women.

  100. crimethink,

    “But, joe, can society-wide acceptance be brought about by legislation or court order?”

    It depends on what the legislation or court order says. I’d say that the experience that millions of white Americans had with having black classmates throughout their eductions certainly did change white America’s mind about black people – and that came about through a court order.

    Let’s put it this way – the people who desperately want gay people to remain despised, second-class citizens are quite explicit in their assertions that calling gay unions “marriages” will lead to greater acceptance of gay people.

  101. “Maybe something like Christ Unions would work”

    As a married man, I have a proposal: “Jesus-This-Sucks.”

  102. If the vast majority of Mass. voters were all that hot and bothered about gay marriage they would in fact elect a legislature devoted to sending the issue to the people. Note that the threshold here ain’t very high either – all the anti-gay marriage folks need is fifty votes in the state legislature (out of what, ~200 legislators). Thus they can’t even muster 1/4 of the votes of that body (indeed, they lost by six votes this time).

  103. Damn. I wasn’t paying attention today. Gay-bashing. How quaint. Anyone up for a lynching later, then?
    No, no, no, I’m being a jerk.
    Seriouser suggestion: How about you let the gays marry, but a bell rings at sundown and then they have to start acting like they’re not married? Sounds so fair to me. Tell you what – I’ll throw in separate water fountains for ’em, too. Deal?

  104. “How about you let the gays marry, but a bell rings at sundown and then they have to start acting like they’re not married?”

    Man, sometimes they just write themselves…

  105. Oh, man, good catch, joe!

  106. How about you let the gays marry, but a bell rings at sundown and then they have to start acting like they’re not married?

    I remember a Looney Tunes cartoon like that, except with a a sheepdog and a wolf.

  107. Um, can we have that, too?

  108. joe wrote “In the Goodrich decision, the justification for why civil unions were inferior was defined as “some people will feel differently about a gay couple if their union is called a civil union instead of a marriage.””

    I imagine this could set up situations of willful hairsplitting where a bigoted person will say, for example, “I’m sorry, the rules say ‘married couple’, not ‘civil unioned’ so you can’t…” and thus discriminate.

    It’d be wrong, and probably actionable, but the distinction in terminology enhances the potential for such situations. Which is kinda silly, if the idea is for the underlying concept to be the same.

    Basically, if you want the new thing to fit into all circumstances where the old thing is applied, it’s best to call it the same thing. Especially when some elements of society are likely to be resistant to the change.

  109. “Grotius wrote: Thus they can’t even muster 1/4 of the votes of that body (indeed, they lost by six votes this time).”

    Not only that, this whole issue just came up in January, too. And nine people who voted ‘yes’ then changed their votes to ‘no’ this time.

  110. crimethink wrote: “So, because you finally found one court that agrees with you on this issue, its ruling cannot be questioned.”

    Oh, it’s been questioned. And protested. And lobbied against.

    It’s just that they lost. LOST Because it is an unpopular position they hold, which is growing even less popular by the day.

    The antis gave it their best shot, again and again, and this time they couldn’t scare up 50 votes out of 200. That there is what you call a lost cause.

  111. John David Galt wrote:” It seems to me open-and-shut that states have an absolute obligation, imposed directly by the Constitution, to recognize each other’s marriages, and therefore Congress’s attempt to remove that obligation by passing the Defense of Marriage Act is null and void on its face.”

    Um, why do you assume that? Many kinds of permit and license are not honored across state borders. Why should a marriage license inherently be different than a gun license, or a license to practice medicine?

    Marriages are currently honored across state lines because that’s the rational thing to do given human travel. But states don’t have to do the rational thing. Antipathy towards gay marriage is eminently not rational, so there’s no reason to think states will honor gay marriages from other states.

  112. bjalder wrote: “If libs really believe the majority want gay marriage, then why not put it on the ballot? Wouldn’t that be a political victory for them? ”

    Anything to avoid admitting the depth of the failure of the anti-gay faction.

    It’s like they keep trying to believe MA is some backwater state of Bible-thumpers like Florida or something.

  113. Not necessarily. Boston and its suburbs may be liberal as hell but the rest of Massachusetts is not that left-wing. There’s no guarantee gay marriage would pass a plebisicite.

  114. And “African-American” is not? I mean, we’re all Americans, right? Don’t arbitrary racial classifications (and yes, they are entirely arbitrary) make for second-class citizens?

    If the majority of Black people wanted to be called “Americans” like everybody else, but the government insisted that they be called “African-Americans” in official documents, then yeah, I think that’s a pretty douchey thing to do, and worth fighting against.

  115. John David Galt (If that IS your real name),

    There is a long-recognized “Public Policy Exception” to the Full Faith and Credit Clause to the Constitution. If another state’s contracts violate your state’s stated public policy, it need not recognize the contract.

    Back in the Jim Crow days, mixed-race couples who got married up north would sometimes sue to get the southern state they moved to to recognize their marriage, and lose.

    So states that have passed thos odious “No Fags” amendments to their marriage laws have a very strong precedent to point to if they are challenged.

    And yes, I know that Loving vs. Virginia overturned miscengenation laws. It did not overturn the Public Policy Exception.

  116. Mitt may want to brace himself. I fully intend to take things a step further.

    Under my administration, a same-sex marriage or civil union performed in any State, shall be recognized in all fifty.

    If an individual State doesn’t wish to perform same-sex unions, that’s their business. But under the Constitution, no State can dictate policy to any other — including the nullification of its marriages.

  117. Odd argument: Seven months ago Massachusetts voters had the chance to elect a legislature and governor who would have opposed gay marriage or supported a vote on the ban. They chose to elect a bunch of pro-gay marriage Democrats.

    That’s an odd argument, ok! I’m pro-choice, but I vote for a lot of pro-life candidates. Why do I do that? Because pro-life candidates are frequently the same ones that favor lower taxes, and taxes are a higher priority issue for me than abortion. But if there was a referendum on whether abortion should be legal or not, I’d vote to keep it legal despite that position being contrary to the one held by my preferred candidates.

    Politicians and parties are package deals; you don’t get a line-item veto. That’s the object of a referendum, to create an opportunity to provide that veto. To say that voters prefer a specific policy because they happened to elect a majority of politicians that support it is silly. It may only demonstrate that the issue wasn’t their primary consideration.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.