LGBT

California Gay Marriage Redux

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Columnist Ron Hart on gay marriage in California and the liberal and conservative responses to same:

If your hate of gays is religious based, then you need to examine the part of the Constitution that gives you your rights to pursue your beliefs. You are free to choose your religion. You are free to practice it as you see fit as long as it does not harm others.  What is not sensible is for any one group to codify its particular religious beliefs into law. It is certainly the right for a church to forbid such gay activity in the church (or in the case of the Catholic Church to make them priests), but it is not its right to impose its interpretation of the Bible as civil law.

Liberals have to stop trying to legislate from the bench. Conservatives, who used to be about liberty and individual responsibility until they lost their way, have to put their personal and religious feelings aside. Back when it appealed to me, the GOP was for less government intrusion and more freedom. Both Parties need to rethink what they have become.

More here.

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  1. But we’re a democracy, which means government is around to prevent people from doing things society doesn’t like.

  2. “Both Parties need to rethink what they have become.”

    Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. Thanks, I needed a laugh this morning.

  3. I really don’t like Ron Hart’s writing. It’s fully of cheap shot jokes and over the top punditry. And then there’s this:

    And if the gays start losing half their stuff and a house in divorce

    “the gays”? Might as well just say “those fags” and get it over with.

  4. MP,

    Maybe Ron Hart was Army or Marine. Their ability to use extremely un-PC language is legendary.

  5. Is it the “the” that buggers bugs you? As in Teh Joos?

  6. I like this Ron Hart fellow. Sounds like a thoughtful sort.

  7. For what it’s worth, I vote in favor of cheap-shot jokes and over-the-top punditry, no matter the target.

  8. Might as well just say “those fags” and get it over with.

    Both Parties need to rethink what they have become.

    Add the libertarian party to his list, if the PCers here are any indication.

  9. You’re not Dave Barry! You’re not Dave Barry!

    *runs, slams door*

  10. Hart is very smart and funny. Sorry the language is not PC enough for you guys. I guess you find PJ O’Rourke a bit too blue too?

  11. “But I’m the moth important libertarian issue!”

  12. My impression of this Ron Hart person is that he sticks to the low-hanging fruits.

  13. Conservatives, who used to be about liberty and individual responsibility until they lost their way…

    Until they decided that an easy way to garner votes is to pander to the James Dobson crowd.

  14. Hart takes on both sides here and his point is valid. The courts and government should stay out of this and just let the turd burglars alone. We got enough problems. You have to admit, if you have any sense of humor, that Hart is Dennis Miller like in his tone. I dig it.

  15. “Liberals have to stop legislating from the bench.”

    The legislative branch had its crack at the gay marriage issue back when the Congress voted on the 14th Amendment and back when the various state legislatures ratified the 14th Amendment.

    The CA ruling is based on their state constitution, so I’ll leave that to one side for the moment – but, in general, the whole “legislating from the bench” complaint fails to recognize that any litigation that appeals to one of the Amendments is based on legislative action in the broadest sense.

  16. Liberals have to stop trying to legislate from the bench.

    Sigh. Do we have to go through this *again*? Judging a law to be unconstitutional is not legislating — it’s doing what the judicial branch is supposed to do. You can’t argue that anti-gay marriage laws are unconstitutional in one breath and then turn around and say that declaring them so is “legilating from the bench”. False balance is idiotic.

  17. There will always be people against equality. Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose. For those who are uncomfortable with gay marriage check out our short produced to educate & defuse the controversy. It has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue: http://www.OUTTAKEonline.com

  18. Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose an agreement between two individuals that the government has no business with.

  19. What Nigel said.

  20. What is not sensible is for any one group to codify its particular religious beliefs into law… it is not its right to impose its interpretation of the Bible as civil law

    This is some nonsense. Gay marriage is illegal in lots of countries that have little biblical tradition or are mostly atheist. It’s perfectly valid for people to outlaw some practice–whether gay marriage or bearing false witness–because they believe the conduct to be both morally wrong as revealed in sacred texts and at the same time because they believe it’s morally wrong as discerned by natural reason.

    I’m not advocating that gay marriage is morally wrong as discerned by natural reason, but it’s dishonest to say that all opposition to gay marriage is just an attempt to impose some biblical view as law.

  21. There will always be people against equality.

    Ummm

    Oh, fuck it.

  22. When I was in elementary school, there was one kid who used to start fights, and if it turned out that the fight was gong poorly for him, would wait until he got one punch in, and then back off and say “We shouldn’t be fighting.”

    People who make an anti-gay-marriage argument based on their horror at the government recognizing marriage remind me of that kid.

  23. Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose an agreement between two individuals that the government has no business with.

  24. Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose an agreement between two individuals beings that the government has no business with, other than enforcement of the agreement.

  25. an agreement between two individuals that the government has no business with

    Well, you can’t have it both ways. Gays (rightly) expect the same civil rights as nongays when it comes to marriage. You can’t have civil rights without a civil authority. If they want a rules-free marriage, they can simply live together as many people do and forego the government imprimatur.

  26. ed,

    What part of the government staying out of it are you arguing about?

    I am all for any person willing their property to anybody and the government enforcing that will. What are you for?

  27. People who make an anti-gay-marriage argument based on their horror at the government recognizing marriage remind me of that kid.

    Are you claiming that I’m making an anti-gay-marriage argument?

  28. “And if the gays start losing half their stuff and a house in divorce”

    Well some of us are smart enough not to live in california and experienced enough with legal issues (since the laws are so screwed up) to have properly written up partnership contracts.

  29. I’m saying you can’t complain about government involvement in your marriage if you want that same government to protect your civil and property rights.

  30. I’m saying you can’t complain about government involvement in your marriage if you want that same government to protect your civil and property rights.

    Do you need government involvement in any other contract to be sure that they’ll enforce it?

  31. I’m saying you can’t complain about government involvement in your marriage if you want that same government to protect your civil and property rights.

    O Rly?

    If you write up a contract as opposed to “marriage”, it would explicitly define who gets what, and all the government would have to do (and only if there was a problem) to protect your civil and property rights is make sure each person gets the stuff specified in the contract.

    Just like any other contract.

  32. It is interesting that the pro-marriage crowd has no problem telling me that I can get married “whenever I want”, even though I never want a paperwork marriage again.

    Somehow, that is an argument for them to have the government sort out everybody’s belongings after they die, but when pressed on the details they are clueless. (like the people who toss out “no fault divorce”, honestly thinking that it replaced all the fault-based divorce actions)

    All I want is my stuff to go to who I say, not the government, not some chick who said we dated long enough for a “common law” arrangement, not some long-term roommate, maybe not even a blood relative.

    What is so freaking hard to understand about that?

  33. I don’t think it’s at all inconsistent to say both that you think gay marriage should be legal the way that marriage is currently handled in the US and that you think the government should eliminate marriage benefits, and in that regard get out of the marriage business. A marriage would therefore become just a certain class of contract between two people, and would hold with it no tax benefits or anything requiring those of us who are not married to participate in their marriage.

  34. Yes, Nigel, I am. It’s the rebuttable assumption I work with.

    Having never, ever seen that argument made in any other context except in opposition to extending the benefits of marriage to willing gay couples, I assume that it is being employed that way, unless I see evidence of the person making it having argued against the government recognition of marriage prior to this issue.

  35. Just like any other contract.

    And who will enforce that contract if not the government?
    Are you setting up your own fiefdom, Guy?

  36. Having never, ever seen that argument made in any other context except in opposition to extending the benefits of marriage to willing gay couples, I assume that it is being employed that way, unless I see evidence of the person making it having argued against the government recognition of marriage prior to this issue.

    Well, I’m not. I’m making a small-government argument. If government insists on granting marriages, anybody should be able to get one, but the gay marriage argument demonstrates the incapability of government to satisfy everyone’s needs when it does everything. Hence, it’s a convenient starting point to argue against government involvement in marriage.

  37. And who will enforce that contract if not the government?

    Just because the government can enforce a contract does not give them the ability to interfere with the terms of the contract.

  38. Just because the government can enforce a contract does not give them the ability to interfere with the terms of the contract.

    Ed’s got to be trolling. There’s no way he’s this stupid.

  39. Hear, fucking hear for fluffy’s comments. Congress passed this Amendment saying laws have to apply equally to citizens. The current marriage laws do not. The Court struck down the laws passed by a legislature that conflict with the Amendment passed by the legislature. Saying that any striking of a law enacted by a legislature is wrong puts any supporter of the recent Heller decision in a bit of a pickle…

  40. JFC ed, try reading what I wrote instead of making up stupid questions that support YOUR nonsense.

    And who will enforce that contract if not the government?

    How many times must I specify the government before you drop your ignorance?

    Are you setting up your own fiefdom, Guy?

    Nope, not outside of my home anyway. Have a problem with that one too?

  41. Ed’s got to be trolling. There’s no way he’s this stupid.

    Yes he can be. ed is the new joe.

  42. I’ll take your word for it, Nigel.

    The test, of course, is whether you consider the “marriage should be a private contract” argument to be a point in favor of maintaining discriminatory marriage laws for this transitional period, before the state (or at least, its practice of recognizing marriage) withers away.

  43. “It is interesting that the pro-marriage crowd has no problem telling me that I can get married “whenever I want”, even though I never want a paperwork marriage again.”

    And the women of the world rejoice…

  44. Whoops, looks like Tuff Gai of Teh Internetz is not-reading my comments again. That guy not-reads better than anyone I’ve ever encountered.

    There, there, ed. We can’t all have the raw intellectual firepower that has earned Guy Montag his reputation.

  45. “And who will enforce that contract if not the government?”

    The government will enforce contracts because private enforcement tends to get messy and causes problems, not because contracts are inherently a governmental arrangement.

  46. IF the state is going to administer marriages, THEN should they be available to both hetero and homo-sexuals alike?

    Let’s answer that question, and then let’s talk about “no government involvement in marriage” (except of course for enforcement, curiously the “coercion” part of the deal)

  47. MNG, for you:

    “You don’t wanna beat me or screw me?!? What kind of marriage is this? Bring a book.”

  48. The test, of course, is whether you consider the “marriage should be a private contract” argument to be a point in favor of maintaining discriminatory marriage laws for this transitional period, before the state (or at least, its practice of recognizing marriage) withers away.

    No, I’d prefer the state recognizing gay marriage to the current situation, but I don’t want the state having more than an enforcement interest in marriage contracts in the first place.

  49. “Whoops, looks like Tuff Gai of Teh Internetz is not-reading my comments again. That guy not-reads better than anyone I’ve ever encountered.”

    Does anyone else who loves Bradbury see the hilarious irony of a guy who’s handle is Guy Montag deciding he will filter out and not read people whose comments he dislikes?

  50. The immortal wisdom of Jerri Blank.

    I also miss Onyx Blackman.

  51. Does anyone else who loves Bradbury see the hilarious irony of a guy who’s handle is Guy Montag deciding he will filter out and not read people whose comments he dislikes?

    You make an excellent point.

  52. For the people who want the government out of the marriage business, except for the enforcement part, can you specify what parts of the “business” you want them out of and why those parts are more egregious than the enforcement part? Just curious.

  53. except of course for enforcement, curiously the “coercion” part of the deal

    Why is that curious?

  54. If gay marriage had been legal then I wonder if Mr. Jellinek and Mr. Noblet could have been happy and stopped living the farce they did…

  55. I also miss Onyx Blackman.

    “All of our hard work has finally paid off.”

  56. Having never, ever seen that argument made in any other context except in opposition to extending the benefits of marriage to willing gay couples, I assume that it is being employed that way

    Whoa, slow down, joe.

    Whenever I see this argument advanced, it’s usually a “civil unions for everyone” argument. And I don’t only read libertarian sites.

    I actually very, very rarely encounter it as an argument against equal rights for gays, and I wonder where you do.

    I think you’re confusing it with the “no special rights for gays” argument, which is a much different animal.

  57. Epi,

    You make an excellent point.

    It is an excellent point for one to read people who make sense and ignore those who prove to be nothing but trolls?

  58. For the people who want the government out of the marriage business, except for the enforcement part, can you specify what parts of the “business” you want them out of and why those parts are more egregious than the enforcement part?

    Well, MNG, historically there was almost no distinction between marriage as a civil institution and marriage as a religious institution in western societies. But there didn’t HAVE to be, because the distinction between civil and religious authority was tenuous in any event.

    But here in the US with our tradition of religious pluralism we tried to separate the two. And the problem is that denying gays the right to civil marriage obviously violates equal protection, but granting access to civil marriage to gays freaks out religious minorities because it uses the word “marriage”.

    To be magnanimous and preserve marriage as a religious institution as it was historically understood, we should simply eliminate civil marriage and institute civil unions for all couples, straight and gay. There’s no real reason for the civil institution to be called “marriage” anyway. Call it jaberwocky for all I care. That way we remove the equal protection issue by “getting the government out of marriage”.

  59. For the people who want the government out of the marriage business, except for the enforcement part, can you specify what parts of the “business” you want them out of and why those parts are more egregious than the enforcement part?

    What is egregious about enforcement of a contract? If I took a loan from you and refused to pay it back, or were late on all my payments, would you prefer not to have legal recourse? I accept. Give me $500,000 please.

  60. Reinmoose,

    It seems this “argument” is just spirling into a “but why” emulation of third graders, on the part of those who do not bother reading what thos on our side of this write.

  61. It is an excellent point for one to read people who make sense and ignore those who prove to be nothing but trolls?

    Given how incapable you are of sticking to your promise of ignoring me, that’s quite a statement.

    If not for the fact that you are a blithering idiot, I’d be honored by your charactization of me as someone who makes sense.

  62. Fluffy,

    If marriage is to be a religious institution only, with no civil meaning, how can atheists get married?

    No more City Clerk marriages? Ships’ captains? Just a priest, or nothing?

  63. Rienmoose-What I mean is that the enforcement is the part where the government gets to, well, use force on someone. I’m not saying its not justified, mind you, but I understand many libertarians to not like this government using force on folks and to be very loathe to want to see it happen (I don’t think libertarians NEVER want to see it happen). And so to be very angry that the government has this ceremony and this designation “marriage” strikes me as a small thing for government to be doing as opposed to the enforcement of contracts, which seems like big government in comparison.

  64. “’til death boredom do us part”

  65. If marriage is to be a religious institution only, with no civil meaning, how can atheists get married?

    They

    can

    sign

    a

    contract.

    NOT HARD.

  66. “’til death boredom do us part something better comes along”

  67. Nigel,

    Some thick skulls in here, eh?

  68. Is it the legal rights and obligations that the government recognizes and enforces that is the “business” of marriage that you guys are talking about? Like the tax exemptions (or penalties) or the eligibility for certain government programs or the legality of certain preferences (for example in adoption or legal custody)? These strike me as pretty intangible things. Or is it simply the fact of hte government “recognizing” this contract in a ceremony with a particular name? Because that strikes me as small and petty potatoes.

  69. And the problem is that denying gays the right to civil marriage obviously violates equal protection

    Actually it doesn’t obviously do so in the sense that a gay could still enter in marriage with someone of the opposite sex. It’s only obvious if we hold that people have a right to a certain sexual practice in marriage. There are plenty of gays who have, for whatever reason, been married and availed themselves of marriage laws (Cole Porter, to pick one famous example). I’m not arguing here about extending or not extending marriage to gas, but rather pointing out that the state defining marriage as between opposite sexes does not deprive anyone of the benefit of that law. It may deprive them of the benefit under terms of their choosing, but it is nonetheless available.

    Again, I’m not arguing for the status quo, but just pointing out that equal protection as an argument for a broader definition of marriage is not cut and dried.

  70. MNG –
    Thank you for admitting that you’re just trying to catch someone being a hypocrite. That’s what I suspected you were up to.

    Libertarians are much more friendly to explicit contracts than they are to social contracts – but you already knew that. Up above you used a different definition for “coerce” than we typically use and then tried to use that to call us all hypocrites. Go away if that’s all you’re trying to do, rather than have a real discussion on something.

  71. I don’t see the confusion – the distinction is a religious ceremony or a civil one. All those that are “married” in a religious ceremony can qualify for civil union status. All others just get civil union status.

    In a nutshell – everyone would need civil union status, but those that need the religious angle can do so and say they are “married”.

    Eventually the question wouldn’t be “are you married?” It would change to “Are you unioned?” If yes, the follow-up would be “were you married in a church too?”

  72. Like the tax exemptions (or penalties) or the eligibility for certain government programs…?

    Please don’t admit that you didn’t already know this was the correct answer. You’ve been around here long enough to know.

  73. “They

    can

    sign

    a

    contract.

    NOT HARD.”

    I think it is a bit harder than that (Guy Montag’s aversion and celebration of non-nuanced thinking to the contrary, but then that might be my thick skull talking).

    Are you just talking, a la Guy, about a contract governing estate distribution, power of attorney type issues and such? Because most people think of marriage as a bit more than that complex of legal arrangements. The marriage itself is a contract. And if the government is going to recognize and enforce these contracts, then what is so much more egregious about them “ceremonializing” them? And if they are going to accept and enforce these contracts, then will they do so when two homosexuals enter into one?

  74. Nigel,

    And

    They

    Wouldn’t

    Be

    Married.

    They’d have a contract about dividing up goods, not a marriage. Do priests set up a contract about dividing up goods?

    No, Nigel, they do not. Because, you see, when people go into a church to get married, they aren’t looking for merely the establishment of a contract for dividing up goods. They’re looking to enter a thing called “marriage.”

    And when people who aren’t religious go into the City Clerk’s office, to have their marriage recognized and recorded, they aren’t looking merely for a contract to divide up their goods, either. If they were, they would have just had a lawyer draw up a contract.

    Lemme give you a little head’s up: you don’t need to talk down to me. I’m not an idiot. If you think that the basis of a disagreement we’re having is about my not understanding something as childishly simple as, say, “People who want a contract can sign a contract,” you’re probably wrong.

  75. I don’t vote in VA, I just work here, but there was something within the past couple of years trying to prevent people of the same sex from “contracting” marriage situaions. At least that is the way it was described by some groups, ranging from the reasonable to the dramatically hysterical.

    Certainly something that I am against.

  76. Joe, what do you think stops them from calling that contract a marriage contract? Why do you need somebody besides yourself and your partner(s) to tell you what you may call your relationship?

  77. Fenevald,

    The relationship between two married people extends beyond their sexual habits.

    A gay person in a sham marriage to someone of the opposite sex isn’t just missing out on having the type of sex they prefer with their spouse. They are missing out on the possibility of ever having a genuine emotional and spiritual union, as well.

  78. Reinmoose-I actually really don’t know what the fuck the debate is all about. Read my last couple of posts.

    Of course I suspect that you don’t like “tax exemptions (or penalties) or the eligibility for certain government programs…?” but that’s because I assume you are against the taxes and the government programs in the FIRST place. Is a libertarian then necessarily against the rights, obligations, preferences and penalties that are applied within the system of programs and taxation ONCE it is already there? That’s a seperate question and the answer interests me.

    In addition “legally recognized marriages” (that is, by the government) matter in family law and other issues in ways that have little to do with post New Deal or hell post Progressive government programs and taxation systems.

  79. Why do you need somebody besides yourself and your partner(s) to tell you what you may call your relationship?

    Because

    when

    you

    do

    so

    you

    get

    Government

    benefits.

    NOT HARD

  80. Nigel,

    The same thing that stops me from calling my Aunt Tess an oak tree: the fact that the concept “oak tree,” like “marriage,” has an actual, pre-existing meaning.

    Marriage is an institution that precedes us. People who wish to be married wish to join that institution, and to be recognized as having joined it.

    What’s to stop me from saying I’m a Catholic priest, and writing up a document saying I’ve received the sacrament of Holy Orders from the Roman Catholic Church? Nothing, nothing whatsoever. I could do that this afternoon if I wanted to.

    But it would be meaningless – meaningless to every Catholic, and also meaningless to me.

  81. And you shouldn’t get those government benefits, but I didn’t think that’s what we were arguing about.

  82. Let me give you an example. Someone dies intestate. Under common law if the person was in a marriage then his property will be distributed differently than if he was not.

    Custody matters and seperation agreements often involve issues in which a civilly recognized marriage is important. If people just had these religious ceremonies or contracts between each other for a wide variety of things then how would courts work this kind of thing out?

  83. Joe, if the government recognized gay marriages fundies still wouldn’t agree that they were legitimately married.

  84. If people just had these religious ceremonies or contracts between each other for a wide variety of things then how would courts work this kind of thing out?

    Possibly by following the terms of the contract.

  85. They’re looking to enter a thing called “marriage.”

    Please define marriage. That’s not snark by the way.

  86. “get

    Government

    benefits.”

    As a married person let me assure you that you get a hell of a lot of obligations and penalties too. I doubt this is a goody grab.

  87. Definitely not a goody grab, but if there are benefits out there (even if there shouldn’t be), then gay people deserve to get them like everyone else.

    Civil Unions would entitle everyone to the “benefits.” Marriages would entitle some to claim religiosity.

  88. Nigel Watt,

    So?

    Most of society would. More of society would. The government would. Their neighbors would. And, as for those fundies, even if they didn’t recognize it as a ‘real marriage,’ they’d recognize that something happened involving the two of them forming a union, committing to each other, officially being a household, and otherwise committing to a certain role in society, that wasn’t there before.

    “Oh, great, so they got fake-married. Well, I guess that means that new fella isn’t going to be moving out any time soon.” Like that.

    But, more importantly, they would have gone through a ceremony involving God, themselves, each other, and society, with each party playing its part. And they, the married gay couple, would know it and feel it, and it would be real in their lives.

  89. Nigel
    I’m not sure you are following me.

    In your world A contracts with X for power of attorney in the event of A’s incapacity. He even contracts to will certain property to X (among other people). A has a son. A dies in a car crash.

    Who gets custody of A’s son? X? A’s parents or siblings?

    Before you say “whoever he contracted to” you should realize that people historically and currently often do not, as an empirical matter (and possibly cannot as a conceptual and empirical matter) enter into contracts that tie up every possible eventuality (hence for example the entire law of intestacy).

    If there was a recognized marriage between A and X the government (in brokering the various claims from private parties that would follow A’s death, a function I doubt you want them to drop) could more easily settle this matter, no?

  90. kinnath,

    No. This is not snark, either.

    If you have a point, please make it.

    Homey don’t play that.

  91. MNG –
    Social engineering in any way is non-libertarian. I don’t know how hard it is to get this, but we keep saying it, so let me see if I can get this a little clearer:

    1. As things currently stand, when 2 people get married they enter a lifetime contract that includes all sorts of rights and responsibilities of one party to the other party. These include, but are not limited to, hospital visitation rights, common property definitions, and power of attorney issues. They also, currently, qualify for government programs because they have entered this contract, and have benefits/penalties with regards to taxes.
    2. Libertarians want to do away with the government programs and benefits in general. Additional problems come from the government treating two people who entered a specific contract (that currently, only one amand and one woman can enter) differently than they would treat two people who did not enter a contract (or could not, legally, such as two men or two women).
    3. Many of us have already said, above, that gays should be allowed to marry under the current terms and receive all applicable benefits/penalties that a “traditional” marriage would arealdy receive. We particularly believe this because of those extra benefits that you qualify for because of your legal status – an equal protection issue.
    4. This does not change that, long term, we would like to eliminate the government programs that married couples qualify for in the first place, both from a monetary/economic standpoint, and as it creates an unnecessary distinction between married people and single people, also an equal protection issue.

    Is that clear?

  92. OK, I see the fundamental difference here, joe. You think government represents society.

  93. As an atheist, I’m only married because:

    1) The set of legal rights that come with it.
    2) It was a great excuse for a party.

    I don’t see why, if “marriage” was to become an institution of religion only, why atheists wouldn’t migrate eventually to always having “civil unions”. I’d have entered into a legal “civil union” if such an option was available. I couldn’t give a darn about the word “marriage”. I’m happy to turn that over to the fundies. Let them have their stupid word.

  94. “Marriage” is a huge body of convoluted laws that define the rights and responsibilities of spouses in the eyes of the government. A spouse automatically goes to the head of the line in terms of “next of kin” for decision making when you’re incapacitated. Spouses cannot be compelled to testify against each other. Tax status; inheritance rights; so on; so forth; blah blah blah

    Any attempt to produce a civil union that has all the same legal characteristics as “marriage” without being “marriage” is doomed to failure.

    There is no legitimate social justification to prevent to people of the same gender from being married in the eyes of the law. Preventing a large segment of the population from hyperventillating due to religious concerns is not a legitimate social justification.

  95. Kinnath
    I agree with joe a bit about any point you have to make.

    But if I have to define marriage I do so as “a public declaration and recognition of love and committment that carries with it moral and legal rights and obligations.”

    The legal part can, in theory (though as I note above empirically it would be unlikely that people would enter into contracts that cover all the eventualities that the law has evolved or decided to be covered by the legally accepted consequences of marriage) be covered by a system of contracts. The moral, declaration, and recognition functions are in part fulfilled by legal recognition by the State.

  96. No, Nigel, I just recognize that there is something called society, that government plays a role in.

    I recognize that there is something external to the two individuals who marry, and that the language “before God and Man” is included in marriage ceremonies for a reason.

    “Represents” is your word. The verbs I’ve used were “recognize” and “record.” The government serves a function for society. Many functions, actually. One of them is to serve as an official arbiter of when people have gotten married.

  97. Reinmoose
    These government programs you want to eliminate, does it include the numerous common law obligations and benefits that only married people get in family law, the law of wills, the law of partnerships, corporations, etc and etc like I have been FUCKING TALKING ABOUT FOR THE PAST SEVERAL POSTS? Are libertarians against all those common law distinctions that courts USE to ENFORCE and INTERPRET many contracts and decide many non-monetary non-governmental issues? You seem to not be getting it. I hope THAT was clear, eh?

  98. the fact that the concept “oak tree,” like “marriage,” has an actual, pre-existing meaning.

    kinnath,

    No. This is not snark, either.

    If you have a point, please make it.

    Homey don’t play that.

    You talk like marriage has a well understood, commonly accepted definition.

    I disagree. The very fact that there is a huge controversy over “gay marriage” disproves that the fact that everyone knows what “marriage” is.

    I was merely asking what your definition of marriage was so that I could understand what point you were trying to make. It was a moment of weakness, so don’t bother to follow up.

  99. The government serves a function for society. Many functions, actually.

    Most of which it shouldn’t.

  100. If marriage is to be a religious institution only, with no civil meaning, how can atheists get married?

    Joe, come on, demonstrate some imagination.

    Once we remove the word “marriage” from the civil institution, my cat Sigmund can marry me and my hypothetical partner if I want.

    Remember that we would be removing the word “marriage” from the civil institution in a milieu of religious pluralism. If I’m an atheist, I can rent out the country club and get other atheists to have an “Atheist Marriage Ceremony” for me.

  101. MP,

    That’s fine, but the argument I was responding to was not “there should be civil unions for atheists who don’t want to get married in a church,” but “there should be no civil unions.”

    To argue that marriage should be only a religious event, and that all civil affairs should be taken care of via a private contract no different than a job offer/acceptance is to argue that there should be no markers and no recognition for anyone but the two people who got hitched to indicate that they are anything more than room mates.

  102. Reinmoose
    Like the example I gave Nigel above.

    You want the government to give up, say, presumption that if A and X are married and A’s son’s mother is out of the picture that X gets custody.

    You want that gone because of some libertarian principle? I’d love to hear which one.

    Like joe said above, don’t assume that because someone thinks you don’t have it all worked out that they must not know or understand what the fuck libertarians hold on certain matters. We’ve all read Hayek and Mises here…

  103. If I have a three million dollar estate, and I die, it passes entirely tax free to my spouse.

    If I have a three million dollar estate, and I die, 2 million can pass tax free to my same-sex partner, but the remaining 1 million is taxed at the current estate tax rate.

  104. fluffy
    Are’nt you a law student?

    What do you think about how courts would apply all the legal doctrines that take a civilly approved marriage into account in deciding matters, many that have little or nothing to do with government benefits but instead defining the rights and obligations between private parties without any civilly approved and recognized marriages?

  105. Kinnath
    I agree with joe a bit about any point you have to make.

    Gee, I wasn’t actually trying to make a point, I was just asking for information. Apparently, that’s not enough to justify posting in a public forum.

    But if I have to define marriage I do so as “a public declaration and recognition of love and committment that carries with it moral and legal rights and obligations.”

    Thanks for adding your input. Wonderful definition; however, it tends to blend public and private concerns under a single banner. Perhaps that’s part of the problem ๐Ÿ˜‰

  106. Or better asked, do you think that AS A LIBERTARIAN you must be opposed to all those presumptions and doctrines?

  107. MNG –

    I think your sidebar discussion trying to get into the minutaie of what will and won’t be in a libertarian civil union contract is unnecessary.

    Why can’t we just keep the existing definition of the marriage contract and just change the name?

    You talk like marriage has a well understood, commonly accepted definition.

    Well, it has a historical meaning, and while I’m not willing to let that historical meaning control the civil institution, I also think it would be unnecessarily rude to steal the word for our revised civil institution.

    It’s as if we had historically had the practice of requiring a state license to hold a bar mitzvah, and then non-Jews sued using equal protection to demand the right to get that license. The smart, and polite, thing to do would be to say, “Boy, were we dumbasses to license getting a bar mitzvah!” and change the name. It would not be smart or polite to let me pay $10 and get a bar mitzvah license, then hold a ceremony where I eat a lot of pork and dress up as Yassir Arafat, and call that my bar mitzvah.

  108. kinnath
    Sorry, should have taken your question at face value unless I had reason to think otherwise.

    And yes I think that is part of the problem!

  109. The very fact that there is a huge controversy over “gay marriage” disproves that the fact that everyone knows what “marriage” is.

    No, it demonstrates that there is a point of disagreement involving one element of the definition. The fact that everyone on both sides of the issue agree on every other aspect of marriage except that particular, demonstrates very plainly that everyone knows what marriage is.

    If I put a gun to your head, kinnath, made you listen to couple give five minute speeches about their backgrounds and the legal and religious ceremonies they’ve been through, and demanded that you tell me if each one is a marriage, you would be able to confidently give me an answer in about 99/100 cases.

    What you’re doing here is the equivalent of noticing that two neighborhoods are next to each other in a city, and saying that there can’t really be a Foggy Bottom neighborhood and an East End neighborhood, because there are some addresses along Pennsylvania Avenue that can be said to belong to both. Well, there is a Foggy Boggom neighborhood, and there is an East End neighborhood, and that fact that the boundary between the two can be a subject of debate doesn’t change that.

  110. kinnath
    Sorry, should have taken your question at face value unless I had reason to think otherwise.

    I thought the phrase “this is not snark” was a hint ๐Ÿ˜‰

  111. fluffy
    Well if it is just the name, I mean the mere word “marriage” (meaning these civil unions would carry all the common law and statutory rights, obligations, presumptions, etc. that “marriage” used to), then I say, why do we have to give up even that word, with its nice cultural and historical significance for many people, just because of the feelings of fundies. If we gave up everything for fundies feelings….Jeebus…
    Oh, and would these civil unions be ceremonialized? Because that is what many people who get married want as a big part of the marriage. If the answer is yes, then the fundies are going to have their feelings outraged just as much I imagine….

  112. No, it demonstrates that there is a point of disagreement involving one element of the definition.

    I think it goes far beyond one single element. But that’s just an opion.

    The fact that everyone on both sides of the issue agree on every other aspect of marriage except that particular, demonstrates very plainly that everyone knows what marriage is.

    Since, I didn’t agree with the first statement, the second is moot.

  113. kinnath said:

    Any attempt to produce a civil union that has all the same legal characteristics as “marriage” without being “marriage” is doomed to failure.

    Huh? Have you read the various civil union statutes? They’re pretty straightforward. Take VT, for example:

    (a) Parties to a civil union shall have all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law, whether they derive from statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law or any other source of civil law, as are granted to spouses in a marriage.

    Why is that doomed to fail?

  114. IANAL,

    If I have a three million dollar estate, and I die, it passes entirely tax free to my spouse.

    If I have a three million dollar estate, and I die, 2 million can pass tax free to my same-sex partner, but the remaining 1 million is taxed at the current estate tax rate.

    Not sure on your numbers, but the concept is correct for the current situation AFAIK. It is wholly unfair to anybody who has decided not o be in the “who you can do” files of some State government.

    It demonstrates yet another loophole in favor of the government that they can drive an armored car through to take property.

  115. They’re looking to enter a thing called “marriage.”

    What’s weird is that at this point I started hearing the word “marriage” like the minister said it in The Princess Pride.

  116. (a) Parties to a civil union shall have all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law, whether they derive from statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law or any other source of civil law, as are granted to spouses in a marriage.

    After a hundred years or so of litigation, we’ll know one way or the other for sure ๐Ÿ˜‰

  117. Mr. Nice Guy said:

    Because that is what many people who get married want as a big part of the marriage. If the answer is yes, then the fundies are going to have their feelings outraged just as much I imagine.

    So what? Their whole basis for their argument is that they don’t like “marriage” to extend beyond “man with woman”. When you rip that out of their hands, what argument are they left with? Let them have their word.

  118. On a side note, what precipitated the feud between Guy and joe?

  119. On a side note, what precipitated the feud between Guy and joe?

    I got tired of reading his nonsense that anybody who soes not take his Socialistic worldview has some sort of mental defect. Not just directed at me either.

    Same with MNG, but more recent.

  120. MP,

    The problem with that theory is that the fundies don’t just want to be able to call their religious unions “marriages.” They also want the government to recognize those unions; and ALSO, and here’s the rub, to recognize that their marriages are better and more real than the unions of gay people.

    It’s that third bit that’s the rub. If you described the legal aspect of all such unions as “civil unions,” the fundies would whine about their marriages being called by the same thing as those of gay people, and start demanding that the government call theirs “First Class Civil Unions” and everyone else’s “Second Class Civil Unions.”

    And that’s assuming that they are willing to recognize a difference between what their church does and what the government does.

  121. Art, I think it has something to do with my being an oober-doober socialist.

  122. Let’s see:

    A VT civil union means that:

    Two guys joined in a civil union can file “married, jointly” on their 1040, right?

    One of the guys takes a job transfer to a company in southern MO. This employer will automatically allow the guy to enroll the other guy as his spouse for company-sponsored benefits, right?

    On vacation at the Grand Canyon, there is a car accident and one of the guys is severely hurt. The doctors at the emergency room are going to let the other guy make medical decisions for the incapacitated guy, right?

    So on, so forth, blah blah blan

  123. Uh, yeah, Guy. That’s why I keep calling you a mental defect; because I say that about everybody who isn’t a liberal.

    You can tell this is true, by how inspiring the rest of the libertarians find your intellect.

  124. MNG –
    I don’t understand where you got:
    “You want the government to give up, say, presumption that if A and X are married and A’s son’s mother is out of the picture that X gets custody.

    You want that gone because of some libertarian principle? I’d love to hear which one.”

    How do you include “common law obligations” under “government programs” and not the legal/contractual side of marriage?

  125. kinnath said:

    One of the guys takes a job transfer to a company in southern MO. This employer will automatically allow the guy to enroll the other guy as his spouse for company-sponsored benefits, right?

    Listen, don’t start arguing that civil unions aren’t tenable at all and then start arguing that there are issues under Federalism. Those are two wholly separate topics.

    joe said:

    It’s that third bit that’s the rub. If you described the legal aspect of all such unions as “civil unions,” the fundies would whine about their marriages being called by the same thing as those of gay people, and start demanding that the government call theirs “First Class Civil Unions” and everyone else’s “Second Class Civil Unions.”

    I reject your premonition. That hasn’t happened in any states that have passed Civil Union laws. In fact, what has happend is that the homosexual groups in states with Civil Unions continue to argue over the word “marriage”, even those there’s not one iota of legal benefit to be achieved by changing state law once a state has established Civil Unions. It is the gay rights side that continues to codify themselves as second class citizens. The fundies aren’t clamoring for anything in those states.

  126. all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities

    It’s easier to stick your hand in somebody else’s pocket if you first dress up in the frilly frock of “human dignity.”

  127. Listen, don’t start arguing that civil unions aren’t tenable at all and then start arguing that there are issues under Federalism. Those are two wholly separate topics.

    Any attempt to produce a civil union that has all the same legal characteristics as “marriage” without being “marriage” is doomed to failure.

    Sorry, I’m an engineer, not a laywer so “doomed to failure” has a very broad scope does encompass everything that can go wrong including “issues with Federalism”.

    It also includes points that joe has made in the past regarding the inevitable lawsuits that claiming “civil unions” instead of “marriage” is a modern form of “seperate, but unequal”.

  128. fluffy
    Well if it is just the name, I mean the mere word “marriage” (meaning these civil unions would carry all the common law and statutory rights, obligations, presumptions, etc. that “marriage” used to), then I say, why do we have to give up even that word, with its nice cultural and historical significance for many people, just because of the feelings of fundies. If we gave up everything for fundies feelings….Jeebus…
    Oh, and would these civil unions be ceremonialized? Because that is what many people who get married want as a big part of the marriage. If the answer is yes, then the fundies are going to have their feelings outraged just as much I imagine….

    It doesn’t seem like you read what Fluffy wrote; his dismissal of the term ‘marriage’ is not in the interest of fundamentalists’ feelings, but to respect the historical precedent of what it was and has been from what I understand. So regardless of what a marginal group of people believe marriage should be and how it should be called, the argument is against giving the term a new definition than its previous one.

    And why shouldn’t a union contract be ceremonialized? You don’t need the recognition or approval of the government to rent a venue, pay the caterer and florist, and buy a dress or suit. How does the government figure into the ceremony? If you’re referring to a religious one, then it absolutely shouldn’t be interfering into that anyway. Or maybe I am misunderstanding the term ‘ceremonialized’; what do you mean by it?

  129. Oh, and would these civil unions be ceremonialized?

    Holy Shit! You got the government to pay for your wedding, MNG? What kind of form did you have to fill out for that?

  130. why do we have to give up even that word, with its nice cultural and historical significance for many people, just because of the feelings of fundies.

    To be fair, they were using it first.

    There’s a pretty straight line from various Mediterranean religious traditions surrounding “marriage” to the medieval Jewish, Catholic and Muslim instititions of “marriage” to the modern western tradition.

    We’re burdened with an archaic institution that predates both the separation of church and state, and our modern rigorous understanding of equal protection. We’ve partially broken with that tradition, and I think we just have to go the rest of the way and get rid of a term that is loaded with pre-existing meanings that should not have any place in government.

    Oh, and would these civil unions be ceremonialized? Because that is what many people who get married want as a big part of the marriage. If the answer is yes, then the fundies are going to have their feelings outraged just as much I imagine….

    Right, but their outrage will have no legal component and no connection to a neutral civil institution.

    If you described the legal aspect of all such unions as “civil unions,” the fundies would whine about their marriages being called by the same thing as those of gay people, and start demanding that the government call theirs “First Class Civil Unions” and everyone else’s “Second Class Civil Unions.”

    Right, but then they’d be trying to create something new instead of defend something that already exists [which I think would pretty effectively neuter them]. They also would have much less of a symbolic grievance.

  131. It also includes points that joe has made in the past regarding the inevitable lawsuits that claiming “civil unions” instead of “marriage” is a modern form of “seperate, but unequal”.

    BZZZZZ. Wrong.
    If the government only recognizes civil unions, and only churches have the authority to name marriages, then it is the churches who are discriminating. They are allowed to.
    I suppose you also think that we should tell churches that they are to treat everyone as though they are going to heaven.

  132. I reject your premonition. That hasn’t happened in any states that have passed Civil Union laws. In fact, what has happend is that the homosexual groups in states with Civil Unions continue to argue over the word “marriage”, even those there’s not one iota of legal benefit to be achieved by changing state law once a state has established Civil Unions. It is the gay rights side that continues to codify themselves as second class citizens. The fundies aren’t clamoring for anything in those states.

    OK, here I have to disagree.

    The reason I want the word “marriage” gone from the civil institution is because the gay activists are absolutely, positively correct when they say that maintaining side-by-side institutions differing even in only their name is an offense against equal protection.

    It violates equal protection for the same reason its advocates want it to exist. Why bother to have the two side-by-side institutions, if there is not some perceived value to maintaining the “marriage” version for heterosexuals only? If they’re really and truly exactly the same, then heterosexuals shouldn’t mind if they are all called “civil unions”.

  133. “Redux” indeed. I’m worn out from the last three times we all feuded over gay marriage. Moving along…

  134. kinnath said:

    Sorry, I’m an engineer, not a laywer so “doomed to failure” has a very broad scope does encompass everything that can go wrong including “issues with Federalism”.

    “Doomed to failure” means that it can’t possibly succeed. The Federalism issue is addressable. The fact that it hasn’t been addressed yet does not doom Civil Unions.

  135. kinnath,

    I reject your premonition. That hasn’t happened in any states that have passed Civil Union laws. That’s becasue those states DIDN’T eliminate the term “marriage” from their laws, and call all marriages “civil unions.” What they did instead was continue to reserve the term “marriage” for those unions the fundies like.

    It is the gay rights side that continues to codify themselves as second class citizens. Nope, it is the law itself, which codified “marriage” for straight people, and “civil unions” for gay people.

  136. fluffy said:

    if there is not some perceived value to maintaining the “marriage” version for heterosexuals only?

    Perceived value is irrelevant. Does the law, which is supposed to be blind to “perceived value”, treat a civil union differently than a marriage? No.

    It may be redundant, but I don’t see how that influences an Equal Protection argument.

  137. It may be redundant, but I don’t see how that influences an Equal Protection argument.

    It doesn’t in the slightest. It just upsets the wordgame crowd.

  138. And don’t try to bring up Brown. Brown’s whole basis was the impact that separate facilities had on the social/mental development of children:

    A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system.

    We’re talking about adults in the Civil Unions vs. Marriage issue. I don’t think there’s any argument that can be made that Civil Unions retard the development of gay couples to co-exist in society of straight couples.

  139. dammit…to co-exist in society with straight couples.

  140. MP,

    If the government reserved the term “marriage” for Christians, and proclaimed that Jews could record their civil unions, would you make the same argument.

    BTW, the “wordgame crowd” are those who strive to invent new words so they can avoid calling the marriages of people they don’t like by the obvious term.

  141. Please define marriage. That’s not snark by the way.

    Well, I can tell you what one isn’t, no matter how many times the word has been used – in what state does the law define marriage as a “contract”?

    Further, what kind of contract creates obligations on the part of 3rd parties that aren’t signatories?

  142. MP,

    I hope you are excluding the wildly melodramatic hysterical types on both sides of the discussion.

  143. BTW, the “wordgame crowd” are those who strive to invent new words so they can avoid calling the marriages of people they don’t like by the obvious term.

    I agree – I prefer to be in denial that my best friend is getting married to a woman who doesn’t respect him. I’d prefer to call it getting whipped.

  144. BTW, MP, while I support gay marriage over civil unions as a political issue, for the reasons the gay-marriage activists describe, I am still undecided about whether the problem rises to the level of an equal-protection violation. I think yours is a fine argument, and it’s a close call, legally.

  145. Pig Mannix,

    Well, I can tell you what one isn’t, no matter how many times the word has been used – in what state does the law define marriage as a “contract”?

    Washing State appears to be one and I stopped looking after I found this. YGMV

  146. P.M.,

    There are definitely contractual elements to a marriage. Your second point – that there are other elements that are different from a contract – is the important thing.

  147. kinnath,

    I reject your premonition. That hasn’t happened in any states that have passed Civil Union laws. That’s becasue those states DIDN’T eliminate the term “marriage” from their laws, . . .

    that wasn’t me joe.

  148. joe said:

    If the government reserved the term “marriage” for Christians, and proclaimed that Jews could record their civil unions, would you make the same argument.

    Yes. But I’d never make that argument because I’d be making a 1st Amendment argument against such an arrangement.

    I’ll turn your hypothetical back to you. If polygamy was legalized, and they came up with the phrase Civil Family Units, would you be making the same argument? Note that legally, CFUs would have to be different than Marriage/Civil Unions, because multi-party rights are potentially differently constructed than two-party rights.

  149. Ya know, if all these goofballs* would quit running to the government to get on the marriage list, they would not be getting so much attention from the government.

    *the Poly crowd

  150. “The fundies aren’t clamoring for anything in those states.”

    That’s meant to be a joke, right? Or are you just unbelievably ignorant? A petition just failed in Maine under the insane CCL, not only for a marriage amendment, but to have every law that recognized sexual orientation removed from the books: adoption, discrimination, DP’s, every single mention.
    And that is happening in a lot of states, as always. Fundies want gays entirely inside the closet, reformed, or more preferably, dead or in prison. That really hasn’t changed much, except in the numbers signed on to their cause.

  151. Prox: July 2, 2008, 1:50pm |

    Put me down for being against that.

  152. Prox said:

    A petition just failed in Maine under the insane CCL

    The petition didn’t simply “fail”. They were only able to get 5,000 signatories out of the 55,000 required. I suspect that there are more than 5,000 people covered by the churches in the Maine CCL. If you can’t get your own membership to sign off on something, then apparently there isn’t much support even among fundamentalists.

    My intent was to express that there’s no effort of any significance being undertaken in Civil Union states (particularly VT, NH, CT, & NJ) to rise up and reject the existing legislation.

    And if there is and I’m simply not aware of it, well, mea culpa.

  153. “On a side note, what precipitated the feud between Guy and joe?”

    Art
    Many libertarians hate liberals because they conclude that the policies supported by liberals will not only not promote the liberal’s stated goals of maximized opportunity and protection of individual rights, but that those policies will horribly undermine both.

    Other people are libertarians because they conclude that the policies supported by liberals WILL actually promote the liberal’s stated goals of maximized opportunity and protection of individual rights, and they don’t want to see that.

    Guy is an example of the latter. He’s an authoritarian libertarian: someone who sees in the government a tool for the out-groups he despises to erode the favored positions he and the groups he is a member of may enjoy under the undisturbed (by government) conditions created by past inequities. Most libertarians are afraid the government is going to fuck things up, but Guy’s kind is really afraid they will actually accomplish what they set out to do.

    And, like most authoritarians, Guy not only does not seek out dissenting viewpoints, he shuns them and hates them.

  154. Sorry, kinnath.

    MP,

    If polygamy was legalized, I would make the argument that the term “marriage” should be reserved only for the first union, and the subsequent “wives” would have to make due with some other legalistic term. That’s because I don’t consider those “marriages” to be real marriages, and I wouldn’t want to see them recognized as such. This probably isn’t the answer you wanted, though.

    Also, while there’s no effort of any significance being undertaken in Civil Union states (particularly VT, NH, CT, & NJ) to rise up and reject the existing legislation. may or not be true, every civil union state has also kept its marriage laws on the books, so the anti-gay crowd’s reaction to having their marriages downgraded to civil unions and/or the marriages of gay couples described in the same legal terms as those of straight couples cannot be judged.

    However, here in Massachusetts, the anti-gay forces most certainly did rise up against the use of the term “marriage” to describe gay marriages, and got tens of thousands of signatures to put it on the ballot. Fortunately, they couldn’t even get 25% of the legislature to go along, so the question didn’t appear.

  155. That just makes him an authoritarian.

  156. Interesting. So the reason Guy and joe dislike one another is because neither one of them is a “true” libertarian. Well, maybe we should all share a drink! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Incidentally, I would seem to have more in common with both Guy and joe than they would seem to have in common with one another. I will say that they are both more “opinionated” than I am. So what does it all mean to me? I can’t hold a grudge on the internet.

  157. Oh good god…here we go with polygamy again. Eight out of ten topics here end up with damn polygamy getting dragged into it. Even posts about the cost of gas get polygamized because some yahoo starts in with whining about buying gas for a family, and before you know it another yahoo starts in about having ten wives and 100 kids and, then it ends up a big ass polygamy debate.

  158. joe said:

    If polygamy was legalized, I would make the argument that the term “marriage” should be reserved only for the first union, and the subsequent “wives” would have to make due with some other legalistic term. That’s because I don’t consider those “marriages” to be real marriages, and I wouldn’t want to see them recognized as such. This probably isn’t the answer you wanted, though.

    (I wrote this, so I feel like posting it. But I don’t really feel like egging you on into a polygamy debate. It’s a fact that there’s always someone (me this time) who will take the “gay marriage” debate down the slippery slope of polygamy. It just seems like such a logical endpoint that it’s hard not to.)

    Do you not find that to be a hypocritical stance? Especially considering that polygamists have used the word “marriage” far, far, longer than homosexuals? Why grant one group the coverage of the legal usage of a word, while denying it to another group which, incidentally, has a significantly deeper historical tradition?

  159. MP,

    I don’t feel like a hypocrite, because there are objective differences between how polygamous arrangements function, and how a marriage functions.

    You can make a propeller out of wood, iron, steel, or aluminum, and it’s still a propeller. If, however, it doesnt’ go ’round and round, because it isn’t mounted to a central pivot point that transfers circular movement to the blades, but is instead mounted at the fout ends of the blades, so that it can only move by flapping back and forth, it’s not a propeller.

    Although, I’ll grant you that polygamists have been using the word marriage for a long time. My argument has nothing to do with this, though. There is a very long legal tradition of using the words “property” and “ownership” to describe the relationship a slaveowner has with his slave. I don’t care. Screw that noise.

  160. The interesting thing about this recent Polygamy and Gay Marriage editorial is that it appears to be written by a rightward editorialist, but the slippery slope argument made is laced with libertarianism. And it’s interesting that the author never comes out and states that the slippery slope issue is a bad thing (which, IMHO, it’s not).

  161. I agree with the argument, made by some, that we should seperate the religious/social institution of marriage, and the legal benefits conventionally associated with it. And I see the benefit of calling the legal status “civil union” for all couples straight or gay. (Under this system, a legally-certified clergyman could make a couple religiously married and legally “civil-unioned” at the same time, which is alot like what they do now.)

    And I “get” (not sure if I agree or not) the argument that there should be no special tax or insurance benefits, available only to those who enter such civil-unions.

    But what about the benefit of, say, naturalization?

    If I married a foreign citizen who wanted to move to the US, she would have an easier time getting a green card, etc, than if I hadn’t married her.

    We can easily imagine a legal regime where the same thing is possible for gay couples. And we can easily change the name to “civil-union” instead of “marriage” for all couples (straight and gay). But would there be any easier path to naturalization under what Reinmoose is proposing?

    We could get rid of the legal recognition of couples altogether. The law could simply answer all questions of default inheritence, next of kin, etc the way it now answers them for single people – deviating only where there is a specific contract/will/etc. But that would entail the loss of the naturalization benefit.

  162. Actually, I take that back. If they legalized polygamy, I 1) wouldn’t care, and 2) wouldn’t care what they called it.

    But that’s because I don’t actually care if some small subset of the population wants to live like that.

    I don’t think my feelings on the matter change my point, though: if someone DID consider it important to stigmatize polygamous unions, it is very likely that they WOULD insist that the government not recognize them as marriages, and if that battle was lost, they probably WOULD want to deny them the use of the term.

    Seriously, MP, why do you think that the VT and CT legislatures, which were considering gay marriage laws, decided to go the civil unions route in the first place?

  163. It’s Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Eve and Mary and Jane and Theresa. ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  164. But Adam and Eve only produced Cain and Able (and one those did make it very far). So who did Cain fuck?

  165. It’s Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Eve and Mary and Jane and Theresa.

    I would be more inclined to buy movies from the second company.

    Actually, while they’re at it, they should just leave Adam out of it.

  166. joe said:

    Seriously, MP, why do you think that the VT and CT legislatures, which were considering gay marriage laws, decided to go the civil unions route in the first place?

    I misread your original statement and I retract my rejection of your premonition. What I was really trying to reject was the idea that fundamentalists would agitate to any noticeable degree once civil unions were given equal footing to “Marriage”. But that wasn’t the argument you were making in that comment.

    To answer your question, “Civil Union” is clearly a legislative compromise, and is thus why those laws gained support. A lesson apparently lost on the MA and CA judiciaries.

    And I stand my assertion that “Civil Union” only stigmatizes those who elect to feel stigmatized by it. By law and by application, there is no differentiation between a legal “Civil Union” and a legal “Marriage”.

  167. By law and by application, there is no differentiation between a legal “Civil Union” and a legal “Marriage”.

    Then why have two separate names for the same thing?

  168. But Adam and Eve only produced Cain and Able (and one those did make it very far). So who did Cain fuck?

    Remember the part where Cain is like “but if they see me they’ll kill me” and God’s all like “I’ll put this mark on you so nobody’ll kill you” and then he has to wander the Earth? There were other nations (people) already WTF?*

    *Reading this as a kid steered me away from a literal translation of the Bible.

    Kolohe, yeah, me too. And if Belladonna or Jada Fire are involved, hubba hubba.*

    *I’m such a perv.

  169. translation should read interpretation.

  170. I used to have boss named Adam, and this being Massachusetts, he married his partner, Steve.

    MO, And I stand my assertion that “Civil Union” only stigmatizes those who elect to feel stigmatized by it.

    I suppose I could say that any of George Carlin’s seven words only insult people who “elect” ot feel insulted by them, but that would be pretty silly.

    For one thing, they guy who yells “fucker” at somebody is most certainly insulting him – just as the people agitating for keeping “civil unions” the legal term instead of marriage for gay marriages intend to deny them that term in order to stigmatize them, or avoid removing the stigma. In fact, as they’ll tell you themselves, that’s why they’re doing it.

    Second, everybody knows what “fucker” means, and that it’s an insult. This incluces the person saying it, the person being called it, and everybody else in the room. Similarly, everyone knows what “marriage” means (even you, kinnath!), and knows what it means for a couple to be married. Or not.

    I think you’re on solid ground when you say that the stigmatization is less than the harm done to black children in a segregated school system, but that’s a different matter than saying it doesn’t exist at all.

  171. I think more Bible stories should be related like that.

    And then God’s all like “Consider my servant Job…”

    And then Satan’s all, “Nuh-uh.”

    And God’s all, like, “Yah!”

    And then Satan’s all, “No way.”

    And God’s all, like, “YVWH!”

  172. MP –
    I think as libertarians we are used to dealing with the conflict of “the perfect being the enemy of the good.” Maybe other political viewpoints aren’t used to dealing with that as much?

  173. joe,

    The sad part is, I actually think that’s a good idea. I think the Pope would kick my ass if I told him that, though.*

    *Not literally. How weird would the Pope punching a fellow in his jaw be?

  174. And God’s all, like, “YVWH!”

    Ok, I now admit that joe adds some value to these discussions.

  175. kinnath said:

    Then why have two separate names for the same thing?

    Didn’t I answer this? It’s a legislative compromise to allow people who have an anachronistic view of how the word “Marriage” should be defined to retain that definition, while granting full legal rights to couples outside of that definition.

    joe said:

    Similarly, everyone knows what “marriage” means (even you, kinnath!), and knows what it means for a couple to be married.

    If it was such a universally accepted definition, why does the debate over “marriage” exist? Apparently, you think this is an effort solely to stigmatize homosexuals.

    Thing is joe, I guess I really don’t give a shat if someone feels stigmatized when they are granted the full legal rights they are seeking. And I’m not sure why I should care about hurt feelings. There are so many other vulgar state uses of force that this constant whiny pooh-poohing over feeling bad about not being able to use the word “marriage” just bugs the shit out of me.

    Anyhow, I do wonder why states chose to offer Civil Unions exclusively to homosexuals. Why can’t Atheists (for example) enter into Civil Unions? Can’t I claim to be stigmatized by being forced to label my relationship as a “Marriage”?

  176. A gay person in a sham marriage to someone of the opposite sex isn’t just missing out on having the type of sex they prefer with their spouse. They are missing out on the possibility of ever having a genuine emotional and spiritual union, as well.

    Joe, the problem with this statement is that the government cannot and should not be in the business of trying to guarantee a “genuine emotional and spiritual union”. Indeed marriage law could not take that into account as anything beyond a rhetorical goal.

    I was just pointing out that equal protection is a weak argument here because everyone equally has the right to engage in the behavior considered under the law (marriage). Whether it is fulfilling or mind-numbingly dull is beside the point. No one is denied the benefit of the law because they are gay: they can still get married to someone of the opposite sex for whatever reason they want to. (Indeed, the same can be said of any marriage: I’m sure there are hetero couples who have gotten married for tax reasons or to get a break on health care.) Gay individuals may be denied the benefit because the law doesn’t allow what they want in particular. Whether that’s right or not is a separate issue from whether equal protection applies as a legal principle here. Despite the rationale used by judges in some of the cases, it is not self-evident that it does since nothing precludes anyone from taking advantage of the law.

    Again, I am not stating my position on the issue, but rather looking at the logic of the particular claim.

  177. Then why have two separate names for the same thing?

    Didn’t I answer this? It’s a legislative compromise to allow people who have an anachronistic view of how the word “Marriage” should be defined to retain that definition, while granting full legal rights to couples outside of that definition.

    This is an excuse, not a sound legal justification.

    Similarly, everyone knows what “marriage” means (even you, kinnath!), and knows what it means for a couple to be married.

    Anyhow, I do wonder why states chose to offer Civil Unions exclusively to homosexuals. Why can’t Atheists (for example) enter into Civil Unions?

    I was “married” by a Justice of the Peace 32 years ago in a “civil” service not a “religious” service. Gays have been “married” in “religious” services by some forward thinking ministers (not without controversy within those sects the ministers represent). Legally, I am married, those gay couples are not.

    joe, please define marriage for me. This is not the trival question you make it out to be.

  178. kinnath said:

    This is an excuse, not a sound legal justification.

    Why does there need to be a “sound legal justification”? Are you walking down the “rational basis” path? Because if so, I don’t see a basis to your claim.

  179. MP,

    If it was such a universally accepted definition, why does the debate over “marriage” exist?

    It’s a debate over who should be allowed to marry whom. Everybody understands perfectly well what awaits gay couples who tie the knot.

    Thing is joe, I guess I really don’t give a shat if someone feels stigmatized when they are granted the full legal rights they are seeking. And I’m not sure why I should care about hurt feelings. I’ll just point out that the “hurt feelings” are being created not as an unavoidable side effect of the government going about its business, but deliberately, through an affirmative act by the government conducted purely for that purpose. There is no other reason to have a civil union/marriage distinction, except for the purpose of stigmatizing gay people and declaring their unions to be inferior.

    Anyhow, I do wonder why states chose to offer Civil Unions exclusively to homosexuals. I’m sure sure about this, but I think that at least one state allows straight couples to be civil-unioned.

    Fenevald,

    Joe, the problem with this statement is that the government cannot and should not be in the business of trying to guarantee a “genuine emotional and spiritual union”. No one is asking them to. No one is asking anything of the government at all, excpet that it not go out of its way to work against that end by discriminating.

    The Right is not to “happiness,” but to “the pursuit of happiness.” It’s up to those gay people to pursue their own happiness; the government just shouldn’t get in the way.

    The benefit of marriage law IS inextricably bound with allowing people who can do so to have meaningful unions with their chosen. The Loving vs. Virginia case explains this well.

    And you plainly know what marriage is just fine, kinnath. Well enough to state who is and is not married, both legally and before God.

  180. And you plainly know what marriage is just fine, kinnath. Well enough to state who is and is not married, both legally and before God.

    Well, I haven’t burned my one marriage in the Catholic Church, so I should be able to divorce my current wife (legally), then marry and new one in a Catholic service (then I could finally be married legally and before God).

  181. joe said:

    A gay person in a sham marriage to someone of the opposite sex isn’t just missing out on having the type of sex they prefer with their spouse. They are missing out on the possibility of ever having a genuine emotional and spiritual union, as well.

    Wow. I missed that comment the first time. State sanctioned legal contracts are the basis for emotional and spiritual unions? Are you kidding?

    Fenevad said:

    No one is denied the benefit of the law because they are gay: they can still get married to someone of the opposite sex for whatever reason they want to.

    Oh man. Where to being with THAT one.

    joe said:

    There is no other reason to have a civil union/marriage distinction, except for the purpose of stigmatizing gay people and declaring their unions to be inferior.

    Superior/inferior is your own judgment. Seeking to preserve the definition of marriage as M/F does not necessarily infer a superiority angle. That’s your projection. It may also be the projection of some of the social conservatives. But do you think that the voters who authorized Civil Unions were doing that because they felt it was an inferior status? That’s one heck of an assumption to make.

  182. So when the next congress passes card check and Obama signs it into law, will gay couples be able to join civil unions without a secret ballot first?

  183. Damn boys, this Hart guy got you going. Where is the humor and sharp insight that he started all of this with—? No one can stir it up like gay sex!!

  184. Ron Hart is a sophmoric ass with only the shallowest understanding of what’s motivating either side on this issue and what they are trying to accomplish with their tactics.

    “What I do not understand about those that are religious and are adamant about gays not marrying is the following, if God made everyone, then how can you spend your time condemning gays because He made them?”

    Who is Mr. Hart’s theological inspiration? Gaius Baltar?

    The religion I’m most familar with (Catholicism) condemns the act of homosexual sex, not homosexuals for being homosexual. It considers the condition of homosexuality to be a temptation to sin, one of many innate conditions that may be a temptation to sin. It is giving in to temptation the church condemns, not that you have the temptation.

    Now I do’t expect Hart or many others around here to like that position any better, but what Hart wrote is a gross mischaracterization.

  185. “Most of society would. More of society would. The government would. Their neighbors would. And, as for those fundies, even if they didn’t recognize it as a ‘real marriage,’ they’d recognize that something happened involving the two of them forming a union, committing to each other, officially being a household, and otherwise committing to a certain role in society, that wasn’t there before.”-joe

    joe’s reason for supporting homosexual marraiges is because he expects it will force people who disagree to change their minds on it. In other words, joe’s for it because he wishes to impose his values on others. Perhaps not all of you ae for it for similar reasons, but given that people like joe do exist, is it any wonder that the “fundies” feel justified in pushing back?

    joe, the problem is that a gay couple cannot commit to the “certain role in society” that married heterosexual couples fill. With each other, they do not have the capability of fulfilling that role. Therefore it is perfectly acceptable to deny them the term that describes that role.

  186. Didn’t I answer this? It’s a legislative compromise to allow people who have an anachronistic view of how the word “Marriage” should be defined to retain that definition, while granting full legal rights to couples outside of that definition.

    Superior/inferior is your own judgment. Seeking to preserve the definition of marriage as M/F does not necessarily infer a superiority angle. That’s your projection. It may also be the projection of some of the social conservatives. But do you think that the voters who authorized Civil Unions were doing that because they felt it was an inferior status? That’s one heck of an assumption to make.

    Dude, don’t you see how these two statements of yours blatantly contradict each other?

    If the legislative compromise worked because it allowed some people to think they were voting for something that wasn’t actually marriage, then some number ofthe legislators who voted for it absolutely, positively authorized it that way because they thought it was inferior.

    Thing is joe, I guess I really don’t give a shat if someone feels stigmatized when they are granted the full legal rights they are seeking.

    This would mean that if the law said that white people got “marriage licenses”, and black people got “stupid ass nigger fucking and living together licenses”, but the underlying legal relationship was the same in each case, that this would be acceptable to you. Is that what you’re trying to say?

    No one is denied the benefit of the law because they are gay: they can still get married to someone of the opposite sex for whatever reason they want to.

    Come on, no one is this stupid.

    That means that laws that say you can’t marry outside your race are OK, because you can always just marry someone the same color as you. Or a law saying Jews can’t marry Christians is OK, because they can always just marry other Jews instead.

    Go get a swastika tattoo or something and stop wasting our time.

    joe, the problem is that a gay couple cannot commit to the “certain role in society” that married heterosexual couples fill. With each other, they do not have the capability of fulfilling that role. Therefore it is perfectly acceptable to deny them the term that describes that role.

    BZZZT! Assumes facts not in evidence. The reason people have the right to get married is not because it “fills a certain role in society”. Fuck society. People don’t possess individual rights, and people aren’t equal before the law, because of their “roles in society”. Therefore I don’t give a shit if gays fill some stupid ass Biblical “role” you think the family has or not.

  187. “The reason people have the right to get married is not because it “fills a certain role in society”. ”

    If marriage does not define a certain role in society then why does marriage exist at all? You seem to be saying that the institution of marriage sprang up to serve no purpose at all.

    If a given two people are capable of fulfilling that role, and a second couple are not capable, how is not calling the latter couple’s relationship by the same name as the former’s a violation of rights? Their situation is not the same.

    You dismissing facts and logic out of hand because they are inconvenient to your case. But in doing so, you leave the word “marriage”, a hollow, meaningless shell, devoid of substance.

  188. I have not used any religious based argument to justify my thoughts on this issue. Dismissing what I am saying as “Biblical” is a cheap, lazy, idiot’s approach to not dealing with an argumnet you do not like.

  189. MP,

    State sanctioned legal contracts are the basis for emotional and spiritual unions? Are you kidding? Marriage pre-dates the state; the state simply recognizes it. Marriage is the bsis for emotional and spiritual unions. No, I’m not kidding.

    Superior/inferior is your own judgment. Seeking to preserve the definition of marriage as M/F does not necessarily infer a superiority angle. That’s your projection. It may also be the projection of some of the social conservatives. But do you think that the voters who authorized Civil Unions were doing that because they felt it was an inferior status? That’s one heck of an assumption to make.

    The legislative history on this is quite clear, as your own statement about the “legislative compromise” makes clear. The people arguing against calling gay marriages “marriage” have made no bones about their intent. You can keep writing that it’s all in my head, but that won’t make the floor speeches disappear from the public record.

    If marriage does not define a certain role in society then why does marriage exist at all? The happiness of benefits of the couple and their family. As the decision in Loving vs. Virginia explains, being able to marry your intended is integral to the pursuit of happiness, and to liberty.

    The important issue here is not the role marriage plays in society, but the role society plays in marriage.

    MJ,

    I don’t think you are familiar with the actual definitions of the terms “force” and “impose.” But it is interesting that, having made the argument that government recognition of a marriage somehow amounts to “force” and “imposing” something on somebody, you then turn around are argue about when it is, and is not, appropriate for the government to “force” and “impose” a certain model of what it a marriage on everyone else. If we are to take your argument seriously, you are saying that the government should force people to recognize marriages, but only when you deem it to be “for the common good,” and not because the couple itself has chosen to form a family. That’s pretty disgraceful.

    If a given two people are capable of fulfilling that role, and a second couple are not capable, how is not calling the latter couple’s relationship by the same name as the former’s a violation of rights?

    Because your rights are not based on society, or the role your actions play in society. Your rights are God-given. I hold this truth to be self-evident; how about you?

  190. If the government’s laying down a market that this gay couple is legally married constituted “force,” the “imposition of values,” then why is the government performing exactly the same act when a straight couple gets married any different?

    In fact, I am the one arguing that the government’s recognition of marriages should NOT work to impose a set of values regarding the validity of different marriages here, MJ. YOU are the one arguing that it should, and whining because it isn’t imposing your values as vigorously as it should.

    So no, you don’t get to wiggle the “force,” “impose your values” finger in my face. If anything, I get to do it to you.

  191. er, a marker.

  192. Marriage has only become an issue (a “civil right?”) because government benefits and protections have been attached to it.
    I personally don’t care whether someone wants to marry their lawnmower or their dead grandfather. If there are no government benefits attached, what does it matter? Marry once, twice, three times; marry simultaneously.
    Most people get married in a religious ceremony; they ought to be divorced under the same jurisdiction.
    If we want to have “civil” marriages, OK; but the only right attached to it should be the right to buy a vanity license plate that says something like, “Married- Happily!” It would be a good source of income for the Justices of the Peace and the States.

  193. Herr Stein is correct. I would give my money to my lawnmower– as it has been more loyal than my wife.
    Hart has a take on this thing that is clearly sharp, witty and thoughtful. As for the dumb ass MJ, you really need to get a sense of humor.
    Hart Rocks!

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