Family Issues

The Right Way to Legalize Gay Marriage

Let the people decide, not the courts

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When you set out to do something important, it doesn't matter just whether you achieve itβ€”it also matters how. That's why Hank Aaron is a baseball immortal for breaking the career home run record, while Barry Bonds, who did the same, is a pariah.

The maxim holds true in public policy as well as sports. Same-sex marriage is a noble goal designed to serve both individual freedom and social health. But a wholesome end doesn't justify every possible means.

Massachusetts, California and (just this month) Connecticut have all legalized gay marriage the wrong wayβ€”by impatient, unpersuasive judicial decrees. Now California voters have the chance to do it the right wayβ€”by the free consent of the governed.

The Connecticut Supreme Court decision that came down on Oct. 10, which echoed the California ruling, was a reminder of the flimsiness of the case for judicial imposition of same-sex marriage. The justices said depriving gays of the right to marry would deprive their children of the "immeasurable advantages that flow from the assurance of a stable family structure." But the state had already provided those adults and their children exactly that, in a 2005 law giving gays the legal benefits of marriage under the rubric of civil unions.

Under state law, civil unions are, as everyone agrees, substantively indistinguishable from what heterosexuals get. The trial court in this case found that the effect of the civil union law "has been to create an identical set of legal rights in Connecticut for same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples." The only difference is the name.

But that didn't particularly impress the state Supreme Court, which says the law deprives homosexual couples of the equal protection of the law. Far from advancing their equality, it concluded, the legislature "has relegated them to an inferior status." And: "There is no doubt that civil unions enjoy a lesser status in our society than marriage."

Really? No doubt at all? As one dissenting justice noted, expressing his own doubt, "what is perceived or considered to be an inferior status in a given society may not be readily apparent when the subject is a brand-new institution." It may be that over time people will come to regard civil unions as a pale imitation of marriage. The alternative is they will come to regard them as the full, though distinct, equivalent.

It's a comforting cliche that separate means unequal, but we know better. No one thinks that when a university fields sex-segregated sports teams, it brands women as inferior.

To say that gays should have access to civil unions rather than marriage could mean society regards them as unworthy of true matrimony. Or it could mean society sees same-sex unions not as worse or better than marriage but simply different, and thus properly designated by another name.

Which will it be? At this early stage, the only reasonable answer is: We. Don't. Know. And there is only one way to find out: by giving civil unions some time to operate. The Connecticut court, like its Golden State counterpart, pronounced them inadequate without bothering to acquire the valuable knowledge that would flow from a real-world test.

But the question before California voters is not whether the court correctly interpreted the equal protection clause of the state constitution. It is whether gay couples should be deprived of the right to marry that they gained a few months ago. And the best course would be the one spurned by the Supreme Court: to let the new policy remain in effect long enough to judge its value.

It's not as though any heterosexual couple loses anything from the change. And the effect of letting gays wed is bound to be healthy for everyone, since marriage fosters long-term relationships, discourages irresponsible sexual behavior, and offers a tested means of protecting children.

Now that gay marriage is in place in California, the public might as well see if it lives up to the promises of supporters or the warnings of opponents. If the latter prove right, there will always be time to pass the sort of measure that is on the ballot this year. And if not, Californians will be glad they held off.

A few state supreme courts have decided they don't need the evidence of experience to make their judgment on same-sex marriage. That's no reason voters should make the same mistake.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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  1. I fail to so see why whether a minority gain equal rights under law should be the subject of a majority vote.

    Also, pretty much the sole reason why we have sex-segregated sport teams is because women are physically inferior. So, point lost there.

  2. As many people have said before me, let the government get out of the marriage business and call everything a civil union.

  3. IF the trial court’s finding is correct,that the benefits of each status under the law are identical, why not eliminate state-sanctioned marriage with all of its religious and cultural connotations, and convert all existing marriages to civil unions? If those married became so by cultural or religious ritual (as well as state certification), then, culturally and/or religiously, they remain married.

  4. Same-sex marriage is a noble goal designed to serve both individual freedom and social health.

    Chapman’s argument falls flat from the very beginning. The judicial decisions may or may not have been approached wrongly, but some issues – the right of free association, for one – should never be subject to the whims of a majority vote.

  5. “Chapman’s argument falls flat from the very beginning. The judicial decisions may or may not have been approached wrongly, but some issues – the right of free association, for one – should never be subject to the whims of a majority vote.”

    Call me when Reason takes up freedom of association for those who don’t want to be around blacks or Mexicans.

  6. Chapman’s reasoning is nothing new, but it is as flawed as ever. You can’t use the “separate but equal” argument for something as fundamentally immoral as gay marriage. But then, logic never stands in the way of the illuminati, elitist lunacy of those who would reconstruct society.

  7. Fundamentally immoral??
    really?
    Fundamentally?

    Yes, let’s just use terms we can’t define it’s fun for everyone.

    for shits.

    Christian support for any foreign war is fundamentally immoral.
    Supporting the drug war is fundamentally immoral.
    Judging anyone based on anything is.. you guessed it fundamentally immoral.
    Taking aspirin is fundamentally immoral.
    Celebrating birthdays is fundamentally immoral.
    Lying (even to children about santa claus)is fundamentally immoral.
    The death penalty is fundamentally immoral.
    Taking Eucharist in sacrament is fundamentally immoral.
    NOT taking Eucharist as sacrement is fundamentally immoral.
    Torture is fundamentally immoral.
    Not torturing even if it means saving lives is fundamentally immoral.

    Isn’t using that phrase fun. Hell we could apply to to anything.

  8. disagree.

    should be legal or have some sort of measure that can be used until we get the gov’t out of marriage together.

    warren – I’ll join your campaign.

  9. I’d have more respect for Chapman’s argument, if he had acknowledged and addressed the fact that the California legislature twice passed a same sex marriage bill that was vetoed by the Governor, with the reason given that the courts needed to decide. Now that they have, the argument is to let the people decide.

  10. Yeah, I’m not sure if we should let voters decide on civil rights related issues. Had it not been for a federal court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the pains of segregation and chains of discrimination may have lasted longer. So, in that case, it seems judicial activism worked to everyone’s advantage — especially the minority community. It might be argued the same way with gay marriage.

  11. Our constitution limits government and lays down individual protections for the people. The job of the courts is to make sure that laws aren’t made that violate the constitution. If a majority of people in a state decide to violate a minority group’s rights it is the court’s job to fix things.

    People can vote to create laws as much as they like – but it is ultimately up to the courts to uphold or strike down those laws. The system works.

  12. “As many people have said before me, let the government get out of the marriage business and call everything a civil union.”

    Yes, that is real easy to say if you are not gay or lesbian and trying to get married. Look, I would be thrilled if the government got out of the marriage business all together, but until them it seems fucked up to deny gay/lesbians the right to marriage.

  13. let the government get out of the marriage business

    I will if the Church will.

  14. In Connecticut, I believe the argument was made that the law allowing Civil Unions was discriminatory, based on the equal protections clause of the state constitution. If Civil Unions were banned, there would be no argument. It was the act of creating something almost but not quite like marriage that violated the constitution.

    And really, the only thing keeping the legislature from passing a same sex marriage law here was that the Governor threatened to veto it.

  15. Read all about it here.

    No.

  16. The fundamental purpose of the court is to protect the rights of a minority when the majority decide to infringe the rights of that minority.

    In other words, the court is supposed to trump the will of the people when the legislative branch passes an unconsitutional law.

  17. warren – I’ll join your campaign.

    Glad to stand beside you Moose.

    Oust Steve Chapman AlReady

    OSCAR OSCAR OSCAR

  18. The free consent of the governed?

    Wasn’t the free consent of the governed exercised when the Congress and the several states ratified the 14th Amendment?

    The amendments represent the consent of the governed too, you know.

  19. The free consent of the governed?

    Wasn’t the free consent of the governed exercised when the Congress and the several states ratified the 14th Amendment?

    The amendments represent the consent of the governed too, you know.

    Normally I’m all about this argument, but for the Civil Rights amendments it is simply not historically true. Many states ratified the 13th, 14th, and 15th only under duress as a condition to re-enter the Union after the Civil War. They had little choice. Had there *been* a free choice, it is unlikely they would have been ratified.

  20. It’s a comforting cliche that separate means unequal, but we know better. No one thinks that when a university fields sex-segregated sports teams, it brands women as inferior.

    Yet it’s still called basketball, whether men or women make up the roster.

  21. Isn’t the creation of a legal Civil Union the first step towards decoupling marriage and gov’t consent? Am I reading that wrong?

  22. As many people have said before me, let the government get out of the marriage business and call everything a civil union.

    I have almost the same take, execpt I say let people call it whatever they heck they want to call it. Marriage, civil union, coupling at the hip, joint account relationship, whatever. Should be up to the adult, willing individuals involved in the relationship.

  23. Isn’t the creation of a legal Civil Union the first step towards decoupling marriage and gov’t consent?

    No.

    Am I reading that wrong?

    Yes.

    It is an attempt by groups not allowed to ‘marry’ to seek government handouts, services and automatic wealth redistribution that ‘married’ folks should not have either.

  24. Yet it’s still called basketball, whether men or women make up the roster.

    Yeah, but the argument for having a women’s basketball team isn’t contingent on men having a basketball team.

    You can make arguments for straight marriage all day without once having to bring up equality.

    The only argument there’s ever been for gay marriage amounts to, “But mommy, you let them do it!” Absent straight marriage, there’s no argument for gay marriage.

    The fact that the only argument for gay marriage is equality ironically demonstrates that it isn’t equal.

  25. I continue to be amazed at how many gay marriage supporters use a constitutional argument to make their case. Marriage is NOT a constitutional right, whether it be for heterosexuals or homosexuals.

    If you are going to make your case, at least have the courtesy to use legitimate points.

  26. The fact that the only argument for gay marriage is equality ironically demonstrates that it isn’t equal.

    This is zen, right?

  27. Marriage is NOT a constitutional right, whether it be for heterosexuals or homosexuals.

    Driving is not a constitutional right either. But if the state passes laws estabishling who may or may not drive, those laws must apply equally to all people, not just a select few.

  28. I support renaming women’s basketball to breastketball.

  29. Driving is not a constitutional right either. But if the state passes laws estabishling who may or may not drive, those laws must apply equally to all people, not just a select few.

    Yes, but the fact that the state allows you to drive a car on the freeway doesn’t mean it’s obliged to let you define a Lear jet as equal and land it on the freeway.

  30. So should the Lovings have waited until Virginians got off their asses and legalized miscegenation?

  31. Yes, but the fact that the state allows you to drive a car on the freeway doesn’t mean it’s obliged to let you define a Lear jet as equal and land it on the freeway.

    Useless example, totally irrelevant.

  32. Marriage is NOT a constitutional right, whether it be for heterosexuals or homosexuals.

    The majority in Loving vs. Virgnia – the case that banned anti-mescengenation laws – disagrees with you. The right to marry is an inherent part of the general liberty right.

  33. Useless example, totally irrelevant.

    I’d say it’s very relevant. “Automobile” refers to a specific class of vehicle, with a specific class of characteristics. If your vehicle of choice doesn’t adhere to that set of characteristics, the state is not obliged to guarantee equal access to the roads, the fact that they’re public roads notwithstanding.

  34. Driving is not a constitutional right either.

    That would be implied in Article 1, the Congressional power to establish roads (Postal Roads, specifically). Gotta do something on those roads, eh? No intent for it to be exclusive foot traffic.

    I differ with most of the State power supporters from their notion that non-commercial driving rights should be regulated by the State.

    I have not yet found the evidence that animal transportation ever required licensing. Just because the vehicles have changed, for the better, to something easier to control than a horse or mule has never been a justification for regulation and licensing, in my book.

  35. Straight marriage is to gay marriage
    as a car is to a ________

    a. A house boat
    b. Lear jet
    c. A slightly different sort of car
    d. Baloo

    kinnath, are you really going to tell me you missed this one on your California Aptitude Test?

  36. But if the state passes laws estabishling who may or may not drive, those laws must apply equally to all people, not just a select few.

    PEOPLE, can’t you read, PEOPLE

    Not fucking vehicles.

  37. “Automobile” refers to a specific class of vehicle, with a specific class of characteristics. If your vehicle of choice doesn’t adhere to that set of characteristics, the state is not obliged to guarantee equal access to the roads, the fact that they’re public roads notwithstanding.

    Lear jets are a qualititively different class of vehicle than automobiles. The ability to fly, their size inlcuding wingspan, and the speed at which they travel amount to a difference in type.

    Gay marriage differs from straight marriage merely in the demographic attributes of the participants, a distinction more akin to the color, make, and model of an automobile.

  38. It is an attempt by groups not allowed to ‘marry’ to seek government handouts, services and automatic wealth redistribution that ‘married’ folks should not have either.

    A lot of those ‘handouts’ don’t cost anyone anything, and are the primary reasons gays want to marry, despite your attempt to ascribe sinister motives to them.

  39. That would be implied in Article 1, the Congressional power to establish roads (Postal Roads, specifically). Gotta do something on those roads, eh? No intent for it to be exclusive foot traffic.

    I don’t need a license to walk on a public road, ride a bike on a public road, or ride a horse on a public road.

    If you have a compelling argument that imposing the need for a license to operate a motor vehicle is not consitutional, I’m all ears.

  40. A lot of those ‘handouts’ don’t cost anyone anything, and are the primary reasons gays want to marry, despite your attempt to ascribe sinister motives to them.

    That is the funniest thing you have ever written!

    You are trying to tell all of us that someone getting Social Security benefits because they were once married to someone who earned them is free?

    Are you trying to tell all of us that the State giving all of the property of a dead person away to their ‘spouse’, despite the express wishes of the deceased in a proper will did not ‘cost’ anybody anything either?

    Maybe you just were not aware of these things when you made your decisions on this issue.

  41. If you have a compelling argument that imposing the need for a license to operate a motor vehicle is not consitutional, I’m all ears.

    Seems you must have found an expressed power in the Constitution, with Amendments, granting the government the power to create such un-needed regulation of non-commercial travel by means of a motor powered conveyance.

  42. So, please share it with us.

  43. I wouldn’t want to subject my marriage to a popular vote, thank you. It’s nobody’s business but mine and my husband’s.

  44. Yeah, but the argument for having a women’s basketball team isn’t contingent on men having a basketball team.

    You can make arguments for straight marriage all day without once having to bring up equality.

    The only argument there’s ever been for gay marriage amounts to, “But mommy, you let them do it!” Absent straight marriage, there’s no argument for gay marriage.

    I’m pretty sure the main benefits of marriage to society are just as strong for gay couples as they are for sterile heterosexual couples. A stable adopted nuclear family is good for everyone. Any argument you can come up with for the merits of straight marriage that does NOT also apply to gay marriage would deny marriage rights to anyone who was naturally infertile.

  45. Seems you must have found an expressed power in the Constitution, with Amendments, granting the government the power to create such un-needed regulation of non-commercial travel by means of a motor powered conveyance.

    I’ll take Judicial Overreaching for $200 . . . What is the Commerce Clause?

  46. Wait a minute-didn’ this column already run before?

  47. Normally I’m all about this argument, but for the Civil Rights amendments it is simply not historically true. Many states ratified the 13th, 14th, and 15th only under duress as a condition to re-enter the Union after the Civil War. They had little choice. Had there *been* a free choice, it is unlikely they would have been ratified.

    Disagree. They did have a free choice. They had the free choice to remain occupied territories. It’s a sucky choice to be sure, but it’s absolutely a reasonable choice to be given to States that caused half a million people to die out of nothing more than personal pique. To quote one of the best movies ever, “bust a deal, face the wheel.”

  48. I’ll take Judicial Overreaching for $200 . . . What is the Commerce Clause?

    All of those comments just to agree with me that the Commerce Clause has been misapplied to non-commercial motor transportation?

    Jeesh.

  49. Semantics are fun!

  50. (NOT REALLY) NEW AT REASON: Steve Chapman is still allowed to post here, regardless of his mortifying take on almost every issue.

    As an aside: EVERYONE who bothered to take a position (either way) on the Public Road/Lear Jet metaphor is guilty of genuine douchebaggery. πŸ™‚

  51. While I think its stupid to be against gay marriage, I agree that government policy shouldn’tbe adopted without the support of a majority. Policy issues come and go, but if we don’t have a strong democracy we have no hope. THen again, I already know we don’t really have a strong democracy, so whypretend we do?

  52. I probably shouldn’t have made that lsat post here. Since most of you guys are elitists who think everything would be better if only you were given sole cntrol of the governmetn, I’m no t surprised that maintaining a democratic system doesn’t rank high on your list of goals.

  53. Policy issues come and go, but if we don’t have a strong democracy we have no hope.

    Wrong again, we are not a democracy and, hopefully, we never will be.

    So long as the constitution survives, we’ll be OK.

  54. Since most of you guys are elitists . . .

  55. oops

    Elitest prick at your call, serving the public since 1957.

  56. @kinnath-You’ve done notheing but prove my point that you guys elitist pricks.

  57. concerned observer, you’ve done nothing but prove my suspicion that you’re an ingorant moron.

    Now would you care to address any specific point in one of my posts?

  58. So long as the constitution survives, we’ll be OK.

    Ouch. I think I’ll be booking that flight to Costa Rica after all.

  59. Right, we’ll be okay as long as a document written by elitist racist white men survives. Spoken like a true elitist racist white man.

  60. Right, we’ll be okay as long as a document written by elitist racist white men survives. Spoken like a true elitist racist white man.

    Now would you care to address any specific point in one of my posts?

  61. Ouch. I think I’ll be booking that flight to Costa Rica after all.

    Unless we find a way to put elistist pricks back in charge of things, the future of our constitutional, representative republic is uncertain at best.

  62. I just did. You said that everything will be okay as long as the US constitution survives and I disagreed. If you must know, I think a parliamentary democracy would be far superior to our current system, which is largely designed to obstruct rather than enact the will of the people.

  63. So you just admitted that you want elitist pricks in power?

  64. So long as the constitution survives, we’ll be OK.

    What do you mean by “survives”. The entire Bill of Rights is pretty much meaningless. The government has been doing whatever it wants without the slightest regard to the constitution for some time now.

  65. . . . our current system, which is largely designed to obstruct rather than enact the will of the people.

    This is the beauty of the constitution. It is not a bug.

    I think a parliamentary democracy would be far superior . .

    Without adequate protection of the rights of minorities, democracy is just another form of tyranny.

  66. What do you mean by “survives”. The entire Bill of Rights is pretty much meaningless.

    Long as they can’t force me to quarter Redcoats in my barn, I’m satisfied.

  67. What do you mean by “survives”.

    It is comatose, but not dead yet.

    However, the majority of the population seems ready to pull the plug.

    concerned observer is at the front of the line, begging to pull it.

  68. I support minority rights as well. For example I don’t think the majority at some point in time has the right to disenfranchise the minority because it deprives the minority of its democratic right to participate in government.

  69. If you must know, I think a parliamentary democracy would be far superior to our current system, which is largely designed to obstruct rather than enact the will of the people.

    Eff that. I’ll take the elitist pricks over the baying sheeple any day.

  70. Yes I’m begging to pull the plug on meaningless and stupid traditions designed to allow an elitist minority to control the government while letting the people think that they are the ones in charge.

  71. Maybe you just were not aware of these things when you made your decisions on this issue.

    I’m quite aware of the issues surrounding gay marriage, thanks. Maybe I’m just less cynical than you in believing that gays AND straights want to get married for primarily non-financial reasons.

  72. Yes I’m begging to pull the plug on meaningless and stupid traditions designed to allow an elitist minority to control the government while letting the people think that they are the ones in charge.

    The US is at that awkward stage; too late to work within the system; too early to start shooting people.

  73. @kinnath 11:36-What the hell are you talking about?

  74. We didn’t put interracial marriage to a vote, so why is this an issue? If the KKK’s church refuses to marry outside their beliefs, then so be it. That doesn’t mean it should still be “illegal” in the rest of Alabama.

    If someone’s CONSTITUTIONAL rights are being violated, then it is a Federal issue, NOT a State issue. You can’t condemn someone to a life of violated legal rights just because a majority of their state hates them. That’s called discrimination.

    And when lawyers and medical providers took on their professions, they swore to treat ALL Americans equally, in the eyes of the law. This includes NON-Religious, courthouse marriages.

    By calling it a civil union you are actually causing legal problems for these couples. Such as adoption, hospital visitation rights, last rights, and health and insurance benefits. Once you take away their right to be legally “married” as defined by a contract, then you are taking away their rights to benefit as so many other Americans do from marriage. Everything from Tax Status to Health Insurance is affected by your “status” as a married couple or a single individual.

    This isn’t just a religious debate, it really affects someone’s life.

  75. What the hell are you talking about?

    Too subtle for you?

  76. I am not getting a lot of the learjet = marriage stuff.

    But there are some good points made on this thread.

    Guy, great point about the licensing of cars. I like it a lot, I hope you don’t mind that I use it in the future.

  77. Oh let the faggies marry…Nothin’ wrong w/that.

  78. @ SugarFree @ 10:10am –

    s/b basketbreast, yes? In order to parallel the dyad in men’s possession with the dyad in women’s possession.

  79. I support minority rights as well. For example I don’t think the majority at some point in time has the right to disenfranchise the minority because it deprives the minority of its democratic right to participate in government.

    No you don’t.

    If the majority decides to fuck with the minority, the fact that the minority had an opporunity to vote against the majority is of no consequence.

    Minority rights only exist if an independent judiciary can overrule the majority.

  80. Cassandra | October 20, 2008, 10:45am | #
    I wouldn’t want to subject my marriage to a popular vote, thank you. It’s nobody’s business but mine and my husband’s.

    And the government right?

    Otherwise what is it? How is it different from dating?

  81. another athletic supporter holding court,

    I’d be fine with that as well, in fact, it maybe more accurate than you know… I’m pretty sure most the WBNA’s only experience with balls is of the basket variety.

  82. SF – What an untangled www they’d weave.

  83. LLStone | October 20, 2008, 9:52am | #
    Isn’t the creation of a legal Civil Union the first step towards decoupling marriage and gov’t consent? Am I reading that wrong?

    If it is, then I am wholly in favor of it.

  84. Net-resultwise, that is.

  85. No one thinks that when a university fields sex-segregated sports teams, it brands women as inferior.

    It would if they were competing in the shooting sports, where men and women compete equally.

    The trial court in this case found that the effect of the civil union law “has been to create an identical set of legal rights in Connecticut for same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples.”

    Identical legal rights under state law. But are they equal under federal law? Can partners in Connecticut civil unions file joint federal income tax returns, etc?

    Yes, but the fact that the state allows you to drive a car on the freeway doesn’t mean it’s obliged to let you define a Lear jet as equal and land it on the freeway.

    But would you support a law saying gays get a “special” driver’s license that won’t allow freeway driving? Or even that their gay status be flagged on their driver’s license?

    I support minority rights as well. For example I don’t think the majority at some point in time has the right to disenfranchise the minority because it deprives the minority of its democratic right to participate in government.

    But it’s okay for the majority to prohibit the minority from forming families and raising children in them? Right.

  86. This is the beauty of the constitution. It is not a bug.

    Feature, it’s feature!!!

  87. apparently 1 person instituting a rule that oppresses a lot of people is worse than 100,000,000 people agreeing to do the same.

  88. But if the state passes laws estabishling who may or may not drive, those laws must apply equally to all people, not just a select few.

    PEOPLE, can’t you read, PEOPLE

    Not fucking vehicles.

    Well, isn’t that the issue? Once you allow gay marriage, people will be marrying their Corvettes?

  89. I’m pretty sure the main benefits of marriage to society are just as strong for gay couples as they are for sterile heterosexual couples.

    What you’re ignoring is that the usual and expected case is that most heterosexual couples are not sterile. Do you also require that government demonstrate that each and every dog is susceptible to rabies to require rabies shots as a general rule?

    Any argument you can come up with for the merits of straight marriage that does NOT also apply to gay marriage would deny marriage rights to anyone who was naturally infertile.

    No, it doesn’t, because good laws are based on the typical case rather than outlier cases. Since, overwhelmingly, most hetero-sexual couples are not sterile, we can deduce that as a general rule recognizing hetero-sexual relationships has an intrinsic value *usually* that isn’t operative in gay relationships *ever*.

  90. We didn’t put interracial marriage to a vote, so why is this an issue?

    Nobody ever disputed that interracial marriages fit the definition of marriage, the laws merely disqualified certain parties.

    In this case, what’s being argued is whether the relationship under consideration even qualifies under the definition of marriage.

    That’s why it’s an issue.

  91. concerned observer | October 20, 2008, 11:24am | #

    If you must know, I think a parliamentary democracy would be far superior to our current system, which is largely designed to obstruct rather than enact the will of the people

    concerned observer | October 20, 2008, 11:32am | #

    I support minority rights as well. For example I don’t think the majority at some point in time has the right to disenfranchise the minority because it deprives the minority of its democratic right to participate in government

    If you can’t spot the contradiction in these two statements, apparently you were merely an “observer” during high school civics class.

    A constitutional republic is the best defense the minority has against the majority. Tyranny is tyranny, whether practiced by a King or a Mob.

  92. Kolohe | October 20, 2008, 12:23pm | #
    But if the state passes laws estabishling who may or may not drive, those laws must apply equally to all people, not just a select few.

    PEOPLE, can’t you read, PEOPLE

    Not fucking vehicles.

    Well, isn’t that the issue? Once you allow gay marriage, people will be marrying their Corvettes?

    In what world is that a bug and not a feature?

  93. Kinnath-

    Rights are not created by the constitution. The right to travel existed long before 1787. The right to travel necessarily embraces the right to drive automobiles, free from any government regulation, including licensing and registration.

    There are people who actually think that the country would fall apart if there were no communist licensing and registration schemes. Some people look at Christ as God; others look to Science as God and then there are those who look to government as God-all of these people are a few plays short of a complete gameplan.

  94. apparently 1 person instituting a rule that oppresses a lot any number greater than zero of people

  95. This is definitely the better way to do it.

    Let’s hope it passes.

  96. An interesting development in this thread is that Concerned Observer is making arguments, instead of just calling people names.

    This is new to me.

    He has elevated past Edward/Lefiti, and now has an opinion and is eager to argue it in the arena.

    He may come to regret that though.

  97. Since, overwhelmingly, most hetero-sexual couples are not sterile, we can deduce that as a general rule recognizing hetero-sexual relationships has an intrinsic value *usually* that isn’t operative in gay relationships *ever*.

    If adoption were easier, you would probably see about equal numbers of gay couples with children as straight ones. Are you advocating that only couples with children get marriage benefits? If so, then I disagree, but at least you’d be consistent.

  98. I’m a little lost here. Prop 8 here in sunny CA would amend the state constitution defining marriage as man+woman only. If it passes it’ll be a black day for gay rights. If it fails, nothing changes. I don’t see how any outcome here would *help* gay rights; the best we can hope for is to fail to hurt them. I unfortunately don’t buy that failure of Prop 8 is an automatic pro-gay-rights victory.

  99. What you’re ignoring is that the usual and expected case is that most heterosexual couples are not sterile.

    You’re ignoring the fact that makin’ babies is not a top reason for marriage–and never has been.

    good laws are based on the typical case rather than outlier cases.

    You can deny just about any right to any person based on nonsense like that.

  100. Color me another person who believes that the primary difference between “marriage” and “civil union” is religious/cultural approval, a place the government isn’t allowed to interfere anyway. Just because a lot of people think the government should establish basic health standards for food doesn’t mean that it follows that government should also create a legal definition of “kosher”.

  101. Rex,
    your post at 8:21 am today was fundamentally Immoral.

    Please do not do that again.

  102. Let’s hope it passes.

    You mean fails. Prop 8 would strip the right to marry from gay people, a right that was created through the courts.

    So it would be little different from what happened in Massachusetts – the ballot amendment couldn’t even the 25% of the legislature necessary for it to appear on the ballot.

    It’s kind of funny – the anti-gay activists spent two years howling about gay marriage being a fringe position the public didn’t support, and then they couldn’t get a single legislator voted out of office for supporting it, while seeing a few of their team lose their seats, and when the representatives they’d been threatening were faced with the vote, they came out more than 3:1 against.

  103. Reinmoose | October 20, 2008, 12:17pm | #
    apparently 1 person instituting a rule that oppresses a lot of people is worse than 100,000,000 people agreeing to do the same.

    Having traveled between both those types of countries, I have to say the tyranny of a million is better than the tyranny of 1.

    Not by a lot though.

  104. “In this case, what’s being argued is whether the relationship under consideration even qualifies under the definition of marriage.”

    It still makes no sense that you even have to define marriage in any terms other than legal. Therefore if a church has a problem with the LEGAL, NON RELIGIOUS definition being “a union between two consenting adults” it won’t matter.

    No church is being forced into anything and no one’s rights are being violated on the other side, so why are we even debating this? Letting homosexuals being married in the same LEGAL way (courthouse) and recognized by hospitals, insurance agencies and tax brackets etc in the same way is not “violating” your religious rights.

  105. The people that matter have spoken: same-sex couples who have married in huge numbers in Canada, Massachusetts and California.

    Why does the majority get any say in a question that is neutral from the perspective of public morality? Churches are welcome to condemn Homosexuality. They are not allowed to impose sectarian views on secular law.

  106. Letting homosexuals being married in the same LEGAL way (courthouse) and recognized by hospitals, insurance agencies and tax brackets etc in the same way is not “violating” your religious rights.

    Does it not occur to you that forcing hospitals and insurance agencies to recognize gay marriage is a violation of their rights?

  107. *dbl post*

    Have to add:

    The legal definition as it is now is too vague as it is. There are actually more than two sexes. Otherwise, you are saying that hermaphrodites, transgenders and eunuchs can’t be “legally wed” either. Though we know they have for centuries, in most cases without anyone’s knoweledge.

    So, unless you have any legal proof that two openly gay, fully obvious from outawrd appearances MEN getting married is somehow “worse” than a sex changed female and a man (still two “males” chemically) then your argument loses weight.

  108. did it occur to YOU that doctors and lawyers take oaths to treat ALL people equally, depsite personal beliefs? Racist doctors can’t deny a black man treatment and say it was his “right” to do so. He’ll be fired and possibly sued.

  109. did it occur to YOU that doctors and lawyers take oaths to treat ALL people equally, depsite personal beliefs? Racist doctors can’t deny a black man treatment and say it was his “right” to do so. He’ll be fired and possibly sued.

    Relationships are not people. Show me where they took an oath to recognize all relationships as equal.

  110. I’ll probably be called a moron (and you might be right!), but I’ll voice my opinion anyway. The subject of civil unions/gay marriages are subject to civil rights under the Constitution as soon as the word “equality” is read or spoken–in my opinion. The problem with the execution of legislating gay marriage/civil union is manifold because marriage licenses are issued by the state, then recognized from state to state via the Constitution. Civil unions are inherently inferior–yes, without a doubt inferior–because they are not recognized across state lines.

    Now why has the federal government not corrected this error? (Never mind that it hasn’t needed correction until the People, at least some of them, brought it to the government’s attention.) Simple: if it were supported by republican politicians, what would happen to the republican base? Your average conservative republican would no longer feel a part of the party and would most likely register as an independent (which should be viewed as a good thing, since our country has become unhealthily polarized). The republican party on this issue is populist, representing the populist view, but not representing what protects the Constitution. They can’t support it because, if they did, it would weaken the membership of the party. And I imagine it would weaken the democratic party as well, but not to the extent of the other. Yet the fear of the weakening of the parties is exactly what prevents the feds from upholding the Constitution. Sad, isn’t it?

  111. As a libertarian who subscribes to the ideas of limited constitutional government and natural law, I was always under the impression that the whole point of having a judiciary was to protect people from the tyranny of the majority.

    Otherwise, we could all just have a referendum on whether all of Steve Chapman’s property should be seized and sold, the profits to be divided equally among those who post comments to his articles.

    Remember, pure democracy is nothing more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.

  112. It’s pretty simple math.

    A man has a right to have a wife, if he is so inclined and can find one to consent. In most states, a woman does not have a right to have a wife, if she is so inclined and has a consenting partner in mind.

    This is clear sexual inequality.

    Likewise, if women are entitled to take husbands, so too must be men.

    I’ve heard a lot of arguments against gay marriage, and not a single one of them manages to overcome this fundamental truth about equal protection under the law.

  113. Wee! Tripple-posting!

    “Does it not occur to you that forcing hospitals and insurance agencies to recognize gay marriage is a violation of their rights?”

    No. Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Hospitals and Insurance companies do not have the right to dictate the terms of my marriage to me.

  114. Wow its great to see all the platitudes you’re piling on ie “democracy is just 2 wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner”. I’d hate to live in your world, where apparently everyone is out to get you. But then again, you wouldn’t be a libertarian if you weren’t completely insane.

  115. @Why Certainly:

    It is sad. I can understand how a small Insurance company might be emotionally bothered by having to insure people they dislike (we all know the big ones would just see it as a new target audience and boost advertising) but I cannot see that as an arguable point. You see, a transgender couple could already be on your policy and you wouldn’t even know it.

    So, technically, unless you are going to screen every insurance candidate to make sure they are 100% male or 100% female ‘down there’ then you are full of it if you seriously think upholding this ancient, biased definition of a union is really protecting you from anything. Much like the military, conservatives never had a problem with it until people got more vocal.

  116. “Does it not occur to you that forcing hospitals and insurance agencies to recognize gay marriage is a violation of their rights?”

    The Constition and the Bill of Rights exist so that individual rights supercede those of institutions. It would be wonderful if politicians would repeat that sentiment like a mantra.

    Are you a CEO? πŸ˜›

  117. Mis-spelled “Constitution,” dammit! Then again, with the way some interpret it, maybe it should sometimes be called the “Constition.” πŸ˜‰

  118. I can see it now… Insurance agencies will adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy so that you can be covered as long as you are secretly homosexual.

  119. @Why Certainly-You can’t have an atomistic society in which the individual invariably precedence over institutions. Democratic institutions, at least, are necessary to make society cohesive and to instill a common set of values to help individuals work together towards common goals. A boat with a bunch of rowers cannot move if they are not coordinated and society cannot progrese if there is not some coordination among its indiviudal members.

  120. And another!

    “No, it doesn’t, because good laws are based on the typical case rather than outlier cases. Since, overwhelmingly, most hetero-sexual couples are not sterile, we can deduce that as a general rule recognizing hetero-sexual relationships has an intrinsic value *usually* that isn’t operative in gay relationships *ever*.”

    If so, then there’s no harm in allowing gays, who make up less than two percent of the population according to the best available census data, to go ahead and get married like any other couple. They are outlier cases, just as non-child-bearing heterosexual couples are.

    Allowing *all* couples who wish to marry go ahead and do so has an intrinsic value that is roughly equal to just allowing all straight couples to marry, while having the phenomenal advantage of not treating a small minority unfairly.

  121. “Wow its great to see all the platitudes you’re piling on ie “democracy is just 2 wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner”. I’d hate to live in your world, where apparently everyone is out to get you. But then again, you wouldn’t be a libertarian if you weren’t completely insane.”

    So, it’s your position that stomping on individual rights, even outright bigotry, is A-OK, as long as it’s done democratically?

    I guess we know which side you would have taken during the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

  122. Concerned observer, this is a discussion of civil rights. Of course some institutions–and I stess “some”–are necessary, but that’s not the subject at hand, is it?

    ” A boat with a bunch of rowers cannot move if they are not coordinated and society cannot progrese if there is not some coordination among its indiviudal members.”

    You argue the point perfectly. What we’re talking about are civil rights–i.e. working together under the same rules and guidelines. Civil rights represent the boat. Without them, you just have people flailing in the water.

    Please remember that arguments by analogy are the weakest form of argument and can backfire. Use them sparingly.

  123. @Tara-that’s right democracy=tyranny. While democracy, like your precious free market, can make mistakes, it tends to work out in the end. BTW-Youre making a false comparison to slavery. Slaves were denied civil rights, most importantly the right to vote, and the slave states had disproportionately high representation in the decidedly undemocratic senate. To say that this is a good example of democratic institutions at work is the height of ignorance.

  124. @why certainly-exactly but our definitions of civil rights are different. My definition of civil rights looks at the privileges and obligations of the individual in relation to society while the libertarian definition claims the right to be a selfish prick is a “civil right”. Hence where we diverge.

  125. Al your marriaj belong to us!

  126. Who’s being the ‘selfish prick’?

    Let me put it this way:
    (Beware! Analogy ahead!)

    I live in a very diverse part of Brooklyn. Now there are a few neighborhoods that specialize in Kosher delis and Jewish fashion trends in order to appeal to the people who live and work around there. However, it is not illegal to open a NON-Kosher deli in teh area. Granted that you may no do as well financially, you still have the right to open shop wherever you want.

    Neighborhoods, are like the “states” of a city. They can be diverse and appeal to the majority of the people in their area, but they can’t decide to violate city laws and free trade laws by “voting” some business owner out of town. Granted you’ll have cases of abuse or violence or “hate crimes” based on the tension this creates, but there is no legal precedent for them to “define deli” as someone suggested above.

    It is unecessary. A business is just a business. A marriage is just a union. You can call it what you like and choose not to patronize or serve people using whatever discrimination you like (set a bouncer outside the door to your posh club, put a sign in the window that says “no gays” whatever you wnt to do.) But kicking people out of your neighborhood or trying to change city laws to make it illegal for them to live there?

    That’s an obviousl violation of their rights to just be free.

  127. It’s a huge tactical mistake for those pushing for equality for gays to push anything with the word “marriage” in it. That sets off the fundies. But talk about a legal equivalent not called marriage, say it is about civil rights, and quite a few of the fundies will support it.

    You have fundies who categorically oppose equal protection under the law. You have gay activists who categorically insist on calling for “gay marriage”. Most other people can be reasoned with, and would support an uneasy compromise that results in equality.

  128. Concerned observer, so what you’re saying is that anyone who views politics and/or civil rights in a different manner than you is a selfish prick? That has to be what you’re saying because I’m a registered Democrat–albeit a pretty conservative one–not a libertarian. I do, however, have a great deal of respect for libertarians, as well as republicans who value keeping politics as local as possible while focusing on personal responsiblity and limiting government, and–of course–democrats who recognize that it is in government’s best interest to invest in its citizens. Basically, I enjoy different ideas from different people, and I’ll remain respectful. Maybe while keeping the “obligations of the individual in relation to society” in mind, you can participate in common courtesy–the most basic of an individual’s obligation to himself and society.

    I think I developed I facial tick while fighting the urge to use a few four letter words. πŸ˜€

  129. My definition of civil rights looks at the privileges and obligations of the individual in relation to society while the libertarian definition claims the right to be a selfish prick is a “civil right”. Hence where we diverge.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Nothing about priviledges or obligations here.

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

    The sole purpose of government is to secure our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, . . .

    And hence, the responsibility to start shooting people if it comes to that.

    and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    If the constitution dies, we’ll just have to start over again.

    So sayeth that elitist racist white man otherwise known at T. Jefferson.

  130. “So sayeth that elitist racist white man otherwise known at T. Jefferson.”

    Replace the word “man” with “prick” so that we can make everyone happy. πŸ˜›

  131. Replace the word “man” with “prick” so that we can make everyone happy. πŸ˜›

    I on the record above as saying I’m an elitist prick and want the country turned back over to the control of elitist pricks.

  132. I am pretty disappointed at all of the people on this forum mindlessly chanting “individual rights! individual rights!” in regard to the institution of marriage. There is nothing at all individual about marriage. Furthermore, there is nothing at all Constitutional about marriage. Fundamentally, “marriage” is a social construction that is backed by either a religious institution or a social one. In this particular argument, the backer of the idea of “marriage” happens to be the Religion of State.

    Now, that being said, two (or more) people who co-habitate, (may) have children together, have sex together have a type of natural law “marriage”–they are performing physical actions based upon their own mutual agreement.

    I have yet to see how (with the exception of unenforced sodomy or polygamy laws), any state in the Union has prevented this previously-described form of natural law marriage. What they have done is defined requirements for a tax rebate status, an insurance status, adoption status, etc. etc. You get the point. Why then is it unreasonable for a populace (a State nonetheless) to enact reasonable controls on these governmental-issued statuses? If anything–the special privileges and governmental backing of a social institution is the problem. Get rid of all the governmental privileges associated with a social institution and this all goes away.

    Now, I can hear the exclamations of disagreement already, so I’ll add a rebuttal right now. To all of those people clamoring that a state not recognizing gay marriage and all it entails is a gross violation of rights… how should a State respond to polygamy? Should the State extend legal rights to all the spouses? Should we have a marriage tax deduction that has a “Number of Spouses” deduction box like the child tax credit deduction?

    What I find humorous is the number of people who would support gay marriage on these flimsy terms but would deny polygamists the same type of governmental acknowledgment. What they are effectively saying is “we want tax rebates too! just like those heterosexual couples.” I hardly believe though that most of these supporters would rise up to the occasion of fighting for State tax-dollar sponsored polygamy.

    As a humorously offbeat corollary–think of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti monster and his noodly appendage vs. Creationism. Creationists constantly try to use their “me-too” approach to justify inclusion of their version of “science” into education. One of their main arguments is that State-sponsored backing of a certain mode of thought is hostile to them because they don’t believe it (read: Religious Science vs. Science). If anyone is a true believer in Liberty, I think he/she would have to be somewhat sympathetic to this argument. State-subsidized education makes it prohibitively expensive in many cases for these people to send their children to a private school where they could receive an alternate form of education. (While that argument holds water, they try to insert their beliefs in to the already established socialized education system instead of promoting freedom in education). Likewise, state-sponsored heterosexual marriage makes it relatively more expensive for homosexual partners in marriage (inequality in taxation).

    But… back to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his Noodly Appendage. Just as there are a million ways a person could make claims on what is a “Science” or a “Religion” a person can do the same with defining marriage. What if I determine that I should be allowed to sleep with my parents, for instance? Should the state recognize that as marriage and all of the governmental issued benefits that come with that? How about if a whole commune decides to marry each other? Are their “individual rights” (said with extreme sarcasm) being violated because we don’t think we should enumerate another special case of “marriage” for them?

    The solution to this logical quagmire is to get rid of the special cases and special benefits and uphold true individual rights. If people wish to live together and have children together, it is not the business of the government to prohibit it. It is also not the business of the government to endorse it or give it a special name and tax code either.

    Note: to those die hard supporters of gay marriage who think that two-person traditional family oriented marriage is good for society and therefore two-person homosexual marriage should be made legal even though polygamy is bad and evil and should be illegal–where does your argument lie? Is it a matter of individual rights or the social good? And if it *is* based on the social good–why are you so angry when society believes that their good would be better served by not having gay marriage at all?

  133. how should a State respond to polygamy?

    As long as the state recognizes and enforces a marriage contract (with all rights and responsibilities that entails), the details of the participants in the marriage should not control who is allowed to get married.

    If straight marriage is legal; gay marriage should be legal. If gay marriage is legal; poly marriage should be legal — so long as all participants are consenting adults.

    Of course, the better solution would be to disolve the state recognition of a marriage contract.

  134. There is nothing at all individual about marriage.

    What a maroon!

  135. It’s pretty simple math.

    And you’re a pretty simple mathematician.

    A man has a right to have a wife, if he is so inclined and can find one to consent. In most states, a woman does not have a right to have a wife, if she is so inclined and has a consenting partner in mind.

    Show me the law that states, specifically, that “a man has a right to have a wife”. What the law states is that at an age determined by the state, that he’s eligible to enter into an arrangement called a “marriage”.

    Given that a marriage is defined, by constitution in 27 states, and by legislation in most other jurisdictions, as a contract involving one man and one woman, your math doesn’t quite add up.

    Everybody also has the right to form a corporation. What they don’t have right to is redefining the definition of a corporation to suit themselves.

  136. Kinnath said:

    “As long as the state recognizes and enforces a marriage contract (with all rights and responsibilities that entails), the details of the participants in the marriage should not control who is allowed to get married.”

    Kinnath,

    I kind of buy this argument but here is my very respectful criticism of it. What is so special about marriage that “the details of the participants in the marriage” don’t matter? Is there some other Constitution I am unaware of that has marriage as an unalienable right? And if so, what does it define it as?

    In my view, socially-defined rights are just that–socially defined and are vulnerable to the crazy whims of a democratic majority. What makes the U.S. Constitution so special in my view is that it enforces individual rights and is in theory not susceptible to abrogation of rights of the few for the “greater good”. As long as people are allowed freedom to form mutually beneficial social arrangements, they can form their own “social rights”.

    The type of “marriage” that is currently outlawed is not a behavior but a social contract. No individual rights are being denied and there is no Constitutional basis for the Federal government becoming involved except for the full faith and credit clause. Which means that if a state determines that gay marriage should be illegal–what legitimate argument would the Supreme Court have to even make a ruling on gay marriage based on a strict reading of the 10th amendment?

    Now the complication is that pesky full faith and credit clause. You mentioned earlier that the details of the participants shouldn’t matter in regards to the social construct of marriage–but that would be very much different than other social constructs we have!

    Laws regarding the responsibilities / rights of similar institutions vary tremendously between the States. Just think of vehicle restrictions. You can drive in a State unregistered with an out-of-state driver’s license…. for a while. After living in the state for a while however, there are various restrictions placed on your continued ability to drive and have your car registered. Let’s called this institution “Driverhood”. In CA, where I live, these restrictions (especially environmental) are fairly draconian and are not required in other states.

    These restrictions can influence your “Driverhood” eligibility in the state that you are in when you are driving on *public* roads (driver’s licenses are not needed on private property). Also, I cannot obey Texas driving laws in California and not expect to eventually get arrested. I do not see how it is logically a far stretch for States to make claims on restrictions of what constitutes an acceptable “Marriage” in a public context and the rights associated with it if they can determine what is acceptable “Driverhood” on public roads.

    As you said, the easiest way around this is just not to define marriage in the first place πŸ™‚

  137. “Laws regarding the responsibilities / rights of similar institutions vary tremendously between the States. Just think of vehicle restrictions. You can drive in a State unregistered with an out-of-state driver’s license…. for a while. After living in the state for a while however, there are various restrictions placed on your continued ability to drive and have your car registered. Let’s called this institution “Driverhood”. In CA, where I live, these restrictions (especially environmental) are fairly draconian and are not required in other states.”

    All this is true.

    But nobody is prohibited from driving a certain kind of car based on their gender.

    Men are prevented from marrying men based on the completely arbitrary and unfair rule that only women are allowed to marry men.

    Women are prevented from marrying women based on the completely arbitrary and unfair rule that only men are allowed to marry women.

    Gay marriage comes down to equal protection under the law. If I, as a woman, can marry a man who consents to marry me, then a gay man should likewise be able to marry a man. If not, then he lacks a government-granted privilege which I enjoy, with no sensible rationale whatsoever, beyond the fact that some people see his marriage as “icky.”

    It’s not that marriage is a right, it’s that being treated equally by the law is a right.

  138. Allowing the people to decide for themselves that same-sex marriage is as important a right as traditional marriage seems easy enough. The only problem is that, when given the chance to make such a decision the people still choose to oppress same-sex marriages. In 2004 Georgia voters voted overwhelmingly to amend the Georgia Constitution in a way that defines marriage as that between a man and a woman, and prevents the state from recognizing any marriage between a same sex couples as valid.

    The truth is that the majority of voters do disagree with idea of gay marriage. Look at the election today. Obama won’t endorse any proposals that would grant same sex couples the right to the same sort of marriage as opposite sex couples. it is because he knows he would alienate voters who vehemently disagree with same-sex marriages.

    And as our past has shown us, the major civil rights cases that have occurred in this country did not come through popular votes. They were forced through decisions by the Supreme Court (Brown v Board of Education is but one example), and only later were they viewed as common sense. The fact is that right now the American people would not vote for same-sex marriage rights, and it is unknown as to how long it will take for us to collectively change our minds.

  139. One of the biggest misinterpretations of our history is after winning the revolutionary war we traded the tyranny of the minority (kings) for the tyranny of the majority (the voting masses). That is incorrect and dangerous. The vote was given to protect people from the government, not to oppress others. The majority nor the government (expect in cases of adjudication of breach, etc.) should not decide the rights of sound-minded individuals to enter contracts.

    I disagree: courts should be able to examine contracts and who’s able to enter them. That’s their job, right?

  140. “Gay marriage differs from straight marriage merely in the demographic attributes of the participants, a distinction more akin to the color, make, and model of an automobile.”

    Yeah, joe, men and women are completely interchangable, just ask the manager at your local Hooter’s.

    “It would if they were competing in the shooting sports, where men and women compete equally.”-LarryA

    That proves your point how? Any innate differences between men and women that would affect competition in shooting sports are so minor they don’t matter. In sports like basketball the physical differences in size, strength and speed are such where they do matter and are treated accordingly. Context makes a difference.

    “Can partners in Connecticut civil unions file joint federal income tax returns, etc?”-LarryA

    Then again they still won’t under the CT Court’s bastardization of their state’s marriage law.

    “Men are prevented from marrying men based on the completely arbitrary and unfair rule that only women are allowed to marry men.

    Women are prevented from marrying women based on the completely arbitrary and unfair rule that only men are allowed to marry women.”-Tara

    Arbitrary? How arbitrary?

    Let’s see, the defination is:
    ar?bi?trar?y (?rb-trr)
    adj.
    1. Determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle: stopped at the first motel we passed, an arbitrary choice.
    2. Based on or subject to individual judgment or preference: The diet imposes overall calorie limits, but daily menus are arbitrary.
    3. Established by a court or judge rather than by a specific law or statute: an arbitrary penalty.
    4. Not limited by law; despotic: the arbitrary rule of a dictator.

    I suppose you mean the 1st definition but it’s hard to see how that applies. The reasons that marriage has applied to heterosexual couples only is to stabilize potential reproductive pairings, and to accomdate the different gender roles a male and a female have within a family. You may not like the logic and priciples leading to that rule, but it is hardly arbitrary and therefore fair.

    Your inssistance that it is falls under the 2nd definition of “arbitrary”.

  141. The reasons that marriage has applied to heterosexual couples only is to stabilize potential reproductive pairings, and to accomdate (sic) the different gender roles a male and a female have within a family.

    Was that before or after it was used as a tool for allying provinces/countries, etc.? Before or after gender roles changed to accommodate different economic and social periods? Before or after people married without any thought of children and merely for love?

    As for men and women being interchangeable and asking the manager of the local Hooter’s–take a look at the brave old world of transgendered and transsexuals–it’s becoming harder and harder to tell when someone makes both the effort and money to achieve near-perfect similarity to the opposite sex. Then again, you don’t seem like the learning type.

    For anyone to think CT “bastardized” marriage law is to say one doesn’t agree with the checks and balances of the Constitution. You’d probably be arguing half a century ago that the innate genetic differences between blacks and whites aren’t “interchangeable” and should therefore marriages between the two should be subject to will of the majority.

    (Full disclosure: I think the government should not define marriage and anyone who wants the current rights which marriage endows–with the exception of tax exemptions–should get a lawyer and draw up a contract.)

  142. Personally, I think marriage is a pale shadow of a serious relationship. There isn’t one single thing about marriage that interests me; I surely have no interest in the (cough) “approval” of people I do not consider to be my peers. Marriage, on the other hand, is a wide-open opportunity to lose enormous amounts of time, money and freedom to the whims and caprices of lawyers and their fellow actors in the “you will do it because this paper says so” realm.

    If the gays were thinking clearer, they’d simply snicker and go their way, instead of clamoring to have a part of the great religious dumbfuckery of marriage.

    But hey… if you’re so twisted as to desire marriage, then perhaps you deserve it. Bend over.

  143. Was that before or after it was used as a tool for allying provinces/countries, etc.?”

    The major reason anyone got married at that time was cementring poltical alliances? Really, only aristocrats were married at that time?

    Given the reasons for the gap that exists between men’s and women’s wages have to do with women dropping out of the workforce for some time to have and raise children. How much have gender roles actually changed? And since when have most marriages been for love and starting a family has been no part of the equation? Also, marriage also provides a safety net in case intentions about not having children are superseded by circumstances.

    “…it’s becoming harder and harder to tell when someone makes both the effort and money to achieve near-perfect similarity to the opposite sex.”

    I don’t entirely buy that, but if you think men and women are interchangable with radical and major cosmetic surgery helps your case. I do not. Gender is not an equivalent of race, there are significant and real difference between the sexes that have actual consequences and have to be accommodated in the real world.

    Just a word of advice, you may want to cut the ad hominems, they say more about your lack of confidence in your argument then it says about your opponent.

  144. Poor people married to unit property on a smaller scale. The point of an extended family and marriage has always been to give families ties to each other and spread out the risk of living. Whether it was cows or pastures or a whole country, it started as a method of connections and stabilizing property. Matches in most societies were chosen by the parents, not the individuals.

    That’s not so much the point of marriage today. Today the role is to provide a stable home environment for the raising of children, and for the providing of the couple themselves. Whatever “inherent” differences you may feel men and women have, of “inherent” roles they may have, society sees them as interchangeable in terms of careers, legal rights, and providing for the family.

    Therefore, a gay couple provides the same benefits to society, and should be able to claim the same rights. They provide a stable home environment, a stable backup source of income if one partner becomes unable to work or injured, and an extra hand to raise children. Whatever “inherent” differences you may claim, the roles in society may now be filled by a man or a woman, therefore requiring the combination of a man and a woman has no benefit, and is merely prejudice.

    Unless you are trying to argue that a good family needs a woman in the house making babies and cooking dinner, and a man working full time to provide, in which case you are really attempting to set men’s and women’s rights back fifty years, not to protect those rights by not extending them to homosexuals.

  145. There has never been a steady definition of marriage, that was the point of the post. The reasons for marriage have been plenty, people use it for whatever seems convenient to them. Of course, why people need some priest or government official to tell them it’s okay for them to have children is beyond me. “Safety net” indeed.

    As for differences between the sexes, the intrasexual differences are so excessive it’s nearly impossible to define the sex itself by such different characteristics. Your lack of understanding such basic arguments led me to the ad hominems. The fact that you think because men and women aren’t interchangeable and adhere to certain biologically designated characteristics somehow supports your argument borders on hilarity.

  146. As someone who finds the concept of gay marriage icky, I have taken a firm stance and decided not to enter into one. I encourage others to use the same coping technique.

    It is an attempt by groups not allowed to ‘marry’ to seek government handouts, services and automatic wealth redistribution that ‘married’ folks should not have either.

    Like the ability to make medical decisions? Make their own determinations about how their property is disseminated after their death? There may be financial advantages but it’s impossible to make the assertion that those are the prime motivators for most gays interested in marriage. That doesn’t match up with their stated reasons and none of us are mind readers.

    The concept that we should put personal liberties up to a popular vote is repugnant, and I’m surprised any Reason reader would think so.

  147. what you fail to appreciate is that only with a federal recognition of marriage will any of the financial benefits of marriage attach. civil unions are no where close in the realm of sameness as marriage. it is completely discriminatory and dangerous to the health (financial and otherwise) of gay couples and families. I am really concerned that people think they are the same when the discrimination (inability to transfer property, inability to put depedents on insurance, inability to receive pension or social security or disability payments for a spouse/child, imposition of payment of “benefits” such as health insurance from employers and on and on) is HUGE.

  148. In German, my husband is
    ‘Mein Mann’ (literally, my man)

    my wife is
    ‘Meine Frau’ (literally, my woman)

    Husband and wife are so outr?; I propose their replacement with “my man” and “my woman.” Sure, it’s a little more ambiguous, but it signifies a devoted partner. And you know what? We could even share those terms with the gays.

  149. The simple fact that one group of law-abiding citizens can legally do something that another group of law-abiding citizens can is wrong.

    Constitutionally, it is wrong.

    As a mouthpiece for a publication designed to follow reason, Chapman has proven inadequate. He has failed to escape the bonds of Christian magical-morality.

    It makes no sense to deny equal opportunity to consenting adults when the result DOES NOT CAUSE HARM TO OTHERS. It is irrational. It is selfish. And it is WRONG. To deny law-abiding citizens equal treatment under the law is wrong.

  150. WTF is the problem with Steve Chapman? Is he the least libertarian person writing for Reason these days? Way back in 2001, this magazine grokked the wisdom of The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn. But more recently, they’ve let Chapman rationalize America’s drinking age of 21–a policy that exemplifies the un-libertarian upcreep in legal age of majority that has happened over the last few generations.

    This time around, Chapman never uses the phrase “judicial activism,” but he shows a typically far-right belief in the tyranny of the majority that most Reasonoids are better than.

    Chapman has every right to his point of view, but maybe he shouldn’t be writing for Reason. He doesn’t quite get it.

  151. Since you need a marriage license every “marriage” is already a”civil union.” The moment that said license is signed youhave entered into a civil union. If in addition to civil recognition two people wish religious sanction, so be it. If a religious institution declines to approve particular “civil union” so be that.

    The role of the state here is recognition of legal rights and duties. The role of religious institutions is a different matter and the two need not conflict.

  152. Decide on gay marriage via vote? What a load of bullshit! Why do idiots keep parroting this stupid ass line? This is none of the state’s (state or federal) business.

    Leave the religious institutions to the individual churches. If Pastor Abe won’t marry a gay couple, but Pastor Bart will, then so be it.

    Any state that denies gays to marry, or refuses to recognize said marriage, is quite plainly an unConstitutional act. Any move at the state or federal level mandating that gay marriage be legal is an unConstitutional act.

    How about we actually get the government out of marriage? Anything done at the state level is merely contractual rights, and should be referred to as “civil unions” or some other areligious term to get the semantics straight for the religious sensitives.

    If a couple (or more) want to get married, then they can do so with whatever church is willing to marry them.

    It’s not hard…

  153. The ignorance of the basic principles of true democracy (as opposed to mob rule) demonstrated by this article – not to mention its casual attitude towards institutionalized discrimination – is upsetting. Then again, it won’t be the first time flawed dogma and thinly veiled, patronizing conservative beliefs posed as “Reason” in this magazine.

    First of all, since when have the freedom and enfranchisement of a legal citizen subgroup been determined by majority rule? Democracy is rule by the people, which is very different from mob rule – mob rule is in force when a large, active group with beliefs in common dictates to everyone else as well as themselves. True democracy requires that all of the people have the full and equal rights and freedoms that will allow them to live and make decisions in concert with their fellows. Subjecting to the will of the mob the right of a minority group to participate in legally binding contracts with one another hardly satisfies this requirement.

    Secondly, one wonders why, if civil unions and marriages are so utterly indistinguishable, we need to have two separate institutions to administer the same rights and benefits. What need, exactly, does the author see that will be fulfilled by setting up a system whose only unique and fundamental feature is that a minority group is legally disallowed from referring to their relationship by the term other people do?

    Like many rigidly dogmatic and “objective” libertarian writers, Mr. Chapman seems to suffer from the delusion that the language we use to talk about people and things has no effect on their nature and treatment, and moreover that if a system of discrimination or power is not de jure, no one has any responsibility to do anything about it.

    Bullshit, dude. Bullshit.

  154. Marriage is an institution owned by the heterosexual population through the long tradition since its beginning. If homosexual couples want to join this institution they must ask the heterosexual population to allow this. If the anwer is yes then they are in. If it is no then the homosexual population must start their own similar institution but call it something else.

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