Civil Liberties

Gay Marriage Legal in Maine

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Today Maine became the fourth fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage (not counting California, where a 2008 state Supreme Court ruling with that effect was overturned by a voter-approved constitutional amendment last fall). Gov. John Baldacci signed a bill allowing gay couples to marry less than an hour after the state legislature passed it, saying, "I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage." The other states where same-sex marriage is or will soon be legal are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont. New Hampshire is expected to follow suit soon, which would make it the second state to allow gay marriage through legislation, as opposed to a court decision.

Last month I explained why I prefer the legislative approach. Last week I noted that public opinion seems to be shifting in favor of same-sex marriage. Other Reason coverage of gay marriage here.

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  1. Neato.

  2. Bravo to Maine for doing the right thing the right way.

  3. hey if they want to be misrable, i say we let em, lol. but good for maine and good for equal rights

  4. Way to go Maine!

    Congrats Gov. Baldacci !!!!

  5. Bravo to Maine for doing the right thing the right way.

    Let me ask you, was Brown v. Board bad law?

  6. Wait, wait… The right way?! I guess you mean that they used the legislature and not the courts, but that’s not the problem.

    The problem is that the government gives special privileges to “married” people. This debate is just a symptom of that problem.

    The “right” way would be to treat everyone as equal. Then, you could sign a contract with anyone. Even multiple people. Even your relatives. After all, you are just as much a big boy as the government is.

  7. Point being, the government is doling out privileges to people. The “right” thing is not to give them to more groups of people, it’s to stop giving special privileges to anyone!

  8. It’s actually state #5, not #4.

    MA,CT,IA and VT all came first.

  9. When someone proposes to eliminate marriage as a legal concept, I will support it. Until then, this is a good thing and the right thing to do.

    I always laugh when I hear people say “I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman”. Good for you. Your belief just happens to be contrary to easily verified fact. There are in fact people of the same sex who are married. This is what our governor in NH has said on the subject. I will be surprised if he vetoes it though.

  10. Well, if you get rid of civil marriage and make everything a civil union then they will be equal.

    But that would be sensible and anger the far left.

  11. The other states where same-sex marriage is or will soon be legal are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont. New Hampshire is expected to follow suit soon

    Wow, that’s all of New England except…Rhode Island. You Rhodies are always lagging, LMNOP. Except in prostitution, where you have long been ahead.

  12. Marriage should be a religious thing. Let the religions figure out who they will and won’t marry.

    Government has no place in defining marriage. Regardless of the persuasions involved.

  13. But that would be sensible and anger the far left.

    And the far right would have a stroke.

    ——

    Either abolish marriage or expand it to everyone. I also don’t care about polygamy or any other dodge around the issue. The best way to do away with the privileged status of marriage is to dilute it into meaninglessness.

  14. Let me ask you, was Brown v. Board bad law?

    No. Thanks for asking.

  15. The “right” way would be to treat everyone as equal. Then, you could sign a contract with anyone. Even multiple people. Even your relatives. After all, you are just as much a big boy as the government is.

    I’d like to point out that when it comes to marrying relatives W VA is way ahead of the game. We’ve been doing that for years.

  16. Gov. John Baldacci signed a bill allowing gay couples to marry less than an hour after the state legislature passed it

    Well that doesn’t give the couples much time…

  17. It’s not that government shouldn’t be recognizing marriages. Marriage is a part of common law, and there’s no way around it. But that does not mean government should be passing out special privileges to married folks.

    The two major places where government does need to recognize marriage is with regards to property ownership and court testimonies. Other than that the private sector can handle it just fine. It’s up to the hospital to determine visitation rights, up to the insurance company for benefits, etc, etc.

  18. Wow, that’s all of New England except…Rhode Island. You Rhodies are always lagging, LMNOP. Except in prostitution, where you have long been ahead.

    Oh I know, and I say loud and often how annoying it is to get beat on this of all things by every other New England state.

    But nobody can hold a candle to our (likely and unfortunately soon to change) prostitution laws.

  19. But nobody can hold a candle to our (likely and unfortunately soon to change) prostitution laws.

    I was wondering how you worked your way through college.

  20. No. Thanks for asking.

    Well, then how do you justify the judiciary redefining terms as being the “wrong way” to do things, since that is how Brown was decided and the basic reasoning behind overturning Plessy?

    I mean, they made up their “integration == equality” out of whole cloth, as separate but equal is also de jure equality, no less the one authored and preferred by the legislature.

  21. I was wondering how you worked your way through college.

    Working at Dunkin’ Donuts is kinda like prostitution, I will admit.

  22. You’re a smart boy, I just figured you pimped.

  23. Well, then how do you justify the judiciary redefining terms as being the “wrong way” to do things, since that is how Brown was decided and the basic reasoning behind overturning Plessy?

    Racial equality was already explicit in the law and just had to be enforced, but homosexual marriage rights are only implicit under equal protection.

    That said, I have no problem with activist judges… I’ll take an expansion of liberty by hook or crook.

  24. Q: What’s a girl from Maine say during sex?

    A: Get off me dad, you’re crushing my smokes.

    Sorry, it’s my only Maine joke and I don’t get to tell it much.

    Maine also has a sweet scale model of the solar system.
    http://www.baddaystudio.com/solarsystem.html

  25. You’re a smart boy, I just figured you pimped.

    Pimps not allowed in RI, NutraSweet. You have to represent yourself and do it out of your home. So LMNOP picking up johns in Dunkin’ Donuts would have been illegal, but I guess it worked for him.

  26. “You wanna, uh, get with my ‘donut hole?'”

    He ate a lot of ramen in college.

  27. Minor jack:

    No green flag yet for the WolframAlpha Platonic search engine that Reason teased us with last month. Still says “Launching May 2009”.

  28. As a hetersexual I find this offensive. This detracts from the meaning of my divorce. Now the god damn gays can get divorced too. WTF?

  29. JeffP,

    Good pickup lines to use on Maine girls:

    Nice white tooth you got there.

    or

    You don’t sweat much for a fat girl.

  30. New Jersey permits civil unions which, as a matter of decisional law, must confer all of the rights and obligations of marriage. See N.J.S.A. 37:1-31a; Lewis v. Harris, 188 N.J. 415, 908 A.2d 196 (2006).

  31. Minor jack:

    No green flag yet for the WolframAlpha Platonic search engine that Reason teased us with last month. Still says “Launching May 2009”.

    It might have to do with Wolfram being a raving lunatic. Not that he isn’t brilliant too, but evokes in me an image of what would happen if you crossed Steve Jobs and Nikola Tesla in some crazy transporter accident.

    Other minor jack:

    Anyone else seen Caprica yet?

  32. SugarFree has it at @ 4:38 pm. A court overturning court-made precedent (separate but equal) is well within the role of the courts.

    A court enforcing the plain language of the Constitution to overturn a statute is well within the role of the courts.

    A court redefining a term such as “marriage” – not clearly within its role at all. Much more of a legislative thing.

    Redefining marriage to include gay marriage – a good thing.

    Doing it via the legislature – the right way.

    Unlike SugarFree, I have a problem with judges who exceed the judicial role. A judge who can play fast and loose to expand your freedom can play fast and loose to limit your freedom. RC’z Fifth Iron Law:

    5. Any power used for you today will be used against you tomorrow.

  33. “Barack Obama was for gay marriage before he was against it.”

    Starting a pool on this being uttered in 2012.

    By the time the current administration gets done raping every thing from income and estate taxes to civil liberties it won’t matter who can marry. We will all be in the same “fucked” boat. But heh at least we will recognize another group as equal.

  34. The fifth iron law is true, and yet means little. Of course any power used can be used by anyone for any purpose. This is as true of legislators as the judiciary. This is the fire we play with when we set up systems of governance.

    The singular fact is that the judiciary is set up to be better equipped to protect rights that the majority would wish to take away than any other part of government, because it is insulated from direct influence by that majority. The discovery and embrace of that fact is literally the history of SCOTUS in the 20th century in a nutshell from Carolene Products all the way to Lopez.

    Does it follow that what the courts giveth the courts can take away? Of course. But that is no different from a legislature. The distinction is that legislatures are more likely to do so for appeasing the whims of the majority, whereas for whatever reason the judiciary may, it would likely be for different ends.

  35. R C Dean:

    If you are implying that the language of the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment of the federal constitution are in any sense “plain,” I will plainly, but respectfully, suggest that you are wrong.

    It can be fairly said that the the Supreme Court “redefined” the meaning of marriage in Loving v. Virginia. Virginia, and many other states, had defined marriage to mean the union of two people of the opposite sex of the same race. The Court redfined that definition of marriage, removing the “of the same race” part. I think it is no great stretch to redefine marriage to remove the “of the opposite sex” part, popular opinion notwithstanding.

    Perhaps in a few decades, we will redefine the “two people” part.

  36. And the far right would have a stroke.

    Some of them, but a sizable portion actually don’t like the government and don’t care if it recognizes marriage. The far left tends to seek and desire government sanction more often than the far right.

  37. “New Hampshire is expected to follow suit soon, which would make it the second state to allow gay marriage through legislation, as opposed to a court decision.”

    Won’t it be the third, after Vermont and Maine?

  38. The mental deterioration of western culture into senility and madness continues apace. The elites no longer have confidence in social institutions nor do they understand what the reasons those institutions exist for.

    Same sex marriage is of a piece with the opinions of the political class which call acts of terrorism “man-made disasters”, illegal aliens “undocumented workers”, and government agencies which punish free speech “human rights commissions”.

  39. Nikola T,

    Go back to your cave.

  40. Good for you!!!! I always believe in equal rights. What is good for the goose is good for the geese!! Please let’s support same sex rights!! “It is better to be hated for who who are than to be loved for whom you are not!”

  41. Juliana Bravo…I LOVE YOU!! I am a very happy lesbian.

  42. I am so happy that you decided to marry me and i think we should do in in MAINE!!!

  43. hahahah!

    i love u too my lief!
    and i think that’s a great idea…
    im a happy person because i have u!

    143

  44. great stuff!

  45. Government: Get out of the marriage business altogether.

    People: Stopping looking to the government to validate your love.

  46. “When someone proposes to eliminate marriage as a legal concept, I will support it.”

    And you would be a fool to do so:

    “When a libertarian radio talker calls for the state to “get out of marriage,” he is encouraging the further breakdown of the family, the only institution that can supply the needs of children. As Prof. Michael Novak memorably put it: The family is the original department of health, education, and welfare.

    For libertarians to call for a laissez-faire policy on marriage is to guarantee a greater role for the federal government in a futile attempt to stave off the disaster of family breakdown and to deal with the predictable consequences.” – Ken Blackwell

  47. Gov. John Baldacci signed a bill…saying,”I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

    Why isn’t a civil union “equal”? Because the word “marriage” is not used? For some advocates of same-sex unions, it’s not so much about equality under the law as it is an attempt to force social respectability through semantics.

  48. When someone proposes to eliminate marriage as a legal concept, I will support it.

    I proposed it 20+ years ago.

  49. RC,


    Redefining marriage to include gay marriage – a good thing.

    Doing it via the legislature – the right way.

    I would normally agree, but “marriage” isnt a legal term, its a religious term, and the legislature has no power to redefine the term.

  50. MJ,

    Does Blackwell explain how eliminating marriage as a legal concept eliminates marriage? Churches and etc would still be issueing them.

    You and Blackwell are making the same mistake that Paine pointed out in Common Sense – society and government are two different things, not the same.

  51. The fifth iron law is true, and yet means little.

    Au contraire. It is a cautionary law, that if observed would save us much grief, by putting the lie to the widely held belief that the problem is that we don’t have “the right people” in charge.

    It can be fairly said that the the Supreme Court “redefined” the meaning of marriage in Loving v. Virginia. Virginia, and many other states, had defined marriage to mean the union of two people of the opposite sex of the same race.

    I don’t think so. Marriage at the time meant a union of two people of the opposite sex. The statute at issue added a restriction that barred inter-racial marriage. That restriction did not exist outside the statute, and could not fairly be said to be part of the definition of marriage. The Loving Court did not redefine marriage when it struck down the state bar on interracial marriage.

    I would normally agree, but “marriage” isn’t a legal term, its a religious term, and the legislature has no power to redefine the term.

    No, it is a legal term, used in marriage statutes. If it wasn’t there would be no equal protection argument, court cases, or bills on gay marriage.

  52. RC Dean,

    Its a religious term being used in legal statutes.

    Which it never should have been.

  53. “Its a religious term being used in legal statutes.”

    Marriage has both legal and religious meanings. To be against legal marriage because of the religious aspects says more about your neuroses about religion then it does marriage.

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